Minutes of a meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held in the Standlake Youth Club, on 12th November 2019 at 7.30 pm.
Mr. B. Parnham Chairman
Mr. J. Rippin Vice Chairman
Mr. S. Jones
Mrs. S. Adams
Mrs. S Garrett
Mrs. A. Knipe
Mr. D. Bevan Clerk
Mrs. H Fenton (WODC councillor), Mr. M. Parker (Speedwatch), Mr. N. Evans and Mr. M. Webb (Few Inns - owners of The Bell), Mrs. J. Perry, Dr. G. Dooley, Mr. & Mrs. J. G. LeHuray, Mrs. L. Watson and 8 other members of the public.
1. APOLOGIES – Mr. C. Mathew, Mr. S. Good
2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – There were no declarations of interest.
3. PUBLIC ITEMS – Mrs. Perry wished to thank the council for their work in maintaining and improving the playground at Rack End; Mr. Parnham thanked her for her comments. A resident complained that the footpath by the Manor was damaged, probably by tree roots, and was not able to report this on Fix MY Street; the clerk will obtain photographs and report.
Mr. Evans complained about the constant noise from the pumping operation by Thames Water of sewage water into tankers adjacent to the Black Horse and this was affecting his business at the pub. The clerk gave the background information to this, what action has been taken in the past and will forward the TW document Strategy for Standlake which explains their plans. Mr. Parnham will try to contact TW and also report concerns to our MP, Robert Courts.
Other members of the public were mainly concerned with the Manor Bungalow development appeal and the state of The Bell building.
4. COUNTY & DISTRICT COUNCILLORS’ REPORTS –
Mrs. Fenton had nothing to report but was interested in discussions about the appeal and the questions regarding The Bell.
5. PLANNING –
19/02014/FUL: Replace existing stable block with detached self-contained living accommodation (amended plans): Yew Tree Barn 51 Abingdon Road Standlake: Mr James French. No objection.
Manor Bungalow development –notice of appeal: The formal notice appears to be on a technical objection to WODC’s notification procedures but documents on the planning website show a full objection to the refusal. It is understood that the outcome of this appeal will be significant because it may well impact on how far The Bell site can be developed. There is much confusion as to the interpretation of a ‘building line’ beyond which WODC say development would not be permitted and Mrs. Fenton was asked to try and ascertain from the senior planning officer what this all means; Mrs. Fenton agreed to do this. The appeal will be challenged by the planning consultant who lead the objection to the original application (see item 12)
6. MINUTES - Minutes of the Meeting held on Tuesday, 1st October 2019, copies of which had been previously circulated to all members, were agreed as a true record and signed by the chairman.
7. MATTERS ARISING
Village Shop – Mrs. Watson reported that some funding has now been obtained that will allow the project to pay for important expert advice such as setting up and registering the Community Benefit Society, writing the community share office, developing the business plan and shop design and layout.
Roads/Traffic/Speeding – Mr. Jones reported on his meeting with an OCC traffic officer and had discussions about all areas of the village. OCC will refresh and improve all line markings and put ‘dragon’s teeth’ markings at entrances to the village; the red areas will not be renewed due to funding restrictions. At the Brighthampton corner OCC will install pedestrian crossing signs adjacent to the bus stop layby and change the approach signs to more clearly indicate the nature and direction of the Witney Road/Abingdon Road/Aston Road junction. Other more proactive measures such as chicanes, SIDs and speed limit changes, - particularly on the Downs Road which is currently national speed limit and it is felt should be reduced to 40mph from the A415 – and the school/green are awaiting costing by OCC and hopefully information on access to funding grants. OCC will not install fixed speed cameras; and for information, there are no average speed cameras in Oxfordshire and there are no plans to install any.
Mr. Parker gave a very interesting summary of his efforts regarding Speedwatch. He has built a remotely controlled radar operated device – similar in size to a loaf of bread – which has the ability to track vehicles speed and display it in real-time online (speedwatch.online): speeds of 70mph+ have been recorded and currently only The Downs is covered. The results identify the times of infringement and, over a period of time, graphically show patterns of infringement which could assist in targeting enforcement measures.
The device could be produced for a fraction (around £400) of the £3000 for the police approved manually recording SID currently out of service. Mr. Parker stressed that the key was getting the police on board for the use of this device and he was in discussions with TVP as to how this data can be used; for example it could be used in place of expensive traffic surveys which would be required prior to any attempt to change a speed limit. Mr. Parker stressed that enforcement was the only real answer to speeding drivers and this device, if approved, would help in planning the most efficient use of enforcement measures.
Mr. Parnham thanked Mr. Parker for attending the meeting and hoped that the discussions with TVP were fruitful.
Recreation Ground/Playgrounds – Nothing further to report at this meeting.
Public Footpaths–. Bridge Rails – these have now been repaired
Sheehan’s noise complaints- At present the noise nuisance appears to have abated but information is still sought from WODC enforcement as to where the residential monitoring is carried out.
Letter re school parking – Mr. Parnham has sent a draft for inclusion in the joint letter as requested but no reply has yet been received.
Letter to Noble Foods re litterbins- Mr. Parnham will write this shortly.
8. CORRESPONDENCE – The Bell - deteriorating condition: Dr. Dooley emailed expressing the concern of many residents as to the deteriorating condition of The Bell building. Mr. Evans reminded the meeting that the plans for development of the site as a care home had been withdrawn following WODC’s advice that this would extend building beyond an acceptable but unspecified building line. This was despite the developers working closely with WODC planners and following their advice on size, appearance etc. thus leading to 2½ wasted years. The future is uncertain and Few Inns are unwilling to spend further money on the building as any future development could involve demolishing part or all of the existing building, even though this is not desirable and not what Few Inns want. Mr. Evans said that the residents need to be clear of what they want or will accept for the site, as Few Inns needed to recoup some of the large costs they have incurred since the fire. There was some discussion but it was generally agreed that there was little point in speculating until the result of the Manor Bungalow was known and WODC Planning have made a firm decision as to the acceptable extent of any development.
Windrush path: A report highlighting a dangerous stretch of the path has been brought to the attention of the Lower Windrush Valley Project who maintain the path and action has been taken
Informal enquiry from Mr. J. G. LeHuray re VE anniversary 8 May 2020: Mr. LeHuray said that a number of veterans and others were contemplating celebrating the anniversary with events including a street party and asked what the council’s involvement was in HM the Queen’s Jubilee when such an event took place. The clerk replied that an independent committee of residents organised it, with some financial support from the council and help with road closures etc. After discussion, it was agreed that the same support would be given on this occasion.
9. ACCOUNTS – the following accounts were approved for payment.
Absolute Solutions – grass cutting £375.00
Mr. LeHuray – village Xmas tree contrib’n £70.00
Absolute Solutions – tree cutting bank opposite church £290.00
Absolute Solutions – grass cutting £375.00
10. LWTC – rent review
The clerk reported that under the terms of the lease the rent was to be reviewed every 7 years: the last review being in 2012 with an increase from £500 to the current £600 commencing in 2013. After some discussion it was agreed that in the light of increasing costs in maintaining the recreation area generally an increase was justified. Mr. Parnham proposed an increase to £750 (25% over 7 years) which was in line with the last increase and this was agreed unanimously.
11. BUDGET 2020/21
The clerk said he had little to add to the discussions at the last meeting except to make an allowance for an extra grass cut this FY; this would give a budget figure of £21154. Mr. Parnham proposed that, in the light of Mrs. Miles’ comments at the last meeting regarding the serious financial position of the church, the council should take on the whole cost of the upkeep of the old churchyard; this would involve an increase from the current £1,200 pa to £2,820 which is fixed until 2022. This was agreed unanimously. Mr. Parnham further proposed the Community Fund be increased by £5000 which would give a final budget figure of £24,908 and that the precept be kept at this year’s figure, £25,000. This was agreed unanimously and the Precept is set at £25,000 for FY 2020/21.
12. REQUEST FOR DONATION TO STOPBC FOR MANOR BUNGALOW DEVELOPMENT APPEAL
Dr. Dooley emailed the council and said that members of the STOPBC group were engaging their planning consultant to fight the Manor Bungalow development appeal in the light of the impact on The Bell site this may have if the appeal was allowed. As the council had objected strongly to the development he asked if the council would make a donation towards the consultant’s costs of £910 plus VAT. Mr. Parnham proposed a sum of £250 be granted and this was agreed unanimously.
13. WATER DAY AT WODC – report
Mrs. Adams attended the recent Water Day at WODC and said it was very informative especially regarding the unlawful discharge of sewage into the Windrush and the resulting damage to water quality. She distributed documents from the event and suggested that a Mr. Ashley Smith of the Windrush Against Sewage Pollution (WASP) group be invited to speak to the council. It was agreed this should be done in the New Year.
14. WOODLANDS ENTRANCE FLOODING
Mrs. Adams had reported by email that the entrance was flooded and the water was not draining away. The clerk has passed this on to Cllr. Mathew for action by OCC Highways and has taken photos of the area.
15. ANY OTHER BUSINESS – The next meeting will be on Tuesday 17th December at 7:30 pm in the Youth Club. There being no further business, the meeting closed at 9:25 pm.
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