MINUTES OF THE KING’S SOMBORNE ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY
HELD ON 17 APRIL 2019 IN THE VILLAGE HALL COMMENCING AT 7.30pm
Cllr A Brock – Chairman of the Parish Council
C/Cllr A Gibson, Parish Cllrs – Curtis, Griffith, Harwood, Hughes, A Townsend and Webb and 45 Parishioners
Mrs G Foster – Clerk to the Parish Council
The Chairman opened the evening by welcoming everyone to the 2019 Annual Assembly and explained the agenda sequence.
B/Cllr A Ward, Cllrs Dack, H Townsend and Whitehead
The Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly held on 10 May 2018 had been circulated via the Village shops and website and copies were available for perusal at the meeting. Proposed Mr P Storey, Seconded Cllr Hughes, RESOLVED unanimously that these minutes be accepted as a true record.
19/03 Matters Arising
There were none.
19/04 Chairman’s Report
The Chairman’s report was read out by Cllr Brock. The full text is printed below –
It has been a great honour to have carried out the role of Chairman of King’s Somborne Parish Council over the last year.
I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication not only of the Clerk and fellow Councillors but also of each and every one of you who continue to give up your free time to help with the many groups, committees, clubs and organisations who help to make the Parish of King’s Somborne such a thriving and resilient community to live in.
A small team of councillors and volunteers has worked tirelessly with members of the different groups in pulling together the content of the Neighbourhood Development Plan for more than 2 years now and my thanks to everyone who has contributed to this. I am now very pleased to say the end is in sight with a final public consultation due on the draft Plan before its submission to TVBC and subsequent acceptance at Referendum.
A second Village Fun Day will be held on the recreation ground on the afternoon of the Flower Show on 27th July and my thanks go to Cllr Katie Hughes and her team of helpers who will have spent many hours organising the event.
We can probably all remember the disaster with mobile telecoms last autumn when the pole at the top of Cow Drove Hill was damaged and it took a lot of calls and emails to EE, BT and even questions in the House of Parliament before an expedited replacement was installed. Today we enjoy excellent mobile coverage again and now we have superfast Virgin broadband. There are still a few outstanding connection issues, road repairs and the like, but overall the roll-out has been so successful that the original £350 connection fee has been waived and where paid refunded. The good news is that this has stimulated more competitive pricing from BT and faster broadband as well as extension of the service to many of the outlying areas of the Parish.
There is outstanding remedial work with the new Virgin network which is in hand (painting of the cabinets and reinstatement of grips in Horsebridge Road), but dates are awaited for the completion of the network to some parts of the village that were either not connect-up at all or incorrectly configured, including the Village Hall, but I am assured these are on the radar for resolution in the near future.
SEE are due to finish the network up grade that has vastly improved the resilience and security of supply of electricity to the community – the work to underground cables on the recreation ground and the relocation of the transformer in the Scouts Hut area are dut start shortly and finish by the siting of May.
Probably the biggest single event of the year has been the application to build a new community centre/preschool on land owned by the Parish Council adjacent to the MUGA. Planning approval for the project was granted last month and the (previous) clerk has been busy during the year raising the best part of £200k to finance the project – and with success as the money is in the bank or will be soon. The new building will enable our successful community preschool to have a dedicated building with more space enabling it to meet the growing demand for preschool facilities in our community. Its relocation out of the main Village Hall will also provide more hiring capability for the Hall to meet other growing demands and improved flexibility. Indeed, Peter has agreed to stay on to help with the administration to completion.
Although its is never possible to please everyone, due diligence has been undertaken – including the options for relocating at the Scouts Hut. I’m pleased to advise that the Project Team will issue a formal report on the site options.
On a sadder note, the Diocese of Winchester have chosen despite massive Parishioner upset and representation (and probably the largest church congregation) to dispose of the much-loved Allotments. Although a village asset, the offer made by the Parish Council could not compete with the temptation of much larger sums from development.
The ongoing issue of highways relates issues is a key topic in the Council, and we are actively engaged with the team in HCC looking after Highways including site visits etc as well as with the utility companies. We have seen some new road surfaces (ford and Church and may potholes repaired, as well as the dip in the road outside Epworth Hall) and gained better support for managing the bourne. But there is still plenty more to do
In Planning, the separate Planning Committed chaired by Richard Harwood have met 21 times and considered 87 Applications (last year 20 meetings and 74 applications)
Flood Management continues to be a hot topic and not just in the NDP as mentioned earlier, HCC are allowing us to manage the section between the Winchester and Old Vicarage Lane roads and not only are we keeping the bank tidy, a team of volunteers also helped with a comprehensive weed cut last May; and we’ll be doing the same shortly. I would also like to take this opportunity to remind Riparian owners that that are required to keep the river free flowing. At all Times. Keeping the bourne clear is the single most important act helping to keep the water table down and reduces the likelihood of flooding.
The Parish Council have also invested in the community over the last year key amongst these are the new toddlers play equipment at KS £5340 funded from S106 developers’ contributions; Lest We Forget clock in this special 100th anniversary year £800; support for Open Gardens £150; support for Village Fun Day £300; and a grant to the Village Hall for new tables £1842.
In drawing to a close, I would especially like to publicly thank to our Borough Councillor, Tony Ward, for his on-going tireless support and Councillor donations in helping to improve the facilities and activities in our Parish and in particular his work on the much needed pre-school. And also, Andrew Gibson our County Councillor for his support in helping to move some of our county relates issues forward.
Finally, I would like to finish by asking everyone to be tolerant to change when it benefits the wider community. In a fast-moving world, we need to ensure we enhance and improve our Parish so the vibrant community, of which we are part and enjoy, is fit for our future generations.
Cllr Andrew Brock
Chairman King’s Somborne Parish Council
19/05 RFO’s Report
Mrs Foster, as the Responsible Finance Officer, reported on the state of the Parish Council’s finances, and explained the income received over the year all the differing items that the expenditure had been made up of. In particular, she gave a list of the grants given out to local organisations and voluntary groups and the grants that the Parish Council had received which had been ploughed back into the community.
The year had ended with a decrease in the Council’s reserves of £4,497 which had been mainly due to the purchase of new play equipment at the King’s Somborne recreation ground. Mrs Foster confirmed the Council’s finances remained on a sound footing and that they complied with all statutory and other regulations in their management as had been reported by the latest audit a few days beforehand.
The challenges of the coming year due to the increased income and expenditure as a result of the new Community Building/Pre-school project would be handled jointly by the Clerk and previous Clerk who had volunteered to help administer. Anyone wishing to view the last year’s accounts could make an appointment with Mrs Foster who would be pleased to assist.
19/06 Report on Neighbourhood Development Planning
Cllr Brock, as lead councillor for the Neighbourhood Development Plan, updated those present on progress to date which had been delayed due to shortcomings in the consultation advice received and the enormous amount of feedback that the first consultation process had received.
Various reports had been commissioned, Strategic Enviromental Assessment, (SEA) and Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA) due to the proximity of the bats living at Mottisfont. Since starting the plan unfortunately the Design Guide had been revised which had caused extra work for the Steering Group who had needed to outsource the project in order to bring it nearer to completion. Cllr Brock expected that the revised NDP draft would be completed by the 20th May and out for review by the end of May with the working final draft by 1st July. The draft would then be sent to Test Valley Borough Council for a semi-review before going out for a second public consultation around August time.
19/07 Parish Matters
Speeding and Road safety was raised as a concern that many of those present were keen to see discussed. Residents asked what could be done about regulating and enforcing the current speed limits given that the Police were unable to offer much support and there were no other enforcement options available. The community speedwatch group was praised but it was questioned if recording speeds of motorists had any effect on changing drivers’ behaviour. Many possible solutions were suggested; Signage, road markings, road treatments, cycle lanes, width restrictions, parked cars and rumble strips but all these were noted to be nearly impossible to arrange given that HCC and Highways did not have the funds to make any improvements. C/Cllr Gibson confirmed that the last speed limit change he had seen happen had been over 5 years ago in the Wallops and that had only been actioned due to massive local pressure after a primary school child had been killed.
Cllr Gibson was questioned if there was a chance of speed limits or other changes being made if the Parish self-funded. Cllr Gibson confirmed that there was a slightly greater chance of entering into discussion with HCC and Highways if they were only requested to give authorisation to any project rather than to cost and implement it. He also advised that if the Parish felt strongly enough to commence fundraising for a Safer Travel Scheme that they should look for the solution that would make the biggest difference to the village and find evidence of the most effective actions. The local MP Caroline Noakes should be involved and asked to support any initiative.
Another query was raised about the bus service cuts on the route to Winchester. Cllr Gibson replied that the route was not self sustaining and that if no-one used the services they were deemed to be not required and therefore cancelled. A community bus scheme was suggested to be run in the same way as the Broughton Community Bus.
A Question was asked regarding the publication of the NDP data already collected and Cllr Brock advised that it was not possible to publish all data collected, but that this data had been taken into account when compiling the information for the revised NDP draft and that a summary of that data would be available as part of the second consultation process. Cllr Brock confirmed that the 6 week period of consulation would be followed by a referendum which would confirm by a simple Yes/No majority if the plan would go ahead or not.
Mr Storey was presented with a retirement gift in recognition of his 13 years’ service to the council and the community. It was noted that he had always put in more than the 12 hours per week he had been paid for and Councillors and everyone present applauded him for his dedication.
19/09 Future diary dates
Cllr Brock reminded everyone about forthcoming events:
- The Village Spring Clean on 27th April meeting at 10.00 at The Crown Inn.
- Borough Council elections on 2nd May
- Annual Meeting of the Parish Council on 9th May at the Epworth Hall in Winchester Road
- NDP Steering Group Meeting in the week commencing 20th May
- Village Fun Day on the 27th July
The meeting closed at 9.10pm with the Chairman thanking everyone for attending.
Signed as a true and accurate record of the meeting.