Chairman’s report 2018 for AGM ~ 24th May, 2018

The Parish Council has agreed to raise the precept for 2018/19 by 2% with the aim of creating a reserve that can be spent on the maintenance of the ditches / verges etc. of the Parish now that neither the County or District Council will undertake this task.

We have purchased a laptop computer for John Ashwell to use specifically for Parish Council business and he has attended a training course.

Money has been spent on mowing the grass for the football pitch, village hall and village green. We also contribute to the grass cutting for the Church. Insurance of the village hall, including public liability insurance, has been paid and a new data protection policy has been implemented.

John Ashwell will report on the accounts later in more detail.

General

We started this reporting year off with the reopening of the pub after our rather long battle to prevent it being sold for development. I think we would all agree that it has had its ups and downs but that it is still better to have the facility than not. Planning permission was given for a number of extra rooms at the pub and for extra facilities there. Concerns were expressed about the amount of parking needed and so the ‘extra facilities’ have been put on hold. Recently a new general manager with a strong background in country pubs has been appointed and we hope that this leads to greater success for the pub.

In the meantime, in December 2017, we learnt that Gladman Developments, whilst commenting on the WODC Local Plan, had submitted a proposal for 'an alternative Garden Village’ at Barnard Gate. We were soon to realise that the vast percentage of this development was in our Parish.

The village pulled together, and after meetings with both the Developer and the residents of the Parish, it was agreed that we would produce a Neighbourhood Plan stating our aims and wishes for the future of our Parish. A Neighbourhood Plan Group, reporting to the Parish Council, was set up and headed by Ken Brooks with Oliver Jackson and Terry Ellis assisting with myself being the PC's representative.

After many meetings, research and surveys, the Parish Council were able to sign off the final copy to be delivered, in the first place, to WODC. At the time of writing this Plan is on a six week general public consultation period. Once completed, and subject to any alterations made, the next steps will be:

  1. The appointment of an Independent Planning Examiner by WODC.
  2. A referendum of all electors to ensure the Plan still concurs with the residents' wishes.
We must remember that the Plan will still need to be accepted by WODC and will be subject to the emerging Local Plan (hopefully by then the final Local Plan). Thereafter any planning application will be judged against both our Neighbourhood Plan and the WODC Local Plan.

Gladman Developments have submitted an outline planning application for the site. Comments have been made and accepted (our Neighbourhood Plan formed part of those comments). WODC have asked Gladman for more studies on the ecological side – no decision can be made until these have been submitted.

In the meantime the WODC Local Plan is progressing and that will give us extra protection against predatory development.

Potholes and flooding

Residents have been very concerned about the potholes and the flooding that occurs in the village. It is the County Council which has the responsibility here and I would urge people to report any they notice to the ‘Fix My Street’ site. Once reported, the County Council supposedly has a specific time to deal with the complaint. The Parish Council have had meetings on site with the officer in charge and has done its best to chivvy things along. Indeed work has been undertaken on filling some the potholes this week.

The flooding issue has also been of concern for a while and finally last month we were able to have an on-site meeting with the officer concerned. He has provided a list of works that he has agreed to undertake and we will be ensuring that these are completed as soon as possible. Some of the problem is due to the ditches not being maintained - we will chasing land owners and using some of the precept money to help with this.

The football pitch lease from Eynsham Estates is near its end and Martin Wilson has been diligent in following this through to enable this great space to be available to us. We expect a new lease to be signed in due course.

Gigaclear – providing high speed broadband – the ground work is now nearly complete on this project. We are in contact with them where problems regarding the reinstatement of verges etc. have a occurred and will monitor to ensure that areas are returned to their original state. There is still a question mark over the installation at High Cogges which we are following through.

As always we have the responsibility of monitoring and commenting on Parish planning applications.

Last but not least our thanks go to:
  • John, our clerk, who works harder than he should to keep everything in order.
  • The Village Hall committee who keep the village hall so lovely and work so hard on events and hiring.
  • Russell and Anne Cherry for their hard work as our Footpath Monitors, keeping our paths clear and bringing to our attention any issues.
  • The Neighbourhood Plan Group who have worked tirelessly over the last year.
  • South Leigh Against Gladman Group.
Nicky Brooks
Chairman of South Leigh Parish Council
01993 701137 /
nickybrooks@southleigh.info