October 2009 Meeting Report

Report of the meeting held on Tuesday 6 October 2009 in the Reeves Scout Hall, Compton.

Police Report

PC Joe Zubaidi informed the Council that there had been five reported incidents in the period 1 September – 6 October 2009. These included the theft of tools from a garage and a dog from a farm in Shawford. (Councillor Caffyn noted that the dog had now been recovered.) The other three incidents concerned damage to a vehicle, a loud party and vehicle nuisance.

Public Session

In the period set aside for members of the public, Mr Andrew Witt expressed concern at Winchester City Council’s plans for the Old Post Office and stores building. He had raised objections because he considered the proposed development was inappropriate for the village and that insufficient parking spaces could result in potential parking problems in Attwoods Drove. His concerns about parking were endorsed by Mrs Wilmshurst. Following discussion amongst councillors, later in the meeting, it was agreed that the Council should object to the WCC plans for the Old Post Office Building on grounds that it was an overdevelopment of the site and because of potential parking problems.

Speed Limits

Councillor Bailey drew councillors’ attention to Mr Whitford’s request for a reduction in the speed limit along Otterbourne Road. HCC would be undertaking a review of the speed limit at some stage in the next few months and she hoped that the Parish Council would be prepared to support a reduction from 40 mph to 30 mph. In the subsequent discussion, opinions were divided. Some parish councillors were in favour of extending the speed limit all the way to Compton Street but others were concerned upon possibility of a negative impact on planning policy, i.e. a lower speed limit resulting in increased development on Compton Down. It was agreed that a decision should be deferred until representatives of the parish’s residents’ associations had been consulted.

M3 Noise

Councillor Stevens informed the Council that she was engaged in correspondence with the Highways Agency, Department for Transport and Mark Oaten MP on the need for the M3 surface to be renewed as a matter of urgency. Recent repairs had resulted in a marked reduction in the level of noise but it was imperative that the entire road system was resurfaced as a matter of urgency. Neither the Highways Agency nor the DfT seemed interested in accelerating the current resurfacing programme. She intended to raise the issue with prospective parliamentary candidates, Steve Brine and Martin Tod, to ensure that M3 resurfacing becomes an ‘election issue’.

Bushfield Camp Village Green proposal

Councillor Bell advised councillors on an application to HCC to register Bushfield as a ‘village green’. He had been informed that a decision would be made on evidence of such use alone. Following discussion it was agreed that the clerk should write to HCC emphasising that the Parish Council recognises the importance of Bushfield as a recreational area and continues to support its use for this purpose. It also wishes to remain fully engaged with Winchester City Council on its potential use, as outlined in the Local Development Framework.

Finance and Admin Comittee.

Following the recent property valuations, which had resulted in increases in the values of the Parish Hall to £755,000, the caretaker’s cottage to £162,000 and the Jubilee Pavilion to £445,000, it was agreed that the Parish Council, as landlord, should write to CASCA and the Sports Club indicating that the buildings insurance on both properties should be raised to these levels.

Councillor Walmsley reported that the Lawn Tennis Club, having obtained planning permission for new floodlights on the third court and replacement lights on courts 1 and 2, had applied for a grant from the Lawn Tennis Association. But in order to obtain lottery funding (administered by the LTA) it will be necessary to show that the LTC has a lease of, at least, 21 years. Without such a lease the club would lose out on the £19,000 grant. It was agreed that the Parish Council would extend the lease until 31 December 2030, provided the Club meets all of its legal fees and accepts a change in hours of operation to those currently applied to planning approval viz. 0900 – 2130.

Casual Vacancy

The clerk reported that, following the resignation of Councillor Clay there was a “casual vacancy” on the Parish Council. Notices to this effect had been placed on village notice boards on 21 September, an announcement had appeared in the Hampshire Chronicle on 24 September and an advertisement placed in the September edition of the parish magazine. As yet no-one had indicated an interest in the position. Councillor Caffyn proposed that the Parish Council should record a vote of thanks to Councillor Clay for her energetic and positive contribution to improvements within the parish, particularly with regard to footpaths, during her time as a parish councillor. All agreed.

Highways and Byways

Councillor Caffyn informed the Council that the terms offered in the HCC Private Finance Initiative Street Lighting agreement were particularly attractive and should result in a reduction in costs on the use and maintenance of the parish’s street lights. It was agreed that the Parish Council should accept the terms offered under the agreement. Councillor Caffyn also reported that essential maintenance on the bus shelters and notice boards was in hand but there was a problem with the lease proposed by HCC for the operation of flashing speed lights within the village. The council’s insurers were not prepared to provide indemnity for the County Council, as the current policy covers the Parish Council’s responsibility, only. The clerk had written to HCC’s legal department highlighting this problem but had not yet received a reply.

Shawford Down play area

Councillor Millar reported that the chairman, Councillor Campbell-White, and Councillor Caffyn had had fruitful discussions with HCC’s David Ball regarding the principle of a play area about the size of a tennis court at the foot of Shawford Down. If formal agreement can be obtained, WCC’s Open Spaces Fund should be able to provide finance for the necessary play equipment. She also expressed concern at the condition of the safety surface of the MPF play area and since the Open Spaces Fund was prepared to fund full replacement of the surface, she recommended that the Council should undertake the work required as soon as possible. All agreed. Councillor Millar also advised councillors that the CASCA AGM would take place on 11 November and the Christmas Party on 4 December. She hoped for a good turn out of councillors and parishioners at both events.

Civic Service

The clerk reported that 158 invitations had been issued for the Civic Service to be held at All Saints Church, Compton on 18 October. Mark Oaten MP had declined but the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, Martin Tod, had accepted. The mayor of Eastleigh and deputy mayor of Winchester had also accepted. Councillor Millar confirmed that, assisted by Mrs Campbell-White, she would organise sandwiches and purchase savouries for the reception at the school.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held in the Compton Room, Shawford Village Hall at 7.30pm Tuesday 3 November 2009.