Report of the meeting held on Tuesday 3 April 2012 in the Reeves Scout Hall, Compton.
This was the last meeting of the current council. A new one will be formed on 8 May 2012, following scheduled council elections on 3 May 2012. [As it happens, there were not sufficient candidates to require an election and eight candidates, whose names can be found on the parish web site, were elected unopposed.] It was also the last meeting for Councillors Beckett and Millar both of whom had decided to stand down after a combined total of nearly fifty years of service to the community. As the chairman, Councillor Stevens, said “their experience and enthusiasm will be much missed”.
The clerk informed the council that there had been only one reported incident in the past month: an expensive horse rug had been taken from Compton Street but had been returned the following morning. He added that PCSO Michelle Gay intended to hold surgeries on Wednesday 18 April 2012 at the Reeves Scout Hall in the morning and at Shawford village hall in the afternoon. Both she and PC Hagger will be attending the Annual Parish Meeting on Thursday 19 April 2012. Councillor Millar confirmed that CASCA will not charge the police for the use of the village hall.
Playing Fields Management Committee
Mrs Down expressed delight with the improvements to the Compton playing field but Councillor Walmsley noted that he had observed several balls disappearing over the neighbouring fence. Councillor Millar agreed to consult the playing fields committee about the possible erection of a net/fence to try to reduce the problem.
The council discussed a proposal to replace the gang mower at the MPF with a specialist cricket pitch mower, funded through the Open Spaces Fund, but decided that it would not be appropriate to do so. However, given health and safety concerns about the gang mower, which is currently accessible to the public, it was agreed that the clerk should write to the Sports Club to instruct the members to either remove it or to make it inaccessible to the public. It needed to be removed/secured by 30 April 2012 to enable the QDJ sub-committee to complete the risk assessment required by the council’s insurers. It was also agreed that Councillor Millar should seek estimates for the removal of the rusted chain link fence on the eastern side of the MPF.
There was short discussion on the implications of renaming the Compton Street playing field as the QE2 Playing Field. To do so will mean that the land will be registered as a playing field ‘in perpetuity’. It was agreed that the subject should be raised at the Annual Parish Meeting (APM) and a final decision taken at the next council meeting.
During the period open to comments from the public, Mrs Caffyn expressed concern about misunderstandings over The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (QDJ) celebrations. She emphasised that this was very much a community wide celebration, in which many members of the parish were involved. She hoped that the Parish Council would continue to give the QDJ its full support.
The council agreed that it should use the residue of the £2000 allocated to support The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to pay for the outdoor relay sound system and a Performing Arts Licence. It also agreed that the council should commit ‘VDS funds’ set aside for a community project to the following QDJ projects: St John’s Ambulance first aiders; programme printing; the Shawford Down beacon and the provision of commemorative medals for local school children. Councillors Stevens and Southgate agreed to underwrite the wholesale price of purchasing the commemorative mugs bearing the parish name, which will be sold during the celebrations. Councillor Stevens emphasised that Parish Council funds would not be used to support the Sports Club’s Jubilee Ball and that over £1000 of VDS funds would be retained by the council for future community projects.
District Councillor Jan Warwick briefed the council on Winchester’s Best of British Festival to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the run up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will consist of a series of special events showcasing everything that makes Britain great. Further information can be obtained from the web site: www.festivalsinwinchester.co.uk/best-british/
Councillor Southgate advised the council that he had attended a meeting of the Southdown Residents’ Association, where a number of topics had been raised including footpaths, planning policy, vegetation, play areas and the speed limit along Otterbourne Road. A formal letter from the association on some of these subjects could be expected.
The clerk noted that both Mrs Russell and Mr Goodyear had accepted the revised terms for cleaning the bus shelters and M3 subway.
Mrs Harding made a number of comments about the condition of the pavements and grass verges outside ‘Chequers’ and ‘Rutlands’ in Compton Street. The chairman undertook to contact the owners of both properties.
County Councillor Charlotte Bailey agreed to contact HCC Highways Department about the missing white lines in Compton Street and overgrown vegetation adjacent to the Park & Ride. Councillor Beckett announced that funding had been obtained for the construction of Cycle Track 23, which would cross the Hockley Viaduct. He noted that, over the past year, there had been a significant reduction in complaints about aircraft noise.
Finance and Administration
Councillor Walmsley advised the council that it was required to formally approve the Annual Return, which summarises the council’s accounts for the financial year 2011/12 and the Annual Governance Statement. The clerk noted that a number of factors, including a reduction in administration costs, had resulted in an increase in the council’s uncommitted reserves, which now stood at seven months of normal operations. [Local Government guidelines suggest a minimum of six months.]
Councillor Wilkinson reported that the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Trust was planning to remove the trees on the bank opposite the homes in Park View. This should relieve many of the residents’ concerns. She had also received a number of complaints from walkers about cyclists ignoring ‘no cycling signs’ along the Itchen Navigation. It was agreed that Councillor Wilkinson should contact HCC Rights of Way Department to see what action could be taken to mitigate this potential danger to walkers.
Councillor Wilkinson also reported that further consideration was being given to the erection of ‘take your litter home’ signs at Compton Lock. Following discussion, the chairman agreed to write to her opposite number at Twyford Parish Council to see if the two councils could agree on a common plan, towards reducing the amount of litter at the lock.
Councillor Bell reported that he had recently attended a WDALC training session on Neighbourhood Planning. Producing a neighbourhood plan would be expensive and he wondered whether it might be more appropriate for the council to concentrate on making proposals for incorporation into WCC’s Local Plan Part 2. He also wondered whether the council should consider proposing areas for development within the parish or leave such decisions to WCC planners. In the subsequent discussion, it was agreed that, in order to gauge public reaction, Councillor Bell should raise the subject at the APM.
The council also discussed the WCC proposals for ‘exception sites’ for social housing within the parish and agreed that Councillor Evans should accept the invitation to a meeting with the WCC team.
Date and Venue of the Next Meeting
7.30pm Tuesday 8 May 2012 in the Heathcote Room, Shawford Village Hall.