We invite our residents to attend our next parish council meeting on Monday 23rd October at 7.30pm in Farnham Common Village Hall. Parish Councils are the ‘grass roots’ level of local government where your opinion really matters. Please come along and have your say during the first fifteen minutes of our meetings on any issue that you wish to raise or comment on and of course stay to hear the debate on the local issues on the agenda. Please take a look at the agenda which has been put up on the relevant page of this website. This month local planning issues are some of the more pressing concerns – the most recent attempt by Slough to land grab some of South Bucks, debate on an approach from a local developer to develop Green Belt land in our parish, and commenting on the development of a new brownfield register for the area. We are happy to represent our residents but would find it easier if more residents engaged to have their say. If you cannot attend a meeting then please let our Clerk have your views.
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.
The external auditors have completed the annual audit and the Annual Return will shortly be available to download on the webpage dealing with Finance issues. Residents are entitled to inspect and obtain a hard copy of the Annual Return and set out below is the Notice to that effect.
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.
It is with deep sadness that we advise of the sudden death of Brian Bilgorri whose funeral took place on 14th July. He will be a real loss to the Parish Council and the community. He was a man of great integrity and a passion to improve the facilities available to residents. He championed many causes including rights of way issues and support for Burnham Beeches which was an area he loved. He will be especially remembered for the work he undertook to secure the provision of the defibrillators in the villages. Our condolences go to his wife and family.
Residents are being asked for views on a proposed new approach to supporting children and families with early help in a ten week consultation launched today.
Available online at www.buckscc.gov.uk/earlyhelp until 22 September 2017, the consultation seeks feedback on a new way of supporting families earlier to prevent them needing help from social care services in the future.
There has been a steady increase in the number of children and families needing support from children’s services in the last few years. This, along with less money in the public purse means that the Council are reviewing how to deliver services better to help the children and families who need it the most.
Proposals for a new service outlined in the consultation focus on helping children and families, in a joined up way earlier, to ensure small problems don’t get bigger and too difficult to manage. From money worries, parenting tips, behavioural issues right through to support with mental health and domestic abuse, the proposal is to work with families to tackle all of their problems at the same time.
A new Early Help service would bring together all the services that currently support families in this way, to be one service with teams of family workers based in the local community. This will mean they can reach out to these families to work with them at home or in places they are most comfortable. This could be a local community venue or a coffee shop.
A number of County Council services already provide some form of early help. As a result of these proposals, some services could remain relatively unchanged and others could be delivered differently, to enable workers to focus on working with whole families, not individuals or single problems, and targeting those who need help the most.
Proposals for change follows a review of current services supporting children and families and best practice taking place across the country. This highlighted that support isn’t always reaching children and families who are most in need of our help, quickly enough or in the right ways. It also showed there are many families who get support from a number of organisations to help with problems they are facing as a family but this isn’t always joined up.
The consultation proposes a new model where families only have to tell their story once, have one person they work with and trust, and a service that reaches out to interact with families in the community.
Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “Our aim is to make sure we provide the right early help services at the right time to the families that need them most. We know that some of our current services don’t always reach those families, and our public services don’t have the resources to continue to support services for all in the same way anymore. We want to join up services for families to make it much easier for residents who need help to obtain it. This is your opportunity to have your say. We hope that as many as possible will respond to the consultation so we can help shape the very best services for children and their families for the future.”
The consultation runs from 14 July – 22 September 2017. It is available online at www.buckscc.gov.uk/earlyhelp and residents can also complete it online in their local library.
For further information on Early Help, the Early Intervention Foundation website provides information and resources: http://www.eif.org.uk/
The Parish Council has adopted a new donations policy. Upon request the Parish Council may from time to time make grants to organisations or voluntary groups for specific things within its remit.
To be eligible, an organisation or voluntary group must have a constitution, membership rules, a bank account and keep accounts.
All grants will only be made where there is a clear benefit to the local community within the parish – for example to improve local facilities, free events to enhance community spirit or a charitable donation for services received that were of benefit to the local community in the Parish.
All applications are considered on their merits according to this policy.
It will never make grants to:-
- any individual,
- for ongoing running costs,
- to political parties,
- to any profit making organisation,
- organisations raising funds to be passed upwards to a central HQ for redistribution or
- to any non profit organisations to increase their funds.
For more details, please see the full policy on donations set out in the Constitution and Policies page under the parish Council banner of this website.
At the Council meeting on 26th June 2017 the Parish Council approved the financial reports for the year to 31st March 2017 which will now be sent off to the Council’s external auditors. A notice has been put up on the noticeboards which is to advise all electors in the parish of their rights to inspect the financial documents of the Council if they so wish by contacting the Clerk. The period within which they can do so runs until 11th August. Apart from a few unusual items of expenditure – mainly changing streetlights to LED lights, and undertaking a thorough hedge cutting exercise along the A355 – the Council operated within the budget it had set at the start of the year and still maintains a reasonable level of reserves.
Other items debated included a review of the open spaces the Council maintains.The Council has adopted a new tree policy which can be found with our other constitutional documents on this website.
Cllr. Home has agreed to become our Rights of Way representative on the County Council’s liaison group. A pressing issue for them is to establish formal rights of way where unregistered but well used local paths are being blocked. 2026 is the final date for registering new rights of way so it is important that if any parishioner feels strongly about this then they should get in touch with the Clerk as soon as possible. The only way to register a new right of way is by putting forward a robust case with a substantial number of witness statements and having a small working group to champion the issue. The Council is willing to lend its support to any such local cause.
One of the items which remains unresolved is whether to arrange for an electricity connection point to be run into Temple Dell. This could run to around £3,500 once all costs are accounted for. One advantage would be that Temple Dell could then become a safer hub for parish events such as the Carols on the Green event rather than Kingsway Green. However Councillors felt that any decision should be based on need. If you have a view on this or any other issue please let us know.
The minutes can be found on the Agenda and Minutes page in the Parish Council section of this website.