AGM of Sway Parish Council on Thursday 29 May 2014 at 7.30pm
Present: Cllr Rickman (Chair), N Gulliver (Clerk), Cllrs Cripps, Dance, Fleat, Gates, Golby, Langford, and Tarling. In attendance, Ken Thornber (HCC), John Warden (Transport), Lymington Times, Sway News and twelve members of the public.
Chairman’s Report The Chairman, Barry Rickman said that he wanted the meeting to be one in which villagers would feel that they can interact with speakers, who he invited to speak whilst sitting.
The Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on the 23 May 2013 were agreed.
Before reporting in full, Barry drew attention to the resignation during the year of Kathy Gulliver and thanked her on behalf of the Council for her many years of loyal and valuable service. He also welcomed David Golby who was co-opted in August last year.
Real progress had been made by the Parish on a number of fronts. The increase in the size of the Council from 8 to 12 was in time for the 2015 elections, and this would support a new robust and effective meeting structure that provides for transparent and open work.
He also spoke of: the new Lengthsman scheme to keep the village in good shape; the grant of £500 to Community Speedwatch, Len Thomas being the lead for Sway; the successful negotiation with the Forestry Commission and the Verderers for a new lease for the Memorial Field; and the building of a new bus shelter with financial support from Hampshire County Councillor Ken Thornber.
In connection with Jubilee Field he highlighted the support to the Tennis Club to build a new clubhouse, the support for the creation of a Multi Use Games Area, the Pavilion access improvements for wheel chair users and in conjunction with the sports clubs the purchase of a defibrillator.
The use of the parking at Jubilee Fields by parents dropping off their children is helpful to St Luke’s School.
Turning to his role as a councillor of New Forest District Council Barry Rickman drew attention to the Council’s achievement of five years with no increase in Council Tax. He said that he aims to keep weekly bin collections. (A murmur of support from all present)
The need to continue with the Sway Youth Centre recycle facility js being monitored, but it was still being used. (by homes or businesses?).
An increasing number of apprentices were being employed.
Barry concluded by thanking; his Councillors for their support and hard work during the year; John Warden for his work on Transport issues; and Sway News and Lymington Times for reporting on meetings.
He reminded those present that the Sway Parish Council has a Grant Aid Fund of £1,400 each year for Sway People.
Members of the public applauded.
Financial Statement for the Year Ended 31 March 2014
A summary of the Receipts and Payments for the year ending 31 March 2014 was tabled. Outgoings exceeded income by three thousand pounds but reserves were sufficient to cover the shortfall.
What is Your Parish Council All About? The Clerk, Neil Gulliver, tabled a two-page document; the first was a diagram showing the working relationship between the Council, the Clerk, and the Planning and Transport Committee, Amenities Working Group, and the Finance Working Group; the second summarised the way in which the Council works. Neil said that this document was a great introduction for those who wished to stand for election to the Parish Council.
The Clerk is the Financial Officer; he cannot spend without the authorisation of the Council. He advises on what is legal and is a conduit for communication with outside bodies such as the County Council, District Council, and the National Park Authority. He drew attention to the benefits that had arisen with the opening of a Parish Office.
A full copy of the terms of reference for the Committee and the Working Groups is available from the Parish Clerk or on the Council’s website.
Planning and Transport Committee. Chairman, Stephen Tarling, circulated a note for us all to read. The committee is delegated to take decisions on behalf of the Council. Stephen drew attention to the need for more Councillors in 2015 and said that a greater number would lighten the workload for each councillor.
Amenities Working Group
Chairman, Carole Gates, described the areas for which the Group is responsible: Stamford Rise at the back of the Village Hall for picnics; Jubilee Fields is there for us all, not just the clubs, come along and jog; and the allotments leased from the Forestry Commission with lettings supervised by the Clerk.
Finance Working Group. Chairman, David Golby, reported that his Group started in April 2014, does not have delegated powers, but he hopes that following the election in May 2015 the new Council might consider making it a full committee with power to act.
The Group monitors expenditure and recommends a precept for the following year. In the financial year 2014/15 expenditure is likely to exceed income by £11,000 with the result that the reserves would fall to £20,000.
Report by Hampshire County Councillor (HCC) Ken Thornber. Council Tax will not rise for a sixth consecutive year.
The work to Marlpit Oak railway bridge was suspended in April on the insistence of the County Council. (Network Rail’s lack of knowledge of the extent of the work required and trouble with sub-contractors was the cause). It will remain open until early October when one of three options will occur; alternate traffic light controlled single file traffic, closed nights only, or four months total closure. (We all wait for news with great interest!)
Let HCC know about potholes; if damage occurs to vehicles due to notified potholes damages are payable.
Any other business
Stephen Tarling drew attention to the coming into force during the year of the Sway Village Design Statement.
John Warden thanked the Parish Council and the County Council for their efforts on behalf of the community, and there were murmurs of support for this from members of the public.
The meeting closed at 20.30 hrs.