WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Patrick Donachy (father in hospital), Munawar Hussain
(attending religious event), Keith Nunn (studying), and Vinay Vyas (working).
PC Nick Currie.
67. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
Councillor Davies reminded Members that he had agreed to be Chairman for the first six months of the municipal year and nominations for a new Chairman were invited. Councillor Egan volunteered to take on the role and was duly elected.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Carl Egan take the Chair for the remainder of the municipal year.
68. APPROVAL OF APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
RESOLVED: That apologies for absence offered in respect of this meeting be approved.
69. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
No Member had an interest to declare.
70. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 11TH OCTOBER 2011
The Minutes of the Meeting of 11th October 2011 were approved as a correct record.
71. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
It had been reported in the local Press that there had been some issues with youths in the area of Knolton Way shops and The Cherries. Community Warden Dave Lee advised that a door-knocking exercise would be taking place in that area the following day to consult with the local residents, and all Members were asked to assist.
Additional Police & Warden patrols had been arranged for the Halloween and firework night activities. There had been no problems except for one isolated incident involving a youth who had thrown a bottle. The Chairman advised that he had dealt with some youths letting off fireworks in the tennis courts and they had moved on.
Councillor Zeib mentioned that the Festival of Fireworks had also taken place, and the Clerk commented that the lighting of candles would be preferable to fireworks as an appropriate way of celebrating Diwali - the Festival of Light. Councillor Aldridge raised his concerns that the fireworks for Diwali had continued into the early hours and questioned the legality of this. Dave Lee confirmed that they should stop by 11pm, and suggested that posters should be on display at places of sale advising the times when they can be used. Councillor Davies advised that New Year’s Eve was the only exception to this time restriction.
Regular patrolling of The Cherries and the shopping parade was ongoing. It was noted that the new fast food shop was attracting the majority of problems in the area, as had been predicted by the Parish Council when objections were originally raised to the food shop.
72. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Sohal thanked the new Chairman for taking on the role and wished him well.
Users of the Rochfords Gardens Community Centre had been given three months notice of its closure and all eight groups had now been relocated. Slough Borough Council had agreed to assist them with their rent.
A letter had been sent to the resident at 18 Norway Drive regarding the Norway Drive/Almons Way alleyway hedge. The Clerk advised that the hedge on the other side of the alleyway (16 Norway Drive) also needed cutting and Councillor Sohal would therefore follow this up.
A new Legal Officer had not yet been appointed by SBC to deal with the Parish Council Lease arrangements. Councillor Sohal advised that SBC were currently reviewing their assets with a view to identifying areas for development, and he would arrange a meeting in due course. The Clerk pointed out that the Parish Land was not an available asset since a formal Agreement for Lease was awaiting completion, and Councillor Davies advised that clearance of the land was still required.
Councillor Haqeeq Dar advised that First Buses were planning to remove some bus services from Wexham, to which the Borough Councillors were objecting, and a meeting would be arranged with the company to discuss this.
A letter had been received regarding plans for a new exotic club in George Green. Councillor Dar requested the support of the Parish Council in objecting to this establishment, which was situated on our border and would affect our area. Wexham Parish Council were also working hard to prevent the opening of this club. Councillor Gerstmann offered to contact the Clerk of Wexham Parish to enquire about details of the planning application, and also to raise his concerns about the poor state of footpaths in the area. The Clerk was asked to submit an objection once the details of the application were received.
Councillor Dar also reported that he had contacted Wexham Primary School to resolve the problem of late-night light pollution from their new buildings.
Councillor Malik had received an email from Trevor Allen regarding damage to the grass verges opposite Wexham Post Office. South Bucks Council and the Hospital were doing nothing to resolve the parking problems in this area, and use of Wexham Nursery or The Park was suggested as a solution. Councillors Aldridge and Davies explained that these problems had been ongoing for years but South Bucks Council were not willing to cooperate with the Slough Borough or Parish Councils. Trevor Allen had been trying to deal with the issues and would be happy for Wexham Court Parish Council to contact him. Councillor Dar advised that yellow lines were going to be installed in Stoke Poges and this may result in increased traffic problems in the Wexham area.
Councillor Gahir advised that he had attended the last hospital meeting and it was confirmed that no money/resources were available to deal with verge protection. Funding for the hospital bus service was obtained from the car park income and was therefore not passed on to the tax-payer.
Councillor Gerstmann had been speaking to a resident about the Bucks/Berks boundary and it had been suggested that it would be beneficial to move the boundary to the far side of Wexham Road so that SBC could deal with the traffic problems. Councillor Davies offered to discuss this with James Swindlehurst.
It was noted that the speed monitoring device on Wexham Road was not displaying a speed until vehicles were very close. Councillor Gerstmann would contact the Neighbourhood Policing Team about this with a view to having the device adjusted.
Members were advised that Data Protection crime was to become an imprisonable offence. Persons on the Electoral Role had previously been able to opt-out of the edited register. However, opting-out would now be required every year and would not automatically be carried forward. Failure to opt-out could result in annoying junk mail since companies could purchase elector’s information. This was of particular concern in relation to the elderly and vulnerable who may not realise they are required to request removal from the edited register. The Chairman suggested that an article could be included in the next newsletter to explain this to local residents.
Councillor Zeib advised that she had become seriously ill and very weak during the summer months but was now recovering. She had missed the Eid celebrations to attend this meeting and explain, and this was the fist time she had been well enough to leave her house. Councillor Zeib recorded her thanks to Councillor Sohal for his support and for visiting her during her illness. The Clerk commented that she and the Chairman had also visited.
Councillor Gahir reported that the public notice board was missing from Knolton Way Shopping Parade and was advised that this belonged to the Policing Team. He suggested that more notice boards should be erected for public information. The Clerk advised that she could include an item on the Agenda if he would like to obtain quotes. Additional dog fouling signs were also suggested and Councillor Gahir offered to provide information in relation to dog notice laminates. Councillor Davies would contact Environmental Health to request more signs from SBC.
The IT Working Group was asked to make enquiries relating to purchase of a Wexham Court boundary map for the Parish Website. The Clerk would send information to Councillor Zeib in this regard.
Councillor Aldridge reported that he had been dealing with youths in the area of the shops and had spoken to PCSO Richard Kulaga regarding a camera wire that had been cut. Councillor Davies explained that the contract for the camera system remained unfulfilled and Councillor Aldridge would try to arrange a meeting with PCSO Kulaga to discuss this.
Councillor Davies had attended the recent NALC Conference with Councillor Vyas. They felt that the event wasn’t very well organised this year, and that one day wasn’t long enough to enjoy the full benefit of the event. Nevertheless some interesting information had been obtained including recent changes to Employment Law; updates re the new powers to be granted to Parish Councils; and the provision of young trees from a Government funded charity organisation. Councillor Davies pointed out that Parish Councils would not be obliged to take on additional local services but would be able to do so if they wished – including the power to revoke licenses for clubs!
Councillor Davies also reported that he had been supervising the recent allotment ditching clearance work with the Clerk, as per the instructions from the Environment Agency. He and the Clerk had also carried out a recent estate drive-about, during which they had investigated several issues including the development of a mosque at a previously residential house at 9 The Frithe. This had been reported to SBC, and to Environmental Health due to the concreted front and rear gardens under which asbestos had been buried. He had also been dealing with other minor issues with kids around the estate.
It was noted that a salt bin had been delivered outside the Parish Hall gates without any prior notification, and this could prove useful for the car park assuming residents refrain from emptying it before the snow arrives.
Councillor Davies confirmed that he was happy to attend the Remembrance Sunday Service as usual and other Members were welcome to attend. He had been speaking to SBC regarding the maintenance of war memorials in Slough as some repairs and cleaning were needed. The 1928 Law stated that Local Authorities were responsible for the upkeep of such memorials.
Councillor Gahir raised the need for a recording device at Parish Council meetings and asked for an update on this. Councillor Davies would forward the information to the Clerk so that an item could be placed on the Agenda.
The Chairman had dealt with the youths letting off fireworks in the tennis courts and had also spoken to the resident at 16 Norway Drive regarding his overgrown hedge. The resident stated that he intended to resolve this issue and the Chairman offered his help in doing so.
The Clerk recorded her thanks to Councillor Sohal for his help in dealing with a resident complaint on Diwali night. This related to vehicles that were parked on the large green verges by the Sikh School in Wexham Road. When the Clerk had phoned Councillor Sohal suggested calling the Police. The Borough Councillors were therefore asked to enquire about the possibility of SBC returning the appropriate powers to the Police to deal with such issues.
73. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 30th September and invited questions from Members.
The Clerk reminded Members that a training session would take place prior to the next Finance & General Purposes Committee meeting, which was moved to the 8th December so that she could attend.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for September 2011 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
74. 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 respect of an application in Mansel Close.
The Bowls Club had confirmed the use of their premises for the forthcoming fundraising event.
An email had been received asking whether we would like to include any items on the agenda for an SBC/Parish Council Forum Meeting. Members indicated that this should include hospital parking issues; dog fouling; and abuse of grass verges.
The Clerk felt that it was a matter of concern that no meetings of any of the Working Groups had taken place since the election in May, and she reminded the Members of the groups that it is their responsibility to convene meetings and report back to Full Council. There were various matters outstanding that needed to be dealt with and the lack of recent meetings did not reflect well on the reputation of the Parish Council.
Thanks were recorded to Councillor Davies for the great working relationship that the Clerk had enjoyed with him as Chairman. Councillor Davies thanked the staff and his fellow Members for their assistance, and stated that the Parish Council as a whole works as a team and its success depends on this.
75. APPROVAL OF QUOTES FOR ALLOTMENT STREAMSIDE FENCING AND VACANT PLOT CLEARANCE
The Chairman and Councillor Davies clarified the need for streamside fencing now that the ditching clearance had been completed and the stream was exposed. It was felt that this was a health & safety matter and the quote of £960 from the Council’s usual fencing contractor was discussed. The project was approved by a vote of four with three abstentions.
Clearance of the two overgrown vacant plots was also discussed, but it was decided that further expenditure on the allotment site could not be justified. The Clerk would ask the Probation Team to consider clearing the overgrowth on their monthly visits.
RESOLVED: That the quote of £960 for streamside fencing be approved.
76. CONSIDERATION OF PART-FUNDING FOR REPLACEMENT OF ADJOINING BOWLS CLUB FENCING
Councillor Davies declared an interest in this matter due to his full membership of the Bowls Club.
The recent request from the Bowls Club to assist them with the cost of replacing the adjoining fencing was discussed at length. A quote of £4,330 had now been received. It was agreed that any amount offered would include a proviso that future maintenance of the fence would remain the responsibility of the Bowls Club and would not set a precedent in respect of any other projects for which funds may be requested.
The granting of either a lump sum or a loan towards the cost was considered.
RESOLVED: By a vote of four, with three abstentions from Councillors Davies, Gahir and Zeib, that the sum of £1,000 would be offered towards the cost of the replacement fencing as quoted OR the granting of an interest-free loan for part of the cost. This item to be further considered by the F&GP Committee and reported back to Full Council once a response had been received from the Bowls Club.
77. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
A member of the public enquired about the possibility of parking restrictions in various areas on the estate and it was confirmed that the Parish Council was following this up.
The Meeting closed at 9.55 p.m.
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