WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Robert Aldridge (recovering following an accident),
David MacIsaac (attending a family funeral),
and Dianne Walker (unwell).
Beat Officer Cerrig Shardlow.
19. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
No Member had an interest to declare.
20. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 8TH MAY 2007
The Clerk reported that she had inadvertently omitted Councillor Cheryl Hemming’s name from Item 8b, Appointments to the Health & Safety Working Group, and that this had now been included on the draft Minutes for signature.
The Minutes were approved with the exception of Item 14, which would be further discussed in a Part II meeting in order to correct a possible error that had been made by the Council.
Under items arising in relation to Item 15, the Chairman reported that the hedges in the alleyway from Norway Drive to Almons Way had now been cut back.
RESOLVED: That Items 1-13 and 15-18 of the Meeting of 8th May 2007 be approved as a correct record pending further discussion of Item 14 in Part II (7 for, with one abstention).
21. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 7TH JUNE 2007
The Chairman clarified the quotes received for CCTV installation at the Parish Hall. He pointed out that the installation of a reliable system was essential to help prevent further damage to the premises, or at least to apprehend the perpetrators.
Councillor Egan commented that no installation cost had been provided for the Committee’s chosen supplier. The Finance Clerk explained that the installation cost and a maintenance contract were included in the monthly sum quoted for the agreement, which would be paid quarterly in advance. This also included two annual on-site inspections, and the system included night vision cameras and ample hard-drive recording capacity.
Councillor Rajput pointed out that the annual cost of running the system might well outweigh the costs of any damage inflicted on the premises, and a cheaper system might therefore be more appropriate. Councillor Egan responded by stating that further vandalism had occurred during the last week, and the Council should take into consideration that more serious secondary damage can result from initial damage (for example, the effects on the building of water damage from broken drainpipes). He also pointed out that we have a moral duty of care to people using the car park.
After further discussion it was moved that a decision be made whether to approve the recommendation made by the F&GP Committee, whom the Council had trusted to investigate the various options.
The Clerk suggested that the Committee should be given a cost ceiling, thus permitting them to consider possible upgrades to the chosen system prior to installation. This proposal was put to the Council and Members voted 6/2 in favour of approving the recommended CCTV supplier with an annual cost ceiling of £2,500.
The Chairman clarified the other items discussed at the F&GP Meeting, which included the seeking of quotes for installation of a recreational area for teenage residents to the west of the tennis courts. It was noted that this item had been omitted from the F&GP Minutes, but it was unanimously agreed that quotes should be sought with a view to fulfilling the promise that had been made to local youths who were too old to utilise The Cherries Play Area.
A heated discussion took place regarding the recent change of title from 'Chairman of Finance' to 'Head of Finance' after which Members voted by a show of hands, 7 for with one abstention.
At this point Councillor Haines proposed a brief recess to regain composure of the Council proceedings, whereupon Councillor Egan resigned his position as a Councillor and handed his letter of resignation to the Chairman. Councillor Davies also left the meeting, having called a recess, and passed the said letter to the Clerk.
The remaining Members of the Council, together with the Officers and the members of the public, returned to the meeting after a cooling-off period and Councillor Rajput was elected as temporary Chairman to continue the remaining business. Councillor Haines sat in as temporary Vice-Chairman for the purpose of offering his advice and support.
The Chairman apologised for the interruption and briefly recapped the last items discussed. The Council’s approval of the change of title was reiterated, the contents of the Minutes of the F&GP Meeting of 7th June 2007 were approved as a correct record, and the recommendations of the F&GP Committee therein were also approved.
RESOLVED: That arrangements be made with the chosen CCTV supplier to install the approved system, including possible upgrades as considered necessary by the F&GP Committee to a maximum cost of £2,500 per annum.
RESOLVED: That the title ‘Chairman of Finance’ be changed to ‘Head of Finance’, this change to be reflected in an amendment to the Council’s Standing Orders.
22. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
Community Warden Chris Spencer and Neighbourhood Watch representative Mr Vyas reported that criminal damage to vehicles had recently increased, but that the overall crime rate in the Wexham area had reduced. A drug dealer had recently been arrested in the Rochford Gardens area.
Chris Spencer reported the following:
A faulty cable box in Quinbrookes had been reported and would be followed up, and cable boxes that had been subjected to grafitti were to be painted.
The car repair business in The Frithe had been followed up and the Clerk reported that she had received a copy email confirming that enforcement action would be taken after the deadline of 1st July 2007.
Chris had also followed up the placement of a bollard required in Quinbrookes; vehicles for sale along the Uxbridge Road and Grasmere Parade; cutting of the hedges in the Norway Drive/Almons Way alley; noise issues in Farm Crescent; and the rules relating to the lighting of bonfires. He had also recently attended a Probation Service Seminar during which the undertaking of gardening work was discussed.
23. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Corps reported that the unresolved issue of parking of vehicles on verges was causing neighbour disputes, since some were being sent letters and others were not. It was hoped that Councillor MacIsaac may be able to clarify what, if any, progress was being made at the next meeting. Chris Spencer explained that at present the Police can only deal with offending drivers if they actually witness them driving on a verge.
Councillor Cheryl Hemming reported that a resident had recently spray-painted ‘no parking’ on the road to allow him access to his driveway, but the Borough Council had subsequently dug up this section and re-laid new tarmac. This had also happened at a property in Mirador Crescent, and was considered a rather costly and drastic approach just to cover up some paint.
Councillor Gavin Hemming raised his concerns that two large lumps of concrete had been left raised several inches above the drain cover at the Knolton Way/Wexham Road junction. This was considered hazardous and would be investigated.
Councillor Haines reported that various breaches of planning conditions were currently being dealt with, but pointed out that the owners have a right to appeal against enforcement decisions. A recent opinion poll to measure the public’s views in regard to SBC’s performance had recently showed that residents in the Wexham area were less satisfied than those in other areas.
24. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 30th April and invited questions from Members. Two minor amendments to the Statement were highlighted, which did not affect the overall figures.
The recently reclaimed VAT had now been received into the Council’s current account, and interest in the sum of £1,700 had been credited to the savings account.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for April 2007 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
25. 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 293 Wexham Road and 1 Farm Crescent.
26. ANNUAL DONATION TO ST MARY’S CHURCH
It was proposed and seconded that the sum of £175 be donated to St Mary’s Church, the appropriate use for which would be left for the Church to decide.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £175 be donated to St Mary’s Church.
27. DONATION TO OAK’S AFTER SCHOOL & HOLIDAY CLUB
A letter had been received requesting the support of the Parish Council in funding a new after school club based at Upton Lea. Whilst the club was situated outside the Parish, it was recognised that it was also of benefit to residents within the Parish. A representative of the club was present at the meeting and answered various questions put to her by Members. The item was deferred to Part II for further discussion.
28. ATTENDANCE AT NALC ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2007
The Clerk enquired whether any Members would be interested in attending the NALC Annual Conference in Bournemouth, and Councillors Cheryl and Gavin Hemming volunteered. The Clerk would provide further details and arrange the bookings in due course.
29. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
It was reported that some patches of tar on the newly laid cycle/footpath had been melting and looked unsightly. Councillor Haines offered to investigate this.
A resident enquired why the new play area for older children could not be situated in The Cherries. It was explained that complaints are often received from residents in relation to the noise generated by youths, and it was therefore felt that providing some facilities on an alternative site may help to alleviate the problem. A previous survey carried out amongst residents of The Cherries indicated that they would object to any further play facilities in that area.
The residents commented that they had enjoyed the meeting and had found it very interesting.
Part I of the Meeting closed at 10.00 p.m.
RESOLVED: That pursuant to section 1(2) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, members of the public and press be excluded from Part II of the meeting due to the nature of the items to be discussed.
During Part II the following items were Resolved:
Item 14 of the Minutes of 8th May 2007 was unanimously approved as a correct record.
Payment of the Officers' SLCC subscriptions was put to a further vote to ensure that the matter was dealt with in the proper manner and any perceived error was thereby corrected. Members voted in favour of paying the contribution of 50%.
The Council agreed to fund the purchase of equipment for the Oak's After School & Holiday Club in the sum of £75.
A one month 'cooling-off period' was agreed to enable Councillors Egan and Davies to consider their positions within the Parish Council.
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