WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Bryan Corps (unwell)
Cheryl Hemming (unwell)
77. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
No Member had an interest to declare.
78. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 12TH DECEMBER 2006
The Minutes of the Meeting of 12th December 2006 were approved as a correct record. There were no matters arising.
79. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
PC Cerrig Shardlow reported that the whole of Slough has recently suffered an increased amount of burglaries, including Wexham & Rochfords Gardens and the surrounding areas. However, several drug related matters had been successfully dealt with. Three cautions had been issued for first offences in relation to cannabis possession, and six Wexham School students had been apprehended with cannabis. The school had been proactive in identifying the students and resolving this, and letters had been sent to the parents. PC Shardlow asked that any drug activities or suspicious vehicles be reported to him. Councillor Haines reported that there had been evidence of crack cocaine and heroin in Rochfords Gardens, but it was proving difficult to catch the supplier.
Further vehicles had been removed in Wexham in relation to being untaxed or abandoned, and a stolen vehicle reported by Members at The Cherries garages had now been recovered. The incidence of road racing in The Cherries was now improving, and two such vehicles had recently been impounded for having no tax.
Two disabled employees at Wexham Nursery had recently had their mobile phones stolen and PC Shardlow had attended the nursery to talk to the employees about staying safe.
PC Shardlow had been working with the Crime Reduction Officer and this had been very successful in reducing local crime including burglaries.
Members raised various issues including incidents of vandalism over the Christmas period, and other incidents involving vehicles or burglaries.
Some members of the Almons Way Neighbourhood Watch were introduced by PC Shardlow and support for the group was requested. Councillor Haines pointed out that it is difficult to encourage other people to support Neighbourhood Watch Schemes, which tend to consist of small groups of people who have personally suffered crime. Indeed, even attendance and support at Parish Meetings was generally very low, despite the meetings being well publicised.
The Chairman thanked PC Shardlow for his report, and would liaise further with him during the next couple of weeks.
80. ATTENDANCE OF SBC OFFICER/MEMBER TO DISCUSS BOROUGH & PARISH PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
The SBC Officer had been unable to attend the meeting so this item was deferred until further notice.
81. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Haines reported that he had been dealing with residents’ complaints in relation to a fly-tipper at Quinbrookes garages and his related building activities. He also stated that he frequently receives reports from residents about drug related activities.
The Office of National Statistics population issues were ongoing, and Slough Borough Council was having to carefully balance services to counteract the financial shortfall caused by this. Local MP Fiona McTaggart had offered no support in this regard.
The SBC Cabinet had now removed the Break Clause on the Parish Lease. The opposition had been pushing for the land to be sold off, or rent of circa £6K per annum to be charged. Opposition Members had recently been ejected from a Cabinet meeting due to bad behaviour.
Councillor MacIsaac reported that the owner of 103 Quinbrookes had recently had his house repossessed, so this should solve the problems that had been associated with this householder. Councillor MacIsaac had been working closely with PC Shardlow in relation to local vandalism and burglaries.
Councillor Gavin Hemming reported on behalf of Councillor Cheryl Hemming that she had been dealing with various issues including fly-tipping at the Almons Way garages.
Councillor Robert Aldridge reported that he had been receiving an increased amount of telephone calls during the last couple of months relating to various troubles on the estate. He had noted that many of the incidents reported involved youths from outside of Wexham, and not our local youngsters. Any further incidents would be reported to PC Shardlow.
Councillor Davies apologised for arriving late due to work commitments. He had recently attended a meeting in Maidenhead, together with Councillor Robert Aldridge and the Clerk, with the Assistant Chief Constable of Berkshire. He had advised that PCSO’s were being rolled out, and that one would be assigned to Wexham Court. Additional PCSO’s could also be part-funded by the Parish Council, but this would cost in the region of £30K per annum.
The previously approved high-visibility vests had now been obtained for Parish Council Members & Officers. Councillors Egan and Davies had worn these around the estate at the weekend and they felt that the vests had helped people to recognise and notice them.
An appointment with Chubb Security had been arranged at the Parish Hall to obtain a quote for CCTV installation. The Bowls Club had also offered to pay for an extension of the system to their premises, so that a monitor could be installed enabling them to view the Hall and car park.
A Clerk and Chairman from another Parish Council had expressed their interest in attending one of our meetings to view the proceedings and exchange information. It was agreed that they could be invited to the April meeting.
The Chairman had prepared a written report and this was circulated. PC Shardlow had spoken to some youths reported riding mini-motos in the Parish field. The Chairman had noticed that grass verges were suffering a lot of abuse, which was particularly evident during the wet weather. He had asked SBC to clean the footpaths affected by mud transfer from vehicle wheels, and was appalled that they seemed to be doing nothing to tackle these problems. A bylaw had been put in place and he felt that it should be enforced.
Councillor Robert Aldridge reported that a resident in Knolton Way had nearly been run over by a vehicle on the grass verge, but the culprit had refused to answer the door to him to explain his actions.
Councillor MacIsaac had been advised that training was underway and would be completed in the summer to deal with these issues and enforce the bylaws.
82. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statements for the 1st to 30th November and 1st to 31st December and invited questions from Members.
The VAT repayment had now been received and the Chairman expressed the sincere thanks of the Parish Council to Tina for all her hard work in this regard.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statements for November and December 2006 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
83. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had previously circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and various items were discussed. It was a matter of concern that Wexham’s open spaces are being lost due to the extensive amount of developments taking place. Objections had been raised to applications at numbers 62, 192, and 212 Knolton Way, 86 The Frithe, numbers 9 & 37 Farm Crescent, and 33 The Normans. It was noted that an application at 25 The Cherries had been approved despite our objections.
The Clerk was unwell and therefore requested that the forthcoming Finance & General Purpose Committee Meeting be moved to the 1st March to enable her more time to prepare the documents. This was agreed.
Further to a letters sent to Superintendent Pete Davies and Community Warden Team Leader Diane Viechweg commending PC Shardlow and Chris Spencer for their valuable work in the Community, replies had been received thanking us for our kind comments.
The next meeting between the Borough/Parish Councils and SDALC would be taking place on the 8th March and the Clerk asked whether representatives of WCPC would be attending. Councillors Dave Davies, Robert Aldridge and Gavin Hemming indicated that they would like to attend, and the Clerk would liaise with Councillor Davies in regard to items to be included on the Agenda.
The Clerk had recently sent a letter to SBC Members and Officers asking for confirmation of their intentions regarding the Parish Leases. Draft Leases for the land north of Norway Drive had subsequently been received, but they had neglected to reflect several amendments including the removal of the Break Clause. The Chairman and Clerk had spent several hours inspecting the drafts to highlight the necessary changes. Councillor MacIsaac had also been very helpful and had now obtained written confirmation from the Leader of SBC, Richard Stokes, that the Break Clauses would indeed be removed.
The Clerk commented that she was disappointed at the lack of response from other Members to her recent email inviting them to discuss the Lease arrangements with her. In light of this she requested that three Members join her in forming a Lease Working Group. This would enable the Members involved to gain a full understanding of the contents of all the Leases and assist her with the negotiation process. She reminded Members that past indifference to the matter had resulted in the previous Clerk agreeing to items not sanctioned by the Parish Council, which we were still struggling to correct. Councillors Dianne Walker, Gavin Hemming and Robert Aldridge put themselves forward for the Lease Working Group, and Councillors Dave Davies and Tony Haines also offered their support. The Clerk would arrange a meeting of the Working Group when further information or revised drafts were received from SBC.
RESOLVED: That a Lease Working Group be formed consisting of the Clerk and Councillors Dianne Walker, Gavin Hemming and Robert Aldridge; meetings to be convened as and when required.
84. DONATION IN SUPPORT OF WEXHAM BROWNIES
The Clerk reported that she had received a letter from Mrs Beryl Neame asking for the support of the Parish Council. The previous donation to Wexham Brownies had been made some three years ago. Members were also informed that the Brownies were now required to pay rent for use of the hall at their current venue.
This item was discussed and an appropriate sum was agreed. Members also discussed the possibility of offering the Brownies free use of the Parish Hall on one evening per week.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £100 be donated to Wexham Brownies in support of their activities, and that free use of the Parish Hall be offered for one evening per week.
85. HIGH VISIBILITY VESTS – APPROVAL OF ADDITIONAL SUM
The sum of £53 had previously been approved for the purchase of the hi-vis vests for Members & Officers, but Councillor Davies had spent a further £16.26 out of his own pocket in order to include the WCPC logo on the front. The Clerk requested that this additional amount be approved by Council to reimburse Councillor Davies.
RESOLVED: That an additional sum of £16.26 be approved for the recent purchase of the high visibility vests.
86. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
Two members of the public requested clarification of the constitution of the Parish Council. Councillor Davies explained that the Council consists of eleven Members and two Officers. He pointed out that we are not politically motivated, and that we try to keep the Precept as low as possible by managing our finances well and making the Parish Hall fund itself. The Chairman explained that four other members of staff are employed in relation to the Parish Hall, and that various areas of land are managed by the Parish Council including The Cherries Play Area.
The Meeting closed at 9.00 p.m.
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