HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
Present: Councillors: Shepley-Cuthbert [Vice-Chairman], Brotherston, Hayward, Kane, Leader and Stubbs, District Councillor Irvine, Mr Porter [Parish Clerk] and three members of the public.
In the absence of Cllr Timms Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert took the Chair.
1. Apologies for Absence
were received from the Chairman, Cllr Timms [ill], and Cllrs Jelf [ill], Millar [holiday] and Richardson [business commitment].
2. Chairmans Announcements
The Chairman had no announcements to make on this occasion.
3. Minutes of previous meeting, 14 October 2010, and matters arising
It was proposed by Cllr Hayward, 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. The Clerk reminded members that there is still a vacancy on the PC and Richard Wheelton has indicated his willingness to join. However he had a prior commitment this evening but will attend the December meeting.
4. Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations on this occasion.
5. Report by Planning Co-ordinator on planning applications received
Cllr Stubbs referred to the Planning schedule and commented that, in keeping with the PCs wish to retain trees wherever possible, she had enquired about the reason for the proposed felling at The Chestnuts, as no information had been provided with the application. However she had not received a response from Planning Department and the application has subsequently been approved. As discussed at the previous meeting the Clerk had written to CDC seeking clarification on the issue of listed building consent and a response from Linda Burke, the Planning Investigator, is circulating. However her reply is that both properties have been visited by the Conservation Officer and they are satisfied that the work at Wisteria House constituted a repair and therefore did not require consent. With The Bell the owners claim not to have realised that the building is listed but it has been accepted that it is better that the building is secure as empty public houses are often targets of vandalism.
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 there had been some trouble in the Play Area over half-term and Halloween but the mess has been tidied up. Paul Clarke has still not started work on the wall and Chris Hobbs will be approached to ask if he can do the work in the near future to coincide with the replacement of play equipment in the Area.
(b)Cemetery & Allotments Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert informed the meeting that there have been changes in the committee of the Allotment Association with Graham Usher taking over as Secretary and John Hamilton is the new Chairman.
(c)Environment In the absence of Cllr Millar Cllr Hayward reported that a tree opposite the school has died. At the present moment there is some doubt about ownership and the Clerk has asked Highways to look at it. Hopefully they will be responsible for removal although the PC may have to supply a replacement. The dog bin at the top of Watery Lane has been damaged by somebody filling it with carrier bags and this is now so ruined that it will have to be removed. While it is the intention to replace in due course it is felt appropriate to leave the area without a bin for a period to establish a principle that dog owners must act responsibly. The dog bin opposite the old Post Office is little used and this will be transferred to Queen Street where a new litter bin is also to be sited. Cllr Brotherston commented that he has received complaints from parishioners about dogs barking and causing a nuisance and such cases should be reported to the dog warden at CDC who will refer to the Antisocial Behaviour Officer if appropriate. Cllr Stubbs reported that 130 households are now members of the Oil Consortium and Total Butler have returned the sum of 400 to be donated to a village cause and this is to be given to the Playground fund. The Clerk informed the meeting that five new grit bins have been ordered which will be in place before winter sets in and he confirmed the locations with councillors top of Watery Lane; Burycroft Road opposite Primrose Cottage; Swerford Hill; Hollybush Road/Station Road; Down End near fire hydrant on central island. Cllr Shepley-Cuthbert informed the meeting that he has started dialogue with County Cllr Rodney Rose, the cabinet member responsible for gritting in the county, to try to ensure that roads in and out of the village remain open this winter. Cllr Hayward also referred to the Race for Infinity, the BT project to roll out high-speed broadband, and informed councillors that HN Low Carbon Group are also to support the campaign by funding fliers to accompany the next Newsletter urging all parishioners to register their votes.
(d)Hook Norton War Memorial Hall Cllr Brotherston confirmed that a meeting had taken place with Paul Cooper, of the HN Low Carbon Group, to discuss energy efficiency measures in the Hall and while he was able to make some suggestions it would be a significant project and any benefits would be limited due to the large space and restricted time when it is used.
8. Report on District Council Matters
District Cllr Irvine had nothing to report on this occasion.
9. Report on County Council Matters
In the absence of County Cllr Jelf there was 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 4726.64 for the PC and 604 for the MH. Cllr Brotherston moved acceptance of the payments detailed and this was seconded by Cllr Hayward and approved unanimously. Cllr Stubbs enquired whether the PC is paying its employees the minimum wage and the Clerk confirmed this. She also enquired what income the PC receives and how much reserve it holds. The Clerk responded that by far the greatest proportion of income derives from the Precept, which is 52K in the present financial year, and that our present reserve equates to approximately one years Precept.
11. Banbury Rural NAG
The Clerk referred to an email from Cliff Potter, the Chairman of Banbury Rural Neighbourhood Action Group, commenting that one of the major priorities for the Group in recent months has been speeding. In this connection the Group would like to purchase a radar speed recording device at a cost of 2700 and is asking local PCs to contribute on the basis that the device will then be available for each to use on regularly. The device is battery operated and provides a detailed log of vehicles and speeds over a 24 hour, 7 day period. Cllr Hayward felt the device would not be of particular benefit in Hook Norton as any speed over 20mph could be construed as excessive in most areas of the village and this would not be reflected on such a device. After discussion it was felt the device would not be of benefit but the Clerk will contact County Cllr Jelf to approach Highways to enquire whether a 20mph limit could be applied in the village.
Cherwell District Council:
(i) Consultation Draft Planning Guidance on Wind Turbine Development guidance document to be circulated and comments invited by Monday 20 December. Public can see online at http://www.cherwell.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=1730;
(ii) Rural run-a-bout Service – this service is to come to Hook Norton in the near future with the intention of stopping in the village for 1 to 2 hours to operate a drop-in service for parishioners and council staff will be joined by representatives from Age Concern and Charter Housing among others. After discussion it was suggested that the service should locate at either the library car park or outside the Sun.
Oxfordshire County Council:
(iii) Consultation on concessionary fares scheme OCC is to take over responsibility for the scheme from CDC and propose a common 9am weekday start which will benefit users in Hook Norton taking the first bus to Banbury. However it is also proposed that alternatives such as Senior Rail cards and National Travel tokens will no longer be offered. Parishioners can respond to the proposals on OCCs website http://myconsultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk by 14 December.
(iv) OALC October Newsletter circulated by email.
13. New Play Area
Cllr Kane informed the meeting that the recent hiatus in establishing whether the Playbuilder grants were to be paid has affected projects nationally, all of which have been put back six months. This is now creating a log-jam as everyone is seeking to have their schemes completed before 31 March to comply with the conditions of grant funding. Having consulted widely in the village three established providers of play equipment were approached to provide tenders and these have been considered by members of the PC who felt that the Playdale quotation offered the best deal for Hook Norton. The Playdale plans have been placed in the library for parishioners to look at and the majority of feedback has been very positive although the Clerk has received one letter objecting to the use of taxpayers money on the project. As it happens grants and donations cover the projected cost with some reserve; the Clerk will reply to the parishioner clarifying points raised in her letter. Cllr Brotherston commented that, while funds raised do cover the cost, the parish council does have the right and responsibility to spend parish money as deemed appropriate for the benefit of the village as a whole. Cllr Hayward proposed that we accept the Playdale quote and this was seconded by Cllr Brotherston and approved unanimously. An initial deposit of 50% will be required before the work can start and the Clerk will arrange for this to be submitted shortly.
14. Questions and Comments from Members of the Public
Barbara Hicks expressed concern about numerous instances of illegal and dangerous parking in the village and wondered if anything can be done. The Clerk stated that this is a matter for the Police but he will bring it to their attention and suggest that leaflets be placed on offending vehicles as a warning. A note will also be placed in the next Newsletter. Mr Taylor expressed concern about the state of the churchyard wall which abuts his garden. Cllr Hayward explained that walls, for which the PC is responsible, are examined twice yearly but that we do not have funds for minor repairs. However overhanging foliage may be removed by Mr Taylor and overhanging limbs from trees may be cut back if we are informed. Mr Taylor reported that a large hole has appeared in the wall, which will only get worse, and Cllr Hayward confirmed that members of the Environment group will liaise with him to look at this.
15. Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 9th December 2010 in the Memorial Hall commencing at 7.30pm
There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.50 pm