MINUTES OF NORTHINGTON PARISH COUNCIL ANNUAL MEETING
Swarraton and Northington Village Hall
7.30pm on Tuesday, 14th of May 2019
Present: John Mitchell (JM, Chairman)
Adam Dyne (AD)
Yvonne White (YW)
Melissa Jennings (JM)
Alexandra Risebury (AR, Clerk)
Apologies: Margot Power (MP, Councillor)
Jackie Porter (JP, Councillor)
Lisa Griffith (LG, Councillor)
Elaine Capp (EC)
The Chairman welcomed all present.
1) Minutes of the last meeting
Minutes of last year’s annual meeting held on the 15th of May 2018 were circulated to all present.
Adoption of the minutes was proposed by Peter Lamb and seconded by Jo Bowlby. The Chairman signed them.
2) Matters arising
- a) JM expressed his thanks to the Village Hall committee and all that they do for the village.
- b) In September 2018 Simon Walker stood down from the Parish Council to meet the demands of a new job. Northington Parish is heavily indebted to him for all his expert pro bono work on our website. Simon frequently supplied timely common sense to the Council’s debates. JM thanked for his contributions.
- c) Dennis Nye has very kindly agreed to fill the vacancy and was warmly welcomed. Dennis has already been busy on Council matters, displaying an impressive eye for detail.
- d) On the 2nd May the Council was returned to office unopposed. JM thanked everyone. Over the past few years, the Parish has welcomed several new families. Perhaps among their number, there may be one or two people who would like to become Parish Councillors. Please get in touch with the Parish Council.
- Chairman’s report
- I) GENERAL DATA PROTECTION ACT (GDPR)
The Act came into force on 25th May 2018, so the Parish Council is now the body overseeing its local implementation. The curator of the data is our Clerk, Alex, who works alongside a Councillor, in our case Melissa Jennings. Melissa is happy to answer any questions.
- II) PLANNING
JM said that his report is not the place to catalogue every planning application, which crosses the Council’s desks. Of interest, perhaps, was a successful application to provide tourist accommodation. Of note, however, was an appearance in the local press of the SHEELA list of sites for possible development? JM said he would to defer further comment on SHEELA to Item 6 on the agenda.
III) GRANGE FESTIVAL
The Grange Festival’s second season was a treat and it is good to see the Festival pursuing its ‘Open Door’ policy with vigour. The Festival’s plans to let young people engage with opera in the making are exciting. We are looking forward to the dress rehearsals in June.
- IV) LENGTHSMAN
We have a new Lengthsman but to get the best out of him, we need your help. Adam Dyne will speak about this at Item 4.
- V) B3046
Cars are continuing to speed along our roads and NPC struggles to persuade Hampshire County Council to implement reduced speed limits.
We have looked into installing flashing speed signs on the B3046. But in the end the cost was likely to be excessive and the facility would be available only at intervals. At last year’s AGM there was cogent argument that flashing lights were inappropriate in our rural setting. We have accepted this view. We have had HCC officials here three times and have paid for speed monitoring on Northington Hill. Yvonne White will report.
- VI) POLICING and NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
Elaine Capp continues to look after our interests and asked JM to pass on a reminder about the need for vigilance with regard to telephone and computer scams. Thank you, Elaine.
VII) THE COUNCIL
JM thanked his fellow councillors on the residents’ behalf for their work for the parish.
Yvonne keeps more than an eye on B3046 matters. Apart from dealing with HGV problems. Yvonne and Alex have been very actively pursuing WCC’s Highways Department over the matter of potholes and signs.
Adam’s organisational skills and charisma are legendary. He has had to usher in a new Lengthsman, do battle with BT over the ‘phone box and get us out with our black sacks for village clean-ups. Thank you.
Melissa is safeguarding our data and its use and she keeps SSE up to the mark on coping in a crisis. The jargon is Resilience.
Dennis has already been mentioned and will report later.
Alex tells us about things that need to be done and the parameters within which we can do them. She also keeps our accounts in order. It’s a busy job and the Council would not function as well as it does without Alex’s hard work.
JM thanked the management of the Woolpack Inn for allowing the Parish Council to use their private dining room for meetings. This makes a huge difference on a cold winter evening.
- Lengthsman/Village upkeep
AD reported that the 2019 Village clean-up saw its best turn out so far and we are still pulling rubbish out. In his view a once a year clean-up is sufficient.
NPC has been allocated a new Lengthsman, who has provided AD with a huge list of work he can carry out. Should we require him for work not listed or extra time, NPC will be charged. Some of the works he has carried out so far were cleaning signs, cutting back overgrowths, litter picking and painting the bench by the church. AD thinks that we are currently not utilising the Lengthsman’s time to best advantage. He urged residents to inform AD of any issues and ideally provide him with photographic evidence, so he can instruct the Lengthsman.
The phone box in Northington is currently out of order again. BT will remove the phone box but we have missed this year’s removal date. A broken glass panel has been reported but AD unsure about its repair. BT requires HCC’s permission to remove the phone box.
AD also made residents aware about the reporting/logging of potholes. This can be done either through Hampshire County Council’s website or via www.fixmystreet.com. The website links with HCC and is very user friendly. JM also urged to inform AR about any reports.
YW reported that as a result of pestering HCC, the B3046 was covered with new tarmac in April. Pothole reports take a long time and need a lot of chasing. If a pothole damages a car’s tyre(s) and the pothole has already been reported, the repair/replacement of the tyre can be claimed from HCC.
The speed survey report at Northington Hill in November 2018 showed that the average speed was below 45 mph. NPC have met HCC officials. The officers noted that Northington Hill has no reported injuries or incidents in the last 5 years. NPC went back to HCC and managed to achieve the installation of new 30mph road signs at either end of the hill. Three further roundel speed limit signs will be placed along the hill. The work is expected to be carried out in summer 2019.
Two accidents have occurred on the B3046 near the Grange entrance corner and the police have been involved. HCC inspected the site and, although there is no further scope for road signs/warnings installed, HCC will install some reflective lettering and the area prone to flooding will be cleared.
NPC and HCC also visited Kites Hill. Unfortunately there is no prospect of speed changes. YW reassured residents that NPC will keep an eye on local road issues.
JM noted that it had been useful to walk Northington Hill with Patrick Barber and Peter Lamb in the first instance. JM also noted that roundels painted on the road itself were inappropriate to the location because they can pose danger for cyclists and also their appearance is rather sub-urban.
YW said that NPC has built up a list names for officials at HCC, – a resource improves reaction time.
- Planning applications (SHEELA, Grange Estate)
Dennis Nye reported that Northington Parish Council (NPC) has become aware of a planning matter, which is of potential interest to the whole Parish.
On 6 December 2018, the Hampshire Chronicle published a list of possible building sites identified under the Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA). This listing was in response to a central government requirement that councils identify possible development sites. The exercise with a deadline of 08 April 2018 produced a long list of sites submitted by landowners and developers. It was narrowed down to a final list, which came to the notice of NPC through publication in the Hampshire Chronicle on 6 December 2018. One of the sites on the list is SHELAA Site NO01, located in the Grange Park.
The Grange Park itself has a Grade II* listing as a Historic Park and Garden and this special status was used recently by the Grange Estate to secure planning permission for the new aesthetic driveway to the Grange. Located in the Park, Site NO01 sits across an active fauna corridor, which includes bat roosts. NPC is concerned that the Grange Estate’s plan to sell land to developers for housing will erode the Park’s special status.
Against this background, NPC expressed its concerns to Winchester City Council (WCC) and then applied for a Tree Preservation Order to protect the affected woodland. After a visit from two planning officers, a provisional TPO was granted, although it has now run up against the existence of a prior Forestry Commission work plan.
NPC has been aware for some time that the Grade II listed buildings at Home Farm on the Grange Estate are in need of repair. On 26 March there was a meeting in the Village Hall called at the Estate’s request. It attracted a turnout of some 40 residents. The Grange Estate described current plans to convert the farm into an hotel and conference centre. The Estate said that they planned to raise funds by using ‘Enabling Development’ legislation to sell site NO01with planning permission for 3 houses. Residents noted that the published SHELAA listing actually allows for 29 dwellings.
At the meeting on 26 March it emerged that Enabling Development legislation specifies that the necessary ‘heritage gain’ must be unachievable by ‘other means’. It seems that the Grange Estate has also registered other SHELAA sites, including one in Alresford with potential for 68 houses. The question arose whether or not the Alresford site might be considered to be ‘other means’. There is a legal precedent for such an alternative solution.
NPC is aware of the pressing need to reinstate Home Farm and of the costs involved. Both NPC and a seemingly unanimous view of the 26 March meeting participants is that these costs should not in part be met by sacrificing the woodlands.
Some residents were not averse to the hotel/conference concept, although concerns were voiced at the potential disturbance from those using the facility. There was, however, wide support for a scheme providing housing and/or rural employment, as endorsed in the existing Parish Plan.
So far NPC has received no notification of an application to start work on the Home Farm scheme nor of an application for planning permission to build on Site NO01.
Lucy Williams asked for the background to the Forestry Commission work plan and the provisional TPO. DN said he would look into the matter and provide clarification.
- Clerk’s report
AR presented the final financial figures for the NPC for the year 2018/19. NPC’s precept for 2018/19 remained unchanged because the figures showed that the precept has been sufficient to our needs, with an underspend of £516.50.
The speed survey at Northington Hill has been paid by NPC and was covered by the non-budgeted outgoings (£200).
Last year SAAA (Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd) has appointed PKF Littlejohn as our new external auditors. Since NPC’s income is less than £25k per annum, the account is exempt from inspection by the external auditor and NPC can apply for an exemption certificate. The internal audit has to take place as in previous years and all forms have to be completed and the audit report can be reviewed (notice will be on the Parish’s notice board). All documents will remain in the hands of NPC. AR communicated directly with PKF Littlejohn for confirmation.
Adoption of the accounts was proposed by Belinda Mitchell and seconded by Bill Wickham.
AR holds consultation documents for the Winchester Local Plan 2036. If anyone wishes to make comments, please contact AR. Comments need to be submitted individually by 21st September 2019.
Philippa Pellereau has now stepped down as Chair of the Village Hall Committee Henceforth AR , as the new Data Curator, will hold the e-mail list for all residents and will circulate important notices. DN offered his support to create 2 e-mail block lists for Village Hall related and NPC related information.
- YW thanked JM for his chairmanship of the Council and those present endorsed her comment.
- Any other business
There was no further business.
The meeting ended at 20.25.