Minutes of Meeting Tuesday 21st January 2014


Minutes of Meeting of Upton Parish Council in the Village Hall

On Tuesday 21st January 2014 at 8.00 pm

Attendees: Dr R Lott (Chairman), Mr S Fraser, Mr S Norman (from 9pm), Mrs L Shaw, Mrs A Hoy (clerk). Part time: Councillor S Lilly (from 8.20pm), Mr R Farrell (BPC), 11 members of the public

1. Apologies – Mr B Shaw, Councillor J Shelley, PCSO M. Clayden

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. Mrs Shaw declared an interest relating to the suggested shed application for the Village Hall as its likely location would be adjoining her boundary.

3. Minutes of meetings held on 18th November, 9th December 2013: the minutes having been previously circulated were agreed to be a true record and signed by the Chairman. The Minutes of 6th January 2014 were also agreed but it was noted that councillors should have signed a Declaration of Interest relating to Item 5 Budgets & Precept Setting; each councillor (with the exception of Mr B Shaw) signed the Declaration of Interest sheet.

4. Matters arising (18th November)

(i) Gap analysis of financial regulations (SN/AH): after slight amendments were made to the draft document, it was agreed that the Financial Regulations be adopted and placed on the council website. Clerk

(ii) Alternative insurance quotes for ride-on mower (BS): postponed, discuss at next meeting.

(iii) Model publication scheme for UPC website (RT): it was agreed these be adopted and placed on the website once the various links had been updated RT/Clerk

(iv) Time-keeping/Standing orders/reporting between meetings (ALL): Dr Lott requested all councillors to read the Standing Orders before the next meeting ALL

(v) Improvements to playgrounds arising out of ROSPA report (RL/RT): all required improvements had been completed except the gate [to the small playground?] and the “shrinkage of the rubber mat”; Dr Lott stated that on inspection, the gap appeared to be due to land slippage rather than rubber shrinkage. It was agreed to fill the gap in any event. RL

(vi) Parish Plan Questionnaire (BS): Yet to be circulated to and reviewed by all councillors. BS / ALL

(vii) Risk Assessment (SN/LS): after discussion and a few minor amendments, it was agreed that the Risk Assessment should be adopted and posted on the website Clerk

(vii) Smart Water equipment marking system (RT): Mr Traynor to pass invoice to Clerk RT

(viii) Table tennis table and marquee purchase (RT and MT): postpone to next meeting; site yet to be determined, possibly near the old humps.

(ix) OALC training course for Mr Traynor: forthcoming one is already full; Clerk to investigate when the next one will be held and reserve a place for Mr Traynor. Clerk

Matters arising (9th December)

(i) Electronic Archiving : Dr Lott was still investigating alternatives which will be acceptable to both UPC and Webmaster. He requested all to look at Microsoft Office 365, which would give 25GB of storage at a cost of £3.40 per month per person, but would belong to UPC. The council could also have its own domain and website if needed. An alternative suggestion was Alfresco, which was free to use. To be discussed at next meeting. ALL

5. PCSO’s report – Michael Clayden had sent a report in view of his likely absence. He reported on the recent tragic murder of Jayden Parkinson and advised that he was on duty in the village during the police investigation. Complaints had been received about the state of the footpath near the Church after the Police had left; this was being investigated and would be put right. A tree fell on the A417 and Highways were unable to attend for three hours; two Police Officers controlled the traffic until the tree was cleared. There was also a minor RTA at the junction of High Street and the A417 between two vehicles and a motorcycle; fortunately no injuries were sustained. The PCSO would be holding a Have Your Say meeting in the Village Hall meeting room on 15th February between 3-4pm.

6. County Councillor’s Report – Cllr Lilly expressed his concern about central government cutting back hard on county council’s budgets, with the result that Oxfordshire were considering putting up council tax by 1.99%, below the legislative threshold of 2% at which point a referendum is required. The Minister for Local Government Eric Pickles wanted this threshold reduced to 1%; a referendum would cost £650k but would result in several millions raised in taxes which would help towards the £65m cuts that were in the pipeline, resulting in a 30% decrease in spending. Cllr Lilly reported that the budgets would be announced on 11th February 2014. Many subsidies were likely to be cut in 2014/15, including care for the elderly, children in care, bus services etc. Dr Lott remarked that the local bus route 94/95 to and from Didcot was close to being commercially viable, and added that if the school bus to Blewbury was axed, it was possible that the children could go there on the 94/95 with some timetable alterations.

7. District Councillor’s Report: in the absence of Mrs Shelley, there was no report from the District Council.

8. Villagers’ Forum: 11 members of the public were present to hear what Cllr Lilly had to say about the ongoing discussions regarding improvements to the A417/Chilton roads and until his arrival, various parishioners expressed their disquiet at the ever increasing traffic on Chilton Road. Dr Lott thanked Professor H. Gutfreund for his letter explaining his view that the proposed interchange at the A34 would double the traffic on Chilton Road, and several parishioners reported accidents or near accidents caused by cars attempting to overtake them when they were turning into their drives. Another parishioner expressed his concern at the excessive speed of motorists driving on the A417 when passing through Upton, despite the new VAS signs at both ends of the village. It was also noted that Chilton Road was part of the Sustrans Network but is very dangerous to cyclists with the existing amount of vehicle traffic. Several parishioners suggested that the best solution was to make Chilton Road a cul-de-sac by closing it off at the top where it meets Hagbourne Hill, and were even willing to contribute money if required to bring this about. Another problem was the building works to the new reservoir being carried out by Thames Water, which was causing an increase in heavy vehicle traffic up Chilton Road; however, it was agreed that this was a short term problem and would soon pass. However, Cllr Lilly requested that he be advised if the traffic problems persisted.

Dr Lott introduced Cllr Lilly to the meeting, who was able to reassure the parishioners that it was also his view that Chilton Road should be closed off at its junction with Hagbourne Hill; however, he advised that all matters pertaining to the proposed road alterations would be discussed at the meeting he was arranging on 21st February, to which all twelve relevant parish councils had been invited. Dr Lott would attend on behalf of Upton PC. Cllr Lilly stressed the importance of all the councils appreciating each other’s points of view, as what was good for one would not necessarily be good for the others, and a consensus was needed on how best to spend the available funding. He also pointed out that during the construction phase life would get more difficult. Cllr Lilly expressed his willingness to receive email or telephone communications from concerned residents and gave out his contact details, which he suggested could also be put on the Council website. Cllr Lilly was pleased to advise that Chilton Council had come round to the idea of the slip roads and was now in favour of the present design. It was suggested that as an interim measure, the existing signpost to Reading/Wallingford at the Chilton Road junction with Hagbourne Hill be removed; Cllr Lilly approved of this idea and it was agreed that the Clerk would write to him suggesting this action. POST MEETING NOTE: the signpost had already been removed. Clerk

Members of the public left the meeting.

Mr Richard Farrell from Blewbury Parish Council was also present to discuss the Blewbury Neighbour-hood Development Plan (BNDP), which had recently been commenced. Dr Lott had requested that Upton be considered for inclusion in the BNDP if it was not too late to amend the boundaries; he explained that both villages had similar views, had interests in common such as Coffin Way footpath, the school, Post Office etc. Mr Farrell explained that Blewbury was going down the neighbourhood plan route because a Parish Plan had less influence with the District Council when it came to planning matters and as Blewbury was a large village it was likely to have to absorb another 80-100 houses in the medium term and would prefer to be able to say where these should be situated. Mr Farrell had been impressed with the number and calibre of local residents who had volunteered to work on the BNDP. A housing needs survey would have to be undertaken, and one requirement of this would be that neighbours would need to be consulted, including Upton and a part of Chilton. At a recent BNDP meeting the view had been expressed that they should stick to the Blewbury boundaries. However, this did not rule out amending the boundaries of the BNDP at a later date. Mr Fraser expressed the view that planning decisions on the Blewbury/Upton border could impact on Blewbury as well. Mr Farrell stressed that Upton PC were very welcome to attend any of the public events which were being planned (the first being 8th March) and to keep in regular touch. On the subject of costs, these had diminished since the first neighbourhood plans were enacted, now that quite a few had been brought to fruition. Dr Lott remarked that Upton could contribute pro rata, adding that Upton would prefer to plan its future rather than having outside imposition. Mr Farrell left the meeting. Dr Lott suggested that a question about the BNDP be included in the Parish Plan questionnaire and make a decision at the next meeting whether to request formal inclusion in the BNDP.

9. Planning:

P13/V2721/HH Sunnybank High Street 
 Proposed ground floor rear and side extension, proposed garage extension and conversion. Proposed detached garage to front. Proposed timber cladding and rendered finish to existing facing brickwork. Mr Fraser had visited the site and reported the neighbours had suggested that the carport should be sited further back as it would obstruct their view in its planned position at the front of the block. It was agreed unanimously that the council would not object to the application but suggested that the carport be sited further back to lessen its impact on the immediate area. Clerk to advise the Vale accordingly. Clerk

P13/V0702/FUL – Livery Stables , Wattle Cottage Farm. Rejected 02/08/13; appeal lodged 26/09/13, hearing date set for 13th May 2014 at 10am in Wantage

10. Reports from Councillors on areas of responsibility:

(i) Roads and Footpath: Mr Norman reported that an invoice for £337.50 had been raised for OCC in respect of cutting footpaths for the year 2013/14. The Clerk was requested to ascertain whether this arrangement would continue for the year 2014/15. Clerk

A letter had been received from Oxfordshire Area Ramblers asking for volunteers to be appointed Parish Path Wardens; the Clerk was instructed to advice the Ramblers that Upton’s Parish Path Wardens would be Graham de Wilde and Mike Brown. Clerk

(ii) Young Parishioners – no report

(iii) Village Hall

(a) Car Parking: Dr Lott had put a map up in the hall showing where visitors can park; he advised that it was not practical to mark the ground and stakes were not suitable. It was suggested that hirers of the hall could deploy traffic cones to indicate parking areas, which UVHAT could provide;

(b) UVHAT had requested that planning permission be sought for a shed to house the outside chairs; after discussion it was agreed that there was plenty of space in the tractor shed and that further storage space was not required at this time;

(c) A letter had been received from Mrs J West requesting a donation of £1k to UVHAT for the planned kitchen refurbishment, which was likely to cost £25-30k; it was agreed this should be discussed at the March meeting when charitable donations are usually considered. The Clerk was instructed to reply to Mrs West to this effect. Clerk

(d) Mrs Shaw was requested to advise UVHAT to give a minimum of a fortnight’s notice of requests in future, to allow for discussion to take place prior to meetings. LS

(e) Mrs Shaw advised that The Memorandum of Understanding between UVHAT and UPC was being redrafted, for further discussion at next meeting.

(iv) Communications – Dr Lott reported that agreement had been made to pay the Church Office bi-annually for the printing of the Upton News. The first invoice would be requested in March so that any one-year’s printing costs will fall within that financial year.

(v) Volunteer Group – Mr Traynor reported he was pleased with the response for help to undertake the various jobs around the recreation field. With the exception of the gate and rubber “shrinkage” (above), all other jobs were completed. These included: Rotavation of the bark surface in the new play area; removal of concrete and bricks left over from the village hall extension, that had been dumped in the old bike jumps and removed again during the pump track development; Jet washing the area under the old slide; removal of grass growth over the rubber matting below the cargo net.

(vi) N.A.G. – nothing to report.

(vii) UKAEA Stakeholders Committee – nothing to report

(viii) Parish Transport Rep – nothing to report.

11. Finance:

(a) Invoices for payment:

(i) Clerk’s monthly salary: £160.56 less PAYE £32.00 paid by BACS (ii) Burial Ground loan payment – £412.91 by direct debit

(b) Receipts since last meeting:

(i) Bank interest: Nov 39p; Dec 33p;

(ii) HMRC repayment of VAT: none

(iii) OCC invoice raised for 2013 footpath cutting (£ 337.50)

12. Correspondence:

(a) Copy letter received by email from Mike Brown to Cllr Lilly regarding the A417/Chilton Road; together with a reply from Cllr Lilly.

13. Next Meeting Date: 18th March 2014; Annual Parish Meeting Monday 13th April 2014

Angela Hoy, Clerk
Tel: 01235 851726
28th January 2014