HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE MEMORIAL HALL ON THURSDAY 14 DECEMBER 2017 at 7.30pm
Present: Councillors: Kane, Watkins, Hicks, Duggan, Griggs, Henderson, Porter, Brotherston, Mrs Watts (Parish Clerk), County Cllr Reynolds (arrived 7.35pm), District Cllr Brown and two members of the public
Apologies for Absence – Cllr Matthews and Wilson
Chairman’s Announcements: Kate McCall-McCowan has resigned as Councillor. Cllr Kane thanked her for her time on the Parish Council. The Parish Clerk has notified CDC and a Vacancy Notice pursuant to section 87(2) of the Local Government Act 1972 has been posted locally and on the website. In the event that CDC receives no request for an election, the vacancy will be advertised locally and filled by co-option.
Declarations of Interest: there were none.
Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 9 November 2017 and Matters Arising
Cllr Watkins proposed that the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 9 November 2017 be resolved as a true and accurate record of the meeting. This was seconded by Cllr Hicks and passed unanimously.
Report of the Planning Co-Ordinator on Planning Applications – (Annex 1)
Six planning/TCA applications had been received since the last meeting. The Parish Council has objected to 17/02292/F – erection of new house at Byeways, East End.
Cherwell District Council (CDC) had granted nine applications. Felling of trees on land adjacent Braeside, Rope Way 17/00353/TCA was approved in part; i.e. Tree Preservation Orders (TPO 37/2017) have been attached to 1 x Beech and 1 x Blue Atlantic Cedar.
Oxfordshire County Council approved MW.0066/17 – additional capping to former quarry/refuse tip at Belle Isle Farm, Sibford Road.
Oxfordshire County Council has gone out to consultation about ABS/253/10.15 – diversion of part of bridleway under S119 Highway Acts 1980 at Swerford Park Farm.
The Parish Council has received a number of complaints from residents about work which has started on the Gladman site in Sibford Road 17/00950/REM. CDC has confirmed that work there is of an exploratory nature of the site only.
Cllrs Hicks and Duggan were due to attend an OALC training course at West Oxfordshire District Council in Witney on 13 December; How Local Councils Fit into the Planning System; Effective Responses to Planning Application. However, due to poor weather conditions the course was cancelled. It will be re-scheduled in the new year.
To Invite Members of the Public to Comment on Planning Applications: there were no matters arising.
Reports of Working Groups
• Cllr Kane is obtaining a quotation for a see-saw & monkey-bars for the play area.
Cemetery and Allotments
• Cllrs Kane and Hicks recently met with Friends of the Cemetery on site to discuss future plans for the cemetery. The Friends were assured that the Parish Council will fund any minor purchases to enable the volunteers to continue with their valued work.
• The Friends asked again if they could plant a stock-proof thicket hedge to stabilise the bank in the cemetery. Young whips would take 3-4 years to grow and although Councillors were previously unwilling to allow a hedge to be planted there because of future maintenance costs, the Friends assured Councillors that they would maintain the hedge once grown. Cllr Kane proposed that the Friends be allowed to plant this hedge. This was seconded by Cllr Hicks and agreed unanimously.
• Repairs to the wall in the cemetery were meant to have been completed by the end of the year but the inclement weather has put back the start date.
• Weather permitting, Eco Control Solutions will re-visit the cemetery on 2 January 2018 to continue their work on eradicating the Japanese Knotweed.
• Having checked other Parish fees locally, Cllr Hicks proposed that cemetery fees for 2018 should remain the same as the 2017 fees – (Annex 2). This was seconded by Cllr Brotherston and agreed unanimously. The Parish Clerk will notify local undertakers.
• Cllr Hicks proposed that allotment rents for 2019-2020 should remain at £24 per full plot and £15 per half plot. Reminder letters for rent will be charged at £10 per letter. This was seconded by Cllr Duggan and agreed unanimously.
• New tenancy agreements for allotment holders were sent out on 1 November. Twenty-seven of the forty-five tenants have returned their signed agreements. The remaining tenants have until 28 February 2018 to return their agreements.
• Cllr Kane has ordered a set of white gates for the Firs Garage entrance to Hook Norton from Glasdon UK Ltd. The cost is £1,198.22 plus VAT.
• The bottle banks outside the primary school are to be removed as soon as possible. One suggestion was that they be moved to the Sports and Social car park. Cllr Kane will approach the Sports and Social Club to see if they have any objections to this.
• Ben Acreman has started remedial works on Parish Council owned trees. He had hoped to finish this tranche by the end of the year but the inclement weather has put the end date back.
• Mrs Smart from Crushill Farm has advised the Parish Council that she no longer insures the path between her land and Ironstone Hollow as it is not her responsibility. Walkers now use the path at their own risk as the owner of the path is not known.
• Cllr Kane proposed that a salt/grit bin should be purchased for the corner of The Grange/The Sidings if OCC will agree. Cllr Brotherston seconded this and it was passed unanimously. The Parish Clerk will take the matter forward.
• Cllr Kane asked Councillors to agree to the purchase of six more “20 is Plenty” advisory road signs. Cllr Duggan seconded this motion and it was agreed unanimously. Councillors have already placed several “20 is Plenty” signs around the village in an effort to persuade drivers to lower their speeds.
• County Cllr Reynolds and Cllr Kane had raised concerns with Ian Hudspeth at OCC about safety issues on the two school buses that currently serve Hook Norton children travelling to Chipping Norton School. These are old double-decker buses that do not have seatbelts fitted. At one point recently some children were forced to stand on the moving bus due to lack of seats. Concerns had also been raised about the speed that these buses travel at along narrow country roads, with unrestrained children sitting on both upper and lower decks. Cllr Kane had not received a satisfactory reply from Ian Hudspeth and she will raise an FOI enquiry with OCC asking for their risk assessment details. County Cllr Reynolds will speak to OCC officers again.
Hook Norton War Memorial Hall
• The roller-blind mechanisms on three blinds have broken. Cllr Watkins will arrange for a local tradesman to repair or replace them.
• New banqueting chairs have been purchased and delivered.
• The Parish Clerk has submitted the annual return for 2016-2017 to PRS for Music.
• The Terms and Conditions of Hire of the hall will be altered to include a “no naked flames” policy. This will ensure that the Insurer’s conditions are met.
Hook Norton Library Funding: Jane Orchard, Chairman of FOHNCL had written to ask the PC to continue contributing towards the cost of keeping the library open for a further two years. A slight increase was noted. The PC has contributed £4,000 per annum for the past four years. Cllr Kane proposed that the PC contribute £4,338 per annum towards library costs for the next two years. This was seconded by Cllr Griggs and agreed unanimously.
Finance/Schedule of Receipts and Payments for Authorisation by the Council:
The Parish Clerk presented the schedules of receipts and payments for December 2017 totalling £2,907.80 for the Parish Council (Annex 3) and £2,350.30 for the Memorial Hall (Annex 4). Cllr Duggan moved acceptance of the payments detailed. This was seconded by Cllr Hicks and agreed unanimously.
Report on District Council Matters. District Cllr Hugo Brown reported:
My report in the Minutes of 9th November 2017:
17/131/1 – I was mistaken when I said “…this investment would involve CDC acquiring the 15% which it does not own …”. In fact CDC owns 15% and so would be acquiring 85%.
17/131/4 – The final sentence can now be seen to have been couched in very ambiguous language: – “The Leader confirmed that CDC would be responding but cautioned that this would not necessarily result in fewer houses in Cherwell ….”. In fact, as we now know, the Leader of CDC, together with the Leaders of all other Oxfordshire Councils, have confirmed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer their united desire to stick with the 100,000 new houses figure – as Philip Hammond specifically mentioned in his Budget
Castle Quay: As mentioned in the previous minutes, CDC is interested in acquiring Castle Quay Shopping Centre in Banbury. This comes to Full Council on Monday 18 December. A dis-proportionate amount of my time has been spent on this issue.
Among other matters coming to Full Council on 18 December are:
An address by the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police (Francis Habgood) and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley (Anthony Stansfeld) on 29 November. I circulated an e-mail to all Parish Clerks asking if they had any issues they would like me to raise. None responded.
A proposal to consider the creation of a capital budget of up to £2.5m for a pilot scheme of 10 bridging loans to assist those who wish to build a bespoke or custom-build house, but who would normally find it difficult to obtain finance. Council is being asked to approve that this be considered by the Executive at its January meeting
Report on County Council Matters. County Cllr George Reynolds reported:
Oxfordshire County Council’s major budget announcement regarding housing and infrastructure almost entirely affects the south of the District.
The Parish Clerk had forwarded all correspondence to Councillors during the month.
To Invite Questions and Comments from Members of the Public: there were none.
Mr R Davis asked the Parish Clerk to furnish him with PC account details for 2016-2017.
Could other areas in the village have grit bins? Cllr Kane explained that if residents feel that a salt bin is need in their area, they should put their request in writing to the Parish Clerk. Councillors will consider each request but it must be noted that Oxfordshire County Council will not necessarily agree to proposed locations.
The next Parish Council Meeting will be held on 11 January 2018 at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall.
There being no further business Councillor Kane thanked everyone for attending and closed the public meeting at 8.33pm.