Minutes of a meeting of Sunninghill & Ascot Parish Council held at the Ascot Day Centre, Bagshot Road, Sunninghill, Ascot on Tuesday 8 January 2013 at 7.00pm.
Members Present: Councillors J Yong (Chairman), B Hilton (Vice-Chairman), P Deason, M Duffield, R Ellison, S Jones, C Lester, J Naylor,
S Humphrey, A Sharpe, B Story, M Turton.
In attendance: Elizabeth Yates (Clerk to the Council) and Jane Shanahan (Assistant Parish Clerk)
5177 TO NOTE APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Councillors D Hilton, A Nehra, L Roberts
5178 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The Chairman asked to receive any Declarations of Interest in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct. None were received, except in relation to 5158.
The Minutes of the Council Meeting, held on 4 December 2012, were approved as a correct record and signed as such.
5180 FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
Councillor Barbara Hilton had requested that the Chairman inform the committee of the former DERA site planning application consultation. It was agreed that the Parish Council would wait for further information about the planning application before considering how to respond.
5181 PUBLIC ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was not adjourned for a maximum of 15 minutes to allow Members of the Public, if present, to address the Council about matters of local concern as no members of the public were present.
5182 BIO-DIVERISTY OFFICER
Lise Andreassen joined the meeting to discuss the role and responsibilities of the proposed Parish Council’s Bio-Diversity Officer, further to minute 5165. The Clerk had approached her on recommendation as she has extensive knowledge and experience in bio-diversity related matters and lives within the Parish. Ms Andreassen presented a paper setting out her approach to the role and the work involved. This centred upon the collection of data from which a map of bio-diversity within the Parish could be produced. This map would form the basis from which ways of enhancing bio-diversity within the Parish could be developed and planning applications analysed. The Chairman opened up the meeting for discussion, with Councillor James Naylor suggesting that the Council look at job descriptions from other such bio-diversity officers and Councillor Allison Sharpe suggesting that each Councillor could be involved in obtaining information from their ward. Councillor Barbara Hilton welcomed the role as set out by Ms Andreassen as a means of increasing the Council’s Planning Committee’s understanding of the impact of planning applications, with Councillor Peter Deason asking if attention could be placed on the Parish tree stock. Ms Andreassen suggested that she work closely with neighbouring Parish Councils, the Borough and smaller ecology groups, to include the Ascot Wildlife Group. The need to monitor the adherence of planning conditions relating to Ascot Heath and Allens Field were also noted by her, as was the development of Wildlife Corridors. She suggested that training might be needed for those Councillors keen to assist her in collecting information. Councillor Margaret Duffield suggested that the Council’s web site be used a means of publicising the role and inviting residents to assist in data collection. All agreed that the role would be most useful and Ms Andreassen confirmed her willingness to take on the voluntary role of the Parish Council’s Bio-Diversity Officer.
5183 PRESENTATION OF COMMITTEE MINUTES
The Planning Committee minutes of 11 December 2012 were presented by Councillor B Hilton.
5184 FINANCIAL REPORTS FOR MONTH 8 AND THE INTERNAL INTERIM AUDIT REPORT
The Clerk reported on the accounts for November 2012 and informed the committee that a new accountant for the Council had been appointed by the Council’s existing accountancy firm. No significant matters were arising. The internal interim audit report was also presented, with the recommendations for an order system, risk analysis and a procedure for uncleared cheques noted for action by the Clerk.
5185 PRECEPT AND DISPENSATIONS FOR 2013/14
The Clerk explained the introduction of the Precept Support Grant, resulting from the Local Government Finance Bill (October 2012).
The Council accountant’s had adjusted the precept figures accordingly. She also explained the need for procedural arrangements required under the Localism Act 2011, under which the Clerk would be given delegated authority to consider and grant dispensations (Section 33). Such a dispensation was required in order for the Parish Councillors to take part in discussions and voting relating to the setting of the precept until the end of their current term (May 2015). This delegation was approved, each Parish Councillor signed the pro-forma devised for this purpose and the precept was then agreed by unanimous vote. The budget recommendation for 2013/14 (minute 5160) was therefore accepted and the precept ratified as £24.83 per year for a Band D equivalent.
5186 PLANNING DELEGATION
Further to minute 5161 it was agreed that Councillor Barbara Hilton, in her capacity as Chairman of the Planning Committee, presented a written report on the implications of the Borough’s Draft Legal Delegation Agreement as to planning functions; and that this report be considered in detail by the Planning Committee for recommendation to full Council.
5187 HEATHERWOOD HOSPITAL
The Chairman considered it appropriate that the Parish Council responded to the Heatherwood Hospital’s ‘Shaping the Future’ public Consultation. This consultation proposed three main changes:
Moving the minor injuries unit at Heatrherwood Hospital to the planned new Urgent Care Centre in Bracknell
Rehabilitation services for both stroke and general medical patients
Permanently closing the Ascot Birth Centre at Heatherwood Hospital
Councillor Barbara Hilton read out a Press Release from the Borough regarding these changes which set out the Borough’s objections. Each objection was discussed in detail and it was agreed that the Parish Council would draft its own response. Councillor Barbara Story raised concerns about the viability of the existing Birth Centre, which were reinforced by Councillor Christine Lester. Councillor Spike Humphrey responded to these concerns, citing examples of successful low level birthing units. Councillor Allison Sharpe drew attention to the increasing Parish population and therefore the greater potential use of Heatherwood Hospital. The Chairman informed the committee of the 22 000 visits made to the minor injuries clinic last year. The majority opinion favoured the endorsement of the Borough’s objections and so the Clerk was asked to draft a response; with additional concerns raised regarding the cost of relocating the minor injuries unit and the travel and parking arrangements involved.
5188 ITEMS RAISED AND ACTIONED WITH THE BOROUGH
The Clerk informed the committee that two additional grit bins had been ordered and that the Highways Department were now emailing her details of road closures within the Parish. The Councillors asked that she forward them such details; the Chairman asking that the Council’s web site be updated accordingly.
5189 DISCRETIONARY PROJECT FUNDING
Consideration was given as to how to use the balance of a grant available from the Sunninghill & South Ascot Ward Councillors within the Parish, against our current list of projects. The Clerk and Mrs Shanahan suggested three projects, the installation of lighting behind the Changing Unit at South Ascot Recreation Ground, the replacement of the existing second camera and housing at South Ascot Recreation Ground and a new notice board in South Ascot High Street. After full discussion, it was agreed that the lighting be suggested to the Ward Councillors as the priority project, with sponsorship sought for a new notice board. The Clerk was asked to action this with the Ward Councillors.
5190 OTHER BUSINESS
The possible use of the Parish Office and adjacent Community Room for meetings in the next year financial year was discussed, following a recent Planning Committee held in the Parish Office. The Chairman suggested that a number of sub-committee’s be held in the Parish Office in the next financial year, to ascertain how viable the use of the rooms was for future meetings.
The Clerk gave an update on progress regarding the Victory Field refurbishment project, informing the meeting that the revised plans were being drawn up by the original architects involved, but that full discussion would take place at the next Council meeting.
The Chairman informed the committee of a public meeting to be held about Climate Change on Wednesday 23 January 2013, at 7.30pm, in Coopers Hall Community Centre, Bracknell.
There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.25pm.
Councillor Jeffrey Yong, Chairman