March 2009 APM Minutes - Welcome - Farnham Royal Parish Council
Minutes of the ANNUAL PARISH MEETING of the PARISH OF FARNHAM ROYAL<br />held on Monday, 9 March 2009 in Farnham Royal Village Hall at 8 pm<br />Present: Mr P Cathcart (Chairman), Mrs D Needham, Mr R Baker, Mr T Clapp, Mr J Hodges, Mrs E Jarvis, Mr R Milne, Mr C Robinson, Mr P Rowley, Mr K Tipping, Mr B Youel.<br />In attendance: County Councillor Egleton, District Councillor Royston,18 members of the public. In the absence of the Clerk, the Minutes of the Meeting were taken by Mrs Jarvis.<br />Apologies for absence<br />Apologies were received from Julie Smith (Chairman, FC Infant School) Lin Hazell (BC Cllr), Dev Dhillon SBDC. Late apologies from Mr C Snowden.<br />1. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting on 10 March 2008 were agreed as a true record <br /> and signed by the Chairman.<br />2. Report of the Parish Council 2008-9<br /> Given by the Chairman, Councillor Peter Cathcartappended to these minutes<br /> <br />3. Report on Buckinghamshire County Council - changes and initiatives <br /> Given by County Councillor Trevor Egleton appended to these minutes<br />4. Reports of Village Hall Trustees<br /> Farnham Comon Village Hall – given by Mrs J Tippingappended to these minutes<br /> Farnham Royal Village Hall – given by Mrs E Jarvis appended to these minutes<br />5. Reports from School Governors<br /> Farnham Common Junior School – given by appended to these minutes<br />6. Thames Valley Police – given by P C Roberta Riversappended to these minutes<br />7. Farnham Common Sports Club – given by Mrs P Gregory appended to these minutes<br />8. A355 Action Group – given by Mr C Snowden appended to these minutes<br />9. The Farnhams Magazine – given byappended to these minutes<br />10. Short Mat Bowls Club – given by Mrs J Tippingappended to these minutes<br />11 Those present noted that written reports had been received from: <br /> Farnham Common Infant School<br /> St Mary's Farnham Royal C of E Primary School<br /> The Royal British Legion<br /> Templewood WI <br /> The City of London - Burham Beeches & Stoke Common<br /> all appended to these minutes<br /> Farnham Royal Charities – no report available<br />12 Public Session<br />13 Close of meeting<br />The Chairman thanked everyone who had attended the meeting, and thanked the members of Templewood W.I. for providing the very welcome refreshments.<br />The meeting closed at 9.20 pm<br />CHAIRMAN’S REPORT TO ANNUAL MEETING OF FARNHAM ROYAL PARISH COUNCIL<br />The role of the Chairman in making this annual report is to identify developments over the last year, and look forward to the future. This is my fifth report as Chairman, and in most respects the most satisfying.<br />I cannot start however without first of all reflecting on a very sad loss. Duncan Stewart served as a member of Farnham Royal Parish Council for more than twenty years. He first joined the Parish Council in 1982 and was Chairman of the Parish Council for no less then twelve years. It is I believe incumbent on us as a Parish Council to recognise the contribution of certain individuals who have really made a difference within our community.<br />Duncan was born in Farnham Royal and spent most of his life living in the two villages of Farnham Royal and Farnham Common. He wrote a fascinating history of Farnham Royal which involved a great deal of research, as well as demonstrating an obvious love of the community in which he lived.<br />Duncan’s knowledge of Farnham Royal and Farnham Common was unsurpassed, and a major benefit to the Parish Council. Duncan’s untimely death last autumn was a very sad loss to the Parish Council and to the community and we will remember him. As a small token of recognition, we are proposing to dedicate one of the trees we are planting as part of our environmental improvements in the village, to the memory of Duncan Stewart.<br />The loss of Duncan did of course mean that we had a vacancy on the Parish Council and we were very happy to welcome Clive Robinson as our latest Parish Councillor. I am sure that he will enjoy his role on the Council representing the residents of Farnham Royal.<br />We started this last year with three new members and, as I have said, added a new member during the course of the year. At our first meeting in March Mr Clapp proposed the creation of a website for the Parish Council. This is absolutely a move in the right direction and I am pleased to say that with his assistance, and that of other members of the Parish Council, we are now close to creating a website for the Parish Council which will give all residents information on the role and functions of the Parish Council. We also hope to run schemes with the local schools, seeking their participation in the development of the website.<br />Talking of youth, we have worked hard over the last year to support the new Youth Club in the Village. I say we have worked hard but in reality I mean Liz Jarvis. She has worked tirelessly on developing a much needed project for youth. Thank you Liz. As always though we need support from within the community and I hope that more volunteers will come forward to assist this very worthwhile project.<br />Over the last few years we have contributed to Christmas festivities with Christmas lights and a public celebration at Kingsway. We took a step back last year to rethink the whole process, particularly in relation to Christmas lights. A number of Parish Councillors were involved, and with the expertise of Mr Youell, I am sure you will agree that we produced the best Christmas lights the village has ever seen, and a Christmas event with the assistance of Burnham Beeches Rotary Club which certainly did not suffer from being delayed by one week due to the heavy rains of mid December.<br />We also took a step back last year looking at the role of the then new Clerk and the manner in which the Parish Council functions in the light of the many changes over the last fifteen to twenty years, increasing the responsibilities of the Parish Council and certainly increasing the tasks to be undertaken by the Clerk. We decided to provide an office for the new Clerk rather than carry on the old system of the Clerk working from home. That process was lengthier than we anticipated and our Clerk left the Parish Council at the end of January before the process was complete. We have now, I am pleased to say, appointed a new Clerk Hilda Holder who will take up her duties later this month and will be operating from an office in Farnham Common. This is a major and welcome change for the Parish Council and we wish Hilda Holder the best in her new role. <br />During the last year the Playground and Sports Area Working Group has worked very hard and intensively on the development of play areas in Farnham Common and Farnham Royal. This is inevitably a slow process with many issues to be resolved before we can proceed with any development, but I wish to thank the members of that Committee for pursuing this issue so diligently, and no doubt ultimately with success, for the benefit of our younger residents.<br />Besides these matters we have throughout the year dealt with our conventional responsibilities in relation to street lights, bus shelters and so on. <br />As Chairman I have to comment on the general tone of the last year. I have been a member of this Parish Council for eighteen years. It has certainly been interesting at times. The last year has been one of the most interesting, despite the sad loss of Duncan. Both the tone and content of Parish Council meetings has changed substantially. During the last year we have looked at issues sensibly and pragmatically. We are starting to undertake projects like the planting of trees in the villages as well as better organisation of Christmas lights. Meetings are a pleasure to attend because, although we all express our views clearly, and when necessary forcefully, there is no rancour, there are no hidden agendas and there is a spirit of serving the community which is a great credit to all members of the Parish Council. During the last month, whilst we have had no Clerk, various members of the Parish Council have given freely of their time to complete the tasks normally undertaken by the Clerk. There have been no complaints and nothing but good humour, which has been a pleasure to see. I would like to thank all members of the Parish Council for their substantial contribution to the running of the Parish over the last year and I look forward to another enjoyable year ahead.<br />Finally I cannot forget our County and District Councillors, Trevor Egleton, Maureen Royston and Dev Dhillon. They have made a significant contribution to debate over the last year and also provided us with useful information relating to County and district issues. <br />The year ahead will be see big changes. We look forward to operating from the first Parish Office, we look forward to many more schemes to enhance our villages and we look forward to our website informing and exciting parishioners about the activities of and in our Parish.<br />BUCKS COUNTY COUNCILLOR TREVOR EGLETON<br />This year the County Council has a major challenge to balance the increasing demand for sevices with the public expectation of low Council Tax rises. The Council Tax will increase this year by 3.7% despite only receiving an increase in central government grant of 1.75% which equates in cash to terms to just £1 million. The government grant system now results in taxpayers in Bucks paying nearly 80% of the total tax bill whilst this proportion is reversed in the north of England. The proposed government grant increases for the next two years are minimal and will continue to result in the local tax payer funding any tax rises. This year’s budget has been prepared assuming cashable efficiency savings of £8.9 million which represents nearly 3% of the 2009/10 budget together with service reductions of £7 million which will ensure that the Council does not spend more than its income. These service reductions are in non-essential services and we intend to maintain our front line services which are essential to the more vulnerable members of our society.<br />The Council recognises that in order to balance the budget in future years action must be taken now to reduce costs and operate even more efficiently and thus it is embarking on a programme of major change in how it operates and delivers its services.<br />The Pathfinder Project agreement entered into by the County and District Councils last year to investigate ways of reducing costs by co-operating on service provision has identified the following shared support services that can be provided by a joint venture company with the private sector. Currently included in the project are Human resources, Payroll, Finance, Facilities Management, Legal, Audit and ICT. The projections are that the joint venture company will deliver savings due to the reduction in overall management levels and purchasing power of a larger organisation. Chiltern District Council have decided to leave this part of the Pathfinder Project, however they have been replaced by the Fire & Rescue Service. Once a final agreement has been reached with all partners a Memorandum of Agrement will be signed and the tendering process will commence. <br />Alongside this process, the Council is looking at how it delivers all its services and the Transformation Programme is being lead by the Chief Executive. The concept is that all our services will be reviewed and best practice working will be adopted in the way we manage and deliver the services. The target is to reduce the overall workforce by 400 to 500 posts excluding the departments that will be transferred to the shared services joint venture company.<br />The Council has also introduced the Built Environment Project which externalises the provision of road construction, maintenance and design under one company which is Ringway Jacobs. They will be monitored by a small team of senior officers who will be responsible for ensuring that the contract specification and performance targets are achieved. The Area Offices and Local Technicians will remain to provide the local contact points and thus their very local knowledge will not be lost and they will be able to respond to problems, although these teams will be managed by the contractor.<br />The Council has a project called ‘New Ways of Recruiting’ which was targetted to achieving better value for money in its spending on temporary agency staff and recruitment advertising including the implementation of an e-recruitment system to enable better management of temporary and permanent staff recruitment. The result of this project is that Hays Specialist Recruitment plc has been awarded the contract to deliver the service.<br />The County Council has continued with with its Getting Closer to the Communities programme and has designated nineteen areas in the County which consist of several parishes. The concept is that these areas will be allocated dedicated officers from all services who will be the contact point for local residents and Parish Councils. These officers will build up local knowledge and be able to tailor the provision of services to accommodate the differing needs of each area. Also each area will be allocated devolved funds which can be spent on local priorities. This next year it is proposed that a budget of nearly £50000 will be allocated to each area from the following central budgets:-<br />Transportation local improvements - £31250<br />Positive activities for young people - £5000<br />Early years grant - £5000<br />Discretionary for supporting local communities & well being - £7895<br />It is intended that as this scheme develops, the value allocated to local areas will increase and you will all have a greater input into your local services.<br />The Audit Commision has just announced that the County Council has regained its top performing four star status. The Audit Commision says that “The Council delivers a range of high quality services whilst maintaining below average council tax”.<br />The Fire and Rescue Service has similar financial problems to the County Council and this year is only receiving a .5% increase in government funding with the result that this years tax increase is rising by 4.99%. This represents an increase on a band D house from £54.95 to £57.69 p.a.<br />The members of the Authority recognise that cost savings have to be implemented and have agreed to implement shift and crewing changes which will result in considerable year on year cost reductions. The Pathfinder Project will also produce annual reductions in head office costs. <br />FARNHAM COMMON VILLAGE HALL REPORT<br />The Trustees of the Village Hall meet bi-monthly to discuss the various points of bookings, up-keep and finance.<br />The various groups which use the halls includes the Evergreens Senior Citizens, various karate and badminton clubs, dancing, mother and toddler group and more recently the newly set-up Farnham Common Short-Mat Bowls Group. These afternoons are all well-attended and we are particularly pleased that the Bowls Group has been so successful since its first meeting when eighteen people turned up to play, this has proved to be a regular number every Wednesday. It has been advertised and anyone within the Parish is welcome to come and join, however experienced at playing bowls, the group meet at 1. 30 p.m. and finishes at 3. 45 p.m. We have now bought all the equipment needed including a machine for rolling and moving the mats.<br />We are very fortunate to have a very good Custodian who is well able to carry out many of the repairs needed and obtains quotes for any larger work which needs to be done. The Village Halls have been updated to a high standard and therefore attracts many bookings for parties, etc.<br />Judy Tipping<br />Chairman<br />FARNHAM ROYAL VILLAGE HALL<br />The Committee and Trustees were saddened to lose the services of Duncan Stewart. A Trustee of the Hall for many years and the brains behind many of the schemes for keeping the hall up to scratch. He will be sorely missed by us all and the void he has left behind will be difficult too fill. <br />2008 was a good year for the hall widely used by both local residents and others within the district.<br />The Management Committee and Trustees have spent many hours ensuring the standard of the hall did not drop. enhancing the reputation of the hall with its daily Montessori School and regular dance classes along with Karate to name but a few.<br />Repairs etc., come at a price and it is a fine line between pricing ourselves out of the market and having enough finances to do the work required. Since the start of 2009 there has been major expenditure on resurfacing the hall floor at a cost of some £3000, followed by a serious water leak resulting in a new pipe system throughout the hall The work has still not finished and further updates will be done.<br />Again we have retained the services of Richard and Shirley Westover who continue to run the booking of the hall and the cleanliness of it to a very high standard. We are lucky to have their services and long may it continue.<br />As Chairman I am supported by my Management Committee, Chris Owen as Treasurer with Liz Jarvis and Innocent Shams. These are backed up by an excellent set of Trustees in Peter Cathcart, Jerry Houdret and Frank Oakes whose help and guidance is invaluable. However, we would welcome an additional member of the Committee as we are still short of a secretary - if anyone knows someone who could take minutes [the meetings do not last long] then please get them to come forward.<br />The intention of <br />the Management Committee and Trustees is to maintain the Hall as a focal point for the village and ensure it is a venue to be proud of.<br />Stanley Swann BEM<br />Chairman of the Management Committee<br />THAMES VALLEY POLICE<br />Our Commitment: To strengthen neighbourhood policing to better respond to local needs and to increase public confidence in the police.<br />Your Neighbourhood Team for the Farnham’s:<br />PC Roberta Rivers 6240- Neighbourhood Officer <br />PCSO Caroline Sampson 9715<br />PCSO: TBA<br />New Neighbourhood Inspector Bev Pearse<br />New Neighbourhood Sergeant Clayton George <br />Second PCSO still awaited<br />Overall Report on Crime Statistics:<br />Reduction in overall crime by 8.2% <br /> Figures from 1 April 08 to 31 Jan 2009<br />Neighbourhood consultation top 3 priorities for the Farnham’s:<br /> 1 Anti-social behaviour:<br />our sense is that ASB has gone down considerably. <br />Stats reported in the press recently are based on all calls logged in to the TVP call centre and do not reflect full offences. <br />Youth Club opened its doors Nov 2008 at Brian Judd Hall, every Friday from 7 to 9 pm and is slowly building a base in the teen community<br />Gates installed by Housing Association in key hotspots along Langton’s Meadow<br /> 2 Parking:<br />on-going issues at zig zags on the Broadway, <br />double yellows outside the Forrester’s and <br />St Mary’s school with one child hit, one reported assault and heated arguments <br /> 3 Vandalism:<br />Criminal damage to dwellings down by 35%, <br />damage to vehicles down by 42.9%. <br />Garage areas in Langton’s Meadow vandalised have been repainted (by one ASB offender)<br />Plus we hold monthly Beat Surgeries—special one at Xmas on the Broadway doing crime prevention education. Spoke to over 50 people. <br />The Neighbourhood Action Group meets every 6 weeks—next meeting will be an Open House on Wednesday May 6th at 730pm. Purpose: To celebrate our successes and recruit new members.<br />Incidents of Note: <br />Shop Lifting from the Broadway: One business had 4 incidents in three days—all offenders have been identified, one arrested and charged, one still to be arrested. <br />Another business undergoing an extensive police investigation after 3 staff and two customers alleged to be involved in a conspiracy to steal from the business<br />What helped us—good CCTV images, and car indexes taken form offenders as they drove off. This is where the ANPR cameras come into play helping us track down and follow vehicles and criminals.<br />Racially Aggravated Assault: dealing with a possible series of crimes against a new visible minority resident in our community. One of the possible offenders has been arrested and interviewed.<br />Continue to target parking: especially at St Mary’s Church Road where a child was recently hit by a car. After repeated warnings two tickets were issued. <br />Distraction burglaries remain a concern. This is where elderly/vulnerable victims are targeted by people posing as someone needing to gain entry. They tend to work in teams of three or four. They do their homework – they will often have a series of homes they will target. <br />The Farnham Royal ANPR Camera:<br />ANPR stands for Automatic Number Plate Recognition: this camera reads every vehicle index that passes it. Images are so good now we often get a good picture of the occupants of the vehicle as well.<br />is one of the most productive ones in TVP!<br />It was initially one of but a few—but due to its success more are being planned<br />Plans in place to have an operator on the other end of the camera 24/7<br />One story—one camera monitor picked up two stolen cars that passed through the Farnham’s ANPR within the space of 1 hour. Soon after 5 people were arrested from these vehicles.<br />These cameras are also used in post crime investigations—providing lists of vehicles that can be used to identify not only offenders but also witnesses<br />We also use the cameras to identify vehicles without insurance or valid Road Tax—helping to keep the cost of insurance down <br />We thank you for your on-going support. <br />PC Roberta Rivers 6240 Thames Valley Police<br />FARNHAM COMMON SPORTS CLUB<br />Firstly let me introduce myself, I am Pauline Gregory and I took over the job of Club Chairman from Richard Baker in April. At the same time we found ourselves with a new Treasurer, Subscription Secretary and Bar Chairman – so four out of the five club officers were new to their jobs. Although this has challenged us all, I think I can safely say that the team has gelled well and we are enjoying working together to keep the Sports Club in good shape both financially and as an important integral part of the community.<br />Despite the recession, our membership numbers are holding up well, and all of our sports sections continue to field many teams in their respective county leagues. We resurfaced two of our tennis courts during 2008, as well as power cleaning and repainting the other four. Alongside tennis, our cricket, hockey, rugby and squash sections all welcome juniors, and have specific programmes in place to encourage our young people to play sport. In fact, children under 12 can become members to play all the sports for just £80 per year.<br />We also still offer several different exercise courses in our activity studio, the most popular at the moment being pilates, which is run by several different trainers at various times during the week. And for those who prefer their exercise to be cerebral, there is a Bridge Club running every Wednesday evening. Details of all of these are on the club website, www.fcsc.org.uk. Our social membership continues to thrive, and we believe we offer a reasonably priced, safe and convivial environment for our less-sporty friends and their families.<br />Since taking up my position at the club, I have become very aware that relations with our close neighbours are not as good as we would wish, and it is my, and the whole of the Main Committee’s aim, to improve this state of affairs. I will be contacting each one of them in the immediate future, asking them to come and visit us for a drink and a look around to see what we are doing at the club. I will also try to set up an email address list so that they can be kept well informed of planned events at the clubhouse and grounds. <br />This will be particularly important this summer as the club will be celebrating its 50th birthday, and we are hoping to welcome as many villagers as possible to the club on Sunday 24th May. As cricketers were the first group of sportsmen to use the sportsground, we are having a spectacular cricket-based day, with junior cricket games against “Barmy Army” sponsored junior teams in the morning, and two senior matches in the afternoon against both the English cricket supporters Barmy Army and also the celebrity Rainmen team. There will also be an “It’s a Knockout” style tournament taking place, in which teams can be entered by individuals or local establishments. There will be both a barbecue and asian food stall running throughout the day, and of course a bar. And for members and friends, both old and new, there will be a magnificent luncheon in the marquee with guest speakers. If you wish to book a table, please talk to me later! We really do hope to make this a day to remember, for both club and villagers alike, and to build on this as the basis of yet another 50 years of enjoyable sport and social activities in the community.<br />Pauline Gregory<br />Chairman FCSC<br />A355 ACTION GROUP<br />The year since your last Annual Meeting has been eventful -- but hardly fruitful.<br />In April 2008 we met Mrs Letheren, Chairman of the Transportation Committee, BCC together with a representative of the Parish Council, a District Councillor and a County Councillor.<br />The Agenda had four Items<br /><ul><li>1.Progress towards reducing the volume and weight of traffic through the Farnhams,
2. Matters which could alleviate the effects of the MSA on the Farnhams.
(BCC did not believe there would be any real effects on the Farnhams)
3.To consider what could be done regarding illegal parking on the Zig Zag lines relating to the two Pedestrian X`ings in Farnham Common, now that Tesco and Sainsbury have opened
( BCC said it was a matter for the Police but the delegation said that what was needed in addition to the occasional Police presence were some kerb alterations to make it impossible to abuse the Zig Zags, otherwise it would be only a matter of time before someone was injured. The delegation left a sketch of suitable kerb alterations with the BCC. It is believed that the suggestion has not been pursued.)
4. To consider the perennial question of rat- running through residential areas
(BCC said it was a difficult problem to solve. It is believed that the matter has not been considered further.)</li></ul>In September 2008 the Group , who had not been consulted, objected to the switching off of the street lighting on the A355 between Farnham Common and the MSA. Street Lighting has over the decades, proved to have made the greatest contribution to road safety of any measure. The A355 with Street Lighting, was considered so dangerous that just a few years ago the speed limit was reduced to 50 mph, following a series of accidents. To the A355 Group, it seemed that to removed the SL was a silly and potentially dangerous thing to do. The Group believe that there has been an insufficient and coordinated objection the BCC action. It is not too late to object.<br />In recent weeks the A355 Group met both the Slough Borough Council Officers ( SBC ) and, separately, with the General Manager of the Slough Trading Estate, to see what could be done to relieve the heavy traffic through the Farnhams. At the meeting with Slough Estates it was soon realised that their new Development Plan is destined to direct traffic up the A355 and not onto the Motorway Box, hence frustrating any hope of a reduction in traffic in the future. On contacting the BCC it was realised that they had not had meetings with SBC, as is intended, between abutting local authorities and had therefore not commented on the Slough Estate Plan during the formal consultation period. The A 355 Group asked for an urgent meeting between all interested parties -- which was agreed. The meeting will take place in the next few days. The Group will fight hard to protect the Farnhams.<br />The Group have also contested the need, at the MSA for large and unsightly advertising at the entrance on the A355. The original proposals for Illuminated Logo Signs were considered by SBDC to be to big - but despite the Groups opposition only slightly smaller ones were approved by the District Council. This a pity because at the Public Inquiry, we were assured everything would be done not to highlight the presence of the MSA. Such is the way of things nowadays !<br />Colin Snowden,<br />Chairman <br />THE FARNHAMS MAGAZINE <br />The Farnhams magazine continues to make a strong impact on the life of the Farnham villages. This is evidenced by maintaining our subscription base, having a full advertising book, despite some recessionary impact and consistently over-running copy versus space available for each issue. <br />The print run for the subscription issues is just short of 1000 copies. This includes sales through retail outlets and copies mailed to our advertisers. We have lost three sales outlets this year (Spar, Stars and F Royal Post Office) and added one (Sainsbury) but overall retail sales are down. It would be good to find a sales outlet in Farnham Royal and we are currently seeking an additional shop in Farnham Common. Our print run for the two free issues in June and December remains at 4000, delivered to 3000 homes in the civil parish and a further 1000 homes in the ecclesiastical parish south of Church Road. <br />Advertising is sold on an annual basis and it is usual for us to see a few departures at the year-end. We are currently full to the end of 2009. We increased colour advertising space from 4 pages to 6 pages during 2008. <br />Copy and Pictures. It is at one disappointing to discard material supplied by readers and correspondents but also encouraging to see that residents are increasingly prepared to write for us and send in interesting pictures. This makes for a challenging time for the editor in deciding what gets in, how much can be delayed to a future issue, or is cut or spiked. This should also improve overall quality and breadth of content. Twice last year we over-ran our print space with the printer manually inserting an additional four pages and the insert is now a common rather that a rare occurrence. This report provides an opportunity to apologise to those whose material we have not been able to use in 2008.<br />A profitable enterprise. The magazine budget is around £17500 and 2008 saw a surplus of receipts over payments of £2350. This year we have been able to make a donation towards the work of the Charles Warner trust which provides educational support to young people in the parish. <br />Thank You. We thank the broad team of volunteers who bring each issue to our readers, the editorial board, the reporters, columnists and feature writers, the distributors and both the civil parish and ecclesiastical parish councils who provide financial and practical encouragement. <br />We have strengthened our Editorial committee this year by splitting the treasury and subscription function into two with Barbara Steadman (Subscriptions) and Michael Lowton (Treasury) joining the team to handle these areas. We have also taken on an additional staff photographer (Jim Williams).<br />Magazine Editorial Committee: <br />John Archibald - Staff Photographer, Marian Fisher (Distribution-Farnham Common East), Karen Goodall (Distribution-Farnham Common West), Heidi Hodgkins (Advertising Sub Editor), Jenny Harper-Jones (Editorial), Roger Home (Advertising Sales & Production), Michael Lowton (Treasury), John Newton (Distribution-Farnham Royal), Diane Needham (Parish Council Representative), Revd Graham Saunders (Managing Editor), Barbara Steadman (Subscriptions), John Winyard (Editor).<br />John Winyard – Editor<br />FARNHAMS SHORT MAT BOWLS CLUB <br />In February 2008, Templewood WI Committee had the idea of setting up a short mat bowls club in the village hall to provide a friendly, afternoon sporting venue for those who prefer more gentle exercise. <br />For those who do not know what short mat bowling is, a mat measuring 45 feet long by 6 feet wide is rolled out down a hall. Wooden fenders are placed at each end to stop the bowls going beyond the mat. A short block of wood is placed halfway down the mat, across the centre. Bowlers must bowl round this block to reach the jack at the other end in order to score shots. Like its outdoor and indoor counterparts, short mat bowls is played with lignoid or wooden bowls, which have been shaped with a bias on one side so that the bowl cannot be bowled straight. The art is in delivering the bowl so that the bias draws it round in an arc to rest gently on, or as near as possible to, the jack. The aim is to be nearer the jack than your opponent, perhaps by knocking them out of the scoring area. Two teams play against each other. We usually play 4 people in a team. Once each person has bowled the “end” is complete. The team with the most “woods” near the jack when the end is completed, scores the appropriate number of points. If there is any uncertainty, then the distance of any disputed wood is measured from the jack to decide the closest. In a match situation, there would be a specific number of ends to be played. We have not progressed to matches – yet!<br />The initial start-up costs were daunting as we drew up our shopping list of equipment. Later we would need to cover the cost of buying second-hand bowls, hiring the hall, insurance, registration with the English Short Mat Bowling Association and general running costs. We therefore needed two short mats in order to make the club viable. As each mat weighs 45 kg, it very quickly became apparent that we needed a costly electrically-operated winding machine so that members did not have to “manhandle” two heavy mats at the start and end of each session.<br />Where to get the start-up funds? In researching our options, we were very grateful to get the support of Councillor Dev Dhillon who gave us very good advice. So, armed with the many forms and grant requirements, we applied for grants to cover our start-up costs. In July, we were absolutely thrilled to get grants from a local Social Fund and South Bucks District Council to cover our start-up costs. We quickly contacted Claire Ellson from Egham Bowls Club who provided our equipment and bowls at competitive prices, and Duncan Whitehead in Somerset, who designed, demonstrated and provided our Electrowind machine to roll up and store the mats. Also thanks should go to Joe who takes care of the Village Hall for all his help, especially in organising the storage space for us. <br />We set up our first committee in August and booked the Village Hall from 1.45 to 3.45 on Wednesday afternoons. We launched Farnham Common Short Mats Bowls Club on the 3 September, 2008, when we welcomed about 25 people, the majority of whom had not bowled before. The local press arrived to take photographs. We invited Councillor Dhillon so we were able to thank him personally for his help, without which the club would not have been possible. In addition to providing coaching, we were lucky to have 5 members from another short mat club to help our new bowlers develop their skills. We have tried to keep the fees as low as possible, charging £8 annual membership fee and £2 per week to bowl. <br />Now, one year after the initial idea, we have a strong band of increasingly dedicated bowlers who have developed their skills noticeably since their first, tentative attempts. It is a pleasure to see them enjoying themselves; the competitive spirit is developing in some and the social side is enjoyed by all. It’s great fun and very friendly.<br />Mrs J Tipping<br />Shortmat Bowls Club<br />Written reports were received from:<br />FARNHAM COMMON INFANT SCHOOL<br />Following our successful Ofsted inspection in February 2008, Farnham Common Infant School continues to focus on the ‘whole child’, believing it is as important to develop social as well as academic skills, within a nurturing environment.<br />I must start by informing you that our Headteacher, Mrs. Jan Coleman has notified us of her decision to retire from the teaching profession at the end of this academic year. The governors, staff, children and parents will be very sorry to see her leave after 18 years at the school, having been Headteacher for the last 12. The Governing Body is currently running a recruitment campaign to find a new Headteacher for the school. I know that Jan Coleman, staff and governors are all committed to ensuring a smooth transition over the coming months to make certain the children’s learning is not affected in any way.<br />Last summer the percentage of our Year 2 children achieving level 2 or above in their key stage 1 SAT results remained significantly above the national average. Themed weeks have been enjoyed by the children in areas such as Music, Art and Books. We continue to focus on Healthy Living and were delighted to receive an ‘Active Award’, in recognition of the additional physical activities in which the children take part. <br />Our ‘Footsteps’ training for Year 1 and 2 children continues, providing them with essential road safety awareness. In the summer we introduced the Bucks County Council ‘Go for Gold’ scheme, where children are encouraged to walk to or from school each day, obtaining stamps on arrival at the school. Once they have collected 40 stamps they are allowed one free swimming session at a local pool. Whilst commenting on our walking and road safety schemes, I must stress how concerned we still are about the safety of the pedestrian crossing on the A355 outside the school. There are still too many ‘near miss’ incidents occurring on an almost daily basis.<br />We are working closely with the Governing Body of Farnham Common Junior School on a number of issues, including Extended Services. Parents were recently surveyed on their views on availability of activities and child care in the area. We will shortly be feeding back to parents a summary of results and will publish a useful document giving contact information for the many activities on offer. <br />Farnham Common Infant School and I are supported by a knowledgeable and active Governing Body. I think we would all agree it is an extremely fulfilling role, especially when you witness how happy the children are in the school. We do have a vacancy for a Local Authority governor and are keen to fill this with someone from the community. If you know anyone who is interested, please contact the school.<br />Whilst we are obviously proud of the academic success of the school, the schools’ success in developing the social and personal skills of the children is also evident. On every occasion I visit I find happy, polite, well behaved children who are enthusiastic and keen to learn. I believe, and I hope you agree, that Farnham Common Infant School is an asset to the community.<br />Julie Smith<br />Chair of Governors<br />St MARY’S C of E PRIMARY SCHOOL<br />This has been another exciting and successful year for St Mary’s Farnham Royal Church of England Primary School. There are currently 328 children on roll and 49 members of staff.<br />On April 3rd 2008, the Right Reverend Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, rededicated the school and we are very proud that we are now St Mary’s Farnham Royal Church of England Primary School which confirms our strong links with St Mary’s Church. Bishop Alan spent most of the day in school and we were thrilled to read his blog entitled, ‘Everyone is someone at Farnham Royal.’ He described the school as ‘a very safe and child friendly environment, with small courtyards and learning spaces ….Staff work hard to ensure that everybody in this school knows emphatically that they are special. This is a radically inclusive community, with a wide range of backgrounds, religions and special attainments.’ <br />The children continue to thrill us with their enthusiasm for learning which has been enriched through the school’s cross-curricular approach and by an array of visits, visitors and a diverse range of extra-curricular activities. In the spring term 2008, the school successfully bid for a Creative Partnership grant and it is now working with animators, theatre professionals and story tellers to develop the children’s understanding of mathematics. <br />The two areas for development identified by the school in its School Plan and confirmed as areas of focus by Ofsted in 2007 have continued to be developed. In the Foundation Stage outdoor learning area, all-weather safety turf has been laid, climbing apparatus purchased and a variety of markings used throughout the curriculum have been painted on to the tarmac area. A canopy has been erected to enable the children to engage in learning outdoors in all weathers. The school is completing the Quality Assurance Award for the Foundation Stage and Module 1 has been achieved. <br />The provision for Gifted and Talented pupils has been enhanced by the introduction of the TASC – Thinking Actively in a Social Context - approach. TASC provides children with the opportunity to develop their thinking and problem-solving skills in a variety of contexts. <br />The school seeks to promote a healthy lifestyle and the success of our ‘walking crocodile’ continues to grow with approximately 70 children participating each Friday, walking to school with staff from the Duke’s Head car park. We have also introduced termly ‘scoot to school’ days which have proved popular and further promote a healthy lifestyle. One parent has been trained to deliver ‘Footsteps’ training to increase awareness of road safety and National Standards Bike Ability Training will begin for children in Years 5 and 6 in the summer term. These initiatives have enabled the school to achieve a Level 3 Travel Plan.<br />This year the school again gained the Active Mark award and the Basic Skills Agency Award for the third time. The school also seeks to strengthen its links with the local community and it has been fortunate in receiving support from both Farnham Royal Cricket Club, Burnham Beeches Rotary Club, the Parish Council and the ‘Galaxy Line’ at Mars.<br />A donation from the Burnham Beeches Rotary Club enabled the school to replace its sound system and members of the Mars ‘Galaxy Line’ spent several days in school during the summer holiday redecorating the library and several classrooms. A donation from the Charles Warner trust in memory of the Revd Charles Warner has enabled the school to purchase additional reference books for the library. In addition, the children have enjoyed working with Diane Needham in designing a playground for Farnham Royal.<br />The children, staff, parents and governors of the school are all very aware of how fortunate they are and keenly raise money for charity throughout the school year. Since April 2008 the children have raised: SOFT - £325, Breast Cancer Research - £325, Tommy’s - £325, The Children’s Society - £325, Children in Need - £1000, the Poppy Appeal - £40.02, the Marie Curie Cancer Appeal - £67 and MacMillan Nurses - £400. It is currently raising money for the Marie Curie Daffodil Appeal and the children have also organised events for Fair Trade fortnight and Red Nose Day. In total, £2807.02 has been raised to date.<br />The school is fortunate to be staffed by an outstanding group of teachers and teaching assistants who promote its learning culture. It also offers adult education courses to parents to enable them to support their children in literacy and numeracy. The Governing Body, the parents, the PTA, the School’s Improvement Partner and the Diocesan adviser are all hugely supportive of the school and the school greatly values their interest, support and commitment. <br />Mary Harrison<br />Chair of Governors.<br />THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION<br />I am able to review my 2nd year as your Chairman, and 2008 has been a good year with excellent achievements by your Committee and Branch.<br />In MARCH we again held our Annual Dinner at Stoke Park Club, and we are - as ever – deeply grateful to Hertford KING for his continued support for our Branch and its aims. We were delighted to have a new record number of attendees - 105 – at the Dinner, as well as several VIPs, including :- Cllr Maureen ROYSTON, Chairman of South Bucks District Council, Lt Col Tom RIDGWAY and Mrs Gwyneth RIDGWAY, DL – Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire. I took on the organisation of the Dinner, which had been carried out so splendidly for many years by David TURNER, our Treasurer, but due to ill health, he was unable to carry on the tradition this year, and subsequently resigned as Treasurer too. Our sincere thanks to him for all his work in recent years, and we will certainly miss his wise counsel. Once again we had a truly splendid fundraising raffle, organised by the indefatigable Judy TIPPING and her husband, Vic. Please note the date for next year’s Dinner, again at Stoke Park Club, which will be held on Saturday, 7 MARCH.<br />On the subject of the Committee, following the amalgamation of the former Welfare Committee with the Main Branch Committee, we gained additional Members and valuable input to our deliberations. Later in the year, however, circumstances necessitated David and Margaret YOUNG’s resignation from the Committee too, having previously served on the Welfare Committee. Our gratitude for the services they rendered, goes to them both. A welcome addition to your Committee is our new Treasurer – Ruth POTTS - who as a longstanding Branch Member has offered her accounting expertise, for which we are most grateful.<br />During the year we have had a number of fundraising events, which offer the additional benefit of being great social events, including : Beetle Drive in MARCH; Plant Sale in MAY; Sponsored Walk in Burnham Beeches in JULY. We again held our ‘Poppy People’s Tea Party’ – in AUGUST, and with financial support once again from local Estate Agents Foreman King, and with excellent catering provided by Templewood WI, we were able to invite all our ‘Poppy People’ to this ‘thank you’ Tea. Admittedly, this had the dual purpose of not just thanking our doughty Poppy People, but also encouraging them to recruit an additional person to help with the Poppy Appeal, and also seek new Members for the RBL. The event was well supported – with some 60 attending – and, again, it was a splendidly convivial occasion.<br />Whilst figures are obviously not yet finalised for this year’s Poppy Appeal – organised once again so ably by Cherry and Dave MARRIOTT - and with the mammoth task of counting all the money being undertaken once again by Lilian and Stan COOTE, certainly this year there appeared to be still wider public awareness of the Appeal. This will – we trust – be reflected in the amount raised, as we had still more Poppy Boxes out this year. The final Branch figure for the 2007 Appeal was a stupendous £ 16,000, again placing us 2nd in the County for Branches without a Club, beaten only by Aylesbury. A magnificent achievement by one and all, and we sincerely hope that this year’s Appeal will beat even that amazing figure.<br />Last year, Remembrance Sunday and 11-11-11 coincided on the same day, but this year, we are back to 2 events. In the Farnhams, the Remembrance Ceremony took place at the War Memorial in Farnham Royal, and then the attendees moved on to the Church in Farnham Common for the Remembrance Day service. Representatives of many local Groups joined in the commemoration, and we were especially delighted to have both the Chairman of South Bucks District Council, Cllr Maureen ROYSTON, and also our County Councillor, Trevor EGLETON with us, both of whom laid wreaths from SBDC and Bucks County Council respectively, as well as Peter CATHCART, Chairman of Farnham Royal Parish Council, who laid a wreath on behalf of the Parish Council.<br />In Stoke Poges, where the service in St Giles was held by Rev Harry LATHAM, once again representatives of local organisations attended, and Kathie WEBBER, Chairman of Stoke Poges Parish Council, laid a wreath on behalf of the Parish Council, and I laid one on behalf of the Royal British Legion. At the Service, we remembered especially 5 Servicemen from the Village who had lost their lives in Wars, and eulogies for each Serviceman were read out. Once again, Poppy Posies were laid on all the 5 graves in the Churchyard for those lost in the two World Wars.<br />In Hedgerley, local Groups also attended the Remembrance Day Service.<br />Regarding Membership, sadly we continue to lose Members – all too often by death, but your Committee is working hard to enrol new Members and especially those from the younger generations. With the spotlight this year being shone so brightly on our Armed Forces’ service, and thereby losses, in Afghanistan and Iraq, there has never been a better time to interest younger generations. Please can we all bear this in mind when chatting to younger people, and thereby potential Members, these days. One misconception that we must be certain to overcome, is the belief held by so many that Membership of the Royal British Legion is open only to those with a service background. As you will know, this most certainly is not the case ; otherwise I would not be standing here !<br />At the Poppy People’s Tea in AUGUST, the Branch standard was handed over to our new Standard Bearer – Howard GIBBS – who will follow the excellent tradition laid down by John COOPER, who has been our Standard Bearer for more than 20 years. The handover was officiated over by Ken ROSS, DL, President of Buckinghamshire RBL.<br />Finally, with your continued help and support, I am confident that we will have a great year ahead, and – I trust – one where we trust we will be able to report a brand new record sum raised for the Poppy Appeal.<br />Naomi Arnold MBE<br />Chairman<br />TEMPLEWOOD WOMEN’S INSTITUTE <br />Templewood WI has enjoyed a varied programme of speakers and events over the last year. In April, volunteers encouraged ladies to try various hobbies, handicrafts and MS Publisher on computer as part of our Dabble evening. Our summer garden party was a great success. With the sun shining, we welcomed about 45 people and the hall and garden were soon buzzing with happy people enjoying each other’s company – and the strawberries and cream! In September, Pat Pearce of British Airways, a founder of Dreamflight, explained her vision in 1986 of taking children with life-limiting illnesses to Disney in Florida. Now, an army of volunteers, both from the UK and the US, including BA and Disney staff, doctors and nurses etc, make this an annual event, supported by donations large and small. In October, two of us attended the WI Half-Yearly Council meeting in Aylesbury, where the guest speaker, Kate Adie OBE, gave a fascinating talk on her life as a TV reporter in battle zones across the world. The Beeches Group held a joint event in Hedgerley in October for all 5 WIs in the group, with the speaker the Hon Lucia Whitehead, covering her family’s prominence in the newspaper world and her personal life, including the war years where she worked with President Eisenhower. Soon Christmas was upon us and the committee were hard at work organising a hot supper for about 50 ladies, followed by tasty puddings, mulled wine and Christmas cake. We were entertained by a lively selection of Christmas songs and carols sung by Jenny Harper Jones, a Christmas story read by Pauline and a short mimed sketch by 5 members of the committee. Thanks to the wonders of Poundland, the hall and tables were decorated in true Christmas tradition at an economic cost!<br />On the catering side, we have provided light refreshments or afternoon tea for a number of events, including the Annual Parish Meeting in March, the Poppy Appeal Collectors in August, for the Horticultural Show in September and for Ballinger WI ladies after their walk in Burnham Beeches in October. We see ourselves as part of the community of the village and all the hard work which goes into making the cakes, sandwiches, tasty bites and serving the refreshments is well rewarded by the lovely comments we receive from our satisfied “customers”.<br />As reported elsewhere, we steamed ahead and launched the Short Mat Bowling Club in September 2008. Many thanks to Judy for her drive in getting the fund-raising started. <br />Currently, Buckinghamshire Federation of WIs is in its 89th year and planning their 90th celebrations in 2010. Nationally, the WI annual conference will be at the Royal Albert Hall in June and we shall be sending a delegate. The 2009 resolutions being considered cover: SOS for Honey Bees; Action on Flooding; Calling for the reinstatement of hospital in-house cleaning services; for the Government to clearly define Residential care fees for the elderly; and the effect of GP led practices on Doctors and customers, particularly in rural areas. County meetings are held to debate these issues prior to the final resolution being put forward nationally. Templewood WI takes an active in part in these debates, following the WI’s mission statement of “Today’s Women, Working for Tomorrow’s World”.<br />There is also the opportunity to compete in quizzes, Scrabble, art, needlework, photographic and writing competitions. The formation of the Beeches Group Events Committee in September has been a great success and, as Templewood WI hosts the next group event on 23 June 2009, we know we will benefit from this shared expertise and support. It has been a full and rewarding year. <br /> <br />THE CITY OF LONDON – BURNHAM BEECHES & STOKE COMMON <br />The changes carried out in 2007 have just about bedded in including the new café, loos and information point. <br />We are continuing to improve the above and have added new facilities for cyclists, more recycled plastic benches for café customers, resurfaced the area around the new buildings and added an improved drainage system. We have also commissioned new displays for the info point and there is a new leaflet dispenser outside the café. Finally we have modified the dog free area by providing new fencing and access gates.<br />We have just completed the 1st year since the installation of the solar powered car park machines. In that time these machines have generated a voluntary income of approx. £6000. The supporters badge scheme has also performed well with a first year income of around £3000. This money has been used to provide many of the improvements mentioned earlier. We also hope to be able to purchase a bird box camera and viewing screen for use at the Info Point.<br />The closure of the lower end of LMD has proved to be very popular and has helped to extend the conservation-grazing scheme. Livestock now have access to about 30% of the site. The closure of LMD has also allowed the removal of the old toilet facilities. These were demolished and the materials recycled in January this year.<br />The input from volunteers at BB has increased substantially with around 5000 hours of assistance being provided. Tasks have included the near eradication of Rhododendron from the site, 500m of new paths and the clearance of scrub from the heath land and wetland. Volunteers have also acted as eyes and ears, reporting problems they find out on the site, and have also provided administration support and care for our Dormice colony.<br />The site’s pollard restoration programme continues apace and we have just completed this year’s programme having carried out work on 87 veteran trees.<br />Work is also currently underway on the site’s first ever sensory trail. This is designed to enhance the enjoyment of the site for all visitors and especially those with sensory handicaps. The trail consists of a series of wooden sculptures. These provide visual and audio stimulation – and you can also sit on some of them! Local schools have provided words and speech that can be downloaded onto MP3 players.<br />As far as guided walks and talks are concerned, the team at BB has delivered 22 events in the last year and over 1200 people attended. The lantern making project with local schools was especially successful.<br />Finally as far as BB is concerned, we have carried out a restructure of the Ranger’s team. This has created 3 new roles within the team and we have just recruited 2 Asst Rangers and 1 Senior Ranger. We are also in the process of recruiting a part time admin officer.<br />Last but not least, we have also recently celebrated the first year of ownership of Stoke Common. In that time we have written a new management plan, consulted the local community along the way and have successfully applied for grant aid from Natural England to carry out the heath land restoration works on the site over the next 10 years. We have also been working closely with the BTCV to establish a team of community volunteers to assist with works on the site.<br />Andy Barnard –Superintendent<br />PUBLIC SESSION<br />Mrs Judy Tipping enquired if there would be public formalities to mark the recent planting of new trees in Farnham Common. Mrs Needham reported the 1st the new tree was on Kingsway Green - a public civil ceremony to dedicate this tree in memory of all armed forces personnel who have died since World War II. A second smaller and more private service will dedicate the tree planted on Temple Dell in memory of Duncan Stewart.<br />John Winyard brought to the meetings attention the vital issues of car parking and the annual tussle over free parking. Local businesses are competing with nearby supermarkets who offer free parking – despite tight budgetary constraints SBDC should help village communities to retain their facilities. <br />CC Egleton agreed these concerns should be included in BCC’s Economic development plans for the County.<br />Richard Baker expressed surprise that despite recessionary times no marked increase in burglaries had occurred to date.<br />Mrs Followell requested increasing the speed signs on A355 around Farnham Common Middle School to raise awareness and for consideration of short term spot checks to improve overall safety for pedestrians. Mr Karl Tipping asked if the Parish Council could arrange for mobile speed awareness devices to be utilised at this location as soon as possible.<br /> <br />Mrs Harrison reported the increasing incidence of car break-ins at St Mary’s Church in Farnham Royal during services – despite ‘patrols’ by members of the congregation, security cameras at the school and signs indicating that thieves were operating in the area.<br />Mr Robinson reported that the café in The Dell at Burnham Beeches would not be reopened by the franchisee of the Beeches Café as it was deemed uneconomic. <br />Mrs Followell enquired on the progress of the Children’s Playgrounds in The Farnhams. Mrs Needham reported the Parish Council wanted to provide a new playground in Farnham Royal, SBDC had two sites under consideration and the outcome of this was awaited. The Parish Council intends to replace the equipment at the Sports Club in Farnham Common and hopes to include a multi sport court in the old skate park area. Local schools have produced projects indicating what the children would like and the Parish Council Working Party expects to have formal proposals soon.<br />Residents expressed their concern about the signage recently erected by Broadway Tyres. Mrs Needham reported SBDC Planning Enforcement were aware of the signage and the correct planning process would now have to be followed by the tyre company.<br />Mrs Tipping commended the Burnham Beeches newsletter and the activity days offered which include projects such as making bird boxes.<br />Mr Winyard thanked members of the parish council for their hard work for The Farnhams in the past year.<br />