July 2013 PC Meeting Report
Report of the Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 2 July 2013 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall
The new ‘Beat Bobby’, PC Jon Worsdell introduced himself to the council. He has over 17 years experience as a police officer and has lived in the Winchester area for many years. He reported that there had been 3 burglaries (all from sheds in the Southdown area); the theft of a green recycling bin in Cross Way; a handbag stolen had been stolen from a vehicle parked in the Shawford Down car park and one incident of anti-social behaviour (a group of 50 youths were reported to be drinking and playing excessively loud music at Compton Lock). [The latter was discussed at length later in the meeting.]
County and District Councillor Reports
County Councillor Phil Bailey advised the council that Oliver’s Battery PC had asked him to help with the introduction of a cycle route from the Sainsbury’s to Bushfield roundabouts. He was aware of concerns with M3 noise and problems with parking in Attwoods Drove, particularly near the bus stop. He would be consulting HCC highways about the latter.
District Councillor Southgate advised the council about a number of issues, including Shawford Road resurfacing; an award for excellence given to the project to restore the Hockley viaduct and on National Cycle route 23, which, potentially, will run through Compton. He shared the concerns, raised by a member of the public, about the safety of the cycle crossing at the Hockley roundabout and assured him that WCC was monitoring the situation very closely. Parish councils are also being encouraged to spend their Open Spaces Fund allocations by March 2015: any unspent funds will be put into a district-wide facility. Finally he drew the council’s attention to a scheme for WCC tenants which will help with ‘downsizing’ costs.
Councillor Jeffrey briefed the council on the meeting that she and Councillor Stevens had had with representatives of HARAH, WCC, HCC and the Hyde Group on 18 June 2013. The main points arising from the meeting were that 27 applicants, with a strong local connection, are on the waiting list for affordable housing in Compton and Shawford and that two sites had emerged for further discussion viz. Attwoods Drove and Martins Fields. During the meeting, both councillors had emphasised the need for adequate provision for car parking and requested detailed advice from the HCC highways engineer on the suitability for development of both sites. Other issues discussed included: design and construction; drainage and sewage; security; street lighting and ecological issues, including green and amenity space.
During the public session, it was announced that a private survey had been undertaken of properties within Compton village. The result indicated that 90% of the population was opposed to any development of affordable housing within the village. It was also noted that the school had no vacancies and had not been consulted about the potential impact of more housing within the village. The chairman took note of the comments and hoped that the forthcoming meeting with the CVA would help to ease some of these concerns.
Later in the meeting, Councillor Jeffrey acknowledged that, going forward, the council would need to take into consideration public concerns and the need for improved communication between all sections of the community. But these concerns needed to be squared with housing need. Responses to several questions raised by the Parish Council with HARAH, WCC and HCC officials had not yet been received. It was possible that highways issues could preclude any form of development. At the request of Councillor Evans, the council discussed the possibility of conducting an official survey of local opinion. The clerk explained that a parish poll would cost circa £2000 and would be non-binding on the council. Councillor Southgate noted that, since there were still a number of issues outstanding, particularly highways, it would be premature to undertake a poll at this time. He wondered whether the council should continue to look for other sites within the parish. In the ensuing discussion, it was agreed that the council should continue to look for other sites and that it will continue with its policy of openness and transparency with the public.
Councillor Jeffrey drew the council’s attention to the Winchester District Plan Part 1, which has now been adopted by Winchester City Council and the South Downs National Park. A copy is available on the WCC web site. She noted that the gaps between Otterbourne and Southdown and Winchester and Compton Street were specifically mentioned and that, within these areas, only development that does not physically or visually diminish the gap will be allowed.
Councillor Wilkinson briefed the council on the background to the three tenders received for the Multi-use Games Area (MUGA) at the Memorial Playing Field. She emphasised that all households within the vicinity of the memorial Playing Field (MPF) would be provided with a leaflet outlining the development and that, while priority would be given to its use by the Sports Club, the MUGA would be open to all members of the community. In the subsequent discussion, it was agreed that, subject to planning permission being obtained, the council should accept the Greenspan tender of £40,786 for the MUGA and £1,896 for grass protector mesh, which will provide extra parking at the MPF. The company was contracted to work at Marwell Zoo and its quote was £2000 lower than the nearest competitor. Funding would be provided by Winchester City Council Open Spaces Fund.
The council also discussed the possibility of transferring some of the money, allocated to Compton and Shawford in the Open Spaces Fund, to Otterbourne PC. It was agreed that, since many members of the community use facilities in Ottebourne, particularly those resident in the southern part of the parish, the clerk should investigate the possibility of a joint project with Otterbourne PC.
Footpaths and Environment
Mr Wilkinson presented two reports. The first outlined plans for the development of a wildflower meadow and orchard at the base of Shawford Down and the second about anti-social behaviour at Compton Lock during the recent warm weather.
The council approved his proposals for the wildflower meadow and orchard, which included discussions with HCC about the long-term lease of the land for a peppercorn rent and the establishment of a Compton and Shawford Conservation Corps. While recognising his expertise, it was felt that the consultant, Charles Flower’s fees of £75 per hour were high. The chairman undertook to find a cheaper alternative for collecting seeds in August. Since this project was clearly for the benefit of the community, it was also agreed that the balance of the returned VDS funds (£1011.99) should be used to fund the project.
The council accepted that action needed to be taken to protect the highly sensitive ecological area of Compton Lock but felt that, since it could take up to two years to establish a bye-law, in the short term the chairman should write to District Councillor Jan Warwick, the Neighbourhood and Environment portfolio holder for Winchester City Council, and PC Jon Worsdell expressing concern and seeking every assistance in reducing the anti-social behaviour of some visitors to the site.
Finance and Administration
Councillor Walmsley invited the council to note the letter dated 13 May 2013 from the internal auditor, John Murray, confirming that he had completed the internal audit of the Parish Council’s accounts for the year ended 31 March 2013.
He also briefed the council on his, and Councillor Wilkinson’s, discussions with the Sports Club over the amount of the annual contribution to be levied by the Parish Council for the years 2013 -17. Further discussions with the Sports Club were planned for Friday 5 July 2013. Since the invoice is scheduled to issue on 1 October 2013, a final decision on the amount of the contribution will need to be made at the council meeting on 3 September 2013.
Date of the next meeting
7.30pm Tuesday 3 September 2013 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall.
David Drake, Clerk