HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF A MEETING OF HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE MEMORIAL HALL ON THURSDAY 9th DECEMBER 2010 AT 7.30pm
Present: Councillors: Timms [Chairman], Shepley-Cuthbert [Vice-Chairman], Brotherston, Hayward, Kane, Millar and Richardson, Mr Porter [Parish Clerk] and six members of the public.
1. Apologies for Absence
were received from Cllrs Jelf [ill], Leader and Stubbs [business commitments] and also District Cllr Irvine.
2. Chairman’s Announcements
The Chairman had no announcements to make on this occasion.
3. Minutes of previous meeting, 11 November 2010, and matters arising
It was proposed by Cllr Kane, and seconded by Cllr Millar, that the minutes of the previous meeting be accepted as a true and accurate record and this was passed unanimously. The Clerk reported that the new dog bin has arrived and Mr Marshall will be fitting it shortly. The new grit bins have also been delivered and filled by OCC. Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert informed the meeting that discussions are on-going on the issue of snow clearance and we are presently looking into ways in which the PC, probably in partnership with neighbouring villages, can take over responsibility for keeping roads open, not least for the emergency services. County Cllr Jelf has been asked to contact OCC to enquire how much money they will pay if the PC takes over this responsibility.
4. Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations on this occasion.
5. Report by Planning Co-ordinator on planning applications received
In the absence of Cllr Stubbs the Clerk reported that eleven decisions had been received in the past month. Cllr Stubbs had asked Mark Harrison the reason for the work at Staddle Stones, but again no answer was forthcoming and this has been approved. The PC was also concerned by the number of proposed tree works scheduled for Beam Ends but subsequently these applications have been withdrawn. In the case of the application at Clay Bank Farmhouse the decision was again forthcoming before the consultation period had elapsed. The Certificate of Lawful Use application at Maple Barn was something the PC was not aware of and we have simply received notification that this has been refused. Cllr Hayward commented that no notice had been posted by CDC relating to the proposed work at The Cottage, East End and at least one neighbour had not been notified. The Clerk will write to CDC to enquire the reasons for this lack of communication. Cllr Hayward also pointed out that a wrought iron fence has been erected at Wisteria House and again there has been no application for listed building consent. The Clerk will also make enquiries about this.
6. To invite members of the public to comment on planning applications
There were no comments on this occasion.
7. Report of Working Groups
(a)Recreation & Open Spaces Group – in the absence of Cllr Leader the Clerk reported on his behalf that he is obtaining a quote to repair the wall from Julia Hart, who specialises in walls and fences and has indeed won awards for her fencing work. She has the requisite insurance cover and Cllr Leader is optimistic that we will receive a competitive quote. Cllr Kane reported that the contractors are now on site progressing the new Play Area and completion is scheduled for mid-February, weather permitting. Some small donations are still awaited together with the TOE grant and application for the CDC grant will be made on completion. Cllr Kane has also applied for a small grant to fund an opening ceremony.
(b)Cemetery & Allotments – the Clerk informed the meeting that two allotment holders have still not paid their rent and they have been given 14 days in which to do so failing which termination notices will sent out.
(c)Environment – Cllr Millar reported that, at a meeting of the Finance & General Purpose working group it had been suggested that the PC enters into a rolling programme of wall repairs which will hopefully ensure that they are maintained in good order without the fear of a sudden major spend. Cllr Hayward referred to the BT Race for Infinity and informed the meeting that HN Low Carbon Ltd [HNLC] had financed a flier promoting this in the Newsletter. However it appears that BT has now changed the criteria requiring over 1000 votes which would demand 80% support and this essentially makes it very difficult for Hook Norton to be successful.
(d)Hook Norton War Memorial Hall – Cllr Brotherston had nothing to report on this occasion.
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
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 £57606.24 for the PC and £136 for the MH. Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert moved acceptance of the payments detailed and this was seconded by Cllr Richardson and approved unanimously. The Clerk then reported that it would be necessary to submit our request for the Precept for 2011/2012 in January and he referred to the budget for that period which he had prepared. Although we are living in difficult times, with ever increasing costs, he expressed the view that the PC can manage without any rise during 2011/12 and recommended that we seek a Precept of £52000. The Chairman expressed the view that this was in keeping with the mood of austerity in which we are operating at present and, while reserves have still not reached an ideal level, following their depletion when the cemetery wall was rebuilt, they are much healthier. After discussion Cllr Millar proposed acceptance of the Clerk’s recommendation and this was seconded by Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert and approved unanimously.
Cherwell District Council: nothing on this occasion;
Oxfordshire County Council:
(i) Draft Local Transport Plan 2011 -2030 – Consultation – the consultation period closes on 9 January – have your say on www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/tp ;
(ii) Emergency Planning – Flood Planning – Seminar Kings Centre Oxford, Saturday 12 March;
(iii) Highways – Introduction to OCC Stewardship – details of structure changes in Highways to align themselves with new “design and delivery partners Atkins”. The Area Steward [main contact] is now Paul Wilson but Andy Leigh still day-to-day contact.
(iv) OALC November Newsletter – circulated by email.
(v) NHS Oxfordshire – Public Consultation on the Informatics Strategy – consultation on the use of IT systems and telehealth equipment to improve care for patients and parishioners are encouraged to answer a quick survey on-line (http://bit.ly/informatics-survey) and comment can also be made on the strategy document on http://bit.ly/InformaticsStrategy .
12. Questions and Comments from Members of the Public
Tim Hughes enquired whether the site at Heath Farm, on which there has been a pre-planning application to erect a wind turbine, is within Cherwell district. In fact the site is just inside Great Rollright parish which is in West Oxfordshire district. The Chairman wondered why HNLC had chosen to place a turbine in West Oxfordshire and Cllr Hayward confirmed that funds held by HNLC are to benefit Hook Norton and surrounding communities and this is one of few suitable sites. During discussion it emerged that West Oxfordshire District Council has been most active amongst the districts in Oxfordshire in analysing the benefits of wind turbines. Cllr Hayward acknowledged that there are issues over shadow flickers and noise levels but, if not undertaken as a community project, it is likely to go ahead as a commercial venture. Mr Hughes pointed out that the proposed turbine is to be a small one and will barely generate enough energy for two small houses. Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert felt that, in view of the capital spend, it should be possible to find a more effective way to benefit the village. Cllr Hayward explained that the site has not been tested and work so far is exploratory. Cllr Millar expressed concern that, as the project is in West Oxfordshire, the people of Hook Norton might not have an opportunity to make known their views in the planning process. The Clerk was therefore asked to write to Planning Department in Witney to ask them to ensure that details of any planning applications are sent to HNPC and neighbouring properties. Ian Street then informed the meeting that his father had recently suffered a fatal heart attack and, as a consequence, they have been raising money to provide a defibrillator for the village. They now have enough to purchase one unit but the question is where best to site this? It was established that the unit will hang on a suitable wall but the location must be well lit and it does need a small supply of electricity. A code to open the unit is provided in an emergency. After some discussion, during which several sites were considered, it was felt that the Sun Inn is perhaps the most central location and Mr Street will approach James Clarke, at the Brewery, to discuss this. The Chairman stated that, if any help is needed with the running costs, the PC would look favourably on contributing. Mr Street also confirmed that a small committee has been set up to be responsible for the unit to ensure continuity.
13. Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 10th February 2011 in the Memorial Hall commencing at 7.30pm
There being no further business the Chairman wished everyone the compliments of the Season and closed the meeting at 8.30 pm