Unpublished May 2021 Submission to Goring Gap News

The Annual Parish Council Meeting for Goring-on-Thames Parish Council was held online 4th May 2021.  This meeting is very administrative each year and includes various appointments and standard financial and reporting matters are reviewed.

Kevin Bulmer was re-elected Chairman and John Wills Vice-Chairman as they were each unopposed.  Memberships of committees were decided and the Terms of Reference reviewed and approved.  Councillor responsibilities were also reviewed and approved.

Because of a proposal by Goring-on-Thames in Bloom to replace the roadway signs at the entrance to Goring, the matter was discussed.  Though the principle of replacing the signs was broadly supported, a member of public raised concern that though the Parish Council was named Goring on Thames, the village name is Goring.  Prior to any approval of the signs, the Clerk with the assistance of the District Councillor were tasked to look into the matter.

A week later, after help from the District Councillor, it was confirmed that indeed, Goring is the official name of the village, and the Parish Council (and therefore the Parish) was renamed to Goring on Thames some years ago at the request of the then-Parish Council.   There was also explored the ability to change the name, and the means to do that.  There are different options – from simply changing the name on the street signs as one enters the village by road, to more formally changing the name for the postal address.  In the time from the meeting, two other members of public raised concern about usage of public funds for these potential changes, and the view that it may seem merely a ‘vanity exercise’.  There will be a proposal at a future meeting to do a simple, no-cost consultation explaining the options and determining what approach the community would prefer, if any change is considered at all.

There was a request by representatives of Goring Robins and Goring United football clubs.  They sought approval to enter into an agreement to improve the Sheepcot and Gardiner football pitches. The idea was broadly welcomed but there was concern that no cost should be expected of the Parish Council, and additionally about where the necessary equipment would be stored.  This issue has subsequently been discussed with representatives of the Clubs and the Parish Council, and a way forward has been identified.  This will need to be approved by the Council.

The GAP Festival’s request to block-book the Rectory Garden and part of the Gardiner Recreation Ground for 2-12th June 2022 was approved.  There were also a number of requests for purchase of items and services, all detail to be available in the final minutes.

The annual accounts were approved and the statutory forms completed and approved.  Though it was noted by the internal auditor that no external audit report for the years 2017-18, 2018-9, and 2019-20 had been received.  There was a formal complaint made by a parishioner in 2018, and after the external auditor informed the Parish Council that further information was sought, no details were forthcoming.  The previous Clerk and the acting Proper Officer (during the two months when there was no Clerk) regularly chased the external auditors for this information, but with no response.  In August 2020 there was an e-mail from the external auditor that wasn’t answered, but as it turns out, this request was not was not followed up on by the auditor.  There has finally been, mid-May 2021, a specific request of information required by the auditor to finalise the documentation and will be addressed in the coming weeks.  This has been quite frustrating as the external auditor is appointed by the Government regionally, without involvement of the Parish Council.  The level of service has been very lacking.

More details can be found in the papers for the meeting, and ultimately in the draft then finalised minutes on the Parish Council website (

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