WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
Four members of the public.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Bryan Corps, Gavin Hemming, and Dalip Rajput.
19. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
No Member had an interest to declare.
20. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 9TH MAY 2006
The Minutes of the Meeting of 9th May 2006 were approved as a correct record.
Councillor MacIsaac reported that the accumulation of green waste bags raised at the last meeting had now been collected. Damaged verges in Quinbrookes had now been repaired and the residents duly charged. The additional refuse bins required for multiple occupation houses had not yet been provided, but this would be followed up. The issues of tax, environmental health and fire regulations in respect of landlords of multiple occupation properties had been reported to the relevant authorities and planning applications made by a particular landlord who owned a large number of properties in Wexham were now being refused.
Councillor Rajput was unable to attend the meeting but had notified the Clerk that he would attend the next meeting to provide an update regarding the possible purchase of CCTV cameras.
The Chairman had chased up the sweeping of the parking area at 2-10 Norway Drive and was awaiting a response from the Housing Officer. Councillor Davies provided an update in regard to the purchase of the Chairman’s Badge of Office, which had now been ordered. The trophy purchased for Wexham School, which had not been available at the previous meeting, was now on display.
21. POLICE LIAISON
Community Warden, Chris Spencer, was introduced and welcomed to the meeting.
PC Shardlow reported that shortages of staff had made this a difficult month, during which he had been removed from his beat duties to other areas. He had raised his concerns with the Sergeant and Inspector, and had subsequently returned to the Wexham beat. He noted that the incidence of graffiti had increased in his absence and members of the public had enquired of his whereabouts. Three mini-motos had been seized during the last week and a fourth was being targeted.
Chris Spencer clarified his role in the community and commented on the recent estate inspection that he had carried out with Members and the Clerk, who had recorded the event on the Parish Council’s website. He explained that he covered a large area and had rarely been seen in Wexham because no calls had been received to highlight any problems. His powers as a Community Warden were now increasing and he would be dealing with matters such as dog fouling, litter and drinking in public, together with other areas of anti-social behaviour.
The Chairman raised the issue of parking on verges and footpaths and was advised that this, and the possibility of issuing on-the-spot fines, was still under consultation. Parking Watch Wardens would be employed to deal with this.
A resident complained that inconsiderate drivers were endangering the schoolchildren in Moat Drive and PC Shardlow agreed to check this out. Overgrown hedges around the school perimeter were obscuring the footpaths thus forcing pedestrians to walk in the road. Councillor MacIsaac had contacted the school regarding this problem and had received confirmation that the hedges would be cut back.
22. INFORMATION REPORTS
Councillor Cheryl Hemming reported that road resurfacing in Farm Crescent would be commencing 23rd June and verge protection measures were to be installed. Environmental Health were now dealing with the problem of refuse in the gardens of No.s 19 & 27. Some of this refuse had been moved to No. 39 and burned, causing a nuisance to neighbouring residents. All of the properties involved were owned by the same landlord, as mentioned in Item 20 above. Councillor Hemming had also arranged for a glass recycling bell to be installed in the Parish Hall car park. She had experienced communication problems with some Borough Council Officers, as had the Clerk and other Members.
Councillor Robert Aldridge raised his concerns in respect of a large development in Knolton Way and the Clerk would provide information to Members about the related planning application.
Councillor Davies provided an update on the renovation of The Cherries Play Area which had now commenced. Some problems had arisen regarding the positioning of the new items and a meeting had been arranged with Kompan’s Contracts Manager to discuss this and other issues. An official letter of complaint would also be submitted to the company. Councillor Davies had also been dealing with the problem bonfires in Farm Crescent, and keeping a check on the parking problems in Quinbrookes.
Councillor MacIsaac reported that he had been enjoying his mayoral duties and would strive to improve the image of Slough whilst in this role. He was continuing to deal with graffiti problems and to carry out his other usual duties as a Parish Councillor. He reported that the organisers of the new Sikh School had asked for a meeting to be arranged with the Parish Council.
Councillor MacIsaac also reported that a letter had been received by Gillian Ralph, Borough Council Officer, appealing against the decision to refuse an access road on the green fronting the properties at 58-68 Norway Drive. The Chairman asked that he remind the Officer that a compromise was offered but no response to this had been received. One of the landlords had asked for Councillor Khan’s support in this matter, but he refused on the grounds that the landlord does not actually live in the property. It was generally felt that the access road was wanted purely for financial gain and therefore both the Parish and Borough Councillors would continue to object. Councillor Davies asked that a meeting be held to discuss this issue with Gillian Ralph, and Councillor MacIsaac would arrange this.
The Borough Councillors had recently been consulted regarding the blueprint plans for the elderly care home in Wexham. A consultation meeting would be taking place with the Parish Council during July and arrangements for the lease of the remaining land could be negotiated. There were still various planning processes to undergo before a decision would be reached, and the design was still under negotiation, but the plans would be finalised before the end of the municipal year. The Chairman stated that promises to the Parish Council had not been kept and Members were therefore very wary of the Borough Council’s handling of this matter. Councillor Davies stated that various meetings had been attended over the last couple of years, but the promise to keep the Parish Council informed had been repeatedly broken. It was made clear that Members were prepared for a fight should it become necessary.
Councillor Robert Aldridge questioned the percentage of the land that would be given to the Parish. Councillor MacIsaac stated that it would be more than 20%, and apologised for his previous mistake in indicating that it would be 80%.
Councillor Haines reported that strong objections were being raised in regard to planning applications involving large extensions and conversions to flats. This was mainly due to the associated problems with saturated parking, and the need to maintain the existing character of the estate including the provision of family housing and open spaces. The Chairman stated that Planning Inspectors appear to do nothing to control local development problems and they would do well to adopt the same strict standards as the neighbouring Bucks authority. He was advised that Planning Officers would carry out checks on individual developments if complaints were received. A meeting would be arranged between the Parish Council and the Head of Development Control to discuss such planning issues, including the Local Development Plan.
The Chairman had previously prepared a written report and this was circulated to Members and to the public attending the meeting. He also asked PC Shardlow to deal with some vehicles that had been speeding, and others that were suspected of drug dealing on the estate.
23. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 30th April and invited questions from Members. The Chairman noted that the budget for ‘Miscellaneous Donations/Trophies’ had been overspent due to the recent purchase of trophies for the local schools and Bowls Club. The Clerk suggested a separate heading in the Finance Statements for such one-off items that had been approved by Council and this was agreed.
All VAT for the last three years had now been reclaimed from Customs & Excise after providing the requested clarification.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for April 2006 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
24. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had previously circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and various items were discussed. Objections had been raised to applications at 168 Knolton Way and 36 Berryfield. An application at 128 Norway Drive, to which the Parish Council had objected, had now been refused.
The Main Hall curtains had now been collected but the Clerk did not consider it wise to hang these until the forthcoming work at the Hall, including electrical work and flooring renovation, had been completed.
A letter had been received from SBC regarding the future use of local garage sites, some of which had been marked for development to provide social housing. It was felt that these garage sites should be kept as flat parking areas since their loss would exascerbate the existing shortage of available parking on the estate. If lighting could be improved they would be better utilised.
The Clerk reminded Members that updates to Declarations of Interest should be notified to her within 28 days of any change. Councillor MacIsaac asked for it to be noted that he had recently become a magistrate.
The Clerk closed by conveying her congratulations to Councillor MacIsaac on his appointment as Mayor of the Borough of Slough.
25. BOROUGH COUNCILLOR REPORTS
Councillors Haines and MacIsaac had included matters relating to the Borough in their Parish reports above. Councillor Khan notified the Clerk that Catherine Edwards, who had now replaced Dugald Miller as the contact in regard to the elderly people’s care home, would be writing to her in the near future with an update.
26. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
The Chairman invited members of the public to put their questions to Members. Concerns were raised regarding the fate of the trees aligning Wexham Road when the new Sikh School is built. Councillor MacIsaac confirmed that some would need to be removed and some would be replaced. The promoters of the school were keen to liaise with community groups to ensure good relations.
A resident stated that she could no longer be proud of Slough and was now ashamed that many parks and open spaces had become neglected and dirty. She questioned where the electorate’s money was going and complained that, although people talk about various things, nothing seems to happen. Councillor MacIsaac responded by stating that there are still a lot of good things about Slough, but a reduction in Government funding had made it difficult for the Borough Council to achieve all that they would like to. In addition, some local powers had been removed by Central Government.
The Meeting closed at 9.00 p.m.
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