WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Pauline Cordery (working) and Tony Haines (on holiday).
Prior to the items of business commencing the Chairman advised that Councillor Bryan Corps had sadly passed away on the 7th October. All present were therefore requested to stand and observe a minute’s silence to pay their respects and reflect on their memories of the late Councillor. The Clerk would distribute details of the funeral arrangements in due course.
62. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor Egan declared an interest in relation to Part II.
63. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 8TH SEPTEMBER 2009
The Minutes of the Meeting of 8th September 2009 were approved as a correct record.
64. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
On behalf of the Community Warden, who was unable to attend the meeting, the Clerk reported that Sadie had been looking into the possibility of installing a new play area close to the new developments in Church Lane. The Cherries was too far away for young children to venture to unattended and the strip of land close to the care homes, which was to be leased to the Parish Council, was suggested. It was agreed that this land would not be suitable for a play area due to its proximity to the elderly residents of the care homes. The Clerk was asked to contact Sadie to suggest that the Wexham Nursery site may be a possibility.
Before moving on, the public were invited to raise any matters relevant to this item of the agenda. A member of the public commented that The Cherries Play Area was currently not suitable for children because there was a large amount of broken glass therein. The Clerk advised that SBC were responsible for keeping the area clean and the Chairman would contact the appropriate person to deal with this matter. Gatherings of older youths at the play area was also raised since it was felt that this could be intimidating to the younger children. However, there was little that could be done to exclude older youths unless incidents were reported at the time.
65. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor MacIsaac reported the following:
· He had attended a recent meeting with representatives of Wexham Park Hospital which had been arranged by Wexham Parish (Bucks). The number of parking spaces at the hospital was restricted by the Government due to CO2 emissions. The hospital would be prepared to build a multi-storey car park, but could not do so on the present site. Outpatients were being moved to other areas, and staff were encouraged to walk or car-share, and negotiations were taking place to arrange a dedicated bus service. It was suggested that more car parking could be provided in the field opposite the hospital entrance, but this was in Bucks and they were reluctant to back down on their Green Belt policy. A further meeting had been arranged for the 30th October and Councillor MacIsaac would attend.
· HMOs – A new SBC Officer was taking an increased interest in this matter and more inspections were taking place. However, landlords often moved tenants out prior to inspections. Tax evasion was being investigated in respect of one particular landlord who used different names for various properties.
· He had been assisting Councillor Donachy with planning issues caused by his neighbours.
· New funds had been made available for further play areas in Slough and a formal request had been submitted for The Cherries to be considered.
· Wexham School NEETS facility – The Planning Officer had advised that this was approved, despite objections and a petition, due to Government planning rules with which he had to abide. The Head of Wexham School had indicated that he would like to come and speak to the Parish Council about the new facility. He was happy to come along and explain the project in the interests of maintaining good community relations. The Chairman commented that the information relating to this facility had been misleading and it should have been discussed with the Parish Council beforehand. He pointed out that WCPC is the Local Authority for this area and yet we are consistently overlooked by SBC in planning matters. The Clerk was asked to invite the Head of Wexham School to a meeting to discuss the NEETS facility.
Councillor Egan had attended the Art Exhibition and Grand Opening of the new art studio at Wexham School, together with the Clerk and Chairman. This had been an interesting evening and some of the pieces of art were of a high standard. He had also been out and about in the Parish and was keeping an eye on the allotment site following recent break-ins.
Councillor Rajput suggested that the planting of trees on the verges adjacent to the Sikh School may help to prevent the ongoing problem of vehicles parking on the grass. Councillor Vyas advised that there was now a new Tree Officer and he would obtain contact details. In relation to this problem the Chairman and Councillor Robert Aldridge reported that they had also enquired about bollards or high kerbs, but SBC would not action this. Vehicles at the school were also parking on the roundabout and driving on footpaths and this dangerous practice needed to be resolved by SBC and the Police. The Parish Council had objected to the Sikh School at the planning stage, since it was clear that such problems would occur, but the objections were seen as being racist and our advice was ignored. Members agreed that the school should be forced to take responsibility for the current problems and they should put measures in place to control their parking issues.
The Clerk enquired whether Councillor Rajput had attended the recent Standards Committee Meeting. He and Councillor MacIsaac had attended but there was nothing to report that was of any interest to WCPC.
Councillor Vyas reported that the developer for the Quinbrookes garage site had requested a meeting. The Chairman would arrange this.
Councillor Donachy had obtained a further quote for the new entrance doors and this item would be included on the next agenda. He had also been dealing with planning problems relating to his neighbours.
Youth Representative, Keith Nunn, had written to Gerald Pleace to request a copy of any recent inspection reports on The Cherries Play Area. No response had yet been received and Councillor Vyas offered to chase this up.
The Chairman advised that the Quinbrookes development meeting would be an opportunity for residents to discuss their issues with the application. He had carried out an estate walkabout with Councillor Haines and the Clerk during which several issues had been highlighted. The Health & Safety Working Group was in the process of carrying out the annual Risk Assessments and some of the issues raised may involve expense.
66. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statements for the 1st to 31st July and 1st to 31st August and invited questions from Members.
The audit had now been completed with no problems, Thames Water had refunded the excess payment for the recent overestimated bill, and all annual allotment bills had been paid except for two.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statements for July and August 2009 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
67. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had previously circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and various items were discussed. There were no current objections. Councillor Vyas requested asked whether a guide to planning was available. Councillor MacIsaac would try to obtain an electronic copy of the current planning guidelines.
A new regular hirer had requested use of the Parish Hall on Saturdays from 09:30 to 16:00, but had asked for the Council to consider a special rate. The Clerk pointed out that bookings were low, probably due to the recession and this would be a good regular income. Following discussion the sum of £40 per hour for the use of both halls was agreed, subject to a six month trial and regular reviews. Furthermore, any failure to observe the agreed terms would result in the full rate being charged.
Wexham School had requested use of the Main Hall for dance classes for the next half term. It was agreed that this would be on the same terms as their previous use of the premises.
Finally, the Clerk advised that, since Councillor Corps and his wife were close friends and neighbours, she would be taking some leave to enable her to offer her full support to the family during this time of grieving.
68. ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CHARITY FUNDRAISING EVENT
The Clerk sought the Council’s approval to make arrangements for this annual event. It was suggested that funding for the occasion should be the same as the previous year, with the possible exception that the amount donated by the Council could be restricted to a maximum amount. Following discussion it was agreed that the event would take place on the 11th December and the donation amount would not be capped. Members were asked to consider possible recipients of the funds raised, which had previously been given to the Air Ambulance, for discussion at the next meeting. The Clerk would write to Wexham Bowls Club to request the use of their premises as before, and letters to local companies would again be prepared requesting their support.
RESOLVED: That the said fundraising event be approved, and
a) proceeds from the event be equalled by a Parish Council donation and presented to a charity yet to be decided,
b) the sum of £150 be provided for refreshments.
69. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
Members of the public raised items relating to school traffic problems, parking on verges and other vehicle obstructions. It was felt that these problems were often caused by the same offenders from day to day and that somebody would be killed if steps were not taken to deal with the matters. The problems tended to improve when the Police were around, but soon recurred when they were not.
Youth Representative Keith Nunn suggested asking the schools to write to parents seeking their assistance to resolve parking issues. He had recently left Wexham School and could only ever recall the matter being raised on one occasion with the students or their parents.
A resident had enquired about the installation of a dropped kerb to access his property but the quotation of £3K given by SBC was far too expensive. Councillor MacIsaac was asked to enquire about a possible reduction of this cost.
The Chairman advised that he would be raising the above items at the forthcoming Borough/Parish Council Forum Meeting.
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.
70. AMENDMENTS TO THE STAFF CODES OF PRACTICE DOCUMENT AND THE CLERK’S TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT
The Clerk withdrew from this item as did Councillor Egan due to his relationship to her. The remaining Members discussed the final amendments to the Staff Codes of Practice document, which would become effective from the start of the next financial year. Amendments to the Clerk's contractual terms of employment were also discussed.
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