Minutes – Annual Parish Meeting 12.04.16
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MINUTES OF THE ADDERBURY ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD AT THE METHODIST HALL, ADDERBURY ON TUESDAY 12 APRIL 2016 AT 7.30PM
PRESENT: Councillor Diane Bratt (Chairman); Councillors Diane Danton, Tony Gill, Sue Jelfs, Patricia Leeman, Ann Lyons, Martin Rye and Chris Shallis.
ALSO IN ATTENDANCE: Theresa Goss (Clerk), District Councillor Nigel Randall, Sam Brown (Chair of the ANP Steering Group), Ros Bailey (Member of Adderbury Lakes Management Committee) and four members of the public.
APOLOGIES: Trish Fennell, Val Scarff and Parish Councillors Colin Astley, David Griffiths and Stuart Phipps submitted their apologies.
01/16 MINUTES – The minutes of the meeting held on 16 April 2015 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman
02/15 MATTERS ARISING – There were no matters arising from the minutes of the meeting held on 16 April 2015.
03/15 CHAIRMAN’S REPORT 2015/2016 INCLUDING PLANNING MATTERS – The Chairman gave the following report to the meeting.
Adderbury Lakes Local Nature Reserve – The Chairman did not need to report fully on the Adderbury Lakes as Ros Bailey had kindly agreed to speak about them later in the meeting. However the Chairman thanked all residents and the other Parish Councillors who were either on the Management Committee or who had joined in the monthly work parties. The Lakes were a real community amenity and asset and were considerably valued by the residents.
The Adderbury Neighbourhood Plan (ANP) – This would also be covered by the new Chairman of the ANP Steering Group Sam Brown later in the evening, but the Chairman wished to take this opportunity to thank all those residents who had already contributed and those who were currently involved in the re-formed ANP group. The Chairman also wished to thank Councillors Colin Astley and Tony Gill for all the work they put into producing the first version of the ANP.
Disappointingly, for all concerned, this first version of the Adderbury Neighbourhood Plan failed a critical ‘Health Check’ and could not go forward to the next stage. Following this the Parish Council took the decision to appoint a professional consultant to help and advise on revising the ANP. The cost of this was covered by a Government grant. The Chairman was pleased to say that a majority of the original ANP team had remained on the project team. The Health Check could be read on the Parish Council website and there was a copy in the Library.
There had been a lot of discussion as to why Councillors Gill and Astley chose to stand down. Councillors Gill and Astley made their continued involvement contingent on a number of conditions they wanted imposed on the appointment of the professional adviser. The Parish Council members could not support this request as they believed it would be contrary to the purpose of asking for professional advice. Contrary to rumours, some on social media, the Parish Council did not, at any stage, prevent any of the suggested policies being included in the ANP and in fact, such detail was never discussed at any Parish Council meetings. The conditions raised by Councillors Gill and Astley could also be read as an appendix attached to the January 2016 minutes on the Parish Council website.
Traffic calming – A number of traffic calming measures had been installed around the village. The Parish Council was not complacent about this, as we did understand that not all of these measures were as effective as we had all hoped they would be. On traffic calming, the Parish Council was guided by the County Council, but no measures came with a guarantee that they would work.
The Parish Council would continue to raise this as an issue with County Council Highways department and also with Cherwell District Council’s Planning department when planning applications were being considered, as most, if not all, of the funding for such works came from developers as part of Section 106 agreements.
Currently the Parish Council was focusing on the Milton Road junction with Horn Hill Road as that was where the very limited Section 106 funds allocated from recent housing developments on the Milton Road were directed.
Councillors Colin Astley and Martin Rye had also been conducting a survey of traffic issues on the Twyford Road, which was ongoing.
Day of Dance – This would take place on Saturday 23 April 2016 and the Chairman thanked the Vice-Chairman, David Griffiths, who had again organised road closures on the day.
As last year there would be no extra security personnel, but the Police would have a presence around the village throughout the day and evening.
The main road through the village would be closed to cars for the busiest part of the day. Cars needing to access properties would be able to do so, but traffic in general would not be able to pass through. The Parish Council would like to thank all those residents who had volunteered to man the road closure during the day.
This was a very popular event in the village and was enjoyed by people from every spectrum of the community.
The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations – These were taking place throughout the country and Adderbury would be celebrating on Saturday 4 June 2016. There would be stalls and entertainment around The Green, as well as other events and the road would be closed for some time on that day.
The Parish Council had obtained a grant to help with this activity and would like to thank Val Scarff who had taken charge of organising everything, as well as David Griffiths and all the other residents who would be involved in making this a very enjoyable village event.
APC web site – This had recently been revamped and the Chairman thanked Councillor Stuart Phipps for his work on this. Hopefully everyone would find it easier and clearer to use.
Street lighting and street furniture – The Parish Council had had a number of requests for more street lighting recently. Such measures would be fairly expensive so this would be considered when next year’s budget was set.
This year, the Parish Council had responded to requests for an extra dog bin at Chapel Lane and a new seat in Croft Lane and had also obtained extra funds towards seats in the village.
Adderbury Library – The Parish Council had continued to make provision for supporting the Library through the Precept and we had also obtained extra funding for this from Gracewell Care Homes. The Parish Council wished to thank all residents involved in FOCAL who worked so hard at fundraising to keep the Library open.
Play Equipment – Councillor Sue Jelfs would talk later about the project to improve and add to Parish Council provision of play equipment at The Rise and the Lucy Placket Field, and the Chairman thanked her for the work she had been doing on this.
The Chairman also thanked Councillors David Griffiths and Ann Lyons for regularly completing the required Health and Safety checks on equipment at the two play areas.
Public Consultations – The Parish Council had responded to a number of public consultations throughout this year. These included Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan Part 2 and Cherwell’s recent consultation on the CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy).
Land owned by APC – The Parish Council had responsibility for a number of areas of land in the village. All these must be maintained out of the Precept, although for some projects there might be grants that could be applied for. Councillor Martin Rye would say more on this in the Financial Report which followed. This land included the Adderbury Lakes LNR and the Allotments in the Walled Garden of Adderbury House, as well as a number of amenity spaces attached to housing developments. Some areas would need some thought in the near future.
Adderbury Cemetery – The Parish Council was responsible for providing a cemetery in the village. The current cemetery on Horn Hill Road had some problems for burials because of rock near the surface (a problem for many cemeteries in north Oxfordshire) and, in one part, drainage problems. The Parish Council was pursuing some ways to improve the drainage. However there was limited the space available in the existing cemetery. As a result, the Parish Council had altered how burial plots were allocated, and was considering how to resolve the need for such land in the future. This really came down to extending into adjacent land, much of which could be suitable, or the alternative was for the Parish Council, in the future, to purchase land elsewhere in the village.
Land on the North Milton Road – This field (about 7-8 acres) was in the process of being passed to the Parish Council as part of the Section 106 provisions from the Aynho Road Bloor Homes housing development, for sports and community use. The ANP process might ask residents about this land and the Chairman saw this as a valuable opportunity to consider possible new facilities and she encouraged residents to make comments when they had the opportunity.
Land to the Rear of Adderbury Court – The Parish Council acquired this land from the Crown Estates some while ago. It was adjacent to the Parish Council amenity land at Adderbury Court and was very visual from the open countryside as well as commanding views out to the Sor Brook Valley. The Parish Council had been monitoring this area for wildlife and ecology and had yet to decide what use could be made of it for the community although a biodiversity project such as a wild flower meadow had been suggested.
Responding to planning applications – The Parish Council was a statutory consultee for planning applications, but the decision was always that of the District Council. Councillors David Griffiths had spoken a number of times at the CDC Planning Committee meetings during this year to voice Parish Council objections to a number of large scale planning applications. The Parish Council had also made comments as to issues like the design, materials and layout of new Housing developments in order to make them more acceptable in the village.
Cherwell District Council now had its Local Plan in place and had a robust 5 year supply of housing sites coming forward. This meant that it was much less likely that CDC would allow further large development in Adderbury, during the timespan of this Local Plan.
There was an allocation of housing numbers for rural areas in the Local Plan but that was now down to about 220 houses to be spread over all the Category 1 villages (like Adderbury) and over the whole time span of the Plan. CDC showed that they would not agree to what they considered to be unsuitable sites when they refused the most recent application on the Milton Road.
Biodiversity Project – Following support for this sort of project in the TAP questionnaire, the Parish Council had obtained some extra funding and had a small fund in the Parish Council budget to increase the biodiversity within the Parish. The Parish Council had agreed with CDC that some wild flower planting could be possible on The Rise, together with a few small, flowering trees to encourage insects and birds as well as add to the general amenity interest of the area. It would be very good to develop this as a community project so if any residents would like to be involved in this project, please contact the Clerk.
The Friends Meeting House – The Parish Council had responsibility for this building. It was Grade 2* Listed due to its historic importance as a Quaker Meeting House, due to the fact that it was largely unchanged since it was built in 1675. It was also of much importance as part of Adderbury’s own history in the 17th century when Adderbury Quakers were in the forefront of religious divisions.
The Parish Council budgets each year from the Precept for the upkeep of the Meeting House, but recent allocations of funds from the New Homes Bonus and a grant obtained from the Oxfordshire Historic Chapels Trust would enable the Parish Council to begin some of the renovation work which we wish to achieve for the building.
Last year, the Parish Council held an ‘open day’ at the Meeting House with the help of members of the Adderbury History Society. It was hoped to repeat this again this year and the Chairman recommended everyone to try to visit this delightful building.
Finally, the Chairman thanked all members of the Parish Council for their hard work throughout the year and for being willing to give up time for the community.
She also thanked the Parish Clerk, Theresa Goss, who had again provided excellent professional advice and made the Parish Council’s work run efficiently and smoothly.
04/15 THE PARISH COUNCIL’S BUDGET AND FUNDING – The Clerk presented to the Annual Parish Meeting, the financial report for 2015/2016. The figures had been subject to internal audit and gave an accurate picture of the activities of the year.
Councillor Martin Rye, Member of the Parish Council’s Finance Group, gave the meeting a report on the Parish Council’s financial matters.
The funding which the Parish Council received from the District Council was called the Precept.
Every year, the Parish Council set a budget predicting its forecast spend for the following year. The Parish Council then advised Cherwell District Council on the amount it needed to carry out all of these functions. In 2015/2016 the precept was £40,773. In 2016/2017 the precept was £40,825 which was an increase of only £52.
During 2015/2016, the Parish Council mainly spent its precept on:
- Maintaining the play areas
- Salary for the Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer
- Support for Adderbury Library and grants for other organisations in the village
- Emptying dog bins and litter bins
- Street furniture – new bench in Croft Lane and Adderbury Lakes, new noticeboard in The Rise, maintaining bus shelters
- Grass cutting the playing field, verges and other land in the village
- Weed control in roadside gutters (A County Council function which had been withdrawn)
- Auditors fees
- Maintenance of the Friends Meeting House
- Provision of Adderbury Cemetery
- Provision of allotments
- Supporting the Day of Dance
- Projects and maintenance at the Lakes
- Maintenance of Amenity areas around the village
Financial threats to the Parish Council over the coming years included:
- Complete withdrawal of the grass cutting grant from the County Council
- Withdrawal of other services which the County Council provides, such as drainage, grit maintenance, cutting back hedges and vegetation and public rights of way
- Capping of the Parish Council Precept by the Government which could result in the services which the Parish Council provided being cut
- No further payments of New Homes Bonus from the District Council
Grant funding – During 2015/2016, the Parish Council had worked hard to obtain some grant funding for projects in the village. This funding had supported projects such as Adderbury Lakes, the Friends Meeting House and the Adderbury Neighbourhood Plan. As a result of this, the Parish Council had not had to increase the Parish Council Precept for 2016/2017 to fund these projects. Grants received were:
- Grass Cutting grant – £2520 (which is half the amount received in 2014/2015 and would remain at this figure for 2016/2017)
- Adderbury Lakes – £5000 TOE2 grant for works to the paths at the Lakes
- Adderbury Neighbourhood Plan – £2000 for consultancy work (more funding to be applied for during 2016/2017)
- Friends Meeting House – Oxfordshire Chapels Trust gave £3000 towards repairs
Gracewell Care Homes – The development on Banbury Road by Gracewell Care Homes saw the company offer the Parish, £50,000 for projects in the village. However, due to problems with their contractors going bankrupt, this amount was reduced to £15,000, with possibly more funding to come. The Parish Council negotiated with the developer and secured the £15,000 funding for the following projects:
- £5000 – Improved access for disabled at Adderbury Lakes LNR (removing steps within Lakes area and a dropped curb at entrance for wheelchair users)
- £1000 Extra seats in village
- £2000 Support for Adderbury library (running costs)
- £2000 Starting fund for a biodiversity project in the village (probably a wild flower area but to be agreed by the Parish Council)
- £5000 Adult outdoor gym equipment
The £2000 had already been given to Adderbury Library and three new seats had been purchased; Croft Lane, Lucy Plackett Play Field and Adderbury Lakes.
The adult gym equipment would be part of the overall play equipment project which Councillor Sue Jelfs would be talking about later.
The work to improve the disabled access had been started by Adderbury Lakes Management Committee.
The £2000 for the biodiversity project had been ring fenced and this project would hopefully be starting this year. The Parish Council invited anyone from the community who was interested in biodiversity to assist the Parish Council with this project. Those interested should contact the Clerk, Theresa Goss.
New Homes Bonus – New Homes Bonus was a pot of money which was allocated to District Councils who passed on some to Parish Councils to provide for community projects.
This year, on behalf of the Parish, the Parish Council received New Homes Bonus of £7,100 and it was agreed to allocate it as follows:
- Repairs to wall at The Pound (£1000)
- Friends Meeting House (£2550)
- Ice House at Adderbury Lakes (£2550)
- Biodiversity project in the village (£1000)
In 2016/2017, the Parish Council would again be receiving £7,100 and it would be spent as follows:
- org (£400)
- Play equipment project (£6,700)
The Parish Council could not spend the funds on whatever it liked, the suggestions had to be approved by Cherwell District Council.
Section 106 monies – Planning obligations under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), commonly known as Section 106 agreements, were a mechanism which provided funds which were used to mitigate the effects of new development in the Parish.
Section 106 funds for County Council functions such as education and transport were held at Oxfordshire County Council. Funds for District Council functions such as play areas, open space and recreation were held by Cherwell District Council.
Section 106 funds had restrictions on them and if the Parish Council wished to access these funds for projects in the village, the strict criteria must be adhered to.
The Parish Council hoped that during 2016/2017, it could access funds to implement traffic calming issues on the Horn Hill Road/Cross Hill Road area of the village.
It was also intended that the play equipment project would be able to access the funds held by the District Council from previous developments in the village.
The Chairman thanked Councillor Martin Rye for his report.
Ian Asbury asked about the precept and why it hadn’t gone up in 2016/0217 as there had been so many more houses built in the village. The Chairman advised that the Parish Council had formulated its budget in December 2015 and was agreed by the Parish Council in January 2016 and having listed the expected the forecast expenditure, it was felt that the precept could stay the same for another year.
Councillor Tony Gill advised if the number of houses had increased, then amount per household from the precept would actually have gone down.
District Councillor Nigel Randall asked the Parish Council about the reference to the gateways in the minutes of the APM last year and highlighted the disappointing impact which they had made. He asked whether they could be painted white. The Chairman advised that the County Council had been asked about this and the material which they were made from, did not lend itself to being painted.
Steve Cox asked the Parish Council about the £15,000 from Hamberley, the developer for Gracewell Care Homes. The Clerk advised that these funds had been ring fenced in the budget and would only be spent on those items which had been agreed with Hamberley.
05/16 PARISH COUNCIL PRIORITIES FOR 2016
Adderbury Lakes – Ros Bailey, Member of Adderbury Lakes Management Committee
addressed the meeting and she appreciated the opportunity to talk briefly about the Lakes and to answer any questions as best as she could.
The Lakes were a designated Local Nature Reserve and owned by the Parish Council who were responsible for their management and development. Ros covered the following issues:
- What they were
- How they were managed and funded
- Recent changes
- Future plans
- Value to the community now and in future
The Lakes gave a glimpse of great garden styles of the past. The 18th century plans for the estate if they had been carried out would have given gardens ‘ranked amongst the best’. Relics of that important estate were the kitchen gardens, which were now the allotments and the ice house.
There was evidence that Capability Brown was consulted on the design and the current Lakes format was created by William Chamberlain in the 1830s e.g. the waterfall, stone building, remaining exotic plants are the bamboo and plane tree.
Last year Nick Allen conducted an historical tour of the area at the Village History Day and Phil Mansell is continuing to research the history of the ‘garden’. In 2000, the Parish Council purchased the Lakes from the County Council, who had managed a reclamation project in 1983 with the help of the then Manpower Services Commission.
In 2013, the Lakes were given Local Nature Reserve status and with it the obligations for the Parish Council to care and protect its natural environment. The area owned by the Parish Council, included the ‘sanctuary area’ and along the Sor Brook, where willows have recently had to be pollarded.
Oxfordshire had only 7% woodland cover and in environmental speak they needed to contribute to multi-purpose objectives, which the Lakes do i.e. wildlife value, aesthetic and landscape value (photo sites) as well as recreational, family visitors, regular dog walkers, walkers of all ages and historical.
There was a Lakes Management Committee chaired by Diane Bratt, with 10 members of which 3 were Parish Councillors. The Committee met about every 6 weeks and each member had a number of tasks e.g. research, contact with specialists, organise working parties, and apply for grants, contractor sourcing and supervision.
Expenditure was approved by the Parish Council or Chairman if was small amounts. There was a plan both for ongoing maintenance tasks and larger projects to restore and improve the site and its biodiversity.
The Parish Council put aside a budget each year for the Lakes and hopefully allocated monies from New Homes Bonus and development sources. The Committee applied for grants from bodies like TOE2 and Viridor, which needed to be matched by the Parish Council.
Essential to the maintenance of the Lakes were the Working Parties and 8 were held last year. The Committee would love to attract younger helpers, but it was delighted with the current support and it was important to maintain a sense of community amongst those volunteers.
Funding was not just needed for projects, but as with any wildlife site with mature trees contingency funds were essential. A tree which came down in winds last month had meant an unexpected expenditure of around £550.
The Committee had observed more families visiting the Lakes, which was perhaps the result of a combination of the improved lighting after the poplar felling, better paths and clearance of viewing points etc.
Projects in last four years had included major desilting exercise, felling of 14 huge poplars, creation of a hedge and ‘woodland’ path by the deer fence, laying of the large hedge, actions to stop leaks in the lower Lakes and restoration of paths. All of these were managed by volunteers with specialist contactors being used, where necessary.
Community involvement at the Lakes, included school visits, sapling planting morning and a family day, which the Committee aimed to repeat in September 2016. The increase in village population would be reflected in visitor numbers increasing.
The Committee wished to continue to improve the paths, especially for wheelchair access and less able walkers. Lake House was close by and another care home was being built in the village. The aim was to enable access all the way down the western side, which meant changing steps to a slope, building a new path, ramps onto the bridges. The project would cost around £15,000, but there was £5,000 from Hamberley Developments (Gracewell Care Homes) and the Committee had just applied for a £5,000 grant from Oxfordshire Trust for the Environment. A further phase of path improvements on the eastern side was planned for next year.
Other plans included the conservation of the ice house and biodiversity improvement plans. There were ongoing tree works to also organise and more felling required including some lakeside sycamores.
It was difficult to put an actual economic ‘value’ on ‘wildlife’ ‘landscape’ and ‘recreation’ ‘historical’ but these obviously held very high intrinsic value. Public benefits provided by the Adderbury Lakes were numerous and this could be seen by the number of visitors to the Lakes on a daily basis, especially families.
Ros also hoped that Adderbury Lakes had a special section in the revised Neighbourhood Plan and that the Parish Council continued to invest time and money in maintaining and improving it, as the primary local green amenity.
The Chairman thanked Ros for her presentation.
Chris Wardley congratulated the Chairman for her initiative back in 2000, when the Parish Council first purchased the Lakes. If she had not taken this lead, the Lakes might never have belonged to the village.
Ros also highlighted that dogs should be on leads in the Lakes, as there was less disturbance of wildlife.
Adderbury Neighbourhood Plan (ANP)
Sam Brown reported that the she was the Chair of the Adderbury Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. They were a group of 12 people from the community and the Parish Council who had been charged with delivering a Neighbourhood Plan for Adderbury.
Background of changes to planning system – Over the last few years we had seen the first major overhaul of our planning system in 30 years. The new planning framework was a very different beast to the last and one of the key changes was that we now had a ‘presumption in favour of development’ – it’s up to planning authorities to prove why a development shouldn’t happen rather than requiring a developer to prove why it should happen. This makes it much more difficult for planning authorities to stop insensitive developments.
This new framework also focused on Localism and gave all communities the right to produce a neighbourhood plan to guide where and what development should happen in their village. This could be about new housing, but also about improving community facilities by maximising the benefit to the community of development that happened.
What does a Neighbourhood Plan do? – The team was working together with Neil Homer of RCoH, a planning consultancy who had worked on 66 different plans, with 16 of them now being made and a further 7 having passed the examination phase.
The meetings with Neil had been very useful and he had given the team a very good understanding of what a neighbourhood plan was – and what it was not.
A Neighbourhood Plan was a planning document used by planning officers in District councils, in our case, Cherwell District Council, to help them to determine the outcomes of planning applications.
A Neighbourhood Plan, therefore was only used once a planning application was received by the District Council. The policies in the plan would change the likelihood that a planning application would receive approval. They either raise the bar against development approval or lower the bar to allow development, if that was what a community wanted.
The policies in our Neighbourhood Plan would work to strengthen existing policies within the Cherwell District plan, for example on defining the boundaries of our village, designating a specific gap between Adderbury and Bodicote and further protecting our important green spaces within the village. It would also set out specific policies guiding the design of infill development within the conservation area and outside of it and protecting heritage assets.
The other purpose of a Neighbourhood Plan was to maximise the community benefit of any development that happens within the village. For example, a plan could allocate a site for housing on the proviso that the developer of the housing also invested in road safety, upgrades a local park or for example builds a community centre.
Unfortunately, events had been taken out of our hands in Adderbury and other villages in Cherwell, due to CDC’s unpreparedness and we have had over a hundred houses given planning permission by the Secretary of State on appeal before our plan was in place.
Our Neighbourhood Plan would be too late in Adderbury to guide the community benefits of some of the developments that had been approved in the village, but the Parish Council had secured land from two of the developments, which could be used for community leisure purposes.
The next stage of our project was to consult with the community on how this land should be used and how our community’s leisure facilities should be improved over the next 15 years.
The team was currently working on this and a focused survey would be sent out to all Adderbury residents in early May to establish what the community wanted in terms of future sports and leisure facilities.
Once the results of the survey had been gathered, rCOH would draft the policies and send to the Steering Group for approval. The pre-submission plan would then be consulted on from early June to July.
Assuming that this all went well, we could have the final document ready for submission to CDC by end of September/early October.
At the end of the process, the Neighbourhood Plan was sent to community for referendum. If it was supported by more than 50% of the people who vote it must then be ‘made’ by the District Council and it then became part of the ‘statutory development plan’ and had the same legal status as the Local Plan.
The Chairman thanked Sam for her presentation.
Chris Wardley asked why there was the need for another survey. Sam and the Chairman explained that it would be a focused survey on community leisure facilities, which had not been covered in the original TAP survey.
Mr Wardley also expressed his disappointment that there were so many Parish Councillors members on the ANP Team. Sam advised that the make-up of the Group worked very well together in the interests of the village.
The Chairman highlighted that what was important, was the content of the ANP, not who was on the ANP Team. The Plan which was to be put forward to the village at the referendum, needed to be acceptable to the village and reflected the wishes of the village and that was the aim of the ANP Team as a whole.
Ros Bailey highlighted that the process should be managed by the Parish Council as those members were the elected representatives.
Councillor Chris Shallis also highlighted that the Parish Councillors were members of the community too and wanted what was best for the village, which was why they were members of the Parish Council in the first place.
Robert Stilgoe asked about whether there could be a new school. The Chairman reported that the School was in the process of becoming a one and half form entry and all the relevant information relating to this, was contained in the minutes of the APM in 2015, when Barbara Chilman addressed the meeting.
Steve Cox asked about the Parish Council role in the ANP process. Sam advised that the Parish Council would approve the Plan at the end point.
The Chairman reported that the ANP could not go forward to the submission stage unless it had been put forward to Cherwell District Council by the Parish Council. It was the only Body who could put forward a Plan, if there was a Parish Council in the particular Parish.
The Parish Council was duty bound to act on behalf of the village and not in any way for themselves and Councillors would be wrong in their duty if they did that. This related to every aspect of being a Councillor, not just the ANP process.
New play equipment for the village – Councillor Sue Jelfs gave a report on the proposals for new play equipment at The Rise and the Lucy Plackett Playing Field.
Councillor Jelfs advised on the current condition of the play equipment and that Section 106 funding was available to use for the project. She felt that younger children were quite well catered for, up to about 8 years old, but 9 years and older could do with some more challenging equipment. The teens had the MUGA but they needed some extra facilities too and she was also looking at outdoor gym equipment for adults.
Councillor Jelfs had met with representatives from different companies and had looked at the playgrounds in the area, which had already acquired new equipment. There were some diagrams and plans of potential equipment displayed in the room.
With regard to safety surfacing, Councillor Jelfs had seen various examples but most were very expensive, almost as much as the equipment itself.
Ros Bailey felt that there was a need more equipment for the under 5’s. Kings Sutton play area was a good example and Ros offered to meet with Councillors Jelfs after the meeting, to discuss this separately.
The Chairman thanked Councillor Jelfs for her report and all her work on the project.
06/16 COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS REPORTS – Councillor Nigel Randall reported that Adderbury was now part of a three village Ward, consisting of Adderbury, Bloxham and Bodicote so all electors would have three votes for three Cherwell District Councillors at the elections on 5 May 2016.
Councillor Randall advised that devolution was on the Government’s agenda and there was a lot of concern at all levels of local government that Central Government was trying to devolve power down to large areas, with an Elected Mayor.
This model was cheaper to run from the Government’s perspective as all decisions for that area would be made in the one place. In Oxfordshire, the County Council had put in a bid to take over the whole of Oxfordshire, which would mean they would get more Government funding.
However, the District Councils in Oxfordshire, felt that they worked very well and had won various awards for many different projects, such as affordable housing and encouraging enterprise in the area.
Cherwell District Council already worked with South Northants Council and along with the other District Councils, they proposed to have a system of four district council’s working together, who managed their own district and bought in the necessary county council functions. The Government would be making a decision after the EU referendum, however, there would be some sort of change in local government in the next year and a half.
The Chairman thanked Councillor Randall for his report.
There was no report from County Councilor Arash Fatemian.
07/15 OTHER BUSINESS – There was no further business.
The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.
(The meeting closed at 9.30pm)