The meeting was held via Zoom a video conferencing facility due to the Covid-19 pandemic – the meeting was recorded but this will be deleted following the May Parish Council meeting
1. COUNCILLORS APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
No Parish Council apologies – all present. Apologies were received from District Councillor Moon and District Councillor Agate (for most of the meeting).
2. TO AGREE THE MINUTES OF THE 2019 ANNUAL MEETING
The minutes of the 2019 Annual Parish meeting had been duly circulated and were agreed. No Annual Parish meeting had been held in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic
3. PARISH COUNCIL REPORT
The Chairman did produce an annual report for 2020 and this was duly published on the Council’s website in April 2020. The Chairman read his annual report for 2021 and it is produced in full as follows:
This has been a year like none other. All eleven meetings of the full Council have been held by video conferencing - what was that a little more than a year ago? We have had to get used to working differently but, overall and despite a few technical glitches initially, we have coped quite well. There have been no material interruptions to the service that we provide for our community, we have continued to progress our strategic programme and we have taken steps to re-shape the working structure of the Council so that it is more suited to current and future requirements.
Covid-19 has had a profound affect in our own community, throughout the country and around the world. Most of us have experienced sadness or health concerns within our own families or among our friends. Many things have changed and some of the changes will last. But, I think we will all agree that our sense of community is stronger and, with the roll out of the vaccine, there will soon be opportunities for people to meet again and to take up interests and activities old and new.
The strength of our community cannot be better exemplified than by the work of the Clanfield Coronavirus Community Support Group which has provided such valuable comfort and assistance for older and more vulnerable people in our Parish during the pandemic. Just before Christmas, the Council recognised this by presenting Community Awards to Cianni Foulkes and Nick Blake for their outstanding community service in the formation and leadership of the Group. The work continues now through the Clanfield Voluntary Support Group and we are grateful to them also.
Two years ago, we adopted a strategy which was (and is):
“……to put Community, Health and Wellbeing and Sport at the centre of our agenda…..”
and much of the Council’s work over the last year has been to progress that programme and ensure that the facilities that we have, and the opportunities that we can provide, are ready to respond to theinterests which people wish to pick up as we emerge from the restrictions of the pandemic.
It is very pleasing to note that our community and sports centre will be re-opening at the beginning of June (Covid restrictions permitting) with a new name "The Clanfield Centre” and under the new and professional management of Community First. The Council is providing financial assistance of £25,000 per annum for up to 5 years to support this major facility and the Council will also be opening a Parish Office at the Centre, the need for which has become increasingly pressing over recent years. This will be on the basis of a short term Licence of one room for the time being at a Licence Fee of £10,000 all in (including occupational costs) for the first year. This flexibility will allow for any remodelling or expansion which Community First may propose for the Centre in the future and it will still enable the Parish Office to move to Down Farm Barn if it should be possible for the renovation of that property to proceed in the future for community uses. On that, planning permission was obtained in July 2020 but its implementation is subject to funding.
During this last year, we have set up a Community Working Group, led by Councillor Laurent Coffre. Its current objectives include establishing a Youth Council to give a voice to our young people, to progress the exciting public art project which we launched just before the first Covid-19 lockdown and, following the Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency on 3rd June 2020, the Working Group is bringing forward a range of important environmental and biodiversity initiatives. Among those which are planned to be implemented this year include a “Green Audit” of the village to provide a baseline for future community “greening” initiatives, establishing two wildflower meadows and bee
hives on Parish Council land and the possibility of planting trees, also on Council land, in the Autumn.
At the beginning of December, the Council took ownership of a large area of open space from the developers of the St James Place development. Now known as Down Farm Park, this area of open space includes a children’s play area (we now have four in the village) and a second allotment site extending the number of plots owned by the Council from 26 to 51, all of which are let. When the two junior football pitches at Down Farm Park are provided and transferred to us, the Council will own or manage over 22 hectares (55 acres) of land and property at eleven locations - a very considerable increase over the last 3 years.
All these facilities and initiatives support, and respond to, our strategy. For a Parish of our size in terms of population, we are now quite well placed in relation to the facilities that we have and the opportunities that we are able to offer. Looking forwards, the Council’s task is to maintain or even improve what we have within a budget that our resident community can afford and with such additional grant money that we can secure. That is quite a task and, sadly, it is not made any easier by unnecessary costs which have to be incurred.
At the top of that list is vandalism which has been a continuing and almost perpetual problem for the
Council during this last year in and around the grounds of the community and sports centre, at Peel
Park and, elsewhere, in terms of willful damage to property and landscaping. It is a fairly constant
headache but, working in close liaison with the Police and making CCTV footage available to them,
some of the offenders have been caught. I hope this will serve to deter others who might be minded to
commit similar offences. The Council will not turn a blind eye to this because every Council Tax payer in the village contributes to the cost of repair or replacement through the Parish precept or, if we
decide not to repair or replace a damaged item, it results in the loss or impairment of a feature or
facility which belongs to the community and which won’t be there for future generations to enjoy.
Another problem is litter and the Council is very grateful to the willing volunteers who have regularly helped to keep our public spaces looking respectable whilst, during the lockdowns, the service that we normally receive from our contractors has been suspended. Finally, in the category of unwelcome costs, we had to deal with another visit from travellers during the year, this time at Peel Park, and, apart from leaving a mess to clear up, they indulged in an act of vandalism - namely, damaging the football pitches by skid-turning a car on them - before leaving.
I have mentioned the good work that volunteers carry out within our community, many as official volunteers of the Parish Council. Two further examples of this are the much improved condition of the village pond and the clearance of the brambles and scrub between the community and sports centre and the adjacent children’s playground which has made such a difference to the appearance and safety of that area. We are very grateful for all the work that our volunteers do.
At just over £179,000 our precept for 2021/22 is 3.5% above the previous year and the cost per household has remained in line with most Parishes in the East Hampshire District. That includes the Council’s financial support for The Clanfield Centre and the Council’s financial reserves remain at a satisfactory level, comfortably above the recommended minimum proportion of precept for Parish Councils. This allows fully for the probability that the Council will not be able to recover loans totalling £35,000 which were made to the previous operators of the community and sports centre who are now in liquidation. The fact that we are in this strong position is a tribute to the prudent financial
management of the Council over many years.
It is a privilege to lead such a strong and committed team of Councillors and Officers and I would like to thank them all. I think we are very fortunate for a Parish Council in that, over recent years, we have rarely had a Councillor vacancy to fill and, when we did have an unexpected vacancy this year, more than one excellent applicant applied to be co-opted.
The vacancy arose as a result of the resignation of former Chairman, Terry Collins, following news of his wife’s serious illness from which, very sadly, she has since died. We are very grateful indeed for Terry’s wisdom and strong leadership as Chairman from 2016 to 2019 when he guided the Council through the difficult and challenging initial phase of taking possession of our new community facilities and we have sent our deep condolences to him and his family following their recent loss.
To bring us back up to full strength, we have welcomed Councillor Jane Woodroof at our most recent meeting in March.
There is an item of breaking news which I must mention in this report. Parish Clerk, Diane Duffy, will be retiring at the end of July after almost 34 years of outstanding service in the post. It really will be the end of an era and she will be greatly missed. There have been many Councillors and many residents over that long time who have been grateful for Diane’s help and advice.
My fellow Councillors and the Officers of Clanfield Parish Council during 2020/21 have been:
Terry Collins (Vice Chairman until January 2021); Rosemary Clarke; Laurent Coffre; Stephen D’Este Hoare; Brian Foster (Acting Vice-Chairman from January 2021); David Harris; Peter Hurst; Margaret White; Stephen Williams and Jane Woodroof (from March 2021).
Diane Duffy (Parish Clerk); Emma Barritt (Assistant Clerk / Open Spaces Officer).
I would also like to thank our District Councillors, Arthur Agate and Ken Moon, and our County Councillor, Robert Mocatta, for the support that they have given to the Council during the year.
4. COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT
County Councillor Mocatta’s report is as stated below and consists of a 2020/21 review of Hampshire County Council:
Clanfield residents are very well served by our local infant, junior and senior schools. It is a consequence of this high quality school system that almost all parents are very happy with the school allocation process. This year, for the first time as a County Councillor, I have had to deal with a child in the system where the parents were unhappy. Hopefully, this will be resolved at the start of the next school year. It has been a source of frustration to residents, the junior school and myself that the school crossing patrol person for the Junior School has had to shield in the past year, and HCC did not have the spare capacity in the system to fill this gap. HCC is looking at how it can build resiliency into the system in case this happens again.
HCC has put in place a new system whereby all major council decisions have to take carbon dioxide emissions into account. This means that officers will have to consider if an alternative option could have been pursued that would have produced less CO2. https://hants.sharepoint.com/sites/CN/SitePages/Embedding-Climate-Change-in-everything-wedo.aspx
The bulk of the contacts with residents has been over the issue of roads. There has been a frustrating delay in the implementation of the agreed traffic calming measures that were part of the Windmill View development. Hopefully, this will be implemented in the next year. HCC has helped with the pond drainage that was partially caused by the run off from the roads. I continue to work with other HCC Councillors on the need to introduce lower speed limits in the built up parts of the county.
The largest item in HCC’s budget is on adult and children’s services. The county continues to deliver very high quality social services, despite the dislocation caused over the past year. Full details are on the HCC website. https://www.hants.gov.uk/socialcareandhealth
HCC’ health and wellbeing agenda
HCC is actively encouraging all residents to pay more attention to their physical and mental health. In Clanfield, we are very lucky to have the QECP on our doorstep, and I want to encourage local residents to visit and use the QECP. It is a great place to walk, to cycle and enjoy the natural surroundings. It is particularly child friendly and easily accessible from all parts of the parish.
5. EAST HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL REPORT
District Councillor Agates report is as stated below and was relayed to the meeting by the Clerk:
For those with an interest in Public Health, a reorganisation of the many different Care Commissioning Groups across Hampshire will this year result in the amalgamation of them all into one unit, except Portsmouth who have a different approach by which the City Council amalgamates different parts of their CCG into Civic management and will do their own thing. EHDC will however as a constituent part of Hampshire, have an appointed member serving on the Health Overview & Scrutiny Panel for South East Hampshire (which includes Portsmouth). Following this amalgamation of the CCG’s, this unit will then transform into a new operation that will be known as the Integrated Care System.
ICS is a partnership between organisations that meet both the Health and Care need across an area, it will co-ordinate services and plan in a way that Improves Community Health.
In 2022 the country will celebrate our Queens “Platinum Jubilee”, 70 years on the throne. There will be celebrations before & after the main weekend, The May BH will be moved to Thursday June 2nd and an additional BH will be added on Friday June 3rd to make this a four-day Celebratory weekend. The Commonwealth Games & Festival UK will be held the same year. I would suggest that now would be a good time to start planning for celebrations in Clanfield, I am happy to be included in any task & finish group put together for this purpose.
Nigel Huddleston announced on March 20th a National Leisure Recovery Fund, this may be worth investigating for our Sports/Community Centre, another Task & Finish Group to explore what help could be available, it is part of the Government’s “Building Back Fitter”.
EHDC have produced a paper on “Climate & Environment priority C2i Open Space stewardship, I have no doubt that CPC will have an interest in this as it is a source of information & how local groups may be encouraged to help and assist in this Greenspace Stewardship.
Cllr White added that by April 2022 Clinical Commission Groups to be replaced as commissioners by ICS-Integrated Care System, under NHS England proposals. Changes to legislation designed to hand ICS the direct commission power. It will create a single pot of funding.
6. PARISH COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT YEAR END 2020
The clerk reported that, following the completed annual audit at the end of 2019/20 financial year, there had been one matter to raise regarding assets which was addressed at the relevant Parish Council meeting. Members did not feel that the point had been correctly interpreted by the external Auditors. The closing balance/reserves as at 31st March 2020 stood at £146,203.00
7. PARISHIONERS QUESTION TIME/MEETING CLOSE
A resident of Teglease Gardens raised the problems caused by Heavy Goods Vehicles trying to navigate through the Windmill View estate when there are diversions off the A3. This is usually late at night and seems to be caused when foreign drivers rely on Sat Nav. The roads on the Windmill View estate are not suitable for this form of traffic and it is resulting in damage to property, especially to gardens, when drivers find that the design of the estate makes it impossible for very large vehicles to get through on the roads. The resident showed the meeting photographs and CCTV footage of several incidents that had occurred. He said that residents are requesting new highway measures, including signage, to prevent these problems continuing. It was suggested that there should be road width restrictions at the entrance into Old London Road at the top of Drift Road (as the whole area beyond that point is , effectively, a cul-de-sac) and at the entrance into Endal Way from Green Lane. Further suggestions from residents are a 15mph speed limit throughout the Windmill View estate, in particular for the brick-surfaced roads, and a row of dragons teeth on the grass verge alongside the “horseshoe” end of Teglease Gardens. The Chairman stated that Teglease Gardens is a private road, not a public highway, and it is managed by the Windmill View estate’s management company. He saw no reason why they should not be asked to put up signs stating that it is a private road. The land which the resident had referred to also belongs to the estate’s management company and they would need to be asked about the installation of dragons teeth. However, as a local resident himself, the Chairman did appreciate that this is a significant problem. County Cllr Mocatta considered that signage is the key to this matter and that the best place to position signage is the link on the Old London Road at the top of Drift Road (at Snells Corner), as had been mentioned. He said that the matter is under active consideration at Hampshire County Council level, but the residents were urged to contact the management company regarding the issues within the estate and with regard to the unadopted roads.
A representative from Clanfield Football Club was in attendance and spoke with regards to the long delay of the junior pitches at St James Place (Down Farm Park) being provided by the developer. They were due to be handed over to the Parish Council in 2018 and, to enable the Club to grow, it has entered into partnership arrangements with the Petersfield School and other local schools. However, the Club is now going to have to delay the formation of any more new teams as they have reached their capacity until the St James Place pitches are provided. The Chairman stated that the Council had only just received an update from the developers who had said that they would be undertaking further works to the pitches soon but it was understood that there would need to be a 12 month maintenance period before they would be transferred into the Parish Council’s ownership. On that basis, the Parish Council was not likely to own the pitches until May 2022 and there would be restricted use in the first year or so to enable the grass to establish. The Chairman also stated that the Council shared the Football Club’s frustration with regard to the situation. The Parish Council is working with EHDC to try and bring this to a satisfactory conclusion.
Referring back to the Chairman’s annual report, Cll Foster stated that whilst the Parish has wanted all of the facilities, the Community Centre is way above what is usually provided by a Parish Council. Such a size of commitment would usually be managed by a District Council. The Parish Council has been able to take this on due to prudent financial management over the years. The precept is still in line with other parishes and the Council’s reserves are still considered healthy.
Cll White asked County Cllr Mocatta if HCC could provide a slow down sign on the approach to the Rising Sun crossing area – he would look into this matter. District Cllr Agate joined the meeting and was welcomed by the Chairman.
The meeting closed at 7.34 p.m.
THESE ARE A TRUE ACCOUNT OF THE MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING