Minutes of Extraordinary Meeting 1st September 2015


Minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting of Upton Parish Council

Upton Village Hall, Tuesday 1st September 2015 at 8.00 pm

PRESENT:  Dr R Lott (Chairman), Mr S Fraser, Mr S Norman, Mr R Traynor, Mrs Kathryn Fletcher, Mr Michael Butler and Mr Michael Telford (West Hagbourne PC), Mrs A Hoy (Clerk), Mr H Venners (Consultant) and 12 members of the public

1. 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 items under consideration at this meeting.  None received

3. Public Forum – The Chairman welcomed the representatives from West Hagbourne Parish Council and also the Town Planning Agent on behalf of the applicants, who gave a summation of the application.  He advised that as this was an outline application, the number and design of houses was only a suggestion and would doubtless change if a full application was submitted.  Also the 15% of open space shown on the plan and the points of access  (2 shown) were subject to change. So far the application had received some letters of concern and one of support on the website.  Mr Venners confirmed that the Jenssen brothers only owned the one field in the application, measuring some 2 acres.  West Hagbourne PC members were then invited to give their opinion, and although in principle they did not object to some houses being built on the site, were adamant that 14 was far too many for a small village like West Hagbourne, especially at the very edge of existing settlements and technically in Upton parish.  Mr Venners emphasised that the brothers had no intention of developing the rest of the field, although the mention of photovoltaic cells on the plan was noted.  Mr Venners confirmed that within the 14 houses, 40% would have to be affordable, being split between rental and shared ownership. The remaining 8 being open market houses.  If the number was to be below 4, there was no need to provide affordable housing.  There was general disquiet that developing this field was the “thin edge of the wedge” and that the remaining fields between West Hagbourne and Upton would quickly become a target for developers.  It was generally accepted that the current local plan (now superceded by the proposed 2031 version) had not provided enough houses and that there was a shortfall both nationally and locally.  An email objection received from a local resident was read out as she was unable to attend the meeting but wishes her views to be heard. Several residents commented on the lack of shops, school places, adequate footpaths connecting the villages, drainage issues and the additional traffic that would be generated if the plan was approved. Concern was expressed that the development was outside the settlement boundary of both villages and ignored the separate identities which had been in existence for a very long time.  Mr Venners confirmed that he had not so far had any meetings with the Vale planners; he stated that the 2031 plan was  awaiting approval by ministers and as such the Nation Planning Framework document took precedent at this time.    If the Vale were to grant permission the developer could provide extra facilities such as public open space, play equipment or another contribution.   The Chairman encouraged residents to make their own comments on the planning website, and closed the Public Forum.

4. Planning Application:

P15/V1649/O – Residential Development south of Horse & Harrow, West Hagbourne – 14 houses.  The Chairman asked the Councillors for their views.  The lack of nearby shops, inadequate footpaths, an increase in vehicle traffic near a dangerous corners and overcrowded local schools were all cited as reasons for objecting to the application. The need for extra housing in Upton was queried when so many large estates were being developed nearby, and it had been reported that some of these were not selling.  The Chairman added that there was a serious danger that the local bus route would lose its subsidy because of budget cuts that would make the proposed houses even more isolated.  Additionally the new estate would be visible from the AONB, and it had been noted that the drainage was inadequate on the site.  It was then proposed that the application be refused on the grounds of sustainability, which was passed  unanimously.  Clerk to advise the Vale. Clerk

Members of the public left the meeting.

5. P15/V1772/FUL – The Gate House, Reading Road – replacement of existing family dwelling with single family dwelling.  (Earlier application P14/V2550/FUL was approved by the Vale on July 17th).  After discussion and perusal of both sets of plans, it was agreed unanimously not to object to the application.   Clerk to advise the Vale. Clerk

6. Emergency Planning – grants available for resilience funding:  Councilors were encouraged to email Mr Fraser with suggestions for emergency equipment which could be useful to Upton. ALL/SF

7. Repairs to Galvanised Fence  – Mr de Wilde’s email concerning vital repairs to the fence at the entrance to the village hall car park was discussed, and it was agreed unanimously to request him to purchase the necessary equipment and proceed with the repairs.  Clerk to write.

8. Parish Plan questionnaire – Mr Traynor reported that the Parish Plan questionnaire had been distributed to almost every house in the village and many responses had already been received.  It was agreed to extend the deadline for another two weeks and then commence analysis. RT

Appendix A – Schedule of payments

Description Amount
ROSPA (Playsafety Ltd) playground inspection 192.00
KOMPAN Ltd, replacement parts for play equipment 36.02
Uncontested Election fee 100.00
OALC Training Course, Mrs K Marshall 78.00

Angela Hoy, Clerk
Tel:  01235 851726
11th September 2015