Minutes of Meeting Tuesday 18th March 2014


Minutes of Meeting of Upton Parish Council in the Village Hall on Tuesday 18th March 2014 at 8.00 pm

Attendees: Dr R Lott (Chairman), Mr S Fraser, Mrs L Shaw, Mr R Traynor, Mrs A Hoy (Clerk), Cllr S Lilly (part time)

1. Apologies were received from Mr S Norman, Mr B Shaw, Mrs 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. There were no declarations of interest.

3. Minutes of meetings held on 21st January and 11th February 2014 having been previously circulated were agreed to be a true record and signed by the Chairman.

4. Matters arising

(i) Insurance for ride-on mower (BS) – In Mr Shaw’s absence, Mr Fraser agreed to deal with insuring the ride-on mower for its occasional use on the public road SF

(ii) Review of Standing Orders (all) – All present confirmed they had now read the Standing Orders. ACH

(iii) Remaining repairs to playgrounds/gate (RL) – Mr Traynor reported the gate is now dry enough to be worked on. RT

(iv) Parish Plan Questionnaire (BS) – No progress since last meeting; Mr Fraser suggested setting up a working party to move this forward. RL pointed out that this was reported to have happened in November.

(v) Table tennis table and marquee purchase (RT/MT) – Information from Mike Tibbetts on the table tennis table (TTT) had been circulated; he had obtained quotes and had suggested the most reasonable and attractive model would cost £1,750, plus £935 for a playing surface of binding gravel to be prepared in the locality of the existing grass mounds. Mrs Shaw asked if the nearest neighbour had been consulted and Mr Traynor offered to visit them to explain the details. The costs of this amenity would be borne by a donation from Uptonogood. Subject to consultation with the nearest neighbour, it was proposed and seconded that this project should go ahead. Mr Traynor would advise Mike Tibbetts accordingly. It was noted that volunteers would be required to help with the installation of the table. No progress had been made on the acquisition of a marquee; this matter was postponed until a later meeting. RT

(vi) Electronic Archiving (RL) – Dr Lott had originally suggested the use of the Alfresco “communities” package which is free to use and would be held in the name of the parish council rather than any one individual. It was acknowledged that Brian Rippon had voiced the concern that Alfresco did not produce documents in Adobe for downloading by interested parishioners. However since the main purpose of the exercise was to adopt a “cloud” archive, this facility was not considered essential/necessary. Indeed from the beginning it was agreed that the village website would remain the principle source of UPC documents. Office 365 was proposed as an alternative at a cost of £4/month per user. After discussion it was unanimously agreed to adopt the Alfresco system on the basis of not wishing to add any additional pressures on the PCs budget. Dr Lott agreed to inform Mr Rippon of the council’s decision. The Clerk agreed to commence uploading documents to the Alfresco site for safe-keeping. RL/ACH

(vii) Pump Track Signage – The draft sign produced by Keith Evans of Shoretrax was considered by the council and all agreed it accurately conveyed the rules necessary for the safe use of the Pump Track and complied with the RoSPA guidelines. However, several councillors thought it would be improved by the deletion of the phrase “suitable for all ages and abilities” and the insertion of the words “unsupervised, to be used at own risk” to avoid exposing the council to possible litigation. This was unanimously agreed. Dr Lott to progress. RL

(viii) Replacement of self-propelled mower – A letter from Mike Brown had been circulated advising that the mower would probably only last another season before needing to be replaced. Mr Traynor agreed to discuss a suitable replacement with Mr Brown, seeking advice from the firm that serviced the existing machine. Clerk/Mr Norman to note this forthcoming expenditure in the budget. RT/ACH/SN

(x) Report on A417 improvements – Dr Lott had attended Cllr Lilly’s February meeting in Oxford called to discuss the forthcoming changes to the road network surrounding Chilton/A34, and produced a report which had been posted on the Upton News. The headline aim was to provide a pedestrian and cycleway along the entire length of the A417 from Wantage to Blewbury, approximately 2 metres wide, to be installed in stages. Highways had advised that they already owned most of the land required but would purchase more where necessary. This had been decided to take account of employees at the Science Park wishing to cycle to and from work and the new housing estates. However, because of the announcement by the Vale of a huge increase in new housing, the highways designs would now have to be reviewed. Comments were made about the difficulty of getting out of Station Road in the “rush hour”, which had been exacerbated recently when both Chilton Road and Hagbourne Hill had been closed for several days due to a coring exercise being carried out by Highways at the Chilton roundabout. It was suggested that the Clerk should write a letter to Cllr Lilly advising him of the difficulty that would arise when Chilton Road was closed to through traffic and that some traffic calming measures should be considered for its junction with the A417, such as a pedestrian crossing with lights which would allow local traffic to exit onto the A417. ACH

5. PCSO’s report: No report had been received from Michael Claydon.

6. County Councillor’s Report: Cllr Lilly advised that OCC had raised the council tax by 1.99%, the maximum that it could raise it without having to hold a referendum. This amounted to 43p increase on an average Band D house. This would provide the council with an additional £5m additional income which he assured the meeting would be spent wisely for the benefit of ratepayers, such as care of the elderly (home visits to be doubled in length) and would bring resident nurses into all schools (except academies) from next September. Cllr Lilly reported that OCC had had no advance knowledge of the Vale’s Local Plan but they would have to be consulted because the proposed new housing would have a radical effect on highways improvements already planned. He advised that work had already started on the Milton interchange, which could take up to a year. He reported that he would be having a meeting with the local Member of Parliament Ed Vaizey to discuss hospital provisions which were already inadequate, taking into account the unpredictability of traffic into Oxford on the A34, and which would become impossible when the new housing was built. He would be recommending the use of S.106 contributions from developers to help forward-fund improvements in NHS provisions for the whole area. Cllr Lilly reported that the recent Flood Forum was very well attended and advised that £150m was being provided to deal with flood problems around Oxford. Dr Lott asked for maps and plans from the February A417 meeting, and Cllr Lilly promised to send these as soon as they were available.

7. District Councillor’s Report: in Mrs Shelley’s absence there was no report.

8. Villagers’ Forum: No members of the public present.

9. Planning:

(i) Vale of White Horse – Draft Local Plan 2031: the Chairman outlined the main points and also the response from the CPRE that the proposed increases in housing were unsustainable. It was agreed that there was insufficient time to give this matter the due consideration required at the meeting and that all councillors should consider the report carefully and submit any comments in time for a response by the deadline of 4th April. Clerk

(ii) CPRE Campaign to challenge Oxfordshire SHMA in the Vale (email circulated) – as above.

(iii) MW.0021/14 Chilton Waste Retrospective Planning Application (circulated): No objections. Clerk to advise Vale accordingly. ACH

(iv) P13/V2721/HH Amendment to earlier application (Sunnybank) – ratification of decision advised to VoWH of NO STRONG VIEWS on this application and accepts that VoWH will determine as it considers appropriate.

10. Reports from Councillors on areas of responsibility:

(i) Roads and Footpaths: work required to make good path to the Cemetery. Although the Police had carried out some reinstatement, it was agreed that it would be an improvement to install a gravel path from the gate to the churchyard. It was suggested that this work could be carried out with the binding gravel purchased at the same time as the installation of the Table Tennis Table. Mr Fraser and Mr Traynor to organise. SF/RT

(ii) Young Parishioners – no report

(iii) Village Hall – (a) request for donation towards kitchen refurbishment: Advice received from ORCC made it clear that a donation from UPC to UVHAT would be counter-productive from a VAT perspective. It was agreed to ring fence a £1000 contribution to the kitchen project. On the following provisos:

1) Confirmation from Stuart Norman (not present) that current funds allowed for this;

2) Should total secured funds negate the need for some or all of the £1000, these funds would be retained by UPC. SN

b) UVHAT to advise whether UPC to pay hall hire charge (LS): No request received. UPC requested to be consulted prior to any decision. LS

iv) Communications – nothing to report

(iv) Volunteer Group – litter pick: due to an error in the advertised date for this event, there had been a poor turnout. However those that did attend managed to complete the job.

(vi) N.A.G. – no report

(vii) UKAEA Stakeholders Committee – no report

(viii) Parish Transport Rep – no report

(ix) Amenities – Pump Track Repairs/maintenance contract: Dr Lott advised that he had received a quote from Shoretrax for £500 to cover four visits per year to keep it in ‘nearly new’ condition. However, its current state was such that it would need a further £350 spending on it to bring it back into a good enough condition to permit the start of a maintenance contract. Uptonogood had kindly agreed to fund this maintenance contract, as long as the event continued to run. It was proposed to accept this offer and enter into a maintenance contract with Shoretrax, unanimously agreed. It was also agreed that the Clerk should write to Uptonogood to thank them for their kind donation. RL/ACH

11. Finance:

(a) Review the effectiveness of internal controls as part of the forthcoming audit: The Clerk advised that this document had been updated to cover various changes and that it should be signed by the Chairman at the next meeting. It was proposed that Mr Simon Powell should be re-appointed as the internal auditor, subject to his agreement to serve, all agreed. Clerk to ascertain. ACH

(b) Financial Statement – This item was deferred as Mr Norman was unable to be present.

(c) Invoices for payment:

(i) Clerk’s monthly salary (Feb and Mar) – Gross £160.56, less PAYE £32.00 net £128.56

(ii) HMRC – PAYE (Feb & Mar) £64.00

(iii) OALC Subscription invoice £133.07

(iv) Mike Brown, grass cutting expenses (awaiting mower servicing invoice)

(v) Administrative expenses (postage £6, + stationery £3.99)

(vi) Churn Churches – printing of Upton News – £60

(vii) SLCC Membership Renewal invoice – £64

(viii) ORCC subscription – decided not to subscribe for the time being

(d) Receipts since last meeting:

(i) Bank interest: Jan 37p; Feb 38p

(ii) HMRC repayment of VAT: £129.03

(iii) OCC – footpath cutting: £337.50

(iv) Wallingford Rugby Club pitch fees, £48 + £28

The above receipts were noted.

(e) After discussion the following donations were agreed:

• St Mary’s Church (upkeep of burial ground) – £200

• South & Vale Carers – £75

• Home Start, South Oxfordshire – £25

• Oxford Assn for the Blind – £25

(f) Review Financial Regulations regarding repeal of S.150(5) on cheque signatures; electronic payments; and also accounting for Council tax support grant (all in circulated email): Both Mr Norman and the Chairman were happy to continue with the current system of cheques with two signatures for paying bills. After discussion, it was agreed not to change Financial Regulations at this time. The Clerk agreed to investigate the Council Tax support Grant matter. ACH

12. Correspondence:

(a) Letter from Vale’s Planning Policy section enclosing the Local Plan 2031 (circulated): Already discussed; the Chairman expressed his view that new housing should not be visible from the A417.

(b) White Horse Harriers AC – Half Marathon being run 6th April (reminder) – noted.

13. Next Meeting Dates: Annual Parish Meeting – Monday 14th April – 7.15 for 7.30 p.m.

Parish Council Meeting – Tuesday 20th May – 8.00 p.m.

Angela Hoy, Clerk
Tel: 01235 851726
24th March 2014