Report of Full Council meeting, August 2017

Report of the Wellesbourne and Walton Parish Council Meeting, 1 August 2017.
This report first appeared in the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald.

This month’s Parish Council Meeting began with the Chair of the Parish Council, Cllr Anne Prior, welcoming Robert Mann and Robin Barritt as two new co-opted Councillors. Cllr Prior noted that one vacancy still remained on the Council and that further advertising will take place to see if this last position can be filled. (Any readers of this article who might be interested in becoming a Councillor should contact the Parish Clerk for further details at the offices in School Road). The Council Meeting also featured the use of a new speaker system that will hopefully make discussions between Councillors and the public much easier to hear.
In the open forum session for the members of the public to raise matters, Ian Hope, the Chair of the Allotments Association urged Councillors to consider registering the allotments as a community asset. This was supported by Ken Manning, Treasurer of the Allotments Association who, quoting legislation from 1908 and 1972, proposed that the Parish Council should place a compulsory purchase order on the allotment land. Councillors restated their position from last months’ meeting that they could not take a formal position on the future of the allotments until a planning application is submitted. It was noted from discussions with the owners of the land, Coventry Diocese, that a planning application is not expected to be submitted for about 2 years. County and District Councillor Anne Parry highlighted that the most recent update of the housing supply figures for the District showed a house building projection of 6.7 years, which is well in excess of the minimum 5 years threshold that could be otherwise used by developers in support of planning applications.
Lionel Davis reminded the meeting about the rising extent of knife crime at both a national and local level. In this context he found it disturbing that a stall at the weekly Wellesbourne Market openly sells a range of knives and swords as well as such items as cross-bows. Mr Davis mentioned that he has already contacted the Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) on this matter who have said they will look into this. In addition, Mr Davis asked if the Parish Council could do anything to stop these sales within our Parish which will be given further consideration.
The Wellesbourne in Bloom Group have made the Parish Council aware that they are seeking new volunteers. Councillors agreed to assist in highlighting the need for extra support through a notice on the Parish Council website and Facebook page. Hilary Cook requested the Parish Council to contact the Police to see if there was any prospect of being able to arrange a cycle marking event at the local school sometime over the holiday period. This will be followed up.
A visit by Councillors to Walton Estate has been arranged for early September which will provide the opportunity for discussions on common issues with this significant landowner within the Parish. It was also noted that the new lease from Walton Estate covering Dog Close was expected very soon.
Councillors recently attended a dementia awareness meeting where presentations were made that highlighted the various types of dementia and the extent of local support for people suffering with this condition. Councillors were encouraged to attend future meetings in order to raise awareness of this important issue.
County and District Councillor Anne Parry made the Parish Council aware that she has been allocated a grant of £35,000 for use on transport related projects throughout the 13 Parishes that she represents. Any proposals would require a justification relating to the benefits in road safety improvement. (I.e. better road signage). Furthermore Cllr Parry has a £5,000 grant that can be used to support community projects. Opportunities to make applications for at least part use of these grants will be raised by Cllr Michael at the next Parish Council Highways Committee meeting.
Cllr Prior noted that she has become aware that a significant sum of money is being held by Stratford District Council which relates to payments from builders who have not fulfilled requirements for providing affordable housing within their developments. District Councillor Danny Kendall agreed to take this up at the next District Affordable Housing Working Group with the prospect of having this accumulated fund used for specific affordable housing developments throughout the District.
John Hargis, Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan team, thanked Councillors for their feedback on the Submission report which has now been updated and approved for release to the District Council who will then initiate the next phase of Plan progression.
Cllr Shepherd reported on progress for updating the Parish Council grant award procedure which includes revised Q&A’s to assist members of the public in making applications.
Cllr Heaton raised concerns about the footbridge over Newbold Brook near Hopkins Way. This bridge has already been closed for access for some considerable while and it remains uncertain as to when a replacement bridge will be built by the County Council due to other priorities. This absence of this bridge is regarded as a severely disruptive to walkers who can no longer use this route. This will be taken up with the County Council with a request for an earlier completion of work.