MINUTES of ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
held on Wednesday 19th March 2014 in Dorney Village Hall at 7.30pm
Present:- Mr K Harris (Chairman of the Parish Council chaired the meeting), Mr G Easton , Mr A Purdie, Mrs L Kittel, Mr P Smith and about 30 members of public (list appended to file copy of these minutes).
In Attendance:- Mrs S Moffat (Clerk), Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP, Chairman of SBDC Cllr Chhokar, SBDC and Bucks Cllr D Dhillon, Ivor Lloyd (Eton Lake), Jim Jenkins (Thames Water), Hilary Murgatroyd (Thames Water), Glen Brown (Environment Officer), Anda Tsilka (Environment Officer), Stuart Keable (EA – EA- Fisheries Officer), John Sutton (EA – Fish Field Team Leader), Simone Singleton (SBDC), PCSO O’Connor (TVPA).
1. APOLOGIES for absence were received from:- Cllr Ms Foxley, Cllr Mrs Kittel Cllr A Dhillon,
2. RESOLVED to approve and sign the minutes of the 2013 meeting held on 20th March 2013.
3. Chairman’s Reports:- Mr Harris thanked Graham Easton and Alice Foxley for their work organising the village hall renovation. They have worked hard to keep the costs to a minimum and have made it a realistic project in difficult times. The Parish Council has donated money towards the project. The Council has taken an £80,000 loan from the Public Works Loan Board. However we are expecting to lower this to around £65,000 by repaying the VAT when it is refunded, plus part of the £12,000 we have ring fenced for the project. The loan repayments have been financed by the 25% increase to the precept last year. With the 1% increase this year there will be no further increase required to cover the loan. The Parish Council has also stood as guarantor for the loan taken out by the Village Hall Committee. This means if the Village Hall, for any reason, finds it difficult to repay the loan, then the Parish Council should have a few years to increase the precept to cover this. Hopefully this will not be necessary.
The big change for Dorney Parish Council this year, is that we now employ a Clerk, Sue Moffat, instead of the previous arrangements where we paid Iver Parish Council for its clerking services.
The saga of the signs indicating that the Olympics were held in Dorney continues but hopefully it will be resolved this year.
4. Finance – Budget & Precept, Maintenance and Best Kept Village
The Parish Council’s accounts are in a good financial state. The latest up to date budget was circulated at the meeting.
Best Kept Village
Mr Harris thanked everyone involved with this competition with special thanks to Nick Teale. Nick is keen to have more helpers for this year, more so now that Alan Russell has left the village, so anyone interested please speak to Nick afterwards.
5. Dorney Lake Update – Ivor Lloyd reported that after major rowing events taking place at this site such as the World Cup 2006 and the 2012 Olympics, Dorney Lake has gained notoriety and more people are visiting the site. Therefore control measures are being introduced and as from last November parking meters have been installed in the car park. Eton Lake is not an income generation facility but still has to manage its resources against litter, dog fouling and the threat of travellers. However, after discussion with the Chairman of the Parish Council, Eton College has agreed free access to parking for those residents who live within the Parish of Dorney. One pass will be issued per household and this will be administered with the co-operation of the Clerk of the Parish Council. When there is a major event the gates are shut. Unfortunately Eton College cannot stop people parking illegally on the road outside the Lake and this is the responsibility of other Authorities to control it. A resident voiced that as there is no longer a Rowing Lake letter issued to residents, therefore residents are not kept informed of events. Mr Lloyd responded that these events are advertised on the web site but will look at ways of improving communication by working with the Parish Council. Regards the query about the recent planning application, Mr Lloyd reassured the public that it was a modular replacement for the corrugated tin shed and should be an improvement. Mr Lloyd concluded that he has an open door policy and is always happy for local residents to telephone or visit him to discuss any matters.
6. Environment Agency (EA) and Thames Water (TW) to discuss the recent flooding and sewage issues in Dorney – Jim Jenkins from TW explained that as the region has suffered the wettest weather since 1910, the design of the local sewage works could not cope with the increase in water and the storm tanks overflowed into adjacent ditches being the Roundmoor Ditch and the 2 ditches by the Jubilee River in Dorney. An initial letter was sent out to residents but unfortunately it was too late. Another letter is due to go out later this week explaining the situation.
Glen Brown from the EA, went on to say they are now investigating the recovery of the water courses in conjunction with TW. All sewage treatment works have a standard design for the domestic and business use and if there is unprecedented weather, the works cannot cope.
Question 1 – A question was raised as to why rainwater goes in to the sewers and the discharge of raw sewage in to the watercourse? Jim Jenkins explained that rain water enters the sewers as some people connect their foul water to the sewer and with an increase in water table this will seep into the sewers. Raw sewage is not allowed in to the watercourse; the overflow of the storm tanks is very diluted sewage. He apologised for the lack and lateness of communication with the local residents.
Question 2 – What plans are there in the future to prevent overflow onto farmland and commons? Mr Jenkins responded that TW is having discussions with the EA for alternative discharge but need permits agreed before anything can be done. TW cannot control the volume of flow in the rivers and dredging the rivers need permission from the people who control the watercourses.
Question 3 – Why did TW not tell residents about the raw sewage which caused humans, dogs and wild life to be ill? – Jim Jenkins apologised and said the lateness of communications was not acceptable but TW only emitted storm sewage which is very diluted.
Question 4 – What plans are in place for the future to alert residents sooner about the overflow on farmlands and commons? – TW agreed that there has been a lack of communications this year but this will be put right for the future.
Question 5 – What plans are there to clean up the streams and commons? – Mr Jenkins responded that TW will flush contaminated area with clean water. At present TW are working with EA to get a Method Statement in place to do this. Afterwards they will investigate any sediment that is left.
Question 6 – Problems with Cressbrook/Roundmoor Ditch? There are proposals for the Riperian Owner to carry out the maintenance work. The Bailiff of this land, who was present at the meeting, responded that he has been in discussion about this situation for 3 years now but gets no answer from the EA.
Question 7 – Why is Lake End Common still flooded? – TW replied that they suspected it is due to a high ground water level.
Question 8 – What is TW and EA doing to prevent people connecting foul drains to the sewers? – TW responded that if any incidents are known, these should be reported to the Local Authorities in order to address the situation. TW can find out about trade effluent and is addressing the situation.
Question 9 – Who is responsible for cleaning the debris along the river bank? – EA responded that it was the responsibility of the landowner. The Fishery Officer said that the Angling Club carries out a voluntary litter clearance.
Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP addressed the meeting. He said that he had received no letters of complaint about the sewage from his constituency. He was aware of the situation and the cleaning of the Cressbrook and the ditches go back to the 1990’s and to 2006. On each occasion improvements should have been made. At the Public Inquiry regards the Jubilee River it was said that the Cressbrook would be improved especially as there was the last group of otters in this area. He does remember assurances that improvements would be done but was told that funding was not available.
7. Waste Collection Service – Simone Singleton, Waste officer for SBDC, reported that 14,000 tonnes of waste goes to landfill at a cost of £72 per tonne. SBDC must raise its recyclable waste from 34% to 60%. The trial of the new waste collection was successful in increasing recycling waste so now it has been rolled out throughout the District. Ms Singleton gave a short summary of the new waste collection service and asked residents to phone in if there were any complaints.
8. Thames Valley Police Authority – PCSO O’Connell circulated a crime report at the meeting which showed that crime figures are down. PCSO O’Connell went onto say that she is pleased that local residents are getting free parking permits at Dorney Lake. The Police are kept informed of any events that are held there. If there are problems with parking on the road, she urged people to telephone the 101 number so the police can deal with any problems.
9. Dorney Village Hall Final Update – Mr Easton thanked ICO for donating all the roofing materials which meant they could keep the costs down and the final figure was £130,000 for the refurbishment. Mr Easton went on to thank the residents who contributed through their rates and thanked Alice Foxley who was instrumental in finding the grants and loan. A new nursery has started hiring the facilities at the Village Hall and this helps towards the repayment of the loan so hopefully will not require any assistance from the Parish Council on the default of the loan. The next AGM of the Village Hall is in May and he looks forward to seeing everyone there.
10. Youth and Park Updates –Mr Harris thanked Mrs Kittel for all her hard work and congratulated her on doing such a good job.
11. Reports from Dominic Grieve QC MP, SBDC and Bucks CC
Mr Harris welcomed Cllr Chhokar, Chairman of SBDC, to the meeting. Cllr Chhokar responded that he was very impressed with such a lively meeting. He had once been a parish councillor at Denham but the meetings were not so refreshing as the one he has attended tonight. He appreciated all the effort and work of the councillors at Dorney and hoped that the community spirit lives on to fight the problems at Dorney.
Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP explained that he used to regularly attend the AGM at Dorney5/6 years ago but in recent years duties at parliament have heeded him from coming to the AGM. Dorney has presented him with fewer problems than other parish councils. He will chase up the problems regards the sewage with the Environment Agency. He believes there will be more in the government kitty to assist the clear up and look at future preventative measures. Crime has decreased in Buckinghamshire. He meets up with the Police Commissioner on a quarterly basis and he has seen a marked decline in crime which is borne out in the statistics.
Rt Hon Grieve QC MP went on to say that he was conscious of a planning issue at Orchard Herbs Farm and he continues to seek clarity of the exact planning status of the site.
A member of the public raised her concern regards the infrastructure in the area not being able to take on superfast broadband. There is less than 1mb/sec and unable to access the internet service which is especially problematic for the younger generation. Dominic Grieve responded that other areas have similar problems and he will take this up with parliament. He has a meeting soon with the Economic Partnership for Bucks and this is a prime issue as Bucks has the highest usage of homes used as offices so he is more than happy to take up this issue. There are political pressures for companies to provide adequate internet services as the Government wants good broadband provision throughout the Country.
Regards, the problem of potholes after the recent bad weather, the Government has made £200 million available for local authorities to bid for extra money for repair work. A member of the public brought it to Dominic’s attention the traffic flow problems in the area particularly with the Taplow Car Boot sale and these problems will be further exacerbated by the new Tesco Store being allowed without improving the road structure. Dominic replied that the existing site was already for retail use and the traffic flow assessment that was carried out was deemed acceptable. Cllr Dev Dhillon said although he objected to the new proposed superstore, SBDC Planning Committee raised no objection and Burnham Parish Council was in favour of it. Cllr Dev Dhillon was prepared to take on the problem of congestion caused by the Car Boot sales but no complainants came forward for him to take the case forward. Mr Harris did add that Dorney Parish Council did ask the Developers of Tesco for traffic figures but they did not come back with them. Also Dorney did not receive any P106 money.
SBDC – Cllr Dev Dhillon reported that SBDC will not be increasing the rates this year which was due to money saving practices, the main one being the merging of services between SBDC and Chiltern District Council. Regards the Animal Sanctuary at Orchard Herbs Farm, a planning application must be made by the end of April, otherwise the Sanctuary will have to leave the site.
Bucks CC – Cllr Dev Dhillon reported that there is a 1.5% increase in rates by Bucks CC and 2% by the Police. He has managed to get 7 roads refurbished in his area but this does not include Marsh Lane but he will keep this in mind if more opportunities arise. Orchard Herbs Farm has been issued with a summons regards the recycling of material and could be fined up to £2000 so waiting to see what happens.
Lastly, Cllr Dhillon reported that he has helped the Youth Club get a £3,500 grant towards the new all-weather sports area it is hoping to buy.
12. Question time – Mr Harris responded to an inquiry that the M4 is to become a Smart Motorway whereby the hard shoulder will be used. Cllr Dev Dhillon was not aware of this but will keep a check that the correct height of barriers is maintained.
Meeting Ended:- 9.58 pm