PC Meeting Report March 2020
Table of Contents
Report of the Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 3 March 2020 in the Compton Room Shawford Parish Hall.
This was a well-attended meeting, with many parishioners keen to hear about the proposed plan for a new station car park in Shawford.
Shawford Station Parking
Several people raised the need for a public consultation on the proposed station car park (in the triangle of land on the immediate left of the road leading to the Malms). While many would agree to parking restrictions in the village, it was important to find a suitable option that would be acceptable to everyone. A public consultation meeting, with representatives of Hampshire County Council (HCC) and South Western Railways (SWR) present, should take place before any decisions are taken.
Councillor Goulding said that the Parish Council agreed with some of the points raised. Councillors had considered a lot of options over the past five years but, perhaps, it could have done more to keep parishioners more informed of developments. Both Hampshire County Council (HCC) and South Western Railway (SWR) had indicated that there is a deadline on the availability of funds for the project. He added that the Council must balance commitment with a potential loss of process.
The Council subsequently agreed to arrange a public meeting, chaired by HCC, to which representatives of SWR should be invited. In advance of that meeting it would be useful if Shawford residents could suggest 3 or 4 people who could represent the village at a pre-meeting with representatives of the Parish Council. The results of the pre-meeting could then be made available to HCC and SWR before the public meeting.
Following a suggestion (from a member of the public) that any public consultation should be open to all parishioners, not just those that live in Shawford, the chairman agreed that it would be appropriate for a parishioner from outside Shawford village to attend the pre-meeting. He acknowledged that the railway was an asset to the community as a whole.[Councillor Southgate and most members of the public departed at the end of the public session.]
In subsequent a discussion, Councillor Bell considered some of comments made during the public session to be unfair. He had invested a considerable amount of his time in discussions with Shawford residents and representatives of HCC and SWR. Councillor Southgate had also committed a lot of his time to finding a solution to Shawford’s parking problems, while seeking to maintain the financial viability of the station. Councillor Wilkinson added that she had been subjected to some offensive comments on this issue and that statements, indicating that she had deliberately misled some individuals, were just not true. The chairman hoped that the proposed pre-meeting would help parishioners to have a better understanding of the issues.
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
Mr Walmsley briefed the Council on progress towards the installation of superfast broadband throughout Compton village. BT Openreach had indicated that villagers needed to obtain pledges of £44,971 before it would be prepared to into discussions about the provision of superfast broadband.
Supported by the CVA, he had obtained pledges from villagers amounting to £63,000. They now needed the Council’s support to establish a Community Interest Company that would be able to enter a contract with BT Openreach. The Parish Council subsequently agreed that it would be prepared to contribute up to £1500 of CIL funds to help with establishing a Community Interest Company. Mr Walmsley added later that, once the project is completed, it will be wound up.
Councillor Bell reported that the Otterbourne Road bus stop bench had been delivered and was awaiting installation, which he hoped that would take place by the end of the month. The Council noted his suggestions on creating a policy for the attachment of memorial plaques on council benches and agreed that he should produce a formal proposal at the next meeting in May.
Councillor Strange reported that she and Councillor Bell had attended a meeting with Lee Smith, WCC Planning Policy, and been informed that the updated Village Design Statement (VDS) counted as a new document and evidence of a public consultation would be required. The Council agreed that a ‘comments requested document’ could be distributed together with the Annual Report. Mr Smith had also recommended that the Local Area Design Statement (LADS) and the VDS should be treated as separate documents. WCC will require evidence that the updated LADS had also been subjected to a public consultation process. The Council agreed that both the VDS and LADS should be agenda items for the Annual Parish Meeting (APM) and noted that Councillors Bell and Strange will review both the LADS and VDS to agree what items should be in which document.
Councillor Strange confirmed that she had submitted comments on the proposal for the manufacturing of urea solution at Four Dells Farm stating, amongst other things, that the Council is concerned about more development on the site. The Council noted that Footstep Living had taken over the lead for the proposal to build affordable housing on the site of Beckett’s Nursery and agreed that Councillor Strange should proceed with her suggestion of a project to encourage pupils at All Saints School to save energy and water.
Playing Fields Management
Councillor Wilkinson reported that the new multi-play unit had been installed and feedback had, in the main, been good. Councillor Bell offered to supply ‘2ft wide fence panels’ to replace the gaps in the picket fence surrounding the MPF play area.
Following the pavilion’s electrical certification inspection (cost £700), several issues had needed to be addressed before a certificate could be issued. This had resulted in additional costs of £550. The council now faced a further bill of £735 to address issues connected to the pavilion’s emergency lighting system. The Council agreed that work on the emergency lighting should proceed.
Councillor Wilkinson noted that the CSSC Football Section had decided not to apply to perform at a higher level, meaning that there is no longer a need for a barrier or hard standing to the north of the main football pitch. The clerk had also met the new grass cutting contractor, who had confirmed that he could set his blades at a level that meets the requirements of both the football and cricket sections.
Footpaths and the Environment
Councillor Wilkinson noted that several trees had suffered damage in recent storms. Chris Sparkes had removed several dangerous branches overhanging ‘horse poo alley’ and one tree had been removed by Hampshire Heartwood: total cost £230. Work is due to commence on improvements to the new bridleway and should be completed before the bird nesting season begins. It was agreed that the lengthsman had done a good job in clearing the footpath across Shawford Down.
Finance and Administration
Councillor Webster reported that, because of the cost of the new multi-play unit (mpu), the Council faced a budget deficit of £6000 in the current financial year. Reducing the contingency fund to zero would bring the General Fund in line with NALC guidelines of maintaining enough funds to meet six months of normal activity. The Council agreed that John Murray should be appointed internal auditor.
Annual Parish Meeting (APM)
The chairman announced that he would not be available on 21 May 2020. The APM was subsequently rearranged for 14 May 2020.
Councillor Bell confirmed that the Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership would be very happy to make a presentation at the APM. The chairman asked for all contributions to the Annual Report to be submitted to him by 31 March 2020.
The Council noted that Alison Witheyman would become chairman of CASCA on 1 April 2020 and that a new treasurer, Richard Sorsbie, and secretary, Annie Woodward, have been appointed.
Date and Venue of Next Meeting
7.30pm Tuesday 12 May 2020 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall.
David Drake, Clerk