Annual Assembly minutes 2013
MINUTES OF THE KING’S SOMBORNE ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY
HELD ON 18 APRIL 2013 IN THE VILLAGE HALL COMMENCING AT 7.30pm
Present Cllr J Werrett – Chairman of the Parish Council
Parish Cllrs – A Brock, R Curtis, J Evans, F Fahy, D Harrison, R Lane, R Harwood, Cllr A Gibson (County Councillor) and Cllr A Ward (Borough Councillor) and 27 Parishioners
Mr P J Storey – Clerk to the Parish Council
Representatives from Scottish and Southern Electricity were present to answer any questions on electricity supplies to the area
The Chairman opened the evening by welcoming everyone to the 2013 Annual Assembly and explained his wish that this year’s Assembly should be interactive using visual aids supported by speakers and drew the attention of those present to the rolling slide show which had been in progress since the doors opened and the visual display boards around the meeting room.
Cllr Herbert, Dr and Mrs Macintosh, Mrs Fahy and Mrs Werrett.
Minutes The Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly held on 19 April 2012 had been circulated via the Village shops and website and copies were available for perusal at the meeting. Proposed Cllr Harwood, Seconded Mr Pidgeon, RESOLVED unanimously that these minutes be accepted as a true record.
13/03 Matters Arising
A rolling programme of upgrading street lighting in Hampshire was in hand. The Parish could expect to benefit over the next 2 years with lights which were energy efficient, dimmable and cost effective.The police had advised they had carried out 10 speed checks on the A3057 in the past year and dealt with two speeding drivers who were from the village.The Council had considered solar powered lights on the slip road approaching the Village Hall but had decided not to progress, in part because the adjacent overhanging foliage would likely make the lights inefficient.Similarly, the suggestion that signage be installed to encourage pedestrians walking along the Winchester Road by the Borne to encourage them to cross over the bridge and use Old Vicarage Lane was unlikely to be effective and common sense should prevail.The bottle banks had been relocated successfully and the paper bank retained along with the two charity clothing banks.
Chairman’s Report The Chairman then reported on ongoing matters of general interest. He encouraged everyone interested to attend the monthly council meetings to express their views on local matters and reminded all present of the successful introduction of the quarterly newsletter as a means of further improving communication. A series of meetings to draft the Village Design Statement were being co-ordinated by Tony Ward with a view to determining the nature and character of the locality and consultations to discuss the progress towards completing a Local Plan had been undertaken with the borough Council, more details on the Local Plan were available online at www.testvalley.gov.uk. Importantly, councillors and the Clerk continued to take advantage of the various training seminars held to further their understanding of their roles.Since the last Assembly, various consultations had taken place with the County Council on the low standards of road maintenance; the bulbs along the Borne had been replanted following the installation of the dragons teeth; new seats had been installed at the top of Cow Drove Hill and Strawberry Lane and had proven popular; the Cemetery gates had been repainted with long lasting paint; £14,000 of new play equipment had been installed in the Up Somborne play area and an important liaison established with our electricity provider whose presence at the Assembly was very welcome. All were encouraged to register with the Environment Agency flood watch team for automatic updates on the flood risk made by telephone and e-mail and a reminder was given that the Council’s own Emergency Plan was available on The Sombornes website and contained useful advice on preparations for and reactions to various types of emergency which could impact upon the Parish. The Chairman concluded by outlining plans for the reminder of the year which included further development of the bio-diversity area and an information board; progressing the proposed footpath from Lancaster Green to the Village, then to the School and the Village Hall; the installation of more dropped kerbs to facilitate easier movement by those in need; and an enhanced application to the National Lottery for funding towards the MUGA. As part of the Local Plan, work was in progress to identify those community assets we would wish to see protected from development eg the post office, telephone boxes, the pub, etc. Thanks were then offered to all the councillors and volunteers who gave up their time for the benefit of the community at large.
13/05 Financial Report
Mr Storey, as the Responsible Finance Officer, reported on the state of the Parish Council’s finances, highlighting the audited Annual Return for the year 2011-12 and the more recent financial outcome for the year 2012-13. In particular, he drew attention to the proportion of the Council’s finances, just over half of the precept, which was invested in the provision of community services and projects which were of direct benefit to the community at large. The year had ended with a planned increase in the Council’s reserves in anticipation of the purchase of a MUGA (multi-purpose games area). He concluded by stating that council tax had again been frozen at last year’s level and that despite some increase in costs the finances of the Parish Council were in a healthy state.
13/06 Parish Matters
The Chairman then invited comments from those present and these included a comment on the untidy state around the Tanner’s Pond area; a query on the need for resurfacing minor roads such as Marsh Court and Cow Drove Hill when major roads needed attention; the need for low level lighting in particular on the slip road to the Village Hall; the state of the pavement adjacent to the Church and the possible use of the recreation ground by parents when driving to/from the school. The Chairman undertook to discuss these matters at a forthcoming Parish Council meeting.In being invited to respond to some of these points, County Cllr Gibson stated that the roads improvement programme was determined some time in advance and could be amended if local people made the case; the County Council broadband enhancement programme would bring benefits to King’s Somborne within the next two years, the County had introduced one thousand new apprentice opportunities which could impact beneficially on some young local people; the Highways budget now funded routine preventative maintenance rather than as previously a patch and make good approach; and significant effort was in train to improve drainage and pot hole filling. Borough Cllr Ward commented on the closure of the Duttons Road borough offices in Romsey and the use now being made to great effect of the old magistrate’s courts in the town centre. The old site would be redeveloped in due course. An earlier question had raised the matter of the precept and changes in local government funding and Cllr Ward said there was much concern at the impact of these changes, which had imposed by Central Government, on local people who hitherto had been helped significantly by the Borough Council. A credit system had been set up as a result to minimise the likelihood of indebtedness. A future vision for Romsey was being developed which could have an impact on the Parish, not least the establishment of a branch of Tesco supermarkets.The prospect of a gas supply to the area was raised, as it had been in past years. Cllr Ward confirmed this would be a commercial decision by a gas company and not something that could be funded by either the Borough or the County. As in the past, it was highly unlikely the gas companies would fund the necessary capital investment.
The meeting closed at 9.20pm with the Chairman thanking everyone for attending. Mr Vanderpump, on behalf of those present and the community at large, then thanked the Chairman for his efforts during his two years of chairmanship, noting that when he stood down at the forthcoming AGM, he would have set the bar high for his successor.