Council Minutes – Tuesday 4th December 2012

Council Minutes – Tuesday 4th December 2012

Minutes of a meeting of Sunninghill & Ascot Parish Council held at the Ascot Day Centre, Bagshot Road, Sunninghill, Ascot on Tuesday 4 December 2012 at 7.00pm.

Members Present: Councillors J Yong (Chairman), B Hilton (Vice-Chairman), P Deason, M Duffield, R Ellison,
D Hilton, S Humphrey, C Lester, J Naylor, S Jones, L Roberts, A Sharpe.

In attendance: Elizabeth Yates, Clerk to the Council                     

Councillors Barbara Story and Michelle Turton.

The Chairman asked to receive any Declarations of Interest in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct. Councillor David Hilton declared a non-pecuniary interest in the Ascot Retirement Project and therefore took no part in the discussion regarding their application for a charitable donation (minute 5162).

The Minutes of the Council Meeting, held on 30 October 2012, were approved as a correct record and signed as such.

The Chairman reminded the members of the ‘Shaping the Future’ Public Consultation session to be held on 13 December in Ascot regarding the future of services at Heatherwood Hospital.

Councillor Allison Sharpe raised a concern regarding the cancelled ‘drop in’ sessions regarding the Neighbourhood Plan Consultation. Councillors Barbara Hilton and Peter Deason gave a full explanation as to the scope of the consultation process and the volunteer time involved.  The Chairman asked that a vote of thanks be recorded from the Parish Council to the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group for their work.

As no members of the public were present the meeting was not adjourned.

The Planning Committee minutes of 13 November were presented by Councillor C Lester.

The Clerk reported on the accounts for October 2012. No significant matters were arising.  However, the Clerk informed the committee of the resignation of the Parish Council’s accountant from their approved accountancy firm.  The Chairman suggested that a review of the accounting arrangements be carried out accordingly.  The Clerk also informed the committee of the increasing number of building suppliers that were not accepting cheques as a means of payment.  The Chairman suggested the need to review payment arrangements but that due consideration as to the statutory audit requirements be given.    

5160  BUDGET FOR 2013/14
The draft budget for 2013/14, as recommended by the Finance and Personnel committee, was approved by majority vote for ratification at the precept setting meeting, to be held on 8 January.  The proposed extension to the skate park at Victory Field, the refurbishment of the Victory Field Pavilion and associated works and the Garden of Remembrance within the Cemetery were identified as key projects for the next financial year.

Councillor Spike Humphrey asked the Chairman to clarify the role of the Parish Council with regard to Allen’s Field and he was informed that the SANG was being managed by the Borough Council.

Councillor Barbara Hilton, in her capacity as Chairman of the Planning Committee, gave feedback from a meeting regarding the draft legal delegation agreement as to planning functions.  The meeting was held with the Borough’s Head of Planning and Property Services, their Development Control Manager, the Parish Council Chairman, Clerk and herself, on Friday 30 November.  Councillor Barbara Hilton expressed concern about the administrative impact on the Parish Office and the complex procedures involved.  Councillor James Naylor asked what the advantages to the Parish Council would be in taking on the delegated powers.  Councillor David Hilton replied by providing the context and rationale behind the concept of delegation in so far as decision making would be made at the most local level. 

He went on to quantify the small number of times over the last five planning committees that the Parish Council and Borough had differed in their recommendation and thought that this needed to be taken into consideration.  The Chairman raised a further concern regarding the possibility of appeal costs being awarded against the Parish Council, but he welcomed the offer of training on planning procedure and policy and the development of a closer working relationship with the Borough; independent of the devolution agreement.  It was agreed that the Chairman and Councillor Barbara Hilton would give further thought to this matter, for consideration at the next Parish Council meeting, further to minute 5138.  

Applications for Charitable Donations, under Section 137 of the Local Government Act,1972, were considered and the following grants awarded by majority vote:

£1 200     The Bracknell and District Citizens Advice Bureau
£500        The 2nd Ascot Girl Guides
£500        Thames Hospice Care
£250        The Ascot Project

No other applications had been received, but sufficient funding was still available within the budget for further donations.  The Clerk was asked to pursue the provision of Christmas Lights in South Ascot with the Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce. It was also agreed that one of the organisations that we normally support, which was unable to send us their accounts in time for the meeting, be given the same donation as last year, if and when their application is received in full.

Councillor Barbara Hilton informed the committee that the Fayre had been well attended and successfully run.  Although a final total of the money raised was being finalised, indications were that the at least the same amount could be awarded to the two charitable beneficiaries.  Councillor David Hilton proposed a vote of thanks to the Street Fayre Committee.

Modifications to the car parking arrangements in Queens Road, Queens Road Car Park and Bowden Road Car Park in Sunninghill were presented by Councillor Peter Deason, further to minute 5152.  It was agreed, by majority vote, that the Parish Council would support the proposals to modify the resident parking bays in Queens Road, but not the proposed reduction in the number of short stay bays within Queens Road Car Park. This would be reviewed again once the impact of the change in Queens Road could be analysed.  The need to remove two trees from the Car Park in Bowden Road, to increase parking spaces, was also agreed, subject to replacement planting of more appropriate trees.

Councillor Allison Sharpe raised concerns about parking on yellow lines in Highclere, Sunninghill and the leaf fall obscuring the visibility of the lines.  The Clerk was asked to pursue this with the Borough.

Further to minute 5087 the individual, role and responsibilities of the proposed Parish Council’s Bio-Diversity Officer were considered.
The Clerk read out her suggestions as to the scope and purpose of the Officer.  It was agreed that Lise Andreassen, who had expressed an interest in this role, be invited to the next Parish Council meeting to discuss this further.

The Clerk reported on a meeting with the Borough’s Head of Libraries, Arts and Heritage, the Chairman, Councillor Barbara Story and herself regarding the recruitment of library volunteers.  The Parish Council had agreed to publicise the initiative, further to minute 5053.
Over growing vegetation, grit bins, blocked drains and leaf fall matters had been raised by residents and the Borough informed accordingly.  The Borough’s campaign for Superfast Broad Band was also discussed, as was the need to improve such speeds within the Parish Office.

The Chairman gave an update as to progress regarding the proposed refurbishment of Victory Field.  He informed the committee that Councillor Robert Ellison, the Clerk and he had meet with the original architect involved with the initial proposal, dated 2003.  Councillor David Hilton raised concerns about the process and feasibility of the project and informed the committee that he had gained advice from the Borough regarding this.  He suggested that a Business Plan and Public Consultation process be carried out as necessary first steps. However, the majority of the Parish Council agreed that we need to have some initial plans and cost projections before considering a Business Plan and Public Consultation. As the project had been specified within the agenda, it was agreed by majority vote, that the Chairman be given delegated authority to obtain amended drawings and costings from the architects, at a cost of no greater than £1 200, in order to take the project forward. Councillors Peter Deason, Barbara Hilton and David Hilton abstained from the decision.  The Chairman asked the Clerk to obtain a formal, detailed quote accordingly.  The Clerk informed the committee that she had met with the Chairman of Ascot United and had arranged a meeting with the Clerk of Winkfield Parish Council regarding the Project.   The Chairman of Ascot United had invited the Council to hold a future meeting at their Club House.  His offer was accepted.  Councillor James Naylor had also supplied information regarding the running costs of Cheapside Village Hall.

There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.50pm.


Councillor Jeffrey Yong, Chairman