WCPC MINUTES

 

 

WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL

 

MINUTES of the SPECIAL MEETING of the COUNCIL held on Monday, the

21st January, 2013, at the Parish Hall, Norway Drive, Wexham, Slough.

 

PRESENT:

Councillors Carl Egan (Chairman),

Robert Aldridge, Patrick Donachy, Harjinder Singh Gahir, Munawar Hussain,

Sandra Malik, Paul Sohal, Raja Fayyaz, and Shabana Zeib.

Officers: Dianne Egan (Clerk).

Borough Councillor Haqeeq Dar.

Nine members of the public.

 

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:

Councillor Peter Gerstmann (working) and Vinay Vyas (working).

Tina Kellett (Finance Clerk).

 

 

This Special Meeting had been convened to discuss items included in a meeting requisition from Councillors Fayyaz, Gahir, Hussain, Malik, Sohal and Zeib.

 

113.   APPROVAL OF APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 

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

 

114.   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST & CONSIDERATION OF DISPENSATION APPLICATIONS

 

Councillors Malik and Sohal declared an interest in relation to arrangements for the Parish Land and Lease due to their membership of the borough council.  They were advised that Declaration of Interest and Dispensation forms should have been completed and submitted in accordance with the Code of Conduct.  The Clerk was asked if she had any blank forms available, but she did not.  She was therefore subjected to criticism and questioned as to why blank forms had been printed for the recent item relating to setting of the Budget.  This was because she had been made aware prior to that item that forms would need to be completed by all Members so she took the time to print an adequate amount for the relevant meetings.  It was noted that compliance with this requirement is ordinarily the responsibility of individual Members, hence the blank forms are provided in the Code of Conduct appendices.  The Clerk advised all Members that they should carefully read the Code of Conduct to clarify what is required of them.

 

It was agreed that the necessary forms would be duly completed and submitted to the Clerk following the meeting and, in the meantime, dispensation was granted for the said Members to take part.

 

115.   QUESTIONS RELATING TO AGENDA CONTENT

 

The content of the agenda was questioned since it included public question time and other items which had not been requested by the Members who requisitioned the meeting.  It was suggested that this was a breach of the relevant Standing Order which stated that ďThe summons shall set out the business to be considered at the special meeting and no other business shall be transacted at that meetingď.  The Clerk explained that some items were statutory, and there was no reason why the Chairman could not add additional items to those requested as long as such items were included in the summons.  The Standing Order had indeed been complied with since no items would be considered that had not been included in the summons.

 

116.   CONSIDERATION OF ARRANGEMENTS FOR NEW PARISH LAND LEASE

 

The Members who requisitioned the meeting apologised for having interrupted the recess break because they felt this meeting was urgent.

 

The recent presentation by Mr Rice and his colleagues, in relation to development of the nursery site and potential development of the new Parish Land, was discussed.  The population of Slough had substantially increased and it was noted that it was the responsibility of the borough council to ensure that housing needs are met.  At present an additional 500 houses per year needed to be built.

 

It was agreed in 2007 that the land in question would be leased to the Parish Council, but it was suggested that the Agreement to Lease was not signed.  The Clerk explained the process involved in completing a Lease and advised that WCPC had the document signed by Slough Borough Council.  They should be in possession of the second copy which was duly signed by representatives of the Parish Council.  If they had lost it this was not something that was under the Clerkís control.  The Chairman explained that the land should have been cleared by the borough council following completion of the care homes, but we were still waiting.

 

Councillor Sohal stated that this was a golden opportunity to trade the land for something of cash value.  Councillor Gahir wished to enter into further discussions with SBC in relation to their current offer of £50K plus £15K for improvement works.  Councillor Donachy suggested that this offer alone was inadequate since it did not reflect the value of the land and the large amount that the borough council would stand to make from its sale.  The Chairman and Councillor Aldridge supported this suggestion.

 

Councillor Sohal put forward a formal motion as follows:

 

That Wexham Court Parish Council agrees to rescind the Agreement to Lease land north of Norway Drive, Wexham with Slough Borough Council dated 14 November 2007, subject to Slough Borough Council agreeing the following level of compensation for the Parish Council:

1.     The payment of £50,000 in cash upon completion of the Agreement to Rescind with the Parish Council;

2.     The Agreement to Rescind to describe agreed benefit in kind works to a maximum monetary value of £15,000 and for such work to include measures that will improve the appearance of land leased directly to the Wexham Court Parish Council or within the broader Parish area and for such works to comprise of painting and decoration, fence repairs/replacement, and similar environmental improvement works.

 

This was seconded by Councillor Malik, and Councillor Sohal urged the Parish Council to accept it.  He repeated that the Agreement to Lease was not signed and the Clerk corrected him, having already explained this earlier.  The Chairman and Clerk pointed out that this land was not the personal property of the Councillors but belonged to the public, many of whom had fought alongside the previous Parish Council to protect it.  The Chairman also suggested that the public should be consulted, but this suggestion was rejected.   

 

Councillor Sohal ordered the Clerk to stop interfering, but the Chairman pointed out that he had invited her to speak on this matter since she had been involved in securing all the Parish Leases on behalf of the public.

 

The Clerk asked what action the public could take if they did not agree with the Parish Councilís plans to surrender the land.  Councillor Malik responded by stating a judicial review could be requested.

 

Prior to a vote being recorded on the above motion, Councillor Gahir put forward a formal amendment to the motion, seconded by Councillor Zeib, as follows:

 

That Slough Borough Council pays the Parish Councilís reasonable legal expenses relating to the withdrawal of the Agreement to Lease.

 

The Members present voted by a show of hands and this amendment was unanimously agreed.

 

The Chairman put forward a further amendment to the motion, seconded by Councillor Aldridge, as follows:

 

To extend the existing Leases on the land north of Norway Drive and The Cherries by 99 years, and to include a clause that the said land would be kept for recreational use for the benefit of the people of the Parish.  

 

The Members present voted by a show of hands, 3 for (Councillors Aldridge, Donachy & Egan), and 6 against (Councillors Fayyaz, Gahir, Hussain, Malik, Sohal & Zeib).

 

The Clerk commented that it appeared only three Members felt they had a duty to the people of Wexham.  Councillor Zeib challenged this comment and the Clerk stated that it was just an observation.

 

Councillor Donachy put forward a further amendment to the motion, seconded by Councillor Aldridge, as follows:

 

To request an increase in the cash amount being offered to at least £100K.

 

The Members present voted by a show of hands, 3 for (Councillors Aldridge, Donachy & Egan), and 6 against (Councillors Fayyaz, Gahir, Hussain, Malik, Sohal & Zeib).

 

The Members present then voted by a show of hands in respect of Councillor Sohalís original motion above, as amended, 6 for ((Councillors Fayyaz, Gahir, Hussain, Malik, Sohal & Zeib), and 3 against (Councillors Aldridge, Donachy & Egan).

 

A meeting would be arranged with Mr Rice to further discuss the borough councilís current offer, detailed above, to be attended by all the Working Group Members (Councillors Donachy, Egan, Gahir and Zeib).

 

117.   CONSIDERATION OF RESPONSE FROM THE SLOUGH BOROUGH COUNCILíS OFFICER

 

This item had already been discussed during the previous item.

 

118.   PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

 

One member of the public stated that he had observed the antisocial behaviour taking place on the land in question and congratulated the Parish Council on its decision.

 

Part I of the Meeting closed 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.

 

 

PART II

 

119.   A Part II meeting took place to discuss a confidential item.

  

The Meeting closed at 9.10pm.

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