WOOD Newsletter 2
Parish Council Matters
The Steering Group representatives plus parishioners, some 40 people in total, attended the Parish Council AGM and monthly business meeting on 9th May. The following matters were raised:
Failure of the Parish Council to hold an annual Parish Meeting as required by the Local Government Act 1972. That is an open meeting, lasting approximately two hours, chaired by the Chairman of the PC. This is an important meeting because it allows parishioners the opportunity to debate issues they raise resulting in “proposals” which are then put to a full monthly PC business meeting. Parish Councillors can attend but they do so as parishioners. The agenda is set by those attending.
Result – The PC agreed to hold the Annual Parish Meeting every 12 months starting on 7th July 2011.
This result is important because it provides an opportunity for the community to hold a debate, in the presence of the PC chairman, to include the proposed development. It is implicit within the regulations that the Chairman must respond to questions relative to the debate. It is important that this meeting is well attended and utilised correctly to reflect the strong views of the community and gain PC support to stop the development.
- The Parish Council Position on the Development was raised by carrying forward the questions agreed at the Steering Group meeting held in April:
1. What is the corporate view of the Parish Council on the development of the field? Response - “The PC is not supportive of a large development of say 100 houses”
2. How can the Parish Council ascertain and reflect the views of the parishioners/does the Parish Council feel itself bound by the Village Design Statement?
No clear response - The inference was that some form of meeting or referendum might be the way forward when more details were available. Again the inference was that this would happen when a full planning application is submitted.
3. How does the PC feel about the fact that the landowner is still on the PC?
Response - “Councillor Sheppard has complied with the regulations, declares an interest when appropriate and is within his rights to continue as a parish councillor. It is up to him as an individual to decide whether to remain a councillor or stand down”.
Responses were given by the Chairman, Simon Port, who also stated: “I am not happy having been aware that an attempt may be made, by way of a petition, to force councillor Sheppard to stand down. I will fight against any such action”
Website Set Up
Tim Crossland confirmed the WOOD Website (www.woodcampaign.org.uk) was up and running. The basic format is established but will continue to be developed over the coming weeks. The four main features are:
If you wish to contact the steering group on any related issue please do not hesitate to do so.
A link will be established with social network sites to facilitate maximum exposure of our group.
Again maximising the benefits of technology Piers Fletcher has set up a “Dropbox” facility so all members of the Steering group have access to a database of the archived information and documents. A regular Newsletter will be posted on the website in order to keep parishioners up to date on progress.
Preliminary contact has been made with the local MP John Glen who has asked to be kept up to date on matters as they progress. Contact has also been made with Wiltshire Councillors Richard Britton and Chris Devine who have identified a willingness to give professional advice and guidance to the Steering Group.
The decision was made to circulate an informative news letter to each household in the Parish, delivered by hand, covering the proposed development, the formation of the WOOD Steering Group and indicating that someone would be calling back to request the occupant to sign a petition objecting to the development. This will also be an opportunity for the volunteers to make themselves known to their designated residents, put a personal point of contact in place and allow for an exchange of views in order to be able to judge the mood of the community. This will take place during the latter part of June.
It is proposed to hold a full public meeting in September. This is based on the need to obtain further details about actions the Steering Group is currently undertaking and the desire to make it an effective, informative and positive environment at which to progress the uniting of the community against this potentially devastating unwanted development.
A request was made to the Parish Magazine to include an article dealing with the Development. Unfortunately the editorial team declined to run the article due to “its sensitive nature”. A request will be made to run an article in the July magazine which will simply identify that a steering group has been established, give a short profile on the members and identify the existence of the website. Hopefully this will be published.
June 3oth at the Recreation Ground Pavilion starting at 7:30pm.