March 2023

MINUTES Parish Council meeting Monday 6th March 2023

Cllr Keith Higgins (Chair), Cllr Andrew Arthur, Cllr Brian Bottomley, Cllr Margaret Burgess, Cllr Phil Delafield, Cllr Henry Hunt, Cllr Virgilio Simeone, Joanna Simonds, Clerk & RFO Unitary Cllr Phil Gomm was also in attendance with 1 member of the public.

1. Apologies for absence Apologies were received from Cllr Gill Morgan, and Cllr Andrew Pryke.

2. Open Forum An update was provided on the upcoming King’s Coronation weekend as follows:

Saturday afternoon, a quiz event in the Village Hall with tea and cake and historic Coronation events being televised. This will be a free event with all donations, from purchased tea/coffee/cake given to the Village Help for Ukraine and the Leighton Buzzard foodbank. On Sunday, a church service at St Michael’s, for the Chapel and the Church, and 12:30-17:00 at the Rec, a Big Picnic with a car show, band, games, BBQ, stalls for voluntary groups and fundraisers, and tea and cakes served by the WI. Monday is the national volunteering day, involving a litter pick. This will be published in the Grapevine to hopefully get some new volunteers in conjunction with the usual groups. The Clerk was asked to reach out to BC for litter picking equipment. Action Clerk. There is a little money left from the jubilee festivities that will be used and, the PC were asked to consider a small budget of up to £400 to cover prizes for the games, and quiz winners. The Clerk confirmed Cllrs had already put money aside in the 23/24 budget.

3. To receive any declarations of interest Cllr Delafield declared an interest in item 12) on this evening’s agenda

4. Update from Buckinghamshire Unitary Councillor, Phil Gomm

  • Contact continues with Village Foundations over the buffer zone and also to determine whether they will consider putting some money to one side for potential use at a later date.
  • Understanding of frustrations, 74 High Street South enforcement remains ongoing and a hard stance will be taken with enforcement in general going forward.
  • The Big British Clean Up will take place between 17th March and 2nd April.
  • Asked whether the Cricketers Close footpath had reopened, Cllrs were not aware it has so Cllr Gomm said he would follow up with Highways.
  • By the next PC meeting, dates will be provided of when the Sycamore Close resurface and roadworks from the A413 all the way from the Spinney to Dunton will start.
  • White lining for dragon’s teeth ( being rolled out across all the villages but Cllr Gomm said to let him know if there were any particularly bad hotspots.
  • Cllr Gomm said he would pick up with Highways regarding the St Michael’s Park drop kerbs.
  • Cllr Bottomley asked if anything was being done centrally to bring the water companies to task over the excessive discharge of sewage that regularly spills out along the back of houses along HSS. Whilst repeatedly reported to Thames Water, no action has been taken and whilst not illegal, it shouldn’t be ethical. Cllr Gomm wasn’t aware BC were doing anything but expressed interest in joining the pre-arranged 12/4 site visit if possible.

5. To approve the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 6th February 2023
The draft minutes were approved and signed as a true record by the Chairman. Proposed: Cllr Arthur / Seconded: Cllr Delafield / Agreed unanimously

6. To review and approve the updated Financial Regulations
Cllrs resolved to approve the updated Financial Regulations as circulated Proposed: Cllr Delafield / Seconded: Cllr Bottomley / Agreed unanimously

7. Annual Review and approval of the Parish Council Financial and Management Risk Assessment

Cllrs resolved to approve the Financial and Management Risk Assessment.

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

8. Planning
23/00389/ALB & 23/00390/APP – Winsors Farmhouse, 43 High Street North, Stewkley LU7 0EZ

Whilst content with the principle of conversion from a barn to a habitable space and the swimming pool in lieu of a pond, the glazed link from the barn to the house was deemed inappropriate due to its length and would create an imbalance of scales from the ‘organic’ historic layout of the Application site.

It was also felt that the extension to the barn is poorly designed with more work needed, and a full set of perspective views would be needed (for the whole application) to fully appreciate the application. The brick wall and gate (blocking off views to the swimming pool from the road was also felt to be of poor design and an ‘informal’ way landscaped design may be supportive.

In conclusion, the refurbishment of the barn with unacceptable materials, a room-sized (12 sqm) glass link building adjoining the Listed farmhouse, a 60 square metre outdoor swimming pool within 5 metres and in full view of a 16/17th-Century Grade II Listed home, and a new 12m long x 2m high brick wall obscuring the courtyard, would in the PC’s view result in significant harm to the Grade II Listed Buildings, their setting and the adjoining streetscape. Furthermore, the damage to the heritage assets, both the Listed Buildings and the Conservation Area itself, would result in no public or community benefit.

Cllrs resolved to OPPOSE both applications for the extensions and use of materials of this historic building and surrounding space (as viewed from the road).

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

10. Finance
• To agree the March payment run as circulated
Proposed: Cllr Bottomley / Seconded: Cllr Burgess / Agreed unanimously

SPC payments March 2023

To approve the Accounts to 28th February 2023
Proposed: Cllr Hunt / Seconded: Cllr Bottomley / Agreed unanimously

11. Community Fund Application
With an overall score of 20, Cllrs resolved to SUPPORT the Rec Fest application as submitted

12. Stewkley Woodland and Wetland Project
Cllr Delafield updated that within reach of the village, adjacent to the Stewkley 5 mile path, is a pond
located in the corner of a field (with vehicle access), and with the owner’s permission, the plan would
be for the PC to adopt the area. It would be tidied up, to clear back the brambles, and in the field going
off the pond, some trees could be planted along the hedgerow and at the end potentially put a small
copse. Wildflowers would be sown around the pond to attract butterflies and some chopping back of
trees to let some light and air in. Following a recent meeting at Furze Down school, who are involved
in creating a nature programme, it was identified that there are people in that group who would like to
help us. Cllrs were supportive of this initiative, so Cllrs Delafield and Bottomley will start to build a
project plan.

13. Stewkley Drop In
The Chair and Cllr Delafield suggested the next drop in be scheduled for the Autumn and that the Clerk
should add this to the July agenda. Action Clerk

14. Recreation Ground
• Following approval of our funding request from the Community Board, the Clerk has placed the
order for the green roofed bike shelter and Cllr Morgan will meet with Charles Hill on 10/3 to agree
the works that need doing prior to installation.
• Rec now has a small project group talking about projects which could be financed either by the
S106 monies or by their own funds, or a combination of the two. Discussions are underway
regarding a 1.8m wide tarmac path to connect the two footpaths, edging, levelled out and seeding.
• Cllr Delafield said he witnessed people coming from the field with their dogs running ahead off the
lead and there didn’t appear to be any signs from the field saying, “please now put your dogs on a
lead”. The Chairman said he would raise at the next Rec meeting.

15. Highways, Footpaths, and Lighting
• The Clerk was asked to see if she could obtain some “no cold caller” corrugated signs for the village
entrances and yellow front door stickers as residents are seeing an increasing amount of people
knocking on doors. The Clerk will contact Trading Standards. Action Clerk
• Cllr Arthur advised that temporary bollards have been installed on the access from Soulbury Rd to
Dove St. He will investigate a more permanent solution for Cllrs consideration. Action Cllr Arthur
• On lighting, Sparkx have now invoiced for the completed works of surveys and reflective
numbering. Cllr Arthur will do a belt and braces check to make sure everything is in order. Action
Cllr Arthur

16. Wildlife Reserve
Nothing to report.

17. To report on meetings attended
• Cllr Bottomley has been in discussion with a sculptor who has kindly agreed to commission a red
kite for the Commemorative Garden. Whilst the work itself will be donated, the PC would need to
cover the cost of materials which Cllrs agreed was more than fair. Also on the Commemorative
Garden, the Clerk confirmed that our planning application was submitted electronically last Friday
3rd March so is now in the system.
• Cllr Bottomley attended the inaugural meeting of the SEA on 8th Feb and a timetable has been put
forward with emphasis on timelines for the BKV competition.
• Cllr Morgan attended the recent NBPPC meeting the hot topic right now being to recruit a new
secretary for the group.

18. Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Monday 3rd April 2023 at The Village Hall

The Chairman confirmed the meeting closed at 21:19