Minutes of a meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held in the Standlake Youth Club, on 14th February 2017 at 7.00pm.
Mr. P. Willis Vice Chairman
Mrs. J. Clements
Mr. J Rippin
Mrs. B Smith
Mr. N. Owens – until 8.45pm
Mr. J. Hunt
Cllr (OCC) Mr. C. Mathew, Cllr (WODC) Mrs. H. Fenton, Mr. K. Price(Spitfire Homes) + Mr. K. Groom (Curtin & Co) + Mr. J Yeoman (Savills), approximately 30 members of the public
1. APOLOGIES – were received from Mr. S. Good.
2. PUBLIC ITEMS –Mr. Naylor ascertained that some members of the public were interested in the development proposal and most were attending to discuss the LWTC and also interested in the development proposal. Mr. Naylor said that all would have the chance to speak.
3. SPITFIRE HOMES PRESENTATION - Mr. Naylor welcomed Mr. Price and his colleagues who distributed documents outlining the proposals. The Spitfire team gave a background to the company and said they built only quality homes reflecting the style of the local area.
They explained that given the present pressure generally to build more homes and the planning uncertainty, resulting from a lack of a current WODC Local Plan, they have taken an option to buy on the land (located off the Abingdon Road adjacent to Lancot Lane). While this site is not shown in the WODC allocation the district is unable to show provision of enough land for housing. The proposal is to build up to 50 units and, in answer to a question from Mrs. B. Smith, that, in line with planning regulation, 40% will be ‘affordable i.e. either for affordable rent and or rent/to buy which would be administered by the housing association.
It was stated that the current and emerging Local Plan listed Standlake as a ‘sustainable ‘village with facilities such as the school, a shop and public house. This was challenged by Mr. Naylor and others who pointed out that the school was oversubscribed and 50 units represented an increase of nearly 10% in the dwellings in the village and this could hardly be called sustainable.
A number of points were made by the public and among them were: the school is oversubscribed; with a possibility of 100 cars the access onto the Abingdon Road will increase congestion (Spitfire replied that they have had contact with OCC Highways who have no initial objection); lack of bus services (Spitfire replied that they are willing to contribute to bus services, though Mr. Mathew commented that they were unlikely to contribute the £400K+ that OCC paid to support the discontinued 18 service); there are no safe crossing points on the Abingdon Road from that side to the only, very narrow, footpath.
The team concluded by saying that they appreciated the input and said that a public exhibition is to be held in the OD Cricket Club on 23rd February between 3 and 6.30pm. Mr. Naylor said that this was not acceptable as many working people would be unable to attend and said the time should be extended to 9.00pm. The team agreed to consider this and report back to the clerk. Mr. Naylor thanked the team for their presentation and said there would doubtless be more questions after the exhibition.
4. COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLOR’S REPORTS – Mrs. Fenton had nothing of interest to report and said she was primarily interested in the Spitfire proposal..
Mr. Mathew confirmed that the gravel from the Stonehenge Farm site to Lynch Hill would travel in a pipe under the road rather than by conveyor belt but there are some concerns about noise nuisance. He also reported that OCC has approved the 2017/18 budget.
5. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – Mr. Naylor, Mr. Hunt and Mr. Owens declared an interest (not pecuniary) as members of the Lower Windrush Tennis Club
17/000102/HHD Erection of double garage with gym above; Glenden, 59 High St. Object: building overlarge for site with no access for stated purpose of garage; condition that not be used as a dwelling
7. MINUTES - Minutes of the Meeting held on 10th January 2017, copies of which had been previously circulated to all members, were agreed as a true record and signed by the chairman.
8. MATTERS ARISING
LWTC Club House - Mr. Naylor said that the council had received many emails from members of the public both for and opposed to the decision to place a small building (20’ x 16’) at the northeast corner of court 1 to act as a club house with toilet facilities, primarily for use by children during coaching sessions. Rather than read these out he opened the meeting to the public and acknowledged Mrs. Perry (who, for the record, was the instigator and main driving force behind the provision of the present children’s’ playground and the activity facilities on the field).
Mrs. Perry noted this was, first and foremost, public land, a point echoed by others, and should not be intruded on any further by a private club. It was also possible that this would set a precedent for further expansion into the public space. It was clarified by members and associates of the LWTC in that the club is not private but open to anyone who wishes to join and also provides free coaching to the school; also that there was no intention to expand any further.
A number of people were concerned at the impact on the earth mound in the playground which was much used and appreciated. Mr. Hunt pointed out that the mound would not be touched and only a 6’ corner of the area. This generated comments that were repeated on more than one occasion in that there was no plan to show the exact location of the proposed building. Mr. Naylor agreed and said some comment received had been because it was not clear to people of the impact of the proposal. Mrs. Perry said that the location would, if nothing else, spoil the view from the mound and the response was that the size of the building would not be intrusive.
She noted that a previous attempt to have the building in a similar position was refused, but it was pointed out that this was for a larger building with more features. So why not have the building at the west side of court 3 where the old storage shed once stood? The clerk remarked that the shed had to be removed because of constant vandal activity including evidence of drug taking and it was felt that the same fate would befall any club house built there. This generated several comments, particularly endorsed by Mr. Gears (VH treasurer), amounting to a belief that any building that sheltered miscreants from view would be liable to the same problem.
Mr. Gears also said that, because of insurance issues, the VH would not agree to any arrangements for sewage from the club house to be connected in any way to the hall’s system.
Mrs. Wallbutton said her property adjoined the recreation ground and that she was concerned she had not been consulted on the proposal which she claimed would have an impact on her property. She asked why the building could not be moved elsewhere in the field such as the corner between courts 2 and 3. She also said that there was lack of general consultation to which Mrs. Milne (ex LWTC committee member) responded that a wide ranging consultation had been carried out in 2015 and resulted in a favourable response. The response to this was that consultation was for a clubhouse in a similar location but of a different design..
Supporters of LWTC stressed the benefits provided to the community by the club in that it encouraged children into the sport, provided free coaching to the school and in future it was intended that court 3 be available at all times to the public. There was general discussion as to the unsuitability of the present arrangements (set out in a covenant with OCC at the time of building the original courts; however, the agreed access arrangements are being fully met. Mr. Hunt made the point that he would like to see court 3 open commensurate with the needs of the members and the cost of maintaining the courts.
It was not intended to use the club house for social functions – its size precluded this in any case – but the toilet facilities were the important facility for the safety of children during coaching sessions. This raised comments that the VH facilities were sufficient and it was a matter of LWTC organisation to arrange for suitable adult cover to escort children when required. LWTC members said that it was impractical to have 2 adults, who are volunteers, at every one of the many sessions.
There were other interventions on both sides but Mr. Naylor said that he felt enough comment had been made to make it clear that there were strongly held views on both sides. He said the council would consider carefully what had been said but he stressed that LWTC must produce a scale plan showing the proposed location, particularly addressing the impact on the playground. He then asked if any councillors had comments.
Mrs. Smith commented that it appeared the LWTC was getting too big for the facilities at the recreation ground and perhaps should look elsewhere. She noted that the formal planning permission would only allow comment on planning matters and not on the principle of allowing the building on public land. She further said that while she had voted in favour of the proposal on 10th January she now regretted this and would like to revisit the decision. There were no further comments.
9. CORRESPONDENCE – numerous emails regarding the LWTC club house proposal, both for and against the decision of 10th January. Letter from High Sherriff regarding an initiative on carers matters – no action required until receipt of further correspondence as indicated in the letter.
10. ACCOUNTS – the clerk presented the monthly statement and said there were no accounts due payment this month but the half yearly PWLB payment was due on 1st March.
11. REPORT ON MEETING WITH MP – Mr. Naylor said he, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Clements and Mr. Hunt had a brief meeting on Monday with the new MP – Mr. Robert Courts. The MP was made aware of the concerns of the village in particular sewage problems, speeding, bus services etc. This seemed to have been taken on board and the MP gave assurances that his primary concern was to represent the people and take what action he could to help.
12. STATUS OF VILLAGE HALL LAND – Mr. Owens has brought to the clerk’s attention an apparent anomaly in the recreation ground Land Registry entry. While the 1998 document registering the Village Hall and its environs is quite clear there is no indication of this on the LR title. Whether this is by design or oversight is not known and the clerk asked the council to approve his instructing our solicitors, Welch & Stammers, to examine the documents and give their opinion: this was agreed.
13. ANY OTHER BUSINESS – The day and timing of meetings was discussed. There was no appetite for changing the day as any other day chosen might clash with other village functions. However, it was agreed that, for a trial period the time be changed to 7.30pm. The clerk confirmed that the March meeting will be on Tuesday 21st March, as agreed at the last meeting.. There being no further business, the meeting closed at 9.20pm.
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