UPTON PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the meeting of Upton Parish Council held in the main hall at Upton village hall on Wednesday 6th September 2023 at 8.00pm.
Chairman Ben Shaw (BS)
Vice Chairman Neil Thorp (NT)
Councillors David Beckles (DB), Graham de Wilde (GW),
Clerk Liz Cooper (EC)
Deputy Clerk Lisa Morgan (LM)
District Councillors Debra Dewhurst (DD), Hayleigh Gascoigne (HG)
- To receive apologies for absence
County Councillor S Povolotsky, Parish Councillors N Hall & B Heneghan
- To record any declarations of interests relating to this meeting
Clerk’s note:- At this point in the meeting, the Chair handed over to the vice-chair to make the following announcement:-
After 7 years in the role of Clerk & Responsible Financial Officer, Liz Cooper has resigned. Her last day will be 31st October. On behalf of the Council, the Chair thanked Liz for her continued dedication to her role throughout this time.
- To receive the County Councillor’s report
No report received prior to the meeting. A verbal update was given by SP to the Clerk. Progress is being
made on 20mph signage through the village. NT stated that he thought 20mph through the village was
pointless as there was no through road. He felt attention should be focused on reducing the speed
through the village on the A417. BS asked the District Councillors to feedback to the County Councillor SP.
- To receive District Councillor’s report
Received in advance of the meeting & forwarded to the Council.
In addition, HG reported that the County Council leader had rejected the plan for HIF1, on which District
Council infrastructure plans have been made. There is a hearing on 5th December where the County
Council leader is expected to further report back. Further details can be found here:-
HG & DD to keep the Council informed.
- 5. Open Forum
To receive representations from members of the public if present.
No members of the public were present.
- To hear an update from the PCC
Report received & circulated in advance of the meeting. Details as follows:-
There are two matters to report to the September parish council meeting:
- Upton village fete, which took place on 2nd September, was a great success. The weather was fine, people had fun and the gross takings, in excess of £3,900, were well in excess of those in recent years. We are in the process of settling costs and expenses so the final result is not yet available, but we are hopeful that more than £3,000 will be available for sharing between the church and the fund to refurbish the playground. We are planning a final meeting of the fete committee and key stallholders to assess the things that went well and to consider areas for improvement for next time. Many thanks are due to Upton Parish Council for their support and for the donation of £100 towards the costs of the barbeque.
- Vestry improvement project. Nearly everything is in place – the contractor, all permissions, money etc., but the one outstanding matter is approval by the VOWH forestry officer of the proposed measures to protect the yews in the churchyard during the works, which has been awaited since early June. We are not able to begin the work until approval is received.
The architect did not expect this to delay the original proposed start date of 31 July but we were then informed that a response could take 8 weeks. We contacted our district councillors who took action very quickly but a response was nevertheless only received today (2 September).
Rather than approving the proposals, the forestry officer has requested an amended arboricultural report to cover further details and clarifications. We will respond to this quickly but there is no indication as to the timescale of the forestry officer’s response.
We will liaise with the parish council on this matter and would be very pleased if there is anything the council can do to speed a decision.
Paul Batho and Jessie West, Churchwardens, 4 September 2023
- To hear an update from a UVHAT representative on village hall operations
An update was sent by Rob Traynor to the Chair prior to the meeting & is as follows:-
All the guttering has been serviced and replaced where necessary. The downpipes have been tidied up and finished with cement. The water butt has been mounted on a new concrete plinth and is now collecting rainwater.
The hall remains in good condition with the internal walls having had a paint touch-up. Plastic hooks have been purchased to attach to the walls to assist with hirers hanging bunting etc. Kitchen and toilets all functioning.
The storage area is to be looked at with the intention of improving the area.
External guttering on to the patio has been altered and now awaits a new soak-a-way.
A1Services Oxford are attending to give a quote on toilet and refurbishment.
Sand/cement mix will be purchased to fill in paving slab gaps on patio.
- To hear an update from the Nature Garden representative
8.1 Report received from K Humphrey & circulated in advance of the meeting. Details as follows:-
– water butt installation completed – thanks to UVHAT for arranging and Luke James for doing a
very skilled job. There are some slabs (supplied free) left over that we could use to make hard
standing for the benches.
– wildflower meadow scythed and seedheads left to dry and drop
– path weeding session
Planned for autumn
– investigate options for bug and bird drinking puddle
– obtain more mulch (eg from Arborcare) for trees and shrubs as per overflow cemetery
– volunteer clearing/weeding
– survey hedges and apply for any free replacement hedging plants we need
Ideas for the overflow cemetery
Last PC meeting there was a request for ideas for what to do with the overflow. I’ve looked into a few options and would recommend creating a butterfly garden because of the site aspect, including limitations such as having no water and the dense shade and dryness caused by the trees to the west. Specifically planting for butterflies would give the space a purpose, be a low maintenance, low cost option, and appeal to villagers. It would also be easy to revert to other uses because predominantly shallow-rooted plants.
Initial work might be to create a design, reduce the existing grass cover either mechanically or over a longer period using yellow rattle, appeal for plant donations, eg buddleia, lavender and wildflower seed, and consider any funding sources.
The Parish Council discussed the details of this report & will respond in due course.
8.2 Overflow cemetery field
GW commented on how well kept the cemetery itself looked. GW will continue his efforts in clearing
the cemetery overflow field.
- To approve the minutes of the Parish Council meetings held on:-
UPC Meeting 19th July 2023
Council unanimously approved the minutes as a true record.
10. Planning (all Council)
10.1 To agree / ratify the council’s response to the following consultations
10.1.1 P23/V1636/S73 Land between Upton footpath & Upton byway off Hollow Way
Variation to P22/V2219/FUL which received planning permission on 02.02.23
UPC did not return an opinion, as it had previously objected & felt no further response was
10.1.2 P23/S2135/FUL Horse & Harrow, West Hagbourne
Change of use of public house to 3 & 4 bed dwellings etc.
UPC returned no objections 29.08.23
10.1.3 P23/V1677/FUL – Development of Little Acorns, West Hagbourne
Demolition of nursery building & erection of 3 dwellings with access, parking & amenity
space, together with erection of new nursery building & associated works inc. provision of
nursery play area.
Council agreed no objections, but with comments. Returned 07.09.23.
- 11. Finance & Administration (EC)
11.1 To receive an update UPC Finances
11.1.1 Treasurers Account to 29.08.23 £9,931.99
Business Bank Instant Account to 29.08.23 £13,141.29
Total funds available as at 29.08.23 £23,072.38
11.1.2 To hear an update on UPC’s Audit Process
External Auditor conclusion report, letter & invoice received on 31.08.23. ‘AGAR in
accordance with proper practices.’
11.2 To agree the authoriser for this month’s payments.
Councillors N Thorp & G de Wilde
11.3 To approve payments to be made noted below under the General Power of Competence and within
Council unanimously approved all payments.
|28.08.22/ 28.09.23||Clerk & Deputy Clerk’s salary Aug* / Sept (TBC)
|Not publicly disclosed|
|28.08.22/ 28.09.23||HMRC PAYE (Aug £112.40*, Sept TBC)||£77.20
|28.08.23 / 28.09.23||Microsoft subscription @£4.50pm* (£4.90 wef Sept23)||£9.40|
|17.08.23||Scofell grounds maintenance July @ £618pm*||£618.00|
|30.08.23||Scofell grounds maintenance August @ £618pm*||£618.00|
|26.07.23||BH NALC Course ‘Engaging with Communities’ 27.9.23*||£39.22|
|30.08.23||Moore EA conclusion invoice||£252.00|
(plus salary above)
*All paid to be ratified
|Lloyds Bank||Interest August 2023||£9.71|
11.4 To sign off bank reconciliation to end August.
Provided in advance of the meeting & signed by BS at the meeting
11.5 To hear / agree on any other financial or administration updates
11.5.1 Resolution to change from meeting bi-monthly to monthly from January 2024 (all Council
‘Upton Parish Council resolves that it will hold its Parish Council meetings every month with
effect from January 2024. Council acknowledges that this will affect the Clerk’s workload & will
look closely at this & subsequent changes to salary at the Financial meeting in October 2023.’
Council voted all in favour of this change & the resolution was therefore carried.
11.5.2 Update on the UPC Annual Plan & Strategic Plan (BS)
BS stated that once the village survey was complete & results known, that the strategic plan
(Council’s 4-year plan to the next election) would be drawn up, & annual plans formed
11.5.3 Update on the UPC Organisational Chart (BS)
Following feedback from all Councillors, BS to update the organisational chart & issue to all.
11.5.4 Update on the Village Emergency Plan (LM)
LM stated she has responsibility for this plan & is working with I Ross who will advise & help
with its development.
Information will be sent out in Upton News to help with this, together with the village
- To hear any updates on any aspect of the recreation ground play areas (LM)
12.1 Annual RoSPA inspection due September 2023
The annual inspection will take place on 6th October 2023. LM will meet with the inspector to discuss
all aspects of the play areas.
12.2 Adventure play area
12.2.1 Two quotes were received for the replacement of the play area wooden perimeter. Council
unanimously agreed to go with the lower quote, provided by Mr de Wilde. Once this work is
complete, new surface material will be ordered.
Clerk’s note:- Mr de Wilde subsequently withdrew his quote, pending investigation with NT into
12.2.2 Council noted the net tunnel was in need of repair. Advice will be taken during the inspection
12.3 Toddler play area
Kompan provided a free repair kit for some items within the toddler play area. The repairs will be
discussed during the annual inspection.
12.4 Pump track
No issues were reported with the pump track.
- To hear any updates on the maintenance of the recreation ground
13.1 Maintenance activity (all Council members)
13.1.1 Update on the work carried out by Scofell
GW to speak to Scofell regarding work in the cemetery overflow field (cut/scarify/seed as
13.1.2 Update on any other grounds maintenance across the village
Chilton Road verge splays on to the A417 are overgrown. NT to contact Highways.
13.2 Car park improvement options (GW)
This will form a part of the Council’s 4-year plan.
13.3 Any other updates on the recreation ground
BS to draw up a user agreement with the Amazons football coach.
- To hear an update on Speed Watch Activities (BH)
No update given.
- To hear an update on Risk Management (NT)
15.1 Updating of the Risk Management document
NT continues to work on an updated risk management document for the Council.
15.2 Compliance, GDPR & any other risk management updates
- To hear an update on the production & issue of Upton News (NT)
Agree content for next edition of Upton News
NT requested Upton News content to be with him before 28th of the month. BS to provide ‘Chair’s Chatter’
content & LM to provide Emergency Plan information.
- To set the date(s) and venue(s) of future full council meetings
17.1 To agree the list of meeting dates for 2024 (provided in advance of the meeting)
BS proposed, NT seconded & all were in favour of the new list of meeting dates for 2024, following
the resolution to move to monthly meetings above.
17.2 The next full council meeting will be held on Wednesday 22nd November 2023 at 8.00pm in the main
hall in the village hall.
The meeting finished at 9.55pm.
Appendix A – Actions from previous meetings
|No.||Actions from September meeting||By when|
|1.||Clerk to draft response to KH re NG proposals||End October|
|2.||LM to provide Emergency Plan information to NT for next Upton News & WhatsApp group||14.09.23|
|3.||LM to meet with play are inspector & cover all aspects||06.10.23|
|4.||GW to speak to Scofell regarding work in the cemetery overflow field (cut/scarify/seed as necessary).||ASAP|
|5.||BS to draw up user agreement with the Amazons football coach re use of the recreation ground. Clerk to provide sample agreement (actioned).||ASAP|
|6.||NT to contact Highways regarding the visibility splays on the exit of Chilton Road onto the A417.||ASAP|
|No.||Actions from May meeting 2023||By when|
|1.||BS to create new ToR for the Personnel Committee||C’fwd|
|2.||BH & NT to review Nature Garden ToR – Clerk reissued NG ToR to BH & NT 13.09.23||C’fwd|
|4.||BS to update & forward to Council the Areas of Responsibility/Roles for Councillors||BS to re-issue Sept23|
|5.||BS / Council to look at a Working Group for the Village Survey / Village Welcome Pack / Public Engagement Policy||C’fwd|
|10.||BS to meet with LM to form a Committee to oversee document review & production for the web site||C’fwd|
|No.||Actions from previous meetings||By When|
|19.||All to consider IT back-up & future proof options||C’fwd|