WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Robert Aldridge (unwell), Keith Nunn (studying),
and Vinay Vyas (bereavement).
Borough Councillor Haqeeq Dar.
Councillor Munawar Hussain.
39. APPROVAL OF APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
The frequent absence of Councillors Hussain and Nunn was questioned. The Clerk advised that she was in regular contact with Councillor Nunn and that he continued to offer the benefit of his advice in relation to any IT matters that arose. However, she would contact him to enquire when he was likely to return from his university studies. The Chairman would approach Councillor Hussain to ascertain why he had not been attending meetings and whether there was any reason preventing him from carrying out his duty as a Parish Councillor.
RESOLVED: That apologies for absence offered in respect of this meeting from Councillors Aldridge, Nunn and Vyas be approved.
40. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor Zeib declared an interest in relation to an item she would be raising under information reports.
41. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 12TH JUNE 2012
The Minutes of the Meeting of 12th June 2012 were approved as a correct record following a minor amendment in relation to an information item.
42. MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING HELD ON 5TH JULY 2012
The Minutes of the Special Meeting of 5th July 2012 were approved as a correct record following minor amendments in relation to two information items.
A Member considered that an inappropriate comment had been made at the previous meeting, but noted that it had not been minuted. The general content of minutes was discussed and the Clerk clarified the legal requirements, and those of the Council.
Under matters arising the Clerk reported that she had contacted Brett Aggregates in regard to complaints received about lack of consultation for the proposed gravel extraction site. The Senior Planning Manager had confirmed that all nearby homes had been leafleted; an advert had been placed in the local Press; a public exhibition had taken place; and a site notice would be erected when a planning application was submitted. It was therefore considered that sufficient consultation actions had indeed been put in place.
The wording of the disclaimer to be included in the new Members’ headed letters was discussed and agreed.
43. POLICE AND COMMUNITY WARDEN LIAISON
Members of the Policing Team and Community Warden Team were unable to attend due to being busy with arrangements for the Olympic Torch Relay.
The Clerk reported that Richard Palacio had now moved on and Diane Viechweg had returned as Community Warden Team Leader for this area following her maternity leave.
Michelle Hewitt had provided the following updates:
· Requests had been submitted to Highways re the overgrown hedges at Sheehy Way, Quinbrookes and Farm Crescent.
· A response was awaited from the Housing Officer re the overgrown shrubs at the junction of Hillersdon/Church Lane.
· Ian Coventry was looking into the removal of the camp site on the land near Wexham Lodge.
· The additional dog bins requested along the Wexham Road would be considered when funding was available.
· Part of the fly-tipping at The Normans garage site was being removed, and notices were being served on the privately owned garage area to remove their waste.
· It was confirmed that there was no Council legislation to force property owners to cut back overgrowth in their gardens and such issues were therefore a civil matter. (The Chairman and Councillor Vyas offered to follow up the case in Knolton Way to try and offer some assistance to the affected elderly neighbour.)
44. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor Sohal had approached the Deputy Leader to discuss planning issues raised by the Parish Council and he would be happy to attend a meeting. Members were assured that objections submitted to local planning applications were given due consideration. It was agreed that a Special Meeting should be convened to allow sufficient time to discuss the various issues with Councillor Swindlehurst.
The derelict property in Dawes Moor Close had been investigated. The current address of the owner could not be identified, and it was noted that no Council Tax was being paid. A notice had been served on the property in relation to tidying up the overgrown gardens.
The problems with the local bus services had been taken up with the Commissioner and this would be raised at his next meeting.
A meeting with the Deputy Head of Wexham School had taken place regarding a recent parking issue on the Norway Drive verges. This had been due to a school open day. Traffic wardens had attended and issued tickets. The school apologised and stated that they would approach the Clerk to request use of the Parish Hall car park in future.
Councillor Sohal had registered his interest in the current Parish Council vacancy.
Councillor Zeib advised that a family member had submitted a letter in regard to the way in which the matter of an illegal verge crossing at her property had been handled. The matter was being dealt with, but she felt that it would have been more appropriate to approach her direct. The Clerk did not deem it necessary for the Councillor to formally register an interest in this matter since it only related to information.
An overgrown tree was causing problems at the rear of 182 Knolton Way and the Community Wardens were dealing with this.
Councillor Gerstmann advised that he had watched, with interest, a Channel 4 news item relating to a bank mandate fraud scam. The Clerk commented that the Parish Council’s banks had very strict policies in regard to their mandates and general banking practices. Indeed it had often proved impossible for even the Clerk and Finance Clerk to obtain necessary information from them!
It had been noted that there was a fallen tree on the verge of Wexham Road near the junction with Norway Drive. The Clerk explained that this had been knocked down by a speeding vehicle and she was trying to arrange its removal.
Councillor Gerstmann had attended various recent meetings and, together with Councillor Vyas and the Clerk, had attended a hirer appeal relating to recent damage to electrical sockets at the hall. The decision to retain the associated repair cost from the hirer’s deposit was upheld and the Clerk had sent a final letter to the hirer in accordance with the Committee’s instructions. The Clerk recorded her thanks to the two Councillors for their support in this matter.
Councillor Malik reported that she had been called to four different houses in Dawes Moor Close with complaints about a troublesome neighbour. The Police had been made aware of the matter.
The new roundabout at the junction of Wexham Road and Shaggy Calf Lane was now permanent and some alterations would be made in due course, including raising the central island.
Councillor Gahir had been monitoring speed problems in The Frithe and it was suggested that one of the speed monitoring devices on the estate could be relocated to The Frithe.
An update was requested in relation to The Cherries CCTV system. The Finance Clerk advised that a final demand had been issued but no response had been received. It was unanimously agreed that a CCJ should be progressed, and it was suggested that the Police should be notified. If no response to a CCJ was forthcoming then the use of bailiffs may need to be considered. Councillor Gahir offered to approach the shopkeepers with a view to one of them housing a new system if and when the funds for the missing system were recovered.
An enquiry about the new Ward Councillor’s budget was raised and Councillor Sohal confirmed that this was controlled by the Deputy Leader and applications for funding should be submitted to him.
The Clerk was asked how the Agendas for meetings were prepared and this was clarified.
Councillor Donachy had been looking at the possibilities for grass verge protection and commented that enforcement of the Bylaws was needed. The Clerk clarified the Parish Council’s efforts to achieve this over many years and it was agreed that this item, along with planning issues and funding for local projects, should be raised with Councillor Swindlehurst at the meeting to be arranged with him.
In regard to the recent problem of parking tickets being issued to disabled residents, Councillor Donachy had been advised that cases may be reconsidered if the affected persons presented their blue badges to the Borough Council.
Councillor Vyas had requested that all Members take part in a door-knocking exercise in relation to consulting nearby residents about the proposed new play area. It was agreed that this would take place on the 21st July from 5pm.
The Chairman had been attending various committee meetings and dealing with resident enquiries, including a follow‑up visit to the resident in Wexham Road whose neighbour’s garden was overgrown. The front hedge had now been cut back and this was a good initial result.
RESOLVED: That the necessary cost to issue a County Court Judgement in relation to the CCTV system, estimated to be in the region of £125, be approved.
45. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 31st May and invited questions from Members.
The Annual Accounts had been submitted to the external auditors following approval by Full Council.
A further question was raised about the blanking out of salary details on the finance statements and this was again clarified. Details could be provided at F&GP meetings at the request of Members but, in accordance with the Data Protection Act, the copying or taking away of such documents or details from meetings could not be permitted.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for May 2012 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
46. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had previously circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and no objections had been raised this month. The use of 9 The Frithe as a prayer centre was ongoing and the Clerk asked Members to follow this up. Councillor Malik offered to speak to Councillor Sohal regarding the matter.
All Members were reminded to submit feedback at www.georgegreen-rage.org.uk re local objections to the proposed gravel extraction site. The Clerk sought permission to submit a formal objection when the planning application was submitted and this was agreed.
Permission to co-opt a new Member to fill the current vacancy had now been received from Electoral Services and the co-option would be included on the September Agenda.
No available Members had come forward to attend the recent Forum Meeting. The Clerk stressed the importance of the Parish being represented at these meetings to raise important local issues. She also stressed the importance of attending training events, to which some Members had also failed to respond, and pointed out that it is the duty of Parish Councillors to be equipped to represent their residents.
Due to time constraints the Clerk very briefly outlined the requirement to introduce a new Code of Conduct in accordance with the Localism Act 2011. She requested that a sub-committee or working group be urgently established to consider the content of a draft document, and further details would be provided to all Members when this was distributed. The completed document would be put forward for Full Council approval at the September meeting.
Training on the new Code of Conduct would be provided by SBC’s Democratic Services in due course and attendance at this training would be mandatory for all Members in accordance with Standing Orders Item 36(b).
47. CONSIDERATION OF DONATION TO WEXHAM BOWLS CLUB CHARITY DAY EVENT
The Chairman and Clerk clarified that £50 is normally donated to this annual event, and the Bowls Club reciprocated by permitting the use of their clubhouse for our annual Christmas charity event.
This year’s Charity Day would be taking place on 27th August from 1pm and all Members were invited to visit the Club to watch the games and enjoy a social drink. The Chairman was asked to present the trophy that had been provided by the Parish Council as usual.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £50 be approved for donation to Wexham Bowls Club’s Charity Day.
48. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
Retired Councillor Dave Davies expressed his thanks to Councillor Sohal for dealing with the recent school parking problem. He advised that traffic wardens had subsequently visited the area and issued further tickets.
Mr Davies provided an update in regard to 9 The Frithe which he had previously investigated. He had sent photographs to the Planning Department and Environmental Health and had established that no planning permission was in place for use of the house as a prayer centre. The front and back gardens had been completed concreted over and it was reported that asbestos had been buried beneath the concrete in the back garden. This matter needed to be followed up by the current Parish Councillors.
Part I of the Meeting closed at 10.00 p.m. and it was Resolved that, in view of the nature of the business about to be transacted, it was advisable in the public interest that the Press and Public be temporarily excluded, and they were instructed to withdraw.
49. ADDRESS BY THE CHAIRMAN
The Chairman had convened a Part II meeting to discuss an item relating to continued good relations with the Officers and the need to publicly support them in the course of their formal duties.
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