WHEATLEY PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL
HELD ON MONDAY 2nd NOVEMBER 2015 IN THE MERRY BELLS HALL AT 7.30PM
PRESENT: Councillors: J Carr (Chairman), R Bell, P Hood, A Davies, T Davies,
A Walkey, S Coleridge, P Willmott, P Gregory, P Bignell,
G Birks, R Reilly, I Roberts and T Newman
OFFICERS: Gareth Morris, Clerk to the Parish Council
Also present: County Councillor Anne Purse, Mr P Hood (Internal Auditor to Wheatley Parish Council) and 7 members of the public
In the absence of the Chairman, Cllr G Stephens, the Vice-Chairman, Cllr J Carr, chaired the meeting.
78. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE had been received from Cllr Stephens
79. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – Cllr Carr declared an interest in Item 8 on the Agenda (the development of 51 houses on London Road)
80. MINUTES of the meeting of the Parish Council meeting held on 7th September 2015 which have been circulated previously were signed as a correct and accurate record
81. UPDATE from the minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Monday 7th September 2015
i) Minute 61(i) Request from the Village Produce Association to plant a cherry tree in the Church Road Recreation Ground rather than the Memorial Gardens. The Parish Council AGREED to this. The F&GP Committee to decide the details.
82. TO AGREE TO APPOINT MR PHILLIP HOOD AS THE INTERNAL AUDITOR AND SIGN HIS LETTER OF ENGAGEMENT.
The Chairman welcomed Mr Hood to the meeting.
Mr Hood referred Councillors to two publications, “The Governance and Accountability for Local Councils – March 2014”. [There is a copy on the Parish Office] and the “Good Councillors Guide”. [Each Councillor has been given a copy]
These publications lay down the responsibilities that all councillors should cover and address. The audit that he carries out is a robust testing and enquiries procedure to see that the council is carrying out its responsibilities. There are two ‘Musts’ laid down in the Guidance. The first is number of meetings, 3 plus annual meeting, and the second is that a Risk Assessment must be formulated within the financial year. The External Auditor will issue a ‘qualification’ if the Risk Assessment is not undertaken and/or if the accounts are not approved by the end of June. A council must approve an ‘independent’ Internal Auditor and corporate governance within the council must be sound.
Common errors made by councils were:
• Not recording accurately the value of new assets
• Not recording the council tax support grant separately
• Not accurately recording payments made to the Public Works Loan Board
• The Annual Return does not add up correctly
• The Internal Auditor is not independent
• The Risk Assessment is not approved and completed within the financial year.
• The External Audit Report is not discussed and minuted when received
• Incorrect use of Section 137 or other powers for expenditure.
Cllr Willmott proposed and Cllr Hood seconded that the letter of engagement for Mr Hood to be the parish Council’s Auditor for 2015-2016 be signed. This was AGREED
The Chairman thanked Mr Hood for his attendance and wished him a safe journey home in the fog.
83. THE MINUTES of the meetings of the Planning Committee held on:
i) Wednesday 9th September 2105 which had been circulated previously and
ii) Wednesday 14th October 2015 which had been circulated with this Agenda
84. THE MINUTES of the meetings of the F&GP Committee held on:
i) Monday 21st September 2015 which had been circulated previously and
ii) Monday 19th October 2015 which had been circulated with the Agenda
85. TO REPORT PROGRESS ON HOUSING FOR THE EXCEPTION SITE NORTH OF LONDON ROAD
P15/S2121/FUL Erection of 51 dwellings, with access from London Road, together with associated landscaping and open space provision. (Rural exception site) (As amended by Drawings accompanying agent’s letter of 13 October 2015)
The Parish Council was asked to either to recommend approval, recommend acceptance or give no strong views
The clerk read out two letters that had been received in the Parish Office objecting to
the amendments and aspects of the development.
The clerk also read out letters from Mr Johnson and Mr Edson both of St Mary’s Close which he had downloaded from the SODC planning website.
Cllr Newman said that the changes had been made as a result of consultation, noise assessment and the urban design people and the OCC Highways. The lack of amenity space has been accepted and a payment should be made to the Parish to be spent on recreation. The wall and the trees should not be affected. He understood that SODC would take the application to the November planning meeting (18th November)
8.30pm The Chairman declared the Council out of session and asked for contributions from the floor
Mr Pratley, 26 London Rd – Had sent his comments on the original plans. His key objection was that with the western entrance to the site. Cars exiting would mean headlights shining into his house. He felt that the exit should be moved.
County Councillor Anne Purse
Possible new road from Abingdon to M40 was mentioned only as an aspiration. But with the debate on the duelling of the A40 to Witney could mean the A40 from Headington might be moved and/or upgraded.
The Bus Consultation was due to be considered by the Cabinet as well as the budget cuts especially to the Children’s Centres. A suggestion had been made that if each centre could get £35,000 pledged for each year then a centre could be saved.
She suggested that the Parish Council could show a commitment to the centre in Wheatley
Vicky Job – parent at the Maple Tree Centre. She said she had depended on the Centre after the birth of her son. They were trying to think of ways of raising support for the centre eg “Friends of Maple Tree” and she would be contacting other parish councils whose residents used the centre.
In answer to a question from Cllr T Davies on whether savings could be made in using other premises Cty Cllr Purse explained that the Centre had been had been designed specifically to meet the needs of mothers and babies/toddlers.
Mr Doug Lamont, London Road – Site WHE 9, mentioned in the letter from Mr Edson, had never been offered to the Parish Council as a possible development site by SODC.
The objections brought up by the St Mary’s Group were things that SODC would have to consider anyway.
He was pleased that the Parish Council was considering to undertake a Neighbourhood Plan and urged the Council to make sure the whole village knew about the proposed meeting.
Mr Roger Bettess – Wheatley Flood and Drainage Group. The Group had been dealing with the problem at the Wheatley Sewage Treatment Works. Thames Water had been tankering away the effluent and the tankers had not always used the approved route. A meeting with Thames Water had been held where concerns on the environmental impact. He had been assured that the tankering would finish by the end of November.
8.55pm The Chairman declared the Council back in session
85. (Continued) London Road Development
Cllr Bell proposed ‘No Strong Views’ (SODC to decide) and give a list of the objections made by residents adjacent to the site. The motion was not seconded.
Cllr T Davies proposed and Cllr Hood seconded that the Parish Council recommend approval of the application as amended.
This was AGREED by 12 votes For, 0 votes Against and 1 Abstention. The Chairman did not vote.
The Parish Council would write to SODC asking them to consider all the objections
86. TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN STEERING GROUP
A report had been circulated to all members. A leaflet would be printed and posted through each door in the village advertising the meeting to be held on the 19th November. Village organisations were being contacted by members of the group and the idea of a Neighbourhood Plan was being explained to them.
87. TO CONSIDER THE USE OF THE MAPLE TREE CHILDREN’S CENTRE IN THE EVENT OF ITS CLOSURE
Cllr A. Davies proposed and Cllr Roberts seconded that ‘It is too early to consider the use of the Centre in the event of its closure.’ This was Agreed
It was further agreed that the item be put on the F&GP Agenda.
Cllr Newman proposed and Cllr Reilly seconded the motion that ’Wheatley Parish Council supports the Maple Tree Centre and will try and sustain its future within the village’. This was Agreed
The Clerk reminded members that as the Parish Council did not have a ‘power’ to spend money on a Children’s Centre any funding would have to come out of the parish’s Section 137 fund which was a limited pot.
88. TO CONSIDER MATTERS RELATING TO THE WHEATLEY PLAYING FIELD TRUST
A report from Cllr Willmott had been circulated to members before the meeting.
The bulk of the report was on the condition of the sports field and the buildings.
Legionnaire’s disease had been found and therefore the plumbing etc. would have to be tested each year at the cost of £2,000
An agreement had been reached with Wheatley Park School on their use of the sports field.
Once the Trust has the lease it would be able to apply for grants whereas the Sportsfield management Committee never could.
Cllr T Davies was concerned about who would be liable, the Parish Council or the Trust, for example, repairs to the boiler. The lease should make this clear.
89. TO ALLOCATE CLLR ROBERTS TO A STANDING COMMITTEE
Cllr Roberts was appointed to the Planning Committee
90. TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM CLLR BELL ON THE COUNTY COUNCIL’S MEETING WITH TOWNS AND PARISHES TO “LOOK AT WAYS TO DELIVER PUBLIC SERVICES DIFFERENTLY”
A report by the County Council on this meeting had been circulated.
Cllr Bell summed the meeting up as the County Council saying they had no money and they would like towns and parishes to take over some work whilst they, the County Council still retained control.
91. REPORTS FROM OUTSIDE BODIES
i) The Merry Bells Management Committee – Cllr Gregory reported that there would be a rolling programme of displays in the Coffee Room. A car parking survey had been undertaken and the results would be discussed at the next committee meeting.
ii) The Howe Trust – Cllr Gregory reported that the finances were healthy and the Trust would welcome suitable funding requests. The Parish Council would be asked for a dog waste bin to be located outside one of the gates. Noticeboards are being positioned around Howe Trust land and a’ walkabout’ is scheduled.
iii) Thames Valley Police – October – 1 incident of anti-social behaviour, a traffic operation on London Road resulted in 22 speeding offences, 5 seat belt non-compliance and 1 mobile phone offence. A traffic operation in Old London Road resulted in 1 seat belt non-compliance and 2 mobile phone offences.
There was 1 non dwelling (garage) burglary.
iv) Wheatley Windmill Preservation Society – No report
v) Flood Group meeting – Cllr T Davies reported that one of he problems at the sewage treatment works was that the filters that had been installed were not doing their job properly and the treated sewage was not up to standard and that was why the tankers had been brought in. There was also concern about the state of the ditch up from Asda. Roger Bettess had brought this to the attention of Thames Water
vi) Neighbourhood Action Group – the police inspector asks if parish councils would join in a Crime Prevention Day. Cllr Davies would seek further information and report to F&GP.
92. CALENDAR OF MEETINGS – NOTED
i) Planning Committee – Wednesday 11th November 2015 – 7.30pm
ii) F&GP Committee – Monday 16th November 2015 – 7.30pm
iii) Planning Committee – Wednesday 9th December 2015 – 7.30pm
iv) F&GP Committee – Monday 21st December 2015
v) Parish Council Meeting – Monday 4th January 2016 – 7.30 pm
93. ITEMS FOR INFORMATION
• The Chairman reminded councillors that the coming Sunday (8th November) was Remembrance Sunday. The service was in St Mary’s at 3pm. All Parish Councillors are invited. The Chairman would be laying a wreath on behalf of the Parish Council.
94. RESOLUTION TO EXCLUDE THE PUBLIC
Cllr Reilly proposed and Cllr Hood seconded “that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph X of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act, namely private contractual and employment matters”
This was AGREED
9.55pm – Cllr Reilly proposed and Cllr T Davies seconded that Standing Orders be suspended for 15 minutes in order to finish the Agenda
95. STATEMENT FROM THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (Chair of the Meeting)
The Chairman of the meeting reminded councillors that should be careful when using their title ‘Councillor’. When it is used, in a letter for example, the recipient can be confused as to whether the councillor is speaking as an individual or for the Parish Council as a whole.
96. TO REPORT ON PROGRESS OF THE PARISH COUNCIL’S APPLICATION APPLYING FOR VILLAGE GREEN STATUS FOR THE PLAYING FIELDS AT LITTLEWORTH ROAD AND DECIDE ON A STRATEGY FOR THE PROPOSED ENQUIRY
Cllr Birks brought the Council up to date on the meeting that had been held between the Diocese, the school, the County Council and the Parish Council.
A further meeting was to be held where a paper from the Diocese would be discussed.
The Chairman thanked Cllr Birks for the work she had put in to this issue.
The meeting closed at 9.58pm