Parish Council Meeting
Annual Meeting of Sway Parish Council May 31 2012 in the Village Hall at 19.30.
Present: Chair C Gates, Clerk N Gulliver, Cllr Gulliver, Cllr Rickman, Cllr Dance, Cllr Fleat, Cllr Cripps, Cllr Tarling. Apologies Cllr Langford.
Leader of County Council Cllr K Thornber. John Warden. Sway News plus 20 members of the public including Rev John Pawson.
Highlight. Cllr Gates was wearing her ‘chain’ of office and presented the previous clerk with a meal token. In return Cllr Rickman presented Mrs Gates with a flower arrangement.
Chair Report. This time last year there were only four Councillors still standing after a difficult year and one of those had a damaged leg. Cllr Rickman having resigned returned to the fray and eventually three new Councillors were co-opted. This had injected new ideas into the process. Sway Station had been adopted thanks to the hard work of local villagers – particularly thanks to Alan Cracknell and John Warden. Thanks to Ted Watts and Cllr Tarling a Village Design Statement had been created and a very successful meeting was held on May19 and a questionnaire would now be created. Cllr Gates was particularly pleased that the Verderers had offered to find a way forward over renewing the lease for the Memorial Field. The field is a great asset to Sway youngsters. Eric Woodcock Clerk to the Council for four plus years had resigned. He had been “a tower of strength to me” but we are lucky to have found Neil Gulliver to replace him. County Council leader Ken Thornber and District Council leader Barry Rickman had been very helpful to the Chair and Sway and she thanked them and all the Councillors who gave their time freely to the village. Unfortunately the guest speaker, Nick Turner was unable to attend the meeting as he had been delayed in London.
Leader of the County Council. Due to pressure of work Cllr Thornber had not realised there was an AGM and had prepared for a ‘normal’ Parish Council Meeting. However thinking on his feet he reported that he had worked on behalf of a number of constituents on a confidential basis. The environment, roads, potholes, cattle grids were the main issues worrying villagers. Every time he came to a Parish Council Meeting he went away with a long ‘to do’ list.
Councillors were to be congratulated on using the County Council and the District Council so effectively… There is a new Cango bus provider and he was always grateful to John Warden for “riding gun shot” (sic) on transport. He had also helped with funding at St Luke’s School for a Second kitchen, library etc. The Youth Club, parking at the Social Club and fencing at Jubilee Field plus a new bus shelter, although he still had not received an official written request plus two tenders from the Clerk. Cllr Thornber re-iterated the story of the Black Hole at Sway Station when a member of the public leaned over him on the London train “so close I thought he was going to either strangle me or kiss me, neither of which was welcome! It was Alan Cracknell and he showed me the lack of lighting on the downline approach road.” Cllr Thornber was hopeful that funds from S W Trains and Dept of Transport would facilitate lighting by the end of summer.
A member of the public from the floor asked for another grit bin in the centre of the village where there is most footfall and when the restoration of the Forest Heath was finally finished could we have some prominent litter bins (District Council responsibility). Potholes were a disgrace in the Forest. The road surfaces are not adequate. Cllr Thornber replied that £31M is spent annually on roads in Hampshire plus a further £10M for 7 years, called “Operation Resiliance”. He will let the Parish Clerk know when Op Resiliance is scheduled for the Forest local area.
Leader of the District Council. Cllr Barry Rickman reported that he had resigned from the Parish Council but returned when only four Councillors were left standing last year. The Parish Council was functioning well with new blood through some difficult times. He looked forward to more interest from the Village which there seemed to be and that more people will stand for election in three years time. He was also Leader of the District Council for another three years and he said that the Parish veto on planning issues was very important particularly with the NPA. He offered Shalfleet as a recent example. The Adoption of Sway Station was close to his heart and he was glad villagers had come forward to make it happen. He had obtained grants for the Sway Carnival and Village Hall. He reminded all present of The Great Cake Bake celebration for Queen Elizabeth II 60 glorious years… There were no questions from the floor.
Financial Statement. Prepared by Eric Woodcock. Mr Woodcock pointed out that Allotments cost 31% over income over recent years although last year there was a small profit. He also urged from the floor a re-balancing to holdings being allotted to Sway residents rather than surrounding villages/towns. Difficult to achieve even with a long waiting list?
Village Design Statement. As Ted Watts was ill Cllr Tarling made an excellent presentation – including showing one of his graphics boards – the whole process was gathering pace. Ted Watts had brought together (as Convenor) representation of most age groups from 70 to 16 and small groups had reported on various aspects of village life. A meeting was held in the Village Hall on May 19 from 14.00 to 17.00 and was attended by 140 villagers. Lots of questions had been posed (some 200+) which had delayed an agreement on a questionnaire to be issued to every household in Sway. He thanked the PC and NPA for their initial financial support. He hoped that the finished document would be adopted by the NPA as a supplementary planning document. Cllr Tarling had surveyed the entire land useage within the Defined Village area. Three quarters is residential with a lot of ‘pasture’ and of the entire area a half is ‘pasture/agricultural’ and surprisingly 20% is designated Conservation.
AOB. Cllr Gates presented Eric Woodcock with a meal token and thanked him for his help and advice over four years. In reply Mr Woodcock said he was touched and it had been a privilege to work for the Parish Council, the longest continuous period of work he had had in his career.(?)
While there were presentations going on Cllr Rickman presented a flower display to Cllr Gates for all her hard work in a difficult few years. (see PC minutes). John Warden said Sway was fortunate to have the leaders of the County and District Councils living in Sway – he also encouraged people to use the Cango bus service which although it looked complicated in practice it is easy to sign up and then “they’ll come and pick you up…”
Annual Meeting ended at 20.05.