Parish Council

DRAFT Annual Assembly minutes 2015

Cllr  Harwood – Chairman of the Parish Council
Parish Cllrs Curtis, Evans, Fahy, Lane and Whitehead
Cllr A Gibson (County Councillor), Cllr A Ward (Borough Councillor) and 24 Parishioners
Mr P J Storey – Clerk to the Parish Council
The Chairman opened the evening by welcoming everyone to the 2015 Annual Assembly.
15/01       Apologies
Cllrs Jackson, Reeves and Werrett; Rev J Watkins.
15/02       Minutes
The Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly held on 3 April 2014 had been circulated via the Village shops and website and copies were available for perusal at the meeting.  Proposed Cllr Evans, Seconded Cllr Lane, RESOLVED unanimously that these minutes be accepted as a true record.
15/03      Matters Arising
A significant amount of work costing around £800k had been completed on drain clearance and sewer repairs since the floods of last year and the roads had been cleared of the remains of the sandbags.  The Borne between Tanners Pond and the A3057 had been reprofiled and action was in hand to identify the riparian owners of the stream banks to advise them of their responsibilities in maintaining the vegetation.  An article had been produced in The Gauntlet advising how to use the Hampshire highways portal for reporting road potholes and other necessary road repairs and the litter around the Lancaster Green bridleway had been removed, as requested.  The Parish Council had installed a seat at the entrance to Riverside Green and would be considering other locations in the immediate future and the Community Resilience Plan had been revised and was now held up as an example to other councils.  Copies of the Plan were on the website, in the local shops, The Crown, Church and various clubs.    A post flood report would be produced for future reference and finally the date for the introduction of superfast broadband was still awaited.
Dr Macintosh asked about the proposed all-weather path from Lancaster Green to the Village centre, School and  Village Hall; Cllr Gibson undertook to progress this although installation was thought to be in the Autumn.
Cllr Fahy requested information on the legal responsibilities of riparian owners for stream clearance and accepted that confirmation of these so far as The Borne was concerned was still being established.
15/04      Chairman’s Report
The Chairman opened his report by reminding everyone that the monthly council meetings and planning meetings were open to the public and that by attending parishioners could express their views on local matters and make contact with Councillors and the Clerk as a means of further improving communication.
He went on to say that the event having by far the most impact on the Parish has been the ongoing planning application by Gladman Developments Ltd to build 70 houses on the edge of the Village. It was to have been discussed at a Test Valley planning meeting on the 21 April, but this had been postponed and we were awaiting a new date.  Both the Village pressure group and the Parish Council would speak at the public meeting and he hoped there would be a good attendance by parishioners.
Last year, he reported that Cllr John Werret was taking forward the Village Design Statement. For a number of reasons this action has been overtaken.   Peter Storey has now taken responsibility for the action and was working on a document called the Neighbourhood Plan.  Neighbourhood planning was introduced by the Localism Act 2011 and provides a way in which communities can influence the future planning of where they live and work.   It was a lengthy process involving public consultation and he urged everyone to take part.
The best news of the year had been the opening of the multi-use games area (MUGA) to be followed by further improvements and repainting of the skate ramp to improve safety and aid cleaning.
Last year, the Chairman had forecast the installation of the long awaited all-weather path connecting Lancaster Green to the Village centre, Church, School and the Village Hall and which would, in particular, keep the school children away from the busy A3057 when going from the School to the Hall and back.  Despite best efforts to get this moving we were still awaiting a start date although as was mentioned earlier it was hoped to see the work starting in the Autumn.
It seemed as though the floods of last year were now are a thing of the past but the threat remained very real and the Parish Council and the Flood Action Group have been working hard to pressurise external agencies to undertake work to mitigate it ever happening again. The Parish Council now has a dedicated new web site and that it was hoped this would provide up to date and accurate information which could be readily accessed.
In the year, the Council, through it grant aid programme, had helped to provide a defibrillator, Village Hall lights and curtains, and laptops for the Village School laptops.
Finally, he was both pleased and sad to report that the forthcoming elections in King’s Somborne would not be contested because only nine candidates had been nominated for the ten places. This meant we had avoided having to meet election costs of around £2,500 which could now be spent elsewhere but that we now needed to co-opt to fill the vacancy.  He urged anyone interested in joining the Council to respond to the notices the Clerk would soon be publishing.
In conclusion, the Chairman thanked everyone for coming and gave his personal thanks to all those councillors and volunteers who gave up their time for the benefit of the community at large.
15/05 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 2013-14, which showed the variations year on year, and the more recent financial outcome for the year 2014-15.  In particular, he drew attention to the proportion of the Council’s finances, just over a third 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 decrease in the Council’s reserves of £5k as a result of the acquisition of the MUGA (multi-purpose games area) which had cost £57k in total, the balance having been funded by external grants.  The small 2% increase in council tax for this new year had produced only an additional £636 which meant that tight control over expenditure would continue although this year the Council was planning an overspend of budget over income to enable the purchase of another speed indicator device, undertake some major improvements to the skate ramp and meet other exceptional expenses.  These would result in a further depletion of reserves by £10k bringing the forecast level of reserves at the end of this financial year down to £39k.  The Council did not believe in holding on to its cash balances unnecessarily and the reduced level would still keep us at or about the recommended reserves holding level which was roughly equivalent to twice the yearly administrative costs of running the Council’s affairs.  In conclusion, he confirmed the Council’s finances remained on a sound footing and that we complied with all statutory and other regulation in their management and that we remained well-placed to continue to improve upon the standards of service provided and looked forward to the new challenges of 2015 – 16.
In response to a question from Mr Vanderpump, Mr Storey confirmed that the 2% underspend on last year’s budget would go into reserves and that in general terms all that came in went out.
Mrs Edmonds asked if the gutters along Old Palace Farm could be de-weeded and the Clerk undertook to charge the Parish Lengthsman with this task.
Cllr Fahy explained that the new speed indicator device would be more sophisticated than the current one in that it would digitally record speed for analysis and show the speed of passing vehicles on its screen.  The current device would be retained until it was no longer fit for purpose and the three new locations for these devices were between Humber View and Hunter Close, approaching the Village from Braishfield down the hill before the Eldon Road junction and between Tanners Pond and New Farm on the Winchester Road.
15/06 Councillors’ Reports
Cllr Curtis reported on the background to the MUGA which had now been available for use since Christmas and the way forward with its usage and group bookings.  Bookings would be for a maximum of one hour’s duration and accepted on a first come first served basis.  It was hoped the facility would be predominantly self-regulating and that users would respect the actions of others.  He emphasized that it was a community asset, acquired in response to an identified need, and that the rules for usage would be kept as simple as possible.  However, there had already been some damage to the porous surface with some mindless paint spraying and he urged everyone passing who witnessed something amiss in progress to take the appropriate action.
Cllr Harwood, as reported earlier, confirmed that work was on-going with the dedicated Parish website which he encouraged all to use.
Cllr Evans gave a talk on Community Responders and the availability of the community defibrillator which was affixed to the side wall of The Crown.  The Responders were available for presentations to local groups on what they did and their equipment, if asked.  She also spoke on the actions being taken by the Flood Action Group (FAG) following last year’s floods and the help and advice given by the National Flood Forum in bringing together representatives from the external agencies involved.  A Flood Action Plan had been produced which would form the basis of follow up action to mitigate against future flood risks.  The twice yearly reed cut of The Borne would continue but the Environment Agency did not have the funds to cut more frequently and could not cut back fully because of European regulations protecting wild life.  There were now regular stream walks by FAG members to identify any potential problems or hazards to the water flow.  Work had also been undertaken with the insurance industry on the level of household insurance excesses due to flooding with some success but in the end it remained the householder’s responsibility to adequately protect their property.
15/07 Recycling Presentation
Mr Gary Towerton and Mr Mike Pratt from Test Vallew Borough Council gave a presentation on waste recycling in Test Valley and complimented  the King’s Somborne community on the amount of recycling it achieved.  Overall, some £500k pa was obtained by selling recyclable materials taken from the brown bins although unfortunately the recycling rate, currently 33%, was declining as a result of changes in recycling rules and the fall in value of some materials.  8% of waste in Hampshire went to landfill with much of the balance going to the energy recycling centres to provide power to the National Grid.  Five materials could be placed in the brown bins – paper, cardboard, any plastic bottles, food tins and drink cans, and empty aerosols.  Shredded paper, gift wrap, plastic packaging, food and drink cartons and glass were not allowed in these bins.  Mr Towerton admitted there remained much confusion about what was and was not recyclable, for example, flower pots were not and should go in the black household waste bin.  Glass and textiles were very acceptable although because of the fall in glass value it would soon be no longer required to separate the different coloured glass which could go in to the one container soon to be provided at the King’s Somborne recycling centre.
Dr Macintosh asked if the number of bins provided for the Village Hall could be increased but this was not possible as there was a scale of one black and one brown bin per property and as the Hall was a commercial operation if more bins were needed they would have to be paid for.
Cllr Lane thanked Mr Towerton and Mr Pratt for their informative presentation and for the ‘freebies’ they had made available to those attending.
15/08      Parish Matters
Dr Macintosh asked if the single light at the Village Hall end of the approach slip road could be relocated to the other side of the road to avoid the light being hidden by hedgerow growth; the Clerk would investigate.
Mr Vanderpump thanked the Parish Council for the grants made to the Village Hall for the purchase of new lighting and curtains and informed all present of the forthcoming clay pigeon shoot to raise more funds for the Hall.
Cllr Gibson confirmed he would take hastening action on the long awaited all-weather path, the need for a 30mph speed limit in the area of the junction of Strawberry Lane with Winchester Road, the introduction of high speed broadband and the relocation of the Eldon Road 30mph speed limit signs.
Cllr Ward acknowledged that the postal vote forms had been late in posting and said those affected should ring TVBC.  On the Gladman application, he said that if refused by TVBC only those reasons which would strengthen any appeal would be given so objectors should not be surprised if not all their reasons for objecting were quoted and in reply to a query form Mr Fahy he confirmed that as the ward councillor he was not allowed to give his opinion in public as he was required to approach the debate on the application with an open mind.
15/09         Closure
The meeting closed at 9.30pm with the Chairman thanking everyone for attending.

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