MINUTES OF THE KING’S SOMBORNE ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY
HELD ON 10 MAY 2018 IN THE VILLAGE HALL COMMENCING AT 7.30pm
Cllr A Brock – Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council
Parish Cllrs – Griffith, Harwood, Hughes, Townsend and Webb
B/Cllr A Ward (Borough Councillor) and 47 Parishioners
Mr P J Storey – Clerk to the Parish Council
The Chairman opened the evening by welcoming everyone to the 2018 Annual Assembly and advised the recent resignation from the Council for personal reasons by Cllr Rob Lane was why he would be conducting the proceedings of the evening.
Cllr Curtis and C/Cllr A Gibson.
The Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly held on 4 May 2017 had been circulated via the Village shops and website and copies were available for perusal at the meeting. Proposed Cllr Webb, Seconded Cllr Griffith, RESOLVED unanimously that these minutes be accepted as a true record.
18/03 Matters Arising
Hampshire County Council had confirmed they had no plans to extend the all-weather path from The Gorrings to Lancaster Green.
18/04 Chairman’s Report
The Chairman’s report was paraphrased 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.
I’m hoping we will be able to announce the necessary public pre-submission consultation on the Neighbourhood Development Plan by the time of the Annual Assembly. Andrew Brock and Graham Searle have worked tirelessly with members of the different groups in pulling together the content of Plan and my thanks to everyone who has contributed to this, whether it was by completing the questionnaire, attending previous consultations, attending meetings or involvement with the groups that have fed into this.
The first Village Fun Day was held on the recreation ground on the afternoon of the Flower Show and the July rain failed to dampen the spirits of Cllr Katie Hughes and her team of helpers who had spent many hours organising the event.
With superfast broadband being a vital component in modern living, many of you will be aware of the Virgin Media cabling works that are currently taking place around the Village. This project is part of a wider scheme initiated by our local MP, Caroline Nokes, and the Parish of West Tytherley working with Virgin Media to provide superfast broadband to many of the rural villages in Central Test Valley. We are delighted that King’s Somborne has been included in Phase 1 of this project. This will mean many more residents in the Parish being able to access superfast broadband for the first time.
It was great to receive confirmation recently that we have been granted £5,370 from the National Lottery Awards for All Fund to provide adult fitness equipment in King’s Somborne and Up Somborne recreation grounds.
Also, I would like to thank to our Borough Councillor, Tony Ward, for his on-going support in helping to improve the facilities and activities in the Parish.
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 Rob Lane
King’s Somborne Parish Council
18/05 RFO’s 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 2016-17, which showed the variations year on year, and the more recent financial outcome for the year 2017-18. In particular, he drew attention to the proportion of the Council’s finances, nearly two thirds of the precept and grants received, which was invested in the provision of community services and projects of direct benefit to the community at large, the balance meeting statutory and general administrative costs. The year had ended with a decrease in the Council’s reserves of £4,634. The 9% increase in council tax for this new year would produce an additional £3,032 and tight control over expenditure would continue. He drew attention to the dangers of using percentages to highlight increases given year’s this increase would actually increase the Band D tax rate only by £3.88 per annum. In conclusion, he confirmed the Council’s finances remained on a sound footing and that we complied with all statutory and other regulations in their management. We remained well-placed to continue to improve upon the standards of service provided and looked forward to the new challenges of 2018 – 19.
18/06 Report on Neighbourhood Development Planning
Cllr Brock, as lead councillor for the Neighbourhood Development Plan, updated those present on progress to date and thanked the members of the Steering Group and others for having reached a point where the Plan was now being released for public consultation. During the 2 years+ that the Steering Group and volunteers had been working on assembling the information, Government legislation had changed generating a need to employ external expertise in gathering additional information, such as landscape and site assessments, which had necessitated revisiting potential sites and integrating the findings in to the Plan which had, in turn, generated much additional work for the volunteer team. However, he was glad to announce that the statutory 6-week consultation period would now start and end at mid-night on 22 June 2018. Copies of the Plan would be held for public perusal in The Crown PH, the John O’Gaunt PH, Cross Stores, Martin’s Shop, Village Hall and Working Men’s Club. A link was on the Council’s website and would be e-mailed to statutory consultees and others who wished to read it. The public consultation would enable further comments received on the Plan to be considered by the Steering Group before more public consultation presentations were organized. The final version of the Plan would then be submitted to Test Valley Borough Council, followed by an external examination and finally put to a referendum for adoption. The all-important link is – www.kingssomborne-pc.gov.uk/NDP/
18/07 B/Cllr Ward
B/Cllr Ward thanked the NDP Steering Group for all their efforts and said how gratifying it was that King’s Somborne Parish Council should be among the first in Test Valley Borough to produce a Neighbourhood Development Plan. Stemming from the number of grant applications he received as the Borough Councillor from small groups and organisations, he had offered to lead a strategic review of community assets i.e. what we have and what we might need in the future concentrating particularly upon the need for a dedicated pre-school building, more fitness equipment, a new skate park and more footpaths, and bring all this together in to one major bid for funding. With reference to the pre-school, this had outgrown the Village Hall and if relocated would enable the Hall to increase its space for hiring and thus increase its income. A number of site options had been considered but rejected in favour of a new pre-school build on the grassed area adjacent to the MUGA. An initial cost of £150K had been identified and pre-planning application advice had been sought to see if this option was viable. If approved, it could result in the replacement or repositioning of the half pipe and provision of a new skate park and possibly a junior football pitch. He thanked those who had supported his review so far and hoped for a favourable outcome in the not too distant future.
In inviting questions, Dr Macintosh expressed the view that the Hall changing rooms did not produce an income and if a sports pavilion was to be built this could make the changing rooms available for the pre-school or more space for hiring. Whilst agreeing the principle, Cllr Ward thought it highly unlikely that the Football Association, who had funded the changing rooms not too many years ago, would accept their change of use so early in their life and certainly would not be inclined to accept any further grant bids. Members of the public also commented on the recent neighbours’ meeting called by the Village Hall chairman to explain the reasons behind the selection of the proposed pre-school site at which various objections had been raised, in particular, the visual impact and noise affecting near neighbours and the loss of another piece of open green space. Cllr Ward acknowledged that an alternative site on part of the land leased by the Parish Council to the Scouts had also been seriously considered but the terms of the Scouts’ lease required them to be willing to surrender part of their lease and at this time the Scouts were not prepared to do this. However, discussions would be reopened with them to see if a compromise was possible. Concern was also expressed at the increased running costs a new building housing the pre-school would have on the Village Hall finances and if the skate ramp was to be demolished the loss of the tennis club store facility. Cllr Ward acknowledged all these points and undertook to considered them further, although the provision of a new dedicated pre-school building was a positive not detrimental financial benefit on the Village Hall, as the increased income stream from an enlarged dedicated facility would go to the Village Hall, and space in the Village Hall currently taken up by the pre-school would then also be available for other rental opportunities that it currently cannot offer.
18/08 Army Air Corps presentation
Lt George Smalley from the Army Air Corps at Middle Wallop gave an informative and entertaining presentation on the history of the Corps, types of aircraft based at Middle Wallop, what they did and where they were deployed operationally. He also explained the restrictions on where they could or could not fly; why they often hovered at low level; and gave contact information should anyone have a complaint; this contact information would be put on the Council’s website for general information.
18/08 Parish Matters
Perhaps not surprisingly, the subject of potholes was raised, and Cllr Brock explained the high level meeting we were having in an attempt to get some serious remedial action. He emphasised the need for members of the public to report potholes (irrespectively of whether they have already been reported by others). Reporting can be made via HCC’s Hantsweb service or via the TVBC website using interactive mapping system, especially if the system showed the repair work as complete but the hole still existed. Other queries raised included –
- as part of the NDP consultation process, forms for public comments were available in hard copy with the hard copy Plan itself available at various points in the village. Feedback forms could also be downloaded from the Council’s website. Feedback forms should be returned to the Clerk (or submitted on line) by 22nd June, the close of the consultation period. Properly submitted feedback will form part of the final deliberations and any other activities that the NDP team will need to undertake before submitting the final plan. The feedback and outcome forms part of the evidence base to support the NDP plan submission and will also be available upon completion for public review.
- a request was made for as long as possible notice of future consultation meetings to enable personal diary dates to be planned. Once dates are finalised at the venues, these will be made available on the Council website and Village Notice Boards
- confirmation was given that the referendum question ‘should the NDP be adopted’ would only call for a straight yes or no response and a majority would determine the outcome.
- one member of the public remained upset that his request for information made initially under The Freedom of Information Act had, in his opinion, not been satisfied and that the reasons given were unacceptable, despite being incompliance with the legal advice provided to the Council on a number points – the extent of the data required and the resource needed to generate, the fact that most of it is already available in the public domain, and that crucially it formed part of a report (the NDP) the publication of which was in the process of being made publicly available. And despite the feedback we also had from the Information Commissioner’s Office.
- in answer to a question on the size of each future developments, as already provided in previous consultations and on the website, the Plan cited 11 to 14 dwellings.
- a definition of ‘commercial sensitivity’ was sought given this was part of the reasoning for not disclosing some parts of the Plan before the public consultation period began; it was thought possible that developers could gain a commercial advantage over others to the detriment of our local needs if incomplete release of generated information occurred.
- Mr Denford queried why landowners’ names had to be redacted on the site assessment forms and Cllr Brock undertook to seek clarification, though the form itself does not specify this requirement and most of the sites are actually not registered (i.e. this is not information in the public domain currently).
The meeting closed at 9.45pm with the Chairman thanking everyone for attending.