MINUTES Parish Council meeting Monday 5th December 2022

Minutes of the Stewkley Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 5 th December 2022 at 7.30pm at the Stewkley Village Hall

Cllr Keith Higgins (Chair), Cllr Gill Morgan, Cllr Brian Bottomley, Cllr Margaret Burgess, Cllr Phil Delafield, Cllr Virgilio Simeone, and Joanna Simonds, Clerk & RFO. There were 3 members of the public in attendance for items 2, 9 and 11

1. Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Cllr Arthur, Cllr Hunt, Cllr Pryke, and Unitary Cllr Gomm.

2. Open Forum
A MoP representing the “Save The Swan” campaign, updated that they have been investigating whether there is any interest in a community purchase. It transpires there is, so a Facebook group has been set up, already consisting of 140 members. A survey has been commissioned (cut-off date Wednesday 7th) to gather interest and to see what other services the pub could provide to the community. Approximately 300 surveys have been received so far, those being both online and through the post, and in terms of initial feedback, some of the key themes are that food is very important to people, family friendly areas, parent and baby groups, over 60’s lunches, book exchanges, and business networking. In terms of next steps, a presentation on the survey results is being put together, along with a vision document.

The pub went on the market last Friday, so timelines are tight, however, once all this has been done, the next step would be to reach out to potential investors and see how much as a community it might be possible to raise. There’s also a journalist in the village who has kindly agreed to put together a press release, and, if external advice is needed, potentially a registration with The Plunkett

Foundation; a charity that helps with advice on community buy outs. A representative of the campaign group will attend The Swan open day tomorrow, and it was also mentioned that a meeting was held with The Stag at Mentmore, and whilst a very different offering, they are doing extremely well, and in general, it appears community owned pubs have a high success rate.

Cllr Morgan referenced item 9 on this evening’s agenda, stating that she would need to provide evidence in support of the community asset application and that the summary of the survey results should be that evidence. The campaign group agreed to email Cllr Morgan as soon as the results become available.

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

4. Update from Buckinghamshire Unitary Councillor, Phil Gomm
Cllr Gomm emailed his apologies with the following email update:

• 74 High Street South update from Enforcement
“It would appear despite the owner telling me that he was on site laying out the parking he has not done so? I will conduct a site visit late this week and continue with a prosecution case if the notice has not been complied with.
I apologise if this matter has caused you embarrassment, I had placed my trust and taken a person’s word the matter was being addressed. I will update you after my site visit.”
Cllr Gomm: I’ve respond no more wasting time and trust….prosecute

• Jubilee Garden
The planning are extremely busy as you all know and my understanding it doesn’t need a change of use as it is a garden area, but I will continue to chase, although I hope in the meantime work is progressing with the improvements.

• Community Board
I understand some enquiries have been made on top of others about the school warning/crossing lights. I promised its now on my list to deal with but we can’t do anything until the new highway’s contractor starts March 2023 for me to pursue.

Cllr Bottomley commented that there has been some activity at 74 High Street South where they have laid a hardstanding of some kind and cleared that part of the site. They also have a fence up to the rest of the property, but the toilets are still there.

5. To approve the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 7th November 2022
The draft minutes were approved and signed as a true record by the Chairman.
Proposed: Cllr Morgan / Seconded: Cllr Bottomley / Agreed unanimously

6. Planning
22/04043/APP – Fern Cottage, 6 Chapel Square, Stewkley LU7 0HA
Cllrs resolved to SUPPORT this application
Proposed: Cllr Delafield / Seconded: Cllr Bottomley / Agreed unanimously

7. Enforcement Issues
The Chairman confirmed he was still in communication with enforcement over Dean Road;
application 21/00349/CONB.

8. Finance
• To agree the December payment run as circulated

Stewkley parsih council payments december 2022

Proposed: Cllr Delafield / Seconded: Cllr Morgan / Agreed unanimously

• To approve the Accounts to 31st October 2022
Proposed: Cllr Morgan / Seconded: Cllr Bottomley / Agreed unanimously

• To appoint Internal Auditor, John Marshall
Proposed: Cllr Bottomley / Seconded: Cllr Delafield / Agreed unanimously

9. The Swan Public House

The Chairman stated that from a Neighbourhood Plan village perspective, The Swan is a community asset, and that the Parish Council would defend the pub as a village asset and would argue in favour of the Neighbourhood Plan. Cllrs resolved to SUPPORT Cllr Morgan’s proposal to officially apply to list The Swan as a community asset.
Proposed: Cllr Morgan / Seconded: Cllr Bottomley / Agreed unanimously

10. King’s Coronation

Following a brief discussion on how Stewkley might mark the King’s Coronation, the Clerk mentioned she was attending the Annual SLCC Branch Meeting on 16th December and could enquire with fellow Clerks on what other Town and Parishes might be planning. Cllrs agreed that would be very helpful in advance of further discussion at the January meeting. Action Clerk Cllr Simeone suggested potentially televising the Coronation on a big screen at the Rec, which Cllrs thought was a good idea.

11. Community Funding request

With a total score in excess of 12, Cllrs voted unanimously in favour to support the “Save the Swan” campaign group with their application up to a maximum funding of £500. It was stipulated however, that whereas usually a fixed sum would be transferred to an established organisations bank account, on this occasion, monies will be reimbursed on receipt of appropriate invoices. The campaign group were very content with this approach, and the Chairman confirmed that the group should liaise with the Clerk going forward.

12. 2023 PC Meeting dates

Aside from the May 2023 meeting date being changed to Tuesday 9th, Cllrs approved the 2023
Meeting Dates schedule. The Clerk to book these dates with the Village Hall. Action Clerk

13. Jubilee Garden

The Chairman updated that he and Cllr Bottomley had gone through a couple of iterations on the design layout and that the last layout was passed to Cllr Gomm who said he would share with Planning for their feedback, to determine whether we need planning permission, and if we do, how we would go about making such an application. Cllr Gomm has suggested we proceed with our plans in the interim, however Cllrs stated that they would rather take a more conservative cautious view as the proposed garden is in a Conservation area, and as we are planning on putting up a brick wall, albeit Stewkley brick and no higher than the walls on either side, Cllrs preference is to seek formal permission, and not commence with any work until such permission is granted.

14. Recreation Ground

An application has now been submitted to the Community Board for a green roof bike shelter at
The Rec, and confirmation has been received that the application is being reviewed.

15. Highways, Footpaths, and Lighting

• The Clerk confirmed that the circular walk loop off Cricketer’s Close was closed off today by the Buckinghamshire Council Rights of Way Team, following an enquiry from the Clerk after residents’ complaints. The path has been fenced off at either end of the damaged section of path to stop use and will remain closed for another 6 month period with the possibility of extending it if need be. This job will be earmarked for next year’s budget but realistically they anticipate the repair to be carried out in May 2023. Cllr Morgan said she would put something on the village Facebook page to make parishioners aware. Action Cllr Morgan

• Cllr Delafield said that he and Cllr Pryke had a walk around to look at proposals for parking and potential opportunities to present back at the next meeting.

16. Wildlife Reserve

Nothing to report

17. To report on meetings attended

• The Chairman confirmed that he and Cllr Delafield attended the recent Wing & Neighbouring Parishes meeting. There was a useful discussion about the role of the Community Board, and their Unitary Cllr Peter Brazier, said that they are going to re-gig the Community Boards.
• The Parish Christmas Tree now up, thanks were recorded to both Alan Dickens for his assistance with putting the tree up, and to Terry Brown, for providing the tree. As in previous years, a £100 donation will be made to a charity of Terry Brown’s choice. Action Clerk

18. Date of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Monday 9th January 2023 at The Village Hall

The Chairman confirmed the meeting closed at 21:03