WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Evelyn Aldridge (unwell), Carl Egan (on holiday)
and Tony Haines (attending NAG meeting).
Borough Councillor Paul Sohal.
28. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
No Member had an interest to declare.
29. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 8TH JUNE 2010
The Minutes of the Meeting of 8th June 2010 were approved as a correct record.
In relation to Item 22 the Chairman, Councillor Haines and the Clerk had attended an on-site meeting with Elizabeth Jenkins and Michael Condon on 30th June to discuss clearance of the new Parish land and completion of the Lease. Mr Condon agreed to provide a plan detailing the areas to be cleared and those to be retained for plant/wildlife conservation. A section of fencing/hedge adjoining the existing Parish land and the new area would need to be removed to allow access for clearance and maintenance vehicles.
In relation to Item 25, the Chairman and Clerk had attended an on-site meeting with Bill Farmer on 18th June to make arrangements for removal of a tree at The Cherries. Other matters had also been raised with him including pruning of the hawthorne trees bordering the allotment site, and dealing with some residents’ overgrown hedges.
30. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
The Chairman and Clerk had recently attended an estate walkabout with Community Warden Dave Lee, who continued to be active around the estate. He had asked Members to let him know if any matters arise that they would like him to deal with.
31. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Nunn reported that an IT Reform meeting had taken place on 30th June to further discuss the possibility of his proposals. The Clerk thanked him and Councillor Gerstmann for all the work they had been undertaking in exploring this. They were currently carrying out trials and a review would take place later in the year.
Councillor Vyas was continuing to liaise with SBC on behalf of the Grass Verge/Traffic Working Group. It was reported that SBC were now proposing to fund verge protection measures, but that WCPC may still contribute to enforcement costs. A meeting would be arranged to discuss this and possible dates were considered.
Councillor Vyas and the Chairman had attended the CCB Annual Conference which had included a ‘Connecting Communities in Berkshire’ workshop. They had discussed the possibility of a Parish Plan with CCB’s Tim Parry, who had offered to provide further information. It was agreed that a Special Meeting would be convened.
Councillor Donachy had been asked by residents to make enquiries with the Neighbourhood Police re the exclusion zone at the shops. It had been reported that persons drinking alcohol in the area were not being apprehended by the Police.
Councillor Gerstmann commented on the progress made at the IT Reform meeting, and had been assisting Councillor Nunn in bouncing ideas back and forth. He had been approached by a GP wishing to set up a practice at Wexham House to serve the estate. He had also been approached again by the resident in Berryfield trying to acquire a disabled parking bay. The resident also raised various other matters including littering by youths in Quinbrookes, intimidation of young people by older youths, and building materials stacked against her rear fence.
Councillor Robert Aldridge had been monitoring activities in relation to drinking in Church Lane, and raised his concerns about sharp cans cut by the mowers.
The Chairman reported that it had been another busy month for him which included the aforesaid meetings with the Clerk and representatives of SBC; the walkabout with Dave Lee; attendance at the CCB Conference and the IT Reform meeting; and dealing with various residents’ issues. He and the Clerk had also been following up necessary repairs to a footpath between Church Lane and Hillersdon and the Housing/Highways Departments were currently debating whose responsibility this should be.
32. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 31st May and invited questions from Members. A Member questioned the contribution recently paid to the Finance Clerk towards the purchase of glasses and this was clarified by the Clerk and Chairman.
A transfer of funds had been made from the Alliance & Leicester savings account to the NatWest current account to cover forthcoming bills.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for May 2010 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
33. 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 150 The Normans, 42 Farm Crescent and 52 Farm Crescent in respect of which formal letters had been submitted by the Clerk to SBC. The Chairman had been following up the unapproved conversion to flats in Quinbrookes and would also check on the enforcement progress relating to 35 Hillersdon.
An SBC/Parish Councils Forum Meeting was scheduled to take place on 22nd July, which several Members offered to attend if they were available. The Clerk would send the details/agenda to those Members for their information.
A training event for Councillors would be taking place in Bracknell on 9th September and the Clerk recommended attendance by all available Members/Officers. Further details would be sent as information came to hand.
34. CONSIDERATION OF DONATION TO BOWLS CLUB CHARITY DAY
The Chairman had been invited to attend the Bowls Club Charity Day to present the Parish Council trophy to the winning bowler. It was customary for a donation to be made and this was opened to discussion.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £50 be donated to the Bowls Club in support of their charity event.
35. CONSIDERATION OF QUOTATION RECEIVED FOR REMOVAL OF FENCING/HEDGING TO ALLOW ACCESS TO NEW LEASED LAND
As discussed in Item 29 above, a section of fencing/hedge would need to be removed between the existing Parish land and the new area to allow access for the clearance vehicles. A quote in the sum of £1,450 had been obtained from the Council’s regular contractors and this was discussed. It was proposed that a 20 metre section be removed since this would open up and increase visibility into the new area which may help to avoid possible antisocial behaviour.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,450 be approved for the necessary fencing/hedge removal.
36. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
A member of the public questioned the opening up and clearance of the new area of land, claiming that residents were promised the land as a wild area for dog-walking.
The Chairman clarified the history of the Parish Council’s attempts to preserve the land as a village green, the prevention of the Borough Council’s plans to build a vast amount of social housing on the site, and the eventual agreement to build the elderly care homes as a more favourable alternative.
It was stressed that the primary purpose of the Parish amenity land is not for dog-walking, but rather to provide a green area for all residents for recreational activities. A recent inspection had identified that the new piece of land is currently dangerous due to the presence of building materials and uneven ground, but was home to various wildlife and wild flowers. The Parish Council was therefore trying to work out a compromise solution to clear some parts of it for pedestrian access whilst retaining other parts for wildlife conservation.
The member of the public stated that he and fellow residents had fought to keep the land and that he considered gates would be required to stop motorbikes from entering the area. The Chairman responded by pointing out that the majority of the work in relation to fighting the Village Green Enquiry was undertaken by himself, retired Councillor Henry Egan, and the Clerk. The additional cost of installing gates at the entrance to the area could not be justified just for the purpose of keeping motorbikes out, or dogs in. He also pointed out that the Parish Council needs to make the necessary arrangements for completion of the lease to prevent the land from being lost to the Borough Council for further development.
A resident raised concerns about drinking activities in The Cherries. The Chairman advised that CCTV coverage of the area had been arranged and would soon be installed. A Member suggested that the Police do not spend sufficient time patrolling the area, which has been highlighted several times as a hotspot for antisocial behaviour.
The Meeting closed at 8.50 p.m.
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