KING’S SOMBORNE PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting
held in the Epworth Hall commencing at 7.00pm on Monday 7 November 2016
Present: Cllr R Harwood (Chairman)
Cllr A Brock
Cllr R Curtis
Cllr F Fahy
Cllr H Griffith
Cllr K Hughes (paras 161 to 172 inc)
Cllr R Lane
Cllr R Sutton
Cllr S Whitehead
In Attendance: Mr P J Storey (Clerk to King’s Somborne Parish Council)
B/Cllr Ward, Mr R Dyke (Open Spaces Warden) and Mr A Kay from Up Somborne were present for part of the meeting as were Mr B Jezeph and Mr T Brant for the proposed Spencer’s Farm development.
Mr Jezeph and Mr Brant outlined their client’s plans to develop land known as Spencer’s Farm off Winchester Road. The outline proposal allowed for 50 dwellings with access to the A3057 with the actual area to be developed chosen to minimise loss of mature trees and local views. Provision had been made for adequate car parking and recreation and members’ views were sought to enable planning to proceed. Mr Jezeph emphasised his client’s wish to have this known as a community led project and to that end a public meeting could be arranged on a later date, as necessary. Members expressed their preference for a phased development over a number of years and Mr Jezeph noted this and undertook to refer back to his client.
B/Cllr Ward drew attention to the importance of the HCC consultation on community transport and encouraged all members and the public to respond given the pressure on transport budgets at the County Council.
B/Cllr Ward also highlighted the poor response to the HCC devolution questionnaire and reminded members that they had previously agreed to share the hire costs of the Village Hall when public computer training, initiated by TVBC, started in February 2017.
Mr Kay drew attention to the Up Somborne residents’ wish that the BT box, which had been in the hamlet since 1937 and was now likely to be withdrawn by BT, be purchased by the Parish Council for the community. This was agreed and the Clerk would action whilst residents considered how they would use the box.
161. Apologies for Absence
161.1 C/Cllr Gibson.
162. Chairman’s announcements and Councillors’ questions
163. To accept the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 3 October 2016
163.1 Proposed Cllr Curtis, Seconded Cllr Brock, RESOLVED unanimously that the minutes of the meeting held on 3 October 2016 be accepted as a true record.
164. To consider any Matters Arising from those Minutes
164.1 Para 148.1 Public session. After much deliberation and discussion, led by Cllr Brock, between TVBC and local farmers and other road users, agreement had been reached on the wording of and those roads affected by the proposed traffic regulation orders designed to limit which roads certain large vehicles could legally use when travelling to/from Forest Extra. Certain vehicles would be exempt and having these clearly identified in the Order would enable the Police to enforce the new regulations to the benefit of the local community. At this point, the Clerk read out an e-mail representing local residents’ thanks to Cllrs Brock and Lane for bringing this problem to a satisfactory conclusion.
164.2 Para 148.1 Public session. Aster Homes required the new owners of the verge at the end of Tarrant Villas to contact them directly regarding the reinstatement of the hedgerow and trees. This had been made known to the Nutchers Drove Conservation Group for their action.
164.3 Para 156.1 SLR lifespan. Neither the manufacturer nor TVBC could define the likely life span of the speed limiter device.
164.4 Para 159.3 Vulnerable people in the community. The Clerk had approached those volunteers involved in Neighbourcare as a means of identifying vulnerable residents in the community who would be eligible for priority assistance from SSE in the event of a power cut affecting their ability to survive comfortably; some names had already been provided and further progress would be monitored.
165. Declarations of Interest and requests for Dispensations
165.1 Cllr Ryan declared an interest in the Gladman Developments proposal being a near neighbour.
166. Gladman Developments application response
166.1 Members considered the recommendation from the Planning Committee that the Parish Council supported the views of local residents and strongly objected to the outline planning application submitted by Gladman Developments to build up to 60 houses with up to 40% of those being affordable on land at the top end of Eldon Road.
166.2 Proposed Cllr Harwood, Seconded Cllr Brock, RESOLVED unanimously that an objection be made to the Gladman Developments application to build up to 60 homes at the top end of Eldon Road. (The reasons for objecting are annexed to these minutes.)
167. To consider Correspondence Received and determine any action required
167.1 English Rural Housing Association was mounting a free community ownership event on Saturday 12 November to raise awareness of the potential for community owned co-operatives to address a wide range of rural problems including access to services, poverty, isolation and loneliness but no members were available to attend.
167.2 HALC had written a lengthy response to the Minister of State for Local Government on the 2017/18 Local Government Finance Settlement Technical Consultation expressing concern at the probable impact on town and parish councils if precept capping was to be introduced. HALC also criticised the impression that the Government appeared to favour democracy by referenda with its attendant costs and policy inertia which could break the principles of representative democracy.
The letter concluded that councils should be encouraged to continue to enjoy the freedom and flexibility to raise resources as necessary to invest in their local communities which entwined the
intention of the Localism Acts. Members agreed with these views but saw no reason to write further in support.
167.3 TVBC had written to thank the Parish Council for being a Recycling Star, the initiative designed to encouraged greater recycling of waste in the community and to offer more posters, leaflets etc as required. The Clerk noted this.
167.4 Mr J Davies, a local resident involved professionally in risk assessment, had written expressing his concern that, following an incident when a football bounced off a parked car and hit a lady passing by, the Council should consider what additional effective measure could be taken, such as the installation of protective netting along the touch line, to minimise the risk of serious injury. Members recalled similar discussions relating to cricket balls when the new houses were built on the old Somborne garage site and decided then that warning notices of flying balls would suffice. Similar views were expressed on flying footballs and the Clerk would display appropriate warning notices.
167.5 Cllr and Mrs Harwood would attend the Test Valley School annual presentation evening to be held on Thursday 24 November 2016. The Clerk would reply accordingly.
168. To receive minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 3 and 17 October 2016
168.1 The minutes of the Planning Committee meetings held on 3 and 17 October 2016 had been circulated with the agenda.
168.2 Proposed Cllr Lane, Seconded Cllr Harwood, RESOLVED unanimously that the minutes of the Planning Committee meetings held on 3 and 17 October 2016 be received and accepted.
169. Councillors’ Reports
169.1 Cllr Sutton reported much activity on the Council’s Facebook page with 3528 likes to date and rising. The initiative to attract signatories to the offer from Virgin Media was 60 signatories short of the minimum required for Virgin to take positive action on the installation of their broadband network which would give greater speed and reliability than BT could offer over the next few years. More signatures were anticipated and by January 2017 the pricing structure for the new system would be known with installation later in the year.
169.2 Cllr Lane reported on the planning meeting held earlier in the evening and also confirmed the Up Somborne community’s wish to have the Parish Council purchase the BT phone box in Strawberry Lane now BT was intending to withdraw the phone line. When purchased, the community would consider ideas for future usage of the box.
169.3 Proposed Cllr Lane, Seconded Cllr Whitehead, RESOLVED unanimously that the soon to be redundant BT phone box in Strawberry Lane be purchased from BT for £1.
169.4 Cllr Brock and the Clerk had attended the Southern Water stakeholder’s meeting on 31 October 2016 at which the Company’s progress on their 5 year business plan was reviewed along with the challenges to be faced in removing waste water, tackling flooding and securing reliable sources of drinking water. Round table discussions were organised to enable personal views to be expressed and it was of particular interest to note that £16m was spent last year on leakage reduction of which £800k was spent in King’s Somborne.
169.5 The recently installed strengthened verge around the bend in Winchester Road adjacent to the stream had proven insufficient to prevent bank erosion as vehicles were still driving on the bank itself and Cllr Brock was in extended discussions with HCC Highways on other preventive measures such as dragon’s teeth and/or kerbing.
169.6 On the agreed SSE programme to bury overhead electricity supply cables, Cllr Brock was pleased to report that some work was in hand in Little Somborne but approvals for work in King’s Somborne from the Scouts were still awaited.
169.7 Cllr Griffith queried whether additional defibrillators should be installed around the Parish but after discussion on the likely delays in getting to the equipment in outlying areas it was decided not to progress this further.
169.8 Cllr Hughes reported she had spread wild flower seeds around the new all-weather footpath in the area of Old Palace Farm and that some local residents had agreed to maintain the subsequent flowers growth.
169.9 Cllr Fahy had attended the bi-annual TVBC resilience meeting and his report would be circulated separately to members. He also reported the cricket nets had again been vandalised by persons unknown.
169.10 Cllr Harwood had received some adverse comments on the loose stone surface of the all-weather path although others had commented favourably on the path as a whole. Some had queried why the path did not start at Lancaster Green, as originally intended, before connecting with The Gorrings, the reason being the Hampshire County Council, as the authorising authority, was not prepared to install a hard surface along what is a bridle way. Others had also queried why the path fell short of the Village Hall, the reason here being the Football Association required league players to have a minimum 2 meter run off from the touch line on the same surface as the pitch and insufficient space existed for this to allow the path to end at the concrete hardstanding.
The Clerk would relay these concerns to the TVBC project office.
170. To receive the RFO’s Report and Budget Monitoring
170.1 As RFO, the Clerk was pleased to report the bid to SSE for funding emergency flood related equipment for use in caser of power cuts in the amount of £5366.98 had been approved. The specified equipment would now be purchased. TVBC had also offered a grant of £1500 to those Pathfinder councils producing a Neighbourhood Development plan; the Clerk would apply.
170.2 A budget monitoring report had been circulated with the agenda papers.
170.3 Proposed Cllr Lane, Seconded Cllr Brock, RESOLVED unanimously that the Budget Report be accepted as tabled.
171. Payment of Accounts
171.1 Proposed Cllr Sutton, Seconded Cllr Brock, RESOLVED unanimously that the following accounts for October 2016 be approved for payment:
To For Net VAT Gross Chq/Internet
Mr P Storey Salary/expenses 859.99 48.78 908.77 Int
HMRC Tax/NIC 410.84 410.84 Int
Legal & General Staff pension 37.82 37.82 DD
Whitehill Direct MUGA notice board 199.00 39.80 238.80 Int
HCC Street lighting 20.82 4.17 24.99 Int
Earth Anchors 2 new seats 518.00 103.60 621.60 Int
Wellers Hedleys Land transfer charges 192.00 38.40 230.40 Int
ICO Annual subscription 35.00 35.00 DD
RBL Wreath and donation 50.00 50.00 1813
Mr M Rebbeck Grounds maint 748.50 748.50 Int
Bruno Construction KS rec water leak 238.90 47.78 286.68 Int
Totals 3317.81 275.59 3593.40
172. Parish Council communications
172.1 Cllr Whitehead had been reviewing the means by which councillors contacted others on Parish Council business and the use of private e-mail addresses to do this. Cllr Brock also expressed some come concern over the disclosure of personal information and potential for breaching the Data Protection Act and the vulnerability of individuals to Freedom of Information requests. It was recognised that the Clerk as Proper Officer was the correct means of the Parish Council liaising with external persons or organisations but with the growth in electronic data and the establishment of lead councillors for many topics relating to the day to day management of Parish matters it was thought necessary to review the means of communication, from which e-mail address and by whom, in order not to overload the Clerk. The concept of lead councillors being able to work with delegated authority was accepted albeit without authority to commit the Council to expenditure and further advice would be sought on the implications for data protection and insurance.
Cllr Hughes left the meeting at this point
173. Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) progress
173.1 Cllr Brock briefed on the progress to date regarding preparation of the NDP. TVBC representatives would be attending the next meeting of the Steering Group to discuss the need for and possible format of a housing needs survey to identify the potential need for additional housing in the Parish.
173.2 Both Cllr Brock and the Clerk had attended a TVBC workshop for NDP Pathfinder Parish Councils at which experiences were discussed and comments made on the proposed draft NDP toolkit to be issued by TVBC to other councils in due course. Note was made of the £1500 grant available from TVBC to help offset Parish costs and the Clerk would apply for this.
174. Co-option of non-councillor members of the NDP Steering Group and Working Groups to the Parish Council
174.1 Current legal advice now advised that those members of the NDP Steering Group or its Working Groups not being elected councillors be co-opted on to the Parish Council for the purposes of transacting NDP business. Such persons were now required to sign up to the Council’s Code of Conduct to ensure that all business conducted was transparent and in accordance with best practice, and this included declaring any pecuniary interests, where appropriate. To ensure continuity of NDP activities, such action was also extended to Working Group Deputies so that when Working Group Chairpersons were not able to attend meetings the Deputy would have equal footing of their relevant Working Group Chairperson with elected councillors in the transaction of NDP Steering Group business.
174.2 Proposed Cllr Brock, Seconded Cllr Curtis, RESOLVED unanimously that for the duration of their time as a member of the NDP Steering Group, non-elected councillors serving as Chairpersons or Deputies of the Working Groups should be co-opted on to the Parish Council and conduct themselves in an appropriate manner and in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct.
175. Up Somborne replacement play equipment
175.1 Item deferred to next meeting.
176. A3057 traffic calming measures
176.1 A number of residents had expressed their concern at traffic speeds along the A3057 as it passed through the village and advice had been sought on those measures which could be installed on an arterial road. Permitted measures were limited to traffic lights, speed cushions that allow large vehicles to pass freely but have an impact on narrower vehicles, and reducing the carriageway width and/or widening footways or highway verges. Councillors considered this advice and the
wisdom of adopting any or all of the permitted measures but decided that the road did not lend itself to incorporating any because of its current configuration. Rather, reliance should be placed on the impact of parked cars and the existing bends in the road to generate a calming effect, more frequent visits by the Roads Policing Unit with their speed cameras, and the soon to be introduced Community Speedwatch teams.
177. Clerk’s monthly report
177.1 Community Speedwatch volunteers had now received their training on the equipment and locations for them to set up to have maximum effect were being risk assessed by the Police. When these were completed, the team would be able to be seen out an about with hopefully positive impacts on vehicle speeds within the Parish.
177.2 Liaison continued with Aster Housing over the provision of additional parking spaces in Scott Close and the removal of the remaining illegally parked caravan for which an injunction was being sought. Aster were also drawing up a revised application to build three new dwellings on the Eldon Road car park.
177.3 A serious water leak had arisen on the shared water supply to the Village Hall and recreation ground resulting in a leak notice being served on both organisations. The Clerk had taken the lead in dealing with Southern Water and had obtained their agreement to relocate the shared meter from the highway to the end of the Parish Council owned slip road leading to the Village Hall. He would then resolve future invoicing and meter readings as necessary.
177.4 The Environment Agency had confirmed their intention to clear 80% of the growth from the Borne on 9/10 November and Hampshire Highways had replenished the grit bins in preparation for the Winter months.
178. Date, time and place of next meeting
178.1 The next meeting would be on Monday 5 December 2016 at 7.00pm in the Epworth Hall, Winchester Road, King’s Somborne.
There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 9.50pm
GLADMAN DEVELOPMENT COMMENTS
The Parish Council supports the views expressed by local residents and most strongly objects to the proposal to develop up to 60 dwellings, with up to 40% of these being affordable, on land at the top of Eldon Road, King’s Somborne. The reasons for its strong objection include but are not limited to the following –
Contrary to local plan, national guidelines and draft Neighbourhood Development Plan
• proposed location is outside the settlement boundary and is in an area classified as countryside and as such cannot be justified
• is contrary to the previous and current local plan and the draft Neighbourhood Development Plan which when circulated initially generated an 80% response
• is considered to be in an unsustainable location
• is isolated at the extreme edge of the village
• proposes up to 40% affordable housing for which there is no clearly identified need from among King’s Somborne families
Current roads unable to cope safely with increased traffic flow and increased risk of accident
• very limited employment, shopping and other amenities in this rural location and very poor public transport support will necessitate vehicle ownership
• a conservative estimate of one car per dwelling, which ignores the probability of the 60% larger dwellings having more than one car, could equate to a daily minimum of 156 return journeys which, together with delivery and other vehicles requiring regular access to the site, will generate more traffic noise and fumes and aggravate an already dangerous road safety situation on a narrow residential road which serves the existing estates
• potential for road damage to top end of Eldon Road beyond Lancaster Green which is single track as this section will have inadequate foundations to stand up to heavy commercial vehicles serving the site
• current lack of off-road parking in the Eldon estate is aggravated by an increasing number of dedicated disabled parking slots on the estate roads reducing their width to single track
• Eldon Road, joins another road (Furzedown Road) on which cars are regularly parked because of a lack of suitable off-road residential parking or by persons using the post office/general store located at the junction with Winchester Road
• poor sight line to south of Eldon Road/Furzedown Road junction because of the acute angle between the roads
• Furzedown Road joins the very busy A3057 at a junction with poor sight lines for drivers travelling north because of a bend in the main road. This junction is adjacent to the School, Church and public house, each of which generates parked cars at certain times reducing traffic flow to a single lane on Church Road which, in turn, increases the accident risk
• increased parking and traffic flow problems at junction of Church Road and Winchester Road where vehicles park to use or deliver to the post office/general store
Increased risk of road accident especially to youngsters
• many parents with young children walk from the Eldon Road area to the School along a narrow pavement beside parked cars which restrict drivers’ views posing a potential danger to these parents and young children
• proposal will affect those travelling to/from Winchester along Winchester Road where much of this road is unlit and does not have a footpath
• increase in traffic also will impact on the safety of pedestrians using the two village shops, walking to the School or to the bus stops on Winchester Road where no footpath exists
Lack of public transport
• lack of public transport in this rural area, made worse by the now severely limited bus Service 68 (two return journeys daily at school times), makes it difficult for those without their own transport to gain access to local employment in the Winchester, Romsey and Andover areas, and to access local town supermarkets, medical services, doctors’ practices and other amenities.
• The 2014 Settlement Hierarchy Topic paper was used as evidence in the revised Local Plan with the aim of promoting sustainable development by encouraging close links between employment, homes and services, together with a framework for reducing the need for travel; this is not possible with our very limited public transport. The application incorrectly states the proposed site is in a sustainable location when it clearly is not.
• rural affordable development is not suited to those without transport seeking employment
• proposed development is on the extreme fringe of the village
• social problems such as isolation are likely to arise with young families; King’s Somborne has been identified as a high risk area in this respect
• the application suggests that the development will bolster the incidence of public transport serving the village but there is no evidence to support this
No identified local need and lack of supporting infrastructure.
• the application is disproportionate to the current size of the village
• we believe currently there is no-one on the waiting list for social housing from local families and social problems arise when dwellings are offered to those from outside the local area with no local connections
• such housing should be placed where the most opportunities lie for those in need and where the necessary supporting infrastructure exists to cope with the newly generated demand for services and this is clearly not the case here
Detrimental change from village to collection of housing estates
• development on this scale would give rise to a significant change in the village landscape with the increased likelihood of turning King’s Somborne into a collection of housing estates to the distress of those who came here, or have lived here for generations, because of its rural appeal
• the necessary improvements to the supporting infrastructure if the development was to proceed would be detrimental to the conservation area at the heart of the village
• a development on this scale equates to 60% of the existing Eldon Road estate and would add 9% to the current number of dwellings in the village (722).
• density of the proposed development is much more suited to an urban environment rather than rural
• previous developments in the village have been spread over decades enabling the community to absorb their impact; this would not be the case here
• the documentation suggests the development will not be detrimental to the character of the village; a claim which we dispute strongly
• the application states there will not be any visual impact on the village and its surrounds; this is questionable given the location is on rising ground and the main part of the village is in a valley
Lack of services supporting infrastructure
• proposed site is within a known flood catchment area and being high ground contributed in 2014 to flooding downstream in the village centre and beyond which in turn caused sewage drains to overflow into residential flooded areas to the distress of many; further large scale development can only aggravate this risk
• we are advised the existing village infrastructure is unable to support water supply, ground water removal and sewage disposal
• the application appears to been written to justify the developer’s claims, including the need to address a claimed imbalance in the demographical profile, rather than to meet the needs of local people and potential house owners
• plans to alleviate the flood risk and manage sewage disposal appear minimal
• public transport has already been severely curtailed
• Test Valley Borough Council has evidenced it has more than a 5 year supply of land in the north of the borough which includes the village
• the application is selective in its use of data (eg used both previous and current Local Plan information to suit its purpose) and it is quite clear from the wording used that Gladman has no interest in developing to suit the village or to meet local needs but only to obtain planning consent before selling on to another developer
• it is questionable whether the mix of small starter homes and larger dwellings, necessary for the developer to make a return on investment, can actually be fitted into the development area in question, together with open space, play area and, critically, vehicle parking where a feasible variety of dwellings could give rise to a need for a potential 150 parking spaces
• the claim to offer employment to local people is highly suspect and lacks supporting evidence
• the proposal to include cycle ways cannot be implemented either because some of the access roads are too narrow or the existing pavements cannot be widened to accommodate both cyclists and pedestrians
• the reference to home-based businesses is deemed irrelevant
• there has been no face to face consultation with the local community, as implied in the application, the consultation being limited to a leaflet drop to 550 houses in 2014 which invited comments by return (26 were returned) and one initial presentation to the Parish Council in support of the previous application; no further contact/consultation has occurred
• Gladman has failed to properly address some of the objections raised in their previous application