Minutes of Meeting 17th November 2015


Minutes of the Meeting of Upton Parish Council, Upton Village Hall, Meeting room, Tuesday 17th November 2015 at 8.00 pm

PRESENT: Dr R Lott (Chair), Mr S Fraser, Mr S Norman, Mr R Traynor, Mrs K Marshall, Cllr R Waite, Mr H Venners (Town Planner for the developer), Mrs A Hoy (Clerk) and six Members of the public.

  1. Apologies for Absence: Cllr S Lilley, Cllr J Shelley, Mrs K Fletcher
  1. 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 declared.

  1. Adoption of minutes of meeting: 15th September, having been previously circulated, were agreed to be a true record and were signed by the Chairman of that meeting.
  1. Reports
    • County Councillor’s Report – none received
    • District Councillor’s Report – Cllr Waite reported that the recent planning application for  14 houses near the Horse & Harrow pub had been withdrawn prior to determination. A further application had been received at Owlscote Manor Farm (for discussion this evening) for which the consultation period ended on 18th November; problems with water courses and flooding had been highlighted. Cllr Waite also advised that Stage 2 of the Vale’s Local Plan would be examined in February at the Beacon in Wantage, and further details would be on the Vale website later this week. It was hoped the Plan would be approved so that the Vale would have power over planning applications by mid 2016. Cllr Waite was pleased to announce there would free parking over the build up to Christmas in Abingdon, Faringdon and Wantage. He requested any instances of poor public service should be reported to the Vale, following the recent prosecution of a taxi driver for refusing to take a guide dog in his cab. Finally he thanked Upton residents for cooperating in waste recycling, leading to the Vale coming second behind South Oxfordshire for the second year running in the whole country for recycling waste.
    • PCSO’s report (no PCSO in post at present)
  1. Public Forum : Owlscote Manor Farm –. Concerns were expressed at potential privacy and light problems, with single storey buildings being replaced by two storey ones. Mr Venner explained that the proposed new houses were sited in an elevated position so as to be above flood areas.. It was queried whether the new development would be outside the village boundary, thereby setting a precedent. However, Mr Fraser had spoken to the planning officer about this and been assured no precedent would be set as no further building would be allowed on the other side of the notional line marking the edge of the village built area. There was a general acceptance that the estate should/would be developed and that the preference would be for fewer properties. Mr Venners stated that the plan for only 3 houses was a compromise to lessen potential traffic issues. There was concern expressed that more houses in Church Street would exacerbate existing drainage issues with significant risk of flooding. The owner of the Manor House asked why all the exits would now go past his gate? Mr Venner said this was to give better visibility at the junction of High Street and Church Street. Mr Fraser pointed out that the plans were inconsistent with the flood assessment in how much of the culvert would be opened up; Mr Venner apologised and said this was an error that he would correct. POST MEETING NOTE: This has now been submitted. Other local residents emphasised the on-going problems they had with the stream getting blocked and causing their properties to flood during periods of heavy rain. All agreed opening up the up culvert made sense but emphasised that the stream would need to be kept clear, perhaps by inserting a deed of covenant to enforce riparian liability. It might require a clause in the deeds or a property management company to regulate this. Concern was also expressed at the loss of views from surrounding properties, with the new houses being considerably higher than the existing barns. Mr Venner said the aim was for the buildings to appear “barn like” but he would consider whether reducing their height was feasible. Mr Traynor mentioned the draft Parish Plan, recently analysed, which clearly showed that few villagers wanted more big houses, whereas most wanted smaller two bed properties; this new development would go against the canvassed wishes of the village. However it was also noted that the site did suit fewer large houses than many smaller ones. In support of the application, it was generally agreed that a lot of thought and care had gone into the plans and only three houses instead of many more was appreciated. Mr Venner was asked to confirm where the essential services would be connected to the existing drains and agreed to provide this information, as this was a crucial element in avoiding future sewage problems for the neighbours’ houses.

A417 Pedestrian Crossing: An 11 year old resident described the problems she had crossing the A417 in the mornings to get to the bus stop in Station Road, which would get worse in the dark winter months, and wanted to know what the PC proposed to do to improve this situation for all pedestrians having to cross this busy road. Dr Lott confirmed that the PC had requested a pedestrian crossing on many occasions, which so far had always been refused, as the A417 was a trunk road on which crossings were not permitted. However, there were now crossings in other places, notably East Hendred, where money came from developers of a new housing estate. Dr Lott advised there was a long list of improvements to be achieved in upgrading the A417, including a crossing, although this particular item would not be covered in the current round of works. All agreed it was essential to make the road safer before a fatal accident happened, although the actual siting of a crossing was difficult because of proximities to junctions etc. Dr Lott promised to bring the matter to Highways again at the next A417 meeting taking place on 3rd December at County Hall in Oxford and would report back. Public Forum was then closed and the meeting resumed.

  1. Matters arising:

Parish Council Meeting on 15th September:

  1. Emergency Planning update – Mr Traynor reported he had met Ian Ross and would now write an Emergency Plan based on the Oxfordshire guide. RT
  2. Concrete bags in Stream Road and Damage to verges caused by refuse collections – an email response had been received from Biffa, which promised that in future the driver would take more care not to encroach on grass verges and avoid damaging the concrete bags in upper Stream Road.
  3. Japanese Knotweed in Frog Alley – Mr Fraser reported that the weed had twice been treated and was dying off. However, he would check again in the spring in case it re-occurred.                                                                                                 SF
  4. Parish plan update – Mr Traynor reported that the analysis of responses to questionnaire had been completed and now needed presenting to the Village. There would be a cost incurred in printing a hard copy for each household. As in previous Parish Plans, this one would be presented in the village hall, possibly at the AGM in March and also on the website. Printing costs to be assessed. RT
  5. ROSPA Report: Mr Traynor and Dr Lott confirmed that the necessary repairs had been completed to the recreation area. Dr Lott reported sighting a wasp nest in the play area near the zip wire, but it was not thought this would cause a problem as they would be dying with the advent of winter. Dr Lott agreed to arrange a meeting with Ms Marshall to hand over supervision of the play area inspections. RL/KM
  6. Business to be transacted:
  7. Adopt Recreation Ground Rules: A document modelled on Harwell’s was circulated and the text agreed. Clerk agreed to circulate it to UVHAT and Graham de Wilde for wider consultation.                                                                                                 RL/Clerk
  8. Data Storage: Decide on appropriate replacement of current “cloud” provider (Alfresco) as free service is to cease and proposed charges were excessive. It was agreed to defer any decision awaiting further research. RL
  9. Possible creation of “false footway” in Prospect Road to enable footpath surface standards to be maintained. Dr Lott had been advised this would cost £650 for painting a white line down one side of the road; no-one could see any advantage in this suggestion and it was agreed to continue asking for resurfacing of the whole road surface. Dr Lott to pursue.                                                             RL
  10. Appointment of Mike Brown to update PC pages on the Upton Village website. After discussion it was agreed to accept Mr Brown’s offer; the Clerk was requested to send him a copy of the Model Publication document, which would be the basis on which documents should be uploaded, in Pdf format.                                                 Clerk
  11. Use of the Recreation Field by New U9 youth football team – on Wednesday evenings (daylight permitting). It was agreed to approve this request and the Clerk was requested to advise them and suggest a cost of £20 week, not including use of the hall. Clerk
  12. Post Office Outreach – Blewbury Post Office’s draft proposal (circulated) was based on 4 hours a week in the Village Hall, with refreshments being served and possibly combined with IT sessions, as already takes place in Aston Tirrold on a monthly basis. It was agreed this would be a desirable addition to Upton’s facilities. As Post Office Limited would required evidence of public demand the Clerk was requested to formulate a questionaire and pass to Mike Brown for next edition of Upton News.             Clerk
  1. Planning:
  • P15/V2406/FUL Owlcotes Manor Farm, High Street – removal of non historic buildings, conversion of listed former granary to single dwelling, remove modern additions to existing dwelling, erection of 3 new dwellings with access, gardens and garaging. After Public Forum and further discussion, it was unanimously agreed to object to the application on the grounds that the flood alleviation measures shown on the plans were not consistent with the measures in the risk assessment; the proposed two-storey houses were excessively tall (9+m) and considered overbearing; no on-going plan for maintenance of the restored stream was proposed which would be essential to avoid future flooding of surrounding properties; the foul water drainage arrangements for the new properties were not covered in the plan and needed to be specified. However, much of the application was considered praiseworthy. The Clerk was requested to forward the response to the Vale. NOTE: full text of the response attached to these minutes.                                                                                                                                                 Clerk

For noting:

  • P14/V2550/FUL The Gate House, Reading Road – additional planning permission, no objection; Vale – application granted
  • P15/V1649/0 – Fourteen houses next to Horse & Harrow pub, PC objected; application withdrawn before determination.


  • Didcot Youth Team – unauthorised use of recreation ground (email)
  • OCC Entry to Primary or Infant School September 2016 + poster
  • Lloyds Bank – confirmation of electronic banking facility for S Fraser and S Norman
  • Oxfordshire Assn for the Blind request for donation – advised added to list for March
  • Code of Conduct Training, Chairman and Clerk attended 10th Clerk was requested to ask for case studies for circulation to other councillors. Clerk
  • Oxfordshire Together launch meeting (email circulated); K Fletcher attended but unfortunately had now resigned from the Council and was unable to present a report.
  • Vale of White Horse – invitation to attend Autumn Town and Country Forum on Monday 16th November, Mr Fraser attended. Discussion on Vale Local Plan which all hoped would be approved soon, perhaps in part if not the whole. POST MEETING NOTE: Mr Fraser circulated a link to the meeting report.
  • Email from Mike Brown concerning works to be carried out on Chilton Road. The Clerk was requested to advise Mr Brown that decisions had already been taken and work was underway.
  • Chilton Road and Hagbourne Hill – update letter from Highways (circulated).

Receipts since last meeting

  • Bank interest, Sept 15p, Oct 33p

Angela Hoy, Clerk

Tel: 01235 851726

19th November 2015

Appendix A – Schedule of payments

Description Amount
Mrs A Hoy – number plate for John Deere mower 13.69
Mrs A Hoy, salary Sept/Oct by BACS 399.20
TOTAL £235.09

UPTON PARISH COUNCIL objects to this application on the following grounds:
1. The application includes a flood alleviation plan involving the removal of the culvert currently used to convey the stream through the site. This plan and its predicted reduction in flood zones is based on the culvert being open up in Plot 2, Plot 3 and the Owlscote Manor Farm plot. However the plans before us clearly show the culvert remaining within Owlscote Manor Farm plot. The flood alleviation plan is therefore not relevant to the application. This may well be a mistake with the submitted plans but we can only make a decision on the plans before us.
2. The proposed houses are considered to be overbearing to the environs of the plot. Currently the plot contains a collection of single storey buildings estimated to be between 3-4 meters in height. Most of these sit in lower portions of the site. The proposed buildings are in excess of 9 meters in height which seems needlessly excessive for two story dwellings. In addition they are to be situated in the higher portions for the plot (up to 2 meters higher) which accentuates their overbearing nature. It is accepted that the higher positions are necessary given the potential and frequency of flooding that this site experiences. However we feel much could be done to minimise the height of the buildings themselves.
3. No ongoing plan for the maintenance of the stream has been proposed. It is our local experience that open streams on private land are not adequately maintained in all cases. Any flood risk improvement seen from opening up the culvert could be short lived if the stream is allowed to be become blocked or is encroached by garden planting or natural vegetation. We believe it is essential that controls are put in place to guarantee the capacity of the stream as neglect on the part of plots 2 & 3 could cause flooding for Netherbrook, Owlscote Manor Farm and The Manor House.
4. No foul water drainage plan is evident. The local sewer system has constant problems and it should be clear that any new properties will enter the sewer system “downstream” from existing properties. This can be easily achieved but should be specified as a condition.
Upton Parish Council do applaud the effort and sensitivity evident in much of the application and do not object to the proposals with regards to:
1. Restoring the stream / culvert removal;
2. The Grain Barn restoration;
3. Owlscote Manor Farm modifications;
4. No. of proposed properties.
There are reservations regarding the extension of the “village line” but in this case we regard the development more as infill, given the position of surrounding properties and the fact that there are many building already on the site. However we would not want to see any development on this site as setting any precedent for other developments on the edge of Upton.