WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
ANNUAL REPORT & NEWSLETTER, APRIL 2012
Note: A hard copy of the Annual Report, including an invitation to the Annual General Parish Assembly, is delivered to every household in the Parish. As previously this year's Report also included other information items that are already published elsewhere on this website. Although the format of the paper report differs from the format below, the items included contain the same content.
MEMBERS & OFFICERS AT END OF YEAR
Councillor Robert Aldridge, 4 Welden, Wexham,
Slough, SL2 5SJ. (Tel: 01753 732565) (Ind)
Councillor Dave Davies, 96 Norway Drive, Wexham,
Slough, SL2 5QW. (Ind)
Councillor Patrick Donachy, Wexham, Slough.
(Tel: (mobile) 07775 781508) (Ind)
Councillor Carl Egan, 44 Norway Drive, Wexham,
Slough, SL2 5QW. (Tel: 01753 534924) (Ind)
Councillor Harjinder Singh Gahir, 140 Knolton Way, Wexham,
Slough, SL2 5RY. (Tel: (mobile) 07599 551661)
Councillor Peter Gerstmann, 8 Wexham Lodge, Wexham,
Slough, SL2 4HF. (Tel: (mobile) 07780 704665) (Ind)
Councillor Munawar Hussain, 264 Wexham Road, Wexham,
Slough, SL2 5QL. (Tel: (mobile) 07983 604970) (Lab)
Councillor Sandra Malik, 8 Allington Court, Myrtle Crescent,
Slough, SL2 5AL. (Tel: (mobile) 07816 006824) (Lab)
Councillor Keith Nunn, 103 Lismore Park,
Slough SL2 5DE. (Tel: (mobile) 07545 304046) (Ind)
Councillor Vinay Vyas, 12 Almons Way, Wexham,
Slough, SL2 5UE. (Tel: 01753 673405) (Ind)
Councillor Shabana Zeib, 178 Knolton Way, Wexham,
Slough, SL2 5RY. (Tel: (mobile) 07811 520399) (Lab)
Clerk to the Council: Mrs Dianne Egan, 44 Norway Drive, Wexham,
Slough, SL2 5QW. (Tel: 01753 534924)
Finance Clerk: Mrs Tina Kellett, Sedgemere, Stonecroft
Avenue, Iver, Bucks, SL0 9QG. (Tel: 01753 651790)
* * * * *
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN, COUNCILLOR CARL EGAN
When I joined the Parish Council three years ago, at the age of 27, it was with the intention of working quietly in the background to do something for my local community. At that time I did not envisage becoming more involved in community affairs or Council matters, and I certainly couldn’t have predicted that I would end up ‘at the helm’. Having said that, I am honoured to have been elected as Chairman by my fellow Members… albeit that my colleagues weren’t exactly queuing up to take on the job!
I would like to express my sincere thanks to our previous Chairman, Councillor Dave Davies, for all his work and his dedication to the role for the last five years and also for the valuable guidance he is now providing for me. He still remains a Member and I hope he will continue to do so - it would be virtually impossible to find a replacement Councillor who has the wealth of experience he has gained during the 21 years that he has served us.
Like Dave, I have a great deal of faith in the Parish Council to recognise our needs as residents and to address local neighbourhood matters that may be overlooked at Borough Council level. I also appreciate the support of the Clerk, Dianne, and Finance Clerk, Tina, who manage day‑to‑day matters and ensure that legal requirements are met, together with our small team of Parish Hall staff who carry out the important job of liaising with customers and maintaining the hall and grounds.
I have lived in Wexham since the age of four and therefore have personal experience of the local issues that affect us all. Whilst our influence as a local authority is limited in relation to decisions determined at Borough level, I still value the opportunity that the Parish Council gives us to put forward our opinions and have our voices heard by the powers-that-be.
(Picture: The Chairman and Clerk at the Parish Council’s recent
Annual Christmas Charity Fundraising Event.)
It should be stressed that political preferences and loyalties have no place in Parish Councils. The work we do is simply about serving the Wexham Court area and its people and getting things done for the benefit of the neighbourhood as a whole. It is therefore necessary for us to leave any party political differences outside the door and work together as a team. This enables us to get on with the important task of serving our electorate unhindered by outside influences.
It is hoped that you will find this Annual Report/Newsletter informative and your feedback will be welcomed. I look forward with optimism to continuing my role as a Parish Councillor - and as Chairman should my colleagues so decide - to enable me to gain the further experience and knowledge that can only come with time.
With best regards,
Carl Egan, Chairman
* * * * *
WEXHAM LEA BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
There are three Councillors elected to the Borough Council covering the Wexham Lea Ward, which includes Wexham Court. At the time of going to print these are Haqeeq Dar, Tony Haines, and Paul Sohal. Please see below the report submitted for Councillors Dar and Sohal for inclusion in this Annual Report.
Councillor Haqeeq Dar was elected in May and joined Councillor Paul Sohal in representing the Wexham Lea ward. They have been working to resolve issues affecting the ward and here is an update on some of the work they’ve been doing:
§ The traffic lights at the junction of Wexham Road/Shaggy Calf Lane were faulty. This problem has now been resolved. The new roundabout is allowing traffic to flow and is working well.
§ A number of roads on the Wexham Estate have been resurfaced; in addition to this potholes have been identified and filled.
§ The Borough Council’s disused garage strategy is working well.
§ In Mansel Close planning permission has been granted for the building of four new homes.
§ Six new parking bays have been installed in Quinbrookes.
§ Fly-tipping across the estate has been dealt with swiftly as matters arose.
If you would like to contact the Labour councillors who are working for Wexham Lea please feel free to do so.
Councillor Paul Sohal
Tel: 07534 387291
Councillor Haqeeq Dar
Tel: 07800 587851
* * * * *
WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL TAX STILL REMAINS THE LOWEST IN THE SLOUGH BOROUGH
Wexham Court Parish Council is committed to providing good value for money and
our Precept has not been increased for the fifth year running.
You may have noticed that the recent Council Tax bills indicated an increase of 0.1% over the previous year. However, please note that this is solely due to the way in which the tax-base figures are calculated by Slough Borough Council and is not an additional charge imposed by the Parish Council. The calculation equates to a difference of only 4 pence for the year on a Band D property. The Clerk has written to the Borough Council Finance Department to raise our objections to this increase being shown on our bills, with a view to ensuring that it doesn’t happen again next year.
Your Parish Council continues to provide all existing services, with no outside financial assistance, whilst maintaining carefully controlled expenditure and budgeting procedures and efficient management of the funds available to us.
We pride ourselves on our reputation of being non-political. This means that all serving Parish Councillors can get on with the task of representing the best interests of the people of Wexham at grass-roots level, whilst being unencumbered by the political restrictions that may be placed on other tiers of Government.
* * *
PARISH COUNCIL WEBSITE
Our website comprises various documents and information items that may be of use to our residents and visitors to the local area. You are invited to browse our pages, and can contact the Clerk or any of the Councillors from the email link provided.
* * *
The Parish Council continues to make grants to Community Groups working in the Parish, including St Mary’s Church and the Wexham Brownies. We also organise an Annual Christmas Charity Fundraising Event. Further details can be found on our website.
* * *
As a Parish Council we have a statutory right to hear and object to all planning applications in Wexham Court and we frequently do so. We cannot always successfully block applications from being approved as Slough Borough Council has the power to overrule us. However, there are many unsuitable applications that we have managed to stop in the interests of our residents and the estate.
We also identify properties where building has gone ahead without permission and instigate planning enforcement action, although this can be a slow process as Court Orders are required to support the enforcement team’s actions. Planning matters such as this are currently being investigated and progressed due to your Parish Council’s persistence.
* * *
LOGGING OF INCIDENTS WITH POLICE
If any resident sees or hears of an incident in the area please contact the Policing Team on the new non-emergency number 101, or dial 999 as usual if the matter is an emergency. The Police may not be able to respond immediately but it is still important as all calls are logged.
* * *
MESSAGE FROM CLLR DAVE DAVIES (outgoing Chairman)
RE GRASS VERGES
I moved to the Wexham Court Estate 22 years ago and my main reason for moving here was the pleasant amount of green space that abounds in and around the Wexham area.
I believed then, and still do now, that Wexham is one of the best areas in Slough to live, and being part of a body that runs and maintains the Parish is an honour I take seriously. However there are some aspects of being a Member of your Parish Council that can be frustrating at times. When I'm out and about meeting and talking with you, the residents, one item repeatedly gets raised… damage to the Grass Verges.
We are lucky in that we have a great deal of verges, but it's a pity that some individuals seem to believe the grass is there for them to park their cars on and destroy. Whilst I understand the desire to park cars outside your houses, with a little care and attention damage to the verges could be avoided.
Please be aware that abuse of grass verges is an offence and we continue to lobby the Borough Council to make offenders the subject of prosecution in accordance with the local bylaws.
The Parish Council has carried out a survey to identify areas needing verge protection, and plans to undertake a project over the next few years to start laying down grass-crete on some of the most badly damaged verges. This will offer protection to the affected areas and will allow limited parking on the verges that are converted. A pilot scheme in Almons Way was carried out by the Borough Council last year and this has proved to be working well, but due to the substantial cost of such measures they are currently reluctant to provide funding for any further such work in the Parish. This means that the project will have to be funded by us out of your Parish Council Tax.
This project will be ongoing and may take some years to complete, depending on the level of annual funding we can dedicate to verge protection. For those of you who show concern about our green spaces, please bear with us; and to those who continue to damage and destroy the verges, we ask you to take a bit of care and pride in where you live and help us maintain this Estate as a pleasant place for us all to live.
In addition to our own investigations relating to verges, we have also been involved in a recent resident consultation relating to parking restrictions. This has resulted in double yellow lines being installed by the Borough Council in various areas of the estate where traffic problems cause a hazard or potential damage. Your Parish Councillors have done much of the legwork to identify the worst affected areas and promote positive action to resolve some of the issues. Unfortunately we do not have the power to force the Borough Council to address all such issues that are raised by our residents; however, we do our best to influence their decisions through communication and negotiation and we appreciate the efforts of the SBC Officers who have tried to respond to our concerns so far.
We also continue to monitor the hospital parking issues, but much of the responsibility for this lies with South Bucks County Council who appear to be unconcerned about the effects on our Estate.
We, your Parish Council, pride ourselves on the fact we have in these times of austerity managed to keep your Council Tax at the same level for the last five years, whilst still maintaining and improving the level of performance we always strive to attain. This will be harder to achieve if we continually have to repair/replace items because some people cannot be bothered to show a little consideration for the neighbourhood we all share.
Councillor Dave Davies
* * *
YOUR LOCAL COUNCILLORS
We are often asked the difference between the Wexham Court Parish and Wexham Lea Borough Councillors. To clarify, you have 11 Parish Councillors who work voluntarily and specifically serve the Wexham Court Estate independently of the Borough Council (a boundary map is on our website), whereas the 3 Borough Councillors (elected to SBC) also serve Upton Lea, Borderside, and Rochfords Gardens.
* * *
WEXHAM COURT PARISH HALL
The Parish Hall is well used for various events which provide an income to manage and maintain it. We make regular improvements to the facility in order to maintain a good standard for our hirers.
We encourage regular hirers, particularly if the activities they provide are of benefit to the community. The hall is currently used for Dohl Drums practice every Tuesday evening (except when Parish Council meetings take place); Weightwatchers every Wednesday evening; a prayer group on Friday afternoons; and Wexham School continues to use the facilities for occasional activities. Fridays and Saturdays are generally booked by ad-hoc hirers, but we would welcome enquiries from new regular hirers to make use of the premises during the daytime or on Monday/Thursday evenings.
Rates of hire are reviewed annually by the Finance Committee and we continue to offer discounted rates for residents and community groups.
Enquiries in regard to hiring of the Parish Hall can be made with our Booking Clerk, Lynne, on 01753 574945.
* * *
Our Tennis Courts are made freely available for the public and are well used throughout the year. However, please be reminded that football, cricket, cycling, dog-walking, and any other inappropriate activity is not permitted since this can cause costly damage to the surface.
* * *
Wexham Bowls Club operates independently under a sub-Lease. A rink is available for public use when not required for competitions, and a trophy is presented on behalf of the Parish Council in support of their annual Charity Day. The club will always welcome new members and you should apply direct for further information.
* * *
THE CHERRIES PLAY AREA
The Play Area provides a stimulating environment for local young children in our Community and is a place to call their own. The new items have made the area more interesting and challenging and are in constant use.
Please note that the equipment in The Cherries Play Area is intended for use only by children up to 14 years old. If you witness any abuse or vandalism taking place, please contact the Police or the Community Warden team.
Cutting of the grass and litter collection is the responsibility of Slough Borough Council and residents should contact the Parks Department if this is not done.
* * *
Dog owners should be aware that failure to clean up your pet’s mess constitutes antisocial behaviour which cannot be tolerated. Not only is this an offence but it also poses a serious health risk to others. The Parish Council supports the issuing of maximum fines to such offenders and the Community Wardens have been asked to give high priority to this ongoing problem.
* * *
Please note that anyone wishing to install a dropped kerb and driveway for access across a public verge/footpath must apply to Slough Borough Council. Private installation of such access is illegal.
* * *
MULTIPLE OCCUPATION HOMES
Although we have no objection to families renting properties there has been an increase in recent years of unscrupulous landlords using their properties for multiple occupancy. These landlords are exploiting their tenants and the conditions in which they live often contravene Health & Safety requirements. Various successful drug raids have also taken place in connection with such properties.
The Parish Council and our Ward Councillors continue to encourage the inspection of these properties which results in their closure if regulations are not being met. The Borough Council is currently carrying out a program of inspections to identify offenders.
* * *
PARISH COUNCIL ALLOTMENT SITE
Wexham Court Parish Council owns and manages the Allotment Site at the junction of Church Lane/Uxbridge Road. Plots are made available for residents of Wexham and the surrounding areas to rent at a very low annual cost. There is currently a lengthy waiting list as working an allotment plot seems to have become a recent trend again.
The boundary fencing replaced last year met with the approval of both the allotment tenants and the public alike. This year, following advice from the Environment Agency, the stream at the site has been cleared and a membrane installed along the banks to prevent excessive growth and to enable the stream to run freely.
Regular inspections of the allotment site are carried out by the Chairman, Clerk, and Councillor Dave Davies to ensure compliance with the Council’s requirements.
* * *
NALC & CCB MEMBERSHIP
The Parish Council continues to subscribe to membership of the National Association of Local Councils, and the Community Council for Berkshire, both of whom offer advice to Local Authorities.
* * *
UPDATE RE NEW PARISH LAND
The Parish Council continues to pursue the clearance of the land west of the care homes and completion of the Lease. However, following numerous site visits and meetings with Borough Council officials it appears they are still dragging their heels despite our efforts to progress the matter. It is hoped that a wildlife habitat can be preserved on this piece of land, whilst also being available to the public for recreation.
Regrettably, the grand old cedar tree that stood there was brought down by the winter winds (further information and pictures can be found on our website). We hope to plant a new blue cedar in the near future, although we will need to observe many years of growth before it resembles the old one.
* * *
ADVICE RELATING TO ELECTORAL REGISTER
It has recently been brought to our attention that persons on the Electoral Role who have previously opted-out of the Edited Register will now be required to do so every year since this will no longer be automatically carried forward. Failure to opt-out could result in annoying junk mail since companies can purchase elector’s information. This is of particular concern in relation to the elderly and vulnerable who may not be aware they are required to request removal from the Edited Register. Please advise your family and friends accordingly.
* * * * *
The Parish Council encourages close working relationships with community groups in Wexham. The mutual support and exchange of information that takes place between the Council and these groups has a key role to play in resolving local issues and matters of joint concern. In this section you will find information submitted by, or relating to, the following:
1st Wexham Brownies / Wexham School
Wexham Court Primary School / Wexham Neighbourhood Policing Team
Wexham Parish Church of St Mary’s / Wexham Bowls Club
Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha
* * *
1st Wexham Brownies
This is a well established group which provides weekly sessions for girls between the ages of six-and-a-half and ten-and-a-half. Activities include games, learning how to do various tasks to win badges (such as cooking and art), junior drama lessons, and talent such as singing.
Brown Owl is Mrs Beryl Neame, with daughter Sharon Neame as Deputy. They meet every Thursday at St Mary’s Church Hall in Church Lane, 6.30-8pm, and subs cost just £2 per session each week.
All girls of the appropriate age are welcome to join this group which is both instructive and fun.
If you would like further information please contact 1st Wexham Brownies on 01753 733911, or (mobile) 07760 226987.
* * *
Wexham School provides education for 11-18 year olds, together with various sports and other facilities, but no article was submitted by them for inclusion in this Annual Report.
* * *
Wexham Court Primary School
Since writing this article last year, all building works on the Wexham Court Primary School site have been completed and the school is prepared for its full expansion to 3-form entry. By September 2015 the school will have places for 90 pupils in each year group from Reception to year Six.
Nine additional, modern classrooms have been constructed with internal facilities and large external areas for pupils to play quietly or play team games in the MUGA (multi-use games and activity pitch).
External works have led to the enlarging of curb stones on roads close to the school and a parent car park has been laid by the Church Lane entrance opposite the Church. This has virtually eliminated our parking problems and means that all of the grass verges are now protected.
Now that the external building works are finished the school is in the process of refurbishing the internal parts of the older buildings. Ideas and estimates are being gathered to construct a fabulous new library, reading and research area and to establish areas for small group and independent work, so that children can work on projects in which they are particularly interested.
One such project that is currently taking place in school is a local history project in which the children are finding out the reasons why their families decided to live in Wexham. This is being led by parents of pupils in the school, Mr and Mrs Knight. The children are making amazing discoveries about the past and the people who lived here, and indeed their own family history. Local people have kindly volunteered to be interviewed by the children and what they have found out about the locality has been quite fascinating.
We have recently formed a new parent teacher association called ‘The Friends of Wexham Court Primary School’. Members of this new association are very keen to organise social and fund-raising events for the school and the school community, and we are looking forward to some really enjoyable times ahead.
It continues to be an exciting time for the school as we face the many changes that are taking place, and as we work hard to develop an outstanding education for our pupils.
* * *
Wexham Lea Neighbourhood Policing Team
You can find out more about the Team by logging onto the Thames Valley Police Website at: http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk
The Policing Team can also be contacted using the new Thames Valley Non‑Emergency Number:
One or more members of the Team attend Wexham Court Parish Council meetings whenever possible to exchange information and local concerns and to keep us up-to-date with their activities.
An additional speed monitoring device and spare batteries were recently purchased by the Parish Council and these are currently situated in Wexham Road, Knolton Way and Norway Drive. They are managed by the Policing Team and have proved effective in reducing the speed of traffic on the Estate.
CRIME REDUCTION ADVICE:
Please refrain from leaving valuables on show within your vehicle as this raises the chance of you becoming a victim of crime.
You should also ensure that all doors and windows in your home are properly secured before leaving the house or going to bed.
* * *
The Parish Church of St Mary, Wexham
The Parish Church of St Mary’s covers Wexham Court, Wexham, Bucks and George Green, and serves the whole community, not just church members.
Priest in Charge:
The Rev’d Ros Donovan
Tel: 01753 523852
Regular Sunday Services:
8.00 am Holy Communion (Traditional – Said)
or occasional Morning Prayer
10.00 am Parish Communion (Sunday School in Church Hall)
or All Age Worship (on first Sunday in the month)
Occasional Evening Prayer (usually at 6.30pm) and Special Services:
Details of these Services are shown on the notice board outside the Church or in the Parish Magazine, which is available from the Church or Church Hall.
“St Mary’s is an Anglican parish church which seeks to proclaim the Christian faith by sharing the love of Christ with those who enter its buildings and with all who live within the communities of Wexham Court, Wexham, Bucks and George Green.”
* * *
Wexham Bowls Club
(an advert was included for their Open Day)
* * *
Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha
Sheehy Way, Wexham, Slough, SL2 5SS
Tel: 01753 531826
Charity No.: 1126726
Worship Reg. No.: 74900
Marriage Ref. No.: 39464
During the Ardas the Sikh prayer asks forgiveness and prays for world peace for all humanity.
Occasionally films related to the Sikh religion and History are shown in the Durbar Hall.
Details of regular services and new events can always be found on the noticeboards at the Gurudwara.
A copy of the daily Hukamnama (order for today) as well as a full explanation in Punjabi and a translation in the English language can be found on the noticeboards.
The Gurudwara offers Langar (free food) without discriminating against religion.
The Sikh religion stands up for the Human Rights of Humanity for all. There is no discrimination against colour, race, age or gender.
‘The Sikh religion is for Equality and Justice and peace for all. The Sikh religion gives equal rights to women, they are even allowed to become preachers.’
Nitnem 4.15 - 5.15 am, Simran 5.15 - 5.45 am,
Assa Du Vaar Kirtan 5.45 - 7.15 am.
Evening: Rehras Sahib, Kirtan and Smapti from 7.30pm.
Everyday Kirtan and Katha is performed (singing hymns and explaining the true words of God)
The Gurdwara is open to the public from 4am - 9.30pm.
* * * * *
PARISH COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP & ATTENDANCE
Local elections took place in May 2011, at which time Cllrs Evelyn Aldridge, Tony Haines, Dalip Rajput and James Valance stood down.
The new Members who subsequently joined the Parish Council are Cllrs Harjinder Singh Gahir, Munawar Hussain, Sandra Malik and Shabana Zeib.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to the retired Councillors for their service to the Community.
During the last Municipal Year (May 2011 to April 2012) attendance at Meetings of Full Council (11 Members), and Finance & General Purposes Committee (7 Members), has been as shown below:
Robert Aldridge 7 / 1
Dave Davies 8 / 3
Patrick Donachy 8 / 2
Carl Egan 10 / 2
Harjinder Singh Gahir 10/ 3
Peter Gerstmann 6 / 2
Munawar Hussain 6
Sandra Malik 9
Keith Nunn 2
Vinay Vyas 6
Shabana Zeib 4 / 1
(Note: Councillor Keith Nunn is currently studying at uni but in the meantime he keeps in contact with the Clerk and continues to assist with IT matters that arise.)
Meetings of the Health & Safety Working Group, Newsletter Working Group, Grass Verge/Traffic Working Group, and IT Working Group also take place periodically for the purpose of carrying out various functions relating to our Council duties.
* * * * *
Click here to return to home page