WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Keith Nunn (mother unwell), Vinay Vyas (working).
119. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor Egan declared an interest in relation to the staff salary review, and Councillor MacIsaac reiterated his interest in relation to being a member of the SBC Planning Committee.
120. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 9TH MARCH 2010
The Minutes of the Meeting of 9th March 2010 were approved as a correct record.
121. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 31ST MARCH 2010
Approval of the Minutes of the F&GP Meeting was deferred to Part II to discuss a matter relating to staff.
122. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
PC Shardlow apologised for not being able to attend recent meetings since he had been on study leave and taking examinations. He reported that speeding operations were taking place and several fines had been issued. Other ongoing priorities were in relation to antisocial behaviour, drug activities, and vehicle crime. There had been a slight increase in Slough’s crime figures overall. A ‘clear car campaign’ was underway in an attempt to identify vulnerable vehicles and prevent owners from leaving valuables in view.
The Policing Team had also been dealing with dangerous dog incidents, neighbour disputes, and noise disturbances caused by youths drinking in their cars. A request had been received from Conservative candidate Diana Coad to apply a Dispersal Order at The Cherries. However, few calls had been received in relation to The Cherries during the last couple of months so there was currently insufficient evidence to obtain an Order. The Chairman commented that Ms Coad should have contacted the Parish Council prior to approaching the Police.
Councillor Gerstmann asked how the Police viewed the success of the traffic operations and it was confirmed that they had generally been successful in slowing vehicles down. Furthermore, the message was getting across to drivers that the Police were taking various measures to control the problem. Funding for further speed monitoring units, together with spare batteries and brackets, had now been obtained. The success of these units had been increased because many drivers suspected they were also cameras.
Community Warden Dave Lee reported that he was now getting to know the area fairly well. He had been carrying out early morning dog fouling patrols but had been unable to catch any offenders as yet. Some antisocial behaviour incidents had been reported and he found that speaking to the parents often resolved the problem.
The Community Warden Team was also assisting the Police in monitoring vehicles with valuables left in view, and patrols in the area of Wexham Post Office had been increased due to suspected drug dealing activities. Fly-tipping was also closely monitored and a Notice had been issued in relation to the removal of building rubbish in Quinbrookes.
Councillor Donachy had received favourable reports from local residents who commented that they were pleased to see the Community Warden working in their area.
123. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Rajput had attended the recent Standards Committee meeting which had raised concerns about the knowledge (or lack of) of Councillors in relation to their roles. Colnbrook with Poyle Parish Council was seen to have lax rules and Code of Conduct training had been recommended. Councillor Rajput stated that he valued the experience of WCPC’s Clerk and Finance Clerk and had invited Colnbrook with Poyle to approach them for training.
The Clerk reported that a Code of Conduct training session would be taking place at the Town Hall on the 12th May, 6.30-7.45pm, and all Members had been requested by Electoral Services to attend if they hadn’t done so previously. This was also highly recommended by Councillor Rajput.
Councillor Haines reported that he had been dealing with the incidents of fly-tipping in Quinbrookes. In relation to the dog fouling issue, he reminded the Council that part of the LABGI funds obtained by the Borough Councillors had been used for additional dog-bins but dog owners needed to be encouraged to use them.
A piece of artwork had been created out of recycled materials beneath the Uxbridge Road bridge to make the area more pleasant. A plaque was also erected thanking the children of Wexham Primary School for the artwork.
Councillor Haines also advised that Groundwork Colne Valley were heading a project promoting local farming and farmer’s markets were taking place around Slough in support of this.
Councillor MacIsaac reported the following:
· He and Sarfraz Khan had patrolled the Dawes Moor Close garage area to scare off youths using the area for drinking, etc.
· Objections had been submitted in respect of the planning appeal relating to 24 Bell Close.
· Problems in relation to the Sikh School traffic were ongoing and he had spoken to the school governors to offer support in finding a resolution.
· A party in The Cherries had recently been reported to him and signs were requested to notify people of the CCTC once it was installed.
· A local land owner had ignored South Bucks objections and had opened up a parking area for £3 per day outside the hospital. It was hoped that this may help to alleviate some of the traffic problems. Councillor Gerstmann had noted that vehicles were still parking on the road, despite free spaces being available in the hospital car park, simply because they didn’t want to pay. There was a possibility that ditching may be installed along the Bucks side of Wexham Road to prevent the sprawling parking. PC Shardlow advised that the South Bucks PCSO’s had more traffic powers than the Slough Police and they had agreed to see what they could do to resolve the matter. Councillor MacIsaac confirmed that SBC had refused to change the powers of our local Police to enable them to deal with such issues.
· Further multiple occupancy properties had been identified and reported. The SBC Officers were currently concentrating on Chalvey and would extend their operations to other areas in due course.
· The resident who had been refused a disabled parking bay now had access to her garden.
· The faulty traffic lights outside the Sikh School had been reported again and it was found that the cables needed insulating against wet conditions.
Councillor Donachy had received several complaints about the recent ‘Cut the Crap’ leaflet distributed by SBC. Residents had found the leaflet, which included a picture of dog faeces, most offensive. It was agreed that this was unacceptable.
Councillor Egan had also reported the faulty pedestrian crossing lights which were now being dealt with. He advised that there had been a good attendance on behalf of the Parish at Stan Gales’ funeral service.
Councillor Gerstmann had attended the recent Health & Safety/Risk Assessment event with the Chairman and Clerk and reported that it had been a very interesting introduction to a complex subject. He was looking forward to learning more about WCPC’s own risk assessment process. He had also attended Wexham School’s sports hall opening, and the Legal/Highways meeting with SBC. This meeting had been very positive and productive and a number of ideas were put forward.
The Clerk reported that Councillor Nunn had attended the Newsletter Working Group and F&GP meetings as he was interested in extending his knowledge of Council procedures and practices.
It had been another busy month for the Chairman and, amongst other things, he had attended the following:
· The Health & Safety/Risk Assessment training event, with Councillor Gerstmann and the Clerk;
· Newsletter Working Group meetings;
· The opening of Wexham School’s sports hall;
· The recent F&GP meeting;
· The annual trophy presentation at Wexham Primary School;
· A meeting with the Tree Officer re pruning of trees at The Cherries to improve the view of the new CCTV;
· The Legal/Highways meeting with SBC;
· And various other meetings with the Clerk.
The Chairman had also been dealing with youth incidents and PC Shardlow advised that a Youth Bus had recently visited the area a couple of times. Some complaints had been received from local residents who were unable to get on the tennis courts because players from outside the Parish were using them. Councillor MacIsaac had received several compliments about the high standard of our courts, but it seemed that this was attracting too many people from other areas.
124. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 28th February and invited questions from Members. A slight amendment to the statement was clarified, which had been approved by the Head of Finance.
Permission was sought to approve the Financial Statement for the 1st to 31st March at late notice, which had also been approved by the Chairman and Head of Finance and would assist the Finance Clerk in meeting the timescales for the Annual Accounts. This was approved.
The Inland Revenue payments were now being submitted on-line and the Direct Debit had been set up.
The internal auditor had set a date of 20th May for the Annual Accounts. A Finance & General Purpose Committee meeting would therefore need to be arranged for the 27th May for the accounts to be approved by Full Council at the June meeting.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statements for February & March 2010 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
125. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had previously circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and various items were discussed but no objections were raised. An enquiry had been received from a resident in Hillersdon who was concerned about a neighbour’s development and the Chairman and Clerk had visited the resident to discuss this.
The Clerk reported that it had been a very busy month. The Annual Report/Newsletter had now been completed and gone to print. This had involved a good deal of work in recent weeks and Councillors Davies, Donachy, MacIsaac and Nunn were thanked by the Clerk for their input in deciding the content of this year’s Report.
The kitchen flooring had now been replaced following recent hire damage, and the re‑finishing of the wooden block flooring was scheduled to take place in May. The hirer had threatened to take the Parish Council to court for spending “his money” without his permission; however, the Clerk pointed out that the deposit ceased to be his money when he broke the Conditions of Hire! The matter would be placed in the hands of the Council’s solicitors if it became necessary.
The Clerk had attended an Antisocial Behaviour Event at Baylis House on 23rd March, together with Councillor Vyas, and information had been obtained on the measures being taken by SBC and People First to deal with this issue. Information about the Community Payback Scheme had also been obtained (managed by Thames Valley Probation Service), which involved offenders carrying out community work as a way of making amends for their crimes. Attendees were assured that Antisocial Behaviour Orders do work and some case studies were discussed. They were advised that 68% of ASBO breaches were actually convicted. PC Shardlow and Councillor Haines confirmed that the Community Payback Scheme was worthwhile and some work had been carried out in Rochfords Gardens. Suggestions for possible projects in Wexham could be passed to PC Shardlow who would bring them to the attention of Kam Bhatti.
The Clerk had also attended the Health & Safety/Risk Assessment training event in Bracknell on 25th March with Councillors Davies and Gerstmann. Information was obtained in relation to H&S, fire safety, and risk assessment. The attendees learned that the regulations are something of a grey area, and that we are required to do whatever is ‘reasonably practicable’ to ensure the safety of our premises and amenities. It was noted that children’s play areas need to provide a challenge in order for them to be interesting, and therefore a certain amount of risk needed to be incorporated into designs to provide an acceptable balance.
126. APPROVAL TO FORM A WORKING GROUP TO DEAL WITH GRASS VERGE/TRAFFIC ISSUES
Councillors Davies, Gerstmann, Vyas and PC Shardlow had attended a meeting on 24th March with SBC Legal/Highways representatives to discuss measures that could be taken to address traffic issues and the abuse of grass verges in Wexham. The Clerk had been unable to attend as she was unwell. The meeting was very productive and a good amount of progress was made. The Members were surprised to find that the SBC Officers were finally willing to prosecute offenders who cause damage to grass verges.
The content of the meeting was discussed further and Councillor Haines suggested that People First should be brought on board to deal with their tenants on housing land.
A trial one-way system had been proposed in the Wexham Road Service Road, in an attempt to control the current traffic problems in the vicinity of the Sikh School, and the Clerk required the permission of Full Council to submit a formal letter supporting this proposal. Councillor Haines commented that a child had already been injured on the service road and making it one-way could also make it faster and less safe. He therefore suggested that other measures could be considered such as possible re‑design of the service road to ensure it could only be used for residents and access. It was agreed that a letter would be prepared and this would be included.
The Members were advised that a consultation exercise would need to take place and then the system would be on a six month trial.
Councillor Gerstmann advised that there were three potential points of failure in relation to the proposal – (a) the one-way system or alternative measures are tried but don’t work; (b) the public consultation prevents it from going ahead; or (c) the Parish Council doesn’t support the proposal so it is never put into action.
It was agreed that the Parish Council needed to be seen to be trying to resolve the problems so option (a) was the obvious choice.
Full Council permission was sought to form a Grass Verge/Traffic Working Group to progress the matters discussed, and this was approved.
Thanks were recorded to Councillor Vyas for his ongoing efforts in relation to this item; for arranging the meeting with SBC representatives; and for organising the Working Group to progress the matter.
RESOLVED: That a Grass Verge/Traffic Working Group be formed consisting of Councillors Davies, Donachy, Egan, Gerstmann and Vyas, together with the Clerk for administrative purposes.
RESOLVED: That a formal letter be submitted to SBC in support of the proposal for a one-way system or alternative measures in Wexham Road Service Road.
127. ANNUAL DONATION TO ST MARY’S CHURCH WEXHAM
A letter had been received requesting a donation towards the general maintenance of Wexham’s St Mary’s Church.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £200 be donated to St Mary’s Church.
128. ANNUAL DONATION TO WEXHAM BROWNIES
A letter had been received requesting the support of the Council for Wexham Brownies.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £250 be donated to Wexham Brownies.
129. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
A complaint was received in relation to a development at 38 Berryfield, where a single storey extension had been approved but two storeys had been erected. The Chairman would visit this resident to discuss the matter.
A further complaint was received regarding vehicles parked at the corner of Quinbrookes causing an obstruction. Also a car repair business appeared to be in operation at this location. PC Shardlow would investigate.
Part I of the Meeting closed at 9.15 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.
130. APPROVAL OF F&GP MINUTES DEFERRED FROM PART I
The Minutes of the F&GP Committee Meeting held on 31st March 2010 were approved as a correct record, and the recommendations therein were also approved with one amendment following discussion by the Members on a staff matter.
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