WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Dave Davies (working), Patrick Donachy (father in hospital),
Keith Nunn (studying), Vinay Vyas (working) and Shabana Zeib (unwell).
For information, the Clerk advised that her father had been rushed into hospital earlier in the day and asked Members to forgive her if she seemed distracted or less organised than usual.
54. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
Councillors Dave Davies and Shabana Zeib were unable to attend, and the Clerk therefore invited nominations for a Member to Chair this meeting.
The Clerk reminded Members that Councillor Davies had agreed to be Chairman for the first six months of the municipal year. A new Chairman would therefore need to come forward at the November meeting. Members were asked to seriously consider this in the interim since the law states that a Council cannot conduct its business without both a Chairman and a Clerk.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Carl Egan take the Chair.
55. APPROVAL OF APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
RESOLVED: That apologies for absence offered in respect of this meeting be approved.
56. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
No Member had an interest to declare.
57. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 13TH SEPTEMBER 2011
The Minutes of the Meeting of 13th September 2011 were approved as a correct record.
58. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
PC Nick Currie reported that there had been a very small number of antisocial behaviour incidents, but the figures for domestic burglary were still elevated and Asian households continued to be targeted for gold. Residents were urged to report any suspicious behaviour. A Police operation would be taking place to target burglary hotspots and leaflets were being distributed. Additional duties would also be put in place for Halloween and bonfire night and the Community Warden Team would be working late shifts to monitor activities.
The three Parish speed monitoring devices were now up and running.
Councillor Davies had asked the Clerk to report drug and prostitution activities at the Golden Cross public house and PC Currie noted this. He advised that a suspected brothel was being operated in Wexham and asked the Councillors and public to let the Police know if they saw anything.
Community Warden Dave Lee reported that he had been working closely with the Police and had also monitored hotspots for fly-tipping, dog fouling, etc. An update was provided regarding the problems at the Edmunds Way garage site. The Clerk had written to SBC asking them to consider removal of the garages in order to resolve the problems. The officer who manages the garage site, Deborah Viljoen, had confirmed that this would be discussed at the next garage strategy meeting.
PC Nick Currie and Dave Lee were thanked for attending the meeting.
59. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Sohal thanked the Clerk for the information she had provided in connection with the clearance of the new Parish land and the lease. He advised that Legal Officer Elizabeth Jenkins had now left, but he had attended a meeting with Michael Condon to discuss the issues. Mr Condon would contact Councillor Sohal with an update and a further meeting would be arranged. The Clerk thanked the Councillor for his help in trying to resolve this problem. He had also arranged a meeting with the Sikh Temple on the 24th September to discuss the ongoing problems with coaches parking in The Frithe.
Councillor Sohal advised that the Rochfords Gardens Community Centre was closing and several groups were therefore seeking alternative venues. A special concession for use of the Parish Hall was requested for a prayer group wishing to meet for one hour on Fridays. The Clerk, as manager of the Hall, clarified the Parish Councilís policy relating to hires but Councillor Sohal asked for the matter to be considered by the Members and it was discussed at some length. The Chairman and Councillor Aldridge re-iterated that there were valid reasons why the policy had been put in place and it could not be altered.
Councillor Haqeeq Dar provided an update regarding the unfinished roundabout at the Broadmark Road junction, which had been raised by the Clerk at the September meeting. He advised that the contractors had gone bankrupt and this is why work hadnít yet been completed. The Clerk thanked him for this update.
The new roundabout at the Shaggy Calf Lane junction had improved the flow of traffic, both at this junction and at the Knolton Way roundabout.
Councillor Hussain advised that the new high kerbs installed by the Borough Council were successfully preventing parking on the verges. He had been giving advice to the local community regarding the steps that could be taken to prevent the local burglaries and theft of Asian gold.
Councillor Malik confirmed that the outside of the overgrown hedges at Wexham Primary School had now been cut back. She enquired about the options in regard to the Edmunds Way garage site and was concerned that the site may be used for housing, although it was noted that the access road would need to be widened if this happened. The Clerk would register an objection on behalf of the Parish to any application for housing that may be submitted for the site.
Councillor Gahir reported that the detached fencing panel at The Cherries had now been replaced. The Clerk confirmed that she had contacted the Parks Officer about this, and had since emailed him to thank him for his help. The Edmunds Way garages had now been secured, following the enquiries made after the recent walkabout, and a Notice had been served on the landlord of the derelict property at 192 Knolton Way further to enquiries made by Councillor Gahir and the Clerk.
Councillors Aldridge and Davies had been monitoring the problem that had occurred with children playing football in Bell Close, and this had now been resolved. Various parking issues had also been monitored.
The Clerk reported the following updates from Councillor Davies:
∑ He had moved on some youths gathering at the Edmunds Way garage site, and recorded his thanks to the Clerk and Ken Wright for their correspondence with SBC regarding the problems at this site.
∑ He had been monitoring activities at The Cherries, which was now becoming quieter due to the darker nights.
∑ He had attended the NALC Conference with Councillor Vyas and they would report on this at the next meeting.
∑ He had contacted Housing and Highways regarding the requested staggered barriers in the Norway Drive/Bell Close alleyway and they had agreed to investigate this.
∑ He had enquired about the requested installation of a box junction at the Knolton Way roundabout and SBC had agreed to investigate this.
∑ He had enquired about the availability of traffic wardens to monitor parking problems on the estate, but was advised that they canít do anything until the yellow lines are in place. A consultation would be taking place soon.
∑ He had contacted SBC to try and obtain a clearer boundary map of the estate for our website but they didnít have a suitable map available. This would be passed to the IT Working Group to make enquiries about obtaining a map from Ordnance Survey, but no members of the working group were in attendance at this meeting.
The Clerk reported updates from Councillor Vyas who had also made enquiries about a junction box at Knolton Way roundabout, and about the use of private CCTV in relation to 58 Norway Drive. Guidance from the Information Commissionerís Office stated that CCTV can be used to protect ones home from burglary, even if a camera is overlooking the street. However, if it is used to monitor harassment, antisocial behaviour or other matters then these must be dealt with under criminal law and it is a matter for the Police.
The Chairman thanked the Clerk for providing these updates.
60. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 31st August and invited questions from Members.
All allotment rents had now been received except for a new tenant who had just been invoiced. The retired allotment manager, Mrs Gale, had now accepted the Councilís offer of goodwill to use her remaining plot free of charge for the remainder of her tenancy. The Clerk enquired whether the OAP rate for new allotment tenancies could be abolished since the full charges were already kept very low. This was agreed.
A training session would take place prior to the next Finance & General Purposes Committee meeting for the benefit of new or existing Members wishing to learn more about the Parish Councilís accounting processes.
The Clerk advised that any Member wishing to propose a project or expenditure for the forthcoming 2012/13 budget should notify her or Tina by the 1st November, as per Standing Order Item No. 59.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for August 2011 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
61. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and no recent objections had been received.
An enquiry had been received from a resident in Knolton Way regarding a neighbourís overhanging trees and rubbish. The new Housing Officer, Lauren Hamilton, had been contacted and had promised to deal with this.
Enquiries had also been received from multiple residents regarding a large tree in Wexham Road that had been allowed to put out suckers over a long period of time and had formed a copse around it. This had been attracting antisocial behaviour and drinking activities and was also blocking the view from the service road junction. The new Tree Officer, Julian Turpin, was contacted and the offending overgrowth had now been removed. The Clerk emailed the Officer to thank him for his help.
Further to continued complaints the Clerk had again contacted Highways regarding the height of the Norway Drive/Almons Way alleyway hedges. She was advised that SBC will not take any further action because the lower part of the pathway was now clear. Councillor Vyas and the Clerk had arranged for the Probation Team to cut back the low growth, but they were unable to tackle the height for health and safety reasons. The Clerk asked the Borough Councillors to get involved in this matter since the hedges were still causing a public nuisance and users of the alleyway felt intimidated by the tall overhanging branches.
62. CONSIDERATION OF QUOTE FOR MAIN HALL FLOOR MAINTENANCE/REPAIR
The Clerk advised that the annual maintenance of the block flooring, which included application of a top-coat of traffic seal, was now overdue. The Councilís flooring specialist had quoted the sum of £1,080 and approval to proceed was requested.
Some damage which had been caused by recent hires was discussed and it was noted that the hirers responsible had been charged for the cost of repairs out of their deposits. Members were asked to decide what remedial action to take, based on the advice given by the specialist, and it was agreed to fill the deeper scratches rather than risk weakening the floor structure by replacing the damaged blocks.
The Clerk also requested that Standing Orders Item No. 86, which related to obtaining three quotes, be rescinded in respect of work carried out by the Councilís ĎPreferred Contractorsí since these were tried and trusted and known to be reliable.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,080 for flooring maintenance be approved.
RESOLVED: That Standing Orders Item No. 86 be rescinded in favour of using Preferred Contractors.
63. ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CHARITY FUNDRAISING EVENT
The Clerk clarified the usual arrangements for this annual event for the benefit of the new Members. She enquired whether the Council wished to hold an event this year, and who would be managing the arrangements. The Finance Clerk offered to contact local companies for prize donations, and Councillor Egan offered to manage the distribution and collection of the raffle tickets. The Clerk would contact the Bowls Club to request use of their premises as previously. The charities who would be receiving the funds raised was also discussed, and the date of the event. Members were asked to try and obtain prizes, and to bring food on the night as before.
RESOLVED: That the said fundraising event be approved, and
a) would take place on the 9th December;
b) proceeds from the event would be equalled by a Parish Council donation and presented to Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust (50%), Blue Cross (25%) and NSPCC (25%);
c) the sum of £200 would be provided for refreshments.
64. APPROVAL OF QUOTE FOR REPLACEMENT FENCING/GATES AT PARISH HALL ENTRANCE
The Clerk advised that the fencing at the front of the building currently included loose barbed wire and was broken down. The sum of £10K had been budgeted for this item. A quote of £6,320 had been received from the Councilís usual contractor for fencing similar to that used at the allotment site. It was suggested that the old gates could be retained to be used elsewhere or sold as scrap.
RESOLVED: That the quote of £6,320 be approved and the work be progressed at the earliest opportunity.
65. CONSIDERATION OF PART-FUNDING FOR REPLACEMENT JOINT BOWLS CLUB FENCING
A request had been received from the Bowls Club to assist them with the cost of replacing the fencing adjoining our properties. This item was deferred pending obtaining a quote.
66. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
A member of the public thanked the Clerk for arranging the Wexham Road tree clearance.
A community member from the Islamic Youth Association raised the matter of use of the Parish Hall for Friday prayer sessions and indicated that the Pavilion Hall would be suitable for their purposes. This item was again discussed at some length. The Clerk and Members reiterated the Councilís policy and advised that the best they could do was to offer a concessionary rate of £25 per hour for a minimum 2-hour booking. It was also agreed that the deposit could be waived as it would be a regular hire. The Association would consider this offer and contact the Clerk.
The Chairman was thanked for a good meeting.
The Meeting closed at 8.55 p.m.
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