Minutes of a meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held in the Standlake Youth Club on 8th September 2015 at 7.00pm.
Mr. J. Rippin
Mr. J. Hunt
Mr. N. Owens
Mr. P. Willis
1. APOLOGIES –apologies were received from Mrs. Clements and Mr. Good.
2. PUBLIC ITEMS – the one member of the public identified himself as an architecture student who wished to observe proceedings but not to speak.
3. COUNTY and DISTRICT COUNCILLORS REPORTS
Mrs. Fenton reported that the ward closure at Witney Community Hospital was temporary and would be reopened in due course.
Mr. Mathew apologised for not attending the last meeting and gave a summary of the funding problems facing OCC. In short, the central government cuts already made and those in the pipeline will mean that the county budget will be cut to include very little but statutory commitments such as children and old people’s services, education etc. Mr. Naylor expressed the frustration of councillors and residents with the constant threats of cuts such as those to the recycling centres and the monitoring of the Newbridge weight limit.
Mr. Owens enquired as to the likelihood of Standlake’s bus services surviving the present review. Mr. Mathew’s opinion was that the 18 was probably secure but the fate of the X15 depended to some extent on outside funding. Mrs. Smith questioned as to whether the Witney and Abingdon colleges could afford for it not to run? Mr. Mathew was at a loss to understand why there could not be a ‘mix and match’ of, say 2 routes so that one bus and driver could cover a reduced service to 2 routes, but the bus companies do not seem to want to use this model.
Mr. Naylor asked what the rationale behind the proposed reduction of recycling sites from 7 to 3 or 4 with no mention of a site in the west of the county. Mr. Mathew replied that Dix pit was already closed for all practical purposes, with the exception of the recycling centre and it is highly likely that this will close under the proposals. He said he was having difficulty in believing these closures would happen given that the saving was only estimated to be £350,000 in 2016/17 but, of course, the county were well aware that any costs for the resultant increase will fall on the districts rather than the county. Mr. Mathew noted that if just £1 was charged per visit/load then £500,000 would be saved overall in one year but, apparently, this was not allowed by central government.
Mr. Naylor thanked Mr. Mathew for the information, depressing though it was, and assured him that the council would respond to the various consultations.
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -
There were no declarations of interest.
15/03106/HHD; Erection of carport with studio over and raise height of front boundary wall; The Paddock 41 Rack End Standlake. No objection but comment that flat not be sold separate from main property.
Minutes of the Meeting held on 14th July 2015, copies of which had been previously circulated to all members, were agreed as a true record and signed by the chairman.
7. MATTERS ARISING
Playground/Recreation Ground & Maintenance – the clerk reminded the meeting that because of an oversight on his part the issue of a contribution to Village Hall for the cost of using their skip for recreation ground litter was not decided. The annual cost to the Hall is £390 and it was decided that a contribution of £100 pa would be fair; Mr. Rippin will convey this to the Hall committee at their next meeting.
The annual playgrounds inspection report from RoSPA/Playsafety has been received and distributed to councillors. There was agreement that, while an annual inspection by an external agency was desirable, the report appeared to again dwell on very minor and sometimes irrelevant items as it had in previous years; the feeling was that this was to justify the fee. It was agreed that before the next inspection was due the clerk would examine alternatives.
The clerk reported that in early August a member of the public reported damage to the climbing towers; the clerk instructed Mr. Pascoe to carry out repairs and this was done and the cost included in their August invoice.
Busses, Bus Stops – Mrs. Smith said that work on the shelters should be carried out this month. She thanked all those councillors who helped deliver the consultation letter, and reported that a lot of forms were collected from the Post Office but was unsure where some went, and read out her suggested response from the parish council. This was approved and the clerk will have it sent to ORCC, the coordinators for responses.
Roads, Newbridge – Mr. Naylor has contacted the Northmoor chairman to discuss further action regarding Newbridge monitoring. Mr. Mathew said that a liaison committee was being set up representing the villages and English Heritage.
Village Communications – the clerk said that, despite his comments at the July meeting, he had found time over the summer to redesign a new website and councillors have had an opportunity to view this. Councillors commented favourable on the new site and the clerk said that, while it was still under construction, the site was 90% complete and would go live soon. Mr. Hunt has looked into the costs for an external designer to carry out the work and this was in the region of £1600 not including maintenance. It was generally agreed that this would not be justified and the clerk said that using the new program, which belonged to the parish council, was not difficult and, once set up, maintaining it was simple.
Assets of Community Value – Mr. Owens has the necessary nomination forms to register the Od Cricket Club, The Bell PH, The Back Horse PH and the Post Office and Stores as assets of community value. The cost will be £8 per nomination and it was agreed that Mr. Owens should go ahead and make the registrations.
Traffic/Speeding – Mr. Owens has investigated the provision of a speed audit for The Downs but the cost is prohibitive but he was aware that certain types of VAS installations were able to record speeds of vehicle and this information can be downloaded. The clerk will enquire from OCC if the installations on The Downs are compatible.
Footpaths – the hedge at a property near Yew Tree on the Abingdon Road, whilst trimmed, is reported as restricting the footpath. Mr. Naylor will investigate.
Highway Maintenance - nothing further to report at this meeting.
Flooding/Sewers/Winter – nothing further to report at this meeting.
8. CORRESPONDENCE – there was no significant written correspondence and all email correspondence was distributed to councillors on receipt.
The following accounts were approved for payment:
Payment made on 14 August - Absolute solutions 482.00
D C Bevan – clerk salary and expenses 1213.05
HMRC – clerk PAYE 290.20
D C Bevan – refund of stationery/printing costs 103.69
Playsafety Ltd – p’ground inspection 199.20
Absolute solutions – grass cutting/litter pick 315.00
BDO – audit fee 2014/15 120.00
10. EXTERNAL AUDITOR’S REPORT – the Annual Audit has been completed and two comments were raised: there was an error of £1 in the balance figures on the Annual Return and a check box had not been filled. This was noted by the council and the clerk will now display the notice of completion of audit.
11. OCC REVIEW OF WASTE/RECYCLING SITES – see comments in County Councillor’s Report; Mr; Naylor will draft a response for the consultation.
12. REFUGEE CRISIS – Mr. Hunt asked what the council could do in the light of the unfolding refugee crisis. It was agreed that there was little a small local council could achieve but that a charity donation could be made to an appropriate organisation; the clerk said there was £150 in the grants budget for the current FY. The clerk will also speak to Mrs. Susie Miles (churchwarden) to enquire if the PCC had any plans and if the council could contribute in any way.
13. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 8.45pm.
...................................................................................... Chairman .................................................................... Date