Minutes of a meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held in the Standlake Youth Club, on 12th August 2014 at 7.00pm.
Mrs. J. Clements
Mrs. B. Smith
Mr. J. Hunt
Mr. D. Bevan Clerk
1. APOLOGIES - apologies were received from Mr. C Mathew, Mrs. H. Fenton, Mr. J. Rippin, Mr. P. Willis.
2. PUBLIC ITEMS – Mr. Clements asked about the sewage issues with Noble Foods. The clerk said that the planning permission conditions were not specific enough to prevent Noble Foods, following agreement with Thames Water, connecting to the main sewer; the ongoing problems experienced by OES Medical since the connection were now a matter for that company, Noble Foods and Thames Water.
3. COUNTY and DISTRICT COUNCILLORS REPORTS – Mr. Good said that he was aware of the letter of complaint sent by the council to WODC in respect of the routing agreement with Noble Foods and understood that a response will be forthcoming from the Head of Planning. He could not add further to the report that there had been meeting between WODC, OCC and Noble Foods to try to resolve the situation and that the matter will come back to the Lowlands Planning Committee.
Mr. Owens commented that routing agreements were notoriously difficult to enforce but other avenues were open. Mrs. Smith asked what action had been taken regarding the Noble Foods HGV crossing Newbridge; Mr. Good said he could not comment on what was a County matter. Mr. Naylor stated that, as far as Standlake was concerned, regardless of the situation regarding the Sutton route, the transit of vehicles through Standlake was non-negotiable and ‘horse-trading’ between the District, County and Noble Foods was not acceptable. The WODC response is awaited.
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -
There were no declarations of interest.
14/0458/P/FP – Grant of permission: erection of detached dwelling etc: Amberley House, 69 High St. - noted
14/0547/P/FP – Grant of permission: alterations and erection of single story extension: West Oxon Sailing Club, Hardwick - noted
14/0782/P/FP – Grant of permission: erection of porch and first floor extension, alterations to external cladding etc: 55 Rack End - noted
14/0793/P/FP – Grant of permission: alterations and erection of single story side and rear extension: 28 High Street - noted
14/0800/P/FP – Grant of permission: erection of two storey rear, first floor side extensions and loft conversion: 91 Abingdon Rd - noted
14/0815/P/FP – Grant of permission: erection of two storey side extension: 15 Manor Crescent. - noted
14/0842/P/S73 – Refusal of permission: Non-compliance of condition 5 of Planning Permission 11/1640/P/FP to allow removal of permitted development rights restriction: 131 Abingdon Road - noted
Minutes of the Meeting held on 10th June 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 – Thames Water have replied to our letter questioning sewage capacity in the village. Currently, there are approximately 627 domestic and commercial properties connected to the system plus consent for one discharging trade effluent; the forward capacity before upgrade of the treatment plant is for 20 houses. This does not in any way address the capacity for handling high flows during heavy rainfall, a separate ongoing problem not addressed in our letter but dealt with many times before, but does give an overall picture of the situation regarding normal capacity.
Busses, Bus Stops – a resident has raised a concern regarding the bus stops recently completed at the Downs Road/A415 junction; the concern being that they are behind the bend and not entirely visible to traffic coming up the road from the village. The general consensus was that this is a low risk given the infrequency of the busses and the unlikely event of two busses using the stops concurrently. However, the clerk will contact Highways and ask if the ‘New Road Layout Ahead’ sign could be moved from its present position to one before the bend.
Playground/Recreation Ground & Maintenance – the annual RoSPA playgrounds inspection reports have been received and, generally, all areas are rated as low, or very low, risk with the exception of the ‘springer hen’ in the Rack End children’s playground; this will be repaired. The clerk noted that other items needed monitoring and Mr. Naylor will ensure that the current informal inspection regime is continued. The broken fireman’s pole reported by a resident is being repaired and will be back in action by tomorrow (Tuesday 13th August).
Traffic/Speeding – nothing further to report at this meeting but see Busses, Bus Stops above.
Highway Maintenance – due to some misunderstanding of the purpose of the village walk, this has been cancelled. Mr. Owens has a number of maintenance items to raise with Highways and he will contact them by email.
Footpaths – nothing further to report at this meeting.
Roads, Newbridge – Mr. Naylor reported on his meeting with OCC Trading Standards on 31 July. All in all, it was a positive meeting with Trading Standards confirming they will pursue offenders wherever possible. There is some activity going on to investigate the replacement of the existing equipment with something that a) works and b) reduces the workload for trading standards. Mr. Hunt said the ideal would be cameras with direct connection to DVLA and Trading Standards and this equipment is available; this would become possible if a fast broadband connection became available at Newbridge.
Both Mr. Owens and Mr. Naylor expressed concern that non enforcement could, ultimately, lead to the building of a new crossing which, without a bypass, would be very detrimental to the quality of life in Standlake: the priority therefore is to keep the existing bridge in operation by excluding the HGVs.
Noble Foods - Noncompliance with routing agreement – the council has sent a letter of complaint to WODC regarding the lack of enforcement of the planning condition imposing a routing agreement for the company’s HGVs and acknowledgement of receipt by WODC Head of Planning has been received. See also District Councillors report above.
8. CORRESPONDENCE – WODC Local Plan Housing Consultation.
It was agreed that the council should make a formal response. As the deadline is after the September meeting, Mrs. Smith agreed to examine the consultation document and coordinate a response.
The following accounts were approved for payment using the new procedure approved at the March meeting:
D C Bevan: repayment for printing, website hosting domain name reg 92.13
Absolute Solutions 1x grass cutting, repair fireman’s pole 345.00
10. RECREATION GROUND STORAGE SHED
The clerk said that the problems of vandalism and now criminal behaviour at the storage shed must be addressed. The police have attended twice in the last few weeks and the concern is that the shed has become a focus of low level criminal activity and has clearly been used for various activities; persons unknown have placed a bed in the shed and tyres have been stored there that have subsequently set on fire across the adjacent ditch. The options were simple: make the shed vandal proof (probably impossible and in any case very expensive) or demolish the shed. The only known equipment belonging to the recreation ground were two junior football post sets and a sports field lining machine; it is not known when these items have been used in the recent past.
The clerk and Mr. Naylor both argued for the removal of the shed, ideally by someone who had a use for such a building and would remove it at no cost. After much discussion, no firm decision was reached but, in the first instance, the clerk will arrange for the shed to be cleared, the door removed and the vegetation cut back to make it more visible and less attractive to vandals. Efforts will be made to find an alternative use for it.
11. PARISH PLAN and AFFORDABLE HOUSING;
Mrs. Smith asked the council to consider producing a Parish Plan, similar to the recent Northmoor model, which would, ideally, engage residents and encourage them to make their views on housing needs and the general future direction of the village; this was not a formal Neighbourhood Plan which would require planning consent. It would require a questionnaire to be sent to each household followed by a meeting open to all residents and Mr. Hunt said that this reflected the need for better communication between the council and residents.
The provision of affordable housing depends on need and available land. The last housing needs survey was carried out in 2006 and showed a low level of need in Standlake but, even so, efforts were made to suggest sites that would allow development under Rural Exception conditions; none of these sites was deemed suitable by WODC planners. At a later date land was made available in Stanton Harcourt (a result of ‘planning gain’ from a development in Brighthampton) and built by Cottsway with some of the housing going to Standlake residents as there were not enough eligible applicants to fill the whole development. Mrs. Smith said that a Parish Plan might give some indication of need today but the issue of land was, if anything, more restrictive. The WODC Housing Consultation does not identify any land in Standlake suitable for development and further building would continue on an infill/rounding off basis. The matter was left to rest there.
12. VILLAGE COMMUNICATIONS
Mr. Hunt said that, in his opinion, most people today received information via electronic means; this was disputed by by Mr. Naylor, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Clements and the clerk and they stressed that, while accepting the increasing importance of these avenues of communication, the council must be very careful in not excluding those who do not have access to, nor may not want to use, online services. Furthermore, in their opinion only currently reliable way to ensure that every resident received important information was via leaflet drop, in spite of how inconvenient and costly this was.
Nevertheless, Mr. Hunt said the council needed to concentrate on better online communication, including via social media, and that the website should be changed to a more modern, engaging, site. The clerk reminded the council that he had started the current website as a hobby nearly 14 years ago and that he maintained it on a personal basis, and not as part of his duties. No decision was made as to what changes should be made or how they would be implemented. Mr. Good noted that Aston had just produced a website and he volunteered to put the council in touch with the Aston webmaster; Mr. Owens agreed to look into this.
Mr. Hunt noted that there were no notice boards anywhere other than at the Post Office - in his opinion that should be moved to a more visible position – and other sites in the village should be examined. The clerk will, in the first instance, explore the cost of weather and vandal proof notice boards, but also asked councillors to consider what would be put on these boards as this would dictate the board size.
13. WODC DRAFT LOCAL PLAN – Housing Consultation and Updated Statement of Community Involvement
It was agreed that a response to the Housing Consultation was vital and Mrs. Smith agreed to study the document and make recommendations to the council for such a response by the 9th September meeting which would be ahead of the response deadline of 19th September.
14. WW I COMMEMORATION
Mr. Naylor has received a request from a resident that the council, on behalf of the village, consider purchasing ceramic poppies (at £25 each + p&p)) to commemorate the fallen of WW I whose names appear on the War Memorial. It was agreed, in principle, that the council welcomed this suggestion and the clerk will investigate further and ascertain the St. Giles’ PCC position on this.
15. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, 9th September 2014. There being no further business, the meeting closed at 9.10 pm.
...................................................................................... Chairman .................................................................... Date