September 2013 PC Meeting Report
Report of the Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 3 September 2013 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall
The meeting began with a short statement of appreciation by the chairman, Councillor Stevens, to the parish hall caretaker, Mr Frank Smith. Both he and his late wife, Vanessa, have provided a much valued service to the community over the past 25 years.
PCSO Wilkinson presented her report. There had been eleven reported incidents since the council last met on 2 July 2013. These included five reports of anti-social behaviour, of which two involved Compton lock; a theft from a vehicle in Shawford Down car park and two wallets stolen from the changing rooms at the Sports Club.
County and District Councillor Reports
District Councillor Southgate drew the council’s attention to Winchester City Council’s plans to hold cycling events at the South Winchester Park and Ride on more than the currently permitted 28 days per year. An application for planning approval was in the process of being submitted.
Councillor Jeffrey provided a detailed resume of events that had taken place during the summer and Mr Ashcroft reported upon the meeting that had taken place on 15 August 2013 between CVA and council representatives. He emphasised that he still had concerns about the definition of ‘community support’ and a number of issues relating to the sites in Martins Fields and Attwoods Drove.
The chairman thanked Councillor Jeffrey for her considerable efforts to find a way forward on affordable housing but, having had time to reflect on recently obtained information she would like to make statement on this issue. It was now clear that, under WCC Local Plan Part 1 paragraph 7.34, evidence of suitable community involvement and support for the scheme would be required for any proposals to be favourably considered.
Since there is a strong body of opinion within Compton village that is opposed to any form of housing development in the village, and, given the lack of evidence confirming the demand, she believed that it was extremely difficult for the Parish Council to support the development of affordable housing on exception sites in Martins Fields and Attwoods Drove. She proposed that, during the administration of the current Parish Council, there should be no further investigation of the possibility of affordable homes in the parish, unless it was required to do so by external agencies.
In the subsequent discussion, Councillor Jeffrey emphasised the need for a report to be produced on the work undertaken by the council, and WCC and HARAH officials. This would be of great benefit to future councillors, should there be a request for the investigation to be reopened.
Councillor Southgate noted that no individual with local connections had come forward to make a passionate case for him/her to be provided with a home in the parish. This did not surprise Councillor Evans but she recognised that, despite her personal support for the provision of affordable housing, she must represent the views of her community, most of whom were opposed to any form of housing development. The council subsequently approved the chairman’s proposal.
The chairman then made a further statement about councillors having the right to be treated with respect at all times, no matter what views are held by individuals or groups of individuals within the community.
Councillor Wilkinson advised the council that during the afternoon she had received information from Otterbourne PC indicating that the project, for which the council (CSPC) was considering providing financial support, was for an MUGA similar to that approved by the council in July for the MPF. She asked whether there was a need for two MUGAs within 1 ½ miles of each other. (During the public session, concern had been raised by Mr Bell about the decision to construct a MUGA at the MPF.) In the subsequent discussion, it was accepted that there was a need for a sporting facility for the youth of the parish, such as an MUGA, but that it would be sensible to engage in detailed discussions with representatives of Otterbourne PC before construction began. It was subsequently agreed to delay implementation of the project until after discussions had taken place with Otterbourne PC.
The council also awarded a contract to Durant Cricket to upgrade the cricket nets at the MPF, in order that they may be used throughout the year. The contract value was £4698.90: funding will be provided by WCC Open Spaces Fund.
Footpaths and Environment
Councillor Wilkinson advised the council that the extra bin collections had helped considerably with the removal of litter from Compton Lock. It had been suggested that, to aid the volunteer litter collectors, it would be useful to establish a mechanism whereby parishioners could indicate those areas where the collection of litter was most needed. Councillor Walmsley agreed to set up an email link.
The clerk was also asked to record the council’s thanks to those volunteers who, by collecting litter, help to keep the parish clean and tidy. Councillor Wilkinson noted that there had been very little action on the proposed wildflower meadow at the base of Shawford Down. To be successful this project needed the active support of the community, which at present did not appear to be forthcoming.
Finance and Administration
Councillor Walmsley proposed that the council should move from a system of eight meetings to six meetings per year but added that, if it did so, a system needed to be introduced whereby the draft minutes could be agreed electronically and posted on the parish web site within one month. Following a short discussion, there was general agreement that the council should move to a system of bimonthly meetings but that dates should be set aside for additional meetings, if required.
The clerk advised the council that the external auditor had completed his audit of the Annual Return and noted that “on the basis of our review, in our opinion the information in the annual return is in accordance with proper practices and no matters have come to our attention giving cause for concern that relevant legislation and regulatory requirements have not been met”. Notices advertising that the document was available to public inspection were posted on 8 August 2013. No-one had asked to do so and the notices had now been removed.
Councillor Walmsley advised the council that this year’s civic service had been confirmed for 4pm Sunday 13 October at Hursley Church, with refreshments to follow. It was agreed that the council should review the format of the civic service when it next meets on 5 November 2013.
Mrs Caffyn expressed concern about ‘cycling prohibited’ signs, which were being misinterpreted by many cyclists, some of whom were using footpaths where such activity was prohibited. Councillor Southgate noted that the Winchester Traffic Officer (WTO) had acknowledged that following the recent resurfacing in Twyford Road many of the old white lines, which had been superseded by yellow lines, had been re-instated. The WTO has asked HCC to remove the unnecessary lines. He also advised the council that he had received a quotation of £515 for the repair of the two bus shelters between Shawford and Southdown Roads, which will now be repaired.
First World War Commemoration
The council agreed that, subject to the support of the Parochial Church Council, to commemorate the beginning of the First World War by cleaning the war memorial and plaque on Shawford Down and restaining of the Wayside Cross.
Date of the next meeting
7.30pm Tuesday 5 November 2013 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall.
David Drake, Clerk