Rona welcomed everyone, in particular Sue Patterson the new Head of Burton Green School. Sue said she was passionate about communities and small schools and was working hard to establish the relationship between Burton Green and All Saints, Leek Wootton, of which she had been head for many years. She looked forward to getting to know people in Burton Green.
Rona also welcomed Cllrs. Ann Blacklock, John Whitehouse, Ian Cox, Adrian Hickinbottom and Ian de Worringham as well as PC Peter King.
Apologies had been received from Cllrs. George Illingworth and Archie Taylor. (Cllr. Taylor joined at the end of the meeting.)
Minutes of the last meeting and Matters Arising:
The minutes of the last Annual General Meeting of October 1st 2012 were accepted.
Proposed: Andy Gibbs
Seconded: Mary Webb
All matters arising were to be covered by agenda points.
A report had been circulated in advance via the Bugle so that time could be made available for questions.
The Chair, Rona Taylor, explained the focal points for 2013 had been as follows:
Installation of the defibrillator. Thanks were extended to Mary Webb and the team trained to use the equipment.
Lunches for the retired. These had been a huge success, were amazing value and an important addition to the social life of the retired residents.
Oddsocks. Thanks were again given to Mary Webb and the Jubilee Group for organising this excellent event. As a result, £750 ad been donated to the Vilage Hall and the same amount to the Greenway Trust.
Responses to concerns
Pavements, verges and road matters were ongoing. Jean Thompson had submitted a letter regarding the problems of pushing a wheelchair round cars parked on the pavements. Rona said there was a need to be aware as a community and that residents should have the courage to speak to those parking on the pavements and explain the predicament.
Bus services to Kenilworth had been less successful. The Monday bus caused no problems but the Thursday bus had capacity issues. John Whitehouse had helped with this so a flexible bus was now to be added. This was a very important service, especially for people of Red Lane.
HS2. The Residents’ Association had worked closely with the Burton Green HS2 Opposition Group. Rona had represented BGRA at HS2 fora and at a meeting with HS2 Ltd organised by Jeremy Wright. She had particularly emphasised the devastating effect HS2 would have on community sustainability in Burton Green.
The Income & Expenditure Account and Balance Sheet are attached separately and Terry went through the figures.
Terry thanked Peter and Lesley Tacon for helping with insurance matters and Peter in particular for inspecting the accounts.
A question was asked about how many residents paid the subscription and the conclusion was a large proportion. Mary explained that the collection team called at houses several times but sometimes failed to make contact. The significant funds raised were a tribute to the collectors, it was agreed.
Thanks were expressed to Terry.
Election of Independent Examiner
Peter Tacon again agreed to act as Independent Examiner.
Proposed: John Levett
Seconded: Jerry Marshall
Election of Committee members
Janet Hickinbottom, as Joint Secretary, conducted this agenda item.
The constitution required that the officers and three committee members should stand down. All the officers Rona Taylor, Mary Webb, Terry Heyes, Janet Hickinbottom and Judi Hibberd, were re-elected.
Proposed: Barbara Noronha
Seconded: Deirdre Vernon
Faith Ward was prepared to stand again as a committee member.
Proposed: Eileen Nisbet
Seconded: Peter Tacon
John Nisbet and Marlene Hills would be leaving the committee. They were thanked for their valued contribution.
Others remaining on the committee were Hilary Cox, Andy Gibbs, Bron Putnam, and Faith Ward.
Alice Hawkins had agreed to join the committee.
Proposed: Bron Putnam
Seconded: Shirley Howes
Diane Swindells was also nominated.
Proposed: Faith Ward
Seconded: Judi Hibberd
Update from Police
PC Pete King thanked Rona for sharing Jean Thompson's letter about parking on the pavement. This was something the police needed to re-evaluate. PC King would speak to Jean.
Action: PC King
Residents pointed out the problem also occurred in Red Lane and especially in Hodgett’s Lane when events took place in the Village Hall.
It was suggested that a sign was erected at the Village Hall asking users to park sensibly.
Action: Village Hall committee
PC King said the new alliance with West Mercia meant PCSOs had increased powers including the issuing of tickets.
PC King thanked Tery for his help and support with parking at the Oddsocks event.
One resident asked about noise problems at a party and reported that the police could not come out. PC King was surprised but said it must have been a resource issue on the night. Another resident said Environmental Health Officers would be of assistance if it was a regular problem.
PC King reminded everyone of the Kenilworth Update done in conjunction with Crown Watch (a well established NHW group in Kenilworth). Residents would receive an electronic copy if they signed up for community alerts. A hard copy was also to be left at the Village Hall.
The last reported burglary in Burton Green was on January 13th so PC King said Burton Green was one of the safest places in the area. He still warned about leaving valuables on view in vehicles.
One resident expressed concern about cars passing cyclists e.g. on the bend in Red Lane. It was asked if more signs could be made available but John Whitehouse said he felt they would not be read. Again, behaviour of drivers was down to personal responsibility. There were still issues regarding the Cromwell Lane Bridge and people not giving way.
Rona wondered if it would be appropriate to invite anyone from the County Council to speak about highways. Cllr. Whitehouse said the potential change of speed limits might help. Do the white lines need repainting?
PC King mentioned The Police Surgeries in the Village Hall were not well attended. It was suggested that their frequency shold be reduced. Residents were reminded that if they had a specific issue to discuss the police were available everyThursday at the clock tower in Kenilworth during market opening hours. Mary would add this information to the Bugle.
Rona thanked PC King for providing a friendly, visible face of policing in the village.
The Village Hall
Kathryn Stewart thanked everyone for supporting the Hall in the last twelve months at events including a murder mystery night, a curry evening, the produce show and BBQ. The number of regular hirers was stable and income had done well.
A meeting with HS2 Ltd had revealed an intention to replace the Village Hall but there was no detail and nothing in writing. A further meeting was to be held shortly to discuss the Hall's future and the continued provision of this vital community resource.
Peter added the Village Hall accounts showed what an incredible span of ages and interests the Hall served.
The Village Hall AGM was to be held on November 22nd. A craft fayre was scheduled for November 24th and on December 6th there would be a lunch for older residents.
Thanks were given to the Village Hall committee for all their hard work.
John Levett said residents still needed to be vigilant. Mainly in Kenilworth car keys were often stolen from porches or hallways. There were now only 2 PCSOs operating so residents' help was appreciated. John reminded everyone of the 101 non emergency number.
Information distributed by the police that was relevant to the village was circulated on the village email list. Requests to receive this information should be made to John and could be sent directly rather than by email if required.
Household security items were still available at Town & Country Furniture in Kenilworth.
Trading standards information, particularly concerning internet fraudsters, was also circulated on the village list. Residents were warned never to divulge their PIN number.
Occasionally pedlars were selling door to door and PC King said they were not lawful without pedlars' certificates. The police station had signs saying "We don't buy from door to door salesman."
Terry mentioned You cash vouchers and a scam going around regarding PPI claims. Similarly Western Union scams took place because transfers of cash in this way were not traceable.
Thanks were given to John.
Burton Green Councillors’ Report
Cllr.George Illingworth was unable to attend but had sent a report as follows:
During the year I was given increased responsibilities at the District council regarding HS2. This involves both outright objection as an attendee at the joint local government 51m opposition meetings and also discussing mitigation at a more local level. I have made sure that the Officers of the Council are increasingly involved in the latter so that should the scheme go ahead we do not suffer more than is necessary. I even managed to attend one afternoon in the High Court to hear the appeal to the judicial review when I happened to be in London. Sadly that saga continues to the Supreme Court. Let us hope we receive justice there.
Involvement in the wider picture confirms my view that Burton Green is one of the hardest hit communities on the route. I am pleased that in the meeting with Jeremy Wright MP HS2 at last conceded that the Village Hall could not continue to function during any potential construction phase. We are all aware, and have the evidence to show, that the Hall is crucial to the vibrancy of your community. Should that dreadful day arrive a new one must be built before the current one is abandoned.
Of course any new location for the Hall depends on the future structure of the village which will be influenced by the Local Plan. We will all watch with interest and no doubt some concern as that develops, but the opportunity is there for the community to help shape the future.
Finally, during my year as Mayor of Kenilworth I had the privilege of twice being invited officially to functions in Burton Green. I greatly appreciated that honour and Joanna and I thank you all for your welcome and hospitality.
Cllr. John Whitehouse had a submitted report the highlights of which he went through:
In May I was delighted and honoured to be re-elected as your county councillor for a third term. I am very grateful for the support I received from across the Burton Green community.
Warwickshire County Council
The political make-up of the Council changed considerably in the May elections, and WCC is now a ‘hung’ council, with a minority Conservative administration. This means that at least two of the political groups on the Council need to reach agreement on major policy decisions, especially the budget. WCC needs to make £92 million p.a. savings over the next 4 years, a budget 26% reduction. Having already made £66 million p.a. savings over the last 3 years, these future cuts will involve very difficult choices, and inevitably loss of services and facilities. The Council will set its 4-year budget in Feb 2014.
WCC reaffirmed its total opposition to HS2 at the last Full Council meeting in September. It is continuing to give financial support to the 51M judicial review appeal to the Supreme Court, which is scheduled for 15th/16th October. The impact of HS2 on WCC is substantial and growing, with a dedicated team of officers and a £400,000 p.a. budget to ensure the best possible outcome for Warwickshire residents if the project goes ahead.
Residents will recall two previous village consultations on reducing speed limits, both of which failed because of resistance to the traffic calming measures identified as necessary at the time. However, policies have now changed, and WCC will shortly be launching a formal consultation on proposals to reduce speed limits to 30 mph in both Cromwell Lane and Hodgetts Lane, without the imposition of traffic calming measures.
In Hob Lane, extra funding has been secured to establish a ‘school zone’ 20 mph speed limit in the vicinity of the school, with warning flashing lights similar to those at manned school crossings. The initiative has the support of both WCC and Warwickshire Police, and will be the first rural installation of such a scheme in the county.
I was pleased to be able to help the new Community Speedwatch team to get established, working closely with Terry Heyes and then Patrick Hehir. The enthusiasm of the team is exemplary, while the numbers of volunteers involved is in marked contrast to the much larger community of Kenilworth, where the Speedwatch team has been struggling to find new recruits.
With the completion of the University section of the route, the work of the Connect2 Kenilworth Steering Group came to an end earlier this year, although I continue to work with the Greenway Trust, Solihull MBC, WCC and Sustrans on pursuing options for cycling and equestrian access at the Berkswell end of the Greenway.
Thursday bus service to Kenilworth
I continue to work hard with Rona Taylor to secure a reliable Thursday bus service to/from Kenilworth, one which Burton Green residents can have confidence in again. After months of pressure we finally got agreement to a larger vehicle being used on the route, but Burton Green residents are still being left stranded at the bus stop, which is unacceptable. The bus operator has agree to write a letter of apology to affected residents, but I shall not stop pressing until the service is providing sufficient capacity for all those wishing to use it from Burton Green.
Cllr. Ann Blacklock of WDC reported on a very busy year. WDC continued to fight HS2. WDC had also been working on the Local Plan which would come out soon. It needed validating and then would hopefully come into effect in 2015. (The previous Local Plan had more or less expired.) Cllr Illingworth was part of the group reviewing the policies going into the plan.
Cllr. Blacklock said the "bedroom tax" was withdrawing the subsidy from those in receipt of housing benefit if they had more bedrooms than they needed. Some disabled people were affected by this change even though they needed extra space. Councils had some funds to offset this but these were quickly running out.
Sexual entertainment venues had become a controversial issue in Leamington.
Ann concluded by listing the wide variety of committees to which she belonged.
Thanks were expressed to Ann.
Cllr Ian Cox, Chair of the Parish Council also reported a busy year.The Parish Council had been active in responding to HS2 consultations. He thanked Cllrs. Marlene Hills and Marcus Stewart for their work. The Council was now working on the new consultation on compensation. A new notice board in Red Lane was to be installed.
The Neighbourhood Plan was placing emphasis on shaping the vision for the future of the village and its infrastructure. Where should development take place? How would areas be protected? How should buildings be designed? Problems arose because there was no knowledge of what the village would look like after HS2. HS2 had said they would help with this. In the near future the community would be ale to make their views known.
The Parish Council would add weight to concerns about parking, road markings etc.
One resident said there were difficulties in reading notices posted within the board on Cromwell Lane. Cllr. Cox replied that this would be addressed. He also agreed to facilitate Parish Council agendas and minutes being circulated on the village email system.
Action: Cllr. Cox
Cllr. Cox and the Parish Council were thanked for their work.
Mary Webb explained how the Bugle was funded and said she was always looking for articles. Residents were requested to submit these.
Rona thanked Mary who was an invaluable member of the community.
Kathryn Stewart reported that the Parish Plan survey had produced fantastic results: there had been 374 returns. This was a massive effort by everyone. The responses had been collated and the report was now available. The small steering group had been allocated parts of the resultant activity involving a summary of each section and key action points. The group wanted to make sure all views were captured.
Kathryn asked if residents would be interested in an evening event at which to present results and the response was affirmative. Some residents requested circulation of the results on the email system prior to any meeting.
Faith said Rona and Mary had been to visit local secondary schools to capture the views of younger people and she and Eileen Nisbet were to consult pupils in Burton Green to include their views.
Andy Gibbs spoke of the consultations, raising of money, meetings, forums, and a meeting with Jeremy Wright. He highlighted the Safeguarding directive for those living within 60m of the proposed line. These residents could serve a blight notice so they could bring forward the purchase of their property at the full market price plus expenses.
The consultation on compensation was to close on December 4th. It was proposed to set up a Rural Protection Zone instead of the VPZ and maybe introduce a property bond. Residents were requested to respond to the consultation.
Going forward, there were to be Judicial Reviews on 15th and 16th October. This might result in going to the European court.
The government was still saying it would deposit the hybrid bill by the end of January 2014. The final environmental statement would be included. 150 changes had been made along the route but residents were unaware what they would be. There would be 56 days to petition against the bill if residents could prove they were affected.
Community forums had now finished for the Birmingham to London section.
Andy felt the politics of HS2 were moving in the right direction, towards being a vote loser. However, HS2 was still supported by all three parties and so would still happen if the situation remained as at present.
Further donations were still needed to fight the plans.
A compensation roadshow was to be held in Kenilworth on November 1st.
Rona thanked Andy
Pat Hehir explained that the Speedwatch initiative had been running for about a year. Eleven volunteers had been trained and started monitoring speeds in April. Terry had now handed over responsibility to Pat who had been very grateful for Terry’s excellent co-ordination with comprehensive notes. A speedgun calibration point had also been established at Terry’s home.
Pat gave an outline of the number of sessions held and said that in total 15 vehicles had been exceeding the speed limit. Speedwatch was acting as a deterrent on a regular basis.
The volunteers would like to continue to be out on a weekly basis and when the speed limit reduced their activity would be even more important. They might also look at doing some early morning sessions.
Thanks were extended to all volunteers and to John Whitehouse and Pete King for their support.
A query was raised about whether speeders were prosecuted and the response was that they received a letter from the police reminding them of the speed limit.
Rona thanked Janet for her tireless work taking the minutes.
She also thanked everyone for coming and to contributing during the evening and ended by saying what a special community Burton Green is.
Deirdre announcded an "Octobash" event on October 10th in aid of the air ambulance.
Faith thanked Rona for all her work.
Date of Next Annual General Meeting
The next Annual General Meeting would be held on Monday October 6th 2014 at the Village Hall.