ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
held on Wednesday 18th March 2015
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, Ms Foxley, Mr R Ormond and about 30 members of public (list appended to file copy of these minutes).
In Attendance:- Mrs S Moffat (Clerk), SBDC and Bucks Cllr D Dhillon, SBDC Cllr A Dhillon, Cllr D Pepler, Cllr G Sandy, Sgt Bobbet, PCSO O’Connor (TVPA), Mr Brian Weavin and Paul Marsh from Mouchel, and Graham Winwright (Planning Policy Manager) and Tim Humphries from SBDC.
1. APOLOGIES for absence were received from:- Cllr P Smith, Dominic Grieve MP, Mary Baker.
2. RESOLVED to approve and sign the minutes of the 2014 meeting held on 19th March 2014.
3. Chairman’s Reports:- Mr Harris thanked everyone for attending and introduced the parish councillors. As there was a full agenda to cover a variety of issues he proceeded to introduce Cllr Richard Ormond who is the new Chairman of the Finance Committee to give his report.
4. Finance – Budget & Precept:- Mr Ormond reported that important financial changes are happening to the Parish. For a number of years the Parish Council has carried out Devolved Highways work on behalf of Bucks C.C and for remuneration of £8,000 p.a. This work has been carried out by John Farrell who has done a very good job, and the standard is much higher in Dorney compared with neighbouring Parishes whose verges are maintained by the County Council. However Bucks County Council have now decided to make every Parish responsible for their own upkeep. This means that the County Council’s total cost for doing this work of £907,500 will be divided between the 168 Parish Councils within the County. Calculated by each metre of grass verge, hedge row etc. each parish has, the result is that our income from the Devolved Highways reduces to £3,262 this coming financial year and then again to £2,319 the following year.
To help offset this fall in revenue the Village Hall has agreed to pay an annual maintenance charge and there will be a small increase in the “Precept”.
Although Dorney Parish Council does not have a balanced budget, the aim is to keep the high standard of maintenance that we currently enjoy.
5. M4Smart Motorway –Mr Weavin explained that the Highways Agency is proposing to improve traffic flow on the M4 between junction J3 and J12 by making it a Smart Motorway. He first explained the planning process before work will start in about 18 months to 2 years. The aim of the project is to make the hard shoulder an additional traffic lane which will be managed by new signage and CCTV. In order to do this the 2 bridges in Dorney will need to be replaced to accommodate the additional lane. Mr Weavin explained that ‘on-line’ bridges were incorporated in to the initial design which is the preferred option but after taking into consideration the concerns identified by Dorney Parish Council it has been agreed to build the replacement Lake End bridge Off-line’. Mr Weavin has also considered the request for a temporary pedestrian bridge whilst Marsh Lane bridge is under construction but this will be too difficult because of the physical constraints and safety issues. However there will be temporary vehicular provision whilst the bridge is closed for those residents living north of the bridge. Dorney Parish Council also came forward with an issue regards River Bridge and the rumbling noise coming from the expansion joints and this problem has never been resolved. Noise levels were also a concern but now but hopefully will be alleviated by resurfacing the entire motorway from Junction 3 to 4 with low noise level surfacing. Cllr Easton had a meeting about air pollution and he is happy to accept the figures that were provided. Air pollution continues to be monitored. Mr Weavin went on to confirm that vehicular and pedestrian access to the school will be maintained throughout the works.
Finally Mr Weavin was pleased that there had been good communications to address any concerns and hope this will continue so there will be minimum disruption to the community.
Mr Weavin responded to the following questions:-
(i) The time scale for the construction work is 5 years but will keep 3 lanes running on the motorway during peak times.
(ii) The majority of vehicles used for the construction work will use the motorway so minimal disruption to adjacent towns and villages.
(iii) Lake End Bridge will be the first to be built.
Cllr Dev Dhillon thanked Mr Weavin for keeping everyone informed as to what is happening.
6. Local Plan Consultation – Mr Winwright, Planning Policy Manager from SBDC, explained that this initial stage is an important part of the future planning policy as it sets the stage for future housing development and Green Belt land. It is an open consultation and he would encourage local organisations and residents to participate to help scope the local issues in the local plan. SBDC is looking at the vision for the whole of the District and it is important that the ideas from local communities are represented in this vision.
SBDC will be working with other authorities such as the Borough of Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Slough to establish the housing need and how to meet this need.
The first stage of this consultation closes on 24th April and the next stage will be the Vision and Options consultation in January – February 2016. Alongside this consultation there is a ‘ Call for Sites’ consultation to consider sites for anyone interested in land such as landowners, developers.
The draft Local Plan will be available in March/April 2017.
Concern was raised by members of the public that other factors such as Crossrail and overflow from London makes this area vulnerable to excessive housing development. Mr Winwright responded that the Local Plan is very much an evidence based process so it is important that people respond to the consultation.
7. Reports from SBDC & Bucks CC – Cllr Dev Dhillon reported that:- (i) Bucks County Council continues to reduce budgets but there has been an increase in cost of adult and child care. However the good news is that County is hoping to be self-sufficient by 2020 and to achieve this Bucks CC is selling services to other councils such as its Legal Services. As part of his allocation of money for road improvements, Cllr Dhillon has identified Lent Rise, Belfry Hill and Station Road in Taplow. Marsh Lane is held in reserve. Concerns about the number of potholes were raised and Cllr Dhillon responded that he will carry out an inspection with the Local Area Technician. Also the issue of wheelie bins being left all over the place was raised and Cllr Dhillon said he would raise this issue with the Officer at SBDC.
Cllr Leanne Kittel thanked Cllr Dev Dhillo on for all his support for the youth of Dorney particularly for its grants for the youth Club.
SBDC Cllr Amin Dhillon announced he was stepping down as district councillor at the next election but thanked everyone for their support he has received. Cllr A Dhillon introduced the proposed new councillors:- Cllrs David Pepler, Cllr George Sandy and Cllr Alan Sansum (who apologised that he was unable to attend this meeting). Cllr A Dhillon went on to say that SBDC continues to minimise costs by making cutbacks and the next way was to share services with Chiltern District Council. Cllr Keith Harris asked why Dorney was omitted in the new boundary name changes and Lent Rise, a ward smaller than the Parish of Dorney, was included? Cllr a Dhillon responded that SBDC did ask for the name’ Dorney’ to remain but the Boundary Commission went against this request. To summarise the activities at Orchard Farm. the Animal Sanctuary has been asked to vacate its premises and is in the process of looking for alternative accommodation and the has had a Stop order placed on it by Bucks CC.
8. Thames Valley Police Authority – Sgt Bobbett reported crime figures as related to Dorney and compared to those of last year there has been a reduction in crime.
9. Village Hall Update – Cllr. Graham Easton & Cllr Alice Foxley reported that the refurbishment is fantastic and there is no longer a leaking roof. The hall hire is going well and a nursery hires it out every morning. The funds are looking healthy to repay the loan and to pay Dorney Parish Council for the ground maintenance of the site. Lots of local clubs use the hall – badminton, bowls, youth club, dance, ballet, keep fit, dog training and lots of private parties. All the details are on the web site and local residents get preferential rates. The Village Hall committee is looking for new members if anyone is interested vacancy is to look after the regular hirers. The Committee organises one or two events each year for the Village and always open to new suggestion.
10. Dorney Lake Update – A written report was circulated from Ivor Lloyd, Eton Rowing Lake. Information for residents regards free parking and details of events are on their web site and the latter is mentioned in Dorney News.
11. Best Kept Village Competition – Nick Teale reported that after reading in the local newspaper about Gerrards Cross about planned work to win their category in this competition, he is organising some dates for the community to volunteer to make Dorney the best village. Leanne Kittel has applied for a grant from SBDC towards the cost of litter picking. A general ‘tidy up’ day has been arranged for 30th May and there is the annual litter pick on the Common on 22nd May.
12. Any other business
Memorial Garden – Dorney Parish Council is looking for a grant to carry out tree work which is linked in with the WW1 celebrations.
A vote of thanks was given to Charles Cody for his continuing work in producing the Dorney News which is very much appreciated.
Meeting Ended:- 9.45 pm