Council of the Week: Lakes Parish Council
Lakes Parish Council, with an office open to everyone four days a week, is located at the Police Station, Ambleside in the Lake District. The Council administers 52 square miles of fine countryside serving five communities (Ambleside, Grasmere, Rydal and Loughrigg, Troutbeck and Langdales) as a single parish council.
Its borders extend through South Lakeland to Copeland, Allerdale, and Eden. The council comprises 16 councillors elected to represent each individual Ward. The clerk, Michael Johnson, has been in post for the past ten years. In this time a proactive programme of bus shelter installation has taken place with three stone/Lakeland slate built shelters in the Langdale Valley serving people in Great Langdale, Chapel Stile and Elterwater. Urban shelters have been erected on the A591 north and south at Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre also two at the Health Centre in Ambleside along with others. A high quality public seat replacement programme has been running for ten years using the 'Grafton' seat supplied by Streetmaster in South Wales.Donations of seats by members of the public in memory of their loved ones is encouraged and we now have over 25 of these seats throughout the Parish that require little maintenance.
Three years ago the parish council took over seven public conveniences that were due to be closed by the district council. Working in partnership with the district council four of these toilets were modernised to a high degree and a charging system of 20p put into place. Toilet cleaning partnerships were put in place with Langdale Valley Association and a local family in Grasmere. To support the running of these toilets, again in partnership with the district council, the parish took over the running of White Platts, a major recreation area in Ambleside, with crazy golf, crown bowling, tennis courts, putting and mini golf. The income from this operation has also paid for a partnership with Age UK who run a monthly group in Ambleside for those suffering from dementia and altzheimers disease.
The council has a quarterly newsletter delivered to every home in the parish that keeps local people informed. The annual Chairman's Report and Accounts are published every June.
A parish plan was adopted in 2005 and is now currently being updated with neighbourhood planning as one of its priorities. Schemes in the pipeline, agreed in the budget for 2015/16, include money for CCTV/ANPR cameras in partnership with Cumbria Constabulary; taking responsibility for a local neglected park also support for our parish handyman who is litter orientated and goes to those parts that the principal authorities do not.
The council also have a continuing partnership with Troutbeck Village Society with money for a 'lengthsman' plus, already purchased and ready to go, is a snowplough and gritter for this hilly community. They have also purchased two hand pulled gritters for use by volunteers to clear paths in the carish. The parish continually look for opportunities to work with groups and other organisations to deliver additional services to the community.