24 Apr 2012 Annual Parish Meeting : Minutes

Minutes of the annual Parish meeting held on the 24 April 2012 at The Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF 

In these minutes, APC stands for Avebury Parish Council, NT for the National Trust and WC for Wiltshire Council.

There were 34 members of the public in attendance and the meeting started at 7.32.

Present: Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Mr Paul Dixon, Mrs Beryl Greenaway, Mr Keith Howell and Mrs Maggie Lewis

In attendance: Councillor Mrs Jemima Milton, Wiltshire Councillor, and PCSO Jonathan Mills

Apologies: Councillors Dr Mike Bedford, Mr Mike Daniel, Mrs Antoinette Dyson, Mrs Karyn Pearson, Mrs Liz Moore and several members of the public.

  • Welcomes and introductions 

The Chairman welcomed all attending the meeting and introduced those Parish Councillors present.  He outlined how the Council had changed and developed over the last year.  He said there was now a full complement of Parish Councillors following two elections and the co-option of two more members.  He said that 12 people had expressed interest in serving.  He also introduced Mrs Milton as Avebury’s local Wiltshire Councillor and three other people who help with the Council’s work; these were Mrs Judy Farthing (Community Emergency Volunteer), Mr Paul Birkeland-Green (website co-ordinator) and Mr Len Adams who had taken on the job of Handyman following the advertisement of the post in June.  Mrs Liz Moore, Parish Clerk, was currently on maternity leave following the birth of her daughter Victoria.

  • Minutes of the annual Parish meeting held on 7 April 2011

The Chairman distributed copies of the minutes of the last meeting and asked if they were accurate.  Miss Heather Peak-Garland commented that the path between her house and the Old Vicarage was a footpath and not a right of way as stated and that it was being used by cyclists etc.  She also asked if it would be possible for a movable bollard, and not just a cone, to be put in place to prevent motorists using the entrance to the footpath to turn round.  The Chairman confirmed that the status of the path would be checked and the minutes amended accordingly.  Subject to this potential amendment, the Chairman asked if he could sign the minutes as an accurate record.  This was proposed by Mrs Jan Williamson, seconded by Mrs Geraldine Wimble and agreed unanimously.

  • Matters arising from the minutes: There were no matters arising from the minutes
  • Report on the work of the Parish Council and Avebury Sportsfield Association

The Chairman outlined the work of the Council.  Members had represented the community at 47 meetings during the past year and the Parish was a member of seven bodies, such as the Sacred Sites Forum and the Marlborough Area Parish Forum.  He noted that the Parish Council’s monthly meetings had been changed from the third to the first Tuesday of the month so that notes of its meetings could be included in Upper Kennet News whose deadline for submissions was the third Friday of the month.

The Chairman then outlined specific aspects of the Council’s work:

  • Planning: The Chairman said that Wiltshire Council was responsible for granting planning permissions but consulted Avebury Parish Council on each application.  The Parish Council had set up its Planning Sub-Committee in May 2011 and had supported most of the 24 applications that had come before it during the year, often recommending that conditions be imposed.  APC had twice opposed an application for a garage at Skokholm in Green Street and had supported Fyfield and West Overton PC in its objection to a proposed grain store at a site adjacent to the World Heritage Site (WHS) opposite the Bell Inn on the A4.

The Parish Council had refused a (non-planning) application to launch hot air balloons from the Sports-field.  It was noted that Mr Robin Butler had granted permissive open access to the Long Stones for visitors.

  • Transport:   APC had set up a Transport Group in October 2011 chaired by Dr Mike Bedford.  An open meeting in March had been well attended and showed the levels of concern locally.  It highlighted two main problems – redressing the balance between pedestrians and motorists, especially at bus stops and in the Circle, and congestion in the High Street and Green Street.

Marlborough Area Parish Forum had commissioned consultants Ben Hamilton-Baillie to review traffic issues in the 15 villages around Marlborough and he had given a presentation to a meeting in March at Lockeridge which had been very interesting.  Avebury WHS Traffic Management and Design Guide Project had been launched and APC was about to make an EU LEADER grant application for £15,000 to help finance the Design Guide project.  Wiltshire Council had pledged £2,750 towards this initiative and APC had earmarked £250 as well.

The Chairman asked for comments from the meeting: Lady Beale asked about a large pothole in the High Street outside her house; she had reported it, as has APC, but she would report it again.  The Chairman agreed that APC would also report it again.  Lady Beale commented that she was in favour of the Design Guide Project.

The Chairman suggested those present sign a petition on the LEADER grant application.

  • Wiltshire Council:  The Chairman invited Councillor Mrs Jemima Milton to address the meeting.  She commended the Parish for its work on transport and local livelihoods and noted that WC was keen to support partnership working with parishes and others.  She brought those present up to date with WC’s priorities and noted that parishes would have a greater say in many issues in future.  Mrs Milton then left to attend another parish meeting at Winterbourne Monkton.
  • Local Livelihoods and Tourism Group:  The Chairman said that APC had set up this group as it was aware it should represent the interests of local employers and employees as well as residents.  There had been meetings in January and March and a further meeting was planned for July.  The Group was taking action on a number of issues:
    • A road-sign for Beckhampton Road was needed to direct visitors; the Transport Group would ensure this was addressed in the Design Guide Project
    • A revised post code could ensure that more delivery truck drivers using SatNav would avoid the High Street; the National Trust was working on this
    • The Group was exploring what could be done about slow business in the winter
    • APC was discussing with the NT the need for the notice board at the pedestrian exit to the main car park to show village facilities in the High Street, although the NT was aware that there had been tension in the past as not all residents wanted increased footfall in the High Street
    • APC had circulated a contacts list of all traders in the Group.
  • Community Shop:  The Chairman invited Mrs Michele Lomas to address the meeting as chair of the Community Shop Committee.  Mrs Lomas thanked the village for its continued support of the shop and to the volunteers who run it.  This year the NT had replaced the roof at Hope Cottage and had insulated it. A new till system had been purchased with the help of a grant from WC and the Marlborough Area Board.  The shop was also shortlisted for a volunteer award and made the top three.  She noted that new volunteers were always welcome and needed.  The shop would always try to source items requested and also did home deliveries.
  • National Trust:  The Chairman then asked Mrs Jan Tomlin to address the meeting.  She noted that the year-long transformation of the Manor was now complete and that it had been well received by visitors who were keen to know more about the stories behind the house.  She thanked Brian Holman and his team for all their work on the gardens.  There had been an increase in visitors and the museum visitor numbers were now almost back to their former levels. The café and visitor centre had been transformed with Trust support and the Museum was next for an upgrade.  A new member of staff, Nikki White, would be joining the NT team the following Monday.  She would be in charge of visitor experience and would be the first point of contact for the village.  A 1930’s themed tea room would be opening in the West Library at the Manor in a week’s time.
  • Visitor numbers:  Mrs Julie Butler asked if thought had been given to increases in visitor numbers.  Mrs Tomlin replied that the Easter weekend was always the busiest so the worst was over.  The Manor field had been opened for parking to cope with demand and this had worked well.  Miss Peak-Garland stated that the High Street was blocked on Easter Sunday by cars but she was told that the NT had no jurisdiction over the public highway but that they endeavour to move cars on and park properly.  PCSO Mills said that if cars were causing an obstruction then residents should call the police who would ensure that offending vehicles would be towed away.
  • Car parking:  A member of the public asked if it was NT policy to open extra parking.  Mrs Tomlin said the Manor park had been open for Easter and would also be open over Solstice, although this was not a long term solution.  The thorny issue of parking charges was also raised.  Mrs Tomlin said the NT would be revising the charging policy but its scope was limited; if the parking charge was lowered then revenue for the care of the Henge would be diminished.  If it was increased then it would increase the parking problem elsewhere in the village.  Mrs Judy Farthing asked if the NT was looking for a long term solution to the parking issue.  Mrs Tomlin said a limit on parking and camping meant that the current situation was self-limiting, which had its benefits; the NT was also managing the situation as best it could.  A survey some years ago had not come up with any solutions.  Mrs Butler commented that it seemed that more visitors were encouraged but available parking was not increased.  Sarah Simmonds said that the parking issue was prominent in the current review of the WHS Management Plan.  Mr Vic Paradise said that Mrs Tomlin had stated that the overflow car park only had consent for 28 days a year but it was his understanding that WC had given permission for a permanent car park at the site.  The grass was now waterlogged despite the matting that had been put down to protect it.  Mrs Tomlin said she would check regarding the car park.
  • Charity walks:  Parish Councillor Keith Howell drew the meeting’s attention to an advertisement he had seen in the Guardian newspaper placed by a commercial company (Discover Adventure) offering services to charities for ‘Trekathons’ between Stonehenge and Avebury to raise funds.  He had contacted the company who seemed surprised that APC should be concerned.  They had agreed to write to APC so that the matter could be discussed at APC’s next meeting. They had said they had conferred with NT, WHS and military authorities.  Proposed dates for various charity walks were 30 June, 14 July and 16 September.  Mr Robert Cooper had been approached in previous years for parking facilities but not this year.  The Chairman noted that Avebury had in the past been keen to ‘do its bit’ for charities by accommodating some events but APC was not always notified about them, and more events might be sponsored in future.  He asked for the feeling of the meeting.  Sir Peter Beale said that Avebury was in danger of being overcrowded.  Mr Paul Birkeland-Green was concerned that the village could not provide the increased services needed if Avebury became a starting or finishing point.  Mrs Geraldine Wimble said that the PC had in the past always been notified by the organisers of the Sarsen Trail and that they had been very good about clearing up afterwards. Lady Beale suggested that APC write to Discover Adventure to highlight the lack of available facilities such as toilets and parking.  The Chairman said the APC would be developing its policy towards charity walks.
  • Avebury Sportsfield Association:  Mr Paul Dixon reported on behalf of ASA:
    • The remaining six volunteers had raised £3,070 with £695 coming from involvement with Avebury Rocks – a long, hard day but worthwhile financially
    • As well as paying for running costs for the pavilion, the maintenance of the building and the control of rodents, a large bill had been received from WC for water quality testing.  ASA had also met the cost of winter weather damage to the UV water filter
    • When the Pavilion was not being used during the past winter, a local volunteer had kindly painted the inside at a reduced rate which had been a great help
    • It was hoped to renew the floor covering in the main part of the Pavilion in 2012 and perhaps have safety flooring in the changing rooms.  Hopefully the refurbishment would be completed by the end of the year so ASA would then only need to raise funds to cover running costs and maintenance
    • Mr Dixon thanked all those who gave their time year round and commented that they would welcome new volunteers, although that this did involve a rota system to provide hot drinks to football spectators on cold winter Sunday mornings!

The Chairman said that the relationship between APC and ASA had been reviewed and formalised during the year.  It had been agreed that ASA pay APC £50 per annum in rent and would run the booking system and maintain the pavilion.  APC would insure the pavilion and pay for grass cutting.  APC had recently increased the insured sum of the pavilion to about £166,000 being the amount needed to re-build.  Miss Peak-Garland commented that the sports-field always looked lovely.

  • World Heritage Site Officer:  Sarah Simmonds (WHS Officer) explained that the WHS Management Plan was being updated and that this involved English Heritage, NT, Natural England, North Wessex Downs AONB, WC, the three local parish councils, farmers, archaeologists – and the community.  The Management Plan included everyone involved in keeping all the elements of Avebury (traffic, parking, tourism etc) well managed and it would be very useful if all local groups signed up to it.  It was currently being updated as there had been many changes since it was produced in 2005.  In July there would be an exhibition in the Social Centre outlining the issues affecting the area and she would welcome input from the community.

Mr Vic Paradise asked what was proposed to help with increased traffic flow on the A4361 through the WHS and was used as the most direct north/south route across the county.  Sarah Simmonds stated that these routes were part of the review including those used by HGVs and that the plan would try to achieve as much consensus as possible.

Sarah Simmonds asked if all Avebury residents had Residents Packs; if not, they were available from her.

  • Marlborough Area Board:  The Board had pledged £500 towards the village’s Jubilee celebrations and Jan Rendle had applied for nearly £2000 for stage lighting in the Social Centre.
  • Avebury Sacred Sites Forum:  This was attended by Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson, Mrs Antoinette Dyson and/or Mr Keith Howell.  Mr Howell reported that the groups attending the forum shared the local community’s concerns about drugs and drunkenness.  The aim was to move people on quickly from the Ridgeway area after the celebration.  Fences in this area had been installed and it was hoped that the farm water supply was now secure against misappropriation.
  • Summer Solstice 2012:  The Chairman reported that there had been meetings between NT, WHS, police, security, St. John’s Ambulance and the camping community regarding this year’s Solstice celebrations.  Arrangements would be similar to those in 2011.  Those celebrations had gone reasonably well although there had been an unpleasant assault on a member of staff at the Red Lion and there were too many drugs around due to the lack of the presence of a police drugs dog.  This year it was hoped that there would be one and possibly two dogs present, and that other precautions would include improved policing for Trusloe residents and coning off of local lay-bys, including West Kennett.
  • Policing, crime and scams: PCSO Jonathan Mills addressed the meeting and said that Ron Peach had been promoted to Inspector, CBM Sarah Watts has been transferred to Swindon and PC David Tippetts would be returning to the area in the post of Community Beat Manager.  He also reported that:
  • Most crime statistics were down and the Parish was a low crime area.  Theft from motor vehicles was a problem; a ‘bait’ car had been out in the area, but no bites!  
  • Not much of a problem with cold-calling in the area but if anyone was cold-called he advised taking the vehicle registration of the caller if possible and reporting it to the police.  Mrs Jan Williamson said that there had been two young men purporting to be collecting for the Red Cross who were quite assertive which could frighten older residents.  PCSO Mills said he hadn’t heard of this.  Mrs Beryl Greenway said she had called the Red Cross who told her that they sent out collectors in the evening as more people were at home.  
  • Fuel thefts remained an issue – red and white diesel from farms was being targeted.

Miss Peak-Garland said she would like to commend the police for the help she had received when burgled.

  • Local issues and events:  The Chairman noted a number of points:
    • Tanker drivers’ strike:  The Parish Council was identifying any vulnerable people in the area who might be affected in the event of a strike by the petrol tanker drivers.  Mrs Judy Farthing and Mrs Maggie Lewis were liaising on the issue.
    • Fence in Church Walk:  The suggestion that this fence be taken down had been discussed at APC meetings. Mrs Sally Nelson said it used to be open land there and that it would enhance the area if the large fence were taken down or replaced with a more aesthetic alternative.  It was thought that the fence was erected by Mr Ken King when he owned the Manor.  Mr Paradise stated that Alexander Keiller originally erected the fence to prevent people from accessing the land.  The fence was now owned by the NT and Mrs Tomlin stated that there were cost implications and concerns about the area being used for informal camping if accessible.  It was decided to review this matter in future, especially when the fence needed replacing.
    • Great Stones Way:  APC had made submissions to the consultants conducting the Environmental Impact Study and there had been a meeting the previous week in Woodborough for all villages on the route.  A report was currently being prepared by the consultants.
    • Mobile library service: The service was reviewed recently and, at present, the numbers using it in the Parish were above the required four users per location (Rawlins Park = 6.5, Trusloe = 5.8, High Street = 5.2)
    • Ridgeway camping:  This was under review.  A new fence had been installed.
    • Panto:  It was likely that the successful panto last December would be repeated
    • Diamond Jubilee celebration:  The event would be held on 4 June on the Sports-field with funding from MAB, APC and local organisations.  Mrs Williamson said she hoped everyone had received their invitations; the tickets would be free and would be available from the Community Shop, the Red Lion and the Club from 1 May.  Everyone attending would be asked to bring a plate of food to share.
    • Community orchard:  Janet polack had taken the initiative to plan this as a part of the Jubilee celebration.  Brian Holman had arranged for a group to see the NT’s Manor orchard and the orchard at West Kennett, both of which included a wide range of local varieties.
    • Avebury Rocks would be held on 7 July.


  • Communications:  The Chairman reported that:
    • ‘Headlines’ from APC meetings had been included in UKN throughout the year and had been put up on the five notice boards in the Parish.
    • APC had distributed seven newsletters and fliers to each household in the Parish.
    • Play area in Trusloe:  APC had arranged for RoSPA to prepare a safety report.  Mr Adams had removed concrete under the see-saw and had completed works to the swings, basketball net and fencing.
    • Noticeboards: one had been donated by the NT and had been installed at Beckhampton.  Two had been refurbished at West Kennett and Trusloe.
    • Water leaks by the pumping station and in the High Street had been reported repeatedly and had eventually been repaired.
    • Potholes in the High Street had been reported repeatedly to WC and APC had also reported general street cleaning and lighting issues to WC.  The NT continued to do a Monday morning litter clean up
    • Betty Hunter bench: Gillian Bushell had generously donated a bench in memory of her late aunt, Betty Hunter.  It had been installed by the south door of the church
    • Millennium Bench: This had now been refurbished by the estate of Sherrie Echols and APC had thanked Jenny Bromilow for her work on this.
    • Roads and footpaths:  WC had carried out surface dressings at Beckhampton and along the Avenue and had repaired Big Arch bridge on Footpath 22
    • Items not done:  These included resurfacing the High Street and updating APC’s Civil Emergency Plan.
  • Finance:  The Chairman said that copies of APC’s audited accounts and financial records were available for inspection at the end of the meeting.  The Precept for 2012/13 had been set at £11,100, a 2.6% reduction on 2011/12’s figure of £11,500.
  • Local issues from the public
    • Miss Peak-Garland raised the issue of flooding during rainstorms due to the silting up of the drains as chippings and mud washed into them.  She stated that the drains needed clearing.  The Chairman said he would email WC about this matter, and he would also email the NT following a complaint from a member of the public that the access to the public toilets needed sweeping.
    • Mrs Jane Garnett asked if general litter bins and bins for the disposal of dog faeces could be installed.  The general consensus was that they were much needed. APC would discuss this at its next meeting.
  • Local issues from the Parish Council:  There were no more issues from APC.
  • Any other business
    • Sir Peter Beale proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman and members of the Parish Council for all their work, and this was heartily endorsed by the meeting.
    • The Chairman thanked Sir Peter and also thanked:
      • All those who picked up litter and those who cleared up after their dogs, especially on the Sports-field, the Circle and local footpaths
      • Trustees, secretaries and treasurers of local voluntary organisations, especially Mrs Jenny Haines and the volunteers who ran ASA
      • The Police and staff at Wiltshire Council and the National Trust
      • Liz Moore, Jemima Milton, Judy Farthing, Paul Birkeland-Green and Len Adams
      • his colleagues on the Parish Council
      • and all those who attended the meeting.

The meeting closed at 9.00 p.m.

7 Apr 2011 Annual Parish Meeting : Minutes

Minutes of the annual Parish meeting held on the 7th April 2011 at The Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF.  (These minutes are set out in draft for adoption at the next annual Parish meeting in 2012.)

Time Started: 19:36
There were 32 members of the public present.

Present:  Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chairman), Mr Paul Dixon, Mrs Beryl Greenaway and Mrs Jenny Haines.

In attendance: Cllr Mrs Jemima Milton, Wiltshire Councillor, and Miss Liz Moore, Clerk.

  • Welcomes and introductions

The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming all attendees. He introduced the Parish Councillors present and Miss Liz Moore who lives in Lockeridge and had been Clerk to Avebury Parish Council for five weeks. The Chairman said he was going to ask others to speak during his report and introduce them when they did.

  • Mrs Jenny Baldrey, Mrs Gretchen Rawlins, Mr Wynne Rawlins

The Chairman stated that a number of people had wished to thank Jenny Baldrey, Wynne Rawlins and Gretchen Rawlins for their long service to the Council and had contributed to a present for each of them. He said that they had decided not to come the meeting and he would therefore give them their gifts in private.

  • Minutes of the annual Parish meeting held on 29th March 2010.

The Chairman asked all present to refer to a copy of the draft minutes of the annual Parish meeting held on 29 March 2010 and a copy of a revised section of them proposed by Ms Linda Jenkins and John Wilding (See appendix 1).

The Chairman asked whether he could sign the minutes as an accurate record.  The following points were made:
Page 1:  Apologies.  Mike Bedford noted that he was not at last year’s meeting.  It was agreed that his name be added to Apologies
Page 3:  Salt bin.  Heather Peak-Garland stated that she would like the salt bin to be put back in its original position in Kyter’s Walk beside her house. She had requested that the bin be moved along Kyters Walk but not removed and that was not what was agreed.  It was agreed that the minutes be amended accordingly.
Pages 4 and 5.  Revised minute.  Ms Linda Jenkins stated that both she and Mr John Wilding wished to propose a revised minute to replace the text in the draft minute beginning ‘Mrs Linda Jenkins asked why…’and ending ‘…for information for themselves’.  Ms Jenkins said her main concern at the meeting had been to request an improvement in communication with the community of the Parish Council’s minutes and decisions.

Mrs Judy Farthing asked whether the previous Clerk had agreed Ms Jenkins’ proposed revision.  The Chairman stated that Mrs Rawlins had been sent it and that she had no objection except that Councilor Wynne Rawlins had remained silent at the meeting.  Mrs Rawlins therefore wanted Mr Rawlins’ name removed from paragraph 3 of the proposed revised minute.  The Chairman had then relayed this message to Ms Jenkins for consideration.

Ms Jenkins said she wished his name to remain.  She added that she and John Wilding had been at the back of the meeting room and that they had not therefore been able to identify other Councilors that were actively involved in the issue at last year’s meeting.

The Chairman explained that it would be necessary first to resolve whether the proposed revised minute be amended by omitting Cllr Rawlins name.  It would then be necessary to resolve whether Ms Jenkins’ revised text, amended or not, be adopted in place of Mrs Rawlins’ original draft.

It was proposed by Mrs Farthing that the revised version be accepted but without mention of Cllr Mr Rawlins. Dr Bedford seconded her proposal. The Chairman put a motion that Mr Rawlins’s name be excluded from the proposed revised version. There were 16 in favour and three against. The Chairman then asked whether the amended, revised version proposed by Ms Jenkins and John Fielding should be adopted. There were 12 in favour and eight against.

Action: Chairman to sign off last year’s minutes subject to the three above amendments on pages 1, 3 and 4 being recorded.

  • Report on the work of the Parish Council and Avebury Sportsfield Association in the past year.

The Chairman said that one of the main duties of the Parish Council was to represent the interests of Avebury. The Council attended about 46 regular meetings every year and many other ad hoc events. The Parish attended meetings of seven different bodies and he would report on each below.

Tourist and Vehicle Management Group.  The Chairman said this group met two or three times a year.  On achievements, he reported that bollards on the A4 up to Beckhampton roundabout had been installed and that Wiltshire Council was planning to commission a Traffic Management and Design Guide Strategy for the Avebury World Heritage Site area.

Wiltshire Council.  The Chairman invited Wiltshire Councilor Mrs Milton to speak. Mrs Milton congratulated Sarah Simmons for getting rid of telegraph poles near Sanctuary. She reported that in the past year Wiltshire Council had had to respond to over three hundred pieces of new legislation and huge cuts in budget. She stated that whilst the number of people living in Wiltshire continues to rise, there will be enormous pressure on care provision to the elderly. To offset the budget cuts Mrs Milton reported that 220 managers in Wiltshire Council had taken voluntary redundancy. As another example, she said the Council would look to volunteers to run the libraries. Mrs Milton confirmed that as a result of putting together a four year business plan, they could effectively best manage the cuts to their budget and some services would in fact increase. The message is ‘use services or lose them’. The Chairman thanked Mrs Milton.

Other traffic issues. The Chairman reported that the offer of mobile speed cameras had not been taken up as no one had volunteered and it was not likely to be popular with locals. He stated that work to replace the concrete bus shelter at Beckhampton would be deferred to this year. The Chairman confirmed that Bus X96 had been re-routed and was no longer calling at Avebury and Bus X76 would be withdrawn, probably in September.

Police. The Chairman invited WPC Sarah Watts to speak. Mrs Watts said that out of the £100 million overall police budget, the budget had been cut by £17 million. She reassured everyone that Avebury is in a low crime area. Mrs Watts confirmed that Inspector Andy Noble had been replaced by Inspector Ron Peach. She said that her boss Sergeant Ben Braine was retiring at the end of April and policing structure would be re-aligned. The Chairman thanked Mrs Watts and PCSO Mrs Polly Ritchie for their work during the year and the police in general.

Roads and footpaths. The Chairman reported that potholes had been filled in the High Street and along Footpath 22 (between Bray Street and High Street). He said that the Parish Council would try again to get the salt bin back in Kyters’ Walk. The Chairman also confirmed that the Parish would apply to Wiltshire Council to get the road resurfaced in the High Street after the building works had been completed.

Marlborough Area Board.  Dr Bedford reported there may be money available to help with repairs to the play area.  MAB meets nine times a year.
The Chairman invited Mrs Michele Lomas to speak. She stated that:

  • She had applied to MAB for funding to replace the shop till and that the decision would be given in the week beginning 10th April 2011.
  • She was looking to get local produce into the Community shop

Planning Applications.  The Chairman reported that the Parish Council had supported the majority of applications (see http://www.aveburyparishcouncil.org) including Bridgemead and the re-siting of the Post Office. He stated the Parish had objected to some including (i) the fast food outlet in the Coach House and (ii) Stokholm new build. He said that Wiltshire Council had gone ahead anyway and approved both.

Tourist Information Centre, and Avebury Rocks  The Chairman reported that funding for the Tourist Information Centre is due to be axed over the next 2 years. He stated that a non-profit project with a Board of Trustees may be set up to keep it going. He added that Parish Council members would not take an active role because the aim of the Council was to represent the interest of local people, primarily, and not tourists.   The Chairman reported that Avebury Rocks concert on the 9th July would be in aid of Prospect Hospice in Wroughton.

Avebury Sportsfield Association  Mrs Haines reported that ASA had managed to pay a contribution to the insurance premiums for buildings insurance on the pavilion and public liability insurance on both the sports-field and the pavilion to date.  ASA’s members could not however be certain that ASA could continue to make these contributions in future.  She said there would be no two day event this year due to loss of income due. Mrs Haines stated that instead ASA would provide food for the Avebury Rocks concert.

Avebury Sacred Sites Forum.  The Chairman reported that the Forum met about eight times a year and sought to build a useful dialogue between the National Trust, English Heritage, the Police, the local community and people from different sects and beliefs.

Avebury Solstice Operational Planning Meeting.   The Chairman said that this group met about five times a year.  It brought together representatives of the National Trust, English Heritage, Wiltshire Council, the Police, Fire and Rescue, St John’s Ambulance, a security firm, the camping community and the Parish Council.  He would give details of Solstice 2011 later in the meeting.

Avebury World Heritage Site Steering Committee.  The Chairman invited Sarah Simmonds (World Heritage Site Officer) to speak. Sarah Simmonds stated that her role is to implement the World Heritage Site Plan for Avebury. The aim is to: (i) look after Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments (ii) look after the landscape and (iii) protect village life. She confirmed that telegraph poles at Sanctuary had been removed by the local electricity company. She said there were various policies in place to help protect WHS. She will be getting input from Jill Swanton regarding managing the Ridgeway. A project had been set up to fund the development of a ‘phone app’ to help people navigate the landscape. The Chairman thanked Sarah Simmonds.

Marlborough Area Parish Forum.  The Chairman confirmed that the Marlborough and Villages Community Area Partnership was now being dissolved and that the Marlborough Area Parish Forum was being established.  This will enable all 15 local parishes work together as a collective group to get action. He said he had raised the issue as to why parish councils should have to be registered for PAYE as per HMRC new rules.

Social Centre.  The Parish Council was represented on the Social Centre, and the Centre was running successfully.

Litter and dogs.  The Chairman thanked all those that litter pick and those that clear up after their dogs, especially in the recreation area and the Circle. He asked that as many people as possible should do the same.  He stressed that Chinese lanterns must be discouraged due to the risks of fire, particularly of thatched buildings, and damage to animals, particularly if they ate the remaining metal pieces when grazing.

Money.  The Chairman stated that the Precept remained the same as last year at £11,500.00. He said the audited accounts for 2009-2010 were available for inspection at the meeting.

  • Local issues from the public

(i) BBC comes to Avebury Manor. The Chairman invited Mrs Janet Tomlin and Mr Richard Watson (National Trust) to speak. Mrs Tomlin stated that the National Trust had had to consider all options regarding how to finance the repairs to the grade I listed Manor House. The NT decided to sign a contract with the BBC. She said the BBC will transform 12 rooms in the manor over the coming six months. This will involve renovating them and turning the walled garden into a Victorian garden.  The documentary will be completed in September 2011. It will be screened on Sunday 9th October at 7pm as a series of four, one hour programmes. (See appendix 2). Mrs Tomlin mentioned that the NT was thinking about opening the Manor to the village for use as a facility. She stated there would be regular progress updates for the village, once every 10 days or so.

(ii) Questions and observations from individuals

  • Mr Vic Paradise stressed he keeps having to direct people out of the High Street. He requested signage to be put up directing visitors to the NT’s car park. Mrs Tomlin agreed to see what she could do.
  • Miss Heather Peak-Garland declared that NT employees using a strimmer had mowed down her flower bulbs. The area affected is from her double doors, the verge near the vicarage and then on to Kyter’s Lane. Mrs Tomlin agreed to raise this issue with Ms Hilary Makins (Head Ranger NT).
  • Cllr Mrs Milton requested regular progress updates to be sent by email. Mrs Tomlin confirmed this would happen.
  • Sir Hugh Jones stated that the Manor is a vital part of the village and the National Trust should be careful not to increase visitor numbers as a result of the BBC programmes.  Mrs Tomlin agreed and said the NT’s key concern was to avoid having greater footfall around the monuments.
  • Ms Linda Jenkins asked whether neo-paganism should have an increasingly dominant effect in the village. In discussion it was stated that the Avebury Sacred Sites Forum is not exclusive to Pagans and that the vicar had been a member until he left.  WPC Watts emphasized that people from different background were all entitled to come to Avebury and that it was better to work together. The religious leaders’ help is necessary to ensure harmonious relations for everyone.
  • Lady Beale raised the question as to who would be responsible for all the litter created by the new catering outlet in the High Street. In response Mrs Tomlin said the NT will manage this. Lady Beale emphasized that the way for the NT to make more money would be to change their vegetarian and vegan Barn restaurant to non-veggie. Mrs Tomlin disagreed and stated that the Barn restaurant would stay as it is. She added that the NT is currently looking for a new Catering Manager to improve the quality of the food.
  • The Chairman reinforced Sir Hugh Jones’ statement and said that NT should not actively increase visitor numbers to Avebury.
  • Local issues from the Parish Council 

      Elections for Parish Council.  The Chairman reported that Wiltshire Council would be arranging an election on the 26th May 2011 for three seats on the Parish Council. The nomination forms would be out by the 15th April and must be returned by the 27th April. There would be one co-option at a later date. He stated that five people had expressed an interest so far but one had withdrawn for health reasons. The Chairman stated that members of the Council hoped to see one or more people joining the Council from Avebury Trusloe.

Note: Three members of the public left the meeting

Great Stones Way proposal.  The Chairman reported that there were still issues with car parking for the Great Stones Way Proposal. The Parish Council had objected and requested an Environmental Impact Assessment. This had been accepted. Friends of the Ridgeway (FoR) had also agreed the route would keep to the Ridgeway and avoid Avebury. Following the environmental assessment, the project will be reviewed by the Parish Council.
Communications  The Chairman stated that the Parish Council would review communications between the community and the Council in the next few months and would consider drafting a strategy.
Arrangements for Solstice.  The Chairman gave details of arrangements for Solstice [listed in minutes of the Parish Council’s March meeting].  WPC Watts stated that there will be a ‘contaminated waste disposal’ bin as per last year.  Mrs Farthing reported that a bin last year had been sited opposite The Red Lion Pub. She said this was not a good selling point for the village and asked for it to be sited in a different place. WPC Watts agreed to organize this. Mrs Julie Butler asked if policing arrangements for the Solstice were part of a long-term strategy. In response, WPC Watts stated there could be no promises for future years.  Mr Paradise reported a problem with fireworks being let off near his home. He asked if the police had ‘explosives dogs’. Mrs Watts stated they had a passive drug dog only.  Ms Linda Jenkins asked if there would be a police presence for Beltaine (30th April) and camping on the 1st May. WPC Watts stated she would be keeping a watching brief.  Mrs Greenaway and Mrs Haines stressed that they had had difficultly contacting the police at Devizes. WPC Watts advised them to telephone 999 if urgent.
Avebury Community Plan.  The Chairman asked people’s views on the possibility of developing a community plan for the people of Avebury.  An initial feasibility could be undertaken and, if positive, a survey might then to find out what local people want.  It could then form the basis of an Avebury Community Plan.  He gave some examples of possible themes.  Miss Peak-Garland said she would like to see larger car parks and Mrs Farthing supported the idea of a community plan.  Sir Hugh Jones suggested that the Council produce a Summary Plan.  The Chairman agreed to raise the issue at a Parish Council meeting.
Trucks in the High Street  Miss Peak-Garland stated that someone should be responsible for damage done by large trucks in the High Street. She said that recently a car parked in the High Street had a wing mirror taken off.

7.   Thanks  The Chairman thanked all those active in local voluntary organizations, the speakers at the meeting, his colleagues on the Council together with the Clerk and all present for attending.

8.   Any other business  None

The meeting closed at 21:28

Appendices (included in book of Parish Council papers):
1. Minutes of Avebury Parish meeting held on the 29th March 2010: Revised document produced by Ms Jenkins.
2. National Trust Newsletter March 2011 ‘Treasure House’ BBC at Avebury Manor and ‘BBC Comes to Avebury Manor!’ and introductory letter.

29 Mar 2010 Annual Parish Meeting : Minutes

Annual Parish meeting held on the 29th March 2010.

Three amendments were agreed at the Annual Parish meeting on 7 April 2011 to the draft minutes of the meeting on 29 March 2010 and these are shown in bold in the text below:

  1. The addition of Dr Mike Bedford under apologies (page 1)
  2. Salt bin to be moved in Kyters Walk (page 2)
  3. A revised amendment proposed by Ms Linda Jenkins and seconded by Mr John Wilding (page 3)

There were 31 members of the public present for this meeting.

Apologies were received from Mr & Mrs Latimer-Kerr and Dr Mike Bedford.

The previous years minutes were read, agreed and signed.

Mrs Farthing commented that she had not agreed to the use of the Glebe field for the next 3 years.  This was noted.

Chairman, Mrs Baldrey read through her report of work carried out throughout the last year.  Mrs Karen Pearson had resigned from the Parish Council due to work commitments.  Mrs Pearson was replaced by Mr Andrew Williamson who was co-0pted onto the P.C.

Chairman commented that things were very different under the new Wiltshire Council, she then introduced Cllr Mrs Milton who was the new Cllr for West Selkley Ward.

Chairman informed members that she and the clerk try to attend each of the Area Boards every 6 weeks or so. Cllr Hinder attends the MAVCAP meetings on behalf of the Parish Council. Chairman said she was somewhat confused as to why two groups  were necessary, but as it is early days under the new regime and this may become clearer later.
Avebury village came third in the 2009 Best Kept Village but are not entering this year .
Several Highway matters came to the fore, speeding through Beckhampton and the safety aspect of this became urgent and to this end Cllr Milton had met residents and there would now be bollards etc to slow down the vehicles as they approached Beckhampton,  this would take place by September this year.
There was still great concern about the turning onto the A4361 at Trusloe, the A4 north of the village and the A4 at West Kennett. These concerns were raised regularly at the Traffic & Visitor Management meetings  but are regularly rebuffed by Police personnel and Highways representatives as the correct criteria for speed limits do not apply to the areas in question.
Will, the Parish Steward continues to do a good job in Avebury and always does his best to complete jobs that need doing.  If the public have any concerns over the area he covers then let the Chairman know and she will try to make sure that Will attends to them.  During the recent bad weather the salt bins were kept filled and an extra one was placed at Trusloe.
The Chairman sent a letter of thanks to the Community Shop who stayed open throughout this bad winter and this was much appreciated by many people.
The Chairman thanked those people who litter pick throughout the Parish, they quietly go about this work without fuss or payment.
Unfortunately the new fence around the play area has been vandalised.  The P.C. hope to get this repaired this year at great expense.  Having to replace the play area fencing means that we are unable to improve the equipment in the near future.
After all of the consultations, meetings and discussion about a Pagan Campsite away from any settlement in the Parish,it all ended with what was a fudged decision with the tenting taking place in the Glebe field and in the car park at the back of the vicarage. There has been no solution at all as to where campers can go. The Pagan Community are still trying to negotiate a way in for the campers, other than using the Ridgeway. Although the P.C. has managed to reach a reasonable rapport with all involved participants, mainly the N.T.  E.H. the Police and Pagan community, the patience of some has worn a little thin at this time.  In the short term, we have been informed by Scott Green that the Glebe field will be used for the next three years, although Mrs Farthing, the tenant of the Glebe Field, denies this.
Scott Green, the property manager for the N.T. at Avebury has recently left and the New property manager, Janet Tomlin was present tonight to answer any village concerns.

P.C. Bayliss has left us and we welcome Sarah Watts who has recently taken his place.  Thanks go to P.C. Bayliss for the work carried out by him and his PCSO  Polly Ritchens. Polly is staying with Sarah.

Work is still going on with fund raising for the Avebury Sports Association.  Jenny Haines, chairman of ASA gave a report outlining the years events and reminding all that there will be another Avebury Weekend in July.
The future of Avebury Club is in the balance at the moment through lack of custom and members, and recently the P.C. were informed that the Froebel Centre was closing and another type of nursery style centre could open on the premises.
The 2008/9 audited account books are available this evening for inspection should anyone wish to do so.

During question time Heather Peak-Garland reminded the W.C. that although there is a R.O.W past her house the grit bin was blocking her access. She had requested that the bin be moved along Kyters Walk, but not removed. Peter Hanson said he would get it moved.
Question were raised about the solstice arrangements for this year which we have been told by the Police that they would be the same as last year except for the use of the Glebe Field.  There is still nowhere for campers and only tents would be allowed in the car park but agreement has yet to be reached.
Gordon Rimes asked that the sign at the top of the High Street
Be put back up.  Mr Hanson would deal with this.
Mrs Tomlin was asked about the plans put in recently by Mr Mallett for change of use of the coach house from A1 to b1 business use.  Mrs Tomlin said that there was no likelihood of the N.T. agreeing to any lease at any time as the water supply for the toilets was in this building.
Mr Mann stated that the Coach House was in a bad state of repair.
Mr Holmes reported that the application had not been correctly made out and should never have been submitted. Mr Holmes also felt that there were not enough N.T. wardens in the village at peak times.
Mr Paradise asked that the holes in the High street needed attention and that it was over 30 years since the High Street had been resurfaced.  Peter Hanson said that this is unlikely in the near future.
The footpath over the bridges will not be resurfaced this year but some general repairs may be carried out.
Mrs Farthing said that pot holes and breaking away of green Street needed attention.  Mr Hanson would look into this. He also said that if there are any concerns about this sort of issue, then the people to phone was CLARENCE on 0800 232323 and report the problems.
Gordon Rimes asked when the N.T. and W.C.   would drop the curb of the entrance into the circle for disabled access.  Jan Tomlin said this would be looked into along with comments from Wiltshire Highways,
The footpath from the car park to the High Street was in a bad state of repair and clerk would email Esther Daly to try to get this sorted out.
Lady Beale asked that bins again be provided in the High street and with the addition of a dog waste bin.  As there is only a fortnightly collection this may not be feasible, but Mrs Milton was asked if the Council could do anything about this. It was noted that a new grit bin was needed in the High Street. Peter Hanson had noted this and would try to oblige.

Ms Linda Jenkins raised a concern about the minutes of PC meetings, asking that topics and outcomes/decisions be communicated clearly, rather than e.g. “a letter from X was read out and discussed”.

Cllr Baldrey emphasised the distinction between minutes and resumes, and Ms Jenkins clarified she was referring to whatever form of public record the PC chooses, by which to inform the electorate of developments on matters of public interest.

Cllrs Hinder and Greenaway were concerned it would be too much work for the Clerk. Ms Jenkins agreed the records needed to be brief, but commensurate with purpose, which is to give clear information about decisions that PC members make or contribute to on residents’ behalf.

The Cllrs said Ms Jenkins should attend meetings in person if she wanted to be better informed. Ms Jenkins said transparent public records were of wider interest, and this shouldn’t be treated as a personal matter. 

Ms Jenkins also raised the issue of access to the minutes/resumes, asking if they could be reinstated on the Kennet Valley News website and/or the Parish Magazine. Even if a bit out of date due to publishing deadlines, it still enabled people better to keep track and retain a record of some local situation if they wished, but those arrangements had been discontinued without explanation. 

The PC noted that resumes of the meetings were regularly placed on the notice boards, and did not agree to continue posting minutes/resumes on the Kennet website or in the Parish Magazine, due to the cost

The Clerk offered to email Ms Jenkins with the minutes of future meetings. Ms Jenkins thanked the Clerk, but stressed her concern was about better access to information for the community as a whole, and the Clerk’s offer didn’t address that. John Wilding then offered to host the PC minutes on the Henge Shop website, free of charge, and people attending the meeting responded positively to his suggestion. Cllr Baldrey concluded by saying the PC would look further at the issue of communication.

There were no further questions and the meeting closed at 9.15 p.m.