MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING

OF LONGPARISH PARISH COUNCIL

HELD AT LONGPARISH VILLAGE HALL

MONDAY 11 APRIL 2016 AT 7.00PM

Present: Jonathan Frere (Chairman), Natasha Rouse (Vice Chairman), Christian Dryden, James Hillier, Jim Sawyer.

In Attendance: Nick Marsden (Longparish School), Brian Sanders (Village Hall Committee), David Drew (TVBC), Sally Lawman (Clerk), and four members of the public.

ITEM 1 – APOLOGIES

1.1       Apologies were received from Keith Saunders, Jim Sawyer, Wayne Sykes, Andrew Gibson (HCC), Alex Carter (PCSO), Ian Morris (Longparish Playgroup), 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 13 APRIL 2015

3.1       The Minutes of the last Annual Parish Meeting on 13 April 2015 were approved and signed by the Chairman at the Parish Council meeting on 18 May 2015. 

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 2015 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 verbal report on Footpaths and Open Spaces for the year.  He reported that over the past year, the playing fields had been cut on a fortnightly basis, several fence posts at the cemetery had been replaced, the village stocks had been repaired, and Ashburn Rest had been treated.

            Phil Harris has taken over the running of the allotments, and the area has cleared and tidied, and is much improved.

            HCC have responsibility for vegetation cutting along five of the village footpaths.  Their website has been updated, enabling the public to report any issues.

            There had been two village Clean-Up days, with a good turn-out of volunteers.

            Paul Knipe continues to manage the mini nature reserve at Southside Common, and also the Village Green.

            The fencing of common land at The Cleeves remains unresolved, although contact with the landowner has been established.

            A sub-committee had been formed to look at replacing some of the Playground equipment.  This work will hopefully be completed in 2016, and will be funded from PC reserves set aside for this purpose, and accrued developer contributions.

            On behalf of the PC, JH wished to convey his thanks to Paul Knipe, Phil Harris, Matt Beal and David Wearn for their contribution to the Space Rangers Working Party, to Jeremy and Maggie Barber for their continued support and experience, to Chris Hewitt and Richard MacAllister from Middleton Estate, also to Karen-Marie Dinesen (Lower Mill Farm) and Mick Bloxidge, and to Clive Kent for keeping the cemetery and playground in such good form.

ITEM 8 – POINTS FROM OUR HCC AND WARD COUNCILLORS

8.1       David Drew (TVBC)

            Mr Drew thanked the PC for their efforts and for the smooth-running of the Parish Council.  He briefly explained the responsibilities of TVBC, stating that the biggest Council spend is for housing benefit (£50m).  Another major function of the Council is to manage planning in the Borough, in conjunction with parish councils. He also explained that the Council has a duty to manage refuse collection, and provide leisure facilities for the Borough.  He explained the importance of TVBC working in partnership with parish councils, stating that it was the most effective way to resolve community and highways issues.

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 3.

ITEM 10 – SCHOOL REPORT

10.1     Nick Marsden (Chair of Governors) reported that Longparish School had continued to thrive with 108 pupils on roll against a capacity of 110, and there are currently waiting lists for some year groups.  Mr Marsden explained that in 2014/15, pupil progress was measured on a points system, and that pupils were expected to improve by two points per academic year, however the school have always tried to move pupils on by four points, and subsequently the majority of pupils had achieved this in reading (92%), writing (90%), and Maths (98%).  In Phonics, the school had exceeded the national target, and were in the top 2% in the country.

The new curriculum has just been introduced, and staff and pupils are working hard to embed this into their teaching and learning, and get to grips with the new assessment framework.  The changes to the way that pupils are assessed are such that 2015/16 could prove to be a problem year, although he is hopeful that the rounded, well-educated, and motivated pupils of the school will rise to the challenge.

The school buildings were in good order following repairs to the part of the roof after it collapsed last summer, and drainage outside the school had been improved, reducing the amount of surface water seen in previous years in the Autumn/Winter months.  It is hoped that over the summer of 2016, new cladding and windows will be installed by HCC.

In answer to a question about all schools eventually becoming Academies, and how this would affect small church schools like Longparish, Mr Marsden stated that the school had been considering the likely impact of changes of this nature.  It is hoped that any changes would not affect the values of the school.

ITEM 11 – VILLAGE HALL COMMITTEE REPORT

11.1    Brian Sanders presented a report on the Village Hall, attached to these Minutes at

Appendix 4. 

ITEM 12 – PLAYGROUP REPORT

12.1     The Chairman presented the Playgroup report for the year, on behalf of Mr Ian Morris, attached to these Minutes at Appendix 5.

ITEM 13 – PARISHIONERS’ OPEN FORUM

13.1    Mr Sanders commented that he was disappointed that attendance to the surgery held by Caroline Nokes MP was so low, and asked if the PC could advertise future dates.  The Chairman suggested that Ms Nokes’ office should contact Hill & Valley to advertise any future surgery dates.

13.2    David Drew advised all present that he has access to a personal ward grant to give away to community projects should they care to apply.

13.3    Mrs Barber also recommended the Awards for All grants scheme, which could help the Playgroup and the refurbishment of the playground area.

13.4    Mr Barber proposed a vote of thanks to the Parish Council and to all the village volunteers for their continued hard work and efforts.  This was seconded by Mrs Darrah.

13.5    Mrs Darrah urged the PC to continue to pursue the removal of the fencing of common land at The Cleeves.

Signed …………………

[Chairman]

Date ……………………

Appendices:

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


Appendix 1

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT FOR THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING 11 APRIL 2016

INTRODUCTION

  1. This report covers the period since the last APM in April 2015, 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 – for example, Hill and Valley distributors, litter pickers, and helpers on Village Clean-Up Days – whose support we tend to take 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.  Following the departure of a number of longstanding Councillors, the elections in May and a later co-option marked the advent of four new Councillors, although one has subsequently resigned.  James Hillier, Keith Saunders and Wayne Sykes have, however, stayed the course.  I should also mention, for those who have not already met him, our new District Councillor, David Drew, who replaced Jim Neal on TVBC.

INFRASTRUCTURE/EMERGENCIES

  1. This has, fortunately, been a flood-free year, but we are now in a better position than previously in terms of improving our liaison with the major utilities.  Technical representatives from Southern Electric have briefed the Council and we now have a nominated point of contact in the company, although we have still been subject to a number of irritating temporary power cuts in spite of a certain amount of work to increase resilience.  Southern Water’s Groundwater Infiltration Plan is close to completion, and they are reported to have spent some £300K over the past year or so on remedial and survey work in the village.  On a less positive note, it seems that Superfast Broadband will not reach the village until 2018 and there is still concern that this may lead to only limited improvement in Forton.  On the police front, our new PCSO, Alex Carter has attended a couple of Parish Council meetings and his contact details have been disseminated in Hill and Valley.  

PLANNING

 

  1. The Council continues to devote much of its energy to dealing with planning applications and tree notifications, and I am 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, now that TVBC’s Local Plan has been formally adopted, it will be even more important to ensure that any proposals do not affect the essential character of the village.  This is because the concept of linear infill has been superseded by what is effectively a presumption in favour of development within the designated settlement boundaries, although these have been fairly tightly drawn.  The Council will therefore continue to consider applications very carefully and object only where there are clear grounds for doing so based on planning guidelines – the Village Design Statement will also be an important element in this.  It is, however, essential that where individual villagers have objections they raise them formally with TVBC – it is no good complaining after the event or just raising your concerns with the Parish Council!
  1.  Outside the parish boundaries, many will welcome the fact that the Bullington Cross Wind Farm has now receded into the background, but the Picket Twenty extension site will bring Andover closer to us, although we are fortunate in having Harewood Forest to maintain the strategic gap.  We do not believe that the current proposals represent any immediate threat to the village, but we will have to review their impact once the houses are eventually built and be prepared to resist robustly any proposed further extension south eastwards.
  1. Within the village, there is a small number of continuing irritants that we seem to be powerless to ameliorate, but we will continue to liaise with landowners where possible to discuss concerns.  We also have to be alert to possible threats to core village facilities and we are in the process of registering the pubs and the shop as community assets.

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 - we are very grateful to Johanne Scotland for her efforts as 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 his work in maintaining and improving it.

FOOTPATHS AND OPEN SPACES

  1. A lot of useful work continues to be carried out at the bi-annual Village Clean-Up Days, and there has also been a separate litter-picking session.  I would also like to mention Clive Kent who does such an excellent job in cutting the grass at the cemetery and the playground.  This is one of the jobs in the village that tends to carry on unnoticed, even though it is essential in sustaining the appearance of our village.  Most footpaths in the Parish continue to be well maintained, but problems persist on the track at Sugar Lane, and on Footpath 11 below Longparish House.
  1. An unfortunate accident recently on the roundabout in the children’s playground emphasises the importance of proper supervision by those responsible for children using it, and a small working party is looking at potential improvements to the facilities there, while the annual safety inspection provides continuing reassurance that all the equipment is fit for purpose.  All parishioners are asked to cooperate in preventing the depositing of litter and clearing up dog mess.

HIGHWAYS

  1. Christian Dryden has continued her stalwart efforts in keeping track of highways issues, and I think it is fair to say that the state of the road surface has generally improved, although there are some longstanding problems, such as the stream verge on the B3048, that remain unresolved.  Parishioners should continue to report road or pavement problems directly to HCC through their web-site. Improvements to the corner by the Village Hall are still being frustrated by the continued presence of scaffolding on Church Farm Cottage.
  1. The Parish Lengthsman scheme, funded by HCC, continues to be a very useful and cost-effective way of carrying out preventative work in the village such as clearing ditches, drains and gullies.  This should help to alleviate some of the problems caused previously by surface water flooding.

WORLD WAR ONE COMMEMORATION

  1. As commemorative events for the First World War continue, it was gratifying to see such a good turn-out for the unveiling of the memorial slab on the Village Hall marking the award of the VC to Major Lanoe Hawker.  It is particularly appropriate that there should be a permanent reminder so close to the house where he was born.

THE FUTURE

  1. Finally, In spite of the challenging financial environment for local government in general, I would like to stress that the Parish Council has continued to manage within its existing resources and has not increased the precept.  However, it seems likely that, if successful, the proposals for Hampshire and Isle of Wight devolution will lead to more responsibility in turn being devolved onto the Parish Council and this could require more administrative support and more resources – watch this space!

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 20145/2015, ending 31 March 2015, 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 2014/2015.  The left hand column shows the figures for the previous year for comparison.  All figures include 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 2015/2016 that will be reported on next year.
  1. The total income for 2014/2015 was £19,095, and the reason for the significant decrease over the previous year is that no grants were received in 2014/2015, as the main phase of the Village Hall was already complete and there was no footpaths project.  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 1 to 5. 
  1. The total expenditure for the year was £18,821, with the difference again being largely due to the Village Hall and footpath projects.  Apart from this, the main item was, as usual, Open Spaces, which just covers normal maintenance for this year.  All expenditure is explained at Notes 6 to 14. 
  1. The difference between income and expenditure gives the operating surplus of £274, compared to a deficit of £16,788 in the previous year
  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 continues to earmark some £6,000 from general reserves as its final contribution to the Village Hall refurbishment project that will hopefully now be spent in 2016/2017.  This will reduce the reserves to close to the target of a year’s routine expenditure.


Appendix 3

LONGPARISH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION REPORT FOR THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING 11 APRIL 2016

The Longparish Community Association (LCA) primarily exists to support formal or informal community groups, although it does organise events directly as well. Typically membership reaches 350-400 individuals and 6-7 Affiliate organisations. This year we adopted the Beer Festival team as an LCA Section (ie fully supported and subsidised if necessary).

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.

Other regular activities include:

Tuesday talks – every 2nd Tuesday evening over the winter months.

Coffee shop – on the second Friday morning of the month in the village hall.

L2SOTM – our second Sunday of the month handicap race.

LCA Film nights – on the 3rd Monday of every month except August, with FoLS, KidzZone and the Recycled Teenagers also taking advantage of our film licence – made all the better by the recent acoustic improvements at the village hall.

Other activities

A major recent activity has been fund-raising to allow us to install defibrillators in the village. As well as donations from individuals and events, we have also secured a number of significant grants and we hope to see defibrillators placed at the shop, the village hall and in Forton in the near future. Although these devices are designed to be used without training, we will also be familiarisation/training events to give people confidence in using them.

We have secured another 200 trees from the Woodland Trust which have been planted in the pocket nature reserve on The Common thanks to Paul Knipe.

The Welcome to New Villagers event and LCA AGM in October was again well attended. A new slide show of village life was shown and the evening was enjoyed by all who came.

October also saw the First Longparish Beer Festival – the intention is that this will become an annual event – the second one is on 1st October.

We have organised 2 Hog the Limelight events in the last 12 months - in November we had an evening of ghost stories, and then some Cello Madness in February.

On Boxing Day, the Santa Dash ran the opposite way up the village for a change and the Longparish Mummers Play was enjoyed at The Cricketers.

Major upcoming events

April 25th – A million tiny plays about Britain – a Watermill Theatre touring event in the village hall. This is being organised jointly by the LCA and the Village hall committee, and has demonstrated the value of one of the LCA's innovations this year – online ticketing! This event is nearly sold out.

June 25th – Midsummer Fun Day – the LCA's biennial day of fun. The outline programme includes a nature walk before breakfast at Lower Mill. Scarecrows, football, 'Pie and Match', cream tea and then FoLS will be organising a barn dance and hog roast.

Appendix 4

VILLAGE HALL COMMITTEE REPORT FOR THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING 11 APRIL 2016

  1. Summary
  • A busy and successful year with a number of improvements to the Hall and more planned. 
  • We have retained our regular customers and secured new bookings.
  • Our finances are sound but there is expenditure planned for improvements, which will require careful management.
  • Changes to the committee include the appointment of a publicity officer.
  1. Bookings

Throughout the year we have provided:

  • A comfortable venue for Longparish community groups who meet on a regular basis e.g. gardening club, film nights, Tuesday talks, coffee mornings, Kidzone and the toddler group. These continue to be successful and are increasing well attended.
  • A place for people to run regular events which draw from a wider catchment e.g. craft club, core stability, smooth movers.
  • A meeting venue for the committees and councils who run our village organisations.
  • Parties, wakes and weddings for both villagers and outsiders.
  • And a growing number of one off events which provide entertainment and much fun for our community e.g. Burns night, a choir concert, and the Longparish Beer Festival.

I’m sure I have missed some events but we are delighted with the level of utilization of the hall. We continue to get enquiries from outside the village for one off events which, I believe, is one result of our publicity drive, led by Henry Yelf, and our contacts with TVBC and Hampshire CC groups.  Longparish village hall is developing an excellent reputation.

  1. Improvements in the past year

During the past year we have:

  • Installed acoustic panels in the main hall (with the help of grants from TVBC and HCC) which have significantly reduced the echo and increased the enjoyment of our users.
  • Installed Wi-Fi provided by Plusnet.
  • Over two weekends, redecorated the main hall.

However the repair of the tarmac apron at the front of the Hall is still outstanding. We hope this will be done this summer.

  1. Future Plans

The storage extension project to replace the container and resurface the car park at the rear of the hall is progressing.  We have drawn up plans, obtained planning permission, obtained quotations and selected a builder - RV Dart and Sons (Romsey).  We have applied for grants from HCC and TVBC and are currently preparing an application for the Garfield Weston Foundation. Through good management and the diligence of our treasurer, with these grants, if awarded, we will have sufficient funds to foot the bill.

There is one further hurdle to jump, however.  The ownership of the car park area at the rear of the hall needs to be resolved before the project can proceed. We have agreement that the Diocese will adopt the title so that the Hall and car park falls under one owner.  Currently we are waiting for the Diocese to register the land with the Land Registry. This is in hand although moving more slowly than we would like. I should like to record my thanks to Jonathan Evans who has put in a great deal of work to help us achieve this aim.

  1. Finances

We are financially sound and cover day-to-day running costs and long-term maintenance from our income.  Our income from hall hire is £5-6,000 per year.  In addition we receive approximately £3,000 per year from electricity generated by photovoltaic cells on the hall roof.  We also receive half the proceeds from the annual Longparish Fete which is our major source of financial support from the village we serve. 

This will enable us:

  • to meet our day to day costs of running the hall of around £6-7,000 per year;
  • to spend £5,000 for highway repairs in the next few months from reserves we have already designated; and
  • to save for long-term maintenance.  Our lease (dated September 2013) requires the hall to be decorated outside every five years and inside every ten years.  We are also required to keep the hall in good repair and are aware that the flat roofs will require significant maintenance in the medium to long-term future.
  1. Other Important  Stuff

I should like to place on record my grateful thanks to Jeremy (Treasurer), Maggie (Vice Chair), Jacqui (bookings), Emma (Secretary) and other members of the committee who have given me a great deal of support and worked hard to make the village hall successful over the past year.  I should also like to welcome Henry Yelf (publicity) and David Harris (LCA rep) to the committee.

Finally, please note that our AGM will be held in the Hall at 7.30 pm on Wednesday, 27th April.  All are welcome.

Appendix 5

PLAYGROUP REPORT FOR THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING 13 APRIL 2015

Children
The Playgroup continues to be well utilised.  Over 30 children are currently on role in the summer term.  We are also pleased to report we have in the order of 15 places taken for September.  In response to the extremely well attended open day on 9th April 2016 we have already received 3 further applications, we expect to reach capacity for September, in the next few weeks.

 
Staff
During the year, playgroup have undergone some staffing changes.  Although we continue to enjoy Di Alexander’s dedicated and valued contribution Di has reduced her coverage to one day a week.  Earlier this year, all at playgroup were delighted to welcome Natalie Philpott to the team, Natalie has settled in extremely well and from only a few weeks in was and continues to be a valued part of the team.  The playgroup’s commitment to staff development remains a key focus.  As such the staff continue to attend workshops throughout the calendar year, regularly putting into practice a range of methods that have been promoted on such courses.

Setting
Since we last reported to the Parish Council 12 months ago, the playgroup has been extremely active in identifying areas of improvement and committing significant capital spend to the playgroup.  In 2015 a ‘mud kitchen’ facility was installed in the outdoor area of playgroup.  Building on the success of the mud kitchen project, and the drive and enthusiasm of the staff and committee alike, last week the playgroup completed the finishing touches to a major revamp and modernisation of the playgroup facility.  Over recent months it has become clear that the setting will benefit from considered and targeted investment, the results certainly justify that commitment and the staff can be very proud of the end result.


Committee / Management support

We are pleased to report that after extensive discussion and analysis we have re-aligned the administration and treasurer roles.  The driving force for this development is to ensure continuity and appropriate allocation of administration resources for critical deliverables that occur throughout the year, these are covered by a dedicated administrator who is now employed by the playgroup.  The treasurer function now focuses solely on fiscal governance, cash flow forecasting and strategic financial planning.  

Educational initiatives

The playgroup prides itself on the development of children's knowledge of the world around them. During the last year trips to Hillier gardens, lambing and the Lights theatre have been well received.  We also show a keen interest in village life with monthly visits from Reverend Terry Hemming.  We enjoy visiting Middleton estate on sponsored walks and trips to the farm over the course of the year.  The nativity is now well established, last year’s performance was the fourth to be held in the church, it is a lovely venue the event is well attended.

Fund raising

During the last few years the playgroup has operated an enviable cash surplus, this is something we continue to work hard to protect.  This substantial buffer has also enabled us to commit significant funds to the capital investment over 2015 and 2016.  After a relatively understated fundraising effort in 2015, the committee is focused on significantly increasing the fundraising return in 2016.  We are reassured that the joint playgroup FoLS event falls in the year.  This promises to be a great fundraising opportunity, and will go a long way towards replenishing the playgroup funds to a level that will ensure we have the recommended cash fund dedicated to ensure continuation of services in stressed scenarios.   

Community engagement

We are very proud of the newly completed revamp of the playgroup setting, parents and locals alike are very welcome to contact Claire and her team to see the setting in action and to help facilitate activities such as cooking, gardening, craft or any suggestion that is forthcoming!