MINUTES OF THE ASTON ABBOTTS ANNUAL PARISH MEETING 2013The Annual Parish Meeting was held on Wednesday 8th May 2013 in the Church Room at 8pm.Click here to read the 2012 minutes.Present: Mr Peter Shorrock (Chairman, Parish Council), Mr Paul Bruton (acting secretary), Mrs Netta Glover (County Councillor), Mr Peter Cooper (District Councillor), Ms Paula Boston (PCSO, North Wing) and 24 parishioners.1.Apologies: Mr Richard Clarke and Mr James Perkins2.The Minutes to the meeting held 9th May, 2012 were approved and signed as a true record3.No matters arising.4.County Councillor Glover addressed the meeting giving a summary of the achievements of BCC over the past 4 years and these included.•BCC have increased the independence of Schools, we have seen the appointment of a Police and Crime Commissioner and the introduction of a Scrutiny Committee, it was hoped these would make a difference locally.•BCC had to cope with the reduction in Government funding and had frozen its share of Council tax for 3 years, reducing spending by £85m, there was potentially worse to come and they would br interacting with residents to obtain their spending priorities lay.•The quality of education was improving with an 83% rise in Level 4 English & Mathematics and 70% rise in students achieving 5* in physics, Aylesbury Technical College was working with sponsors promoting apprenticeships for 13 to 19 year olds.•Economic help to local businesses as BCC introduced 10 day payment terms instead of 30 days, support via Thames Valley Local Enterprise had enabled 60 Bucks. based businesses to obtain contract on the 2012 Olympics with Dorney Lakes being voted best venue.•BCC are doing their best with roads with £300million of the current budget allocated, equal to 15% of Council tax. They are looking at energy efficient ways to redce costs in the longer term.•The transfer of Libraries to operation by volunteers from the local community had been a success with training provided by existing staff who would become redundant on transfer. Performance related pay had been introduced and there had been a reduction of 1,500 jobs – equating to 23% of staff.A question regarding the condition of some of the roads was raised as it as felt they were particularly dangerous for cyclists, the area around Wing and Cublington was of particular concern. Councillor Glover advised that all County representatives had been asked to prioritise the roads in their areas, selecting 5 roads for improvement and the Cublington to Wing road was at the top of her list. The Chairman thanked Councillor Glover for her report.Councillor Cooper, after congratulating County Councillor Glover on her recent election success, addressed the meeting with a number of updates to local issues affecting Aston Abbotts and the Aylesbury area in general. •The development of the Waterside area around the new theatre continued with the Waitrose store scheduled to open in July 2013. The plans included a new Car Park as well as a hotel, the next stage was to hopefully introduce Restaurants in the area with land around the Canal basin although compensation with land owners had to be finalised. There was also the possibility of Sainsbury’s store and petrol station located opposite the Council offices .•Planning – As mentioned last year the South East Plan was scrapped in April 2012 and a new Vale of Aylesbury Plan (VAP) was being completed. The initial document had been prepared and consultation was now in operation. The document proposed 14,000 new homes over 25 years compared to 25,000 in the SE Plan. Taking into account permissions already granted this left a net figure of 8,500 new approvals. The current problems created during the gap in the abolition of the SE Plan and the new VAP had resulted in 3 planning application for developments from opportunistic developers in Hampden Fields, Fleet Marsden and Watermead – 2 of these application had gone straight to the Government Planning Inspectorate with the other being considered within AVDC. The proposals were not welcome as they did not address infrastructure issues, locality and style. It was important the application were refused. •AVDC were continuing to consider ways of dealing with the reduction in Local Government Finance from Central Government as grants were being reduced with a further £1.5 million reduction next year, it was felt that the aims were that by 2020 there would be no Central Government Grants. AVDC had therefore to look at finding savings or income generation to replace. One area that Councillor Cooper felt offered potential was the move to a Unitary Council reducing the number of District Councils from 5 to 1.•The revised refuse collection and recycling scheme was working well and appeared popular, there had been teething problems, resulting in nearly 60% of refuse being recycled, resulting in savings. The food waste was being used to generate electricity. •Rural broadband continued to be an issue for residents and a £14million grant from the EU had meant that we will see an improvement in Bucks. and Herts. Contracts for the installation were anticipated to be placed by the end of May with work to start immediately. The big question was where they would start as the project would take 3 years to complete. It was hoped the investment would start in North Bucks and the figures suggest it should as 60% don’t have access to fast broadband. •Bus service – The No 100 Bus service had been withdrawn by Aviva as it was uneconomical, they were indicating they would improve the timing and quality of the No 150 to compensate.•East – West rail link – The propose rail link was going ahead with the opening scheduled for 2017. This would link Aylesbury to Milton Keynes, Oxford then Cambridge providing access to all services to the North and West. •Travellers Sites – The Cublington site was currently empty and up for sale at £100,000 , it was quite small and was contaminated, currently it has planning permission as a Caravan site however we could see a change of use application from any potential purchaser. Currently AVDC does not have enough traveller sites under the Government’s guidelines and there will be a consultation with stakeholders and the public on where any sites should be located.The Chairman thanked Councillor Cooper for his expansive and informative report.•PCSO Boston advised that a review of the areas under the responsibility of Wing Station had resulted in an increase in size of area to be covered and some villages had changed areas, Aston Abbotts remained the responsibility of Wing North & South. However the increase in size had resulted in resources being stretched as they were now responsible for 20 villages. Currently Wing station had a new Inspector and Sergeant with 3 police officers and 5 PCSO’s. •Overall crime in the village continued to be low with 2011 -12 being 6 reported and for 2012-13 2 reported. These figures exclude domestic related incidents.•PCSO Boston recommended signing up for the Thames Valley Alerts as this provided useful information on current crime activities and prevention opportunities. The meeting also mentioned that Dog Watch was another excellent site for crime awareness and it was surprising how many dogs were taken. •A question from the floor concerned speeding in the village – PCSO Boston advised that the Parish Council could share the speed watch system with other smaller councils, volunteers would be required to operate the system and training is provided. Vehicles recorded as speeding would receive a letter from the police and action may be taken for repeat offenders. It was noted that in the past when the Parish Council had asked for volunteers for such a scheme the take up had been nil.The Chairman thanked PCSO Boston for her report.5.Parish Councils Chairman’s Report, Mr Shorrock summarised the work undertaken during the year;•The village plan had been completed and a presentation would follow his report.•The footpath to the Wingrave crossroads had been completed with funds from the Local Area Forum, Aston Abbotts Summer Ball fund, The Fete and the Parish Council. •We were contributing to the improvements being carried out to the Bus shelter at the Wingrave Crossroads by Wingrave and Rowsham Parish Council.•An Oak tree had been planted in the Recreation Ground as part of the celebrations of the Queen’s Jubilee.•VAHT had kindly donated a PA System for use of villagers and enquiries should be made to Councillor James Perkins.6.A visual presentation of the village plan was located around the Church room and photocopies of the plan were available for those present. James Perkins acknowledged some photograph anomalies in the version on display and assured all that these would be rectified before formal publication. The plan provided a framework for the development of the village. Input from residents had been obtained from a number of consultations and the resulting action plan summarises what we will look at in the future. We will now look to form a Village Plan sub-committee to implement the plan and it is sincerely hoped villagers will want to be involved. The plan is an evolving document to be reviewed on an annual basis. Kate Curry and Peter Shorrrock had been involved from the start of the process and it is wital we get people involved as it is not intended that the Plan is the responsibility of the Parish Council. Sally Palmer congratulated all those involved in completing the Plan.7.Peter Shorrock gave a brief summary of the current views of the Parish Council in relation to the development of a Neighbourhood Plan, a power given to Parishes as a result of the Localism Act. We were currently awaiting the publication of the Vale of Aylesbury Plan before finalising our decision on whether to create a Plan, it will require the input of residents and ideally the committee developing the document will need to consist of residents.8.•Andy Bystra reported on the activities of the 630 Club that was started in 1985 and meets at 6:30pm every Saturday night, originally at the Bull & Butcher Pub to enjoy a social gathering of conviviality and newcomers were welcome. On the closing of the original location the Club had relocated to the Royal Oak who had made them very welcome and over 40 people attend regularly. There were no plans to change although Wingrave were looking to form a similar club. The recent refurbishment of the Royal Oak gave the opportunity to hold some events at the pub and a St George’s Day dinner was being planned for Saturday the 24th May 2014 and the Bean competition was scheduled for the 14th September 2013. The club would be 30 years old in 2015 and ideas for celebrating were under way.•April Curnow reported that the GNOMES (Girls night out men excluded) met every Tuesday night on a similar basis to the 630 Club with numbers varying between 5 and 20 – newcomers were always welcome. They organise a number of events during the year including an annual Christmas dinner, theatre visits, and even go karting.•Deirdre Whyte as Fete coordinator reported on the 2012 Fete that had been well attended and thanked everyone for their help. The Fete had the usual attractions and the dog show proved very popular, Neil Cheshire opened the Fete and visitors seemed to enjoy the traditional charm of the event. The day had raised just over £4,000 and this had been distributed to the Chronicle (£500), Footpath (£1,000) and the Church (£2,593). A thank you to April Curnow for her help and for taking in the role of treasurer, next year David Gray had kindly volunteered to take on this responsibility. The 2013 Fete was scheduled for the 27th July (Deirdre’s birthday) and plans were under way with volunteers to run stalls needed, particularly the Bric a Brac. Peter Knight was standing down as Master of ceremonies after many years of excellent work, James Perkins kindly stepped forward to take up the challenge.•John Hardcastle reported on the Book club that was started in 2009 and now had 14 members (2 male) who meet once a month at one of the member’s homes to discuss the book of the month (chosen by the host) and enjoy the odd glass of wine. The size of the club seemed to be just about right and if other people were interested then it may an idea to start another club.•Shirley Ford reported that the Ladies Club had suffered recently and activities had been a bit reduced, however membership was picking up and they have resumed meeting once a month with more interesting and effective speakers and are planning Garden parties and outings, they meet in the Church room and the dates and times appear in the Chronicle.•John Hardcastle reported that Orchard had been a real success and on behalf of all thanked Peter Knight for all his work and efforts. There were currently 120 trees and plans were for a maximum of 160, although it may be possible to squeeze another 30 trees in. Currently we are looking to plant fruit trees that are part of the history of Bucks, so we are all busy trying to trace trees that meet the criteria. He also wanted to thank Wendy Bentley for her work in organising village events in the Orchard and mentioned that he was looking forward to winning this year’s Sunflower competition.9. Mr Shorrock updated the meeting as to the status of the village acquiring a lease for the Church Room. It was noted that this purchase continues to present problems, mainly caused by the solicitors who had now advised that the file had been discarded by the Charity Commission and as a result had to start again. The matter is now with the Charity Commission for consent and will be actively progressed.10.John Hardcastle report that the July edition of The Chronicle would be his last edition and having produced over 75 editions he believed it was the right time for a change. At present nobody had stepped forward to take on the role and it was hoped either an individual or group of people would take up the role as it was felt by all that the magazine was a vital part of the village. The finances were in good shape and the usual donation from Fete Funds of £500 would be very well received to ensure the sustainability of the Chronicle. It was noted that volunteers for handling the distribution had stepped forward to take over from Andy Bystra. John passed on a vote of thanks to all helpers. Kate Curry on behalf of all residents thanked John Hardcastle for all his work as editor.11.The distribution of profits from the 2013 fete was discussed and a debate followed on the needs of the various village organisations. It was agreed that the profits from the fete would be distributed as follows - £500 to The Chronicle, the balance to be shared equally between The Church, The Church Room and The Recreation Ground .12.AOB – Colin Higgs reminded residents that there was a Flower Festival and Craft Fair in the Church in the Sunday after the Fete. Jo Perkins asked who owned the hedge running alongside the allotments down the road to the garages behind the houses along Wingrave Road as it was not being maintained by anyone and she wanted to thank David Gray for cutting it back. After discussion it was concluded that the Church owned the hedge and Colin Higgs would ensure that the hedge was maintained in the future.There being no other business the meeting closed at 9.50pm
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is an Annual Parish Meeting?All Parish and Town Councils throughout England are required by law to hold an Annual Parish Meeting between March 1st and June 1st.Is the Parish Meeting the same as a Council meeting? No. Although a Parish meeting is convened, chaired and minuted by the Parish Council, it is a meeting of registered electors from the Parish and it is not a Parish Council meeting.What is the purpose of the Annual Parish Meeting?The purpose is to enable the registered electors to discuss parish affairs and to pass resolutions thereon. This meeting is also an opportunity for the Parish Council (and often the District and County Councils) and other community group leaders to explain their activities over the last year.Who can attend the meeting?Anyone may attend, whether they live in the Parish or not, but only registered electors in the parish may speak and/or vote.Can anybody ask questions and make resolutions?Any registered elector may ask questions of the Council. These will usually be answered by the chairman or by the Parish Clerk or a designated Councillor. An elector may also make suggestions and comment on parish issues and propose resolutions. Resolutions are not legally binding, but will be considered by the Parish Council at their normal meetings.Who will chair the meeting?The Chairman of the Parish Council must chair the meeting, if present. In his absence the vice chairman must preside if present. If neither is able to attend, then the meeting will elect a chairman from those electors present.Will Parish Councillors be there?Councillors normally attend and they will speak if required, but the purpose of the meeting is to enable ordinary electors to have their say. Councillors are electors themselves, so they also have the opportunity to raise questions and make comments if they wish.