Minutes for February 2014

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting of Blewbury Parish Council held on Wednesday 12th February 2014 at 7.30 pm in the Vale Room

Councillors present: Mr R Farrell (Chairman), Ms J Gibson, Mr R Cooper, Mr M Shayler, Mr C Lakeland, Mr G Reade

Also present: E de Ridder (clerk), District Councillor Shelley, 2 members of the public

Matters resolved:

  1. Patrick Clarke was appointed as internal auditor for 2014-2015.
  2. To assist with the dog micro chipping event organised by PCSO Clements, it was agreed to pay for the use of the Village Hall
  3. It was agreed to enter into a new rent agreement for the Village Hall play area with Oxfordshire County Council.
  4. All payments were approved. 
Actions arising from the meeting Target date
1.     A note about ditches to be put in the Bulletin. Clerk to send specific land owners a copy of the Bulletin entry By March meeting
2.     Clerk to send Rights of Way consultation to the NP committee. As soon as possible
3.     Clerk to write to Patrick Clarke and thank him for agreeing to be internal auditor for the next financial year. As soon as possible
4.     MS to investigate the quality of the finish of the car park By March meeting
5.     Clerk and RF to study the play area inspection report and make recommendations By March meeting
6.     Clerk make initial enquiries about the cost of fencing By March meeting
7.     CL to draft and circulate a response to the Rights of Way consultation 18th April 2014
8.     Clerk to enquire if Highways would tarmac across the whole footpath in front of Middle Ashbrook By March meeting
9.     Clerk to reply to Dr Leslie about recreation ground hedge. As soon as possible
10.  Clerk to respond to Mr Boon re street sweeping As soon as possible
11.  Clerk to respond to flooding consultation By 28th February 2014
Actions brought forward
1.     RF & BC to define questions and contact a heating engineer As soon as possible
  1. Apologies for absence: Mr M Blythe, Ms V Fox
  2. Co-option of new councillor. It was decided to wait until the March meeting to co-opt a new member. This will allow for a note to be put in the Bulletin about the vacancy.
  3. Declarations of interest. None made.
  4. Minutes of the meeting held on 22nd January 2014 were accepted and signed as a true record.
  5. County Councillor’s report. No county councillor present
  6. District Councillor’s report. District councillor Shelley reported on flooding and the Vale’s response to it. She mentioned the upcoming group meeting where the Local Plan will be discussed. Cllr Shelley was informed about the launch of the Neighbourhood Plan. She was asked to follow up why no notifications about works to trees are sent out to Parish Councils. It was also pointed out that it was difficult to get hold of Cllr Shelley. No responses were received after emails were sent and calls were made. The draft letter of complaint to the Vale was read out and approved. Cllr Shelley was also asked about planning enforcement and concern was expressed how enforcement would happen if residents’ concerns are not followed up. She reported that there was a possibility that the role of a planning inspector would be reinstated.
  7. Police liaison. It was reported that a venue was still being sought for the micro chipping of dogs. PCSO Clements told the clerk that Blewbury was the only village where a charge will be made if the village hall is used. It was agreed that the Parish Council will pay for the use of the hall.
  8. Lengthman’s report. No lengthman present. Questions were asked about ditches in general, but Watts Lane specifically. Action: A note about ditches to be put in the Bulletin. Clerk to send specific land owners a copy of the Bulletin entry.
  9. Open Forum.

Chilton Road in Upton was briefly discussed. Blewbury PC confirmed that it would support the closure to general traffic of Chilton Road once Hagbourne Hill and the junction with the A417 had been upgraded.

  1. Matters arising.
    • 12/06/13 Neighbourhood Plan (NP). The NP’s launch will be on March 8th and the district and county councillors should be invited. At the March PC meeting a protocol should be agreed. Action: Clerk to send Rights of Way consultation to the NP committee. Some questions have been asked about the catering for the launch event. It was possible to set up a “Friends of the Blewbury Neighbourhood Plan” fund which could receive donations.
    • 11/12/13 Goalposts for TFF. The Tony Loy trust is looking into obtaining the goal posts. Item closed.
  2. Village hall redevelopment
    • Feasibility study for redevelopment/refurbishment of village hall. Item no longer needed. Item closed.
    • Working party. The clerk contacted West Waddy to inform them that the PC would like them to proceed. A formal agreement was sent and circulated to the working party. They confirmed that the fees were in line with expectation and they were happy for the PC to proceed. It was delegated to the clerk to sign the agreement and instruct West Waddy to proceed with the first phase provided that she is happy with the terms of the agreement.
    • Paul Whitehead is trying to obtain Lottery funding and hopes to find out what the size of a possible grant might be. Planning permission will be needed first before any formal applications could be made. Local fundraising is very important when making an application. The “Messiah from scratch” made a small surplus and it might be possible to ask for a donation towards the redevelopment project. It was also mentioned that BVS had some positive ideas about fundraising too but a charity might have to be set up to receive such funds.
  3. Recreation Ground.
    • 14/12/11 BVCIC. BC attended the recent BVCIC meeting to discuss the recent leak in the plant room. As the problems were the result of faulty installation, it was suggested that the work might be done under warranty. The clerk has contacted the PC’s solicitor for advice in this matter.

Quotes are being sought for a wall inside the new store.

The letter from the PC re regular maintenance works has been passed on. The CIC still wants a meeting with the Parish Council but no dates have yet been received from them.

  • 09/05/12 Car Park. The car park resurfacing has been done and the Band is very grateful. Questions have been asked about the quality of the finish. Action: MS to investigate the quality of the finish of the car park.
  • 11/12/13 Plant room. Discussed with 12.1
  1. Risk Management.
    • 03/07/13 Review of standing orders. On-going.
    • 09/10/13 Annual play area inspections. The report was briefly discussed and some action needs to be taken. Action: Clerk and RF to study the play area inspection report and make recommendations.
    • 12/02/14 Appointment of internal auditor for 2014-15 financial year. Patrick Clarke was appointed as internal auditor. Action: Clerk to write to Patrick Clarke and thank him.
  2. Planning & Housing.
    • 02/02/06 Planning Committee Report: See Annex B – planning report, attached. Concerns were expressed about enforcement, especially in the light of the Chailey House permission which came with numerous conditions. Action: RF to draft a letter to outline concerns about some conditions of the Chailey House planning permission.
    • 08/11/12 Current applications. None
    • 11/09/13 Planning policy. The content of the letter of complaint was agreed and will be sent.
  3. Finance & Administration
    • Online banking. The clerk reported that she no longer has the ability to move funds from one Barclays account to another. To reinstate this ability the PC would have to agree to full internet access for the clerk, which still is against guidelines. The PC would have to request fund transfers in writing according to the mandate.
    • Lengthman’s appraisal and review of hours. It was reported that the new inspection sheets were changed so that it was less time consuming as the lengthman will not be paid extra to complete report forms.
    • It was confirmed that the pickup will be sold.
    • Data Transparency Code. The clerk reported that the new code is mandatory for councils with budgets over £200,000 which will be the case when the village Hall project goes ahead. It is in the meantime good practice to make information regarding payments easily accessible to the public. Payment details are at the moment included in the minutes.
    • New OCC agreement – KAP rent review. RF examined the initial lease with OCC and made some calculations. Rent reviews were due every 5 years but there was no review 5 years ago. Although there are some minor discrepancies, the amount is roughly the same if the rent was increased every 5 years. It was agreed to enter into the new agreement.
    • Payments for approval to be made under ancillary powers and within budgeted amounts
Description Amount
E de Ridder £831.46
P Skelton £155.20
E de Ridder (expenses) £22.05
BT Payment Services Ltd (direct debit) £21.60
Post Office Ltd (for Southern Electric) £20.53
Didcot CAB £100.00
South and Vale Carers £50.00
Blewbury Cob Wall fund £300.00
OPFA £40.00
Rynat Limited £270.00
Kingdom Signs Ltd £276.00
Information Commissioner £35.00
Southern Construction & Surfacing Ltd £17,366.40
TOTAL £19,488.24


Some invoices were received after the agenda was finalised. All payments were approved.


  1. When the car park was done, SCS offered to help with removing turf from the graves and filling the sunken graves with soil donated by Jane Dexter. Good quality topsoil has been ordered. CL has volunteered to fill and level the graves. Reseeding will be done as soon as the weather permits is. Questions were asked about the gap in the fence between the cemetery and the car park. Action: Clerk make initial enquiries about the cost of fencing.
  2. Allotments. Most of the new allotments were under water. A question was asked about the funding of the new allotments. The clerk has contacted Tony Salter and will report back at the next meeting.
  3. Footways, Footpaths and rights of way.

The Rights of Way consultation was briefly discussed during the Neighbourhood Plan item. Action: CL to draft and circulate a response to the Rights of Way consultation.

  1. Roads, Road safety and public transport. Mike Marshall drafted a note which will be published in the Bulletin regarding the upcoming review of the bus service and to encourage people to use it. Flooding on the footpath in front of Middle Ashbrook was mentioned. Action: Clerk to enquire if Highways would tarmac across the whole area instead of leaving the grassed area which becomes extremely muddy and impassable.
  2. Village Hall management committee report. A short report of the last VHMC meeting was given. It was mentioned that clubs could be more involved with the VHMC as they are able to nominate someone to be on the committee.
  3. Environment
    • Playclose bins. JG reported that there might be a solution to the bin on the Playclose. It was also reported that there was a problem with the bin on the Eastfields layby which will be reported to the Vale.
  4. Correspondence
    • Items requesting a reply & consultations
      • Hedge next to Tennis Court. This matter was considered prior to the meeting and there seems to be an easy solution without removing the hedge. Action: Clerk to reply to Dr Leslie.
      • London Road – leaves. The clearing of the road is Highways responsibility. It was mentioned that a volunteer used to clean the bus shelter regularly. This will be included in village clean up weekends. In the meantime RF and BC volunteered to clean the bus shelter if needed. Action: Clerk to respond to Mr Boon re street sweeping.
      • Flooding debrief. Action: Clerk to respond to flooding consultation.
      • Street Trading Consultation. Noted
      • Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Risk Based Fire Safety Re-Inspection Programme. Noted
    • Items for information
      • OALC – Chairman training. Two members are interested in attending.
      • CPRE – Larger Villages Meeting on Planning Issues, 7.30pm, Monday 3 March, East Challow Village Hall. Noted.
  1. Any Other Business. It was mentioned that Coffin Way collapsed at the Upton end. Highways should be notified. The empty salt bin on Robinson Close should also be reported. The Emergency plan should be added to the next meeting. It was also mentioned that the Red Lion/Community asset article for the Bulletin was circulated prior to the meeting.
  2. Details of the next meeting.

The next meeting will be on March 12th in the Vale Room.

Meeting closed 21h36



Annex A – Planning news for Bulletin notice February 2014


Planning Applications

For full details see the Vale website – http://bit.ly/u2FSqN

Decision from the District Council:

P13/V2463/A – Band Hall – ‘Join Your Local Brass Band’ sign in addition to existing logo. Granted.

P13/2573/LB – The Forge House, Westbrook Street – Replacement of three existing windows. Granted.
P13/V0458/O – Chailey House – Outline permission for erection of 30 dwellings. Granted, with many conditions.

Responses from the Parish Council: None this month.