WCPC MINUTES

 

 

WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL

 

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

13th September, 2011, at the Parish Hall, Norway Drive, Wexham, Slough.

 

PRESENT:

Councillors Dave Davies (Chairman),

Robert Aldridge, Patrick Donachy, Carl Egan, Harjinder Singh Gahir,

Peter Gerstmann, Munawar Hussain, Sandra Malik,

and Vinay Vyas.

Officers: Dianne Egan (Clerk).

Borough Councillors Haqeeq Ashraf Dar and Paul Sohal.

PC Phil Hewitt and PCSO Matt Lynch.

Community Warden Dave Lee.

Six members of the public.

 

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:

Councillors Keith Nunn (on holiday) and Shabana Zeib (unwell).

Tina Kellett (Finance Clerk).

 

 

43.     APPROVAL OF APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 

RESOLVED: That apologies for absence offered in respect of this meeting be approved.

 

44.     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST                                     

 

No Member had an interest to declare.

 

45.     MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 12TH JULY 2011

 

The Minutes of the Meeting of 12th July 2011 were approved as a correct record.

 

46.     POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON

 

Community Warden Dave Lee reported that he had previously been working in the Wexham and Central areas.  However, a colleague had now been designated to Central and this would leave him more time to concentrate on Wexham.

 

He had been dealing with several fly-tipping incidents and felt that this may be largely due to the refuse centres charging for the disposal of some items.  The troublesome areas had been leafleted to advise that fly-tippers would be prosecuted, and also asking residents to report any offenders. 

Activities at The Cherries were being monitored – including teenage gatherings, drinking issues and litter problems – and communication with the students and parents of Wexham School had been effective in reducing some of the problems.  Sgt. Jon Moores had agreed additional patrols to deal with these issues.

 

The Chairman and Councillor Aldridge reported that they had also been dealing with some incidents in connection with fly-tipping and youths at The Cherries.  Complaints had also been received about youths gathering and drinking in other areas of the estate, including Welden and the Edmunds Way garage site, but it was hoped that such incidents would reduce now that the summer season was coming to an end.

 

The Policing Team members apologised for not having attended the estate walkabout, which had been due to a drugs arrest being made shortly beforehand.  Thirteen burglaries had been reported in the Wexham area this month and these were taking place between 11am and 4pm by means of unsecured doors and windows.  The Police were asking the public for their help by ensuring that their properties were secure, and by looking out for two suspected white offenders driving a black mini.  CID and the Priority Crime Team were also looking into the recent incidents of street robbery and burglary of Asian gold jewellery.

 

Apart from the burglaries there had been a steady decline in antisocial behaviour and all other crime in the Wexham area since July.  Additional patrols had been taking place at The Cherries and other areas during the school holidays, to good effect.

 

Parking offenders were being ticketed, and the hospital was trying to encourage staff to car-share or use public transport. It was noted that only certain offences could be ticketed by the Police since SBC had decriminalised some traffic issues.  Following enquiries by the Clerk about the whereabouts of the speed monitoring devices, it was confirmed that two of these were now installed in Norway Drive and Knolton Way and the third would be placed in Wexham Road near the Care Homes.  Speed operations were also being set up in Norway Drive, Uxbridge Road, Church Lane and Wexham Road.

 

The Chairman commented that young drivers were likely to be a problem now that the school term had commenced.  PC Phil Hewitt advised that he had spoken to the Head of Sixth Form regarding a training program for new drivers.

 

Drug dealers in the area were being actively targeted through warrants and the Police advised that warrants could be issued as a result of intelligence from the Parish Council or the public.  This proved effective in reducing the drug issues in the area.

 

The Parish Council was asked to confirm its priorities for the Policing Team during the coming months.  These priorities included burglary, parking/speeding, and drugs.

 

It was noted that the Borough Council failed to make traffic wardens available to patrol the estate despite repeated requests.  Councillor Vyas advised that consultation letters would soon be distributed to residents in relation to the Parish Council’s request for yellow lines, and SBC had confirmed that traffic wardens would be deployed to patrol this.

 

A resident in Norway Drive had installed CCTV to monitor antisocial activities in the Norway Drive/Bell Close alleyway.  The Police advised that there may be restrictions in place regarding the legal use of CCTV on public land and Councillor Vyas would seek clarification on this.

 

PC Phil Hewitt and PCSO Matt Lynch were thanked for attending.

 

47.     INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS

 

Councillor Sohal advised that it had been a quiet month due to Council being in recess, but various matters had come to his attention, as follows: 

 

·       The appeal against the refused planning application had been dismissed and there were no plans to put in a fresh application.  The Borough Council now had two options – to give the land back to the housing tenant, or to extend the property.  Councillor Sohal asked whether WCPC would still have an interest in buying the land.  The Chairman would make further enquiries. 

 

·       The Borough Councillor’s walkabout in March had resulted in footpaths in The Cherries and Prestwood being resurfaced.

 

·       An email had been received from a resident re the fly-tipping of asbestos sheets wrapped in polythene.  Arrangements were made to have these removed and it was suggested that an article could be included in the next newsletter to highlight the dangers of asbestos and the cost of removal.

 

·       A Boundaries Commission meeting had taken place on the 5th September to discuss the boundary changes.  The proposals would be decided at the next SBC meeting.  It was likely that Borderside would be removed from the Wexham Lea Ward.

 

Councillor Haqeeq Dar provided an update on the disused traffic lights at the junction of Shaggy Calf Lane.  It was not considered cost effective to replace the old lights so a temporary roundabout was to be installed.  The Clerk enquired about the roundabout at the Broadmark Road junction, which appeared incomplete as there were still unused pipes hanging out of the crossing points.  However, she was advised that no further work was considered necessary.

 

The Borough Councillors advised that meetings were held between 6-7pm on the last Thursday of each month at Upton Lea Centre, and Members and residents were welcome to come along.

 

Councillor Hussain advised that a serious accident had taken place at the Shaggy Calf Lane junction due to the disused traffic lights.  He had attended The Cherries to liaise with the Probation Team who were painting the fencing.

 

Councillor Malik had attended a walkabout on Monday evening and would contact Wexham Primary School regarding their overgrown hedges.

 

Councillor Gerstmann expressed his thanks to those colleagues who had sent their well-wishes whilst he had been absent.  He reported that he had been appointed  Director and Board Chairman of Wexham Lodge.  He had also attended the Monday walkabout.

 

Councillor Aldridge had been dealing with various issues at The Cherries and Welden and had also been called out to deal with ongoing coach parking problems at the Sikh Temple.  Councillor Sohal would arrange a meeting with the temple to discuss this.

 

Councillor Egan reported the following:

 

·       He had taken a day off work in August to assist the Clerk in supervising the Probation Team work at the allotment site.  It had been a wet day but good progress was made.

 

·       He had spent some time at the weekends strimming back the long grass on one of the vacant plots to prevent the spread of seed onto neighbouring plots. 

 

·       Following the cutting back of the hedges by the Probation Team in the Norway Drive/Almons Way alleyway, he had removed some further brambles and branches to tidy the tall growth that was overhanging the path.

 

·       Arrangements had been made for the Monday evening estate walkabout.

 

·       He had replaced a loose kerbstone in Norway Drive and this now needed cementing in.

 

·       A further day off work and a weekend had been spent removing an old shed for an elderly widowed resident.  The Borough Council would not undertake this task.  Thanks were recorded to Councillor Egan along with Chris Egan, their grandparents, Henry Egan, the Clerk and the resident’s brother-in-law, all of whom helped to dismantle and clear the derelict shed.  The Clerk commented that it was very heavy work and they couldn’t have done it without the help of the ‘heavy mob’ (i.e. Carl & Chris).  The boys had enjoyed getting stuck in with axes and sledge-hammers and everyone who helped had some fun.  The rest of the weekend had been spent clearing the debris from the resident’s garden and removing it to the dump in car-loads… because Slough Borough Council wouldn’t do that either!

 

Councillor Vyas reported the following:

 

·       The Probation Team had been working well and he had been setting up meeting dates with the Team and his colleagues to facilitate the projects that they had taken on at The Cherries, the allotment site and the alleyway.  Volunteers from O2 had also been in contact to arrange some further community work.  The alleyway hedges had been cut back at the sides to allow access to the footpath and Highways were tasked with cutting back the height and billing the occupants.  Councillor Vyas had been advised that the necessary Notices would be sent.  However, the Clerk advised that they had now backed down from this course of action and no further work on the hedges was scheduled to take place, despite ongoing complaints from residents.  The Clerk would chase SBC again as this matter remained unresolved.

 

·       Costings had been obtained for ‘keep off the grass’ signs in relation to enforcing the bylaw and preventing damage of verges by vehicles.  Other parking issues and the placement of yellow lines was also raised and this was passed to the Grass Verge/Traffic Working Group for further discussion.

 

·       The grass-screed pilot scheme had been successful in Almons Way and Members confirmed their approval of Dornels as the next location for this verge protection measure.

 

·       The possibility of installing a cricket area on the Parish amenity land was discussed.  The Chairman and Councillor Aldridge pointed out that previous consultations with residents had prevented such projects taking place since it was felt that it would attract more youths and antisocial behaviour to the area.  The Chairman suggested that Wexham School could be approached with a view to providing access to the facilities that they already have in place.  The possibility of providing coaching sessions could also be investigated.

 

Councillor Donachy had attended a meeting with residents in Bell Close to investigate the problem of children playing football against their property and causing damage.  The issue was ongoing, despite having spoken to the children concerned.  The Police and Community Warden had been consulted and had suggested some ideas to resolve the problem.  The Chairman also offered to deal with it as he had past experience of handling such issues.  The residents who were suffering the problem commented that they had lived in the community for some time but nearby neighbours, some of whom barely spoke English, were not being helpful.

 

Councillor Gahir reported the following:

 

·       He suggested that a more detailed boundary map was needed for the Parish Website as the one available was not very clear.  The Chairman would enquire with SBC to see whether a better map could be provided by them.

 

·       Problems in the vicinity of the Sikh School roundabout were ongoing and this prevented the flow of traffic at school-run times.  He suggested that yellow hatched boxes might help to maintain the flow.  The Chairman and Councillor Vyas offered to look into this.  Councillor Gahir had been visiting the area and speaking to drivers parked on the grass verges.  He suggested approaching the school, but the Chairman and Councillor Aldridge had tried this before and the school didn’t seem to care.  It was hoped that the planned installation of yellow lines would help if wardens could be obtained to ticket offenders.

 

The Chairman reported the following:

 

·       Despite the August recess, he had been inundated with work.  He had been dealing with problems at The Cherries and Edmunds Way garages, and various issues involving both children and adults.

 

·       The Clerk and Chairman had attended a meeting with the manager of The Pines Care Home to discuss their problems with trespassers.  The care home was advised that they are welcome to fill the gaps in the hedge with more hawthorne plants.

 

·       He had attended the allotment site and The Cherries to visit the Probation Team.

 

·       He brought it to the attention of the new Members that WCPC had worked hard in recent years to develop good relations with associated organisations, and that we were well thought of.  He had therefore been disappointed that two Members had cancelled their attendance at the forthcoming NALC Conference.  Members were asked to honour such comittments since failing to attend such events caused extra work for the Clerk and embarrassment to the Parish Council.

 

The Clerk and Chairman provided a brief update on the progress, or lack of progress, re completion of the Lease agreement on the new Parish Land.  SBC’s Officers had promised back in February that we would be contacted to oversee the further clearance work that was required prior to handing over the land.  Nothing further had been heard from them and the Borough Councillors were therefore asked to chase this up on behalf of the Parish.  The Clerk would forward a copy of the Lease Agreement, and various recent emails that had been exchanged, to Councillor Sohal.

 

48.     FINANCIAL REPORT

 

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

 

A Member enquired why the income/expenditure movements showed minus figures.  The Clerk explained that it was normal for expenditure to exceed income and this was why Parish Councils charge a Precept to cover running expenses.

 

Members were advised that the Annual Return had been successfully signed off by the auditors with no problems or queries.

 

RESOLVED: That the Finance Statements for June and July 2011 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.      

 

49.     REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS

 

The Clerk had circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and a letter of objection had been submitted in relation to a development at number 302 Wexham Road. 

 

The Clerk reported that she’d had a busy couple of months – attending various meetings with customers, contractors, and the Chairman amongst other things.  She had also covered the Booking Clerk’s duties during the past two weeks whilst she had been on leave.

 

The second Thursday of each month had been spent working all day with the Probation Team at the allotment site.  Thanks were recorded to her husband, Henry, and her parents, Shirley & Bert for their help on these days, and also to Carl for taking a day off in August to assist.  Thanks were also conveyed to the Chairman and Councillor Gahir for visiting the site, and to Councillor Vyas for making all the arrangements for the Team sessions and green waste collection.

 

The Digital UK Roadshow would be coming to Wexham on the 1st February 2012 to provide information about the digital switchover.

 

The Clerk asked Councillor Sohal whether he had any information about the proposals for a new Sikh secondary school following the petition that had been submitted to Downing Street.  To his knowledge no decision had yet been made regarding a site for this school.  He was asked to keep the Parish Council fully informed.

 

All Working Group Members were reminded that they should be contacting each other and arranging meetings to deal with the matters they were responsible for.  Preparations for the Christmas Newsletter would need to be underway soon.

 

50.     ITEMS 8 AND 10 OF THE AGENDA (MAIN HALL FLOOR MAINTENANCE AND CHRISTMAS CHARITY FUNDRAISING EVENT) WERE DEFERRED TO THE NEXT MEETING OF COUNCIL DUE TO TIME CONSTRAINTS.

 

51.     CONSIDERATION OF QUOTES FOR ALLOTMENT DITCHING MAINTENANCE

 

The Clerk advised that arrangements had been made for the ditching clearance, with the Council’s regular contractors, at the beginning of October.  This work was urgent as it was a requirement of the Environment Agency, and the cost was £1,250 on this occasion due to the badly overgrown state of the ditching.  Members were invited to visit the site with the Clerk to take a look.

 

At a recent meeting with the contractor he had suggested fitting a membrane along the sides of the ditch to help prevent weed re-growth.  Alternative measures were also discussed such as sand-bagging/cementing or installation of a drain tube.  These measures were considered and it was agreed that the membrane would be the most cost effective and appropriate.  The quote for this was £1,430.  Some Members raised concerns about the life-expectancy of the membrane material, and whether it was likely to reduce the future costs of clearance.  The Clerk and Chairman would enquire about this and would only proceed if they considered these concerns were addressed.

 

RESOLVED: That the sums of £1,250 for ditching clearance and £1,430 for installation of the membrane be approved.

 

52.     PROPOSAL TO INCLUDE OFFICERS ON BANK SIGNATORY MANDATES

 

The Chairman explained the problems that had been experienced with bank account management because the banks refused to discuss any matters with the Officers.  This was due to the fact that they were not signatories on the accounts and bank policy therefore prevented them from obtaining any information relating to banking matters.

 

This item was discussed and a Member required an assurance that the Officers would not be signing any cheques.  Members were advised that an item had already been put in place in the Standing Orders, following advice from BALC, to ensure that the signing of cheques by the Officers was not permitted.

 

RESOLVED: That the Clerk and Finance Clerk be included on the revised bank signatory mandates. 

 

53.     PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

 

The residents who had been having problems with children playing football thanked the Council for the help they had received so far.  They also raised the issue of motorcycles using the alleyway at high speed, and suggested that maybe staggered railings at the Norway Drive and Mansel Close entrances would control the flow.  It was agreed that this was a good idea and the Chairman would make enquiries.

 

Councillor Vyas was thanked by a resident for arranging the replacement of a missing drain cover in the parking area outside numbers 2-8 Norway Drive.

 

A further complaint was received about the height of the alleyway hedges and the Clerk would be writing to SBC again in this regard.

 

The Meeting closed at 9.50 p.m.

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