MINUTES Parish Council meeting Monday 4th March 2024

Minutes of the Stewkley Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 4th March 2024 at 7.30pm at the Stewkley Village Hall

Cllr Gill Morgan (Chair), Cllr Andrew Arthur, Cllr Phil Delafield, Cllr Henry Hunt, Cllr Joanne Locke, Cllr Andrew Pryke, Joanna Simonds, Clerk & RFO and one member of public (MoP).

1. Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Cllr Brian Bottomley and Cllr Keith Higgins.
Cllr Virgilio Simeone was absent.

2. Open Forum
A MoP having lived in the village for the past 30 years raised three points:

  • Speeding, particularly in the HSN area, and was there anything more the PC could do to implement any additional measuring devices over and above the SID and MVAS. After lengthy discussion the Chair concluded that the PC understand and hear the MoP’s concerns, and the best we can offer right now is to say that it is in the hands of the Traffic Working Group to further investigate if there are any additional options available to us.
  • Could bollards be an option to stop cars mounting the footways on the sweeping bend by the Memorial. Cllrs recalled this was previously raised with BC but dismissed by Highways.
  • Is there anything that can be done about an artificial bright light shining in from a neighbouring property. Other than reaching out directly to the neighbour, the Clerk said that issues like this can be reported to BC Environmental Health and that she would email a link to the MoP.

3. To receive any declarations of interest
No declarations were received.

4. Update from Buckinghamshire Unitary Councillor, Phil Gomm
Unitary Cllr Gomm sent his apologies. No update was provided.

5. Update from the Clerk on Parish Matters

  • There were two “green” related matters the Clerk was asked to investigate at the last meeting (i) the overgrown leylandii on Maltings Close, and (ii) the damaged grass verge outside Breach Farm. The Maltings Close Management Company have confirmed they will take care of the leylandii in early Spring, weather permitting, and on reaching out to the owner of Breach Farm, they had already re-turfed the grass verge.
  • Town and Parish Councils have been given the opportunity to apply for a free, framed portrait of His Majesty the King, to celebrate this new reign. An application has been submitted on behalf of Stewkley Parish Council.
  • Following approval at last month’s meeting, an order was placed on 6th Feb for a new display cabinet to hold the Best Kept Village cup in the Village Hall. The supplier anticipates completion and installation by the end of this week.
  • Two faulty streetlights were reported over the weekend – one in Parsons Close (LC043), and one on the bend by the War Memorial. Cllr Arthur to provide the streetlight number for this one.
  • Notification of a very large pothole on the road from Stewkley to Wing was noticed on the Village Facebook page by Cllr Delafield. Due to the apparent seriousness, two people already at that point having blown tyres, and the additional worry of darkness approaching when it would become even more hazardous, the Clerk telephoned it in to the BC Emergency Line, and it was dealt with in around 2 hours. The reason it was accepted by BC as an emergency was not simply the size of the pothole, but the fact that it was located in a position that was almost impossible to avoid.
  • With the rising cost of the PC’s energy bill for streetlighting, the Clerk has reached out to SSE to get a comparison quotation and will update Cllrs on the outcome.

6. To approve the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 5th February 2024
The draft minutes were approved and signed as a true record by the Chair.
Proposed: Cllr Delafield / Seconded: Cllr Locke / Agreed unanimously

7. Planning
There were no planning applications for consideration this month.

8. Enforcement Issues
There were no updates received on enforcement matters.

9. Finance
To approve the March payment run as circulated:

SPC payments March 2024

To approve the Accounts to 29th February 2024 as circulated
The payment run and accounts were unanimously supported by all Cllrs.

10. Recreation Ground
The minutes of the last meeting were uploaded to Dropbox in advance of the meeting and a brief update was provided on the septic tank issues, which are now being investigated and dealt with.

11. Highways, Footpaths, and Lighting
Referencing the speeding discussion earlier in Open Forum, Cllr Delafield said he would investigate cabling but believes it to be in the region of £1k per week so not viable from a cost perspective. Cllr Arthur suggested it might be worth summarising the steps the PC has taken to date in regard to speeding.

12. Annual Parish Meeting (APM)
There was a discussion surrounding the worth of the APM to the community and when the Clerk informed Cllrs that there are a number of parishes now choosing not to hold an APM on the grounds that legislation states that “an APM “shall” be called”, rather than “must” be called. In order words, whilst the PC has a power to hold an APM, it is not a mandatory duty. On this basis, Cllrs resolved that rather than hold an APM this year, they would instead stage a meeting for the community specifically focused around the theme of Anti-Social Behaviour. Reports from groups will still be requested and if supplied, published on the PC website, but it was felt that parishioners would see much more value in an interactive ‘topic related’ community event.

13. To report on any meetings of interest
The Chair referenced her Dropbox report covering the 27th Feb BC Planning Forum meeting.

14. To agree the date of the next Parish Council Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 2nd April 2024 at The Village Hall at 7.30pm.

The Chair confirmed the meeting closed at 20:53.