This report first appeared in the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald.

Feedback was provided by Councillors on a meeting that took place with representatives from the local scouts, guides and youth group where the future location of a youth club was discussed. Various options were considered including the possible refurbishment of the existing building behind the Village Hall. Another meeting is planned for January to progress this matter.

A presentation was made by PC Catherine Morgan from the local Safer Neighbourhood Team who explained plans to make Wellesbourne Library a ‘signposting’ location where people can visit to pick up literature relating to local policing. Catherine also gave a presentation on the Safer Neighbourhood Team website covering Warwickshire where it is possible to ‘drill down’ to get information on what is happening within this area and how to make contact with members of the local Team. It was also noted that the top priority for policing within the area over the next 3 months would be the detection of people using mobile ‘phones while driving.

A Community Forum meeting was held on 1st December where one of the topics covered was the availability of grants in support of local initiatives. Councillors agreed that more needs to be done to seek opportunities for obtaining grants. As a first step, a website is to be set up which collates information on the available grants following which the Parish Council will give consideration as whether to make applications in support of specific projects. Cllr Parry, who is Chair of the local Community Forum, expressed disappointment about the absence of representatives from WCC Highways and Education departments at these meetings. These organisations are to be encouraged to be present at future meetings.

Councillors questioned why paper copies of planning applications were not provided by the District Council in all cases. It seems that paper copies are only provided for the first issue of an application and not for subsequent revisions. A request is to be made for paper copies of all revisions of applications for major developments to be made available.

The Christmas lights ‘switch on’, which took place on 26th November, was regarded as a great success both in terms of the evening event and the quality of the lights around Wellesbourne. Messages of congratulations have been received by the Parish Council from residents on this achievement.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has offered the services of a team of young apprentices for one day to undertake some voluntary work within the Parish. This was regarded by Councillors as an excellent gesture. The intention is to request the JLR team to refurbish the youth shelter, which should be feasible within the day. Other options will be considered by the Parish Council once the size of the JLR support team is known.

A resident expressed concern about the evacuation arrangements for elderly people living in Lawrence Mackie House in the event of flooding. Councillors informed that discussions had already taken place with Orbit, who manages this House, and they have been advised that the initial response is to move all residents to the upper floor prior to arranging for an ordered evacuation, if this became necessary.   The view of the resident, supported by others, is that this procedure is unsatisfactory and should instead involve the immediate evacuation of the House in the event of an imminent risk of flooding. This view is to be conveyed to Orbit.

Another resident raised the issue of space at the Wellesbourne Primary School to cope with the expected influx of people from new housing developments. It was reported that at present there are 55 available places at the School but the projections are that this will become a net deficit of 128 places by the time of completion of the four major developments that have already received approval within Wellesbourne. A request was made for Councillors to highlight these concerns to the District/County Council in order that 106 expenditure can be prioritised for expansion of the School. This will be done.

The Parish Council noted with disappointment the recent articles in the newspapers regarding plans to demolish buildings within the airfield. Ward Councillors D Kendall and A Parry reported on the efforts being undertaken by the District Council and others who have reaffirmed their intentions to endeavour to retain the flying function at the airfield and to oppose any application for housing within this area. The Parish Council also noted with satisfaction the decision by the District Council to oppose the application for 86 houses to be built along the Kineton Road. In addition the Council resolved to oppose that planning application for 4 houses to be built on the site of the current Medical Centre on the basis of over development within such a constrained area.

The Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan team reported that Councillors have now received draft copies of the Consultation Report and the Basic Conditions Report for comment. These reports cover required steps in the Plan development process. It was also noted that progress on the Screening Report, covering environmental aspects of the Plan, is being held pending clarification on several points which can hopefully be resolved soon.

The Chair of the Parish Council, Cllr A Prior, announced that the Wellesbourne Sports and Community Club (WSCC) will be open to the public from 3rd January. This marks a great milestone in the development of this project which is excellent news for the Parish!

The next full Parish Council meeting will take place on Tuesday 10th January but instead of being held in the Methodist Hall, this will be in the new WSCC building!