HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE MEMORIAL HALL ON THURSDAY 12th MARCH 2009 AT 7.30pm
Present: Councillors: Brotherston, Hayward, Jelf, Leader and Stubbs, together with District Cllr Irvine, Mr Porter [Parish Clerk] and one member of the public.
The Clerk welcomed everyone to the meeting and informed members that Clive Timms had submitted his resignation both as Chairman and as a Parish Councillor. As Cllr Walsham is on holiday it would be necessary to elect a Chairman from those members present. Cllr Brotherston proposed that Cllr Jelf take the Chair and this was seconded by Cllr Hayward and passed unanimously. The Clerk also informed everyone that the Notice of a Vacancy to fill the place of Rob Bartlett had not produced a call for an election but Meg Richardson, who was in attendance, had offered her services as a Parish Councillor. Cllr Jelf proposed that Mrs Richardson be co-opted as a member of the Parish Council and this was seconded by Cllr Brotherston and passed unanimously. Mrs Richardson signed the Declaration of Office and took her place on the PC.
1. Apologies for Absence
were received from Cllrs Barnes, Millar, Riley and Walsham.
2. Chairman’s Announcements
The Acting Chairman expressed thanks on behalf of the PC for the hard work carried out on behalf of the village by Clive Timms, particularly during his term of office, and hoped he would find it possible to rejoin again in the near future.
3. Minutes of previous meeting, 12 February 2009, and matters arising
It was proposed by Cllr Stubbs, 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 by those who were at that meeting. There were no matters arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda.
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 Walsham the Clerk reported that only three decisions had been received since the previous meeting, of these two, relating to the Firs Garage and Cornerstones, had been withdrawn and the retrospective application for a pergola and decking at Uplands has been approved. The Clerk also reported that there have been several comments about work being carried out on the property on the corner of Down End and Bells Lane, apparently without planning consent, and this has been referred to Mike Buxton at CDC.
6. To invite members of the public to comment on planning applications
There were no comments on this occasion.
7. Report of Working Groups
(a)Recreation & Open Spaces Group – Cllr Leader reported that two builders have looked at the wall, both submitting similar quotes. Having looked into the problem further he has become more convinced that planting a hedge is only a short-term solution and the wall needs to be addressed. Cllr Jelf mentioned the possibility of moving the steps from their present position to where the children have damaged the wall accessing the area and this will be considered by the working group. Cllr Leader added that there is also a need to strip back vegetation, particularly ivy, to prevent further damage. In the meantime Mr Marshall continues to carry out routine maintenance.
(b)Cemetery & Allotments – Cllr Brotherston had nothing to report on this occasion.
(c)Environment – In the absence of Cllr Millar Cllr Hayward commented that the stone steps at Scotland End, which were damaged by a vehicle, are being repaired by Highways. Having just had a reflector fitted to prevent this kind of damage there was a question as to whether this was effective but Cllr Jelf felt that it was working perfectly well. Cllr Hayward reported that the gap in the rail at Ironstone Hollow will be replaced by some mature bushes and the Clerk has asked Nicholson Nurseries to look at the hedge on either side and quote for some established bushes to blend in. The recent bad weather has caused part of the churchyard wall to collapse into the garden of Talbot House. Included within the soil there have been some old bones exposed and Rev. Acreman will collect these and re-inter with a blessing. Cllr Hayward has asked several builders to quote to repair the wall and Rev. Acreman has also suggested somebody who he feels will carry out the work sympathetically. Finally we have received a letter from OCC Highways seeking our views on pollution caused by street lighting and whether it would be acceptable to switch the lights off between, say, 12.30 and 5.30 am? Cllr Hayward had researched the issue and contacted Jane Taylor, the Crime Prevention Officer with Thames Valley Police, as the key issues seem to be Prevention of Crime, Road Safety and the Perception of Crime. She pointed out that there are a number of villages in Cherwell which do not have street lighting and their crime rate is the same as in the lit villages, essentially because most crime against the property is actually in the form of break-ins during daylight hours. There is also no road safety case for keeping lights on all night. Cllr Hayward had canvassed the Low Carbon Hook Norton Group which is in favour of a switch-off but there remains the perception of crime, particularly among older residents. Cllr Stubbs stressed the concerns of the elderly and that any change would need to be dealt with in a thoughtful and democratic manner. After further discussion it was agreed to insert a flyer in the next Newsletter to canvass the feelings of parishioners. Cllr Stubbs also enquired whether it might be possible to invite somebody knowledgeable on these issues to address a future meeting of the PC and while this will be considered there was a feeling that any such person would have their own agenda.
(d)Hook Norton War Memorial Hall – In the absence of Cllr Walsham Cllr Jelf referred to the Note of a meeting of the Working Group held on 4 March. Cllr Stubbs expressed the view that the Hall is now always clean and welcoming and thanked the new cleaner on behalf of the Group for her efforts.
(e)Norman Matthews Community Hall – Cllr Jelf commented that at long last OCC has acknowledged that there is essential maintenance to be done before we can renew the lease and it is anticipated that this will be put in train early in the new financial year.
8. Report on District Council Matters
District Cllr Irvine reported that there is to be a recycling campaign throughout the region during March to encourage residents to hand in small electrical goods which otherwise tend to be simply thrown away. A mobile collection point will be in the car park at the Sports Centre on 21 March and there will also be a facility to collect old clothing for a modest fee. The Clerk confirmed that he has arranged for a note of these facilities to be placed in the Banbury Guardian.
9. Report on County Council Matters
Cllr Jelf had nothing to report on this occasion although he did remind those present that this is an election year.
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 £2827.59 for the PC and £592.21 for the MH. Cllr Stubbs moved acceptance of the payments detailed and this was seconded by Cllr Leader and approved unanimously.
(i) Risk Assessment/review of Fidelity Insurance – the Clerk reported that, although most items are looked at regularly, it is necessary to review the Risk Assessment annually and note this in the minutes. The report had circulated amongst councillors and the Clerk also referred to the level of fidelity insurance which, at £25000, was also considered and held to be adequate. Cllr Brotherston moved that we continue at the current level and this was seconded by Cllr Hayward and approved unanimously.
11. Local Authorities (Members Allowances) – Parish Allowances Scheme
This matter is discussed annually and previously councillors rejected the payment of basic allowances and resolved to pay travelling and subsistence allowances if appropriate. Cllr Jelf 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 Brotherston seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
12. The Beam Scheme
Cllr Stubbs referred to her comments on this issue at the previous meeting and told members that Burbage, a village in Wiltshire, had initiated a scheme to bulk buy oil from one supplier which in turn provides a significant discount and also sets aside a further 0.25p per litre bought to be used by the residents to support local good causes. She had attended a meeting of the Low Carbon Hook Norton group who expressed interest in the scheme and wondered if this was something the PC should be involved with. From the chair Cllr Jelf expressed the view that this is a commercial venture and while we could lend it our moral support it is not something the PC should be actively involved with. Cllr Hayward pointed out that, if a scheme was to be set up in HN any funds received could be submitted to the Hook Norton Charitable Association for distribution.
The Clerk reported that, unusually, there was only one item of correspondence to consider this month, a request from Oxfordshire Advice Centre for a donation. It has been the policy of HNPC to only donate to village organisations and it was agreed that this was not something we would support.
14. Questions and Comments from Members of the Public
There were no questions on this occasion.
16. Date and Time of Next Meeting
Thursday 9th April 2009 [Annual Parish Meeting] in the Memorial Hall commencing at 7pm
There being no further business Cllr Jelf closed the meeting at 8.25pm
[Chairman Hook Norton Parish Council]
Dated 9th April 2009