Parish Council Meeting
Parish Council Meeting July 19 2012 held in the small classroom Village Hall at 19.30.
Present: Cllr Rickman (Chair), N Gulliver (Clerk), Cllr Gulliver, Cllr Cripps, Cllr Tarling, Cllr Langford, Cllr Gates, Cllr Dance, Cllr Fleat. Guest speaker Nick Tucker, Forestry Commission. Apologies Cllr Thornber, Leader of the County Council. Also in attendance John Warden (Transport). Sway News, Lymington Times and 6 members of the public.
- A necessary but tortuous check through draft standing orders and Governance papers which to those in the public gallery will be known as “Little Roman Three!”
- An interesting talk on the Forestry Commission and balancing visitors and a working forest.
- All present got to touch Chris Clark’s Olympic torch (see pic)
The Chair started proceedings with welcoming Chris Clark who ran through Lymington with the Olympic torch. Some 40,000 people turned out in the pouring rain, there was a fantastic spirit. Chris Clark said what an honour it was to run with the torch, he did not notice the rain only the goodwill and enthusiasm from the crowds.
Cllr Rickman also mentioned local boy Dan McMillan a member of the British Handball team, the first time Brits have taken part in handball competitively. All present signed a good luck card.
- Previous minutes. Apart from minor adjustments the minutes of 28 June were approved and signed.
- Forestry Commission. The Chair introduced Nick Tucker, Head of Recreation and Public Affairs at the Forestry Commission who was due to speak at the annual meeting but was delayed in London. He started by saying that there had been an 18 month restructuring, bringing about the merging of the NF District and the SE district. An area that now stretched almost to Gatwick Airport! 46,000 hectares, 58% of which was SSSI, 225m of cycle track. Total expenditure was £9.9m. Income £6.9m. There was a fine balance providing recreation and protecting the Forest and animals living in it. There were some 6m people living close to the Forest. He urged the public to stick to marked paths and cycle ways. Dog walkers (he was one himself) should be careful around land used by ground nesting birds. There were issues with shod horses damaging land and cyclists “going off-piste”. Generally speaking the Forest and the FC staff cope well with sport and recreation. There are 10 campsites, and model aircraft flying in Beaulieu and of course walking, cycling and horse riding pursuits. There are only 120 staff. He could do with at least another 40 people really. In their surveys it was not necessarily visitors that caused problems. Some locals feel it is their Forest and park badly etc. Overall he felt it all works and is a great asset. It will continue to evolve and with everyone’s co-operation in a good way. When the Government suggested privatisation of forestry there was a public outcry… There was a short question and answer session. Cllr Gulliver said there was a time dogs had to be kept on leads. There also seemed to be many more ponies and horses than cattle these days. Cllr Tarling thanked and congratulated Mr Tucker on an interesting presentation.
- Draft standing orders. Cllr Rickman and the Clerk had produced an operational framework and the Chair asked for comments around the table. Cllr Langford said there should be meetings every month.
Cllr Tarling said he would have liked the paperwork a great deal earlier. (The Chair said this was a starting point open to debate and amendment). Cllr Tarling understood this and then proceeded to go through each section which I would dub as “Little Roman III” those present will know what I mean! Without the paperwork the public, Lymington Times and Sway News were somewhat bemused but Cllr Tarling doggedly went through every important point signalling legal requirements, points of order and contravensions of revised Local Government Act. This went on for some time. He also mentioned establishing a press and media communication policy.
There was much talk of committees or working parties and the composition of them. Cllr Tarling suggested that with only 8 Councillors, willing members of the public could be co-opted. He also urged freedom of information to be taken seriously. Two officers are required – the Chair and the Clerk. No other Councillors other than Cllr Cripps had anything to add. Cllr Cripps welcomed the changes he was hoping for something less complex but if it provided transparency and a new framework to follow this had to be a good thing. Cllr Rickman thanked Cllr Tarling and all councillors for their comments. The document would be revised and updated and would be re-presented at the August meeting to hopefully sign off…
- Draft terms of reference. A paper was circulated to Councillors at the meeting. The big question was Committees who have to meet in public with minutes etc or working groups who don’t necessarily have to meet in public. After much discussion it was agreed there would be a committee for Planning and Transport and a working group for Amenities. Cllr Tarling and Cripps favoured Committees with co-opted members of the public and believed that a Finance Committee should eventually be set up. After much further discussion the composition will be 5 Councillors plus 1 alternate. Most Councillors were worried about co-opting members of the public. Whereas Cllr Tarling and Cripps believed it would tap into more expertise and create more interest in the village.
- Planning and Transport Committee. Would consist of Cllr Gulliver, Cllr Langford, Cllr Gates, Cllr Cripps and eventually Cllr Tarling agreed to carry on in this very time consuming activity if the job is to be done properly. Planning was too important not to be rigorously investigated on each application and he urged all members to take it as seriously as he does. The first meeting of this new committee would be on August 16 at 19.30 in the Jubilee Field Pavilion. All members of the public are welcome.
- Amenities Working Group. Cllr Fleat, Cllr Gulliver, Cllr Dance, Cllr Gates, Cllr Langford offered themselves and they would meet before each monthly Parish Council meeting at 19.00 with the Council Meeting starting at 20.00. This would start from August 30. All members of the public welcome to both. (Sway Village Hall).
- Finance. A document was circulated to Councillors by the Clerk. Authorised payments were agreed.
- Planning Working Group. Cllr Gulliver said an amended plan had been received by Mr Butler for his working dog training facility previously rejected by the NPA. The Council were happy to recommend subject to the ecology report forming part of any permission.
Silver Hind – some retrospective planning issues. Is it a pub or a restaurant or both? Led by the Chair most agreed it was an amenity in the heart of the village and the initiative should be encouraged. It was popular and provided employment since the loss of the Forest Heath Hotel.
Cllr Tarling was concerned that the important views of the Parish Council and their recommendations were not getting through to planners at NFPA. The Clerk is to take up.
- Allotments. Three plots had been reallocated to Sway residents which was welcomed.
- Summer Play Scheme. Now the sun is beginning to shine the Chair urged residents to make use of this facility. Cllr Gates asked when the Jubilee tables and chairs would be available. In place by July 30 including plagues. This was welcome news.
- Grant Application. £250 towards planting at Sway Station.
- Parking Survey. In Station Road carried out on the wettest day of the year. There was little parking or movement that day so not very representative. Let’s see how it goes…
- AOB. Sway Open Gardens on June 9 2013.
Bus shelter. “We need the right solution at the right cost” says Cllr Rickman. Cllr Cripps with his vast experience of procurement says it should cost no more than 3K – 3.5K.
A member of the public from ‘the gallery’ praised the Council on dragging themselves into the 21st century but criticised the very poor use of new technology and the web site. Future agendas and dates and times of Planning Committee and Parish Council meetings should be on the website at least 7 days in advance and approved minutes as soon as possible after the meeting. The new clerk took note and hoped to improve the website soon.
The meeting ended at 21.40. The next meeting is on 30 Aug 19.00 Amenities working group. 20.00 Parish Council. Village Hall. (Planning Committee meet on Aug 16 19.30 Jubilee Field).