WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Pauline Cordery (working),
and Dalip Rajput (working).
Borough Councillor Latif Khan.
Members of Neighbourhood Policing Team.
35. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
No Member had an interest to declare.
36. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 8TH JULY 2008
The Minutes of the Meeting of 8th July 2008 were approved as a correct record. Councillor MacIsaac reported that he had dealt with the graffiti on the dog bins raised at Item 29. There were no other matters arising.
37. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 7TH AUGUST 2008
The Minutes of the F&GP Committee Meeting of 7th August 2008 were approved as a correct record.
38. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 14TH AUGUST 2008
The Minutes of the F&GP Committee Meeting of 14th August 2008 were approved as a correct record. The recommendations of the Committee were also approved.
The Chairman clarified the recent problems with the Main Hall flooring which had been lifting and breaking up. He had therefore taken the decision to close the Main Hall on health and safety grounds.
Five companies had been approached for quotes for replacement flooring - two of these hadn’t responded; one failed to turn up as arranged; and two had provided quotes.
In the meantime a survey had been carried out and the report showed that the Parish Hall, including the Main Hall floor, was structurally sound. Councillor Haines was thanked for his suggestion to obtain this survey, since the favourable result would allow the Council to progress the current projects with confidence.
Details of the two quotes obtained were given to the Members for their consideration – one at £17,534 (to include sanding down and re-sealing of the stage), and the other at £16,554. Several Members expressed their preference to use the Council’s regular flooring contractor since there was an established trust in this supplier, and one Member commented that providing ‘Best Value’ would not necessarily mean acceptance of the cheapest quote. The existing contractor had also attended the hall at short notice on three occasions since the problem had arisen, and had carried out emergency repairs free of charge to enable use of the hall for pre‑arranged hires.
The Chairman advised that, following renovation of the flooring, additional staff procedures would be put in place to ensure that the hall is checked after each hire.
The Clerk reported that work could commence in one week, and she had made enquiries with the Council’s insurers regarding a claim both for the flooring and loss of income pending its replacement. She and the Chairman also reported on the difficulties that had been encountered with two hirers whose functions had to be cancelled at short notice, and the Clerk was seeking advice from the Council’s solicitors in this regard. The Clerk wished to record her thanks to the Chairman for giving up all of his spare time to deal with the flooring problems and the irate customers.
In light of the urgency of this matter and the lack of response to requests for quotes, the Clerk advised that, in accordance with Item 75 of the Standing Orders, the Council would need to Resolve to suspend Standing Order Item 72, C, part 6 (which states that three quotations should be sought for expenditure exceeding £2,500. This was proposed and seconded, and agreed unanimously.
Members were asked to vote by a show of hands for their chosen contractor to undertake the flooring work and the use of Ridgebank Flooring was supported.
RESOLVED: That Standing Order Item 72, C, part 6 be suspended in respect of the number of quotes required to proceed with the replacement Main Hall flooring.
RESOLVED: That the quote provided by Ridgebank Flooring in the sum of £17,534 be approved.
39. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
PCSO Richard Kulaga reported that PC Nick Currie would be leaving the Wexham Neighbourhood Policing Team and was moving to Colnbrook.
The Upton Lea Dispersal Order that had been put into place in August would be due for renewal in November and the expanding of this Order to include Knolton Way Parade would be considered at this time. Private funding for cameras at Knolton Way and Upton Lea had been obtained and it was hoped that this would be put in place by Halloween.
PCSO Kulaga also reported the following:
· A cannabis factory had been closed down during the last few days.
· Speeding and underage drinking issues were still being dealt with.
· The Police Team were awaiting speeding enforcement measures that were being arranged by Slough Borough Council.
· Various issues relating to drink and drugs were being dealt with in the Holmdale area, and also drinking issues in The Cherries garage and park area.
The Chairman highlighted recent problems in obtaining a Police response to incidents in Wexham. PCSO Kulaga provided an email address to report such incidents directly to the Wexham Team.
The next NAG meeting would be taking place on Wednesday, 17th September at the Parish Hall.
40. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Donachy had obtained favourable quotes for the replacement Pavilion Hall ceiling tiles. Councillor Corps was concerned that removal of the old tiles may pose a health and safety risk due to their age, and suggested that the services of a specialist company should therefore be employed. The Clerk would contact both Councillors to discuss this further when time allowed. Complaints had been received in relation to a van regularly parked on the pavement outside the Knolton Way laundry and Councillor Aldridge offered to deal with this.
Councillor MacIsaac reported the following:
· The hedge along the alleyway between Knolton Way and Church Lane had again become overgrown and he had contacted the Headmistress of Wexham Primary School to get it cut. In the meantime he had been keeping it trimmed with shears.
· The fencing next to 97 Knolton Way had finally been done following a press article on the subject. Dog fighting had been taking place in the area and PCSO Kulaga had received two other reports of local dog fighting.
· Rubbish had again been accumulating at 101 and 103 Quinbrookes and Environmental Health had taken enforcement action to get it cleared.
· A mugging had recently taken place between Kola Court and Clarendon Court and Councillor MacIsaac was trying to get this pathway closed. However, since it is a public highway, it required a public consultation to close it and one resident had expressed a wish to keep it open.
· In relation to the request for bollards and a sign at the Edmunds Way garage entrance, People First had confirmed that they will action this. However, following an inspection by Officers, no formal action was to be taken by SBC regarding the disused garages which residents felt were unsafe.
· Community Wardens had been placing stickers on cars for sale outside Cannon Gate.
· Noise issues had been reported at the Sikh School and this was being monitored.
· Members were invited to an RAF show on 25th November at Baylis House.
· It had been reported in the Press that the Labour Group had tried to push through a change of Licensing Committee policy improperly in response to lobbying from the taxi federation. This would now go to Full Council and may be subject to judicial review.
· Feedback from Andrew Blake-Herbert was still awaited in relation to the LABGI money for the tennis court fencing.
· Builders working on a Knolton Way development had been throwing bricks in the road and Councillor MacIsaac had dealt with this.
Councillor Haines reported that SBC’s Paul Stimpson had offered to attend a Parish Council meeting to discuss the Local Development Framework. Further consultation would be taking place and the Borough Councillors had already submitted comments in relation to conversions to flats and parking issues.
A new manager had now been appointed for the Community Wardens and details of the teams were given to the Chairman.
Further information was provided by Councillor Haines in relation to the LABGI money, but the Chairman pointed out that the Parish Council required written confirmation of the requirements from SBC before we could proceed with the replacement tennis court fencing.
The 2008 Canal Festival would be taking place over the coming weekend at Bloom Park.
Councillor Robert Aldridge had received complaints about skips on the road and enquired about the rules in relation to these. Councillor MacIsaac confirmed that they should be made visible with lighting to meet the safety requirements.
Councillor Vyas had raised concerns in relation to disused cable boxes and advised that these would be removed if reported to the Highways Department.
The Environmental Quality Officer had asked to attend a Parish Council meeting to discuss a project involving the Royal Society of Wildlife Trust. This related to the growing of organic food and it was suggested that the Council could support it by allowing our allotment site to be used as a showcase. However, it was agreed that the allotment tenants were unlikely to have time to get involved in this. Furthermore, the allotments were kept locked at all times and were only accessible by key-holders.
The Chairman had contacted the Tree Officer regarding the agreed planting of new trees around the estate and this would take place in October. He had today attended a meeting with Borough Councillor Swindlehurst to introduce himself and establish communications between the Parish and the new administration. He reported that the meeting had been very insightful and Councillor Swindlehurst seemed keen to work with the Parish Council, despite the known lack of Labour support in this area. He would be attending an estate inspection with the local Borough Councillors in the near future. Several local issues were discussed, including the Parish Council’s objection to the proposed access road outside numbers 58-68 Norway Drive.
The Chairman reminded the Health & Safety Committee that the annual risk assessment was due in October and a meeting should be arranged.
41. 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.
The allotment tenancy bills had been sent out, and most of these had been paid. There had as yet been no response from the new external auditors reference the Annual Return, but news was expected soon.
The new signature mandate had now been submitted to NatWest by the Clerk, and a transfer of £30K from the savings account to the current account had been arranged to ensure that sufficient funds would be available for the flooring work.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statements for June and July 2008 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
42. 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 32 & 36 Hillersdon, 332 Wexham Road, 1 Quinbrookes, 22 The Cherries, 45 Dawes Moor Close, and land adjacent to 83 Farm Crescent. The Clerk had submitted letters of objection to SBC in respect of these applications.
The Clerk reported that she and Councillor Rajput had attended the SBC/Parish Councils Forum on 10th July. Following the meeting a discussion took place with Members from the other Parish Councils and the general view was that, despite previous concerns, it had been an interesting and productive forum. The new administration had expressed a keen interest in working with all the Parish Councils, although it was agreed that it was early days.
43. REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP IN RESPECT OF PROPOSED MULTI-USE GAMES AREA (MUGA)
The Working Group had agreed that the large games area recently quoted for was too elaborate for the needs of the Parish and the expense could not therefore be justified. The youth shelter was also not wanted since many objections had been raised to this. An alternative proposal was suggested to install a modest games area on the small grassed area south of the tennis courts, which would also be covered by the CCTV.
The Chairman reminded Members that many residents had said “no” to the MUGA during the recent consultation. It was agreed that, whilst the Council had a responsibility to teenage residents, the negative response to the consultation could not be overlooked. The Clerk also warned that some members of the public would be likely to cause problems if the project were to go ahead.
The Chairman put forward another option by suggesting that the Council could hire the existing facilities owned by Wexham School. This would fulfil our promise to the local youths, and regular events could be organised and funded on a trial basis.
Councillor Haines advised that several other activities were currently in the pipeline for young people in the community, including facilities at Wexham Nursery, and the proposed MUGA could therefore be surplus to requirements. He also advised that there was a legal requirement for 1% of the SBC budget to be spent on youth provisions, but that a small Parish Council such as ours could not be expected to provide the necessary funding for major projects.
The Working Group was asked to explore the further possibilities in partnership with Wexham School, although one of the Members declined to progress this. The Chairman, together with Councillors Robert Aldridge and Tony Haines, therefore volunteered to arrange the necessary meetings with the school to discuss the new ideas.
44. CONSIDERATION OF QUOTE FOR REFURBISHMENT OF FIRST FLOOR KITCHENS
The Chairman explained that he and the Clerk had been trying for a very long time to obtain quotes for refurbishment of the kitchens, which were now in a very poor state. Various companies had attended appointments to view the kitchens but had consistently failed to come back with quotes. However, Councillor Donachy had now managed to obtain a quote, in accordance with the Clerk’s specifications, from P. S. Projects in the sum of £5,500+VAT. This sum did not include replacement flooring, which would need to be arranged separately, but was nevertheless very reasonable.
The Clerk pointed out that, as with the flooring item above, the Council would need to Resolve to suspend Standing Order Item 72, C, part 6, due to the difficulty in obtaining quotes. This was proposed and seconded, and agreed unanimously.
The Council recorded its thanks to Councillor Donachy for his assistance.
RESOLVED: That Standing Order Item 72, C, part 6 be suspended in respect of the number of quotes required to proceed with the renovation of the first floor kitchens.
RESOLVED: That the quote provided by P. S. Projects in the sum of £5,500+VAT be approved.
45. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
A member of the public asked whether the piece of land in respect of the Agreement for Lease (adjacent to the new elderly people’s homes) could perhaps be used for the new games area. However, the Chairman clarified that this land would have to be left as open ground under the terms of the Lease.
Further enquiries were made about the missing dog bin in Wexham Road, adjacent to the Parish amenity field. Councillor MacIsaac was continuing to chase this up. The missing and overgrown bus stops were also being followed up by the Clerk.
Another resident commented on the item relating to possible closure of the alleyway between Kola Court and Clarendon Court. This resident had been mugged in the past and she considered that closing of such alleyways would not help since muggers would simply use another location.
The Meeting closed at 9.45 p.m.
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