WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Pauline Cordery (working) and Bryan Corps (unwell).
49. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor Egan declared an interest in relation to Part II.
50. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 14TH JULY 2009
The Minutes of the Meeting of 14th July 2009 were approved as a correct record.
51. MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING HELD ON 17TH AUGUST 2009
The Minutes of the Special Meeting of 17th August 2009 were approved as a correct record.
52. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
The Policing Team reported that they had recently had a heavy workload in relation to the supply and use of drugs. They had also been dealing with neighbourhood disputes. The installation of CCTV at Knolton Way Parade, now also at the rear of the shops, had helped to substantially reduce the number of incidents.
Speed patrols had been carried out locally and several tickets had been issued. Further patrols would be carried out as often as possible, and a request had been submitted for a speed monitoring cable in Wexham Road. Various traffic and obstruction problems were raised by the Members and the Policing Team would monitor these. It was confirmed that the Police can deal with cases of obstruction or untaxed vehicles, and the latter could also be notified to the DVLA. It was also reported that the roadworks at Upton Lea were causing chaos, but that this should be completed in three weeks.
Community Warden Sadie Broadbridge apologised for her absence from recent meetings but explained that she has to attend them in her own time when she is off duty. Sadie had recently dealt with various matters including a problem with a kebab van, directing traffic during a fire in Knolton Way, and several incidents of fly-tipping. She was also monitoring the activities of school students now the new term had started, and had been assigned to patrol Wexham Hospital in addition to her normal area. It was noted that Wexham School take little interest in what goes on outside of the school gates and the Community Wardens receive abuse from some students when approached.
No progress had been made in relation to Wardens being given highways powers to deal with parking and verge problems.
Councillor Haines had been dealing with a fuel dumping problem at Quinbrookes garages and he passed a report to Sadie for her information. Other cases of dumping, and also prostitution, at the garage site were ongoing but it was felt that the planning application for housing may help to resolve these problems. A property at Berryfield had spilled oil on the road and a Notice had been served to the owner to clean it up.
Sadie gave her permission for her mobile telephone number to be given to residents if they wished to report an incident.
53. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Haines reported that he had been involved with the forthcoming Canal Day at Bloom Park. The Wexham Air Cadets hoped to attend this year, and ICI were continuing to fund the event as long as admission remained free. Members and the public were invited to support the event by attending over the coming weekend.
Knolton Way shopkeepers were considering the installation of more CCTV cameras as those already installed were doing an excellent job.
Councillor Haines had been contacted by the veterinary practice and residents in Knolton Way to raise their objections to the application for 23 houses on the Wexham House site. A meeting had been organised by the vet to discuss the issues. The current application had been withdrawn and a revised plan would be submitted.
Despite several calls to Bucks CC, the problem of the streetlamps in Church Lane that were still not working continued to persist.
Councillor Vyas advised that a ‘not in my neighbourhood’ week would be taking place during the first week of November and this would be an opportunity for Parish Councillors to get together with Community Wardens, residents, etc. The Chairman commented that all Members should be undertaking such liaison on a regular basis and that they needed to be out and about in their hi-vis vests so that residents know who they are.
It was noted that sections of the chain-link fencing alongside the Parish amenity field were in need of repair and that this had been in a poor state for some years. A large budget would be needed to address the problem.
Vehicles were continuing to drive and park on the green verges in Wexham Road at school times. Slough Borough Council was aware of this but no action was being taken to address the problem, apart from sending out officers for a few days to monitor the situation. The school had failed to keep its commitments in relation to controlled parking and staggered school times.
Councillor Robert Aldridge reported that the recent fire in Knolton Way had led to flooding due to a water hydrant being left on. This had now been dealt with. He had also been dealing with several cases of noisy dogs, and youths gathering late at night. He pointed out that it was dangerous to approach groups of youths and the Police should be called to deal with any incidents.
Councillor Egan reported that he had produced the new sign for the Allotment Site, and thanked the Chairman and Henry Egan for installing it. He had been out and about getting to know some residents around the estate, and had noted the water leak in Knolton Way which he had reported to the Chairman.
Youth Representative Keith Nunn had been assisting the Clerk with enquiries about a new hosting service for the Parish Website. This would be further discussed later. He had also written to Slough Borough Council’s Steve Wicks to enquire about the lack of funding for The Cherries Play Area. Keith had prepared a written report, including copies of emails, which was distributed to all Members by the Clerk. Mr Wicks had confirmed that no funding would be forthcoming for Wexham Court and the Clerk asked Members to follow this up.
Councillor Haines clarified that when the joint administration was in office an application had been submitted for play area funding. However, our MP stated that the non-Labour Council didn’t need funding as they were closing down play areas. When Labour regained power a new bid for funding was submitted and had now been received, but Wexham Court Parish Council had not been included as a recipient.
Councillor MacIsaac reported the following:
· The estate walkabout with James Swindlehurst had taken place but Councillor MacIsaac did not have much confidence that the issues raised would be addressed. He had asked Scrutiny to review which areas had received action as it was suspected that Labour Wards would be given preference.
· Removal of garages at Quinbrookes had been approved to make way for housing and wider access had also been approved. It was noted during the walkabout that most garages were filled with rubbish and building materials rather than being used for cars.
· A car repair service and abandoned cars at a house in Berryfield had been reported. The owner had bluffed the Community Warden when it was inspected, but Councillor MacIsaac was continuing to follow up this case.
· He had spoken to local journalists and the BBC News regarding a martial arts trainer coming to Slough who teaches his students how to kill or maim. The Councillor was strongly objecting to this dangerous practice.
· Regular visits to the Sikh Temple on Sundays had been necessary due to coaches blocking the estate. It was quieter now as no weddings in Autumn.
· Lots of complaints had been received from Pakistani Muslims as Labour had invited a previous dictator to the Town Hall, who was greeted by the Mayor even though he is a fugitive from justice in his own country.
The Chairman had attended the recent estate walkabout and a list of items had been highlighted. He thanked Councillor Egan for reporting the water leak.
A petition from local residents had been submitted to SBC Planning objecting to the proposed NEETS facility at Wexham School. A letter of objection had also been submitted by the Clerk on behalf of WCPC. It was felt that this facility would attract an undesirable presence of outside youths into Wexham.
The Chairman was continuing to deal with various parking issues around the estate, including those arising at school-run times. No progress was being made in relation to the parking problem outside the Wexham Post Office and the Borough Councillors were asked to follow this up. Gillian Ralphs was not responding to the Chairman’s emails or calls and it appeared that he was being stonewalled. Councillor Haines asked the Chairman to copy in the Borough Councillors on any further emails.
54. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 30th June and invited questions from Members. The July bank statement had been received late and therefore the July Financial Statement would be approved along with that for August at the October Meeting of Council.
The allotment invoices had been sent out and one of the tenants had enquired whether payments could be made by BACS. It was decided that this was not advisable since it would complicate the tracking of payments received.
Councillor Haines requested clarification of some figures included in the June Finance Statement, which the Finance Clerk explained. A detailed breakdown would be provided by email.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for June 2009 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
55. 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 Wexham School and 19-21 Farm Crescent.
The Clerk had written to Paul Stimpson requesting an update on the Site Allocations Document. He had advised that the request to extend the Green Belt to the Parish Land was denied because the Borough Council still considers that it has development potential. He also confirmed that the only sites in Wexham currently being promoted for development were the Hospital and Wexham House. The Clerk commented that there was little point to SBC’s consultations if they did not listen to the suggestions submitted.
The Clerk reported that Charles Arnold Baker, who was the author of Local Council Administration (commonly known as the ‘Clerk’s Bible’), had died at the age of 90. He had recently revised and published the 8th edition of the book, and had spent his life supporting local Councils and Clerks.
Wexham Parish Council would be holding a meeting at Harvey Memorial Hall on 22nd September to discuss the parking problems relating to the Hospital. Only one Member from each Council could attend due to space restrictions and Councillor MacIsaac offered to attend on this occasion. The Clerk asked whether free use of the Parish Hall could perhaps be offered for future such meetings. This was agreed and the Clerk would notify Angela Galvin, the Clerk of Wexham Parish.
The Clerk and Chairman had recently attended a meeting with Elizabeth Jenkins, the Borough Council’s solicitor, the purpose of which was to complain that the new piece of Parish Land had not been cleared ready for completion of the Lease. They had inspected the area and taken photographs showing the poor state of the land to present to Ms Jenkins at the meeting.
They were pleasantly surprised to find that Ms Jenkins was very helpful and apologised for the clearance not having been done. It would now be arranged prior to serving us the Notice to complete the Lease. This was a very good result and written confirmation had since been received from our own solicitor.
A new hosting service for the Parish Website would be required as of mid-October due to the current host (linked to the Clerk’s personal ISP account) withdrawing their free service. The Clerk thanked Keith Nunn for his assistance in making enquiries, and two particular hosts had been identified that would meet the Parish Council’s needs at a reasonable price – One.com and BT. The pros and cons of each service were discussed. Councillor Haines also suggested 1and1.co.uk but the Clerk had investigated this host and was not sure that their service would be suitable. The Clerk pointed out that whilst One.com appeared to be cheaper, BT as an established and well known company would be more likely to provide a long-term and reliable service thus avoiding the necessity to move the website again in the future. Relocation of the website generally involved several hours of work and associated costs. Local Councils were expected to provide a website for the information of their residents wherever possible.
It was agreed that the necessary arrangements should be made to upload the website to BT Hosting in due course.
Finally, the Clerk drew the Members’ attention to the fact that the Main Gates had been re-painted and thanked the Caretaker, Ken, for undertaking this and various other tasks on the premises which were over and above his normal working duties.
56. CONSIDERATION OF DONATION TO WEXHAM BOWLS CLUB CHARITY DAY
The Chairman clarified that a donation of £50 was previously made to Wexham Bowls Club in support of their annual Charity Day.
RESOLVED: By a majority of 7, that a further donation of £50 for the 2009 Bowls Club Charity Day be approved.
57. CONSIDERATION OF CCTV ANNUAL MAINTENANCE CONTRACT
A renewal invoice had been received for the annual CCTV maintenance agreement costing £466. This was to cover the cost of bi-annual checks and any call-outs that become necessary. Without the maintenance agreement a call-out would normally cost £95 plus £45 per hour. The Clerk asked whether the Council would like to renew the contract.
RESOLVED: That the annual CCTV maintenance agreement be renewed.
58. CONSIDERATION OF QUOTES RECEIVED FOR SECURITY GUARD AT REAR OF PARISH HALL
The Chairman clarified that a security device was necessary to prevent youths from climbing up to the roof at the rear of the hall. Two quotes had been received in the sums of £551 (old quote, subject to slight increase) and £940. It was noted that this item would normally fall under ‘general maintenance’ but Council approval was being sought due to the cost.
RESOLVED: That a maximum cost of £650 be approved for installation of a security guard rear of the hall.
59. CONSIDERATION OF QUOTE RECEIVED FOR PARISH HALL HEATING SYSTEM CONROLLER
The Clerk explained that the heating system was currently controlled by a basic timer which resulted in the system being on for long periods every day and high bills. An improved controller would enable the heating to be set for specific days/times when functions are taking place and would be more energy efficient, thus reducing bills.
A quote had been received from the Council’s current heating engineer in the sum of £3,688. Councillor Rajput offered to obtain further quotes and this item was therefore deferred.
60. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
The cottage resident who had been experiencing parking problems outside Wexham Post Office had now received ten tickets, all of which he had paid. Attempts remained ongoing to find a solution to this problem.
Part I of the Meeting closed at 9.20 p.m. and it was Resolved that, in view of the nature of the business about to be transacted, it was advisable in the public interest that the Press and Public be temporarily excluded, and they were instructed to withdraw.
61. REVIEW OF THE STAFF CODES OF PRACTICE DOCUMENT
Members discussed the amendments to the Staff Codes of Practice Document as recommended by the sub-Committee.
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