WCPC MINUTES

 

 

WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL

 

MINUTES of the MEETING of the COUNCIL held on Tuesday, the

14th September, 2010, at the Parish Hall, Norway Drive, Wexham, Slough.

 

PRESENT:

Councillors Dave Davies (Chairman),

Evelyn Aldridge, Robert Aldridge, Patrick Donachy,

Carl Egan (from 7.45pm), Peter Gerstmann, Tony Haines,

Keith Nunn, and Vinay Vyas (from 9.00pm).

Officers: Dianne Egan (Clerk), Tina Kellett (Finance Clerk).

Borough Councillor Paul Sohal (from 8.40pm).

Member of Neighbourhood Policing Team – Sgt. Jon Moores.

 Community Warden - Dave Lee.

Special guest Ruth Bagley – SBC Executive Officer.

Nine members of the public, including co-option candidates.

 

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:

Councillor Dalip Rajput.

 

 

38.     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST                               

 

No Member had an interest to declare.

 

39.     MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 14TH JULY 2010

 

The Minutes of the Meeting of 14th July 2010 were approved as a correct record. 

 

40.     MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING HELD ON 24TH AUGUST 2010

 

The Minutes of the Special Meeting of 24th August 2010 were approved as a correct record.

 

41.     POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON

 

Sgt. Jon Moores reported that PC Cerrig Shardlow was working with the Armed Robbery Team for a period of three months and would be in touch upon his return.  There were no recent problems to report and the Team had been dealing effectively with antisocial behaviour issues.  The speed awareness signs were also working well.

 

An enquiry had been received about the alcohol exemption area and this was discussed.  It was felt that the new cameras in the area of The Cherries were helping to deter problems there.  The ongoing problem of traffic chaos caused by functions at the Sikh Temple was raised and the Police were asked to assist in preventing coaches from causing obstructions.  Ruth Bagley would ask for SBC staff to attend the area in order to monitor the situation.

 

Community Warden Dave Lee reported that he had been busy dealing with antisocial behaviour issues and patrolling the area.  He had arranged for Notices to be issued to clear fly-tips at garage sites and had been monitoring drinking and motorcycle activity.  He had also been checking for dog-fouling, but only one person had been caught as yet and a verbal warning issued.  A Member enquired about the rules in relation to horse-fouling and the Chairman and Clerk would try to obtain some information on this.

 

42.     SPECIAL ITEM TO WELCOME SBC EXECUTIVE OFFICER RUTH BAGLEY

 

The Chairman introduced Ruth Bagley and invited her to address the Council.  She explained that the purpose of attending the Parish Council meeting was largely to listen and try to understand any concerns.

 

Various items were discussed with Ms Bagley, including the following:

 

·        Issues caused by the Sikh Temple including Sunday parking and control/policing for the annual parades.  It was established that the Police are responsible for traffic management but that SBC make the road closure arrangements for the parades, the costs of which are charged to the organisers.  The Chairman requested the opportunity to sit on the committee that deals with these events.

·        Monitoring of traffic and parking problems on the Wexham Estate and lack of presence of traffic wardens.  This item included the need for enforcement in relation to yellow lines.  The possibility of installing yellow lines in various areas throughout the estate was currently being discussed with the Highways Department.  Ms Bagley agreed that the capacity to enforce parking restrictions was limited.  It was felt that the majority of law-abiding people would comply with the restrictions whilst others would need to be targeted, and the issuing of occasional tickets to offenders would increase the efficacy of overall control.  Furthermore, the employment of further traffic wardens could be self-funded if more tickets were issued.  Sgt. Moores indicated that if specific locations and times could be notified to Kam Hothi then she would arrange for traffic wardens to visit the areas of concern.

·        Lack of recognition of the Parish Council’s status as a Local Authority, particularly in relation to planning issues and approval of certain applications despite our objections.  Ms Bagley stated that she did indeed recognise WCPC’s importance as a Local Authority and was sorry if we felt we were being treated in a dismissive way.  Members were invited to write to her detailing any demonstrable inconsistencies that arose.

·        Notification of local events, roadworks, etc., to enable WCPC to advise our residents accordingly.  It was noted by Ms Bagley that we would appreciate being kept informed.

·        Lack of response/progress in relation to clearance of the new piece of Parish Land and completion of the Lease.  Ms Bagley would chase this up with Michael Condon.

·        Repair of Church Lane/Hillersdon footpath.  It was explained that this was in very poor condition and causing a public hazard, but SBC couldn’t decide who should be responsible for its repair.  Ms Bagley pointed out that the financing of the Borough Council was very complex but she would follow this up with the relevant departments.

·        The Assisted Bin Scheme was not operating efficiently, possibly due to the drivers not consulting the list provided.  This was resulting in special collections having to be arranged for refuse bins that were missed, which was not cost-effective.  Ms Bagley would look into this.

·        More cooperation was needed between the Borough/Parish Councils and the NAG groups in relation to speeding priorities.  It was noted that if 20mph schemes were put in place then other traffic-calming measures such as humps were necessary, but not everybody was accepting of such measures.

 

Having discussed all the above matters with the Members, Ms Bagley requested the opportunity to discuss the forthcoming Census, due in March 2011.  She explained that the 2001 Census had not been very successful and the population count did not accurately reflect the actual population of the town at that time (only around 120,000 had been identified, rather than the estimated total of 150,000).  This had resulted in a lack of funding for Slough, which was ongoing.

 

It was hoped that an accurate address list for the Borough could be obtained, including the properties used for multiple occupancy and occupied outbuildings.  The sum of £1,700 was allocated to the public sector for every person who could be identified by the Census as residing in the area.

 

The Clerk reported that she had been involved in the 2001 Census as an enumerator and she felt that it had been an overall failure due to the problems associated with accurate completion of the forms by residents.  Ms Bagley confirmed that the system had been changed to try and overcome the previous problems.

 

It was noted that houses in multiple occupancy (HMO’s) were considered a particular problem in Wexham Court and Ms Bagley confirmed that SBC was currently in the progress of taking enforcement action in various areas.  The Parish Councillors were asked to identify all local HMO’s so that a list could be compiled by the Clerk.  Details of planning concerns could also be provided for Ms Bagley to investigate.

 

Ms Bagley was thanked for attending the meeting, and she thanked the Parish Council for their invitation.

 

43.     INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS

 

Borough Councillor Paul Sohal apologised for being late due to another meeting.  He reported that a meeting had recently taken place in relation to the hospital parking problems.  This had been attended by Dominic Grieve MP, and Borough Councillors/Officers from SBC, South Bucks and Bucks Councils.  A small group had been set up and the Officers would be looking at various options with a view to agreeing a solution.  A further meeting would take place at the end of the year.

 

The Clerk recorded her thanks to Councillor Sohal for arranging the painting of the step railings in Norway Drive, which were now a much nicer green colour.

 

Councillor Haines reported that he had received notice of the re-surfacing works and ducts for CCTV cabling at the Co-Op roundabout. 

 

Councillor Egan apologised for his late arrival and reported that he had attended the Grass Verge/Traffic Working Group walkabout to identify sites for yellow lines.  He had also been monitoring the traffic at the Moat Drive school site, at which no particular problems had recently been spotted, and had attended the training event in Bracknell.  The Clerk thanked Councillors Egan and Gerstmann for dealing with a resident in Norway Drive caught driving across the recreation area.

 

Councillor Gerstmann reported that the recent traffic meeting with SBC had been disappointing.  He had also attended the Parish Plan meeting; had visited the Allotment Site with the Clerk; and had been involved in preparations for the IT Project with Councillor Nunn.  He recorded his apologies for having to miss the Bracknell training event.  A complaint had been received in relation to earth being dumped on the footpath alongside Khalsa School and the Chairman was looking into this. 

 

Councillor Robert Aldridge had been dealing with some problems in the vicinity of Armstrong House.

 

Councillor Nunn had attended the Bracknell training event and the Clerk recorded her thanks to him for being available at short notice.  He had also been working on the IT Project.  The sytem was now up and running and he would circulate information to all participants.  A training event could also be arranged to address any questions or queries.

 

Councillor Vyas apologised for his late arrival due to a NAG meeting.  He had liaised with a representative of Highways further to the Grass Verge/Traffic Working Group walkabout and costings would be provided for the trial installation of ‘Geogrids’ in the areas identified.  He had also reported the faulty lights in the area of The Frithe garages.  A further verge meeting would be arranged with SBC in due course.

 

Councillor Donachy had attended the verge/traffic meeting at the Town Hall and the Parish Plan meeting, but had been unable to attend the Bracknell training event due to work commitments.

 

The Chairman reported that it had been a busy month and he had been in contact with SBC in connection with various issues.  The training event had been interesting, but the evening had ended with the Clerk having ‘words’ with the multi-storey car park attendant who had refused to allow the Members’ cars to exit due to time restrictions.

 

44.     FINANCIAL REPORT

 

The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statements for the 1st to 30th June and 1st to 31st July and invited questions from Members. 

 

The Annual Return had been successfully completed by the auditors without comment (meaning all was as it should be).  The Finance Clerk was pleased to report that the Bracknell training event had confirmed the efficiency of the Parish Council’s procedures was over and above what was required.

 

RESOLVED: That the Finance Statements for June and July 2010 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.    

 

45.     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 48 Dawes Moor Close, 41 Knolton Way, 2 The Link, 52 Farm Crescent and 70 Norway Drive in respect of which formal letters had been submitted by the Clerk to SBC.  The Clerk was pleased to report that the appeal relating to the proposed development at 24 Bell Close had been dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate.

 

A Planning Committee hearing would be taking place on 16th September in relation to 150 The Normans and the support of Members was requested.

 

Six representatives of WCPC had attended the Bracknell training event and the Clerk reported that it was good to know the Council was carrying out our duties correctly.  Various items were questioned by us during the course of the evening and our knowledge on these matters was also proved correct.

 

The section of fencing/hedging in the Parish amenity field had now been removed as requested by SBC, but no response had yet been received regarding the land clearance.  The Clerk had written to Michael Condon and Elizabeth Jenkins to advise them that the area was now open to public access and would need to be secured in the interests of safety.

 

A letter of thanks had been received from Wexham Bowls Club for the donation made to their Charity Day.

 

Recent inspections and risk assessments had been carried out at the Allotment Site.  A letter had been sent out to all tenants and a skip was provided for them to dispose of the large amounts of unsuitable materials identified therein.  This had been filled within 24 hours and approval was sought to provide a further skip, costing around £250.  This was agreed by a majority show of hands.  It was suggested that a £50 deposit could be charged to new tenants to ensure that they leave plots in good order – the Finance Clerk would look into this to find it if it would be allowed under current Allotment Law.

 

Some complaints had been received in relation to manure deliveries at the site.  One tenant had pointed out that manure contains pathogens, and other complaints had been received about a recent delivey that had resulted in damage to two plots and a tree.  This matter was discussed but it was decided that it would not be practical to ban manure from the site completely.  However, Councillor Egan was asked to try and contact the driver who had caused the damage.  His success in resolving the matter would determine what future arrangements should be made for such deliveries.

 

Several enquiries had recently been made for regular hires at the Parish Hall but the rates were always too high for such groups to afford.  The Clerk requested the permission of the Council to offer a lower rate specifically for regulars, in line with the amount currently charged to the Dohl Drummers on Tuesdays.  This would save the matter having to be repeatedly raised at Council meetings for each individual enquiry.  Permission was granted for the Clerk to offer a reduced rate to regulars at her discretion, subject to a 6-month trial period for any given group.

 

46.     UPDATE RE RECENT WATER LEAK CRISIS AND FORMAL APPROVAL OF REPAIR COSTS

 

A leak in the main water pipe between the outside meter and the Parish Hall had been discovered and urgent work had to be carried out to bypass the leak.  The cost of this was £6,227.  The Finance Clerk was currently dealing with Thames Water regarding the massive water bill which they had indicated would be charged.  In the meantime, the Clerk requested formal approval of the repair costs for the financial records.

 

RESOLVED: That the costs of £6,227 for repair of the Parish Hall water main be approved.

 

47.     CONSIDERATION OF QUOTE RECEIVED FOR PURCHASE OF TWO ADDITIONAL CCTV CAMERAS

 

Due to time restraints this item was deferred to the next F&GP meeting.

 

48.     ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CHARITY FUNDRAISING EVENT

 

Due to time restraints this item was deferred to the next meeting.

 

49.     CO-OPTION OF NEW MEMBER – CANDIDATES’ ADDRESS

 

The recent vacancies had been duly advertised and Electoral Services had confirmed that the Parish Council was free to co-opt.  The Chairman clarified what is expected of a Wexham Court Parish Councillor and stressed that WCPC is non-political. 

 

The four candidates – Harjinder Singh Gahir, Sandra Malik, Keith Simpson and James Vallance – were invited to address the Members.  Voting would take place in a Part II meeting and the candidates would be advised by the Clerk accordingly.  The candidates were invited to put their names forward again in May 2011 if they were unsuccessful on this occasion. 

 

50.     PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

 

There were no questions put by members of the public.

 

Part I of the Meeting closed at 9.50 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.

 

PART II

 

51.     CO-OPTION OF NEW MEMBER - BALLOT

 

RESOLVED: That James Vallance be elected to serve as a Member of Wexham Court Parish Council for the remainder of the electoral period.

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