Chairman’s Report

Councillor Keith Kelly

Councillor Keith Kelly

It has been a difficult and unprecedented year for everyone. In March 2020, life changed for everyone due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The effects of Covid-19 have impacted us all n one way or another.

At the beginning of the first lock-down, Stone Parish Council set up a Coronavirus Support and Information page so people could be regularly updated with the latest information and advice.

Council services were inevitably affected, including the cancellation of events such as Stone Fete, closure of Stone Pavilion and playgrounds for a time.

The Council’s priority during the pandemic was to ensure that elderly and vulnerable parish residents received any care and assistance they required and that they were not left isolated. Vulnerable residents were contacted on a regular basis by our office staff to ensure they were well.

The Council moved, as many did, to virtual meetings. This transition maintained public participation and enabled the essential operations of the council to continue. This meant great progress was able to continue on several of the council’s key projects.

Our Strategic Plan was drafted and approved. This ambitious three-year plan focuses on supporting, protecting and enhancing the Parish and will see significant investment in parish infrastructure.

The Stone Parish Neighbourhood Plan was formally submitted and declared sound and is now awaiting independent examination by a Planning Inspector ahead of an anticipated referendum later in 2021. We hope as many residents as possible will turn out to vote ‘YES’ for this important plan which will generate significant infrastructure investment if supported.

Funding support was acquired for electric vehicle charging points at Stone Pavilion and the new Claire Tiltman Centre.

A consultation on proposals for a new playground was conducted and the results of this informed the tender, with the new playground set to open in a matter of weeks.

This flagship children’s playground is the first feature of the Stone Recreation Ground Masterplan scheme, set to deliver £1.3m of improvements over the next few years.

The new super-playground will cater for all ages of children and include sensory and inclusive play equipment to ensure everyone is well catered for.

During the year, we provided funding to some very worthwhile Covid-relief ventures, with council grants being awarded to the Mary’s Child food bank, Dartford Deeds not Words toy appeal and local schools to enable digital devices to be purchased to support home schooling.

Finally, this will be my last annual report, as I have taken the decision to stand down as Chairman due to ongoing work commitments. I will remain your Parish Councillor for Castle Ward and am very proud of what has been accomplished in my time as Chairman.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Councillors and the Officers for their support and I am glad to be leaving the Parish in the capable hands of Councillor Lucy Canham who will help to lead this Council into another very exciting year.

Cllr Keith Kelly
Former Chairman

Annual Accounts

Council income is derived from parish tax collected from local residents (via council tax), charges on new developments, fees for use of facilities, property rents and grants or funding application awards to support activities.

The council does not receive any money from central government or business rates.

Council accounts are inspected regularly by the Internal Auditor and submitted for review by the External Auditor annually.

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly restricted operations at the Pavilion and Recreation Ground.

2020/21 will be a challenging year, however, the council will continue to serve the needs of the community by meeting the goals of our strategic plan.

2019/20 INCOME 2020/21
£439,656 Statutory Finance £463,334
£6,000 Grants £30,006
£19,601 Community Events £0
£70,942 Stone Pavilion £2,233
£22,337 Property & Investments £21,305
£10,608 Public Realm £6,933
£2,385 Other Income £200
£571,529 Total £524,011
£331,202 Staff Costs £326,355
£80,823 Corporate Administration £91,038
£72,049 Stone Pavilion £18,568
£40,108 Public Realm £38,520
£17,496 Democracy Costs £0
£32,476 Community Events £887
£21,203 Community Project Costs £30,480
£1,900 Grants to Local Groups £3,500
£3,366 Other Community Expenditure £10,779
£600,623 Total £520,127
£432,383 Opening Balance £403,289
£571,529 Plus: Income £524,011
£600,623 Less: Expenditure £520,127
£403,289 Total £407,173