There were 13 members of the public present, most of whom wished to speak on the Sites and Development Management Development Plan Document (see C/5248 below). In response to a question, the Town Clerk confirmed that the proposed footpath extension on The Bickerley was still progressing.
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF RINGWOOD TOWN COUNCIL
Held on Wednesday 29th February 2012 at 7.00pm
Cllr B H Terry (Town Mayor)
Cllr S Burgess-Kennar
Cllr N J Chard
Cllr L C Ford
Cllr J D Heron
Cllr G J O’Reilly
Cllr W S Rippon-Swaine
Cllr M A Steele
Cllr S M Stokes
Cllr J Terry
Cllr A C Wiseman
Cllr B Woodifield
Mr T Simpson, Town Clerk
Mrs J Stannard, Deputy Town Clerk
Prior to the meeting, the Town Clerk reported that apologies for absence had been received from Cllr R Frampton and Cllr M H Thierry
C/5244 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were none.
C/5245 PRESENTATION – NEW FOREST NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY
Andy Brennan, Sustainable Development Fund Officer and part time Ranger at the NFNPA gave a presentation to Members on the role of the Ranger team. There are four Rangers, each allocated an area of the district. Their main aim is to give the NPA a visible presence and point of contact, and to engage with the public. They work with local communities inside and outside the National Park boundary and look for opportunities to improve access to and promote the National Park, for example by attendance at events or giving advice on management of land.
Mr Brennan had met with the Town Clerk and discussed possible involvement with Poulner Lakes (how best to manage the site) and Folly Farm (by way of representation on Friends of Folly Farm). He asked Members to contact him if they had any ideas for projects or events the Rangers could be involved with.
C/5246 MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the Meeting held on 25th January 2012, having been circulated, be approved and signed as a correct record.
C/5247 RECREATION, LEISURE & OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE
Cllr Terry presented the minutes of the Recreation, Leisure & Open Spaces committee meeting held on 1st February 2012.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the Recreation, Leisure & Open Spaces Committee meeting held on 1st February 2012 be received.
C/5248 PLANNING, TOWN & ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE
Cllr Steele presented the minutes of the Planning, Town & Environment Committee meeting held on 3rd February 2012.
P/4937 – Cllr Steele reported that, as the deadline for comments did not fit with this Council’s meeting dates, in consultation with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee, he had authorised officers to submit comments based on the Planning Committee’s recommendations.
P/4938 – Cllr Steele presented the Planning Committee’s recommended response to the Sites and Development Management Development Plan Document (appendices D and E).
Alison Howell, Secretary to the Ringwood Chamber of Trade, stated that the Chamber supported the Town Council’s response with regard to RING4; the proposal for a new retail site on the long stay car park. She said that retailers were struggling to stay open and to generate footfall to survive. Ringwood should not become a clone town and it was important that independent retailers should be given the support to thrive. Retail parks give consumers an easy option, whereas town centres are harder to negotiate. Therefore, local authorities must support retailers to make the town centre shopping experience as easy as possible.
Don Cole had read in the local press that the District Council had not taken any notice of comments from the Town Council. He noted that all District Councillors had been invited to discuss the document and asked the five District Councillors who were also members of the Town Council if they had attended.
Cllr Rippon-Swaine confirmed that he had attended the consultation, which had mainly focussed on employment and housing development sites. He had been surprised to see the proposal for a retail site on the long stay car park and that the riverside walk, as identified in the Town Plan, had not been included.
Cllr Heron and Cllr Woodifield had also not been involved in any discussions on the retail site.
Cllr Ford had not attended the consultation as she had been away at the time. The District Councillors confirmed that they would be making further representation on the document, based on the views of local people.
Richard Pierson referred to the Ringwood Town Plan, which was the result of extensive public consultation and showed what local people wanted. He asked if this could be submitted as part of the Town Council’s response, so that the Inspector would be aware of the Town’s wishes. Members agreed with this suggestion.
Jeff Wickens, Chairman of the Ringwood Society, stated that the Society supported the Town Council’s response with regard to RING4. There was a concern that a retail site outside the town centre would have an adverse impact on the Conservation Area as empty shops could quickly deteriorate. He considered that there was sufficient scope within the town centre for existing retailers, such as Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, to expand. He expected the number of shops to reduce in the future and said that a long term strategy was required to address this issue.
Ms Stephens, an independent retailer in the town, was concerned that The Furlong was monopolising the town and forcing rents to increase. She felt that this situation would worsen if the proposed long stay car park site was developed for retail.
Sue Stabler from Carr & Neave felt that the town would become divided if this development proceeded. She said that the two distinct areas; The Furlong and the town centre, worked quite well at the moment.
Dennis Whitfield was concerned that the document did not address the need for improved infrastructure that would be required as most of the proposed development was to the south of the town and would have a detrimental impact on the existing road network. The Town Clerk stated that the Town Council had supported the need for a relief road for many years and made specific reference to this in its previous response to the document.
1) That the minutes of the Planning, Town & Environment Committee meeting held on 3rd February 2012 be received, and the recommendation at P/4937 be approved.
2) That the recommendation at P/4938 be approved, with the addition of “and that the Town Plan be submitted as a further Annex in support of the Council’s representation”.
C/5249 POLICY & FINANCE COMMITTEE
Cllr Heron presented the minutes of the Policy & Finance Committee meeting held on 15th February 2012.
F/4804 – It was noted that the names Ringwood Gateway and The Forest Suite had now been agreed.
F/4810 – Cllr Heron reported that he had now had the opportunity to read the Bideford judgement and confirmed that this made no change to regulations other than to clarify that Section 111 of the Act did not include the right to hold prayers.
Since then legislation had been enacted to make it possible for local authorities to hold prayers. This did not affect the Council’s ability to carry out its business.
As the Town Council had a duty with regard to crime and disorder, the discussion on the British Liver Trust campaign had been legal.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the Policy & Finance Committee meeting held on 15th February 2012 be received, and the recommendations therein be approved.
C/5250 YOUTH PROVISION WORKING PARTY
It was noted that a maximum of three Members should be appointed to this Working Party in order to ensure that the number of adults did not outweigh young people.
Following a vote, it was
RESOLVED: That Cllrs Burgess-Kennar, Heron and Rippon-Swaine be appointed to the Youth Provision Working Party and that the Town Mayor, as an ex-officio member, would only attend meetings in the event that one of these representatives was unable to attend.
C/5251 COMMUNICATIONS TO BE RECEIVED
1) A letter of thanks had been received from New Forest Citizens Advice Bureau for the £500 grant. Members were invited to visit CAB to see it in operation at any time.
2) Bickerley Green Residential and Nursing Home had sent a letter of thanks for the donation of £250 to its Amenities Fund.
3) A letter of appreciation had been received from a member of the public, praising staff at the Cemetery for high standards of maintenance, welcome and friendliness. He asked that Members’ appreciation be passed on to the grounds staff.
C/5252 REPORTS FROM COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS
County Councillor Rippon-Swaine presented his written report (Annex A). Following an appeal to the Portfolio Holder for Youth Services, he was pleased to report that an additional £100,000 had been included in the County Councils budget each year for the next three years for youth activity. He was therefore hopeful that the Town Council would be able to achieve its objective of delivering a new youth facility on Carvers.
He reported that he had given grants to the following organisations – Citizens Advice Bureau, Forest Forge, Ringwood Netball Club, the Scouts (for Diamond Jubilee fireworks display), the Festival Sinfonietta concert and Bickerley Green Residential and Nursing Home.
Cllr Heron was concerned about the proposed closure of the mental health unit in Calmore, as this was a service used by Ringwood people. Cllr Rippon-Swaine agreed to follow this up.
The Town Clerk reported that the Association of Local Councils in New Forest District had supported the work being done by Ashurst and Colbury Parish Council and the local MP on this issue.
District Councillor Heron reported Members Allowances had been frozen; a nil increase in Council Tax had been agreed, although Stillwater Park rents had been increased by 5.6% and Dibden Golf Centre would be taken over by a new management company.
District Councillor Woodifield presented her written report (Annex B). In addition, she had attended a presentation on the proposed Navitus Bay Wind Park. The route for carrying electricity from the coast to Mannington was not yet know, but it was possible that this may have an impact on Ringwood. She recommended that representatives of the project be invited to present the proposals to the Council – this was agreed.
Cllr Woodifield reported that she had given grants of £250 each to Bisterne Village Hall and Sopley Parish Council for Diamond Jubilee celebration events.
District Councillor Ford presented her written report (Annex C). She suggested that the Town Council pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee – this was agreed.
C/5253 FORTHCOMING MEETINGS
|Planning, Town & Environment
||Friday 2nd March
|Recreation, Leisure & Open Spaces
||Wednesday 7th March
|Policy & Finance
|| Wednesday 21st March
||Wednesday 28th March
There being no further business, the Town Mayor closed the meeting at 8.34pm.
28th March 2012