WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Evelyn Aldridge (bereavement), Pauline Cordery (working),
Bryan Corps (unwell), Dave Davies (working), Dalip Rajput (working).
Borough Councillor Latif Khan.
Members of Neighbourhood Policing Team.
79. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor MacIsaac declared his position as a Wexham School Governor.
80. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 9TH DECEMBER 2008
The Minutes of the Meeting of 9th December 2008 were approved as a correct record. There were no matters arising.
81. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
The Policing Team were unable to attend and the Community Wardens were not present at this stage of the meeting.
82. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor MacIsaac reported the following:
· He had been dealing with various problems relating to houses in multiple occupancy, particularly in Farm Crescent and at 200 Knolton Way.
· The Quinbrookes garage site was still being used for fly-tipping. Many of the garages were unused and SBC was proposing to sell the empty plots for housing.
· Savage cuts to the Borough Council Budget had been made by the controlling Labour Group which would badly affect local services. Not much opportunity had been given to suggest amendments to the Budget prior to the scrutiny meeting.
· At a Cabinet Meeting the previous evening a proposal had been put forward to move Wexham Nursery to another location. It was noted that the LDF Sites Allocation Document had stated that the nursery was to be used for social purposes, and the new proposal had not yet gone out to public consultation. Councillor Vyas suggested that the recently discussed Agenda 21 proposal may be of some help in this regard.
Councillor Donachy reported that there had been a further problem with a blocked sewer at 103 Quinbrookes. This had been resolved but rubbish at this address continued to be an issue. Councillor MacIsaac had already arranged for larger bins to be provided but other people kept taking them.
Councillor Vyas advised that the Police Ringmaster messages previously circulated to Neighbourhood Watch groups could now be made available to anyone upon request. A circulation request list was provided for signature by the Members.
A resident had raised the need for lighting in the Wexham Road/The Frithe alleyway. Kam Bhatti had previously been dealing with this, but she was now moving on and Councillor Vyas would therefore be taking on some of her duties. He commented that SBC seemed to be expecting a donation from the Parish Council towards the lighting, but was advised that this matter was the responsibility of the Borough Council.
Councillor Haines had been dealing with the Police in relation to repeated incidents of a motorcycle abusing the grass verges in Church Lane. The Policing Team had been chasing this up, and it was noted that there had generally been high visibility of the Team during the last month. Councillor Haines had also been dealing with an antisocial behaviour neighbour dispute in Wexham Road, and had attended a recent NAG meeting. The NAG was currently trying to recruit new representatives to the group from the whole Wexham Lea area.
The legislative procedures for the Alcohol Exclusion Order in Wexham Lea was progressing. This would extend to public places such as parks and had been supported by Borough Councillors Haines, MacIsaac and Khan. The Clerk also pointed out that a letter of support had been submitted on behalf of the Parish Council.
Councillor Davies had submitted a written report and this was read out on his behalf as follows:
· An email had now been received from the Tree Officer relating to funding by the Parish Council for additional trees around the estate. Planting would begin soon, weather permitting.
· He had attended Wexham School to present the annual student award. The Clerk had subsequently prepared an article which had since been published in the Slough Observer and on the Parish Council website.
· He had carried out three estate inspections, despite the recent weather, and had been dealing with ongoing issues involving the parking of vehicles around the estate. Photographs of abused verges had been sent to the Highways Department and Sin-Wai Yu was looking into the problem. This issue would also be raised at the forthcoming Forum Meeting.
The Clerk reported that she had also received a complaint from local students relating to the poor state of the footpaths and verges caused by drivers. Councillor MacIsaac confirmed that the Community Wardens had still not been trained to deal with this since SBC had no will to chase prosecutions under the local bylaw, and no budget to implement it. They had claimed that action to prevent parking on verges would cause further traffic problems.
Councillors Haines suggested that since a bylaw was already in place the Parish Council may be able to adopt powers to deal with such issues, with support from the SBC Legal Department and the NAG group, although the Clerk pointed out that this would be ‘passing the buck’.
It was noted that offenders blocking footpaths could be ticketed by the Policing Team and that the Upton Lea PCSO, Maggie Moreton, was also happy to help out in neighbouring areas adjoining her patch.
· Concerns had been raised with the Planning Department regarding the lack of consistency in approving some applications. Councillor Davies had visited the Town Hall to investigate various applications including those in Farm Crescent and Hillersdon.
· He had been dealing with multiple occupancy houses and had reported three that had broken the planning rules. These were now being investigated. Members had been asked at the last Meeting of Council to provide a list of houses in multiple occupancy in their respective areas, but none had yet been forthcoming. Members were therefore reminded that a list was needed to send to Manju Dhar for her to action.
· Five dog owners had been approached in relation to fouling, all of whom had picked up the mess when challenged.
· A meeting had taken place with Joe Kirrane and Adam Dale at Wexham School in relation to the proposed Parish Council funding for midweek hire of the sports pitch. Further information had been requested from Ya-Rah about the operation and staffing for this activity and a reply was awaited.
Councillor Robert Aldridge had been dealing with grass verge issues and had attended a meeting with the Highways Department.
83. ADOPTION OF FREEDOM OF INFORMATION PUBLICATION SCHEME
Councillor MacIsaac clarified new legislation requiring all Parish Councils to adopt the Model Publication Scheme, which was a generic document provided by the Information Commissioner under the Freedom of Information Act. Copies of the document were distributed by the Clerk. The purpose of the scheme was to ensure that core information held by the Council was made available to the public.
Councillor Haines pointed out that in relation to Part II items the Council needed to ensure that no individual or organisation was identified, and the Clerk confirmed that such items are exempt from the Freedom of Information requirements.
RESOLVED: That Wexham Court Parish Council formally adopt the Freedom of Information Act Model Publication Scheme.
84. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statements for the 1st to 30th November and the 1st to 31st December and invited questions from Members.
Enquiries had been made in regard to the rates charged by alternative energy suppliers. The current rate for electricity at the Parish Hall was among the lowest available. However, Eon was offering a substantial saving on the rate for gas usage and switching to this company was therefore approved. The Clerk explained that she had also made enquiries about an improved heating control device, the installation of which would reduce future gas bills.
The Finance Clerk had questioned the cost of a recent invoice for the SAGE (payroll) annual software updates. This cost had now been almost halved by switching to an alternative package with the same company.
It was noted that the Head of Finance had not approved the finance statements prior to distribution and he asked for them to be sent to him earlier to allow more time for checking. Statements could not be prepared until the relevant bank statement was received, but the Finance Clerk would make them available as soon as possible in advance of meetings.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statements for November and December 2008 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
85. 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 were raised to a resubmitted application for two houses at Farm Crescent, the previous one having been withdrawn, and to other applications at 12 Farm Crescent, 163 The Frithe and 36a Berryfield. Concerns were also raised regarding the safety of a proposed wind monitoring mast east of Wexham Park Hospital. Councillor MacIsaac declared an interest in relation to this as he may be on the committee that decides the application.
Councillor Haines stressed the importance of commencing work on the Parish Plan and the Working Group asked the Clerk to arrange a meeting with Paul Stimpson, who had offered advice in this regard. The Parish Plan could include a list of features in Wexham Court that we would wish to be retained for the future benefit of residents (i.e. character of the estate, care of verges, open spaces, type of housing, etc.).
The Clerk reported that the kitchen renovations had now been completed and invited Members to take a look at these after the meeting. The tennis court fencing project was underway but was progressing slowly due to bad weather. The missing dog bins in Wexham Road and in the Parish Hall grounds had now been replaced.
The Clerk reminded the Newsletter Working Group that the 2009 Annual Report would need to be prepared by the end of March for printing in April.
Following a recent risk assessment the Chairman had requested an anti-climbing device at the rear of the Parish Hall to prevent access to the roof by youths. A quotation of £551 had been received from the Council’s regular maintenance contractor for a rotating anti-climb guard. Although this item would fall under the category of general maintenance, the Clerk requested the approval of Full Council to go ahead and such approval was given.
Finally, the Clerk advised that a letter had been received from Superintendent Chris Shead thanking us for our kind comments about the Neighbourhood Policing Team.
86. PURCHASE OF REPLACEMENT REFRIGERATOR FOR MAIN HALL KITCHEN
The Clerk advised that the old refrigerator had failed the annual PAT test and asked whether the Members would like her to arrange a replacement. It was agreed that this was not an essential item since few hirers actually used it. In light of this it was decided that no replacement would be sought unless the use of a refrigerator was requested by a significant number of future hirers.
87. CONSIDERATION OF CHARITY DONATION IN HONOUR OF BALC ADVISOR IRENE THOMPSON WHO HAD RECENTLY PASSED AWAY
The Clerk had recently advised Members of the death of Irene Thompson and Councillor Walker had suggested that perhaps a donation could be made to one of the cancer charities who had supported Irene and her family. This was discussed but it was opposed on the grounds that such a donation would contravene the policy of the Parish Council to only support local charities. Councillor MacIsaac advised that he had already made a personal donation when he heard the sad news.
88. CONSIDERATION OF PROPOSED HIRE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES
This item was again deferred pending further information being received.
89. COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
The Clerk asked that the Community Wardens be given the opportunity to report to Council since they had not been present for the item earlier. Sadie Broadbridge reported that she had now been working her area for a month and was gaining more knowledge of Wexham, its residents, and its local problems. She stated that there hadn’t been very much going on in Wexham, but she had recently dealt with a case of illegal dumping in Knolton Way. She had also been dealing with antisocial behaviour issues in Central and had been spending a lot of time monitoring local schools.
Members commented that it was often difficult to get a response from the Police when trying to deal with local incidents and the Wardens advised that complaints in this regard should be logged with Inspector Andy Boomer.
Sadie and Irene were thanked for attending.
90. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
A resident at Wexham Cottages had been fighting for the right to park his car outside his home near Wexham Post Office. This problem had come about due to the new parking restrictions that SBC would be imposing, which made no allowance for the residents actually living there. Councillor Davies had been dealing with this and he would be asked to contact the resident.
The meeting closed at 8.45pm
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