MINUTES OF MEETING OF BREDENBURY & DISTRICT GROUP PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON MONDAY 11th JANUARY 2016
IN BREDENBURY PARISH ROOM
PRESENT: Cllr D Sutton (Chairman) Cllr H Milton Cllr M Piggott Cllr P Thorne Cllr B Fowler Clerk R Sutton
ABSENT: Cllr C Gwynn (no apology received)
16/01 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL AND DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTEREST
There were no declarations or interests to be recorded.
16/02 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – Ward Cllr B Baker (sickness)
16/03 CHAIRMAN’S REMARKS
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the first meeting of 2016 and thanked him or her for turning out on a particularly cold January evening. The Chairman opened the meeting promptly at 7-30pm
The Chairman asked for Councillors’ agreement to the Clerk’s request that in future all Parish Council Notices would only be posted on the official Parish Council notice board that is situated outside the Parish Hall. He explained that the reason for this is that the other public notice boards in the village are difficult to use, because it is extremely difficult to place drawing pins in the hard wood. This coupled with the fact that these boards are no longer weatherproof and there is little or no room to post Parish Council announcements, which are often removed or obscured by flyers posted by others. Because the Parish Council ‘s own website, where all the Parish Council information will be posted and accessible by the public will be up and running shortly, all were in agreement with the Clerk’s request.
16/04 MEETING WILL BE ADJOURNED FOR PARISHIONERS QUESTIONS
At this juncture of the meeting there were no members of the public present so the meeting was not adjourned.
However, at 8:10pm Mrs Wakefield-Jones presented herself as a member of the public and she left the meeting during discussion of item 16/11
16/05 ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON MONDAY 9TH NOVEMBER 2015 AND ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE EXTRAORDINARY MEETING HELD ON 25th NOVEMBER 2015
To take as read and confirm as accurate the minutes of the meetings held on Monday 9th November 2015 and the Extraordinary Meeting held on the 25th November 2015
The minutes of both these meetings had been circulated to all Councillors prior. Whilst the Councillors agreed they had received, read and accepted them as true and accurate accounts of those meetings, the Chairman pointed out two errors. The first error under item 15/23 Future Meetings it was shown that the Annual Meeting and Annual Parish Meetings were to be held on March 14th whereas this should have been shown as May 9th. The Clerk corrected this minute accordingly. The second error was in the minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting, in the first paragraph Brockington House was shown as Brockhampton House. The Clerk corrected this error. Acceptance of both sets of minutes was then proposed and seconded and they were then duly signed and dated by the Chairman.
Proposed: Cllr P Thorne
Seconded: Cllr H Milton
16/06 REPORT FROM DISTRICT WARD COUNCILLOR BRUCE BAKER
In the absence of Cllr Baker there was no report.
16/07 FINANCIAL MATTERS
• To receive the up-to-date Financial Statement
The Clerk handed everyone a spreadsheet detailing the Parish Council’s income and expenditure to date and a spreadsheet showing the income and expenditure of the Lengthsman Scheme to date. She confirmed that the balance on the spreadsheets agreed with the balance on the most recent bank statement. She asked if anyone had any questions or concerns regarding the figures presented. None were raised.
• To approve payment of accounts
The Clerk asked for authorisation to pay an invoice received from Eyelid Productions in the sum of £500.00 This was in respect of the Parish Council’s website set-up costs, design and training. The Clerk confirmed that she had included this sum in the grant application for funding under the Transparency Code that she had completed and returned to HALC. All were in agreement that this invoice should be paid and the two signatories signed a cheque accordingly.
• To confirm authorisation of Debit Card for use by the Chairman, not by the Clerk
The Clerk reported that she had started the process to obtain a debit card in order that she could pay online for any necessary IT updates, anti-virus software, etc. as per the authorisation that had already been given by the Council. However the bank had advised the Clerk that she would have to become an authorised signatory of the Council’s cheques in order for her to have use of the requested debit card. The Clerk informed Councillors that she was not willing to take on this responsibility and had therefore asked the Bank to remove her details from the application form that they were processing for the debit card, and substitute those of the Chairman whose details they already had on their records as an authorised signatory. She asked for the Council’s approval that this was in order. All were in agreement. The Clerk advised that to date nothing further had been heard from the Bank who, presumably were still processing this request.
The Clerk read out an email received from HALC that summarised the new external audit arrangements for 2016/17. A new ‘Sector-led Body’ is being set up and Parish Councils will automatically be included as a customer of the body, unless any Parish Council opts out by 31st March 2016. The Clerk’s advice was that Bredenbury GPC did not opt out. All were in agreement.
The Clerk read out an email received from HALC that informed Parish Councils that membership of that body for 2016/17 would increase from £292.78 to £330.05 including VAT – which can be claimed back. The Council’s projected budget amount for membership had been set at £322.00, which was slightly below this increased figure. Despite this the Clerk advised that she felt this subscription was still well worth renewing as the Parish Council regularly obtains invaluable advice and services from HALC. All were in agreement.
The Clerk advised that, apart from emails, which she automatically sifts and forwards to all Councillors as necessary, the only other item of correspondence that had been received was the regular copy of the ‘Clerks & Councils Direct’ magazine. She informed that she had not yet found time to read it but having done so she would pass it onto the Councillors who in turn could pass it onto each another. Each Councillor was to ‘tick’ his/her name once read before passing the publication on.
Action by: all Councillors
16/09 PLANNING APPLICATIONS AND ISSUES
1) 152096 Wacton Farm, Wacton Lane, Bredenbury, HR 4TQ
The Chairman reported that this application has now been granted with conditions. The main one being that the building should only be used for the purpose of preparing and dressing meat produced on the farm together with ancillary office use in connection with the meat preparation business and not for the slaughtering of any animals or for preparing meats or foodstuffs away from the farm. The balcony, which had been objected to by Herefordshire’s Building Conservation Officer, has apparently been allowed without any conditions.
2) Land along A44 belonging to Mr P Foster
It was felt that this item needed considerable discussion with input from everyone, therefore the Chairman moved to discuss it after agendum 16/11. All were in agreement.
16/10 HIGHWAYS, INCLUDING OUTCOME OF MEETING HELD WITH LOCALITY STEWARD
The Clerk updated Councillors as to the reason the SIDS were still not operational. She had spoken to Balfour Beatty several times about this and they had advised that they were aware of the situation. They had explained that all SIDS need updating and refurbishing, as the instruments no longer give perfectly correct readouts. She was further advised that at present they had only one member of their staff looking after the SIDS and that his workload was considerable, therefore there was no prospect of them being re-commissioned immediately. The Clerk was instructed to keep chasing this issue with BB.
Action by: Clerk
Councillors agreed that their recent meeting with Donna Tregenza, the Locality Steward, had been productive and worthwhile and that they had been able to achieve the following:
Confirmation that the speed limit along the stretch of the A44 that runs through Bredenbury will be reduced to 30mph. This is currently number 10 on the schedule of highway speed reductions in Herefordshire and although no firm date could be given for the reduction to be be put in place this would be implemented just as soon as the necessary traffic orders had been completed.
A new salt/grit bin has been installed on the corner of Valley View without any charge to the Parish Council.
Several of the damaged and unserviceable salt/grit grit bins along the C1062 (Harp Lane) have been replaced.
All of the ‘letter-box’ drains and grips along the length of the A44 from Grendon Firs to St Richards School have been cleared.
Debris and weed growth spilling onto the length of footpath from Grendon Firs to Bredenbury Primary School has been cleared and the footpath made more comfortable for pedestrian use.
Marker posts have been put in verge at the passing bay opposite St Andrews Close.
Marker posts have been put in the verge opposite the passing bay at St Andrews Close to help protect the drainage pipes that are situated under there.
Confirmation by the Locality Steward that the collapsed stone bridge on WK11 will be repaired by Balfour Beatty, but this is not likely to happen until after April 2016, owing to lack of funds in the current financial year.
It was noted that people are still parking in the passing bay opposite the entrance to St Andrews Close. This defeats the object of having the bay constructed, so it was agreed that the Clerk should write to the Primary School requesting that they advise parents that this bay is intended purely a passing bay and should not be used for parking.
Action by: Clerk
Balfour Beatty had advised that they are not able to provide an official NO PARKING sign that could be sited in the passing bay. It was agreed that the Parish Council should provide their own unofficial sign and the Chairman agreed to look into the feasibility and cost of this.
Action by: Chairman
Cllr Milton reported that a vehicle had tipped one of the grit bins situated in the upper part of Wacton Lane backwards. She enquired if Cllr Piggott had a piece of machinery that he could use to return this bin to an upright position. Cllr Piggott agreed to look at the practicality of this and report back.
Action by: Cllr Piggott
16/11 TECHNOLOGY – Update on Website
The Clerk confirmed that she and the Chairman now have a date in their diaries to attend a training session on the upkeep of the new Parish Council Website that is now under construction and can be accessed at http://www.bredenburygroup-pc.gov.uk
She reminded Cllr Piggott that she was still waiting for a ‘mugshot’ photograph from him for inclusion on the website. She was also waiting for one from Cllr Gwynn.
Action by: Cllr Piggott
Action by: Cllr Gwynn
The Clerk appealed to Councillors to provide any photos of the principal areas and features in the village, or any photos or reports of village activities that they may have, in order that these could be uploaded into the community information section of the website to make it more interesting and informative.
Action by: All Councillors
The Chairman reported that the Clerk had enquired of both St. Richards School and Bredenbury Primary School to see if they would like to submit an outline of their schools’ history and activities for inclusion on the website. Bredenbury Primary School had responded with a very useful synopsis of their school and its accomplishments. St Richards School has not responded.
Cllr Thorne advised that she believed that there was a book in the church that could be of some help as it gives some of the history of Bredenbury and the surrounding area. The Chairman undertook to look into this further with a view to asking the Rector if he could borrow the book so that something could be composed about the history of the village and church for the website.
Action by: Chairman
The Clerk confirmed that she had spoken to HALC to try and ascertain when we would receive the grant money that she had applied for to enable to the Parish Council to establish the website and so become fully compliant. She had been told that the application was now with NALC and we should know something by February.
16/09 2) Land along A44 belonging to Mr P Foster (carried forward from earlier in the meeting)
Following the informal meeting that had been held on 25th November 2015 with Mr Foster, his sister and his architect, it had been agreed that all of the Councillors would give thought as to what amenities they considered the three Parishes would benefit the most from following Mr Foster’s offer to consider any of their proposals for inclusion in the development of his land. The Chairman asked each of the Councillors in turn for their ‘shopping list’. After much discussion and it was decided that an initial ‘shopping list’ should include:
A broad footpath fronting the total length of the development
A parking area designated for use by persons visiting the Parish Hall, the Church and Bredenbury Primary School. It was considered that this should not be lit at night as it could attract other users and also because there is a general resistance by local villagers to the installation of street lighting. It was felt however, that if lighting was necessary then this should be subdued and could be operated by a ‘dusk to dawn’ sensor system.
Housing should include affordable housing tailored to local needs so that families could remain in the parish and also to attract younger people and families to the area.
Because Bredenbury lacks a village atmosphere and because of the prospect of more housing it was considered that the Parish Hall needed updating to help provide a more attractive focal point in order to bring the village together. It was mooted that Mr Foster should be approached to include some refurbishments to the hall, such as proper toilet facilities and an updated kitchen and the surfacing of the area to the front and side of the hall for parking. However, any improvements to the hall would have to be agreed and endorsed, possibly as a separate exercise, by the Parish Hall Committee, which is unconnected to the Parish Council,
The land between the Old Rectory and the New Rectory has a chequered history with planning permission for two properties to be constructed there already in place. These have been started and it is understood that the reason work has come to a halt is because of drainage problems. This development is now overgrown and unsightly and has become an eyesore in the village. It was suggested that Mr Foster and the owner of this development could come to some agreement to allow the development to proceed if Mr Foster gave permission for the drainage to link up with his proposed development opposite.
The Chairman agreed to outline all of these suggestions to Mr Foster by ‘phone to ascertain his initial reaction to them, and report back.
Action by: Chairman
The Chairman confirmed that the Clerk has once again requested Lynda Wilcox from HALC for dates that she has available to undertake the promised ‘in-house’ training for Councillors. However at the time of this meeting she had still not heard back from Lynda. The Clerk enquired of Cllr Thorne if she was able to attend a HALC training session on Wednesday 24th February at 7:00pm that would be focussed on how parish councils can work on joint projects with their village halls, and be able to reclaim VAT legitimately. The seminar would include explanation as to the difference between custodian trustees and management trustees. Cllr Thorne confirmed that she would be interested in attending and the Clerk agreed to arrange accordingly.
Action by: Clerk
16/13 LENGTHSMAN SCHEME
The Chairman advised that James Powell had been our Balfour Beatty contact for this Scheme since it’s inception. However, James has now moved-on within BB on a different career path and our new contact will now be Louise Gregg, although to date she had not made any contact with the Clerk.
The Chairman confirmed that we now have two Lengthsman in place to call upon. John Poyner had been appointed in 2015 alongside George Day, as it was felt that George Day has undertaken too much work as a result of being the Lengthsman for several Parish Councils. It was often difficult to get a timely response from him. Cllr Milton confirmed that the recent work carried out by John Poyner along Wacton Lane had been undertaken quickly and efficiently. The Chairman suggested therefore that John Poyner should be now be asked to resurface the passing places along Harp Lane once the weather had improved sufficiently for this work to be carried out effectively. All were in agreement.
Action by: Chairman
The Clerk advised that Herefordshire Council and BB have decided to close the Lengthsman and P3 Schemes temporarily during 2016 and 2017 and that the Cabinet had agreed this action. Only those Parishes that have provided an Annual Plan to BB within the required timescale will be considered to continue with the schemes. The Chairman observed that the original advice by the Clerk to enter the scheme and that all the negotiation and hard work and continuous form filling by both her and himself had proved to be both timely and beneficial.
16/14 UPDATE RE DEFIBRILLATOR
The Chairman confirmed that he had composed and submitted an article for publication in ‘Roundabout the Parishes’ about the acquisition of a defibrillator for the village. The article gave details of the defibrillator and where it had been installed and asked parishioners if they would like to attend some informal training sessions on how to use this piece of equipment. Interested persons have been asked to ‘phone or email the Clerk, or the Barneby Inn, to register their interest. Depending upon the response a session, or sessions, could be arranged accordingly. He confirmed that the Barneby Inn would host the sessions in their restaurant room. Because the circulation of ‘Roundabout the Parishes’ was somewhat limited, the Chairman agreed to design and produce sufficient quantities of a ‘flyer’, outlining the availability of the equipment and the arrangements for training sessions, for general distribution to households in their own areas by each of the Councillors. Action by: Chairman
16/15 UPDATES FROM FOOTPATHS & RIGHTS OF WAY OFFICERS
Because of her absence there were no report from Cllr Gwynn.
Cllr Piggott said he had nothing to report.
Cllr Milton reported that due to the poor weather conditions she had not been able to walk any of the footpaths. Accordingly she had nothing to report. The Chairman enquired if she had spoken with the Locality Steward regarding the poor condition of the wooden bridge that spanned the land between Little Wacton Farm and Great Wacton Farm on footpath WK2. Cllr Milton confirmed that she had spoken with Donna Tregenza and had been informed that BB would replace the bridge at no cost to either landowner. The Chairman requested Cllr Milton to progress the issue to ensure that this happened.
Action by: Cllr Milton
16/16 UPDATES FROM POLICE & RURAL WATCH LIAISON OFFICER
Other than a reminder about the spate of scam ‘phone calls that are being targeted at elderly persons locally, and which have been widely publicised, Cllr Milton said that she had nothing fresh or significant to report.
16/17 ITEMS TO BE INCLUDED ON NEXT AGENDA
Councillors were reminded to let the Clerk know in the interim if they had any items that they wished to be included in the agenda for the next meeting.
RECONFIRM DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Because the Parish Hall is the only venue within the immediate locality in which the Parish Council can legally hold meetings and the fact that the hall takes so long to warm up on winter evenings, it was unanimously agreed that, as a trial, the next meeting would be held during an afternoon, rather than during the evening. It was arranged therefore, that the next meeting would be held on Thursday 17th March at 2:00pm
The Chairman closed the meeting at 21:35 thanking all the attendees for their attendance and input.