SOUTH LEIGH AND HIGH COGGES PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
Minutes of 26th January 2023
7.30 pm in the Village Hall
Nicky Brooks (NB)
Rita Sawrey-Woodward (R S-W)
Peter Grant (PG)
Dick Pears (DP)
- Apologies – Lysette Nicholls (LN) and David Auger (DA) sent their apologies
- Declarations of interest – No declarations of interest
- To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as being a true record of the proceedings – minutes approved
- Opportunity for any parishioner to raise a matter of concern – the AD proposal was the issue of concern – see item 9 below
- Opportunity for any County Councillor and / or District Councillor to update the Parish Council on any matter of relevance or concern. There was no attendance by County Councillors or District Councillors but there had been a recent exchange of emails between Cllr Levy and the PC about traffic, the AD, Shores Green and the A40
- Report on the liaison between the Parish and the Parishes of Stanton/Harcourt, Sutton, Standlake and Eynsham PC – in the absence of LN nothing specific was raised
- Payments to approve – there had been a recent visit to remove the considerable build up of leaves on the village green and that payment of £200 needed to be paid. It was approved
- Precept & accounts – the grant from SSE for the generator had been received (£9145) and paid into the Parish accounts. The PC now maintained two accounts one being the current account and the other to hold any capital receipts in the future such as from the Solar Farms. Draft management accounts had been prepared and circulated around the PC which recorded, inter alia, income from precept, the ex gratia payment from Thames Water as well as the generator There was a statutory requirement to maintain a balance of £5000 but it was clear that the Parish Council would not be able to meet its liabilities for the coming year (even with the income from the letting of the village hall) if the precept was not increased and there had been discussion about whether to raise it and if so by how much and it was agreed that it should be increased by 10%. This was proposed, seconded and carried unanimously.
- Update on Anaerobic Digester – there were a large number of parishioners present all of whom were opposed to the AD. The meeting was told that Acorn had confirmed today that the planning application had been lodged with WODC and Acorn was waiting for the application to be validated by WODC and posted on the website. There was reference to the document that had been circulated to the village that listed the various actions that had been carried out by the PC so far. Further information was that two further District councillors were assisting with various issues. There were discussions about many issues and it was said that Acorn believed that their two best points were the close proximity to Shores Green for vehicular access and the ability to get the gas produced directly into the grid in due course. The PC indicated that a letter asking various questions would be despatched to Acorn shortly.
- Issues over road gullies/gutters – R. S-W was concerned that the failure to clear and maintain the road gullies and gutters was causing more flooding than there should be and frequently the response of WODC was that their resources were overstretched. However LN had recently managed to arrange a site visit with OCC Highways to look yet again at the flooding in High Cogges and there was to be further investigations. Others mentioned the problem still occurring near Shuttles Cottage and another issue was that landowners’ agents in cutting hedges were leaving branches etc that were blocking streams. It was suggested that LN should be asked to continue to deal with this
- Conservation area – Martin Spurrier updated the PC – two emails had been sent to WODC seeking guidance about the procedure and WODC (Tara Hayek) had responded to indicate that they needed to consider what needed to be done on their part and would revert
- Review of Neighbourhood plan – SLNB plan should last until 2031 and therefore on the face of it would not need to be revised shortly but there were two issues that probably indicated that there needed to be a formal review of it (with all the consequent work and costs) because there was no policy within it for issues such as solar farms and Ads but also because of reform proposed in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which will probably boost the significance of neighbourhood plans provided they are current and reviewed – Note we will have to apply for funding which may have to be applied for before May 2023.
- Village Hall extension – the Village Hall committee had indicated that they needed extra space including for archival storage and there was also now the issue of the garaging of the generator which the Village Hall committee thought needed to be housed for fire reasons in a separate building. Plans had been drawn up for the PC by an architect as well as an alternative plan by the Village Hall committee. Those together with another option were discussed by the Village Hall committee on 19th January 2023 and then by that Committee with two PCs present. It was agreed on 19th January by all after discussion that the proposal by the architect was too extensive for the immediate purposes as well almost certainly more expensive than the alternative plan. There was also agreement about the need to provide separate housing for the generator.
The PC having considered this came to no final decision save that costings would have to be obtained, there would have to be further discussion with the architect and an investigation of what grants might be available.
- Emergency Plan – this was now published on the Parish Website
- Update Shores Green/ A40 dual carriageway planning application – update – there was still no certainty on whether the dual carriage way would proceed but OCC thought that it was likely to proceed and the planning reference on WODC website is 0039/22
- Update on local plan, housing allocation and building supply. NB gave a summary about all the issues and the changes that might occur as a result of proposed changes in the NPPF such as reducing the need to show 5 year housing land supply
- Swift protection – We had been contacted by an Enstone Parish Councillors wanting us to help with a petition to protect swifts- The PC agreed to support this and will circulated details to the village
- Update on generator and receipt of funds – referred to above in 8 above. There were some questions about the capacity of the generator, the wiring proposed and what in the village hall could be run by it
- Syringes and safe disposal – there had been a scare that a syringe that had been found was for illegal drugs but in fact it was a syringe for administration of medication to a horse. It had been safely disposed of
- Mobile Signal – Gateley Hamer had consulted the PC about an upgrade to the radio mast installation on Oxford Hill. The consultation seemed to refer primarily to improving the service to Witney and the PC had emailed twice to seek clarification that it would also improve signal in South Leigh – no response had been received and it would be pursued
- Thames Water – Storm discharge and blockages caused by disposable wipes. It had become clear that despite the extensive work carried out on the SL Treatment plant the storm overflow had been discharging for 676 hours and 15 minutes. On 17th January the PC wrote a stiff email to Thames Water and miraculously it stopped about the time the email was sent. The email also sought advice and information as well as offering assistance about blockages caused or contributed to by disposable wipes being flushed down lavatories but there had been no response
- Responses to any planning matters – there were no planning applications
- Date of next meeting – 23rd February 2023 – 7.30
- AOB – OCC have decided to plant a tree in the village. They have selected a space outside Mill End House. There was some discussion about people being asked to become a “superuser” on the reporting of pot holes – there were no volunteers. The village quiz was to take place again on 29th