At the annual general meeting of Barrowford Parish Council, Coun. Robert Oliver was elected as the new chairman.
He stated the parish council was working to maintain and develop the village’s community facilities and represent residents’ interests, albeit at a time of severe financial restraint.
Following the May elections, there are vacancies on the council for the Carr Hall and Higherford wards, and people interested in helping should contact the clerk to the council or a local councillor as soon as possible.
Members of the public attending the meeting raised concerns about tree felling and car parking work at Holmefield House – the council’s headquarters – and the situation regarding public toilets in Barrowford.
The chairman welcomed the representations from residents, reminding everyone the public are able to attend council meetings and raise questions prior to the meeting.
With regard to the issues raised, clerk Mr Iain Lord said the tree felling was a necessary part of a project to install raised beds for vegetable growing; future car park enlargement was aimed at improving access without imposing on surrounding streets, as more local organisations are using Holmefield House for meetings and events.
Mr Oliver confirmed that, where required, a planning application for the car park would be made to Pendle Council, which would allow for full public scrutiny.
The thorny problem of the public toilets arose from the economies introduced by Pendle Council and their decision to close and sell the toilet building at the corner of Gisburn Road and Church Street.
Under a climate of Government austerity, more and more of Pendle Council’s responsibilities are being devolved to parish and town councils without the necessary financial support, making it difficult for the parish council to get the money required to run them.
However, the chairman stated that, since the sale seems to have stalled, all possible options for providing toilets in the village would be explored and put on the council’s agenda again.
The council reviewed progress on the Pendle Core Strategy Examination Hearings and agreed to continue to promote the interests of the village through a professionally advised response to the final consultation.
The members also approved the report of the independent internal auditor on the accounts for 2014/2015.
The improvements at Holmefield House have resulted in a growing use of the facilities by the community and several new users have been gained.
The Tuesday Luncheon Club continues to be popular, but still has space for more customers. The council are grateful for the work of the catering and serving staff.
The previous chairman of the parish council was Mr James Begley – a farmer in Barrowford – who had the key role for several years. He has now decided to step down from the council.
His replacement, Coun. Oliver, and other councillors, praised Mr Begley and thanked him for all he has done in his work within the council.