Minutes of Bramley Parish Council
Parish Councillors present were:
Richard Wood, John Ferguson, Chris Holland, Philip McCorry, Claire Penfold, Janice Spalding, Allan Douglas, Hugh Tottenham, Dalton Hopkins (joined the meeting at 8pm).
Also present were:
The Clerk, Borough Cllr. Rhydian Vaughan, PCSO Geoff Furmor-Dunman, 4 members of the public
ITEM COMMENT ACTION
County Cllr. Keith Chapman, Borough Cllr. Ranil Jayawardena
2.0 Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the meeting on 21st February 2011 having been circulated were agreed as a true record. Proposed Cllr. Penfold, seconded Cllr. Holland.
3.0 Matters arising and not appearing elsewhere on the agenda
It was noted that the interest rate on the business account should be investigated, to establish whether there was a higher rate account available. Clerk
It was also agreed that the National Savings account should be reviewed. H.T.
4.2 Accounts for Payment
Approved, proposed Cllr. Ferguson, seconded Cllr. Douglas
4.3 Budget Update
The end of year budget review was circulated. No comments.
4.4 Print quote approval
The print quotes for the Spring newsletter were presented to the Council. It was agreed that we should accept the quote from Ridgeway Press, the cheapest quote and also a local company.
The printing of the Spring/Summer newsletter would cost £395.
The Council had received and circulated a full planning application, for a new build dwelling at Tudor Close. Some Cllrs. felt that the footprint was too large for the plot and the matter was discussed. The majority of Cllrs. approved the design. Cllr. Vaughan stated that he felt this type of eco-friendly development should be encouraged. He also commented that each new build goes against the ‘quota’ for Bramley. Cllr. Tottenham questioned this and reminded the Council that in the past their decisions have been over-ridden at Government level, and the Cllrs. sought reassurance that the opinion of the Parish Council is taken into consideration by the Development Control Committee. It was reiterated by Cllr. Vaughan that Parish Councils were to have more control over development in their parishes, and there would be more autonomy at local level under the Localism Bill.
6.0 Police Report
PCSO Furmor-Dunman explained that there had been an increase in reports of suspicious persons/vehicles, which meant that there was a heightened awareness of this issue. He congratulated the public on being more proactive.
He also reminded the Council that the high price of scrap metal is still affecting local crime, with copper of particular interest and iron, including drain covers, also being targeted.
He then explained that a barrier had been removed at an emergency access for the German Road development, allowing vehicular traffic to cross the footpath. It was reported that 30 vehicles had used this to gain access to the far end of the development, when the main access was closed due to resurfacing works. This was clearly a danger to the public as there was no visibility and users of the footpath would not be expecting traffic to cross. The Clerk would contact the developers to ensure this was made safe as soon as possible. It was noted that permanent bollards were due to be positioned here and the developers would be asked when the completion of this work was due. Clerk
The Chairman asked PCSO Furmor-Dunman what the anticipated timescales were for the speed gun training, which had been agreed in principal. PCSO Furmor-Dunman will check and report back at the next meeting. He also explained that there is a Community lead speed-watch proposal,
which assists in making a case for where formal enforcement is necessary. He explained that this would not involve pulling people in for speeding, and there was no enforcement, but it would provide the first layer for proof of speeding in certain problem areas.
Cllr. Tottenham asked PCSO Furmor-Dunman whether anything more could have been done to divert traffic away from Minchens Lane when the road around the bridge had to be closed due to an unfortunate incident. It was explained that this route was used by traffic avoiding the level crossing, and that on the narrow road, there was chaos with vehicles being turned back. It would have been helpful to have a sign at the main road before traffic got to the point of the closure. PCSO Furmor-Dunman commented that the priority was scene guarding, and while the comments were taken on board, it was felt that at the time, the police in attendance were probably not aware of the route being taken by the traffic. As a side note, Cllr. Tottenham explained that he had telephoned early on the first morning to explain that traffic was going to be a problem, as was asked questions about his ethnic origin, which he found unnecessary. PCSO Furmor-Dunman explained that they have to ask these questions of all callers.
Borough Councillor Report
Cllr. Vaughan said he had been further looking into the ‘Neighbourhood Improvement Scheme’ fund, for which Cllr. Tottenham had expressed an interest in applying, and stated that part of the criteria was ‘to produce evidence of nuisance’. Cllr. Tottenham said he would submit an application for the grant, which could be used to resurface the entrance to the car park, leading up to the green gate. It was felt that the gravel surface was a nuisance to wheelchair users, and parents with pushchairs, who needed a more acceptable surface leading up to the path, and this case would be put. HT
Cllr. Vaughan, along with Cllr. Wood, had also been liaising with Katherine Miles from the Planning Department, regarding the Cinder Track. It had been put to the Parish Council that there was to be an enforcement order regarding the lighting and other issues. Cllr. Wood explained that he had some sympathy with the developers, having met with them a few days previously, as they had not yet been supplied the spec for the lighting. It was explained that the standard spec had changed, and they did not want to install lighting which was not of an adoptable standard. Cllr. Wood said he would feed the comments from the Planning enforcement office, and the Parish Council, back to the developers. RW
Cllr. Vaughan had spoken with Barry Ford regarding the yellow lines at Coopers Lane, and was now informed that all the people in the surrounding area were to be consulted. He showed the council a map which covered about 5 streets, including Longbridge Road and Ringshall Gardens, where people were going to be asked what measures they wanted.
Cllr. Vaughan reported that he had contacted RAF Odiham to invite a speaker to attend the Annual Parish Meeting on 18th April. He suggested we open the meeting with this speaker at 6.30pm, and open that part of the meeting up to Sherfield parish. It was felt that if there was a greater understanding of why the helicopters had to fly at certain times, there would be more support.
Cllr. Tottenham asked Cllr. Vaughan about the speed limit sign on the C32 approaching the school, as it had been reviewed in the past, and asked whether it could now be pushed back towards Holly Cross. He asked for the council to be reminded why it was not done at the time of the last review, and it was explained that the small number of houses along the edge of the road meant it did not fit the criteria for that speed limit. It was suggested that the sudden change from 60mph to 30mph near the school was a danger, and it would be looked into, to see if a case could be made to move the sign back, or introduce a further sign reducing traffic to 40mph before the 30mph sign. RV
Cllr. Penfold asked Cllr. Vaughan for an update on the Housing Consultation. She expressed her disappointment that despite holding a special meeting, advertising the survey on the parish notice boards, an invitation to the special meeting and a copy of the survey being hand delivered to every household, and a reminder being put on the google-group, there were only 126 responses from Bramley. Cllr. Penfold asked whether there had been an ‘official’ council response, but it was felt that this was an individual survey, and the Cllrs. responded as individual households.
7.0 Transport and Highways
Cllr. McCorry discussed that the government recently launched a new Local Sustainable Transport Fund for which it is inviting bids. The fund is for packages of measures that support economic growth and reduce carbon in their communities as well as delivering cleaner environments, improved safety and increased levels of physical activity. He commented that we already have a good railway system, which is not in the Council’s hands, and that there was not much else Bramley could do in response to this.
Cllr. Douglas asked whether the litter warden was able to make regular trips up to the far end of the village, beyond the Church, and it was explained that the litter warden only works 10 hours a week and cannot cover the entire village in this time. The Chairman reported that we were awaiting a reply to several attempts to contact Colin Peckham at BDBC as we still had not had a reply following a meeting with him at the end of last year, discussing the increased demands on the litter warden and requesting confirmation of what grant, if any, would be available for the next year. It was also put to BDBC that we might consider a fuel allowance to the litter warden who uses his own vehicle to get to parts of the village and then transport the litter back to the pick-up point at Clift Meadow car park. The Clerk would chase Colin Peckham again and copy in Cllr. Vaughan. Clerk
Cllr. Douglas also asked whether we could enquire about the mini sweeper he had seen in other areas, to establish whether we could request a sweep of the footpaths between the Vicarage and the railway crossing. The clerk would make enquiries. Clerk
Cllr. McCorry explained that there was still progress being made towards investigations for the footbridge over the railway. Meanwhile he had been discussing the idea of signs which would inform motorists when the next train was due, so that they may be more encouraged to turn off their engines if they knew there was a wait of several minutes before the barriers would re-open. Cllr. McCorry to write to Network Rail about this possibility. McCorry
8.0 Environmental Matters
Cllr. Penfold gave an update about ongoing enquiries to resolve the issue of replacement allotments, in response to the waiting list and also to allow a future extension of the burial ground. She had met with the Land Development Manager at BDBC and also the Allotment Manager, along with Cllr. Ferguson, to discuss what land may be available to lease. While there was some land which could be considered for this purpose, such as some space near Bullsdown Farm, it was explained that if it was currently known as open space or community space, it could be difficult to change the use of land to create allotments. The purchase or renting of some private land currently for sale was also being investigated, although cost would be an issue at around £11-£12,000 per acre commercial rate. Money would also have to be spent on setting the land out as allotment gardens and providing suitable security. Cllr. Penfold also sought advice on access/drainage issues. She stated that no decisions had been made yet as this was still at fact-finding stage, but that the waiting list would need to be addressed.
It was agreed to increase burial ground charges by 2%, and then round up to sensible figures. Proposed Cllr. Ferguson, seconded Cllr. Holland. All in favour. Clerk
Cllr. Wood brought up the issue of the large pot-holes in the Church car park and asked the council to consider making a donation towards the cost of repairs. He stated that this land was not owned by the Church and that there were no land registry records demonstrating ownership of this shared land, but that all users would be asked to contribute. The planned repairs were expected to cost less than £2,000 and should last 5 years. It was clear that this would be a one-off donation and would not enter the Council into further liabilities. Cllr. Douglas rejected this proposal on the basis that residents who share the drive should cover the cost. Cllr. Wood declared an interest and signed the register as in the past he had been a Church Warden, although he no longer carries that role, and abstained from the vote.
Cllr. Ferguson proposed an offer of £500 towards costs provided the rest was met by other users, Cllr. Tottenham seconded. The vote was carried by a margin of 1.
9.0 Parish Plan Update
Cllr. Penfold was away last month and was not able to attend the most recent meeting of the Parish Plan. She spoke about the progress made towards the completion of the Questionnaire, more details of which would be in the newsletter, and how the questionnaire would be distributed to every household in Bramley, with arrangements being made for drop-off points and collection to improve the opportunity to gather responses. It was expected that the Questionnaire, the printing of which is being funded from the grant made to the PP group last year by BDBC and the Parish Council, should be ready for distribution in May. The Borough Council was supporting the group with analysis of the responses and there would be a small cost for producing the report.
It was also reported that the Parish Plan website was back online and that the link through from the Bramley Parish Council website was working.
Cllr. Holland asked what time-frame the questionnaire was looking at, and Cllr. Penfold confirmed that it was looking at projects over a series of timeframes, some which would be able to be carried out quickly, and others looking forward up to 10 or 15 years. It was noted that although there were potential volunteers to help with the collection of the completed questionnaires, the Parish Plan committee were keen to ensure that opportunities for dialogue were not missed.
Cllr. Tottenham reported that the Youth Club was now up and running, and that they had been working with Stephen Bate. The Youth Club meets on Friday nights at the Clift Pavilions.
He also noted that plans for the event on Saturday 30th April to coincide with the Royal Wedding were going well, but the school had sent their apologies and would not be formally attending. Flyers were to be distributed and the Clerk would promote the occasion on the Parish Council website, and also on the Google Group.
Cllr. Vaughan was to ask the Keith Chapman whether he would be able to attend, and perhaps form a role with the scouts who were planning to parade at the event. RV, Clerk
Nothing to report.
12.0 Items for next meeting
Community feasibility study update from Cllr. Ferguson.
Before the meeting formally ended, there were some comments about the number of posters being displayed around Bramley, including some large banners. It was noted that the Parish did not own some of the land being used for display of promotional material, much of which was being put up without permission. It was agreed that those responsible for excessive ‘illegal’ fly posting would be contacted and reminded to use the notice boards and other official means of promoting events. Clerk
There being no other business the meeting closed at 9.25pm.
Appendix. Public comments
Judith Foyle asked to return to a discussion held at the last council meeting, where comment had been made about the local bus service. She wished to express that she felt the bus service was very good, and went on to explain the routes and times buses were available, and that she felt the drivers were very friendly and helpful. Cllr. Ferguson agreed to stand corrected and said he would take up Judith’s suggestion that he should try using the bus more often to experience the route.
Judith Foyle then explained that she had received her council tax bill, and stated that she felt the rise in the Bramley portion of the bill ‘disgusting’, and that she felt it was a lot of money to be added.
Phyl Davies asked whether the Parish Council would be writing to people to explain, especially to those people who were not clear on what a Precept was all about. It was noted that the intention was to put this information in the next edition of the twice-yearly newsletter as this is hand delivered to every household, and was due out before the end of April. Information would also be put on the website.
5.0 Planning Applications