Minutes of Meeting 15 March 2016


Minutes of the  Meeting of Upton Parish Council

Upton Village Hall, Meeting room, Tuesday 15th March 2016 at 8.00 pm

PRESENT: Dr R Lott (Chair), Mr S Norman, Mr S Fraser, Mr R Traynor, Mrs K Fletcher, Cllr S Lilley (OCC), & Cllr R Waite (DCC), Mrs A Hoy (Clerk)

1.         Apologies for Absence: Ms K Marshall, Mrs J Shelley

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 declared.

3.         Adoption of minutes of meeting:  19th January and 17th February 2016, having been previously circulated, were agreed to be a true record and were signed by the Chairman.

4.         Reports

  • County Councillor’s Report – Cllr Lilley reported that the A4130 would be shut for four nights this week and three next week, to remove a former nuclear pipe that runs under it and the railway line at what is known as Backhill Tunnel.  Cllr Lilly also advised that there would be a forum in Didcot concerning Valley Park and the infrastructure being proposed by the land promoter; of paramount need were more local medical facilities and educational units.  Other items included transport, places for people to meet and an area for self-build houses.  More fire engines would also needed to cope with the additional houses and people moving into the greater Didcot area.  Application was being made to the Vale on April 20th. It was also noted that Thames Water had not been dealing with the sewerage problems and were blaming developers. The new CIL being introduced should hopefully cover infrastructure needs.  Cllr Lilly then moved onto the letter he had received from a young resident regarding the need for a pedestrian crossing across the A417; Two highways officers had looked at the problem, which was not an easy task, and made more difficult by speed surveys carried out up to 2006 which showed average speeds of 43mph which precluded a zebra crossing as such speeds were too fast.  Therefore a signalled crossing would be required, requiring a power supply as well as street lighting and probably road widening. CIL or S 106 money could be used.  It was also too dangerous for a ‘ lollipop man’. Cllr Fletcher asked if it would be possible for the school bus to stop on both sides of the A417 (i.e., at the bottom of Chilton Road and in Station Road)?  Cllr Lilly agreed to look into this suggestion, as it was up to the Council where the bus stopped.
  • District Councillor’s Report – Cllr R Waite reported on several Planning matters, including the Owlscote Manor Farm, about which there was a meeting at the Vale next Wednesday; he advised that the Planning Officer was minded to approve the application but with 16 conditions (mainly relating to drainage).  Cllr Waite offered to speak on behalf of Upton residents if required and to contact him if this was the case.  He also mentioned the land to the rear of the George and Dragon at Wattle Cottage Farm, where an application had been made for change of use from agricultural to equestrian use, and noted that the owner had recently been to court for contravening planning regulations and been found guilty.  The other matter concerned Alden Farm; Cllr Waite advised he had been invited to meet the new owner, who wanted to encourage young people’s interest in horses and improve the various buildings at the farm to accommodate them.  He was also keen to erect a gate at the entrance to the lane to prevent vehicles using it to gain access to the Downs for hare-coursing and other activities.  The property straddles the Upton/Blewbury boundary, but Blewbury had received the application.  Cllr Waite was pleased to hear that the PC had received an invitation to the forthcoming Didcot Garden Town meeting and hoped one of the PCs would attend.  Finally, he raised the matter of dog mess, which was becoming an increasing problem and offered to provide notices if the PC thought that would help.  He also said that if a guilty dog owner could be identified, the Environmental Officer would follow it up.
  • PCSO’s report – PCSO K Jennings was unable to be present but had sent a report advising residents to be aware of thieves operating in rural areas and stealing items from sheds and garages, and to take necessary precautions.  Also groups of “knockers” selling goods, people were advised to check their identity and avoid allowing them into their homes.  He hoped to be able to attend the next PC meeting and introduce himself.

5.         Public Forum:  none

6.         Matters arising:

      Parish Council Meeting on 19th January:

a)                  Emergency Planning update – Mr Traynor reported that he now had a team of volunteers, but needed more.  Dr Lott confirmed that he and Stuart Fraser would form part of the team. Mrs Fletcher agreed to write an article for the Upton News asking for more volunteers, with relevant skills. Mr Traynor agreed to circulate the plan again.

b)                  Parish plan update – Mr Traynor had circulated a final version for comment, with a new front cover.  Dr Lott suggested that the PC needs to consider proposals for further action and expenditure and requested these be included in the plan so a decision could be made on what would be feasible.  Mr Traynor confirmed there was a Steering group meeting next week when this could be dealt with.

c)                  Dr Lott reported he had asked Cllr Lilly and Highways for action on potholes in Prospect Road. Cllr Lilly advised that he had received Dr Lott’s suggestion that the road should be resurfaced whilst the road machinery was in close proximity at Hagbourne Hill, and noted the PC may offer a contribution for the work if this was an acceptable solution; he had passed it on to the relevant authorities and promised to advise the result and possible cost.

d)                   Downland Transport Campaign Group – Dr Lott reported he had formulated and circulated a transport questionnaire with the March Upton News.  He agreed to collate the data and report results back to the group.

e)                  Queen’s 90th birthday celebration: Mrs Fletcher agreed to ask various people if they were willing to work on arrangements for a picnic in June.  The Clerk passed on a letter and sample of a gold Medallion, which could be given as prizes for games at this event.  Additionally it was noted that the Vale had offered funds to help finance celebration events.

f)                   Post Office Outreach – response to Upton News articles was still disappointing.  The Clerk reported that she had received an offer from the IT group in Aston Tirrold who held regular help groups in their village hall during the weekly Coffee Morning when the Post Office was present, to come and talk to Upton people.  Clerk to investigate whether the Drop In sessions were still being held in Upton and whether it was worth pursuing this.

7.         Business to be transacted:

a)                  Attendance at the Greater Didcot Garden Town Meeting for Parish Councillors, April 16. Mr Norman offered to attend, and Dr Lott also said he would if work commitments allowed.

b)                  Budget 2016/17 – Mr Norman circulated a copy of the draft budget and asked all Councillors to fill in the gaps for approval at the AGM May. All agreed with this proposal.

c)                  Car boot/Dog Show event on Recreation Field on Saturday 2nd April – Since the agenda was issued the date had been changed to June 4.  It was agreed unanimously that the Recreation Field should not be used for the purpose of Car Boot Sales that were not directly for the benefit of the village. It was noted that  Mr Amos had given permission for car parking in his field off Chilton Road. With this in mind it was agreed to give permission for the Dog Show emphasising that all dog mess (including bagged) must be removed from the site at the end of the event. Clerk to notify.

d)                  Donations – After discussion it was agreed to continue supporting St Mary’s Church with a donation of £200, and to give South & Vale Carers £50.  Payments would be made in the next financial year [Just heard on South Today that this charity is closing down!].

e)                  Methodist Chapel – Dr Lott had received a letter asking if a public meeting should be held to discuss whether community use of the Chapel could continue. Dr Lott reported that after making equiries with those who had shown a prior interest in the Chapel, it was clear that neither the finances nor manpower would be forthcoming to make this a reality. It was therefore unanimously agreed not to pursue this any further.  Dr Lott to confirm to this effect.  A request was made to obtain the latest thoughts/plans from the Methodists. Clerk to enquire.

f)                   Dog bins emptying – Agree potential solutions to pursue.  Volunteers had reported issues regarding bins overflowing with dog mess, presenting a health hazard and making emptying a highly unpleasant task. Dr Lott proposed that dog trainers currently using the recreation ground for classes at no cost, should pay a fee to cover the costs of emptying the bins more regularly. Dr Lott agreed to investigate potential costs of a commercial collection and would advise accordingly

g)                  Discuss Shoretrax Maintenance Contract renewal.  Postpone to AGM.

8.         Planning:

  • P15/V2406/FUL and V2407/ LB – Owlscote, removal of all non-historic buildings, granary conversion, erection of 3 new dwellings + gardens and garaging; recommended refusal.  Awaiting outcome of Vale meeting next week.
  • P16/V0189/FUL Alden Farm, re-application for expired permission (Blewbury Parish) change of use for disuses milking parlour to stables, repair and maintain existing flat, change of use for old barn to two one bed flats.
  • P16/V0550/FUL, for development work at the following location: Land adjacent and rear of the George and Dragon Reading Road Upton: change of use from agricultural to equestrian.  Dr Lott stressed that this application was for a change of use from Agricultural to Equestrian use only and should not be confused with any subsequent applications. A discussion was had and concerns were raised about the suitability of the land for horses given the amount of disturbance and debris from the demolition of the illegally built stable block. A vote was taken, with the resulting majority being No Objection with comments to the effect that the land should be properly restored to agricultural use first, in accordance with the existing demolition order.

For noting:


  • Vale of White Horse – approval of Precept request, total due £8500 + £46 Grant
  • Queen’s Birthday Commemorative Medal – available for Schools & Council
  • OALC Annual Subscription, Invoice £133.07
  • Community First Oxfordshire (formerly ORCC) request for subscription £35; not approved
  • A417 Crossing requested by young resident; letter to Cllr Lilly
  • Letter from Vale re P16/V0543/CM, for development work at the following location: Prospect Farm Chilton Didcot, filling of a disused railway cutting in the parish of Upton with controlled waste and quarry waste with the intention of restoring the land to agricultural use
  • Dog mess problems reported on the path behind G&D.
  • Caravans on land at Warren Piece – Clerk had contacted Planning and an Enforcement officer was investigating.

Receipts since last meeting

  • Bank interest, Jan 16p, Feb 15p
  • VAT refund £126.04

Angela Hoy, Clerk
Tel:  01235 851726
16th March 2016

Appendix A – Schedule of payments

Description Amount
OALC Subscription 133.07
Clerk’s salary Jan/Feb @ 149.60 299.20
TOTAL 432.27