Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held in the Parish Room, Westwood, at 7.30pm on Tuesday 10 May 2011.
Allan Parker Chairman, Westwood Parish Council.
Roger Coleman Clerk.
Parish Councillors T Biles, J Bishop, G Edwards, R Howard-Evans and J Johnston attended the meeting.
There were seventeen Parishioners present.
1. Introduction and Apologies.
The Chairman, Allan Parker, welcomed everyone to the meeting and invited the Clerk to explain the nature, and purpose, of an Annual Parish Meeting. He extended a warm welcome to the guest speaker Mr Nick McCamley.
Apologies were received from Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Linda Conley.
2. Presentation by Nick Mc Camley – ‘Westwood Mines’.
Mr Mc Camley give an illustrated talk on the history of the Westwood Mines with a particular emphasis on the various purposes for which the mines had been employed – extracting oolite limestone, growing mushrooms, storing valuable artefacts from the British Museum, London and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and as a factory for Royal Enfield – the Second World War prompting some of these uses. He illustrated his talk with photographs and drawings that enabled the audience to gain an excellent appreciation of the subject and his engaging and enthusiastic manner of presentation ensured that his talk maintained the interest and involvement of the audience.
Mr Mc Camley participated in a Question and Answer session following his presentation.
The Chairman thanked Mr Mc Camley for giving such an interesting and informative presentation.
3. Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 13 April 2010.
The Minutes were signed as a true and accurate record.
4. Annual Report of the Parish Council.
The Chairman gave a full report of the work of the Council over the preceding year. A summary of the subjects covered is attached to these minutes.
The Chairman concluded his report by stating that Parish Council Meetings are held on the first Monday of each month - no meeting in August - at 7.30 pm in the Parish Room and that all members of the public are welcome to attend and to make representations during the Public Forum. He emphasised that the Parish Council acts on behalf of the parishioners of Westwood and that it is vitally important that parishioners let the Parish Council know about any matter that concerns them and that directly affects the community.
The Chairman concluded his report by thanking the members of the Parish Council and the Clerk for their support throughout the year.
5. Statement on the Parish Council accounts for Year ending 31 March 2011.
a. The Clerk gave a brief report on the Accounts for FY2010/2011. He stated that he had balanced the accounts and had completed the Annual Return and that the accounts will now be submitted to the Internal Auditor. Thereafter they will be submitted to the Parish Council for approval and subsequent auditing by the External Auditor.
He stated that the balance brought into the year was £20884.43 and the balance carried forward at the end of the year was £17544.81.
The Clerk stated that Receipts in the year totalled £12810.31 and Payments in the year totalled £12300.34.
He reported that the main Receipts in the year were:
Precept £10500 (the first rise - £500 - since 2007).
WWDC Cemetery Grant £1038
VAT Refund £109
Cemetery Fees £965
Open Spaces £180 (Football Pitch).
Bank Account Interest £19.
He reported that the main Payments in the year were:
Staff Costs £3850
New Nursery School Wall - £4900.
Open Space maintenance £2153:
- Grass Cutting £1992
- Play Area sign (£75)
- RoSPA Play Area Annual Safety Inspection (£76)
NH Watch signs (£75)
Grit Bin/Salt for Avoncliff (£246)
Cemetery/Churchyard Maintenance £1167
Village Handyman £710
Westwood Update £600
Insurance/Audit Fees £1285.
He concluded by stating that the Fixed Assets of the Council represented around £41168 and that these were based on current insurance values and the actual cost of acquiring the Westwood Park, the Playing Field, Nursery School and Cemetery.
b. The Clerk stated that the Internal Auditor has audited the accounts and found everything in order and the Annual Return was approved by the Parish Council at its meeting last night. The Annual Return will now be sent to Mazars, the External Auditor.
6. Observations from the Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Linda Conley.
In the absence of Cllr. Conley, no report was given.
7. To consider resolutions of which notice has been given.
Westwood Road Safety Improvements.
Parish Councillor John Bishop summarised the present position with respect to the ’20 mph Speed limit trial’ and the other, proposed, road safety improvements.
He stated that the 20 mph speed limit trial has commenced with signs and road markings installed by Wiltshire Council. He commented that until 24th October this year comments can be made to the Highways Department at Wiltshire Council in Trowbridge in writing or by phoning 01225 713384 and asking for Martin Rose. He stressed that the Parish Council would also welcome copies of such correspondence or comments directly.
Cllr. Bishop explained that the trial involves taking three sets of data at sixteen week intervals with the first set of data being obtained on 23rd May. Eight weeks after the third set has been taken, the Parish Council should receive a final report from Wiltshire Council after which a survey of all villagers will be undertaken to seek parishioner’s views. There are, he observed, two opportunities to make views known.
He reported that meantime, the Parish Council and Road Safety Group are processing an application for funding of our own road safety improvements, particularly "virtual pavements". If successful, the work may have to wait until after the 20 mph trial period due to any effects they may have on the speed trial readings. At present, the grant application is proving onerous and long winded.
Parish Councillor Jeannie Johnston stated that the results of the Community Questionnaire that was distributed to every household in Westwood had resulted in just seventeen responses. She commented that these results had been analysed and a copy of the report she gave summarising this analysis is appended to these minutes.
8. To consider other matters raised by those present.
A parishioner asked whether it was feasible for the Parish Council to provide allotment gardens within the parish. This prompted a number of contributions from those present and one parishioner stated that he had a large garden that he was finding it difficult maintaining and had allowed a local resident to use part of his garden for their own purposes, namely the growing of vegetables. He argued that both parties benefitted from this arrangement and speculated that other parishioners with large gardens may wish to consider a similar arrangement.
The parishioner who had raised the subject proposed that the Parish Council investigates the feasibility of providing allotment gardens in the parish. This proposal was carried by a majority (For: 7, Against: 5).
There was no other business.
The meeting closed at 9.40 pm.
Westwood Parish Council
Annual Parish Meeting - Chairman's Report (FY2010 - 11)
The Parish Council owns substantial assets:
· Playing Field.
· Westwood Park.
· Children’s Play Area and Play Equipment.
· Bus Shelter.
· Noticeboards, Bench seats, Street Lights (in Park)
…………..all of which have to be maintained by the Parish Council from the Precept.
Neighbourhood Policing Team.
· PC Martin Barrett and PCSO Vicky Huntley.
· Attend all PC Meetings to give report/listen to concerns.
· NPT Actions: Speeding through the village (Speed Checks), Road Safety issues/concerns, Suspicious vehicles/Persons, Abandoned vehicles.
· Cllr. Parker represents PC at NPT Tasking Meetings (held quarterly).
· Bradford on Avon Community Area Board.
· Wiltshire Council Councillor – Linda Conley attended most PC Meetings.
The Electoral District comprises Westwood, Winsley, Limpley Stoke and Wingfield).
Parish Council activities:
Now a Full Council (9 Members).
New Council members – Ian Richardson and Sylvia Higgs.
12 Parish Council Meetings and one PC Planning Meeting (The Old Baptist Chapel & 54 Bobbin Lane) held.
Planning Applications: Around 23 considered (Planning applications, Listed Building Consent and Tree Works).
Donations made by the PC: Westwood Flower Show (£120) – Bratton Silver Band.
Westwood Update: Published every two months (Total Cost - £600).
Westwood Park/Playing Field: Maintenance (S & J Contracts Ltd)
(and renewed recently for a year) Grass Cutting etc
Westwood Park Play Area: Replacing fence slats – vandalised fencing.
Monthly Safety Inspection – Repair work undertaken
Annual Safety Inspection (RoSPA)
Play Equipment Value (including surface) = £27000.
Westwood Nursery School: Fully supported by the Parish Council.
Lease renewed for a further 7 years.
New wall (£4900) – Last April.
Cemetery: Maintenance (Grass Cutting/Hedge planting etc)
Income from Cemetery.
Village Handyman: Val Cooke, Village Handyman. Looks after the cemetery, churchyard (and immediate area) and Play Area/Park plus general village tidying-up.
Highways: Potholes – especially Lower Westwood Road.
Cutting back hedges/trees.
Parish Steward visiting monthly.
20 mph Speed Trial.
Footpath/Bridleway: Monitoring (Monthly report) and bramble clearance, stile repair etc.
Waste Bin replacement/Emptying.
Website – www.westwoodparish.co.uk
Consideration/Consultation on numerous WC Documents.
Community Questionnaire – Analysis of Results.
Last year the Parish Council carried out a street light survey and also issued a Community Questionnaire to all villagers. The results are as follows.
We had 6 responses to the street light survey, all in favour in some way of reducing the number of lights on at night. When we approached Wiltshire Council on the number of lights that were left on at night we were told that 36 of 106 lights were already part-time. As this amounted to almost a third of our lights we felt we were already contributing to the green agenda, and did not recommend any more be converted.
With regard to the questionnaire we had 17 replies. By far the most of those (7) were concerned with broadband speed. We understand that there have been upgrades at BT exchange, but unless villagers are prepared to work together to set up a system with fibre-optics, which is very expensive, we shall have to wait until the Government decides to make broadband speed a priority.
Where the Council was advised of problems that could be tackled we have done so i.e. hedge trimming.
Other matters raised were dog fouling (a perennial problem); car parking on the roadside; 'foul language on the football pitch; horse manure on the road; virtual pavements (this is being addressed by the Road Safety Committee); provision of a tennis court; grit bins (the council has recently provided a bin for Avoncliff, but the Council have no more money for further provision until next year. We will pursue this.) fly-tipping In Farleigh Lane; more buses to Bradford (unlikely in the present financial climate); metal railings round the Play area ( thought to be unsafe); graffiti on the mlneshafts (this is being cleared by a member of the Council); planting of more trees (some new trees have been planted by Selwood Housing, but the Council does not envisage planting any more as we spent a fair amount on this in Westwood Park in the last few years); saving open spaces in the village from development; a Westwood booklet! it was felt the website provides a certain amount of information and there are several places to put up notices in the village) grass cutting; a history project and more surveys.