HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL MEETING OF HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE MEMORIAL HALL
ON THURSDAY, 12 JUNE 2014 at 7.30pm
Present: Councillors Kane, Watkins, Hicks, Henderson, Brotherston, Hayward (arrived 7.45), County Councillors Reynolds, Mrs Watts (Parish Clerk) and four members of the public.
Apologies for Absence – Cllrs Wright, Casson, Millar and District Cllr Jelf
Chairman’s Announcements – Cllr Kane advised Councillors that due to personal reasons Maggie White has resigned as cleaner to the Memorial Hall. She leaves on 30 June. Cllr Kane thanked Maggie for cleaning the hall for a number of years. The vacancy will not be advertised until after repairs to the hall roof are complete.
Declarations of Interest – Cllr Brotherston declared an interest in the two contractors tendering for repairs to the Memorial Hall roof, as he has on occasions carried out work for both companies. Councillor Hayward, arriving after 7.30pm, was asked by the Chairman on arrival to declare any interests. He had none.
Minutes of Previous Meeting held on 8 May 2014 and Matters Arising
Cllr Hicks proposed that the minutes of the meeting on 8 May 2014 be accepted as a true and accurate record. This was seconded by Cllr Brotherston and passed unanimously.
Parish Council Vacancy – Cllr Kane reported that Cherwell District Council has confirmed that the vacancy of Parish Councillor can be filled by co-option. The Parish Clerk has posted an advertisement on the noticeboards and website. The closing date for applications is 25 June. Applications will be considered at the July meeting.
Report of the Planning Co-Ordinator on Planning Applications – Annex 1
Six planning/TCA applications were received during the month – there were no objections.
Cherwell District Council granted three planning/TCA applications, including 14/00638/AGN Fodge Farm. Councillors had objected on various grounds to the large open fronted straw store being built but Cherwell District Council has determined that the application does not need formal ‘agricultural prior approval’.
14/00844/OUT – an outline planning application by Gladman Developments for the erection of 54 dwellings, landscape, public open space and associated works on OS Parcel 6680 North of the Primary School was received today.
Cllr Kane reported that she has written to Sir Tony Baldry, Private Eye and the Banbury Guardian regarding Simon Dean, an ex-employee of Cherwell District Council (Planning), who has gone to work for the Gladman Group. A paragraph on the Gladman website (removed in the last few days by Gladman Associates) states that
“Mr Dean acted as the Case Officer on a village-extension scheme in the face of the lack of a 5-year housing land-supply. He worked closely with the applicants to secure a scheme which could be recommended for approval (on the basis of the NPPF, but contrary to political will). Following a member overturn, he worked on negotiating an acceptable legal agreement and Statement of Common Ground to pave the way for an expeditious appeal process and assisted in the defence of the case at public inquiry.”
Sir Tony Baldry has written to the Chief Executive of Cherwell District Council asking for the matter to be investigated.
To Invite Members of the Public to Comment on Planning Applications – members of the public expressed concern over the outline panning application from Gladman Developments – 14/00844/OUT. Mr Gasson fears that his dairy business might have to close if residents on the proposed estate complain about the noise from the diary (the milking of 400 cows starts at 5.30am 365 days per year) and the inevitable smell and flies from the slurry lagoon (the proposed houses will be located very near).
Cllr Kane has spoken to the head of the Primary School who says that Oxfordshire County Council have confirmed that the 54 houses proposed were taken into account in March 2014 when OCC determined what size extension to the school needed to be made. County Cllr Reynolds will speak to the Education Department to ensure that this is correct.
The Chairman confirmed that the Parish Council will oppose the development. Villagers are invited to look at plans for the site on Wednesday, 18 June in the Memorial Hall from 6.30 -7.30pm.
Appointment of Working Groups – this item was deferred to the July meeting as some Councillors were absent.
Reports of Working Groups
Recreation – Cllr Kane had nothing to report.
Cemetery and Allotments – Cllr Hicks reported:
a) A villager has complained about the quality of the grass cutting in the churchyard, the colour of the new compost bin and leaning, or laid-down headstones. Cllr Hayward confirmed that the Parish Council is only required to mow that part of the cemetery awaiting burials. Areas where burials had taken place are the responsibility of relatives. However, in order to keep the area tidy, the Parish Council pays for areas between graves to be mowed and strimmed. It would be cost prohibitive to increase the grass cutting contract to include clearing grass cuttings from the cemetery. The blue compost bin has been made by volunteers out of re-cycled pallets – this is in line with the Council’s endeavours to be environmentally friendly. A Parish Council survey of headstones last year resulted in some headstones being laid flat for health and safety reasons. It is the responsibility of relatives to ensure that headstones on loved ones’ graves remain in a safe condition.
b) Volunteers to help keep the churchyard tidy are still needed. People willing to help should contact Cllr Hicks or the Parish Clerk.
c) The wall near the steps in the churchyard has collapsed. Cllr Hayward will inspect.
Environment – Cllr Hayward reported:
a) A member of the public says that 5-6 of the eight cherry trees at the back of The Glebe look very unhealthy. The Parish Clerk will try to establish who owns them.
b) The Environment Group will look at bank stabilisation in a part of Watery Lane.
c) Environmental Champions for Watery Lane are meeting on 13 July to carry out litter picking. They will purchase litter-pickers (to be shared with other Environmental Champion Groups in the village) and invoice the Parish Council for these and for rubbish bags.
d) Playground: there is a “weed” sycamore growing out of the beech hedge adjacent to a bungalow and overhanging the garden. Cllr Hayward has asked Ben Acreman to look at it, as it is big enough to need consent from Cherwell District Council to fell it.
e) Self-seeded saplings on the raised verge in Chapel Street alongside ‘Long Thatch’ need removing. The Parish Clerk will contact OCC Highways.
f) Cllr Kane reported that the glass in the noticeboard by The Sun Inn is broken. Apparently the key to the door is missing, making it difficult to gain access. She will inspect the noticeboard with a view to arranging urgent repairs. Following repair, a new map of the village will be displayed.
Hook Norton War Memorial Hall – Cllr Brotherston reported:
a) The monthly village market will be invited to use the Study Centre in the Primary School whilst the Memorial Hall roof is being repaired. Cllr Brotherston proposed that the Parish Council pay any difference in the cost of hire. This was seconded by Cllr Kane and unanimously agreed.
b) Councillors met on 9 June to discuss tenders submitted for repairs to the Memorial Hall roof. Although a number of contractors had been invited to tender, only two had submitted tenders within the timescale. Cllr Hicks proposed that Midland Felt Roofing, Woodstock be appointed. This was seconded by Cllr Kane and unanimously approved. The cost will be £15,034 with a further cost of £1,000+ should the roof tiles contain asbestos and need specialised treatment. A tile is being sent away for analysis. Hirers will be notified of closure dates as soon as possible.
Neighbourhood Plan (HNNP) Sub-Committee – Cllr Hicks reported:
a) Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan has been suspended for 6 months. Councillors agreed that the Hook Norton Neighbourhood Plan should be submitted to Cherwell District Council despite this delay.
Finance/Schedule of Receipts and Payments for Authorisation by the Council
The Clerk presented the schedules of receipts and payments and sought approval to pay the cheques itemised on the schedules totalling £3,808.40 for the Parish Council and £1,154.19 for the Memorial Hall. Cllr Hicks moved acceptance of the payments detailed. This was seconded by Cllr Brotherston and approved unanimously.
Report on District Council Matters: no report was submitted.
Report on County Council Matters: County Cllr Reynolds reported:
a) The £1M grant to Highways for road repairs may be handed down to County Councillors. That being so, Parish Councils will report defects to their respective County Councillor.
b) Cllr Reynolds has not received a definitive answer from OCC regarding the cost of school transport in Hook Norton. He will continue to speak to OCC officers.
c) Cllr Hayward pointed out that parents of 16-18 year olds in the village, who must now attend further education, are not entitled to free school transport. This is putting a considerable strain on some families. He will speak to Paul Woods and Cllr Kane will speak to Simon Mead to ascertain numbers of children falling in to this group.
The Parish Clerk has forwarded all correspondence to Councillors during the month.
12/00472/F – Cherwell District Council has confirmed that the names of the roads on the Station Road site will be The Grange and The Sidings.
Mr Mariner had asked who owns the land at the side of his property on the corner of Rectory Road and Whittons Close. Councillors agreed that the land belongs to OCC.
Fence in Watery Lane – Councillors agreed that the Parish Council would take responsibility for the fence bordering Shearing Close Cottage.
The Parish Clerk reported that despite a number of requests, the Heath Allotment Trust accounts for 2013-2014 have still not been received. Cllr Brotherston will urge.
To Invite Questions and Comments from Members of the Public – there were no matters arising.
The next Parish Council meeting will be held on 10 July 2014 at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall.
There being no further business Councillor Kane thanked everyone for attending and closed the public meeting at 9.05pm.