The Chairman opened the September meeting of the Parish Council with the news that Chris Tombs, the long time Parish Clerk, had resigned after about twenty years of service to the community. His vast experience and knowledge will be sorely missed and, in his absence, Chris was thanked for his many contributions to Weston-sub-Edge.
It was reported that two applications had been received to fill the role of Parish Clerk and that both applicants would be interviewed in the near future.
Apologies were received from Lynden Stowe (County Council) and John Measey. Though he was unable to attend the meeting, Councillors welcomed Edward Stowe to the parish team.
In the absence of County and District Councillors there were no reports.
The healthy state of parish finances was noted with the receipt of grants of £4,000 and £1,000 from Gloucestershire Environmental Trust and Cotswold Preservation respectively towards the cost of draining and levelling the Recreation Ground. Councillor Mike Jelley handed over a cheque for £500 from CDC towards the purchase of a second defibrillator for the village. It was agreed that this should be located on the wall of the Village Hall. Councillors were asked to consider suggestions for the budget for 2018-19 in time for the next meeting. Payments had included over £2,000 for the paving of the seating area at the front of the Village Hall.
The Chairman reported that the Church Street phone box had been purchased for £1.00 and could be used as the location for a third defibrillator once it has been cleaned and repainted. It was agreed that estimates should be obtained for this work.
Concern was expressed about the number of heavy vehicles observed using Dovers Hill recently. It was agreed that weight limit signage should be requested for the junction with Kingcombe Lane. Other outstanding highways issues included shark’s teeth and speed signs for Stratford Road.
The Chairman announced that the Revival Group for the Recreation Ground was in the process of acquiring quotations for play equipment and that a full presentation of progress to date would be made at the October meeting of the Parish Council.
The Youth Club had continued to be poorly attended despite publicity in the village and in surrounding villages. Flyers had been circulated to all Year 7 pupils at Chipping Campden School and members of Years 5 and 6 in Willersey and Chipping Campden. The Youth Leader had prepared a programme of activities until Christmas. It was agreed that a final decision as to the future of the Youth Club would be made at the November meeting.
It was resolved to delay the next meeting of the Parish Council by one week to Tuesday 31st October at 7.15pm. Minutes of all Parish Council meetings are posted on the village notice board at the bus stop and on the village website, www.westonsubedge.com.
The last Parish Council meeting before the summer break was held on Tuesday 25th July. In the absence of both District and County Councillors there were no reports.
With the dry and warm weather following the cool and damp rapid vegetation growth and overhanging foliage has become a problem again in some areas of the village. Householders are requested to check the boundaries of their properties and cut back vegetation where it impinges on the footpaths and therefore on pedestrian safety.
The Police have reported several thefts from properties and vehicles in local villages recently. Prior to these, suspicious vehicles have been identified on most occasions. Should you notice any such vehicles in the area, please take the registration numbers and phone 101 immediately to report your concerns. All such calls will be regarded seriously.
Councillors unanimously resolved to apply for a grant of £500 from CDC towards the purchase of an additional defibrillator for the village and agreed that the Village Hall would be a suitable location. Mike Jelley was asked to make the grant application and arrange purchase of the defibrillator.
The purchase of the Church Street phone box from BT in its current state and for a nominal sum of £1.00 was discussed and agreed. The Chairman agreed to read and sign the agreement provided that any conditions imposed were not prejudicial to the Parish Council.
The Chairman reported that the committee of volunteers constituted to take forward the second phase of the Recreation Ground project will be known as the “Village Green Revival Group”. He spoke to the project brief and outline plan of action, indicating that a design layout for the site was scheduled for August with costings for the proposed equipment to be available by October. Applications for grant funding would follow.
The viability of the Youth Club was considered. Membership has fallen and at a recent meeting members were asked to encourage new recruits to join in order to ensure the future of the club. There will be a recruitment drive in September with prominence also being given to the Youth Club on the home page of the village website.
The next meeting of the Parish Council will be in the Village Hall at 7.15 p.m. on Tuesday 26th September. The agenda will be posted on the Village Notice Board in the bus shelter and members of the public are more than welcome to attend. Members of the council would welcome your views. Minutes of all Parish Council meetings are available on the village website, www.westonsubedge.com.
At the June meeting of the Parish Council Councillor Mark Annett informed councillors that the first meeting of CDC had taken place with him in the Chair. He announced that there has been a change to standing orders to allow a ward member who is also on the Planning Committee to vote on a local planning application. He also agreed to consult with the Enforcement Officer, Colin Davies, about a suggestion in the sales literature for Knapp Farm Barns that the “holiday let” constraint as part of the planning permission could be lifted.
The meeting heard from Nigel Faller that the new committee for work on the recreation ground had met 3 times, consisted of 3 members and had adopted the name of Village Green Revival Group. First thoughts were that the layout should have a family area in keeping with the surroundings; a target age range of 11 months to 11 years for the apparatus; a restricted budget and a target opening date of summer 2018. The initial priorities would be to work out how to raise the funds and the immediate requirements for equipment. The village website was seen as being very useful for raising the profile of the project. The chairman thanked Nigel Faller for his report.
With respect to maintenance work around the village, Bob Skillern (Glos. Highways) had agreed to arrange for a camera exploration of the culvert in Church Street adjacent to Dovers View with a view to improving still further the removal of water from the village during heavy rain. The meeting was told that Glos. Highways have yet to agree on the most suitable specification for roadside VAS equipment.
The meeting heard that Youth Club numbers have remained low recently and, whilst there is a small group of loyal members who thoroughly enjoy the activities provided, numbers at the current level are unsustainable. The Chairman agreed to attend the first July meeting to try to encourage a membership drive. It was decided that the club will reopen in September after the summer break when there will be a recruitment drive. If this is unsuccessful the future of the Youth Club is in jeopardy. New members must be 9 years old at the time of joining and are always made very welcome.
There was no District or County representation at the April meeting of the Parish Council and so no reports.
The clerk presented the monthly financial statement and bank reconciliation. It was agreed that a portion of the funds allocated to young people could be used to offset some of the costs of play equipment on the Recreation Ground and that the Village Hall grant might cover the cost of paving the fenced seating area in front of the Village Bar.
The Parish Asset Register was reviewed and councillors agreed to the removal of insurance cover for the rainfall monitor and Coombe Brook level monitor. The overall insurance premium of £374.80 represented a slight increase on that for 2016 by virtue of an increase to 10% for insurance tax.
At the time of the meeting Avonmore Associates were completing the levelling and re-seeding of the Recreation Ground. The clerk reported that all the necessary documents to register the Recreation Ground had been sent to the local Land Registry office. Saunders Roberts Solicitors had also been instructed to take action to restore the right of way to the Recreation Ground which was lost in 1995 when the Headmaster’s house was divided into School House and Lychgate cottage. Phase 2 of the work planned, the provision of a play area, is being investigated by a sub-committee of the Parish Council. This sub-committee will be constituted formally at the Annual Parish Meeting.
It was agreed that the latter would be held on 30th May would take a similar format to previous years. Local organisations would be asked to provide brief written resumés of activities during the year.
It was noted that some road repair work had been completed on Dovers Hill but that none of work requested by the Parish Council had been done. It was reported that Bob Skillern of the Highways Department had agreed to meet members of the Parish Council on 24th May to discuss the possibility of taking rain water from Church Street into the new eastern drain. This would alleviate further the likelihood of flooding in the village; this is important since, ten years on from the 2007 flood, the Environment Agency “blue map” still blights the village and makes home insurance difficult.
Councillors had continued to receive complaints about inconsiderate and dangerous parking, especially on Church Street. In view of this the police had created incident number 78. Should you become aware of inappropriate parking too close to junctions or on the pavement you should report to the local police by phoning 101 quoting the nature of the problem and the registration number of the vehicle.
The June meeting will be on Tuesday 27th June at 7.15 p.m. All meetings are held in the Village Hall. Minutes of all Parish Council meetings are posted on the village website, www.westonsubedge.com and on the village notice board in the bus shelter. Meetings are open to the public and it is always good to have representation from the parish.
Prior to the March meeting of the Parish Council the Chairman, Bill Carruthers, addressed an open meeting to discuss future developments on the village Recreation Ground. He referred back to the 2010 Village Survey completed by 70% of the population. Provision of recreational facilities for young people was highlighted as a major need. The Parish Council has set some money aside for this purpose and a variety of funding bodies can be approached for grants. Mr Carruthers showed examples of play equipment available and the appropriate location for this was discussed, as were possible arrangements for car parking. He went on to suggest that the next step will be to form a committee of interested residents, especially parents, to take the project forward under the auspices, and with the support, of the Parish Council. Its brief would be to scope, budget, fund, develop a timescale, construct and manage the project. To this end it was agreed that a “project launch meeting” would be held in April.
At the Parish Council meeting that followed the open meeting there were no District and County Council reports.
Highways improvements were discussed and councillors resolved to approve the following as the parish council submission to Glos. Highways’ budgeted spend to raise the quality of the county’s highways:
- white lining at the Chapel Lane, Harris Lane, Yellow Lane and Dovers View junctions
- repair and re-surface Buckle Street, Dovers View, Chapel lane entrance, lane adjacent to Top Farm, Dovers Hill and the Narrows on the lorry route
- repair and weed the centre of Harris Lane.
Councillors reviewed the arrangements for cutting the recreation ground, verges and hedges for which the Parish Council is responsible. It was decided that the current contractors would be retained but that the Church Street verges should be cut each month between April and September to a clear schedule.
During Storm Doris a beech tree at the parish quarry was damaged severely. It was agreed that the tree should be made safe to ensure its future wellbeing. Damage also occurred to a fence adjacent to the quarry and the Parish Council charged for its repair.
Councillors and the clerk completed the annual risk assessment of parish assets with no major actions arising. It was noted that the softwood splash guard on the bus shelter should be treated with wood preservative and that the notice board acrylic doors are difficult to slide and need to be eased. The backing paper of the notice board needs to be replaced.
Concern was expressed about parking in some areas of the village, especially where cars are parked on the pavement and close to road junctions. Some designated parking spaces are provided and residents are asked to use these whenever possible. Parking on the pavement restricts access and is dangerous close to road junctions. If you wish to report incidents of inappropriate parking please contact the police on 101.
The May meeting of the Parish Council will be on Tuesday 23rd May. Minutes of all meetings are posted on the village website, www.westonsubedge.com. An agenda will be posted on the Village Notice Board in the bus shelter.
There were no County or District Councillors to provide reports to the February meeting of the Parish Council.
Much of the meeting involved discussion of village maintenance and development projects. One recurrent issue has been that of the upkeep of village hedges and verges. It was agreed that Bill Carruthers and Chris Rossington would map the areas requiring regular attention and then research contractors who would be able to cut the hedges for which the Council is responsible annually and provide a regular and agreed verges service during the spring and summer months.
Traffic speed through the village continues to be a problem, but Bob Skillern of Gloucester Highways is in the process of drawing up a specification for the provision of Vehicle Activated Speed equipment. It is likely that part funding will be available for this.
Parking on the pavement is an issue of increasing concern. It is illegal to do so and obstructs the passage of parents with pushchairs and the elderly. Mike Jelley agreed to consult parking bye-laws and post details on the parish website.
Ambulance response time in the North Cotswolds often falls below expectations. Should you, or anyone you know, have an unsatisfactory experience please report this either to Lynden Stowe or to a member of the Parish Council.
The format of the March public meeting to discuss the furtherance of the Recreation Ground Project was agreed. The purpose of this meeting is to involve interested stakeholders in the next stage of planning the provision of facilities on the Recreation Ground: in the first instance these are likely to be for small children. It was also noted that a flyer for the event would be attached to the March copy of the Campden Bulletin. The drainage installed on the field is working well and, when the ground is levelled and seeded, it should provide a pleasant and safe environment for children to play.
Youth Club attendance continues to be low but members thoroughly enjoy a wide range of activities. Until such time as the membership increases, the Campden Youth Project that supplies the leaders has agreed to reduce the fees charged. Much of the running of the club is funded through grants from CDC and the county.
As usual at the beginning of the year, one of the main concerns of the January meeting was the Council Tax and Parish Precept. Councillor Stowe reported that the County Council element of the Council Tax is likely to rise by 4%, mainly to offset the rise in the cost of social care. The overall CDC tax might rise by about 2%. It was agreed that there would be no change to the Parish Precept.
Traffic problems continue to be a major issue. The Chairman noted the success of quarterly meetings with Bob Skillern of Gloucestershire Highways. Pothole Filling on Chapel Lane is planned and hard standing is a high priority. It was also noted that part funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner budget should be available for a Vehicle Activated Sign on Stratford Road to encourage drivers to reduce speed and so improve road safety.
It was understood that defibrillators should now be available within 200 metres of all residents. Some funding is available for these and Councillors discussed options for additional locations, for example, in the phone box that is to be decommissioned and made available to the village and in or near the Village Hall.
With respect to flood resilience it was agreed that the Saintbury bund should be inspected and a request made to Gloucestershire Highways to check the feasibility of connecting the Church Street north side ditch to the new eastern flood by-pass.
It was reported that the National Trust are installing pay and display machines and associated signage in all car parks, including that on Dover’s Hill. The degree of success of the scheme will be investigated at the end of the first year and the Parish Council will request the opportunity to be part of this review process.
A suggestion that the number of Parish Council meetings should be reduced to six per year from the current ten was discussed. In view of the ongoing nature of many village issues it was decided that this was not practical.
It was reported that the first phase of the project to refurbish the village recreation ground by draining, levelling and reseeding will complete in late spring 2017. This will provide a safe surface for young people to use for games and for the general enjoyment of parishioners. The second phase of the project is to design and implement a recreational area containing play equipment to cater for all ages from toddlers to teenagers together with seats and picnic benches. Parents of toddlers and school age children, together with other interested parishioners, are invited to an open Parish Council meeting at 7.00 pm on Tuesday March 28th in the Village Hall to give views as to the types of equipment to be provided and also to offer support to the Parish Council in securing funding and implementing the project.
Minutes of all Parish Council meetings are posted on the village website, www.westonsubedge.com and on the Village Notice Board in the bus shelter. Agendas are posted on the Village Notice Board.