Minutes of the 2014 Annual General Meeting held at Whiteleaf Golf Club.
Present: Mrs K. Symons (Chairman), Mr. R. Shaw (Hon. Secretary), Mr. S. Clark (Hon. Treasurer), Mr. J. Clegg, Mr. P. Miles, and 45 members.
The Chairman welcomed everyone and especially the new residents and Mr Alan Turner, Mayor of Princes Risborough town Council and set out the agenda for the evening. Also mentioned was the need to follow closely and comment on housing development in Princes Risborough, which, whilst not affecting our residents directly, could have a very significant knock-on effect on existing infrastructure and facilities provision in the area.
- Apologies were received from the Dyer and Fowke families and Mr. D. Miller, Mr. D. Aldous, Mr. A. Hitchcock, Mr R. Scully, Mrs. C. Frodsham and Mrs. S. Shaw.
- Minutes. There being no comments, the minutes of the 2013 AGM were agreed.
- Matters arising. The Secretary said that there were no matters arising from last years’ minutes, which had not been covered either in newsletters or in the Chairman’s report.
- Chairman’s report. The Chairman summarised her report and highlighted the need to be aware of major planning issues as well as asking residents to update e-mail addresses if necessary and invited new residents to pay their subscriptions, which is a one-off £5 per household. The Chairman also thanked the Secretary and Mr. J. Clegg for their contributions to the Association. There were no questions from the floor about the Chairman’s report.
- Annual accounts. The Treasurer commented on the accounts which contained few transactions. There were no questions from the floor about the Treasurer’s report and this was approved.
- Elections. The Treasurer, Mr. S. Clark was due to retire from the Committee and offered himself for re-election. Mr. Clark was duly re-elected, having been proposed by Mr. P. Miles and seconded by Mrs. J. Masterton-Smith.
- History Project. Mr. Shaw said that the inspiration for the project had come from a similar project in Askett together with Anne Baker’s start in trying not to lose stories about former residents (before those who remember them moved away) and the information collected as a result of the village walkabouts. The idea is to trace the history of the hamlets from the first building to the present day. It is a long term project but it is hoped to be able to produce a work in progress document later this year. Mr. Shaw thanked those who had returned templates and looked forward to receiving more over time.Mr. Clayton asked whether we had considered using the Princes Risborough web-site. Mr. Shaw said that the current idea was to build on the Association’s existing website, but that we could provide links to and from the Princes Risborough site. This is something that might be considered in the future.
- Summer Social Event The Chairman stated that, when the Ragpit questionnaire was circulated last year, a large number of residents had said that they would be interested in a summer outdoor event. Following debate, the Committee had come up with 2 options: i) a prearranged BBQ at the golf Club @ c. £17 per head and ii) a sausage sizzle afternoon on the cricket pitch @ c. £4 per head. Guidance was sought from AGM attendees as to their preference for either event.Whilst the former required little input from residents the latter would require a band of volunteers to make it happen. Mr. Masterton-Smith suggested that it would be a good thing for the residents to support the Golf Club. Mrs Fox suggested that the Golf Club would not be an appropriate venue for children. Mrs Masterton-Smith said that the Golf Club caterers, who are independent of the Club, might be prepared to cater for a sausage sizzle and questioned whether we could hold both events. Following a show of hands 14 residents opted for the sausage sizzle, whilst 18 opted for the barbecue. The Secretary pointed out that the younger families in the hamlets, who might favour an afternoon event did not appear to be well represented at the meeting.
It was agreed that the Committee would consider all of the comments and would circulate a proposal as soon as practicable.
- Any other business.
The Chairman said that the Committee wished to co-opt Mrs Lesley Stevens onto the Committee, partly as a liaison with the Monks Risborough School. However since the Committee is currently restricted to 6 members it was proposed to increase the Committee to 7 members. Following agreement to extend the Committee, Mrs Stevens was duly elected, having been proposed by Mr. Masterton-Smith and seconded by Mrs. Biggs.
The formal meeting closed at 8.30pm
Mr. Turner said that it was a pleasure to attend the AGM and thanked residents for their input into the decision making process on the future of the Ragpit. He said that expert advice had been sought as to the idea of a nature reserve, but that the site was considered to be too small. Also development of the site had to be considered but was not supported. It has been agreed to leave the site as it is and he added that no change was envisaged in the foreseeable future.
Mr. Turner went on to cover the most important issue facing the town at present, the New Local Plan. He said that in the past the Government had set housing targets, but now every District Council has to set its own levels. These will be scrutinised by Government and must be sensible and robust otherwise they will be rejected, as has happened recently to Aylesbury Vale District Council. He said that the situation is precarious as, until there is an agreed plan, speculative development could take place and the assumption would be in favour of the developers.
Wycombe District Council (“WDC”) has employed consultants, who have produced a figure 14,000 new homes for the District up to 2031. Sites for 7,000 homes have been identified and 7,000 are needed. The problem is that South of Princes Risborough the Area is AONB, whilst North of Princes Risborough the area is not protected and there has been very little development in the town for a long time. It will be a hard fight to stop large scale development, and any development has to be sustainable. According to the WDC consultation proposals “sustainable” means “with a long term positive legacy for future generations”. It is doubtful that large scale development will provide a positive legacy without substantial infrastructure investment and even then the town could well be divided.
Of the three options offered by WDC only the greatest proposal, to build 2,500 homes, would provide the largest developer contribution towards the cost of necessary infrastructure improvements. But even that contribution may not be sufficient to fund a “ring road”, primary school and doctors surgery. Traffic will be a major issue, particularly as Aylesbury Vale are looking to build 20,000 homes, further exacerbating the flow along the A4010.
Mr. Turner said that the Council will try to stop large scale development over the railway line as they do not want a dysfunctional (or 2 part) town or people shopping elsewhere. PRTC are putting together a list of conditions for WDC in the event that large scale development is approved.
Mr. Fox said that the Chiltern Conservation Board is preparing a paper about the setting of the AONB, arguing that the surroundings of the AONB are as important as the Area itself. Mr. Ruck asked about housing levels under the South East Plan, and Mr. Turner said that this was 14 units per annum. Mr. Masterton-Smith asked whether the recent floods might affect the proposals and Mr. Turner replied that WDC were well aware of the problems. Mr. Miles said that parking would be major issue if the town had a further 6,000 residents.
In response to a question from Mr. Griggs, Mr. Turner said that The Pictsmead development is going ahead and that the first phase should take place this year.
After the meeting, Mr. Tom Jenkinson, Chief Brewer and Director of the Chiltern Brewery, gave a very interesting talk and slide show about the Brewery, its origins, achievements, production methods as well as its products. He led a tutored tasting of the Company’s barley wine which was very well received.
The Chairman thanked Mr. Jenkinson for the talk and also for providing the residents with an opportunity to buy one of their beers at a very good price on the night.