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MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING

OF LONGPARISH PARISH COUNCIL

HELD AT LONGPARISH VILLAGE HALL

MONDAY 13 APRIL 2015 AT 7.00PM

Present: Jonathan Frere (Chairman), Natasha Rouse (Vice Chairman), Jeremy Barber, Karen-Marie Dinesen, Christian Dryden, Christopher Duxbury, Phil Harris, James Hillier, Jim Sawyer.

In Attendance: Nick Marsden (Longparish School), Ian Morris (Longparish Playgroup), Brian Sanders (Village Hall Committee), and six members of the public.

ITEM 1 – APOLOGIES

1.1       Apologies were received from Andrew Gibson (HCC), Jim Neal (TVBC), Georgina Ridpath, Sally Lawman (Clerk) and Fiona Gould (LCA).

ITEM 2 – CHAIRMAN’S INTRODUCTION

2.1       The Chairman opened the meeting, welcomed all in attendance, explained the statutory basis of the Annual Parish Meeting, and outlined the Agenda.

ITEM 3 – MINUTES OF THE LAST ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD ON 8 APRIL 2013

3.1       The Minutes of the last Annual Parish Meeting on 14 April 2014 were approved and signed by the Chairman at the Parish Council meeting on 12 May 2014. 

ITEM 4 – MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES

4.1       None.

ITEM 5 – PARISH COUNCIL CHAIRMAN’S REPORT FOR THE YEAR

5.1       The Chairman presented his annual report, attached to these Minutes at Appendix 1.

ITEM 6 – PARISH COUNCIL ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDING 31 MARCH 2014 AND REPORT FOR THE YEAR

6.1      Copies of the Accounts were circulated at the meeting, and the Chairman presented the Financial Report for the year, attached to these Minutes at Appendix 2.  No questions were raised on the Report.

ITEM 7 – PARISH COUNCIL FOOTPATHS AND OPEN SPACES REPORT FOR THE YEAR

7.1       James Hillier presented a report on Footpaths and Open Spaces for the year, attached to these Minutes at Appendix 3.

ITEM 8 – POINTS FROM OUR HCC AND WARD COUNCILLORS

8.1       No points were raised in the absence of both Councillors.

ITEM 9COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION REPORT

9.1       The Chairman presented the Community Association report for the year, on behalf of Mrs Fiona Gould, attached to these Minutes at Appendix 4.

ITEM 10 – SCHOOL REPORT

10.1     Nick Marsden reported that Longparish School had continued to thrive and to justify its OUTSTANDING rating.  There were 107 pupils on roll, and Key Stage 1 was full, although there were challenges in Key Stage 2 because of pupils leaving to go into the independent sector.  He was, however, confident that all new pupils living in the catchment area could be accommodated at the School.  The introduction of the new National Curriculum was a key priority, and they were also coming to terms with modifications in the way that Pupil Progress was measured.  In addition, the School was focussing on pupils with Special Educational Needs.  As well as excellent education the School was also providing a wide range of extra-curricular activities, and music, for example, was an important part of this.  In questions, he confirmed that the School had the necessary resources to provide extra classroom support as required.

ITEM 11 – VILLAGE HALL COMMITTEE REPORT

11.1    Brian Sanders presented a report on the Village Hall, attached to these Minutes at Appendix 5.  Following his report there was a discussion on the merits of installing WiFi and how best to do it.

ITEM 12 – PLAYGROUP REPORT

12.1    Ian Morris presented a report on the Playgroup, attached to these Minutes at Appendix 6.

ITEM 13 – PARISHIONERS’ OPEN FORUM

13.1     Fencing on Playground

            Liz Bourne expressed concern about a gap in the fencing at the playground and James Hillier indicated that this would be looked at as one of the tasks for the forthcoming Village Clean-Up Day. 

13.2     Community Right to Bid

Liz Bourne asked if the Council had nominated any community assets under the Right to Bid, pointing out that it gave communities a period of six months to find funding if such assets were put up for sale.  The Chairman replied that the Council had discussed the idea of putting forward the shop and the two pubs for consideration, and intended to do so, but had not yet completed the process.  Liz Bourne suggested that other assets such as the cricket pitch and football field should also be included.  The Chairman agreed that it would be a good idea to take a fresh look at this issue, but stressed the practical limitations and the difficulties of finding the necessary resources if the requirement arose.

13.3     Noise from A303

            Rob Barker asked what the Council’s strategy was regarding the possibility of increased traffic noise from the A303.  In response, it was noted that, whenever the opportunity arose the Council would press for a low noise surface to be installed, and that, over the years, tree planting on the MOD training area and the bunds at the shooting school might have made a difference.  However, the Chairman felt that there was very little that the Council could do in practice, although there might be a possibility of encouraging private landowners to plant more trees by the road.  David Drew remarked that TVBC had been pressing for noise reduction measures on stretches of the road that affected southern Andover, and that, as resources were limited, Longparish would inevitably be a much lower priority. 

Signed …………………

[Chairman]

Date ……………………

 

 

Appendices:

  1. Parish Council Chairman’s Report for the year.
  2. Parish Council Financial Report for the year.
  3. Open Spaces Report for the year.
  4. Community Association Report for the year.
  5. Village Hall Committee Report for the year.
  6. Playgroup Report for the year.


 

Appendix 1

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT FOR THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING 13 APRIL 2015

 

INTRODUCTION

  1. This report covers the period since the last APM in April 2014, and is intended purely to give a general overview of some key points.  Those who wish to delve further into the activities of the Parish Council will find copies of the Minutes on the village web-site!  I would like to start, however, by thanking those stalwarts who help to keep Longparish the vibrant community that it is.
  1. An annual meeting such as this represents an appropriate occasion for expressing the gratitude of all of us who live in the village to those who give so freely of their time to sustain all the facilities and activities that contribute to our life as a community – Village Hall, Community Association, Village Fête etc – and without which our lives would be much the poorer.  We should also remember the volunteers – Hill and Valley distributors, litter pickers etc – who provide slightly lower profile support, as there is a tendency to take all that for granted.   I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Councillors for their perseverance in carrying out what can sometimes be a very thankless task.  Apart from the co-option of Georgina Ridpath, there have been no major changes to the composition of the Council over the year, but the elections next month mean that there will be significant turnover, of which more later.

UTILITIES/EMERGENCIES

  1. The flooding and storms mentioned last year provided a catalyst for seeking to establish closer liaison with the main utility providers, and the Council has had some success with Southern Water and HCC Highways – Southern Electric has, however, proved more elusive, although a considerable amount of work seems to have been done to overhead power cables that will hopefully reduce the likelihood of further major power outages.  Southern Water, on the other hand, was represented at the Flooding Forum last year and consulted the Parish Council on the Infiltration Reduction Plan, essential work on which has now been completed.  The establishment of a nominated point of contact also enabled our representative, through the exercise of detailed local knowledge, to stop unnecessary work that would have required the main village road to be closed.
  1. Even though there is no common theme, I should also mention the two major fires that have happened in the village in the space of less than two months.  Fortunately there has been no loss of life, but two families have been rendered homeless, and this should act as a warning to all of us to take fire safety very seriously.

PLANNING

 

  1. The Council continues to devote much of its energy to dealing with planning applications and tree notifications, and I am particularly grateful to Graham Darrah for his sterling work as the Village Tree Warden advising on all the latter.  Most of the applications remain uncontentious, but where objections are raised the Council has sought to ensure that there are clear grounds for doing so based firmly on planning guidelines.  There have been no major applications over the year, although uncertainty over more recent work at Testwood Trout Farm is a continuing irritant.  The establishment of a formal liaison group that has met three times and which I chair means that we have been able to maintain a close overview of developments at Raymond Brown’s A303 Recycling Facility.
  1. The Council has also sought to keep abreast of all the changes in the planning system that could have an impact on the village, with the general impression being that there is a drive to loosen controls.  Our main focus has been TVBC’s Local Plan, which has still not been formally adopted, and there are concerns that the Planning Inspector’s final scrutiny could lead to a reduction in the constraints on development associated with the creation of fairly tightly drawn settlement boundaries.  We will not know the final outcome of this until later in the year, but will be updating the Village Design Statement and looking at the establishment of a Neighbourhood Area in advance of any possible changes.

COMMUNICATIONS

  1. Hill and Valley continues to be an excellent resource as our parish magazine, and we rely on it as our main means of communication, as it is made available to every household -  I am grateful to Johanne Scotland for taking over as our editor.  The village web-site also goes from strength to strength as a source of reference material and a more immediate way of disseminating information about village events, and I would like to express my gratitude to David Gould for all the work that he has put into upgrading and maintaining the site.

FOOTPATHS AND OPEN SPACES

  1. Responsibility for footpaths and Open Spaces on the Council has been combined into a single working party and a lot of useful work has been completed at the bi-annual Village Clean-Up Days.  Most footpaths in the Parish are well maintained, but we are well aware of particular problem areas - advice has been sought from HCC on what can be done to improve the track at Sugar Lane, and it is to be hoped that the wood chippings put on Footpath 11 below Longparish House will improve the surface in the longer term.  The depositing of litter and failure to clear up dog mess on public footpaths and public open spaces remain a problem, and one of the best sanctions may be for all of us to be prepared to challenge the culprits.

HIGHWAYS

  1. Regular liaison has continued with Hampshire Highways and a further update on issues raised has just been received.   These include; the stream verge on the B3048, the road surface by the Village Hall, and the stretch of B3048 by Eastfield House.  The road at Mill House Lane has just been re-surfaced under the auspices of Operation Resilience, although the drain on the corner has not yet been cleared.  The Council maintains a log of reported potholes and road issues so that they can be followed up if not completed in a timely fashion.   The Parish Lengthsman scheme, funded by HCC, has been running for a year, and we believe that, among other things, it has been a very cost-effective way of keeping gullies, drains and ditches clear and thereby reducing the amount of surface water on the roads.  All parishioners are encouraged to report road or pavement problems directly to HCC through their web-site.
  1. The Council has organised meetings to discuss problems in North Acre such as parking, grass cutting and pavements with the agencies involved (HCC and Aster Housing), and will continue to monitor the outcomes, although little progress has been made to date.  It has also arranged for an overgrown tree in the older part of the Acre to be cut back.

WORLD WAR ONE COMMEMORATION

  1. No review of 2014 would be complete without a mention of the WW1 centenary, which was marked here in Longparish with a highly successful concert in November.  This was illuminated by the poignant accounts of individual combatants commemorated on the War Memorial and presented on a series of commemorative boards that will be available as a historical resource for the village.  Henry Yelf and Jo Webb put a lot of hard work into researching the details for these, and we are very grateful for their efforts.  I should also mention that the Council has applied to TVBC for a plaque to be erected outside the Village Hall on 25 July 2015 marking the centenary of Major Lanoe Hawker’s VC.

FAREWELLS

  1. Finally, and as I indicated earlier, the elections in May will mark a watershed in our local government representation.  Jim Neal is standing down as our District Councillor after fifteen years, and five of our ten Parish Councillors are also resigning to spend more time with their families.  I am grateful to all of them for their efforts, in some cases over many years, but, while it is invidious to single out one individual, I cannot let the occasion pass without acknowledging the huge debt of gratitude that we owe to Jeremy Barber for his extraordinary record of more than twenty five years’ service on the Council. 

 


Appendix 2

FINANCIAL REPORT FOR THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING 13 APRIL 2015

 

  1. The accounts being reviewed at this meeting are those for the Financial Year 2013/2014, ending 31 March 2014, as these are the latest set of fully audited accounts that we have and include a full set of explanatory notes.  Copies of the accounts and notes have been distributed, and the figures we are interested in are those in the right hand column headed 2013/2014.  The left hand column shows the figures for the previous year for comparison.  All figures are net of VAT and have been approved by the Council and both internal and external auditors.  For comparison, I have also included a copy of the unaudited final report from the accounts for Financial Year 2014/2015 that will be reported on next year.
  1. The total income for 2013/2014 was £31,081, and the reason for the significant decrease over the previous year is that 2012/2013 was the period in which the main phase of the Village Hall refurbishment was completed.  The annual precept (which funds the Council’s routine expenditure on the running of the Parish) remained unchanged at £17,500, and all other income is explained at Notes 2 to 6. 
  1. The total expenditure for the year was £47,869, with the difference again being largely due to the Village Hall refurbishment project.  Apart from this, the main item was, as usual, Open Spaces, which just covers normal maintenance for this year.  The increase in the cost of general administration was largely due to the imposition of much higher audit fees, because of the size of the turnover in 2012/2013.  All other expenditure is explained at Notes 7 to 14. 
  1. The difference between income and expenditure gives the operating deficit of £16,788, compared to a surplus of £20,621 in 2012/2013.  This is mainly due to grants credited in 2012/2013 being spent in 2013/2014.
  1. Looking ahead to the financial year that has just ended, the Parish Council’s finances remain healthy, in spite of the precept continuing to remain unchanged, but the Council has earmarked some £6,000 from general reserves as its final contribution to the Village Hall refurbishment project in 2015/2016, which means that they will have been reduced to close to the target of a year’s routine expenditure.


Appendix 3

 

FOOTPATHS AND OPEN SPACES REPORT FOR THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING 13 APRIL 2015

 

  1. Firstly I’d like to thank everyone involved with the upkeep of the village open spaces and footpaths.
  2. The council is responsible for the cemetery, car park opposite the village hall, the three bus shelters, the football field, the playground, allotments, the village green (near Long Bridge), three small areas of common land: the old sand pit near Larkwhistle Farm, the chalk pit near Vale Farm and the pocket nature reserve at the Common off Southside Road.  Other assets are benches, the stocks and the Ashburn Rest.
  3. Where possible we use local contractors for maintenance work.  Clive Kent looks after the cemetery, village hall car park and the playground.  Paul Knipe looks after the village green, the pocket nature reserve and tree issues as they arise.  Chris Millett (Heritage Property Services) has done many of the works involving buildings or fixtures – for example the bus shelters.
  4. We have two clean up days – one in April and one in November.  Last year these were very successful, with between 25 and 30 people volunteering to help.  Jobs include cleaning out ditches, clearing streams, cutting back overgrown footpaths, filling in sunken areas in the cemetery, litter picking, cleaning bus shelters, cleaning benches, playground equipment, painting, cutting back vegetation in open space areas – and more besides!

Thanks to all volunteers and local landowners and businesses who contribute – Raymond Brown for the November skip, Vitacress and Karen-Marie Dinesen who provide tractors and thanks to Mick Meaden and Mick Blocksidge who drive them.  Thanks to the Middleton Estate and to Richard McAlistair for the use of and driving their tractor and flayer.

  1. The next clean-up day is this Saturday 18th April – everyone is welcome as there are a variety of jobs to suit all.
  2. The war memorial was cleaned before Armistice Day and the centenary commemorations of the start of WWI.  Thank you to David Gould for administering the cemetery as clerk to the Burial Board.
  3. The football pitch has been used on occasion for the lads v dads matches, by those wanting to have a kick-a-bout, and by the school running and triathlon club.  It is cut 16 times a year by TVBC at a cost of £40 a time.
  4. The playground is used by many, as is the skate ramp.  This will be the first Spring that the new Andover skate park has been open, and it will be interesting to see if this affects the usage of our skate ramp by those outside the village.

Thanks to Wayne Sykes and Martin Hulme who were a great help repairing the Wok and Bouncy Elephant last May.

  1. Fencing that has been erected along the Cleves in front of common land remains contentious and advice has been sought.
  2. Issues/opportunities facing the future of Open Spaces and Footpath working party are:  dog mess; mole control; ageing playground equipment; skate ramp repairs; areas for teenage games and all weather games; footpath improvements e.g. Sugar Lane; more circular footpath routes – involving discussions with land owners for permissive paths; positive landowner liaison to keep the countryside as open as possible.


 

Appendix 4

 

LONGPARISH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION REPORT FOR THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING 13 APRIL 2015

The Longparish Community Organisation (LCA) was founded in 2006. It is a charity, run by trustees, with the aim of enhancing the lives of people in the village by providing opportunities for recreation and leisure. The LCA primarily exists to support formal or informal community groups, although it does organise events directly as well. We currently have 265 individual members and 7 affiliated groups.

We can support groups in a number of ways including providing banking facilities; start-up loans or grants; public liability insurance; grants to buy equipment and cash flow support. We will give grants for community group organisers to attend training to help them run their own activities - such as minibus training, first aid, safeguarding.

We also have a range of equipment from a marquee and BBQs through to games that can be borrowed – a list is on the website.

The LCA subsidises KidzZone and the Recycled Teens which both organise regular activities for members of our community at opposite ends of the age spectrum. KidzZone had been inactive since last summer but has recently restarted after David Hopwood volunteered to organise it. There were 17 children at the first session.

Other regular activities include:

Tuesday talks – every 2nd Tuesday evening over the winter months. We've had a fascinating range of talks this winter from river keeping to the Mary Rose. We plan to start these again in October.

Coffee shop – on the second Friday morning of the month in the village hall. This has become so popular – regularly attracting passing walkers as well as villagers – that they have had to move from the committee room to the main hall.

L2SOTM – our second Sunday of the month handicap race. We regularly have 15 – 25 runners, and over the last few years a regular bevy of children – in racing push chairs, accompanying parents on bikes and running themselves. We recently celebrated our 100th running of this event.

Film nights – the LCA now has a licence under which members can show and enjoy films.  As well as the regular LCA film nights on the 3rd Monday of every month except August, there have been occasional ad hoc events and a couple of very successful events for children run by FoLS. Individuals or groups who may be interested in putting on films should look on the website or contact Fiona for details.  Our next film will be Boyhood on April 20th.

Other activities

We subsidised our Affiliate exercise group, Smooth Movers, for a few weeks to enable them to continue when their income from entry charges was not covering their costs. They have since improved their situation and become self-funding again.

We have provided funding for equipment to the Countryside Club set up by Paul Knipe. Activities set up over the summer holidays and on a number of other occasions have been very well attended – pond dipping, plant and butterfly identification and wild flower and tree planting. The LCA successfully applied for nearly 200 free tree saplings from the Woodland Trust, many of which were planted in the pocket nature reserve on The Common.

The Welcome to New Villagers event and LCA AGM on 29th September was  extremely well attended. About 20 new residents came and enjoyed the drinks and food provided by the LCA.  A new slide show of village life was shown and the evening was enjoyed by all who came.

In November, a crowded village hall enjoyed a meal and a great performance by The Wilsons – a band playing 'a very British Americana' from Suffolk. They had their very own line dancing group as the Whitchurch Westerners attended too.

On Boxing Day, the Santa Dash saw our largest participation ever, with 50 or so adults, children and dogs, all dressed up in Christmassy gear, dashing or dawdling from the shop down to the Plough. This was followed by the second performance of the Longparish Mummers Play.

We had a another fantastic evening of food and music in March with The Hot Potato Syncopators The LCA are members of Hampshire County Council's Hog the Limelight scheme which  offers subsidies to bring art and entertainment of a quality villages could not otherwise afford. We are currently planning our Hog programme for next season.

The Longparish Website has had a major revamp this year. The LCA has been heavily involved in training people from the Parish Council and several other organisations so that they are able to update their areas of the website themselves and keep them more up to date. 

The LCA now has a Facebook presence. There are now well over 100 members in our Facebook group for the village, and members can post anything of interest locally. There are also Facebook groups for Longparish Sales and Wants and for the Countryside Club.

The village Facebook presence was helpful in spreading the news about the recent fires and, particularly, in generating help and support for the Hanchants – clothes, toys, furniture etc were all donated. The LCA acted as a collection point for financial donations and worked with St Nicholas Church to ensure the family benefited also from our ability to claim Gift Aid.


Appendix 5

VILLAGE HALL COMMITTEE REPORT FOR THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING 13 APRIL 2015

  1. Finances

Our finances are sound. Income from bookings covers day to day expenditure and the income from the solar panels covers our electricity costs.  We are extremely grateful for support from the Parish Council, the fete, the LCA and the Players which, together with grants for outside sources, will enable us to improve the facilities and put funds aside for maintenance and improvements.

  1. Bookings

Regular bookings from local clubs and societies show a steady increase and we are very pleased that Kidzone and the Toddler Group are both thriving under new leadership.

We have had a number of new bookings from organisations outside the village, e.g. Dow Agrochemicals. These business meetings bring us good revenue and the facilities we provide, particularly the AV system, are much appreciated. The addition of a wi-fi service could further enhance our offer to this sector – more on this below.

  1. Improvements

During the past year we have purchased round and rectangular tables and erected shelving in some of the cupboards.

The other item identified by John in his report last year was the re-tarmacing of the apron at the front of the Hall. This is still outstanding although we are making progress. In discussions with the Highways Department of Hampshire CC we have agreed a joint funding arrangement and we now await costings and a proposal from the Council.  We believe there is a possibility they can undertake the work during the school summer holiday along with other work on the road into the village.

  1. Future Plans

It is clear that storage is becoming an issue and so have started a project to look at replacing the container with a purpose built storage facility. This is at an early stage and we are working with an architect to establish building options and estimated costs.

We also plan to improve the acoustics in the hall by the installation of sound absorbing panels.  We await news of applications for a grant and are ready to commission the work when the finances are in place.

All this will be costly but we are confident that we will be able to achieve significant improvements in the year to come.

We are keen to know from our user groups how we can make the Hall more comfortable and user friendly.  The Village Hall Management Committee makes decisions, which can impact on all our users groups, and we need their input and feedback. One live issue at the moment is whether or not we should install broadband to provide a Wi-Fi service to our users.

  1. Thank you

Finally, I should like to thank Jeremy, Maggie, Jacqui and the other committee members for helping me over the first 5 months of my tenure as chairman.  It has been a steep learning curve and I hadn’t appreciated just how much work and commitment goes in to making the hall a “Precious Village Asset”. I shall do my best to maintain its progress.


Appendix 6

PLAYGROUP REPORT FOR THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING 13 APRIL 2015

Children
The playgroup continues to be well utilised; forty children are currently on roll in the summer term and twenty six are already signed up for September.  During the summer term we will be running the extremely valuable Tuesday afternoon 'transition sessions' for children who are moving to Longparish Primary School.  This year eleven children are moving into the school, that over half of the school’s annual intake are already settled at the playgroup and will benefit.

Staff
Following a challenging year for Claire and her team, it is fantastic to report that Claire resumed her full-time duties in January.  The playgroup are extremely pleased with the manner in which the team maintained a high quality level of service delivery of which our parents are accustomed to.  Our commitment to staff development continues to bring tangible rewards, in particular, Kristy Lambert has completed level 4 of her foundation degree and is now working towards level 5.  All staff have updated their first aid training in recent months as well as attending workshops throughout the calendar year, regularly putting into practise a range of methods that have been promoted on such courses.  There has been a small element of movement since last September however we are fully staffed, furthermore we have also secured a number of bank staff to help the smooth running of playgroup.

Setting
Ofsted visited recently, giving the playgroup a strong 'good' rating, confirming that there is only one material area of improvement  to focus on, that of staff performance management.

Educational initiatives

We have continued to develop the children's knowledge of the world by going on trips such as Hillier Gardens, lambing and the Lights theatre.  We are also showing a keen interest in village life with monthly visits from Reverend Terry Hemming, the children watch the river being restocked with trout and we hope to visit Middleton farm later in the year.  We held our nativity in church for the third year in a row, it is a lovely venue and we get lots of positive feedback.

Fund raising

The playgroup operates an enviable cash surplus, this is something we work hard to protect, in spite of a challenging year with increased staffing costs in 2014 I am pleased to report our cash position remains relatively flat.  Due to wholesale changes in committee members we are realistic enough to expect that fundraising will be down in 2015, however we will still raise significant funds in the calendar year, we have also made a successful start to the drive to increase cooperation between the playgroup and FoLS.  The reward for the children and the committees of today and yesteryear is the creation of a mud kitchen and associated canopy.  

Community engagement

The playgroup staff welcome parents and locals alike to come into the playgroup, if anyone would like to see the staff in action, they are most welcome to pop into the playgroup and help with activities such as cooking, gardening or craft - they would be warmly welcomed.