Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on
8th April 2010 in the Memorial Hall, Hook Norton at 7pm
Present: the meeting was attended by Councillors Timms [Chairman], Walsham [Vice Chairman], Brotherston, Hayward, Jelf, Leader, Millar, Richardson and Stubbs, together with District Cllr Irvine, the Parish Clerk and four members of the public.
Apologies: were received from Cllrs Kane and Shepley-Cuthbert, and Cllr Stubbs who was delayed and arrived during Item 5, Pauline Walters [Heath Allotment Trust] and Anne Evans [Chipping Norton School Trust]
Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on Thursday 9th April 2009 were approved as a true record of the meeting.
Conduct of the Meeting: The Chairman welcomed everyone and informed those present that the meeting would be informal.
3. Report by Chairman of the Parish Council: Cllr Timms reported a busy year, his fifth consecutive one as Chairman and, although he had a few months away at the end of the last Parish year, he had been persuaded to return in May 2009. Unfortunately during the Parish year we lost the services of Sharron Barnes and Melvyn Riley and the Chairman thanked them for all their efforts while on the Council. Their replacements are Emma Kane and David Shepley-Cuthbert, both of whom have already proved to be extremely useful members of the team. The Chairman thanked all his fellow councillors for their contribution during the past year and, in particular, those who had chaired the various working groups, the Planning Co-ordinator, Marie Stubbs, our District Councillor, Victoria Irvine, and Ray Jelf who doubles both as our County Councillor and a serving member of the PC. Sadly a wanton act of vandalism in the Play Area resulted in a serious accident to a child, which is to be deplored, but this led to Emma Kane and Jonathan Leader, who chairs the Recreation Group, setting up a working group to obtain funding to re-equip the Play Area and replace tired equipment. The Chairman congratulated Emma who, having devoted considerable time and effort, has obtained grant commitment of over 51,000 with the possibility of further funding by way of a Playbuilder grant. The Chairman also thanked the Clerk, Ken Porter, who continues to give invaluable advice and assistance with the ever increasing burden of bureaucracy and legislation besides producing excellent records of meetings. He also thanked Doug Marshall for his continued support in maintaining standards in the Recreation Area, along with his other environmental tasks. Thanks also went to Pauline Walters for her role in chairing the Heath Allotment Trust and Anne Evans, who represents the village on the Chipping Norton School Trust Fund and their reports follow. Finally he thanked Albert Walsham for his contribution in chairing the working group responsible for the Memorial Hall, which continues to be well supported within the village. Ray Jelf, supported by the Clerk, has virtually finalised the transfer of the lease of the Norman Matthews Hall to the Church and it is pleasing to report that this being fully utilised by both the Church and the Library. Regrettably little progress has been made during the year on the Affordable Housing issue but pressure is being maintained in an attempt to obtain a positive result. Finally the Chairman thanked everyone for attending the meeting.
4. Report by Chairman of the Memorial Hall Trust: Cllr Walsham reported that the Hall has been successfully used during the past year with regular users ensuring that it remains financially viable with their income, together with donations from the Parish Council, supporting the Hall costs. Regular user groups now include the two Brownie packs, Guides, Art classes, Ladies Badminton, and Karate, with a Yoga class having replaced Pilates. A Cub group was using the Hall but, after one term, moved to a venue which provided an outside play area. We hope they will be replaced by a Dance class in due course. Other regular hirers, the Market, the Film Society and the Garden Club, continue to operate successfully and Hooky Players once again had a highly enjoyable summer play as well as the usual brilliant Pantomime. Bi-monthly meetings of the Working group have continued with Hall issues tracked through a working list to ensure all are dealt with. The kitchen and toilets were decorated at Christmas after the water leaks in the new kitchen were finally fixed. Professional cleaning of the floor was planned for the New Year but had to be cancelled due to the adverse weather and will now take place on 14th April. The long term plan is to redecorate the main Hall provided grants can be obtained. Cllr Walsham thanked the Clerk for actively maintaining and filling the Hall diary and the cleaner, Maggie White, who is doing an excellent job. Finally Cllr Walsham thanked all members of the working group for their excellent support and all the user groups for their continued use of the Hall, which maintains its financial viability.
5. Report by the Chairman of the Heath Allotment Trust: in the absence of Pauline Walters, chair of the Trust, the Clerk read her report. The trustees now comprise herself, Ray Gasson, Clive Timms, Nigel Shields and Ray Jelf, who also acts as Secretary. Members met twice during the year, most recently at the AGM on 9th February. During the year the trustees have continued to consider the most effective use of income available and donations recently agreed include allocations to the two schools serving village pupils: 1000 to Hook Norton Primary School and 500 to Chipping Norton School. In addition 750 has been donated to the village library through the Friends of the Hook Norton Community Library, subject to sight of an estimate for items to improve accessibility and utilisation of existing space in an effort to encourage those at a financial disadvantage to use its facilities. The 1000 donated in the previous year to the Hook Norton library through the Friends has been spent appropriately. In order to ensure proper use of money allocated for village pupils at Chipping Norton School it has been agreed that the Chair or Secretary will be present at meetings where requests for funds are discussed and allocated, the latest being on 22 March 2010. The 500 held in reserve for the charity Home-Start will be retained until a local family needs this support. Both tenants are paying the increased half-yearly rent and reviews will continue as appropriate. Public liability for paths and relating to fallen branches on the Trusts land will be raised with the Parish Council. The Trustees will continue to ensure appropriate use of annual income, together with maintaining realistic rents.
6. Report by County Council Representative: Cllr Jelf commented that it had been a difficult year for the administration attempting to balance pressure to keep increases in council tax to a minimum with rising costs and greater calls on resources. Highways has now agreed a contract with Atkins who will be responsible for contracting work w.e.f. 1 April 2010. On a local level Cllr Jelf will be happy to hear from parishioners with any issues to raise on county council matters.
7. Report by the District Council Representative: in the absence of Cllr Irvine there was no report on this occasion.
Report on Chipping Norton School Trust Fund in the absence of Anne Evans the Clerk read her report. The Trustees have met twice in the current academic year and awards were made to two pupils for music and sport, neither of which was from Hook Norton. In September 2009 a new school uniform was introduced with initial funding from the school and a contribution of 350 was made from the Heath Allotment Trust towards the uniform for Hook Norton students.
9. Questions from the Public: Christopher Barry reminded the meeting that District Cllr Irvine had mentioned the creation of 200 new jobs by CDC at the 2009 APM and he wondered if these were all in Bodicote House? In the absence of Cllr Irvine it was not possible to give a definitive answer but the Chairman promised to research.
10. Closure of the Meeting: There being no further business the Chairman formally closed the Annual Parish Meeting at 7.20pm.
Present: Councillors: Timms [Chairman], Walsham [Vice-Chairman], Brotherston, Hayward, Jelf, Leader, Millar, Richardson and Stubbs, together with Mr Porter [Parish Clerk] and three members of the public.
1. Apologies for Absence
were received from Cllrs Kane and Shepley-Cuthbert.
2. Chairman’s Announcements
The Chairman had no formal announcements to make on this occasion.
3. Minutes of previous meeting, 11 March 2010, and matters arising
It was proposed by Cllr Jelf, and seconded by Cllr Hayward, that the minutes of the previous meeting be accepted as a true and accurate record and this was passed unanimously by those present at that meeting. There were no matters arising not covered elsewhere in the agenda.
4. Declarations of Interest
Cllr Millar declared an Interest in Allotments Item 7(b).
5. Report by Planning Co-ordinator on planning applications received
Cllr Stubbs reported that councillors had considered the draft Core Strategy document and submitted a formal response to CDC. This basically reiterated our concerns about any significant future development in the light of limited infrastructure, but stressed that we are not opposed to sensible schemes. Cllr Stubbs thanked councillors for their continued attendance and support at planning meetings. Of applications received in the past month the only objection raised was to the extension proposed for Pennyfarthing. The only application which had been granted, which we had opposed, was that at The Orchard, Queen Street, which we had asked District Cllr Irvine to call in for consideration by the Planning Committee. This was refused, however, as it was effectively a renewal and there had been no significant change. Cllr Hayward asked if the Planning schedule could be amended in future to show the PCs response to those applications where a decision had been received from CDC and the Clerk will put this in place for the May schedule.
6. To invite members of the public to comment on planning applications
There were no comments from members of the public present on this occasion.
7. Report of Working Groups
(a)Recreation & Open Spaces Group Cllr Leader reported David Randall has erected the fence along Watery Lane, which will hopefully save the wall from further damage. However we are still waiting for Paul Clarke to start the repair to the damaged wall in the Play Area, although he does have the stone, and Cllr Leader will chase again to have this work completed. As yet he has had no success in sourcing a gate and several suggestions were made which he will follow up. Mr Marshall continues to monitor the equipment and the area is generally in a clean and tidy state. Some of the wood on the mini roundabout is rotting and Mr Marshall will effect some repairs once the weather improves but the recent grant awarded is specifically for renewing this and the swings. The decision on the Playbuilder grant is anticipated in mid-April although it is known that there are a lot of applicants chasing a limited number of grants.
(b)Cemetery & Allotments Cllr Brotherston confirmed that the working party is continuing the work clearing the undergrowth in the lower cemetery and thanks to John Blackham for all his efforts. Cllr Brotherston had met with the Allotment Association on 17 March and the meeting had been positive. The PC was asked the basis for the rise in rent and it was explained that the new figure was felt to be reasonable bearing in mind that we have a duty to obtain a reasonable return and they had remained static for several years. The view was expressed that the PC should utilise some of this money for improvements to the area but it was felt that this does not include contributing to a rabbit-proof fence. There was also a question of whether bees could be kept on an allotment and the Clerk will check the tenancy agreement. The Clerk was also asked to clarify the question of rights of way through the area and he will make appropriate enquiries.
(c)Environment Cllr Millar reported that the working group had not met in the past month as there was little to look into. Bob Bickley has been formally reappointed as grass contractor and the first cut of the new Parish year had been carried out earlier this week. The Clerk confirmed that he had ordered five new grit bins but OCC has run out of stock. He has, therefore, diarised to re-order in early autumn to ensure they will be in place before next winter. A parishioner has enquired about siting a dog bin in Queen Street and the working group will look at existing bins to see if one can be re-sited or whether it is appropriate to order a new one.
(d)Hook Norton War Memorial Hall Cllr Walsham reported that the boiler has been serviced, as has the fire equipment, following which it has been necessary to purchase a new extinguisher. The Hall floor is to be professionally cleaned on 14th April.
(e)Norman Matthews Community Hall Cllr Jelf confirmed that the Deed of Release was signed before the end of the financial year and the money for the surrender of the lease was paid to OCC as agreed. This should bring this matter to a conclusion.
8. Report on District Council Matters
In the absence of District Cllr Irvine there was nothing to report on this occasion.
9. Report on County Council Matters
Cllr Jelf also had little to add following his report to the APM but was able to confirm that Highways have promised to re-surface Queen Street in mid-June. He also reported that the Hook Norton Low Carbon project had been singled out for praise by the incoming Chairman at the County Council Annual Meeting on 6 April.
10. 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 3135.28 for the PC and 698.51 for the MH. Cllr Jelf moved acceptance of the payments detailed and this was seconded by Cllr Hayward and approved unanimously.
Cherwell District Council:
(i) General Election, Thursday 6 May polling in Memorial Hall.
12. Questions and Comments from Members of the Public
Christopher Barry expressed concern that the refuse team are again leaving the wheeled bins on the pavement in East End causing serious obstruction and the Clerk will contact CDC again about this. Mr Barry also expressed concern about cars speeding along this stretch of road. After some discussion the Clerk will make enquiries of the local Neighbourhood Action Group and also explore whether a speed indicator device can be borrowed for a period.
13. Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting [Annual General Meeting] will be held on Thursday 13th May 2010 in the Memorial Hall commencing at 7.30pm
There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.05pm