June 2009 Meeting Report
Report of the meeting held on Tuesday 2 June 2009 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall.
Meeting times and frequency
This month's meeting involved considerable discussion on whether the Council should continue with monthly meetings or, follow the example of some other local councils which only meet every other month.
The chairman introduced the discussion by stating that there was a need for the Council to continually update its practices. Improvements in technology and communications and the need to encourage younger people to join the Council had lead him to conclude there was a case for the introduction of a system of bi-monthly meetings but only if the practice of producing monthly convenor's reports was maintained. Councillor Walmsley indicated that the Finance and Administration Committee was in favour of continuing with monthly meetings because they helped to maintain continuity and provided public access but that they should be restricted to the period 7.15pm – 9.30pm. Councillor Evans, a working mother, supported the recommendation but said that it would be helpful if the meetings could start a little later: a suggestion supported by Councillor Stevens. Following further discussion, during which the importance of continuity and an ability to be able to respond within the allotted time to planning applications were both emphasised, it was agreed that the Council should continue with monthly meetings but that they should be restricted to the period 7.30pm – 9.30pm.
In his capacity as Compton Primary School governor, Mr Dolphin reported that the use of Church Field for parking was still under review.
Changing hats, he reported that Sparrowgrove and Oakwood Copse Conservation Trust is currently looking for volunteers who are willing to undertake training on woodland equipment and for companies willing to sponsor the copse as part of their charity programmes.
PCSO Warren Carne informed the Council that there had been three reported crimes during the past month: two involved door to door salesmen and the third the theft of a small amount of money from an insecure room in a residential property. PCSO Carne added that Hampshire Constabulary had devised a programme to assist people in saying no to cold callers. This included the delivery of information packs to those householders requesting such assistance. Should you require such a pack, please contact Twyford Police Station direct (telephone number 871430).
The chairman noted the Internal Auditor's report of 20 May 2009. He was pleased with the result. The only issue for discussion was the recommendation that the Council should increase the Fidelity Guarantee Insurance to £52,000. Given that all bills are paid by cheque, which require the signatures of two councillors, he felt there was sufficient fiscal control: an increase in the insurance premium of £150 was an unnecessary expense. All councillors agreed.
The chairman reported on discussions with the Sports Club regarding insurance. They had obtained a quote from Aon (a sub-division of the Council's insurers, Allianz,), for a "Club" policy which provides excellent cover for buildings, contents and public liability for both pavilion, groundsman's shed and the Memorial Playing Fields. At long last the Sports Club has its own policy and is no longer reliant on the Parish Council to provide insurance. He suggested that he and Councillors Bell and Walmsley should meet to consider the implications with regard to the Sports Club lease and a reduction in the Club's annual financial contribution towards maintenance costs. They would then produce a recommendation for discussion at the July council meeting.
Parish Plan follow-up
Councillor Stevens reported that she was very disappointed that the Highways Agency appeared to have reneged upon a commitment to resurface the M3 with a 'quiet' surface in 2011. She intended to write to Mark Oaten MP to seek his support in bringing the matter to the attention of the Secretary of State for Transport. Councillor Caffyn reported that speed light application forms had been submitted to Hampshire County Council and the chairman that the new footpath between the top of the M.P.F. was almost complete.
The next meeting will be held in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall at 7.30pm Tuesday 7 July 2009.
DAVID DRAKE, CLERK