Report of the Nettlebed Annual Parish Meeting
Wednesday, March 31st. 2004

Apologies Apologies for absence from Councillor Lewis, and from District Councillor David Sloan who presented us with a written resume of the year’s activities of the District Council.

Members Present Councillors J.Simon, J. McWhirter, J. Reynolds, D. Butler, N. Gibson, M. Atkins , D. Ackerman and the clerk D. Elms.

Welcome The Chairman welcomed everybody to the meeting and introduced Mr. R. Davis, the Community Development Officer for the Oxford Playing Fields Association who was invited to talk on the Discrimination and Disability Act.

Minutes The minutes of the meeting held on April 9th.2003 were read, approved and signed.

Mr. R. Davis The DDA which becomes law in October 2004 aims to end the discrimination which many disabled people face. It affects everybody who provides, goods, facilities and services to the general public whether for payment or not. 9 million people in the United Kingdom have a current disability. 31% of these have a hearing impairment,22% a significant visual impairment and only 2% are wheelchair users, so, contrary to public belief, many impairments other than wheelchair users, have to be taken into account. As far as this Parish Council is concerned, our main attention has to be given to the Children’s Playground. Not only does this apply to the equipment but to access – entrance gate ,seating, signage, long grass, uneven ground . It is not always necessary for the adjustments to be costly. Mr. Davis had already observed that there is a dip in the ground by the entrance gate and the stiff bolt could be a problem for a person who is arthritic. The Councillors will need to attend to these matters along with any others which are highlighted after the annual R.O.S.P.A. inspection in July.

Chairman Councillor Simon gave a resume of activities of the past year. Following the May 2003 elections, Councillor Challis had resigned and after following the required procedure, Dr. Michael Atkins had joined the Council. As with all Councillors, he had to sign a code of conduct, and to declare any interests as required by the Standards Board of England. With Mr. J. Tate acting as internal auditor, the necessary forms were submitted to the external auditors who were satisfied with them. A notice stating Nettlebed was erected on the approach to the roundabout from the Henley direction. The absence of a name sign was brought to our attention by a parishioner. A survey was conducted to establish the transport needs of the parishioners with regard to buses. The results confirmed what we already knew – that a bus to London or at least as far as Heath Row, and a late afternoon bus from Reading would be beneficial. We are now receiving monthly reports from the police stating crimes in our villages together with any other relevant information. 29 planning applications have been studied by our planning sub-committee. The web site is proving popular bringing many enquiries from around the world. Parishioners are invited to turn out for a litter blitz on Saturday April 24th. and Sunday April 25th. since there is a lot of litter around.

School/Housing Project. Councillor McWhirter was fairly optimistic that building will commence during 2004. There will not be a swimming pool built but an all weather sports pitch will take it’s place.

New Surgery The temporary surgery is working very smoothly and the newly built surgery on the old site is due to open on November 26th.2004, all being well.

Neighbourhood Watch Malcolm Lewis, the Nettlebed area Co-ordinator submitted a report which, in his absence was read by Councillor Reynolds. More co-ordinators have been enrolled so 85% of residences are now covered. Areas awaiting co-ordinators are 10-27, Catslip, Magpies, Soundess, Port Hill and Wanbourne Lane. New N.W. signs have been fixed to signposts at all roads entering the village. In November 2003, Lesley Nesbitt, Regional Watch Administrator from Abingdon and Julia Wheeler, The Crime Reduction Adviser from Henley Police, attended a Council meeting.

Nettlebed Companions Mrs Tessa McWhirter gave an account of the Nettlebed Companions, which is an Age Concern Day Centre operating each Friday in Nettlebed.

Having operated for two years it has proved to be a great success which is appreciated by all who attend and by the volunteers who help. Coffee, tea and biscuits are provided from 10a.m. with a two course lunch at 12.o’clock. A wide range of activities take place, covering a multitude of subjects and several outings and holidays have been enjoyed by all. Anybody wishing to join should contact Tessa. At present the club is full for members wishing to stay for lunch but others are welcome to drop in during the morning. Regular raffles take place as a fund raising exercise and parishioners who have donated items were thanked.

District Councillor A resume of District Council events was provided by David Sloan, and in his absence, it was read by Michael Atkins.
Main points as follows : –

1.  Planning Committee now meets fortnightly which means applications are decided more quickly.
2. The District Council has restricted it’s Council Tax increase to 2.59%
3. CCTV will be introduced in Henley and Wallingford this summer.
4. Abandoned cars will be removed in 5 days.
5. An additional crew will enable quick removal of fly tipping on A roads.
6. 3000 new homes to be built in Didcot.
7. In rural areas, they hope to get 50% of all new houses to be affordables.
8. Opposition to County Council’s plan to build 1000 houses on green belt land outside Oxford.
9. Opposition to County Council’s plan for gravel extraction at Berinsfield, Warborough and Stadhampton.

Open Session Parishioner requested that the Parish Council should investigate the hole in the hedge at Watlington Street, caused by a lorry.

Close of meeting Councillor Simon thanked the Councillors, the clerk, the transport representative, the Neighbourhood watch co-ordinator, people who deliver the news-sheets, the surgery who print them, those who pick up litter. He thanked Stan Nowak the allotment manager and Denise and Randy Hayward who issue the bus passes and tokens and handle the green refuse bags. Finally he thanked Mr. Davis our speaker and all the parishioners who had attended the meeting.