WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Carl Egan (on holiday), Tony Haines (previous engagement).
Prior to commencement of the proceedings the Chairman welcomed newly elected Wexham Lea Ward Councillor Paul Sohal.
The Chairman announced that Councillor David MacIsaac had indicated that he wished to stand down as a Parish Member. It was unanimously agreed that a 30-day cooling off period would elapse before formal notification of the vacancy was submitted by the Clerk.
1. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
Councillors Dave Davies and Dalip Rajput were nominated for the position of Chairman, and re-election of Councillor Davies was unanimously approved. He duly signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office. It was agreed that each Member would take a turn at chairing a meeting throughout the coming year as part of their Councillor training.
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
No Member had an interest to declare. The Clerk reminded Members that amendments to existing declarations should be notified to her within 28 days of any change.
4. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 13TH APRIL 2010
The Minutes of the Meeting of 13th April 2010 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, and Vinay Vyas be appointed to serve on the Finance & General Purpose Committee for the current Municipal Year, and that those Members on the existing signatory mandate be authorised to continue signing cheques on behalf of the Council.
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. Councillor Gerstmann also indicated that he would like to attend meetings whenever possible, but was unable to become a full member of the Working Group at the current time due to his other commitments.
c) NEWSLETTER WORKING GROUP
RESOLVED: That Councillors Dave Davies, Patrick Donachy, Keith Nunn and the Clerk be appointed to serve on the Newsletter Working Group for the current Municipal Year. The Chairman requested that a Christmas Newsletter be produced this year.
d) GRASS VERGE/TRAFFIC WORKING GROUP
RESOLVED: That Councillors Robert Aldridge, Dave Davies, Patrick Donachy, Carl Egan, Peter Gerstmann and Vinay Vyas be appointed to serve on the Grass Verge/Traffic Working Group for the current Municipal Year.
e) REPRESENTATIVES TO OTHER BODIES Ė BALC AND STANDARDS COMMITTEE
RESOLVED: That Councillors Robert Aldridge, Dave Davies, Patrick Donachy and Dalip Rajput be appointed to represent the Council in matters relating to BALC, depending on the availability of each Member.
Councillor Rajput would also continue to be the Parish Councilís representative on SBCís Standards Committee and Member Services would be notified.
6. DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
RESOLVED: That meetings of Full Council continue to be held on the second Tuesday of each month (except during January and August when Council is in recess), with the exception of the July meeting which would be held on Wednesday the 14th July this year to enable the Officers to be present.
7. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
Community Warden Dave Lee reported that he had been frequently patrolling the area and was continuing to deal with ongoing issues relating to antisocial behaviour, drugs, fly-tipping, and dog fouling. The Chairman advised that dog fouling was still a particular problem on the Parish amenity land. Mr Lee was also asked to patrol The Cherries, particularly at school home-time.
The Community Warden was thanked for his regular presence around the estate which had been noted and was much appreciated.
8. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Ward Councillor Paul Sohal recorded his thanks for the invitation to this meeting. Eleven years had elapsed since his previous involvement as a Member of the Parish Council, and he gave his assurance that he would work with the Members and Officers of WCPC for the benefit of the residents of the area.
Councillor Sohal also expressed his thanks to fellow electoral candidate Ken Wright and wished him well.
He had nothing to report at this time except that Councillors Anderson and Swindlehurst had again been nominated as the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Group. The Chairman advised that the Parish Council would like to invite these Councillors to one of our future meetings to discuss various matters, including the lack of funding received from SBC.
Councillor Rajput reported that he would be attending a further Standards Committee meeting next week.
Councillor Gerstmann reported the following:
∑ He congratulated the Chairman, Clerk, and Newsletter Working Group on the informative Annual Report/Newsletter which had attracted several favourable comments from residents.
∑ He had recently attended the official opening of The Pines care home together with the Clerk and Shirley Moore, whom he thanked for coming along. The Pines also provided a Day Centre dealing with members of the community suffering from confusion, Alzheimerís, and dementia, and Councillor Gerstmann quipped that one or more of these could possibly apply to us all at some level! The Clerk and Mrs Moore had also accompanied Councillor Gerstmann at the Oak House Open Day, where they had found out more about the facilities provided there.
∑ Concern was raised that one of the cottages at the corner of Wexham Road/Church Lane had installed replacement uPVC windows which were not in keeping with the neighbouring cottages. Councillor Gerstmann believed the cottages were listed buildings and asked what steps should be taken to preserve their character. It was suggested that the limitations of such improvements depended on the grading of the property. The Chairman would investigate this further.
∑ Parking on the grass verges at the northern end of the Wexham Road was worsening, including a coach and truck being parked there recently. Councillor Gerstmann had politely asked a person to move their car and in response had received a very interesting suggestion as to what he should do with a certain part of his anatomy! He hadnít received his Parish Council ID badge at the time and hoped that wearing this in future may help. The Chairman would offer advice following the meeting to assist Councillor Gerstmann in dealing with such people.
∑ The overflow parking provided at the hospital was not resolving the problems and hospital employees had now been seen parking in the new Huxley Close, thus suggesting that the problem was continuing to spread.
Councillor Robert Aldridge reported that he had been trying to apprehend a young lad who had been speeding around the estate on a motorbike, and PC Shardlow had been contacted. He had also been monitoring The Cherries Play Area where youths had been causing problems during the upgrade work. He had re-erected the safety fencing that had been taken down and had been chasing kids out of the area in the interests of their safety.
The parking problems in the vicinity of the Sikh School had improved slightly and the roundabout was being kept clear.
Councillor Vyas referred the Probation Service work raised in Item 125 of the April Minutes. Heíd had some good dealings with this service and stated that some of them seemed to be good lads who had got on the wrong side of the law. They were keen to help out on the allotment site but would need to have toilet facilities nearby. This would be discussed again when further information was available.
Councillor Donachy had received two complaints about a skip in the road in Quinbrookes and this had now been moved. It had come to light that the offender owns several houses on the estate and moves various items around between them.
The Chairman had been dealing with planning issues with various residents, and had attended a meeting with the Planning Officers. Some objections had been raised with the new Officer, Mr Johnson. He had also been monitoring The Cherries Play Area and trying to finalise the arrangements for the CCTV coverage. Installation of the new allotment fencing would be commencing during the next week.
9. FINANCIAL REPORT
The March Financial Statement had been approved at the last meeting to enable early completion of the Year End Accounts. The annual VAT reclaim had been submitted.
The Chairman stated that it had been a busy year for the Finance Clerk and recorded the Councilís thanks for all her work.
RESOLVED: That 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 a large extension at 150 The Normans and a formal letter of objection had been submitted.
The Clerk reported that letters of thanks had been sent to The Pines and Oak House care homes for their kind hospitality at the recent open days.
The step railings in Norway Drive were in need of re-painting and the Clerk asked Councillor Sohal if he could try and arrange this with SBC.
A letter of thanks had been received from St Maryís Church for the Parish Councilís recent donation.
Finally, the Clerk expressed her thanks to the Chairman for all his hard work and support throughout the last year and stated that she would be looking forward to working with him in the year ahead. The Chairman responded by expressing his appreciation for all the help he receives from his fellow Councillors and the Officers, with particular thanks to the Clerk who kept everything in order and without whom the Parish Council would not function.
11. CONSIDERATION OF PROPOSAL BY SBC DEPUTY LEADER TO PROVIDE MATCH-FUNDING FOR VERGE PROTECTION MEASURES
Councillor Vyas clarified that the issue of damage to grass verges was raised at a recent meeting with Councillor Swindlehurst and the possibility of match-funding to tackle the problems was discussed. Costings for verge protection measures were to be provided by the Highways Department following a recent estate walkabout to highlight affected areas.
The general view was that the Parish Council could not reasonably be expected to match funding offered by SBC since our budget was a fraction of theirs. Furthermore, this would mean that the people of Wexham Court would be contributing twice whereas other areas that do not have a Parish Council would not be required to do so.
It was agreed that the Grass Verge/Traffic Working Group should investigate the options and discuss an appropriate proportion of annual funding to be proposed to the Borough Council. The costings for a rolling program of grass verge protection measures could then be included in the annual budget, and the Parish Council would be seen to be trying to do something to resolve the problems for the benefit of our residents.
A meeting of the Working Group would take place in the near future to discuss the matter further.
THERE FOLLOWED A PARISH MEETING
TO RECEIVE THE ANNUAL REPORT
12. ANNUAL REPORT
The Annual Report for the year 2009-2010, copies of which had been distributed to each home in the Parish, was formally submitted and approved.
The Chairman commented that his phone hadnít stopped ringing since the Report had gone out. He stated that a great deal of work had been put into it by the Clerk, and she and the Working Group had done an excellent job. The Report had provided lots of information, including giving community groups a chance to have their say. Thanks were recorded to the Councilís Caretaker, Ken Whitehead, and to Connor Aldridge for carrying out the deliveries.
Many favourable comments were being received from members of the public. Councillor Gerstmann advised that several people had asked whether an interim newsletter could be prepared for the benefit of those who donít have Internet access to the Parish Councilís website. The Chairman advised that a newsletter would be distributed in December.
The high quality of the Annual Report/Newsletter and the good comments received in relation to its content had clearly demonstrated that the Parish Council was working well and providing an efficient service for the benefit of our residents.
13. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk reported that the Parish Councilís expenditure had been very carefully controlled throughout the year. There had been no problems whatsoever in producing the annual accounts for the audit which was progressing well. The Annual Return would be presented to Full Council for approval at the June meeting.
The year-end income had been below budget due to loss of some regular hirers. However, the Council had made up for the loss of revenue by reducing costs and was on track to meet its targets.
14. BOROUGH COUNCILLORSí OBSERVATIONS
The Ward Councillors for the 2009/10 Municipal year were not in attendance.
15. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
An ongoing problem with antisocial behaviour at the Edmunds Way garage site was reported. PC Shardlow had been dealing with this and the Chairman and Vice-Chairman would also look into it.
The Chairman thanked everyone for attending this annual meeting of the Council.
The Meeting closed at 8.45 p.m.
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