Minutes of the Aston Abbotts Annual Parish Meeting8.00pm 13th April 2016Present: Mrs K Curry (Chairman, Parish Council), Mrs Zandy Ayres (acting secretary), Mr Peter Cooper (District Councillor), Mrs N Glover (County Councillor) and 20 parishioners.1.Apologies: Mr P Shorrock and Mr B Carvey,2.The Minutes to the meeting held 20th May, 2015 were approved and signed as a true record3.No matters arising.4.County Councillor Glover shared Martin Tett’s statement regarding his support for AVDC ‘Going ‘Unitary,’ including it leading to better value for money for the residents with more joined up services. She confirmed that it looked as though all of the schools managed by Bucks CC would become Academies by 2020. Cllr. Glover was able to inform the residents that Bucks Social Services were now improving, following a poor Ofsted report. The Incinerator was now well underway, saving money and providing greener energy. Cllr. Glover answered a couple of questions from the floor including Q: What is the time frame for going Unitary? A: not yet sure but approximately 2 years. Q: Will the move to being an Academy affect special schools? A: Will check but unlikely. District Councillor Cooper addressed the meeting with a number of updates to local issues affecting Aston Abbotts and the Aylesbury area in general including the Budget, Finance, Planning and Unitary Council. •The Budget: There had been a Council Tax increase of 1.99% for AVDC and 3.99% for BCC. They had both gone to the maximum allowable. There will be cuts year on year as the Government aims to get rid of all grants by 2018. AVDC will have another 5 million to be cut by then. The aim of all Councils in Bucks is to protect services. Already seeing evidence of cuts – e.g. planning. AVDC are doing a lot to save money and update systems – moving away from paper to digital communication. Staff are being reduced and jobs transformed. Renewed website – more interactive so more online. The public are being encouraged to create their own account to access services. AVDC making changes so the Council can make money – e.g. the Brown Bin service – and set up businesses e.g. AV broadband which has just started.•The Vale Lottery is in existence to engage with public to raise money for local causes where they can benefit from 50% of the takings. •Planning: AV currently has no local plan. The new plan ‘AV local plan’ is in consultation and nearing completion and should be adopted mid-2017. From now on it should carry more weight with any planning disputes. Currently AV will be expected to build 31,000 new homes over the next 18 years (but this will probably increase to 32,500 – 33,000). Many villages have a neighbourhood plan to have some control. Aston Abbotts will have to take some new homes. Stocklake/ Bierton are building 2,450 houses plus a link road from Bierton (Golf-course to A41 eventually) the Southern Bypass. From ARLA to A41 (Woodlands development) there would be 11,000 houses – remainder would be businesses leading to job creation in ‘enterprise zone’ – aiming to attract new businesses into the area. The Northern Bypass at Dunstable is nearing completion which will have a further impact on traffic in this area – so keep an eye on the increase. The East-West Railway at Oxford Parkway is now open. The Bicester - Milton Keynes - Winslow - Aylesbury link is now it the planning stage with work on the route 3 – 4 years off?•There are two local crematoriums currently approved. One at Watermead, which is a commercial site, and one at Rowsham, which is Council owned. There has been a delay due to the Commercial Crematorium raising appeals against the Council Site. Once these are resolved building should begin. •Unitary: The Bucks Herald have been running a series of articles on the matter. BCC have decided to be in favour which the papers have made clear. Need to get all the leaders to communicate and come together – maybe need a commission set up with local MPs?•Broadband: There are still problems but a number of postcodes have been identified and Rowsham and Aston Abbotts are on this very short list as priorities. Still having an issue with BT but hopefully some clarification by June/ July with perhaps a resolution by the end of the year.•Answering questions from the residents Cllr. Cooper regarding the increase in traffic through the village from the A41 to the A418 he informed them that there is a ‘protected line’ for a new road between Rowsham and Watermead but this would only happen if there is more development in that area due to financial constraints. Any extra traffic should be reported to Cllr. Glover and AVDC. Cllr. Cooper confirmed that there would be new amenities at the Stocklake development including new schools. Cllr. Cooper had to inform the residents that the proposed Cycleway into Aylesbury has had to be abandoned due to strict requirements. A resident complained that a lack of joined up planning had caused the issues on the A418 and there was going to be a serious accident/ fatality, that houses were being built in the wrong places and the relief road was impassable at peak hours causing a much worse situation in Aston Abbotts. Cllr Cooper responded that houses were being imposed from on high and there was not enough money currently to build the required roads and infrastructure all at once – it was being done piecemeal. A resident wished to know if there was anything they could do to influence the Unitary debate and Cllr Cooper informed them that they could write to the Bucks Herald.PCSO Boston was absent but had sent this report which the Chairman shared with the residents:5. Parish Councils Chairman’s Report:•In April last year we said goodbye and thank you to our clerk, Paul Bruton, and welcomed our new clerk, Zandy Ayres. Zandy lives on The Green, and those of you with young children will probably already know her. Zandy has risen admirably to the challenge of being clerk, a role I personally know is challenging in many ways. Zandy has attended various training courses over the year, and her expertise has visibly grown with each course, while the ‘action plan’ list has grown alarmingly – so much so that we have recently agreed to fund some extra hours while she puts it all into action. •2015 was an election year. We were one of a very few parishes in Bucks to field more candidates than we had vacancies for councillors, which meant we had to have a proper, contested election. •A recent change in legislation for Parish Councils has been the introduction of the Transparency Code. This code was issued to meet the government’s desire to place more power into citizens’ hands to increase democratic accountability. For small authorities such as Aston Abbotts this means we have to publish our accounts, annual governance statement, internal auditor’s report and details of public land and building assets, as well as the agendas and minutes of our formal meetings. All these documents were previously available, and our minutes have always gone into the Chronicle, but now they are also placed onto the Parish Council section of the village website.•In August we resolved to apply for a grant to conduct a pre-feasibility study, to establish whether or not the village would give a mandate to proceed with a Community Right to Build Order (CRBTO). The aim would be to build new, affordable properties to cater exclusively for local people. A steering committee has been set up with help and involvement from Community Impact Bucks, an independent charity that gives support, advice and training to community groups and rural communities throughout Bucks. •The Recreation Ground continues to be one of the best used areas in the village. The children’s play area, which was partially renewed about 12 years ago, continues to attract the children and grandchildren of villagers. Following findings from the latest playground inspection report we have decided to replace the cargo nets and hand holds on the main play frame. The temporary repair we made to these proved not to be very successful, so quotes have now been obtained to replace them. We are also planning to use some of our capital to purchase a new item of equipment for the playground, and you will already have seen the survey Zandy has sent out to the children. Hopefully this will be purchased and installed over the next few months. •The playground receives a weekly safety check – please do report any issues you come across to either Richard Clarke or Zandy. We also survey the trees on the Rec, and you may have noticed that the hedges around the Rec were cut back recently.•An ongoing item on the agenda is Highways. There have been concerns voiced about large lorries using the village as a short cut, as well as the rapid increase in volume and speed of traffic since the Berryfields link road opened. The new MVAS sign 9the flashing 30mph sign), which was in Moat Lane and is now on Wingrave Road, is capable of providing all sorts of data, and there will be a report on this later. The MVAS sign is being shared with Cheddington, and we have had ground screws installed at three locations in the village: Moat Lane, Wingrave Road and Cublington Road. This was funded by the Local Area Forum, who also funded our training, for which we are very grateful.•David Gray and Gordon Smith have now been trained to use the Speed Indicator Device, and together with a band of volunteers will be monitoring traffic at various points around the village soon. The difference between this and the MVAS flashing sign, is that speeding motorists caught by the SID device can have their car registration numbers reported to the police. •Still on Highways issues, following complaints about vehicles speeding around the ‘inner’ Green, and lorries causing damage to property, we conducted a ‘traffic calming survey’ to properties there and in Brickstock. The results produced were, however, quite inconclusive, giving us no clear mandate to act.•Urban grass cutting devolution. The Parish Council has agreed to take over the grass mowing in the village, within the 30mph signs, and I will try to explain the background to this decision. The reduction in funding from central government to local government has had a substantial impact, and all non-essential County Council spending has now been frozen. We were informed that the County Council would only provide a reduced mowing service in 2016-17 (this includes grass mowing and footpath clearance). In the long term the County Council would probably only perform their statutory duties, which is to mow vision splays. As a result they have encouraged local parishes to undertake these services by offering a small funding grant. The Parish Council decided to take on these duties as we felt we would be able to deliver a better service than the one on offer. A provision has been made within the Parish Council budget to accommodate the takeover of grass cutting; this explains the rise in the village precept that you will have seen on your rates invoice.•Other actions taken by the Parish Council this year:- The Parish Council continues to support the village fireworks, last year giving a grant of £350 towards the cost of this popular event.-Grant of £100 towards the repairs to the Church Bells- New salt bin purchased for the corner of The Green and Bricstock, and a replacement litter bin on Lines Hill-A Community Right to Bid has been completed for the Royal Oak, and is ongoing for the Recreation Ground and the Church. This new right means communities can ask the council to list certain assets as being of value to the community. If an asset is listed and then comes up for sale, the new right will give communities that want it six months to put together a bid to buy it. The idea is that this gives communities an increased chance to save much loved shops, pubs or other local facilities.-The PC has agreed to sponsor the ‘Play Around the Parishes’ initiative – this children’s play scheme will take place in the summer.- Attendance at the Gt Brickhill, Wing & Ivinghoe Local Area Forum (LAF) ensures we stay involved in local issues-Colin Higgs continues to be our ambassador for Public Transport and Highways issues - Colin also organised the Clean for the Queen litter pick on March 5th•Finally, the Village Plan – a committee has now been formed to look at the actions arising from the existing Village Plan. Jackie Farrands, Steve Markwell, Peter Shorrock and James Dell have already had a couple of meetings.6. Village Activity Reports: Speedwatch: David Gray reported that there was now a team of approximately 8 people and that they would shortly be borrowing the equipment ready to start recording speeds and number plates. He informed the Parish that this information would be passed on to the Police. David Gray answered a question regarding how successful this initiative was stating that apparantly it was very successful in other villages. He also informed the village that he would be taking a survey of the type of vehicles travelling through the village. A member of the Parish suggested that a Weight Restriction on Lines Hill should be looked into, perhaps an Agenda item for PC. MVAS: Phil Spooner reported that with funding from the LAF a MVAS was now available for the village to use. He informed the Parish that there are two things these signs can do – 1) prick the conscience and discourage speeding and 2) provide vehicle movement data. The Police have said that they will not perform ‘speed watch’ on anecdotal evidence but this should provide the information required. After 6 weeks in Moat lane (roughly 3 pointing in each direction) 24,000 vehicle movements were recorded which equates to approximately 1,000 a day. The fastest recorded speed was 60mph whilst the average speed was 35mph. Phil will collect the data with the aim of taking it to the Police with a good case for ‘speed watch’Village Hall Trust: Caroline Lane reported that sadly John Hardcastle had had to retire due to ill health, but that they were most grateful for his hard work over the years. Kevin Copping had now joined the trust. They had had an active year with the following IMPROVEMENTS? Key box, defibrillator, new curtains, planning had been approved. They had put in 3 grant applications and were looking into builders and costs. Caroline mentioned the Vale Lottery and how the Parish could help raise money this way or via a regular donation. Chronicle: Phil Corrigan reported on the format change and that Andy from Waddesdon was leaving – which could put printing the Chronicle into question. Phil informed the Parish that the new layout had saved money but revenue was about the same from the adverts. Perhaps they should look into the adverts and the rates to raise more money. Postie/ Website: Phil Spooner reported on the success of the Postie and the website expansion. Ladies Club: April Curnow reported that they met in the Hall once a month with a speaker, this year they had enjoyed a talk from Peter Cooper re: 1st response defibrillator, a talk about bees and also one about weddings around the world. GNOMES: April Curnow informed the Parish that they have been going for 13 years and meet on Tuesday evenings in the Royal Oak and over the year have enjoyed outings to the theatre, meals out and boules.6.30 club: Andy Bystra reported via Phil Spooner that they have been meeting every Saturday evening in the Royal Oak for the past 30 years. Numbers fluctuate from week to week, but attendance is generally good and all are welcome for a convivial pint or two in the pub! Theatre Club: Judy Hardcastle reported that this was opened up to the village by her husband John Hardcastle, and that she aims to continue it. She advertises what is available in the Chronicle and that people should apply to her. The only requirement is a short review of the production for the Chronicle. Book Club: Sally Palmer informed the Village that there are currently 14 members who meet to discuss a variety of books. Orchard Picnic: Sally Palmer informed the village that this was scheduled for the 12th June from 1 pm to mark the Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration – perhaps ‘Ascot Abbotts’? They were asked to look out for further details, and any volunteers were welcome. Children’s Activities: Zandy Ayres informed the Parish that some of the mummies had been running regular ‘movie’ nights for the children in the Village Hall, where the children had enjoyed a film with a hot dog and popcorn. There were also plans for more after school picnics in the park – as the weather improved. She also mentioned the ‘Play around the Parishes’ event in the Summer, and hoped that it would be well attended by anyone looking after children over the Summer holidays. 7. Village Plan Action Plan:Jackie Farrands reported that they had been discussing a neighbourhood watch scheme, that the Thursday morning shop at the coffee morning had ceased as the proprietor of the Wingrave shop was currently not well enough. She also informed the village that they had approached the pub about how they could be more supportive and work together – but had not had a response as yet, she suggested that Villages should check with the pub before planning an event in order to prevent clashes. 8. Community Right to Build:John Whyte reported that the Steering group was formed last August after a survey of the village suggested support for more housing. He informed them that there were two options a CRTB or Rural Exception scheme. Community Impact Bucks had been talking to AVDC regarding cross funding, the housing association would need to talk to the land owners and then it would all be reported back to the village. John informed the Parish that it was all extremely exploratory, but the idea was to develop a number of properties with some for rent (with a covenant placed on them to prevent the threat of right to buy) and some for sale – with a total of 4-8 units. He reported that the community would have to agree before anything happened. 9. Village Fete: David Gray informed the Village that last year’s event raised £3,000 and would be shared between the following: The Chronicle, The Parish Council, The Village Hall and The Church. This year’s event would be held on 23rd July, and volunteers were welcome to collect nick nacks, volunteer on the day or come up with new ideas. Distribution of funds: The following was decided upon £400 to the Chronicle£200 to the Parish Council£1400 to the Village Hall£1000 to the Church(Or approximately a proportion of 1.4 to 1 of the remainder shared between the Village Hall and the Church)10. There be no further business the meeting closed at 10.20pmRead the minutes from the 2015 Parish MeetingRead the minutes from the 2014 Parish MeetingRead the minutes from the 2013 Parish MeetingRead the minutes from the 2012 Parish MeetingRead the minutes from the 2011 Parish Meeting
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.