In the waning summer air, we joined once more for a Wallingford Council full meeting. On the agenda today: The moorings, the appointment of a promotions officer, a call for new firemen, and a request for support by non other than a certain local radio station. Mayor Lee brought the meeting of 30 to order, this time sporting a snazzy background of the river and moorings, before commencing proceedings at 19:02.
The meeting was immediately bypassed to a vote on if an agenda point regarding the Tourism manager should be discussed confidentially. This was passed, and therefore we won’t be bringing you details of that talk!
Starting off with the public speaking portions, non other than Wallingford Radio spoke, requesting support for the councillors individually and the council as a whole. We asked for funding and support, to allow us to hit our hoped for on-FM transmission date of Bunkfest 2021.
There followed a member of the public speaking regarding the proposed Christmas market on the 6th December, which will be debated later in the meeting.
Finally were the candidates for co-option to the council were invited to speak, alphabetically. Each was given two minutes to speak in support of their proposed election to council. The candidates were a mix of two women and four men. The candidates brought up potential areas of future expertise such as communications, police liason, experience of local planning, and generally expressed pride and a willingness to serve.
No council meeting is complete without hearing from the county councillors, who this time opted to speak on the local plan and transport. This took the form of reporting on SODC party politics, and suggesting that the local plan is not good for local people. It was also reported that no requests for money for cycling funds were submitted.
Speed surveys on St Nichols Road and Goldsmiths Lane will be funded by the County Councilor directly, with a view to new traffic calming measures in the future. It is also suggested that the lower 40mph speed limit on the ringroad may be retained. The speed limit in Wallingford may be lowered to 20mph to stop drivers using the town to bypass the bypass. This would be after the results of the traffic surveys and further motions.
A town councillor suggested that a crossing on the bypass would be a more sensible option. It was also mentioned that there is no traffic survey for Wallingford at this point, which should be investigated.
Mayors communications were next, Cllr Upcraft reported that former Clerk Bernard Picken has passed away, aged 90.
Further, he reported that Wallingford Fire Station is recruiting, as it is at 60% coverage at this time. This is something we have covered in the past – if you are interested in joining, please visit www.oxfordshire.gov.uk./oncallfirefighters
Mark Brett was also presented with an engrosement by the Mayor during the litter pick, for all of his hard work for the town.
Following some technical aspects, including accepting minutes, the meeting moved on to the co-option of a new councillor. There was a slight delay due to some technical issues with the submission of votes via email. This proved to be an ideal time for a tea break.
With the votes finally collated, the new council member was confirmed as David Carpin.
The council then voted on the relocation of the council offices to 8a Castle Street (pictured).
The mayor spoke regarding the ongoing costs approaching the council, as well as the lack of suitability of the current space.
As previously mentioned at council meetings, the released offices would be turned in to flats to raise capital for the council. This motion was passed, and the town council offices will move to Castle St.
An update on the Agatha Christie statue was presented, including an offer of funding from the sculptor. The maquette was suggested for placement at the museum.
The accounts representative spoke regarding the collection of the mooring fees. £3000 has been raised so far this summer, against the estimate of £13,000 for the year. Collections for the year stand at £8000 to date.
The council was asked by the river working group to overturn a previous decision to employ a third party to collect the mooring fees. This was discused, and generally supported, however the ‘unwelcoming’ signage was criticised. The motion was carried, and therefore the council will not work with the third party collector.
The summer season for the moorings currently means that £10 is due per night from moored vessels, whereas in winter there is one charge for the entire season (£125/month for larger vessels). It was suggested to extend the summer season to the end of October from the end of September, which would presumably increase revenue. This motion was voted on and passed.
The installation of a bin on St Johns Green was discussed. It was noted that people queuing for buses to Reading wait here, and it was hoped that a bin would reduce rubbish on the green. The cost was listed at £380 was intallation, however SODC has agreed to alter a small bin on the busstop to a big bin, so it is hoped that this will solve the problem without further expense.
There followed a proposal to formalise the inspection regime for the play park in the Bullcroft. A formal annual inspection is undertaken each year in addition to the informal inspections. A discussion regarding using the coat of arms on the website was entered in to, with it being noted that previously it wasn’t used to its complexity.
The historic working assets party reported next on the application to Historic England. These have been accepted, starting a six month process of analysis.
Back to some speed monitoring now, with reports of Joy Riding in the high street. There have been some communications in to where to place speed surveys.
It was generally stated that the 20mph limit may be a good idea, however if anything were to change then evidence would be required.
Finally, the Christmas market was put forward for discussion. The Mayor gave his support, subject to COVID, insurance in place etc. The event was given best wishes, and the council moved to closed session at 21:13
— The above is a news story based on our being present at the meeting, and is as accurate as possible. No mis-attribution or mis-reporting is intended. If any alterations are requested, please email Wallingford Radio.
Some alterations were made at 09:50 on the 22nd Sept, after being raised by Cllr Upcraft