WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Pauline Cordery (unwell), Bryan Corps (unwell),
and Vinay Vyas (family bereavement).
Borough Councillor Latif Khan.
Members of Neighbourhood Policing Team.
1. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
Councillor Dave Davies was nominated for the position of Chairman and this was unanimously approved. Councillor Davies duly signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office, but advised that this would be his last year as Chairman so alternative nominees would need to come forward next May.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Dave Davies be elected Chairman for the ensuing Municipal Year.
2. ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIRMAN
Councillor Robert Aldridge was nominated for the position of Vice-Chairman and this was unanimously approved. Councillor Aldridge duly signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Robert Aldridge be elected Vice-Chairman for the ensuing Municipal Year.
3. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor MacIsaac declared that he was a regular attendee at St Mary’s Church, but the Clerk advised that no declaration was required in this respect since he had no other involvement with the church apart from being a general member of the congregation.
The Chairman reminded Members that amendments to existing declarations should be notified to the Clerk within 28 days of any change.
4. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 14TH APRIL 2009
The Minutes of the Meeting of 14th April 2009 were approved as a correct record.
5. APPOINTMENTS TO COMMITTEES:
a) FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE
RESOLVED: That Councillors Robert Aldridge, Dave Davies, Patrick Donachy, Tony Haines, David MacIsaac and Vinay Vyas be appointed to serve on the Finance & General Purpose Committee for the current Municipal Year, and that all the Members on the existing signatory mandate be authorised to continue signing cheques on behalf of the Council. Councillor Donachy had advised that he wished to stand down as Head of Finance due to time constraints relating to his full-time work and he was thanked for his contribution during the last year. A new Head of Finance would be elected at the next F&GP meeting.
b) HEALTH & SAFETY WORKING GROUP
RESOLVED: That Councillors Robert Aldridge, Dave Davies and Patrick Donachy be appointed to serve on the Health & Safety Working Group for the current Municipal Year, and that Councillor Bryan Corps also remain as an advisory member. A meeting of the group would be arranged in the near future.
c) NEWSLETTER WORKING GROUP
RESOLVED: That Councillors Dave Davies, Patrick Donachy, David MacIsaac and the Clerk be appointed to serve on the Newsletter Working Group for the current Municipal Year. The Chairman suggested that the Members should aim to produce three newsletters per year.
d) REPRESENTATIVES TO OTHER BODIES – BALC AND STANDARDS COMMITTEE
RESOLVED: That Councillor Dave Davies be appointed to represent the Council in matters relating to BALC with Councillor Dalip Rajput continuing to deputise.
Councillor Rajput would also continue to be the Parish Council’s representative on SBC’s Standards Committee and Member Services would be notified.
6. DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
It was noted that SBC had avoided any clashes with the Parish Council’s monthly meetings during the past year and it was therefore recommended that the current arrangement continue.
RESOLVED: That meetings of Full Council continue to be held on the second Tuesday of each month, except during January and August.
7. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
The Policing Team had been unable to attend the meeting. The Chairman reported that the new speed awareness signs had been working well. The team had also been spending a lot of time dealing with traffic problems at the local schools, thus having a calming effect, and had been out and about dealing with various minor issues including vandalism and petty crime.
8. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor MacIsaac reported that the unapproved flat conversion at 35 Hillersdon was now being enforced through the Courts and numbers 200 Knolton Way and 102 Norway Drive had also received enforcement notices relating to multiple occupancy of these premises and their garage extensions. He also reported that he had been dealing with complaints about the faulty street lights in Church Lane, and distributed some information leaflets relating to a charity walk.
Councillor Haines reported that he had been attending meetings of the Local Access Forum who, amongst other things, had been looking after footpaths in the area. They had also carried out inspections of the canal towpaths. He had drawn their attention to the overgrown footpath alongside the football club which had resulted in a clean-up of the path taking place last year. The Ramblers Association had asked for local people to walk this path to keep it open, but it had not been found to be used much.
It had been pointed out that many footpaths were used by schoolchildren. A map had now been published showing all footpaths in Slough, some of which were on the Bucks border. Private land owners had prevented the use of some public footpaths and Councillor Haines suggested a meeting with the Local Access Forum to make them aware of the existing paths around Wexham.
Councillor Haines had also attended NAG meetings and the work undertaken by the NAG had included PCSO Pietro Mingolla’s involvement with improvements at the Knolton Way shopping parade.
Slough Borough Council had withdrawn funding for the Canal Day but the Waterways Association had offered to provide some funding for this and were organising boats to attend the festival. Parish residents were requested to support this event and local school students would be invited to help out with work on the canal towpath.
Councillor Haines had recently attended a Community Crime-fighters Course. Voluntary groups were invited to attend this 2‑day course which was recommended, and bookings made before the end of June would qualify to apply for a £1,000 grant for work in the area.
The Chairman reported that it had been a busy month, particularly following distribution of the Annual Report & Newsletter since which time his phone had hardly stopped ringing. In addition youths in Bell Close and Mansel Close had been causing a nuisance, and he had also been dealing with the planning enforcement issues relating to 102 Norway Drive.
New trees had now been planted around the estate but it was noted that these were only saplings and not the semi-mature trees that the Parish Council had requested.
A poor response had been received from Bucks CC regarding the faulty street lights on their side of Church Lane and no action had yet been forthcoming.
Much of the Chairman’s time had recently been spent at meetings with the Clerk and working group relating to preparation of the Annual Report. This had been delivered to all homes in the Parish by Ken Whitehead and Connor Aldridge, with some help by the Chairman and Clerk. The printing company used had provided good quality booklets, within the required timeframe, and at a fair price.
9. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 31st March, and invited questions from Members.
A spreadsheet had been included with the statement detailing the VAT reclaim for the last year. A rebate had been given for online submission of the year-end PAYE, and the first half of the annual Precept had now been received into the current account. An appropriate transfer of funds to the savings account would be discussed at the forthcoming F&GP meeting. The Clerk pointed out that F&GP meetings would normally take place on the last Thursday of the month but, due to current use of the Hall by the karate group each Thursday, future meetings would now need to be held on the last Wednesday instead.
Councillor Haines clarified his concerns regarding recent matters relating to the pension scheme. He felt that the Parish Council may need to set aside a reserve to cover the costs of any future shortfall in the pension fund. Since the Clerk and Finance Clerk were unable to address these concerns all Members were invited to contact the Pension Fund Manager should they wish to make further enquiries.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for March 2009 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
10. 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 49 Hillersdon and 86 The Frithe. Councillor Donachy was experiencing problems with a neighbour’s development which Building Control would be checking tomorrow.
The Clerk reported that Wexham Court Primary School would be carrying out a Big Clean-Up Day at The Cherries on 12th June. The Press may be present so this would be a good opportunity for the Parish Council to increase its visibility in the community. All Members were encouraged to attend if available and were asked to wear their hi-vis WCPC jackets. Councillor Corps’ wife Pat had volunteered to assist the Clerk in setting up a refreshments table on the day.
Councillor Vyas had been involved with arranging the Clean-Up Day and had requested that the Parish Council provide refreshments. The Clerk therefore sought approval for the related costs to proceed with this. The sum of £30 was provisionally agreed and the item would be placed on the June Agenda for formal approval of the expenditure.
The Parish Plan Working Group was reminded that a meeting with Paul Stimpson would be taking place tomorrow which all other Members were welcome to attend.
The Clerk referred to the Councillors’ attendance records which were included on page 24 of the Annual Report and congratulated Councillor Donachy on his full attendance at all meetings of the Council and the Finance Committee for the last year.
The Clerk also thanked the Chairman for his excellent leadership and valued support in the day-to-day running of the Council.
11. ANNUAL DONATION TO ST MARY’S CHURCH
A letter had been received requesting a donation towards the general maintenance of Wexham’s St Mary’s Church. This item was discussed and two proposals were put forward:
a) that the sum should be increased to £200,
b) that the sum should remain at £175.
Members voted by a show of hands and it was agreed by five votes to one that the Parish Council’s donation should increase to £200.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £200 be donated to St Mary’s Church.
THERE FOLLOWED A PARISH MEETING
TO RECEIVE THE ANNUAL REPORT
12. ANNUAL REPORT
The Annual Report for the year 2008-2009, copies of which had been distributed to each home in the Parish, was formally submitted and approved. The Report had achieved a very good response with favourable comments being received from various members of the public
The Chairman thanked the Clerk for all her work in preparing the Report with the assistance of the Newsletter Working Group.
13. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk reported that the Parish Council’s finances continued to be well controlled, and all expenditure carefully considered, which had resulted in another year within budget. The finances remained in a healthy position despite the current economic climate and the Finance Clerk thanked the Finance Committee for their assistance in achieving this.
Preparations for the Annual Return were now underway and it was expected that this would be completed by the end of May for review by the Internal Auditor, and subsequent Council approval and submission to the External Auditor. The statutory deadline for approval of this year’s Annual Return by the Council was 30th June and it would therefore be submitted to the Finance Committee at their end of May meeting and to Full Council at the June meeting. This was a full month earlier than last year due to new regulations.
The Finance Clerk thanked the Chairman and the Clerk for their continued hard work and support throughout the year, including their attendance at civic events, various meetings, and on numerous other occasions. The Finance Clerk also expressed appreciation for the collective teamwork of all the Council’s staff, and would look forward to continuing her work with Wexham Court Parish Council in the year ahead.
On behalf of the Council the Chairman thanked the Finance Clerk for all her hard work throughout the year.
14. BOROUGH COUNCILLORS’ OBSERVATIONS
The Borough Councillors congratulated the Members and Officers of the Parish Council for doing an excellent job. The members of the public were reminded that Parish Councillors do not get paid for the work they do but volunteer their time for the benefit of the Parish as a whole. Regular attendance at the meetings by the local Policing Team was also of benefit.
It was noted that the LABGI money obtained by the Borough Councillors had funded additional dog bins around the estate and the new speed awareness signs, and had contributed to the new tennis court fencing.
The Chairman thanked the Borough Councillors for their comments and invited all Councillors and members of the public to view the Parish Council website which contained various items of information that may be of interest.
15. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
A resident in Quinbrookes raised various ongoing problems with his neighbours in the flat below which included the irresponsible parking of several vehicles, issues relating to their dog, and the accumulation of rubbish. Other neighbours had also been affected by this troublesome Council tenant and the aggressive attitude of her partner but, despite previous complaints having been raised, no action had been taken by People First. The Chairman offered to visit the property the following afternoon to assess the situation.
It was noted that the parking area outside numbers 2-8 Norway Drive still required sweeping as a large amount of loose gravel had accumulated.
The Chairman concluded the meeting by pointing out that Wexham Court Parish Council is one of the most successful local Councils in England, largely due to the fact that we are self-supporting and work independently. To his knowledge, WCPC is the only Parish Council nationwide that hasn’t raised its Precept this year.
Councillor Haines stated that the future of national and local Government was currently in question due to funding problems, but that Parish Councils are not affected by this as they do not rely on Government funding.
The Chairman thanked everyone for attending this annual meeting of the Council.
The Meeting closed at 8.40 p.m.
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