Parish Council Minutes – February 2016

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 Minutes of the meeting of Bourtons Parish Council

Held at the Village Hall, Great Bourton on Tuesday 2nd February 2016.

The meeting opened at 7.00pm.

  • Present: Cllrs Mrs S Leszczynski [Chairman], C Upton, A Johnson, S Hughes [after presentation] and Mrs. S Upton.

In attendance: District Cllr K Atack, S Bowen [Parish Clerk]

Apologies: were received from: P Wallace (ill).

Mr Nick King (Village Networks) gave a short introduction about the services and support that they would like to offer to the village following receipt of a new Lottery grant enabling them to extend the services they have been providing in South Northamptonshire for the past 3 years.  A leaflet was circulated [attached as appendix 1] detailing the scope of the services and Councillors expressed an interest in hearing more once Mr King is in a position to confirm in more detail when he proposes starting the monthly visit programme.

The Chairman PROPOSED and Cllr Mrs S Upton SECONDED that we should welcome Village Networks for an initial period to see what response was made by residents.  A news release concerning the new service will be issued by Village Networks approx. 2 months prior to the first visit of the vehicle.

  • Declarations of Interest: None.
  • Attendance: 1 member of the public was present.

Mrs Margaret Damon attended to raise points regarding the new Allotments site which she believed were not covered in the draft contract circulated 2 months ago.  The Chairman commented that considerable work had been invested in further development of the draft but that the points raised would be considered:

i] Provision of a hardened parking area: now included in the latest draft.

ii] Plot fencing: It was confirmed that robust rabbit proof fencing would be provided by Mr Hall around the perimeter of the 2 groups of 15 plots but that it was up to individual tenants if they wished to provide boundary fencing between plots, although posts would be provided by Mr Hall.

iii] Sheds: It was confirmed that existing sheds that were substantial/relocatable would be moved by with the assistance of Mr Hall, and any that were not in good enough condition to survive the move would be replaced.  Beyond this anyone who wanted a shed would have to provide a suitable one at their cost.

iv] Phased move: A reduction in the hand-over/transfer period had been requested by Mr Hall but this had been rebutted and a 2-year period has been agreed, to end in January 2018.

v] Legal costs: Due to various delays (not caused by the Council) the original estimate of costs had now been exceeded and our solicitors would be reminding Mr Hall that he was responsible for all the Councils’ legal costs.

vi] Ongoing access to existing plots: It had been confirmed that planting and harvesting can continue this year, and in the following year.

vii] Hedge maintenance: Mr Hall is responsible for this and the hedges adjacent to his land remain in his ownership.

viii] Planning permission:  no Change of use permission is required for the new site.

ix] New tenants and rents : No new tenants can be recruited to the existing plots once the new agreement is signed, however existing tenants remain liable to pay their current annual rent which is now due, and as confirmed above can continue cultivation this year.

x] Next steps: Negotiations were continuing on various other contractual details and the Chairman said that it was hoped that a revised final draft could be circulated soon, and a tenants meeting held.

  • Minutes: the minutes of the last meeting [January 2016] were APPROVED and signed by the Chairman.
  • Progress reports :
  • Footpaths: No new reports have been received.

b) Road Defects: No further response from CDC Highway Signs department has been received regarding the damaged finger post at Crow Lane.


i] 3rd training course completed successfully, but with a small attendance.  Interest has already been expressed if a further course is arranged.

ii] Training in respect of weekly equipment inspection has still to be arranged.  A log will need to be kept of such inspections and a monthly review at Council meetings will be minuted.

iii] The point raised by Cllr Johnson regarding liability in the event of equipment failure has been discussed with the SCAS trainer and it was confirmed that the Council is not liable.

d) Traffic Calming:

i] Report presented by the Clerk following the request last month to investigate potential next steps.

ii] Little interest or support received from OCC Highways as only low level speeding had been detected during the 7day/24hr speed survey in December.

iii] Discussions with the Police Neighbourhood Watch team at Banbury had suggested that a Community Speedwatch scheme may be a suitable next step.  This will require a small group of volunteers to be trained to support periodic speed camera checks which will result in speeding offenders being sent a written warning by Thames Valley Police.  Previous experience shows this to be an effective deterrent.  It was AGREED that Councillors will approach residents in Main Street about their potential involvement, with names being given to the Clerk for communication to the Neighbourhood Watch team.  An article will be posted in the next edition of the Bourtons Broadsheet.

e) Website Development:

i] 4 quotes now received and it was AGREED that Cllr Mrs S Upton would follow up with 3 providers [Bluesock; Town & Parish Council Websites & KC Graphics] with a further questionnaire.

f) Policies/Documents review:

i] It is recognised that a full review of the Council’s policies and official documents is overdue and this will be progressed over the next quarter by the Clerk.

g) Queen Elizabeth 90th Birthday proposed celebrations:

i] Responses to the survey on possible celebration options issued in the last edition of the Broadsheet remain very low indicating a lack of interest in this matter.

ii] It was discussed and AGREED that there would be NO further action on a V whole parish event.  Suitable celebration activities would be left to the Village Pubs, Church, Village hall, School etc.

h) Garners Field Development:

i] Difficulty in arranging the proposed meeting with the developers has led to CDC declining to organise the meeting.  The Chairman has finally managed to make contact with David Currie and has learned that:

a] Sammi Development have decided not to continue to be the developer once the S106 process is complete and will then sell the development on to a new developer.

b] Negotiations continue regarding the S106 agreement.

ii] it was AGREED that the council would seek independent professional advice regarding what type of building can be specified for the value being offered as a S106 payment.

iii]Until we have a better understanding of this we feel unable to fully endorse the development, as has been requested by CDC.

  • Playgrounds
  • Inspections have been carried out :

i] Great Bourton: Cllr safety inspection completed, all satisfactory.  New litter bin now available for installation which will be completed this month.

ii] Little Bourton: Cllr safety inspection completed, all satisfactory.  Litter problem noted which has been cleared by Cllr C Upton.

  • Allotments
  • Interaction between Solicitors continues.
  • Negotiations continue over several points [see comments above during Public session] and it remains our intention to get to a position where the contract can be signed soon to enable cultivation of the new site to start in time for the 2016 growing season.
  • Specific points include :
    • Request from the Halls for overage payments [to be paid if the usage of the allotments site was to change creating a significant “profit” for the Council, to be payable for a period of 40 years.  We have made a counter proposal of 25 years, which is deemed to be more reasonable.
    • The Council has been requested to provide “all reasonable endeavours” to assist Mr. Hall with achieving registration of the old allotments site with the Land Registry, and subject to agreement with our Solicitors we will do so.
    • The legal costs have reached the original agreed limit, and we will be approaching the Halls solicitor requesting an extension.

d)The 2015-16 allotment rents are now over-due with a significant number remaining unpaid.  The Clerk will send a letter to the relevant tenants requesting prompt payment.

  • Finance
  • Payments to Cluster Care and Thames Water were APPROVED.
  • Monies for the support of Little Bourton playground remain with CDC in respect of the development of Pinson Close and it was AGREED that, as there are no plans for further capital expenditure in the park, we would make an application for the balance to be transferred to this Council to support the ongoing Playgrounds maintenance costs, before the expiry of the 10 year limitation period.

c) It was AGREED that we would employ the services of Ms D Malley to manage salary/pension arrangements for the Clerk and to comply with HMRC requirements.

  • Planning Applications
  • The Paddocks planning application has been APPROVED by CDC subject to a range of special conditions.  It was noted that the condition relating to No Residential Occupation, which was discussed at the CDC Planning Meeting was not included; District Councillor Atack will raise this with the Planning Dept.
  • Correspondence
  • The contractor who undertakes verge/hedge cutting on behalf of OCC has contacted the Council to ask if we require an earlier cut than that provided by OCC (June).  In the light of comments received last year about the length of the verges it was AGREED that a quotation be requested, and if reasonable then this earlier cut will be commissioned.
  • New Business
  • The Chairman reported back on her attendance at the 2nd New Country Park meeting, supported by the Footpath Warden.  A 1st draft plan has been produced and further meetings are planned with the intention that a final plan can be published during March.
  • District Councillor Report
  • Cllr Atack reported on the OCC planning meetings scheduled for later this month to review the future housing requirements of the County.  The Chairman, supported by the Clerk will attend on 23/02/16.

Date of next meetingTuesday March 1st 2016

The meeting closed at 9:40 pm.

Signed   Sally Leszczynski: Date:


Minutes drafted by Parish Clerk on February 3rd 2016

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