WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Bryan Corps (unwell), Dave Davies (parents in hospital).
Borough Councillor Latif Khan.
No apologies received from remaining Members.
57. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor MacIsaac declared his position as a Wexham School Governor.
58. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 14TH OCTOBER 2008
The Minutes of the Meeting of 14th October 2008 were approved as a correct record. In relation to Item 54, the Clerk had negotiated a 7% discount for the tennis court fencing to bring the project within budget. There were no other matters arising.
59. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
PC Cerrig Shardlow reported that Halloween and firework night had been the best he could remember, with not a single call being received. The Policing Team had spent Halloween in the neighbourhood talking to young people, all of whom had been extremely well behaved.
An armed robbery (knifepoint) had occurred during the previous week at Upton Lea Parade and a neighbouring store had provided CCTV coverage to assist the Police in apprehending the perpetrator.
A project was underway at Knolton Way shops which would involve brightening up the area and installing CCTV, lighting, and flower pots. This work was being undertaken voluntarily by the Team.
Various matters relating to parking obstructions were being dealt with, including the problems associated with the new Sikh and Muslim schools. Delay to emergency vehicles using this route was of particular concern. PC Shardlow explained that most traffic powers had been removed from the Police and they could only deal with obstructions. They were trying to arrange for a Traffic Warden to visit the area.
A new NAG group would soon be starting and would be run by PC Shardlow. Local residents would be invited to join and twelve volunteers had already come forward.
Members thanked the Policing Team for all their ongoing work and their successful control of the Halloween and firework festivities.
60. THE LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK
SBC’s Head of Planning Policy, Paul Stimpson, was invited to address the Council in relation to the Local Development Framework and the Site Allocations Document. Copies of the Citizen magazine were distributed, which contained a preview of the LDF, and a full copy of the document was given to the Clerk.
Mr Stimpson explained that a new system had been introduced in 2004 which replaced the previous policies, and the Core Strategy had now been approved. The aim was to improve the image of the Town Centre and also to take the pressure off of green belt and urban areas. Buildings would be kept low outside of the Town Centre, and the maximum height in the heart of the town would be 18 storeys – the height of St. Mary’s steeple. The Borough Council was trying to review and revise its planning policies to deal with local planning issues. Mr Stimpson confirmed that no further conversions of houses to flats would be allowed in areas such as Wexham.
Adequate sites had now been found to meet the Government’s housing development requirements for the next 15 years. However, this would not meet all the needs and opportunities for affordable family housing would still be sought. A total of 88 sites had been identified in Slough and each one would be going out to public consultation. The current consultation relating to the identification of the sites would be ending on the 5th December and the Parish Council was invited to submit its views.
One of the largest plans in the Wexham area would be at Wexham Park Hospital, which was now remaining at the current site and would be refurbished and redeveloped. The Hospital Trust, which was now in control of its own finances, would be expected to produce a master plan that would include dealing with the current parking problems. The various other sites in Wexham were also discussed, together with the possible development of some garage sites.
The Clerk stressed that no further major developments would be tolerated by the residents of Wexham Court. She also questioned the reinstatement of the Green Belt for the area south of The Lodge since Slough Borough Council had previously insisted that it was not possible for ‘pockets’ of Green Belt land to exist. Mr Stimpson explained that it was now possible to put this back by adding the said land as an extension to the Wexham Road green area. In light of this the Clerk asked whether the Parish Land could be included and it was confirmed that this could be requested.
Members discussed various other matters relating to the site allocations including social, housing, and environmental issues. Mr Stimpson reiterated that, whilst he would be happy to take back our verbal comments to the Borough Council, WCPC would still need to submit its official comments in writing before the deadline. The Clerk asked all Members to submit their comments to her to enable her to prepare an appropriate report. It was also suggested that the Parish Council could produce its own Parish Plan, to include the characteristics of the area that we would wish to retain. Mr Stimpson advised that a planning consultant would not be necessary for this since he would be able to arrange assistance should we need it. A Parish Plan would have to take account of SBC’s policies, but would be advantageous in that it would carry more weight when dealing with local issues.
Mr Stimpson closed by advising that the new policies would be formally adopted on the 16th December. In relation to the ceasing of flat conversions, he confirmed that the unapproved flats at 35 Hillersdon would be subject to planning enforcement. The Chairman suggested that any such enforcement should be well publicised as a warning to others who flout the planning rules.
Mr Stimpson was thanked for attending the meeting and for providing an interesting and informative presentation.
61. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor MacIsaac reported that the long awaited fencing at Armstrong House had now been erected. His efforts to resolve the parking issues at the Sikh school were ongoing. The problems relating to SBC’s Licensing Committee were continuing.
Councillor Donachy enquired about the dog bin next to the tennis courts which was missing. The Clerk had been unaware of this and would investigate. It was noted that the problem of the van parked outside the launderette had not yet been resolved and there was now also a car parked there. Councillor Robert Aldridge would be asked to follow this up as he was dealing with it. Complaints had also been received about a car blocking the pavement on the corner of Knolton Way/Almons Way. Councillor Donachy was asked to inform the Police about this since it was obstruction.
Councillor Walker reported that she had attended the Remembrance Sunday Service together with Councillor Davies and a wreath had been laid on behalf of the Parish.
Councillor Vyas had nothing to report in relation to the Parish since he had been inundated with work in his new role at SBC.
The Clerk was asked to write to Superintendent Chris Shead to commend the Neighbourhood Policing Team for their much valued work in Wexham.
62. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 30th September and invited questions from Members. It was noted that income from the Parish Hall showed a deficit due to the recent closure for renovations.
The auditor had now confirmed that all was OK with the Annual Accounts. It was agreed that an F&GP meeting should be convened for the last Thursday in November to decide the 2009/10 budget and Precept.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for September 2008 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
63. 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 an application at 35 Mansel Close. The Clerk had submitted a letter of objection to SBC in respect of this application.
Following Councillor Haines’ advice at the last meeting, the Clerk had contacted SBC’s Manju Dhar to submit the Parish Council’s comments in relation to the report that was being compiled on Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s). Ms Dhar had offered to attend the next meeting to discuss this. The members of the public commented that they were not given an opportunity to speak to Mr Stimpson this evening and requested that they be allowed to speak to Ms Dhar. This was agreed.
The next SBC/Parish Councils Forum would be taking place on the 13th November.
The Council’s solicitor, Claire Rhodes, had advised that she had been awarded a Partnership at Kidd Rapinet and the Clerk had sent congratulations.
Parish Hall Caretaker, Ken Whitehead, was thanked by the Clerk for all the additional work he had been undertaking at the Parish Hall.
64. ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CHARITY FUNDRAISING EVENT
Members were asked to consider holding a Christmas fundraising event similar to the last two years. The Clerk advised that the Bowls Club had kindly agreed to let the Parish Council use their facilities again. Should the event be approved, she had also prepared letters to be sent to various local companies requesting their support. Various dates were discussed and it was agreed that the 12th December would be most suitable. All Members, staff, and their partners would be invited.
RESOLVED: That the said fundraising event be approved, and
a) proceeds from the event be equalled by a Parish Council donation and presented to the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust, and,
b) the sum of £150 be provided for refreshments.
65. CONSIDERATION OF QUOTE RECEIVED FOR ALLOTMENT CLEARANCE AND DITCHING MAINTENANCE
Enterprise had provided a quote in the sum of £3,500 for the above work which included annual maintenance of the ditching and clearance of the overgrown trees beyond the ditching to convert the lost space to allotment plots. The Clerk explained that, whilst the cost to the Council would not be recovered from allotment rents, it would make future maintenance of the ditching easier and would help to reduce the current waiting list for plots.
Councillor Donachy advised that he had a contact who may be able to provide a competitive quote. It was agreed that this should be explored and that the item should be Resolved by the F&GP Committee at its forthcoming meeting.
66. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
None of the members of the public had any items to raise with the Council, except for the earlier request for an opportunity to address visiting Officers from SBC.
The Meeting closed at 9.35 p.m.
The Ya-Rah Association representatives requested that the Part II meeting be deferred due to the absence of Councillors Dave Davies and Robert Aldridge who had been attending meetings with them to discuss their proposed activities at the Parish Hall.
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