WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Beat Officer Cerrig Shardlow.
Local resident Jeanette Hartley also gave her apologies.
1. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
Councillors Dave Davies and Henry Egan were nominated for the position of Chairman and a vote took place by a show of hands. Councillor Davies was elected and duly signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office.
RESOLVED: (By a majority of four votes) that Councillor Dave Davies be elected Chairman for the ensuing Municipal Year.
2. ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIRMAN
Councillors Robert Aldridge and Henry Egan were nominated for the position of Vice-Chairman and a vote took place by a show of hands. The number of votes was equal and the Clerk advised that the Chairman should cast the deciding vote. However, Councillor Egan declined the position and Councillor Aldridge was therefore elected and duly signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Robert Aldridge be elected Vice-Chairman for the ensuing Municipal Year.
3. ADOPTION OF THE NEW MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT
The Clerk distributed to all Members a copy of The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) Order 2007, which had come into force on 3rd May 2007. She had been advised by Steven Quayle, SBC Monitoring Officer, that the Parish Council should Resolve to adopt this new Model Code at the first available meeting following the elections.
The Clerk explained that paragraph 12(2) of the document was not mandatory for Parish Councils and Members would therefore need to decide whether to adopt it. If adopted, it would mean that a Member with a Prejudicial Interest would be permitted to remain at a meeting after declaring such an Interest only for the purpose of making representations, giving evidence or answering questions. The said Member would then be required to leave the meeting prior to the main discussion and vote.
This right to remain at a meeting for the purposes outlined above would also apply to a member of the public who wished to address the Council, and an item would need to be added to the Councilís Standing Orders to reflect this right.
Following further discussion, adoption of the new Model Code of Conduct, including paragraph 12(2), was proposed and seconded and was agreed unanimously. The Clerk reminded Members that a Code of Conduct Briefing Session would be taking place at the Town Hall on 9th May.
RESOLVED: That Wexham Court Parish Council formally adopt the new Model Code of Conduct, including paragraph 12(2), with immediate effect.
4. SIGNING OF DECLARATIONS OF ACCEPTANCE OF OFFICE
All Members duly signed their Declarations of Acceptance of Office, which included an undertaking to abide by the Parish Councilís Local Code of Conduct (the new Model Code of Conduct). The Clerk reminded Members to declare any updates to the Register of Membersí Interests within 28 days.
5. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor Egan declared an interest in relation to his position as Chairman of Wexham Bowls Club.
6. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 10TH APRIL 2007
The Minutes of the Meeting of 10th April 2007 were approved as a correct record. In relation to item No. 100, the Chairman reported that he had been contacted by Mr Sin Wai Yu (SBC Highways Dept.) regarding a meeting and estate walkabout which would be arranged as soon as possible.
7. MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING HELD ON 2ND MAY 2007
The Chairman and the Clerk clarified that a Special Meeting had been convened on 2nd May 2007 for the purpose of approving the Parish Leases and amendments to the Bowls Club Sublease. The Minutes of that meeting were approved as a correct record.
8. APPOINTMENTS TO COMMITTEES:
a) FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE
RESOLVED: That Councillors Robert Aldridge, Dave Davies, Henry Egan, Cheryl Hemming, and Gavin Hemming be appointed to serve on the Finance & General Purpose Committee for the current Municipal Year, and that all the Members be authorised to sign cheques on behalf of the Council.
b) HEALTH & SAFETY WORKING GROUP
RESOLVED: That Councillors Dave Davies, Henry Egan, Cheryl Hemming, Gavin Hemming and Dianne Walker be appointed to serve on the Health & Safety Working Group for the current Municipal Year, and that Councillor Bryan Corps also remain as an advisory member.
c) NEWSLETTER COMMITTEE
Community Warden Chris Spencer kindly offered his assistance in the preparation of Newsletters since he may be able to provide useful input due to his involvement with the local community.
RESOLVED: That Councillors Henry Egan, David MacIsaac, Chris Spencer and the Clerk be appointed to serve on the Newsletter Committee for the current Municipal Year.
d) REPRESENTATIVES TO OTHER BODIES Ė BALC
Councillor MacIsaac explained that, since he does not have a personal means of transport, he had experienced some difficulty attending meetings which can be held anywhere in the county. He also reported that members of BALC cannot serve on the Executive Committee unless they are also members of SDALC. Councillor Egan commented that SDALC should not have the right to impose such restrictions, or to dictate to us that we must be members of their group. The Chairman therefore agreed to be the Parish Councilís representative and to raise this matter at the next BALC meeting.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Dave Davies be appointed to represent the Council in matters relating to BALC.
9. DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
The Chairman requested that a schedule of meeting dates for the ensuing year be diarised by all Committees at their next meetings, and notified to the Clerk.
RESOLVED: That meetings of Full Council continue to be held on the second Tuesday of each month, except during January and August.
10. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
Community Warden Chris Spencer reported that a recent blitz on abandoned and untaxed vehicles in the Borough had been very successful. He confirmed that the possibility of further recycling facilities at Knolton Way shops had now been investigated and additional facilities were to be provided.
Chris had been spending a lot of time in the Maple Crescent area and reported that the incidence of crime in this area had been reduced. He was pleased that Mr Sin Wai Yu was taking an interest in highway and verge problems and commented that he had noticed a change in SBCís attitude in dealing with these issues. For the benefit of the members of the public present, the Chairman explained that the Parish Council had been battling for some time to progress enforcement of the bylaw in relation to the parking/driving of vehicles on grass verges. He was hopeful that Mr Yu may be able to help us achieve this. Chris confirmed that, whilst driving on a footpath is a Police matter, driving on verges should be dealt with by the Borough Council.
11. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Walker reported that the pile of rubble on the corner of Quinbrookes still remained. The rubbish had previously been removed from 103 Quinbrookes, but was now piling up again. Councillor MacIsaac was continuing to deal with this.
Councillor Robert Aldridge reported that he had a couple of matters to raise with Beat Officer Shardlow, but would contact him at a later time since he had been unable to attend the meeting.
Councillor Egan reported that e had approached a resident seen parking on the verge, and this vehicle had been moved. He had also approached a resident in Almons Way who had been burning rubbish in his front garden, and the resident had put out the fire. The question was raised in regard to whether bonfires were permitted at certain times of day and Chris Spencer offered to look into this. Councillor MacIsaac felt that the Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act should cover this issue and he would check. Councillor Evelyn Aldridge also questioned whether similar rules might apply to the allotments, where bonfires were regularly lit. Councillor Rajput stated that, to his knowledge, bonfires were legal at any time as long as they donít cause the highway to be obscured by smoke.
Councillor Egan quipped that he had also been dealing with our Ďriding schoolí in the back field! This was in reference to a number of horses that had appeared on the land behind the Parish Hall, the owner of which was unknown. Barbed wire had been erected by whoever had brought the horses and this was causing a hazard since it adjoined the Parish amenity land. Councillor Egan and the Clerk had attended a meeting on-site with SBC Officers who were trying to deal with the problem. All were concerned for the welfare of the animals, which were in poor state, and the RSPCA had assured Councillor Egan that they would send an inspector to investigate. An Order would be served by SBC on the owners of the horses giving them notice to remove them.
Councillor Gavin Hemming raised his concerns regarding additional building taking place on a burned-out house in Knolton Way. Councillor Robert Aldridge had also noticed this and would check it out with the Planning Department.
Councillor MacIsaac gave his thanks to all who had supported him in his Borough election, which he had won by a majority of some 400 votes. He clarified that the overall majority of the BILLD group remained narrow. The Chairman congratulated him on his re-election to the Wexham Lea Ward.
The Parish Leases would be endorsed by Councillor MacIsaac in his capacity as Mayor on Thursday, but a report from Steven Quayle was awaited to accompany the Leases before completion could take place.
Councillor MacIsaac clarified that People First were no longer going to use ACCORD for the Garden Scheme due to both the cost and the complaints received. Screened community service workers would now be used, or the MIND group would carry out work for £14 per hour. Alternatively, a local man had offered to undertake garden work for £10 per hour, or £8 per hour in special circumstances. Previous Garden Scheme participants had been notified of the changes.
Councillor MacIsaac also reported that new secure fencing was to be erected at Clarendon Court and a Community Enforcement Team was currently being trained and would be visiting Wexham from June onwards to deal with the issue of parking/driving on grass verges.
The Chairman reported that he and the Clerk had attended several meetings and had carried out a lot of work in relation to the Leases. He had also assisted Councillor MacIsaac on Election Day, and had reported a drug dealer on the day who had later been arrested. It had generally been a busy month.
12. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 31st March and invited questions from Members. She notified Members of two minor changes to the Statement, which did not affect the overall figures.
Following a recent offer from ACCORD, the Clerk had written to SITA requesting that they review the amount charged for the Parish Hall refuse collection. The current charges totalling £237 per month would now be reduced substantially commencing June onwards.
Hacker Young had now agreed to retain the usual audit date for this year, but this would have to be brought forward in subsequent years in accordance with instructions from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. This matter would be passed to the Finance & General Purpose Committee for further discussion.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for March 2007 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
13. 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 an application at 2 Almons Way. Councillor Egan reported that contractors were parking their vehicles on the footpaths at the Orchard End development and Chris Spencer offered to check this out.
The Clerk thanked Councillor Egan for his assistance in checking the contents of the Annual Report, a copy of which had been delivered to every household prior to this meeting. It was explained that delivery to every resident was not a legal requirement and that copies could instead be made available at the Parish Hall, local Post Office and shops. However, Members decided to continue with the current delivery arrangements for the time being.
Confirmation had been received that the recent application to the Land Registry in relation to the Allotment Site had been successful and the Parish Council was now registered as the freehold proprietor of the land. This achievement meant that the Allotment Site could now be protected by WCPC thus ensuring its future use and enjoyment by our tenants. The Clerk was thanked for her work in this regard.
Finally, the Clerk congratulated all Members on their re-election, and notified them that she and Councillor Egan would be taking a much needed holiday from 25th May to 3rd June.
14. RENEWAL OF SLCC SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR CLERK/FINANCE CLERK
The Chairman clarified the reason that this item had been raised and opened the matter for discussion after which a vote took place by a show of hands.
RESOLVED: That the Council pay a contribution totalling 50% of the Officersí SLCC subscriptions.
15. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
This item had not been included on the Agenda due to time restraints. However, the Chairman allowed public questions since time was available.
A member of the public stated that they had a lot of shredding, but the refuse collectors would not take this if it was enclosed in a refuse bag. The Chairman had heard that shredding caused a lot of mess at the recycling depot but suggested that, as an alternative, shredded paper can be composted along with organic waste. Councillor MacIsaac also suggested that it can be put directly in a recycling box and dampened down to prevent mess. Councillor Haines reported that shredded paper may be collected with green waste in the near future, and that other changes were planned during the next year.
Councillor Corps commented that boxes left outside a residentís house following a kitchen refit had not been taken, and it was felt that the recycling collectors seem to pick and choose what they want to take.
A resident from The Frithe complained that one of their nearby neighbours had concreted their entire front garden and were parking between eight and fourteen vehicles in it. It was reported that they were also working on the vehicles at all hours and the garden was generally a mess with bonfires being regularly lit. Chris Spencer offered to follow this up with Diane Viechweg since it was clearly an environmental issue.
Another resident enquired whether the new Highways Officer would actually carry out checks in the Wexham area, since they had never seen the previous Officer. This resident was assured that both SBC Officers and Parish Council Members carry out regular inspections around the estate.
The parking area outside numbers 2-10 Norway Drive had been used as a storage area for the recent footpath/cycle path work and a member reported that it was now in need of thorough cleaning or resurfacing. The Chairman stated that he had spoken to the workmen and had been assured that the area would be tidied up when the work is finished.
The hedges flanking the Norway Drive to Almons Way alleyway (numbers 16 & 18 Norway Drive) were now overgrown again and the alley was becoming narrowed. It was reported that the Council tenant at number 16 was rarely seen in the property and appeared to be living elsewhere. The Chairman and Chris Spencer would chase up these issues with the appropriate departments.
A cable box and manhole cover in Quinbrookes had been reported to the Borough Council but no action had been taken. Chris Spencer would follow this up with his email contact. At this point the Chairman, in jest, offered to stand down for Chris to replace him since he was seen to be dealing with so many local matters!
The issue of Wexham Park Hospital parking was raised again and it was reported that the double yellow lines were now to be extended. A resident had seen parking tickets being issued earlier in the day.
THERE FOLLOWED A PARISH MEETING
TO RECEIVE THE ANNUAL REPORT
16. ANNUAL REPORT
The Annual Report for the year 2006-2007, copies of which had been distributed to each home in the Parish, was formally submitted and approved.
17. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk reported that the Parish Council was currently in a very healthy financial position. Expenditure for the past year had fallen well within the budget and the Council was generally performing well. This had allowed the Precept for the forthcoming year to be kept at a low level. Preparations had now commenced for the end of year Finance Report and the next audit.
The Chairman stated that the Finance Clerk had undertaken a lot of work during the past year, including arrangements for a substantial VAT reclaim. In addition, the Finance Statements had been reviewed and made easier to understand, and he recorded the Councilís thanks for all Tinaís efforts.
18. BOROUGH COUNCILLORSí OBSERVATIONS
Councillor MacIsaac had received several compliments from residents in regard to the well written Annual Report, which had been prepared by the Clerk. He praised the Parish Council for continuing to do an excellent job and stated that he was pleased to be a Parish Councillor and a member of the team.
Councillor Haines reiterated this, stating that he was proud to be a part of the Parish Council and their continuing good work.
The Chairman closed by clarifying that he had only been in the Chair for the past three months and he expressed his thanks to the previous Chairman, Councillor Egan, for his hard work and proactive approach throughout the year.
The Meeting closed at 9.40 p.m.
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