Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting 16th April 2018

Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held in the Village Hall on Monday 16th April 2018 at 7.30 p.m.

Present:- Brendan Heneghan (Temp Chair/BH), Liz cooper (Clerk/EC). Karen Marshall (KM), Stuart Norman (SN), Mr & Mrs de Wilde (GdeW. RdeW), Mike Brown (MB), Jessie West (JW)

1. Apologies for absence Stuart Fraser, Brian Rippon, Michael Fox-Davies, Liz Hardy, Marion Mills, Jo Fidgen

2. Welcome and opening remarks BH read the Chair’s Statement 2018 (see copy below).

3. To Present Annual Reports Parish Council Finance – read by the Clerk (see copy below).

All other reports were made available for perusal at the meeting and are included within these minutes:- United Charities Blewbury School St. Mary’s Church UKAEA Stakeholders Meeting UVHAT

An update on Parish Footpaths and the village recreational grounds was given verbally by Graham de Wilde and Mike Brown, with highlights as follows:-

GdeW remarked there was a team of 16 volunteers who all helped to keep the green spaces neat and tidy. RdeW remarked that only recently there was broken glass and other rubbish left on the rec. This led to a discussion regarding the use of the rec by people from within and outside of the village. Also access to the rec from the bottom corner which leads on to the old railway line. Although this is private land, people use this route to access the rec, both on foot and bicycle. It was suggested that a sign be put up by the land owner informing people that this was private land and is used at their own risk. This can be discussed at a future PC meeting. 4. Open Forum In addition to Jessie West’s Church Warden update, JW remarked that St Mary’s church is nearly 1000 years old. Maintenance issues are mentioned in the report, however, Jessie is setting up a ‘Friends of St Mary’s’ group to help with the maintenance of the church. JW is also looking at applying for grants and other support for the refurbishments required. JW explained they would be requesting permission to add a toilet and kitchen facilities to the vestry, and asked if the PC would support such a planning application, which the PC would in principle.

JW also mentioned the new bus timetable and gave out copies. As there is no longer a school bus, a regular bus now takes children to the boys & girls schools in Didcot.

There was a discussion about the state of the A417 through Upton and some roads within the village (ie Stream Road), as the state of these roads is now beyond ‘just potholes’. MB wanted to know what the PC was doing about it? The PC and members of the public remarked that the Highways Department had run out of money for 2017/18 and had limited funds for 2018/19 and would only fill in potholes on major roads and those which caused harm to the public. MB said the PC should physically visit the Highways Department in Drayton with MB and put the problem forward.

Action agreed: a. The PC suggested a coordinated approach. b. MB, GdeW and BH to meet the Highways Dept in Drayton c. PC suggested that members of the public continue to use ‘Fix My Street’ to report the problems and to bring these issues forward and apply Pressure for action.

JW remarked that photographs should be taken of the state of the road (where safe to do so).

JW thanked all in the PC and others for all the work they do.

6. Chairman’s Closing Remarks The Chair thanked everyone for coming to the meeting.

The meeting closed at 8.45pm.

7. Date of next APM meeting – Monday 15th April 2019

Chairman’s Statement 2018
Good evening everyone and thank you for coming to the 71st Annual Parish Council Meeting.
First of all I would like to apologise for my absence this evening and thank Brendan Heneghan for standing in at the last minute.
We will be changing the format of this evening’s proceedings. Rather than reading out individual contributors’ reports after the Chairman’s Statement, we have arranged for copies of these reports to be available here tonight for your perusal, and copies will also be available on the Upton Village website.
The reason for this change is to recognise the real purpose of tonight’s event, which is to celebrate the work of all the clubs and services within the village and the people that make it all happen. Therefore, this year we will start with this Chairman’s Statement followed by the Parish Council’s financial report, presented by Liz, our Parish Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer. We will then have a quick Q and A session. After that, we invite you to mingle with us and with each other, sharing any thoughts or suggestions you may have on all aspects of village life, while enjoying nibbles and a glass of wine or a soft drink.
Moving on to the Chairman’s Statement proper…
This year has seen more changes on the Parish Council, with both Duncan Reid and Carl Pettman stepping down from their roles as Councillors at the end of March. I would like to extend both my thanks and, I’m sure, that of the village for all their hard work during their tenure.
I would like to welcome Brendan on to the Parish Council and announce that Jo Fidgen will be joining us in May. Both of these individuals will bring great knowledge and skills to the PC.
I would also like to thank Karen Marshall and Stuart Norman for their continued service, support, work and time. A special mention and thanks go to Liz, our Parish Clerk, who has now completed a full Council calendar year in her role, and who has organised this evening. Thank you.
I will be stepping down this year, which will create a vacancy; however, I will not leave until the vacancy is filled. I will be leaving in the knowledge that the Parish Council is in a strong position and in secure hands.
Filling positions on the Parish Council is not an easy task. We are a small village with a limited number of people to fill all the roles required by the clubs and associations we are fortunate to have in the village. May I ask you to either express an interest yourself, talk to your friends and neighbours to see if they would be interested, or let us know if you are aware of anyone that would like to help our community and serve on the Parish Council.
This seems an appropriate time to thank all the people involved in running the various clubs and associations in the village, and to those who represent and attend the various groups outside of the village, all of which make our village so special: from UVHAT, wine club, drop in, film club, skittles club, Friends of St Mary’s, transport representatives, Harwell Stakeholders group, Upton News and, last but not least, the volunteer group who keep the village looking so good. Thank you all. If I have missed anyone out please forgive me, but accept that our thanks go to you as well.
Talking of the village looking good, I would like to single out Graham De-Wilde and Rob Traynor for all their work in and around the village over the last year. Their varied work ranges from chopping trees to other maintenance projects.
One of the most common duties of the Parish Council is to comment on planning applications. Over the last year, we discussed a total of 25 planning applications. While some we were able to discuss in normal planned meetings, the balance had to be discussed by laying on an extra 8 planning meetings. My thanks go to the Councillors and Clerk for their time at these extra meetings. When the Parish Council receives a planning application, we make every endeavour to send a Councillor to visit the applicant/site and the neighbours so that we can have a better understanding of the application and therefore a more meaningful conversation. In turn, this allows us to comment fairly on the application. I believe as a Parish Council we are unique in this approach. If a planning application is to be discussed by the Parish Council, we will display an agenda on the noticeboard and on the village website; we will also try to inform the applicants and neighbours.
This year, Duncan and I held meetings with the District Council, the owner and tenant of Wattle Farm, and two of the neighbours in the hope that an agreement could be made on a mutually agreeable way forward for the Wattle Farm site. Whilst perhaps not one hundred percent successful, the meetings did lead to meaningful conversations, and there is now a dialogue and understanding in place that had not existed before.
An ongoing cause for concern for all in the village is the speed of traffic on the A417. We continue to put forward the village’s frustration at every opportunity with the District and County Councils, and with the Police, but this appears to be an uphill struggle as there are currently no resources or funds available to alleviate the problem.
On a more positive note, the Parish Council is in discussion with the County drainage team with regards to the crumbling concrete sand bags and wooden railing at the top of Stream Road. At a meeting last Thursday, it was agreed that the County drainage team will put together a quote for the removal of the concrete sand bags and wooden railing, and to extend the current drainage pipework. It is hoped that the County will bear a majority, if not all of, the cost for this work.
Finally, I am pleased to continue the positive news by adding that the update of documents held on the village website on behalf of the Parish Council went ahead as planned. There will be further updates to the IT side of the Parish Council this year which we will update you on in the coming months.
I am now going to hand over to Liz, who will give you an update on the financial report, a copy of which is available for your perusal.
Upton Parish Council – Annual Parish Meeting – Finance Report The Parish Council funds remain in a healthy state, following the receipt of the first half of this year’s precept. Total funds held are approximately £21,300. The emphasis in the past year has been on the continued maintenance of the play areas and the green areas in the village, following the major purchase of the stage early on in the last financial year. This maintenance has included:- service and maintenance of the mower and the purchase of other gardening equipment, continued maintenance of the larger play area, and replacement swings in the toddler’s play area. The village is fortunate that whilst materials and items such as the swings must be paid for, all the labour is provided free of charge by villagers. The parish council has also purchased a new salt bin late last year, but the defib unit is still outstanding, due to the unsuccessful application for some funding towards the cost of the cabinet and installation. This will be sorted out in the coming months. The Parish Council was however successful in obtaining a grant towards the costs of ensuring the PC meets all Transparency Guidelines. This means that costs incurred in meeting guidelines are covered, including the necessity to purchase a laptop and printer solely for the Clerk’s use for Parish Council business. The Parish Council is also grateful for the donations from Upton News, via Mike Brown, which helps to pay for the printing of the Upton News. This year, more substantial work may be needed and will require a proper assessment before any work is carried out. For example, the re-surfacing of the pump track and wood chips for the play area surface. There is also work needing to be carried out on various trees in the village, including some in Stream Road and the toddler play area. The PC remains mindful of the need to be prepared for larger expenditure, such as a new mower, as and when required. ClerkUPCAPM2018

The United Charities of the Ancient Parish of Blewbury, Upton and Aston Upthorpe

The two main functions of the charity are firstly to help people of all ages who live in the parish and who may need financial help and/or may have fallen on hard times and secondly to be responsible for the maintenance of the two almshouses in Blewbury. We have undertaken significant work on Alms-house no 2 due to severe flooding in 2016 and soon work to extend the property will commence. This will make it a suitable size for current living standards.

Anyone needing help or who knows of someone in need should contact the trustees. All applications are treated in confidence and are also discretionary. We are able to give financial gifts to more people than currently request help. As well as monetary gifts at Christmas the charity is able to help in other circumstances such as assisting with transport costs for frequent hospital visits, breaks for carers, items to help cope with disability and other instances where people are having difficulties paying for essential items such as school uniform. All applications are at the trustees’ discretion and looked at on a case by case basis. Current trustees are:

Blewbury: Sheila Loy (Chairman), Mark Palethorpe (Vice Chairman), Ann Dendy, Jill Willison and Jackie Maguire

Upton: Elizabeth Hardy Aston Upthorpe: Louise Brimacombe Clerk: Sarah Donne: sarahdonne@btinternet.com

Upton Parish Council Monday 16th April 2018 Blewbury Primary School Again this has been a very varied year which has seen an increase in numbers up to 166, with several families choosing to join us from outside of Blewbury as well as from within our local community. Many are attracted by our global outlook and our holistic approach to the curriculum which is designed to really engage children in their learning and to link various sources of information together. Miss Sequeros who was with us last academic year has stayed in England but moved to London, Miss McDonald was able to stay with us in order to complete her NQT year and after Christmas moved to a school in Bicester, much closer to where she lives. Both Mrs Willmott and Mrs White have now returned from maternity leave and last September Mrs Lewis joined us as an NQT, she is working very hard to establish herself in Year 1. Miss Costello and myself continue as co–headteachers. The global and international elements of our curriculum are really flourishing. Since the last report eight children have travelled to Siikajoki in Finland , where we found wide open space, snow in May and night times that were never dark. Last October it was the turn of the Spanish school in Caceres to host and here we produced a newspaper, visited a radio station, met the mayor and enjoyed the sunshine. Next week eight more children travel to Siegburg in Germany where we will be developing a ‘Friendship and Peace celebration’, cooking and eating together and again meeting the mayor as well as visiting Cologne cathedral. We have also been visited by teachers from several different countries; they choose our school to compete job shadowing funded by the European Union. We have hosted an Italian teacher for three weeks, three different Spanish teachers, all from various regions. Four Italian teachers from the ‘Trieste’ region of Italy who came for a week to look at our use of ICT and most recently two teachers from Ibiza. We still have two Dutch teachers and an American teacher to visit this year. We have also been travelling to observe in different countries and at February half term break three teachers travelled to a Nursery School just north of Nice, whilst three more of us went to Zwolle in the Netherlands at the same time. There is always so much to learn and think about. Our Global Learning Network continued to operate until Christmas, with Blewbury being able to offer training to neighbouring schools. We have also succeeded in winning a bid for additional money to be able to provide a day involving children from at least six local schools which will involve dance, music and storytelling but emphasise the Sustainable Development Goals. This year we have also been recording our International emphasis in order to provide evidence for our seventh International School Award which we hope to achieve this summer. One example would be some work that took place this last term. Our overriding them for the year is ‘Innovation’, last term we emphasised the innovations that various civilisations had made which have had an influence on us now. Out of this came a lot of work around the transportation and storage of water. The children then began to question the lack of water in some areas of the world and linked it back to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They considered Clean Water and Sanitation and then looked at films produced by Water Aid as well as examples from Malawi and Chennai. The work on water then went on to become our lent challenge introduced during our church service in February and the children collected coins which were presented and blessed at our Easter service. We are hoping the Thames Water will match our monies raised and the donation will be targeted towards some villages in Malawi. One of the families who were briefly at Blewbury school and lived in the village returned to Malawi this summer. On World Book Day we shared some stories from different countries and the children have produced written work to create their own special books to send to either Malawi or Chennai. The children and adults also shared across the school their favourite books. We are really fortunate to have several volunteers from the village community who come into school to share reading activities with the children, this is an invaluable asset and has a really positive effect on the young people and hopefully also on the volunteers themselves.
We are very proud of our pupils in Class 6 who were challenged by Mike Evans, one of our governors, to take part in the BBC – 500 words challenge. You may have seen our winning entry published in the bulletin. We have yet to see if any of the stories will receive acclaim in the National arena. We continue to have an emphasis on both first hand experiential learning and outdoor adventure. The younger children have been to Cogges Farm, Birdland, Winchester Mill and Steventon as well as Savages. Key stage two have visited Didcot Sewage Works and Year 6 have taken part in the Injury Minimisation programme as well as Junior Citizens. Last autumn 83 children aged between 7 and 11, took part in an Outdoor Activities long weekend, Friday morning to Monday afternoon, on the Isle of Wight. In the summer last year Year 3 spent three nights on the Ridgeway at Court Hill, Year 4 and 5 went to Cheddar and Year 6 completed an activity week at Minehead. This year we are off to Hill End near Oxford, Much Wenlock in Shropshire and Wilderhope Manor again in Shropshire, for the different age groups. These residential experiences really help to promote resilience, self- reliance and confidence. As well as the more physical activities that these trips can provide we continue to support and encourage competitive sport as well as developing physical skills for everyone. We have again taken part in both mixed and girl’s football leagues and tournaments, with our girl’s being runners up in a six aside ‘Vale of White Horse Tournament’ just before Easter. Some of our runners continue to achieve well at Cross Country Events; and just before Easter we also had a cricket taster day organised through Wallingford and Blewbury Cricket Club and we are pleased to promote this link. We are about to start regular coaching for the oldest three classes in the school, hopefully this will encourage more Blewbury Cricket. Similarly, we have a tennis taster organised through the Blewbury Club. Our link with local groups continues to develop through our biodome and garden and Sustainable Blewbury. We are most grateful for both the practical support of Jo Lakeland but also the group’s financial support towards soil and seeds. Hopefully produce will again be on sale in the summer and our young people will begin to learn some valuable gardening skills. We continue to facilitate cornet lessons for the Year 4 children through Blewbury Brass Band, children can also learn key boards, guitar and drums at school. From Year 2 the children also take part in about eighteen sessions of African Drumming a year. A group of children represented the school at Voice in a Million, held at Wembley Arena; this event supports the fostering and adopting of children. This is an amazing experience for the children to take part in. This year we have deployed one of our TAs to be an ELSA – Emotional Literacy Support Assistant, supportive work is carried out with both individuals and groups and our special room – our octagonal cedar building, provided by the PTA, provides a friendly base at lunch time for those children who find this time more challenging. We are finding that more and more children are needing emotional support in school and we are very aware that mental health has to be high on our agenda.
This spring we hosted the first in a series of opportunities for adults to talk to Key Stage 2 about their job. Whether they had to plan to achieve a goal, chose particular subjects at school, what they enjoy about their life style etc. Our first person to talk about their ‘Career’ was Mrs Sally Lewis who is a mum and a GP. Sally is also the Chair of the PTA who work really hard to provide events for the children, there are five Friday nights in the year, the Christmas and Summer Fairs and a cake stall for each class. ‘Community’ is one of our Christian values and this is something we hope that the children really ‘Appreciate’. – You can be part of this if you join us for our Colour Fun Run in May. We are really pleased to be part of such a strong community and are always glad to be the hosts of Blewfest and the Santa Fun Run. Yet again the children enjoyed helping clear the leaves. We thank everyone for their support and wish our Year 6 good luck when they sit their SATS next month. We hope that the few government tweaks help these tests to be challenging but fair. Marion Mills

Rector’s Report for 2018
This report covers the calendar year 2017. This has been a year of stability in the Benefice. I am, as always, most grateful to the members of the clergy team for all that they do; Revd John Clarke, Revd Louise Butler, Revd Jen Brown, and Revd Clive Holmes. This year the staff team has been joined by Mrs Jenny Loder, who is serving in our Benefice as a Licensed Lay Minister. It is a joy to welcome Jenny in this official role.
I would also like to put on record my thanks to all the others who undertake and support ministry in our Benefice. In particular, I should like to thank our Churchwardens, PCC members, our Benefice Treasurer, and our Benefice Administrator. Thank you, one and all!
Our Science Mission project continues, in partnership with the Ian Ramsey Centre at the University of Oxford. The current phase of the project, together with the current funding, comes to an end in December 2018. I very much wish the project to continue after this date, and so I am currently exploring options for the future, together with their attendant funding possibilities.
Our two Church primary schools, Blewbury Endowed Church of England Primary School and Hagbourne Church of England Primary School, continue to thrive. Although these are Church schools and very much part of the Benefice, it is important to note that they serve children of all faiths and none. Our schools continue to seek to provide the highest possible quality of education for the children of our communities. This is a challenge in the constantly changing world of education.
Our new bishop, Bishop Steven, continues to explore the values which should lie at the heart of our life as a Diocese. After extensive prayer and consultation, three key values have emerged; Contemplation, Compassion and Courage. Bishop Steven would like these values to be part of the life of the Diocese at all levels. We are beginning to think about what these values – “The 3 C’s”- might mean for us in our Benefice.
Perhaps the most challenging, and most interesting, is Courage. Christian Courage is not to be confused with recklessness. It is a distinct virtue, intimately connected to faith in God, and trust in God’s plans for our present and our future. I wonder what might it mean for us to be Courageous in our life together during the year ahead? All thoughts gratefully received!
The Revd Jason St John Nicolle, Rector, 28th March 2018

Church Wardens Report 2018

There are one or two outstanding issues which need to be addressed i.e.
The cedar roof tiles around the bell tower, estimates for the work are required.
The gates at the entrance, the main entrance door, both need sanding and re-oiling. A wood panel in the porch will be replaced when the weather becomes more favourable and the timbers have had time to dry out.
The proposed new extension and refurbishment of the vestry are ongoing. Architect’s plans have been produced and the quantity surveyor’s cost estimate is awaited. Once this is received we will begin fund raising. An application will be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund and local organisations who may be able to offer support. An appeal will be set up to fund the balance of the costs. It is difficult to be certain of timings at present but it is hoped that substantial progress will be made towards obtaining the funding by the end of the summer.
We now have the approved faculty for landscaping works in the cemetery. A working party has been arranged for Saturday, 21 April to remove dead trees, tidy the vegetation and repair the fence.
The bench in the churchyard has been refurbished, the work kindly undertaken by an Upton resident.
The spotlights have been replaced where required, however due to the age of the fittings it is unlikely that further lamps will be available so new updated fittings will be needed in the future.
It was agreed at a PCC meeting that a new noticeboard at the gate would be beneficial. Before size and ordering can take place it would be helpful to know how much information other than the weekly notices would go on the board and then have a consensus of opinion as to it’s placement.
We are fortunate that the building generally remains in good condition.

Jessie West & Paul Batho

Harwell Stakeholders’ Committee

There have not been items of particular interest to Upton PC this year.
Progress has continued to decommission the nuclear site and to return it to the state where the land can be used for other uses. Construction on the new Intermediate Level Store has started.
The new initiatives on the site continue to expand and more buildings are planned and being built which will lead to considerably more employment (and traffic!).
As far as I am aware, the socio-economic programme is still in place and contributions invited for financial support from local bodies.
I am happy to continue to represent the parish if that is the wish of the Parish Council and will advise them of anything which may be of interest.
Derek Whitmell, 29.3.18

Upton Village Hall Amenities Trust, Report to the Annual Parish Meeting, 16th April 2018

Trustees I would like to thank all our Trustees who continue to help with the smooth running of the village hall and its administration. Finances Thanks to the ever-increasing popularity of the hall as a venue, the finances of the trust remain strong and the trustees can maintain an adequate reserve. Full accounts will be prepared for the UVHAT AGM in May. John Haworth and Kieron Humphrey continue to perform an excellent task looking after the day to day finances. Bookings The hall is more popular than ever as a venue for parties for young and old, with enthusiastic feedback received from hirers. The District Council recently arranged a taster activity day, and this has resulted in the creation of a period of exercise classes for the over 60s, while our local yoga instructor has expanded her usage of the hall. The provision of Internet and WiFi in the hall makes it a good location for commercial bookings such as Planning Inquiries, taking advantage of otherwise quieter times for the hall during the week. We are frequently consulted by other village halls about our facilities, particularly the WiFi and the new kitchen. Film Club continues to be popular and successful. We say goodbye to one of our Brownie groups which has moved to Harwell where most of its members reside; as a result, Tuesday evenings will be freed upon a regular basis for potential new activities which it is hoped will be of benefit to the village.

Fundraising We are grateful to Lesley Shaw and her volunteers for organising the Upton 50 Club and maintaining its popularity. The 50 Club remains popular and is a valuable source of additional funding. Proceeds from the village fete were this year split between St Mary’s and UVHAT, and the trustees are considering the most appropriate use of these funds in the interests of those villagers who supported the fete as a result.

Development Projects The trustees still hope to refurbish the main hall and meeting room, with the hope of creating a more contemporary environment and better ambience in these areas. The work in the main hall may be significant, and will probably involve major works to the floor, walls, lighting, improvements to the acoustics, and overhaul of the meeting room. This work will require significant external funding. Meanwhile we would like to continue expansion of our facilities to complement our stage and existing AV equipment which would make it easier to stage village music events etc.

Caretaking The aim of the trustees is to present the hall to users in a state which — as much as possible—leads them to feel that they are the first to use the amenity. Our regular cleaner continues to do an excellent job in ensuring that the hall is brought up to a high standard of hygiene once a week. During the year a wide range of maintenance tasks have been undertaken, and we would like to thank Graham de Wilde, Rob Traynor and others for their assistance.

Conclusion The village hall and the recreation ground in which it stands continue to be valuable assets to Upton and as a small village we can be proud to boast an amenity that attracts so much praise. Brian Rippon Chair, UVHAT