WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Pauline Cordery (unwell),
Bryan Corps (unwell), Vinay Vyas (bereavement).
Borough Councillor Latif Khan.
Members of Neighbourhood Policing Team.
91. It was noted under Apologies for Absence that Councillor Pauline Cordery had been in hospital having suffered a recent heart attack. The Clerk was asked to arrange for flowers and a card to be sent from all at WCPC.
92. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor MacIsaac declared his position as a Wexham School Governor.
93. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 10TH FEBRUARY 2009
Councillor MacIsaac requested two minor amendments to the Minutes of the Meeting of 10th February 2009, following which they were approved as a correct record. Matters arising were as follows:
In relation to Item 82, suggested Parish Council enforcement of bylaws, Councillor MacIsaac advised that he had sought further information and the local bylaws could only be enforced by SBC.
In relation to Item 90, parking outside Wexham Post Office, Councillor MacIsaac and the Chairman had been trying to resolve this matter but it had proved difficult to make any progress.
94. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
PC Shardlow thanked the Council for the letter that had been sent to Superintendent Shead, who had subsequently discussed this with all members of the Policing Team.
A man had recently been arrested and charged with three assaults for which a court date was awaited, and a further charge had been made relating to incidents of harassment in Knolton Way. Wexham School students were frequently being returned to school, and parents were consulted if they were caught a third time. Further incidents involving youths throwing stones had also been dealt with.
Taxis parked in Norway Drive were being moved on and the Chairman had recently attended a meeting with SBC with a view to resolving this problem. Major chaos was also being caused by school parking issues and PC Shardlow had attended a meeting with the Muslim school to try and organise a Walk To School Scheme. St Ethelbert’s had closed its gates to vehicles due to two children almost being knocked down. The possibility of staggering the start and finish times for the various schools was being investigated – the Chairman commented that this condition had been laid down when the Sikh school was in the planning stages but it had not been adhered to. A further meeting would need to be arranged with them. Three SBC Officers had been sent out to monitor this problem following the recent Borough/Parish Forum Meeting.
The ongoing issue of parking on verges was raised again but PC Shardlow explained that SBC had removed the powers of the Police to deal with this. They could try to move offenders on but could not ticket them. Furthermore, cases of obstruction could only be ticketed if all four wheels of the vehicle were on the pavement or there was no room for wheelchairs/pushchairs. Councillors raised various problems relating to vehicles parked on paths and corners, and motorbikes being ridden around the estate, and the Policing Team would try to deal with these. The Chairman advised that at a meeting in Maidenhead Town Hall some two years ago the attending Police Inspector stated that it was preferable for vehicles to be parked on paths and verges to keep the roads clear. This attitude was not acceptable to WCPC.
Community Warden Sadie Broadbridge reported that she had attended a local road traffic accident, and had been dealing with school incidents and a flasher in Knolton Way. Windows and fencing at a property bordering the Wexham Road/The Frithe alleyway had been frequently vandalised at school leaving time and PC Shardlow offered to monitor this to try and apprehend the offenders. A local paper-boy had also reported his bag stolen by youths.
The Community Warden Team had been carrying out ‘vulnerable vehicle checks’ and were calling on the owners of such vehicles to warn them about leaving valuables in open view. The Quinbrookes garage site was being used for prostitution, drugs and alcohol abuse and Ms Broadbridge was trying to deal with the derelict garages under the ‘Detrimental to Communities’ legislation. Evidence of drug use had also been found at other garage sites.
The Chairman raised the possibility of a mobile camera system and PC Shardlow advised that the cost of this could be in the region of £5K. Councillor Rajput advised that a similar system could be obtained at a reduced cost and this would be investigated. The number of incidents at Knolton Way Parade had reduced substantially since CCTV had been installed and it was planned to extend the CCTV coverage to The Cherries.
The Chairman thanked PC Shardlow and Sadie Broadbridge for attending the meeting and would try to make arrangements for them to accompany him on estate walkabouts in the near future.
95. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor MacIsaac reported the following:
· Planning Enforcement had again been called upon to deal with the garage at 200 Knolton Way being used for tenants.
· Complaints had been received regarding a building business being operated in Quinbrookes.
· He had called out the Dog Warden to deal with a local problem.
· Various incidents of tree damage had occurred around the estate, many caused by vehicles, and dead trees were now being removed and replaced.
· The Borough Councillors would be attending a further estate inspection with James Swindlehurst in the near future to cover Wexham Court.
· The Neighbourhood Shop Policy relating to competing businesses was now being changed by SBC and this would enable an Indian Takeaway to open next to the Chinese Takeaway. Councillor Haines explained that up to 60% of shops could now be Class A premises, including takeaways, off licenses, and betting shops, all of which attract various problems.
· A loan shark was operating in the Wexham area and a leaflet was provided giving advice and a contact number to report any incidents.
Councillor Haines had been unwell recently but was still trying to deal with various issues. He reported that there had been 124 job losses at SBC and a huge number of cuts to services in adult social care. Canal work had also been cancelled. Despite all of this, the Council Tax had still risen by 4.95%. A list of all service cuts could be provided upon request by the Members.
Councillor Haines had attended a training day organised by the Department of Justice, which had been attended by representatives from various groups around Slough. The main purpose of the day was to publicise what advances were being made, including the new ‘Policy Pledge’ documents that were to be published. A copy of the relevant document would be sent to the Clerk for circulation with the next meeting documents.
Councillor Donachy had also received complaints relating to the ‘garage’ at 200 Knolton Way. He commented that the courses of bricks below the garage door would make it impossible to use for vehicles.
Members were reminded that preparations were underway for the Annual Report and were requested to prepare a short résumé within the next 7 days for the Clerk to include alongside their photos. An initial meeting of the Newsletter Working Group had already taken place and local groups would be invited to contribute a page each to the document. Free advertisements would also be included for the Knolton Way shops.
The Chairman had attended the recent Borough/Parish Councils Forum Meeting and had raised the issue of traffic problems and roadworks around the estate. Information relating to roadwork sites was available on a website, the address of which would be provided by SBC. He had also been dealing with parking and taxi issues. The list of local HMOs that was requested from Members some two months ago was still awaited and only Councillor MacIsaac had responded so far.
The planting of ten semi-mature trees that the Parish Council had agreed to fund would be taking place soon and various sites had been identified for this year.
Members were invited to venture out in their hi-vis vests to assist the Chairman in dealing with parking issues.
Recent issues with the Glad Tidings group were briefly raised and the Chairman and Clerk had been dealing with this.
96. FINANCIAL REPORT
A calculation error had been discovered in the January Finance Statement but this did not affect the final figures. Revised statements were submitted by the Finance Clerk for the 1st to 31st January and she invited questions from Members.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for January 2009 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
97. 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 an application at 53 The Frithe. It was noted that the development at Farm Crescent had been refused following the Parish Council’s recent objections.
The Chairman advised that it had now become more difficult to gain access to the Planning Department or to see an Officer. SBC appeared to be putting up barriers and visits to the department were quite stressful. Councillor Donachy had also experienced problems when he recently went to check an application and he asked for it to be put on record that he considers the SBC Planning Department to be corrupt. Councillor MacIsaac would make enquiries about this, and Councillor Haines advised that Members could speak to Gerry Wylde about planning complaints.
Despite the Planning Department’s current claim that it was not possible to include a condition relating to multiple occupation and use of a premises as a single dwelling on planning approvals, the Chairman had discovered that such a condition had indeed been applied until very recently. He would take this up with them, and the Clerk would continue to request application of the condition on future letters of objection.
The Clerk reported that the tennis court fencing project had now been completed. A response was still awaited from Paul Stimpson in relation to the Parish Plan information and the Borough Councillors would chase this up.
Members were asked whether any of them ever look at the WCPC Website, since she had noted that only Councillors Davies and MacIsaac had so far signed the Guestbook. The Clerk also reminded Members that contributions for new pages on the site would be welcomed.
98. CONSIDERATION OF PROPOSED HIRE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES
This item was again deferred since no further information had come to light. The Chairman would try to arrange a further meeting with Wexham School to progress the matter.
Councillor Haines advised that Ya-Rah were already being given Sunday sessions at the all-weather pitch free of charge and were also offered cancellations whenever they arose. He suggested that the Ya-Rah Association were quite capable of negotiating for themselves and further intervention by the Parish Council was therefore not necessary. The other Members agreed with this view.
99. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
Yellow lines had now been put in place near the Wexham Post Office but the ticketing regime was not consistent to date. The resident at Wexham Cottages was still trying to obtain the right to park outside his property but no progress could be made. The Chairman would raise this issue at a forthcoming meeting with SBC.
The parking area outside numbers 2-8 Norway Drive was badly in need of a road sweeper and Councillor MacIsaac would follow this up.
The meeting closed at 9.00pm
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