HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE MEMORIAL HALL ON THURSDAY 11th MARCH 2010 AT 7.30pm
Present: Councillors: Walsham [Vice-Chairman], Brotherston, Hayward, Jelf, Kane, Leader, Millar and Shepley-Cuthbert; and two members of the public.
1. Apologies for Absence
were received from the Chairman, Cllrs Richardson and Stubbs, and District Cllr Irvine. In the absence of the Chairman and, as the Vice-Chairman had just returned from several weeks in Australia, the Clerk sought a nomination to chair the meeting and Cllr Brotherston proposed Cllr Jelf. This was seconded by Cllr Walsham and agreed unanimously.
2. Chairman’s Announcements
In the absence of the Chairman there were no formal announcements on this occasion.
3. Minutes of previous meeting, 14 January 2010, and matters arising
It was proposed by Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert, and seconded by Cllr Brotherston, that the minutes of the previous meeting be accepted as a true and accurate record and this was passed unanimously by those present at that meeting. There were no matters arising not covered elsewhere in the agenda.
4. Declarations of Interest
Cllr Leader declared a personal interest under the Environment issue relating to Ironstone Hollow [below].
5. Report by Planning Co-ordinator on planning applications received
In the absence of Cllr Stubbs the Clerk reported that there have only been thirteen new applications to consider since the last PC meeting and objections were raised to the felling of the black ash at Dolce Vita and the proposed development at the Orchard, Queen Street. In the same period we have received twelve decisions from CDC, the only one which was granted which we had objected to being the felling of the ask tree at Dolce Vita. Cllr Walsham wondered why the development adjacent to Stanton Engineering, which the PC had supported, had been declined and the Clerk will circulate the formal decision.
6. To invite members of the public to comment on planning applications
There were no comments from members of the public present on this occasion.
7. Report of Working Groups
(a)Recreation & Open Spaces Group Cllr Leader reported that heavy commitments have still prevented Paul Clarke from starting repairs to the damaged wall in the play area, although he does have the stone, and he will try to expedite. David Randall has started to erect the fence and otherwise the area seems to be in good order, although we will need to examine the state of the walls following the recent very cold weather.
In respect of financing new equipment for the Area Cllr Kane reported that funds of over 26K are in hand in grants and donations and an application for a Playbuilder grant was submitted earlier in the week. While there are a large number of organisations chasing the 11 grants we believe we have a strong application. Cllr Kane is also exploring the possibility of a grant from the Aiming High Fund. In the past few days we have been awarded a Play Design Grant of 2K which will fund the services of a specialised playground architect to design a scheme to suit the area. Cllr Jelf thanked Cllr Kane for her continued efforts to raise money for this project.
(b)Cemetery & Allotments Cllr Brotherston confirmed that the working party has now started work clearing the undergrowth in the lower cemetery which has produced a great deal of debris to be removed and Tim Burchell has been asked to deal with this. It is two years since cemetery fees were last reviewed and Cllr Brotherston recommended that the PC approve a modest increase in line with figures provided by the Clerk. Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert seconded this proposal which was passed unanimously. Cllr Brotherston also reported that he is to meet with the Allotment Association on 17 March.
(c)Environment Cllr Millar reported that eventually we received only two tenders for the grasscutting contract and, as both of these were broadly similar, he recommended that we reappoint our existing contractor, Bob Bickley. This was seconded by Cllr Brotherston and approved unanimously. Cllr Millar then confirmed that both Cllrs Richardson and Timms had met with Mr Brazier who is wanting to purchase a property in Ironstone Hollow but has expressed concern about overhanging trees. The general feeling was that Mr Brazier was entitled to cut down dead and overhanging limbs but we did not want the crown reducing. Cllr Millar therefore proposed that we ask Ben Acreman to go ahead with whatever work is necessary without reducing the crown and we understand that this will satisfy Mr Brazier who has offered to pay for the work. This was seconded by Cllr Jelf and carried nem con.
(d)Hook Norton War Memorial Hall as Cllr Walsham has just returned there was little to report on this occasion although the Clerk was able to inform the meeting that we now have a Yoga class using the Hall regularly on Monday mornings.
(e)Norman Matthews Community Hall the Clerk confirmed that invoices have been sent to the Church and the Library for their share of the utility bills for the past twelve months. He has also sent a cheque to terminate the lease to our solicitors to send on to OCC. However we are required to enter into a Deed of Surrender which needs two councillors to sign. Cllr Jelf proposed entering into the Deed as advised and this was seconded by Cllr Brotherston and approved unanimously.
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
Cllr Jelf had nothing new to report on this occasion.
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 4869.71 for the PC and 1139 for the MH, together with two further cheques from the PC account for 588.70 in favour of Bob Bickley for shrub maintenance and 469.46 to CDC for the emptying of dog bins. Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert moved acceptance of the payments detailed and this was seconded by Cllr Millar and approved unanimously. The Clerk also informed the meeting that he had received a representation from a parishioner to post the budget, by which the Precept had been agreed, on the website and this was also approved nem con.
(i) Risk Assessment/Review of Internal Audit – The Clerk reminded councillors that, although most items are looked at regularly, it is necessary to review the Risk Assessment annually and note this in the minutes. Members considered the schedule and it was agreed to remove reference to mowers as we no longer own any. Cllr Walsham requested that reference be added to the employment of contractors and it was agreed that the PC should only employ those with requisite public liability insurance. He also pointed out that the present Assessment only referred to the churchyard wall when there are others in the village for which we are responsible. The Clerk will amend the Risk Assessment to include these items. Advice will be sought from OALC as to what lengths we need to go to check on headstones in the churchyard and cemetery. The Clerk then informed members that BDO has asked for a review of the effectiveness of the internal audit to be carried out before the financial year end. The points noted were considered in some detail and it was agreed that the audit does cover all relevant risks and Cllr Millar proposed that we reappoint John Hicks as internal auditor for the present financial year and this was seconded by Cllr Jelf and approved unanimously.
11. Local Authorities (Members Allowances) Parish Allowances Scheme
Cllr Jelf 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 then 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 Walsham seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
12. Follow-up discussion about the treatment of roads in Winter
The letter drafted by Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert had been sent to the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Keith Mitchell, with copies to Rodney Rose, the portfolio holder, and local MP Tony Baldry. Other local councils had been reluctant to join with us but had separately contacted OCC to express their concerns. To date we have received responses from Rodney Rose, who does not believe the issue should be taken up with Highways as it is his responsibility, and Tony Baldry who stated that our views accord with suggestions he has been making to Keith Mitchell. It was agreed that this matter should not be allowed to be forgotten but Cllr Jelf felt further action should wait for a short time as a new contract with Highways is under consideration and it would be better for this to be in place before we pursue the matter. It was agreed to leave this on the agenda. Cllr Hayward felt that it should recorded that Highways have been making a remarkably good job of filling in potholes created during the recent bad weather on the main thoroughfares.
13. Local Development Framework Draft Core Strategy Public Consultation
In the absence of Cllr Stubbs the Clerk reported that the consultation paper has been received and we have until 19 April to submit comments. Councillors are to meet to discuss it on 25 March and there are to be drop-in events in the Castle Quay Shopping Centre on Saturday 13 March and at Bodicote House on 25 March.
14. Pedestrians Walking on Roads outside the Village
The Clerk reported that he had received a telephone call from a parishioner who lives in the vicinity of The Firs Garage and who regularly walks into the village with her dogs. Despite the fact that she always walks on the correct side of the road she regularly faces abuse from motorists who have to pause to pass. She reported this to the Police who suggested that she contact the PC! A note will be placed in the Snippets reminding motorists to act with courtesy to pedestrians forced to walk on the roads.
15. Hook Norton Oil Consortium
In the absence of Cllr Stubbs the Clerk reported on her behalf that the syndicate has been in operation for just over 6 months and 115 households have joined with 120,000 litres having been ordered through the scheme to date. The price to the syndicate has consistently been at least 3p/litre lower than the lowest alternative provider so members have saved quite significantly on the price of their domestic heating oil and, as a further consequence, many less tanker trips have been made through the village. The Clerk wondered if it was appropriate for the PC to join the Consortium for ordering oil for the Memorial Hall and Cllr Walsham proposed that we do so, this was seconded by Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert and approved unanimously.
Cherwell District Council:
(i) Cherwell Council Timetable of Meetings 2010/11 to circulate;
(ii) Spring Clean 2010 Friday March 19 Friday 30 April Cllr Jelf proposed that we ask the Guides and Brownies to do this as in previous years and this was seconded by Cllr Hayward and approved unanimously:
(iii) Food Waste Scheme offer to send a member of the Recycling team to do a presentation, possibly at AGM but this was not felt necessary;
(iv) Environment Forum Low Carbon Hook Norton event taking place at Bodicote House on Monday 22 March 6.30 8.30pm:
(v) OPFA The Playing Field Newsletter
(vi) St John Ambulance request for donation it remains our policy to only award donations to local organisations:
(vii) Stratford on-Avon District Council Consultation Core Strategy ) No Action
(viii) West Oxfordshire District Council Consultation Core Strategy ) Required.
17. Hook Norton Low Carbon Group
Cllr Hayward informed members that Hook Norton Low Carbon Ltd, which is an industrial provident society, put in a successful bid to the Low Carbon Communities Challenge. Dr Tim Lunel, who was present at the meeting, was then invited to amplify and he informed the PC that an award of 400K had been made towards reducing the carbon footprint of Hook Norton. The essence of the scheme is that it is intended to be self-generating and an estimated 150K will go to the primary school for solar panels, generating heat from the ground and general insulation. HNLC Ltd will own the panels so repayments will be made funding further innovations. It is also intended to provide solar panels at the Sports & Social Club, an electric car for use in the community will be located at the school, and a tank of bio-diesel will also be provided to reduce emissions, and talks are ongoing with a local farmer to locate a small scale wind turbine, which will not be intrusive, onto his farm. Householders will be offered interest free loans towards energy saving schemes such as insulation, solar panelling etc. Cllr Millar wondered how the scheme would be given wider publicity and Dr Lunel confirmed they would be taking a centre page spread in the next Newsletter and they also welcomed support from local organisations such as the PC in informing parishioners of the existence of the scheme. Cllr Jelf thanked Dr Lunel for taking the time to report on the scheme to the PC.
18. Questions and Comments from Members of the Public
DW wondered if the PC did not have a responsibility to remove dead branches on trees it owned and this will be looked into. As the PC is to join the Oil Consortium she also enquired whether the PC had considered green energy electricity rates? This will be investigated.
19. Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 8th April 2010 in the Memorial Hall starting immediately after the Annual Parish Meeting which commences at 7pm
Cllr Jelf thanked everyone for attending and closed the public meeting at 8.50pm