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.