WOODGREEN PARISH COUNCIL – Minutes of the Parish Assembly

Held on Tuesday 9th May 2017 in Woodgreen Village Hall at 7.00pm

 

Chairman: Stewart Hall

Councillors: John Sanger, Pete Skinner, Sue Allpress, John Clarke & Julia Wilkie

In attendance: County/District Cllr. Edward Heron, Vicky Eden (Clerk), parishioners, speakers and guests

 

1. Welcome by Chairman - The Chairman welcomed parishioners, speakers and guests (21 people).

 

2.Apologies for absence: Apologies received and accepted from Parish Cllr Ed Hollinghurst

 

The Chairman then welcomed and introduced the first speaker:       

 

3. Guest Speaker - David Blake, Project Development Officer, Cranborne Chase AONB

The landscape, flora and fauna of Cranborne Chase, including a short history and areas of

accessibility

As an introduction, David gave a brief overview of his talk: what AONBs are; current projects and places to visit within Cranborne Chase AONB.

After the National Parks and Access to Countryside Act was passed in 1949, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) were created ‘to conserve and enhance natural beauty’ and are more numerous than National Parks covering 15% of England’s land area. Cranborne Chase AONB is just under 1000 sq km and covers 120 local parishes, including Breamore on its eastern border, with the most dense network of rights of way in the UK.

David explained that there are several projects underway within Cranborne Chase AONB at the present time including:

  • The Arable Six - this project is focusing on the conservation of six species of birds declining most steeply in the UK due to the change in farming practices being corn buntings, lapwings, grey partridges, yellow wagtails, turtle doves and tree sparrows are now all seeing their numbers gradually increasing.
  • Work with private companies (e.g. Wessex Water) to protect and conserve the land
  • Encouraging farming groups to work together so that they are involved with continued conservation of the local area
  • Ancient Tree Project
  • The Foundations of Archaeology - More is known about the ancient world following excavations within Cranborne Chase and it was highlighted that many founders of archaeology had lived in the area. Parishioners were encouraged to visit the South Wilts Museum to see its display about Pitt Rivers.

Coming to the close of David’s talk, it was noted that much of Cranborne Chase is accessible and Garston Wood was highlighted as a particularly beautiful medieval woodland to visit. There have been some problems with off roaders, leading to some restricted byways but it was stressed that AONBs are about evolution not stagnation, with all different groups and interests striving to work together to protect the unique landscape of Cranborne Chase.

The Chairman thanked David Blake for his interesting and informative talk

 

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

10th May 2016 were unanimously agreed as an accurate record and signed by the Chairman.

 

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

The Chairman opened his report with an overview of the parish council’s accounts for the financial year 2016-2017. These accounts are shortly to be audited (see appendix 1).

At present, there is a small surplus of funds and this is due to the District Councillor grant of £500 towards the maintenance of the cemetery and cemetery fees received towards the end of the financial year.

Woodgreen Parish Council’s precept requirement was discussed in its December meeting and it was highlighted that the discretionary grant (which had been decreasing over recent years) was no longer available. In light of this, together with increased administration costs and low interest rates on investments, the members agreed to increase the precept by £500 to ensure that the parish council can continue to meet future financial commitments.

Over the course of the year, the Parish Council has regularly received planning applications and the members continue to give much consideration to both building and tree work applications when forwarding comments to the NFNPA. All the councillors were thanked for their commitment and time given in respect of their roles, which are undertaken on a voluntary basis.

The Clerk was also thanked for the work that she undertakes for the council and it was noted that her hours had increased to meet the modern parish council workload. Training costs continue to be shared with Sandleheath Parish, the other parish council where she is clerk.

The Chairman then gave an overview of the main projects and concerns that had been addressed by the parish council in the previous year:

  • Verge Protection Programme - This had been the biggest concern for villagers throughout the year, with the Forestry Commission choosing to start their remedial work in Woodgreen. New dragon’s teeth have been installed and the recent ditches that have been dug are now starting to grass over. Throughout the programme of work, issues were raised by both villagers and parish councillors. These were communicated to the Forestry Commission and some improvements were negotiated. Work has now been completed but the situation will be monitored on an ongoing basis.
  • Telephone Kiosk - The parish council is looking to adopt the red telephone box as it is felt to be part of the fabric of the village. The Chairman asked parishioners to consider possible usages for the box and advised that he had received one suggestion for it to be used as a local history kiosk for visitors to the village. The parish council will need to maintain the box and quotes are being obtained accordingly.
  • Register of Community Assets - The Chairman explained that this new right means communities can ask the district council to list certain assets as being of value to the community. If an asset is listed and then comes up for sale, the new right will give communities that want it six months to put together a bid to buy it. This gives communities an increased chance to save much loved shops, pubs or other local facilities. It was confirmed that The Horse and Groom is now an asset of community value.
  • Reinstating Welcome Packs - This project is ongoing and it is hoped that Welcome Packs will be reinstated later in the year.

As there were no questions raised, the Chairman concluded his report accordingly.

 

Prior to receiving reports from other organisations, two other matters were also raised. Tim Orchard,  retired Hale Parish Council chairman, had hoped to attend the parish assembly to highlight that there was now no First Responder in Woodgreen. Anyone interested in this voluntary role should contact the Chairman accordingly. Woodgreen Village News has now closed down as an online resource and Donald Summers has instigated a new facility for the villages of Breamore, Godshill, Hale and Woodgreen at www.nextdoor.co.uk for information about local activities.

 

 

 

 

 

6.  Reports from other organisations

County Councillor’s Report - County Cllr Edward Heron

Edward advised that following the Household Waste Recycling Centre Consultation, the site at Somerley had remained open. Furthermore, Fordingbridge Library had also remained open although it was stressed that services may be reduced if people do not use it.

Throughout the year, there had been considerable focus on changes to the structure of local government but there will be no changes to the current structure.

Moving forward, significant funding pressures continue to have an impact on the services provided by Hampshire County Council although it is hoped that these will not have a significant impact on local communities. More responsibilities are likely to be filtered down and parish councils should have more of a role in determining what matters within their local communities.

Edward was then happy to questions from the audience. One villager was concerned that filtering down responsibilities to parish councils could potentially waste money due to economies of scale. Although this could happen, it was stressed that reduced administration costs at County Council level will save considerable sums.

The repair of potholes was then raised as an ongoing concern. Hampshire Highways will shortly have a new contractor in place.  Edward also reminded parishioners to report any concerns online via the Hampshire County Council (HCC) website at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/roadproblems and then email him should any repairs not be undertaken after a two week period.

The parishioners then congratulated Edward on his re-election as a County Councillor and thanked him for all the work that he continues to do for the local community.

 

Woodgreen Village Trust - Ian Gemmell

Ian gave a brief overview in relation to the history of Woodgreen Village Trust, advising that it was set up following a donation by Pat Hall in the 1980s for the benefit of the village by helping local people and organisations. The Trust currently holds in the region of £15K and any request for funding should be forwarded to the secretary.  The Trust has undertaken various projects including repairs to the village hall, improvements to the car park at the shop, repair of the cricket club roof and assisting with activities at Woodgreen Preschool.

The Chairman thanked Ian for his talk and the Trust for supporting the village community. The Preschool also thanked the Trust for help with improving its garden.

 

Neighbourhood Watch (NW) – As there had been very little criminal activity over the year, no report was given.

 

Police Report - This was read by Cllr Julia Wilkie on behalf of PCSO Amy Waddington. There were 19 incidents reported throughout the year, 13 of which were recordable as crimes. Woodgreen is still seen as a safe place to live with few crimes reported and the officers in the Neighbourhood Policing Team in the local area are PC Caroline Warren and PCSO Amy Waddington. Residents were encouraged to remain vigilant and report suspicious people and vehicles in the area, detailing as much information as possible. Parishioners were reminded that Beat Surgeries are held in the Village Shop on the following dates (although it was stressed that these were subject to change as a result of deployments and other incidents throughout the year):

 

7th June 2017

11am

12th July 2017

2pm

20th August 2017

11am

9th September 2017

10am

3rd October 2017

2pm

21st November 2017

10am

22nd December 2017

2pm

 

These surgeries are a good opportunity for local residents to discuss any concerns over local issues or just to come and meet the local PC or PCSO.

Fly tipping was also raised as an ongoing concern and the parish council will reflect the best way to report fly tipping incidents in future minutes.

 

Woodgreen Community Shop Association - Ron Trevaskis

 

Ron started his talk by confirming that it was now the 6th anniversary since the opening of the shop.

Tthe turnover has increased by 3.5% in the last financial year. Previous years have been higher but such growth reflects what has been happening in the outside world. Profit will be affected this year due to a number of factors including the increase in the national living wage and increase /inflationary pressures on costs although it was noted that a safety net is in place. A customer survey was undertaken earlier in the year which received nearly 200 responses and eight focus groups were held. 40% of returns were from people who are not shareholders and there will be a drive to get more people to sign up.  Full details can be found on the shop noticeboard and at the following online address: http://www.woodgreenshop.org/wcs2015/?page_id=461

Ron advised that the shop committee had noted the comments made and were addressing concerns such as the date life of fruit and vegetables; calls for a wider choice of meat; improvements to the carpark (which had now been undertaken) and a new milk chiller had been installed. Shopping habits had also been monitored which reflected that meat was the bestseller within the shop, followed by bakery and then dairy. It was also confirmed that the shop is currently looking for a new cheese supplier.

The three managers, volunteers, employees, suppliers and customers were then thanked for making the shop such a success.

The Chairman thanked Ron for his talk and asked if any parishioners had any questions. Ron was asked whether a cafe could be a viable addition to the shop as it may encourage more people to visit. This was considered to be quite a big step (e.g. toilets would need to be provided and this would be at considerable cost) although improvements to the coffee area may be undertaken.

 

Woodgreen Village Hall - Parish Cllr Julia Wilkie

Julia advised that the hall continues to thrive with an ever increasing number of bookings, especially wedding receptions. Rental rates were not increased last year but are being reviewed for this coming year.

Grant aid is still in the process of being sourced to aid the cost of replacement heating and lighting systems. Much discussion has taken place regarding the efficiency of possible systems. The lighting remains a priority as task lighting is often needed by regular hirers of the hall.

Details of any functions arranged by the hall committee can be found on the website.

Julia ended her talk with a reminder that the Woodgreen Village Hall AGM will be held on Monday, 

5th June at 7pm.

 

Downton Link - Parish Cllr Julia Wilkie

Julia represents the parish council as an 'ex officio' member of the Downton Link Committee, a locally run organisation which provides transport primarily for hospital and doctor's appointments. It can also accommodate some shopping, hairdressers’ appointments etc.

Whilst there is no set charge for this service, a donation is expected. At present, whilst there are several clients in Woodgreen, there are no drivers from the village. A request was made to people who may be interested in helping with this much needed service to contact the Link on the number which is published in the parish magazine. Alternatively contact Julia and she can pass details to the appropriate committee member. A mileage allowance is payable and hours can be as minimal as you wish. There is no requirement to work in the evenings or at the weekend.

Woodgreen Preschool - Kirsten Davies and Lindi Harper

Kirsten started her talk by reflecting on progress made by the preschool in the last 12 months. Fundraising has increased and costs have been reduced by reigning in staff hours and by a slight rent reduction, although it was noted that the cost of insurance has increased. Number of children attending is still a little low although the ratio of children to staff hours is now tailored better.

Financially the preschool is showing a £4K profit and has a surplus of £2K, which is in marked contrast to the deficit last year.

Woodgreen Preschool has now established good links with other preschools in the local area and is actively looking to share costs and ideas. There is now a new initiative for parents who work 30 hours per week and it is hoped that this will boost attendance figures further.

Kirsten ended her talk by encouraging villagers to tell friends and family about the preschool’s activities and by thanking all in the local community for their continued support. The Chairman thanked all the members of Woodgreen Preschool for all their hard work and for organising events which enhance village life in Woodgreen.

 

8. Matters to be raised by the public

One villager asked whether there will be an annual litter pick in Woodgreen this year. There was concern that deflated balloons had been found in the local area which would be very dangerous to New Forest ponies. The Chairman advised that the parish council would be looking to arrange annual litter picks on an ongoing basis.

 

The Chairman thanked all those who attended and closed the meeting at 9.00pm. Refreshments were then served.

 

 

These are draft minutes until approved at the next annual parish assembly. Appendix 1 is reflected on the website - www.woodgreen-pc.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOODGREEN PARISH COUNCIL - Appendix 1

Receipts and payments to 31st March 2017

RECEIPTS

2015/16

2016/17

Sale of Assets

£0.00

£0.00

Precept

£6,646.00

£7,023.00

Interest Received

£890.70

£645.81

Cemetery Fees

£1,050.00

£1,170.00

Halls Field

£250.00

£250.00

VAT refunds

£318.10

£174.94

Grants

£154.00

£577.00

Other

£10.00

£10.00

TOTAL INCOME

£9,318.80

£9,850.75

 

 

 

PAYMENTS

 

 

Administration

£2,751.66

£3,368.59

Cemetery expenses

£1,798.71

£1,994.70

Donations Section 137

£0.00

£150.00

Halls Field

£250.00

£741.00

Reading Room

£100.45

£96.47

Insurance

£826.64

£858.68

Repairs, hedge cutting

£0.00

£804.00

Subscriptions

£295.50

£297.50

VAT Paid

£174.94

£367.07

Website

£800.00

£150.00

Training

£42.50

£378.36

Other

£177.25

£143.00

TOTAL PAYMENTS

£7,217.65

£9,349.37

 

 

 

SUMMARY

 

 

Balance as at 1st April

£82,116.22

£84,217.37

Add total receipts

£9,318.80

£9,850.75

 

£91,435.02

£94,068.12

Less total payments

£7,217.65

£9,349.37

New balance

£84,217.37

£84,718.75

 

 

 

REPRESENTED BY

 

 

Lloyds - Fordingbridge

£9,959.06

£9,731.68

Santander

£51,706.59

£70,018.41

National Savings Bank

£22,691.72

£5,093.66

Debtors

£0.00

£0.00

 

 

 

Creditors

£140.00

£125.00

Balance to carry forward

£84,217.37

£84,718.75

 

 

 

Earmarked reserve - cemetery

£75,000.00

£75,000.00

Working Balance

£9,217.37

£9,718.75

 

 

 

Total Balance

£84,217.37

£84,718.75

 

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