HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF HOOK NORTON PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE MEMORIAL HALL ON THURSDAY 12 OCTOBER 2017 at 7.30pm
Present: Councillors: Kane, Watkins Hicks, McCall-McCowan, Duggan, Griggs, Brotherston, Matthews (left at 8.00pm), Wilson, Porter, County Cllr Reynolds, District Cllr Brown (left at 8.05pm), Mrs Watts (Parish Clerk) and one member of the public
Apologies for Absence – Cllr Henderson
Chairman’s Announcements: “Further to the Parish Council’s confidential discussion at the last meeting (i.e. regarding a dispute between two allotment holders), I, as you know, had a telephone call from the National Allotment Society’s legal advisor and a further letter from the Chair of Hook Norton Allotment Association. I explained to both the exact circumstances surrounding the issue and both now seem to understand why the Parish Council took the decision that it did – to take no further action.However, I do feel that not only has the reputation of the Parish Council been questioned but also my personal reputation has been maligned and my impartiality has been called into question. I object really strongly to that. The grief I have had over this episode has verged on harassment and I hope that the matter is now closed”.
Declarations of Interest: Cllr Matthews declared an interest in OCC planning applications MW.0080/17 and MW.0081/17.
Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 14 September 2017 and Matters Arising
Cllr Hicks proposed that the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 14 September 2017 be resolved as a true and accurate record of the meeting. This was seconded by Cllr Brotherston and passed unanimously.
Report of the Planning Co-Ordinator on Planning Applications – (Annex 1)Eight planning/TCA applications had been received since the last meeting. Cllr Matthews, having declared an interest in OCC MW.0080/17 and MW.0081/17, left the room whilst the two applications were being discussed: Councillors did not have enough information to make an informed decision and the Parish Clerk was asked to forward the OCC website link so that the applications could be considered further. Cllr Matthews returned to the meeting.Cherwell District Council (CDC) had granted three applications. There were no objections.To Invite Members of the Public to Comment on Planning Applications: no comments.
Reports of Working Groups
a) A joint on the rota-bounce in the play area has failed and the apparatus is out of use. The supplier is going to replace the equipment free of charge.
b) Cllr Kane is obtaining a quotation for a see-saw & monkey-bars for the play area.
c) Tree works are to be carried out in the play area by Acremans Arboriculture Ltd.
d) It has been reported that children are accessing the fenced-off play area on the Taylor Wimpey (TW) estate. The Parish Clerk contacted CDC, and they in turn contacted TW asking them to make the site more secure until such time as it officially opened for use. The Parish Clerk has received confirmation from CDC that TW have secured the site.
e) A resident has noticed a moped being ridden in the play area. Residents should report anti-social behaviour to the Police, using the non-emergency number 101.
Cemetery and Allotments
a) Cllr Griggs has obtained two quotations for repairing walls in the cemetery. A third is awaited.
b) Grass cutting – a resident had asked the Parish Council to pay the contractor to remove grass cuttings in the cemetery. At a previous meeting Councillors had unanimously decided that the additional price for this was cost-prohibitive.
c) Friends of Hook Norton Cemetery have asked to meet the Chairman on site to discuss any future plans for the cemetery. Volunteers to join this group are still needed.
a) Cllr Griggs has asked Ben Acreman to give an updated quotation for dealing with a number of trees identified in tree survey as needing urgent attention.
b) Nettles and weeds have been reported as becoming a problem in Ashburton Lane. Cllr McCall-McCowan will check the area.
c) Residents are asked to cut back shrubs overhanging pathways to ensure that pedestrians have safe access.
d) The Parish Council has purchased some daffodil bulbs; these have been planted in the verges.
e) The rubbish bin by the bus stop is damaged and will be r-hung.
f) Mixed rubbish is being put in the blue and green bins at the recycling point outside the primary school. Residents are asked to separate rubbish from recyclable materials; failure to do so will result in the bins being removed by CDC. If the bins are full, please take rubbish home. The primary school cannot be expected to clear away dumped rubbish.
g) Some drivers and cyclists are being observed driving the wrong way down Queen Street. Residents are asked to note that this is a one-way street.
Hook Norton War Memorial Hall
a) New crockery and cutlery has been purchased.
b) Minor repairs to the hall are complete.
c) Cllr Brotherston has inspected the rail-ends of the curtains and the roller-blind mechanisms following a complaint about damage but no issues were found.
d) Hooky Players and the Film Society have each agreed to pay £800 towards the cost of new chairs for the hall. Cllr Brotherston will contact Cllr Henderson to discuss the type of chairs users would like the Parish Council to purchase. Cllr Brotherston proposed that Councillors agree in principle to the chairs being purchased in time for the Hooky Players’ production in January. This was seconded by Cllr Hicks and passed unanimously.
e) A double glazed window in the lobby has been broken by persons unknown. A quotation of £313.20 for repair has been obtained. Cllr Kane proposed that this be accepted. This was seconded by Cllr Watkins and passed unanimously.
Finance/Schedule of Receipts and Payments for Authorisation by the Council:
The Parish Clerk presented the schedules of receipts and payments for October 2017 totalling £4,731.10 for the Parish Council (Annex 2) and £706.16 for the Memorial Hall (Annex 3). Cllr McCall-McCowan moved acceptance of the payments detailed. This was seconded by Cllr Brotherston and agreed unanimously.
Charity Commission – War Memorial Hall Accounts 2016/2017:The Parish Clerk reported that she had sent required details of the 2016/2017 accounts for the War Memorial Hall to the Charity Commission.
Report on District Council Matters. District Cllr Hugo Brown reported:
Domestic Council Tax – At the Executive Meeting on 4th September, it was resolved that there will be no change to the current Council Tax Reduction Scheme or Council Tax Discounts for 2018/19. Broadly, (i) furnished chargeable dwellings that are not the sole or main residence of an individual (i.e. second homes) do not receive a discount, (ii) unoccupied and substantially unfurnished properties receive a discount of 25% for a period of six months and thereafter to zero, (iii) chargeable dwellings which are vacant and undergoing major repair work to render them habitable receive a discount of 25% for a period of 12 months, (iv) for dwellings that have been empty for more than 2 years, a premium of up to 50% of the council tax payable can be charged.
Business Rates Relief Scheme – At the Executive Meeting on 4th September, it was resolved to adopt the local Discretionary Business Rates Relief Scheme for 2017 / 18. This scheme runs from 1 April 2017 to March 2018 and offers relief to those qualifying ratepayers whose bills have increased due to the 2017 Revaluation. CDC has approx. £620,000 set aside to assist with Business Rates Relief. Various rules apply but broadly, (i) the property needs to have been occupied on 31st March 2017, (ii) the 2017 Rateable Value has to be £200,000 or less. If anyone would like help in applying, please contact Cllr Brown.
Pubs Relief Scheme – At the Executive Meeting on 4th September, it was resolved to adopt the Pubs Relief Scheme for 2017/18. Again, this is a one-year scheme available to pubs with a Rateable Value of £100,000 or less. Publicans can apply for a business rates discount of £1,000.
Horton Hospital – At the Executive Meeting on 4th September, it was resolved to submit a Notice of Renewal for a Judicial Review of the flawed consultation process by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and its decision to make permanent the freestanding midwife-led unit at the Horton.
Naming of Streets on new developments in honour of fallen Armed Forces personnel – At the Meeting of Council held on 17th July the following Motion was agreed and adopted “To mark the centenary of the end of WW1, this council recognises those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Great War of 1914-1918 and conflicts since then from North Oxfordshire and wishes to honour those who gave their lives and commemorate the local families they left behind. Council – 17 July 2017. To this end, we as the principle planning authority, let it be known that if Towns and Villages within the Cherwell District wish to honour those who died and are recorded or are on the local War Memorials by naming roads and streets in new developments after the fallen from within the parish we will look favourably on the request. Cherwell will work with those Towns and Parishes to research and where possible accommodate such a request in any new developments that the towns and villages may have within the parish boundaries in the coming years.”
BT Telephone Boxes (Hook Norton has two of these) – At the forthcoming Meeting of Council on Monday 16th October, one of the proposed motions is that “the Council (CDC) formally request BT tidy up and clean up their phone boxes around our District. We want them presentable, on the inside and out, or we do not want them at all”
The new CEO of CDC (Yvonne Rees) is instigating a review of the way CDC works and responds to its council-tax-payers. The intention is to drive CDC’s priorities of financial sustainability, service excellence, organisational transformation and supporting economic growth to the next level. As part of the process the Local Government Association is to undertake a Corporate Peer Challenge. The Peer Team will be made up of Senior Officers and Leaders of various Borough and District Councils. I will be taking part in a Peer Challenge Focus Group in early November.
Report on County Council Matters. County Cllr George Reynolds reported:
Salt: The Parish Council must advise OCC if any salt bins in the village need re-filling. A bulk bag of salt is also needed (to be kindly held by Banbury Plant Hire for distribution as necessary). The Parish Clerk will deal with this.
OCC Area Operations Team is responsible for the delivery of all local highway maintenance activity and arboriculture works on the public highway. Points of contact will be emailed to the Parish Clerk.OCC has cancelled the contract with Carillion for building new properties. The company continues to carry out maintenance at the moment.Burford has asked for a vehicle weight limit to be imposed through the village. This could impact on other villages (e.g. Chipping Norton).Cllr Reynolds is questioning the lack of seat-belts in some school buses with OCC.
Correspondence: The Parish Clerk had forwarded all correspondence to Councillors during the month.A complaint had been received about the apparent speed of vehicles using Bourne Lane and alleged vehicle damage to a grass verge and wooden posts.Paul Cann had written to the PC asking for support to take forward Hooky Phoenix, an outreach scheme which will offer a variety of activities for over 65s in the village.
To Invite Questions and Comments from Members of the Public: there were none.
AOB: Clive Timms has retired from Heath Allotment Trust. Councillors thanked him for many years of service as Chairman and trustee to the Trust. Cllr Brotherston proposed that Harry Smith be approached to join the Trust. This was seconded by Cllr Kane and passed unanimously.
Confidential Item: this item was cancelled.
The next Parish Council Meeting will be held on 9 November 2017 at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall.
There being no further business Councillor Kane thanked everyone for attending and closed the public meeting at 8.20pm.Signed ……………………………………..Hook Norton Parish CouncilDated 9 November 2017