HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE MEMORIAL HALL ON THURSDAY 11th JUNE 2009 AT 7.30pm
Present: Councillors: Timms [Chairman], Brotherston, Hayward, Richardson and Stubbs, together with Victoria Irvine [District Councillor], Mr Porter [Parish Clerk] and six members of the public.
1. Apologies for Absence
were received from Cllrs Jelf, Leader, Millar and Walsham.
2. Chairman’s Announcements
The Chairman had no announcements to make on this occasion.
3. Minutes of previous meeting, 14 May 2009, and matters arising
It was proposed by Cllr Richardson, and seconded by Cllr Hayward, that the minutes of the previous meeting be accepted as a true and accurate record and this was passed unanimously. The Clerk informed the meeting that he has received a reply from Tony Baldry MP to our letter of concern about the paving of the lane at Tilley’s Cottage, copies of which have been provided to councillors. Unfortunately there is no prospect of the work being redone but hopefully the representations we have made will make Highways more conscious of a need to follow protocol in future when work of this nature takes place in a Conservation Area.
4. Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations on this occasion.
5. Report by Planning Co-ordinator on planning applications received
In the absence of Cllr Jelf the Clerk reported that nine new applications had been considered since the previous meeting and there were no objections to all but the proposed development at Tilleys Cottage. There have been six decisions from CDC in the same period and the only one which was granted against our objections was the development, including a housed swimming pool, at Croker House on the The Bourne, which we had considered over development of the site. The Chairman informed the meeting that Cllr Stubbs is to take over as Planning Co-ordinator from Cllr Jelf in the near future.
6. To invite members of the public to comment on planning applications
Several parishioners expressed concerns about proposed developments at Applegate, East End, particularly highlighting impact in the Conservation Area, potential problems of access and impact on neighbouring properties. The Chairman stressed that those concerned should submit their objections to Planning Department at CDC and stated that it would be appropriate when considering these applications to visit the site and also listen to the applicants’ views. Cllr Brotherston commented that there is a perception amongst parishioners that the PC has powers to prevent applications from succeeding when in reality our powers are limited.
7. Report of Working Groups
(a) Recreation & Open Spaces Group – In the absence of Cllr Leader the Clerk reported that the multi-play equipment is still out of use but a company we have previously used, Play Safe, has been asked to quote for the repairs. Cllr Leader fears they will recommend replacement and, if so, this will be discussed at the next meeting. Quotes for repairing the wall have been received and Cllr Leader recommends that we accept that from Paul Clarke for £1635 + VAT. This involves clearing the wall in two places and stripping away ivy and there may be an additional £3/400 to pay for replacement stone. Cllr Brotherston proposed accepting Mr Clarke’s quote and this was seconded by Cllr Stubbs and passed unanimously. With regard to the proposed hedge in Watery Lane Cllr Leader has two quotes for the work and he will update these prior to the next meeting and also approach Oxfordshire Trust for the Environment to see if any grants are available. A tree has taken root in the wall backing on to 3 The Spinney and Ben Acreman will be asked to remove this. The clerk mentioned that he had received an email from Mrs Graham expressing her concern about vandalism in the Area and its future. The Clerk mentioned that it had been decided to place a note in the next Newsletter asking parents of younger children for their opinions with the view to possibly forming an action group to consider the need for new equipment if there is still a strong wish for it to remain. In view of her interest in this issue Cllr Stubbs was asked to join this group and agreed.
(b) Cemetery & Allotments – Cllr Brotherston reported that he and Cllr Richardson had visited the cemetery and discussed the problem of overgrowing trees and bushes which have damaged the fence at the top. Ben Acreman will be asked to visit and offer guidance on what should be done. There is concern that grass left by the cutters does make the area look untidy at times and the Clerk has asked Bob Bickley for a quote to collect clippings in both the cemetery and churchyard. We have received a letter seeking permission to place a bench in the cemetery and this was agreed on the basis that it is made secure and that the PC approves the design. The Chairman commented that a parishioner had complained that a grave had apparently been scraped of grass. Cllr Brotherston explained that the gravedigger will use surplus soil to build up adjoining graves which might have sunk with time and the grass will grow through. A visit to the allotments showed evidence of a great deal of hard work with most plots in good order. However one tenant, who is not cultivating his plot, has been served with notice to quit.
(c) Environment – In the absence of Cllr Millar Cllr Hayward reported that they have obtained a quote from Ben Acreman to prune back a London Plane and a Whitebeam at the rear of Talbot House at a cost of £150. Although they do not represent a danger to the wall it is felt that the work should be carried out. There is also a scrub area to the rear of Talbot End but this is a wildlife habitat and popular with younger children. While not therefore recommending work on the scrub land, there is an area of land adjoining the back of both properties which is quite overgrown and as this prevents access to a barn it is recommended that we ask Bob Bickley to extend the area of strimming. Our insurers have asked what steps the PC intends to take to ensure no further claims as a result of walls collapsing and we have been asked to provide details of a maintenance programme for all walls under our control. These are basically the churchyard, cemetery, Play Area, Memorial Hall and allotments and it is felt that some form of periodic assessment is advisable and Mr Marshall will be asked to provide a brief report once a month. In the meantime further enquiries will be made to try to ascertain the extent of the PC’s responsibility in the churchyard. A parishioner has asked whether the decision to switch off street lighting between 12.30am and 5.30am is likely to lead to the installation of home security lights? In response it was felt that most of those who feel the need for security lights have probably installed them and only a small proportion of householders was opposed to the switching off of the street lights. The Chairman commented that the streets are again untidy and it some time since the street cleaner last visited. The Clerk will refer this to Cllr Jelf. There is also concern that vegetation on either side of the path from Watery Lane to Osney Close is now impeding walkers and this will be taken up with OCC.
(d) Hook Norton War Memorial Hall – In the absence of Cllr Walsham there was nothing to report on this occasion but the working group will be meeting on 8 July and a full report will be made to the next PC meeting.
(e) Norman Matthews Community Hall – in the absence of Cllr Jelf the Clerk reported that we have now received confirmation from property services at OCC that work will commence on 15 June to carry out the essential exterior work and remove the loose/blown plaster inside. It is expected that it will then take a couple of months to dry out properly before the remaining work can be completed.
8. Report on District Council Matters
District Cllr Irvine had nothing new to report on this occasion.
9. Report on County Council Matters
In the absence of Cllr Jelf there was nothing to report on this occasion.
10. Finance/Schedule of Receipts and Payments for authorisation by the Council
Mr Porter presented the schedules of receipts and payments and sought approval to pay the cheques itemised totalling £4977.66 for the PC and £133.38 for the MH. Cllr Richardson moved acceptance of the payments detailed and this was seconded by Cllr Hayward and approved unanimously.
(i) To approve PC Accounts for 2008/9
Mr Porter then informed the meeting that the internal auditor, John Hicks, has completed his review of the Accounts for 2008/9 and is satisfied that all is in order. The Accounts have been prepared for submission to the external auditors, BDO Stoy Hayward, and the clerk sought formal approval. Cllr Hayward proposed acceptance and this was seconded by Cllr Stubbs and passed unanimously. The Chairman and Clerk then duly signed off the Accounts.
11. Guidance for Community Emergency Plans
The Clerk referred to the leaflet and guidance notes received from OCC which had been circulated amongst councillors following the May meeting. It was agreed that the Chairman and Clerk would convene a meeting to draft a formal document.
12. Finance and General Purpose Working Group
The Chairman referred to the notes prepared of the meeting held on 5th June in which the terms of reference of the group were expressed and asked if councillors were happy with these. Essentially this group consists of the chairs of the working groups, together with the Chairman, and oversees the financial affairs of the PC and assists the Clerk with the budget. The Group may make recommendations to the PC but not decisions and is expected to meet on average every two months. It was agreed that this is appropriate and notes of meetings will be circulated to all councillors.
Cherwell District Council:
(i) Legal Services – letter to inform us that CDC’s legal team can help with property related issues at charge of £82 per hour + VAT;
(ii) Cherwell Sustainable Community Strategy – notes from the Workshop which took place on 20 May, to be circulated; draft Strategy will be produced and should be sent to PC during July;
Oxfordshire County Council:
(iii) Home2School Newsletter – to be circulated;
Government Office for the South East:
(iv) Partial Review re Provision of Somewhere to Live for Gypsies, Travellers & Showpeople – Recommendations for new policy; to be circulated amongst councillors;
Spring Bulletin and Fieldwork Magazine – to be circulated amongst councillors;
Bluewood Park – holiday park at Kingham which can have 200 people on site at any one time – offer to display posters or leaflets on noticeboards to promote local events – note in next Newsletter.
14. Questions and Comments from Members of the Public
There were no questions on this occasion.
15. Date and Time of Next Meeting
Thursday 9th July 2009 in the Memorial Hall commencing at 7.30pm
There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.50pm
[Chairman Hook Norton Parish Council]
Dated 9th July 2009