SOUTH LEIGH AND HIGH COGGES PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
23rd March 2023
7.30 pm in the Village Hall
Nicky Brooks (Chair) (NB)
Lysette Nicholls (Deputy)(LN)
David Auger (DA)
Dick Pears (DP)
Cllrs Rylett and Goodwin attended
- Apologies from Rita Sawrey-Woodwards (R S-W) and Peter Grant (PG) and Cllr Dan Levy.
- Declarations of interest – No declarations of interest
- To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as being a true record of the proceedings – Approved
- Opportunity for any parishioner to raise a matter of concern. There were no matters of concern raised save in respect of the Anaerobic Digester dealt with below
- Opportunity for any County Councillor and / or District Councillor to update the Parish Council on any matter of relevance or concern. Cllr Levy had sent a report which unfortunately had not been distributed by the time of the meeting however it now can be summarised (1) he has a meeting with County Highways re AD (2) The Witney Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure plan (LCWIP) is up for approval and adoption at the Cabinet Member Delegated decisions meeting tomorrow (Thursday ie 23rd). He will be speaking in favour of it. It does have some impact on SL&HC, in that it should in time make it easier for people to get between Witney and South Leigh by bike. (3) the Inspector’s report on his own report on the Salt Cross Area Action Plan has been published, and as anticipated the Inspector has not changed his mind about preventing us from insisting on Zero Carbon development, which is a shame. (4) The Executive did not approve the revised West Eynsham Masterplan, prepared by the developers – it will go to scrutiny for comment, probably in June, and residents and parish councils will have the opportunity to comment on it. (5) A quick reminder that there are WODC elections on 4 May. In South Leigh it is for the seat he currently holds and he is standing. He asks “Could you please remind residents that they will need approved photo ID if they vote in person, or they could get a postal vote or appoint a proxy – Voter ID – what you need to do for the May 2023 elections – West Oxfordshire District Council (westoxon.gov.uk).
- Report on the liaison between the Parish and the Parishes of Stanton/Harcourt, Sutton, Standlake and Eynsham PC. LN indicated that the Parliamentary Boundary Commission had reported with South Leigh and High Cogges being proposed to be in the new Bicester and Woodstock Constituency with these being the revised proposals and the final proposals being delivered to Parliament in July. The PC had made two written representations which unfortunately were unsuccessful and further representations are no longer permissible.
- Payments to approve – there is a reissue grass cutting contracts to those contractors (one for the playing field and one for the village hall/ village green) that had previously carried out work subject to their quotes which have a 10% increase.
- Update on Anaerobic Digester – John Alexander had brought a scale model which was displayed in the hall. There was a significant attendance of parishioners who were concerned about the application and the AD that was described by one parishioner as an industrial unit. The PC had been offered a visit to an Acorn site at Ipsden on 3rdApril but it was felt in the light of the information already garnered, this visit was not necessary and indeed none of the parishioners thought otherwise.
There were other concerns about the AD that had been highlighted in handouts that had been prepared and distributed by the village pressure group – Stop the Witney Digester. There were discussions about other issues which were detrimental to the village. The PC indicated that they had circulated a draft between themselves which would be filed with WODC next week prior to 30th March 2023 and then given wider publicity within the village. The PC having read the material filed by Acorn, background material, visited a AD plant suggested by Acorn albeit not one operated by them and heard the views of the residents had decided that the application had to be opposed as it would be a breach, inter alia of the South Leigh Neighbourhood Plan policy SLE1, SLE5, SLE7 and SLD6, the West Oxfordshire Local Plan (CO1 & 2, CO14, OS2 and EH2) and the National Planning Policy Framework – Paragraphs 174 and 185.
- Playing Field Lease and discussion about cutting and frequency of cutting of the grass on the field. A tracked version of the proposed alterations to the lease had been circulated amongst the PC. It would now be finalised and sent to Eynsham Park Estate for their consideration. The contracts for the cutting of the grass specified 10 cuts a year however it was felt that there needed to be an immediate cut not just of the playing field but also of the village hall garden. John Ashwell would deal with the latter.
- Playground Lease. This had expired but the various attempts to get it renewed had foundered not least because on one occasion it had been lost in the post and despite a further version being hand delivered the landlord had failed to respond. DP said he would try and assist.
- Shores Green and A40 dualling. NB reiterated that it looked as though the dual carriageway proposal was permanently stalled whereas there still was no date for an OCC committee meeting to decide on Shores Green.
- Generator – The generator was installed with significant security put in place. Electricians would attend at the end of this month (27th April for three days) to connect it to the services within the village hall and there would be a trial run to test the system. A lot of the lights in the hall had, in anticipation, been changed to LED and there had been investigation as to whether a permit was required to operate it. Martin Spurrier and DP had looked at the government regulations and it would seem that the mobility of the generator and the use of it only in emergencies meant that a permit was not required. To reiterate a grant offer was confirmed in August 2020 from SSE in the form of money from the SEPD Resilient Communities Fund “to purchase an emergency generator for the village hall”. The generator that was purchased is mobile is petrol and has a max output 7.5Kw. Its wheels and handle will be removed for security reasons but be replaced in minutes. It will be utilised in and around the village in the case of emergency and on occasion at episodic village events but is housed for security and other reasons near the village hall which is the village emergency centre and used there in circumstances where power from the grid is not available as a result of temporary interruption.
- Village hall plans – the Village Hall Committee had indicated that they needed more space – two alternate schemes had been drawn up although one needed some more fleshing out and Martin Spurrier and DP would proceed with this although the schemes were in their very early stages
- Salt Bins- some were broken, others had disappeared and most were empty of salt. Two parishioners had stores of salt but given the amount that the PC had to deal with currently and the season of the year it was decided to put any discussion over until the Autumn
- Responses to any planning matters – there were no planning applications save in respect of the AD
- Date of next meeting – 27th April 7.30.
- AOB – DA raised the issue of who owned the roadways leading up to his house. NB was clear that they were not part of the village green and he should contact Eynsham Park Estate. Martin Spurrier confirmed that the village had received a grant from the national lottery of £4334 to mark the Coronation and was working on a programme of celebration.