September 2003 PC Meeting Report

Report on the Meeting held
Tuesday 2nd September 2003, Shawford Parish Hall


The Chairman, Councillor George Beckett welcomed members back after the summer break, there being no meeting of the Parish Council during the month of August.


Once again, the predominant business of the Parish Council was issues concerning Planning. During the Public session, farmer Mr. John Venn made representations to the Parish Council over the planning issue of the hours of operation of the Grain Dryer at Silkstead Farm. Current restrictions prevent its use after 6.00pm and during weekends and Bank Holidays. It was pointed out that use of the Grain Dryer is dependant upon the needs of the harvest, which does not always coincide with the hours allowed for its operation. Farmer Venn’s points were noted and account taken of them for discussion during the session on Planning later in the meeting.

It was made clear during the Planning session that some members were sympathetic to Farmer Venn’s representations. However, it was felt by others that the amenity of existing and future residents must be protected from undue noise at unsociable hours caused by operation of the Grain Dryer. In order to arrive at a just decision on this matter, enquiries are to be made of Winchester City Planning department to establish details of the quantitive noise pollution levels, which caused the original imposition of restrictions on the hours of operation of the Grain Dryer. With this detailed information, the Parish Council will be in a better position to determine its response.

Other Planning matters discussed encompassed the proposal to build a further four dwellings at Highdown, Cliff Way, making a total of six new dwellings; and the proposal to build a four bedroom dwelling in the back garden of Briarlease, Field Way, with a new access. These issues were discussed at length and a suitable Parish Council response will be made.

New Pavilion Project

Mr. Paul Murray reported on the New Pavilion project, advising members that progress is on schedule. Currently the roof trusses are in place and during the coming month the roof will be finished, internal carpentry and plumbing together with the external cladding undertaken. Payment of the phased building costs is being successfully handled with the draw down of the Lottery Grant to meet the tight deadlines of the contract with the Builder.

Finance and Admin committee

Councillor Mr. Nick Campbell-White reported upon a successful Internal Audit of the Parish Council’s accounts and general operation. Accordingly, the Council were able to confirm that all matters requiring affirmation by the Audit Commission, the external Auditor, have been complied with. The Annual Return can now be sent to the External Auditor with confidence in that all matters are correct. Councillor Campbell-White expressed the Parish Council’s gratitude to the Clerk for the significant amount of work undertaken on this subject.

Playing Fields

Representations had been received from a Parishioner concerning the boundary fence on the Memorial Playing Field which borders his property. The problem of footballs etc., being inadvertently kicked into the back gardens resulting in players trying to retrieve such balls, has caused a problem in the past and is likely to do so with the onset of the new Football season. There were many differing views as to responsibilities on this issue. It had always been the Parish Council’s position that boundary fences on the Playing Fields were the responsibility of the neighbouring householders, not the Parish Council. However, as there was no consensus view on this matter, the subject was deferred for consideration outside of the meeting.

Quality Parish Council status

Councillor Mr. George Beckett reported upon his review of the “Quality Parish and Town Council Scheme” which was recently published by DEFRA. Whilst there may be some benefits in being awarded Quality Status in that it may give the Parish Council a stronger voice with the other authorities, there appeared to be minimal other benefits. A small Parish Council such as Compton and Shawford does not necessarily want, or are even able, to take on the provision of various services as indicated within the scheme. Currently there are issues beyond the control of the Parish Council that would prevent it from being awarded Quality Status. The cost in both time and money to attain Quality Status would be significant and must be a consideration. It was therefore agreed that this Parish Council would not apply for Quality Status, but will monitor the issue and review its position after the elections next year when a new Parish Council will be in place.