Minutes of Meeting 27th May 2009


Minutes of a Meeting of Upton Parish Council in the Village Hall on

Wednesday, 27th May 2009 at 8.00 pm

Present: Mr M Brown, Mr J Dickens, Mr D Mason, Mr S Norman, Mrs T Seelig (part time), Mr G Summers,

Mr R Farrell, Mr C Lamont

Parishioners: Mr G de Wilde & Mrs L Shaw

1. There were no apologies for absence

2. Declarations 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. 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. None recorded

3. Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman: in the absence of any nominations, Mr Summers proposed that Mr Brown continue as Chairman, say for the next 3 months, with Mr Dickens as Vice Chairman, with a view to taking over as Chairman . This was seconded by Mr Norman, all in favour.

4. Minutes of meeting of Upton Parish Council held on Wednesday 25th March 2009 and the Annual Parish Meeting held on Monday 6th April 2009 having been previously circulated were agreed to be a true record and duly signed by the Chairman.

5. Matters Arising

a) Parish Council Meeting, 25th March

i) Rats: Mr Summers reported that he had received information from 18 people about rats in 9 different parts of the village. Mr Brown asked Mr Summers to investigate whether a private pest control company would offer a collective deal to residents in the village. GS

ii) Clarification of status of land designated for extension at Stream Cottage. Mr Farrell confirmed that the land proposed for the extension at Stream Cottage is designated as residential. A piece of agricultural land next to the property owned by the same person was shown within the curtilage in error.

6. County Councillor’s Report

Mr Lamont said that WRG who are bidding to build the incinerator at Sutton Courtenay are now revising their plans. The new plan, for a smaller incinerator to be used exclusively for Oxfordshire waste, has yet to go through the consultation process. Mr Brown thanked Mr Lamont for his report and wished him well in his retirement.

7. District Councillor’s Report

Mr Farrell said that the Vale’s Constitution is being reviewed and minor adjustments made to harmonise the Vale and SODC councils. He said that significant savings should be made which will offset the effect of the credit crunch and various impositions by central Government on the Vale. The publication of the Vale’s preferred options for location of housing will be published shortly.

8. Planning

(i) Fieldside Cottage: Following complaints by a parishioner about the boundary wall the Chairman has looked back at the planning process and how permission was given for the wall as part of the extension to Fieldside Cottage. As a result of that investigation it has been found that the plans on the web site are not the same as those approved for construction and the wall has not been built to either plan. The problem has been brought to the attention of the Vale who is in discussion with the builder.

A briefing document (see attached), produced as a result of the investigation, highlights the changes to the planning procedure that the Chairman believes are urgently required to ensure better

local planning. These suggested changes have been put to the District Council in the past but to no avail. Mr Farrell suggested that the P.C. meets with the new Head of Planning Mr Adrian Duffield. Mr Brown and Mr Dickens were asked to investigate such a meeting. MB, JD

(ii) Beeching Close: The Chairman proposed that Standing Order 15a be set aside for this item to allow members of the public to take part in the debate.

Mr de Wilde and Mrs Shaw, residents of Beeching Close, updated the Parish Council on events relating to the Beeching Close development.

Mr de Wilde had observed all the terms and condition issued with the Planning Permission are being ignored by the developer, he had been in daily contact with the Vale Planners to appraise them of the situation. Contrary to the planning permission the foundations are now in place but the new access has not been built neither is there any alternative access solution in place. 10 days after first being told of the violation the Vale has still not issued a Stop Notice.

In a last ditch attempt to prevent the dangerous access off Station Road, Mrs Shaw had offered to negotiate with the developer about using the existing Beeching Close access. To date no agreement has been reached but the developer has claimed such an agreement is in place and all construction vehicles to date have used the existing access.

Mr Farrell told the meeting that he understood the matter to be in the hand of the Vale’s Legal Department and it would be their intention to issue a Stop Notice.

Mr de Wilde said that in his view the Vale’s actions to date have been seriously flawed.

It was pointed out that the behaviour of both the District Council and the County Council in allowing this development to go ahead has been taken to the Ombudsman. This action by the local residents was welcomed by the Chairman

Standing Order 15a was then invoked. The Chairman requested permission from the Parish Council to give the residents of Beeching Close every support. This was agreed unanimously.

9. Villagers’ Forum: no discussion

10. Delegation of Duties

It was agreed that the following Councillors will take the lead role in the areas as listed:

Communications – Upton News & Website – Mr Brown

Roads and Footpaths – Mr Norman

Planning – Mr Dickens & Mr Brown

Village Hall – Mr Summers

Amenities including Recreation Ground – Mrs Seelig

Young Parishioners including the Play Area – Mr Mason

Volunteer Group Rep – Mr Brown

UKAEA Stakeholders Rep – Mrs Seelig

N.A.G. Rep – Mrs Davies

Parish Transport Rep – Mr Summers

11. Reports from Councillors on areas of responsibility

i) Roads and Footpaths

Frog Alley Options: Mr Norman reported on the letter received from the Highway Records Manager, dated 15th April 2009, confirming that Frog Alley is an unclassified vehicular highway. As a highway, in law it must remain open. Discussion took place on the extent to which Frog Alley needs improving, bearing in mind the comment at the Annual Parish Meeting that “Frog Alley is what it is and that’s why we like it.” The Chairman asked Mr Norman to further investigate closing the road to traffic as set out in the letter and report back to the next meeting. SN

Street sweeping: It was agreed at the Annual Parish Meeting that more effort is required to sweep up the leaves particularly in the Pound Lane area. It was agreed to contact the Highways Dept. in the Autumn Clerk

Dog bin: It was agreed at the Annual Parish Meeting that a dog bin would be useful at the end of the Sustrans path. An additional bin will cost ~£200 plus £120 per year to empty. Clerk to write to Sustrans asking if they are prepared to contribute. Clerk

Footpath to Blewbury: Mr Norman was asked to contact Blewbury Parish Council to investigate whether they would be in favour of flattening out the footpath to make it easier for walking as requested at the Annual Parish Meeting. SN

ii) Amenities including Recreation Ground

Weed killing: this has been undertaken by Complete Weed Control and appears to be very successful.

A request to cut back overhanging trees and put up rabbit wire along the railway side of the ground was made at the Annual Parish Meeting. The Steering Committee of the Volunteer Group (VG) have looked at the problem and agreed to cut back the trees but feel that erecting rabbit wire on just one side will not be worth the effort of digging a trench through the tree roots. The Parish Council endorsed the view of the Steering Committee.

iii) Young Parishioners including Play Area

Cutting hedge – the VG has agreed to undertake this.

Constructing fort – Mr Mason reported that he has been in touch with Thames Water to ask if they can supply a piece of 12’ piping to be used as a tunnel for the fort. It is intended to use spoil from the foundations of the hall extension to build the mound.

Playground Management Committee – Inspection reports have been received for April and May. It was noted that the surface beneath the slide is slippery and some pales are missing from the fence. MB to replace pales where appropriate. MB

Clerk to write to Dr Lott thanking him for removing the old safety tiles. Clerk

iv) Village Hall

Progress on Extension: it was noted that UVHAT has now gone out to tender for the extension with responses anticipated at end of May. Fund raising is ongoing.

Patio and Car park: The Chairman expressed his concern that the car park and the patio were not being discussed and agreed between UVHAT and the P.C. Discussion to at least decide the size of both should take place. The Chairman stated that the VG were of the opinion that the extension to the car park should be constructed using reinforced matting through which grass would grow. This solution is likely to be much cheaper and to look better as that area is not likely to be in regular use.

v) Communications

Website – A section has been set up on the website for the Volunteer Group under the name of Village Volunteers.

All Parish Council documentation that had to be put on the web is now in place but as there are so many documents, keeping it up-to-date is going to be a difficult task. Mr Brown asked for assistance from all the other councillors to let him know if they see something out of date.

Proposals 1 & 2 by Mr Brown:

1) In order to improve our communications between meetings all emails sent between councillors will be marked U or N (urgent and normal) as part of the heading of the note.

It is the duty of all councillors to do their best to

a) Reply to all emails marked U within 3 days even if that is just to say no comment.

b) Reply to all emails marked N within 7 days.

2) In order to improve our document circulation system it is the duty of all councillors to pass on all documents in circulation within 7 days putting the date received and the date forwarded on the envelope. The first councillor to receive the document should highlight paragraphs of interest such that other councillors can scan read the documents to reduce the time taken to read through all documents. The Clerk will decide on who should be marked as main reader.

Councillors were in favour of endeavouring to implement both proposals.

vi) Volunteer Group: Mr Brown reported that the VG Steering Committee had met. All existing volunteers will get a note explaining the changes to the set-up and asking if they are still willing to be volunteers.

All proposed projects will go on the group’s website section and will have a box seeking comments from parishioners as to whether they oppose or support the proposal.

Dr B Lott will Chair the group for 6 months. Clerk to check volunteers are covered by P.C. insurance. Clerk

vii) N.A.G. – no report

viii) UKAEA Stakeholders Committee – no report

ix) Parish Transport Rep. – The next meeting of the Group is to be held on 19th August 2009.

x) Energy Saving Initiative – No progress

xi) First Responders – The Chairman reported that he and three parishioners had held a meeting with South Central Ambulance NHS Trust. The Trust are very keen that Upton sets up a group and will be prepared to provide us with all the necessary equipment to keep in the village. Providing a reasonable number of volunteers come forward training will be provided in one of our village halls. The Chairman said that a number of people have volunteered and he is optimistic that we will be able to participate in this worthwhile activity. (Clerk’s note we have 9 volunteers before the Upton News has come out so the idea will go ahead)

12. Finance

i) Adoption of accounts: The accounts have been audited by Mr Brian Simpson, Internal Auditor.

The accounts were adopted by the Council.

ii) Ratification of Annual Governance Statement: The Annual Governance Statement was distributed. The council unanimously agreed that the Annual Governance Statement be signed by the Chairman.

iii) Invoices for payment since last meeting

a) Oxfordshire Rural Community Council (ORCC) membership – £20

b) Oxfordshire Assn of Local Councils (OALC) – subscription – £126.26

c) Clerk’s salary, refreshments for APM & postage – £343.11

d) Complete Weed Control – £264.50

e) Allianz Insurance – annual premium – £389.91

Payment of the above invoices was agreed with the exception of the Allianz Insurance invoice. The clerk reported that she has asked Came & Company, underwritten by Norwich Union, to provide a quotation for comparison.

(Clerk’s note – The quotation has been received and is £70 cheaper with improved cover. The cover has been checked by the Clerk and the Chairman and the quotation has been accepted)

iv) Receipts since last meeting: bank interest March £1.14, April £1.25

13. Correspondence recently received

i) *Oxfordshire County Council – letter dated 15 April 2009, Stream Road/Frog Alley

ii) CPRE Spring bulletin 2009

iii) Equality & Human Rights: Public Sector duties vis a vis New Equality Bill

iv) Thames Valley Police Open Day – 8th August

v) Home2School Newsletter – Summer 2009

vi) The Playing Field – Spring Newsletter

vii) Minutes of Parish Transport Representatives meeting – 15th April 2009

* Correspondence at Item 13 (i) has been previously circulated to all councillors. The remainder is in circulation except 13(vii) which is being retained by Mr Summers.

14. Date of next meeting: The next meeting is to be held on Wednesday 22nd July 2009.

The Chairman declared the meeting closed at 11.08 p.m.

Clare Lightfoot, Clerk

Tel: 01235 850486

31st May 2009