WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillor Keith Nunn (studying).
Borough Councillor Paul Sohal.
Community Warden Dave Lee.
Councillors Munawar Hussain, and Shabana Zeib.
As this was the last Meeting of Council before Christmas, all present were invited to help themselves to the mince pies and refreshments provided.
Prior to commencement of statutory Council business the Chairman invited Councillor Davies to make a statement since he had to leave the meeting for his night shift. He raised his concerns about the lack of communication by several of the Members. He wished to make clear the importance of Members responding to correspondence from other Councillors and the Officers, without which it was difficult for the Council to function, and Members should be aware that being a Councillor requires more than attending a meeting once a month. Getting out and about and being seen is also part of the role.
He also pointed out that only two Members (the Chairman and Councillor Aldridge) had attended the Charity Fundraising Event and that this lack of support for a formal Parish Council function was not acceptable. He considered that those Members who were unable to carry out their roles needed to review their position with the Parish Council.
78. APPROVAL OF APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
RESOLVED: That apologies for absence offered in respect of this meeting be approved.
79. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
No Member had an interest to declare.
80. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 8TH NOVEMBER 2011
One amendment was made to Item 71 of the Minutes of the Meeting of 8th November 2011, in relation to the law governing use of fireworks, and they were subsequently approved as a correct record.
An update on the changes to local bus services was requested and it was confirmed that no service was now provided from the estate to the hospital. Complaints had been received but the bus company was not listening. It was noted that the service had been generally poor even prior to these cut-backs and it was felt that the fines imposed on the company for being late may have contributed to the need for further cuts. The lack of an efficient service was also causing more people to use their cars, thus making the hospital parking problems worse.
An update was also requested in relation to the CCTV at The Cherries and Knolton Way Parade. It was reported that the system was no longer in operation due to the launderette where it was housed being closed. Councillor Davies and the Clerk were still awaiting a meeting with PCSO Richard Kulaga to discuss why a fully operational system had never been handed over to the Parish Council despite payment having been made to him back in 2010.
81. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 8TH DECEMBER 2011
The Minutes of the F&GP Meeting of 8th December 2011 were approved as a correct record and the recommendations of the F&GP Committee therein, including the 2012/13 Budget and Precept, were also approved.
Councillor Vyas requested an update re the funding available to progress a Parish Plan. It had been agreed that the sum of £2K would initially be budgeted to hold a community event in the hope of attracting local interest. If this proved to be a success then a further sum would be budgeted during the next financial year.
In relation to verge protection measures, it was felt that the Borough Council should be contributing. Councillor Vyas advised that this was still a possibility and he would enquire about part-funding for the grasscrete installation at Dornels. Councillor Gerstmann suggested that we should get the message across to our community that the Parish Council had done the necessary work to identify verge protection needs, and we should not let SBC take all the glory. An article could be included in the Annual Report to this effect.
82. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
New PCSO Barnaby Skinner introduced himself and provided a report on the recent activities of the Neighbourhood Policing Team. They were continuing to patrol the routes from Wexham School to the shops, when available, and had been in contact with the grocers. Parents of several key troublemakers had been spoken to and this had been effective in reducing incidents. ‘Operation Spider’ had been successful in dealing with thefts of Asian gold from local properties. This also included ‘Operation Capital’ which consisted of increased patrols in key areas where crime was prevalent, together with leafleting and crime prevention advice. However, it was confirmed that burglary in the Wexham Court area had increased and thefts of gold during the day was still a problem. It was suspected that Travellers, Romanians and Mexican communities could be involved and the Police were continuing to monitor the matter. They would respond quickly to a ‘burglary in process’, including the use of helicopters to apprehend suspects.
The problems experienced with mopeds in Bell Close and Mansel Close were also being addressed. A questionnaire had been circulated to residents, headed by Esther Deacon, to establish the size of the problem and four youths had already been cautioned. The Clerk enquired about the request for staggered barriers to be installed in the alleyway and PCSO Skinner advised that the results of the questionnaire response was awaited so that necessary measures could be considered. An enquiry was also raised about the use of CCTV by a Norway Drive resident and this was clarified.
The Chairman thanked PCSO Skinner for his report.
83. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
It was noted that a license for the proposed exotic club, Pandoras, in George Green had been refused following many objections from various sources.
Councillor Dar reported that the Sikh Temple were submitting a petition against the installation of double yellow lines in The Frithe. They had assumed that the lines were only being proposed due to their activities and they therefore felt they were being victimised. It was stressed that yellow lines were being installed in various other areas as well, primarily in the interests of verge protection. The Clerk enquired about the possibility of the Temple using the vacant garage site and Councillor Dar would look into this. Councillor Gerstmann suggested that when the increased devolution of power to Parish Councils takes place we could consider employing our own traffic warden to deal with local parking issues.
Councillor Dar also reported that a new library had now opened at Upton Lea Centre.
Councillor Donachy expressed his thanks to all his colleagues who had sent messages of sympathy to him and his mother following his father’s recent death.
Councillor Gerstmann reported the following:
· He had contacted PC Nick Currie regarding adjustment of the speed monitoring device on Wexham Road and this had been quickly resolved.
· He wrote to the Clerk of Wexham Parish Council, Angela Galvin, regarding the Five Rivers site and concerns about the poor state of nearby footpaths. Mrs Galvin confirmed that his comments would be passed on to their Chairman. A meeting with the Chairman would be arranged when Councillor Gerstmann returns from his forthcoming trip abroad.
· Complaints had been received about the lack of buses in The Frithe.
· He had attended the recent walkabout to identify areas needing verge protection.
· During the parking restrictions consultation he had met with residents in The Frithe to discuss the proposals. One of the households felt that the yellow lines would adversely affect them.
· He suggested that Section 106 funds could be obtained if The Frithe garage site is developed.
The Chairman reported that the Charity Fundraising Event had been a good evening and a total of £926 was raised. Letters of thanks had been sent out by the Clerk to all supporters of the event. Councillor Aldridge and the Clerk were thanked for their help and support, and also members of the Bowls Club who assisted, but the lack of attendance by the other Members had been disappointing. The Chairman and Clerk had also attended the Mayor’s Christmas Celebration earlier in the evening so it had been a busy night overall.
The Chairman and Clerk had also attended the recent walkabout, and frequently carried out inspections of the estate either on foot or by bicycle/car.
Councillor Vyas had also been involved with the walkabout and had been liaising with SBC regarding the recent consultation and verge protection measures, and quotes for the installation of grasscrete in the areas identified.
Councillor Aldridge had been trying to obtain information about the CCTV system for The Cherries. He raised his concerns that school traffic in the area of Knolton Way and the shops had increased due to the problem being moved from Church Lane since the high kerbs were installed.
84. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 31st October and invited questions from Members.
The Clerk had attended a meeting with Enterprise re weekly refuse removal from the Parish Hall bins, following which the Finance Clerk had contacted SITA for a more competitive quote than the rates currently offered. The Officers would consider the offers received and choose the one that proved most appropriate in due course.
Eon were also offering a discount for a duel-fuel contract and the Finance Clerk would obtain further information.
The Finance Clerk was thanked for her informative training session which took place prior to the recent F&GP Meeting.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for October 2011 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
85. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications but no recent objections had been necessary. However, serious concerns had been raised about a property at 9 The Frithe which it was suspected would be used as a prayer centre. Councillor Dar offered to check this with Building Control.
The streamside fencing at the allotment site had now been completed and the Parish Hall fencing project would be commencing as soon as weather permitted.
86. CONSULTATION RE INSTALLATION OF PLAY EQUIPMENT DUE TO OFFER OF AVAILABLE FUNDING
Councillor Vyas reported that a meeting had taken place with Alison Hibbert and Megan Hurley in relation to Section 106 funds of £25-30K that were available for play equipment or related activities in Wexham. A consultation was proposed, which Megan would be happy to carry out as she was experienced in such matters.
The Clerk assured Members that she and Councillor Davies had expressed their shock at the sudden appearance of Section 106 funds which had previously been denied. She also pointed out that there had been a very negative response from residents to a previous consultation for a new games area.
Councillor Aldridge suggested that the new piece of Parish land could be used, or that new equipment could be spread out over the amenity land to prevent youngsters congregating in one small space. Councillor Dar pointed out that recreational areas can attract criminal activity if they are not clearly visible.
It was agreed that the consultation could go ahead and the matter would be considered further once the results were received.
87. CONSIDERATION OF SUMMER 2012 COMMUNITY EVENT RELATING TO CONSULTATION ON PARISH PLAN
Councillor Vyas proposed that a community event take place to attract interest in a Parish Plan. He advised that such an event had been held in Manor Park for the last two years and was becoming increasingly successful. It was stressed that when events become regular they tend to attract more local residents.
All Parish Council Members would need to be involved since there would be too much work for a small group to deal with.
Councillor Gerstmann commented that the recent parking restriction consultation had shown that the right approach, and ensuring that the matter is of direct relevance, could encourage people to take an interest. Residents had confirmed that it was the easy means of response offered by the Parish Council that had attracted their attention to the consultation.
It was suggested that a written consultation could be carried out initially to enquire whether residents would be interested in a community event or a Parish Plan.
It was agreed that a door-knocking exercise and delivery of an appropriate consultation form would take place during 2012, with a view to progressing a community event in 2013 if the response was favourable.
88. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
There were no public questions. The Chairman wished everyone a Merry Christmas.
The Meeting closed at 9.50 p.m.
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