KING’S SOMBORNE PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting
held in the Epworth Hall commencing at 7.00pm on Monday 7 March 2016
Present: Cllr R Harwood (Chairman)
Cllr A Brock
Cllr R Curtis
Cllr J Evans
Cllr F Fahy
Cllr H Griffith
Cllr K Hughes
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 Dyke (Open Spaces Warden) and 3 members of the public were present for part of the meeting.
Mr B Jezeph, planning consultant, outlined his clients’ thoughts on developing land at Spencer’s Farm emphasising his clients’ wishes that any development on this land would be community led. His clients were also open to expanding and/or transferring land in lieu of the Muss Lane open space, if agreed. He stated it was not the intention to use a developer leaving individuals to build in their own time and style subject to planning approval. The problems of access to what was a large site and the disposal of sewage were both recognised and he stated that development could be phased as there was currently no hard time line proposed. Councillors deferred any comment until formal proposals were tabled.
The post mistress, Mrs Qassim, outlined her case and sought councillors’ support for improving the security of the post office by installing external shutters to the entrance doors. TVBC had advised her that a formal application was required because the facility was in the conservation area. Councillors were sympathetic to her need but were unable to make any further comment until a formal application was received.
B/Cllr Ward advised that TVBC was able to offer 3 free days consultancy to Pathfinder Councils producing a Neighbourhood Development Plan, of which King’s Somborne was one. This was duly noted and would be acted upon.
Action: Cllr Brock
32. Apologies for Absence
32.1 C/Cllr Gibson.
33. Chairman’s announcements and Councillors’ questions
33.1 None made.
34. To approve the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 1 February 2016
34.1 Proposed Cllr Evans, Seconded Cllr Hughes, RESOLVED unanimously that the minutes of the meeting held on 1 February 2016 be accepted as a true record.
35. To consider any Matters Arising from those Minutes
35.1 Public session. Aster Communities had declined to act upon the problems of inconsiderate parking on the basis that they owned very little land in the Scott Close area and their finances were better directed towards providing homes and their maintenance. There was also little or no current evidence of car repairs being undertaken on the street to the detriment of other residents and road users.
35.2 Proposed Cllr Sutton, Seconded Cllr Curtis, RESOLVED unanimously that Aster Communities be approached again given this unsatisfactory response and reminded of the anti-social nature of this situation and the annoyance it caused to other residents.
36. Declarations of Interest and requests for Dispensations
36.1 None declared or sought.
37. To consider Correspondence Received and determine any action required
37.1 The Clerk drew Members’ attention to an e-mail received from one of the Church Wardens outlining events the Church and others were planning to hold to mark HM The Queen’s 90th birthday. After consideration, Councillors decided not to organise a dedicated Parish Council event.
37.2 Caroline Nokes MP had written to the Chief Executive of BT expressing her concern and that of villagers who continue to suffer from poor broadband speeds and had copied his lengthy reply to the Clerk. The reply acknowledged that situations would exist which appeared illogical but which were often due to how the network was configured historically for which there might not be an easy solution. Ms Nokes would continue to press for more definitive action by BT to improve local broadband speeds.
38. To receive minutes of the Planning Committee meetings held on 1 and 22 February 2016
38.1 The minutes of the Planning Committee meetings held on 1 and 22 February 2016 had been circulated with the agenda.
38.2 Proposed Cllr Harwood, Seconded Cllr Lane, RESOLVED unanimously that the minutes of the Planning Committee meetings held on 1 and 22 February 2016 be received and accepted.
39. Councillors’ Reports
39.1 Cllr Evans reported that 12 volunteers had reported for stream clearance duty on 5 March and most of the weed growth between the A3057 and the ford had been cleared resulting in a much faster flow of water along The Borne. However, because of health and safety, no work could be undertaken under the bridges and the Fire Service, who had been asked to pressure hose in these areas, were unable to do so without the approval of the Environment Agency, which was not forthcoming. The Clerk would liaise with Hampshire Highways to see if they could obtain the required consents and arrange for the necessary work.
39.2 Cllr Evans reported on the 6-monthly TVBC Resilience Group meeting that she, Cllr Fahy and the Clerk had attended which, amongst other points of interest, had emphasised the need to identify vulnerable residents in the community; we had already done this with the help of the Village Agents. It was also suggested that thought be given to ringing the Church bells in the event of an emergency; however, following discussion on this suggestion, it was thought preferable to use and strengthen the existing network of (Flood) street wardens to spread the word in the event of an emergency.
39.3 Cllr Brock was continuing to liaise with Hampshire Highways on the need to strengthen the river bank along the curve in Winchester Road and with SSE over the long awaited burying of the overhead electricity supply cables under 3 Fields, made more urgent by the recent power cuts.
39.4 Cllr Fahy was pressing Hampshire Highways to restore the damaged chevrons on the A3057 bend towards Romsey as a matter of urgency.
39.5 Cllr Lane confirmed that the redundant telegraph poles had now been removed from Up Somborne and reported that the four planning applications considered at the planning meeting held earlier in the evening had all been supported.
39.6 Cllr Harwood updated councillors on the Cricket Club’s intention to complete rolling the football pitch and adjacent areas before the grass cutting season began.
39.7 Cllr Harwood also updated Councillors on the planning application to install an anaerobic digester plant in the grounds of Sparsholt College and the strong feelings against the proposal which had been generated. If successful, the application would severely impact on the local area as a result of the necessary 13,000 or more vehicle movements each year to feed the plant with the 60,000 tonnes of biomass required. Councillors agreed this was not in the best interests of the community at large.
39.8 Proposed Cllr Harwood, Seconded Cllr Brock, RESOLVED unanimously that an objection to the application be lodged with Winchester City Council in support of Sparsholt Parish Council.
40. To receive the RFO’s Report and Budget Monitoring
40.1 A budget monitoring report had been circulated with the agenda papers.
40.2 Proposed Cllr Sutton, Seconded Cllr Brock, RESOLVED unanimously that the Budget Report be accepted as tabled.
41. Payment of Accounts
41.1 Proposed Cllr Sutton, Seconded Cllr Brock, RESOLVED unanimously that the following accounts for February 2016 be approved for payment:
To For Net VAT Gross Chq/Internet
Mr P Storey Salary/expenses 966.88 30.27 997.15 Int
HMRC Tax/NIC 219.82 219.82 Int
TVBC Grounds maint 15–16 967.05 193.41 1160.46 Int
Seagrave Ltd Play safety insp 210.00 42.00 252.00 Int
Sub Arb Ltd Cemetery tree 380.00 76.00 456.00 Int
Totals 2743.75 341.68 3085.43
42. Land transfer from Fields in Trust/KSPC to Village Hall
42.1 The Clerk had circulated a background brief on the wishes of the Village Hall management committee to expand the Hall on to the concrete apron which currently is on land owned by Fields in Trust and managed on their behalf by KSPC. Previous approaches by the Village Hall had not been supported because of the associated costs of transfer, which if paid all or in part by KSPC, gave no direct benefit to KSPC and Fields in Trust‘s insistence that the whole of the recreation ground including the Scout Hut land be transferred in one package. The Village Hall had been prepared to meet part of the legal costs linked to their part of the title transfer but had been advised that if it met those costs associated with the transfer of the Scout Hut lease it would likely be acting ultra vires and the transfer action stalled.
42.2 The Village Hall had now reached the final stage in its long term development plan and wished the matter to be resurrected. Fields in Trust had confirmed its stance that title to all the land had to be transferred as one package which, if this was to proceed, would legalise the current situation whereby part of the 1973 Hall extension had taken place on land it did not own, as well as strengthening the Hall’s borrowing position when seeking external grant or loan funding, lenders being wary of lending against leased land. Councillors were sympathetic to the Hall’s wish to develop further given the prominent part the Hall played in the social life of the community. However, the legal costs were unknown and other than agreeing to investigate further with Fields in Trust no further action was thought appropriate at this time. Councillors did note the Clerk’s recommendation that if action was to take place, it should be between Fields in Trust and the recreation ground charity of which both the Parish Council and the Clerk were the trustees, followed by at some time in the future, in accordance with the Charity Commission’s wishes to reduce the number of charities in existence, this small charity could be wound up with its assets transferred to KSPC.
42.3 Proposed Cllr Lane, Seconded Cllr Hughes, RESOLVED unanimously (1) that KSPC confirmed its wish to Fields in Trust to assume title to the land it currently managed on their behalf with costs, subject to the actual amount being determined and approved, met by the Village Hall and (2) that the Scout Hut lease be transferred from Fields in Trust to KSPC with costs, subject to the actual amount being determined and approved, being met by KSPC.
42.4 A third draft resolution confirming KSPC’s willingness to transfer the title to the Village Hall of that piece of the concrete apron upon which the proposed extension to the Hall would sit, with costs being met by the Hall, would be the subject to further debate on whether the land should be transferred or leased at a later date.
43. Resilience planning and the need for a portable generator
43.1 In reviewing the Community Resilience Plan, it was thought appropriate to research portable generators to be used in the nominated emergency holding centre in the event of a power cut. Cllr Curtis undertook to research the market and make recommendations. Funding could be made available from the Resilient Communities Fund to cover part of the costs arising.
Action: Cllr Curtis
44. Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) progress
44.1 Cllr Brock briefed on the progress to date regarding preparation of the NDP, stressing the need for frequent communication on progress and to this end it was agreed that the Steering Group minutes would be circulated to all councillors. A draft questionnaire was being compiled and would soon be hand delivered to all dwellings in the Parish and collected in person to encourage a large response. TVBC were holding a meeting of all parishes producing an NDP on 14 March 2016 to share ideas with those pathfinder parishes who were well on the way to having a draft plan, of which KSPC was one; Cllr Evans, the Clerk and Fiona Duncan, a working group leader, would attend. A community workshop would be held towards the end of April to engage the community in progress to date on the NDP.
45. Broadband provision in the Parish
45.1 An alternative broadband provider to BT was installing the necessary equipment in and around Crawley with the potential for King’s Somborne and adjacent parishes to link to it. Councillors thought competition to be good, given the problems some local residents were having with BT, and
supported an approach being made to investigate further.
Action: Cllr Sutton
46. ‘Clean for the Queen’
46.1 The national initiative to clean up the country to mark HM The Queen’s 90th birthday had taken place locally with volunteers undertaking further weeding of The Borne to enhance the water flow, members of the Women’s Institute collecting litter and tidying up the Cemetery, and Ashley residents repainting road side markers.
47. MUGA tennis booking times
47.1 Cllr Fahy introduced the need to allocate longer times for tennis players on the MUGA to encourage more participation and to allow for setting up and dismantling the nets. A suitably worded notice was agreed which would be displayed on the MUGA notice board advising all of the increased times allowed. The Clerk would monitor.
48. Clerk’s monthly report
48.1 The bi-annually safety inspection of play equipment and open spaces had been completed recently. The inspector had commented adversely on the broken kissing gate at the A3057 end of the Muss Lane play area. This gate had been damaged by a falling tree in the storm of two years ago but when reported, the HCC Countryside Access team had claimed lack of funds prevented them from effecting repairs. The Clerk had reapplied citing the safety risk to young children. The inspector had also commented on the age and signs of wear and tear on the junior slide and rope climber in the Up Somborne play area and, given there were funds available from TVBC, it was agreed the Clerk would investigate suitable replacements. At the same time, he would research exercise equipment for older persons given the growing popularity of such equipment.
48.2 On behalf of the Parish Council, the Clerk had approved the use of the King’s Somborne recreation ground for the Annual Horticultural Show to be held on Saturday 30 July 2016, subject to satisfactory insurance cover being held.
48.3 All noted with regret that the two seats by the MUGA had been vandalised but had subsequently repaired.
48.4 Cllr Curtis and the Clerk would attend the HALC AGM on Wednesday 9 March 2016 and Cllr Lane would represent the Council at the Service to be held in Winchester Cathedral on Sunday 24 April 2016 to mark HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday.
48.5 C/Cllr Gibson and the Clerk would meet on-site with the HCC engineers in the near future following English Heritage’s revision of the route for the all-weather path from Lancaster Green to the School and Village Hall, tendering for which would go out in April with installation, hopefully, in the Autumn.
49. Date, time and place of next meeting
49.1 The next meeting would be on Monday 4 April 2016 at 7.00pm in the Epworth Hall, Winchester Road, King’s Somborne.
There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 9.05pm