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MINUTES OF THE BLOXHAM ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD AT JUBILEE HALL, BLOXHAM ON THURSDAY 14 APRIL 2016 AT 7.30PM
PRESENT: Chairman Councillor Geoff Mollard: Councillors Mary Groves, Stephen Phipps, Nick Rayner, Gillian Roberts, Gloria Lester-Stevens, Sue Slater, Andy Taplin and Jenny Yates.
ALSO IN ATTENDANCE: Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer to Bloxham Parish Council Theresa Goss, Administration Assistant to the Parish Council Katherine Mills, Neighbourhood Plan Co-ordinator John Groves, District Councillor Christine Heath, County Councillor Kieron Mallon and 50 members of the public.
APOLOGIES: Parish Councillor Tom Smith and District Councillor Lynda Thirzie-Smart.
1/16 MINUTES – The minutes of the meeting held on 23 April 2015 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
2/16 MATTERS ARISING – There were no matters arising from the minutes of the meeting held on 23 April 2015. However, the Chairman reported that the Red Lion was currently undergoing a major refurbishment and was due to open in early July 2016.
3/16 CHAIRMAN’S REPORT – The Chairman circulated a report to the APM on the Parish Council’s activities over the last 12 months. The full report was available on the Parish Council web site.
The main highlights of the Chairman’s report were:
- Personnel changes
- Planning and local developments
- Bloxham Neighbourhood Development Plan
- The acquisition of The Slade
- Bloxham Circular Walks
- Butterfly Meadows and village groups
- Jubilee Park Hall refurbishment
The Chairman also thanked all the Parish Councillors, Theresa Goss Clerk to the Parish Council and Katherine Mills Administration Assistant to the Parish Council, for all their work of the last 12 months. He also thanked all the volunteers from the village who assisted the Parish Council with work at The Slade (Marie Jones and David Yates) and all of the village litter pickers.
John Groves was also thanked for all of his hard work on the Neighbourhood Plan, which was now at the examination stage.
4/16 FINANCIAL REPORT/BUDGET AND FUNDING – The Clerk presented to the Annual Parish Meeting, the financial report for 2015/2016. The figures had been subject to internal audit and gave an accurate picture of the activities of the year. There were no items of clarification. The accounts for year ended 31 March 2016 were available on the Parish Council web site.
Councillor Andy Taplin, Chair of the Parish Council’s Resources Committee, addressed the meeting with regard to Parish Council’s budget and funding. He advised on the Parish Council’s expenditure for the year and the income it received, including the precept.
Councillor Taplin reported on the potential financial threats to the Parish Council in the coming years, as well as the opportunities which the Parish Council had taken with regard to obtaining grant funding from external organisations, for projects at The Slade and Bloxham Circular Walks.
There was information on the Section 106 monies available to the Parish and the New Homes Bonus, including how this had been spent.
The presentation to the Annual Parish Meeting was available on the Parish Council web site.
The Chairman thanked Councillor Taplin for his presentation and following questions from the residents, three issues were clarified:
- The mortgage on Jubilee Hall would finish in March 2017 and those funds of £11,704 per year, would go back into the Parish Council’s budget to pay for other services in the village;
- The £250,000 Section 106 funds which were available for recreation and outdoor sports were not due to expire until at least 2021; and
- There were Section 106 funds available for measures to improve the road infrastructure in Bloxham, but currently, the County Council did not have any solutions to the problems at the mini round-about.
5/16 PLANNING MATTERS – Parish Councillor Sue Slater addressed the meeting with regard to planning matters in the village. Councillor Slater provided information on the Parish Council’s Planning Committee, how often it met and that it had considered 88 planning applications in Bloxham over the last 12 months.
Information was provided on the new developments in Bloxham and the challenges for 2016/2017. The Committee had also spent an enormous amount of time responding to consultations from the Government to try and influence national policies.
Councillor Slater also advised on the rural housing allocation within the Local Plan and it was hoped that as Bloxham had had its fair share of housing, no further large developments would be permitted, however, this could not be guaranteed.
The presentation to the Annual Parish Meeting was available on the Parish Council web site.
The Chairman thanked Councillor Slater for her presentation and invited questions/comments from the residents.
A resident highlighted the need for a village centre in Bloxham so there was a focal point to meet other people and for the community to engage with each other. Also highlighted were the frustrations of individual residents when dealing with the Planning Officers at Cherwell District Council with regard to issues in Bloxham.
The issues with regard to the proposed cuts to the village bus services and also the bridge works in Old Bridge Road were mentioned, but County Councillor Kieron Mallon advised that he would address these in his report later in the meeting.
Residents also highlighted the problems with the footpaths in Bloxham, which included them being unsuitable for wheelchair users. The Parish Council encouraged residents to report to the County Council, all of these problems and to include photographs, where possible. Issues with inconsiderate parking in the village were also reported.
6/16 PARISH COUNCIL PRIORITIES FOR 2016 INCLUDING NEW PLAY EQUIPMENT, A PROPOSED ONE-WAY SYSTEM, TRAFFIC AND PARKING ISSUES – The Chairman reported on the Parish Council priorities for 2016/2017. These were:
- Continued opposition to “unsympathetic” developments in the village
- Ensure the BNDP was approved in the village referendum later in 2016
- Improve Play Areas for children
- Continue to improve recreational facilities in the village
- Address parking issues in Bloxham, including on verges, pavements etc
- Re-opening of Old Bridge Road; Potential One Way System
- Looking at options to alleviate the parking and traffic in the village
- Pressure on village services and infrastructure; Doctors, Schools, Dentist, Roads, Water, etc
The Chairman invited questions from residents but there were none.
7/16 REPORTS FROM COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS
County Councillor Kieron Mallon addressed the meeting and commended the Parish Council for its hard work in Bloxham. He also thanked District Councillor Christine Heath for all her work, especially with regard to planning matters.
Councillor Mallon then went on to advise on the County Council’s budget, including the constraints and the difficult decisions which had been made to balance the budget. He also thanked the Parish Council for its financial support of Butterfly Meadow Children’s Centre, which had meant that the Centre would stay open for a further six months. During this time, it was hoped that other funding sources would be found to ensure its long term future.
Councillor Mallon advised that the 488 bus service would not be cut and was guaranteed to run until June 2017. At that point, the contract with Stage Coach would be re-negotiated and it was hoped that there would be an improved service to cater for all of the residents from the new developments in Bloxham. He would be meeting with the Managing Director of Stage Coach shortly and Councillor Jenny Yates asked if a Parish Councillor could also attend that meeting.
Councillor Mallon also advised that works to the retaining wall in Old Bridge Road would commence in 2016/2017. However, should a major bridge in Oxfordshire require any emergency works, then this would take priority and the scheduled date for Old Bridge Road might have to be moved back.
During 2016/2017, there would also be a new crossing on the A361 and works to the lay-by at Warriner School.
The Chairman thanked Councillor Mallon for his report.
Councillor Christine Heath addressed the meeting and reported on planning matters affecting Bloxham, including the Local Plan and also the boundary review. Councillor Heath would be standing for election on 5 May 2016 and if re-elected, would be member for the new ward of Bloxham, Bodicote and Adderbury. If re-elected, Councillor Heath would also be the District Council Chairman for 2016/2017.
Councillor Heath’s full report was available on the Parish Council web site.
The Chairman reported that prior to the meeting, District Councillor Lynda Thirzie-Smart had sent her report to the Parish Council. The Chairman highlighted Councillor Thirzie-Smart’s reference to the impact on Bloxham from all of the new developments. She would not be standing for re-election in May 2016 and the Chairman thanked her for all her work during her time as District Councillor for Bloxham.
Councillor Thirzie-Smart’s full report was available on the Parish Council web site.
8/16 RESIDENTS QUESTIONS – There were no further questions.
Councillor Jenny Yates highlighted the Parish Council’s request for volunteers from the village to assist with the Working Group, which would be looking at how £250,000 of Section 106 monies could be spent on outdoor sport and recreation in Bloxham. If anyone would like to be a member of the Group, they should contact Theresa Goss, Clerk to the Parish Council.
The Chairman closed the meeting and thanked everyone for attending.
(The meeting closed at 9.20pm)