Parish Council Minutes – January 2016

Minutes of the meeting of Bourtons Parish Council

Held at the Village Hall, Great Bourton on Tuesday 5th January 2016.

The meeting opened at 7.30pm.

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

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

Apologies: were received from: S Hughes (delayed in France); P Wallace (ill).

  • Declarations of Interest: A Johnson (supporter of Cropredy Cluster Care).
  • No members of the public were present.
  • Minutes: the minutes of the last meeting [November 2015] were APPROVED and signed by the Chairman.
  • Progress reports:
  • Footpaths: 

i] A positive comment has been received from a resident regarding a previous complaint about obstruction by slurry to the footpath that crosses Peewit Farm [138/14] commending a permissive diversionary path that has been established by the construction of two stiles to avoid the obstruction.  The original path [& bridleway] remains in place.

ii] The Footpath Warden accompanied the Chairman attending the 1st meeting at CDC to discuss the development of the new Country Park, detailed update below.

b)Road Defects:

i] No response from CDC Highway Signs department has been received regarding the damaged finger post at Crow Lane.  Cllr S Upton to follow up.


i] 3rd training course arranged for January 12th in Village Hall with 5 volunteers booked to attend. More candidates would be welcomed.

ii] Cllr C Upton [he has volunteered to act as the inspector of the Great Bourton device] will arrange to meet the trainer to receive instructions regarding the routine inspection procedure.

d) Traffic Calming:

i] Report presented by the Chairman following the conclusion of the traffic survey conducted by OCC Highways.

ii] A detailed spreadsheet has been provided by OCC showing the volumes of traffic and numbers in each speed group.  This shows that while there are a considerable number of vehicles in the 31-36mph group, the numbers exceeding the limit by a greater amount is relatively low.  The full detail of the report is available for public view by contacting the Chairman who can provide any necessary explanation.

iii] Discussion followed to determine next actions and it was AGREED that we should ask Anthony Kirkwood [OCC Highways representative who originally visited on this matter] to review the report and present us with the various action options and related costs/efficiencies, for presentation to interested members of the public at a future Council meeting.

e) Website Development:

i] Only 2 quotes have been received for the creation of the proposed new website, and Cllr S Upton is chasing up a 3rd quote from several other potential providers to enable the selection of a development partner.

ii] To enable us to meet our legal obligations, training on updating/loading data to the current website is being sought from the original providers.

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.

ii] Discussion took place regarding the new Clerk’s contract, based on a draft provided and this continues, to be finalised before the next meeting.  It has been confirmed that a contract [rather than a letter of appointment] is preferable.

g) Queen Elizabeth 90th Birthday proposed celebrations:

i] Responses to the survey on possible celebration options issued in the last edition of the Broadsheet were 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 Village event unless a significant level of interest is expressed to Geoff Jennings in the very near future.  Suitable celebration activities would be left to the Village Pubs, Church, School etc.

h) Garners Field Development:

i] An urgent request from CDC Planning Dept was received immediately prior to the Christmas shutdown requesting this Council confirm their acceptance of the sum of £305k in respect of the construction of the proposed new Village Hall as part of the development.  This request had been declined due to insufficient information and too short a timescale to respond effectively, and a meeting was requested between Bourtons pc, the developers and CDC.

ii] During research into the matter it was discovered that the original developer One Property Group had been placed in Administration in early December. Sammi Developments, another developer that had been involved in the background has now become principal developer for the project, we understand.

iii] It was AGREED that an urgent meeting be set up with Sammi Developments and Phase 2 [their planning advisors] to understand any effects and to confirm exactly what is proposed to be included within their stated budget of £305k.  Chairman to progress.

  • Playgrounds
  • Inspections have been carried out:

i] Great Bourton: Cllr safety inspection completed.

ii] Little Bourton: Cllr safety inspection completed; swing found to be defective.  Now repaired by Cllr C Upton.

  • Allotments
  • Interaction between Solicitors continues.
  • As a result of further review Mr Hall is now requesting a reduction in the transfer period of 2 years originally intended to run from date of contact signing.  Negotiations continue.
  • Councillors noted the very sad and sudden death of Charlie Conners of Little Bourton, who, with his wife May, has kept for many years the most excellent plots on the Bourtons allotment site. He will be missed very much, and Councillors wished to send condolences to his family.  Councillors AGREED that Charlie should be commemorated at the new allotment site.
  • Finance
  • Payments to National Allotment Association, OCC Highways [for the speed survey], and annual subscription to the Society of Local Council Clerks were APPROVED.
  • Chairman PROPOSED that a grant of £100 be made to Cropredy Cluster Care, this was SECONDED by Cllr S Upton; payment APPROVED.
  • The Precept was discussed and Cllr Johnson PROPOSED that this be increased from £10k to £11k for the year 2016/17.  This was SECONDED by Cllr S Upton and APPROVED.  This is required because a detailed analysis of the current year spending and awareness that a number of areas currently supported by either CDC or OCC are subject to potential withdrawal of support, and will require further support from the PC.  Note that we have to advise CDC of our 2016/17 Precept by January 22nd.
  • Notice has been received about pending changes to audit arrangements for local councils.  A meeting is to be arranged between the Clerk, Cllr S Upton and the Chairman to determine the effect and our response.
  • Planning Applications
  • The CDC January Planning Committee meeting is due to hear the case of The Paddocks and District Cllr Atack advised that he intended to speak to represent local views.  It was discussed and AGREED that PC Councillors should attend, and the Chairman will discuss and make suitable arrangements.
  • It is recognised that the revised application is now supported by CDC and we will press for clear and substantive conditions to be included in the approval.
  • No new planning applications have been received. See Agenda for this Meeting re decisions.
  • Correspondence
  • Notice has been received from CDC regarding the annual Spring Clean event which will take place between February 19th and March 7th, with the opportunity to order further supplies.  Cllr S Upton is to undertake a stocktake and advise what additional supplies are required which the Clerk will order: note order deadline February 5th.
  • It is believed that funding to support the acquisition of a laptop computer [for the Clerk] and for development of the website may be available form OALC [Oxford Association of Local Councils] and this is to be investigated by the Clerk for attention at the next meeting.
  • New Business
  • The Chairman reported back on her attendance, supported by the Footpath Warden, at a meeting at CDC to discuss proposals for the proposed new Country Park.  This allowed us to comment on the proposals and identify that the proposed access most suitable for residents of The Bourtons would not be available due to earlier closure of the railway crossing.  This was noted.  A follow up meeting is scheduled for later in January to review the next steps.  If anyone wishes to see further information an outline plan is available by contacting the Chairman.
  • A report has been received from residents of a problem with part of the Church wall adjacent to the lower steps, where bulging has been noticed as a result of the recent heavy rains.  This will be inspected immediately and appropriate action taken.
  • A request has been received from Village Networks to attend the next meeting to present regarding the services they can offer to the village.  It was AGREED that they should be invited and the February meeting will now start 30 minutes earlier at 7.00pm.
  • District Councillor Report
  • CDC intend to have a balanced budget for the coming year, which was recognised as good positive news.
  • Central Government has offered CDC a 4 year fixed agreement of forward funding and this is being considered by them.  This is seen as potentially beneficial as it would provide visibility of secure funding over this period and allow better forward planning.
  • Date of next meetingTuesday February 2nd 2016 to start at the earlier time of 7.00pm.

The meeting closed at 10:40 pm.

Signed   Sally Leszczynski: Date:


Minutes drafted by Parish Clerk on January 6th 2016

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