HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
Present: Councillors: Kane [Vice-Chairman], Brotherston, Hayward, Jelf, Leader, Richardson and Timms, Mr Porter [Parish Clerk] and three members of the public.
1. Apologies for Absence
were received from Cllrs Shepley-Cuthbert and Millar, together with District Cllr Irvine.
2. Chairmans Announcements
In the absence of Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert the meeting was chaired by Cllr Kane who informed the meeting that two residents have expressed a willingness to fill the vacant places on the Parish Council and they will be invited to attend the August meeting. The Clerk informed the meeting that Cynthia Napper of Oxfordshire Nature Conservation Forum will be attending the August meeting to give a talk on conserving biodiversity. This will start at 7pm so that the PC meeting can start at the normal time.
3. Minutes of previous meeting, 12 May 2011, and matters arising
Owing to a number of councillors being away on the date scheduled for the June meeting it had been necessary to cancel this. It was therefore proposed by Cllr Timms and seconded by Cllr Jelf that the minutes of the previous meeting on 12 May be accepted as a true and accurate record and this was passed unanimously.
4. Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations on this occasion.
5.Report by Planning Co-ordinator on planning applications received
Cllr Timms informed the meeting that decisions on all applications received during the month had been granted, none of which the PC had objected to. The final item shown on the planning schedule, a tree application at Farthings in the High Street, had been considered earlier by councillors who again had no objection to the proposed works. One item still shown as outstanding on the list, an extension at Pennyfarthing, has been queried with CDC who confirm that approval was granted some months ago. The Clerk had received some queries about a footpath laid across the common land at Southrop to Beanacre Cottage. It has been established that this was simply a replacement but the Clerk will write to the householder to ask him to inform us as a matter of courtesy of any work planned which transgresses the land. Cllr Timms then informed the meeting that he has been contacted by a planning consultant acting for Taylor Wimpey who would like to meet with representatives of the PC to listen to proposals for a possible development at the top of Bourne Lane. Cllr Timms reminded his fellow councillors that this had been discussed at the April meeting when it was agreed that representatives of the PC would attend a meeting but purely to listen to what is proposed. In view of changes to the PC in the intervening period it was agreed that Cllrs Shepley-Cuthbert, Kane, Jelf and Timms will attend the re-arranged meeting and that District Cllr Irvine will also be invited in view of the size and nature of the potential development.
6. To invite members of the public to comment on planning applications
Christopher Barry enquired about the location of the new properties to be built near the Stanton Engineering site and it was explained that these will on land to the left of the gateway. The PC has asked that trees on the site should be retained wherever possible and that any which need to be removed should be replaced. Mr Barry also enquired why the PC had not objected to the proposed change of use to allow the Bell Inn to become a residential property and Cllr Timms responded that it had been a difficult decision and represented a majority view with several councillors against the proposal. On balance, however, it was felt that it is a listed building in a very bad state of repair and the present owners do not appear to have the resources to carry out essential remedial works. As such a change of use might represent the best means to protect the building. Mr Barry expressed the hope that, if the application is allowed, off-road car parking willbe provided in view of the problems evident in that area of the village.
7.Report of Working Groups
(a) Recreation & Open Spaces Group– Cllr Leader reported that the hedge along Watery Lane has thickened during the past couple of months and it would now seem sensible to leave it as it is as the brambles discourage children from clambering up there. We continue to experience problems with groups of boys riding bikes in the park and Mr Marshall has spoken with them. There have also been two vans parked in the area having broken the bollards to gain access. It was proposed that we erect a proper gate but we must allow access for pushchairs and wheelchairs and the working group will look at the problem again and report back. The mesh fencing has yet to be replaced and this will be done before winter. There has also been some comment about the grassed area which is beginning to appear unkempt. However the view remains that this is to encourage wildlife and a cut in the autumn should suffice.
(b) Cemetery & Allotments Groupin the absence of Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert there was nothing to report on this occasion.
(c) Environment Groupin the absence of Cllr Millar Cllr Hayward reported that he and Cllr Timms are to meet with Dan Weeks, of the Countryside service, on 26 July to look at stiles and kissing gates in the parish with a view to seeking funding to upgrade where appropriate. They will report back to the August meeting.
(d)Hook Norton War Memorial Hall – Cllr Kane apologised that she had not yet managed to call a formal meeting but hopes to do so in the near future. Cllr Brotherston referred to the damaged front door and commented that the present structure will not take similar reglazing so we are left to consider trying to carry out an adequate repair to the present door or buy a replacement. After some discussion it was agreed that the MH working group will look at this at their next meeting and then report back to the PC with their recommendation.
8. Report on District Council Matters
In the absence of District Cllr Irvine the Clerk reported that, with effect from the week commencing Monday 1 August, the bin collections will be switched to Wednesdays. He also reminded councillors that the digital television switchover will take place during September and a snippet will be placed in the August Newsletter informing parishioners.
9. Report on County Council Matters
Cllr Jelf had nothing 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 8026.86 for the PC and 1264.56. At the previous meeting he had commented on the renewal premium for Aon and that the company was still apparently handling a claim against the PC for the unfortunate accident in the Play Area two years ago. Subsequently he has obtained confirmation that the claim had been repudiated on the basis that the PC had done everything it could to prevent such an accident. He then obtained alternative quotes for the insurance cover and we have accepted one from Zurich, which was almost 700 [30%] lower. Cllr Timms moved acceptance of the payments detailed and this was seconded by Cllr Jelf and approved unanimously.
11. Frequent Power Supply Interruptions
Cllr Timms expressed frustration that the village had experienced four power cuts in the past month, all causing inconvenience and the need on occasion for expensive repairs to computers damaged by the power surges. With potential further development in the village the problem would seem likely to get worse. Cllr Brotherston had also received complaints and had promised to add his voice to this debate on behalf of residents. Cllr Hayward commented that Western Power Distribution, which has purchased E-on, is aware of the problem and are to include the village in the first rural smart grid in the UK. This does not promise immediate improvement but the village will be divided into four zones and monitored to assess how remedial action can be implemented. In the meantime dates and times of recent cuts will be provided to the Clerk who will write to the supplier to express our concerns.
12. Hook Norton Car Club
Cllr Hayward informed the meeting that the club has three cars, one based at the school, and the others in the centre of the village. There are nine members at present all using the vehicles regularly but there are problems in identifying places where the vehicles can be parked when returned. One answer would be to set out designated parking spaces and this is an idea favoured by OCC Highways who would be prepared to provide the spaces but at a cost of approximately 500. After discussion the view was expressed that the PC should not be spending such a sum for the benefit of a small minority of villagers. Cllr Hayward therefore proposed that the PC be prepared to accept the marking of designated spaces but at no cost to the parish. This was put to the vote and rejected.
Cherwell District Council:
Cherwell Parish Liaison Meeting suggestions for improvement to website;
Countryside Forum Kidlington Village Hall, Tuesday 6 September Cllr Richardson to attend;
Oxfordshire County Council:
(iii) Permanent closure of Dean Pit Household Waste Recycling Centre 30 September 2011; (iv) Community Resilience Emergency Plans seminar in Cherwell Wednesday 21 September;
(v) OALC May & June Newsletters circulated by email;
(vi) ORCC Bulletin circulated by email
(vii) OCC Public Consultation online questionnaire and meeting in Banbury Thursday 21 July OCC looking at ways it funds voluntary organisations consultation ends 12 September
(viii) ORCC Parish Councils and their role in supporting and providing local community transport
(ix) CPRE May and June Bulletins circulated by email
(x) Magistrates Association Seminar on subject of Summary Justice in the Local Community to be held at Exeter Hall, Kidlington, 23 September;
(xi) Sue Ryder Women of Achievement Awards nominations required by 24 August;
(xii) West Oxfordshire Draft Strategy opportunity for further comment until 31 July;
(xiii) Neighbourhood Equipment details of company based in Milton Keynes supplying park benches etc.
14. Questions and Comments from Members of the Public
Christopher Barry stated that he had been asked to comment on the surroundings of the Memorial Hall which some parishioners feel does not do justice to the memory of those who lost their lives in two world wars. It was the view of older members of the PC that the grounds are in better condition than they used to be but Cllr Kane confirmed that this is something to be discussed by the MH working group at its next meeting.
15. Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 11th August 2011 in the Memorial Hall immediately following the presentation by Cynthia Napper.
There being no further business the Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the public meeting at 8.40 pm