HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
Present:Councillors:Shepley-Cuthbert [Vice-Chairman], Brotherston, Kane, Leader, Millar, Richardson and Stubbs, Mr Porter [Parish Clerk] and one member of the public.
In the absence of Cllr Timms Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert took the Chair.
1.Apologies for Absence
were received from Cllr Timms [ill], Cllr Jelf, who had a business commitment, together with Cllr Hayward and District Cllr Irvine who are both on holiday.
2. Chairmans Announcements
The Chairman had no announcements to make on this occasion.
3.Minutes of previous meeting, 8 July 2010, and matters arising
It was proposed by Cllr Kane, and seconded by Cllr Richardson, that the minutes of the previous meeting be accepted as a true and accurate record and this was passed unanimously.
4. Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations on this occasion.
5.Report by Planning Co-ordinator on planning applications received
Cllr Stubbs Commented upon the applications reviewed during the month, shown on the schedule, and referred to that relating to the Old Cider Mill. Although the original application had been approved by CDC an amendment was received and the parish council wanted to ensure that the existing stones should be used to renew the wall as far as possible. However, before the deadline for submission of comments, the wall had been taken down together with four trees not shown in the application. There was also a supply of new stone on the site. Cllr Stubbs discussed the position with the planning officer who stated that the Arboricultural officer had visited but this information was not passed on to us and proved difficult to access. Cllr Stubbs emphasised that HNPC is trying to do an honest job when assessing planning applications and the officer has promised that a visit will be made to ensure that the existing stone is being used. Conscious of a number of issues of concern, particularly over planning matters, Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert informed everyone that he is in the process of arranging a meeting with the Chief Executive of CDC, Mary Harpley, also to be attended by the Chairman and Cllr Stubbs. Cllr Stubbs then commented on the willow tree in Park Hill, subject to a TPO, which was reported to the Arboricultural team, whose response was far short of acceptable. The Clerk then referred to two recent tree applications where decisions had been received well before the 21-day consultation period had ended. Cllr Stubbs emphasised that a considerable amount of time is spent by the Clerk, herself as Planning Co-ordinator and all the parish councillors in reading and assessing each application and submitting our comments and the response from CDC leaves one wondering if there is any point. Cllr Millar observed that all of these examples showed a scandalous abuse of the democratic process but similar actions have been frustrating parish councillors in Hook Norton over many years.
6. To invite members of the public to comment on planning applications
There were no comments from the public on this occasion.
7. Report of Working Groups
(a)Recreation & Open Spaces Group Cllr Leader reported that he has priced an 8 five-barred gate including fittings from Hartwell & Co at 243.43 [inc. VAT] plus 30 delivery. This will be ordered and he will contact Martin Beck to ask if he can erect it on our behalf. The gate will be padlocked with keys provided to the Playgroup to use in the event of a delivery and to the fire service. Paul Clarke has stone to repair the wall but he is yet to start work. Mr Marshall continues to provide regular weekly reports on the state of existing equipment and generally the area is in good order. Cllr Kane then reported that, despite earlier assurances, it now appears likely that the Playbuilder grant of 47K will be withdrawn as a result of government cuts, despite media attention on both radio and television and several national newspapers. This will leave 30K already to hand, plus a further 10K awarded by CDC and another 10K of matched funding which will enable the parish council to make some improvements to the Play Area. Cllr Stubbs extended thanks to Cllr Kane for making people aware of this problem nationally.
(b)Cemetery & Allotments Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert reported that he had met with members of the Allotment Association and had been notified of a potential problem with children on the site. Cllr Brotherston confirmed that he had not given permission for any work in the stream while Chairman of this working group. There has also been a request to keep bees on a plot and Cllr Brotherston informed the meeting that he had previously notified that association that this was not permitted. With a dry summer there has been a problem with the water supply and one possible solution would be to sink a bore hole and install a windmill with the assistance of a loan from the Hook Norton Low Carbon Group the intention being to sell surplus energy to the National Grid. The Allotment Association need to carry out a feasibility study to assess the viability of this solution. There has also been a request to pay rents by direct debit but this is a system for large scale collections of funds and not suitable for annual payments from a relatively small number. Standing orders have also been considered but these would require amending every time there are changes and administering is time consuming. Cllr Richardson then informed the meeting that she has managed to identify all the War graves in the lower cemetery, and supplied photographs to show that all are in good order. Thanks were expressed to Cllr Richardson for such helpful evidence.
(c)Environment Cllr Millar reported that there had been something a hiatus with the street lights, which all appeared to be on all night a couple of weeks ago, but it has been established that there had been a very brief power cut that day and apparently this causes the cells to reset and they can take a day or so to correct themselves.
(d)Hook Norton War Memorial Hall Cllr Brotherston had been on holiday so there was nothing of significance to report. Cllr Kane enquired if an approach had yet been made to the HN Low Carbon Group for installing energy efficiency measures and was told that this was very much in mind.
8.Report on District Council Matters
In the absence of District Cllr Irvine there was no report on this occasion.
9.Report on County Council Matters
In the absence of County Cllr Jelf there was nothing to report on this occasion.
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 2874.41 for the PC and 265.45 for the MH, together with a further cheque for 45 from the MH account for window cleaning. Cllr Stubbs moved acceptance of the payments detailed and this was seconded by Cllr Richardson and approved unanimously.
11. Whichford Road
In the absence of the Chairman the Clerk referred to a letter from Dean Wood of the Firs Garage expressing concern at the number of recent accidents along the stretch of road from the Firs towards Milcombe. After discussion it was agreed that he Clerk will liaise with County Cllr Jelf with a view to approaching Highways to ask if a speed limit could be introduced or some improved signage to warn of the hazards with a number of junctions and farm roads linking with this thoroughfare.
12. Emergency Planning
The Clerk confirmed that he had attended the seminar at Bodicote House on 20 July and he will liaise with the Chairman to provide information to place on the website. One form of emergency can be severe winter weather and it has been noticeable during recent winters that householders have been reluctant to clear snow from their own paths and fronts due to the misconception that one can be sued if anybody then falls; this is not the case. For information in case of flooding there is now an internet link www.environment-agency.gov.uk.
Cherwell District Council:
(i) National Census Councillor Handbook to circulate;
Oxfordshire County Council:
(ii) Road safety Casualty report 2009 to circulate;
(iii) Being a Good Employer Guide to circulate;
(iv) AGM and Conference Friday 9 October the Oxford centre
(v) CPRE Fieldwork & Countryside Voice – magazines to circulate;
(vi) NHS Oxfordshire Talking Health with your local NHS- NHS Oxfordshire encouraging the public to have a say in how local health services are designed and delivered; those interested can register on new Talking Health database https://consult.oxfordshire.nhs.uk ;
(vii) NSPCC The Cotswolds Hack, 5 September 25 mile challenge walk starting and finishing at Cornbury Park those wishing to enter can find details on www.nspcc.org.uk/hack ;
(viii) The Shakespeare Hospice, Stratford upon-Avon details of sponsored charity cycle ride which will pass through Hook Norton on 22 August
14. Questions and Comments from Members of the Public
DW confirmed that she has also been aware of several accidents on the Whichford Road recently.
15. Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 14th October 2010 in the Memorial Hall commencing at 7.30pm
There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.35 pm
[Chairman Hook Norton Parish Council]
Dated14th October 2010