THE PARISH OF SUNNINGHILL & ASCOT
Minutes of the Annual Assembly held on Tuesday 7 May 2013 commencing at 7.00pm.
Parish Council Members Present: J Yong (Chairman), Mrs B Hilton (Vice-Chairman), P Deason,
R Ellison, D Hilton (also Borough Councillor), Mr J Naylor, Mr A Nehra, Mrs S Jones, Mrs B Story,
Mrs M Turton.
In attendance: Borough Councillors: P Comber, D McBride, J Story, Mrs L Yong.
Clerk to the Council, Elizabeth Yates
In addition there were 12 residents who signed the attendance list.
Apologies for Absence: Councillor Mrs M Duffield, Mr S Humphrey, Mrs C Lester, Mrs A Sharpe.
5303 Councillor Jeffrey Yong, Chairman of the Parish Council, chaired the meeting and welcomed everyone to the Annual Assembly. He informed the meeting of the passing of Percy Hathaway and the forthcoming retirement of Sergeant Colin Pike; both of whom had served the community for a considerable time.
5304 The minutes of the Annual Assembly, held on 1 May 2012, were approved as a correct record and signed as such.
5305 Councillor Marc Brunel-Walker gave a presentation on the redevelopment of Bracknell Town Centre.
He began by explaining the background to the project and the history involved. In the autumn of 2012, planning permission was sought, designs discussed and compulsory purchase orders made, where necessary.
Public consultation followed and a design team was established. Pre-lettings were arranged with tenant possession and were due to be completed between June and October 2013. Demolition and initial works were underway, including those to the front entrance of the Princess Square Shopping Centre. The re-developed Town Centre will include 11 restaurants, CineWorld, Marks and Spencers (along with additional new high street stores), four multi-storey car parks, re-designed service areas, semi-enclosed shopping courts and landscaping.
Councillor Brunel-Walker informed the Assembly that further information and the drawings were available on Bracknell Forest Council’s web site and that he would provide the Clerk with a link to this.
The Chairman thanked him for his presentation and the following questions were asked:
Mrs Andreassen asked what the percentage of renewable energies was to be used in the re-development. Councillor Brunel-Walker replied that the re-development had been given the highest ‘green rating’ possible and would include living roofs and walls, the removal of concrete and asbestos and the use of re-cycled water.
Councillor B Story asked if the 3M building was occupied the reply to which was that it was not. She also asked if Bentalls the Department store was to stay. Councillor Brunel-Walker replied that it would.
Councillor D Hilton asked what the cost of the redevelopment was to the resident’s of Bracknell Forest. Councillor Brunel-Walker replied that, beyond Borough Officer time, there was no cost to the Borough as the redevelopment was funded by the insurance firm Legal and General, in conjunction with an investment fund.
Councillor Ellison asked if the retail units were to be leasehold to which the reply was yes. He also asked about the los of trees in advance of the redevelopment. Councillor Brunel-Walker explained that this had been necessary to avoid the bird nesting season and that there was a 3:1 replanting scheme in place.
Councillor Jones asked if the existing Town Square Fountains would stay. Councillor Brunel-Walker replied that there was a Public Arts Strategy and that improvements to Public Open Spaces within the Town Centre were a priority, which could include the water fountains.
Mrs King asked if the road network called ‘The Ring’ was being affected, to which the reply was that it would change shape.
Mr Griffen (from the Society for Ascot and the Environs) asked if a hotel was included in the redevelopment. Councillor Brunel-Walker stated that the Grange Hotel would remain in place.
5306 Mr Pilgrim, Co-head teacher of Charters School addressed the meeting and reported on the examination success, number of students, teachers and support staff, funding, community and extra-curriculum activities within the school; which had acquired Academy Status since the last Annual Assembly. He expressed his thanks to the Borough Councillors for their support in obtaining a £500 000 grant for the refurbishment of the Charters Leisure Centre and explained the school’s plans for improvements to the mathematics block as being the next proposed capital project. The desire to establish a Community Multi-Sports centre was also stated as was the increase in use of the ‘bungalow’ as a centre for vulnerable children and their families.
After the Head Teacher had finished his presentation, the following questions were asked:
Councillor Peter Comber expressed his support for the school’s desire to increase the numbers cycling to school, which had fallen substantially over the years Mr. Pilgrim had worked at the school.
Councillor Barbara Story asked if there was a timescale for the proposed multi-use sports centre.
Mr. Pilgrim informed the Assembly that the planning permission gained for the centre had been renewed for a further three years and that it was dependant on funding. Councillor Lynda Yong suggested that the school approached both Parish Councils for a donation toward this.
5307 Sergeant Colin Pike presented the annual crime and detection figures for the Parish. Burglaries within dwellings had decreased in the Parish by 19.9% and criminal damage was down by 23%. Reported incidents of drug dealing and metal theft had also fallen, although Sergeant Pike stated that he thought it unlikely that the use of illegal drugs would ever be eradicated. Staff changes within the local Police Force had taken place, with a newly appointed PCSO and Inspector. Close co-operation with the Borough, particularly their Community Wardens and through the Neighbourhood Action Group had continued, such as the undertaking of burglary road shows.
After Sergeant Pike had finished his presentation, the following questions were asked:
Mrs King asked for figures relating to the number of cautions. Sergeant Pike replied that whilst he did not have exact figures, his estimate was that the number had increased; as had the number of offenders involved with the ‘Community Resolution’ process.
Mr Clark asked if the opening hours for the Police Station in Ascot High Street were due to increase. Sergeant Pike replied that this would not be the case; however, the Station was due to undergo a significant refurbishment in October 2013.
Councillor Story asked Sergeant Pike for his advice as to how to minimise the risk of vandalism regarding the newly refurbished public conveniences in Sunninghill. Sergeant Pike suggested that Councillor Story contacted the Borough’s Crime Prevention Officer for their specialist input.
Councillor Comber asked if the recently reported murder in Ascot High Street was an isolated incident, or was this symptomatic of problems associated with One Bar, to which Sergeant Pike replied that it was one of five murders in the local Parishes since 2003.
5308 The Chairman gave a summary of the areas of activity over the past year and proposals for the future.
A copy of his report is attached in the Minute Book copy of these Minutes. He informed the assembly of savings made to the Parish Council’s insurance and waste management costs. He noted the success of the Diamond Jubilee Beacon Event and the Victorian Street Fayre, as well as informing the Assembly of improvements to the recreation areas and Groundsman’s equipment. He thanked the Parish Councillors, sub-committee Chairman and Parish Council staff for their ongoing support. He invited all present to attend the forthcoming meeting regarding Heatherwood Hospital, on 9 May at Ascot Racecourse.
5309 The following local charities were asked to address the meeting and present their accounts:
a) Ascot Fire Brigade Trust
Councillor David Hilton, as Chairman of the Charity, informed the meeting of the range of grants awarded by the Trust. These included Sports Bursaries in conjunction with Charters School, a garden at Heathermount School and the Ascot Day Centre. He informed the Assembly of Trustees changes and that he had been appointed as the Chairman of the Trust, following Parish Council endorsement, since the last Annual Assembly. He called on any organisation that wished to apply for a grant to write to him at the Trust and that the un- audited accounts were available for inspection.
Councillor Comber asked where the Trust’s income came from. Councillor Hilton explained that the income derived from the rent gained annually from the lease of the former Fire Brigade’s premises in Ascot and amounted to a fund for charitable purposes of £30 000 last year.
b) Sunninghill Fuel Allotment Trust
Gary Morris, the Chairman of the Trust, informed the meeting that £70 000 had been made available from interest earned on investments for distribution within the Parish, primarily for the alleviation of poverty. To this end the Trust had awarded grants to the Ascot Day Centre, Thames Valley Hospice, Charters School and individual families. He explained that the Trust had appointed a new Clerk, Ruth Fettes and that the lease arrangements regarding Allens Field had been resolved with the Borough. This would bring with it additional development funds as Allens Field had become a Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG). Mr. Morris stated that the Trust wished to raise its profile within the community, was devising a web site to assist with this and called for funding request.
Mrs Andreassen asked if funding for bio-diversity and environmental projects would be considered.
Mrs Fettes replied that any application would be reviewed against the Trust’s funding criteria and that the next Trust meeting was to be held on 15 May.
Councillor Ellison asked what percentage of the income derived from the use of Allens Field as a SANG would be available for charitable donations. Mr Morris replied that the capital would need to be protected for the long term benefit of the Trust but that the interest gained could be made available.
c) Sunninghill Parochial Charities
The Reverend Stephen Johnson was unable to attend to present the accounts.
5310 Reports were received from the following Borough Councillors:
Councillor Peter Comber
Councillor Comber had submitted a report in advance of the meeting and spoke of his involvement as a Borough Councillor, particularly regarding traffic, parking, planning matters and the use of Section 106 Developer Contributions within Sunninghill.
He informed the Assembly of a range of measures being looked at regarding traffic speeds in Sunninghill High Street (in conjunction with Parish Councillor Peter Deason), his desire to improve cycle paths within the Parish and the retention of the South Ascot Children’s Centre.
Councillor Lynda Yong
Councillor Yong spoke on two matters, the refurbishment of Charters Leisure Centre and the campaign to retain services at Heatherwood Hospital. She welcomed the additional funding for the Leisure Centre which would result in significant improvements to the facilities which could be used by both Charter’s students and residents. She urged all those present to attend the Borough’s meeting regarding Heatherwood Hospital.
Councillor Story informed the meeting of the 3% reduction in the Borough’s Council tax bought about through the renegotiation of contracts, a reduction in staffing levels and improvements in efficiency and cost effectiveness. He went on to inform the Assembly of a 20% budget increase for highways and street lighting, the refurbishment of the Public Conveniences in Sunninghill High Street, which were due to be opened the following week, and a reduction in cost to individuals using the Borough’s home care services.
Councillor Duncan McBride
Councillor McBride informed the meeting of his role within the Borough’s Audit and Performance Review Panel and the Standards Panel. He stated the Panel’s desire to ensure that delivery standards were retained for Borough services, whilst reviewing performance and efficiency. Furthermore, he wished to ensure that Ascot and the Sunnings were recognised as a significant part of the Borough and welcomed the first Remembrance Service held within the Parish at St Michaels Church in Sunninghill as exemplifying this.
He re-iterated his support for the retention of services at Heatherwood Hospital and thanked Councillor Story for being the ‘lead petitioner’ and his fellow Councillors for their involvement in the campaign.
Councillor David Hilton
Councillor David Hilton began by talking about the impact of the National Planning Policy Framework and the significance of the emerging Neighbourhood Plan. He invited residents to inform their Borough Councillors and attend the Windsor Rural Development Control Panel if they were concerned about a planning application.
Secondly he re-iterated his support for the retention of services at Heatherwood Hospital and cited the public attendance at the initial consultation event as being an example of how local people could affect policy decisions.
Thirdly he spoke of his role within the Neighbourhood Action Group, which sought to co-ordinate local stakeholders in their efforts to combat matters of concern to residents.
He ended his report by welcoming the additional funding obtained from the Borough for Ascot and the Sunnings, which would include, amongst other projects, the extension of the skate area and improvements to the access road at Victory Field Recreation Ground.
Each Borough Councillor thanked their fellow Councillors for their hard work and support during the year.
5311 The Chairman opened the meeting up to general questions which were as follows:
A member of the public asked if the Borough had a drain clearance programme. Councillor Yong replied that they did and that residents should contact the Borough’s Streetcare Department if they considered a drain needed clearing. The individual raised a further question as to whether or not improvements to the round-about adjacent to the Beechcroft Development in Sunninghill would take place as part of the Developers Planning Obligations. Councillor Comber replied that, to his knowledge, improvements were to be made. Councillor Hilton added that the bank adjoining Victory Field Recreation Ground was the responsibility of the Developer.
Councillor Comber asked the Chairman why a Parish Council Bio-Diversity Officer had been appointed and who the Officer was. The Chairman of the Parish Council’s Planning Committee, Councillor B Hilton, introduced Lise Andreassen to the Assembly and explained her role as providing specialist knowledge on the bio-diversity aspects of planning applications. The Chairman added that the Parish Council received such a large number of applications that this voluntary, independent role was needed. A member of the public supported and thanked the Parish Council for introducing such a role.
There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.50pm.
Councillor Jeffrey Yong
Chairman of the Council
Attachments – Chairman’s report.