Annual Assembly minutes 2010
MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY HELD ON 13 May 2010
IN THE VILLAGE HALL COMMENCING AT 7.30pm
Cllr R Dyke – Chairman of the Parish Council
Cllrs D Bidwell, R Harwood, R Lane, G Pearson, R Pidgeon, D Room and J Werret
Cllr A Gibson (County Councillor) and Cllr A Ward (Borough Councillor)PC M Benton and 9 Parishioners
Mr P J Storey – Clerk to the Parish Council
The Chairman opened the evening by welcoming everyone to the 2010 Annual Assembly
Apologies had been received from Cllrs Bevan, Fahy and Pidgeon, Mrs D Harrison as Village Correspondent and Mr D Bevan as Secretary to the Parochial Church Council.
The Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly held on 7 May 2009 had been circulated via the Village shops and website and copies were available for perusal at the meeting. Proposed Cllr Lane, Seconded Cllr Bidwell, RESOLVED unanimously that these minutes be accepted as a true record.
10/03 Matters Arising
There were no matters arising not dealt with elsewhere in these minutes.
10/04 Chairman’s Report
The Chairman presented his Report for the year 2009/10, the text of which is printed below. The Report had previously been published in The Gauntlet magazine.
Annual Report by the Chairman of the Parish Council
As in previous years, this report is being published in The Gauntlet prior to the May Annual Assembly to allow parishioners an opportunity to formulate the questions they may wish to raise at the Assembly. This year there are no outside guest speakers but our County and Borough Councillors will hopefully attend. This report is published on coloured paper as a ‘flier’ to enable you to bring it to the meeting and also submit any questions you may wish to ask. It is very easy to perceive the Parish Council merely as a paperwork administration, arranging for the minor jobs around the Parish such as grass cutting, hedge trimming etc. This is not so. Over the last year all 3 bus shelters have been replaced using timber in lieu of plastic being more in keeping with the Parish. Financial support to the sum of £4,000 has been given to the village hall to enable their management to continue with major renovations, also we have embarked on a major children’s play equipment replacement scheme which is due for completion in the immediate future. We are grateful to Star Energy who granted £7,000, Hampshire Playing Fields Association, our County Councillors, past and present, Testway Housing, each of whom contributed, and to Test Valley Borough Council who recently granted a further £9,200 towards the total cost of £26,000. The steps to the passage between Old Manor Farm and Scott Close have been replaced with a ramp – we are still trying to get the HCC Highways to add a non-slip surface and we are continuing to campaign for further highways improvements around the Parish. During the coming year, we shall undertake an assessment of the Up Somborne play area and support the installation of an all-weather path connecting the school to the village hall. We hope also to see some progress on the affordable housing scheme – at present a reassessment of the local needs is being done – we believe due to financial constraints. This unfortunately will delay the scheme and at the time of this report we have no indication of how long and to what extent this review will take. We are still planning a bio-diversity area for the Parish, which will probably be in the ‘three fields site’. Its final position and details will hopefully be published in the forthcoming year. Finally, on behalf of the whole Parish I would like to thank our County Councillor Andrew Gibson and our Borough Councillor Tony Ward for the efforts given on our behalf. Our Clerk, Peter Storey, without whose efforts in obtaining grants, much of the schemes achieved would not have been possible. Colin Matthews, our Tree Warden, for giving us constant advice for replacement and new planting and Stephen Rake, our Footpath Warden, for leading some fascinating walks and keeping us informed on clearance and repairs. Both of these volunteers also carry out some minor maintenance work during the year for which we have to say thank you. Mike Rebbeck, our Odd Job/Maintenance Man, whose responds to our requests, sometimes within hours to carry out emergency work often needed during the year. I have to confirm that Stephen Rake wishes to step down at the end of the year, so we will be seeking his replacement – any volunteers?
10/05 Financial Report
Mr Storey, the Responsible Finance Officer, presented the audited accounts for the Parish Council for the year ended 31 March 2009 in the format required by the Accounts and Audit Regulations and the Annual Return for Local Councils in England and Wales as required by the Audit Commission. The Return had previously been displayed on the Parish notice boards and copies were available at the meeting for perusal. He explained that, by the nature of the procedures involved, the information being presented was historical. However, also circulated was the out-turn for the financial year 2009/10 which showed the Parish finances to be in a relatively healthy state although he warned that continuing reliance upon reserves to finance future capital projects could not go on indefinitely and further major improvements in Village facilities would need to be precepted. The Accounts and Annual Return for the year ended 31 March 2009 were accepted.
10/06 Reports from County Councillor and Borough Councillor
The Chairman welcomed Cllr Gibson to his first King’s Somborne Assembly and invited him to address those present. Cllr Gibson gave an overview of his responsibilities as a county councillor and then highlighted certain areas of concern and the action being taken. He made particular reference to the state of the county’s roads and the lack of financial resources to do everything needed, the request from the Parish and agreement by the County Council to consider laying a quieter surface when the A3057 was next resurfaced, the addition of 4000 grit/salt boxes across the county for rock salt storage where most needed and the establishment of a major storage facility in Micheldever. He accepted there was also a lack of resources to maintain footpaths and suggested local volunteers by used where possible to maintain communal areas. He was pleased to report that the Lengthsman scheme was evolving successfully and he emphasised the need for village support to preserve local facilities such as village shops and buses for which some funding remained available. Cllr Dyke emphasised his belief that the gradient on the recently completed footpath connecting Scott Close with Old Palace Farm should have a non-slip surface incorporated despite the technical specification not making this a requirement. Cllr Werret commented on the unhelpful attitude of the Bunny Lane waste disposal site staff and that the design of the site was not user-friendly. Cllr Gibson took note and said there were some improvements in hand at Bunny Lane but space was limited. Cllr Bidwell asked about the Hampshire Strategic Partnership whereby different support organisations got together to determine strategic priorities for the benefit of local communities. Cllr Gibson undertook to investigate accordingly. The Chairman thanked Cllr Gibson and invited Cllr Ward to report on the Borough perspective.
Cllr Ward commented on the small reduction in the number of planning applications being received, down to 1500 over the past year with 120 in the King’s Somborne area, and the increase in affordable housing in the Test Valley area. There had also been a small reduction in the quantity of materiel received for recycling and a new facility added capable of accepting aluminium foil. On Council Tax and the economic climate, he drew attention to the Borough Council’s pay freeze and staff reductions, highlighting the fact that each 0.5% increase in council tax only produced an additional £32,500 for the Borough. As a result, there would be a need to reduce costs even further over the next few years. Finally, he commented on the election which had been well-run and his appointment as Cabinet Member for Leisure and Well Being on the Borough Council. The Chairman then thanked Cllr Ward for his comments and the support he gave to the Parish of King’s Somborne.
10/07 Parish Matters
Mr Orange highlighted his concerns at the number of potholes on our roads and the poor state generally of many roads giving rise to an increase in the risk of accidents and claims against the County Council. He also commented on the incidence of nuisance and other incidents and the difficulty in contacting the police. PC Benton confirmed the need to report and recommended the 101 number for reporting as it was no longer possible to ring a local police station. Mr Dennison commented on the increasing number of heavy lorries using the A3057 and the need for something to be done before an accident occurred. Unfortunately, nothing could be done in the short term to alleviate this problem but the matter would be reviewed as part of the consideration of the School travel plan about to be produced.
Mr Bradley sought action on the streetlights adjacent to the houses along Winchester Road to reduce or eliminate the light during sleeping hours in the interests of economy and to reduce the irritation factor to residents. He was advised that a county-wide replacement programme spread over the next 15 years would introduce dimmers, automatic time switches and other features which should meet these comments but no date was yet available for Winchester Road. He also queries the white lining along the Winchester Road seeking more conformity to minimise the accident risk. This would also be the subject of a county-wide review over the next few years along with a review of local speed limits.
Mrs Edmonds sought action to prune some trees at the end of Old Palace Farm and the Clerk undertook to seek action on this. She also sought an update on the development of the old Somborne garage site on Romsey Road on which, coincidentally, work had started earlier in the week.. The Clerk had spoken to the owner who had been waiting for the water table level to drop before excavating could commence.
In the absence of Mr Reeve, the Clerk outlined Mr Reeve’s concern at the prospect of a youth shelter on the King’s Somborne recreation ground, in particular, who would oversee its use, the type of structure proposed and cost of upkeep, the hours of usage and the overall purpose. The Chairman confirmed that it was a suggestion from the youth of the Parish, supported by the Police, but no firm proposals had yet been considered by the Parish Council and there would be further consultation before any decision was taken.
Closure The meeting closed at 9.15pm with the Chairman thanking everyone who had attended.