Minutes of the Meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held in the Youth Club, Church End, on 10th October 2023 at 7.30pm
Mr. B. Parnham Chairman
Mr. J. Rippin Vice Chairman
Mrs. J. Macdonald
Mr. D. Jeffcoat
Mr. J. Clements
Mr. B. Smith
Mr. D. Bevan Clerk
WODC Cllrs. L. Nicholls and C. Maynard.
1. APOLOGIES – Cllr. D. Levy, Mrs. A. Knipe
2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – There were no declarations of interest.
3. CO-OPTION OF NEW COUNCILLOR – Mr. B. Smith was welcomed to the council as the new member and signed his acceptance of office.
5. COUNTY & DISTRICT COUNCILLORS’ REPORTS
OCC: See Cllr. Levy’s attached report.
WODC: Cllr. Nicholls reminded the meeting that it was important that residents responded to the WODC consultation on the Local Plan 2041. Regarding the outline application for 10 houses at Eagle Farm, Cllr. Nicholls said that it was expected, but not confirmed, that this would be brought before the WODC Lowlands Planning Committee in early November.
See Cllr. Maynard’s attached report.
6. PLANNING – 23/02464/FUL: Demolition of existing engineering workshop. Erection of 2 dwellings with associated parking, turning, landscaping, private amenity space and access to include the installation of solar panels on south-western elevations (retrospective). 61 High Street Standlake Oxfordshire: Victorum Developments Limited. No objection.
23/02525/HHD: Erection of a first-floor rear extension, conversion of attic including side gable and front gabled dormer window, plus flat roofed storage area within internal roof valley. Enlarged entrance door and addition of rooflights to porch. Addition of covered gazebo adjoining rear elevation: Dormer House 26 Aston Road Brighthampton: Mr and Mrs M Harvey. No objection.
WODC Local Plan 2041 – meeting 18th October.
7. MINUTES –Minutes of the Meeting held on Tuesday, 12th September 2023, copies of which had been previously circulated to all members, were agreed as a true record, and were signed by the chairman.
8. MATTERS ARISING
Sewage/Flooding – Mr. Parnham said he was aware that Thames Water were still monitoring flows in Standlake, but he was not getting any feedback. Cllr. Maynard said he would follow up with TW. Similarly, Mr. Parnham is aware that OCC is carrying out investigations into the flooding on the High Street, but they do not respond to requests for updates.
Installation of the Lower Windrush Tennis Club cabin is progressing. and mains water and sewage according to one of the contractors, should be connected by the end of this week. Works seem to be causing minimal disruption which is good news.
Mrs. Macdonald said that the recent cutting had left long grass cuttings on the ground. The clerk said that the rapid grass growth this season was to blame and there was no practical method of picking up cuttings on a field of that size. Mr. Parnham and Mr. Smith said they would investigate if anything could be done, possibly by asking a local farmer to help.
Mr. Clements said there was nothing major to report at the Windrush Way playpark, but he was aware of the problems surrounding the emptying of the litter bin. Mr. Rippin noted that the problems with the litter bins in the Rack End playground had resulted in their being removed; the clerk said that they had been replaced by a litter pick on a fortnightly basis. Mr. Clements said he would monitor the frequency with which the bin filled and report back for a decision.
Environment/Standlake Nature Recovery Network – Mrs. Macdonald reported the following: Spring bulbs: Unfortunately, the ordered bulbs have not yet been delivered, so the free spring bulbs have not been distributed to people. This will be done at the next village market in November. Village Hall: Members of the SBNRN team have been tidying and raking the wildflower bank at the Village Hall and tidying the flower beds around the Hall. Hedge Laying: On Sunday 8th Stuart Bridger and the hedge laying team will start the work of laying the hedge at the top end of the new burial ground at the Church. The brash collected will be stored in a corner of the car park, and when the work is completed, Mark Pascoe will give a quote to chip the brash, which we will dispose of. Village litter pick: All plans for the litter pick on Saturday 28th October are in place, and posters will be put on Facebook etc shortly – volunteers welcome! Bank details: these will be supplied to the clerk shortly so that funds can be transferred to a SBNRN account.
Coronation – Mr. Parnham said the planters were being constructed and will be delivered shortly.
CCTV in car park - Mr. Clements said: he believed that a solar powered security light mounted on a pole would probably be the most cost-effective solution to discourage people from parking there after dark. In any event, legislation would be introduced shortly to ban the unlawful use of nitrous oxide. This should reduce the extent to which this undesirable practice occurs in the village. Mr Clements will obtain an estimate for installing a light at the far end of the car park.
War Memorial – The clerk said that the cleaning was now complete, and the lettering did not need repainting.
Hornsway cutting – Mr. Parnham has still not had any reply from OCC. Mr Jeffcoat said that, without any action by OCC, it may be necessary to repeat in 2024 the cutting session carried out by volunteers earlier this year, potentially more than once.
9. CORRESPONDENCE – St. Giles Church: thanks for share of Coronation Mugs sale profits. First and Last Bus: thanks for grant.
10. ACCOUNTS – The clerk reported that the council’s financial position remains satisfactory and within budget.
Received: £12,500 - the second half of the 23/24 Precept.
The following accounts were approved: (paid*)
Moore - audit fee £252.00*
WO Citizen's Advice £150.00*
J G Le Huray – village Xmas tree £170.00*
Abingdon Stone & Marble - war memorial cleaning £1050.00*
C Cleland- c'yard mowing £372.50*
V Hall - annual grant £750.00*
First & Last Bus - grant £500.00*
11. BUDGET 24/25 INITIAL DRAFT – The clerk presented the initial draft of the budget for FY2024/25. He reminded the meeting that, because of the requirement to provide the Precept request to WODC by the end of December, the figures were of necessity only a best estimate of what would be the basis of that Precept; this would be refined at the next two meetings. He went on to say that councillors should be aware that in the past few years the council had been utilising reserves to maintain spending levels, and this was reflected in the reducing final closing bank balances at the end of each successive FY. This view was endorsed by Mr. Jeffcoat and both he and the clerk said that there was no realistic process to combat this except by raising the Precept (which has remained at its present level of £25,000 since FY 17/18) if the council wished to continue to provide funding for projects and services over and above that required by law. After some discussion, Mr. Parnham urged councillors to think on this and communicate thoughts and suggestions by email before the November meeting. Mr. Smith suggested that it may be possible to persuade local businesses or residents to sponsor certain items previously paid for by the council. An example is the Christmas tree. This should be discussed once the budget has been agreed.
12. LETTER OF SUPPORT – FIRST & LAST BUS - Mr. Jeffcoat drafted a letter to OCC supporting the request for a grant to First and Last and presented this to the council. It was unanimously agreed that Standlake PC supported this application and Mr. Parnham signed the letter on behalf of the council. Mr. Jeffcoat will forward this to OCC.
13. DATE OF NEXT MEETING - Mr. Parnham said that the next meeting will be held in the Youth Club on Tuesday 14th November 2023 at 7.30 pm. There being no further business, the meeting closed at. 8.50 pm.
Local Plan consultation – this is the opportunity to give your views on how our district should develop out to 2041. Given I’m Chair of the Witney Oxford Transport Group seeking to restore the Carterton-Witney-Eynsham-Oxford railway, you won’t be surprised that I am speaking up loudly for Scenario 8, which focuses on putting housing around sustainable public transport rather than haphazardly around our villages. Whatever your thoughts are, please give them. The deadline is October 25th. Online - https://yourvoice.westoxon.gov.uk/en-GB/projects/the-future-pattern-of-development?hasAccess=true Email - firstname.lastname@example.org Mail - Planning Policy Team at West Oxfordshire District Council, Woodgreen Offices, New Yatt Road, Witney, OX28 1NB.
Community funding - The council has just launched a platform through which anyone can raise money easily for community purposes. Please have a look at -https://news.westoxon.gov.uk/news/if-you-can-imagine-it-you-can-crowdfund-it-council-launches-westhive-community-crowdfunding-to-transform-neighbourhoods and have a think about how you could put it to work!
Sewage / Thames Water - I met them last Friday. I am pushing them to quantify what upgrades they are planning for Standlake, given the very poor performance of the treatment works.
Flooding - I spent the morning of Wed 4th at a Windrush Catchment Partnership meeting. My main interest is in what (ideally, natural) flood control measures can be undertaken upstream in the headwaters to lower and slow the flood crest through Witney and beyond. We have a long way to go here, but the Evenlode CP is a good example of what’s possible and a good path to follow.