DRAFT Minutes of the virtual meeting of Upton Parish Council held on Thursday 17th September2020.

Minutes of the virtual meeting of Upton Parish Council held at 7.30pm on Thursday 17th September 2020.

In attendance: – Councillors Mr B Shaw (Chair/BS), P McLaughlin (PM), D Beckles (DB), B Heneghan (BH). County Councillor M Fox-Davies. Three members of the public.

 

  1. Apologies for absence

District Councillors H Gascoigne, S Medley

 

  1. Declarations of interest in the items on the agenda

None declared.

 

  1. Approve the minutes of the following meeting & note any matters arising: –

UPC   23.07.20

Council unanimously approved the above minutes as a true representation of the meeting.

 

  1. Report from the County Councillor

See Appendix A below

BH highlighted problems with Covid-19 testing in the area & asked if there was more information from the CC. MF-D had no further information, but asked that BH email him details of problems encountered. ACTION BH

 

  1. Report from the District Councillor

See Appendix B below

 

  1. Representations from the public

Three members of the public attended the meeting & spoke in turn on the following subjects: –

 

  1. Recreation Ground car park extension
  2. Recreation Ground proposed new fence to the rear
  3. Request to consider long term implications of any prospective changes to the recreation ground

 

The Chair responded on PC actions to date. The PC is drafting plans & undertaking cost exercises, but no concrete decisions had been made. The PC is happy to consider future implications regarding climate change & biodiversity.

The Chair was also working on a village-wide survey, which will be issued in October.

BH requested costing details for hedge laying from the respondent for further consideration.

 

  1. Update on the current community response to the Covid-19 within the village.

An email update from Jacqui Reid confirmed that the village hall had been in use from

mid- summer, but this use was restricted to clubs (with track & trace in place) & not private

Hire.

 

  1. Report on outstanding actions carried forward from previous

meetings:-

 

No. Action Points from March Meeting When by
3 BS to start formulation of requirements for 5-year plan consultation Emailed to all 17.9.20
No. Action Points from March Meeting When by
1. JR to look into previous Welcome to the Village’ pack. Confirmed re-draft
3. BS to confirm any immediate remedial actions to play area equipment. Remedial actions underway.
5. JR to look into documentation held by UVHAT concerning the village hall / PC history Actioned.
No. Action Points from previous meetings When by
1. Clerk to incorporate large project reserves in budget for 20/21 October

  

  1. Ratify or agree the council’s response to the following planning consultations: –

9.1 P20/V1090/HH Amendment no.1 Sunnyside, Newmans Close, Upton

Amended drawings for: – Proposed two-storey front extension, two-storey rear extension, loft

conversion with rooflights & dormers, alterations to existing window & door openings & new

cladding.

Deadline 10th September

UPC confirmed no objections.

 

  1. Update on UPC Finances and Administration

10.1 Receive an update on Lloyds bank account matters

All banking matters currently in order.

10.2 Any other financial or administration updates

10.2.1 NALC national salary award (Clerk’s pay). To be applied from September pay &

backdated to April 2020

The national salary award & hourly rate increase was noted by council, together with its application from September 2020, backdated to April 2020.

10.2.2 Payment of working from home allowance, back dated to April 2020

Following a case put forward by the Clerk to the Chair, council unanimously  agreed to the payment of the standard, tax free, working from home allowance  with effect from September 2020, backdated to April 2020.

10.3 Agree the following payments: –

Council unanimously agreed to include a payment for this year’s RoSPA report to Play

Safety for £202.20, as well as agreeing to all payments below. 

Date

Payee

£

28.08.20, 28.09.20 Clerk’s salary SO

Inc backdated pay increase & working from home allowance [LGA1972 s112(2)]

Not publicly disclosed
17.09.20 Clerk’s expenses [LG(FPA)1963s5] £13.60
August, Sept HMRC PAYE SO (£44.80pm – August, Sept £52.20) £97.20
19.08.20, 19.09.20 Microsoft Office365 July & Aug DD @£3.80pm

[LGA1972 s111]

£7.60
08.09.20 The Churn Benefice – photocopying of Upton News April 2019-March 2020 [LGA1972 s111] £240.00
02.09.20 The Sign Shed – paid to be ratified [LG(MF)A1976s19(3)] £61.80
18.09.20 Play Safety (RoSPA report) £202.20
  TOTAL            £622.40+ Clerk’s salary above

 

10.4   Receipts

Bank interest August .46p, September .11p

Clerk’s note:- Lloyds Bank interest rate change from .05% to .01% wef 11.08.20

The Clerk also confirmed that the second half of the precept had been received on

11.9.20 in the sum of £5068.

10.5   Sign off bank reconciliation to date

Provided in advance of the meeting. Agreed by council. To be physically signed at a

later date.

 

  1. Update on the recreation ground Play Areas

11.1 Toddler play area

The recent RoSPA inspection report highlighted low-level remedial action to be taken on some play equipment. Further investigation as the result of the request for a quotation in relation to moving the toddler play area to a new area, highlighted a great deal more. In summary, it is not cost effective to remove & re-use any of the toddler play area equipment. Consideration will therefore be given to the removal from site of existing play equipment & the installation of new equipment in an area next to the adventure play area.

11.2 Adventure play area

Remedial work is required on the zip wire, chain cover & seat, & a quotation for this work will be obtained. ACTION BS

       11.3 The Chair arranged for signs to be installed at play areas on 18/9.

11.4 The PC unanimously agreed in principle for Kompan to carry out all remedial work on the play areas, subject to a final satisfactory quotation.

 

  1. Update on the maintenance of the recreation ground

12.1 Grounds maintenance

Grounds maintenance carried out by volunteers on the Upton rec will continue for the foreseeable future. Quotes obtained from contractors have to date not been financially viable.

12.2 Replacement fence

A quote had been obtained to replace the damaged fence to the rear of the recreation ground, with something more substantial that will last a long time. BH requested that the quote includes such details as treatment & guarantees.  Representations were made from the members of the public present, that a hedge rather than a fence should be installed. Further consideration will be given to the possibility of both in the long term. ACTION BH to investigate further.

12.3 Litter / bins

Council had considered the number of bins available in the village currently & agreed to leave as is for now.

Update on the ‘rec regeneration plan’

13.1 Toddler play area

Progress is being made regarding the selection of a contractor, mapping out of the potential new area, plus costings for grounds work, new equipment, installation, regular  maintenance, removal of old equipment & decommissioning of the old toddler play area.

13.2 Pump track

Remedial work on the pump track is being considered in conjunction with all work on the play areas.

13.3 Grounds maintenance contractor

See 12.1 above.

13.4 Any other areas requiring attention within the recreation area

None highlighted.

 

  1. Update on car park extension project

During the summer, eye witnesses reported to the council the use of the recreation ground for the parking of vehicles. The only part of the recreation ground that may be used for parking is the strip of grass immediately in front of the car park, which has a protective underlayer. Unfortunately, this is not marked & not clear. Whilst there is some opposition to an extension of the car park, the Council will propose the case for a small extension in the near future.

 

  1. Update on UPC IT

15.1 Village web site

This has been updated to comply with all levels of usage.

15.2 Any other IT related update

None.

 

  1. Update on proposed Speed Watch activity in Upton

This is on hold due to the Covid-19 situation.

 

  1. Update on information gathered on the history of the rec & village hall

& any subsequent actions required

Written evidence of the history is proving difficult to find, but has been hampered by the

current situation. The search continues. To send any documents uncovered to date to  BH. ACTION Clerk.

 

  1. Discuss any required plan of action to: –

18.1 Create a new five-year parish council plan

18.2 Revise the existing Parish Plan (last 2015/16)

Both of the above will be influenced by the results of a village-wide survey (currently in draft form), which it is planned to issue in early October.

 

The meeting finished at 10pm.

 

Date of next meeting:-

 

Thursday 26th November 2020 at 7.30pm via an e-conference system

 

 

Appendix A

 REPORT TO UPTON PARISH COUNCIL SEPTEMBER 2020

FROM CLLR MIKE FOX-DAVIES

In the 7 days up to 4 September, there has been a total of 76 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Oxfordshire. This is similar to 71 new cases in the previous week. The weekly rate for Oxford currently stands at 16.4 cases per 100,000 population. The city is at yellow alert status, which means COVID is still circulating and remains a risk. The latest figures are available at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/stopthespread.

 Cases of coronavirus by district

ea name Cases in 7 days up to 4/9/2020 Weekly rate per 100,000 population Change from previous week Weekly rate alert status  
Cherwell 11 7.3 increase green  
Oxford 25 16.4 no change yellow  
South Oxfordshire 10 7.0 no change green  
Vale of White Horse 15 11.0 decrease green  
West Oxfordshire 15 13.6 increase green  
Oxfordshire 76 11.0 no change green  

 

Data correct as at 5pm 8 September. It is important to note data is constantly being updated, so the picture is dynamic and can change quickly.

Welcoming children back to school safely

The new academic year has almost arrived, and our Learning & School Improvement team have been working closely with schools and colleges to make sure that all children are welcomed back safely. Risk assessments have been carried out and hygiene measures are in place across all educational settings, and all educational providers are following Department for Education, Public Health England and County Council guidance.

We recognise that some parents may feel anxious, particularly in light of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Oxford. We have therefore written to parents and carers across Oxfordshire to reassure them about the preparations that have taken place for the safe return of children. 94% of schools in Oxfordshire have remained open since the start of lockdown and we have not seen any significant outbreaks during this time. Moreover, research by Public Health England shows that coronavirus outbreaks and infections in schools and early years settings are very rare. Out of more than 1 million children attending pre-school and primary school in June, just 70 children were affected.

For those children who are entitled to home to school transport, the OCC Transport Recovery Group has liaised with schools to identify a safe service. This has included a total of 40 additional routes to ensure children from more than one school do not travel together.

Independent report on different options for local government structures

In July, Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council jointly commission a piece of work to look at the various options for local government structures. This work is in advance of the anticipated Government Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper, which is due in the Autumn.

Independent experts PwC were asked to undertake the work and their initial high-level appraisal has now been published. The report does not seek to make recommendations but is designed to open positive conversations about how we can work more closely with all local authorities across Oxfordshire to achieve the best outcome for residents. More information and the full report can be found here.

 

Active Travel

Part of our work to enable Oxfordshire’s recovery from coronavirus has been to support a shift to walking and cycling so people are able to get around safely and sustainably as lockdown restrictions are eased. This is being partly funded by the Department for Transport through the Emergency Active Travel Fund.

Active travel tranche 1 :   continues to be delivered on time and projects will be completed in August as intended/required

Active travel tranche 2 :   bid was submitted by deadline 7th August, and we expect the DfT decision about mid-September.    Depending upon the funding granted we will then proceed to necessary consultations

DfT criteria and timetable which led to selection of projects mainly from LCWIP programme in Ox City, though there is a major project proposed for Witney and one for Bicester.

  

Appendix B

Coronavirus Update and Community Support COVID-19 Community Support Hub

Whilst we don’t know how long the UK’s response to and recovery from COVID-19 will take, we do know it’s likely to be some time. One of the roles of the Community Hub when it was first set up was to help provide vital support to shielded residents (along with others who also need support), and even though the guidelines for those shielding has changed, we want all of our residents to know we’re still here to provide support and advice. The hours have changed due to demand, so it’s no longer open over the weekends and now reflects standard office hours of Monday to Thursday 8.30-5pm and Fridays 8.30-4.30pm. A summary of the number of COVID-19 cases across Oxfordshire, broken down to district level, is available on the following website and will be updated on a weekly basis each Wednesday: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/stopthespread. To contact the Community Support Team: call: 01235 422 600 Monday to Thursday 8.30-5pm and Fridays 8.30-4.30pm email: communitysupport@southandvale.gov.uk. Remember, for the most up-to-date coronavirus information relating to district council support and any changes to services, please take a look at the dedicated Vale webpage for updates: www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/covid19 New funding available for volunteer groups and organisations to help vulnerable residents affected by Covid-19 Voluntary and community sector groups in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse can apply for a share of nearly £90,000 to help people affected by Covid-19 in the districts. The Vale of White Horse District Council has £43,077 to provide funds for voluntary and community sector projects that are delivering essential services to vulnerable residents in the districts who are struggling to afford food and other essential provisions as a result of COVID-19. Voluntary groups and organisations can now apply for grants of up to £5,000 to go towards:

  • projects directly helping vulnerable people affected by the effects of COVID-19, such as providing access to food and other essentials e.g. toiletries;
  • existing schemes supporting people struggling to afford food and other essentials, and where the need is greatest; • projects advising and providing information to people to help them access longer term support they might need, such as benefits;
  • projects that provide targeted support in areas of greatest need and deprivation, including rural areas.

Town and Parish Councils who are collaborating with un-constituted third-party groups e.g. COVID-19 community response groups, mutual aid groups will also be eligible to apply. The scheme is now open, and applications will be assessed on a rolling basis. The first deadline for applications was midnight on Tuesday 15 September 2020, but further rounds will be assessed every two weeks thereafter, and the scheme will remain open until the funds are spent, so early applications are encouraged. It is anticipated that funds will be spent by 31 October 2020. To apply, please read the application guidance notes before completing the online form which you can find here: http://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/services-and-advice/community-advice-and-support/grants . If you require any further information or have any queries, please contact the Community Connector Team at communityconnectors@southandvale.gov.uk

Climate and Environment B4493 Proposed Roundabout Design

We have been very encouraged to see how so many residents have engaged with this opportunity to proactively push for the changes in cycling infrastructure that you would like to see. We would like to thank all of the residents from Harwell and the surrounding area who have contacted us recently regarding the proposed design of the B4493 roundabout between Harwell and Didcot, as part of the plans for the Valley Park development. We acknowledge the concerns of residents regarding the accessibility of this roundabout for cyclists, who would have to divert a long way down the adjacent roads in order to safely cross the roundabout. It is clear this design needs to be reviewed and we can assure residents that we are currently raising this issue with the relevant decision-makers at all levels of local government (including recently meeting with our MP to discuss this and other issues around Valley Park). We brought these examples of much-needed changes in cycling infrastructure in the local area to the latest Vale full Council meeting in July. This formed part of the debate on a motion on active travel post-COVID, which was seconded by Hayleigh, and successfully passed. Although we have already been discussing the issues around cycling with our county councillor at every opportunity, this motion empowers the Vale to continue to put pressure on the County Council and to keep active travel as a key priority in future projects and plans. The video of the July council meeting, which was the first one to be held virtually, is available to watch online (the Active Travel motion begins at 1:37:40): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKUm1nUEf04   Cycle September Staff and councillors at the Vale are taking part in Cycle September – a global event with a friendly competitive element, to help more people realise the benefits of riding a bike. We know that there are many keen cyclists among you so we thought that you might like to get involved as well, and encourage others to do the same. Throughout the month you can earn points by riding and encouraging others to ride too by logging on to this website https://www.lovetoride.net/uk . During September, the council will also be encouraging residents to get out on their bikes via our social media platforms. On the subject of cycling, here is a reminder of the Active Travel plans the County are working on across Oxfordshire that will benefit many cyclists in our districts: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/roads-and-transport/activetravel Business Support Discretionary Business Grants Across South and Vale we’ve given out well over £1.5 million in Discretionary Business Grants. Last Friday was the deadline for applications to the fund and we’re pleased to say we’ve now paid out to all the successful applicants. The fund was provided to us by the government to help support small and micro-businesses affected by Covid-19, particularly those not eligible for other business grants. Over the last four months our Economic Development and several other departments have worked incredibly hard to process the applications and make the final payments quickly. In the Vale of White Horse – 55 micro and small businesses each received a £10,000 grant – a total of £550,000. Car Park charges – Vale Cabinet puts local business recovery first Vale of White Horse District Council’s Cabinet has prioritised supporting local businesses recovering from COVID-19 ahead of addressing the council’s own longer-term financial pressures in deciding about changes to car park charges across the district. Earlier this month, Cabinet considered a range of options for the district’s council car parks. After listening to feedback from local residents and businesses, Cabinet members unanimously agreed to retain two hours free parking across the district in order to ensure that town centre shops and cafes can continue to benefit from the scheme while they recover from the pandemic.

Council Matters Leisure Centres phased opening plans You’ll be aware that we’re opening the district’s leisure centres in phases with our partners at GLL– it’s worth bearing in mind that given the changing national situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, the activities and facilities available at a given leisure centre may need to change, be temporarily closed or have occasional changes to opening hours and/or services. These changes are made in accordance with the latest guidance from the government, Sport England and Swim. GLL’s “Better” website lists the latest information on opening hours and services. Residents are advised to visit the website and follow GLL on twitter for the latest information. Housing update – ban on evictions The ban on landlords evicting their tenants in England and Wales has been extended until 20 September taking the total ban to six months. Our housing team continue to work with residents and advise them of their rights in this ever-changing situation. You can find the full government guidance here Vale Cabinet Re-organisation Leader of the Council, Cllr Emily Smith has made some changes to the Vale’s Cabinet that came into effect on 1 September. You can read her public statement on the changes on our website here. The new cabinet member responsibilities are below:

  • Councillor Emily Smith: Council Leader
  • Councillor Debby Hallett: Deputy Council Leader and Corporate Services and Transformation • Councillor Andy Crawford: Finance and Corporate Assets
  • Councillor Neil Fawcett: Strategic Partnerships and Place
  • Councillor Helen Pighills: Healthy Communities
  • Councillor Judy Roberts: Development and Infrastructure • Councillor Bethia Thomas: Community Engagement
  • Councillor Catherine Webber:

Climate Emergency and Environment Planning for the Future consultation

The government has started its consultation to overhaul the planning system and reform the way development is allowed. Its stated aims are to streamline processes, achieve community engagement early in the process and increase the use of technology in consultation and provide interactive maps, so it is more open and transparent. It suggests the reforms will drive our economic recovery, help build green, high quality homes and develop a framework of national green infrastructure standards. Proposals include:

  • a 30 per cent discount to homes sold through the First Homes system with an emphasis on key workers
  • scrapping Section 106 agreements and introducing a new National Infrastructure Levy, with local decision making on infrastructure spending.
  • every area across England will have a Local Plan and can develop design guidance and/or codes, which will be binding on development decisions
  • strengthening planning enforcement and sanctions through a rule-based system.

There is a lot of discussion in the press about the proposed reforms, but we encourage you to read the consultation paper, link below, and get your comments to the Government by the deadline, 29 October 2020. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907647/MHCL G-Planning-Consultation.pdf

New council websites go live

At the end of last week, we soft-launched our new council websites to gather public feedback, and we’d love to know what you think of them. Visitors to our existing website will be given the chance to visit the new sites and offer feedback via an online form – if you’d like to try the sites out, please head to the relevant page below: South Oxfordshire Vale of White Horse Do you have any events planned in your area? We manage a local Safety Advisory Group, which has members of the emergency services, county and district councils to help give advice to event organisers to ensure their event takes place safely. If you know of any events happening in your community this year such as open fairs on private land, public firework displays, Remembrance Day parades/gatherings or Christmas events open to the general public, please would you provide the event organiser details via events@southandvale.gov.uk and we will make contact to gather the information required to pass on to the relevant members of the group. As mentioned previously, we are unable to provide specific advice on COVID-19 safety at events. Event organisers will need to make themselves aware of current government guidance to manage their event and use their health and safety risk assessments to cover both general risks and those specifically for COVID-19. Please see our update on 19 August for more information and guidance. Oxfordshire Investment Plan The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) has finalised its Oxfordshire Investment Plan, which – among other things – promises to deliver 24,500 new jobs to the county. The Investment Plan takes forward some of the ideas set out in the Local Industrial Strategy and turns them into a programme of actions until the year 2030. The portfolio promises to deliver at least:

  • 24,500 new jobs (gross fulltime equivalents);
  • 344,400m² of new commercial and innovation floorspace; • 29,400 new homes (based on existing local plans and the Oxfordshire Housing & Growth Deal);
  • 2,700 qualifications (NVQ4+ and Apprenticeships); and
  • support for over 41,000 adult and young learners. OxLEP will now engage with Ministers and officials as part of government’s preparations for the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review and development activity in support of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc programme.