Minutes of Meeting 16th July 2013

Minutes of Meeting of Upton Parish Council on Tuesday 16th July 2013 at 8.00 pm in the Village Hall

Present: Dr R Lott (Chairman), Mr S Fraser, Mr S Norman, Mrs L Shaw, Mr B Shaw, Mrs A Hoy (clerk)

Part time: Mr Richard Farrell, Blewbury Parish Council

1. Apologies – were received subsequent to the meeting from Janet Shelley DCC and Michael Claydon PCSO.

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. Minutes of meeting on 30th May 2013, having been circulated, were agreed to be a true record and signed by the Chairman.

4. Matters arising:

Parish Council Meeting on 30th May

(i) Election of Councillor to replace Mr Dickens: Two expressions of interests have been received by Mrs Shaw and Dr Lott respectively but no confirmation of interest had been received. Both councillors agreed to pursue with a view to avoiding a contest if possible to avoid extra cost. Mrs Hoy agreed to confirm the maximum number of councillors permitted. It was noted that the term of office for this co-opted councillor would be two years, after which all councillors were up for re-election. LS /BL AH

(ii) Dr Lott agreed to write a formal letter to Mrs Hoy on her appointment as Parish Clerk. RL

(iii) Footpath and Cycle path to Blewbury: the meeting welcomed Mr Richard Farrell, Chair of Blewbury Parish Council (BPC), to the meeting. The question of upgrading the existing footpath to include cyclists had been a subject of debate in Blewbury and Upton for the past 20 years and both councils would like to see progress. Mr Farrell agreed to discuss the recent past history with Mrs Abi Barclay-Watt who had done a lot of research when she was on BPC some years ago. At that time Sustrans (Sustainable Transport) had given a presentation but unfortunately there was no money forthcoming. A local landowner, Mr Chris Kauntz, had offered a strip of land alongside the A417 as a cycle way but this had been rejected as being too dangerous for children and in any case, would only go up to the White House on the Upton boundary. Since the most recent approach to the landowners (2011/12) two sections of land had changed hands and it was thought worth investigating whether the new owners might be more favourably inclined. The path was discussed in the most recent Upton Parish Plan at point 6.4 and given first priority in the list of Aims. It was noted that there was considerable enthusiasm for the path to be upgraded and many local residents stated they would use it on a regular basis for walking, pushchairs and cycles if the surface was more even and better maintained. The potential problem of motorcycles using it was not considered significant. It was suggested that it could be upgraded to a bridleway, which would open its use to horses as well as cycles. After discussion, it was suggested that a joint meeting of both parish councils as well as the local landowners should be convened. However, to avoid over-facing the landowners, it was agreed they should be contacted first. Mr Farrell suggested also approaching Harwell parish council to lend moral support and also expand the cycling agenda. Mr Farrell agreed to email Dr Lott with suggestions as to the best way forward. Mr Farrell left the meeting.

(iv) Revisiting Parish Plan: Mr Shaw had agreed to review at the most recent Plan and suggest what still needed to be achieved. It was suggested that a list of achievements could be circulated via the Upton News, asking the population what they felt was needed. Mr Shaw to progress. To be added to the next meeting Agenda and the public to be invited to attend. BS

(v) Asset Register: Mrs Shaw advised this had been updated and communicated to the Auditors. Although the value of our assets had increased, the insurers had agreed not to increase the cost of insurance at this renewal; however, there would be an increase next year. With regard to the Risk Register, Mrs Shaw advised that she would complete her review of this in time for the next meeting.

(vi) Aims & Objectives: after brief discussion it was resolved to adopt the Aims and Objectives as circulated.

(vii) Litter Bin: It was agreed at the last meeting that an additional litter bin should be purchased for the children’s play area; Mr Fraser brought to the meeting information on a new design of bin which he thought would appeal to the younger users of the recreation ground called a Topsy 2000, which comes complete with a concrete fixing kit. Cost £169.86 + VAT. It was resolved that Mr Fraser should order this item and arrange for its installation as soon as possible. SF

5. PCSO’s report: no report received

6. County Councillor’s Report

No report received and Cllr Lilly not present, but Cllr Lilly had circulated an email request for a representative of each of his parish councils (as well as Milton) to attend a meeting on Tuesday 13th August at 10am in County Hall Oxford to discuss the improvements being planned for the A417 corridor. Dr Lott agreed to attend, Mr Norman agreed to stand in in case he was not able to make it. RL/SN

7. District Councillor’s Report: no report received

8. Villagers’ Forum: no discussion took place

9. Planning

(i) P13/V1019HH – The Gatehouse, Reading Road renewal of planning permission PO4/V0708, proposed extensions and adaptation of existing house. The plans having been previously circulated were discussed and it was noted that the plans had been changed extensively since the original application. The council had no strong objections but expressed concern about access by builders, which would need to be carefully managed. The clerk was requested to advise the Vale planning department accordingly. AH

10. Reports from Councillors on areas of responsibility:

(i) Roads and Footpaths

A letter was received from a resident regarding overgrown brambles and hedges in Upper Stream Road, requesting the council to take remedial action with the owners of the properties. Mr Shaw agreed to speak to the relevant householders and request their cooperation in keeping their hedges from encroaching on rights of way. BS

(ii) Young Parishioners: nothing to report

(iii) Village Hall: Mrs West was keen to purchase hand dryers for the toilets and requested the PC to purchase these, which could be paid for by fund raising. Mrs Shaw agreed to speak to the supplier and purchase the units, and would send the invoice to the Parish Clerk for reimbursement. LS Resolved to proceed with this course of action. Dr Lott advised that £2k had been set aside towards improvements to the kitchen; Mrs Shaw wondered whether it would be possible to get a grant for this and it was noted that Brian Rippon had offered his help.

(iv) Communications: It was noted with regret that Sarah Sayers had expressed a wish to step down as Editor of Upton News, although was prepared to stay on until a successor was found.

(v) Volunteer Group: the grass was being cut and the playground rota had been circulated. The playground was being inspected. It was noted that the goal posts needed re-fixing. RL/SF

(vi) N.A.G.: no report received.

(vii) UKAEA Stakeholders Committee: Dr Whitmell had attended a meeting on 4th July and advised that an election had been held for the Chairman and Deputy chairman for the next five years, results not yet known. A report on groundwater in Upton Parish was given, the level of contaminants continues to fall. Decommission of the site is on target.

(viii) Parish Transport Rep: No report received.

Dr Whitmell had also asked whether he should continue to represent Upton at the UKAEA Stakeholders committee; it was resolved that he should be formally asked to continue, the Clerk to write an appropriate letter. Letters should also be sent to Mrs J West and Mr J Lightfoot asking if they wished to continue their various roles. AH

11. Finance:

(a) Invoices for payment:

(i) Clerk’s monthly salary: Gross £160.56, less PAYE £32.00 = £128.56

It was resolved that in future the salary payment would be carried out electronically. However, because of the “sweep” between the two bank accounts, there had not been sufficient funds in the current account to make the June salary payment. It was resolved to remove the sweep and to keep a reasonable amount in the current account to cover payments. The loss of the bank interest each month was not considered important.

(ii) HMRC payment of PAYE £64.20 (May)*; again, future payments would be made by standing order directly from the bank account. Mrs Shaw and Mr Norman agreed to sign a letter to the Lloyds Bank with this instruction. LS/SN

(iii) Public Works Loan repayment (direct debit) £412.91

(iv) Final Invoice for New Playground – KOMPAN – £2875.55. Mr Fraser confirmed he had spoken to Russell Dyer and had obtained his undertaking to install the remaining equipment and carry out repairs to the faulty piece of equipment on Friday 19th July. He had also reached agreement with Rospa for separate inspections of the recreation ground and children’s play area, KOMPAN to pay for the former and send the report to the Clerk on completion. Above cheque to be released upon completion of these arrangements. SF

(v) Came & Co. (PC Insurance) £534.73*

(vi) OALC – Data Protection Training Course – £78.00

*cheques issued since last meeting

(b) Receipts since last meeting:

(i) Bank interest May 68p, June 74p

(ii) Donation from Uptonogood – £2000; thanks were offered to Dr Lott.

Mr Norman reported that there would be a refund of VAT in the region of £1000 relating to the bike humps payment.

(c) The Clerk reported on the OALC training course she had recently attended on Meetings and Minutes. She had found it extremely useful and pertinent and would put the knowledge gained to good use.

12. Correspondence

(i) Training Course “Getting to Grips with Local Council Finance”– 22nd October. The council recommended that Mrs Hoy should attend this course. Mr Norman was also interested and would advise the Clerk if he wished to attend. Clerk to confirm attendance. AH/SN

(ii) Winter preparedness – OCC. As there were still more than adequate supplies of salt in the garage, it was resolved not to take up this offer.

(iii) Tree Surgeon – Steve Young had offered his services. Clerk to reply stating UPC has no need of his services as most trees were owned by District Council or dealt with by councillors themselves. AH

(iv) Chatsworth Buccaneers FC, Didcot: request to use recreation ground for Sunday morning football; After discussion, it was resolved that the Clerk should write and advise they would be permitted to use the ground but could not use the hall for changing or showering; limited use of the toilets (no muddy boots) would be allowed. AH

(v) Purchase of latest edition of Local Council Administration (yellow book) at a cost of £60. Agreed. Clerk to order. AH

13. Next Meeting is scheduled for September 17th 2013

Angela Hoy, Clerk
Tel: 01235 851726
23rd July 2013