January 2006 PC Meeting Report

Report on the Meeting held
Tuesday 3rd January 2006, Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall

Shawford Down

It was reported that, after making enquiries within Hampshire County Council, County Councillor Charlotte Bailey had established that they are optimistic that funding for the management of Shawford Down will be obtained from DEFRA. Any funding from DEFRA will be matched by Hampshire County Council.

Shawford Station

It was reported by Councillor Tricia Caffyn that Residents in Shawford had been advised by Network Rail that refurbishment work on Shawford Railway Station is to commence on the 9th January 2006 and last until June 2006. Details are to be established by Councillor Caffyn and these will be published in the Parish Magazine.

Annual Spring Clean

The annual Spring Clean is planned for March this year. Tricia Caffyn will provide details through the Parish Magazine.

Budgets for 2006/7

Councillor Nick Campbell-White reported on the Finance and Administration Committee’s deliberations concerning the Budgets for the financial year 2006/2007. Significant discussion took place over the question of the Parish Council’s annual contribution to the Parish Hall Sinking Fund. It was accepted that a Sinking Fund must be built up to cover for future major repairs, and that the Parish Council had agreed to contribute to the Sinking Fund and to underwrite any shortfall in operating costs when transferring the Hall to CASCA. We are delighted with the success CASCA has made of the Hall, and are looking to discuss with CASCA management whether it is appropriate to continue the same level of Parish Council contributions – which come out of parishioners’ Council Tax – in years when CASCA is making a significant operating surplus.

The Budgets for the financial year 2006/2007 were determined with a Precept of £25,296-00 being agreed upon. This Precept figure being a 2.99% increase on last year’s Precept and is broadly in line with levels of inflation during the past year.

Playing Fields

As part of the Open Space Strategy discussions, Councillor Mary Shaw had been approached by representatives of the Sports Club concerning problems that had arisen in respect of the Football Pitch on Memorial Playing Field. It is understood that the surface of the Pitch has become very uneven and is bumpy in places requiring major earthworks to resolve. The cost of such work is currently unknown but is understood to run into thousands of pounds as opposed to just hundreds of pounds. It was suggested by Councillor Mary Shaw that some of the money held in the Open Space Fund by Winchester City Council could be used for this work.

There was strong objection by some Councillors to this suggestion for the following reasons:

  • The Sports Club currently have a reduced and subsidised rent; the balance of costs of maintaining the Playing Field is met out of the annual Parish Council Precept (i.e. local Council Tax).
  • The Parish Council and local residents have already contributed significantly to the capital cost of the new Sports facilities.
  • Many users of the Sports Club are not resident in the Parish.

Accordingly, some Councillors objected to the use of Open Space funds to assist with major repairs to the Football Pitch. As the Sports Club lease the Memorial Playing Field from the Parish Council, it was suggested that it is the Sports Club’s responsibility to maintain the pitches. We await more information about the extent of works required.

Victoria Jubilee Fountain refurbishment

Due to the significant delay in repairing and refurbishing the Victoria Jubilee Memorial in Shawford Village, it was agreed that the repairs and refurbishment to the structure will proceed starting in May. The cost of this will be funded by surplus funds allocated but not used for this purpose during the current financial year; together with funds budgeted for in the new financial year. The remaining issue of landscaping around the Victorian Jubilee Memorial will progress when grants have been obtained.

Park and Ride

Significant discussion took place on the proposed South Winchester Park and Ride facility, being proposed by Hampshire County Council. It was disappointing that articles on this subject in the Parish Magazine did not elicit a major outcry from Parishioners. It is understood that Hampshire County Council have already determined the location for this proposed facility, Bushfield Farm. Other alternative sites, less intrusive for local residents, have already been discounted by the County Council, despite no consultation with Parish Councils having been undertaken to-date. It would appear that the main recourse left to the Parish Council and local residents is to generate an outcry through the media. The proposal of a Park and Ride facility at Bushfield Farm will have a significant impact upon the village of Compton and may impact Shawford through a significant increase in traffic to and from such a facility. Further articles on this matter will be published in the Parish Magazine.

Annual Parish Assembly

It was determined that the Annual Parish Assembly will take place on the 26th April 2006. The format together with various issues relating to this matter will be decided at the February Parish Council meeting.