Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at Whiteleaf Golf Club on Wednesday 5th October 2022 at 8pm.
Present: – Kate Symons (Chairman), Andy Vere (Hon. Secretary) Simon Clark (Hon. Treasurer). Sue Robinson, Fionnuala McKibbin, Dom Larose and 29 members.
The Chairman welcomed everyone, especially new residents, Councillors Andy Ball (AB) (Chairman and Mayor of Princes Risborough Town Council (PRTC)), and Matthew Walsh (MW) and Alan Turner (AT) of Buckinghamshire Council.
Apologies were received from Jon Sareen, George & Ann Baker, Richard Scully, John Clegg, Nigel Henderson, David Robinson, Angeline Vere, Florence & Mike Brain, Simon & Esther Ruck, Karen & Guy Young.
2. Chair’s Review of Activities 2021/22
Minutes: There being no comments, the minutes of the AGM held on 6th October 2021 were approved.
Review: The Chairman stated that WCRA CIC had been operational for over a year, returns had been made to Companies House and had been published on their website. She noted the improved WCRA website, shortly to include job descriptions for WCRA director roles
There were no questions from those present.
3. Annual Accounts and Treasurer’s Report
The Chairman thanked the outgoing Treasurer for his 26 years of service to the local community. The Treasurer said that the return to holding social events after lockdown, had contributed to covering operating costs. We currently held £833 in our current account, almost unchanged from the previous year. He further said that he felt that the facilities provided by the change to Lloyd’s bank, to be much better than with our previous account holders. He thanked John Gould for his work preparing the accounts, which were approved unanimously along with the CIC34 statement.
4. Election of Officers.
– Simon Clark (standing down as Treasurer) was co-opted as Director as proposed by Peter Miles and seconded by Dom Larose.
– Mark Weiner was co-opted as Treasurer, as proposed by Gwen Miles and seconded by Jenny Masterton-Smith.
– Jon Sareen was elected as Director, as proposed by Becky Sanger and seconded by Sue Robinson.
5. Mission Statement
The Chairman thanked Florence Brain for suggesting a way of showing the work of WCRA, which had been added to by the Chairman. All agreed that it provided a concise and informative overview of WCRA community vocation.
6. Any other business.
- Carol Croom mentioned the speed of cars in Cadsden Road, where she felt a 30mph speed limit would be more appropriate.
- The Secretary mentioned the two fields adjacent to Peters Lane and Westfields, which are separated by the Upper Icknield Way. He said that he believed that there were only two official footpaths across these fields (although many unofficial paths were evident but had now been ploughed up). He asked if the land owner might be willing to allow some informal use of these paths. Gwen Miles said that she believed the land belonged to a Mr Barlow, and it was right that only the official footpaths should be used. She noted that the landowner had put up signs about access, requesting walkers to stick to the official footpaths.
The formal meeting closed at 8:30pm.
Andy Ball (AB) updated the meeting on town issues.
AB confirmed that PRTC had carried forward £5k of funding towards the white edge lining scheme at the Peters Lane / UIW junction. He said that Councillor Frost was leading the Speedwatch campaign, which might help us with speeding issues; the WCRA secretary said he would contact Councillor Frost. AB mentioned that the increases in anti-social behaviour in the town was a current issue; and that CCTV was still functional but needed to be extended to the parks and the council was looking to fund this. He noted that there were two Ukrainian families in Whiteleaf, and said that there was a tea party planned for all Ukrainian families in the Brushwood Suite at Wades Park. Swish fibre was funding the Christmas lights turn on being held on 26th November.
AB said in looking forward; there were three big issues for the town council; the southern link road, which he expected to be started in 2024, the rehousing of PRTC to Wades Park, and phase 2 development of the Stratton Memorial Garden, with cost in the region of £250k.
AB mentioned the Monks Risborough Parochial Charities and said that Councillor Gary Hall had been appointed by PRTC to replace Councillor Turner as Trustee. Mark Weiner (MarkW) asked about the lack of transparency of MRPC and stated that over many years there had been a lack of consultation with resident associations, lack of information about renting the land, as well as the location of the land parcels and any potential development of the land. Alan Turner (previously Chairman of MRPC) stated that there had been ‘a huge amount of correspondence’ about these matters and that the original charities were over 150 years old and had been merged in the 1930s. They were to provide support for those in need and he believed that those aims had been met. He stated that any person can lease the land parcels and that they had moved to a standard three-year tenancy term for their tenants. MarkW questioned whether there had been advertising of the land that was available to rent and asked why resident consultation had not taken place. MarkW further said that he felt there was a need to embrace modern standards of transparency and governance. The Chairman noted that the land was in the process of being registered with the Land Registry by MRPC and said that she would be communicating with the Charities Commission. MarkW requested that MRPC should produce a list of land parcels with tenancy end dates for information.
Alan Turner (AT) then spoke about the potential footway on the dangerous section of the Cadsden road below the Plough; the proposed footway would run along the top of the bank outside “Haycroft.” Jim Stevens (ex-Head of Bucks Highways) had taken a preliminary look at the site, and whilst there were potential structural issues that could affect the cost of installing the footway, it should be possible for it to be constructed within the space available.
Matt Walsh (MW) mentioned the ongoing issues with bin collections and asked that residents should email him Matthew.Walsh@buckinghamshire.gov.uk or AT Alan.Turner@buckinghamshire.gov.uk if problems persisted. He stated that the Peters Lane / UIW White Edge Lining scheme had been paused pending the start of a new contract between Bucks Council and contractors Balfour Beatty starting on 1st April 2023. MW assured all persons present that the funding was waiting for this scheme.
Simon Clarke mentioned Swish Fibre needing permits to work from Bucks Council, and that there appeared to be some sort of delay. John Biggs mentioned the slowness of the car park ticket machines. MW said that he hoped to see improvements as machines are rationalised across the county.
Lack of policing was mentioned, although not a new issue to Risborough. AT said that we need police working here, not just based here. Residents should let AT or MW know if police are failing to respond to them. There continued to be issues on the UIW with the use of motorbikes.
MW reported that the Northwest Community Board (our local area board) has funding of up to £1,000 available for small community projects
The Chairman thanked Andy, Matt, and Alan for their contributions to the meeting.
Following the break, there was a discussion about the fire-damaged cottages. It was confirmed and agreed that a list of issues raised would be passed to the site developer to provide reportage (as planning applicant) and his architect, to be addressed at a subsequent residents’ community consultation meeting, following planning determination.
The questions are stated below in the order raised: –
- Concerns about the appearance of the two new build dwellings. Could the aesthetic be tweaked to be more in keeping with the appearance of the old cottages?
- Fears expressed about timing of the renovation works to the remaining cottages being undertaken, prior to construction of two newbuild dwellings.
- Alarm existed about any of the renovated/newbuild dwellings being used for “Air B and B” lettings.
- Apprehension regarding the size of the two proposed new dwellings on the site; “too much housing in too small a space.”
- Anxiety about parking (overall) and the adverse situation in the Upper Icknield Way and the pinch point to Peters Lane.
- Outright statement of support from one or two residents “a super development” and “a fantastic job done.”
- Question regarding the ability of the developer to follow through the development as smoothly as possible.
- Queries relating to various insurances to ensure that the development was properly built out and the various site components not being subject to future changes.
The Chairman confirmed that the questions would be sent to the developer and thanked everyone for attending the meeting.
The meeting closed at 9:45pm.