MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF DORNEY PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON TUESDAY 20th JULY 2021 AT 7.30 P.M. AT DORNEY SCHOOL.
Cllr. Jill Dax (Chair) Cllr. Stephen Baker
Cllr. Euan MacLennan Cllr. Martyn Westcott-Wreford
Cllr. Robert Stopford
Mrs. Holder (Locum Clerk), County Cllr. George Sandy and eleven members of the public (eight of which were via zoom including Cllr. Anna Palmer).
No issues were raised.
PC/13/21 Apologies for absence.
Cllr. Anna Palmer and PCSO Angela O’Connell.
PC/14/21 To confirm the minutes of the Meeting held on 15th June 2021
These were approved with no amendments required and signed by the Chairman.
There were no matters arising.
PC/15/21 Co-option of councillor
No candidate had come forward.
PC/16/21 Items of business carried forward
- The consultation relating to Dents Corner
The Clerk confirmed that she had collated all the results and cross-referred them with the electoral roll for Dorney. Results had been circulated to Councillors and the collated list would be put on the website with names redacted. Cllr. MacLennan summarised the results which were that 39.2% of the electorate had responded. 71.8% of them had voted for the re-instatement of the T junction and 28.2% had voted for the Roundabout. Following a short debate it was agreed (Cllr. Palmer not voting as not present in person) that the Council would support the reinstatement of the T junction to its former layout and the Clerk was asked to relay that to the Community Board as the final decision of the Council. Cllr. MacLennan asked if there was any greater clarity on how to apply the £5,000 donated by Eton College and the Chair noted that this would need further clarification hopefully in time for the September meeting.
- The Dorney Area Parking Review
County Cllr. Sandy reported that he had met with Ian Thomas and Mark Davis of Bucks Council who confirmed that the next step would be the Statutory Consultation at which time residents could make their wishes clear. He did not know when this would take place. He imagined circumstances had changed since the anti-social behaviour at Eton Rowing Lake had led to the closure of the site for parking and the parking problems at that time. The Chair confirmed that she understood that the lake would be opening between September and March going forward. Cllr. Stopford asked for the survey results from the parking review and County Cllr. Sandy agreed to obtain a copy for him.
- Roundmoor Ditch
Cllr. Stopford had circulated a report which would be put up on the website. He confirmed that the hydrology report was due by the end of July. The consultation on the Slough sewage outflow would be undertaken in the Autumn and the Council would be invited to take part.
- The Orchard Herbs Site
Cllr. Stopford confirmed that vehicles were expected to be removed from the site within the next month but he felt that was optimistic. The certificate of lawfulness and planning applications were pending and details were on the website. He asked that it be recorded that Burnham Parish Council had been very helpful.
- M4 Smart motorway
The Clerk confirmed that no response had been received from Mr. Stacy nor Mr. Orchard. The Chair would consider contacting them directly.
- The Emergency Plan
Cllr. Palmer confirmed a first draft had been completed and thanked the volunteers for this. She would liaise further with the hope of presenting the draft at the September meeting.
The Clerk had circulated the list of new, pending and recent decisions. Cllrs. Stopford and Baker would be attending the planning course later this week and accordingly no comment would be made on new applications at this stage.
18.1 To agree/ratify expenditure and income to date
All items listed on the cashbook were approved for payment. Cllr. MacLennan noted two big items concerned the MVAS supply and its installation and the Clerk was asked to forward these invoices to the insurers to pursue reimbursement.
18.2 To receive an update on Insurance matters
Cllr. MacLennan reported that there had been no alternative but to pay the insurance premium for this year however he had now had a chance to look at the details. He was concerned about the insurance being held jointly with the Playground Management Committee (PMC). The largest item insured was the play equipment. The Chair noted that in 2010 the Council had agreed to insure the equipment and recharge the PMC. Cllr. MacLennan had looked back at finances and the recharge had only been paid in three of the last eleven years. He had written to the PMC to ask for an explanation as to why it was a joint policy, what payments had been made and why they had stopped, and whether they had duplicate insurance themselves. The last question arose from information in their one set of published accounts which showed insurance costs at double what they had been recharged by the Council and seemed to suggest they might have separate insurance. Hopefully this could be clarified by the September meeting. He was also working with the Clerk to produce an up to date asset list showing original cost and insurance value.
18.3 To agree terms of the new bank mandate
Progress on setting up an account with Barclays Bank had stalled and Cllr. MacLennan lacked confidence in pursuing a new account with Barclays that met the needs of the Council. Ruth Senior, the prospective new Clerk, had suggested an online account with Unity Bank which was popular with other councils. Cllr. MacLennan had looked into this and recommended that such an account would meet the needs of the Council as set out in the Finance Regulations. It was agreed to as the new Clerk to open an online account with Unity Bank as soon as possible with the new Clerk and Cllr. MacLennan as administrators and the Chair, Cllr. MacLennan and Cllr. Westcott-Wreford as online signatories.
PC/19/21 Oak Processionary Moth at Dorney Memorial Garden
The Chair reported that this had been found in the oak trees in the Memorial Garden for which the Council was responsible. She had contacted all relevant authorities and put up posters. She had obtained and circulated 3 quotes for the removal of the nests. It was agreed to place the contract with Maydencroft. The oaks would need spraying in the Spring next year which she had diarised to follow up.
PC/20/21 The red K6 phone box opposite The Pineapple PH
The Chair explained that the Dorney History CIC (of which she was a member) owned the phone box having bought it from BT for £1 in 2018. They had fully renovated it and there should be no further work needed on it for the next ten years. BT owned the land it stood on. It was agreed that the phone box should be formally assigned to the Council on payment of £1.
PC/21/21 To consider adopting a Communications and website management policy
The Clerk had prepared and circulated a communications policy to be approved alongside a website management policy. The main point of these was to clarify that all communications should normally be made or authorised on behalf of the Council by the Clerk. Councillors may of course express views and act for residents but must not commit or act on behalf of the Council unless specifically authorised to do so. These policies were approved.
PC/22/21 To consider next steps relating to 20mph signs near Dorney school
The Chair noted that this proposal had arisen during the period when Marsh Lane bridge was shut and the Village Hall car park closed off. She did not feel that the same need existed now. Cllr. MacLennan noted problems with cars parking in Harcourt Road for drop offs and pick ups. Cllr. Baker said he would raise the parking issue with the school so as to encourage parents to resume using the Village Hall car park instead of parking on residential roads. It was agreed to not pursue the application with the Community Board to install these signs.
PC/23/21 To consider any complaints/comments received from residents
There were none other than two in relation to the Dents Corner consultation which had been circulated to Councillors.
PC/24/21 To review any matters relating to Groundsman/Maintenance
The groundsman was thanked for his hard work. The Chair noted that the groundsman had expressed disappointment with the recent drain cleaning activities of Bucks Council. Owing to the build up of weeds and dirt in the gutters this seemed to have led to the filters of the sweeper becoming blocked and debris had been spread widely and gutters only half cleared. The Clerk would write to the Local Area Technician to complain. The groundsman was also concerned with the state of the conservation signs which he believed were showing signs of timber rot. He proposed that he would repair them in the winter months and this was agreed.
PC/25/21 Any other business/ items for the next meeting on 21st September 7.30pm
25.1 Cllr. Wescott- Wreford had reported on the ‘fix my street portal’ that there were still issues with the cattle grid and a number of potholes on the road across the Common. He confirmed he had made contact with Keith Harris about the downloading of data from the MVAS and would be following this up.
25.2 The Chair thanked the Locum Clerk for her hard work so far and help in recruiting a new Clerk.
PC/26/21 S.1 (2) Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960
It was agreed that in view of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted below that the public be temporarily excluded and be instructed to withdraw.
26.1 To approve the terms of appointment of the new Clerk
The draft contract for the new Clerk, Ruth Senior, had been circulated prior to the Meeting and its terms were approved with a view to the contract starting on 3rd September when the Locum Clerk’s contract ends. It was also agreed that the new Clerk should acquire a new printer with a budget of not more than £200. Going forward Meetings would be at 7.30pm on the third Tuesday of each month excluding August and December. In light of the need to progress the acquisition of the printer and set up a new bank account the new Clerk would attend to these matters on a self employed basis until her contract as Clerk starts.
26.2 To consider next steps in connection with the claim by Dorney Village Hall
The Chair and Cllr. MacLennan left the room to facilitate unbiased debate given their previous declarations of interest in this matter. The Clerk made it clear that in her opinion the Village Hall did not have a strong legal case. Following debate the points were discussed that many issues remained unclear and the main witness to the original deal was now deceased; that it was important to bring this matter to a conclusion for the sake of goodwill between the main institutions in the parish; that the tenacity of the claimants was such that legal action was likely to ensue and the costs in terms of time and legal support would likely outweigh the advantages of defending the claim. It was agreed (Cllr. Palmer not voting as present only via Zoom) that an offer be made to the Village Hall Committee to settle the claim 50:50 and for payments for maintenance be fixed at the sum of £250 starting from the next financial year 2022/23.
Meeting ended at 9.10 pm.