HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE MEMORIAL HALL ON THURSDAY 8 FEBRUARY 2018 at 7.30pm
Present: Councillors: Kane, Watkins, Hicks, Duggan, Henderson, Porter, Wilson, Brotherston, Mrs Watts (Parish Clerk), County Cllr Reynolds and six members of the public
Apologies for Absence – Cllr Matthews, District Cllr Brown
Cllr Kane reported the very sad death of Councillor Brian Griggs in January. The condolences of the Parish Council go to his wife Elaine and family. Councillors stood and observed one minute’s silence in memory of a loyal, hardworking Councillor. He will be missed.
Cllr Kane advised the meeting that she will be resigning from the Parish Council at the end of this meeting. Councillors thanked her for all her hard work over the years, especially in her role as Chairman.
Declarations of Interest: Cllr Kane declared an interest in the company providing video assistance to HNLC Community Housing project.
Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 11 January 2018 and Matters Arising
Cllr Hicks proposed that the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 11 January 2018 be resolved as a true and accurate record of the meeting. This was seconded by Cllr Duggan and passed unanimously.
Appointment of Co-opted Councillor to Working Groups: this item was deferred to the March meeting.
Local Community Housing Project in Hook Norton: Catherine Ryan, Project Manager for the Local Community Housing Project in Hook Norton addressed the meeting. She gave a brief overview of what was being planned. Two open Community Housing Meetings will take place in February. 20th at 7.30pm in Hook Norton Brewery and 24th at 2.00pm in the Sports and Social Club. Villagers are encouraged to attend one of these meetings to give their views on the proposals. An independent survey of all households will be carried out in March, which will lead to a feasibility study.
Report of the Planning Co-Ordinator on Planning Applications – (Annex 1)
Six planning/TCA applications had been received since the last meeting. There were no objections.
Cherwell District Council (CDC) had granted three applications, to which there had been no objections.
Cherwell District Council had refused two applications:
• 7/02292/F erection of new house at Byeways, East End – the Parish Council had objected to this application
• 17/02146/F agricultural hay and straw building – the Parish Council had not objected to this application
An application for a new property on Gilden Farm was discussed at length with the applicants at the end of the meeting. There were no objections to the application.
Cllr Duggan attended an OALC training course on planning on 7 February at West Oxfordshire District Council – “How local councils fit into the planning system: Effective responses to planning applications”. He had provided Councillors with brief course notes before the meeting (Annex 2).
To Invite Members of the Public to Comment on Planning Applications: there were no matters arising.
Reports of Working Groups
• Branches on some trees in the play area were damaged by the recent snow. Acreman Arboriculture Ltd has removed the branches.
• Cllr Kane had obtained three quotations for additional equipment for the play area. Wickstead = £11,267.30, Proludic = £12,909 and Playdale = £12,305. Following a short discussion, Cllr Kane proposed that the quotation from Playdale be accepted, it being mid-price. Further, the apparatus already in situ came from Playdale and an inspection/repair contract is in place with them. The new equipment can be added to that inspection contract. Cllr Hicks seconded the proposal and it was passed unanimously. Cllr Kane also proposed that a quotation of £3,000 from Playdale for tarmac lining (hopscotch, snakes & ladders etc.) be accepted. Cllr Duggan seconded the proposal and it was passed unanimously.
Cemetery and Allotments
• New tenancy agreements for allotment holders were sent out on 1 November 2017. Reminders were sent to those tenants who had not responded on 31 January. They have until 28 February 2018 to return their agreements to the Parish Clerk. If the signed documents are not returned by the due date, the Parish Council will, with 12 month’s written notice, terminate those tenancies.
• Chipping Norton Green Gym will plant the new stock-proof thicket hedge to stabilise the bank in the cemetery in the next four weeks.
• A seat at the bottom of the cemetery is to be moved to a more suitable and sunny location.
• A complaint has been received about dog owners allowing their animals to foul the cemetery and in particular, graves. Dog owners are reminded to pick up after their animals.
• A request from a resident to be allowed cut back brambles overhanging his property from St Peter’s churchyard was approved.
• A section of wall in St Peter’s churchyard needs repair. Quotations are to be obtained.
• The bottle banks outside the primary school are to be removed as soon as possible. It has been agreed that they can be moved to the Sports and Social Club car park. The matter has been referred to Cherwell District Council and they are liaising with the Sports and Social Club Committee.
• Councillors agreed to purchase a dog bin for the Sports and Social Club grounds.
• The owners of Gilden Farm are considering changing the stiles on the public footpath to gates. Cllr Kane advised them that this was not a Parish Council matter; rather they should speak to Sarah Aldous at Oxfordshire County Council.
• Cherwell District Council has finally installed a ‘Station Road’ road sign.
• A salt/grit bin has been ordered from Oxfordshire County Council for the corner of The Grange/The Sidings. OCC will inspect the area before agreeing to the purchase.
• Cllr Kane has put in another Freedom of Information (FOI) request to OCC asking why an OCC document she has discovered stating that school buses should have set belts was not disclosed in her previous FOI request, neither has it been acted on.
Hook Norton War Memorial Hall
• Cllr Watkins is obtaining a quotation for or repairing or replacing the broken blind mechanisms.
• A plumber has been asked to look at a problem in the men’s toilet.
• A fence panel behind the oil tank is leaning into the neighbouring property. Cllr Watkins will arrange for the fence post to be repaired or replaced.
• A User Group Meeting is going to be arranged.
Finance/Schedule of Receipts and Payments for Authorisation by the Council:
The Parish Clerk presented the schedules of receipts and payments for February 2018 totalling £6,296.34 for the Parish Council (Annex 3) and £964.93 for the Memorial Hall (Annex 4). Cllr Brotherston moved acceptance of the payments detailed. This was seconded by Cllr Hicks and agreed unanimously.
Report on District Council Matters. District Cllr Hugo Brown had submitted a written report which the Chairman read out:
There is a Full Council Meeting on 26 February at which Councillors will be invited to support the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal. Links to this and an outline agreement document can be found on CDC’s website:
Five district Councils, including Oxford City, the County and OxLEP (Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership) are proposing to work with Central Government to produce a Joint Statutory Spatial Plan to be adopted by 2021. This will support the delivery of 100,000 new homes in the County between 2011 and 2031 in exchange for £215M of Government funding for infrastructure. I have made my views on this Deal clear to Cherwell’s leadership and intend to vote “against”. My reasoning is:
• 100,000 new homes (some of which have already been built as the time-frame runs from 2011 to 2031) together with associated new employment sites to support the new population will transform Oxon from an essentially rural county to an essentially suburban one. Para 25 of the Outline Agreement documents admits that the 100,000 is “significantly in excess of local Housing Need figures set out in the Government consultation paper ‘Planning for the right homes in the right places”, which figures are closer to 68,000. So why propose to build 30,000+ “wrong homes in the wrong places”?
• £150M from Government for infrastructure improvements is inadequate just for the existing population, let alone the new population.
• I have no confidence that this Deal is not a pre-cursor for Planning decisions being taken out of local hands and handed to Central Government and/or the Oxon Growth Board.
Report on County Council Matters. County Cllr George Reynolds reported:
Corrillion have divested themselves of all contact with many cleaning staff etc. who are now County employees.
Growth Board: The Growth Board (all six Council Leaders plus OxLEP) are about to go to their respective Councils to endorse an agreement with Central Government promising growth in exchange for infrastructure money. Cllr Reynolds states that he does not think this will affect his division. Neither will the new East West rail link nor the proposed Expressway between Oxford and Cambridge.
Budget: Residents can expect a 5.99% increase this year, with a 2.99% increase next year. 1.9% plus reserves will be used for natural growth in costs (such as a 2% rise in staff salaries). 3% will go to Adult Social Care and of the extra 1%, two-thirds will go towards Children’s Social Care and one third may go to fund Councillors’ budgets (where all councillors will get £15,000 for the next two years to spend in their division on local highways scheme and community projects, hopefully with some Parish Council financial input.
Capital Schemes: Station Road surface dressing and Fanthill Farm to Swerford re-texturing. There is also money for footpath repairs.
Section 106 money: there is to be a bus stop on Sibford Road.
General Highways: In January 2017, 2,000 reports were made to Fix My Street. This January, 7,000 were made. b) OCC was granted extra money from government for highways issues. This will be spent on extra staff, weekend working and overtime. Skanski will try and get more gangs on the road. In theory this will mean more inspectors checking potholes (at present there is one for all the local villages and Banbury), more gangs working, larger patching (i.e. whole areas rather than just one pothole) and an extra Dragon Patcher.
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.
Cllr Brotherston asked that General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) be put on the agenda next month. A Data Protection Officer must be appointed; this is likely to be the Parish Clerk.
The next Parish Council Meeting will be held on 8 March 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 9.00pm.