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Parish Council Annual & Parish Minutes - Wednesday, 13th May 2020

on Fri, 10/07/2020 - 8:02am


Minutes of the Annual Meeting of Sparsholt Parish Council held on

Wednesday 13th May 2020 at Griffin Memorial Hall starting at 8.00pm

Present: Councillors Barnes, Comyn, Jacobs and Jones, DC Barrow, the RFO and Clerk and 6 parishioners.





Apologies:  None.



Co-option of new Parish Councillors:  Jon Coe is the only applicant and will be co-opted onto the Parish Council at the next meeting.  Mr Coe was not present at the meeting.



Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairman:  It was unanimously agreed that Cllr Comyn should remain as Chairman and that Cllr Barnes should remain as Vice-Chairman.



Declaration of Acceptance of Office, Declarations of Interest & Reminder of the Code of Conduct:  None.



Minutes of the Meeting held on Wednesday 4th March 2020:  The minutes were proposed as a true record by the Chairman, Cllr Comyn and seconded by Cllr Barnes and agreed by Cllr Jones.

Minutes of the Planning Meeting held on Wednesday 25th March 2020:  The minutes were proposed as a true record by the Chairman, Cllr Comyn and seconded by Cllr Barnes and agreed by Cllrs Jacobs and Jones.

Minutes of the Planning Meeting held on Wednesday 15th April 2020:  The minutes were proposed as a true record by the Chairman, Cllr Comyn and seconded by Cllr Barnes and agreed by Cllrs Jacobs and Jones.



Matters Arising: 

  1. Land registry number for the cemetery:  Ongoing.
  2. Triangle Woods:  Ongoing.
  3. Data Protection Officer:  The Clerk reported that this is not required.
  4. Petrol/cordless mower:  Cllr Jones will give Cllr Barnes advise on which one to purchase, agreed unanimously.
  5. Cemetery Rail quotes:  Cllr Jones has obtained a quote for the work but is concerned that the rail may cause a problem for the undertakers when carrying the coffin.  Cllr Jacobs agreed that this is a valid point.  Cllr Comyn agreed to measure the path.  Ian Brown said that he had provided a drawing in 2013 for this work and that his concern would be getting the mini digger in to dig the grave if the rail made the path narrower.  Angie Brown suggested contacting a local Funeral Director to ask for advice.  Cllr Comyn to look into this before the next meeting.  It was stated that the works would need to be completed before the next winter.
  6. Cemetery Risk Assessment:  Cllr Comyn has reviewed this and stated that the mention of no vases should be removed.  Cllr Comyn checked the Cemetery Rules and it states that a single vase is allowed.  Angie Brown questioned whether it stated that it should not be glass but it does not state that in the Rules.  Cllr Comyn proposed the Cemetery risk assessment be accepted after the Clerk has made the amendment, seconded by Cllr Jacobs and agreed unanimously.
  7. Collapsed fencing along Blacklands:  Cllr jones has spoken to the land owner and the fence will be removed and cleared away. 
  8. Carbon Neutral Sparsholt and Westcot:  DC Barrow has spoken to Michelle Wells and Liz Hayden at the Vale of White Horse DC who passed the request on to David Grant who leads on climate change amongst the District Councillors.  Once COVID-19 is over DC Barrow will contact them again to arrange DC Grant and an Officer from the Vale Climate Change department to visit and make a presentation to all seven local parish councils.
  9. Expenditure suggestions:  This has not been advertised yet as there has not been a newsletter due to COVID-19.  Cllr Barnes suggested putting it on the various village WhatsApp groups and Cllr Comyn will put a notice on the two notice boards.  It was suggested that a COVID-19 victory party might be arranged and funded by the Parish Council once the crisis is over.  Angie Brown suggested that maybe the Parish Council could fund an extra cut of the verges in and just outside of the 30 mph limits.  Cllr Jones thought it would only cost around £300.  The Clerk suggested contacting Ben Gristlewood of BGG, who cuts the grass for OCC, as Ben would know which verges need cutting.  The Clerk to ask Ben to contact Cllr Jones to discuss.  Cllr Comyn proposed that if the cost was £300 that Ben should go ahead, seconded by Cllr Barnes and agreed unanimously.
  10. Sparsholt Emergency Plan:  Cllr Comyn suggested that the draft needs cutting down, Cllr Barnes offered to look into it.  The Clerk stated that Amanda Barnes and Ruth Caulfield have already set up the Emergency Care Group to help during the COVID-19 crisis.  Cllr Jones concerned that people will endanger themselves and Cllr Barnes assured the Parish Council that the Government advise in emergency situations.  Cllr Jones insisted that a visual risk assessment must be completed before any tackles a situation.  The Clerk to resend in word format and it will be reviewed again at the next meeting. 


Cllr Comyn

Cllr Jones



Cllrs Jones and Barnes



Cllr Comyn




Cllr Comyn














DC Barrow




Cllr Barnes

Cllr Comyn







Cllr Jones



Cllr Barnes







Review of Standing Orders:  It was unanimously agreed that no amendments need to be made.



Review of delegation arrangements to committees, sub-committees, employees and other local authorities:  All five Parish Councillors also constitute the planning sub committee.  The Clerk and the RFO are the only employees of the Parish Council.



Review of the terms of reference for Committees:  Terms of Reference for the planning committee are in the Standing Orders.



Receipt of nominations to existing committees/appointment to any new committees, confirmation of the terms of reference, and the number of members:  All Parish Councillors to remain members of the Planning Committee, unanimously agreed.



Review of representatives on or who work with external bodies and arrangements for reporting back:  Planning received via the VOWHDC and the Parish Council will continue to make representations to the VOWHDC and OCC when necessary.  Cllr Comyn to remain Burials, Rights of Way and Highways Officer proposed by Cllr Jacobs, seconded by Cllr Jones and agreed by Cllr Barnes.



Assets review:  To be reviewed and signed at the next meeting.



Risk Assessment:  The Risk Assessment and Risk Assessment Process was reviewed and Cllr Comyn proposed acceptance, seconded by Cllr Barnes and agreed unanimously.



Review of Insurance Cover:  Only a slight increase of 1%, Cllr Comyn proposed acceptance, seconded by Cllr Barnes and agreed unanimously.



Review of the Council’s and/or employees’ membership of other bodies:  The Council is a member of the OALC and Community First Oxfordshire.



Review of the Council’s complaints procedure.  Review procedures for handling requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 1998:  It was agreed that no amendments were required.





Review the Council’s Policy for dealing with the press/media:  The Chairman Cllr Comyn will speak to the press on behalf of the PC, after consultation with all the Parish Councillors if possible.  Proposed Cllr Barnes and seconded Cllr Jacobs and agreed by Cllr Jones.




  1. Approval of the monthly Financial Statement:  Cllr Comyn proposed acceptance, seconded by Cllr Barnes and agreed unanimously.  Cllr Comyn proposed payments for the Clerk’s salary for April and May £157.56, RFO’s salary for April and May £94.42, Expenses to Cllr Barnes for the Zoom subscription for April £14.39, Zurich Insurance £376.64, seconded by Cllr Jacobs and agreed unanimously.
  2. Approval of bank signatories for 2020-2021: Cllrs Comyn and Barnes are already bank signatories.  It had been agreed at a previous meeting to add on Cllr Jones, paperwork still to be submitted.     
  3. Approval of the Annual Return for the year to 31st March 2020:  Cllr Comyn proposed acceptance of the accounts up to the 31st March 2020, seconded by Cllr Barnes and agreed unanimously.  The AGAR to be completed at the meeting, there has been a two month extension granted.
  4. Review the actual receipts and payments for 2019/20 compared to the budgeted figures and explain the differences:  Next meeting.









Cllr Jones



New applications:

P20/V0955/HH 3 Eastmanton Cottages, Eastmanton Lane, Sparsholt, OX12 9PJ:  Proposed extension and alterations.  Cllr Comyn stated that this falls within Development Policy 7 of the current Local Plan.  Cllr Jones thought it would make no difference to the village and that it was a nice design.  Cllr Jacobs said that it was only 6 ft. longer at the back and that the neighbours had not objected.  Cllr Barnes has no objections.  Cllr Jones added that there has been  water seen on the road near there that looks like it is foul sewage overflow.  Therefore, Cllr Comyn proposed a response of ‘no objections’ but wanted the following comment to be taken into account; Sparsholt Parish Council recommends that the foul sewage system would be assessed before permission is granted, seconded by Cllr Jacobs and agreed unanimously.  The Clerk to submit the response.


  1. P20/V0722 Summer Lease, Watery Lane, OX12 9PP:  Single storey timber framed garden room extension to rear.  No decision.
  2. P20/V0526/FUL Westcot Farm, Westcot, OX12 9QA:  Application for planning permission for conversion of existing farm buildings to form seven family homes with associated parking, amenity areas, landscaping, and associated works.  No decision.
  3. P20/V0609/FUL The Old Glebe House and The Flat, Church Way, OX12 9PU:  Variation of Condition 1 of P15/V2297/FUL to extend the temporary consent to 31 December 2023.  Temporary change of use to purposes falling within class C2 (until December 2020).  Granted.
  4. P20/V0445/HH Eastmanton Farm:  Proposed new outbuilding, to provide covered secure parking, garden store, utility and storage to the main house.  New entrance gate.  Granted














Matters for future discussion:  Iain Brown stated that he had been emptying the five doo poo bins on a Sunday evening before the rubbish collection to ensure that they were not missed.  The first couple of weeks the VOWHDC had explained that the bins may not be emptied due to staff shortages.  Iain Brown had also cleared ditches both by Westcot Farm and on Partridge Way.  The Partridge Way ditch is the responsibility of the Swires and Cllr Jones agreed to speak to them.  Under the road by the collapsed railings also needs clearing and Cllr Comyn agreed to look into this and speak to Lee Turner at OCC Highways.  Iain Brown has also been cutting the Village green grass and the triangle and agreed to continue doing so.  Iain Brown mentioned that the Parish Council needs to empty the Cemetery bins.        






Cllr Jones


Cllr Comyn


Set dates, times and place of ordinary meetings of the full Council for the year ahead: Wednesday 8th July 2020 starting at 7.00pm at the Griffin Memorial Hall/via Zoom.

The Parish Council may need to change this date as necessary.


Meeting closed at 8.40pm.

Minutes prepared by Mrs D Lewis-Pryde, Parish Clerk


SPCAM 13th May 2020


Minutes of the Sparsholt Annual Parish Meeting held on

Wednesday 13th May 2020 via Zoom starting at 7.00pm

Present: Councillors Comyn (Chairman), Barnes, Jacobs and Jones, DC Barrow, the RFO and Clerk and 6 x parishioners.





Apologies:  None.



Sparsholt Parish Council Chairman’s Report:  The report was given by Cllr Comyn, see attached.



District and County Councillors Report:  DC Barrow reported that he was worried that he was sending through too much information.  Dc Barrow said that he had started summarising it and that Nick had posted some useful items on the Sparsholt website. Cllr Comyn thanks DC Barrow for sending through the information. DC Barrow also wanted the Parish Council to be aware that he was ready to assist by calling in any contentious planning applications.  The Planning department are fully staffed but Enforcement are understaffed currently.  Cllr Comyn asked DC Barrow for his support with the Westcot Farm development and noted that the traffic officers have requested a transport plan for vehicles arriving and leaving the dwellings. 



Any Other Business:  Cllr Jacobs asked about replacing the defibrillator pads and obtaining child ones.  Cllr Barnes stated that he had replaced the pads and logged the defibrillator with the Emergency Services.  Cllr Barnes offered to order and install the child pads.



Cllr Barnes


Meeting closed at 7.30pm.

Minutes taken and prepared by The Clerk



APM 13th May 2020






13th MAY 2020



The membership of Sparsholt Parish Council (the PC/Council) at the beginning of the year comprised Councillors Tim Comyn (Chairman), Ian Barnes (Deputy Chairman), John Caudle, Clare Jacobs and Barry Jones.

John Caudle stood down from the Council at the beginning of 2020 for personal reasons. 

Debbie Lewis-Pryde has continued as our parish clerk throughout the year and Jane Valentine has acted as our Responsible Financial Officer.

The PC resolved that it should generally meet once every two months. Since the Covid 19 lock-down commencing in March, the Council has met via Zoom.


The PC has been consulted by the Vale of the White Horse District Council (the Vale) during the year on a number of planning applications relating to land in the civil parish. 

The restoration and redevelopment of the Grade II listed Manor at Sparsholt continued throughout the year with the Council being called upon to comment on the discharge of planning and listed building conditions, and a proposal to alter, temporarily, the entrance gates on Sparsholt Street. None proved controversial and all were not objected to.

In October, the Council was informed that the application for a polo stick and ball practice field, timber barn and new lake with associated landscape planting (P19/V1365/FUL) at Kingstone Lisle Park had been withdrawn.

The Parish Council objected to the proposed re-use of agricultural buildings at Westcot Farm (P20/V0526/FUL) following largely the guidance provided by the pre-application advice given to the applicant (P19/V1748/PEJ) by the Vale. It was considered that while the conversion of the Shepherd’s Cottage and the Workshop to dwellings would, in principle, conform to Local Plan Part 2: Policy DP7 (i)–(iv), the proposed conversion of Barn G beyond the farmyard, did not accord with to up-to-date policy and would be disrespectful to the rural area causing serious harm in terms of the alteration of the character of the original building, visual intrusion in the landscape, lighting, and adverse impacts on rights of way and the character of the locality.  Other issues were raised in the  Council’s objections including transport sustainability and the inadequacy of vehicular access.  The application has yet to be determined by the Vale.

Other planning applications considered by the PC included a single storey extension at the Old Vicarage, Sparsholt, an extension at Greendown Farm Cottages and the conversion of outbuildings at Broadleaze Farm to a two bedroom dwelling.


The maintenance of the local highway network by Oxfordshire County Council, in particular the filling of potholes, showed some improvement over the year compared with the position recorded in last year’s Chairman’s report. Lee Turner of OCC was informed by the Chairman from time to time of outstanding issues including the damage caused by the accident at the southern end of Sparsholt Street which destroyed the roadside railings.  The OCC response has generally been: ‘we will be getting round to it.’

In view of OCC’s decision that the imposition of a 50 mph speed limit did not meet standard criteria, the issue of safety along the B4507 was removed from the Council’s meeting’s agenda.


The Chairman kept a supervisory eye on the cemetery during the year having regard to the risk register checklist.  He reported no adverse events.  At the 27th November 2019 meeting the Council resolved that the height of the beech hedge surrounding the cemetery should be reduced to 7 foot and cut back.  The necessary works will be undertaken in the autumn. The Council also gave consideration to the repair of the cemetery gates and the possibility of installing a rail on the ramped access-way; whether these works should be undertaken remains under review.

The voluntary registration of the cemetery at the Land Registry is on-going.


The village green at Westcot is in the freehold ownership of Tom and Michelle Tuke Hastings of Westcot Farmhouse.  During the year Mr. Tuke Hastings planted a replacement Christmas tree on the green and has maintained the grass.  In the circumstances the Council’s involvement in the maintenance of the green ceased.


The Chairman liaised with Arthur McEwan-James of OCC regarding the bridleway bridge at the bottom of Westcot Lane (SU342895) and the style between Sparsholt Common and the Carter’s field to the north SU345882), both being in disrepair.  Mr McEwan-James indicated by email that the repairs would be carried out in May.

The collapsed fence adjoining the footpath from Sparsholt Common to Church Way remains to be repaired or removed.


Compliant financial reports were produced by the Council’s Responsible Financial Officer, Jane Valentine throughout the year.  

The principal outstanding issue as regards finance for the PC remains the £12,000 held in the bank account.  This money ought to be defrayed, if at all possible, on projects in the parish.


The oak tree and plaque in Church Way to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War were accidentally destroyed by the grass cutter.  The Clerk helpfully obtained a replacement oak and plaque and both were installed with a protective surround by Barry Jones.

Cllr Jacobs agreed to be the custodian of the defibrillator at the Griffin Memorial Hall.  The PC obtained new pads at a cost of £87 + Vat for 2 packs.

The salt and grit bins at Sparsholt and Westcot were topped up by Cllrs Caudle and Jones; and the salt spreading rota was posted on the village website. 


I take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of the Councillors mentioned above and parishioners during the year undertaken in the interests of the Sparsholt and Westcot community; in particular, the valuable contribution of John Caudle to the management of the PC affairs. Thanks also go to Nick Price who administers the website and to Ian Barnes for organising defibrillator training in the village hall.

I also want also to thank Debbie Lewis-Pryde our Parish Clerk and Jane Valentine for their hard work throughout the year organising and reporting our meetings and financial affairs.

Lastly, the PC would wish to recognise and applaud the setting up of the Sparsholt and Westcot Community Support Group run by Ruth Corfield and Amanda Barnes to provide services to vulnerable members of our community during the Covid 19 lock-down.  The information leaflet produced by the group and distributed to all households, is an invaluable source of help and assistance.

Tim Comyn

Chairman, Sparsholt Parish Council

13th May 2020