December 2008 Meeting Report
Report of the meeting held on Tuesday 2 December 2008 in the Reeves Scout Hall, Compton.
The chairman, Nick Campbell-White, began by announcing that Councillor Susen Harding had resigned, on grounds of ill health, and that a casual vacancy had been created. The Clerk had thanked her for her efforts as parish councillor and wished her well on the Council’s behalf. The vacancy would be advertised at the CASCA Christmas party and in the December issue of the parish magazine. Official notices will be posted on 5 January.
PCSO Cooper stated that four incidents had been reported to the police during the month of November. They included the parking of a vehicle in a ‘blind spot’ in Pearson Lane and a ‘suspicious person’ going ‘door to door’ in Southdown Road. Following a spate of thefts from garden sheds in the Winchester area, he repeated the police request that members of the public seeing anyone acting suspiciously, near a shed or garage, should report the incident to the police. Because the investigation was continuing, he was unable to comment on the cause of the accident on M3 flyover but he confirmed that the police were considering implementing a programme of speed checks on Otterbourne Road.
Councillor Millar reported on a very well attended meeting to discuss the provision of new equipment at the Compton play area. But, since such equipment needed to be robust, it was quite expensive. She proposed that the Council should be prepared to spend up to £30,000 from the Open Spaces Fund, managed by Winchester City Council, to purchase and install the equipment. Earlier the Council had reviewed its position with regard to the fund. During the discussion, some reservations had been voiced that the Open Spaces Fund should be used primarily to purchase land, as a lasting legacy for sport and play. However, the chairman, supported by others, thought that such land had proved impossible to find within the parish and, given the need to improve and upgrade facilities at the Compton and Memorial Fields play areas, it was time for the Council to revise its policy. It was agreed that, in future, the Parish Council “will only endorse a withdrawal from the fund if it benefits the wider Parish and concerns leisure or related qualifying projects” but “it is not general policy to use it for helping out small projects”. On this basis Councillor Millar’s proposal was accepted and invitations to tender have now been sought from three prominent suppliers.
Budget for 2009/10
Councillor Walmsley advised that current budget projections indicated there will be an ‘overspend’ of approximately £6000 in the current financial year. This has been caused by the need to pay the former Clerk a gratuity, the costs associated with advertising the position and the use of previously allocated funds, within the reserves, to cut back vegetation around the Memorial Playing Fields. Councillor Beckett advised that WCC income is down considerably. The government grant, which constitutes 60% of the budget, has been increased by just 0.5% and income from planning applications is down by 25%. With this in mind, Councillor Walmsley recommended that each convenor should review his/her projected budget figures for the next financial year and provide him with any comments prior to the January Parish Council meeting. As currently projected, the Parish Council’s budget will require a 5.4% increase in the precept. The chairman supported the recommendation.
County Councillor’s Report
Councillor Bailey reported that parishes will soon be invited to submit bids for Flashing Speed Signs, which are designed to encourage drivers to keep to the local speed limit. Five parishes, including Compton & Shawford, had expressed an interest in obtaining the lights. It was agreed that Councillor Caffyn would invite representatives of the five parishes to a meeting in early January to decide upon the extent of cooperation and to reach agreement upon where the signs should be situated.
On planning issues a member of the public expressed concern about a proposed development in the property adjacent to his home in Otterbourne Road. An earlier proposal had been rejected by WCC and, since the latest application was very similar to the original, he hoped the Council would be prepared to support his objection. Councillor M Bell said that he had not seen the proposed plans but assured him that the Parish Council adopted a consistent approach to planning applications. There was considerable discussion on the proposed development of Woodlands Park and an application to operate a recycling facility of waste and other recycled materials at Four Dells Farm. It was agreed that Councillor M Bell would advise the Planning Department of the conditions that were applied to the original development at Woodlands Park, viz. domestic use only, and that, when commenting upon the Four Dell Farm planning application, planning officers should be asked to take into consideration the cumulative effect of HGV travel movements on Poles Lane. The chairman concluded that the Parish Council should object to the recycling plant.
Finally the chairman reported that Councillor Stevens had prioritised the items requiring attention in the Parish Plan and was now looking for volunteers to work towards their implementation. It is to be hoped that members of the community, whose views were reflected in the plan, will come forward to assist her in making the plan a ‘living document’.
The next meeting will take place at 7.15pm Tuesday 6 January in the Compton Room of Shawford Parish Hall.
DAVID DRAKE, CLERK