SOUTH LEIGH AND HIGH COGGES PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
Minutes of the Meeting 26th May 2022 at 19:30 in the Village Hall
Councillors Present initially
Nicky Brooks (Chair)
David Auger (DA)
Dick Pears (DP)
Then from 8pm Lysette Nicholls attended (LN)
Apologies – R S.W. was away and sent her apologies, LN indicated that she would be late because of WODC commitments but would arrive as soon as she could She arrived at 8pm.
There were no apologies or attendance by the District or County Councillors and it was agreed that the PC would as a consequence write to them.
- The first part of the meeting was the annual meeting of the Parish Council – the Parish AGM is to follow on a date to be fixed which was provisionally arranged for 16th June – but then subsequently re-scheduled
NB explained because of the increased level of income received particularly by the Village Hall as a result of government grants consequent on the pandemic, there would have to be a more stringent outside accounting review than in previous years which had to be budgeted for.
In the annual meeting of the Parish Council the councillors approved
(1) the Parish Council only accounts for the year to 31st March 2022
(2) the village hall subcommittee accounts for the year to 31st March 2022
(3) the playground sub-committee accounts for the year to 31st March 2022
(4) the consolidated accounts for the year to 31st March 2022
The Councillors further approved
(5) the Annual Internal Audit Report 2021/22
(6) the Accounting statement for the same period and (7) the Annual Governance Statement 2021/22.
The Councillors also further approved the notice of public rights.
In accordance with those approvals the Councillors authorized the clerk
- to lodge the annual governance statement and accounting statement with the auditors together with a bank statement and bank reconciliation statement and a request for a limited assurance review
- to publish on the parish website various reports and accounts referred to above
The Annual Meeting of the Parish Council was then concluded and the regular periodic Parish council meeting commenced.
There were a number of parishioners present.
- There were no declarations of interest.
- The minutes of the previous parish council meeting were approved as being a true record of the proceedings
- Constitutional matters – NB indicated the change in the political make up of WODC and the new governing alliance was (supplanting the Conservatives) of the Lib Dems, Labour and Greens
- Opportunity for any parishioner to raise a matter of concern. There had been concerns in the village raised by the cutting of verges at this time of year and the effect on wildflowers. NB indicated that no-one wanted to stifle villagers in their efforts however most verges were the property of OCC and paths like Moors Lane and Bonds Lane remained in the ownership of particular landowner and if villagers did work without permission there were not just issues of doing work on land that did not belong to the village but also issues of insurance. It was a matter of balance and perhaps there would have to be a village agreement on those issues. Matthew Lee suggested that someone like the Wychwood Trust would be able to offer advice and might be able to act as an honest broker. There seemed to be a growing consensus that it was beneficial not to cut verges until at least late July to allow the seeds to develop and drop.
- Opportunity for any County Councillor and / or District Councillor to update the Parish Council on any matter of relevance or concern. As indicated above there was no attendance and no report from the relevant councillors
- Report on the liaison between the Parish and the Parishes of Stanton Harcourt, Sutton, Standlake and Eynsham PC – LN indicated that all the parishes would have to be both vigilant and reactive to the issue of building land supply and that West Oxon had a 5.3 year supply only and that there were beginning to be a number of applications made to build affordable houses which had less onerous planning requirements. On a lighter note other parishes were very impressed with the jubilee bus shelter and were coming to take photographs of it – there was a round of applause for Martin Spurrier and his efforts
- Payments to approve. There was a discussion about the grant being applied for in relation to the generator for the village hall and the various types of generators that were needed.
There had been a demand for arrears of council tax for village hall of £12.88 which was inexplicable because the village hall had been in credit but given the small sum and the inevitable hassle it was agreed it would be paid and if there was an issue further along the line it would be addressed. There was also a payment in respect of insurance in connection with the village hall and a company called Gallagher and it was agreed that should be paid.
- Website – Nothing to report
- Conservation area – there was an explanation by Martin Spurrier that discussions at the pre-app stage with WODC indicated that there would not be a grant of conservation status to the whole area of the parish but that an application in respect of separate parts was being formulated but there had been some delay because of commitments to other projects,
- Jubilee celebrations – There would be a 4 day celebration and flyers and announcements on the village website etc had been sent out. Martin Spurrier indicated that there would be 13 floats and bubbly at the bus shelter together with the other activities already announced.
- Forest Restoration Project – There was discussion about this to explain to parishioners who were not familiar with the history and progress.
- Newsletter- We needed authority from the PC to authorize expenditure for up to £200 to produce the paper copy of the newsletter. This was passed unanimously.
14 and 15 A40 dual carriageway planning application and Shore’s Green junction – there had been an exhibition of annotated plans and photographs in the village hall today where there had been work done by DA to make them more comprehensible – NB indicated that she had attended between 10-7 with DP being there between 3pm and 5pm. There had been attendance of about 25 people including a number from High Cogges. There had been helpful assistance rendered on a number of issues such as the position of bus stops, planting on a particular landowner’s land, footpaths, restricting access to village by no left turn or “access to village only” signs from the west-east slip road at Shores Green.
NB indicated that the PC had to be realistic and the scheme would inevitably proceed and the concentration of the PC was on amelioration and issues like sound bunts, sound fences etc
NB and DP explained the course of the negotiation with OCC over Barnard gate round and the freedom of information requests and what now seemed to be a more engaged discussion between the PC and OCC so that there was a prospect of both Barnard Gate road being closed or having restricted access through collapsible barriers. Further there appeared to be a willingness on part of OCC to consider significant traffic calming measures put in place throughout the village. NB explained that the village had been bumped up the 20 mph priority list. Matthew Lee wondered whether it might be worth talking to Yarnton village who had to deal with rat runs and had installed traffic calming measures and NB indicated she might contact the Chair of Yarnton PC
There was a discussion about organizing a meeting with Cllr Duncan Enright
16.Traffic calming – LN indicated that there were a number of different alternatives but there would be consultation with the village about what would serve the interest of the village best
- Thames Water/Storm Overflow (EA) – DP indicated that there seemed some small progress with the negotiation over compensation and that Richard Aylard, R-S.W and DP were having a meeting on 7th June. DP outlined the various steps that had already been taken.
- Football pitch grass cutting - there was discussion about this and inquiry about whether the recent cut was satisfactory. There was discussion about the cutting of the grass in the village hall garden and village green and some dissatisfaction was voiced and it was agreed that the whole issue would need to be looked at holistically once more. In the meantime NB indicated she would speak to the current contactors
- Responses to any planning matters – There was no objection to the planning application in respect of Hayley Cottage, Church End indeed several councillors thought the application would lead to an improvement on the current position. DP indicated that in relation to Homan’s Farm and the potential footpath/stile issue whilst not a planning issue – a letter had been written to the owner of Homan’s Farm but no response had been received and further steps would be taken. In relation to Lindsey Farm DP explained what had cause a reference to be made to the enforcement department of WODC, nothing had been heard and it had been agreed that until the election was over which it now was the District Councillors would not be approached but now they could be to stimulate some action.
As far as the Tar Farm solar farm revised application was concerned. LN thought that it was unlikely to be considered until the July planning meeting. DP referred to the letter from Enzygo (representing Bluefield) dated May 2022 on the WODC planning website in relation to the application which referred to the reduced area of display, the removal from the scheme of fields having panels, the increase to 9.01 hectares of biodiversity enhancement, the greater length of hedgerows, the planting of 251 trees, all footpath corridors being now minimum width of 20metres and the positive contribution made to the revised plans by the PC.
- Liaison with Eynsham Estate over various matters. NB explained the history and there seemed to be a stall in the progress. LN said she was in regular contact with Rowley of Savills and volunteered to be the liaison councilor between the PC and Eynsham Park Estate
- Emergency Plan – again the history of this was explained and the intention of having a published plan and with the village hall as the village emergency centre. There was discussion about what facilities the village hall would intend to provide in an emergency
- Mobile signal – DP explained that there had been recent contact between him and BT/EE and now there was investigation and possible provision of a new mast on a new site. DP said that this would take time but 1st November had been diarized for an update from BT/EE
- Date of next meeting – provisionally fixed for 16th June
- AOB. – Graham Soame had volunteered to be the village representative on Lower Windrush project. Darcy and Evadne Vallance had agreed to be the parish footpath officer and NB indicated that the issue of alleged drug smoking and loud music in the bus shelter had been reported to the police and LN was trying to track down who was supposed to be the Community Police Officer