HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF A MEETING OF HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE MEMORIAL HALL ON THURSDAY 9 FEBRUARY 2012 at 7.30pm
Present: Councillors: Shepley- Cuthbert (Chairman), Kane (Vice-Chairman), Brotherston, Casson, Cooke, Hayward, Hicks, Leader, Millar and Usher, District Cllr Irvine, County Cllr Jelf (part), Mrs Watts (Parish Clerk) and two members of the public.
Apologies for Absence
There were none.
Cllr Shepley- Cuthbert welcomed Mrs Rosemary Watts to the meeting. He invited Councillors to appoint Mrs Watts as Clerk to Hook Norton Parish Council. This was proposed by Cllr Kane, seconded by Cllr Hicks and unanimously agreed. Cllr Shepley- Cuthbert added that the new appointment gave Councillors an opportunity to review current working methods to ensure that the Parish Council achieved its outcomes efficiently and effectively.
Minutes of Previous Meeting held on 8 December 2011 and Matters Arising
It was proposed by Cllr Kane and seconded by Cllr Hicks that the minutes of the previous meeting on 8 December 2011 be accepted as a true and accurate record and this was passed unanimously.
Cllr Shepley- Cuthbert referred to item 10, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Celebration. The village beacon had recently been put into storage in the Memorial Hall. However, Cllrs Cooke and Usher would look at the logistics of re-assembling the beacon on the church tower. The Vicar would need to be approached; a new gas cylinder will be required.
Cllr Hayward reminded Cllrs that they needed to register their interests on the village website; details already lodged with Cherwell District Council should be passed to Cllr Kane.
Cllr Hayward proposed and it was unanimously agreed that a nominal fee should be allowed in the budget for upkeep of the website. Cllr Kane said that she would estimate the cost of this service but indicated that she would waive these fees whilst she was managing the website.
Declarations of Interest
There were none
Report by Planning Co-ordinator on Planning Applications Received
Cllr Casson reported that there were no objections to a planning application for 32 The Bourne (CDC ref: 12/00039/F). A planning application for Heath Court, Queen St (CDC ref: 11/01574/F) was approved by Cherwell District Council on 26 January 2012. Two new applications listed on the planning schedule would be discussed publicly at the end of the meeting.
To invite members of the public to comment on planning applications
There were no comments from the members of the public attending.
Reports of the Working Groups
Recreation and Open Spaces Group
Cllr Leader reported that a blocked drain in the play area had been dealt with by Bourton Drains. New bark was needed in some areas of the play area. The side gate entrance into the play area was very muddy and Nigel Matthews had been asked to quote for laying a path. The main gate needs to be locked to prevent vehicles entering. Cllr Hayward said that he had been asked why there were no signs in the play area stating that the area must not be used after dark. Cllr Leader agreed to look into the possibility of changing signage to include this.
Cemetery and Allotments Group
Cllr Usher reported that he had been approached by a villager asking if they could replace a tree(s) in the cemetery. Cllr Usher had asked the villager to put their request in writing to the Parish Council for consideration. Cllr Shepley- Cuthbert reminded Cllr Usher that one small child’s grave in the cemetery needed to be treated with weed killer annually to prevent wild garlic choking it.
Cllr Hayward reported that the beech hedge that runs from The Bourne through to outside 13 The Shearings needs cutting back. Ben Acreman had been asked for a quotation. Cllrs would be meeting the Field Officer from Oxfordshire County Council on 12 February to discuss replacing stiles with kissing-gates. The quarterly inspection of walls is due.
Hook Norton War Memorial Hall
Cllr Kane reported that the Film Society had generously offered to pay to have the front door of the hall repaired after it was damaged by vandals. Work commences 16 March. A grid had fallen off one of the wall heaters; this had been replaced. Cllr Shepley- Cuthbert reminded Cllrs that the hall would be 100 years old in a couple of year’s time. Suggestions on how to commemorate this event would be welcome. Cllr Brotherson said that there were some worrying cracks in the hall brickwork. Cllr Kane will arrange for these to be inspected.
Report on District Council Matters
District Cllr Irvine had no matters to report.
Report on County Council Matters
County Cllr Jelf reported that the OCC budget would be set on 10 February. Council Tax will not increase.
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 £2,928.86 for the Parish Council and £402 for the Memorial Hall. Cllr Casson moved acceptance of the payments detailed, this was seconded by Cllr Usher and approved unanimously. Cllr Cooke asked why the current account was overdrawn – Cllr Shepley- Cuthbert will discuss this matter with Mr Porter, ex-Clerk. Cllr Shepley- Cuthbert reported that there seemed to be a misunderstanding at Lloyds Bank over approved signatories. It was unanimously agreed that Cllrs Shepley- Cuthbert, Kane, Brotherson and Leader should sign new mandates. This will ensure that two signatories are always available to sign cheques.
Grass Cutting Contract
The Clerk had received a request from Bob Bickley to divide his annual invoice of £1,328 equally between the months he cuts (April – October). This will stop any confusion over monthly fluctuations due to weather and ease his cash flow. Cllr Shepley- Cuthbert moved acceptance of this arrangement, this was seconded by Cllr Kane and approved unanimously.
Land at Southrop (BBOWT)
Cllr Usher declared an interest in this matter. Cllr Hayward reported that Charlie Luxton had expressed an interest in taking over a piece of this land if it transferred to the Parish Council. Mr Luxton would be responsible for any legal costs and this might be cost prohibitive. Before the land transfers to the Parish Council new fencing will have to be installed (it is hoped that BBOWT will bear this cost). Cllr Hayward felt that the land would need minimal management after that, allowing wildlife and flora to flourish. BBOWT are still considering the complexities of the transfer.
Proposed Bourne Lane Development / Affordable Housing
Cllr Kane has asked CDC Planning Officer, Simon Dean, for a copy of his report to Planning Committee on 23 March. Cllr Cooke said that the report would be published on CDC website one week before the Planning Committee meeting if her request was not met. District Cllr Irvine will speak for five minutes at this meeting. She advised Cllrs that two people from the village can also speak for five minutes each. It was unanimously agreed that Cllr Kane and a villager to be appointed would make representation. District Cllr Irvine said that ‘Engage Planning Consultants’ have a meeting with CDC’s Portfolio Holder for Housing & Planning, the Chairman of the Planning Committee and the Planning Officer on 13 February. Cllr Irvine has also been invited to attend but unfortunately has a prior engagement. She will ask whether a Parish Cllr can attend in her place. Cllr Hayward said that some younger members of the village were in favour of the proposed development. Cllr Usher thanked Cllr Cooke for keeping the village up to date with proceedings.
Housing Needs Survey
Cllr Cooke reported that Cherwell District Council have 22 people on their Housing Register with connections to Hook Norton. A general discussion ensued around the need for a Housing Need Survey at this time. However, it was unanimously agreed that the Parish Council should go ahead with a Survey as a priority. This will enable the Parish Council properly to assess the needs for affordable housing. Cllr Cooke will contact Tom McCulloch at ORCC to start off the process.
A general discussion took place around this matter and it was agreed that a revised plan was needed as the current plan was out of date. Cllr Hayward suggested that a survey could be sent out with the village newsletter. To be discussed further.
Hook Norton Library
Cllr Shepley- Cuthbert reported that Pauline Walters had emailed the Parish Council advising that some Parish Councils had agreed to support their local libraries to level of the full amount of cuts by Oxfordshire County Council (i.e. £5,000 pa). It was unanimously agreed that the Parish Council needed to know the long-term commitment to library funds before it can make a decision. Hook Norton residents would then have to decide whether or not they wanted to contribute towards the running costs of the library as it would affect the precept levied.
- Cherwell District Council Spring Clean – 30 March to 14 May. Clerk to deal.
- OCC Draft Equality Policy 2012-2017. Circulated by email. Responses to email@example.com
- OALC/ORCC – December and January newsletter. Circulated by email.
- ORCC – Oxford Brookes energy survey of community buildings. Circulated by email.
- OPFA – The Playing Field. One copy only will be received in future. Copy circulated.
- Oxford Inspired – February Newsletter. Copy circulated.
- Local Government Boundary Commission – final recommendation.
- Friends of Hook Norton library – brief update. Circulated by email.
- Western Power Distribution – public consultation. Copy circulated.
- Leiston-cum-Sizewell PC – Planning Applications. Circulated by email.
- Ryder-Cheshire Volunteers – request for donation. It remains the policy of HNPC to only donate to worthwhile local groups.
- Village noticeboard near The Sun – maintenance is required. Environment Group to deal.
- TVP – census email scam. Circulated by email.
- TVP – man arrested for church thefts. Circulated by email.
- TVP – theft of domestic oil. Circulated by email.
- Mr & Mrs Smith – lighting along Clay Bank path. Clerk to contact County Cllr Jelf.
- Cllr Hayward said that he had been contacted by Smart Hooky Project – certain areas of the village had been identified as being suitable for monitoring electricity usage and more volunteer households are required. Volunteers are asked to contact www.hn-lc.org.uk
To Invite Questions and Comments from Members of the Public
A member of the public offered her professional help and advice on the proposed Bourne Lane Development. She added that it was not unusual for developers or their representatives to ask to meet planners in advance of the Planning Meeting. Cllr Shepley- Cuthbert thanked her for her offer of support.
Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday, 8 March 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 9.00pm