WEST HAGBOURNE PARISH COUNCIL                                                          MINUTES



Meeting in Hagbourne Primary School                                                            10th May 2007

East Hagbourne



Present:  Phil Taylor, Marion Judd, Sue Totterdell, John Thornhill


Apologies for absence from Cllr Patrick Greene.



There were no members of the public present.



1.         Minutes of meeting on 8th March 2007


            The Council passed the minutes as a true and correct record.


2.         Matters arising


            There were no matters arising


3          Co-option of additional members


            The Council decided to co-opt John Thornhill and Thomas Barker as members of the Council.


4          Council aims and objectives


The Council agreed the main issues for action during 2007/08 (as attached to these minutes) as a working document.  These will be updated following the Parish Meeting and during the year as necessary.


5          New Code of Conduct for members


            The Council decided the following:


(a)        the mandatory provisions in the Model Code of Conduct set out in Statutory Instrument 2007/1159 be adopted as the West Hagbourne Parish Council Code of Conduct, to be effective from 1 July 2007, subject to:


(i)         the inclusion of the "general principles" as an Annex to the Code, with a footnote to explain that it is not a part of the Code but is included as an Annex because of the requirement in paragraph 1(2) of the Code for members to have regard to the principles; and


(ii)        the addition of paragraph 12(2) of the Model Code, but excluding the words in brackets


each as recommended by the Standards Board for England and South Oxfordshire District Council; and


(b)        the Clerk be requested to notify the Monitoring Officer of South Oxfordshire District Council of the passing of the above resolution


6          Land opposite Horse and Harrow


            The Council considered alternative options offered by Greene King to either purchase the land for a ‘nominal sum’ of say £1000, or to lease the land from Greene King for a peppercorn rent of £1 per annum, for a period of 25 years


            Greene King had advised that they may consider a lower purchase price should the Council offer one.  Purchase for a nominal sum would need the approval of the Greene King Board.


Neither option would involve the Parish Council in paying for Greene King’s legal costs or include any restriction on the Parish Council from using the space for a public meeting space/building, but would prevent the Council from developing the land for profit.


Greene King have advised the Council that they have instructed their legal department to adjust/change the tenancy agreement with the landlord of the Horse & Harrow, removing the plot of land in question from the public house tenancy.  This means the landlord will then have no future call or interest in the plot.


            The Council decided:


a)         to offer a lower sum for the purchase of the land, subject to public approval of this at the Annual Parish Meeting, and to spend no more than £1,500 (including legal costs).


b)         to appoint Paul A Gaskin solicitors to carry out the legal work in connection with purchase so long as public approval is given and a sum acceptable to the Council is agreed.


The Council also considered a request from the North Berks Motorcycle Club to put a temporary building on the site and it was decided that this would not be appropriate at this time.


7          Agreements with the County Council for grass cutting and removal of unauthorised signs on the highway


            The Council decided:


a)         to proceed with the current arrangements for grass cutting and to enter into a formal agreement with the County Council


b)         not to continue the responsibility for the removal of unauthorised signs on the highway and therefore not to enter into a formal agreement with the County Council.


8          Unauthorised signs on the highway at Scotlands Ash


            The Council decided it was not now appropriate to consider any action on these signs.  The Clerk was asked to write to Rob and Marion Allin and advise them accordingly.


9          South-East Plan – Additional housing for Didcot


            Phil Taylor and Bernard Mead had attended the second of a series of Didcot community involvement events arranged by SODC.  Phil Taylor offered to be a member of any Communications and Open Spaces groups that might be formed.


            The Council recognised Bernard Mead’s experience after many years as a parish councillor and decided to ask him to assist the Council as a consultant where appropriate.


10        Clerk’s Job Description, Contract of Employment and salary


a)         Job Description and Contract of Employment

The Clerk’s Job Description and Contract of Employment have now been revised by the Council.  The Clerk advised the Council that he will agree to the new documents.


b)         Salary

The Council decided to increase the Clerk’s salary to £1,500 pa, backdated to 1st April 2007 and to review the salary annually in November, with any change in salary to take effect from the following April.  The Council also decided to pay the Clerk an additional payment of £100 in recognition of the time spent on revising and updating the Council’s Standing Orders, Financial Regulations and other documentation.


11        Traffic issues


a)         Removal of white lines, etc.


            Oxfordshire Highways has reported that traffic speeds are ‘similar’ since the removal of white lines and signs.  The council favoured non-replacement of the white lines and signs, but will consult the public at the Annual Parish Meeting.


b)         Other traffic issues


            There were no other issues.


12        Planning applications


There have been no recent planning applications.  The Horse & Harrow shelter had been approved by SODC.


13        Village maintenance


a)         Work to ditch in Moor Lane

A start has been made on clearing the ditch and it is still not evident why water from gullies in Main Street is not draining properly.  Phil Taylor will seek a meeting with Oxfordshire Highways on site.  Work will continue on clearing the ditch of undergrowth.


b)         Other issues


            Marion Judd will investigate sources for other grants for improving the appearance of the village, which may include Moor Lane in particular.


14        Kissing gate project


The Oxfordshire County Council grant has been received for the new kissing gate.  The total cost of the work was £812.13.  VAT to be reclaimed is £52.14.  The grant received was £800.00.


The Council decided that the small surplus should be put towards the cost of other village improvements.


15        Finance


a)         Monthly report on expenditure


The Council accepted and approved the attached monthly report.


b)         Cheques


            The Council approved the cheques drawn during April as attached schedule.


16        Communication


The Clerk was requested to ascertain whether Criminal Records Bureau checks need to be made on members and the Clerk.




Date of next meeting – 12th July 2007 at 7.30pm






Chairman………………………………………   date…………………………………..