December 2009 Meeting Report
Report of the meeting held on Tuesday 1 December 2009 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall.
PC Mark Smith informed the council that six offences had been reported to the police since 3 November. They included thefts from a stable and motor vehicle, 2 instances of criminal damage, an attempted theft of a horse box and one public order parking dispute. PC Smith also mentioned that there had been a report of a suspicious male using a bus stop in the mornings, at the same time as school children. He also mentioned that the public should be aware of a heightened risk of theft to plant and rural equipment.
He stated that the police were seeking the cooperation of parish councils in an attempt to reduce police officer attendance at council meetings to once per quarter. The chairman indicated that he would consult all councillors for their opinions and especially with regard to their views on police beat priorities. The issue would be discussed at the next meeting on 5 January. PC Smith confirmed that police attendance at the annual parish meeting would not be part of the quarterly meeting cycle.
Citizen’s Advice Bureau
The chairman also noted that the council, in line with general policy, had not approved a request for a grant from Winchester Citizens Advice Bureau. Declaring an interest as a trustee of the CAB, he emphasised 74 people within the parish had received more than telephone advice from the bureau in the past year and hoped that the council would make an exception to its general rule of not responding to requests for grants. Several councillors believed that a change in the rule would lead to confusion and disappointment amongst other organisations seeking grants. Nevertheless it was agreed that the policy concerning requests for grants should be discussed at the next meeting in January.
Highways and Byways
Councillor Caffyn noted from Councillor Bailey’s report that she had raised the poor state of the Park View footway with the Highways Department. Councillor Caffyn added that she too had raised this issue with the department, emphasising that it now constituted a health and safety risk.
Compton Post Office proposals
Mr Witt thanked the council for its efforts in speaking against the proposal to convert the Compton Post Office building into four flats. Councillor Bell He mentioned that both he and District Councillor Eleanor Bell had attended the planning committee meeting, which had rejected the plans for the Compton Post Office. He looked forward to seeing the revised plans in due course.
Finance and Admin Committee
Councillor Walmsley reported that Finance and Administration Committee had considered proposals for next year’s budget at a meeting on 24 November. The committee proposed that next year’s precept should be set at £27,170, an increase of less than 0.5%. Councillor Walmsley added that the committee had also considered a suggestion that the council should set aside £15,000 of its reserves against future renovation costs of the caretaker’s cottage, estimated at around £20,000. Councillor Evans wondered, given the extent of CASCA’s reserves, whether a further commitment was necessary. The clerk noted that while sums could be set aside for certain projects, such sums could be diverted to other projects, if councillors deemed them to be more important. Following further discussion both proposals were accepted.
Casual Vacancy on the Council
The chairman reported that he had spoken to several potential candidates about the casual vacancy on the council, without success. Councillor Caffyn agreed to consult a new arrival in the village, who had previously served on a local council to see if she would be interested. But the vacancy remains and the chairman would be interested in hearing from any parishioner, who would like to serve their community by becoming a council member. Any one interested can contact him by telephone (713 891) or by email through me ().
Councillor Evans confirmed that the Open Spaces Fund had agreed to meet the cost of repairs to the play area surface and the provision of new equipment at the Memorial Playing Fields. She also indicated that WCC would provide a dog waste bin at the Compton Play Area at no cost but the council would incur a small fee of £3.10 monthly for its emptying. The chairman asked Councillor Millar to consult her committee about the positioning of the bin and to inform WCC accordingly. Councillor Evans added that she had been in contact with SERCO about a replacement wheelie bin at the Compton Play Area. All agreed that it should be replaced and that SERCO should be asked to provide and install a T-bar. Councillor Millar was very grateful for the excellent work undertaken by John Richardson, who had replaced the gate at the Compton Play Area and effected repairs to the fence at the Memorial Playing Fields.
BT Telephone Box at Martins Fields
Councillor Caffyn noted that over 80 calls had been made from the call box in Martins Fields in the past twelve months. If the council were to respond positively to BT’s approach about purchasing the box for £1, the company would remove the phone. She felt this would disadvantage the elderly and less able. All agreed. At the chairman’s request I subsequently wrote to Winchester City Council requesting that telephone should be retained and asking them to instruct BT to repair and clean the kiosk.
Councillor Stevens reported that she had recently received a very disappointing letter from the Highways Agency about the resurfacing of the M3. The Agency maintained that motorway maintenance had nothing to do with noise mitigation. She would be contacting the two main parliamentary candidates in the hope that the prospect of an election might encourage them to provide assistance. She would also be contacting the Hampshire Chronicle to see if the paper would be prepared to run another article. However she had noted the concerns of the Shepherds Down headmistress and would not include a reference to the school in any future articles about the M3.
Village Design Statement
Councillor Stevens also reported that the Village Design statement was very close to completion and she expected the final draft to be submitted to WCC this month. She had been very impressed with the hard work and research undertaken by Terry Wilson. Councillor Evans requested that, when the VDS are put out for parish consultation and discussion, paper copies should be made available for those parishioners that do not have access to the web. Councillor Stevens agreed.
Councillor Millar reported on the CASCA AGM, which had been well attended by parish councillors. The organisation was in robust health and bookings remained high.
The next meeting will be held in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall at 7.30 pm Tuesday 5 January 2010.
DAVID DRAKE, CLERK