SOUTH LEIGH AND HIGH COGGES PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
11th August 2022 19.30 in the Village Hall
Present – Parish Councillors – Nicky Brooks (NB), Lysette Nicholls (LN), David Auger (DA), Dick Pears (DP) and Peter Grant (PG)
- Apologies from Rita Sawrey-Woodwards (R.S-W) – Parish councillor. Apologies from Cllrs Dan Levy and Andy Goodwin – County and District Councillors – Cllr Levy had sent a report referred to below. Cllr Carl Rylett attended.
- No declarations of interest
- The minutes of the previous meeting having been circulated were approved.
- Constitutional matters – welcome to Peter Grant as co-opted new parish councillor – formal documentation having been completed and filed with WODC.
The accounts were with the auditors. It is hoped that they would be ready in advance of the Annual Parish meeting in September but in the event that they are not the Annual Parish meeting will occur on 15th September.
Information had been circulated to the parish councillors about auditing services – by the administration of the Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments (SAAA) relating authorities with an annual income or expenditure of less than £6.5 million and giving the parish the option to opt out of their scheme and appoint its own appointed external auditor for the period 2022 to 2027. Details had been given of the consequences in a detailed email from SAAA dated 9thAugust 2022 and Parish councillors had in discussion considered the scheme and whether to utilise SAAA appointed external auditors under Local Audit (Smaller Authorities) Regulations 2015 and remain opted in. It was proposed by LN that we should utilise SAAA appointed external auditors under Local Audit (Smaller Authorities) Regulations 2015 and remain opted in. PG seconded and the motion was carried unanimously
WODC have adopted a revised Code of conduct for its elected members which came into force on 18th May 2022 and were keen that Parish Councils adopted it. It had been circulated to members of the Parish Council by an email on 10th August 2022 who were asked to consider it and decide whether to adopt it. Proposed by LN that the Parish Council should adopt it, PG seconded the proposal and it was carried unanimously.
After research there was no legal need to publish the agenda more than 3 clear days before the meeting but clearly as much notice as possible was sensible.
- Opportunity for any parishioner to raise a matter of concern – No issue raised
- Opportunity for any County Councillor and / or District Councillor to update the Parish Council on any matter of relevance or concern.
LN in her role as a District Councillor of WODC indicated that WODC had on 21stJuly 2022 called on Thames Water to do more to stop raw sewage being pumped into local rivers by increasing the capacity of sewage treatment works and also provide more transparent monitoring of sewage discharge.
Cllr Levy in his role as County Councillor in his written report referred to (1) the growth of 20 mph speed limits in the Eynsham Division (2) the selection of OCC as a national “trailblazer” council in relation to adult social care although the Lib Dems thought there was insufficient funding (3) cheaper park and ride tickets as well some free bus tickets for Mondays in August on the route to Eynsham and Hanborough from Standlake (4) work on cost of living projects (5) the adoption of the Transport and connectivity plan with projects to reduce HGV incursions into villages
Cllr Rylett as a WODC councillor outlined some of the issues there were with the inspector’s recommendations in relation to Salt Cross (Cotswold Garden village) particularly the issue with the net zero target and whether it could become a legal test case to challenge what the inspector had concluded but some positives had been achieved – more affordable housing, greater biodiversity and more green spaces
He indicated that the local plan and the county plan were being revised earlier than anticipated. The new local plan would now cover the period 2021-2041 and the first draft would be available this month and the plan would be adopted in 2024. This caused us some concerns since our neighbourhood plan had been prepared to reflect the current local plan and if there was a new local plan would our neighbourhood plan be trumped and need earlier revising. We asked him to seek clarity from WODC and he subsequently emailed to saythat Chris Hargreaves of WODC would contact the PC. He also said that in relation to both the new local plan and new county plan there would be only one consultation
- Report on the liaison between the Parish and the Parishes of Stanton Harcourt, Sutton, Standlake and Eynsham PC.
Speed watch in Standlake had resulted in 596 letters from police to motorists. There had been an increase in anti-social behaviour there including an increase in graffiti.
- Payments to approve. Payment for grass cutting was approved
- Village hall committee had had a meeting with NB and LN about the need for storage, particularly in relation to parish records – a lot were stored at John Ashwell’s house and NB’s house and it was felt that was not sensible. The village hall committee thought an extension to the left of the small hall was the solution although not projecting to block access to the garden – the dimensions that were being discussed were 16 foot by 11foot. There was then a general discussion about the position of any extension, whether or not it should have a flatish roof and whether its storage aspect could be combined with a meeting room available for business hire with the storage in a mezzanine above. Of course funding would be an issue and a preliminary idea of cost was thought to be essential. As to design DP outlined the approach he had made to Fearghus Raftery of Hopkins and Partners. Gary Nicholls mentioned Richard Henman as a builder who might give a quote and Steve Appleton as a chartered Architectural Technologist could be approached. It was agreed that David Norris as the Chartered Quantity Surveyor involved with the renovation of the hall should be approached. There was discussion that some of the funds received from 12 Acre Solar Farm might be utilised.
- Noticeboards – there was a newly refurbished notice board by the pub with the new parish name and the church porch was also being used to post notices.LN had had a discussion with Mark Walker about the position of a new notice board – in High Cogges and it was proposed that a new notice board would be installed with OCC informed.
- Football Pitch which in future agendas will be discussed under an item called “recreational sports area.” A sketch was produced with the dimensions of a full size football pitch superimposed over the whole recreational field area and with dimensions of 105.8 x 64.0 metres full size, pretty much the whole area of the field was taken up, leaving little space for hard standing, parking, playground, changing rooms etc. However a multiuse area sufficiently large for 7 or 5 aside football games would leave space for other uses including a tennis court, if that was decided on after consultation with the village. At this stage we are simply trying to put a rough outline of our ideas to Eynsham Estate so as to progress the renewal of the Lease.
- A40 dual carriageway planning application – update/permission to close access ways and
- Shores Green planning application
In relation to each there was an outline of the continuing discussions. There had been a Zoom Meeting with Richard Gordge of OCC on 20th July 2022 which resulted in a form of words being agreed with OCC about Barnard Gate road – DP read them out “We wish to record that in conversations with OCC, once the proposed new Shores Green Junction scheme is in place, a future closure of the road link to motor vehicles between South Leigh and Barnards Gate (south of the proposed future access road connection for Ambury and Fir Tree Farms) is a possibility and that OCC will support the closure application process.”
As NB pointed out the words simply meant that OCC supported the application process not necessarily the actual closure.
There had been discussion about other matters at that meeting and there had been formal representations made to OCC on them.
In relation to Shore’s Green NB had had a conversation with Cllr Duncan Enright who is the OCC Cabinet Member for Travel and Development raising a number of concerns about Shore’s Green, had emailed Kim Smith of Cogges Triangle development about footpaths and cycle ways between Witney and High Cogges and NB, LN and DP were due to have another Zoom meeting with OCC about Shore’s Green specifically raising issues such as methods to reduce the threat of rat-running through the village
14.Traffic calming – update – Discussion about the range of options including somewhat surprisingly peacocks being kept near Margery Cross – obviously there will have to be further discussion and consultation with the village not only the method of individual traffic calming installations but also their positioning
- Thames Water/Storm Overflow (EA) – progress report. DP reported that he had chased Thames Water to send the money to the PC bank account. It was agreed that it would distributed in the form of a cheque payment to each of the relevant households albeit offering the alternative of Sainsbury’s vouchers. Monitoring of the Lymbrook downstream of the water treatment plant will not resume until there is water to measure.
The weekly lorry collection was essential to keep the treatment plan working effectively
- Conservation area – Gary Nicholls presented the draft application for conservation area that had been circulated to the councillors prior to the meeting and he explained how it had been arrived at and the dealings with both the Heritage Consultant and Phil Shaw of WODC. He also presented a draft note to the village that should accompany it. The poll was discussed and it was agreed that whether the conservation should be applied for was a matter for the PC although the result of the poll would be taken into consideration
LN proposed that the draft application and the draft note should in due course be circulated to the village in advance of the poll and a poll prepared for the village. NB seconded and it was carried unanimously.
- Responses to any planning matters –Church End Farm – a draft objection document had been prepared and circulated prior to the meeting and it was agreed that it should be submitted to WODC with the application being called in to be considered by the Lowlands Planning Committee.
NB referred to the notification that had been lodged with WODC about a footpath from Springhill Farm to the single track road from Cogges to Stanton Harcourt.
The advent of the new footpath wardens was marked by the PC They (1) had reported the missing step to the Homan’s Farm stile to OCC Countryside Access Team (2) had done the same to the hazardous wobbly stile opposite Green Farm Cottages, a bridge in need of repair, obstructed paths etc. They referred the PC to the guidance to farmers about rights of way – https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/environment-and-planning/countryside/countryside-access/public-rights-way/information-landowners/ploughing-and-cropping and there seemed to be good contact between them and the CAT Officer.
However it was pointed out that it must be remembered that the disused railway line is not a public footpath and there should be great circumspection about any work done in and around it as the landowner might be inclined to cut of all access to it.
Lindsey Farm – nothing had been heard from the enforcement team and DP would follow up with Cllr Rylett – immediately subsequent to the meeting the Principal Planner for Enforcement and Appeals contacted DP and the position has been reported to the other PC members namely that there had been a visit though not as yet a meeting with the site owners and the view of the officer was that “from the planning history that there has been storage of buses on the site for many years and so this use will at least to some extent be immune from enforcement action. There would appear to have been some spread of the use and on this basis it is arguable the storage should be moved so that it is confined to the interior of the site. In terms of the marquee, on inspection it is definitely not being used for parties or other social entertainment as it is laid out as a workshop and is being used as a shelter for carrying out refurbishment for a vehicle/mobile unit. On this basis, the noise in respect of which complaints are being made must be emanating from elsewhere.” They are deciding what to do next.
18. Liaison with Eynsham Estate over various matters. The Estate had indicated that they were clearing the land between the Lymbrook and Graham Soame’s house for pasture. It was felt that they were not fulfilling their obligations about footpaths but it was decided that a shopping list of items would be prepared as there were also issues such as the lease renewal and permissive paths to sort out – LN had a constructive relationship with Rowley from Savills
- Emergency Plan a final first draft of the “Community Emergency Plan” of some 17 pages including Annexes had been circulated but a large number of details still had to be resolved and PG agreed to take on the task.
- Mobile signal – no update until November
- Date of next meeting – 15th September – Agenda to be agreed if possible by 1stSeptember
- AOB. – Martin Spurrier had in advance of the meeting updated the PC on (1) the current manifestation of the bus shelter (2) watering of the planted trees (3) the installation of the noticeboard by the pub (4) the cutting of Bond’s Lane and Moors Lane
John Ashwell mentioned that we had to deal with the defibrillator at the next meeting.