January 2014 PC Meeting Report
Report of the Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 7 January 2014 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall.
The council noted PCSO Wilkinson’s report, which included damage to a car parked in Pearson Lane; a fire in the south side bus shelter at the junction of Otterbourne Road and Compton Street; the theft of a bicycle from Shawford railway station; unauthorised entry into a garage in Compton Street (nothing taken) and two possible poachers in a field near the Malms were reported for summons. In response to questions, PCSO Wilkinson reported that no-one had been questioned with regard to the vandalism of a fence near Sparrowgrove and no progress had been made into the theft of tree felling equipment from Compton Nursery.
Finance and Administration
The council approved the budget of £32,550 for 2014/15, which includes a precept from Winchester City Council (WCC) of £27,170, unchanged for the fourth consecutive year. The chairman thanked Councillor Walmsley and the clerk for their efforts in maintaining close control of the council’s accounts. Councillor Southgate noted that maintaining the precept at the same level for four years had not resulted in any reduction in the services provided by the council. Councillor Walmsley also advised the council that funds, formerly held on 12 month deposit at the Co-op Bank, had been transferred to Lloyd’s Bank on a 6-month term at 0.75%pa.
Councillor Walmsley drew councillors’ attention to a number of items discussed at the Finance and Administration (F+A) committee meeting on 25 November 2013. It was agreed that Councillor Wilkinson would produce an article for the March edition of the parish magazine on the Multi-use Games Area (MUGA) and that the F+A committee would look at ways in which convenors’ reports could be published on the web site prior to each council meeting. It was also agreed that Councillor Goulding would arrange a ‘development session’ for councillors.
Councillor Southgate advised the council that County Councillor Phil Bailey had offered him support in his attempts to repair the Southdown Road refuge bollards. He had also spoken to the WCC traffic engineer about parking in Shawford Road and agreed that there was very little that could be done, other than to emphasise that the offer of ‘white stubs’ across drives still applies.
Following discussion about the safety of pedestrians crossing from the Southern Park & Ride to the Hockley Viaduct, it was agreed that the chairman should write to Councillor Southgate, in his capacity as a district councillor, outlining the council’s concerns. Councillor Southgate also agreed to investigate why Bridge Lane had not been swept at the same time as Shawford Road.
Councillor Wilkinson confirmed that work on the Multi-use Games area (MUGA) at the MPF was almost complete. (Some landscaping work and improvements to the surrounding paths still needs to be undertaken and the marking lines cannot be added until the weather improves.) Seeding around the north and eastern sides of the MUGA will take place in the spring. Following discussion it was agreed that:
- Councillor Sadler should consult the school, scouts and beavers about a competition to produce, by 28 February 2014, an alternative name for the MUGA;
- The Olympic volunteers should be invited to open the new facility in April; and
- Greenspan Projects should be instructed to include a wildflower mix, when seeding the east and northern sides of the MUGA.
Councillor Wilkinson outlined plans to overcome problems with the fencing along the Attwoods Drove perimeter of the QEII Field. (There had been several instances of damage to nearby properties, caused by footballs going over the fence.) She had already received two quotations and was seeking a third.
Councillor Wilkinson also noted that the council had received requests for the provision of golf nets and outdoor gymnasium equipment at the MPF. Since there was some opposition to any form of golf on the MPF, she suggested that it might be appropriate to discuss these requests at a public meeting in the near future. All agreed.
Councillor Jeffrey presented her report on affordable housing, which reviewed activity over the past twelve months. It also included independent comments by WCC officials. The chairman thanked her for the production of an important document. It was agreed that, once agreement had been obtained to include the WCC comments, the report would be made available to the public, via the parish web site. In response to a question from a member of the public, the chairman confirmed that the Parish Council had no intention of revisiting the issue of affordable housing in the lifetime of this council (i.e. until May 2016).
Councillor Jeffrey commented on a retrospective application, for a Wet Waste Transfer Station at Four Dell Farm. The council had no issues with this development, other than to comment that the applicants were most likely to be aware of planning procedures and could have avoided the need for retrospective approval. Concerns were expressed about the adequacy of coordination between HCC (waste management) and WCC (development), since this was not the first time there had been a lack of coordination between the two bodies on the planning and development of the site. It was agreed that discussions should again take place with WCC and HCC.
In relation to current planning applications, Cllr Jeffrey advised the council that, together with the chairman and Councillor Wilkinson, she had visited the Old Bakery and Kingsmere Acres. Objections had been received to proposed developments on both sites. While it is generally the policy of the council to to take a neutral stance on planning applications, providing they are non contentious, there were issues and concerns expressed by parishioners that needed to be brought to the attention of the WCC planning department. Planning officers would also be asked for the rationale behind their decisions, since these might influence future decisions and comments by the Parish Council.
Footpaths and Environment
Concern was expressed by a member of the public, about the condition of Shawford Down, upon which the highland cattle had not been seen this winter: in previous years cattle grazing had much improved the condition of the down. Councillor Wilkinson agreed to contact Jo Baker, HCC to see if the countryside division had any plans to re-introduce cattle on the down.
The council noted Mr Wilkinson’s comprehensive report. Several footpaths had become very muddy following persistent and heavy rain but earlier improvements had been successful in avoiding serious deterioration. The resurfacing of FP 31, where it leads to Southdown Rd at the top of Shawford Down, had been completed, as had that at the junction of FPs 24 & 23 and parts of route 23 to Compton Lock. This work had been undertaken by Sparsholt College students on conservation projects and managed by HCC Countryside Rangers. However, FP 23 still requires additional surfacing and the Tudor wall and gateway, to be found on this route, is also in urgent need of conservation work. HCC Rangers, supported by the Winchester Ramblers Association, had replaced a stile by the steps and a metal gate on FP21, where the path meets the metal road (east-west) along the south side of the motorway. They had also replaced stiles on FP21 with metal kissing-gates to the north, underneath the viaduct and below Itchen Farm.
The chairman agreed to write to the HCC Countryside Service Rangers, Sparsholt College Students and the Winchester Ramblers to thank each organisation for their work in helping to improve the parish footpaths. Councillor Wilkinson agreed to support Mr Wilkinson with his application for grant aid towards the repair of the Tudor wall and gateway at the side of FP 23.
Mr Wilkinson’s report noted that an opportunity had arisen, through Winchester City Council, to replace the red dog-waste bins. He recommended that the red bins at the edge of Shawford Down and on the MPF should be replaced by green bins, which can be used for both dog waste and general litter. Councillors Southgate and Wilkinson agreed to cooperate on a submission to WCC for the replacement of the red dog waste bins.
Finally Mr Wilkinson reported that the HCC Countryside Service Rangers (parks & open spaces) had been working on Shawford Down, cutting back vegetation and exposing the Anglo Saxon Lynchets. Further work is scheduled for 5 February and 12 March 2014 and support from local volunteers would be welcomed. They will meet at 10am at the foot of the Downs and can be contacted on 01962 860948.
Councillor Wilkinson noted that the CASCA Christmas Party had been well attended and had been a great success.
Village of the Year Competition
The chairman briefed councillors on the meetings that had taken place between media representatives and local organisations about participation in the coming year’s competition. She was concerned that if Compton and Shawford were to participate in the coming year’s competition, there would be insufficient ‘volunteers’ to submit a successful bid. She would welcome the thoughts of individual councillors by email.
Finally, Councillor Evans announced that as she had recently been appointed a member of Wiltshire Council’s Housing Board and with a full time job, a young family and being a Trustee of a Housing Association, she could no longer commit to carrying out work for the Parish Council. She had much enjoyed her five years as a councillor and was proud of her achievements with regard to the provision of play equipment; extra car parking in Martins Fields and Attwoods Drove and the registration of the QEII Field as playing field, in perpetuity. The chairman offered her a huge vote of thanks for her efforts and acknowledged that she would be much missed. All agreed.
Date of the next meeting
7.30pm Tuesday 4 March 2014 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall.
David Drake, Clerk