Report of Sibford Gower and Burdrop Parish Council Meeting – 22nd November 2011

The Chairman is still in discussion with the Chairman of Sibford Ferris Parish Council concerning the practicalities of merging the two Parish Councils and how this may impact upon the classification of housing category is concerned.

The reassessment of the Conservation Area is still being considered by Cherwell District Council.

With regard to the Village Pond and the intention of the Parish Council to obtain ownership, this is being carried forward by Cllr Roger Alder. An important factor is to establish its use, past and present, as a Community asset.

Play Area:  The Village Hall Committee is in discussion with Sibford Ferris Parish Council (which has a play area) to establish how matters may be taken forward.

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: The Parish Council is in consultation with the Village Hall Committee Secretary with regard to any village celebration.

Grit Bins: Mr Alan Berks has very kindly agreed that he will accommodate the bag of grit from Oxfordshire County Council in Wheathills. It is from this that grit bins will be refilled as and when required by Mr Berks. Whilst at a recent Parish Liaison Meeting at Bodicote House, the Clerk learned that anyone taking grit for private use from the grit bins sited in the Parish is liable to prosecution.

Local resident Mr Paul Hobson is carrying out an analysis of Broad Band speeds which vary quite significantly between the Ferris and the Gower with that of the Ferris being much stronger. The Chairman has promised the Parish Council’s assistance in the work being carried out by Mr Hobson.

The Chairman referred to the thoughts of merging the Parish Councils of the Ferris and the Gower having in mind various places that are in common such as the church, schools, village hall, the surgery and the shop. As a possible step towards this, the Chairman suggested that it could be of benefit if the Chairman or other representatives from one Council would attend the other’s Parish Council Meetings with formal representation at Annual Parish Meetings. In this way, each Council would be aware of the feelings and views of the other. The Clerk was instructed to write to the Ferris Parish Council to ascertain its views on the matter.

The Chairman referred to a planning application made N L Matthews incorporating Banbury Plant Hire, Ferris Hill Farm, Sibford Road, Hook Norton to Oxfordshire County Council seeking to extend the opening hours to 0600 hrs to 1700 hours (currently 0800 hours to 1700 hours) Mondays to Fridays, 0600 hours to 1300 hours (currently 0800 hours to 1200 hours) Saturdays and to increase annual throughput of inert waste from 24,999 to 74,999 tonnes. Proposed use of  Lower Yard for screening, crushing and storage of inert waste material (retrospective). Technically, the premises do not fall within the Gower Parish but, on behalf of the Parish Council, the Chairman wrote to Oxfordshire County Council objecting to the application for the following reasons –

  • The proposed increase from an annual throughput of 25,000 to 75,000 tonnes is excessive; it will involve a threefold increase in heavy lorries along country roads unsuited to the traffic.
  • He asked that particular attention should be paid to the opinions of the Parish Councils of Milcombe and Hook Norton.
  • No evidence has been seen of a serious environmental assessment of the proposal and one should be carried out before allowing a major change.
  • There is concern about the impact of increased opening hours and throughput on The Gate Hangs High which is immediately adjacent to the current waste site. At present the pub is untenanted and it is doubted whether any tenant could be found to take it on if the proposal is allowed.

Sibfords Community Plan: On behalf of Mrs Sue Mattinson, who was unable to attend the Meeting, the Clerk read a progress report that she had prepared. The current position is that questionnaires have been delivered to all households with the object of determining views of issues and opportunities. The answers will be collated and analysed in January 2012. There will be no newsletters in November and December. News 8: January 2012 will report on the general results of the questionnaire.

The Clerk reported that he had been asked to raise at the Meeting the subject of ‘cold calling’ by sellers and how this may be discouraged or prevented. Mrs Mollie Mulley, present at the Meeting, kindly said that she will include this at the local Neighbourhood Watch Meeting (of which she is the co-ordinator) which will take place shortly. The Clerk referred to the new Police Non Emergency telephone number of 101 which has replaced 0845 5 505 505. A notice has been placed on the Parish Council’s notice board.

Highway Matters

  • Road Gritting – confirmation had been received from Oxfordshire County Council that Pound Lane, Acre Ditch, Main Street, Burdrop Hill and Hawkes Lane will form part of the treated routes for this year.
  • Mirror at exit from Backside Lane onto Pound Lane – Oxfordshire Highways will not install this, as requested by some local residents. The cost cannot be afforded and, the Parish Council was informed, such mirrors are not usually recommended by Oxfordshire County Council as they can lull motorists into a false sense of security.
  • Entry into Backside Lane from Pound Lane: The Parish Council had requested Oxfordshire County Council to consider kerbing the left hand side but had been advised that this was not financially possible at the present time.
  • Lowering of the kerb – Pound Lane/Main Street. To assist users of mobility vehicles, a request was made that the kerb be lowered but Oxfordshire County Council, having inspected the site, advised that it was not considered necessary.
  • Road from Hawkes Lane to the Surgery – Promised  patching work has still not been carried out and the Clerk was instructed to press Oxfordshire Highways in this regard.

Allotments: Cherwell District Council had finally agreed that consideration would be given for the use as allotments of the land that adjoins the Piggy Path, Burdrop. A lease of twenty years could be granted. A nominal rent would apply and the Parish Council would be responsible for maintaining the land and for any outgoings relating to it. Planning consent might be required. The Parish Council has been given a contact name for help and guidance. The Clerk will now start to take matters forward.

Churchyard: The Members of the Parish Council were surprised and disappointed to have been made aware that Sibford Ferris Parish Council has decided not to share half of the maintenance cost for the next financial year despite it was given to understand that this would be forthcoming.  It is understood that a formal letter advising of this is to be expected. The Ferris Council has decided that its contribution will be only £300 paid directly to the Church (and a similar amount for the current financial year). Bearing in mind that the estimated maintenance cost for the next financial year is £2,550 a radical reassessment will need to be made prior to the precept request to the District Council which will be on the agenda at the next Parish Council in January 2012. The feeling was that the Gower Parish Council should pay no m0re than half of the actual cost directly to the Church and allow the Church to approach the Ferris Parish Council with an appeal to reconsider its position. A most important element is that whilst the Church is geographically in the Gower Parish, in ecclesiastical terms it covers the Parish of Sibford which includes Burdrop, the Ferris and the Gower. The Clerk was instructed to advise Holy Trinity Church PCC as to how matters stand and invite it to enter into a dialogue with the Ferris Parish Council.

Planning Matters: Since the previous Meeting three planning applications had been considered and approved and five planning decisions had been received from Cherwell District Council.