Minutes of a meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held in the Standlake Youth Club, on 11th March 2014 at 7.00pm.
Mr. J. Rippin
1. APOLOGIES – no apologies were received.
2. PUBLIC ITEMS – There were no public items.
3. COUNTY and DISTRICT COUNCILLORS REPORTS –
Mrs. Fenton reported that the WODC Local Plan was taking longer than anticipated because the requirements for larger housing provision. Mrs. Smith commented that the lack of a Local Plan was leaving the district vulnerable to unwanted development, to which Mr. Good agreed and said that one of the problems, in addition to the increased housing provision, was that WODC were under pressures from external agencies which they were bound to take into account.
Mr. Mathew reported that the third consultation on OCC Minerals and Gravel extraction policy was now open for consultation. There were many changes to the previous attempts, not least that the principle of 50/50 division of extraction between North and South Oxfordshire should be applied: there will be a public meeting in Eynsham Village Hall at 7.00pm on 28th March.
Mr. Mathew said that the planned meeting with senior Thames Water officials was cancelled by TW at short notice and rescheduled for 19th March; it will come as no surprise if this, too, is cancelled.
The cameras at Newbridge are still not functioning and Mr. Mathew will continue to badger OCC Trading Standards about this. Mr. Good noted that there were problems between OCC bridge engineers and trading standards but this should be secondary to the safety and preservation of the bridge. Mr. Naylor stressed that keeping the overweight vehicles off the bridge was a priority but did not wish to see anything that would resurrect the possibility of a new crossing.
In February, Mr. Mathew and Mr. Hudspeth will be meeting with senior members of Thames Water to discuss the lack of investment in the infrastructure required to address the sewage flooding in Oxfordshire.
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Mrs. Smith declared an interest in any discussion on gravel extraction in the area.
14/0116/P/FP – alterations and erection of first floor extension and front porch, Driftwinds, The Downs – no objection
14/0164/P/FP – conversion of garage/annex to dwelling with associated parking, Green Acres, B’hampton - no objection but request condition restricting sale as separate building.
13/1485/P/FP - Notice of appeal – erection of two detached dwellings 139 – 141 Abingdon Road – clerk to send copy of objections to Inspector.
Minutes of the Meeting held on 10th December 2013, 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 – while no properties in Standlake were reported as flooded concern remains regarding surface water and sewage problems. Some residents of Rack End have involved our MP and he has responded by saying he will be in contact with WODC. Mr. Mathew confirmed that OCC now has responsibility for coordinating flood action but individual areas of responsibility remain with the various agencies. He also added that OCC has funding for protection measures with householders on a 50/50 basis.
Mrs. Clements has been approached by a resident regarding blockage of the drainage ditch in Martin’s Lane and concern was expressed on all sides regarding the clearance and maintenance of ditches particularly the identification of ownership. The clerk reminded the meeting that this exercise had been carried out by Mr. Tolputt (when Chairman of the PC) at the request of WODC following the 2007 floods and as far as is known that is where it remains: it would appear that any action to be taken should be coordinated between the OCC Flood ‘Supremo’ and WODC.
Busses, Bus Stops – Mr. Mathew reported that a decision on bus subsidies is due on 29th March.
Playground/Recreation Ground & Maintenance –high pressure cleaning of the multi play area and the roundabout is currently underway.
Traffic/Speeding – nothing further to report at this meeting.
Highway Maintenance – nothing further to report at this meeting.
Footpaths – nothing further to report at this meeting.
Roads, Newbridge – see councillor’s report on Newbridge.
8. CORRESPONDENCE – FOSS have requested permission to use the recreation ground for 2 events on 21st June and 6th July respectively. It was unanimously agreed to grant this request subject to the usual conditions allowing recreation ground access to all, regardless of attending or not.
Copy of letter from some Rack End residents to David Cameron regarding surface water concerns – see above.
The following accounts were approved for payment:
PWLB repayment – paid D/D on 03 Mar 2,141.96
Accounts Payable this meeting
Volunteer Link Up - donation 50.00
D C Bevan - clerk salary & expenses 1,202.45
HMRC - clerk PAYE 300.80
Absolute Solutions - mowing x 1 and tree cutting 345.00
10. END OF FY ASSESMENT
The clerk reminded the meeting that the council should formally assess risk for the coming year. He said that he was at present obtaining new quotations for insurance cover which offer the possibility of better cover at a reduced premium. It was agreed that the council’s risks were fully covered, but if better cover could be obtained then it should be. The council agreed that the current level (statutory minimum) of clerk’s indemnity insurance was sufficient.
11. REPEAL OF SECTION 150 (5) OF LGA 1972 (requirement for 2 councillors to sign cheques)
The clerk announced that the requirement for two councillors to sign cheques has now been rescinded; subject to ‘the council making robust controls on payments as an integrated part of their overall financial control system’. It is stressed that this control will be the result of the council’s own control decisions rather than by statutory regulation. This change now opens the way to direct BACs payments and, incidentally, an easing of compliance the ever more onerous requirements by banks for signature mandates (and changes thereto).
There was some discussion and Mr. Naylor proposed adopting the solution put forward by the clerk i.e. each voucher/invoice received would be certified by the clerk and two councillors would sign to authorise payment: the clerk would then make the payment either by cheque or electronic means. This was agreed unanimously.
12. CHANGE TO STANDING ORDERS in light of repeal of Section 150 (5)
As the requirement for cheque signatories was a requirement of the now rescinded Section 150 (5) and the new regulations require the council to set its own controls on payments, the clerk proposed that the above proposal be added to council’s Standing Orders. This was agreed and the amended orders will be put to the council for adoption at the April meeting.
13. STREET TRADING RESTRICTIONS – designation of areas of Standlake
The imminent WODC review of these restrictions was discussed and it was unanimously decided that Standlake should take no action to designate any areas as restricted on the grounds that there has been no evidence of attempted long term trading of this kind in the village.
14. LOCAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS 22 MAY 2014 – arrangements for meetings in May/June
The delayed date of the local elections, until 27th May, will necessitate the AGM and the APM being held later than normal. In the light of previous experience it was decided that it was not desirable to attempt holding the two meetings on the same night and that the Youth Club should remain as the venue for the APM. The clerk also said he will be away for the normal May meeting date of 13th and requested that it be brought forward to 6th May. After some discussion, the following dates were agreed:
May meeting: Tuesday 6th May
Annual General Meeting of the PC: Tuesday 10th June
Annual Parish Meeting: Wednesday 18th June.
15. MEMBER’S REPORTS
Mrs. Clements has been approached by a resident offering to pick up litter on an ad hoc basis. This was welcomed by the meeting and it was agreed that the council would provide a litter picking tool and plastic bags on the understanding that the resident was acting in a personal capacity and not as an agent of the council. Mrs. Clements will make the purchases the cost of which will come from the recreation ground maintenance budget.
16. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 8.35 pm.
...................................................................................... Chairman .................................................................... Date