March 2015 PC Meeting Report
Report of the Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 3 March 2015 in the Compton Room Shawford Parish Hall
The council noted PCSO Wilkinson’s report in which there had been two reported incidents over the previous two months: the theft of various items from a property on Otterbourne Road and items stolen from two wooden sheds within the grounds of Shepherds Down School.
District Councillor’s Report
The chairman, Councillor Walmsley, took the opportunity to congratulate Sue Down on her Mayor’s Award for services to the community.
County Councillor Bailey informed the council that two residents had expressed concern about speeding vehicles and the safety of pedestrians crossing Otterbourne Road. He had asked Hampshire County Council (HCC) highways engineers to monitor the situation.
The chairman noted that the Local Government Boundary Commission’s draft proposals for changes to Winchester City Council (WCC) ward boundaries included a recommendation that Compton and Shawford PC should be included in a three member ward, stretching from Compton village to the Meon Valley. This was disappointing, since the council had submitted proposals that linked the current Compton and Otterbourne ward with the neighbouring parishes of Olivers Battery and Badger Farm. He recommended that the council should object to the Boundary Commission’s proposals. All agreed.
Finance & Administration
Councillor Goulding noted that the survey, undertaken by Trinity Rose, on the caretaker’s cottage had raised a number of issues, which needed attention. CASCA would meet all of the repair/refurbishment costs but, since there appeared to be a significant issue with damp, the chairman suggested the council could offer to meet the cost of further investigation into this specific problem. The council subsequently agreed to allocate up to £1000 to fund the cost of further investigation into the cause(s) of damp within the cottage.
Councillor Goulding referred to a request from the chairman of the Sparrowgrove & Oakwood Copse Conservation Trust (SOCCT), Mike Southgate, for a grant of £500 towards maintenance of the copse. Since it is a valuable open space and there are no council owned open spaces in Southdown, it was agreed that he council should approve a grant of £500 and that, when the draft budget for 2016/17 is prepared, it should consider the inclusion of an annual contribution towards SOCCT’s operating costs.
The chairman noted that the council was obliged to review its policy of meeting every other month. He considered that the policy was working well. Email had made communication between councillors much easier and information of value to parishioners was made available on the parish web site or published in the parish magazine. Following a short discussion, the council agreed to continue with the current policy of meetings every two months.
The chairman reminded councillors that, at the Annual Council Meeting (ACM) on 5 May 2015, the first item on the agenda would be the election of a chairman. He hoped that potential candidates would announce their intention to stand by Monday 27 April 2015, which will provide councillors with time to reflect upon their credentials for the post. It would also help if councillors could provide the clerk with their committee preferences by the same date.
Playing Fields Management
The council discussed Councillor Wilkinson’s proposal to replace the multi-play unit at the QEII Field Play Area with a bespoke unit provided by Greenspan. Although this was more expensive than the option provided by Sovereign it had been designed in sympathy with the local environment, would not intrude on nearby houses and, looking to the future, should be easier to maintain. The project will be funded by WCC Open Spaces. After much discussion, during which it was noted that WCC Open Spaces only requires a minimum of two quotations, it was agreed that, subject to funding being made available from WCC Open Spaces, the council should proceed with the Greenspan proposal.
The council noted that a quarterly report on the status of the council’s play equipment had been received from the Play Inspection Company. It had highlighted several ‘low risk’ items: none of which required immediate attention. The council also agreed to a request from the cricket captain, Andrew Gorty, to deploy a mobile electronic scoreboard on the MPF during the cricket season, since it was not a ‘permanent structure’. It also agreed to a request for a memorial bench at the MPF, subject to agreement with the Sports Club as to where it should be located.
Councillor Stevens advised the council that the householders at Cliff House had appealed against WCC’s decision to refuse permission for the erection of a new house on their side of the garden; that the Historic Environment Team had considered the proposed extension at Fairview, Compton Street, to be too large for the scale of the existing house; and that two objections had been made to WCC about the felling of two yew trees, which were not subjected to a TPO, at Compton Beeches, Hurdle Way.
She noted that, with regard to Fairview, several objections had been made at a very late stage. Such actions make it very difficult for the Parish Council to co-ordinate a response to planning applications. It was also emphasised that, while the Parish Council would always listen to residents’ associations and take into consideration their views, they should not expect the council to endorse those views as a matter of course.
Highways & Byways
Councillor Cordery advised the council that, following a request from an elderly parishioner, the WI bench would be moved to a position alongside the noticeboard opposite the school. [The WI had previously approved the move.] She added that she was also in discussion with HCC about the possibility of installing another bench further along Compton Street. The council agreed to set aside £1000 to cover the cost of the additional bench. The council also noted that cattle had returned to Shawford Down.
The chairman announced that the rector had agreed to the PCC assuming responsibility for the Civic Service, which is planned to be held in early July and involve a lunch at the school. Since the council had set aside funds in support of the service, he considered that it would be appropriate to offer some financial support to the event.
Annual Parish Meeting (APM)
The chairman reminded councillors that the APM would be held in Shawford village hall on Thursday 16 April 2015. He was in the process of producing a draft letter outlining the council’s activities over the past year, which would be forwarded to councillors for comment. Once the text had been agreed, he would be grateful for assistance with its distribution to all households within the parish.
Date of the next meeting
7.30pm Tuesday 5 May 2015 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall.