WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Raja Fayyaz (abroad), and Munawar Hussain (personal problems).
68. APPROVAL OF APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
RESOLVED: That apologies for absence offered in respect of this meeting be approved.
69. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillors Malik and Sohal declared an interest in relation to their roles as Borough Councillors.
70. CONSIDERATION OF DISPENSATION APPLICATIONS RELATING TO THE CODE OF CONDUCT
No applications were submitted.
71. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 9TH JULY 2013
The Minutes of the Meeting of 9th July 2013 were approved as a correct record.
72. MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING HELD ON 25TH JULY 2013
The Minutes of the Special Meeting held on 25th July 2013 were approved as a correct record.
73. MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING HELD ON 13TH AUGUST 2013
The Minutes of the Special Meeting held on 13th August 2013 were approved as a correct record.
74. VISIT BY MARTIN MALLIA, SBC OFFICER, RE PARKING ISSUES
Mr Mallia had been invited to speak with a view to addressing the parking issues in Norway Drive. A petition had been received from residents requesting a permit scheme for the properties at the western end of the road where no vehicular access could be installed. Mr Mallia explained that such a scheme could only be implemented for the whole road, and not for specific houses. The Parish Councillors would give this further consideration.
Members were also advised that a Pavement Parking Policy was being rolled out and was already proving to be successful in Central Ward. This was monitored with the use of camera cars, and was also intended to deal with parking on grass verges.
Mr Mallia was thanked for attending.
75. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
A community group of ladies requested a concessionary rate for regular use of the Parish Hall. The Clerk would email the details to Members for consideration.
76. POLICE LIAISON
No Police officers were in attendance.
77. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
The following items were reported/discussed:
· Complaints had been received about the volume of learner drivers around the estate and lack of proper supervision by the driving instructors.
· A young driver had frequently been seen jumping red traffic lights in the area.
· It was suggested that the Knolton Way shops service road and Moat Drive should be one-way to enable more efficient movement of traffic. Pavement bollards were also suggested for safety reasons. Councillor Dar would approach Savio de Cruz to investigate this.
78. FINANCIAL REPORT
The RFO submitted the Financial Statements for 1st to 30th June and 1st to 31st July.
The RFO reported her observations of the role of the Booking Clerk, which she had been covering during a period of holiday leave. Calls from customers had been received at all hours including weekends, which had been intrusive, and hirers could be very demanding. Potential hall hirers paid no attention to the given times for contacting the Booking Clerk. The RFO felt that the Council needed to lift some of the restrictions placed on the Booking Clerk and empower her to use her own judgement when taking bookings and enquiries. Greater flexibility would enable her to carry out her role more efficiently. The terms and conditions of hire also needed to be reviewed since the high deposit was deterring hirers.
It was noted that the current arrangements for payment of the Booking Clerk’s telephone expenses were part of her employment package. The Booking Clerk had confirmed that her personal calls were always deducted from her expense claim. It was suggested that the supply of a dedicated mobile phone would provide one permanent number for use by whoever was taking bookings/enquiries, from which a response could be obtained at the appropriate times.
The RFO reported that the Council’s new cheque signing procedure and lack of permitted signatories was causing problems and not allowing her to carry out her duties efficiently. Councillors Aldridge and Egan stressed that they were not consulted about the new arrangements and that, since they were still on the bank mandate, they were still included as available signatories. Councillor Donachy agreed that the understanding was that all existing signatories should be included until such time as the mandate was updated.
The currently restricted amount of ten cheques per month had proved insufficient, and it was not cost-effective for the RFO to have to increase her travel costs and working hours to obtain further cheques as necessary. In order to resolve this problem it was agreed that the RFO would be provided with a maximum of twenty-five cheques at any given time.
Allotment invoices had now been distributed and payments were being received.
An enquiry had been received from the Police Inspector asking whether the Council wished to pursue an official complaint against PCSO Kulaga. The Clerk explained that no complaint had been submitted to the Police, and the matter of the funds owing for the CCTV was being settled independently. It was agreed that no official complaint would be pursued.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statements for June and July 2013 be approved, and authority be given for up to a maximum of 25 cheques to be signed.
79. ELECTION COSTS
Councillor Malik advised that the requested election would incur further substantial costs to the Parish. The residents who signed the election request were individually named by Councillor Malik as those responsible for these costs. Councillor Aldridge pointed out that residents had a right to request an election, and that costs were only incurred if it was contested.
80. PETITION AGAINST REMOVAL OF NORWAY DRIVE HEDGE
A petition had been received from all residents who would be adversely affected by the removal of a substantial section of hedge from the Norway Drive amenity land boundary, for the purpose of increasing visibility of the new play area. Councillor Egan pointed out that no consultation with residents had taken place in this regard. Councillor Sohal stated that the arrangements for the play area had been approved. The petition was noted without further discussion.
81. PLAY AREA UPDATE
The terms for the new play area were discussed and an on-site meeting with the contractors would be taking place on the 13th September.
82. HALL KEYS USED BY WEXHAM SCHOOL AND POLICE
The Clerk was asked to contact the school and Policing Team to request return of the keys in their possession.
Purchase of a key safe for the hall was discussed, the cost of which was estimated to be no more than £20-30. The Clerk advised that all expenditure must be included on an Agenda with the statutory notice. A Member wished it minuted that the Clerk would not break the law, and the Clerk was happy to note this.
It was suggested that this item could be approved under Item 27 on the current Agenda – Approval of Cost of Hall Keys. The Clerk agreed that it could be approved as an item relating to this.
83. SECURITY CAMERAS
The roll-over of the Parish Hall CCTV contracts was discussed and Councillor Allen offered to seek advice on this matter. Confusion arose in regard to who was responsible for agreeing the original contracts and the Clerks were accused by Councillor Malik of being ‘devious’, to which they objected most strongly. The contracts had been agreed by the Councillors at that time.
84. SOLICITOR’S FEES
The Community Governance Review Committee had recommended that the Parish Council seek legal advice in regard to employment matters and it was proposed that a sum of £2,000 be approved for this. The RFO pointed out that there was no provision in the budget for this and was therefore asked to move the necessary amount from another budget item.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £2,000 be approved for solicitor’s fees in relation to employment matters.
85. CONTRACTS WITH OUTSIDE BODIES
The RFO was asked to supply a list of all contracts, including information about renewals and the Bowls Club lease.
86. BENCHES OUTSIDE KOLA COURT
It was noted that elderly residents at Kola Court often congregated on the grass verge.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,000 be approved to provide benches outside Kola Court, to include any potential ground rental fees.
87. CHRISTMAS GET-TOGETHER
This item was discussed and it was agreed that the customary support for the Annual Christmas Charity Fundraising Event would be donated direct to charity. A get-together could not be funded out of public money.
88. AGE CONCERN
Use of the Parish Hall as an Age Concern meeting centre three times per week was discussed. The estimated costs for these events would be considered by the hall bookings working group.
89. PARISH GOVERNANCE REVIEW
The results of the initial consultation and the recommendations of the Community Governance Review Committee were discussed. Previous Chairman, Councillor Carl Egan, was criticised for attending the review’s Chairman’s meeting with the Clerk. Councillor Malik commented, “We don’t take our mummies with us!”. Councillor Egan responded that he had chosen to be accompanied by the Clerk to the Council, this being normal practice.
Members agreed that a community hub was needed and a working group would be set up to look at the facilities that could be provided in Wexham Court. The Clerk advised that the Parish Council had requested the use of Wexham House when it became vacant, but the borough council had refused. The Parish Hall facilities needed to be updated, including investigating the possibility of installing a lift. The RFO would obtain a quote for installation of a platform lift to the first floor.
The Community Hub Working Group would consist of Councillors Allen, Donachy, Egan, Sohal and Zeib. A meeting was arranged for the 16th September.
90. ALLOTMENT GATE
A quote in the sum of £1,300 had been obtained by Councillor Gahir for installation of a rear gate at the allotment site. The Clerk noted that there was no evidence that allotment tenants were in favour of this. Councillor Donachy offered to obtain a letter from a majority of tenants in support of the proposal.
91. COMMISSIONER INFORMATION
This item was deferred due to time constraints.
92. ANNUAL MAIN HALL FLOORING MAINTENANCE
This item was deferred due to time constraints. The Clerk briefly pointed out that the flooring maintenance was now very much overdue and the wooden block flooring was likely to suffer permanent damage from water seepage due to not being adequately sealed. The resulting costs incurred could be in the region of £20K+, plus compensation to hirers if bookings had to be cancelled at short notice.
93. APPROVAL OF COST OF ADDITIONAL INSURANCE FOR PLAY AREA
RESOLVED: That the sum of £311.17 be approved. (Noted that this was a part-year and would thus be increased at next renewal).
94. APPROVAL OF COST OF HALL KEYS
RESOLVED: That the sum of £53.50 be approved for duplicate hall keys, plus the purchase of a key box in the region of £20-30 for secure storage of keys at the premises.
95. CONSIDERATION OF ANNUAL DONATION TO WEXHAM BOWLS CLUB CHARITY DAY
The customary support for this annual event was withdrawn by the current Council.
96. CONSIDERATION OF CCTV ARRANGEMENTS
This item had been discussed in Item 83 above.
97. REPORT OF THE CLERK
Deferred due to time constraints.
98. PART II ITEMS
Deferred due to time constraints.
The Meeting closed at 10.30 p.m.
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