WOODGREEN ANNUAL PARISH MEETING – Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting Held on Tuesday 30th April 2019 in Woodgreen Village Hall at 7.00pm

 

Chairman: Stewart Hall

Councillors: Sue Allpress, Lance Benest, John Clarke, Ed Hollinghurst, John Sanger and Pete Skinner

In attendance: Vicky Eden (Clerk), parishioners, speakers and guests

 

1. Welcome by Chairman - The Chairman welcomed parishioners, speakers and guests (in excess of 26 people - it was noted that some residents arrived a little late due to a village trip). 

 

2.Apologies for absence: Apologies received and accepted from Parish Cllr Lance Benest, Ron Trevaskis (Woodgreen Community Shop Association) and Amanda Willgoss (Woodgreen Village Trust)

 

3. Minutes of previous meeting: The minutes of the Parish Assembly held on 

24th April 2018 were unanimously agreed as an accurate record and signed by the Chairman.

 

The Chairman advised that two guest speakers would be giving talks. He then welcomed and introduced the first speaker:    

 

4. Guest Speaker - Craig Daters, NFNPA Ranger - Wildlife Threats: What can people do? And Day in the Life of a Ranger

 

Craig introduced himself as a NFNPA Ranger. He advised that there had been changes to the NFNPA ranger team with 4 full time employees now in place and that there were three different types of ranger:

  • People and Wildlife Ranger (engages with people, highlighting the sensitivity of the local area and dealing with dog related issues)

  • Access Ranger (deals with Right of Way issues including signage concerns; participates in the NF Access Forum and involved with the Recreational Management Strategy)

  • Seasonal Ranger (March - September and involved in caring for the forest)

 

In terms of threats to wildlife, Craig stressed the importance of protecting ground nesting birds by:

  • Keeping to main tracks

  • Keeping dogs on leads

It was reiterated that continued disturbance of ground nesting birds can have a marked impact on their breeding success.

 

The role of the NFNPA’s Wildlife and Conservation Team (home of New Forest Land Advice Service) was then highlighted and information was relayed about its various ongoing projects:

  • New Forest Rural Skills Project

  • Better boundaries (hedgerows)

  • Nature’s Stepping Stones (restoration and enhancement of sites of interest to nature conservation)

  • Working woodlands

 

Residents were then told how they can help with the conservation of the New Forest by volunteering and were encouraged to go to the New Forest Volunteer Fair in January 2020. 

 

Craig highlighted that 2019 is the Nationwide Year of Green Action and it is hoped that people will get more involved in projects to improve the natural world.

 

The residents were then given the opportunity to ask questions:

 

One resident asked whether the rangers work with the Game Conservatory and was advised that the NFNPA’s Wildlife and Conservation Team was part of a consultation group with this organisation.

 

Concerns about hedgerows being cut later and later in the year were raised and Craig advised that the cutting season is September to February. Ensuring that people abide by these dates proves to be challenging.

 

One resident felt that there is lots of clutter signage and that a strategy should be put in place to manage this. Craig advised that it is expensive to improve signage but is aware that it is an ongoing concern.

 

It was then asked if the NFNPA would become more aggressive in its enforcement. However the Recreational Management Strategy seeks to address concerns and NFNPA is keen to continue a positive approach.

 

Finally, a resident asked whether there was a school liaison member. Craig advised that there is an education team in  place which promotes curriculum linked education. There is also a Young Commoners Learning Resource Toolkit available.

 

Following the conclusion of questions, the Chairman thanked Craig for his interesting and informative talk.

 

Due to other commitments of some speakers, certain items on the agenda were moved. The Chairman then welcomed and introduced the District and County Councillor Edward Haron.

 

5. Reports from Local Organisations

County Councillor - County Councillor Edward Heron 

 

Cty Cllr Heron initially addressed a question from a resident which related to the councillor’s role as a verderer. There is concern that the verderers were not supporting the commercial dog walking charter. It was stressed that the New Forest Verderers were not the only organisation not supporting the charter. In its present form, the charter would target all (even though some do obey the rules) and it is felt that commercialisation of the New Forest is a danger. Commercial dog walkers should be properly regulated - this is not achievable by a voluntary charter.

 

County Cllr Heron then focused on County Council activities. He reiterated that Hampshire County Council still needs to make cuts in some areas to meet increasing costs of children's services and adult social care. He is also aware of concerns about the repair of potholes in the local area and encouraged residents to keep reporting online at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/roadproblems or for a highways issue which needs urgent attention, phone 0300 555 1388 during office hours (8:30-17:00 Monday - Friday)

 

The residents were then given the opportunity to ask further questions:

 

One resident asked for confirmation that the iron bridge is to be repainted and Cty Cllr Heron confirmed that it would be painted in the new future.

 

Another question was asked as to why more isn’t recycled in the local area and the Cty Cllr then introduced the next guest speaker who would be discussing this matter in more detail.

 

6. Guest Speaker - Chris Noble, Service Manager - Waste and Transport - Recycling

 

Chris started his talk by saying that he would initially detail current NFDC services in place and then look at future NFDC plans.

 

At present, there are two weekly collections - general refuse (black bags) and recycling (clear bags). It was stressed that only plastic bottles can be recycled - NFDC is unable to recycle other forms of plastic at the present time. There is also a monthly glass collection and fortnightly garden waste service (for which a contribution is required). Leaflets detailing the current collections were left for residents to peruse.

It was noted that recycling in the New Forest is below the national average but the aim of the disposal authority (Hampshire County Council) is that it knows where over 90% of the waste goes as it does not want recycled waste going to landfill. The pressures on local authorities are great, with challenging targets ahead.

 

It was highlighted that the facility in Marchwood burns waste to generate electricity, although at present more certainty is required before it can be used for heating. There are two other recycling facilities and two composting facilities.

 

There is further work to be done including:

  • Looking at materials recovery service to widen range (e.g. Tetra)

  • There are currently four DEFRA consultations looking at ways to improve recycling

  • The introduction of a deposit return scheme to recycle and reduce little

The deadline for consultations is 12th May 2020.

 

The residents were then given the opportunity to ask questions:

 

One resident asked where compostable wrappers can be taken to recycle. Chris advised that the NFDC are wary of compostable plastics and stressed that they should not be put in the garden waste collection.

 

Concern was then expressed about how much waste is produced and whether it has now reduced. Chris answered that a tonne of waste is produced per household on an annual basis and that councils were trying to reduce food waste (which is approximately 40% of black bag collections).

 

A further question was raised about how much pressure was being applied to companies rather than consumers to reduce waste and it was noted that this is addressed in the ongoing consultations

 

Lastly, a resident noted the amount of paper used at the Annual Parish Meeting and the Chairman confirmed that this would be looked into prior to the next year’s meeting

 

Following the conclusion of questions, the Chairman thanked Chris for his interesting and informative talk.

 

7. Reports from Local Organisations

    Hampshire Police - PCSO Stephen May - PCSO May opened his talk by introducing the local team and explaining the area covered. He then referred to the crime figures for 2018-2019 that had been produced by Hampshire Police for the Downlands and Forest area, noting that much crime related to outbuildings rather than residential. Questions were then taken from residents.

 

There was a concern that much crime is not reported. PCSO May acknowledged this, adding if crime is not reported, it is not on the statistics. Online reporting was recommended should residents have problems with the 101 service. Residents can also see a member of the local police team during the regular beat surgeries in the village and the Chairman thanked PCSO May for such visits. It was noted that surgery times had changed and the team welcomes comments/concerns received from residents at these visits.

 

Difficulties were raised in getting crime numbers, leading to difficulties with insurance claims. PCSO advised that there had been a nationwide change (i.e. once form received then a crime number is generated) but aware that there had been problems and urged residents to liaise with him.

 

Finally, the recent concerns in relation to joy riders were raised and PCSO advised that the car registrations forwarded were out of county. Upon investigation, it was established that people no longer lived at the addresses listed.

 

The Chairman and residents thanked PCSO May for his interesting and assuring talk.

 

Woodgreen Community Shop - David Mussell 

 

David advised that the shop had seen a year of modest growth, although there have been considerable cost increases (it was noted that the living wage is increasing as are electricity costs). A smart new till system is now in place and the chiller and freezer had to be replaced following the breakdown of existing appliances. The cash position is being monitored carefully with the new treasurer looking to put in place a reserve policy. Residents were encouraged to shop more with the Woodgreen Community Shop.

 

The Chairman thanked David for his talk and asked if any parishioners had any questions. 

 

One resident asked if the reserve is to be 10% of turnover and David advised that is the recommended amount.

 

It was then asked how many villagers were shareholders in the shop and it was then confirmed that a high percentage of villagers are shareholders.

 

Another question was asked as to whether any fundraising events were planned and, at present, no such events are planned.

 

Lastly, it was enquired as to whether there were any redevelopment ideas (e.g. cafe) but it was felt that this was a huge step at this time.

 

The Chairman thanked David for his update.

 

Woodgreen Village Hall - Report forwarded and read aloud by the Chairman

 

The village hall continues to be busy with regular bookings. We were, like everyone else, sad to loose the longstanding association of the village hall and the Preschool group. As the hall's main source of regular income, this was a blow for the finances of the hall. Some of the resulting available hours have been recouped - mainly from outside income -additional yoga group etc - and as the Pre School hired the hall at a much reduced rental in recent years, the income has been partially recouped. Wedding weekends continue to be a very good source of income. 

 

Following the AGM in 2018 - and the hotly discussed lack of an acceptable constitution - the hall was still running on 'Rules and Regulations' from 1947 - the committee has worked many arduous hours with Bill Templeton, to enable the production of a document which will satisfy the minority of people who maligned the running of the hall by the present management committee. It was hoped - indeed - it had been insisted - that this document would be ready for those interested, to see and discuss by the spring but logistics have not always been in our favour - and for the small committee it has been quite an onerous task. It is hoped that the final draft will be available to be seen in time for it to be discussed, if necessary, and presented at the AGM on July 16th. Details of how this document can be accessed will be able to be seen in the parish magazine before the AGM.

 

Time for a change ; There will be three vacancies on the Management committee from later this summer - Julia & Bob Wilkie and Margaret Windel - secretary, treasurer and booking secretary respectively - have all tendered their resignation. If anyone is interested in applying for these posts - and don't get killed in the rush - please approach the Chairperson - Catherine Haworth for details, as soon as possible - and at least three weeks before the AGM. Without persons to fill these vacancies, it will be extremely difficult for the hall to continue to run in its present manner. We are fully aware that the day to day management and running of the hall needs to be brought into the 21st century - and the present post holders feel that it is time for some enthusiastic and younger members of the community to continue to care for our very unique village hall. 

 

The Chairman thanked Julia & Bob Wilkie and Margaret Windel for all their hard work in the running of Woodgreen Village Hall.

 

Woodgreen Village Trust - Amanda Willgoss

Information relating to the Village Trust had been forwarded and the Chairman gave a brief overview in relation to the history of the organisation, advising that it was set up for the benefit of the village by helping local people and organisations. The Trust is always looking for ideas on how to use its income and any request for funding should be forwarded to the secretary, Amanda Willgoss.  

 

7.  Chairman’s Report, including Financial Report: Parish Cllr Stewart Hall 

 

The Chairman started his report by thanking the clerk and councillors for all they have done over the past year on various projects and roles and most recently, the clerk for producing the 2018-19 accounts in such a timely fashion. The figures were presented to the residents, showing a very healthy position.

 

Points of note are:

1.     Cemetery receipts fell by over £700 from the previous year but upkeep stayed the same.

2.     Repairs increased by £650 on the previous year

3.     Apologies were expressed to the village hall committee for not paying over £150 of the hall field rent which will be approved at the next PC meeting

4.     In fact had this been paid the income would have almost balanced out the expenditure whereas currently it shows a small excess of £170.

5.     There is a healthy working balance of £11,455 in the current account, which is very useful as initially the parish council will have to pay the VAT element of the Reading Room repair costs which then be reclaimed from HM Revenue and Customs.

A couple of questions were raised in relation to finance. Residents were advised the website costs relate to hosting renewal, domain name renewal and costs to ensure that site meets GDPR costs. Costs under the Other Costs include telephone kiosk costs and defibrillator maintenance.

Planning Matters

It has been a quiet year with only 10 full applications but 28 tree works sought and it is hoped that the applicants are happy with the result and have been able to do the work needed.

The Parish Council has however consulted the enforcement team a number of times over possible breaches of planning and residents can do the same anonymously if they feel something is not quite right. Contact details are published in the minutes each month.

 

Pre-School

It was sad that Woodgreen pre-school had to close after so many years but thanks were expressed to the Horticultural Society for agreeing to maintain and improve the small garden they created behind the village hall.

Reading Room

The Parish Council had hoped that by now that the repair work would have been finished and the Chairman was sure many of residents must be saying, “How long can it take to repair a green shed”?

The problem is that it was built we think back in late Victorian times and is a Heritage property. Apart from minor works over the years it has been left undisturbed until it received a huge “whack” from the accident almost two years ago.

Since then the exterior damage has been surveyed, but without taking the building down it is impossible to be sure what the lasting damage might be. As the repair costs, but not improvements, will be paid by insurance or a claim against the driver, we have had to make sure that any estimate of costs included all likely damage. The solicitor acting for our insurance company is also acting for us in case we need to pursue uninsured costs.

As the Parish Council is a public body, it has needed to have a contract in place between itself and the contractor and the Parish Council has also appointed an architect and structural engineer to ensure that the works are completed correctly The scaffolding has now been up for two months and apart from the asbestos roof being removed safely not much appears to have been done. However, during this time some surveys have taken place and the Parish Council has now received written confirmation that planning permission is not required whereas this was only given verbally previously.

New Dimensions reported back today that the structural engineer has now surveyed the foundations at the road end and subject to his recommendations they will work out a method to repair any damage.

In the meantime they will remove 1/2 of the floor and relocate the soil from beneath the road end as the ground level is too high stopping ventilation and harbouring rats.

Part of the floor may need replacing as there are some rotten sections on the sole plate.

So things are moving albeit slowly and the Parish Council has agreed a completion date of 31st July with the contractor.

The Chairman expressed his thanks to Ed Hollinghurst for the care he has put into managing this project so far.

ACHIEVEMENTS

The Chairman then turned to some of the achievements over the past year.

Firstly the clerk has put in place all that was required to comply with the new GDPR  and Transparency regulations and also, with her family, for creating the pasta decorations for the Christmas Tree in the church which is the first time the Parish Council haswon.

The Clerk has also archived all our parish records up to 2012 in the Hampshire Records Office in Winchester.

Horse and Groom

The ACV placed on the village pub generated a tremendous amount of support to keep a pub in the village so thanks to all that worked hard on the project and the future looks good.

Residents were invited to stay and have a cup of tea or coffee with the end rather than rushing off over there after the meeting. Thanks were also expressed to the church and its helpers for coming up with the “pop up pub” to tide the village over.

Highways

A Traffic Speed Survey was carried out at two locations.

The Result – Average overall speed was below 30 mph but 18% of motorists would have been cautioned as being above police tolerances.

The Hale Road cattle grid was renewed after much chivvying on the Parish Council’s part and the contractors have done a good job.

Telephone Kiosk

The Telephone Kiosk was completed and opened as a local history centre thanks to some excellent work from Steve Morris and David Mussell

The Common

The seats on the Common were saved and strengthened and the bus shelter seat renewed and it now commemorates those that gave the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War.

Other Things That Happened

1.     Sadly, the weekly bus service came and went.

2.     The Parish Lengthsman Scheme continued which John Sanger oversees.  In a special project, the Lengthsman cleared the undergrowth at the first car park at Castle Hill.

3.     There were lots of volunteers for the Litter Pick held recently and it was good to note that far less rubbish had been discarded during the year. Thanks were expressed to John Clarke for arranging it this year.

Conclusion

The Chairman concluded by saying that he wanted to point out some of things that the Parish Council does as this will be his last year as Chairman of this meeting and as chair of the Parish Council.

The current Chairman has been chairing these Parish Assemblies since at least 2007 and has been your parish council chairman since 2013 when Jim Hart sadly died.

However, as a firm believer in not letting things go stale and so at the next PC meeting a new chairman will be elected and the Chairman wishes him or her every success as he retires to the back benches.

The Chairman finished by saying that if anyone is considering becoming a councillor please get in touch because the current members are not getting any younger!

8. Matters to be raised by the public

 

It was noted that the footpath leading to the shop, across Halls Field, is becoming overgrown 

with vegetation and the Chairman advised that this matter would be added to the agenda for 

the next parish council meeting.

 

Two questions were then raised in relation to the funds forwarded to the Village Hall via the rental of Halls Field:

 

‘When the Parish Council agreed to the relocation of the village shop onto part of the grazing land and set an annual peppercorn rent of £ 10 ‘ in perpetuity’ - did the council consider that the loss of grazing land income ( £ 80 annually ) to which the Village hall is the loser, and the fact that the peppercorn rent is not passed to the village hall, a fair settlement based upon Pat Halls original intention - i.e. that the village hall should benefit from the grazing income after reasonable expenses?’

 

‘The Village hall further loses this reduced income (£250 annually), should any maintenance be required to the much increased amount of fencing. The maintenance issues having become more complex with the additional water trough and its extended watering system - which led to a water leak for which the village hall has been penalised to the tune of £960. Should the parish council reconsider the peppercorn rent in the Village Halls favour and should the rent be revised now that the shop is a profitable and going concern?’

 

The Chairman advised that these questions would be addressed at the next parish council meeting.

 

Lastly, a resident enquired as to whether the Welcome Packs were working well and was advised that this was being monitored following the delivery of paper copies. The new Welcome Packs are to be further publicised shortly.


 

The Chairman thanked all those who attended and closed the meeting at 9.08pm. Refreshments were then served.


 

These are draft minutes until approved at the next Woodgreen Parish Annual Meeting.







 

WOODGREEN PARISH COUNCIL - DRAFT - Receipts and payments to 31st March 2019*

RECEIPTS

2017/18

2018/19

Sale of Assets

£0.00

£0.00

Precept

£7,513.00

£7,606.00

Interest Received

£465.93

£366.86

Cemetery Fees

£1,670.00

£940.00

Halls Field

£250.00

£260.00

VAT refunds

£0.00

£711.19

Grants

£1,000.00

£0.00

Other

£10.00

£42.00

TOTAL INCOME

£10,908.93

£9,926.05

PAYMENTS

Staff Costs

£3,505.61

£3,600.35

Administration

£169.46

£410.43

Cemetery expenses

£1,633.16

£1,643.14

Donations Section 137

£150.00

£150.00

Halls Field

£0.00

£0.00

Reading Room

£713.48

£157.01

Insurance

£892.96

£1,001.25

Repairs

£800.00

£1,449.95

Subscriptions

£309.33

£330.33

VAT Paid

£344.12

£227.14

Website / IT

£548.34

£327.31

Training

£36.34

£198.00

Other

£226.36

£260.35

TOTAL PAYMENTS

£9,329.16

£9,755.26

SUMMARY

Balance as at 1st April

£84,718.75

£86,299.52

Add total receipts

£10,908.93

£9,926.05

 

£95,627.68

£96,225.57

Less total payments

£9,328.16

£9,755.26

New balance

£86,299.52

£86,470.31

REPRESENTED BY

Lloyds - Ringwood

£10,762.52

£11,455.54

Santander

£70,460.34

£70,000.00

National Savings Bank

£5,117.66

£5,154.77

 

£86,340.52

£86,610.31

Creditors

£41.00

£140.00

Balance to carry forward

£86,299.52

£86,470.31

Earmarked reserve - cemetery

£75,000.00

£75,000.00

Working Balance

£11,299.52

£11,470.31

Total Balance

£86,299.52

£86,470.31

*Internal audit to be held on 11th June 2019