WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
Borough Councillor Latif Khan.
Members of Neighbourhood Policing Team.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Robert Aldridge (working), Pauline Cordery (working),
Dianne Walker (unwell).
Members of Neighbourhood Policing Team.
1. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
Councillor Dave Davies was nominated for the position of Chairman and this was unanimously approved. Councillor Davies duly signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Dave Davies be elected Chairman for the ensuing Municipal Year.
2. ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIRMAN
Councillor Vinay Vyas was nominated for the position of Vice-Chairman and this was unanimously approved. Councillor Vyas duly signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Vinay Vyas be elected Vice-Chairman for the ensuing Municipal Year.
3. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor MacIsaac reiterated that he was currently Chairman of SBCís Planning Committee. The Clerk reminded Members that amendments to existing declarations should be notified to her within 28 days of any change.
4. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 8TH APRIL 2008
The Minutes of the Meeting of 8th April 2008 were approved as a correct record. Updates were provided in relation to proposed youth activities and the installation of additional dog bins.
5. APPOINTMENTS TO COMMITTEES:
a) FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE
RESOLVED: That Councillors Robert Aldridge, Dave Davies, Patrick Donachy, David MacIsaac and Vinay Vyas 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, Patrick Donachy 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
RESOLVED: That Councillors Dave Davies, Patrick Donachy, David MacIsaac and the Clerk be appointed to serve on the Newsletter Committee for the current Municipal Year. PC Cerrig Shardlow kindly offered his assistance with items relating to the Policing Team and the community.
d) REPRESENTATIVES TO OTHER BODIES Ė BALC
RESOLVED: That Councillor Dave Davies be appointed to represent the Council in matters relating to BALC and Councillor Dalip Rajput offered to deputise.
Councillor Rajput had also volunteered to be the Parish Councilís representative on SBCís Standards Committee and June Cook of Member Services had been notified.
6. DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
The Borough Councillors confirmed that SBC had scheduled their meetings to ensure they do not clash with the Parish Councilís monthly meetings.
RESOLVED: That meetings of Full Council continue to be held on the second Tuesday of each month, except during January and August.
7. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
PC Shardlow reported that leaflets incorporating questionnaires had been delivered to all residents in the general area of The Cherries in regard to anti-social behaviour. One of the main aims of this was to gain intelligence with a view to obtaining a Dispersal Order together with an Alcohol Exclusion Zone Order for the Wexham Lea area (documents for this already submitted to SBC). All the responses so far were in support of these measures. A residentsí street meeting was planned to take place upon completion of the consultation.
Two shopkeepers in Wexham Lea had already been identified as selling alcohol to persons over the age of 18 for consumption by younger people. The Policing Team was keen to tackle this problem and asked everyone to report incidents witnessed by them. Hefty fines could be applied to offending shopkeepers and this had proved to be a good deterrent.
The Policing Team also reported the following:
∑ They had been approached regarding the recent closure of The Cherries Play Area and the Chairman clarified the reasons for this.
∑ Youths causing problems at various garage sites after school had been dealt with.
∑ A sewer blockage in Quinbrookes had been reported to Environmental Health and had been quickly dealt with.
∑ Crime figures for Wexham were down 17% on last year (April-March).
∑ There had been a substantial reduction in the number of complaints received about lack of Police presence on the estate.
Members expressed their appreciation for the Policing Teamís efforts and commented that their good relationship with local youths was clearly working well. Concerns were raised that the current Policing Team could be moved on to other areas. However, PC Shardlow confirmed that his contract in Wexham was for a minimum of three years.
Quad/mini bikes were still causing problems and this was being monitored. However, a Member reported that the Police had been called regarding such an incident on Sunday and there had been no response. PC Shardlow would look into this.
8. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Tony Haines was congratulated on his re-election to the Wexham Lea Ward.
Councillor MacIsaac reported that he had been dealing with a large amount of casework/enquiries and had still been dealing with the problems at Armstrong House which were now resolved. Also a drug dealer at Clarendon Court had now been evicted.
Councillor Khan reported that People 1st were spending a great deal on upgrading Council properties. Youths smoking drugs at Upton Lea had recently been apprehended, and a fire had been reported at Edmunds Way garages.
Councillor Haines provided further information in regard to the Alcohol Exclusion consultation. This would make our shopping areas and parks much safer and would be a good thing for the whole community. The recent path clean-up had been well attended by Police Officers, Community Wardens and Community Officers who had done a good job, but not many members of the public had turned up.
It was noted that residents often approached Borough Councillors for assistance with planning issues, especially those wanting larger extensions than the current guidelines allow. The Chairman commented that these planning guidelines donít always appear to be followed. The Clerk further commented that Central Government claims to want Parish Councils to have more power because they are at grass roots level with their electors, and yet our Principal Authority often appears to disregard what we are telling them. Councillor Haines suggested that we should invite senior Planning Officers to a meeting to discuss this issue.
Councillor Donachy reported that he had received two complaints about vehicles blocking the pavement in Berryfield, including a mother with a pram who was forced to walk in the road. PC Shardlow would deal with this.
Councillor Evelyn Aldridge had received telephone calls regarding the roots from a tree in The Link damaging the footpath. The tree was the property of two elderly residents and Councillor MacIsaac offered to follow this up.
Councillor Vyas thanked the Members for nominating him as Vice-Chairman. Councillor Haines advised that he had received many positive comments about the Neighbourhood Watch group in Almons Way, which included good signage and communication with residents. An email address had also been set up in connection with this.
The Chairman reported that it had been a quiet month. He provided an update on the application to register land in Norway Drive as a Village Green which had been refused. No volunteers had come forward to submit a further application and SBC had made it clear that they were not prepared to register the green themselves. It was therefore likely that the installation of a driveway to number 58 Norway Drive would be approved despite the Parish Councilís objections. This was a matter of grave concern since it was felt that the installation of one driveway would probably lead to further such access roads and this recreational green would subsequently be lost entirely.
The Chairman had also contacted the new Tree Officer regarding maintenance of various trees around the estate. It was noted that new growth around the base of some trees was obstructing visibility at road junctions. This would be followed up.
9. 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 amendments to the year-to-date calculations, which did not affect the overall figures.
For the benefit of new Members the Chairman clarified the procedure for the double signing of cheques.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for March 2008 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
10. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had previously circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and various items were discussed. No response had been received to the Clerkís letter to SBC Planning asking why some recent objections had been disregarded. Councillor Haines offered to chase this up.
The Clerk advised that the next SBC/Parish Councils Forum would be taking place on the 12th June. The Chairman and Councillor Vyas offered to attend.
11. ANNUAL DONATION TO ST MARYíS CHURCH
A letter had been received requesting a donation towards the general maintenance of Wexhamís St Maryís Church. This item was discussed and it was agreed that the Parish Councilís donation should remain the same as the previous year.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £175 be donated to St Maryís Church towards general maintenance.
12. USE OF PARISH HALL FOR NAG MEETINGS
A letter had been received from Inspector Andy Boomer requesting continued use of the Parish Hall for NAG meetings. He had confirmed that the necessary insurance for those attending the meetings would be provided by Thames Valley Police. The Clerk asked Members whether free use of the hall could continue to be permitted on the grounds that NAG meetings were for the benefit of the community.
A question was raised as to why two members of the public were turned away from the last NAG meeting. PC Shardlow clarified the reasons for this, and also pointed out that the meetings could only be attended by people who had signed up with the group for reasons of confidentiality. An open meeting would be taking place approximately every six months to enable new members of the public to join.
RESOLVED: (7 Members for, one abstention) that ongoing free use of the Parish Hall be approved for the NAG group on condition that advance notice of meeting dates was provided to the Clerk.
THERE FOLLOWED A PARISH MEETING
TO RECEIVE THE ANNUAL REPORT
13. ANNUAL REPORT
The Annual Report for the year 2007-2008, copies of which had been distributed to each home in the Parish, was formally submitted and approved.
The Clerk was thanked for all her work in preparing the report, including her assistance with the Chairmanís Report, together with the Newsletter Committee.
14. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk reported that the Parish Council remained in a very healthy financial position, and that income was up overall on last year despite a slight drop in hall bookings.
It had been a very quiet year in regard to expenditure and most items were down against the budget, although several current projects were yet to be finalised. As a result of careful spending during the past year the Parish Council was in a strong position for the proposed expenditure in the forthcoming year. This had also allowed the Precept to be reduced. Preparations were well underway for the end-of-year accounts and the next audit.
It was noted that the maintenance costs for the new dog bins would be borne by the Parish Council. A decision regarding the proposed new games area would be addressed following the NALC conference at which further information would be obtained. A VAT reclaim had been submitted and a £100 refund had been received from Inland Revenue for filing on-line.
The Chairman thanked the Finance Clerk for her high standard of work in managing the Councilís finances.
15. BOROUGH COUNCILLORSí OBSERVATIONS
Councillor MacIsaac summarised that the Members and Officers of the Parish Council do an excellent job. Councillor Haines supported this view and added that the Chairman in particular does an excellent job and has a good team behind him keeping things under control. The Chairman agreed that we do have a good team who try hard and will continue to do so.
16. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
A resident asked for confirmation that the area covered by the Wexham Court Policing Team extends to the northernmost part of Wexham Village. PC Shardlow confirmed this and stated that the boundaries of his team had now been made clear. He was aware of recent incidents that had occurred in the vicinity, including some antisocial behaviour issues that had arisen at the new development. There had been several incidents of large items of rubbish being thrown into the gardens of the adjacent cottages. The Police and the Parish Council would make themselves visible in the area and monitor the situation. Various questions were raised in relation to the NAG and it was confirmed that Wexham Cottage residents would be invited to their future open meetings. All residents were invited to attend the Parish Councilís monthly meetings for up-to-date information on local events.
The Wexham Postmistress raised the problem of vehicles parking outside the Post Office. This included concerns about drug related issues, and the lack of available parking for residents (particularly those who are elderly or disabled) wishing to use the Post Office or shop. An attempted robbery had recently taken place, together with a further disturbing incident outside the shop, and the installation of CCTV was requested to help avoid further incidents. The Chairman explained that the Parish Council does not have statutory rights to fund such items out of the public purse. It was suggested that SBC have a mobile camera which may be of assistance on a shared basis and this avenue could be explored. SBC could also be asked to install parking restriction signs since this would deter people from parking there all day. PC Shardlow stated that SBC had taken such parking issues out of Police hands some three years ago so it would have to be dealt with by the Borough Council. The Postmistress was asked to report offending vehicles so that they could be added to the Police database and monitored. The Chairman would try to arrange a further meeting in regard to the ongoing issue of parking outside the Post Office.
A longstanding resident in Uxbridge Road raised a complaint against a neighbouring property owner who had let out their house to noisy and untidy tenants. The children were noisy; rubbish was allowed to accumulate thus attracting rats; hedges and grass were overgrown and messy; and drains were repeatedly blocked. The owner had been approached to resolve these problems but he had ignored all pleas for action and didnít appear to care. The resident who had fallen victim to this issue was unable to sell her house and move due to the undesirable tenants currently residing at the offending property. Councillor MacIsaac and the Chairman would discuss this further after the meeting with a view to investigating the problems.
The Meeting closed at 9.30 p.m.
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