May 2011 PC Meeting Report
Report of the meeting held on Tuesday 3 May 2011 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall.
Every May the Parish Council has to elect a new chairman and vice-chairman and to confirm appointments to committees. I am delighted to say that both Councillor Una Stevens, as chairman, and Councillor Jacqui Evans, as vice chairman, indicated a willingness to continue in their respective roles. Both were re-elected unanimously.
Other notable appointments were Councillor Adrian Walmsley as Finance and Administration convenor, Councillor Martin Bell, Planning Committee convenor, Councillor Jean Millar Playing Fields Management convenor and Councillor John Broomfield as Highways convenor. Councillor Mike Southgate agreed to continue as Transport Representative and, given his association with the Sparrowgrove and Oakwood Copse Community Trust, to take on the responsibilities of Tree Warden. A full list of appointments will appear on the council’s web site early next month.
The clerk reported that, in the past month, a handbag had been stolen from a vehicle parked in the Shawford down car park and solar light from a garden in Compton Street. There had been two incidents of rowdy behaviour (Compton Street and Attwoods Drove) and fourteen political campaign posters had been stolen from various sites in Otterbourne Road and Compton Street: a further three campaign posters in Otterbourne Road had been damaged. [I am sad to report that there has been yet another theft from a parked vehicle from the Shawford Down car park on the evening of 9 May.]
District Councillor’s Report
District Councillor Eleanor Bell reported that Biffa Waste Services Ltd had been awarded a joint waste collection contract with East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) and Winchester City Council (WCC). The grounds maintenance and street care work has been won by EHDC's current contractor, The Landscape Group. The two companies submitted a joint tender and this had helped them put together a winning bid. Savings will be made through more flexible working patterns, making better use of vehicles and crews and by creating a single council team responsible for management of the contracts for both councils. Councillor Bell added that motorists in Winchester may encounter delays over the next six months whilst repairs to the drains in The Square, Great Minster Street and Market Street are undertaken.
Finance and Administration (F&A)
The clerk reported that an internal audit of the council’s accounts had been undertaken by John Murray, who had asked that receipt of his letter of 21 April 2011 should be recorded in the minutes. The chairman noted that the letter contained no adverse comments. Councillor Walmsley also noted that the internal auditor had recommended that the council should review its standing orders and financial regulations at the Annual Meeting of the Council. Since these had been updated in the autumn of last year, he suggested that they need not be reviewed until the F&A meeting in November. All agreed.
Because of potential conflicts with election dates and bank holidays in 2012, Councillor Walmsley proposed that, during 2012, the council should meet 8 times on the first Tuesday of the designated month. After some discussion, it was agreed that, starting from 1 October 2011, the council will adopt a system of meetings, similar to that of Otterbourne Parish Council, and meet eight times a year on the first Tuesday of each month. There will be no meetings in November (when the F&A committee will meet to discuss the budget for the following year) January, June and August. To ensure that the public is aware of council meeting dates, they will be advertised permanently on the parish noticeboards.
Playing Fields Management
Councillor Millar reported that Bill Goodyear had undertaken repairs and renovation to three benches in Compton Street but the concrete base of the one located on the corner with Attwoods Drove had been distorted by tree roots, which precluded a simple paving slab repair. She suggested that, if the bench is to be replaced next year, it would be an appropriate time to improve its surrounds.
The clerk noted that Councillor Beckett had confirmed that maintenance of the fence, to the east of the Compton Street Playing Area, was the responsibility of the Parish Council.
Councillor Millar added that three tenders had been received for improvements to the netting around the play area. One was considerably less than the other two. Following discussion, it was agreed that the contract should be awarded to the lowest tenderer at a price of £2737.27 but that £500 should set aside in case extra costs were incurred in replacing the netting attached to the gate.
The chairman reported that she had still to receive a reply from R&W about the establishment of a liaison panel to consider the impact of future development on Four Dell Farm. It was agreed that the clerk should telephone the managing director to try to elicit a response to the chairman’s letters.
The council discussed how it should respond to the letter, from the head of Winchester City Council’s Planning Department, Simon Finch, explaining why the reduction in the number of parking spaces at the residential home, on the site of the Captain Barnard public house, had been treated as a non material amendment (NMA). As a direct consequence, an issue of some concern to parishioners had not been referred to the Parish Council for comment. Councillor Martin Bell noted that there appeared to be a substantial loophole in planning procedures where changes to planning applications can be established through the NMA process, without the need to seek wider consultation. Councillor Southgate agreed. He believed that, while domestic property NMAs were unlikely to be a cause of concern, those relating to commercial properties should be considered more widely, especially those where concerns about the scope of the development had been expressed at the time of the initial application. It was subsequently agreed that Councillor Martin Bell should draft a reply to Simon Finch, expressing the council’s concern at the way NMAs are currently being processed by WCC planning officers.
Highways & Transport
Councillor Broomfield advised the council that he would shortly be submitting his parish highways work sheet (providing information on highway related work within the parish requiring attention) to the Hampshire County Council Highways Department. He hoped that, eventually, it could be made available to parishioners, via the council’s web site. Councillor Southgate reported that, following the discussion on parking at the Annual Parish Meeting (APM), he had been invited to attend the Shawford Residents’ Association AGM in early June. He added that he was still pursuing the possibility of installing more street lights in Compton Street and, following a request from a parishioner, additionally in Otterbourne Road. The council agreed that Councillor Southgate should seek the views of residents in both areas (which will be treated as separate entities) through an article in the parish magazine.
The clerk reported that, within the last year, John Wilkinson had walked all of the parish footpaths. Litter was an issue on some of them and Mr Wilkinson thought that it might be helpful to identify groups within the parish, who would be prepared to help with litter collection. The chairman agreed and noted that it had been some time since there had been an organised litter collection day. She thanked Mr Wilkinson for his efforts on behalf of the Parish Council and wondered whether, through his links to Winchester Ramblers, he could discover if they would be maintaining the memorial bench that they had installed at the top of Shawford Down. If not, were they expecting the Parish Council to adopt it? Mr Wilkinson agreed to investigate.
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: June 2012
The chairman provided a briefing on developments since the APM, where two volunteers had come forward. She had had a very good meeting with the Sports Club and was close to forming a committee of fourteen, which she considered to be an ideal number. Unfortunately, she had yet to find a treasurer. [Should you be willing to volunteer, please give me a call on 01962 600198.] The key dates for activities will be Saturday 2 June, the Sports Club Ball, and Monday 4 June, when there will be a celebration for people of all ages at the Memorial Playing Fields.
Many of you will have noted that Jan Warwick was elected to Winchester City Council on 5 May. Congratulations to her and commiserations to Eleanor Bell, whom she replaced. Readers may also be interested to hear that a former chairman of the council, Nick Campbell-White, was elected to Wokingham Town Council on the same day. This is clearly an august organisation, since Nick was recently measured for a cloak and tricorn hat!
Date of the Next Meeting
7.30pm Tuesday 7 June 2011 in the Compton Room, Shawford Village Hall.