WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Evelyn Aldridge (attending a family commitment),
Bryan Corps (unwell),
and Henry Egan (attending another meeting).
Apologies were also received from Almons Way Neighbourhood Watch representatives and a member of the public who regularly attends, Mrs Moore.
87. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor Cheryl Hemming and other Members declared an interest in relation to Item 11, approval of Bowls Club development. However, the Clerk advised that this was not necessary since the Members present only had associate membership and were therefore not involved in any way with the management of the Club or its committees.
88. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 13TH FEBRUARY 2007
The Minutes of the Meeting of 13th February 2007 were approved as a correct record. There were no matters arising.
89. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 1ST MARCH 2007
The Minutes of the F&GP Meeting of 1st March 2007 were approved as a correct record and the recommendations of the F&GP Committee therein were also approved. It was noted that, following a review, the Parish Council remained in full compliance with the current requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.
90. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
PC Cerrig Shardlow reported that he had been dealing with several incidents of criminal damage, including a spate of wing mirrors being kicked off of cars (possibly involving local school students). Damage had also occurred in the vicinity of the old TA Centre site. The Police were carrying out additional patrols to keep a check on such incidents. PC Shardlow had also been dealing with harassment and public order offences, and had been collecting statements in relation to neighbour disputes.
Some drug warrants had been issued in the local area and additional checks were taking place in known drug dealing areas such as car parks. PC Shardlow thanked the Parish Council for intelligence provided at the last meeting in connection with drugs and burglaries. These incidents had been followed up.
PC Shardlow and his colleagues were concerned that Wexham School students were frequently being found in and around various parts of the estate during school time. They felt that there should be a tighter monitoring of pupils’ whereabouts during school time since the school had a legal obligation to care for them. The parents of offending students were being notified of their absence from school whenever possible, and the Police were working closely with the school to seek a joint resolution to the problem.
Further complaints had been received in relation to the multiple occupation property at 103 Quinbrookes, although the member of the public who was present stated that she had no problems with the current occupants at this address. Councillor Robert Aldridge commented that one of his neighbours was a shared house, and that it was difficult to resolve any issues when new people are moving in and out all the time.
A resident in The Normans who had previously created a noise nuisance had recently re-offended and had therefore been reported to the Antisocial Behaviour Officer. The Chairman stated that he had dealt with similar noise related problems at 68 and 102 Norway Drive, which had been resolved for the time being by speaking to them.
The Chairman also highlighted the problem of vehicles coming and going late at night in the Wexham School car park, and was concerned that some of these vehicles may be involved in drug dealing. This issue would be raised with the school at a forthcoming meeting between the headmaster, Councillor Davies, and the Clerk. The school would be asked to keep the entrance gates locked at night. PC Shardlow stated that he had also raised the issue of school security with the headmaster, and the problem seemed to centre around the fact that the school wanted to adopt an ‘open door policy’ to enable the students and other local youths to use the facilities.
Councillor Cheryl Hemming informed PC Shardlow that a suspicious car in The Cherries had been reported to her by a resident. This area was being regularly checked by the Police.
Overall, the crime rate in the Wexham area had dropped due to increased patrols and recent arrests. The new Neighbourhood Policing initiative would be going live around Slough in the summer. The Clerk enquired whether PC Shardlow would be removed from his local duties when Wexham is allocated a PCSO, and the answer to this was a definite NO from both Cerrig and Sergeant Wilson – the Beat Officer and the PCSO would share the area.
Community Warden Chris Spencer thanked the Parish Council for their letter of commendation sent to his Team Leader, who had laminated the letter for him to keep. He reported that the team of Wardens would now be working until 10pm due to a change in their shift structure. He asked that the team be notified of any hotspots in the area requiring their attention. Chris had also become a member of the ‘Parking Group’ for the east of Slough, which had been formed to resolve various parking issues.
In relation to the issues discussed earlier with multi-occupational properties, Chris advised that the Britwell Community Warden (Sylvia) is Polish and may therefore be able to assist in the event of any communication problems.
A meeting and estate walkabout had been arranged for Thursday, 15th March, to be attended by Councillors Dave Davies & Cheryl Hemming, the Clerk, Chris Spencer, and Neighbourhood Enforcement Team Leader Diane Viechweg. Other Members were invited to attend if they were free.
91. ATTENDANCE OF SBC OFFICER/MEMBER TO DISCUSS BOROUGH & PARISH PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
The SBC Officer had again been unable to attend the meeting so this item was deferred until further notice.
92. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Haines thanked those who had turned up at the SBC Cabinet meeting on Monday. The Cabinet had decided to uphold their previous decision in respect of the Parish Leases, and the land was to be retained for free public access and a 25 year lease would be granted with no break clause. Councillor Haines clarified the call-in to Scrutiny by the Labour Group, who had wanted to charge rent on the land and include a break clause. The Clerk raised her concerns regarding the possibility of Labour dissolving the Parish Council and selling the land if they regained control of the Borough or the Parish. Councillors Haines and MacIsaac responded that this would be highly unlikely in light of the fact that the Labour Central Government supports the work of Parish Councils and, even if the local Labour Group did wish to go against the policies of their Party, they would have to arrange for a referendum to take place at the time of the next elections in order to do so.
Councillor Haines outlined the content of the items that would be discussed in relation to the deferred item 91 above.
Councillor MacIsaac reported that he has been working closely with the Police in relation to drug issues, and has been dealing with the ongoing fly-tipping problems in the garage areas.
A problem had recently been reported to the Clerk by residents Mr & Mrs Moore in relation to the digging up of the grass verge at the junction of Norway Drive and Wexham Road to make way for the joint cycle and footpath. Councillors MacIsaac, Egan, Davies and Robert Aldridge had taken this up with the Highways Department who had attended the site to resolve the matter. The Clerk had written to the Officers concerned to thank them for their assistance and their prompt response, and had commented that it was nice to see the Borough and Parish Councils working together for the benefit of our joint residents. This was reiterated in a further letter from the Chairman.
Councillor Cheryl Hemming reported that she was continuing to chase up the removal of rubbish at the Edmunds Way and The Cherries garage sites.
Councillor Robert Aldridge reported that he had been particularly busy dealing with various residents issues, especially since he had been wearing his hi-vis vest supplied at the previous meeting!
Councillor Walker reported that a pile of rubble at the end of Quinbrookes was still causing a problem and Councillor MacIsaac offered to follow this up.
The Chairman reported that this had been another busy month. He had attended the recent Borough/Parish/SDALC meeting and had taken the SBC Officers to task regarding parking and grass verge issues. He had been advised that a new team would now be using Wexham as a pilot area with a view to prosecuting offenders.
The Chairman had been approached by several residents requesting confirmation that the Independent group would be standing for re-election in May.
A discussion took place in relation to an application for a driveway across the green adjoining numbers 58-68 Norway Drive. An access road in this location had previously been refused due to the fact that the green is used as a play area. However, the resident at No. 58 had now asked for vehicular access to his property on the grounds that he has disabled children. It was felt that this new excuse was somewhat suspicious, and the question was raised why a family with three disabled children would want to purchase a property with no established vehicular access. It was agreed that the Parish Council should continue to object to any driveways across this land on the grounds that the presence of vehicles would be hazardous to the many young children who use it as a recreational area.
93. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 31st January, and invited questions from Members.
The Finance Clerk reported that we were now in the final quarter and the Council’s finances were looking very healthy overall. Only two items were over budget – SITA waste collection and Thames Water, the increases for which were not known at the time of the last budget setting meeting. Accord had recently offered more favourable waste collection pricing, and the Clerk would write to SITA asking them to match the quote.
The Clerk and Finance Clerk had attended a meeting on 1st March with Mrs Stevie Horton, Head of Fundraising at the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust. The purpose of this meeting had been to hand over a cheque in the sum of £465, this being the total amount raised at the Council’s Christmas Fundraising Event. The Clerk had uploaded a new page on the Parish Website, a copy of which was presented by Tina, providing details of the event together with information about TVAC and a photograph taken at the meeting.
The Chairman thanked Tina for her concise financial reports.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for January 2007 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
94. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had previously circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and various items were discussed. Objections had been raised to applications at numbers 110 Knolton Way, and 23 & 31 Hillersdon. Concerns had also been raised to the proposed alterations/development at Wexham School. Meetings with Care UK had taken place on the 12th and 15th February in relation to Phase II of the elderly care homes and the formal planning application had now been submitted, a copy of which had been supplied to the Clerk.
A letter had been received from a resident who had previously been a regular attendee of our meetings. He apologised that he had been unable to attend recently due to work commitments, and raised some issues for discussion by the Council. The Clerk outlined these issues which related to ongoing problems with parking outside Wexham Park Hospital, lack of expected improvements to lighting and security at garage sites, removal of rubbish at garage sites, and hazardous parking of vehicles close to junctions. The resident closed his letter by thanking the Parish Council for keeping an eye on the Wexham Estate, which he considered was in a reasonable condition on the whole. The various items raised were discussed at some length and the Clerk would reply to the resident detailing the Members’ responses.
The Clerk advised Members that she would arrange a meeting of the Lease Working Group as soon as she received the amended leases from the SBC Legal Department.
95. ARRANGEMENTS FOR FORTHCOMING PARISH COUNCIL ELECTIONS, 3RD MAY 2007
The Clerk circulated to Members an Election Law Update that had been received from the Monitoring Officer. A Briefing Session for election candidates had taken place at the Town Hall this evening; an alternative date had been requested by the Chairman due to the clash with our meeting. Councillor MacIsaac had obtained nomination forms for all Members, which would be completed at a forthcoming group meeting.
96. APPROVAL OF PROPOSED BOWLS CLUB DEVELOPMENT
A letter had been received from Wexham Bowls Club seeking the approval of the Parish Council for the placement of four modular units on the existing hard-standing of the original clubhouse. This was unanimously approved and the Clerk would reply to the Bowls Club confirming that the Council’s permission had been granted, subject to planning permission being obtained from SBC as the head landlord if required.
97. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
No questions were raised by the member of the public present.
The Meeting closed at 9.05 p.m.
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