Draft Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 08.05.2024

Uploaded on May 23, 2024






Present:     Councillors:  Bardsley, Bimpson, Denton, Dodson, Lamb BEM (Chairman), Long,

                                        Reynolds (arrived 6.20pm), Roberts, Whalley


In Attendance:                Borough Councillors John Case and Linda Mussell

                                        Lisa Roxby (Village Hall Events Manager)

Sally Powell (Clerk)


Absent:        Councillors: Grice, Turner


The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked the Borough Councillors for attending.  He read out the draft minutes for the Annual Parish Meeting held on 19.05.2023, which were proposed as a true and accurate record by Councillor Bardsley, seconded by Councillor Long and carried unanimously.


  1. Apologies for absence: Councillors: Bowden (Family), Holden (Business), Lee (Away),

Stockton-Pugh (Away)


  1. Chairman’s Review of Parish Council Affairs 2023/24:

Councillor Lamb BEM highlighted the following from his year of office as Chairman of Rainford Parish Council:

  • The planning application by Miller Homes to build 307 dwellings in Rainford was approved.
  • The Event Co-ordinator decided to leave her post.
  • Rainford Library closed.

In all, it had been a chaotic year, but many decisions affecting Rainford and the Parish Council had been made before Councillor Lamb became Chairman.  He had carried on with what Councillor Bardsley had started when he was Chairman:

  • The Lease for the Village Hall: The Chairman had been determined at the beginning of his year of office to get the lease in place.  Despite his good intentions, he is having to pass this on to the incoming Chairperson, as there has still been very little progress.  Councillor Lamb stated his disappointment with the outcome of meetings with members of the senior management team at St Helens Council and that he had not been able to complete this during his term of office.  The Chairman opined that the Rainford community had paid for the Village Hall many times over the years.
  • The Parish Council is still looking at the possibility of gaining a licence for Wedding and Civil ceremonies, but is waiting for new legislation regarding Marriage Licences to come into force before taking this further.
  • The DIY SOS weekend to tackle some of the repair and updating work required in the Village Hall was a great success. However, a lot of work remains to be done.
  • The energy efficiency of the Village Hall has been improved by the installation of double-glazed windows in the Council Chamber and Main Hall.
  • As the Parish Council had discovered that responsibility for the pavilion and the bowling green on Scarisbrick Road lay with St Helens Council, the Parish Council withdrew financial support to the Bowling Club and decided against taking on financial responsibility via a lease for the pavilion.
  • The Cost-of-Living crisis has had an impact on Rainford residents and on income for the Village Hall.
  • The Parish Council took the decision to offer free use of the Village Hall for community groups such as the Rainford Parkinson’s Support Group and the Community Support Group. Additionally, all Rainford organisations can apply for free use of the hall once a year for a fund-raising event.
  • Councillor Roberts joined the Parish Council and is now the lead Councillor investigating the possibility of creating a neighbourhood plan.
  • The Schools Liaison Councillor, Liz Dodson, continued to make great inroads in building up relationships with all the schools in the Village and Rainford Youth Council has been established. It’s first event was a car wash for Teardrops which raised £238.
  • The Christmas Fayre was a great success despite the cold weather. Members of Rainford Youth Council were there to help out.  The mince pies supplied by Councillor Holden were amazing!

The Chairman concluded his remarks by announcing his resignation as a Parish Councillor, due to the need to focus more in other areas.  He stated that he had had an enjoyable time as a Councillor and as Chairman and noticed many improvements in the Parish Council during his time as a member.  He could not have asked for a better group to be part of and wished the Parish Council all the best for the future.


  1. Financial Report 2023/24:

A draft balance sheet and Income & Expenditure Account for the year to 31.03.24 had been circulated prior to the meeting.  Councillor Long, Chairman of the Finance, Planning & Administration Committee gave the following report:

  • The accounts were prepared on an income and expenditure basis.
  • There is a £6000 increase in the business rates for the Village Hall for 2024/25. This is a very large increase.
  • The financial position as at 31.03.2024 was not quite as good as had been anticipated.
  • Once again, the Parish Council had spent a great deal during the year on repairs to the building. Having the Chairman’s fund for the Village Hall had assisted with this spending.
  • The precept was higher than the previous year due to the new houses on Lords Fold.

Councillor Denton asked that the budget is re visited and a document produced showing, as far as possible, all the liabilities for the Parish Council and the Village Hall until 31.03.2025.

Councillor Reynolds thanked Councillor Long for the work he did as Chairman of the Finance, Planning & Administration committee as it was not an easy task.


  1. Chairwoman Elect 2024/25 Remarks:

Councillor Liz Dodson addressed the meeting.  She informed the meeting that she was looking forward to working with the Parish Council members and staff.  She would continue with the issues that are on-going and aimed to achieve better engagement with the community and residents through new ideas as this is key in forging a closer relationship with Rainford residents.  She would continue to build on the work already achieved with the Youth Council.


  1. Borough Councillor’s Report:

Councillor Linda Mussell included the following in her report:

  • St Helens Council had voted for a 4.9% increase in Council tax, which is the allowable limit. The Borough Councillors voted in favour of this rise.  Councillor Mussell is on the Budget Scrutiny Panel, so is well aware of the rising costs facing St Helens Council.  The cost-of-living crisis has particularly impacted on Adult Social Care where costs of in home and at home care have rocketed.  Out of Borough care for Children’s services is also very expensive.
  • The CIF funding has been stopped as part of the budget as it was considered unfair and was being used on revenue costings, such as School Crossing Patrols. St Helens Council will be taking back responsibility for revenue spending. Clarification regarding the SCP funding by the Parish Council has not yet been received. An alternative way of allocating funds of £500 – £1000 for topics within their ward to individual Councillors is being considered.
  • Adult Health and Social Care: The use of assisted technology is being explored to help keep people in their own homes for longer.
  • Spending on dog poo bins will be reduced.
  • Funding of Borough Councillors’ attendance at some events has been stopped.
  • Family Hubs will be opened n the wards of highest deprivation, with government grants.
  • The regeneration of the Town Centre continues, including the building of a hotel at a cost of £23m where the Hardshaw centre is currently.
  • The regeneration of Earlstown is also on-going, with the Town Hall being refurbished. Residents had voted against the creation of a Town Council.
  • Rainford library closed at the end of January 2024. The building is now surplus to requirements for Leisure services, but there is a long and arduous process to go through before the building can be taken over by Rainford Community Library Trust.  Other departments have to be asked if they would like use of the building before it can be put into the asset transfer portfolio and a report for cabinet stating it is not wanted prepared.  The Library Trust will get priority for using the building as it wants to deliver library services.
  • Health services in the region are merging. All hospitals from The Countess of Chester to Southport are included.  It will be important to ensure that standards do not drop.  Work is on-going to get integrated care partnerships plans into the hospitals.
  • A trial is taking place at a GP practice in Garswood with more services available at the surgery.
  • Councillor Case has been instrumental in getting loads of potholes filled in. St Helens Council has purchased a new efficient machine for filling in pot holes.  Only those over a certain depth can be filled.  The Borough Councillors will be driving around the Village with an engineer from St Helens Council later this month.  A full resurface of part of Ormskirk Road is scheduled before the end of the financial year.
  • The Borough Councillors have assisted the Scarisbrick Road Bowling Club in getting a lease from St Helens Council and work is starting on the refurbishment of the pavilion, with grants.
  • Councillor Mussell has been working with a lighting engineer from St Helens Council to get the trees in the centre of the Village up lighted.
  • The Community Governance Review has been completed. There will be elections in 2 years’ time, when the number of Councillors on the Parish Council will reduce from 15 to 14.


  • Councillor Anthony Burns is the new leader of the Council. Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron is the deputy leader.  Councillor David Baines stepped down as he won the nomination to stand as the Labour MP candidate in the next election.


Councillors Mussell & Case answered questions from Councillor Roberts about grass cutting and the basket ball hoop in the Ormskirk Road Park.  Councillor Mussell will ask for the hoop to be moved as at present its use is impeded by long grass that the environment agency will not cut.

  1. Local Organisations updates


  1. Neighbourhood/Parish Plan:

Councillor Roberts informed the meeting on the work she had completed towards creating a Neighbourhood and/or Paris plan.  The survey she devised has been sent to all Councillors for completion.  Hard copies are available for completion.

Councillor Roberts has visited Girl Guiding in Rainford to get feedback from younger residents via the survey.  Parents/Carers also completed the questionnaire and many were very interested in the concept which is positive.

Feedback so far has revealed that younger residents feel that there is an emphasis on organisations and activities for older people.

One aim of the plan is to get residents involved in sharing skills and ensuring that there are community activities which can involve all ages.

The survey will also be shared with the churches in Rainford.

There was a discussion, but no agreement on whether a Neighbourhood or Parish Plan should be pursued.

Councillor Roberts has a contact in Cheshire East (which has a Neighbourhood Plan) and he will pass this on to Councillor Roberts.

  1. Open Forum
  2. It was agreed that the Parish Council website is underused and this needs to be improved.
  3. Details of all the events taking place in the Village Hall should be on the Parish Council’s social media pages.
  • There was a discussion about making the Annual Parish Meeting more accessible to residents, so that they would attend. Councillor Denton suggested that more of an occasion is made of the meeting, with refreshments etc.  Invitations could be sent to local organisations, asking them to attend and give a brief update of their activities over the past year.


There being no other business, the meeting closed at 7.23pm









Chairperson of Rainford Parish Council 2024/25