MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD AT CHOBHAM PAVILION, RECREATION GROUND, STATION ROAD, CHOBHAM.
Wednesday 4th May 2016
Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Cllrs Taylor, Wheeler, Mrs Barr and Mrs Mancini.
The Chairman, Cllr Mrs Head, welcomed those present and advised that the Deputy Clerk would be taking the minutes.
Minutes of last meeting
The Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 19th May 2015 were amended for minor changes and were approved.
Good evening everyone. We have here this evening Elizabeth Fowler, Community Resilience Officer for Surrey County Council. She has been a great help to us in preparing our new resilience plan that has replaced the old Chobham flood forum.
We also have Tom Pantry, from Southern Electric Power Distribution who will be explaining the priority service for those who might suffer more in power cuts and also telling us how we can apply for some grant funding for our own resilience plan. Can I just say now, many thanks to you both for coming here tonight to speak to us.
Peter Higgs is going to give us a short talk on the history of the Cannon which I know will be of interest to you all, being a prominent landmark in our Village for many a year! We have just fortunately renewed its lease from the Royal Artillery museum securing its place for some time yet. Whilst on the subject of Cannon Corner, many of you may have noticed how smart the war memorial now looks, together with the one at Valley End, this is thanks to a Parish Council initiative led by Pat to restore and clean these Village landmarks.
May we also tonight welcome Cllr Mike Goodman who is our County Councillor, can I take this opportunity to thank him for his regular and constant support at our monthly meetings and also for the work he does on behalf of the Village. Please also welcome Borough Cllrs Victoria Wheeler and Pat Tedder who will be giving an update on items from the Borough. I would also like to personally take this opportunity to thank my Vice Chair, Pat Tedder for her support throughout my year in Office.
There will be an opportunity for questions at the end so could I ask you to save any you may have during our reports and presentations, until then.
This year has been another difficult one in the Parish Office with regard to HR issues. Our previous Clerk, Catherine, who was her elf fairly new to this role, recently left us for pastures new. A huge thank you on behalf of the Parish Council to our Deputy Clerk, Annette Barber, who is here tonight taking our minutes and has stepped in and done a sterling job of keeping us on the straight and narrow, supported ably by our returning Locum Clerk Anne Tait who is unfortunately unable to be here tonight.
We are currently in the process of recruiting for a new Clerk, so please watch this space, hopefully we will be running at full capacity – staff wise that is - in the near future!
On the Recreation Ground we will shortly be welcoming a new outdoor table tennis table (partly funded by donations) and we are at the moment looking into the possibility of new public conveniences, not that the two are related! We have recently had our all weather surface resurfaced and this is still proving a popular facility and our training pitch starts its repair work next week.
We are also in the process of replacing the four war memorial chestnut trees on the recreation ground following a recent tree report stating they should be removed. Following their removal however, they will be replaced directly afterwards with new trees of the same variety.
Many of you may have come across our new Parish Website, for those of you that haven’t please visit. It has lots of information about the Council and its functions, including dates of meetings, agendas and minutes of these meetings and other items of interest for Villagers. We do welcome the submission of any photographs you may have taken or do take of the Village, please send them in to the Parish Office electronically please and we will try to upload as many as we can on the site.
My own personal disappointment is that we have not yet managed to clear the Leat bed. Unfortunately the original quote we obtained exceeded the funding available. However all is not lost, as it seems we do have a certain amount to spend and we are currently looking at getting alternative quotes to obtain the desired result.
We are in the process and have very nearly completed our Community Resilience Plan which will replace the previous Chobham Flood Forum, this plan will soon be published although we are in desperate need for more wardens to cover certain areas should the worst happen. If you can spare some time full training will be given and if you could touch base with Annette in the Parish Office she will give you further information on what is involved in the role.
Work has recently started on the land purchased by the Parish Council during the 1950s that has been used to date as allotments. This land is currently needed to enlarge the cemetery and the work to establish this is now underway.
Just a word on the Neighbourhood Plan which is at this present time in desperate need of volunteers and any offers of help, to move it forward to the next stage. If you are able to join the team please speak to Victoria Wheeler who is Co Chair of the Steering Committee after the meeting to register your interest.
I feel I must also mention tonight that preparations are well underway for the free Village Street Party on Sunday 12th June at 12.30pm. The Street Party Committee led by James Osbourn and myself, have been working really hard to make this event one to be remembered. Plans include a ticketed hogroast, the £5 tickets need to be bought prior to the day and will be available from Jonella, Velvet Rooms in the High Street or Tenaker Farm shop and this price includes a piece of homemade cake. Ukelele band, street magician, theatre group performing for children and adults alike, our own morris dancers, live singer, face painting and a bouncy castle. We hope to have the publicity material which is kindly being produced by Coworth Flexlands , available shortly.
The start of the party will be announced by the Chobham bellringers and for churchgoers there will be a service at 10 am.
We are in need of volunteers leading up to the event and on the day, even if you can only spare an hour please join the team, you will be very welcome. You can see James or myself tonight if you can sign up and commit to help on what is promising to be a really fun day out.
Surrey County Councillor Mike Goodman’s Report.
Those here last year may recall that much of the meeting was taken up with the issues surrounding the potential new contract with Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) and the commercialisation of the common. It is fair to say it is a meeting I will not forget. I subsequently held a public meeting to discuss the common with SWT and Surrey County Council (SCC). A lot has happened during the last year.
Following this, two meetings were held between SCC and SWT and the Preservation Commitee. We have agreed to give the Preservation Committee a parcel of land to experiment with different methods of land management. We have also agreed to review the governance of the Chobham Liaison Group and we will be consulting with them on proposed changes this year. I do believe this is a significant step forward and one that can only help our countryside.
A new contract has been signed with SWT and SCC. As a result we are able to protect the whole of Surrey’s countryside into perpetuity but at the same time reduce the costs from over a million to zero. This has been achieved by SWT being more commercially aware, they have improved efficiencies throughout the estate, reducing costs. They are also improving the income they receive from the large portfolio of properties they manage on behalf of SCC.
We have not commercialised the common as feared but have improved our relationship particularly with the Preservation Committee. I look forward to us working together in the coming year.
I am pleased that we have achieved so much in putting together the resilience program over the last year we now have the first program of its type in Surrey. I know we have still have more to do and we do need more helpers and wardens so please contact the Parish Office if you would like to be involved.
I am sure I do not have to remind people of the financial pressure on all levels of Government. In 2015/16 SCC for the fourth year running made efficiencies savings of £65m. We know there are challenging times ahead and we have to make further savings of over £250m over the next four years. This is despite the growing demand on adult social care and school placements. In fact between 2013 and 2017, we would have to build or extend 120 schools in Surrey, no mean achievement against a back drop of reduced funding.
A consultation took place on community recycling centres. This was required because we had to make savings of £1.8m. The consultation was completed at the end of October and the changes started to take effect from 1st April 2016. The changes have included closing at four o’clock each day throughout the year. There will be charges for large gas cylinders and tyres, only one bag of plasterboard or rubble per week per household will be allowed before being charged. The charges will not take effect until later this year.
We have now completed the second year of bus reviews for Surrey. It was important that services were protected and the majority of the £1.65m saving has come from reworking the timetable and reducing the operating costs to SCC. In fact, less than 0.75% of the users were affected by the changes. I am pleased to report there were no changes for Chobham.
Chertsey Road and the junction of Windsor Road will have considerable attention later this year. Although we have already reduced the speed limit from Ottershaw to Chobham to 50mph. There will be a consultation on how to improve Chertsey Road and the junction of Windsor Road in late autumn. Officers and myself will be working on possible improvements and we will then give the residents an opportunity to review plans.
Woodland Lane Bridge will be closed from 24th May and the M3 from June 24th 2016.
I would like to talk about heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). Earlier this year, I successfully got SCC to agree to a strategic review of HGV’s through Surrey Heath villages. It was essential to have this review because any weight limits in one area will have unintended consequences on other roads. We saw this when I highlighted my concern that Windsor and Maidenhead’s proposal to restrict the railway bridge on Chobham Road to 7.5tons. The effect of Windsor and Maidnehead’s decision was to increase HGVs through both Windlesham and Chobham and we already had an HGV accident a few weeks ago on Windsor Road. I can update residents that since W and M decision the leader of their Council has resigned and I am meeting with the new leader and SCC leader next Monday to discuss the decision. SCC are reviewing their legal position.
However, whatever the outcome, we will be reviewing HGV movements in Chobham. I have two concerns: safety and health due to air quality. I have arranged for the air quality to be tested because it is a well-known fact that HGV’s pollute the air quality and I to understand the effect they are having in Chobham. This I believe could give us evidence to support changes.
I would like to thank James Osborne for highlighting the consultancy report used by WCP to try to remove a condition on the DERA site. The report said that Surrey had agreed to route HGV’s through Chobham, this is not true and the consultant had used the Cabinet report from Windsor and Maidenhead to support the removal of this condition. The aim of the condition’s removal was to save the developer money. I can confirm that the consultant has now removed this reference from the technical report. When building starts on DERA, HGV’s will not go through Chobham.
We have had numerous roads resurfaced under operation horizon, the latest being Windlesham Road just a few weeks ago. I do believe our roads are much better now and there has been a significant reduction in pot holes.
Surrey Council has decided to spend £20m on pavements over the next five years. The 2016/17 for resurfacing were decided by engineers and Surrey highways. Chertsey Road pavements will be resurfaced and is one of the biggest schemes in Surrey. If you see
As County Councillors it is our responsibility to put forward the pavements we want to be placed on the list for the next two years. I will be reviewing our pavements to ensure the right pavements made a priority. If you see pavements that you feel should be on the list, please let me know.
Each year Councillors receive an allocation of money to spend on causes and improving their division. In the last year, I have had all our road signs cleaned. I was amazed that these had not been cleaned for a number of years and there was no budget for their cleaning. I arranged for the extension of the country path at Valley End School to make it safe for the children to school. New parking arrangements on school safety will come into force later this year to help the safety of children.
The new boiler in the Pavilion need funding and I was able to contribute to this. I am delighted to fund the coins that will be presented to all the children of Chobham St Lawrence and Valley End Schools.
I was also pleased to contribute to having grit bins in Chobham. For some reason Chobham had been missed out and with the help of the parish we now have four grit bins and will be looking to increase for next winter. I was also pleased by working with Chobham riders and Horsell Common we are able to repair the bridge over Bridleway 3.
Finally, I have funded the purchased of a mini moo for Chobham St Lawrence School. The mini moo will be decorated by the children and then taken out on parade to advertise the school. This is scheme will available to businesses and other organisations. In September the mini moos will be auctioned.
Surrey Heath Borough Councillor Victoria Wheeler
In her first year of office, BCllr Mrs Wheeler has attended various training courses and is involved in finance, planning and licencing as well as other areas. She has visited different organisations across the Borough, including Crossroads Care Centre which is held at Chobham Pavilion on a Saturday. BCllr Mrs Wheeler noted the difficulties regarding planning decision; Camberley being an urbanised area is in stark contrast to the requirements of rural Chobham. Priority of the enforcement team is given to urban areas, with insufficient funds left for rural areas such as Chobham. The Neighbourhood Plan which commenced three years ago is still of the upmost importance to Chobham. If anyone is interested in getting involved, please contact BCllr Mrs Wheeler. The campaign to prevent the closure of the Post office has been very time consuming, but the turnout at the village meeting was very encouraging. Please continue with your support. New initiatives include bins for foxes and “Clean for the Queen”. The first prosecutions for fly tipping are currently taking place, there are two pending in Surrey, with one being in Chobham. There are great difficulties in obtaining doctors appointments in Chobham, due to the current vacancies of GP’s. The surgery is recruiting which should help the situation. Cllr Wheeler noted the proposed new care home for Windlesham “All of Us” is not providing GP facilities which will put an extra burden on the already stretched appointment system.
I would now like to introduce Liz Fowler, Community Resilience Officer for Surrey County Council, who has supported us in the preparation of our new Resilience Plan, that I spoke about earlier. As I said we are still very much in need of wardens to help implement this plan should the unthinkable happen to our Village, so all offers of help will be most welcome.
We are also eligible to apply for funding to help us in this project and Tom is here to give us a background to the grant funding and how to apply as well as talking about the priority service available to some during power cuts.