At our meetings on 22nd January the Council decided to increase the Precept by £10,000 to £148,000 following extensive debate. It was agreed that it was likely in the foreseeable future that the subsidy we receive from Bucks County Council to carry out the devolved grass cutting and other services might stop and this sum represetns the loss to the council should this happen. Decisions were also taken to move forward with projects such as the redesign of Kingsway Green and the Neighbourhood Plan.
The Parish Council has been advised of recent incidents when bus drivers on the local Arriva and First bus routes have refused to accept bus passes as valid between 9am and 9.30am. Bus pass holders have been turned away on the grounds that the ticket machine says the bus stop is in Slough where the rules are different.
To be clear any bus pass holders from the parish trying to catch a bus at a bus stop within the parish have a right to use their bus pass on any bus after 9am.
If this has happened to you since 20th October 2017 can you please let the Parish Council Clerk know. Either ring 01753 648497 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . We would be happy to keep a record of any such incidents and take the issue up with Bucks County Council or the bus companies directly.
At our meeting on 23rd October we were delighted to co-opt Bill Baker as the new councillor for the vacant seat. Bill has lived in Farnham Common for 40 years and has been an active campaigner on a number of projects in the Parish. He is a retired chartered surveyor.
Much of the meeting was take up with issues regarding development in the parish. It was agreed to robustly defend the most recent attempt by Slough to land grab some of South Bucks; there was debate on an approach from a local developer to develop Green Belt land in our parish, and the Council will be working on the development of a new brownfield register for the area.
If you care about any of these issues please have your say – contact the Clerk and let us know what you think. We think that the only way to have any control of development in our parish to to develop a Neighbourhood Plan. This is a Plan which becomes part of planning law and must be adhered to by the planning authority when determining what type of development can take place where. This will take a small dedicated team of people working with us and planning consultants to achieve. There is a process of consultation that has to be gone through and analysed. If you think this is something you want to be involved with please contact the Clerk as soon as possible.
Grove Court Properties have developed revised proposals for the former Haymill garage and car dealership on Beaconsfield Road for a reduced scheme.
As you may recall, proposals for a care home for the elderly on the site was refused planning permission earlier this year and is currently going through the appeal process. Grove Court Properties is preparing to submit a revised smaller application which addresses the previous reasons for refusal. They are therefore inviting local residents to meet with them and discuss the plans on Monday 9 October. They say they will be in the area between 4pm and 8pm and will meet with residents if they are contacted to do so.
Should you have any queries on the scheme or wish to meet with them, please do not hesitate to contact Lauren Whipp on 01296 678320 or email email@example.com
At our meeting on 25th September progress was made in agreeing further expenditure required to repair Footpath 4 between the A355 and Egypt Lane near Barn Close. Subject only to the final consent of City of London to take down vegetation on the diversionary route this work should take place week commencing 16th October.
The Parish Council has been working hard to improve our environment. The spotlight is currently on St Mary’s churchyard where steps are being taken to remove saplings growing through graves and put up new signs. We have commissioned a report on trees of value to our parish and what can be done to protect them.
We are pleased to say the Carols on the Green event will take place again this year on Kingsway Green on Saturday 9th December with a slightly increased budget.
Please take the time to read our minutes and consider whether you might want to become a councillor. It is a way to make a real difference to your local community and to improve our open spaces and quality of life. If you are interested in this position in local democratic government please contact the Clerk. We currently have a vacancy for a councillor which can be filled by co-option ( that is a simple majority vote of councillors present) at a future meeting.
Hedgerley Parish Council (HPC) seeks support in its campaign to limit the impact locally should Slade Farm become a gravel extraction site. This is looking likely as the site is under consultation to become a preferred site under the Draft Bucks Minerals & Waste Local Plan/2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation. The consultation ends 27th September and Farnham Royal Parish Council supports their position and would urge residents to respond directly to the consultation. You may wish to note some of the points below which have been recommended by HPC’s Planning Consultants .
Visit http://public access.buckscc.gov.uk/online-applications/
- both Slade Farm allocations lie within green belt, and therefore the nature of development at Slade Farm should focus on mineral extraction only at these sites;
- because the allocations are in the green belt, development ancillary to mineral extraction (e.g. concrete batching, processing, workshops etc.) should be discouraged unless “very special circumstances” can be demonstrated;
- the scale of development at Slade Farm should be designed to ensure that proposals do not detract from the openness or character of the green belt i.e. small scale development only;
- there are a number of cultural heritage assets within the vicinity of Slade Farm including a number of listed buildings (the nearest being Slade Farm house, a Grade II listed building) and Hedgerley Village which is a conservation area, potential development at Slade Farm should aim to conserve and enhance these assets and their setting and demonstrate that there is no adverse impact as a result, the draft MWLP fails to provide evidence that mineral extraction at Slade Farm would not result in an adverse impact on the setting of cultural heritage assets, and therefore is contrary to national planning policy (NPPF paragraph 134);
- mitigation, restoration and aftercare associated with potential development at Slade Farm should be appropriate and enhance the historic environment setting.
- the restoration of Slade Farm should be achieved without landfill or recycling as national planning policy suggests in the green belt;
- restoration of Slade Farm should achieve a net gain in biodiversity;
- restoration and aftercare should enhance the existing assets within the vicinity of the site (including environmental assets, landscape character, historic environment setting etc.) with a comprehensive restoration and aftercare scheme;
- Slade Farm is located in an attractive rural area and development at these sites should conserve and if possible enhance the existing landscape character i.e. small scale development only with a comprehensive restoration and aftercare scheme;
- proposals at the Slade Farm allocations should be of a proportionate scale so as not to result in visual intrusion in the surrounding area;
Your response should be returned no later than 27th September.
The Police and South Bucks District Council have now issued guidance about what can be done about travellers moving onto land in our parish.
Firstly South Bucks DC say:-
‘We wanted to share these links which will give you guidance and advice if you feel the location of an encampment in Chiltern or South Bucks District Councils is unlawful:
This is now linked to CDC and SBDC’s own information pages and the link to BCC has been added to the ‘report it’ section on the websites.
Report it sections
Thames Valley Police say:-
There have been a number of traveller encampments across the police area over the past few months, which have caused an increase in calls from concerned residents. Many residents have expressed concerns that the police have not moved them on. Hopefully this update will explain the legal powers of the police, and how we work with our partner agencies with these incidents.
The encampment in Farnham Royal a few weeks ago was slightly different to most of the other encampments in the area. In order for Police to legally use our powers to evict trespassers from land, there are a number of points in law we need to adhere to. Police do have powers, under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994.
Firstly, we need to prove that the occupiers are trespassers and that they are two or more in numbers and have a common purpose of residing on the land. In order to do this, we need to evidence the landowner, or an agent acting on their behalf, has asked the occupiers to leave the land, and that the landowner or agent has taken reasonable steps to get them to leave. We also have to evidence that the occupiers have caused damage to the land or property on the land, or that they have used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards the owner, family member, agent or employee. Failing this, we need to show that between the occupiers, there are 6 or more vehicles on the land. There are also other factors to consider, in line with human rights legislation and the community impact factors. If all the relevant criteria is met, police can use their powers.
However, police powers are a last resort and not the default. Primarily, the responsibility sits with the landowner to seek eviction through court proceedings or our partner agencies, ie: the Council.
The Farnham Royal situation was made difficult for any agency as the landowner was happy for the occupiers to stay on the land, which immediately negated any police powers being lawfully used.
Whenever an encampment sets up, police will always visit and engage with the occupiers. A site assessment is completed, and Codes Of Conduct are issued to all the occupiers. Police then monitor the encampment and continually assess the behaviour of the occupants. Any criminal offences or anti-social behaviour (ASB) are dealt with accordingly.
The Act states:
Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 allows the senior police officer attending the scene of an incident involving trespass, in certain circumstances, to direct the trespassers to leave the land and remove their vehicles and property as soon as reasonably practicable.
61(1) If the senior police officer present at the scene reasonably believes that two or more persons are trespassing on land and are present there with the common purpose of residing there for any period, that reasonable steps have been taken by or on behalf of the occupier to ask them to leave and
A: that any of those persons has caused damage to the land or to the property on the land or used threatening abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards the occupier, a member of his family or an employee or agent of his, OR
B: that those persons have between them six or more vehicles on the land, he may direct those persons, or any of them, to leave the land and to remove any vehicles or other property they have with them on the land.
The Parish Council has a vacancy for a councillor. Please consider whether you could take on this voluntary role in the community and if you would like to find out more please do not hesitate to contact the Clerk or the Chairman. The Parish Council may co-opt a new councillor at its October meeting or at any meeting after that whilst the position remains unfilled.
We are of course aware that many residents are distressed about issues relating to the travellers who were until recently camping in a private field in Blackpond Lane.
As a Parish Council we have no power to act in this situation. We are however active in trying to pass on information and liaise with those who do have the authority to act. We are liaising with South Bucks District Council about the litter issues and we are talking to the County Councillor about what if anything could be done to prevent them returning to this site.
Following a complaint it seems that one email on the issue from a resident was not received by the Clerk. The Clerk aims to respond to emails within one working day ( the Clerk does not work Fridays) so if you do not get a response to an email you send please try ringing the Clerk and leaving a message.
In response to a request put by us to the police we have received a link to the Thames Valley Police policy on dealing with travellers encampments. This is attached below.
Thames Valley Police has issued crime statistic which cover the past twelve months.
The latest figures show that there were 138,710 crimes reported across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire from 1 April 2016 until 31 March 201. This is a 7.2% increase to the previous year (2015/16) where there were 129,449 reported crimes within the same time frame.
Of these 7,763 crimes were reported in Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire Local Police Area (LPA), a rise of 8.7% on last year.
The increase is reflected nationally (ONS Crime Survey of England and Wales¹), and is largely attributed to improvements in compliance with National Crime Recording Standards, following recommendations made by HMIC in 2014.
Overall crime levels in Thames Valley still remain low compared with five and ten years ago. There were 66,976 fewer crimes recorded in this timeframe compared with five years ago (205,686), and 8,357 fewer recorded offences compared with ten years ago (147,067).
The HMIC’s latest PEEL assessment² rated Thames Valley Police as good across all areas of policing (effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy), and victim satisfaction remains high at 88%, compared with the national average of 84%.
Following the release of the figures, Superintendent Yvette Hitch, LPA Commander for Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire, said: “Whilst we have seen an increase in overall reports of crime this year, figures remain low per head of population and we have seen a decrease in some key areas.
“I am confident that many of the perceived increases are down to improvements in crime-recording, increased victim confidence in reporting offences and the proactive work of the force and multi-agency work in tackling crimes including organised crime groups, rather than a greater risk of becoming a victim of crime.
“The LPA continues to face a significant challenge from cross-border burglary offending, which is unique in the force with 50% of the LPA’s borders shared with the Metropolitan Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary which is reflected in the 15.6% increase in burglary dwelling offences, with 503 reports. We will continue working collaboratively with partners in The Metropolitan Police Service and Hertfordshire Constabulary through intelligence sharing and cross-border anti-burglary operations, which target cross-border criminals using the main arterial routes removing all boundaries and working as one policing team. Targeting these offenders remains our priority.
“We also continue to target those who cause the most harm in our communities, including organised crime groups, and as a result have seen a decrease in overall drug offences of 13.8%, including a decrease of 14.9% in possession of drugs, a 6.1% decrease in trafficking of drugs and a 2.9% decrease in possession of weapons across the LPA. Our proactive crime prevention and targeted operations have significantly impacted these figures and highlight the success Thames Valley Police has had in tackling these crimes. We will continue to be robust in tackling criminal activity within Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire with a particular focus on Stronghold – Thames Valley Police’s campaign to encourage joint working with communities to tackle serious and organised crime.
“We have seen an increase in a sexual offences this year, which demonstrate the growing confidence and trust of victims reporting crimes.
“A key aim for us to raise awareness and confidence in the local community in reporting incidents to us, this is reflected in the increase we have seen in reporting of offences like hate crime. Despite the increase we know that this remains an under-reported crime and we are committed to encouraging people to come forward and report these incidents to us.
“We are going to continue to take a proactive approach in tackling crime and cross-border offending and would actively encourage anyone who has been a victim of crime to come forward and report it to us. We continue to constantly monitor changes in the nature of crime to allow us to adapt, adjust and provide an effective response.
“We remain determined to prevent crime, bring offenders to justice and protect the most vulnerable, in order to keep Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire a safe and pleasant place to live, work and visit.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my officers, staff and our partners for their hard work over the past year and extend my gratitude to our communities for their continued support.”
The full crime summary, including a breakdown of Local Policing Area (LPA) statistics, can be viewed here: https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/about-us/publications-and-documents/performance-figures/
Any victims that do require emotional or practical support to help them cope from the impact of the crime can find information and an appropriate local organisation by visiting the Police and Crime Commissioner’s new website: www.victims-first.org.uk