November 2009 Meeting Report

Report of the meeting held on Tuesday 3 November 2009 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall.

Of the many issues on the agenda at this month’s parish council meeting, three were of most interest to members of the public viz. the proposed development of the Compton Post Office building in Attwoods Drove; the possible reduction of speed limit along Otterbourne Road and public access to the Park and Ride service.

Compton Post Office proposals

Mr Witt requested confirmation that the Parish Council would be represented at the planning committee meeting on 19 November at which proposals for the Old Post Office building in Attwoods Drove would be discussed. Councillor Beckett confirmed that a planning application for change of use of Compton Post Office, from commercial to four dwellings, was expected to go before the committee on 19 November. He advised that councillors should note that the City Council will then seek offers for the disposal of the property and will accept the best offer. But the eventual purchaser may seek an alternative consent and it should not be assumed that the property will be developed in line with the consent extant at the time of disposal. Councillor Bell confirmed that he will be attending the planning committee meeting on 19 November 2009.

Otterbourne Road Speed Limits and Flashing Signs

Mr Whitford referred to the paper he had submitted to the Council in early October, requesting that the speed limit along Otterbourne Road from Otterbourne to Southdown Road should be reduced to 30 mph. He hoped that the council would support his proposal. Mrs Sylvester raised concerns about the safety of pedestrians, especially children, using Otterbourne Road (from Southdown Road to Compton Street). County Councillor Bailey urged the council to support the proposed HCC review of the speed limit along Otterbourne Road, which is scheduled to take place within this financial year.

Councillor Caffyn noted that, from the leaflets returned and emails received, opinions within the parish were almost equally divided at 51 in favour and 48 against. But there was a significant ‘silent’ majority that had not expressed any opinion. (There are approximately 1300 adults on the electoral roll.) She also noted that, while Mr Whitford had requested a change in the speed limit, his concern related to the stretch of road from Otterbourne to Southdown Road: Mrs Sylvester was concerned about the stretch of road from Southdown Road to Compton Street. In the subsequent discussion, it was agreed that the Parish Council should establish close contact with the Hampshire County Council traffic engineers, who will undertake the scheduled review of the speed limit along Otterbourne Road, and that a request should be made for the review to be undertaken as soon as possible.

Following the meeting, Councillor Caffyn wrote to Hampshire County Council Highways Department and was informed that a speed limit investigation for Otterbourne Road is included in the 2009/2010 fixed annual traffic management programme. Speed limits are set in accordance with County Council policy and Department for Transport criteria, which takes into account many factors that affect a drivers speed choice, such as, the road character, the level of roadside development, the accident history, road safety issues, current traffic speeds, the frequency of junctions and private entrances, and the presence of amenities that attract both motorised and non-motorised highway users. Recommendations for speed limit changes resulting from investigations will require the making of a Traffic Order prior to implementation. This is the legal procedure for changing the way in which drivers may behave on the public highway, and enables enforcement to be carried out. It can be a lengthy legal process and requires consultation to be carried out with local elected representatives, including the Parish Council, and the Police and the public.

The clerk reported that agreement had been reached on a form of words that was acceptable to both HCC and the Council’s insurers, with regard to contract for the flashing speed lights that will be employed along Otterbourne Road in the new year. However, since the initial cost of equipment (£1401.60) was in excess of the budgeted figure of £1000, it was agreed that the excess should be debited to the contingency fund. Councillor Caffyn hoped that, when in place, the signs would help to encourage motorists to maintain the current speed limit.

Park & Ride buses

Mr Witt also enquired about the possibility of parishioners being able to use the buses that will be employed on the Park & Ride service, when it is introduced in April 2010. Councillor Bailey understood that parents of pupils at Kings School should be able to use the service initially but, as demand grows, they may be charged the full cost. Councillor Beckett advised that some of the Park & Ride service’s capacity would be taken up by season ticket holders from the large employers on Romsey Road, which should alleviate congestion during rush hours. The route would also provide easier access for parishioners wishing to use facilities in Romsey Road, such as the hospital. Councillor Walmsley was disappointed to note that the service was not scheduled to call at Shawford, which could reduce the parking problems at Shawford railway station. Councillor Beckett commented that, since negotiations with bus operators were still continuing, any reasonable proposals for other use could be considered.

M3 Resurfacing

On another transport matter, Councillor Stevens reported that she had been in correspondence with the Highways Agency about the resurfacing of the M3 between junctions 10 & 12. In this regard there had been a brief mention of the Council’s endeavours in the Hampshire Chronicle of 29 October. A more extensive article could be expected in the 5th November edition. She was grateful to the parliamentary candidate, Steve Brine, for his active support in the Council’s campaign to obtain a quieter surface for the M3.

Compton Tenants’ Association

Moving to other matters, District Councillor E Bell reported that she had met members of the Compton Tenants Association in the afternoon. Issues raised included blocked gulleys and rainwater runoff from the Attwoods Drove farm track; complaints by bus drivers over access to the close; damage by turning cars to the lane entrance next to Lane House and dogs in the Play Area. Councillor Caffyn indicated that she would investigate the highways issues and Councillor Millar added that consideration was already being given to posting a notice about the need for dog owners to collect and remove dog waste from the play area.

Police Report

PCSO Warren Carne informed the Council that there had been two reported incidents in the period 6 October – 3 November 2009. A police patrol had discovered persons in possession of a small amount of a substance, believed to be cannabis, in the car park in Shawford Down and a bicycle had been stolen from Shawford railway station.

Finance and Admin Committee

Councillor Walmsley recommended that the Parish Council invoice the Sports Club for an annual contribution of £1000, this being a reduction from last year’s agreed figure of £2000, which recognises the revised insurance arrangements. (The Sports Club has taken over responsibility for insuring the Jubilee Pavilion.) A covering letter should also be sent with the invoice to request a meeting with the Sports Club over revisions to the lease necessitated by the revised insurance arrangements.

He also recommended that the Parish Council should place £30,000 on deposit with the Bank of Scotland for 12 months, there being no anticipated need for the funds within that time. Councillor Beckett recommended that the Council should always aim to have 25% of its funds on short term deposit. The clerk confirmed that this would still be the case.

Councillor Walmsley reminded councillors that there was a need to consider individual budgets for the next financial year. The clerk had agreed to prepare a summary for discussion at the council meeting on 1 December.

He also noted in the correspondence file a request from Winchester CAB for a grant. Given that the CAB is supported nationally and by WCC, he felt this would not be an appropriate use of parish funds. All agreed. Councillor Walmsley also noted the BT letter offering to sell the telephone kiosk to the Parish Council for £1. He suggested that the proposal should be placed on the agenda for the next meeting.

Playing Fields

Councillor Millar announced that Councillor Campbell-White was in the process of producing a specification for the grass cutting contract and that Playdale/Meridian had submitted the lowest tender for the repair of the Memorial Playing Fields play area surface (£7,787.80). An application would now be made to the Open Spaces Fund to obtain funding for the latter. She noted that the gate at the Compton play area was in a poor condition and recommended that it should be replaced. Councillor Millar added that she was extremely grateful to John Richardson, who had repaired a damaged fence panel at the MPF on his own initiative.

Village Design Statement

Councillor Stevens reported that the Village Design Statement is now in its sixth draft and that, on the current timescale, the final one will be forwarded to Winchester City Council by the end of November. Councillor Evans wondered whether the VDS included plans for affordable housing. Councillor Beckett reported that HCC had agreed to sell land for this purpose at the end of Martins Field. Councillor Stevens offered to investigate further.

Shawford Down Cattle

Finally, would you like to be involved with checking on the Highland Cattle on Shawford Down? It has been suggested regular users of the down could check the cattle as often as they liked and get in touch with the HCC Countryside Department, if there appeared to be any problems. One training day aimed at showing volunteers how to correctly check the livestock, has already been organised but others can be arranged for anyone that is interested in helping us to maintain the health of the cattle. If you are interested – call Tricia Caffyn on 01962 712005, or email her on .

The next meeting will be held in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall at 7.30 pm Tuesday 1 December 2009.