WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Robert Aldridge (working), Bryan Corps (unwell),
and Dave Davies (vacation).
Borough Councillor Latif Khan.
Members of Neighbourhood Policing Team.
26. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
No Member had an interest to declare.
27. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 10TH JUNE 2008
The Minutes of the Meeting of 10th June 2008 were approved as a correct record. There were no matters arising.
28. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
The Policing Team reported that there had again been an increase in the number of incidents involving mini mopeds. Four had recently been seized and the Police and Community Wardens were continuing to patrol the area.
During a local consultation residents had indicated their support for the proposed Dispersal Order in the area of The Cherries/Knolton Way shopping parade. It was planned to hold a street meeting in the centre of The Cherries in the next week. The Team was also currently working on the Dispersal Order in Upton Lea and had been dealing with various antisocial behaviour issues.
Further to concerns raised by a resident of Wexham Cottages, PC Shardlow had been monitoring the area but had seen no recent evidence of any problems. He was advised of the address of this resident for the purpose of contacting her.
The Community Warden had been invited to this evening’s meeting but had not responded.
29. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Rajput reported that there was graffiti on the dog bins at the Church Lane side of the estate and Councillor MacIsaac offered to deal with this together with offensive graffiti that was reported at Sheehy Way.
Councillor MacIsaac provided copies of leaflets for the forthcoming Music in the Park event. He confirmed that the annual Mela festival had been cancelled due to a financial shortfall in relation to directing of traffic, street patrols, etc.
Complaints were still being received in relation to the pizza shop on Knolton Way Parade, largely in relation to antisocial behaviour, theft, and also smoking within the shop had been reported. SBC were now intending to remove the neighbourhood shops policy which had helped to prevent such problems previously. Councillor Haines commented that Borough Councillor Swindlehurst had originally agreed and ratified the policy in 2002 and yet it was he who was now encouraging its’ cancellation.
Councillor MacIsaac had also been dealing with various other matters including submission of a complaint to SBC about our Community Wardens being moved away to other areas, and ongoing efforts in regard to fencing at Armstrong House (SBC had now agreed to erect fencing to prevent fly-tipping). He had also accompanied the Chairman on an estate walkabout with the Tree Officer to identify areas for new trees.
A mural had now been painted on the wall next to the Upton Lea Temple by SBC, but the Policing Team had been given the go-ahead to oversee a mural at the rear of Knolton Way shops.
Councillor Donachy reported that a noise complaint had been received in relation to a youth playing drums in his bedroom in Hillersdon. This was considered an antisocial behaviour or environmental health issue and would be followed up by Councillor Vyas.
Councillor Cordery reported a problem with the street lights in Church Lane, some of which had not been working for some time. The Clerk would contact Bucks County Council in relation to this.
Councillor Haines reported to the Policing Team that he had witnessed a silver Mercedes driving on the wide verge between Farm Crescent and Church Lane. He had also received complaints about speeding in The Frithe, together with parking problems. The current cost of a dropped kerb was anything up to £3,000 due to the width of the verge and householders couldn’t afford this.
The additional dog bins had now been installed at four locations around the estate, the cost of which had been less than expected - £1,300 for all four.
It was explained that the new SBC Administration was being very unhelpful and they were blocking out all opposition by the use of new policies. The Scrutiny process was now being politically controlled and areas such as this and planning were becoming much less healthy as a result.
Councillor Vyas reported that he had recently joined SBC – in a non-political capacity – as a Community Safety Project Officer. He regretted that he was required to attend some evening meetings which may clash with Parish Council meetings.
Further to the concerns raised by Councillor Corps about the missing bus stop in Wexham Road, the Clerk had made enquiries and was awaiting a response in relation to this and also the overgrown bus stop on the opposite side of the road.
30. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 31st May and invited questions from Members. Following inspection of the Annual Accounts by the internal auditor the Annual Return for the year ending March 2008 could now be completed. It was subsequently signed by the Chairman and the Clerk and would be submitted to the external auditors.
Councillor Donachy enquired about the updating of the bank signature mandate and the Clerk explained that she was still waiting for the bank to send the correct forms. Amendment of the mandate required a Resolution by the Council as included below.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for May 2008 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
RESOLVED: That the Annual Accounts for year ending March 2008 be approved and submitted to the external auditors.
RESOLVED: That NatWest Bank plc be requested to act as the bankers of Wexham Court Parish Council, and that Councillor Donachy be added to the current signature mandate.
31. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had previously circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and various items were discussed. It had been a quiet month in this regard and no objections had been raised. However, the Clerk would later provide information to two of the Members in relation to enquiries about applications at 341 Uxbridge Road and 36 Hillersdon.
The Clerk reported that the next SBC/Parish Councils Forum would be taking place on the 10th July and that she would be attending together with Councillors Vyas and Rajput. Another Parish Council had expressed their concerns that these meetings would now be run by the new SBC Administration. The Clerk had therefore arranged to meet with that Council’s Members after the Forum with a view to discussing a way forward if necessary.
The Clerk advised that she would be on holiday in Jersey with her family between the 19th and 27th July – the first week’s leave she had taken since May 2007.
32. REVIEW OF PENSION POLICY STATEMENT
The Officers clarified that the Parish Council had been required to submit this document by the 30th June. This had become an urgent matter due to the fact that details regarding the new Pension Regulations had initially been sent to the Clerk’s old email address. Approval had therefore been sought by email and was agreed by a majority of Members.
However, since the document had caused concern for some of the Members, this item had now been included on the agenda to enable the Council to review the Pension Policy Statement. The Clerk intended to go through each Regulation in the Statement to determine whether the Council would like the wording amended. Unfortunately, this was not possible since the item caused a lengthy and heated debate to ensue.
The Officers tried to explain that this was a standard document which they had been asked to prepare as a matter of urgency in accordance with the Pension Regulations. They had done so to the best of their ability, giving priority to the best interests of the Parish Council. The Clerk commented that although they had done their best they clearly appeared to have failed the Council and so it would now fall to the Members to resolve the situation. The Council was advised that failure to submit the signed document immediately could result in the Pension Administrators issuing a penalty.
Despite the repeated efforts of the Officers and several Members, agreement could not be reached within the time available at this meeting. One Member suggested that the Council should enlist the services of a professional advisor before approving the document, but the Clerk advised that the cost of this could far outweigh any financial costs that the Policy was ever likely to incur. The same Member wished it formally noted that:
a) this item should not be discussed in a Part I meeting, nor in the presence of the Officers who were members of the pension scheme;
b) examples should be obtained for each Regulation as to when the item would be likely to arise.
It was also suggested that this item should be passed to the F&GP Committee to Resolve. Councillor MacIsaac formally proposed this option, which was seconded and carried by a majority show of hands. The discussion subsequently continued, but was later brought to a close by the Chairman due to time constraints, and since it had already been agreed that the item would be passed to the F&GP Committee.
RESOLVED: That review of the Pension Policy Statement be passed to the F&GP Committee to Resolve.
33. CONSIDERATION OF MULTI-USE GAMES AREA AND QUOTES
A quotation had now been received from Monsterplay Systems who had attended the NALC Conference and the Clerk displayed the plans for Members to view. The total cost for a 12x20 metre MUGA including a cantilever group swing, youth shelter, and concrete entrance path was £63,500, which substantially exceeded the allocated budget for this project. It was agreed that outside funding would be required for this proposal to go ahead, and SBC would be approached regarding their recent promises to fund improved facilities for youths. Planning permission from SBC may also be required.
Members expressed varying views and enquired about the results of the local consultation in relation to the proposed games area. The Clerk confirmed that, of 40 responses received, 24 had been against. Councillor Haines commented that the response was quite a good percentage which was probably slightly above the average. It was agreed that, having carried out this consultation asking for the views of local residents, the result could not be ignored.
The Clerk requested that a Working Group be formed in order to fully explore and consider all the options and various quotations relating to the project. Councillors Donachy, MacIsaac, and Walker volunteered. In addition Councillor Haines would attend if available and Councillor Robert Aldridge, who could not be present at this meeting, would also be invited. The Clerk and Chairman would not be joining the Working Group since they had already been heavily involved in various meetings with contractors and obtaining quotes.
34. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
The residents present commented that it had been a very poor meeting in relation to the behaviour of the Members on some items.
Concerns were raised in regard to the proposed games area since it was felt that it would be abused by many of the youths for whom it was intended. It was considered unlikely that they would respect a new area any more than they do the existing facilities.
A member of the public also raised her concerns regarding a proposed house extension by one of her neighbours.
The Meeting closed at 9.33 p.m.
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