Points of interest from the meetings held in May 2019
The next memory café is Friday 31st May at the Church Hall from 10.30am. Everyone who has Dementia, and those caring for someone with Dementia is welcome to attend. There is a relaxed atmosphere with singing, and music from local musicians. There is complimentary tea, coffee, cake and biscuits. You can contact 07920 798824 for more details.
Neighbourhood Watch meeting
The next meeting is Monday 3rd June at 6.45pm in the Recreation Hall off Norris Close. All residents are welcome to go along. The next meeting is 29th July.
Reports from Annual Parish meeting.
We had a really good evening on the 29th April with our guest speakers and reports from the Chairman and committee Chairs. You can look at our reports on the website (above) and extracts from the Chairman’s report are show below.
Thank you to resident’s who attended, we hope you enjoyed it and found it informative.
Annual meeting of the Parish Council
The Parish Council held their annual meeting of the Council on Monday 13th May. This is a meeting required by law where a new Chair is elected, and other mandatory business taken care of.
Our new Chairman for the forthcoming year is Matt Harris, and our Vice Chair Denise Rogers. We also welcome Cllr Ian Kearsey to the council.
Ian was co-opted to the council by unanimous vote on Monday. Ian has lived in Chiseldon for 12 years, and has a background in IT. He has been a governor at 3 local schools and enjoys bee keeping and bell ringing. He hopes to help manage change in the area whilst maintaining its character and improving services.
May Borough elections results
We welcome Cllr Jenny Jefferies as the new Ward Cllr for Chiseldon and Lawn Ward. Jenny joins Brian Mattock who was elected in 2018. Cllr Gary Sumner remains the Ward Cllr for Ridgeway Ward where Badbury resides.
Cllr Fin Foley stepped down this year after 19 years of service.
We also say a fond farewell to many of our Parish Councillors. We thank them all for their voluntary time and efforts. We especially want to note the contribution of David Hill who served on the Parish Council for 24 years. Take a break and put your feet up David!
Co-opting of New Parish Councillors
As the election was uncontested this leaves the Parish Council with a number of vacant seats that need to be co-opted. This date for this will be Monday 10th June at the next full council meeting at the Recreation Hall off Norris Close at 7.30pm. The Co-option notice is at the end of this article. Our website will also have a copy and also further information on the attributes and duties of a Parish Councillor. Please do contact us if you are interested as we will need to have a covering letter and some information from you on why you believe you could be a Parish Councillor.
We are pleased to welcome Kevin to our small team. He was recently taken on as our Handyperson for the Parish Council. Our aim is to provide all the same functions as before, but often at a lower cost by having Kevin on hand, and also with a quicker turnaround.
Hodson Road re-surfacing
There are still some areas of patching to be done at Hodson Road after the main re-surfacing. This will be done in due course by Swindon Borough Council’s in house team.
Local grants and funds available
The Parish Council have set up a short term sub-committee to look into grants and funds that are available to benefit the parish. The committee will look to set up a “wish list” of what the parish needs and can then look at what funds are out there. There is the scope to add residents to this committee so please contact the Clerk in the first instance if you think you can spend some time to help investigate this.
Advanced Notice of charity bike ride on the Ridgeway
On Sunday 2nd June there will be around 300 cyclists starting off at 10.00 in Swindon and cycling all the way to Avebury fundraising for MacMillan. They will be using the railway path along Chiseldon. Signage will be put up for dog walkers and horse riders. It is expected that most will have passed by 13.30.
Defibrillators – a reminder
A reminder that the Parish has 2 defibrillators – one outside Cameo Hairdressers on High Street, and one outside the Calley Memorial Hall on Draycot Road. Both units are accessed by calling 999 to gain the code for the box. You cannot use these defibrillators on someone who doesn’t need it as the machine will not work. It also provides audible instructions on how to use them
Recreation Hall on Norris Close
The Hall is available to hire on an hourly/morning/afternoon/evening basis. Please contact the Clerk on the details above to make an enquiry about prices, or availability. We can also arrange pitch hire for Football or Softball games– please ask us for details.
The hall has undergone a tidy up and now has new carpet and cleaned/painted walls. It makes an excellent space for a gathering/party/occasion.
Chapel meeting space hire
After its refurbishment summer 2017 the Chapel on Butts Road is now a fully functioning meeting space, as well as being the Clerk’s office.
There is table space for 10 people with extra seating available. There is access to a projector and screen and free wi-fi. Tea and coffee making facilities are provided; you just need to bring your own milk.
This useful local space is available for hire for only £35 per morning/afternoon or evening session subject to availability. Discounts are available for registered charities.
Please contact the Clerk for more information.
Grants and Donations fund
The Parish Council have an annual fund that we can donate to worthy causes within the Parish. If you are a group, charity or society that believe you could benefit from this fund then please contact the Parish Clerk for further details.
Calley Memorial Hall fund
The trustees of this fund are also able to approve grants and donations to worthy causes within the Parish. (This doesn’t have to be connected to users of the Memorial Hall). Please contact the Parish Clerk in the first instance who can provide you with an application form.
(It should be noted that this fund is not connected to the Parish Council)
Home Library Service
There is a Home Library service for Chiseldon Parish. It is run by volunteers and covers all areas of the parish and can deliver books based on your preferences. Call 01793 465 495 for more details.
The monthly Borough Councillors Surgery which will have a Parish and Borough Councillor in attendance will take place on Saturday 1st June 2019 11.30 to 12.30 in the Calley Memorial Hall on Draycott Road.
This is an opportunity for residents to discuss any concerns with both Parish and Borough Councillors so do come along and say hello.
The next Full Council meeting of the Parish Council will be on Monday 10th June 2019. This will start at 7.30pm and will be held in the Recreation Hall, off Norris Close. Residents are welcome to attend and there is a public recess at the start of proceedings, after which residents can choose to leave.
PARISH COUNCIL OF CHISELDON (Chiseldon and Lawn WARD)
VACANCY FOR COUNCILLORS
Notice is hereby given that by reason of an uncontested election on 2nd May 2019, a number of vacancies have occurred among the members of the Parish Council.
Any person willing to fill this vacancy should apply to the Clerk in writing (email is acceptable) on or before Friday 7th June 2019.
Applicants should be free the evening of Monday 10th June 2019 to attend the Parish Council meeting at 7.30pm for the co-option voting procedure.
The applicants name must appear on the current register of the Voters List or the applicant should during the whole of the 12 months preceding the relevant date have resided in or within 3 miles of the parish or the applicants only place of work during the whole of the 12 months preceding the relevant date is in the parish.
The applicant must not be disbarred from standing as a councillor. Applicants living in Badbury Ward meeting the above criteria are also welcome.
Candidates (if successful) should be able to attend Parish Council meetings which can be seen here: https://www.chiseldon-pc.gov.uk/committees/parish-council/
Dated 16th May 2019
Clair Wilkinson, Parish Clerk
The Old Chapel, Butts Road
Chairman’s annual report 2019 extract. (You can read the whole report on our website)
“………The usual business of the planning committee is to address the regular flow of planning applications for extensions and home improvements.
This year, however, the Parish Council also dealt with more controversial planning issues such as the “Strategic Housing and economic land availability assessment ‘ -‘SHELAA’ for short – and the potential housing developments in New Road and Hodson Road. I will return to this point later in my brief.
Tonight as the Parish Council Chair I would like to focus on how the Parish Council functions and the people that make it work.
Chiseldon Parish Council….
- Has a current remit for 15 councillors – We have been successful in maintaining a full remit throughout the course of this year.
- The Council is currently structured into 3 main committees – these committees drive the work of the Council in summary they are:
- The EGPA committee (Environment, General Purpose and Amenities) is responsible for the overall management of grass, verge and hedge maintenance, Parish Council buildings and land, recreation and sports facilities and community safety, such as policing issues and the safety of our vulnerable and elderly residents in the community.
- Finance Committee is responsible for managing the budgets of the Parish Council, it also has the responsibility for negotiating 3rd party contracts the Parish Council take on, and Staff management including management and the pay and conditions for our Parish Clerk.
- And The Planning, Highways & Transport Development.
What about the people that make the Council work…
Let’s start with the Parish Clerk – “The responsible Financial Officer to the Council” also known as ‘the Proper Officer of the Council in law’
The Parish Council frankly would not function without the pivotal role of a Parish Clerk and in our case we are most fortunate to have Clair Wilkinson.
The work of our Clerk has grown in its complexity as a direct result of the significant change that the Parish Council has undergone over the last 3 years – notably the transfer of environmental responsibilities from the Borough Council to the Parish.
Clair manages the day-to-day administration of a number of significant 3rd party contracts.
The Clerk needs to employ a variety of skills including that of a project manager, financial administrator and procurement manager.
The Clerk whilst answerable to the Council is not at the beck and call of the Chair or the Councillors, the Clerk and Chair however, work as a team.
It is the joint responsibility of these two roles to ensure the correct legal facts and the relevant information is provided to the Parish Council to ensure that decisions are informed, fair and legal.
So what about Parish Councillors – you may be wondering why would 15 people wish to sit on a Parish Council and support their Community? What do they get out of it?
Well it certainly isn’t money – these 15 people are volunteers and do not receive any remuneration. They selflessly give up their time, share their skills and experience and genuinely do so because they want to support the community they live in.
These 15 volunteers attend Council meetings by legal summons every month; they are also required to sit on at least 2 of the sub–committees.
To progress the business of Council, our Councillors frequently participate on working groups, support village initiatives, public functions, attend ward councillor surgeries to name but a few.
All Councillors are required to adhere to a Code of Conduct and to a set of Standing Orders – these are legal requirements that govern the work and behaviour of the Parish Council and its members.
The current Parish Council operate largely like a small business and understand that to drive forward the business of Council they must work as a team.
The scope of the work requires our Councillors to become conversant with a range of legal requirements for example, data protection, financial regulations, planning and employment law.
Prior to voting on issues, Councillors are briefed with the available and relevant information in order to take an objective and informed view. This may include but not limited to, views of residents, input and or presentations from experts such as the AONB, case law, planning law such as the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
Underpinning the overall duties of a Parish Councillor is the 7 NOLAN principles – the basis of the ethical standards expected of public office holders – they include:
- Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, leadership
At the start I mentioned that we have a full remit of 15 parish councillors and have maintained this for the last 12 months –
This picture has now changed drastically!
The Parish Council was up for re- election this year. This would have been triggered if the Monitoring Officer received more than 15 nominations – the maximum remit for the Chiseldon Parish Council.
No election however is necessary. Nominations fell significantly short of the 15 required.
In fact only 5! of the existing Parish Councillors chose to submit their nominations and stand again.
There were no other nominations put forward by the residents of this Parish.
So I now return to the issue of the SHELAA process that started back in November of last year and continued up to few months ago.
The Parish Council on the 15th December 2018 voted on the status of 3 potential development sites in the village put forward for inclusion in the strategic housing economic land availability assessment (SHELAA).
At this meeting the Parish Council voted to reject the inclusion of 2 of these sites, both on the New Road, but voted by majority to approve the inclusion of the site on the Hodson Road.
This was a difficult decision but an informed one that can be defended and held up to rigorous scrutiny.
Prior to the meeting , each Councillor received an 80 page briefing document which included, resident feedback; AONB expert knowledge and advice; legal direction; planning case law; reference to government guidance such as the NPPF. This enabled each Councillor to make an objective and informed decision in adherence to the 7 Nolan principles outlined earlier.
And yet FOLLOWING the vote on the 15th December, the Council and its members received a sustained on-line attack and in some cases personal intimidation at the hands of a minority of residents in this Community.
NOTHING excuses the behaviour of this minority to target a group of VOLUNTARY Parish Councillors with such a level of hostility.
Our Clerk who represents the front line of the Council – had to field the online hostility and abuse targeted at the Council.
This behaviour has its consequences….
The Parish Council communications were removed from the Chiseldon Facebook page.
Only recently has the Clerk started to provide information on this Facebook site again, but this time on the basis of a static Notice Board , which does not offer residents the facility to leave comments or share posts.
All contact with the Council is now required to go through a formal route via the Parish Council website or direct to the Clerks email.
Another consequence is that only 5 out of the existing 15 Parish Councillors agreed to put forward their nomination to remain on this Council.
The treatment by this minority of residents, who vented their anger at the Parish Council and its volunteer members, has been a key factor in the decision by the majority not to stand again.
I have had a number of these Councillors write to me expressing how dissolusioned, disappointed and in some cases fearful to continue to sit on this council.
They have to live in this Community! Already friendships have been broken because people have chosen to overreact and not deal with these matters in a reasonable and balanced manner.
Applying to sit on Parish Council is not about promoting your own agenda – so please think again if you are considering doing so to influence the outcome of a planning vote.
In reality, Parish Councils have very little influence in planning outcomes. We are only one of a number of consulters. Planning decisions are made further up the chain by the Borough Council or the planning inspectorate.
If, however, you want to apply to join the Parish Council and willing to offer your unselfish support for the Community, enjoy being a team player and want to share your time, experience and skills then you will be welcomed with open arms.
I want to appeal to the residents of this Parish, going forward , PLEASE treat your Parish Council and its people, the Councillors and the Clerk, with a sense of fairness, be civil even in the face of disagreement.
I would like to say a personal goodbye to the Community. I lived in the village for 20 years up to a few years ago. I decided to continue and finish my term as a Councillor until the election. I have served on the Parish Council for 7 years, the last 3 as its Chair.
Councillor Caroline Brady, Chairman of Chiseldon Parish Council – April 2019