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.