Report of Sibford Gower and Burdrop Parish Council Meeting – 17th January 2012

At the meeting, eighteen local residents were in attendance, an unusually large number probably attracted by a particular matter to be discussed.

Chairman’s Report:-
Sibfords Community Plan:
In the absence of Mrs Sue Mattinson, the Chairman read her report which sets out the current situation and the next Newsletter (News 8) will be issued at the end of January.
Sibford Broadband Usergroup: Mr Paul Hobson and Mr Tony More, who were at the Meeting, have agreed to be involved with looking to find ways  of improving Broadband speeds in the area.
The Local Plan and The Neighbourhood Plan: These have the Chairman’s attention and updates will be provided in due course. The eventual Sibfords Community Plan will, in due course, require adoption by the Parish Council.
Conservation Area: Dr Rose Todd (Conservation Officer, Cherwell District Council) and her team are working on a review of the Ferris, Gower and Burdrop conservation areas and in this regard an exhibition will take place from 3pm to 6.30pm in the Village Hall on 21st February 2012 followed by a Public Meeting from 7 to 8pm.
Co-operation between the Ferris and the Gower Parish Councils: Still awaited is a response from the Ferris Parish Council as to agreement that members from one may attend the others Meetings where appropriate. The Clerk was instructed to contact the Clerk of the Ferris PC.
Diamond Jubilee: The Chairman proposed, and it was agreed, that a grant of £500 be made in connection with the cost of celebratory events that may be organised. The Clerk was instructed to take matters forward with the Village Hall Committee.

Clerk’s Report:-
Grit Bins:
In previous years, the filling and refilling of grit bins rested with Oxfordshire County Council. However, starting this year, the initial filling will be carried out by the County Council but the responsibility for refilling has been laid on the shoulders of the Parish Council which has been supplied with grit for refilling the bins as and when required. When, and if, residents find that a particular bin requires topping up they are asked to phone the Parish Clerk (Peter Hardman – Tel: 780391) who will make the appropriate arrangements. In this regard, Sibford Gower Parish Council is very grateful to local resident Alan Berks for undertaking to accommodate the reserve grit and carry out the refilling as and when needed. It should be noted that the grit is for highway use only and is not to be used for private properties. The Parish Council has been given to understand that legal action will be taken against anyone found so doing.
Container sited on Conservation Land at Burdrop Hill: The Clerk is still awaiting information from the Enforcement Officer (Cherwell DC) regarding its removal.
Speed signs where Burdrop Hill joins the road to Sibford Ferris: There is an extremely short distance between the two where the speed limit is derestricted. The question had been asked as to why. Some time ago, enquiries had been made in this regard and the answer given was that as two parishes are involved it was a technical requirement. The Clerk was instructed to enquire again.

Financial:- Prior to the Meeting, the Parish Councillors had considered the Precept request for the next financial year and proposed by Cllr Peter Abbott and seconded by Cllr Roger Alder the sum of £6,250 was considered sufficient to cover all known commitments and give some reserve.

Planning Matters:- Since the previous meeting two planning applications had been considered.

Village Pond:- Cllr Roger Alder reported on progress made to date with regard to the Parish Council acquiring ownership. One matter that will help is to obtain statements from local residents as to their use and enjoyment of the pond going back some twenty years. An item seeking such information from interested residents will appear shortly in an issue of the Sibford Scene. These statements will be collated by Cllr Alder in his move towards Parish Council ownership.

Allotments:- In the knowledge that Cherwell District Council will grant a lease of the land in Burdrop adjoining the Piggy Path for a peppercorn rent, it was decided to leave matters until the Sibfords Community Plan is in place and arrangements can be handled by an appropriate committee.

Highway Matters:- The road between the Ferris and The Gate Hangs High will be closed for maintenance work from 20th January to 3rd February. Appropriate signs will be in place. Bonds End Lane is in a poor state and the Clerk was instructed to contact Oxfordshire Highways.

Churchyard:- An estimate for maintenance for the next financial year is £2,500. The Parish Council, under the power available to it, will make a grant of £1,250 to Holy Trinity Church and the Ferris Parish Council undertook to pay £300.

Public Participation:- Mr Richard Butt, on behalf of The Bishop Blaize Support Group, addressed the Meeting. It was this subject that probably attracted the unusually large number of residents in attendance. He handed out papers that set out his questions to the Parish Council concerning planning contraventions at the Bishop Blaize Inn/End. The Parish Council had been well aware of Mr Butts’ dealings with Cherwell District Council and was awaiting the outcome. However, the Chairman felt that the time had come to become actively involved and in this regard the Clerk was instructed to write to Cherwell District Council to arrange a joint meeting with the Head of Planning, the Enforcement Officer and a legal representative. One of the questions at that meeting will be a Parish Council’s responsibility where planning rules are seen to be disregarded.

Date of Next Meeting
This will be on Wednesday, 21st March 2012 in the Staff Room of the Primary School starting at 8pm.