Report of the meeting held on Tuesday 3 July 2012 in the
Compton Room, Shawford Village Hall.
Since the chairman, Councillor Stevens, and vice-chairman, Councillor Evans, had offered their apologies for the meeting, Councillor Walmsley accepted an invitation from the other councillors to chair the meeting.
The council noted PCSO Wilkinson’s report, which included two reports of suspicious behaviour; two of anti-social behaviour; one theft from a vehicle and one instance of criminal damage (graffiti on the walls of the M3 subway). The clerk advised the council that a new police constable, Matt Dunlop, was due to start on 12 July 2012.
In response to a request from a parishioner (at the council meeting on 8 May 2012) for the council to reconsider its decision to support the presence of highland cattle on Shawford Down, Mrs Caffyn described the poor state of the down, prior to their introduction. This view was supported by Mrs Millar and comments received by email from the local ranger, Jo Baker.
Ms Baker explained that the down, a remnant of prime chalk grassland, is of high nature conservation value and that in 2006 Hampshire County Council had entered into a 10 year agreement with English Nature to manage the area to the benefit of wildlife. The site had been botanically surveyed prior to the agreement and found to support species that would disappear, if not managed properly, e.g. Chalkhill Blue butterflies. Since cattle grazing began, there has been a substantial improvement to the grassland with species numbers rising e.g. butterflies, the rare Hornet Robber fly, glow worms etc. and the diversity of plants has increased. Ms Baker noted that, with regard to excrement, the dung is part of the recycling of the nutrients required to sustain the eco system. There are many rare and endangered beetles now present that help with this recycling process and, since it rots down very quickly, cattle dung poses very little, if any, health hazard to people.
Following discussion, the council agreed that, since the cattle provide significant ecological benefits to Shawford Down, it would continue to support their presence.
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
The council approved the recommendation of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee sub-committee to distribute funds raised during the holiday weekend on the following lines:
- £1250 to Shepherd’s Down School
- £1000 and all the spare children’s bottled drinks, beverages etc to All Saints’ School
- £1000 to All Saint’s Church
- £750 to Compton and Shawford Pre-School
- £500 to the Emilie’s Charities
- £500 to the Hello Martha Fund
The clerk noted that Councillor Stevens had indicated that legacy documents pertaining to The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will be available, prior to the council’s next meeting on 4 September 2012.
Playing Fields Management Committee
The council discussed the proposal to rename the Compton Street playing field as the Queen Elizabeth II Field, under the terms of the Fields in Trust scheme. Some concern was expressed that, if approved, the field could only be used for recreation in perpetuity. Councillor Walmsley noted that two keen supporters of the proposal were not present. He suggested that a vote should be postponed until 4 September 2012, when both would have an opportunity to make the case in favour of renaming the playing field. All agreed.
The council noted that, following an open tender, the contract to install fencing on the east boundary of the Compton Street playing field had been awarded to Vita Play at a cost of £3535.55. Funding would be provided by the WCC Opens Spaces Fund.
Following discussion of Sports Club proposals to improve the recreation facilities at the Memorial Playing Fields, the council agreed to seek WCC Open Spaces funding ‘in principle’ for the construction of a petanque court. This would be dependent upon the Sports Club providing the Playing Fields Management Committee with a detailed site plan and confirmation that residents in neighbouring properties had been consulted and no objections had been raised. It was also agreed that any proposals for permanent structures on the MPF needed to be accompanied by detailed plans and that decisions on such issues could only be made by the full council.
Highways, Transport and Footpaths
Following a recommendation from Councillor Southgate, it was agreed that the missing village sign at the southern end of Otterbourne Road should be replaced by one containing the message: “Compton & Shawford welcome careful drivers”. It was also agreed that Councillor Southgate should write an article for the parish magazine describing the benefits of the Community Speedwatch programme, while emphasising that the programme can only work if there is a sufficient number of local volunteers.
County Councillor Bailey reported that HCC officers and the MD of bus operator, Xelabus, had visited Attwoods Drove on 2 July 2012 to try to find a solution to the difficulties encountered by bus drivers, when trying to turn their vehicles in a relatively confined space. The first step will be a bus ‘cage’ marked on the road in an attempt to keep that part of the road clear of parked vehicles. Work would also be undertaken during the school holidays to patch the footpath outside the church. She was very disappointed that the construction of the promised pedestrian crossing on Otterbourne Road had been delayed until September and that cycleway signs had been placed in inappropriate places along Shawford Road. Both she and Councillor Southgate would be meeting officials on 5 July 2012 to try to resolve the latter.
Mr Wilkinson expressed concern about continuing problems with litter and the lighting of fires at Compton Lock. The clerk noted that the chairman had written to the chairman of Twyford Parish Council to see if was possible to agree on a joint policy for managing the site.
Following a discussion on the issues raised by Councillor Evans in her report on exception sites, the council agreed to establish a planning sub-committee, charged with producing a draft plan on the future development of social housing within the parish. The sub-committee, which will comprise of Councillors Bell, Evans and Townell, will also comment on the suitability of the potential sites identified by Winchester City Council. The draft plan will be considered by the full council on 4 September 2012, when it will also consider a draft position, prepared by Councillor Bell, on the future development of Bushfield Camp.
Finance & Administration
Councillor Walmsley reminded the council that a vacancy for a ninth councillor remained. This could be filled by nomination until 2 October 2012, after which a casual vacancy would need to be declared and a by-election called.
Date and Venue of the Next Meeting
7.30pm Tuesday 4 September 2012 in the Compton Room, Shawford Village Hall.