Chawton Parish Council AGM Minutes 2016

The minutes of the 2016 Chawton Parish Council AGM were approved at the 2017 AGM held on 16th May 2017.

Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 31st May 2016
7.30pm The Village Hall

Present: Edward Stevenson, Malcolm Williamson, Robert Isaac, Tim Chilton, Jackie Forward, Richard McLaren, Mandi Sowik (Clerk)

Re-election of Chairman and Vice Chairman Edward Stevenson was proposed as Chairman by Jackie Forward and seconded by Robert Isaac. Malcolm Williamson was proposed as Vice Chairman by Tim Chilton and seconded by Richard McLaren.

Minutes of the last meeting were signed as a true and correct record.

Chairman’s Report With the looming Brexit referendum and US Presidential elections dominating all the national and international headlines, local matters are still able to generate plenty of good natured debate. I am delighted that so many of the residents of Chawton feel passionately about the future of the village and are determined to maintain its rural charm.
While 2015 has been another successful year in Chawton there have been a number of controversial topics to deal with which I will detail a little later.

Let’s summarize the achievements first.

Last June the village hosted another spectacular open gardens weekend with several thousand visitors and takings in excess of £6,000. I would like to congratulate Flair Kitchen, Jackie Forward and Mandi Sowik for their hard work in organizing this terrific event. I know that the younger members of the village particularly enjoyed the scarecrow competition which showed off the creative talents of the village in dramatic style.

The annual bonfire and fireworks event has now become a local fixture in the diary. I would like to congratulate Martin Whittock and Team for organizing what I think is the most spectacular fireworks event that I have ever been to.

Amidst these larger village events, the Parish council has also managed to tidy up the recreational area and cricket pitch as well as open the refurbished playground. I hope that everybody agrees with me that this whole area is a real credit to the village.

General maintenance of the footpaths and public areas continues in the background and is a major source of the precept expenditure.
For 2016, we had to take the difficult decision to increase the precept for the year ahead. While the percentage increase was large, the nominal amount is still comparatively low. As I will detail now, we have a number of forthcoming items of significant expenditure alongside the more mundane day to day maintenance. For 2016, the precept is £17,470, an increase of £9,000, split as follows:

– £3000 for repairs the wall in the recreation ground
– £1500 for the bus shelter repairs
– £3500 provision for car parking / traffic
– £1000 provision for unexpected costs

As you can see we have put aside £3500 in 2016 for traffic and parking. This topic remains the most controversial aspect among members of the Parish council and something that I am keen to hear opinions on from the audience this evening. The Jane Austen House and Chawton House Library attract large numbers of visitors, particularly during summer months. With no parking restrictions and a poorly signposted car park, visitors’ parked cars can cause disruption and irritation to village residents.
In recent years, the village has adopted the Parish plan and I think it would be useful if the audience is reminded of some of the key takeaways from this Parish Plan. I would like Malcolm and Robert as co-authors of the Parish Plan to give a summary of the key conclusions in this document when it comes to traffic and parking. I myself did not participate in the questionnaire and I am sure that there are others in the village in the same position. I am also sure that there are others who have not read this important document.

I will hand over to Robert and Malcolm who have worked very hard on this document to remind us of the salient points of the Parish Plan.

Many thanks

Parish Plan Cllr Williamson and Cllr Isaac were asked to set out the Parish Plan with regard to the traffic and parking and also the housing plan from SDNP. SDNP plan 6 units in Chawton before 2030. Cllr Isaac stated that regular meetings were held previous to the Parish plan being endorsed. The Parish Plan involved a questionnaire based survey to the village.

The Parish Plan also proposes an out of village car park with various methods of funding including grants and if there were to be any housing development this would also be a source of funding, although there was no current proposal. A lively discussion then followed with residents (approximately 30 attended) questioning where this would be situated.

Cllr Forward then proposed alternatives to an out of village car park, these included the existing EHDC car park, use of the Redemptorist car park over weekends, opening up the Gosport Road dead end and installing a height barrier and use of the Village Hall car park when no events are taking place.
The central village carpark owned by Fullers and leased to EHDC, this lease is due for renewal in March 2017 and EHDC would be considering this lease in October 2016. Cllr Forward has had discussions with Fullers and if the lease with EHDC is not renewed the village would be offered the chance to lease at a cost of £4k per year.

The residents attending the meeting were asked for a show of hands, 3 residents were supportive of an out of village car park and an overwhelming majority supported the lower impact alternatives.
Cllr Forward asked for a show of hands in support of either scheme from the Council, Cllrs Stevenson, Gleadows and Forward supported the alternative low impact and Cllrs Chilton, Isaac, McLaren and Williamson declined from showing support for either option.

Cllr Chilton stated that the on-going analysis and data was still required with regard to actual demand for parking, current village capacity and the potential options available for the future, these facts and options are pre-requisite before we can consult and ultimately make any decision.

Lisa Hillan (Governor from Chawton Primary School) attended the meeting and added that the school are fully supportive of the Parish Council with regard to parking and are constantly looking for ways to improve the parking and safety of parents dropping off and collecting, Dawn Tilley (Head Teacher) was in contact with the Clerk. The School stated that they remain committed to working collaboratively with the council and the community in providing quality education, in safe surroundings, to the children of Chawton C of E Primary School.  ‘We love being a part of this beautiful, historic village, and we value deeply the people who make Chawton village so special’.

Again there was some lively discussion which included several questions to Cllr Williamson regarding an email he had sent to SDNP on behalf of the Council regarding land, car parking & housing issues. Cllr Williamson was asked to respond and explain. The Council were not aware of this email being sent until 5 days after its initial sending.

The Meeting was adjourned at approximately 22.00
Next Parish Council Meeting will be
Tuesday 7th June 2016
8pm The Great Hall, Chawton House Library