110/21APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies were received from Cllrs Dave Harris (Vice Chairman), Peter Hurst and Jane Woodroof.
Apologies were also noted from District Cllrs Moon and Agate.
111/21DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The Chairman declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 12 of the agenda (minute ref 121/21) as, although he is not involved with St Michael and All Angels Church at Chalton, he is a church warden of another church in the same benefice. He remained in the meeting but did not take part in the discussion or decision and Cllr Williams chaired the item.
112/21APPROVAL OF MINUTES
It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 20th July 2021 were an accurate record of the meeting and were signed by the Chairman.
The minutes would be published on the website and on the Parish Council noticeboard at the Memorial Hall as soon as practicable.
A resident highlighted a blocked ditch by Pipers Mead, South Lane. County Cllr Mocatta offered to take this as an action. It was further mentioned that a roadside tree, possibly within Peel Park on Petersfield Lane, looked unsafe.
A resident raised the maintenance of verges that some residents undertake and suggested that such action conflicts with Hampshire County Council’s (HCC) policy. The resident had previously highlighted his concerns with HCC and East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) and asked for the Parish Council’s support. The Chairman advised that verges alongside adopted highways belong to HCC.
County Cllr Mocatta explained that verges are maintained by EHDC’s contractor ‘Norse’ on behalf of HCC and he further elaborated on relevant contractual obligations relating to that arrangement that prohibited any flexibility in the cutting frequency. He further explained a pilot in Petersfield and Alton where verges were being identified as ‘wild verges’ and removed from the routine cutting schedule.
Cllr Foster highlighted the number of notices posted on street furniture reporting lost cats or dogs which are not removed and become unsightly.
The Clerk reported:
- On the challenges that had been experienced in updating the signatories on the Council’s bank accounts online.
- A meeting with the Council’s internal auditor Paul Reynolds on the 4th August. Dates had been confirmed for the interim review in January and year end in May 2022.
- The site meetings attended together with Cllrs regarding the new football pitches at Down Farm Park.
- A meeting with Serenity Digital who host the Parish Council’s website regarding updating the content of the website and the maps of Council owned land.
- A tour of Down Farm Barn and the Barn at South Lane Meadow together with a review of the play equipment that had been previously discussed by the South Lane Meadow Trustees at their meeting on 17th August 2021.
- A meeting with Barry Faust, a Community Warden with Horsham District Council also attended by the Chairman and Cllr Foster. The Community Warden scheme commenced in 2018, the focus of their work is tackling anti-social behaviour by engaging with residents and groups of young people. They also arrange sessions for younger residents at weekends or during half terms and school holidays. Parish Councils in West Sussex are able to buy into the service.
- That the Council’s insurance policy with Ecclesiastical has been renewed (13th September) with only a small increase in premium of £24.39.
- The Parish Office had received a number of queries and complaints about grass cutting in the Parish, including work undertaken by the Council’s own contractor. A particular issue had been the verges on Windmill View and St James Place which do not belong to the Parish Council.
115/21TO RECEIVE REPORTS FROM THE COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS
The written report from District Cllrs Moon and Agate was noted.
County Cllr Mocatta reported on the following matters:
TRO Columbine Way
Further representation had been received regarding parking on Columbine Way. The Chairman proposed that the Parish Council would make supplementary comments on the TRO, considered at the previous meeting, that would safeguard the access to the community facilities including the football pitches on Columbine Way. This was agreed.
East Hampshire District Council working with Damian Hinds MP will be hosting a climate conference on 8th October at Alton Maltings.
Chawton Park, on the edge of Alton is a preferred development site in EHDC’s emerging Local Plan.
Helping Afghan evacuees
Hampshire County Council is working with local partners including all District and Borough councils to assist Afghan families re-settle as part of the Government’s Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy programme.
Several families have now been welcomed to the county and we want to ensure they have all the local information they need and are made to feel welcome. If you wish to donate or help, please visit the website of the registered local charity: Donating to help Afghan Evacuees - Community First (cfirst.org.uk) who are co-ordinating support across the county.
Back to School
As pupils across the county return to school, plans are in place to keep COVID-19 risks to the absolute minimum. Good hygiene, frequent hand washing, and using twice weekly Lateral Flow tests for eligible pupils is encouraged.
- Parents or carers of 16 -17-year-olds, are asked to encourage them to take up the vaccine
- Bubbles in schools and the requirement for wearing face coverings in school are no longer in place (though they are still recommended on public transport to school)
- Activities such as singing and brass bands are back
- Under-18s no longer have to isolate if in contact with a Covid positive individual but anyone who is unwell, with or without Covid symptoms, should stay at home
- 12-15-year-olds with underlying health conditions or who live with someone that is clinically vulnerable can also be vaccinated.
Pilot to begin for Active ‘School Streets’
A trial scheme is underway in the county to create a healthier and safer environment for young people walking and cycling to school. It will create low traffic areas at the start and end of the school day by closing selected roads close to schools to all non-essential traffic.
Residents, businesses, and the school community will be surveyed, and traffic volumes monitored. This will inform the decisions about potential future permanent School Streets schemes in Hampshire.
Hampshire County Council and their local authority partners have joined over 150 other local authorities and 10 professional bodies to call for the Sentencing Council to consider tougher fines and sentences for fly-tipping offenders. More information about fly-tipping, including advice on how to report it, can be found on Hampshire County Council waste and recycling webpages.
a) Members considered a grant application for £100 from Horndean Technical College towards the cost of a Senior Citizens Annual Christmas lunch, which would be attended by residents of the Parish. Members RESOLVED to approve the grant request of £100.
Members RESOLVED to approve the Council’s Ragwort Control Policy and its related Risk
Assessment that would now apply to all Council land.
118/21FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES
a) Members received and approved the Income and Expenditure report to 31st August.
b) Members received the Bank Reconciliation report for all accounts as at 31 August 2021. The Clerk advised the reconciliation for the Co-operative Savings Account had been updated (6th September) and copies were made available at the meeting.
c) Members received the Orders for Payment. Payments issued since the last meeting up to 27th July totalled £5,520.47. Payments issued up to 31st August totalled £19,490.41. Payments of £19,739.76 were presented for approval. It was RESOLVED that the orders for payment be duly approved.
d) Members received and noted the report from the Internal Auditor, following a scheduled visit on 4 August.
e) It was RESOLVED to tender for the internal auditor service for 2022/23 in accordance with good practice.
f) Business rates relating to the Clanfield Centre totalling £9,261.82 had been detailed in the Orders for Payment. These empty property rates relate to the period between 28th July 2020 when possession of the property was handed back to the Council following disclaimer of the Lease by the Liquidator of the former Tenant and 18th May 2021 when the new Lease to Communities First Wessex commenced. The Chairmen informed Members that the rating assessment on the Centre is incorrect. The process whereby the VOA would check and consider the Parish Council’s challenge had commenced but this could be complex and lengthy. Consequently some potential financial implications would need to be factored into the budget for next financial year.
The VOA challenge would be in respect of three main areas:
I. £500 relating to a football pitch behind the Centre that were not built and therefore does not
II. £1,500 relating to the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) which is not, and never has been, part
of the Centre.
III. £800 relating to the Tennis Courts which are not currently part of the Centre.
It was RESOLVED to bring the rating situation to the attention of District Cllrs Moon and Agate.
g) Members RESOLVED to approve the fee quotation of £2,250 plus disbursements and VAT from Vail Williams for investigationg and reporting on potential inherent building defects relating to the Clanfield Centre. At this point, the Chairman mentioned that he had just heard that Communities First Wessex wished to defer taking the tennis courts into their Lease with the Centre and that, therefore, Active Academy would need a new Licence direct from the Parish Council for the period after 30th September 2021 when their existing Licence would expire. Members agreed that this matter should be referred to the Property Management Committee which would be meeting on 15th
September to progress.
h) Members RESOLVED to approve a revised statement of neighbourhood portion of CIL payments held by the Parish Council, for the reporting period 2020/21 and totalling £22,426.92. Members RESOLVED to allocate the CIL income to the following projects:
a) Members received the minutes of the Planning Committee held on Tuesday 3rd August 2021.
b) Members considered the Planning Committee’s draft response to the District Council’s consultation on a site identified in the emerging Local Plan for development. A few amendments were proposed relating to pedestrian and cycle access, ensuring the width of roads enable vehicles to pass parked cars and building in measures to deter unauthorised encampments. Subject to the noted amendments, Members RESOLVED to approve the Council’s response to the consultation.
c) Details of the District Council’s consultation on its draft Strategic Design Policy were circulated with the Council papers. It was RESOLVED that Members email their comments to the Clerk and Cllr White by 27th September 2021, to enable the responses to be compiled and submitted to EHDC.
120/21COMMUNITY WORKING GROUP
a) Members received the notes of the Working Group’s meeting held on 29th July. There were no matters to consider.
b) Cllr Coffre reported on the launch of the Clanfield Awards Scheme.
Cllr Williams chaired the agenda item. Members considered a request form St Michael and All Angels Church to use part of Chalton Green for a poppy display during October and November and for a Christmas event on 24th December. Members RESOLVED to approve the request.
122/21DOWN FARM PARK
The Chairman resumed chairing the meeting.
a) Members considered requests to use weedkiller to control weed growth on Parish Council land from:
I. A volunteer gardener
II. BDW’s sports pitch contractor
After a detailed discussion about the advantages and disadvantages, Members RESOLVED not to permit the use of weedkiller in these instances and referred the matter of a Council Policy to the Property Management Committee to consider and report back with their recommendation.
b) Members received a progress report on the construction of the football pitches. A report of the Grounds Management Association indicated that the work had been done to a good standard. The Chairman advised the pitches were unlikely to be transferred to the Parish Council before the end of the ‘growing in’ period and that would be mid-September 2022. Consequently, the football club would not have use of the pitches until then and the transfer had been concluded. Before then and in anticipation of the football club using the pitches, the Parish Council would also need to formally request the Bowls Club to grant a Licence for use of parts of the sports pavilion by the football club as set out in the Bowls Club’s Lease.
c) Members RESOLVED not to proceed with the provision of a fence and hedge around the children’s play area.
123/21SOUTH LANE MEADOW
a) Members received and noted the minutes of the South Lane Meadow Trustees meeting held on 17th August 2021.
b) Members previously considered the funding arrangements for improving the car park earlier in the agenda (minute ref 118/21 (h)). It was RESOLVED that a fee quotation be obtained from Civil Engineers who had advised the Parish Council on the construction of the overflow car park at Columbine Way.
a) Members considered a proposal from the volunteers to raise funding to deliver planned works, including business sponsorship. It was noted that business sponsorship had been previously explored and it was considered important to keep the logos of financial supporters to a minimum.
When reviewing the planned works Members considered it important to maintain the rural nature of the pond. The works were not approved as presented.
b) Member RESOLVED to fund a skip for the volunteer’s autumn tidy up.
The Clerk advised Members that it was proposed to move the meeting dates from January 2022 to the second Tuesday of the month, to enable the finance reports to be circulated with the meeting papers. Members RESOLVED to approve the Council meeting dates for the first half of 2022 as follows:
11th January, 8th February, 8th March, 12th April, 10th May and 14th June.