Parish Council

Council minutes September 2009


Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

held in the Epworth Hall

commencing at 7.00pm on Monday 7 September 2009

Present: Cllr R Dyke (Chairman)

Cllr R Bevan (Items 1 to 14)

Cllr D Bidwell

Cllr F Fahy

Cllr R Harwood

Cllr R Lane

Cllr G Pearson

Cllr R Pidgeon

Cllr D Room (Item 5 onwards)

Cllr J Werrett

In Attendance: Mr P J Storey (Clerk to King’s Somborne Parish Council)

Public Session

County Councillor Andrew Gibson, Borough Councillor Tony Ward, Colin Matthews (Tree Warden) and PC Martin Benton, together with seven members of the public, were present for part of the meeting.

Cllr Gibson was welcomed to his first meeting with the Council by the Chairman. He then introduced himself and commented that he had already become involved with a flooding issue in Little Somborne and that he keenly supported the concept of introducing lengthsmen into the parishes. He explained his understanding of the scheme as it would be trialled and welcomed the initial interest expressed by the Council. In reply to a query on county councillor grants he explained that he would have a budget against which bids could be made from late October onwards.

PC Benton reported that there were no issues of serious note in the area although it was pointed out that a break in had not been reported in the Crime Summary and he undertook to investigate this omission.

Cllr Ward commented that following the withdrawal of the original Test Valley Borough Core Strategy, changes were in hand and that further consultation would take place in the New Year. He also stressed the importance of councillors attending the workshop on rural boundaries to be held in the Village Hall on Thursday 17 September 2009 at 6.30pm.

The Chairman then invited members of the public to speak. Given that their interest was the establishment of a pre-school in the Village, it was agreed that Item 14 on the agenda should be brought forward and discussion on this item be declared open to the public. The major concern expressed by those present and representing the pre-school was that there had been a failure to agree with the Village Hall management committee which days the pre-school could have. The Chairman reminded all present that although the Parish Council supported the establishment of a pre-school, and had confirmed this to both the primary school and to the Village Hall management committee, both these groups were autonomous and entirely separate from the Parish Council and consequently the Parish Council could neither direct matters nor become involved in any other way.

Cllr Bidwell acknowledged the concerns of those present and said that his aim in speaking was to make sure that community organisations wishing to apply for Parish Council financial grants were fully aware of the criteria applied to assess applications. The Village Hall appeared reliant upon grants from the Parish Council to sustain its capital and revenue financial viability and it would need to increase its hire charges if it wished to be financially independent. As a result, all hirers, both community users and commercial concerns, were being subsidised by local taxpayers. He held the view that Council Tax funded grants should not be used to subsidise outside commercial users and he also felt that outside commercial users were apparently being given hire priority above a key embryo community organisation. He held the view that this was wrong particularly as the local group would bring in significantly greater charge income thus reducing the need for financial help funded from local taxation. Cllr Bidwell believed strongly that community organisations should ensure they were aware of these considerations when applying for Parish Council grants and be aware that their applications may be refused if their operational policies and methods failed to fully to serve the local community. Cllr Harwood confirmed that from his knowledge income generated by a long let to an outside organisation would not equal or exceed the income generated by the pre-school which, if the Parish Council was not to make grants, would leave the Hall in a weaker financial state than previously. Cllr Werrett agreed the matters of principle raised and commented that there were other issues surrounding the establishment of a pre-school, in particular, the viability of the primary school.

Mr Cartwright, Chairman of Governors of the primary school, emphasised that the local community had a primary school to be proud of but with demographic changes the numbers of children attending was falling. It was an established fact that where parents of pre-school age children chose to send their off-spring to a pre-school elsewhere it was likely that those children would then continue to the primary school in that area to the detriment of the King’s Somborne primary school. It was pointed out that parents without cars and not able to convey their children to outlying pre-schools would welcome a pre-school in the Village which, in turn, would help the primary school sustain its numbers. In sum, Mr Cartwright left no doubt that the primary school strongly supported the establishment pf a pre-school in the Village and that the continuing support of the Parish Council was requested.

Mrs Baker gave some background information on progress to date and reinforced the view that the Village Hall was there to support the community and that with the withdrawal of an external hirer, who had indicated a willingness to go elsewhere, the Village Hall and the pre-school group should be able to come to an agreement. However, the dialogue had broken down for the moment. Mr Younger queried the due process of agreeing monies granted to the Village Hall and elsewhere and was reassured by the Clerk’s explanation of the grant making process and the staff work completed to ensure that applicants were bona fide before councillors voted on the application.

In conclusion, the Chairman confirmed that although the Parish Council could not mediate in the matter he would again raise the Council’s support for the pre-school and the Council’s view that the Village Hall management committee should ensure that the needs of local community groups prevail over those of external organisations.

Action: Chairman

The meeting was then closed to the public

1. Apologies for Absence

1.1 Village Correspondent.

2. Announcements by the Chairman

2.1 Cllr Dyke informed the meeting that the request for a junior football pitch on the King’s Somborne recreation ground was in abeyance for the time being at the request of the Football Club.

3. To receive reports from the Tree Warden, Footpath Warden and Village Correspondent and other Volunteers

3.1 Mr Colin Matthews, the Tree Warden, commented that four trees planted last year had died and he was arranging for their replacement. He hoped to have ideas on where additional trees could be planted for consideration at the next meeting and would welcome suggestions from councillors and public alike.

3.2 In the absence of Mrs Dawn Harrison, the Clerk reported that progress was being made with the intent of publishing a short questionnaire in The Gauntlet November issue, the format of which would be dependent upon the Webmaster’s ability to produce a user friendly programme on The Sombornes website as an alternative means of obtaining feedback. It was planned to have the draft questionnaire available at the October meeting of the Parish Council for approval with an initial report on thoughts to date for consideration at the January meeting.

4. To approve the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 6 July 2009

4.1 Proposed Cllr Lane, Seconded Cllr Fahy, RESOLVED with minor amendment that the minutes of the meeting held on 6 July 2009 be accepted as a true record.

5. To consider any Matters Arising from those Minutes

5.1 Para 19.1 There had been further camping on the King’s Somborne recreation ground with fires lit in the outfield. The Chairman would submit an article for The Gauntlet and all were encouraged to report any such events to the Police as this activity was to be strongly discouraged.

Action: Chairman and Councillors

6. Declarations of Interest

6.1 Cllr Fahy declared an interest in Item 16 – Allotment management.

7. To consider Correspondence Received and determine any action required

7.1 Details of correspondence received since the last meeting had been circulated with the agenda papers. No further action was thought necessary on the Healthier Hampshire consultation document and Cllr Bidwell undertook to respond on the Council’s behalf to the Test Valley Borough Council’s consultation on hackney cab licensing.

Action: Cllr Bidwell

8. To receive reports on planning applications considered and determined

8.1 The following responses had been made to recent planning applications received:

* 1 Redhill Cottages, Winchester Road – demolition of rear extensions and replaced with two storey rear extension – no objection

* Yew Tree House, Romsey Road – erect single storey timber outbuilding – no objection

* Park Stream Cottage, Horsebridge Road – conversion and extension of existing stable annex into granny annex – no objection

* land to north of 15 Riverside Green – erection of detached dwelling and garage – objection as previously on the grounds of limited access and construction traffic

* Holme Chase, Romsey Road – rear conservatory – no objection

* 4 King’s Acre – prune three Fir trees – no objection

* Roydon, Old Palace Farm – fell one Juniper, crown raise one Beech and one Silver Birch – no objection

* Brookvale, Muss Lane – crown reduce one Willow – no objection

8.2 The following decisions had been notified by Test Valley Borough Council:

* Rookley Farmhouse, Winchester Road – relocation of oil tank, repairs and alterations – permitted

* 4 King’s Acre – fell one Cherry and two Maples – permitted

* 1 and 2 Marsh Court Farm, Romsey Road – replace windows – permitted

* Park Farm, Little Somborne – change of use to residential units – refused

* Park Stream Cottage, Horsebridge Road – conversion of stable annex into granny annex – refused

* Roydon, Old Palace Farm – fell one Juniper, raise one Beech and one Silver birch – permitted

9. To receive the RFO’s Report and Budget Monitoring

9.1 The budget monitoring report showing income and expenditure to date had been circulated with the agenda. All noted that 44% of the budget had been spent and that the Council’s bank balances stood at £39,116.12, £12,000 of which was ringfenced for purchase of the toddlers’ play equipment for King’s Somborne recreation ground. Cllr Harwood queried the overspend on the play equipment budget by £1802 and the Chairman confirmed he had approved this in the absence of a meeting in August to enable the toddlers’ play equipment project and uncosted necessary groundworks to be completed. It was anticipated that this overspend would be made good by S106 monies from TVBC in due course. He also queried the fact that no known bid was being made by the Village Hall against the budget of £4000 provided. In reply, the Clerk advised that the Village Hall Development Committee anticipated making a further bid for funds, although probably now not before the next financial year, under the Capital Grant scheme to enable the upgrade of the pavilion area, and he reminded Councillors that the application process to both TVBC and Hampshire County Council required a Parish Council contribution.

10. Payment of Accounts

10.1 Proposed Cllr Room, Seconded Cllr Pidgeon, RESOLVED unanimously that the following accounts for July and August be approved for payment:

To For Net VAT Gross Chq

Mr P Storey Salary and expenses 639.87 639.87 1533
HMRC Tax/NIC 69.34 169.34 1534
BPC Shared costs 15.00 15.00 1535
TVBC Grounds maint 703.88 105.58 809.46 1536
TVBC Grazing rights 1.00 1.00 1537
J Perry Soil and turf 541.00 81.15 622.15 1538
J Perry Equipment removal 500.00 75.00 575.00 1538
Totals 2570.09 261.73 2831.82

To For Net VAT Gross Chq

Mr M Rebbeck Grounds maint 912.50 912.50 1539
Playground Projects KS rec plans 150.00 150.00 1540
Mr P Storey Salary and expenses 604.97 604.97 1541
HMRC Tax/NIC 169.34 169.34 1542
BPC Shared costs 35.41 35.41 1543
Cheque Cancelled 1544
CPRE Annual sub 29.00 29.00 1545
Lappset Playground equip 14911.50 2236.73 17148.23 1546
Mr P Storey Tax refund 1043.50 1043.50 1547
Mr M Rebbeck Grounds maint 848.25 848.25 1548
Totals 18704.47 2236.73 20941.20

11. To approve the purchase of a new seat for the King’s Somborne recreation ground

11.1 Proposed Cllr Harwood, Seconded Cllr Pearson RESOLVED unanimously that a new seat be purchased in the same style as the recently purchased seat on the trim trail for installation in the King’s Somborne recreation ground to replace the old bench seat which had been repositioned at the top of Strawberry Lane, Up Somborne.

12. To report on the proposed boundary review

12.1 Cllr Room encouraged councillors to attend the forthcoming presentation workshop on rural boundaries and expressed the view that to have had a village design statement to hand would have been helpful when discussing where the boundaries should be. He intended to retain the draft produced by the Clerk until after the update of the Parish Plan when he would seek a review of the need for a design statement.

13. To report on the trial Parish Lengthsman scheme and determine any necessary action

13.1 Cllr Fahy, as lead councillor, had circulated papers on the proposed trial of the parish lengthsman scheme and explained the situation to date. HCC had identified both Swanmore and King’s Somborne Councils to trial an arrangement whereby a local person in King’s Somborne and a contractor in Swanmore were employed to work under the co-ordination of the lead parish council in performing those tasks within his/its competence designed to improve the general amenity of the host council and up to nine adjacent councils and for which a budget of £10,000 would be made available. Exploratory meetings had been held with interested parties and it was now timely to consider the matter more formally.

13.2 It was generally realised that £1000 per year per parish would not enable significant amounts of work to be undertaken once travelling time and administrative expenses had been met and various questions regarding the legal implications and working relationships between clerks of the ten parishes were raised. The need for training, risk assessments and absence cover were also queried. In general, it was thought there were more questions than answers and that obtaining value for money was questionable.

13.3 Proposed Cllr Werrett, Seconded Cllr Bidwell, RESOLVED with eight votes for and two against that no further involvement be undertaken with the trial lengthsman scheme.

13.4 Cllr Fahy would co-ordinate the reasons for the scheme’s rejection and notify all interested parties accordingly.

Action: Cllr Fahy

14. To receive a report on progress made to establish a pre-school in King’s Somborne

14.1 This matter was dealt with during the public session.

Cllr Bevan left the meeting at this point

15. To consider the need for additional street lights within the Parish

15.1 Copies of various e-mails had been circulated for information by the Clerk before the meeting on the subject of street lighting.

15.2 A request had been made to realign the light at the Scott Close end of Footpath 503 to illuminate the path rather than the road but this had been refused on the grounds that the greater priority was to illuminate the roadway.

15.3 The Parish Plan reflected a desire for more lights along the A3057 but a request for this to be considered had been refused on the grounds that there was no perceived need. If the personal security of pedestrians would be improved then a case might be considered but it would be necessary to show the volume of pedestrians using the road during lighting up time, the proportion that fell within categories considered as vulnerable such as women, children the elderly, the crime risk and risk and incidence of anti-social behaviour. As a result, it was not thought appropriate to pursue this matter.

15.4 The Clerk briefed on proposals to replace those lamp standards pre-1991 over the next five years. This included two on Riverside Green, one in Old Vicarage Lane, five in Muss Lane, the light outside the Village Hall and some in Eldon Close. It was thought likely there would be a public consultation on this at sometime in the near future.

15.5 A request had been made to replace the standard light on the Village Green with a more traditional design. Again, there were no HCC funds available to do this but it was thought appropriate to budget £2500 in next year’s budget to give effect to this.

Action: Clerk

15.6 HCC had invited the Parish Council to sign up to the Private Finance Initiative whereby responsibility for the maintenance of certain street lights would be vested in a private contractor. The only light affected at this time was the one outside the Village Hall for which the annual cost was estimated to be in the region of £35 pa.

15.7 Proposed Cllr Bidwell, Seconded Cllr Werrett RESOLVED that the Clerk be authorised to sign the PFI agreement for the Village Hall street light on behalf of the Parish Council

Action: Clerk

16. To consider a proposal to assume responsibility for allotment management

16.1 Cllr Fahy reported some disquiet among the allotment holders over the management of the allotments and tabled a suggested timetable for the Parish Council to assume responsibility if it so wished. The Clerk pointed out that for many years the allotments had been managed by an outside agency on behalf of the Church who owned the land with a local resident acting as the point of contact and although an offer had been made recently by the agency to lease the allotments to the Parish Council for a fee with the Council retaining any surplus or bearing any loss; this offer had been rejected.

16.2 Cllr Werrett suggested and it was agreed that the allotment holders themselves should try to remedy the situation over the next few months after which the Council might see fit to instruct the Clerk to open negotiations regarding transfer.

17. To adopt the proposed improvements to the King’s Somborne recreation ground

17.1 The Clerk reported how well the toddlers’ play equipment had been received by the young families in the Parish and tabled plans and costs for completing the upgrade. The proposals included the installation a trampoline and this piece of equipment was rejected by Councillors and another piece of equipment would now be substituted. Without the trampoline, the current estimate of cost was £17,939 plus VAT and included a climber cone, relocation of the springers, flat seat and cradle seat swings, a combination goal and the associated groundworks. There would also be a cost for removing the existing equipment as yet not quantified.

17.2 Proposed Cllr Pearson, Seconded Cllr Harwood RESOLVED unanimously that the Clerk should use the costed plan amended with a substitute for the trampoline to seek external funding to cover the installation costs.

18. To confirm the re-appointment for a further three years of Mr Frank Cleverley as the Parish Council representative to the Catherine Edwards Trust

18.1 Mr Cleverley had sought re-appointment as the Parish Council’s representative to the Catherine Edwards Trust which was a local charity making grants to young people for the purchase of books and other items not supplied by their college to assist them in furthering their education.

18.2 Proposed Cllr Lane, Seconded Cllr Pidgeon, RESOLVED unanimously that Mr Cleverley be re-appointed for a further three year period as the Parish Council’s representative to the Catherine Edwards Trust.

19. To determine any action appropriate to support NALC in its efforts to have the Sustainable Communities Act amended to give new powers to parish councils

19.1 The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) had requested support for their efforts to have the Sustainable Communities Act amended to grant more powers to parish councils as part of improving the ‘bottom up’ process whereby citizens and their councils could drive Government action to promote or protect thriving communities. The action required individuals and councils to write to their MPs encouraging them to support the Early Day motion 1545 to give effect to this.

19.2 Proposed Cllr Fahy, Seconded Cllr Bidwell, RESOLVED with five votes for and four abstentions that the Clerk write on behalf of the Parish Council supporting the NALC bid.

Action: Clerk

20. To receive Members’ reports, as appropriate, on external meetings at which they have represented the Parish Council or have attended in any other capacity

20.1 None reported.

21. To receive Members’ reports, as appropriate, on actions taken on lead and other matters

21.1 Cllr Pidgeon reported damage to the Churchyard wall as a result of youngsters walking on it. The Clerk would arrange for its repair.

Action: Clerk

21.2 Cllr Fahy reported that the missing 30mph signs on Horsebridge Road had been restored and a redundant slippery road sign removed. There had been another incident of a foreign heavy goods vehicle attempting to use Old Vicarage Lane, presumably following the satnav directions. Photos had been taken and submitted to Hampshire Highways in support of a request for more and different signs beside the A3057 some distance north of the slip road prohibiting drivers from taking that turn off the A3057. A request had also been submitted for the installation of camera warning signs on the A3057 in an attempt to reduce speeding.

22. To receive the Clerk’s monthly report

22.1 Village Green notice board. A decision from the school governing body was still awaited on the installation of a new notice board on the school fence by the green waste bin.

22.2 Electricity supply cable. The Electricity Board were investigating the feasibility of burying the overhead supply cable which crossed the recreation ground and adjacent fields in King’s Somborne to avoid future break downs in supply in inclement weather.

22.3 Footpath 503. Work had started on replacing the steps in Footpath 503 from Scott Close to Old Palace Farm with a slope and handrail.

22.4. Telephone kiosk. A request had been submitted to BT to repair and redecorate the telephone kiosk on the Village Green.

23. To receive reports on the Parish recreational facilities and Cemetery

23.1 Cllr Fahy recommended that the ‘No golf’ sign be resupplied to the King’s Somborne recreation ground as a safety measure to protect those using the open space.

Action: Clerk

24. Date, time and place of next meeting

24.1 The next meeting will be on Monday 5 October 2009 at 7.00pm in the Epworth Hall, King’s Somborne.

There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 10.35pm