Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting 11th April 2011


Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting of Upton Held on Monday 11th April 2011 at 8.00 p.m. in the Village Hall

Present: Mr J Dickens (Chairman), Mr M Brown, Dr R Lott, Mr D Mason, Mr S Norman, Mrs L Shaw, Mrs C Lightfoot (clerk)

Mr R Farrell (District Councillor) Mrs J West (Upton Village Hall Amenities Trust)  5 members of the public

1. Apologies for absence: received from Mr B Shaw and Mr B Simpson

2. Minutes of the annual parish meeting held on 10th April 2010 were read. The minutes were agreed to be a true record and signed by the Chairman.

3. Discussion on Annual Reports:

(i) Parish Council Chairman

Mr Dickens opened the meeting by welcoming those present. He thanked Mr Brown for his many years service to the Parish Council and for the support which he had given to Mr Dickens during the past year. The regularisation of land on which the village hall stood has now been formally completed. He went on to thank the many volunteers who undertake tasks around the village including the Volunteer Work Group and those who cut the recreation ground and play area. During the past year the Parish Council has negotiated a contract with OCC enabling the PC to cut the village footpaths. This has resulted in the footpaths being kept neatly cut. The Chairman went on to say that the Volunteer Work Group had been largely responsible for laying the extension to the village hall car park. He concluded by saying that the bus service was under review and he urged parishioners to use it or lose it.

(ii) Parish Council Finance

Copies of Payments and Receipts for 2010/2011, and a status report prepared by Mr Brown and the Clerk were circulated. The accounts showed a reserve of ~£7000k. Mr Brown said that £5k had been earmarked towards the playground improvement.

(iii) District Council: Mr Farrell said that this would be his last report as our District Councillor as he intended to stand down after 16 years. He said that the Vale had been forced to slash expenditure on front line services following cuts in central government grants. He told the meeting that savings had been achieved by the Vale sharing services with SODC. He mentioned the Localism Bill which is supposed to give local communities greater control over the way in which their neighbourhoods develop. However in reality few communities are going to volunteer to have 300 houses built “at the bottom of their gardens.”

Mr Joel remarked on the appalling state of the roads. He said that the roads are never swept: one year’s leaf fall meets the next. Potholes are in need of attention. Mr Farrell said that roads are the responsibility of the County Council.

(iv) County Council: no report to hand

(v) Parish Transport Representative. The clerk noted that Mr Graham Homer had taken over the responsibility of Parish Transport Representative. Mrs West agreed to substitute for Mr Homer at PTR meetings if necessary. A review of subsidised buses was currently being undertaken. A questionnaire had been circulated to each household to establish bus usage and responses will be coordinated in order to make a response to OCC.

(vi) United Charities: Mrs Whitmell, in her report, said that if anyone wished to nominate a recipient for a grant she should be contacted.

(vii) Blewbury School: a report was circulated, no questions raised.

(vi) UVHAT: Mrs West reported that a growing number of people are using the newly refurbished hall. Short mat bowls in particular is gaining a following. As funds permit additional refurbishment is required to the toilets and the kitchen, shelving in the store room and the room next to the kitchen needs an overhaul. Mrs West paid tribute to Mr Simpson, the retiring treasurer, who had been pivotal to the success of the village hall extension project.

(vii) Neighbourhood Watch: Mrs Davies said that there was little to report this year, apart from the theft of a digger from a building site in Church Street at the beginning of April. The SID speeding machine is regularly used on the A417 outside the fruit farm and at the top of Station Road.

(viii) St. Mary’s Church: no questions raised.

4. Open Forum

(i) Improvements to children’s playground:

Mr Mason said that since the existing playground is “tired”, it was hoped to provide a new facility to appeal to a wide age range. A small group had been formed to look at funding for this project; the ball park figure for this is £50k. Mr Mason said that in order to apply for funding the need for this new facility needs to be established and a survey carried out. A “Drop In” will be organised to get children’s involvement in the design. He went on to say that there was keen competition for grants. WREN and the Big Lottery Fund are two possible sources of funding.

Dr Lott has agreed that some of the proceeds of the Uptonogood bike challenge will go to the Playground appeal. The Parish Council has £5k earmarked for the project.

(ii) Cycle Path to Blewbury

Mr Norman said that the project to improve the path between Blewbury and Upton had temporarily stalled. This is partly due to the landowners at both ends of the footpath being reluctant to change. The meeting agreed that we should not give up on this. (Clerk’s note: The group Sustainable Blewbury have been in touch and are keen to meet with representatives of UPC to take this further.)

(iii) Upton News

Mr Brown said that Upton News has historically been printed by the Churn Benefice Office, primarily as a Church newsheet. It is now difficult to contain all the articles in 4 pages and he questioned whether we should accept advertisements in order to cover the cost of the printing. The consensus was “no”. It was proposed that the new Parish Council consider making a payment, say £200 per year, to the Church Office to offset the cost of the printing. It was agreed that parishioners enjoy reading the Upton News as it is.

(iv) Village Roads Speed Limit

The question of whether it was feasible to install 20 MPH signs in residential areas in the village was raised. It was agreed that traffic calming measures be an agenda item for the new Parish Council.

(v) Update of Parish Plan

Mr Brown suggested that the Parish Plan be revisited in order to get a better idea of what parishioners want.

Mr de Wilde commented that since the Parish Plan had been conducted the village had become more empowered, he cited the BT Infinity Challenge which demonstrated this.

Revisiting the Parish Plan should be an agenda item for the Parish Council. Clerk

(vi) Roads and Footpaths

The following questions were raised:

· Who takes responsibility for trimming hedges which overhang footpaths?

· The road outside the Hitherto building project in Church Street is breaking up. Who should take responsibility for carrying out repairs?

The clerk will write to Highways to seek answers to these questions. Clerk

5. The Chairman’s Closing Remarks

The Chairman thanked those present for their attendance.

The meeting closed at 9.45 p.m.

6. Date of next meeting – Monday 9 April 2012

Clare Lightfoot

Clerk Upton Parish Council

19th April 2011