NoHOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
Present: Councillors: Timms [Chairman], Brotherston, Hayward, Jelf, Leader, Richardson and Stubbs, Mr Porter [Parish Clerk] and eight members of the public.
1. Apologies for Absence
were received from Cllrs Kane, Millar and Shepley-Cuthbert and District Cllr Irvine.
2. Chairmans Announcements
The Chairman informed the meeting that he would be away for the March meeting which will be chaired by Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert.
3. Minutes of previous meeting, 9 December 2010, and matters arising
It was proposed by Cllr Hayward, 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. Cllr Hayward commented that the Low Carbon Group had listened to the plausible objections submitted by parishioners at the PC meeting at Great Rollright to discuss the proposed application for a wind turbine and decided this should not proceed as community project. It is however possible that the landowners might continue.
4. Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations on this occasion.
5. Report by Planning Co-ordinator on planning applications received
Cllr Stubbs thanked her fellow councillors for their ready responses to applications received and reported that unfortunately she had received no response from Mark Harrison, at CDC, about the reasons for tree works at the Old Cider Mill and Fieldfare, which is very frustrating, and comment had been made to this effect. An objection was also submitted about the proposal to put in UPVC windows at The Laurels. The Chairman then reported that it appears likely that there will be at least one application for a housing development in the village as Savills are acting as agents for a developer wishing to use the land between the primary school and the dairy farm. Savills have indicated that they would like to either attend a PC meeting or to meet with councillors to discuss their intentions. The Chairman commented that he is not personally in favour of any large scale development but felt that it would be sensible to learn what is planned. After some discussion it was agreed that an informal meeting will be held with five members of the PC, Cllrs Brotherston, Hayward, Jelf and Leader, headed by Cllr Richardson, who will listen to what is proposed but make no commitment and make a record of the presentation. Cllr Stubbs is to be away for four weeks and proposed that Cllr Richardson take over as Planning Co-ordinator in her absence and this was seconded by Cllr Jelf and approved unanimously.
6. To invite members of the public to comment on planning applications
Mrs Arnold drew councillors attention to the proposed development at Beam Ends and reminded them that Brick Hill is an historic lane with no new buildings on the frontage. She stated that the plans included the removal of stretches of historic drystone wall which will be very much to the detriment of the area. The Chairman reminded everyone that the PC can only object to an application on planning grounds and he encouraged all neighbours who felt strongly about this application to submit their objections to the planners. He also commented that any proposal to change the access would require approval of Highways and the Police. It was also pointed out that the proposed development would completely destroy the nature of what historically had been a dairy farm.
7. Report of Working Groups
(a)Recreation & Open Spaces Group Cllr Leader reported that work has finally begun to repair the wall but, after cutting back the ivy, it is clear that a far more extensive repair is required with a 15 metre section to be rebuilt. With matching stone difficult to obtain the estimate has increased from 3900 to 7000 + VAT and he proposed acceptance of this in order to have the work completed as the new Play Area becomes operational. Cllr Jelf seconded the proposal which was approved unanimously. Cllr Leader also commented that the wall at the bottom of Watery Lane has been examined but that the vegetation needs to be stripped away in order to gauge what is required. It is however clear that this will be a very expensive project. After discussion it was agreed to complete the present work and then try to obtain an estimate for the Watery Lane wall thereafter. The new play equipment is almost all installed with the last piece to be put in place tomorrow morning following which it will be inspected by Roger Davis, of RoSPA. Once this has been done it will be ready but it was generally felt that the grass needs to take root and it will be better to wait a little longer before opening. Thanks were expressed to Cllr Kane who has worked tirelessly to make this project viable and her achievement in obtaining 100% funding at a time of economic restraint is outstanding. Cllr Hayward also added that Cllr Kane is still looking into obtaining a high frequency sound generator for the area to discourage vandalism. Cllr Stubbs wondered if there are signs in place to inform people not to use the equipment and she was told that they are.
(b)Cemetery & Allotments in the absence of Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert the Clerk informed the meeting that all allotment rents have now been paid. One tenant has just relinquished her half plot and the Clerk has written to the person at the head of the waiting list to enquire if he wishes to take this. The Allotment Association has recently written to its members for the annual subscription and their next meeting will be held on 15 April. The Chairman of the Association is keeping an eye on a couple of other plots and, if these are not being properly cultivated, he will be discussing surrender to others at the head of the waiting list.
(c)Environment in the absence of Cllr Millar Cllr Hayward reported that the new dog bin is in place at the bottom of Watery Lane and the Clerk will contact Mr Marshall about putting up the new litter bin in Queen Street and relocating a dog bin to Osney Close.
(d)Hook Norton War Memorial Hall Cllr Brotherston reported that during the thaw after the big freeze pipes had burst resulting in the Hall being flooded and the floor lifting making the building unusable. Fortunately our insurers were quick to respond and their loss adjuster approved our first estimate and work was able to start almost immediately the floor being completely laid and re-lined in time for the village pantomime at the end of January. However there was also a break-in with most of the glass panes being broken in the front door and the kitchen was then entered with a kettle and two flasks being stolen. One of the culprits cut himself and left blood traces which have been taken by the Police for DNA testing. The Crime Prevention Team had attended but had little to suggest other than security lighting. Cllr Stubbs thanked Cllr Brotherston for all his hard work in mending pipes, getting contractors in place and generally ensuring everything was returned to working order with the minimum of delay. The Chairman commented that these events have flagged up a need to consider extending the role of the cleaner to encompass that of caretaker and this will be discussed at the next working group meeting. It was also felt that this should include the annual User Group meeting and this will be arranged for late March when Cllr Stubbs has returned.
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
County Cllr Jelf informed the meeting that the county budget will be set on Tuesday 15 February and that, despite adverse and misleading publicity, no formal decisions have yet been taken on contentious issues such as closure of rural libraries and there is a feeling that some of these facilities will be retained through voluntary operations.
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 8084.38 for the PC and 450.25 for the MH, together with a further cheque for 3907.20 from the PC account for an invoice just received for the first interim payment for the repair work to the Play Area wall. He also informed councillors that the final payment of 55101.63 for the new play equipment will be due later in the month and sought approval for this as well. Cllr Leader moved acceptance of the payments detailed and this was seconded by Cllr Stubbs and approved unanimously. The Clerk also reported that Bob Bickley is seeking an increase of 4.5% in 2011 to cover the increases in fuel and VAT. It was agreed that Mr Bickley is very conscientious and does a good job and accordingly Cllr Jelf proposed acceptance of this increase which was seconded by Cllr Leader and approved unanimously.
11. Local Authorities (Members Allowances) Parish Allowances Scheme
The Clerk reminded councillors that this matter is discussed annually and previously we have rejected the payment of basic allowances and resolved to pay travelling and subsistence allowances if appropriate. Cllr Jelf proposed 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 Hayward seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
12. Parking in Osney Close
Cllr Hayward informed the meeting that he had been asked if the PC had given approval for parents dropping off their children at the play Group to park in Osney Close, which is not the case. This appears to be a repetition of the situation which prevailed in The Shearings and the matter has been further confused over a debate as to whether Osney Close is a private road. Cllr Jelf confirmed that it is a public road and that Charter Housing was not entitled to have erected a No Parking sign. It was agreed that the parking situation in the area is becoming chaotic and parents should be encouraged to use the public parking area outside The Sun. Cllr Jelf commented that, if the parking is perceived to be dangerous the Police should be informed. The Chairman commented that inconsiderate parking is a significant problem throughout the village. The Clerk will write to the Playgroup to formally ask them to ask parents to park considerately and to make use of the public car park.
13. Parish Council Elections
The Clerk reported that he had received a letter from CDC reminding us that PC elections are to be held on 5 May and asked that a charge of 1796.25 be agreed, although this will reduce to 39 if uncontested! The Clerk expressed the view that this was a rhetorical request as we have no option but to approve and this was agreed.
14. Parish Council Records
The Clerk informed the Parish Council that he had recently received enquiries about parish records and consequently he had taken the PC minutes from December 1894 to June 1997 to the museum so that they can housed safely but also where parishioners can have access to them. There is, however, a gap between January 1948 and June 1956 and efforts will be made to try to trace these although Cllr Jelf recalled that these were missing when the records had been returned by a former clerk, Mrs Pogmore, over ten years ago.
Cherwell District Council: nothing on this occasion;
Oxfordshire County Council:
(i) Play Space Survey Cllr Kane has completed on behalf of HNPC;
(ii) OALC December & January Newsletters circulated by email;
(iii) OPFA Newsletter to circulate
(iv) West Oxfordshire District Council Consultation on the Draft Core Strategy although not in West Oxfordshire we are invited too submit comments by 11 March;
(v) Local Government Boundary Commission Electoral review of Oxfordshire PC and residents invited to submit proposals on a new pattern of divisions based on identifiable boundaries and, as far as possible, an equal number of electors. Submissions to be made by 3 April 2011 with further information on their website www.lgbce.org.uk ;
(vi) Central Networks advice on items households should retain in the event of power cuts;
(vii) Percy Hatwells Funfairs seeking sites to hold traditional 3/5 day funfairs;
(viii) Sue Ryder Hospice Nettlebed seeking donation it remains our policy to only donate to worthwhile local causes.
16. Questions and Comments from Members of the Public
Peter Arnold commented that the repaired wall looks excellent and asked, in his position as Chairman of the Gardening Club, whether the PC would agree to them leaving their screen in the Hall between meetings. It was agreed that this could be left under the stage. Julie Sachno then commented on the Hall floor which is proving too slippy for playing badminton. From the internet she had obtained information on a non-slip surface and the badminton group would be happy to help/contribute to have this laid. Cllr Brotherston commented that he had spoken with the contractors on this issue but the problem remains and he will look into obtaining non-slip surfacing and liaise with the badminton group.
17. Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 10th March 2011 in the Memorial Hall commencing at 7.30pm
There being no further business the Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 8.55 pm