WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Evelyn Aldridge (on holiday),
Vinay Vyas (attending NAG meeting).
Councillors Tony Haines and Dalip Rajput.
92. APPROVAL OF APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
The Clerk and Chairman explained that it was recommended by NALC to include approval for Members’ apologies as a minuted item. This would provide a formal record of absence for the purpose of the Local Government Act rule which states that a Member can be automatically disqualified after six months if they fail to submit ‘approved excuses’ for non-attendance at meetings of the Council or its Committees.
It was agreed that the following would be accepted as approved excuses:
· Work commitments
· Attendance at another meeting on behalf of the Parish Council.
An item had been included in the revised Standing Orders to reflect this.
RESOLVED: That the apologies for absence offered in respect of this meeting be approved.
93. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
No Member had an interest to declare.
94. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 8TH FEBRUARY 2011
The Minutes of the Meeting of 8th February 2011 were approved as a correct record.
Under matters arising Councillor Sohal confirmed that no decisions had yet been taken regarding use of the Wexham Nursery site by the Sikh Education Trust.
95. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
PC Nick Currie gave apologies for non-attendance of the Policing Team during the last couple of months. This had been due to a review of the Team, which was now at full strength again having been joined by PC Phil Hewitt.
The Police Officers’ recent work in the Wexham Lea area had included the execution of two drug warrants; monitoring of the speed devices; and dealing with issues relating to antisocial behaviour. The duty structure was now being changed to enable the Team to deal with incidents taking place in the early hours. Use of the Parish Hall had been approved for ‘Have Your Say’ meetings on Tuesdays prior to commencement of the Parish Council meetings.
Concerns were raised about school drivers speeding on the estate during the day; antisocial behaviour in The Cherries; a teenager who had been speeding around the estate on a trial bike; and problems being caused by the hospital parking spilling onto the Wexham Estate.
Community Warden Dave Lee reported that he had been patrolling The Cherries and speaking to youths when on duty. However, his shift finished at 8.30pm so he was not available to deal with incidents at night. He had been carrying out an antisocial behaviour survey at random homes and had received a good response. Many residents had reported that incidents tend to be more frequent during the summer months. The Chairman confirmed that residents were being asked to report any incidents to the Police or Community Warden Team to ensure that they are logged.
96. SBC PRESENTATION ON THE 2011/12 BUDGET
The Chairman introduced Julie Evans and invited her to address the Council. Ms Evans explained that she was an SBC Director and that one of her many roles was as Chief Financial Officer. As such, she was responsible for ensuring that the use of Borough Council resources were correct and proper. She was also involved in other operational areas, including the Heart of Slough project.
Booklets were handed out to the Members which provided a summary of the budget document and the full document could be downloaded from the SBC Website. It was explained that, following the change of National Government, proposals had been put forward for radical cuts and the Borough Council had awaited the details of these in order to put a plan in place for their financial strategy. The scale of these cuts was much greater than previously, totalling £25 million per year, and the Council had agreed to put a plan in place rather than draw on its reserves. The cuts had been divided into phases, mainly targeted at support services, and a breakdown of the priorities and allocated savings were clarified by Ms Evans. She pointed out that some difficult decisions had to be made to achieve the required savings. However, funding for projects such as the Heart of Slough had already been secured so these would continue.
Ms Evans was thanked for providing a comprehensive overview and was asked whether SBC would be using some of its assets, such as Wexham Nursery, for development. A list of all Borough Council assets had been published and categorised from ‘A-D’ (D being the category in which assets would be disposed of). Wexham Nursery was being closed due to high running costs but was currently in category A since other organisations were still located at the site. However, this may change depending on the future re-assessment of operational assets.
Borough Councillors would be aware of any changes of classification dealt with by the Scrutiny Committee and the Clerk therefore asked that the Parish Council be kept fully informed by the Wexham Lea Ward Councillors.
The Chairman thanked Ms Evans on behalf of the Parish Council for an interesting and informative presentation.
97. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Borough Councillor Sohal reported that an estate walkabout would be taking place on the 21st March, meeting at Knolton Way Parade at 10.30am. All Members/Officers were invited to attend.
The Boundaries Commission had discussed a review of the Wards. It was found that some Wards had more residents than others so these would be re-balanced.
An appeal had been launched in relation to South Bucks Council’s refusal of planning permission for use of the field opposite the hospital to provide car parking. The Parish Council and residents were invited to comment to the Planning Inspectorate.
Councillor Gerstmann reported that he had received an enquiry in relation to the plans for Wexham Nursery. He would communicate the information received from Julie Evans. He had also attended the recent Parish Walkabout and was continuing to support Councillor Nunn in respect of the WCPC Online arrangements and training.
Councillor Robert Aldridge had received further complaints about vehicles parked on the corners of junctions and damage caused to grass verges during the bad weather. He was trying to deal with the resident’s concerns.
Councillor Egan had seen a person seen leaving the amenity field with suspected traps/cages. He had established the address of the person and would monitor any further such activities.
Councillor Nunn reported that his workload had been quiet apart from the IT training and monitoring of the Intranet service.
The Chairman had been patrolling the estate and he and the Clerk had attended a meeting with Highways Officers in relation to the primary school construction work and damage to nearby verges. They were advised during the meeting that SBC planned to install high kerbs on the school side of Moat Drive to prevent vehicles mounting the footpath and causing a hazard to pedestrians.
St Mary’s Church, Wexham, was organising a Community Fair to take place on the 7th May and WCPC had been invited to prepare a presentation on the work we do in the community. However, it was noted that this date was very close to the elections and Members may not have time to make the necessary preparations.
A meeting of the Grass Verge/Traffic Working Group would be taking place at the Parish Hall on the 12th March at 4pm. A further walkabout would also be taking place prior to this at 2pm. The Clerk would invite the Policing Team and Community Warden.
98. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 31st January and invited questions from Members.
A cheque had now been received from the hirer who had damaged the Parish Hall flooring in full settlement of the costs of repair and associated legal costs. The Council recorded its thanks to the Finance Clerk and the Clerk for resolving this problem. It was also noted that the success of the County Court proceedings would send out a clear message to other hirers that the Parish Council will pursue such matters when necessary.
A meeting of the F&GP Committee would be convened for the 31st March at 7.30pm.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for January 2011 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
99. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had previously circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and various items were discussed. Councillor Haines and the Chairman had been assisting the Clerk in communications with SBC’s Planning Officers relating to the unapproved garage conversion at 39 Farm Crescent.
A recent gas bill had shown that a saving of £853 had been gained against the same period last year and it was felt that this was largely due to the installation of the new heating system controller. If similar winter fuel savings were ongoing then the initial high cost of the controller would soon be compensated.
The Clerk reported that two new regular hirers were now using the Parish Hall and also the WeightWatchers group was now well established. Permission was sought to permit the new Sunday hirer to commence two Ede functions at 9am.
RESOLVED: That the normal Parish Hall opening time of 10am be altered to 9am for the purpose of the two forthcoming Ede functions.
100. REVIEW OF PARISH COUNCIL STANDING ORDERS
The Clerk distributed copies of the draft review of the Standing Orders which would be put forward for approval at the April Meeting of Council. Councillor Nunn recorded his thanks to the Clerk for all her work in carrying out the review, and the Clerk recorded thanks to Councillors Nunn and Vyas for their assistance.
101. APPROVAL FOR COST OF PARISH ELECTION POLL-CARDS
The Chairman clarified that the cost of separate poll-cards in the event that a Parish Council Election becomes necessary would be £1,100.
RESOLVED: That the cost of Parish Council Election Poll-cards be approved.
102. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
A member of the public enquired what was being done to prevent future damage to grass verges. It was explained that this was an ongoing problem but that there was little the Parish Council could do without the support of the Borough Council in dealing with offenders. The Working Group was currently trying to arrange the placement of yellow lines to protect grassed areas and the Clerk commented that we were waiting for Central Government to give Parish Councils the promised powers to deal with such local issues.
The meeting closed at 9.15 p.m.
Click here to return to home page