Minutes 21st November 2016

Present:       Cllrs: D. Sutton (Chairman), Cllr H Milton, Cllr P Thorne, Cllr M Piggott,  Cllr B Fowler, Cllr C Gwynn

Ward Cllr B Baker,  R. Sutton (Clerk)

16/88 Apologies for Absence –  There were no absentees

16/89 Declarations of Personal and Disclosable Pecuniary Interest
Cllr Piggott declared a Pecuniary Interest in item 16/99 Planning Application 163387 submitted in the name of Mrs J Piggott, and he signed and dated the record book accordingly.

16/90 Chairman’s Remarks
The Chairman opened the meeting at 14:35 by thanking everyone for attending the first meeting of the new winter afternoon schedule.

16/91 Meeting will be adjourned for Parishioners Questions
As there were no members of the public present the meeting was not adjourned.

16/92 Adopt the Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 20th July 2016
To take as read and confirm as accurate the minutes of the meeting held on 20th July 2016

16/93 Adopt the Minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting held on
Thursday 15th September 2016
To take as read and confirm as accurate the minutes of the meeting held on 15th September 2016.

The draft minutes of both of these meetings had been circulated prior and had been published as draft minutes on the Parish Council’s website. The minutes of both of these meetings were then proposed and seconded to be a true and accurate record and were signed and dated accordingly as such by the Chairman.
Proposed: Cllr Milton
Seconded: Cllr Fowler

16/94 Parking along Harp Lane in the vicinity of Bredenbury Primary School
At this juncture CSO Stephanie Annette had not arrived, therefore pending her arrival the Chairman moved to item 16/97.  This was with everyone’s agreement

16/97 Financial Matters
1) To receive Financial Statement (presented by Clerk)
The Clerk handed everyone an up-to-date spread sheet detailing the Parish Council’s expenditure to date. She confirmed that the spreadsheet tallied with the most recent bank statement that had been received.  She confirmed that she had now received and banked a cheque from HALC in the sum of £1,222.48. This was in respect of the grant application that she had re-submitted for the purchase of the technology equipment that is required to enable the Parish Council to become fully compliant. The Clerk enquired if anyone had any questions about this – none were forthcoming.  The Chairman congratulated the Clerk on her resolve and determinedness in obtaining this money in spite of the Council’s initial application having been refused on technicalities.
The Clerk advised that although the Council’s website was being backed up by Mark Millmore of Eyelid Productions, at present there was no separate back-up of the documents and emails etc on the Parish Council’s laptop. She requested permission to purchase a computer storage disk of at least one terabyte capacity in order that she could back-up essential data. All the Councillors were in agreement that she should make this purchase.
Action by: Clerk

The Clerk informed Councillors that HALC were no longer going to undertake PAYE services on behalf of parish councils following the retirement of Malcolm Walker. This service would now be undertaken by Autela. HALC had advised her that because Bredenbury Parish Council paid them in advance for this service the Parish Council would be entitled to a refund of £20.00 and that they would issue a cheque to the Parish Council to refund this amount in due course. HALC had also advised that Autela’s fee for their service was likely to be £15.00 per month instead of £20.00, which was the amount that the Council were presently paying to HALC.

2) Budget for 2017/18 (to be presented, discussed and ratified )
The Clerk confirmed that she had met earlier with Cllr Thorne and Cllr Fowler by arrangement to form a small working party to discuss and prepare the Draft Budget for 2017/18 for submission to the Councillors for their consideration and approval. Subsequently she had sent to all Parish Councillors an email attaching a spreadsheet that she had prepared outlining the recommendations that had been arrived at by the working party during that meeting. The spreadsheet detailed the payments that were still outstanding for the current year together with those that would need to be budgeted for in the forthcoming year coupled with projected amounts for any contingencies and increases that could arise. The Clerk then went through each item explaining to Councillors where and why the meeting had felt that increases were necessary. In particular she explained that the SIDS were going to increase from £150.00 plus VAT to £250.00 plus VAT for each deployment. She also pointed out that in previous years the Council had set aside £300.00 as a contribution towards the refurbishment of the Parish Hall but that the Parish Hall Committee had never requested any of this money in spite of being aware of its availability. Nevertheless the recommendation was that Councillors should consider increasing this amount to £500.00 and that the Hall Committee should be encouraged to indent for this amount, using the proper protocol. All were in agreement with this recommendation. In summary, the Clerk confirmed that outstanding payments presently amounted to £2,425.13 whilst payments to be made in 2017/18 amounted to £7,270.60. The present bank balance was £8990.35 (excluding Lengthsman balance) and that this, less the outstanding payments of £2,425.13 would reduce to £6565.22.  The Clerk pointed out that the Council’s precepted amount of £5360 has been held constant in each of the years since 2013.  The working party’s recommendation was that the precept be increased this year not only to take into account the known increases that had been discussed but also any future costs of those services that were increasingly likely to be passed down from Herefordshire Council to Parish Councils.  After some discussion it was agreed that the amount of precept that the Clerk should request for 2017/18 should be fixed at £6,800.00. This was then proposed and seconded.
Proposed: Cllr Piggott
Seconded: Cllr Gwynn
Action by: Clerk

At this juncture CSO Stephanie Annette joined the meeting and the Chairman returned the meeting to the ordered agenda.

16/94 Parking along Harp Lane in the vicinity of Bredenbury Primary School
To be lead by Stephanie Annette (CSO)
The Chairman welcomed Stephanie Annette to the meeting and enquired if she knew everyone. She and Cllr Gwynn had not met previously. Therefore the Chairman introduced her to the CSO.
Stephanie informed that she was attending the meeting in an attempt to explain the efforts that were being made by all the parties that are endeavouring to resolve the parking problems that arise in the vicinity of Bredenbury Primary School, particularly in term time.  In response to questions she pointed out that it was not an offence to park on the yellow zig-zags that had been painted in the school lay-by unless by doing so a vehicle was actually causing an obstruction and impeding the traffic flow. The school bus which carries 4 or 5 pupils parks on the zig-zags because one of the passenger pupils is disabled.  The cones that are placed in the road opposite the school are put there to try to discourage parents from parking along this stretch. During term time the cones are deployed and removed each day by a parent whose child currently attends the school. However, when that particular child leaves the school this parent will cease to place the cones and other parents may not be prepared to continue the practice. Stephanie pointed out that it was a good idea to have cones deployed outside the school because it did help to prevent vehicles backing-up onto the A44 but in fact these cones were not enforceable and if people chose to move them to park there no offence was being committed.  Cllr Fowler reminded the meeting of the many instances when large vehicles and farm machinery are finding it extremely difficult to negotiate the parked vehicles and were being forced onto the verges under which there are vulnerable services.  The CSO advised that nothing could be done unless the drivers of the vehicles who were being obstructed contacted the police to report an obstruction and waited for them to attend. It was pointed out that vehicles are regularly parked for long periods less than 32ft away from the junction with Valley View thus contravening the requirements of the Highway Code besides making it difficult for vehicles exiting from Valley View into Harp Lane. The CSO confirmed that this practice was an offence but the police would not necessarily do anything about it unless they were present to witness this for themselves. She also pointed out that the police have no remit to do anything about vehicles that are parked in the area that is generally understood to be a passing bay because it is not marked as such. Councillors were also surprised to learn that if parents parked their cars across residents’ driveways thus preventing a resident getting their vehicle off their drive, that nothing could be done, as technically, there was no obstruction being caused on the public highway, but conversely, if a vehicle is prevented from trying to leave the public highway onto a private drive then this is classed as an obstruction and is enforceable.
Stephanie confirmed that she had attended a meeting with the Headmistress of the school together with Ian Connell and the Locality Steward, Donna Tregenza, in an effort to find a long term solution to this ongoing problem.  They had concluded that the best solution was to have double yellow lines painted along the stretch of road opposite the school. These would then be enforceable.  However a TRO would have to be applied for and put into place to allow this to happen.  This could only be considered by the authorities if the Parish Council made an official request and they would need the police and the Ward Councillor to support this. Everyone agreed that the Clerk should be instructed to make contact with Donna Tregenza to request that the ‘necessary process be started to get a TRO in place.
The Chairman asked the CSO when the speed limit along the A44 was likely to be reduced to 30mph as he felt that this issue had been in progress for an inordinate length of time. The CSO said that she was not aware of any proposed changes to the speed limit. Because the Locality Steward, Donna Tregenza, was the person who had first told the Council about this change and the likely time scale in which it would take place Cllr Baker agreed to make further enquiries of the authorities and report back to the Parish Council.
Before the CSO left the meeting she drew everyone’s attention to the fact that two vehicles had recently been broken into in Grendon Firs. She asked Councillors to encourage everyone in their neighbourhoods to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour by phoning 101.
The Chairman thanked the CSO for attending the meeting and for the explanations and advice that she had given.
Action by: Clerk
Action by: Ward Cllr Baker

16/95 Development land along the A44 belonging to Mr P Foster
Before opening this discussion the Chairman enquired of Cllr Piggott about his perceived relationship with the developer, Mr Foster.  Cllr Piggott confirmed that Mr Foster was just an acquaintance who had sought his views about the idea of development in the village at an early stage. Cllr Baker confirmed that if this were the case Cllr Piggott’s interest in these matters would be personal rather than pecuniary and would not exclude him from contributing fully to the item.
The Chairman then placed the drawing that had been provided by Mr Foster on the table.  This drawing was annotated ‘sites adjacent to Brockington House Bredenbury – density layout for discussion only’.  The drawing indicated the type of housing and the density of housing that the developer had in mind for each of the plots. It also indicated the size and positioning of the community car park that had been referred to by the developer as a planning gain.  Ward Cllr Baker felt that this was just a drawing giving a suggestion as to a possible layout for the two sites rather than actual plans that would have given a clearer idea of what the completed developments would look like.  They did not really convey enough information to enable a constructive discussion. There was no clear indication of the types of houses or number of houses per hectare. In the absence of this information it was impossible to determine the amount of money that could be obtained from any Section 106 Agreement that could be used for the extra amenities that Councillors wanted to be provided to benefit the whole community.  Without an indication of the amount of money that could be available for extra amenities it was pointless for Councillors speculate on the types of benefits and planning gains that they would like to see incorporated into the schemes. Additionally, from the drawing it was unclear if those houses that appeared to be designated as affordable houses would be provided with garages.  If that was the case, Councillors felt that many of the spaces in the community car park would be permanently taken up with vehicles belonging to these properties as well as overflow vehicles from many of the other properties, despite of those properties having drives and garages.  This would be very difficult to police and would preclude the benefit of a community car park that was intended for use by users of the village hall, school and church.
Ward Cllr Baker suggested that the Clerk should write to Mr Foster suggesting that he should seek pre-planning advice from the planning authority in order to establish exactly what scale and type of development they would allow on the two sites.  With this knowledge to hand all parties could settle into some meaningful discussion as to how the project could proceed. All Councillors were in agreement with this action whilst re-iterating their continuing support for the proposed developments.
Action by: Clerk

16/96 Report from District Ward Councillor Bruce Baker
Cllr Baker advised that Hereford, although a small City, was putting in a bid to become the City of Culture for 2021.
Herefordshire Council’s new website should be up and running within the next month and they have promised that it will be much more ‘user friendly’.
The Highways Department are preparing themselves for their winter gritting programme as they have 600 miles of priority routes to grit.
If the proposed Boundary Commission changes go ahead then we could lose our MP as North Herefordshire constituency could merge with South Shropshire.
Some 60% of Hereford’s budget goes on Adult Care and Children’s Services and they still have to reduce their budget by a massive £87m.
At the moment he does not know the forecast for Council Tax in 2017/18 although if this rises above 2% a referendum has to take place.
Hereford Council is exploring the benefits of becoming a non-constituent member of the West Midlands Combined Authority Group and has applied to join.
Worcester City Council has made a bid to the Government so that they can dual Worcester’s Carrington Bridge. This is also being supported by Herefordshire Council. If successful this work is forecast to resolve Worcester’s traffic problems by 2020 with the add-on benefit to traffic flows into Herefordshire.
Ward Cllr Baker said that he would forward to the Clerk a report giving details of the Syrian refugees that are being accepted into our County.
The Chairman thanked Ward Cllr Baker for his Report.
Action by: Cllr Baker

16/98 Correspondence
The Clerk confirmed that no written correspondence had been received that merited discussion. Any emails or important information that had been received has been disseminated to all Councillors as it arose.

16/99 Planning applications
163387 Mrs Jane Piggott, Grendon Manor, Bredenbury, HR7 4TH
Extension to existing Poultry House.
The Chairman confirmed that the details of this application had been passed around all of the Councillors.  No objections or issues had been raised.  The Clerk had responded to Herefordshire Planning Dept accordingly.

The Chairman enquired if anyone had any information or had heard any rumours as to what might be happening with St. Richards School – no one had heard anything.

16/100 Neighbourhood Plan
Cllr Fowler confirmed that following on from the last council meeting he had drafted a letter, which he had forwarded to the Clerk, that outlined his suggestions for a form of wording that could be used in a letter that could be sent to all residents in a final effort to gauge the interest, to try and re-kindle awareness in resurrecting a HNP and to try to move things along once again.  This letter was laid on the table for consideration by all Councillors.  Cllr Fowler reported that in the meantime he had spoken yet again to those people and others, that he felt had shown some interest in helping to form a working party but he had found that any interest or enthusiasm had waned considerably.  The Chairman enquired of Councillors if they still felt the idea of a NHP should still be pursued in view of the lack of enthusiasm and interest that had been shown throughout, despite Cllr Fowler’s and others’ efforts over an extended period.  Councillors felt that without willing participants prepared for the long haul there was little point in continuing the exercise and that there was no point in sending the letter.  It was pointed out that if the proposed development of the two plots of land either side of Brockington House went ahead, as was likely, then the housing requirements that could be imposed on Bredenbury in the absence of a NHP would be more than met anyway.  It was agreed by all that the idea of a NHP should be set aside, pending any further developments.

16/101 Highways
1) SID’s
The Clerk confirmed that the SID’s are now operational again. The first deployment would be in December 2016 and further deployments during 2017 would be to the same schedule as previous years, totalling 8 deployments per year. She advised that there was a significant increase in the cost of these from £150.00 +VAT per deployment to £250.00 +VAT per deployment. Both the Chairman and the Clerk pointed out that although the increase is significant, because there are only a limited number of devices available and parish councils were competing for their use, it would be advisable to continue with them at least for the time being. If we lost them to other villages, we might never get the use of them back again. We could review the situation as and when the promised speed limit reduction comes into force. Everyone was in agreement.
Proposed by: Cllr Piggott
Seconded by: Cllr Fowler

2) Valley View properties bordering A44
The Chairman enquired of the Councillors that because of the issues that had arisen recently regarding obstructions to the footpath if they were in agreement that a letter be sent to the occupiers of the properties in Valley View, whose boundaries border the A44, reminding them of their responsibility to trim back any vegetation that is overhanging the footpath and also to ensure that their boundary fences are kept in a good state of repair. All Councillors were in favour of the Clerk sending a reminder letter.
Proposed by: Cllr Piggott
Seconded by: Cllr Thorne
Action by: Clerk

3) Any other highway issues
The Chairman had received a telephone call from a local resident asking that he contact Herefordshire Council about a large tree stump on the verge in vicinity of Brockington Grange that the resident felt was in danger of slipping into the main carriageway of the A44. The Chairman confirmed that he had located the tree stump in question and had taken photographs, which he would now forward to the Locality Steward with a request that she visit the site and take any necessary action.
Action by: Chairman

The Chairman requested that the Clerk remind the Locality Stewart about the grit bins that had been requested to be sited at 2 points along Wacton Green Lane. The suggested locations had been pinpointed on a map that he had provided. This action had been first requested in 2015. The Clerk confirmed that she had recently sent the Locality Steward another email to ask when this was going to happen. So far no response had been received. The Chairman was of the opinion that we will be told that the Parish Council will have to pay for these out of the precept but that BB’s or Herefordshire Council’s workforce would have to install them. The Clerk was asked to raise the issue again.
Action by: Clerk

16/102 Technology
The Clerk advised Councillors that she felt that she needed more training on the website as she really wanted to ‘get to grips’ with entering information and pictures. She had contacted Mark Millmore of Eyelid Productions who had confirmed that he was happy to give her 2 hours training in this specific area but that this would cost £60.00 per hour. The Chairman enquired of the Councillors if they were happy for the Clerk to proceed with this arrangement. All were in agreement.
Proposed by: Cllr Piggott
Seconded by: Cllr Thorne

16/103 Lengthsman Scheme
The Clerk read out an email she received from Balfour Beatty regarding the future of this scheme. In previous years Hereford Council has provided £120.00 per km of C and U class roads. The Clerk confirmed that the Parish Council has 7.5km of this type of road to maintain therefore the previous funding had been in the sum of £900.00 In addition to this amount the Parish Council +was able to receive a further £750.00 provided that they match funded this amount. This money was to be used for the repair of small pot holes on C and U roads. However the funding for 2017 has been dramatically cut back to just £30.00 per km reducing the total grant now available to £225.00. Additionally the Parish Council will now have to pay for small pothole repairs with no funding available for this. The Parish Council will have to contribute from their precept the sum of £60.00 per km thus making the their contribution to £450.00 Therefore the total spend available for the Lengthsman Scheme will be £675.00, which is greatly reduced from previous years. The Chairman asked the Councillors if they wished the Clerk to proceed to register the Parish Council’s Expression of Interest in spite of the reductions. The application has to be completed and returned to Balfour Beatty by the end of December. After some debate Councillors agreed that the Parish Council should continue with the Scheme as ongoing repairs were always required on the C and U roads. Accordingly the Clerk was requested to complete the necessary Expression of Interest form.
Action by: Clerk

16/104 Update from Footpaths and Rights of Way Officers
Cllr Milton had nothing to report. Cllr Piggott had nothing to report. Cllr Gwynne had nothing to report.

16/105 Update from Police and Rural watch Liaison Officer
Cllr Milton informed that she had attended the last Police meeting but because PC John Meek had not been present there was not much to be report, other than to advise that John-Paul Campion was the newly appointed Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Mercia Police Authority.

16/106 Items to be included on next agenda
Cllr Fowler advised that he had been made aware of a perceived nuisance that Bredenbury’s church bells were said to be causing at times and requested that this issue be discussed at the next meeting.

Reconfirm date of next meeting
The date of the next meeting was set for January 9th 2017 to commence at 14-30

The Chairman thanked everyone for their attendance and input to the meeting. He closed the meeting at 16:45