Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting 6th April 2009

UPTON PARISH COUNCIL

Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting of Upton

held on Monday 6th April 2009 at 8.00 pm in the Village Hall

Present: Mr M Brown (Chairman), Mr J Dickens, Mr D Mason, Mr S Norman,

Mrs T Seelig , Mr G Summers

Mrs C Lightfoot (Clerk)

Mr C Lamont (County Councillor)

Mr R Farrell (District Councillor)

Mrs A Brown (Blewbury School Representative)

Mr P Gardiner (Parish Transport Representative)

Mrs J West (Upton Village Hall Amenity Trust)

21 members of the public attended.

1. Apologies for Absence: received from Mr & Mrs D Beckles, Mrs C Davies, Mr J Scarborough,

Mr & Mrs B Simpson and Mr G de Wilde.

2. Minutes of the meeting of the Annual Parish Meeting held on Tuesday 8th April 2008 were read by

Mr G Summers. The minutes were agreed to be a true record and duly signed by the Chairman.

The Chairman opened the meeting by saying that reports had been circulated in advance of the meeting and he welcomed questions. A copy of reports is attached to these minutes.

3. Discussion on Annual Reports

i) Chairman’s Report: the Chairman gave an overview of Parish Council (PC) activities outlining where objectives had been met and listing areas where the PC had been less successful.

Questions and comments arising:

Beeching Close: Mrs De Wilde said that there were still unresolved issues and matters were being pursued with the Ombudsman.

Cycleway to Blewbury: the Chairman reported that it is unlikely that the cycleway will go ahead in the foreseeable future despite it being the top priority in the parish plan. The permission of the landowners to change the official status is required.

ii) Finance: the accounts show a healthy situation with a balance being carried forward of ~£14,000. A donation of £9,000 had been promised towards the village hall extension.

iii) District Councillor: in answer to a question on rodent control, Mr Farrell said that it was not a duty of the Local Authority to deal with this problem. Mr Summers had received 13 reports of rats in different locations throughout the village and it was perceived to be an issue which should be addressed collectively.

Mr Joel asked whether we are entitled to road sweeping. Mr Farrell said that the District Council provides 50% towards street cleansing. The PC to pursue. Clerk

The Chairman thanked Mr Farrell for his report.

iv) County Councillor: no questions. The Chairman thanked Mr Lamont for his efforts on our behalf in the past and wished him well as he retires as District Councillor in June 2009.

v) Parish Transport Representative (PTR): Mr & Mrs Gardiner were thanked for their hardwork which had been much appreciated over the past 10 years. Mr de Wilde has agreed to act as Sustrans Ranger.

vi) United Charities: it was noted that if anyone was in need of financial help Mrs Whitmell should be contacted.

vii) Blewbury School: no questions.

viii) UVHAT: it was noted that £80k had been raised which is sufficient to allow UVHAT to go to tender for building the extension to the Village Hall. It is hoped to be able to place the contract by end of May with a start date of end June.

ix) Neighbourhood Watch: no questions

x) St Mary’s Church: no questions

4. Discussion on the future

Volunteer Work Force The Chairman outlined how he would like to see the village’s volunteer work force evolving in the future. He would like 3 parishioners to come forward who together with a member of the PC would form the steering group of a new “club” of village volunteers. The steering group would look at proposed projects that will improve the amenities and the village environment, decide which projects should proceed and arrange and manage them. The PC will remain accountable for the actions of the volunteer workforce. After discussion the majority were in favour of the revised set up.

A document outlining the working practices of the new “club” will be drawn up by the steering group and submitted to the Parish Council for approval.

Mr Maytham and Mr Lott volunteered to join the Chairman as members of the steering group. Chairman

Projects for the Workforce to consider:

Downs Litter Pick in the Summer: To undertake a one-off tidy up of the area on the south side of Alden Farm which is not covered by the annual litter pick and where fly tipping is a problem.

Clearance of Frog Alley Stream: To clear out the dead and dying shrubs and trees over a 400m length of the stream. Permission of the landowner has been given. Mr Joel said that the stream is crystal clear and any clearance is unnecessary.

Resurface Frog Alley: To resurface Frog Alley so that it could be walked throughout the year. This idea has been under consideration for the past 2 years. A note was put in the Upton News in 2008 suggesting it should be made pedestrian only and seeking opinions (just 1 parishioner objected). The County Council Highway’s Dept who are currently responsible for the road have been asked if it could be re-classified as a footpath and a gate installed – a response is expected soon.

Mrs Durbin commented that Frog Alley is what it is and there are other walks when Frog Alley is impassable.

It was agreed that both clearing the stream and constructing a footpath would be a huge project requiring support of the village.

Other Suggestions for the Workforce to consider:

  • Tidy up the site of the old telephone box
  • Erect rabbit fencing and chop back the bushes in the Recreation Ground alongside the old railway line.

Other suggestion for the Parish Council to consider:

  • Purchase the grass collector that will fit on the Mower

Effects of Village Hall closure during building of extension

It is anticipated that the hall and parts, or even all, of the children’s play area may be out of use for up to 3 months whilst it is classified as a building site. Mrs West was asked to check whether this will be the case. Users will be kept informed on progress. Some regular bookings will transfer to the Methodist Hall. Mrs West

Fund Raising for the Car Park/Patio

At least a further £10k is required in order to double the size of the cark park. A quote for the patio is awaited.

Ideas for further fund raising would be appreciated.

Mr Lightfoot said that he is prepared to organise a fun run and requested helpers. Mrs A. Brown, Mrs Lott,

Mr Maytham and Mr Whitmell volunteered.

Parish Transport Volunteer

A representative is urgently required to act as PTR. This involves occasional meetings in Oxford where policy matters are discussed. The next meeting is scheduled for 15th April. Mr Gardiner said that it was very important that we send a representative at bus review time. The Parish Council to continue its search for a volunteer. PC

Work on Recreation Ground

The Chairman proposed that the recreation ground be treated with weed killer as there are many bare patches caused by the growth of plantains. 2 accredited companies have provided quotes of £230 and £250. It was agreed to go ahead with this treatment. The meeting was assured that the recreation ground will be useable within 1 hour of treatment. Chairman

Village of the Year

The Chairman asked for 3 enthusiasts to prepare and make the presentation on behalf of the village. No volunteers came forward and therefore an entry this year is unlikely.

Energy Saving Initiative

For the last two years the Parish Council has been trying unsuccessfully to explore the idea of setting up an Upton Energy Saving Group and no offers had come forward as a result of a recent request in the Upton News for volunteers to set up the group. A number of people showed interest in exploring the idea and it was agreed to invite members of the Blewbury Group over to Upton to hear about their achievements. TS

First Responders: The Chairman outlined how first responders operate; he said that recently a person’s life had been saved through the actions of a first responder in a neighbouring village. Mrs de Wilde and Mrs Lott offered to be involved and Mrs Lott said that the company where she works may be prepared to sponsor a kit. The chairman will pursue this further. Chairman

New Ideas from the Village to follow on from Parish Plan

Parishioners requested that the following aims be incorporated in the Parish Council’s Annual Plan:

Mr Bob Lott proposed that the footpath to Blewbury be levelled, this was seconded by Mr D Whitmell. PC

It was suggested that an additional dog bin be placed at the Upton end of the Sustrans track. PC

5. Chairman’s closing remarks

The Chairman thanked the army of volunteers who carry out a range of tasks within the village and for being “good neighbours”.

Special thanks were given to Cathy Brown for compiling the Upton News, to Dawn Saunders in the Duck House for printing it and to Jessie West and her helpers who deliver it.

Thanks also to Brian Rippon for his unstinting work on the web site which is highly acclaimed both outside and inside the parish.

He also thanked parishioners for their support and for the excellent turnout at tonight’s Annual Meeting.

The Chairman said that he intended standing down from office with effect from the May 2009 Parish Council meeting.

6. Date of next meeting: no date was set for the 2010 Annual Parish Meeting but it will be in the second week of April 2010.

The Chairman closed the Meeting at 10.05 pm

Clare Lightfoot

13th April 2009

Clerk, Upton Parish Council