Thursday, 22 September 2011

Parish Council Meeting - 13 September

Last week I attended the September meeting of Shilton Parish Council. This meeting was notable mainly for the formal approvals given to go ahead with two projects that will be the basis of the parish council’s main expenditure items during the year: CCTV and new fencing at Shilton playing fields.

Back in December 2009, I first reported about a rural CCTV system being rolled out amongst parishes within Rugby borough. Twenty-one months later (which gives you an example of how long things like this can sometimes take), the parish council has agreed that a two-camera CCTV system should be installed in the Shilton Village Hall car park area. There have been concerns for a number of years now that the car park was providing a convenient location for people to gather late at night and participate in drug dealing/taking, particularly so for youths coming into the village from outside locations. Whilst the cameras that are being installed will not be monitored ‘live’ by either the Police or the parish council, they will provide useful evidence and information to enable the Police to better tackle this problem should it become more prevalent.

If you read the article on the CCTV cameras in the August/September edition of BASIS, you will have seen that the parish council was asking for anyone who wished to comment on their installation in Shilton to contact the Clerk and to put forward their views. No submissions were made, and therefore councillors took the view that there would be no significant objection from the community.

One of the benefits of the rural CCTV system is that the number of cameras can be increased and the system built up at any time in the future. The parish council was mindful of this in respect of locations within Barnacle and, whilst there were not considered to be any obvious locations where a camera was needed at the moment, if residents in Barnacle do wish to see CCTV cameras in their village, please add a comment at the end of this post or speak to me directly.

The cameras and the equipment needed to operate them will cost the parish council a total of £4,000 to set up and install, and particular thanks is due to Councillor Stephen White who managed to negotiate down the cost of that part of the system that the parish council will need to fund.

The other significant matter that was agreed at the meeting was the decision to go ahead with the purchase and installation of netting at Shilton playing fields. This netting will effectively screen the eastern side of the playing field and prevent stray cricket balls and footballs encroaching into traffic along Bulkington Road. The parish council has been concerned for some time of the potential for a serious traffic accident if balls hit vehicles travelling at speed. The solution will be to erect a mesh fence, in three overlapping sections, at the rear of each football pitch and in the space between the two pitches, to catch stray balls.

Quotes for the works, which is expected to require planning permission from Rugby Borough Council, were obtained from three companies and TB Sports Fencing submitted the best quote in terms of price and quality. The works will cost around a total of £13,500.

Next year, the parish council plan to replace the hedging along the eastern boundary of the playing field in order to visually improve the playing field facility.

In other items of business, County Councillor Phillip Morris-Jones provided an update on matters of interest for the parish. The county council had agreed to provide two ‘30mph Slow Down’ flashing signs, which were to be placed temporarily in Church Road and Bulkington Road. These should help slow traffic entering the village from the Ansty and Bulkington directions.

Although Borough Councillor Rachel Watts was unable to attend the meeting in person, she did produce a written briefing, which particularly drew attention to the response that Rugby Borough Council had submitted to the Government’s recent consultation on changes to planning rules affecting the siting of gypsy and traveller sites. Rugby’s planning officers had concluded that the new guidance did not address the fundamental issue of whether the same planning rules should apply to gypsies/travellers as to the settled community. The Government, in Rugby Borough Council's view, had two options: either to seek to apply the same planning rules for all and accept market dynamics would almost inevitably lead to failure to deliver the number of gypsy/traveller sites that is claimed to be needed, or accept that there is an incompatibility of lifestyles between gypsies/travellers and the settled community and that the same rules cannot apply. A copy of the full response can be viewed here and is well worth a read (it starts on page 121 of the linked document).

Rachel Watts also indicated that she would not be seeking re-election as a borough councillor in May next year, as she is due to take up employment in London shortly afterwards and would therefore be moving away. Whilst Rachel has not always been a firm favourite of some of the people who have posted comments on this blog, I have found her always to be interested in what is going on in Shilton and Barnacle, and prepared to help out whenever it was felt that she could be of use. The local elections next year will, of course, be fought under the new ward boundaries and Shilton and Barnacle will be part of the new ‘Wolvey and Shilton’ ward. With Rachel deciding to stand down, we know that there's a good chance there'll be a new borough councillor representing the parish.

The rest of the meeting was the usual mix of planning applications, consultations, financial matters and potholes, and everything was finally wrapped up after 10.30pm. The next meeting of the parish council will be held on Tuesday 4 October at 7.30pm.

1 comment:

  1. I have criticised Cllr. Watts on here in the past, it is true. While I believe she was obviously at completely the wrong place in her life (being a student based away from Rugby) to be representing us at the Borough Council I applaud her for leaving now.

    I am sure there are others who would continue to take the £6000 a year allowance while showing up to meetings at the same level of Cllr. Watts for another 4 years.

    My comment on this news would be that I hope the local Conservatives (the only realistic winners in this ward) pick a local person with a proven record of work in the community to replace Ms Watts. Maybe a serving Parish Councillor? Or better still maybe Neil Campbell will return and continue with his excellent work?