Minutes of Meeting 10th July 2007


Minutes of meeting of Upton Parish Council

held on Tuesday, 10 July 2007 at 8.00 pm in the Village Hall

Present: Mr M Brown (Chairman), Mr J Dickens, Miss B Drew, Mr S Norman, Mrs T Seelig,

Mrs C Lightfoot (Clerk).

Mr Brian Simpson, internal auditor, attended part-time.

PCSO Claydon and a colleague attended for the first part of the meeting.

There were no apologies for absence.

PCSO Claydon introduced himself as the new PCSO responsible for Upton. He said that any suspicious occurrence should, in the first instance, be reported on 0845 8 505 505, mentioning his name, and the message will be passed to him. The Chairman asked if speed indications could be carried out in the Chilton Road. The officer said that 100 metres of straight road is required to set this up. The readings on the A417 indicated that very few motorists were exceeding the speed limit, however the officers are quite obviously sited and this gives motorists a chance to reduce their speed.

2. Declaration of Interest

Members are asked to declare any personal interest and the nature of that interest which they may have in any of the items under consideration at this meeting (please refer to the notes at the end of agenda).

None were recorded

3. Cooption of new member – the Chairman reported that the council had not yet identified anyone prepared to join the council as its sixth member however Sarah Stoves had volunteered to work with the council to help with matters relating to young parishioners. It was agreed to accept Sarah’s offer and to continue to look to co-opt a further member.

4. Minutes of meeting of Upton Parish Council held on Tuesday, 8th May 2007. The minutes having been previously circulated were agreed as a true record. Proposed John Dickens, seconded Stuart Norman. The minutes were duly signed by the Chairman.

5. Matters Arising:

9/1/07 Stream Road Issues. The question of renaming part of Stream Road is awaiting action from the residents. The Chairman reported that the potholes have been repaired.

8/5/07 Quote for Spring rocker. Mrs Seelig said that the delivery date is set for 18 July 07. She is chasing the suppliers, Wicksteed.

8/5/07 Goal post replacement working party is being held on 14 July.

8/5/07 Village of the Year. Upton has entered the competition. The Chairman recorded his thanks to Mr & Mrs Gardiner, Mrs Seelig and Mr Wright for their help in completing the entry form.

6. County Councillor’s Report

Mr Lamont reported that he had recently attended the AGM of The Local Government Association. Speakers included David Cameron, and Hazel Blears, the newly appointed Local Government Minister who had only been in office 5 days. Mr Lamont came away from the meeting feeling very positive.

7. District Councillor’s Report

Mr Farrell reported that hot topics for the District Council revolved around Abingdon at the moment, ie the Old Gaol and traffic; nothing related specifically to Upton. He said that preparation of the Local Development Framework is proceeding. Core topics go out for consultation in the Autumn before the South East Plan is published. The Chairman said we would keep in touch with Mr Farrell for his support on a number of issues.

8. Villagers’ Open Forum – there was no discussion since there were no villagers present.

9. Parish Transport Representatives Report. No report received. It was noted that a document had been received from Oxford County Council regarding a review of transport posts. The clerk had passed this to Mr & Mrs Gardiner for comment. They felt unable to comment on specific posts.

10. Reports from Councillors’ on areas of responsibility:

i) Roads and Footpaths:

When there is excessive rainfall there can be an unpleasant odour in the region of the pumping station in Frog Alley, this and the poor state of the surface was brought to the attention of the council. Investigation of the situation also brought to light infrequent problems of raw sewage flooding into the lane and a question of whether the path is a footpath or a road.

Mr Norman will contact Mandy Bell at the Highways department to seek clarification of the status of Frog Alley. SN

Mr Norman will talk to local resident Mr Maytham to check on the frequency of problems with the pumping station to see if Thames Water should be contacted to take remedial action SN

Due to the rapid growth this year there had been problems with overgrown footpaths, whenever they had been approached local landowners had taken quick remedial action.

Footpath to Blewbury: a meeting is to be held on 13th July with Abi Barclay-Watt (representative from Blewbury PC). It was noted that only 200 yards of the footpath is in the Upton Parish. MB/SN

SN and MB have had a very helpful meeting with Mark Sumner, Local Footpaths Officer initially requested to look at the problems of Frog Alley. Mr Sumner agreed to undertake further clearance work in Common Lane as well as imparting a lot of useful information.

The Chairman will be meeting with the Highways Department to discuss traffic calming in Chilton Road on 17th July. MB

ii)Recreation Ground:

Mr Dickens reported that there will be a “Goal Post” working party on 14 July. The Chairman asked Mr Dickens if he would enquire where we might start looking for funding for the proposed trim trail. JD

A discussion took place on the state of the recreation ground. During June only one cut took place and the grass is now 3”-7” long. The clerk was actioned to reply to the Berinsfield Community Business’ email asking if they can achieve a 1.5” cut as stated in their note.


iii) Village Hall:

Mrs Seelig had no report as UVHAT does not meet until 12 September.

iv) Planning:

Miss Drew said that when the Parish Council is asked to comment on planning applications, a note should be made on its environmental sustainability.

v) Young Parishioners:

In an email to the Chairman, Mrs Stoves, a parishioner, referred to an initiative to raise money for a children’s party and a possible swap shop on the web site.

vi) Communications and other Amenities:

The Chairman said that he will be proceeding with regulations for the new burial ground.

vii) NAG:

Mr Dickens had attended 2 meetings. With the exception of speeding there were no other problem areas at present. He said that there had been a distraction burglary at Chilton.

viii)UKAEA Stakeholders Committee:

Miss Drew had attended a meeting of this forum. There was nothing to report.

ix)Playground Management Committee:

Mrs Seelig said that the gate into the playground was sticking and one palling was loose. The Chairman agreed to deal with both. MB

Strimming has now taken place. The Berinsfield Community Business quoted £100 but in an email say that the invoice will be £198. The clerk was actioned to advise BCB that we have budgeted for £100. Clerk

11. Review of Standing Orders and Adoption of Code of Conduct.

Mr Brown outlined the reasoning for his proposal “That the PC considers the following modification to its Standing Orders:

5c add to the existing Section 5

Whenever the Council meets to consider a planning application, whether that be during a statutory meeting or at a meeting called specifically to deal with an application, the Chairman shall at a convenient time adjourn the meeting so that members of the public may address the meeting in relation to the application(s) being considered.

26d add new paragraph

In addition to the conditions given in the Code of Conduct for having a prejudicial interest, when dealing with planning applications a councillor shall be deemed to have a prejudicial interest if he, or a member of his family, or a close associate, receive a letter of notification of the application from the District Council.

For planning applications where a councillor declares a prejudicial interest he may attend the meeting at which the council discusses the application and will be afforded the same rights as a member of the public (see 5c). As soon as the meeting is re-convened for the council to discuss the application and make its recommendations the councillor must leave the room.”

Following discussion, the proposal was seconded by Miss Drew, all were in favour.

12. Planning

UPT/832/4 – Erection of hay/straw barn at Inghams Farm, West Hagbourne. The PC had no objections to this application. An observation should be made that tree planting might be considered by way of screening. The clerk was actioned to reply to the VWH accordingly. Clerk

UPT/20176 – Demolition of existing roof, erection of a first floor and roof extension to include loft conversion. Extension around and over existing garage to include kitchen area at ground floor level and 2 bedrooms at first floor level. Erection of a single storey side extension at Stream Cottage, Stream Road. After consideration the PC voted on this planning application (3 against, 1 abstention, 1 in favour). The

Clerk to advise VWH that the PC object to the planning application on the grounds that the new building is too big for the plot and it dominates the adjacent listed buildings. Clerk

Feedback from informal meeting with Richard Farrell to discuss planning issues.

The Chairman reported that the councillors have had an informal meeting with Mr Farrell to discuss current planning procedures and recent planning issues. The meeting was very informative particularly for the new councillors.

13. Energy Saving Initiative.

Miss Drew had attended an Energy Saving meeting in Oxford earlier in the evening as a representative of the council. As the current meeting was running overtime the Chairman proposed that Miss Drew chair a committee to look at ways in which the council can help parishioners to save energy. Miss Drew agreed and Mrs Seelig and Mr Norman agreed to be members of that committee that will meet and report back to the next PC meeting. BD, TS, SN

14. Finance

a) Accounts for Payment

Oxfordshire Assn for Local Councils, training courses for Mr Norman and Clerk – £94

Berinsfield Community Business – 2 cuts of recreation ground in May & 1 in June – £332.34

Clerk’s salary and expenses – £317

Hand Made Places – £714.16 (final payment for ball wall)

All were approved for payment.

b) Financial transactions since last meeting

Bank Interest – £72.86 (received May & June 07)

Noted by the PC.

Audit Plan

An audit plan (copy attached to these minutes) was distributed and discussed. Mr Simpson raised pointers for the future:

Fidelity Guarantee, cover is at present £2k, this should be kept under review

Burial Ground, regulations and scale of fees should be drawn up.

Gates from gardens in Fieldside, onto Recreation Ground. Mr Simpson suggested that we take advice on whether this presents a risk of establishing rights of way. MB

Mr M Brown proposed “That the Council accepts the Audit Plan, drafted by our internal auditor, Mr Brian Simpson.”, this was seconded by Mr Norman. The Chairman and Clerk expressed thanks to Mr Simpson for his invaluable advice and work on behalf of the council.

Acceptance of Accounts

Copies of the statement of accounts were distributed and discussed. Mrs Seelig proposed that the accounts be accepted, seconded by Mr Dickens. All were in favour.

Annual Governance Statement

The Council were in agreement that the Annual Governance Statement be signed by the Chairman.

15. Correspondence in circulation and recently received

  • The Council had received a letter from Mrs Celia Summers regarding the nuisance of rats and the fact that there is now a charge made by the VWH for pest control. Mr Farrell commented that as a consequence of the Vale having to balance its budget a charge has been brought in for this service. He said that the council charge is still less than commercial pest control companies. The Council were not aware that rats are a major problem in the village and therefore a village wide cull was not appropriate. The Chairman will draft a letter to Mrs Summers and will address the problem in the Upton News. MB
  • Appeal from Oxfordshire Association for the Blind. (in previous years we have donated £50 to this local charity.) – To be dealt with later in the year when all other requests for funding are considered.
  • The Vale Chairman is requesting an opportunity to meet with members of the community. Clerk has spoken to the Chairman’s office suggesting she might come along to the Elderly Persons Tea Party on 17 August or the Fete on 1st September.

16. Training:

How local councils fit into planning system, 10 October 07.

It was proposed that Miss Drew attend this course. Clerk

Feedback from course for new councillors and clerks:

Mr Norman said that this course had been useful. Papers distributed on the course will be circulated to members. Clerk

Getting to Grips with Finance:

The clerk reported that the course had raised some concerns for her.

Date of Next Meeting:

Parish Council Meeting – Tuesday 11th September 2007

There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 10.45 p.m.

Clare Lightfoot, Clerk

Tel: 01235 850486

13 July 2007

Notes on declaration of interest:

(i) any Member arriving after the start of the meeting is asked to declare personal interests as necessary as soon as practicable after their arrival even if the item in question has been considered;

(ii) with the exception of the circumstances listed in paragraph 9(2) of the Local Code of Conduct for Members, a Member with a personal interest also has a prejudicial interest if it is one which a Member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice the Member’s judgement of the public interest. In such circumstances, the Member must withdraw from the meeting room, and should inform the Chairman accordingly;

(iii) it is not practical to offer detailed advice during the meeting on whether or not a personal interest should be declared, or whether a personal interest should also be regarded as prejudicial.