Annual Parish Meeting of the Electorate - Meeting Minutes
Monday 3rd April 2023
MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING OF THE STOKE POGES PARISH COUNCIL HELD AT 8.30PM ON MONDAY 3 APRIL 2023 FOLLOWING THE FULL PARISH COUNCIL MEETINGIN THE MAIN HALL AT THE VILLAGE CENTRE, ROGERS LANE, STOKE POGES, BUCKS, SL2 4LP.
A Parish Meeting is an assembly in which all electors have a right to take part and its resolutions are an expression of the views of the community. Only persons listed in the current Register of Electors are allowed to participate or vote at a Parish Meeting.
Present: – Cllr Bagge (Chair), Cllr Bassi, Cllr Carter, Cllr Cox, Cllr Finan, Cllr Knox-Scott, Cllr Moore & Cllr Pritchard.
In Attendance: – Mrs J Simmonds (Clerk)
Also Present: – Four members of public.
1. Apologies for absence
APOLOGIES were received from Cllr Crocker and Cllr Flower.
2. RESOLVED To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 28 April 2022 which were signed by the Chairman.
3. Chairman's Annual Report.
A report was given by Cllr Bagge as follows: –
Councillor Bagge reminded everyone that all parish councillors are volunteers, giving their time for the benefit of parishioners without any financial compensation.
The role of councillors is to make decisions which must (apart from a few exceptional cases) be made in public. Parish Councils have powers and responsibilities which are set in law. For example, parish councils cannot employ a contractor to resurface public roads – that is Buckinghamshire Council’s duty and local councils don’t have those powers.
In the last 12 months, the most significant event was the passing of her late majesty the queen. The council had a role to fulfil in organising the two minutes silence and proclamation announcement on the eve of the state funeral. It was an honour to gather with so many parishioners to share that solemn moment. The parish council also arranges a civil commemoration of Armistice Day on 11 November every year.
Stoke Poges maintains Bells Hill Green, two recreation grounds and the allotment and adjacent wood on Duffield Lane. The Council also publishes Stoke Poges news, four times each year as a service to residents and businesses. Arguably, the most important role the council plays is doing what it can to make Stoke Poges a good place to live in by being an active partner in the store cupboard during lockdown, helping to set up the Friday club as a way of reducing isolation for older residents, and in organising events like carols on the green, which bring people together and keep long-established traditions alive.
The council completed repayments to the Public Works Loan Board of the £60,000 loan taken out in the 90’s to part pay for the extension of the village hall. The council deliberates very carefully on decisions which require expenditure, ensuring that it gets good value for money. Due to our efficiency (and tenacious negotiating skills) we have been able to reduce the amount of money we ask parishioners to pay in the precept, collected with your council tax. Our budget is reduced by 5% which translates to a 6% cut in your payment, which is appropriate in a climate of rising prices.
There has been a lot of activity in working parties on drafting the key elements for the Stoke Poges Neighbourhood Plan, with guidance and input by consultants funded by the Department for Levelling Up, housing and communities. There will be a consultation with parishioners later this year. We view this as an important initiative because it is through agreeing our local planning policies that we can influence where new building can and can’t be done and we can set guidelines and restrictions for the visual impact of new buildings.
One disappointment is the school traffic scheme, it has been disappointing that drivers are so focused on their own interests that they do not appreciate the risks to others or respect the volunteer’s marshals who have put their own time in to help. It has been frustrating trying to get Buckinghamshire Council to commit parking enforcement officers to help with the congestion at school times. It is an ongoing challenge, and we will be unrelenting in putting our requirements to officers and securing their support.
Councillor Bagge thanked all parish councillors for their commitments.
4. General Discussion and Question Time.
Question 1. What is happening with the yellow line scheme for Rogers Lane. Explained that is was not signed off by the leader of the council in time for the new highways takeover on 1 April but is still scheduled to be done and implemented as soon as possible.
Question 2. Why are there not enforcement officers at the school drop off and pick up time. Explained that Buckinghamshire Council took enforcement in house but have struggled to fill all of the roles, therefore a shortage across the county and they cannot be at all schools at once. Suggestion is to photograph all issues and send to the Clerk who will send on to the department in a hope of getting more officers in this area.
Question 3. The Village Green is looking lovely so thank you to the Council for maintaining it. What are the Coronation Plans if any? Explained that the Parish Council discussed an event, and it was agreed unanimously that no event would take place this time due to lack of appetite to put it on, and agreed that residents could arrange their own street parties etc. Thanked all councillors who have helped to put on events in the past.
Question 4. New councillors were asked if they are particularly involved in any new projects or events. One new councillor said they would be open to suggestions from residents.
All residents present thanked the Parish Council for all that they do saying that they know they are volunteers and how much time they put in to making the village better.
Meeting ended at 8.53pm