WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Bryan Corps, Cheryl Hemming, Gavin Hemming,
and David MacIsaac.
Borough Councillor Latif Khan.
Community Warden Chris Spencer and PCSO Richard Kaluga.
Prior to commencing the proceedings the Chairman welcomed Mr Mike Fields from the Standards Committee, who had come along to observe our meeting.
41. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
No Member had an interest to declare.
42. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 10TH JULY 2007
The Minutes of the Meeting of 10th July 2007 were approved as a correct record. There were no matters arising.
43. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 26TH JULY 2007
The Minutes of the F&GP Meeting of 26th July 2006 were approved as a correct record and the recommendations of the F&GP Committee therein were also approved.
The Finance Clerk presented the Annual Accounts for the year ending March 2007 for the inspection of Full Council and they were duly approved. The Annual Return was subsequently completed and signed by the Chairman and the Clerk and would be submitted to the external auditors. The Chairman thanked the Finance Clerk for all her hard work.
RESOLVED: That the Annual Accounts for year ending March 2007 be approved and submitted to the external auditors.
44. PARISH COUNCIL VACANCY Ė CO-OPTION OF NEW MEMBER
The Chairman introduced Mr Vinay Vyas, a local resident who had come forward for co-option to fill the vacancy. A member of the public voiced her concern that the vacancy had not been advertised, but the Chairman stated that it had indeed been advertised on the Parish Hall and Borough Council notice boards and that we had therefore met our legal obligations in this matter.
Mr Vyas was invited to address the Council and provided information about his background, current employment, and his reasons for wanting to serve as a Councillor. Following further discussion Mr Vyasí co-option was proposed and seconded and unanimously agreed. He signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office and the Clerk and Chairman welcomed him as a Member of WCPC.
RESOLVED: That Mr Vinay Vyas be co-opted as a Member of Wexham Court Parish Council for the remainder of the current electoral period.
45. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
PC Shardlow and Sgt. Moores reported that they had been very busy. It was hoped that the new PCSO would be able to attend the next meeting for the purpose of introductions.
Problems in the area of Upton Lea shops were ongoing, but the Neighbourhood Policing Team had been monitoring this and the numbers of youths were steadily being reduced. They were asked to move on whenever their presence was considered to be intimidating.
A Knolton Way resident had been the victim of vandalism and attempted arson and the culprit had been arrested and charged. Four pupils of Wexham School were also being investigated following incidents of shop lifting and criminal damage.
Wexham School, and some of the pupilís parents, had recently requested the installation of a zebra crossing to provide a safe crossing point to and from the school. However, having considered the necessity of this project and the cost, it had currently been refused in favour of alternative measures such as safety training. The Policing Team had been monitoring local schools at arrival and departure times, but it was noted that all drivers behave themselves when they see a Police presence so it is difficult to obtain a true reflection of normal behaviour.
Members reported that street-racers are still a problem around the estate, particularly two high performance vehicles that are often seen speeding down Norway Drive at certain times of day. PC Shardlow would look into this. He would also investigate reports of a petrol tanker parking on the green in Quinbrookes.
Councillor Robert Aldridge highlighted various problems with youths gathering in The Cherries and asked the Police to monitor this.
A meeting with the new Sikh School had taken place and no problems had been reported so far.
46. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Haines requested a Part II meeting to update Members on matters that were not for general public discussion. He had not yet been able to obtain details of the Attitude Survey but would chase this up for the next meeting. He had been advised that there had been a steady improvement in peopleís perception of local services, but that there had been a 1% dip in the Wexham Lea figures for this year.
Councillor Haines reported that the Government had approved the Borough Councilís Local Development Framework document.
Councillor Walker had contacted the Community Warden with a view to resolving the problem of vehicles for sale around the estate. The Chairman and Vice-Chairman had also been following up this ongoing issue. The vehicles were often parked on pathways, thus forcing pedestrians to walk on the road.
Councillor MacIsaac was on holiday, but reported the following via the Clerk:
v He was continuing to pursue completion of the Parish Leases and some funding for the new games area.
v He had been locking up The Cherries Play Area at night and residents had reported that problems had reduced. Also continuing to deal with graffiti.
v He had spent several Sundays helping to redirect coaches visiting the Sikh Temple. The problem appeared to be other vehicles blocking the coach park and not responding to stewardís requests for them to move on. (PC Shardlow was asked to monitor this, and he commented that the Templeís arrangements seem to have improved and no complaints had been received this year. Their permit for weddings could be withdrawn if they failed to comply with the conditions.)
v Construction of the entrance to the new Care Home site had delayed completion of the roundabout outside the new Sikh School, but this was now being resolved.
v It had now been established that the overgrown land at the rear of Armstrong House belonged to the Council and not SEB. Work had now started to clear it, and Councillor MacIsaac had been keeping the path clear of overhanging branches.
v The number of lodgers at number 2 Welden had now been reduced following inspections, and it had been reported that the current tenants were now quieter. Issues with some lodgers in The Frithe had also been resolved, and some criminals causing problems at Holmedale had been arrested.
v Legal Services had reported that there was no legal basis to move on the mobile home that was being rented out at Dornels, but Councillor MacIsaac was continuing to work with the Police in regard to road obstruction.
v The Sikh School had passed on an invite to the Parish Council to meet with them and were keen to initiate good community relations.
The Chairman had arranged meetings with prospective suppliers of the new Games Area, but it had proved difficult to obtain quotes for this. The new CCTV system was now fully operational and some culprits of vandalism had already been caught on camera. He had been challenging the offenders whenever he had witnessed the dumping of litter around the estate, and had also reported various other problems to PC Shardlow.
47. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statements for the 1st to 30th June and the 1st to 31st July, and invited questions from Members. Councillor Haines suggested that the statements could show the year-to-date variance to provide a more accurate interpretation of the figures. It was agreed that this amendment to the spreadsheets would be made on a trial basis. The Chairman congratulated the Finance Clerk on doing an excellent job in relation to the monthly and end-of-year accounts.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statements for June and July 2007 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
48. 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 1, 106, 173 & 200 Knolton Way, 2 Almons Way, 36a Berryfield, 19 Prestwood, and 39 Farm Crescent.
The Clerk reported that updates to the Parish Hall electrical system had now been completed to the required legal standard. However, she had been advised that a complete rewiring of the premises would need to be carried out in approximately 15 years, which could run into tens of thousands, so it might be worth considering the alternative of re-building the Hall.
An invitation had been received from Three Valleys Water to a discussion forum, but it was decided that WCPC did not need to attend this since we fall under the Thames Water area.
49. PURCHASE OF REPLACEMENT LAPTOP PC FOR FINANCE
The Chairman clarified the need for a new laptop to replace the slow and out of date machine that was currently causing problems for the Finance Clerk. The Clerk and Finance Clerk explained that the old laptops could no longer meet the demands of the Councilís current workload and working requirements (i.e. full Internet access, efficient exchange of data, etc.). The Clerk indicated that she doesnít need to use her laptop very frequently so a replacement was not required. However, it was considered important for the Council to have reliable equipment in relation to finance.
The Finance Clerk had obtained quotes in the range of £900-£1,400, including warranty. The Chairman considered that the purchase of low-cost equipment was not advisable since this would need updating in the near future thus incurring further costs. He therefore recommended that the Council consider the upper figure to ensure that a good quality laptop was obtained which would fulfil the requirements of the job. Following further discussion this was agreed unanimously.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,400 be approved for the purchase of a replacement laptop for use by the Finance Clerk, the said equipment to remain the property of the Council at all times.
50. AMENDMENTS TO THE PARISH COUNCILíS STANDING ORDERS
Following a review of this document by the Chairman and the Clerk, copies of the proposed amendments had been circulated to all Members. The amendments were proposed and seconded, following which this item stood adjourned until the next Meeting of Council in accordance with Standing Order No. 77.
51. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
The Chairman chose to include this item on the Agenda since time allowed. A member of the public commented that he had lived in Wexham for 32 years, but had never seen so much mess around the estate. For example, an electric box in Knolton Way had been ripped open and left unresolved; vehicles were being allowed to cause obstructions and were continually damaging grass verges; hedges were overgrown and never tended; fences were broken down; building materials left in the road, etc. Members explained to the resident that the Parish Council has no powers to control such issues, and the Borough Council is slow to respond when items are reported to them. It was stated that SBC have the power, but not the will, since taking the perpetrators of such matters to Court is costly.
The Chairman had already dealt with some of the issues raised, and assured residents that the Parish Council continued to pursue the other matters at Borough level.
Another resident complained that the Council Members were only concerned with the northernmost part of the estate (Norway Drive), and she claimed that they did not care about the rest of the estate which was neglected. Members strongly objected to this accusation and the Chairman stressed that Members regularly carried out Estate Inspections which covered the whole of the estate. These often resulted in various issues being identified and resolved by Parish Councillors, our Community Warden, and our Clerk. In response to this residentís accusations the Chairman also pointed out that Members lived all over the estate, as she well knew. He therefore considered that the resident was out of order, and suggested that she should get her facts right before making such unfounded accusations.
The matter of additional dog bins was raised again, but it had been decided that the placement of further bins was not cost effective.
The Chairman closed by saying that the Parish Council does its best to resolve any problems reported to us, but many matters can only be dealt with by the Borough Council or the Police.
Part I of the Meeting closed at 9.20 p.m.
RESOLVED: That, in view of the confidential nature of the business about to be transacted, it was advisable in the public interest that the Press and Public be temporarily excluded, and they were instructed to withdraw.
During Part II the following items were discussed:
Updates for Members in relation to local matters.
Matters relating to use of the Parish Hall by the Neighbourhood Policing Team.
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