HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING
OF HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL HELD AT THE MEMORIAL
HALL ON THURSDAY 7th AUGUST 2003 AT 7.30pm
Present: Councillors: Fry [Vice-Chairman],
Clay, Jelf [County Councillor], Terry, Withey and Young together with District
Councillor Gasson, Mr Porter [Parish Clerk] and ten members of the public.
1 Apologies For Absence
Were received from Cllrs Williams [Chairman], Cooke, Hayward, Housby, and
Millar, the last three being on annual holiday.
2 Chairman’s Announcements
In the absence of Cllr Williams
Cllr Fry assumed the Chair and welcomed the members of the public who attended
the meeting. He apologised on behalf of Cllr Williams who has suffered the
bereavement of a close friend. Cllr Fry reminded committees that they should
try to hold their meetings in sufficient time to enable them to send their
minutes to the clerk to be distributed with the agendas.
3 Minutes of previous meeting,
3rd July 2003, and matters arising
The minutes of the previous meeting
were agreed as a true and accurate record, proposed by Cllr Jelf, seconded
by Cllr Terry and passed unanimously. There were no matters arising that were
not covered elsewhere on the agenda.
4. Declarations of Interest
Cllr Fry informed the meeting that
he would absent himself during the discussion on Ironstone Hollow [item 14].
5 Report by Planning Co-ordinator
on planning applications received
In the absence of Cllr Millar the
Chairman briefly referred to applications currently outstanding [see attached
schedule]. District Cllr Gasson informed the meeting that the planning officers
have again recommended refusal of the Stanton application. Cllr Fry referred
to a report which had appeared in last week’s Banbury Guardian in which
it was stated that the PC objected to the development as it would create a
“ghetto” at the edge of the village. It was felt that the article
did not reflect accurately the nature of the application referring to a development
of affordable houses when, in reality, only 5 of the 26 properties planned
fall into that category. The PC is certainly not against the building of affordable
housing and it was felt appropriate for the Chairman to send a letter to the
Banbury Guardian correcting information that had appeared in the article.
6 To invite members of the
public to comment on planning applications
There were no comments from the
members of the public on the current applications.
7 Report of Committees
Cllr Clay referred to his report,
which accompanies the minutes, and stated that the most important item was
the provision of funding to repair equipment and make safe the playground.
He referred to the Project Fund, which exists for such expenditure, but from
which approval has already been given for rebuilding of part of the cemetery
wall at an estimate of £4200. This demonstrates the need to carry forward
a reserve and he reminded the PC that a previous clerk had suggested that
the reserve should be no greater than £3/4000. Had the PC accepted this
advice it would have been bankrupted already in the current financial year
by the cost of tree works. Cllr Clay reported that the money requested to
be spent on the playground would restore it to its former condition. He recommended
that the expenditure requested by the Recreation Committee be approved and
proposed that the PC accept his report. This was seconded by Cllr Withey and
In the absence of Cllr Cooke Cllr
Young reported that the main item in their committee minutes was the provision
of funds detailed above. Some matters in paragraph 3 of the report were to
be dealt with in the confidential matter at the end of the meeting [item 20].
Cllr Withey referred to an amended job description for the Recreation Area
Warden, which had been submitted for consideration. The minutes were duly
approved. There was also some discussion about the entrance to the play area
and, although the committee has placed on hold the suggestion of a gate from
The Shearings, Cllr Fry referred to a letter which one of the residents has
sent reminding the PC that the area of tarmac allowing access to the site
is actually owned by residents. It was agreed that this letter should be referred
to the Recreation Committee for further consideration. Cllr Clay stated that
he would like to see a notice stating that the area is out of bounds after
sunset and wondered if it would be possible to restrict times of access, if
necessary by promoting a new by-law? The clerk will speak to Peter Rooke at
CDC to seek guidance.
Environment and Open Spaces Committee
In the absence of Cllr Hayward the Chairman asked that discussion about the
Ironstone Hollow Landscape Barrier, which formed part of the minutes of the
E & OS committee minutes, be deferred to item 14. This was agreed. There
was comment on the development at Sibford Road and particularly the unsightly
steps that have been built over the grass area. The clerk reported that he
had talked to the agent on site who was not able to confirm that the steps
were on the original plans. Accordingly he had reported the matter to the
planning officer concerned at CDC and she visited the site on 1st August and
is to take up the matter with the developers. It was agreed that the clerk
should formally write to the planning officer to express the concern felt
by the PC at the unsightly nature of the steps, with a copy to go to OCC Highways,
the owners of the land. The tree work in Ironstone Hollow has been completed
and the dry-stone waller has offered a two-year warranty for the work that
he is to carry out on the cemetery wall. The minutes were duly approved unanimously.
8 Schedule of Receipts and
Payments for Authorisation by the Council
Mr Porter presented the attached
schedules of receipts and payments, including a supplementary list of payments.
It was proposed by Cllr Jelf, seconded by Cllr Clay, that the payments be
approved and this was passed unanimously.
9 Hook Norton War Memorial
Cllr Fry reported that he had circulated
the minutes of a meeting held on 16 July; the main item being recommended
to the PC is the fitting of an infra-red detector to the external light. The
committee has deferred action on internal painting and a new tree until a
decision has been made on the future of the Hall. Cllr Fry moved acceptance
of his report and this was seconded by Cllr Clay and passed unanimously.
10 Norman Matthews Community
Cllr Jelf stated that he had nothing
to report as few members were able to attend the last meeting and the library
service had somehow misunderstood the intentions for the Hall.
11 Report on District Council Matters
Cllr Gasson reported that the Ballot
of Tenants under the proposed Large Scale Voluntary Transfer of the District
Council’s Housing Stock produced a 73.3% turnout with 59% in favour
of the transfer. He apologised for inadvertently misleading the PC at the
previous meeting when stating that it would be possible, under the new Recycling
Scheme, to exchange a brown wheelie bin for a blue one. As previously reported
DEFRA has provided almost £1m for the new scheme and they have vetoed
such an exchange. Originally the blue bins were to cost £25 but this
has been reduced to £20. Cllr Young stated that the decision not to
allow an exchange was to the detriment of those in rural areas who made their
own compost and for whom a blue wheelie bin would be far more practicable.
Cllr Terry stated that what people really objected to was that their household
rubbish would only be collected once a fortnight. Cllr Gasson acknowledged
the concerns expressed but stated that parishioners would simply have to give
the scheme a chance. He assured the Parish Council that, if the scheme is
not a success, he will fight to have it changed.
12 Report on County Council Matters
Cllr Jelf had nothing to report
13 Use of Memorial Hall for
Musician’s Charity Event
In the absence of Cllr Hayward
Cllr Fry referred to an exchange of e-mails they had had about the possibility
of use of the Hall being donated for a musical event from which any profits
would go to charity. Cllr Terry proposed that this matter be deferred until
a formal proposal is received. This was seconded by Cllr Jelf and passed unanimously.
14 Ironstone Hollow Landscape
Cllr Fry declared an interest and absented himself from the room. Cllr Clay
proposed that Cllr Terry take the Chair for this issue and this was seconded
by Cllr Jelf and passed unanimously. Cllr Terry initially went through the
minutes of the Environment & Open Spaces Committee that pertained to Ironstone
Hollow. He explained that the Committee had been charged by the PC to consider
its use, particularly if the proposed purchase by certain residents did not
proceed. The gates in the fence will be opened to allow access to the land.
Longer-term potential use might include the construction of a small development
of affordable houses, creating a public access area with seating and paths
with a possible nature trail. The existing fencing would have to be removed
and a thorough inspection of the trees would be necessary to ensure they are
safe. As several residents from Ironstone Hollow were among the public in
attendance at the meeting Cllr Terry asked for their views. There was an enquiry
as to the meaning of the expression “building envelope” within
the context of the minutes and it was the view of residents that the building
envelope actually ends at the bottom of their gardens. Mr Aitken reminded
the PC that the land falls within Planning Policy Guidance 17 which would
require that an assessment be carried out to show that the area is surplus
to requirements if there were any plans for housing. Given the reasoning behind
the introduction of the barrier, this seems unlikely to succeed. The clerk
informed the meeting that Cllr Fry, in his personal capacity as a resident
of Ironstone Hollow, had sought advice from Ian Grace, the planning officer
responsible for the barrier. Cllr Terry concluded the debate by stating that
it was desirable for councillors to consider the various options, together
with Mr Grace’s comments, and have a proper debate when all the facts
are available. The matter has been minuted for further discussion at the next
With regard to the possible purchase of part of the land by residents the
clerk informed the meeting that he had only just received a letter from those
concerned which he had not had time to consider and asked that this be deferred
until the next meeting. Agreed. Cllr Fry resumed the Chair.
15 Appointment of Independent Auditor
Cllr Clay informed the meeting
that papers had now been received from the auditors, HLB AV Audit, and before
completion it is necessary that the financial records be scrutinised by an
independent auditor appointed by the PC. In the previous year this had been
carried out by Don Baker at a fee of £130 and Cllr Clay proposed that
he be asked to do the work again with a limit set on the fee of £135.
This was seconded by Cllr Jelf and passed unanimously.
16 New Recycling Scheme/Bottle
The impact of the new scheme had
been discussed when District Councillor Gasson had made his report but Cllr
Young asked the PC to consider placing a litter bin at the bottle bank as
some residents were finding themselves tidying up others’ litter whenever
they visit the site. This was strongly supported by Cllr Withey and agreed
in principle. Cllr Clay informed the meeting that quotes were being obtained
for litter bins and this would be included.
(a) Letter from Sports & Recreation
Project asking to hold an exhibition as part of the August monthly market.
As the Hall is booked by those holding the market it would be necessary to
seek permission from them. The Secretary also asked for an opportunity to
attend a PC meeting in order to up date councillors on their plans. It was
decided that continuing dialogue is desirable and representatives will be
invited to address the PC before the September meeting to start at 7pm allowing
the monthly meeting to commence at its usual time of 7.30pm
(b) Letter from BT informing PC that they intend to remove the payphone on
Southrop Road as it losing money due to low usage. Cllr Jelf stated that he
was totally opposed to the withdrawal of this service, some of the users are
elderly and in a hilly village like Hook Norton it is unreasonable to ask
such people to have to walk 600 metres or more to the next phone. He proposed
that the clerk should write to BT expressing our wish that the phone be kept.
This was seconded by Cllr Withey and passed unanimously.
(c) Correspondence from Deborah King of the Rural Housing Trust regarding
the conduct of a Needs Survey to establish whether there is a need in Hook
Norton for Affordable Housing. The clerk explained that the Trust is happy
to carry out the survey and it has been suggested that this should wait until
late September/early October when few people are away on holiday. It was proposed
by Cllr Jelf, seconded by Cllr Withey, that we proceed with the survey and
this was passed unanimously.
18 Questions and Comments from Members of the Public
Referring to Cllr Clay’s
comment under the report of the Recreation Committee that a notice should
be put up Mr Marshall stated that previous notices seemed to act as a challenge
to the element in the village determined to cause trouble and they rarely
lasted more than a day. He also pointed out that the area that seems to attract
troublemakers is the old skateboard equipment and Cllr Fry asked members of
the Recreation Committee to consider whether it is desirable to have this
equipment removed. Mr Marshall also reminded the PC that notices in the play
area stated that the nearest telephones are either at the Memorial Hall or
by the Pear Tree, both some distance from the site, and he suggested, in response
to the BT letter, that a new payphone might be more appropriate on The Bourne.
Cllr Jelf commented that it is quite common in other villages to place an
age restriction on recreation areas.
19 Date and Time of Next Meeting
Thursday 4th September 2003 at
7.30pm to follow the meeting with representatives of the Sports and Recreation
Project. The previous intention was to hold the meeting in the Norman Matthews
Community Hall, as there was a prior booking in the Memorial Hall. However
this has now been re-arranged and the September meeting will accordingly take
place in the Memorial Hall as usual.