WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
One member of the public.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Robert Aldridge, Bryan Corps, Simon Goddard, and Dalip Rajput.
Borough Councillor Latif Khan.
119. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
No Member had an interest to declare.
120. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 13TH DECEMBER 2005
The Minutes of the Meeting of 13th December 2005 were approved as a correct record.
121. POLICE LIAISON
Beat Officer Cerrig Shardlow attended the meeting together with a colleague, PC Sahans. He reported that recent Police operations had brought about a 50% drop in local drug activities. Racist graffiti was an ongoing problem that was also being targeted and monitored. Several abandoned/untaxed vehicles had been removed during the last month and the Police were working closely with Slough Borough Council to resolve this problem.
PC Shardlow’s ‘firm but fair’ policy was making an impression on local youths, thus reducing the incidence of crime in the area, and he was thanked for his continuing good work in the community. It was also reported that Inspector Boomer was currently organising an operation to specifically target neighbourhood crimes such as criminal damage and graffiti.
122. FOLLOW-UP RE APPOINTMENT OF YOUTH REPRESENTATIVES
The Wexham School youth representatives were unable to attend the meeting due to the half-term holiday. An update was provided by Councillor Davies and this item was deferred to the March meeting.
123. THE PARISH COUNCIL IN THE COMMUNITY
Members had been looking at ways to increase the presence of the Parish Council in the community and raise our profile. It was therefore proposed that sponsorship of trophy events for the two Parish schools and the Bowls Club might be considered, the school trophies possibly being in connection with an environmental or pupil achievement theme. Preliminary discussions had taken place with the schools and the Bowls Club, all of whom had expressed a keen interest. It was suggested that, in addition to purchasing a one-off trophy for each sponsorship, an annual small trophy and gift voucher could be provided to the winning school students as an incentive to take part. It was estimated that the sum of £500 should be sufficient to purchase the initial items together with this years’ awards. Councillor Davies would liaise with all concerned to finalise the arrangements.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £500 be approved for the purchase of three trophies, together with the Annual Wexham Court Parish Council Awards 2006.
124. PARISH HALL WORKS AND RENOVATIONS
The Clerk and Chairman clarified several items requiring attention in and around the Parish Hall, as follows:
Renovation of roof (urgent due to current leaks)
Repair and decoration of Main Hall
Outstanding electrical works
Installation of kerbstones/bollards around Parish Hall verges
Various quotes had been sought for the above work, but few had been forthcoming. However, one Company with whom the Parish Council had enjoyed a long-term association had been able to provide a quotation for all the said items as indicated above. It was therefore suggested that this Company may offer a discount if all four items could be negotiated with them.
Lengthy discussions took place regarding the possibility of obtaining further quotes but it was established that, since the roof renovation and electrical work were urgent, awaiting further responses could result in further damage and deterioration, and subsequently increased costs. It was therefore proposed that Item 74 of the Council’s Standing Orders, relating to multiple quotes, should be suspended in this instance and work on the roof should commence as soon as possible. The Finance Clerk confirmed that the two urgent items had been included in the annual budget, and the necessary funds were available for all the work to take place.
RESOLVED (5 Members for, 1 against): That Item 74 of the Standing Orders be suspended in relation to the above items of work, and that arrangements be made for the work to go ahead with the chosen Company after negotiating a discount.
125. PARISH HALL ENTRANCE GATE REPAIRS
The Clerk reported that repairs to the main gates and replacement of the pedestrian gate had become necessary. She requested that a maximum sum be approved by Council to enable her to arrange the said work.
RESOLVED (5 Members for, 1 against): That a sum of £1,500 be approved for repair/replacement of the Parish Hall entrance gates.
126. PURCHASE OF NEW EQUIPMENT FOR THE CHERRIES PLAY AREA
Councillor Davies had sought quotes for the budgeted purchase of new equipment for The Cherries Play Area, together with the removal of some existing items that were now outdated and in poor condition. Only one company had responded so far and the plans supplied were laid before the Council for inspection. It was suggested that the quoted price may be negotiable and Councillor Davies was asked to make enquiries in this regard.
A Member raised concerns regarding the adequacy of the Council’s accounts balance to cover the proposed expenditure. It was pointed out that this information was available to all Members via the distributed monthly Finance Statements. After further discussion of this item it was agreed that further quotes should be obtained prior to a decision by Council, and this matter was therefore deferred to the March meeting. A Member stated that obtaining additional quotes would not be a problem and the Chairman invited this Member to do so, but the Member declined stating they were too busy. Councillor Davies would therefore continue to pursue the matter, with the assistance of Councillor Robert Aldridge and the Clerk.
127. SERVICING CONTRACT FOR PARISH HALL HEATING SYSTEM
The Clerk had obtained a quotation from the Council’s regular heating contractor for annual servicing of the Parish Hall heating system, at £650 +VAT.
RESOLVED: That the quoted figure for annual servicing be approved and arrangements be made for annual servicing to take place each October.
128. ANNUAL RE-TREATMENT OF MAIN HALL/LANDING/STAGE FLOOR
The Clerk had obtained a quotation from an alternative floor specialist, but reported that the Council’s regular contractor had provided a more favourable quote. Due to damage that had occurred, the quote for repair and re-treatment totalled £3,564.
RESOLVED: That the quoted figure for the said work be approved, and arrangements be made for the work to take place as soon as practicable.
129. INFORMATION REPORTS
Complaints had been received from several residents regarding the poor condition of grass verges on the Estate due to vehicle damage. Pedestrians had also complained about the hazards caused by mud spread over the footpaths by such vehicles. The Chairman reported that several letters had been sent by the Clerk to offending drivers, which were being followed up with letters from the SBC Housing Officer. Members were requested to supply a list to the Clerk of any such offenders so that further letters could be sent. Neighbourhood Wardens had been repeatedly promised but no progress had yet been evident in this regard. The Borough Councillors were asked to follow this up and report on their findings. Councillor Haines would notify the Clerk when the next Borough Council Estate Inspection was taking place.
Councillor MacIsaac also agreed to follow up complaints in regard to items obstructing the pavement outside the Knolton Way furniture shop, and cooking taking place on the pavement outside a shop in Upton Lea.
Councillor Davies reported that he and two other Members had recently apprehended a man and two youths vandalising the all-weather pitch in Norway Drive. The offenders were subsequently arrested by the Police.
During the recent meetings with Wexham School the use of a notice board had been offered to display Parish Council information. The Clerk would prepare the relevant documents. It was also suggested that GCSE art students could be approached with a view to creating a mural for the Main Hall rear stage wall. It was proposed that a competition could take place, the winning designs to be submitted to Council for approval.
The Chairman had previously prepared a written report and this was circulated to Members and to the public attending the meeting.
130. SUB-COMMITTEE UPDATES
A Finance & General Purpose Committee meeting was scheduled for 23rd February, and the Health & Safety Working Group were also asked to arrange a meeting.
131. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statements for the 1st to 30th November and the 1st to 31st December. Questions from Members were invited. Reassessment of Parish Council assets was now required and the Clerk had arranged a property valuation for this purpose, and also to update the Parish insurance. The Finance Clerk was making the necessary preparations for submission of annual Inland Revenue documents, and reclaiming of VAT. The Finance Clerk was complimented on her very helpful and efficient manner.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statements for November and December 2005 be approved, and that authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
132. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had previously circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and various items were discussed. The proposed access road to numbers 58-68 Norway Drive had now been refused following objections by the Parish Council and one of the residents concerned. The application for change of use of a Knolton Way shop to a café had also been refused.
The Clerk had been approached regarding a meeting with Wexham School in connection with the ‘Extended Schools Project’, date to be advised. Suggestions for activities were discussed.
133. SLOUGH DISTRICT ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL COUNCILS
The Chairman clarified outstanding issues regarding SDALC, and briefly reiterated the history of our relationship with them. The Council had resolved in July 2004 to withdraw from membership and to cease our involvement with the Association. However, the Clerk was still being bombarded with various correspondence from the Association’s secretary, our previous Clerk. It was now considered necessary to raise this item in a Part I meeting for the public record. Legal guidance had been sought and we had been advised not to correspond any further with the Association. Furthermore, Members considered that the numerous items of correspondence from SDALC’s secretary, and the content therein, constituted harassment of the Clerk.
Slough Borough Council had requested that WCPC resume our attendance at joint meetings of SBC and SDALC. The Clerk had therefore confirmed that we would be happy to attend such meetings on condition that they were arranged directly by SBC and that we were invited independently. It was agreed that two Members and the Clerk would attend the next joint meeting on the 6th April 2006.
RESOLVED (unanimously): That a letter to SDALC be prepared by Councillor Davies to reiterate the Parish Council’s previous decision to withdraw from membership of SDALC, and to ensure that the secretary of the Association is instructed to cease communications with the Council.
134. BOROUGH COUNCILLOR REPORTS
Councillor MacIsaac reported that the Borough Council’s budget had now been set and the Council Tax increases decided. A balance had to be reached between the options of an increase in tax or a cut in services.
Questions were raised regarding the reported donation of SBC funds to the new Sikh school, and this was clarified by Councillor MacIsaac.
135. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
There were no questions raised.
The Meeting subsequently closed at 10:25 p.m.
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