Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held in the Parish Room, Westwood, at 7.30pm on Tuesday 9 April 2013.
Cllr. J Johnston Vice-Chairman, Westwood Parish Council.
Roger Coleman Clerk.
Parish Councillors G Edwards and I Richardson attended the meeting. Parish Councillor T Biles attended (Part-time).
There were twenty-four members of the public present including parish councillors.
1. Introduction and Apologies.
The Chairman, Cllr. Johnston, welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained the nature, and purpose, of an Annual Parish Meeting.
Apologies for non-attendance were received from the Parish Council Chairman, Allan Parker.
2. Presentation by Nicholas Bate – ‘Emergency Planning’.
Nicholas Bate (Wiltshire Council) gave a presentation on ‘Emergency Planning’. He stated that it was a Government initiative to encourage local authorities to develop a plan that in an emergency, such as severe weather conditions or a civil catastrophe, could be implemented to ensure the well-being of the parishioners within a community – especially the more elderly and vulnerable within that society. He explained the possible contents of such a plan and the various subjects that needed to be addressed, such as emergency shelter arrangements, food supplies, power supplies, identifying the needs of the vulnerable and frail and the availability of local resources, such as 4WD vehicles, tractors, heavy machinery and medical staff that could be called upon in an emergency. He commented that such resilience planning was intended to be implemented when the emergency arose and before the Emergency Services were able to attend. He commented that currently a number of ‘Emergency Planning’ exercises are being held with Parish Councils within the County and these are proving both popular and extremely useful in identifying vulnerabilities and shortcomings.
There followed a Question and Answer session.
The Chairman thanked Mr Bate for giving his presentation.
3. Presentation by Cllr. I Richardson – ‘Westwood 20mph Speed Trial’.
Cllr. Richardson gave a presentation on the origins, conduct and likely conclusion of the ‘20mph Speed Trial’ in Westwood.
A copy of his presentation is appended to these minutes.
There followed a Question and Answer session.
The Chairman thanked Cllr. Richardson for giving his presentation.
4. Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 24 April 2012.
The Minutes were signed as a true and accurate record.
5. Annual Report of the Parish Council.
a. The Chairman gave a full report of the work of the Council over the preceding year. A summary of the subjects covered is shown below (in italics):
This year the Parish Council has been very busy with a full programme of work to improve the local community and to support local groups and to support events that took place in the village. A key theme this year has been road safety.
The Parish Council owns substantial assets:
· Playing Field.
· Westwood Park.
· Children’s Play Area and Play Equipment.
· Bus Shelter.
· Noticeboards, Bench seats, Street Lights (in Park)
…………..all of which have to be maintained by the Parish Council from the Precept.
Neighbourhood Policing Team.
· PC Lee Pelling and PCSO Andrew Maclachlan – Many thanks.
· (Martin Barratt retired mid-year)
· Attend PC Meetings to give report/listen to concerns.
· NPT Actions: Speeding through the village (Speed Checks), Road Safety issues/concerns, Suspicious vehicles/Persons, Abandoned vehicles.
· Cllr. Richardson represents PC at CATG Meetings and is the PC lead on Road safety matters.
· Cllr. Parker represents PC at NPT Tasking Meetings (held quarterly).
· Westwood is in the Bradford on Avon Community Area Board. The Bradford on Avon Community Area includes the parishes of Bradford on Avon, Holt, Limpley Stoke, Monkton Farleigh, South Wraxall, Staverton, Westwood, Wingfield, Winsley.
· Wiltshire Council Councillor – Linda Conley attended most PC Meetings.
Parish Council activities:
At start of year the PC was a Full Council (9 Members) but retirements of Steve Harding and Robyn Howard-Evans reduced it latterly to seven members. Nominations for the new Council to take office in May totalled 7, so there will be no PC election.
12 Parish Council Meetings held.
20 mph Speed Limit Trial/Road Safety Improvements.
Regular highway inspections and liaison with Wiltshire Council for repairs, remedial action (potholes, poor resurfacing etc).
Planning Applications: Around 20 considered (Planning applications, Listed Building Consent and Tree Works).
Donations made by the PC: Westwood Flower Show (£140) – Bratton Silver Band.
Westwood garden Competition (£120) - Prizes
Westwood Update: Published every two months (Total Cost - £400).
Westwood Park/Playing Field: Maintenance (S & J Contracts Ltd)
(and renewed recently for a further year) Grass Cutting etc – £188/month in FY2012/13.
Income from Football Matches.
Westwood Park Play Area: Replacing fence slats – vandalised fencing.
Monthly Safety Inspection – Repair work undertaken
Annual Safety Inspection (RoSPA).
Play Equipment Value (including surface) = £30,000.
Westwood Nursery School: Fully supported by the Parish Council.
Lease renewed for a further 7 years in 2011.
Cemetery: Maintenance (Grass Cutting/Hedge planting etc)
Income from Cemetery – Burials/Memorials
Annual Grant from Wiltshire Council
Village Handyman: Val Cooke (Many thanks etc) – Looks after the cemetery, churchyard (and immediate area) and Play Area/Park plus general village tidying-up.
Highways: Potholes – especially Lower Westwood Road.
Cutting back hedges/trees.
Parish Steward visiting monthly.
20 mph Speed Trial.
Footpath/Bridleway: Monitoring (Monthly report) and bramble clearance, stile repair etc.
Repair of Path 15.
Website – www.westwoodparish.co.uk
Consideration/Consultation on numerous WC Documents.
b. Statement on the Parish Council accounts for Year ending 31 March 2012.
Accounts for the Year ending 31 March 2013.
The Clerk gave a brief report on the Accounts for FY2012/2013. He stated that he had balanced the accounts and had completed the Annual Return and that the accounts will now be submitted to the Internal Auditor. Thereafter, they will be submitted to the Parish Council for approval and subsequent auditing by the External Auditor – Grant Thornton.
He stated that the balance brought into the year was £16794.06 and the balance carried forward at the end of the year was £17868.18.
The Clerk stated that Receipts in the year totalled £17554.36 and Payments in the year totalled £16480.24.
He reported that the main Receipts in the year were:
VAT Refund £226
Jubilee Grant £500
Cemetery Fees £715
Cemetery Grant £3114
Open Spaces £195 (Football Pitch).
Bank Account Interest £45.
He reported that the main Payments in the year were:
Staff Costs £4216
Office Expenses £432
Open Space maintenance £2371:
- Grass Cutting
- Westwood Playing Field Hedge Cutting
- RoSPA Play Area Annual Safety Inspection/New Grass Matting.
Cemetery/Churchyard Maintenance £3173
Village Handyman £207
Westwood Update £399
Jubilee Mugs £333
Jubilee Celebrations £500.
Insurance/Audit Fees £1286.
He concluded by stating that the Fixed Assets of the Council represented around £43000 and that these were based on current insurance values and the actual cost of acquiring the Westwood Park, the Playing Field, Nursery School and Cemetery.
6. Village Representatives – Presentations.
Neighbourhood Policing Team.
PC Lee Pelling introduced himself and stated that the Bradford on Avon Rural Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) comprises him and PCSO Andrew Maclachlan. He described the role of the NPT and its commitment to the local communities and he described the nature of the work involved and the challenges that it presents. PC Pelling gave details of the statistics of reported crime in the area and he commented that Westwood and Wiltshire in general attracted low crime figures when compared to national statistics. He added that Westwood was a safe area in that respect. A copy of the statistics and other matters reported by PC Pelling are shown below (in italics):
Annual Parish Report for the Bradford on Avon Rural Beat
Period 1st April 2012 – 31st March 2013
The Bradford rural beat covers 8 villages and many hamlets. The villages are: Holt, Limpley Stoke, Monkton Farleigh, South Wraxall, Staverton, Westwood, Wingfield and Winsley.
The beat is patrolled by PC Lee Pelling and PCSO Andrew MacLachlan who are based at Bradford on Avon police station.
Crime figures for the rural beat show there have been 476 reported incidents occurring in the rural beat between the above dates, roughly equating to just under 10 per week.
The main categories breakdown as follows:
ASB – 67, Burglary – 60, Criminal Damage – 36, Theft and handling – 91, Violence against the person – 40, Road Traffic Collisions – 52
The 60 burglaries are broken down as follows:
Holt – 14, Limpley Stoke – 6, Monkton Farleigh – 2, South Wraxall – 4, Staverton – 4, Westwood – 14
Wingfield – 4, Winsley – 12
The average for burglaries across the beat is about 1 per week. There was a series of burglaries, mainly in the Winsley area, back in October and a male was arrested and charged in connection with these and others in the area.
These 60 burglaries occurred during the following months:
April 2012 – 2 May – 3 June – 4 July – 2 August – 9 September – 3
October – 9 November – 4 December – 6 January – 3 February – 6
March 2013 – 9
Many conclusions could be made of this pattern, but the possible obvious one is that the two peaks of 9 in August and March occurred when people are most likely to be away on holiday (summer and Easter). The 9 in October have already been referred to and were mainly down to one person.
Your two NPT officers, supported by the two town centre NPT officers, will continue to patrol the rural areas and will call upon other specialised police teams to help tackle and deter crime. This approach has proved particularly successful in making several high profile arrests which resulted in custodial sentences being handed down, including one of 8 years earlier this year.
Please urge residents to report anything suspicious to the police using 101 for non emergencies, 999 for emergencies or by contacting PC Lee Pelling directly on 0752 897 2004 or PCSO Andrew MacLachlan on 0752 897 2236.
The Chairman thanked PC Pelling for his report.
There followed a Question and Answer session.
Westwood Nursery School – Alex Clark.
Alex Clark gave details of Westwood Nursery School, the nature of the ‘learning experience’ at the school, its role within the village and the plans for the future. She commented that the Nursery School was a significant ‘feeder’ to the Westwood with Iford Primary School and that the Nursery School was an important institution within the village and that it contributed to community life in a variety of ways, such as the Flower Show and Scarecrow Trail. Alex Clark added that the Nursery School currently has thirty-three registered pupils of which twenty-three are destined to go on to the Westwood Primary School and that next year represents the thirtieth anniversary of the Nursery School. She explained that a new outdoor play surface had been constructed for the children and that this was proving very popular.
The Chairman, Cllr. Johnston presented a cheque for £1500 to Alex Clark as a Parish Council contribution to the Nursery School and as a donation towards the cost of the new play surface that had cost slightly in excess of £5000.
Alex Clark thanked the Parish Council for such a generous donation.
Westwood Stores – Ray Parsons.
Ray Parsons explained that the extension of the Shop/Post Office was now well in hand and that significant work is to take place over the next few weeks. He gave details of this planned extension and the resulting improved experience for customers visiting the shop. He thanked parishioners for supporting the shop and added that trade had increased over the last year by some 10 – 20% and that the recent acquisition of a Lottery terminal had assisted this increase.
The Chairman thanked Mr Parsons for his presentation.
The Parish Room – Jonathan Azis.
Mr Azis stated that following the departure of Ron Lowrie, the previous Rector, from the new Vicarage, the Diocese of Salisbury had decided to sell the Vicarage and the adjoining land thus putting the future of the Parish Room in doubt. He stated that he was hopeful that the Parish Room would remain a village asset and that its future could be secured with assistance from the National Trust and others. He commented that it was hoped to obtain the Parish Room and some land with it and he described the proposals for developing the Parish Room subject to its acquisition from the Diocese of Salisbury. He displayed the drawn plans to those present. Mr Azis explained possible additional uses for the Parish Room and added that the use of the Parish Room would complement well both the church and Westwood Manor by offering facilities hitherto missing from both of those buildings.
There ensued a discussion in respect of the proposed acquisition and development of the Parish Room and parishioners expressed the view that the Parish Room was a highly valued and well-used facility in the village. Following a proposal from the floor that was seconded, the parishioners resolved unanimously that ‘This meeting supports the plans for the Parish Room and wishes to see them implemented.’
Rector Joanna Abecassis.
The Rev. Abecassis introduced herself as the new Rector of Westwood Church and that her other responsibilities included Wingfield Church and Holy Trinity Church, Bradford on Avon. She described her role within the community and her commitment to it and that she looked forward to her new appointment and meeting with parishioners.
7. To consider other matters raised by those present.
A parishioner requested that a ‘No Through Road’ or ‘Cul de Sac’ sign is erected at the entrance to Chestnut Grove to deter vehicles from turning into that road and expecting to reach Lower Westwood. The same parishioner requested that the road sign at Upper Westwood on the corner of Lyefield Lane, opposite Upper Farm, be relocated or changed because in its present position it obscures the sight of traffic travelling along the Upper Westwood road towards that junction.
The meeting closed at 9.15 pm.