July 2015 PC Meeting Report
Report of the Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 7 July 2015 in the Compton Room Shawford Parish Hall
At this month’s meeting, the management of Shawford Down and the possibility that the council might reconsider its decision to enter into talks about the construction of a fourth tennis court on the Memorial Playing Fields (MPF) were the subjects of considerable discussion.
In his report to the council Mr Wilkinson noted that Hampshire County Council’s management of the Down continued to attract some criticism. This was supported by a member of the public who expressed concern about HCC’s over reliance upon cattle grazing. It was agreed that Councillors Wilkinson and Jeffrey should ask the HCC Countryside Service to provide a cost/benefit analysis of using cattle against manual labour and machinery.
Notwithstanding the above, the council noted that the area cleared in the autumn and spring had regenerated well and was contributing to a proliferation of wild flowers. It also noted that the current year’s exceptional growth meant that there was much to be done to continue the conservation work on the Down and that local volunteers would be needed. [Should you be interested in volunteering for conservation work on the Down, please contact the clerk: .]
Fourth Tennis Court
The chairman, Councillor Southgate, reported that he had recently met the chairman of the Lawn Tennis Club, who had expressed concern about the council’s requirement for the club to show that it had the support of 50% of the electorate before it would consider the construction of a fourth tennis court on the MPF.
During his meeting, the chairman had suggested that, should the club be able to collect 200 signatures from members of the parish on the electoral roll (approximately 15% of the electorate) requesting that the Parish Council work with the tennis club and others to draw up a proposal for a fuller consultation, this could sufficient for the council to reconsider its earlier decision. But any future consultation would be ‘without prejudice’ and need to cover usage of the existing courts, parking and traffic implications and most importantly, the impact on neighbours, loss of green space and other sports.
Multi use of the court and greater access would also be within the consultation. Two members of the public expressed concern about the council’s apparent willingness to reconsider its earlier decision and noted that the current courts were rarely in full use. Following discussion, the council supported Councillor Southgate’s suggestions but added a deadline of 30 September 2015 for the Lawn Tennis Club to obtain the necessary signatures.
The council noted PCSO Wilkinson’s report in which there were seven reported incidents over the previous two months: two burglaries, including one in Cliff Way in which jewellery and financial information was removed; two thefts from sheds; the theft of a pedal cycle from Shawford railway station; the theft of scrap metal from a rear garden and a mobile phone from a parked car in Tilden Road.
County and District Councillors’ Reports
Councillor Southgate briefed the council on the latest developments on the Silver Hill project and advised that both he and District Councillor Warwick were opposing the Linden Homes project for the construction of 350 new homes at Pitt Vale.
The council discussed a proposal for a parish flagpole. It was noted that one was already situated adjacent to All Saints Church Compton.
Since the chairman of CASCA had indicated his opposition to the construction of a flagpole at the parish hall, the council decided that it would allow councillors more time to consider whether a second flagpole, which could be used for national events, such as Armed Forces Day, was required.
Playing Fields Management
The council noted that, following the repair to the MPF play area multi=play unit, further maintenance was required to repair the fittings upon which the rope ladder is suspended. It also noted that rabbits had been observed in the vicinity of the MPF.
Councillor Wilkinson undertook to monitor the situation closely to ensure that if rabbits became a problem appropriate measures would be considered. Following receipt of an email from Winchester City Council (WCC) on the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), it was acknowledged that Open Spaces funding for new sports and play equipment would be severely restricted.
The council noted Mr Wilkinson’s report on plans to renovate and preserve Compton Place, the Tudor Wall and Gateway. [The site is a scheduled monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Area Act 1979. The surviving wall and arch date from the 16th century and are built of brick and flint.]
The plans include stabilising the wall, the removal of vegetation and some trees to expose the wall and gateway, for expert examination and appropriate renovation.
This will take time and resources and may have to be done in stages, since there is no guarantee that HCC has sufficient funding to meet the estimated cost of £25,000.
Finance and Administration
The council noted that the internal auditor had reported favourably on the set of accounts submitted for the financial year 2014/15 and that it will need to enrol all eligible employees (i.e. the clerk) into a workplace pension by 1 August 2016. It accepted Councillor Jeffrey’s advice that the most cost effective pension scheme was that set up by the government, NEST.
The council also noted the revised charges for freedom of information requests and that most of the renovation work in the caretaker’s cottage had been completed. The council thanked the CASCA chairman, John Griffith, for his efforts in supervising this and other renovation work on the cottage.
The council agreed to schedule an informal parish meeting in the Reeves Scout Hall Compton on a Saturday in October and to give further consideration to a suggestion that it should change the council meeting day, from Tuesday to Thursday.
Councillor Southgate thanked Councillor Walmsley for his work in ensuring the integrity of the parish within the new Winchester City Council wards, the only concern being the ward name of Badger Farm and Oliver’s Battery. The council agreed that it should support efforts to change the name to one which more reflects the area.
The council noted that National Planning Inspectorate had dismissed the appeal seeking permission to build upon the land adjacent to Cliff House in Cliff Way and that the WCC Planning Committee had approved the application to extend the property at Fairview. As regards the latter, in her presentation to the Planning Committee, Councillor Stevens had praised the efforts of the planning officer, Mr Billington, for producing an excellent overview of the pertinent issues.
Highways & Byways
Councillor Cordery advised the council that she had received two further requests for benches to be installed in bus shelters along Otterbourne Road. She would consider the cost implications and report to the council in September.
Date of the next meeting
7.30pm Tuesday 1 September 2015 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall.