Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting (30/04/13)

Present: Thirty three Parishioners, including Gotham Parish Council members: R.Muir (Chairman) M.Sheppard (Vice-Chairman), T.Vennett-Smith, J.M.F.Royce, J.P.Anderson, B.J.Walker, E.Padden, E.Rodgers, K.Steed.

1. Welcome by Chairman of Gotham Parish Council: To all Parishioners and Councillors.

2. One Minute’s Silence:
The Chairman requested that the meeting stand for one minute’s silence in memory of those who had fallen in the Two World Wars and for whom this Recreation Ground and Memorial Hall had been donated in their memory after the 1914-18 war.

3. Apologies: D.Smith, County Councillor L.Sykes.

4. Report/Questions/ on the Parish Meeting held on the 24th April, 2012.
The Minutes of the Gotham Annual Parish Meeting held 24th April, 2012, were authorised for approval.
PROPOSED: J.M.F.Royce SECONDED: E.Rodgers Vote: All in favour

5. Chairman’s Report: (R.Muir)

During this meeting you will be hearing from other Parish Council members on Planning & Finance matters. My report contains other projects that we are getting off the ground or have achieved over the last 12 months’.

Village Sculpture
As you will have read in the Gotham News, for the last couple of years we have been attempting to get the Village Sculpture project finally off the ground. Initially, this project was on the agenda to celebrate the Millennium and provide the village with a heritage sign depicting our history of world famous tales. Following years’ of hard work and, with the passing of the Golden Jubilee and then the Diamond Jubilee, the Parish Council have overcome many hurdles to finally reach the point of placing an actual order for a magnificent sculpture worthy of the history of Gotham. Councillors and Chairmen have debated this project at countless meetings of the Environment Committee and Main Meetings. After so long, I am delighted to report it will soon be installed. After discussing several different options available to us, it was democratically decided by a named vote, to proceed with finally placing the order with the manufacturer. We plan to unveil the sculpture on Sunday 29th September, 2013. I feel especially pleased to remember Greg Farnsworth’s wonderful play acting as King John and I think this Sculpture will be a lasting legacy to a much loved past Parish Chairman. I know Greg was looking forward to the re-enactment of the Tales when the Village Sculpture finally came to fruition. To bring the re-enactment of the Tales to pass, I have formed a small group to include myself, Mike Sheppard, Andrew Vickers, Gary Trickett and Sue Lymn-Brewin to form a ‘Tales’ sub-committee. Following the unveiling ceremony and Tales, there will be a finale celebration at the Memorial Hall. Please look out for posters giving the details of the 29th September celebrations.

Christmas Tree:
Our Environment Committee have worked very hard for the village to have its own Christmas tree in The Square and very magnificent it looked. Mike Sheppard and Chris Dabell put a lot of hard work into its planning. We encountered a few minor teething problems which were quickly and efficiently sorted out. I would personally like to thank everybody who worked on the project but, especially thanks to Arthur Howick and his family, as once again they worked relentlessly to get a beautifully lit tree in place in time for a much enjoyed Carol Singing session.

Environmental Trusts in the village:
There are two Trusts that have been established over the last 12 months:-
Gotham Nature Reserve – focuses on our SSSI land situated past the Royal British Legion on the left towards the hills.

The Environmental Trust – which is initially funded by David Logan who was a resident of our village. This Trust has lots of work to do to keep searching for further grants to enable them to focus on other projects in and around our village. I believe it is currently working very hard to secure the second part of the old railway walk from Earl Howe to extend the walk. I have recently inspected the newly cleared ancient burial mound at the Cuckoo Bush and was impressed by its appearance. Thanks to Stan Watson, Andrew Vickers and Allen Gorringe for their hard work.

I would like to make the village aware that your Parish Council has done a lot of hard work beforehand to get both these Trusts established. You may remember that it was the Parish Council that held a very successful village meeting in this hall to generate interest amongst the public in order to the form two separate groups to get the Trusts established. We also worked on the setting up of the bank accounts and the basics for the constitutions (Elaine Padden, Mike Sheppard, Chris Dabell & Barbara Walker worked hard on the initial stages for which I thank them.

Village Post Box:
I have progressed this last week with Peter Benner who promised to get back to me for tonight’s meeting. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened so I phoned him again today and he told me that he was awaiting information from the installation engineer to give him a date. I said that this wasn’t good enough as the post box had been missing since last September and, given the number of businesses in the village, the fact that the postage keeps increasing and we don’t have a pillar box capable of taking an A4 envelope, this was now completely unacceptable. I have insisted that they get back with a date of installation by tonight or I would be putting it back on our agenda to discuss taking it higher up the ladder to an ombudsman.

By law, Parish Council agendas have to be posted up in the Parish notice board, three clear days before the meeting date. This is to inform you of the topics that will be debated at the next meeting. At the bottom of all our agendas it will say:-

‘The Public and Press are cordially invited to attend this meeting’.

This is your opportunity to attend the meetings and have your say, if you have a view you would like to put forward. You can also e-mail your views to the Parish Council Clerk and we will read them out but please make sure that you tell us who you are or which group you represent. The Parish Council is always pleased to hear from the public as it is you who we represent. It would help us tremendously if you were to let us have some constructive feedback. It is lovely to see you here tonight for a report of what we have achieved or are tying to achieve, but it would be even better if you helped us at the planning stage and came to our meetings, as members of the public, if there is anything on the agenda on which you would like to comment.

You are going to hear next about the Police work which will allow P.C.S.O Lucock to leave the meeting and get back to work.

Police Report by PCSO Kathy Lucock:
Apologies from Beat Manager, P.C. Kelly Warwick.
PCSO Kathy Lucock reported, East Leake Police Station was closed with Police teams now working from the Keyworth Police Station. Tony Davis had been appointed as a new PCSO.
Thankfully, there had not been a great deal of crime to report over the past year. Extra police patrols might have been effective in the reduction of crime. The most reported crime was damage and theft to cars with an increase in the theft of catalytic converters from 4×4 vehicles.. Door stop crime by peddlers was on the increase and the public should check that doorstop callers had an up to date peddlers’ licence. Many young men deliver a sob story to the elderly who sometimes suffer burglary as a result of trusting the caller. Ring the police on 101 if in doubt about a caller’s legal status.

6. De-Fibrillator – Presentation by Mr. G.Whitehead:

The Chairman introduced Mr. Graham Whitehead to the meeting who talked about a de-fibrillator machine. A village de-fibrillator which, could be obtained for £1,700 and kept in an easily accessible location to be available to parishioners in the case of an emergency when a heart attack was suspected. Mr. Whitehead, is a member of the Notts Community First Response, formed to support people in the locality. It provides the fastest possible response to an emergency call using any of its resources, including ambulances, fast response vehicles, etc.. The Automatic External De-Fibrillator is the best on the market. Simple to use and unworkable on a person not suffering a heart attack as the equipment is designed only to activate if the heart is failing. Three to four hundred people daily die of a heart attack in this country.There is only a 6% chance of survival following a heart attack if not treated by a de-fibrillator. Survival rate is 60% if equipment is used on a patient with a suspected heart attack within three minutes. The storage cabinet contains high visibility jackets and torch inside. Instructions as per use of the equipment is related from a recording enclosed with the de-fibrillator. To open the equipment, a call to 999 alerts the operator who gives the code for unlocking the cabinet. The cabinet contains a small heater for cold weather protection and telephone numbers of first responder parishioners. Several villages, including West Leake, Thrumpton and Barton have purchased their own de-fibrillator. A red telephone box now available for £1 would be an ideal storage place for the equipment. Annual running costs were £16. New battery – £120.
The idea is to try and achieve two de-fibrillators in the village. The Bus Garage de-fibrillator would best be housed outside the premises for quicker access and probably one other outside the Memorial Hall.

Mr. Whitehead introduced Chris Nesbitt an employee of Gotham Bus Garage and a first responder with East Midlands Ambulance Service. When Chris was working, the village would be covered by a Community Responder. There were currently nine responders in the group covering nearby villages on a voluntary basis.

Chris Nesbit announced a fund raising challenge to climb the three Peaks on the weekend of the 25th May, 2013 in aid of ‘Wish Upon a Star. Donations to the cause can be sent to Gotham Garage.

The Chairman thanked Mr. Whitehead and Mr. Nesbitt for their attendance at the meeting.

Gotham Parish Council Financial Report: Year Ending 31st March 2013

Full income and expenditure accounts for the year ending 31st March, 2013 will be available for inspection from the 14th July, 2013.

Capital Projects:
Village Sculpture: The Village Sculpture has been an ongoing project since the millennium. The project has now been re-evaluated and a deposit of £4,750 has been paid to engineer, Fred Lunn, for him to make progress with production. NCC have been paid £911 to provide a suitable lamp post base to support the sculpture. The Parish Council are still seeking private support for this project with a fundraising campaign underway. Funds still in budget stand at £14,141.
Cemetery Development: PCC Burial Funds have been received of £1,072 This will be added to existing funds of £1,834 to provide undergrowth clearance, treatment to West and North fencing and re-painting of the front fencing. £280 was spent on weed clearance and general tidying in September. Larger improvements, such as a new pathway/boundary walls/fencing etc. have an existing capital budget currently standing at £7,599.23.
Green Belt Campaign: Our ongoing fight to save Clifton Pastures has been costly this year. Barton and Thrumpton are sharing the costs of funding expert planning advice. Funds from Gotham Parish Council have amounted to £2,467.59.
Pump Maintenance Reserve It has been decided to add £500 to make £4,500 in total fund for roof re-tiling and repairs to the Pump stanchions.
Recreation Ground Car Park: £2000 added to the resurfacing fund now making £2,500.
Some Capital Expenses during 2012/13.
The Recreation Ground Reserve: £493.95 spent on dog fouling signs displayed around the Recreation Ground.
SSSI: Re-instated Capital of £500 to fund valuable restorative work.
Parish Paths: Maintenance work to the footpaths this year totalled £392.16
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration: A party in the park – 795.56
Improvements around the village:
Christmas Tree Planter: A Christmas Tree Planter in the Square cost £895.81. This will be of long term use either to support a Christmas Tree or all year round flower planter.
Church Clock annual service £174
Recreation Ground Turf Treatment: £320.
Cricket Pavilion Repairs: £934.
Play Equipment Maintenance: £155.20.
Tree Planting: New lime trees to continue the avenue of trees up to The Ridgeway cost £97.50
and were expertly planted out by Councillors Elaine Padden and Geoff Clark.
Good causes supported:
Royal British Legion civic wreath: £250.00.
Ruddington Cadets – support for their pilgrimage to the War Graves – £125
C.P.R.E. Subscription – £29.
Notts Wildlife Trust – £33.
Netball Club – new equipment: £166.67
Society of Local Council Clerks membership: £100
W.I. Over 70’s Christmas Party: £25 for raffle prizes.
Notts Footpath Preservation Society. £5

A.Farnsworth queried the reason for a 3% increase in the Parish Precept for the year 2013/14. J.M.F.Royce, Chairman of the Finance Committee, explained that an agreed 2.5% rise was in order to keep inflation in check. In the light of Government cuts, if no increase had been implemented this year and a cap due next year, further increases would be severely restricted and funds would not keep up with inflation. A Government transitional protection claw back meant money would be taken back from the year 2013/14 Precept. The Clerk would make enquiries into the reason for a 3% increase when only 2.5% was requested.

8. Report from Rushcliffe Borough Councillor, Trevor Vennett-Smith:
T.Vennett-Smith reported his time as a Borough Councillor was now thirty years. He thanked everyone for their loyal support over that time.
The main issue to be worried about is the proposed building on the green belt at Clifton. RBC was not bound to await a hearing in public re the housing numbers as the City of Nottingham are the drivers regarding housing requirements. RBC produced its Core Strategy two or three weeks’ before the Government National Planning Policy was published. The Inspector was unhappy with the plan saying it was ‘unsound’ and must be revisited. The Regional Spatial Strategy has now been removed. Now there is an assumed need for three and a half thousand houses in the Sustainable Urban Development for which RBC have to produce a new plan. This could mean an extra five hundred houses at Clifton on the original piece of land which will mean the houses built to a higher density. The Borough has to carry out a green belt review and more consultations will follow. The Government is pressurising every Inspector to build more houses as a solution to climbing out of the recession.

T. Vennett-Smith thanked the Parish Council Chairman and Clerk for their efforts during a difficult year. Thanks to County Councillor Lyn Sykes for her hard work. She is not standing for re-election on the 2nd May which is sad as she has been a very able Councillor.

Finally, the Borough Council has increased the Borough Councillor allowance to be awarded to village groups. Applications should be sent in writing to T.Vennett-Smith.

9/ Planning Developments in Gotham (J.P.Anderson):
J.P.Anderson explained the work of the Planning Committee which mostly considered house extension planning applications.
Affordable Housing: GPC were awaiting a decision on a piece of land, behind the Royal British Legion, owned by St.Gobain and which might become available for ten affordable homes, a need highlighted at the last Village Housing Survey.
A453: A traffic survey, run by hardy Councillors, had been conducted outside Gotham Primary School and will be used to gauge the increase in traffic after the planned closure of Barton Lane.
Core Strategy: The Battle continues to save the green belt land at Clifton. RBC carried out an inconsistent study with too few houses. No consultation was run in Clifton which was a huge omission and could result in a court case. If the City of Nottingham get their housing numbers, it will be inevitable that Clifton will be built on. A result should be known in October, 2013. C.P.R.E. would draw up a report from GPC to be given in time for the green belt review. Traffic modelling was crucial to prove a huge traffic increase if the new houses were built. Government housing numbers dating back to 2008, pre-recession, are not viable in the present financial downturn but are still being used. Planning Consultant, K.Mafham, was attacking the housing numbers through the Freedom of Information link and his findings could result in a court case to prove the housing numbers were unsustainable. Should in prove necessary, a Judicial Review would prove very expensive. A.Howick stated a yield of one thousand tons of grain is produced from the agricultural land at Clifton now destined for development. It was important to stress the need to save such land for future food production before it was too late. There would be food shortages within the next twenty years.

The Chairman thanked J.P.Anderson, B.J.Walker and D.Prior for their tremendous work on Planning issues.

10/ Village Organisations – an opportunity to report on recent events:
The Chairman reminded attendees that the most advantageous method of publicising local organisations was in the Gotham News or via the Gotham Website.

Memorial Hall/Recreation Ground: (A.Vickers):
A.Vickers reported the Memorial Hall complex was run by a team of volunteers who are ‘doing all right’.

Cricket Club (A.Pearson):
The Cricket Club has been promoted to South Notts Cricket League and was competing this year. A new electronic scoreboard was in use. Cricket Club news regularly submitted to Gotham News. A festival week was arranged for the end of July, 2013.

History Society: (B.Dabell)
B.Dabell reported well attended monthly meetings. AGM held in early April. It had been impossible to find a replacement Secretary, despite offering payment. He paid tribute to Gotham and its wonderful facilities. The History Society helps the village in the following ways:
1. Worldwide family inquiries.
2. Enclosure Act enquiries.
3. Letters from grandchildren of War time evacuees.
4. Information regarding the 1981 tornado.
5. Request for a CD of St. Lawrence Church bell ringing.
Other interesting stories include an ex teacher from Gotham, now resident in Canada, had requested a party in the village hall for old friends.
Stanton Hall, the son of retired Vicar of St. Lawrence, still received copies of Gotham News.
Requests on whereabouts of war time decoy sites and pill boxes.
Past German prisoner of War wanting news of family in Gotham.
The list continues to grow and keeps the History Society extremely busy.

11. Other Parish Issues:
Mr.Terry Priestley reported extreme difficulty in safely accessing Leake Road from Church Street due to inappropriate parking either side of the entrance.A blocked view of Leake Road, due to parking, occurred mostly during busy Church or Church hall sessions but was causing residents of Foredrift Close and Church Street a great deal of concern that a serious accident could result. He therefore proposed to submit a application to NCC Highways Department for traffic restrictions on either side of the Church Street entrance. Yellow lines restricting six cars from parking on both sides of the entrance, would allow a clear view of the road. He called for GPC’s support for the application.
Agenda item for the next main meeting.

There being no more business, the Chairman thanked the attendees and speakers and the meeting closed at 10.00 p.m.