MINUTES Parish Council meeting Monday 8th January 2024

Minutes of the Stewkley Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 8th January 2024 at 7.30pm at the Stewkley Village Hall

Cllr Keith Higgins (Chair), Cllr Gill Morgan, Cllr Andrew Arthur, Cllr Brian Bottomley, Cllr Henry Hunt, Cllr Joanne Locke, Cllr Andrew Pryke, Cllr Virgilio Simeone, Joanna Simonds, Clerk & RFO, and Unitary Cllr Phil Gomm.

1. Apologies for absence
Cllr Phil Delafield

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

  • Due to very tight budget restraints, white lining will likely not happen in 2024 but the High Street South footways are still on target for resurface this year. Social Services and Adult Care is where the majority of BC’s money will be allocated.
  • A meeting will be scheduled with Stewkley Cllrs to discuss and tackle speeding, and a rural crime project is underway with a £200k budget coming in from TVP. The intention is to install ANPR cameras coming in and out of the area to bring rural crime down. A letter will be circulated shortly by the Community Board for Parish Council’s to consider.
  • The two Stewkley Community Board applications currently in the system, for the Commemorative Garden and the Wetland Project, are both looking promising and the PC will have a decision on these in the next week or so.
  • The Community Board are launching across the Ward, the Warmer Spaces project with £1k grants. Information on this will be circulated shortly. Cllr Gomm referenced the Newton Longville project which has been a great success.
  • The Community Board are about to launch an appeal to set up a community bus system with the aim of getting 4/5 busses on the Ward. Councils will be written to within the next month to see if they would be interested in being part of a Trust to support this project, and those Councils that have access to S106 funds will be written to first inviting them to attend a meeting to discuss the project further. Cllrs expressed a keen interest and look forward to hearing more about this project.

5. Update from the Clerk on Parish Matters

  • TGMS Cemetery Development have now been commissioned to proceed with the conceptual designs for the lawn cemetery extension and an onsite meeting has been arranged.
  • Two new defib pads have been ordered for the defibrillator located at the Rec Pavilion.
  • The rusty footpath post, at the Ivy Lane end of footpath 20 has been reported to the Rights of Way Team.
  • Joshua Walton-Taylor left his role as PCSO for the Winslow Team on Christmas Eve and has made a move to the Bletchley Team. The Clerk had no information surrounding the circumstances but as soon as a new point of contact is allocated, Cllrs will be updated.
  • No faulty streetlights reported since the December meeting.

6. To approve the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 4th December 2023
The draft minutes were approved and signed as a true record by the Chairman.
Proposed: Cllr Morgan / Seconded: Cllr Bottomley / Agreed unanimously

7. Planning
23/03785/APP – STEWKLEY
Land off Wing Road, Stewkley – Erection of stables (retrospective) and alteration to roof
Cllrs resolved they had NO OBJECTIONS to this retrospective application.

8. Enforcement Issues

  • Cllr Bottomley confirmed that 74 HSS remains an issue. Cllr Gomm said he would raise this directly with the Senior Compliance and Enforcement Officer at BC.
  • On Red Brick Farm, Cllr Gomm said he was asking for an investigation.

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

spc payments jan 2024

To approve the Accounts to 31st December 2023 as circulated
The payment run and accounts were unanimously supported by all Cllrs.

Cllrs resolved unanimously to approve the 2024/25 PC budget.

Cllrs resolved unanimously to approve a 2024/25 precept figure of £56,682, which for Band D households equates to an increase from £57.74 to £62.36 on an annual basis. This is still relatively low compared with other parishes, and importantly, includes a great programme of renovation on our lighting next year.

10. Annual review and approval of the Council’s Financial and Management Risk Assessment
Cllrs resolved to support minor changes to the Risk Assessment as suggested by the Clerk.

11. Adoption of new Biodiversity policy
Cllrs resolved to adopt the Biodiversity policy as presented by the Clerk.

12. Stewkley Neighbourhood Plan
Following Cllr Morgan’s update, Cllrs resolved to support her recommendation as follows:

Analyse our existing Plan policies: During the first half of 2024, analyse the impact of the current plan policies on LPA planning decisions since end 2021 when the Plan was Made – what has worked as we intended, do any policies need rewording/changing/removing.  Are there new policies that should be added including a design code policy.  
Assess the BC call for sites: Set up a sub-team to assess the sites in the BC preliminary call for sites with a view to determining which if any we would support and propose to add to our NP.  This sub-team could grow to include non-councillors.  
Reconnect with BC:  Initiate contact with BC NP team with a view to getting our housing target number at the earliest opportunity.  
Revisit decision in 4Q 2024:  Armed with the information above, and the knowledge that our revision will probably require both consultation and a referendum, make decision to start the project in 2025, apply for any grant available from Locality and engage Neil Homer, to help us.  Our experience tells us this revision process will likely take longer than we might expect, so the PC will need to budget in plenty of time.

Cllr Gomm said that when Planning come to talk about call for sites for Stewkley, he would facilitate an opportunity for Stewkley Cllrs to sit down with Planning and be involved in these discussions. Cllr Morgan said she would very much welcome that opportunity, and in the meantime, Cllrs Morgan, Arthur and Pryke agreed they would form a Working Group to start looking at the sites and to start jotting down thoughts as they relate currently to our plan.

13. Recreation Ground
The footpath, which is the major activity at the moment, looks set to complete in the next few weeks, with the tarmacking starting on Monday 15th. The contractors will also be putting in a barrier at the Scout Hut end, that will prevent unauthorised vehicles going through there and on to the Rec.

14. Highways, Footpaths, and Lighting
Cllrs reported two faulty streetlights for the Clerk to report, one on the Soulbury Road near the Rec and, one on the Chappel Square island.
A new replacement bin has been installed on the Bletchley Road.
In preparation of the 2024 Best Kept Village event, Cllr Bottomley agreed to do a write up for the Grapevine in search of someone new to take on the Co-Ordinator role.

15. To report on any meetings of interest

  • llr Simeone said he’d been liaising with the Stewkley Speedwatch Scheme co-ordinator and undertook the TVP Speedwatch course. Unfortunately however, following the Grapevine article for volunteers, sadly, nobody has to date come forward which means it has ground to a halt for the time being. Cllrs suggested promoting on FB and potentially a planned event sometime in the Spring.
  • Cllr Morgan updated that a meeting had taken place with the Winslow Town and Bus Coordinator. It was a very informative meeting and opened the PC’s eyes to the complexities of setting up a community bus scheme. As a result of this meeting, Cllr Morgan has reached out to the Community Transport Association to try and gather a little more information, but it may be that we need to join the Association, in which case, as that would have an associated cost, it would be tabled at a future meeting.

16. To agree the date of the next Parish Council Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Monday 5th February 2024 at The Village Hall.

The Chair confirmed the meeting closed at 21:01