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Parish Council Annual & Parish Minutes - Wednesday, 17th May 2019

on Thu, 01/08/2019 - 11:50am


Minutes of the Annual Meeting of Sparsholt Parish Council held on

Wednesday 17th May 2019 at Griffin Memorial Hall starting at 8.00pm

Present: Councillors Barnes, Comyn and Jacobs, the RFO and Clerk and 2 parishioners.





Apologies:  None.



Co-option of new Parish Councillors:  John Caudle was proposed by Cllr Comyn, seconded by Cllr Jacobs and agreed by Cllr Barnes.  Cllr Caudle signed the acceptance of office form and was welcomed to the Parish Council.



Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairman:  Cllr Comyn was proposed to be Chairman by Cllr Jacobs, seconded by Cllr Barnes and agreed by Cllr Caudle.  Cllr Barnes was proposed to be Vice-Chairman by Cllr Comyn, seconded by Cllr Jacobs and agreed by Cllr Caudle.



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



Minutes of the Meeting held on Wednesday 24th April 2019:  The minutes were proposed as a true record by the Chairman, Cllr Comyn and seconded by Cllr Barnes.



Matters Arising: 

  1. B4507 50 mph speed restriction update:  Ongoing.
  2. Clerks contract:  Next meeting.
  3. Land registry number for the cemetery:  Ongoing.
  4. Defibrillator Training:  Cllr Comyn has provisionally booked Saturday 15th June subject to the griffin Memorial Hall being available.  The Clerk to check.
  5. Triangle Woods:  Ongoing.
  6. Westcot Village Green:  Cllr Comyn reported that the new owners have no plans for the land, remove from the Agenda.
  7. For Sale signs on Partridge Way and Days Lane:  Cllr Comyn has reported this to Emma Turner at VOWHDC Enforcement and awaiting action.
  8. Damaged verges on Days Lane:  Ongoing.
  9. Parking too close to the junction of Church Way:  Cllr Comyn to speak to Ian Lambourne.


Cllr Comyn


Cllr Comyn




Cllr Comyn





Cllr Comyn

Cllr Comyn


Review of Standing Orders:  It was unanimously agreed that no amendments need to be made.  Cllr Barnes suggested that Nick might publish this on the Village website.



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 Officer proposed by Cllr Barnes, seconded by Cllr Jacobs and agreed unanimously.  Cllr Caudle to be the Rights of Way Officer proposed by Cllr Comyn, seconded by Cllr Barnes and agreed unanimously.  Cllr Comyn to deal with Highways, proposed by Cllr Jacobs, seconded by Cllr Caudle and agreed unanimously.



Assets review:  The RFO presented the Asset Review, amendments were suggested.  To be signed at the next meeting.




Risk Assessment:  This will be agreed at the next meeting.



Review of Insurance Cover:  This will be agreed at the next meeting.



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 Jacobs and seconded Cllr Caudle and agreed unanimously.




  1. Approval of the monthly Financial Statement:  Cllr Comyn proposed acceptance, seconded by Cllr Jacobs and agreed unanimously.  The Parish Council will discuss projects for the Village at the next ordinary meeting, cemetery gates and railing was suggested.
  2. Approval of bank signatories for 2019-2020: Cllrs Comyn and Barnes were proposed by Cllr Jacobs and seconded by Cllr Caudle.  Iain Brown and Norman Downie to be removed as signatories.     
  3. Approval of the Annual Return for the year to 31st March 2018:  The AGAR to be completed at the Finance meeting to be held on Wednesday 29th May 2019.
  4. Review the actual receipts and payments for 2019/20 compared to the budgeted figures and explain the differences:  Cllr Comyn proposed acceptance, seconded by Cllr Jacobs and agreed unanimously.
  5. Clerks and RFO time sheet:  Next meeting.











  1. P18/V3100/HH Home Farm, Watery Lane, Sparsholt, OX12 9PL:  Proposed extension to create utility and kids room and garage with a bedroom and en suite above in roof space and internal alterations.  No decision.
  2. P19/V0907/HH 4 West Street, Sparsholt, OX12 9PR:  Single and two storey rear/side extension with internal alterations.  No decision.



Cemetery:  Cllr Comyn handed a cheque for £50 to the RFO for a memorial tablet. 



Frequency of Meetings:  Future ordinary meetings to be once every two months with Planning meetings added if required.  Meetings to start at 7.00pm.  



Matters for future discussion: 

  1. Discuss spending Parish Council funds on Village projects.



Set dates, times and place of ordinary meetings of the full Council for the year ahead: Finance meeting Wednesday 29th May, 17th July, 18th September, 27th November 2019 all starting at 7.00pm at the Griffin Memorial Hall.

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


Meeting closed at 9.07pm.

Minutes prepared by Mrs D Lewis-Pryde, Parish Clerk


SPCAM 17th May 2019


Minutes of the Sparsholt Annual Parish Meeting held on

Wednesday 17th May 2019 at Griffin Memorial Hall starting at 7.30pm

Present: Councillors Barnes, Comyn and Jacobs, the RFO and Clerk and 2 x parishioners.





Apologies:  None.



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



District and County Councillors Report:  In the absence of CC Constance her report was read out by Cllr Comyn, see attached.



Any Other Business:  None.



Meeting closed at 8.00pm.

Minutes taken and prepared by The Clerk



APM 17th May 2019





17 MAY 2019




The membership of the Parish Council this past year has comprised Tim Comyn (Chairman), Iain Brown (Deputy Chairman) and Councillors Norman Downie, Laurence Williams and Ian Barnes. The Council has met about once a month in the Griffin Memorial Hall at Sparsholt.

Debbie Lewis-Pryde has continued to act as our Clerk and Jane Valentine has taken on the role of Responsible Financial Officer (RFO).


With the advent of the adopted VWH Local Plan Part 1 and the establishment of a 5 year supply of housing land in the Vale, the pressure for new housing development in the parish has abated.  Sparsholt and Westcot are deemed ‘countryside’ in the Local Plan where unsustainable housing development is not to be supported as a matter of up-to-date   planning policy.

During the year, the Parish Council raised no objections to further development at Harry Wittington’s racing stables at Sparsholt Firs and to a number of other applications for extensions to existing buildings including No. 4 West Street.  The Council also raised no objections, subject to conditions, to the construction of a riding manege within the confines of a pony paddock to the soth of Humber Barn.

The new residence being built adjacent to Days House continued to raise concerns regarding drainage, water and electricity supply.  However, these issues have now been resolved by the District Council and by the relevant utility companies.  Securing the discharge of outstanding planning conditions relating to the development is a matter for the Vale as the local planning authority 

The principal planning applications that came before the Council for its consideration in the year were those for planning permission and listed building consent for the refurbishment and extension of Sparsholt Manor (Grade II) within its associated parkland, including the demolition and replacement of a stable yard and remodelling of parts of the parkland with the provision of a new walled kitchen garden and structures. These major applications involving alterations to the listed Manor, the demolition of curtilage listed buildings and new works including a residential extension and terrace, were fully supported by the Parish Council after careful consideration given to the application plans.

Village maintenance

The Sparsholt greens continued to be maintained throughout the year by Ian Lamborn on behalf of the Manor.  He also helpfully repaired damage caused to a railing on the green.

Hedges were cut back along Church Way and at Eastmanton; and white lining was repainted in the village and at Eastmanton.

At its February meeting the Parish Council resolved to acquire the redundant BT telephone box in Sparsholt.  The box has been painted telephone box red by Laurence Williams and provided with shelves for books for deposit or exchange.

Training to use the defibrillator installed at the Griffin Memorial Hall is in the process of being arranged.

Rights of Way

Iain and Angie Brown have kept a general oversite of rights of way in and around the village and Westcot during the year.  Angie has reported the hole that has appeared in the bridge at the bottom of Westcot Lane, to Oxfordshire County Council.  It has been noted that since the recent change of land ownership of farmland adjacent to the village and Westcot, the maintenance of associated rights of way has improved; particularly with the mowing of the way from Sparsholt to Kingston Lisle.

A query was raised at the February meeting by Councillor Williams as to whether there was a public footpath across the green at Westcot.  No such path is shown on the Definitive Map as far as the Parish Council is aware.

The green at Westcot

Consideration was given during the year as to whether an application should be made to register the green at Westcot as a village green under section 15 of the Commons Act 2006.  The green is privately owned by the freeholders of Westcot Farm House.  It has a notice board and a bench and stepping stones across it, all of which have been there for many years. The owners have recently planted a Christmas tree around which seasonal drinks were had.  Otherwise the green remains as it has been for many years.  The Parish Council is not aware that there are any plans to alter the status quo.

An evidential justification, including individual historic recollection, would have to be made to accompany any application to register the green as a village green under the 2006 Act.


The cemetery has been administered by the Chairman over the year.  He has re-numbered the cemetery plan for ease of reference by funeral directors.  He has also collected fees for a number of burials and for the placing of grave stones and tablets. On inspection from time to time, all headstones have been found to be secure.

In response to a request by Jane Valentine the RFO, the Land Registry have confirmed that the cemetery is not registered land.  The Chairman, who holds the deeds of the cemetery, is in the process of making an application for registration.  In addition he is drawing up a grazing licence for the continued use of the land included in the cemetery to the north of the beech hedge by Anthony Lee.

The cemetery has been maintained by Ian Lamborn on behalf of the Manor during the year.


The Parish Council has had a continuing concern as regards the safety of the B4507 which is subject to the national speed limit of 60 mph and on which a number of recent accidents have occurred, two fatal. In particular, having regard to the poor alignment of the road and the accident record, it is considered that this should be reduced to 50 mph between Challow and Ashbury. However, on the 24 September 2018 Oxfordshire County Council wrote to Ed Vaizey MP stating that there was a general review of speed limits in the County in 2011 and that no change was recommended as regards the B4507.  The letter stated that, while the OCC would be happy to look at the matter of a 50 mph limit again, ‘we have no funding for a scheme at present, and given the very severe financial pressures we are facing, this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.’  The OCC have placed signs at Britcombe Farm warning ‘Pedestrians in road.’

It will be an issue for the Parish Council to decide whether this matter should be continued to be pursued. The OCC have indicated that if villages were to get together to fund a limit (£10,000) consideration could be given to a scheme.  In this connection, the Chairman notes that Brake, the road safety charity, published a report on the 15/05/2019 urging the Government to reduce speeds on single carriageway country roads; and the Government itself is to produce a ‘Road Safety Action Plan’ later this year.


New clerk and RFO contracts are in preparation and are expected to be signed in due course. Debbie and Jane have been paid backdated holiday pay that was outstanding.  GPDR arrangements have also been put in place including dedicated Parish Council web addresses for Councillors.


Jane Valentine RFO has prepared monthly accounts of the Parish Council’s income and expenditure.  There has been little by way of significant expenditure apart from salaries. The continued accumulation of the Council’s funds, now standing at over £11,000, needs to be addressed.  Opportunities for expenditure to serve the community in the parish need to be explored in the coming year.

Acknowledgement and thanks

As Chairman I would wish to acknowledge and thank a number of people who have assisted the Council or acted in the interests of our community over the year.  First, Debbie Lewis-Pryde and Jane Valentine for keeping us on the straight and narrow as far as the formalities of running the parish council are concerned.  Without them our administrative tasks would be much more difficult as we have found in the past at times when their roles were not filled.

Secondly, I thank Ian Lamborn for organising the maintenance of the greens and cemetery in Sparsholt; and John Coe for cutting the cemetery hedge. Thirdly, Alex Brown and John Caudle for maintaining the green and the triangle at Westcot.  Fourthly, Nick Price for running the village web-site which is a mine of information and a village asset which I doubt that we could do without.

I would also wish to recognise the generosity of the Swire family regarding the continuing financial support they give to the maintenance of the church and the village at Sparsholt.

Last but by no means least, I want to thank the retiring Councillors Iain, Norman and Laurence for their service on the Parish Council over a number of years.  Each has not only attended and discharged the business on the Council once a month over those years but also made significant contributions to village life including, among others, the installation of the defibrillator, the maintenance of rights of way, the planting of the First World War memorial tree and the establishment and painting of the ‘book box.’  I thank them for their considerable efforts on behalf of us all.

Finally I want to mention the refurbishment of the war memorial and the path leading to the church that was part funded by the Parish Council in the 100th anniversary year of the end of the First World War. Both were to be seen in all their splendour on Armistice Day with names to be read that remain familiar in the village today.


Tim Comyn
17th May 2019





  • LPP2 :   made progress to final stage of adoption of LPP2, which enables the Council to control development within the consulted and approved Local Plan
  •  GOV FUNDING :    uncertainty about the future form of NewHomeBonus(NHB) payments (which are replacing the Gov Rate Support Grant) led to the decision to ‘pause’ the development of the new leisure centre on Mabley way.  It now seems probable that NHB will be replaced by a Housing Delivery Grant and as Vale is an outstanding deliverer of new houses, this is likely to replace fully NHB and the leisure centre can go ahead
  • HOUSING : development west of Wantage is now well advanced in Grove, at Monk’s farm and on Crabhill.  There will be about 5,500 new houses west of Wantage, with no route west out of the town except through East Challow.   Traffic modelling indicates that traffic through the village will increase by 30%.   I have supported the approach by the developer Dandara to build about 700 new houses west of East Challow, and deliver the  long awaited (25/30 years) Western Relief Road to link up with the  Eastern Relief Road also funded mainly by the developers’ contributions.  The East Challow Neighbourhood Plan group is consulting with residents about this scheme.
  • GROVE/WANTAGE STATION  :  The County Council and the Vale have ‘safeguarded’ the land for a Grove/Wantage rail station, but the project is not on Network Rail’s next capital  programme, so there will still be a long wait.  Current thinking is for a new line from Bristol/Swindon West/ Swindon East/ Grove/Wantage to Oxford to join up with the EWR (Oxford to Cambridge) about to start construction.  It could be an important cross-country connection not radial into London, and fit well with the development of the Arc between Oxford and Cambridge.


County Council has agreed to host this event which will bring huge international attention to Oxfordshire.  I have recently had notice from OVO that the race will ride through East Challow on the A417 which is a great opportunity for a celebration and a village party, provided there are no road works.  The Parish Council is invited to organise a village event.




  • OCC has focused all possible resources on mending potholes : about 40,000 have been repaired and four teams are out every day patching roads ( higher standard than before)

OCC is listed among the top 10 repairers of roads in national league tables. £32 million was spent on our roads last year.


We approved a scheme to borrow up to £10 million p.a. for next 5 years, against future growth of Council Tax, to resurface or micro-asphalt, stretches of road to raise the standard of our roads and bridges as fast as possible. Icknield Way will be resurfaced mid July 2019.


  • OCC is top recycling County in the UK (57% of all waste is recycled)
  • OCC and Districts/City have agreed to fund  a new officer to promote still better recycling – we have a target of 65% by 2025, and aim to support the Gov new Waste and Resources consultation which sets out proposals to impose costs on manufacturers in proportion to their use of non-recyclable packaging, and  to organise recycling nationally


  • OCC will review its energy strategy this year, with a target to achieve zero net emissions by 2030 : currently target is 2050 at 3% per year, but we achieve double that -40% so far
  • 50,000 new LED street lamps will be installed from now as they become due for replacement
  •  Fire Service has 7 and OCC has first 2 electric vehicles and will replace the whole fleet with electric vehicles as they come up for replacement


  • OCC has joined with Ox City to install the first Zero Emission Zone in centre of City from 2020, and is working towards traffic congestion management (congestion charge and/or work place parking levy) to better manage the growth in traffic as we build more houses.
  • OCC plans to manage the Park&Rides in p’ship with Ox City : one season ticket  to be valid at any site
  • OCC will consult now on installation of 9 more resident parking zones in OxCity, and encouraging the District Councils to acquire Civil Parking Enforcement powers to control parking locally in their towns and villages.


OCC has taken the initiative to bid for Gov funding for infrastructure to serve the growth of housing and businesses in the county. Two bids granted so far:

  •  GROWTH DEAL:  £150 million over 5 years to deliver the needs of 100,000 new homes; £60m of this fund for affordable homes
  • DIDCOT HIF (Housing Infrastructure Fund) : £218 million for development north of Didcot, incl. new Thames crossing and Clifton Hampden by-pass for up to 15,000 new houses
  • A 40 HIF (still to be decided):  up to £115 m  to extend A40 bus lane, and access through Duke’s Cut to Oxford City, to connect about 10,000 new houses

In the REGION;

  • East West Rail ( Oxford to Cambridge): £1 billion to build rail from Bicester to Bletchley, about to start construction
  • Oxford /Cambridge Expressway: route to be decided to connect 1 million homes to be built in the arc, described as England’s Economic Heartland.  Major opportunity for improvements to A34 in Oxon.

          In the District

  • A420:  we 3 County Cllrs on A420 set up a safety committee to press for improvements on this major local road which has become a commercial corridor.  We intend  pedestrian islands and proper bus stops be included in the next local transport plan  (LTP5)
  • A420: temporary road will be built to connect construction site on Highworth Road.  Permanent roundabout will follow for 500 houses
  •  Safety at Major’s Road junction with Longcot Road will be improved with better signing and lining


Work will start at County in the autumn to develop the next transport plan, enabling us to rethink the priorities and the services we need after 8 years of significant growth since LTP4.  We may decide to build smaller park&ride car parks at more destinations to encourage more to use buses into the city/towns.  I hope you will be consulted next year.


OCC is working to increase its engagement with communities across the county, encouraging volunteers to come forward to engage with delivering services.   A big team of volunteers already provide OCC’s major library service; keeps open more children’s centres than was possible with funded centres; has major involvement with AGE UK to deliver adult social care and is now hoping to develop community transport, highways wardens for road inspections, ‘safe and well’ visits with the Fire Service, to make best use of the skills and experience of willing volunteers and maybe end some social isolation too.


The demand for social care grows and grows.  OCC already spends 52% of its revenue on adult and children’s social care, which is 2% of the population.  Gov is reviewing social care funding, and there is a major local government spending review due to report this year.

 OCC has developed every initiative to manage care to the highest standard, and CQC reports that some of OCC’s care is ‘outstanding’. 

Best news is that 93% of school children got their first choice of primary school, and OCC is increasing its focus on schools and pupil experience after big increase in ‘home schooling’ last year.


Cllr Yvonne Constance                                                                April/May 2019