Epwell Parish Council

Minutes of Annual General Meeting of the Parish Council

Epwell Village Hall

 Monday 15th May 2017   8 pm.




Councillors                                                                  Parish Clerk Jacqui Harris

Paul Neal (chairman)                          

Norman White                                                            Councillor Reynolds (OCC and CDC)

Chris Hurst

Nicola Rudge

Gavin Lloyd Thomas


  1. 1.      Apologies – Charles Pollard


  1. 2.      Election of Chairman

Paul Neal, the current Chair, said he was not standing again and he proposed Chris Hurst for the role of Chairman. This was seconded by Gavin Lloyd Thomas, with all in favour. Chris Hurst took the Chair and thanked his predecessor for his hard work and firm leadership over the years.

  1. 3.      Approval of minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 13th March 2017 were agreed to be accurate and signed as a true record.

  1. 4.      Registration of interests – code of conduct

Councillors were asked if there were any interests to declare.  None was declared and this was noted.

  1. 5.      Formal announcements from the Chair

The Chairman thanked Jill Holroyd for acting as Clerk over the last 7 years and a token of appreciation was presented.  He went on to introduce Jacqui Harris the new Clerk and extended a warm welcome to her.

  1. 6.      Public participation
  2. There was a query asking if the previous Chair will remain on the council. Paul Neal confirmed that he will remain as a councillor
  3. Concern was raised over the state of the local highways and it was pointed out that the road surface in the ford is deteriorating. Gavin Lloyd Thomas asked the meeting if anyone was aware of OCC Highways having carried out any maintenance on the ford.  No one was aware.  Gavin Lloyd Thomas will follow up.
  4. The road to Sugarswell and Edgehill was described as particularly dangerous by the entrance to Harry Corbett’s farm.  The road edges outside the farm entrance had fallen apart. Gavin Lloyd Thomas responded that he will report it on Fix My Street. He added that sadly the Parish Council does not hold the budget and this is in the hands of OCC Highways.
  5. The wells in the village need some attention.  They are potentially very attractive features.


  1. 7.      Finance

Copies of the 2016 – 17 accounts had been circulated

The finances were accepted and signed off.  The accounts can be viewed by the public between 2/6/17 and 14/7/17 on application to the Clerk or Chairman.  The Asset Register is also available.   After that time the summary accounts will be on the village website.

Budget for 2017 - 18

The Chairman introduced the draft budget, dated 15/5/17.

There was discussion about expected receipts, and clarification by Cll. George Reynolds about the Cherwell General Payment, which made up for the available reductions in Council Tax .  The Sustainable Development Fund was the source of a grant from the Cotswold Conservation Board for projects which enhance life in the countryside.  The grant of £2000 was to help fund the Shelter and BBQ area planned for the Playing Field.

This year the Parish Council will take over responsibility from OCC for verge maintenance in the parish.  This includes grass cutting, grip maintenance and ensuring visibility of road signs.  OCC will give the Parish Council an annual payment.

Insurance –  the insurance in place covers assets and public liability.

Parish election - the PC are required to keep £1000 aside for the parish council elections which are due next year.

Discussion arose over where the estimated cost of £15,000 for the new Shelter was coming from.  In fact this money had been accumulated from donations and grants for this specific project.  For instance the JOGLE bike ride had raised money for the venture, there was the grant from Cotswold Conservation Board and Jill Holroyd had very kindly donated her pay as Clerk.

 Paul Neal explained that initial plans had been sent to CDC to check for possible difficulties and a meeting had been arranged with the owners of the Playing Field land (Hook Norton Brewery).


  1. 8.      Correspondence
  2. a.      Planning:  none
  3. b.      The running cost of the street light between Crane’s Farm and the Village Hall was borne by OCC who had been informed on several occasions that the light was on during the day.
  4. c.       A new home for the chestnut tree would be found after consulting EGG.  Chris Hurst will do this.


  1. 9.      Roads and Highways


  1. Gavin Lloyd Thomas gave an update on road repairs.  He said that OCC Highways had no specific work planned for Epwell but he would pursue them over the potholes and other damage to the highway. He would continue to liaise with the Area Steward.
  2. Large vehicles entering the village can cause damage.  There are warning signs in place in English and non metric measurements.  Thought will be given to making our own signs which convey the message in an image or picture, with metric width shown.
  3. Passing places will be upgraded before the winter.
  4. Twenty is Plenty signs are not authorised by OCC and would be removed if they had the budget to do so.  EPC did not support buying these signs and will continue to monitor and think about the perceived speed problem. The survey done a while ago showed that very few vehicles were exceeding the limit.

( After the meeting is was pointed out that the lack of a footpath at the side of Sibford Road made pedestrians feel less safe when vehicles are seen to be travelling at speed.)

  1. Verge maintenance. Oxfordshire County Council has devolved this service to Epwell Parish Council.   Cutting the grass in the village and in the parish outside the village boundary, maintenance of grips and ensuring the road signs are clean and visible is now the responsibility of EPC.  Oxfordshire County Council will give EPC an annual payment .  The current plan is to ask Nigel Prickett to do 2 rural cuts and 4 village cuts per year. The Playing field is already covered.


  1. 10.  Common areas and Verges
  2. Repair work round the village.  Yet to be tackled is the ironwork around West Well, the overhanging trees at the ford (OCC highways to be contacted), and a gate on the footpath near Rectory Farm.  Chairman is to look up who is responsible for that gate.
  3. The Mary Dale gate has been partially repaired.  Who is responsible for the gate is not yet clear but for the time being EPC and the Epwell Trust were seen to have joint responsibility.   Chairman proposed to talk to The Epwell Trust about ownership and suggested an exchange of letters would provide a written record which could be consulted in the future.
  4. Planting round the village.  EPC asked EGG to prepare proposals which will in due course come to EPC and the community for discussion.


  1. 11.  Transparency code

Chairman outlined the criteria of the code and what the Parish Council need to publish on a website.  EPC is about 80% of the way through the work.


  1.  Date of next meeting

Monday 17th July.  The third Monday in alternate months is the new pattern.

The Meeting closed at 2104 hrs




Post Meeting informal discussion

Jill Holroyd, the retiring Parish Clerk, thanked Chris Hurst for all the help he has given her and presented him with a gift from her and the council members.

Questions about the Playing Field shelter were raised: was it what we needed, where will the money come from and when can the community see what is proposed.

 The need for a shelter and BBQ area appeared in the Community Plan of 2014, initial sketches were prepared and money raised/donated.  An architect had produced a plan which was now at CDC for comment.  In fact the architect’s plan was available for viewing at the last EPC meeting.

Paul Neal who is in charge of the project is meeting James Clarke of Hook Norton Brewery in early June. The brewery owns the Playing Field land.  Once the plans are cleared by CDC and James Clarke has agreed to the structure at that stage the plans will be shared publicly.

The speeding issue was raised again and a point to note that Sibford Rd has no footpaths and this may increase the perception of speed.  Safety is the key issue.

A question was asked about depreciation of items on the Asset Register. Jill Holroyd and Jacqui Harris outlined that this cannot be done by the Parish Council.

The sundial on the Green is looking in a sorry state and needs attention. Chris Hurst will put this on the next meeting’s agenda and meanwhile seek advice.

The tchure opposite Tom Callows needs resurfacing.  This will be raised at the next meeting.