MINUTES OF MEETING OF BREDENBURY & DISTRICT GROUP PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON THURSDAY 17TH MARCH 2016
IN BREDENBURY PARISH ROOM
PRESENT: Cllr D Sutton (Chairman) Cllr H Milton Cllr M Piggott Cllr P Thorne Cllr B Fowler
Ward Cllr B Baker Clerk Rosemarie Sutton
16/18 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – Cllr C Gwynn
16/19 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL AND DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTEREST
There were no declarations of interest to be recorded
16/20 CHAIRMAN’S REMARKS
The Chairman welcomed everyone and thanked them all for attending. He reminded them that this meeting was being held at 2-00 o’clock in the afternoon as a trial, in order to ascertain if the Councillors would prefer to meet in the afternoon rather than in the evening in future.
16/21 MEETING WILL BE ADJOURNED FOR PARISHIONERS QUESTIONS
As there were no members of the public present the meeting was not adjourned
16/22 ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE MEETINGS HELD ON 11TH JANUARY 2016 AND 15TH FEBRUARY 2016
To take as read and confirm as accurate the minutes of the meeting held on Monday 11th January 2016
To take as read and confirm as accurate the minutes of the extraordinary meeting held on Monday 15th February 2016
The minutes of both these meetings had been circulated prior and had also been published as Draft Minutes on Parish Council’s website. It was proposed and seconded that they were a true and accurate record of both meetings and they were duly signed and dated by the Chairman accordingly.
Proposed: Cllr Thorne
Seconded: Cllr Fowler
16/23 REPORT FROM WARD COUNCILLOR BRUCE BAKER
Cllr Baker informed Councillors that on planning matters Section 106 agreements were now being replaced by CIL’s (Community Infrastructure Levy). He explained that a CIL is a levy that local authorities can charge developers on any new development, and that the money raised by this levy can then be used to fund or support any new infrastructure projects that the local council and community want, such as road schemes, new centres, leisure facilities, etc. The levy rate is around £100.00 per square metre of construction. The CIL rewards communities in turn for accepting new development in their area.
Following the Community Governance Review he was surprised to learn there are some 239 parishes and 134 Parish Councils in Herefordshire, and that this county is one of the most heavily parished counties in the UK. He had supported the Parish Council’s request for a reduction in the number of Councillors that are allocated to represent Grendon Bishop Parish. He agreed there was an in-balance, bearing in mind that Grendon Bishop has considerably fewer electors than either Bredenbury or Wacton yet was allowed to elect 3 Councillors rather than 2. The Chairman then thanked him for his support in the matter. This support had reinforced our representations to the electoral authority, which had already acknowledged the disparity.
On the matter of Neighbourhood Plans Cllr Baker reminded that where Parish Councils do not have a Neighbourhood Plan in place, then the local authority is more likely to identity land for development in that parish and that the chances of this development being unwanted by the local community were high. He recommended therefore that an effort be made to resurrect the local NHP process that had been abandoned. He counselled that perhaps joining with another local parish would be a way forward. The Chairman recapped on the well-known events that had led to the demise of this plan. He reminded that following an enthusiastic ‘open meeting’ a steering group had been formed but that it was subsequently dissolved due to lack of progress and agreement to support among its principal members, and that an apparent disinterest from parishioners had also contributed to its abandonment. Cllr Baker informed that in Herefordshire 90 parishes were already progressing a NHP but that to date only one NHP has successfully gone to referendum stage.
Regarding the EU Referendum to be held on 23rd June 2016 Cllr Baker reminded everyone that every members’ vote on the matter should be entirely personal and that Herefordshire Council have advised that Parish Councils and councillors should not attempt to influence the outcome, and in turn, not be influenced by any of the prospective Police Commissioners views that may be forthcoming.
He informed that although the Government’s Budget had indicated that Councils can increase Council Tax by up to 1.9% they can in fact increase by an additional 2% without going to referendum.
Cllr Baker informed that quarter of Herefordshire’s population is over the age of 65 and a high number of these are over the age of 90. A prohibitive proportion of Herefordshire’s budget has to be spent on social care and the looking after the elderly. The Council’s budget still has to be reduced by a further £10m and any future reduction will therefore mean a cut in the amount available for this provision.
Cllr Baker asked the Parish Councillors for their views the road markings along the A44. The Councillors were unanimous in their view that the local road markings left a lot to be desired. The huge volume of traffic that this road carried had worn some of these away and others had been eliminated by the frequent repair and maintenance work that is taking place. Some markings were now barely visible. Cllr Baker agreed to speak to the Locality Steward to see if something could be done to improve and restore these road markings.
The Chairman thanked Cllr Baker bringing Councillors up-to-date with his wide-ranging report
At this juncture the Chairman requested that Cllr Baker remain for the discussion of item 16/25 in the agenda, where his input and advice would be valued. Therefore he suggested that this item moved for debate next.
16/25 LATEST POSITION RE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT BY MR FOSTER OF LAND ALONG THE A44
The Clerk reported that Mr Foster had not responded to the email/letter that had been sent to him on the 22nd February, outlining the Council’s ideas for features that they would want incorporated into the schemes. She had therefore been instructed by the Chairman to telephone Mr Foster to ascertain that he had in fact received it, because the email address that Mr Foster had originally advised appeared to be somewhat ambiguous. Mr Foster had confirmed to the Clerk that he had received the Council’s email and had been considering its content. He had stated to her that he was almost ready to prepare replies to the points that the Council had put to him. He touched on the subject of the affordable housing that the Council had suggested ought to be incorporated into the schemes and said that he had spoken at some time in the past to a member of the Parish Council (he couldn’t remember who) who had apparently stated that Bredenbury did not want or need affordable homes. He also mentioned that he was surprised by the Council’s request for a new village hall to be provided in lieu, or in addition to, the car parking area that he had in mind. He doubted that this could be funded from the modest scale of housing that was envisaged. He was also concerned about the impact that a new village hall would have on the community, as he was aware of some individuals who supported retaining the present venue and he did not want to upset these people. The Clerk told Mr Foster that she was not in a position to discuss any of his observations but she would pass on his comments to the Parish Council at their next meeting. Mr Foster agreed to put his thoughts in writing.
The Chairman then read out Mr Foster’s emailed reply dated 16th March. His responses to the issues and requests that had been made by the Council were considered and debated. Advice on how to proceed was sought from Cllr Baker. Cllr Baker pointed out that the CIL on a development of this scale could produce a considerable sum of money that would go a long way towards funding the Council’s ideas. It was agreed that, in spite of Mr Foster’s perceived hesitancy about some of the Council’s requests, that the Council should continue to pursue their objectives, which they feel are well founded and achievable. It was agreed that a draft of a reply to Mr Foster should be prepared setting out the Council’s intention to maintain their position on their requests. It was agreed that all Councillors should approve this letter and that Cllr Baker should also have sight of it before it was sent.
Action by: Clerk
Action by: Chairman Action by: all Councillors
16/24 FINANCIAL MATTERS
• To receive up-to-date Financial Statement (presented by Clerk)
The Clerk handed everyone a copy of an up-to-date spreadsheet setting out the Parish Council’s Income and Expenditure to date. She gave everyone a few minutes to consider the figures and asked if anyone had any questions or concerns about the information presented. None were forthcoming.
•To approve payment of accounts
The Clerk requested permission to issue cheques for the following accounts that were now due for payment:
1) Renewal of HALC membership – £350.00.This figure includes £58.49 VAT that the Clerk will claim back from HMRC. If the renewal is paid by the end of the month the Parish Council will be entitled to £50 reduction on any future training.
2) Clerk’s salary for 6 months – £699.78
3) Uncontested Election expenses – £92.96
4) Purchase of the Core Strategy & Appendices book – £20.00
The Clerk requested that cheques be signed and the Chairman asked a proposer and seconder for this request.
Proposed: Cllr Milton
Seconded: Cllr Fowler
•Any other financial matters
The Clerk said she would be claiming back the total VAT owed at the end of the month and to date this amounted to £412.26
The Clerk confirmed that the Bank had now issued the Parish Council with the Visa Debit Card that was required for payment of ‘on-line’ services.
The Clerk confirmed that Herefordshire Council had agreed the amount of Precept that had been requested and that this would be paid in two instalments of £2,680.00 each.
The Chairman thanked the Clerk for her reports.
1. The Clerk placed the current copy of ‘Clerks and Councils Direct’ magazine on the table and requested that one of the Councillors take it to read and then Councillors should pass it on to each other in turn.
2. The Clerk reported receipt of a letter from John Campion who is standing for the Police and Crime Commissioner position in the forthcoming elections. In view of the advice received from Cllr Baker earlier in the meeting it was decided to disregard the letter it was felt it would be unethical to favour any of the candidates.
3. The Clerk reported receipt of an email from the Clerk at Peterchurch Parish Council. The email attached a letter that they had written to Mr Alistair Neill, the Chief Executive of Herefordshire Council. The letter set out to express their concerns at the inconsistencies in the level of service that Hereford Council and their contractors were providing to them. They had stated that they now felt that Herefordshire Council and their contractors were no longer ‘fit for purpose’. The email requested that other parish councils join them by writing a similar letter of complaint if they felt they were also encountering similar issues. Whilst Councillors were unanimously in agreement with Peterchurch’s observations they were of the opinion that an additional letter from Bredenbury wouldn’t achieve any improvement.
16/27 QUEEN’S 90TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS
The Clerk reported receipt of a letter from the Tower Mint Ltd, enclosing a sample of HM Queen Elizabeth 90th Birthday Commemorative Medal for schools and councils. The cost of each medal is £1.99, excluding carriage and VAT, with a minimum order of 50 units. The Chairman asked for the Councillor’s views as to whether the Parish Council should consider purchasing one of these commemorative medals for each of the children at Bredenbury Primary School. Councillors had previously decided that they were unable to provide any financial support to the PCC’s proposed Queen’s birthday party because of non-availability of funds, and in view of this they agreed that they were unable to make any purchases for the school either. It was also pointed out that not all of the children came from the local parishes of Bredenbury, Wacton or Grendon Bishop.
16/28 PLANNING APPLICATIONS
• P160098/F – Wicton Farm – Variation of condition 2 reference 151676/F
(change of roof materials)
The Chairman reported that the target determination date for approval for the change of roofing material is set as being 17th March and at the time of the meeting a decision has not been recorded on the planning website.
• Any other planning applications received after the date of issue of this Agenda
• 160594 – Westington Hall, Hatfield, Leominster, HR6 0SJ. Proposed new field access. Applicant: Mr Tim Leighton
The Chairman reported that this application had been received on 14th March, after the agenda had been compiled. It was passed around the Councillors for their comments and observations. No issues, concerns or objections were forthcoming. The Clerk was asked to reply to the planning authority accordingly.
• Herods Wake, 3 Brockington Grange Mews, Bredenbury HR7 4TF
Proposed single storey extension that will extend beyond the rear wall of the dwelling house by 5 metres. The maximum height of the enlarged part of the dwelling house is 3.2 metres and the height of the eaves of the enlarged part of the dwelling house is 2.4 metres.
Applicant: Mr Martin Moore
The Clerk reported that this application was a Determination as to whether Prior Approval is required. She informed Councillors that Parish Council’s were not consulted on this type of application and Prior Approval had been granted.
The Clerk informed that she had emailed Cllr Piggott asking him to advise the number and the condition of the sand bags that were stored at his farm. Cllr Piggott confirmed there were no longer any serviceable sand bags available because they had all perished in storage over time. The Clerk advised Councillors that Herefordshire Council were no longer supplying sand bags to Parish Councils and in future all Parish Councils would have to make their own arrangements to purchase their own supply of these from a Builder’s Merchant. The Chairman enquired of Cllr Piggott whether anyone had ever requested any sand bags. Cllr Piggott confirmed that no one had ever asked for any sand bags. In view of this Councillors unanimously decided that it was no longer essential to have a supply of sand bags available and therefore none should be purchased.
At this juncture Cllr Piggott requested to be excused and left the meeting 15-30
16/30 HIGHWAY ISSUES – Including fly-tipping Helens Wood
Fly-tipping Helens Wood – This item had been added into the agenda at the request of Cllr Milton. She was concerned at the increasing amount of fly tipping at the lay-by on the A44 at Helens Wood. The Chairman advised that he had been in touch with both Balfour Beatty and Herefordshire Council several times over this issue in the recent past. He had been informed on each occasion that they could do nothing about removing the rubbish as it had been deposited on private land and was therefore the responsibility of the owner of the land who would have to arrange removal and bear the cost. The Chairman reported that in the meantime he had established that the greater part of this particular lay-by was in the parish of Bromyard & Winslow and ought to be their responsibility. It was agreed that the Clerk would write to Bromyard Town Council to express the Parish Council’s concerns
Action by: Clerk
SIDS – The Clerk confirmed that she had spoken with Balfour Beatty expressing the Parish Council’s concerns that the SIDS were still out of action. She was informed that the situation has not changed in that all the SIDS throughout the County are giving inaccurate readings and are in need of either updating or repair or replacement. Balfour Beatty had informed her that they are still waiting for Herefordshire Council’s decision as to whether these will be repaired or replaced.
Pot Holes – The Chairman confirmed that he had re-reported the potholes along Harp Lane and that these have now been repaired. He had asked the Clerk to send an email to the Locality Steward to thank her for her support in instructing their repair.
Action by: Clerk
The Clerk reported receipt of an email from Cllr Baker that gave details, including pictures, of the roadside wicket gates at the entrance to Bosbury Parish. These gates are used as a successful traffic calming measure and also to enhance the appearance of the village boundary. The Clerk showed the Councillors pictures of the gates, which apparently had been made by one of their Parish Councillors. The Clerk was asked to make enquiries from Bosbury Parish Council as to the cost etc. in order to consider whether such a feature could be provided on the A44 at the entrance and exit points to Bredenbury.
Action by: Clerk
Passing Bay – Harp Lane Councillors reported that this bay is still being used inconsiderately for parking. The Chairman confirmed that he is currently in the process of obtaining the cost and patterns for a notice that will read “Passing Bay Only – No Parking”. Councillors were also concerned that parents and others are still parking right on the corner at the junction of Harp Lane with Valley View. Complaints are being received from residents pointing out that it is very dangerous for them to try to come out of Valley View when the view of oncoming traffic is so restricted because of these parked vehicles. It was pointed out that under Rule 243 of the Highway Code it states that you should not park opposite, or within 32feet, of a junction. It was proposed that the Clerk write to Bredenbury Primary School expressing these concerns and requesting that the school writes to all parents pointing out the dangers and the inconvenience to residents of the inconsiderate parking that is taking place, referring them also to the provisions of the Highway Code.
Action by: Clerk
Update on Website – The Chairman enquired if Councillors had now managed to access and navigate their way around the Parish Council website. He asked for their comments and their ideas for improvements and features that ought to be included. None were immediately forthcoming. The Chairman stated that that both he and the Clerk were very enthusiastic about the website and for the opportunities that it would afford the Parish Council to inform and communicate with the local community. He stated that at this early stage of development it is very time consuming indeed for him and the Clerk to edit, format, and upload the items of copy that need to be presented. Both he and the Clerk were looking forward to being able to put pictures on the site eventually. He reminded Councillors however that the website is principally for council business, that it is a Parish Council website, and that it should not be used for needless advertising of local events. All were in agreement with this.
The Clerk confirmed that a firm date had now been arranged for the HALC ‘In-House Training for Councillors’ to take place. The date set is the 4th May. The training session will commence at 19:00 and last for around 2 hours. She reported that she had found it very difficult to arrange a date on which everyone could attend. Cllr Milton confirmed that would be unable to attend the 4th May. However this date was still considered to be the most suitable by the majority of Councillors. The Chairman reminded everyone that it is very important that they put this date in their diary and commit to attending the training, especially as this was not free of charge and would have to be paid for.
Action by: all Councillors
16/32 LENGTHSMAN SCHEME
The Chairman advised Councillors that he was still having great difficulty in arranging a meeting with our principal lengthsman, John Poyner. Although the Chairman had made contact with him by telephone several times Mr Poyner has so far failed to confirm a meeting. The Chairman stated that he would continue to pursue Mr Poyner, as it was now important that the lay-bys along Harp Lane and the passing bay are resurfaced with planings. There are some other small highway issues that need attending to also.
Action by: Chairman
16/34 UPDATE RE HEARTSTART COURSES
The Chairman thanked Councillors for delivering the ‘flyers’ that he had produced to promote the ‘Heartstart’ courses that were being arranged by the Clerk in conjunction with the Barnaby Inn. The Clerk confirmed that she has had a good response and she has had now arranged for three courses to take place. Two of these were to be in the afternoon and one in the evening. The number of attendees per course needs to be restricted to 12. She had 35 responses so far. The dates of the courses are set as Wednesday 27th April at 12-30pm, Wednesday 11th May at 7-00pm and Wednesday 22nd June at 12-30pm. The Clerk confirmed that she would now contact all of the attendees to give them the date of a course that they could attend.
Action by: Clerk
16/35 UPDATE FROM FOOTPATHS & RIGHTS OF WAY OFFICERS
In the absence of both Cllr Gwynn and Cllr Piggott, Cllr Milton gave an update. She was pleased to report that the bridge on Wk11 had now been repaired to a high standard and could be used safely again by both walkers and riders. She requested if the Clerk could ascertain from the Locality Steward if it was in order to now remove the ‘closed’ sign. Cllr Milton advised that she would be attending a Footpath Wardens Meeting that is scheduled to be held in Burley Gate and would report back to the Parish Council. She advised that it was her intention to ask the Locality Steward to meet her in order to undertake some of the walks in the parish together, in order that they could ascertain their condition and report any obstructions or difficulties encountered in negotiating them. Cllr Milton reported that she had cleared the overhanging branches that were obstructing the start of Wk 2. She had taken some ‘photos and shared these with Councillors. The Chairman thanked her for her commitment in clearing the branches but did stress that the landowner should have been tasked with doing this.
Action by: Clerk
16/36 UPDATE FROM POLICE & RURAL WATCH LIAISON OFFICER
In her report Cllr Milton said the crimes being reported currently our area were mainly shed burglaries and poachers ‘lamping’. She also described a new telephone scam whereby criminals are making ‘phone calls to vulnerable folk pretending that they are ‘phoning from the GP’s Surgery, offering “good prices” on disability aids. There had also been a report of a distraction theft at Morrison’s supermarket in Leominster. Once again she emphasised how important it was that we should all be advising everyone to be very vigilant.
16/37 ITEMS TO BE INCLUDED ON NEXT AGENDA
There were none notified to be included. The Clerk reminded Councillors that if any items arose that they want to be included in the next agenda that she is emailed accordingly.
RECONFIRM DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The Chairman enquired if Councillors felt that this trial meeting, held during the afternoon of a weekday, had been a success, and if their preference was now to continue with the arrangement. There was unanimous support for the continuation of the arrangement. Accordingly the next meeting of the Council was set for Thursday May 12th at 14:00 hrs.
The Chairman reminded all Councillors that the next meeting would be the Annual Meeting of the Council combined with an Ordinary Meeting of the Council, and also that the statutory three Annual Parish Meetings will have to be combined with these.
The Chairman closed the meeting at 16:20 with thanks to all for their attendance and input.