HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF A MEETING OF HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE MEMORIAL HALL ON THURSDAY 8th DECEMBER 2011 at 7pm
Present: Councillors: Kane [Vice-Chairman], Brotherston, Casson, Cooke, Hayward, Hicks, Leader, Millar and Usher, District Cllr Irvine, Mr Porter [Parish Clerk] and seventeen members of the public.
1. Apologies for Absence
were received from Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert [absent on business].
2. Chairman’s Announcements
In the absence of Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert Cllr Kane took the chair and informed councillors with regret that Ray Jelf has decided to resign from the Parish Council with immediate effect.
3. Minutes of previous meeting, 10th November 2011, and matters arising
It was proposed by Cllr Hicks and seconded by Cllr Usher that the minutes of the previous meeting be accepted as a true and accurate record and this was passed unanimously. Cllr Hayward informed members that he would be meeting with Mr Strother from BBOWT on Monday 12 December to discuss the land at Southrop left to the trust by the late Joyce Windeyer. A number of people have shown enthusiasm for taking this on. Cllr Cooke reported that he has made enquires about the church clock and has been told that there are minutes in existence which we will need to see. The matter is left in abeyance until the PC has further information/
4. Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations on this occasion.
5. Report by Planning Co-ordinator on planning applications received
Cllr Casson gave brief report on the five new applications listed on the planning schedule which would be discussed publicly at the end of the meeting.
6. To invite members of the public to comment on planning applications
There were no comments from the members of the public attending on this occasion.
7. 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 £2616.94 for the PC and £181 for the MH. Cllr Hayward moved acceptance of the payments detailed and this was seconded by Cllr Hicks and approved unanimously. The Clerk then reminded councillors that it would be necessary to submit our request for the Precept for the year ending 31 March 2013 in January. His budget for the period had been circulated amongst councillors prior to the meeting with the recommendation that we retain the Precept at £52000 for the third successive year. Cllr Cooke moved acceptance of the Clerk’s recommendation and this was seconded by Cllr Casson and approved unanimously.
8. Local Authorities (members’ Allowances) – Parish Allowance Scheme
The Clerk read the motion which was passed in February for the current parish year as follows “that councillors should again reject payment of the basic allowance and resolve to pay travelling and subsistence allowances in accordance with the recommendations contained within the report of the Parish Remuneration Panel”. Cllr Brotherston proposed that Hook Norton Parish Council should continue with this arrangement and this was seconded by Cllr Hayward and the motion was passed unanimously.
9. Bus Stop at Church House
Cllr Kane reported that County Cllr Jelf had made enquiries of OCC who do not express a view on the issue until formally asked to approve the move by either CDC or the bus company. Cllr Kane stated that the matter is well known to councillors and the issues have been discussed so she proposed that a vote be taken. The proposal to move the stop further towards the church was again defeated by five votes to three with one abstention.
10. Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Celebration
Cllr Millar reminded the meeting that the PC had purchased a beacon for the millennium which had been sited on top of the church tower and set alight at midnight. A similar ceremony could take place for the Jubilee. The Clerk reported that he has not had any response from parishioners to the note in the Newsletter and it was agreed to defer the matter until the next meeting.
11. Hook Norton Library
Cllr Cooke informed the meeting that originally it had been intended to continue to run Hook Norton library on the same basis as currently. However following a public outcry about other closures within Oxfordshire all were reprieved on the basis that volunteers be asked to provide cover and in the case of Hook Norton this was to be run with library staff providing one-third of the hours and volunteers the remaining two-thirds. Cllr Cooke added that the appraisal carried out by OCC appears nonsense and the Oxfordshire Save Our Libraries group has submitted an excellent paper refuting many of the arguments. It was agreed that the Friends of Hook Norton Library have done an excellent job to protect its library and it was agreed that the PC will write to OCC expressing its support for the proposals set out in the paper.
12. End of Year Matters
The Clerk reported that Marie Stubbs had asked for this matter to be placed on the agenda at December meetings to remind the PC to make a small Christmas gift to its employees if appropriate. After a short discussion it was proposed by Cllr Hicks and seconded by Cllr Hayward that we continue this tradition and this was approved unanimously.
(i) OALC Members Update November – circulated by email;
(ii) ORCC – News Bulletin – circulated by email;
(iii) ORCC – Review of Oxfordshire Community Transport Team – circulated by email;
(iv) OPFA – The Playing Field – being circulated;
(v) CPRE – Oxfordshire Bulletin Autumn 2011 – being circulated;
(vi) Volunteer Link-Up [West Oxfordshire] – Annual report, being circulated.
14. Questions and Comments from Members of the Public
Before taking questions Cllr Cooke asked to speak and stated that it was his understanding that any councillor not attending three meetings in a row should be disqualified; he pointed out that the Chairman had not attended the previous three meetings and felt that, as a consequence, he should be asked to stand down. The Clerk was not certain of the ruling on this point and would examine the statutes. Cllr Brotherston asked whether, if we were to adopt this stance, we should not be certain that such absence had not occurred in the past. He also expressed the view that members of the PC need to be united and that it was disruptive to raise the issue at this time. Cllr Usher expressed the view that it would be speculative to vote when not certain of the ruling. Cllr Brotherston added that if this is to be about the Chairman personally then it amounted to a vote of no confidence. Cllr Hayward wondered if there was a difference between somebody missing three meetings without explanation and somebody who offered their apologies for valid reasons. The Clerk promised to clarify the position as far as is able. However Cllr Cooke then proposed that the PC enforced the rule as he understood it and that if a councillor missed three consecutive meetings he should be asked to stand down. This was seconded by Cllr Millar and defeated by five votes to three with one abstention.
There were no questions from members of the public on this occasion.
15. Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 9th February 2012 in the Memorial Hall at 7.30pm.
There being no further business the Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the public meeting at 7.25 pm
[Chairman Hook Norton Parish Council]
Dated 8th December 2011