Minutes of a meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held in the Standlake Youth Club, on 9th September 2014 at 7.00pm.
Mrs. J. Clements
Mrs. B. Smith
Mr. J. Hunt
Mr. P. Willis
Mr. D. Bevan Clerk
1. APOLOGIES - apologies were received from Mr. C Mathew.
2. PUBLIC ITEMS – Mr. Todeschini addressed the council regarding the alterations at his property, 55 Rack End, which he understood had been the subject of queries by unknown parties. He explained that the property had to be demolished as his contactors discovered structural problems while carrying out the approved extension work. The property would be rebuilt to the same footprint and in accordance with the planning permission. The clerk noted that no one had approached the council on this matter, but was aware of it being raised with the County Councillor. Informal enquiries by Mrs. Smith have revealed that WODC are aware of the situation and have no objection. Mr. Naylor thanked Mr. Todeschini for coming to the meeting and he left at 7.25.
3. COUNTY and DISTRICT COUNCILLORS REPORTS – Mrs Fenton had nothing to report except to say that work continued on the Draft Local Plan while awaiting results of the Housing Consultation..
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST - There were no declarations of interest.
13/0445/P/FP – Grant of permission: erection of office building with vehicle storage, valeting, repairs, MoT and workshop facilities for internet car sales: Blenheim Cars, Lakeside Industrial Park – no comment.
14/00842/P/S73 – Notice of appeal on refusal: non-compliance of condition 5 of planning permission 11/1640/P/FP to allow removal of permitted development rights restriction: 131 Abingdon Road – letter to Planning Inspectorate supporting refusal.
14/1238/P/FP – Erection of industrial unit: 4B Cotswold Dene Standlake – no comment.
Minutes of the Meeting held on 12th August 2014, copies of which had been previously circulated to all members, were agreed as a true record and signed by the chairman.
7. MATTERS ARISING
Flooding, Sewers, Winter, etc – The clerk reported that the two ditches for which the council has responsibility (West and South side of Recreation Ground) should be examined and cleared if necessary; funds were earmarked in the current budget for this work. It was agreed that Absolute Solutions should be asked to survey the ditches and quote as necessary.
Busses, Bus Stops – In response to complaints regarding the invisibility of the new bus stop layout at the junction of Downs Road/A415, the clerk has contacted OCC to request some sort of signage to alert drivers northbound on Downs Road to the presence of the stops.
Playground/Recreation Ground & Maintenance – Mr. Naylor has surveyed the playground following the recent RoSPA report and has identified a number of items that require minor work: he will arrange to meet Mr. Pascoe to discuss repairs/maintenance. He also said that while the current system of volunteers reporting on items needing attention is very useful, he will also make a more formal periodic inspection.
Since the last meeting, more police activity has been observed in relation to the storage shed. Despite the removal of the door and clearing of foliage it became clear that more illegal activity was occurring and it was agreed between councillors (by email) that the shed should be removed. Mr. Prickett has removed the shed at no cost to the council and for this the council is most grateful. See Agenda item 10 below.
Traffic/Speeding – Councillors expressed concern at the apparent rise in speeding particularly along the Abingdon Road but also around the Green and Rack End. Mr. Naylor noted that this was particularly noticeable on the Abingdon Road at the end of each racing session at Standlake Arena. In the first instance the clerk will contact Mr. Rippin to take this up with his contacts at the Eynsham NAG.
Highway Maintenance – nothing further to report at this meeting.
Footpaths – nothing further to report at this meeting.
Roads, Newbridge – In the early hours of 29th August a car travelling at speed from Rack End mounted The Green and, amongst other damage, totally demolished the road sign. The clerk has been in contact with OCC Highways and the matter is in hand.
There is no further information regarding Newbridge and an update is awaited from Mr. Mathew
Noble Foods - Noncompliance with routing agreement – A reply has been received from WODC restating the case that arrangements to accommodate Noble Foods objections to a blanket routing restriction. While accepting that agreements of this kind a very difficult to enforce, the council is of the opinion that it is still not acceptable is that this matter was dealt with outside the proper planning framework. Mr. Owens will draft a reply stating this position.
Affordable Housing/Local Plan – Mrs. Smith has examined the WODC Housing Consultation paper in depth. She presented her findings, and suggested responses, to the consultation which were accepted by the council. The clerk will complete the online response and send the supplementary comments which Mrs. Smith has drafted. Mr. Naylor offered Mrs. Smith a vote of thanks for the hard work she has done on this. (The online response and comments can be seen on the website at www.standlakepc.org.uk/parishcouncil.htm)
Village Communications – It was agreed that better communication with residents was desirable. The clerk reiterated that the only guaranteed way of reaching the whole village was by leaflet drop but accepted that better electronic communication was essential. Direct contact by email needed effort to sign up as many as possible and this could possibly be with closer coordination with Mrs. Jane Dodds’ Standlake News. Mr. Naylor suggested that he invite Mrs. Dodds to a council meeting to discuss; this was agreed and Mr. Naylor will contact her to set a date.
Further discussion on the updating of the website centered on exactly what function it will serve, how information already provided can be increased and whether it was cost effective to use a professional web designer. The clerk said that other local PC websites were set up at a no cost (or very low cost) basis but the information thereon, beyond simple PC communications, depended wholly on input from local volunteer groups to ensure it was up to date - something singularly lacking in Standlake. Mr. Hunt said that it would be difficult to judge the benefits in the short term but believed this should be pursued. No decision was taken.
The clerk has investigated the provision of notice boards. He has talked to other parishes and it is clear that they consider that only one board is necessary for essential PC and Government notices such as notices of meetings, electoral matters, audit notices etc. The clerk said that the existing board at the post office is in urgent need of renovation; also it should probably be moved to a new, more visible, location. He suggested that a good visible location would be behind the seat outside the Post Office and it was agreed that this should be investigated..
The cost of new, commercially produced weatherproof boards, free mounted rather than wall mounted, of the same size as the existing would be in the region of £600 +VAT. Mrs. Clements said that Mr. Matthew Pickett has produced a wrought iron board for Northmoor PC and it was agreed that the clerk should contact Mr. Prickett and ask him to quote.
WWI Commemoration Poppies – The clerk referred councillors to the emails between him and St. Giles PCC in which the PCC wholeheartedly agreed with the proposal to buy 19 poppies. In fact, the PCC have already ordered one, so the council would need to by 18 to make up the total. The procedure to buy the poppies from the ‘Official Tower of London Remembers’ site is as follows: once they are paid for, they will be available after 11 November 2014, as each one will be removed from the display at the Tower of London, cleaned, then dispatched and all poppies will be received by February 2015. The cost is £450 + £90.36 p&p and it was agreed unanimously that the purchase go ahead; the clerk will make the arrangements.
8. CORRESPONDENCE – request from West Oxon. Citizen’s Advice for donation.
The clerk advised the council that this was one of the council’s regular charities and that the last donation was made in January 2013. It was agreed that a donation of £50 be made; this will be paid at the October meeting.
The following accounts were approved for payment::
D C Bevan: clerk salary and expenses £1202.65
HMRC: clerk PAYE £300.60
Absolute Solutions: grass cutting; garage clearance; vegetation removal £440.00
J. Hunt – broadband flyer printing £45.00
10. RECREATION GROUND STORAGE SHED –WRITE OFF
See Matters Arising above. The clerk explained that the shed was purchased in 2004 for £1265 and, because of Local Govt. audit rules, this is the amount that must be written off (no depreciation allowed). This was unanimously agreed and the clerk will inform our insurers. It was also agreed that the clerk will ask the insurers to transfer this amount of cover to the War Memorial which, at present, has no insurance cover at all. While this would not cover replacement of the memorial (an unlikely risk) it would give some cover in the event of vandalism.
11. DITCH BLOCKAGE MARTINS LANE/HEYFORD LANE
Mrs. Clements has received a formal complaint from a resident of Heyford Close regarding the condition of the ditches along Heyford Lane/Martins Lane. The resident is concerned that a repeat of the wet weather of last winter will threaten his property as the excess water was not flowing freely along the ditches and flooded his garden. This is the same complaint received in March 2014 and recorded in the minutes of the March meeting. Following that meeting, informal contact between the clerk and the chairman of the Standlake Agricultural Drainage Board, who are responsible for the lane, was unsatisfactory. No action was taken at that time because of confusion as to the agency responsible for enforcing riparian owners to clear their ditches. The clerk said he is sure WODC is that agency but will clarify the situation and pass the matter on for enforcement.
12. ASSETS OF COMMUNITY VALUE
Mr. Owens has noted that many communities, faced with the permanent closure of local shops and pubs, have registered properties as ‘Assets of Community Value’ in an attempt to have the option for the community to purchase the property. While there is no suggestion that this may happen in Standlake in the near future, it was agreed that Mr. Owens should look into the details of this scheme.
13. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 9.10 pm.
...................................................................................... Chairman .................................................................... Date