MINUTES Parish Council meeting Monday 5th February 2024

Minutes of the Stewkley Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 5th February 2024 at 7.30pm at the Stewkley Village Hall

Cllr Keith Higgins (Chair), Cllr Gill Morgan, Cllr Brian Bottomley, Cllr Phil Delafield, Cllr Joanne Locke, Joanna Simonds, Clerk & RFO, and Unitary Cllr Phil Gomm.

1. Apologies for absence
Cllrs Andrew Arthur, Henry Hunt, Andrew Pryke and Virgilio Simeone

2. Open Forum
There were no members of public in attendance.

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

4. Update from Buckinghamshire Unitary Councillor, Phil Gomm

  • Budget meetings are ongoing.
  • Whilst now closed to any new applications, Cllr Gomm understood the Community Board were waiting on questions to be answered in respect of the Stewkley Wildlife project but Cllr Delafield confirmed all questions asked of us had been answered immediately
  • The next Community Board Meeting will be held via Teams on Wednesday evening.
  • Following last month’s discussions on the Community Bus project, Cllr Gomm suggested to move things forward that a meeting with him, the CB Manager, and interested Stewkley Cllrs be scheduled to start conversations around this potential project. Cllrs were in favour of this and look forward to Cllr Gomm suggesting a few dates.
  • The Cricket Club have applied to the Community Board for matched funding for practice nets and covers.
  • An email just in from Cabinet Member, Angela McPherson, warns of an increase in cases of measles across Buckinghamshire. Cllr Gomm said he would share with the Clerk.

5. Update from the Clerk on Parish Matters

  • The 24/25 precept has been submitted and acknowledged by the appropriate department.
  • We had a successful first meeting with TGMS Cemetery Development and they have now gone away to come up with some conceptual designs for the lawn cemetery extension.
  • The Rights of Way rusty footpath post at the Ivy Lane end of footpath 20, reported last month has now been inspected and confirmed as added to the list of works programmed.
  • Following the departure of our PCSO at the end of last year, TVP are recruiting for a replacement but once appointed, the candidate will need to undergo training, so we could be waiting some time. On the plus side, they have recruited a new Police Constable, Matt Holman, and as soon as practically possible, PC Ian Carter will bring Matt to meet Cllrs.
  • Following completion of the new footpath at the Rec and receipt of a final invoice from the contractor, our request for monies to the S106 Monitoring Officer has been submitted.
  • The Winslow and Villages Community Board have confirmed allocated funding of up to £5K for our Commemorative Garden project so work can get underway. 
  • An overflowing bin in St Michael’s was reported on residents’ behalf to Premier Estates, the managing agent. This has resulted in a new contact with the Estate Manager which will be helpful for any future potential issues.
  • Two faulty streetlights reported since the Jan meeting; those being LC107 on the Soulbury Road, and PB032 in Chappel Square island, both of which have now been repaired.

6. To approve the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 8th January 2024
The draft minutes were approved and signed as a true record by the Chairman.
Proposed: Cllr Bottomley / Seconded: Cllr Morgan / Agreed unanimously

7.. Planning

24/00135/APP – STEWKLEY
Upper Dean Farm, Dear Road, Stewkley LU7 0EU
Cllrs resolved to OPPOSE this application on the following grounds:

  • The footprint for this application is contrary for Stewkley Neighbourhood Plan policy STK 1 as it covers land outside our NP Settlement Boundary for new build.
  • The land covered by these two new builds extend beyond the previously approved barn conversion and is on agricultural land now, and therefore has no bearing on the previous approval.
  • It is not a residential self-build. The applicant is not going to build the houses himself, they will be built by others. The previous approval was for terraced housing for rural workers, this application is two detached properties for family members.
  • The applicants claim for family use is undermined by historic examples within the same land ownership that are now commercially rented properties.
  • The proposed new driveway cuts straight agricultural land and therefore makes the field somewhat redundant for agriculture. The previous approval had no such requirement.

Cllrs also had concerns over the pre-application discussions referred to in the Planning Statement on the planning portal. In the section headed Proposed development, para 2, the statement ‘has been wholly influenced by the pre-application undertaken with the LPA’ would seem prejudicial to decision making and presumptive of approval. The pre-application meeting is referred to 26 times in this document and although supposedly attached in Appendix 14 was not available on the portal for consultees or interested 3rd parties to understand the context of these discussions. Stewkley Parish Council is minded that if the Officer is looking to approve this application, then it would be the PC’s intention to “Call In” the application.

24/00213/APP – STEWKLEY
Breach Farm, 113a High Street South, Stewkley LU7 0HU
Cllrs resolved to SUPPORT this application, however, it was noted that with the increase in vehicle movements there, the grass verge outside Breach Farm has been churned up and needs making right. Action Clerk

8. Enforcement Issues
Cllr Bottomley confirmed 74 HSS remains unchanged. Cllr Gomm said he was yet to pick this up with the Senior Compliance & Enforcement Officer but would do so tomorrow.
The Chair provided an update on Dean Road.
Cllr Gomm said there was no update on Red Brick Farm but it is ongoing.

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

SPC payments February 2024

To approve the Accounts to 31st January 2024 as circulated
The payment run and accounts were unanimously supported by all Cllrs.

10. Community Fund Application
With an overall score of 14, Cllrs approved unanimously a £60 community funding application to facilitate a “What does the Climate Crisis mean to you?” session in the Pavilion on 18th March.

11. Display Cabinet for the Best Kept Village cup
Cllrs resolved unanimously to approve the 23/1/24 quotation from Tofield Ltd for a corner cabinet measuring 600mm high x 350mm wide, with a single glass door to the front. The display cabinet will be located in the Village Hall and will house the Best Kept Village cup. Action Clerk

12. Anti-social Behaviour Working Group
Cllr Locke gave an update following the Working Groups initial first meeting. They discussed the likely scope of the group, that being (i) graffiti and criminal damage, (ii) dog fouling and attacks, (iii) proactively monitoring space where there might potentially be antisocial behaviour, and (iv) youth initiatives.

In terms of general activities, the group will focus on signposting where to report, evidence gathering at a macro level, and providing a way for people to report anonymously if they are not comfortable reporting something themselves.

Next steps are likely to be an article in the Grapevine on creating awareness.

13. Recreation Ground
Following the installation of the new path, which the gang mowers cannot cross, Rec volunteers will take responsibility for mowing the areas around the MUGA, tennis courts and the burial ground extension.
Cllr Bottomley confirmed that the potholes in the burial ground car park are planned to be filled on Wednesday of this week.
A meeting invite has been issued to all of the groups and associations connected with the Rec’s facilities, who could potentially make use of an all-weather play area, which was written in to the St Michael’s Park S106 agreement. Cllr Morgan will attend this meeting on behalf of the SPC.

14. Highways, Footpaths, and Lighting

  • The Clerk was asked to investigate the large leylandii which is obstructing the streetlight in Maltings Close
  • Cllr Bottomley referenced the newly painted white lines and fresh tarmac on the footpath outside the Village Hall, unaware of what had gone on there. Neither the Clerk nor Unitary Cllr were aware, but Cllr Gomm suggested it was likely related to a utility company, rather than Highways.

15. To report on any meetings of interest
Nothing to report.

16. To agree the date of the next Parish Council Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Monday 4th March 2024 at The Village Hall at 7.30pm.

The Chair confirmed the meeting closed at 20:54