Parish Council Meeting, November Summary
The Parish Council met on Thursday, 3rd November 2016. Highlights included plans for this year’s Christmas tree and light switch-on, more complaints over parking, lorries, drains, leaves, traffic and verges. Delay to Purton’s plans to use the cricket pitch, and little progress on the yellow lines (but not for want of trying). And Car Park Lite is back on the agenda.
Councillors Harris (Chair), Pfleger, Cobb, Sharp, Dodge, Hearn, and Kayani attended. Apologies received from Councillors Baggs and Montgomery. County Councillor Groom also attended part of the meeting to give her report.
Councillor Harris was the chairman, Deborah Bourne the clerk.
The Chairman prefaced the meeting by saying that the parish steward only spends a limited amount of time in the parish, and the Parish Council may need to look at employing someone themselves for one or two days a week during peak time. It was frustrating when residents were raising issues, which never seemed to get resolved fully.
Clearing the leaves, particularly around the Butts
This was becoming a perennial issue. Build-up was particularly bad after the recent wet weather. They were a hazard to children going to school. On occasion, children risked injury on slippery leaves that were obscuring the demarcation between pavement and road. Parents didn’t complain because they didn’t believe anything would happen, even if they did.
The Chairman acknowledged this was a problem. One possibility was residents joining together to clear the leaves.
Councillor Cobb, however, said that there were issues with insurance and liability. The clerk said there was a possibility that liability could be covered by the Parish Council’s policy, but this needed further research and consideration. For example, the leaf clearing would need to be organised, a safe system of work put in place. In the meantime, the Chairman said leaf clearing (and freeing up drains) should be a priority for the parish steward.
What’s happening to the defibrillator?
The resident was concerned about the potential cost to the parish. However, Councillor Pfleger confirmed that the parish council had shelved this project after he had taken the advice of a senior paramedic, who had told him he didn’t know of a single life being saved through a defibrillator that was not on site.
Who is cleaning the free-standing bus stops?
A local resident has taken on responsibility for cleaning one of the bus shelters. The Chairman said the Parish Council would welcome other volunteers, and Councillor Pfleger warned councillors not to hold their breath.
What is happening to the telephone box in the Street?
A resident was concerned that, if kept, the telephone box would become dilapidated and a magnet for graffiti and vandalism. The resident was also concerned that the Parish Council did not consider fully the cost of its maintenance before deciding to keep it.
The Chairman said that this had slipped down the Council’s list of priorities in recent months, but there was a desire in the village to keep the telephone box. Two or three people had volunteered to take the telephone box on.
Councillor Pfleger said that if this did not happen, it would get taken away.
War memorials, can someone clear them?
A resident buys crosses to put on war graves in the cemetery, but some cremation plots can hardly be found, and the names illegible, because they are so overgrown. Can someone clear them? The Chairman said he would add this to the parish steward’s list.
What’s happening about all the heavy vehicles using the village as a thoroughfare?
The Chairman referred to two articulated lorries seen overtaking, and damage to this own wall. Others had also experienced inconsiderate driving, and lorries using roads that were weight restricted.
During a lively debate, Councillor Pfleger (Lorry Watch) said he could take no action without reports (registration number plates and times). People were, he said, possibly victims of their own complacency.
The Chairman asked County Councillors Groom and Lay to keep on top of the issue, and press the case with Wiltshire Council. He also voiced concern over what would happen when the M4 Junction 16 Works started as more vehicles would be using the village as a diversion. The results, potentially, would be chaotic.
The area of amenity land between Buryfield and the Close needs some TLC.
The area was planted by the Parish Council 10-15 years ago, but is now looking very untidy. The Chairman said he would get Open Spaces Working Group to look at it.
Application for change of use at Bagbury Business Park
Two representatives of Accelerated Learning and Certification Limited attended the meeting to talk about the merits of their application for change of use. Their intention is to run training courses for gas engineers and other construction professionals from the unit. There would, they said, be no issues with parking, and they liked quiet as all their students would be sitting exams.
(Later in the meeting, the Chair of Planning Working Group said their recommendation would be to oppose the application because of parking and the potential issues to residents because of evening and weekend working).
County Councillor’s Report
The Chairman welcomed County Councillor Groom to the meeting. Councillor Groom updated the meeting on cuts to Wiltshire Council’s budgets (with the possible knock-on effect on parishes), drain surveys, Junction 16 works, Taylor Wimpy application at Lydiard Park (and the possible flooding issues), the Wiltshire Safety Centre at Wroughton, planning applications, developments in social services, children services and the fire service.
The Chairman asked what was happening over the road between Swinley Drive and Casa Paolo. Councillor Groom said she would check, but believed this was to be a green lane. There was also a debate over what had happened to any developer’s contributions towards road improvement or other works. Nobody seemed sure of the answer to this, but it was mooted that the planners had never been very clear over what was happening and that most of the money had gone to Swindon.
Councillor Sharp said it had been a quiet month, but warned residents to be on their guard during Bonfire night and the run-up. In previous years, there had been cases of thieves using people being out of their houses as an opportunity.
Lydiard Millicent and its Neighbourhood Plan
Councillor Dodge gave an update on the first meeting of the steering group held on 18th October. The next meeting is to be held on 8th November.
Leaving the New V Neighbourhood Plan
The Clerk reported Wiltshire Council are not happy with the form of wording Lydiard Parish Council used to say they will be leaving the New V Group, and have proposed new wording. The main difference appears to be that Wiltshire Council want Lydiard Millicent to say they [Lydiard Millicent] want to leave New V. However, Lydiard Parish Council appear not to want to say that. They say they are only leaving New V because Wiltshire Council say they can’t continue to be part of New V when/if Lydiard Tregoz leave (because that will create a non-contiguous area).
Wiltshire Council allegedly want the departing parishes to leave sequentially.
The Chairman queried whether this stance from Wiltshire Council meant there would be less money available for Lydiard Millicent, which was being forced to go it alone.
Another debate on leaving New V ensued.
Councillors Dodge and Sharp pointed out that the resolution proposed in this instance did not affect Lydiard Millicent, but was necessary for Purton to leave. If the Council did not agree it, New V would just continue to limp on, achieving very little.
The wording proposed by Wiltshire was agreed. This consents to Purton leaving the group.
However, the resolution for Lydiard Millicent formally to leave New V (Wiltshire Council wording) appears yet to be approved, so it looks like the issue is still on-going.
The JCH and Recreation Ground
Purton Cricket Club will now not be using the Recreation Ground for 2017 season. The wicket is in a worse state than they originally thought, due in part to ant hills and a lack of maintenance in previous years. They remain committed to using it for the 2018 season. Due to the number of pitches having been converted to all weather surfaces, Lydiard’s could be in high demand and it was felt that work on it should progress.
Anti-pigeon spikes have now been fitted at the JCH.
The Community Field
The Chairman reflected on the resolution that the Council passed in November last year. This was not to abandon the car park project, but to postpone it because of the cost. The Open Spaces Working Group had been looking at alternatives and ways of reducing cost.
It was resolved that the Working Group should continue to progress matters. It would do so by considering ways of reducing costs; through discussions with Wiltshire Council over reducing the car park specification, seeking additional funding (possibly from the Church, Parish Hall, School – in conjunction with the development of its transport plan) and utilising self-help schemes involving the community.
Yellow lines to combat school-time obstructions
Councillor Cobb reported that he was trying hard to progress the parking restrictions, but wasn’t getting much joy from Wiltshire Council. He suspected that Wiltshire Council wanted to “save up” several requests from different parishes so that it could save time and costs by dealing with them in a single order.
Councillor Pfleger was organising this, and would be putting the tree and lights up on 26 November. However, it was agreed that the lights would be switched on for the first time on 3rd December, to coincide with the Christmas event organised by the Parish Hall Trustees on that day.
The meeting closed at 8.50pm. The next meeting will be held at the Parish Hall on Thursday 1st December, at 7.30pm.