MINUTES OF MEETING OF BREDENBURY & DISTRICT GROUP PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON MONDAY 28th SEPTEMBER 2015 IN BREDENBURY PARISH ROOM
PRESENT: Cllrs D Sutton (Chairman) Cllr H Milton Cllr M Piggott Cllr P Thorne
Cllr B Fowler Ward Cllr B Baker Clerk R Sutton
Members of the Public Present: There were no members of the public present
15/85 Acceptance of Office
Cllr B Fowler confirmed that his completed Notice of Registerable Interests document had been signed and returned to Herefordshire Council. As required he gave a copy to the Clerk for the Parish Council’s own records.
18/86 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – Cllr C Gwynn
15/87 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – None declared
15/88 CHAIRMAN’S REMARKS
It had been reported to the Chairman that there had been confusion over the names of the current Parish Councillors. Someone had mistakenly told a planning applicant that an elector from Grendon Parish was a member of the Parish Council and that person was also a member of the Council’s Planning Committee that had not supported the applicant’s recent planning application. Neither of these statements was true. The Chairman was very concerned that someone had confused the name of a newer member of the Council with that of the said elector and thus had transmitted completely erroneous information that had been widely accepted. He reminded everyone of his or her obligation to always relay totally accurate and impartial information if ever they were asked about any of the business that the Council had conducted. The Chairman made it clear that in fact, the Parish Council had unanimously supported the planning application in question and that their written statement of support had been published on Herefordshire Council’s Planning website and that their support for this particular application was in the public domain for everyone to see.
Action by All Councillors
The Chairman conveyed to all members that the Clerk was increasingly disappointed that when she sends out emails to them that require their response, then not every Councillor can be relied upon to respond to her. Often the responses that she does receive can be somewhat tardy. He reminded everyone that this makes her job very difficult as she then has to issue reminders in order obtain replies to requests for information or for comment, and she is then obliged to make decisions, without ever having the complete views of all the Councillors. Deadlines have to be met. Obviously this is a very unsatisfactory and frustratingly impossible position to put her into. He appealed to every one of the Councillors to co-operate and help to eliminate these situations. He emphasised that even a simple yes or no or just a non-committal reply should be feasible.
Action by All Councillors
Cllr Milton and Cllr Piggott requested that the Clerk send them text messages to remind them to look at their emails, as they do not check these on a regular basis.
15/89 MEETING WILL BE ADJOURNED FOR PARISHIONERS QUESTIONS
As no members of the public were present the meeting was not adjourned.
15/90 ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 13TH JULY 2015
The minutes of the meeting held on the 13th July 2015 had been circulated. The Chairman enquired if everyone had received and read them and if they agreed that these were a true and accurate record of that meeting. All were in agreement and the minutes were duly proposed, accepted and signed by the Chairman. Proposed by: Cllr Milton Seconded by: Cllr Fowler
15/91 FINANCIAL MATTERS
• Report from Clerk
The Clerk handed everyone a copy of the latest spreadsheet detailing the Parish Council’s income and expenditure to date. She explained the detail of each item including those of the Lengthsman account. No queries or issues were raised. A copy of the spreadsheet is held on record with these minutes.
• ICO (Data Protection)
The Clerk advised that data protection was a lawful requirement and therefore the annual fee was paid by direct debit thus ensuring that the Parish Council were always fully compliant
• Cheques requiring signature
The Clerk requested that cheques be signed for the following:
HALC Website Training – £60.00 (two persons attending)
Balfour Beatty for deployment of SIDS for May/June/July/August – £720.00
Clerk’s expenses including payment for recent purchase of the printer that was required to enable the Parish Council to comply with the requirements of the Transparency Code – £229.27
(All receipts are on file for audit purposes)
Hire of Bredenbury Parish Room for 10 meetings from March 2014 to and including September 2015 – £160.00. A cheque in the sum of £160.00 was issued and handed to Cllr Thorne who is the Treasurer for Bredenbury Parish Room.
The Clerk reminded Councillors that the next meeting would include discussion and agreement of the Annual Precept for 2016. To enable the Councillors to give their full consideration to this in advance of the meeting, she agreed to prepare a spreadsheet outlining a draft budget and a probable amount of the precept. She undertook to forward a copy of this to each of them by email. They agreed to give this their deliberation and bring to the meeting any adjustments, alterations or omissions that they wanted considered. The Chairman emphasised the importance of the annual precept because this affects everyone in the parish who pays Council Tax and that the responsibility of setting a realistic and achievable rate should not be undertaken lightly and without considered thought by everyone involved.
Action by: Clerk & All Councillors
The Clerk had received a letter and some leaflets from the Electoral Services Office at Hereford explaining that they carry out a canvas of every property in Herefordshire once a year to determine that a household enquiry response has been returned by every property in the county with regard to the register of persons being able to vote, even if there had been no changes. The leaflets that were enclosed were to encourage as many people as possible to register to vote and to remind people that will need to re-register if they have moved to a new address. Agreed that copies should be put on the Council’s notice board and a supply delivered to the Barneby Inn for circulation locally.
Action by: Clerk
The Clerk had received an email from WISH (Wellbeing Information Signposting for Hereford). This is an initiative by Hereford Council in response to the new Care Act. SIL (Services for Independent Living) has been commissioned by them to run this service, which aims to enable the residents of Herefordshire to find information and advice on all aspects of health, social care and wellbeing. The WISH website, which is apparently only temporary at present, offers an opportunity to promote the Parish Council and its activities in WISH’s directory. Any group or club within the parish is also welcome to register and add their information to the directory. Hereford Council will need to approve all entries on this website in order o make sure that any statutory requirements are met. After discussion, Councillors agreed to decline the invitation to register in the directory because the Parish Council does not, and was unlikely to be able to provide any of the services required. This email will be kept on file with these minutes for future reference.
15/93 PLANNING APPLICATIONS
• 151676 – Wicton Farm, Wicton Lane, Winslow, HR7 4LR
The Chairman reported that this application had been granted, with a number of the usual conditions for an application of this type attached, including that of an agricultural occupancy, which the Parish Council had asked for.
• 152096 – Wacton Farm, Wacton Lane, Bredenbury, HR7 4TQ
The Chairman reported that to date no decision had been recorded. He informed, however, that an objection from Kate Graham, Building Conservation, had been recorded on Herefordshire’s Planning website, dated the 9th September 2015, that stated, ‘whilst there is no in principle objection to the proposed scheme, there is some concern over the proposed design. A new building in this location needs to be simply detailed and complementary to the character, appearance and special interest of the nearby barn and listed building. A building with a modest agricultural character would suit this site. While the proposed scheme partly achieves this, the proposed balcony with its glazed balustrade adds a discordant and domestic feature to this otherwise functional, commercial building. There appears to be no requirement for a balcony on this building and in design terms it appears superfluous and at odds with the wider agricultural and historic character and appearance of the surrounding area”.
• Any other Planning Applications received after the date of this Agenda
To date no further planning applications had been received.
Cllr Piggott brought to the Council’s attention a rough sketch that he had been given by Mr Philip Foster that outlined an idea for the possible development of the land between Harp Cottage and Brockington House. As owner of the land, Mr Foster had indicated that he wished to obtain the Council’s initial views on an application that he would like to submit at future date. He felt that the development could include a community car parking area dedicated to users of the Church and Parish Hall. The Chairman suggested that Mr Foster’s offer to meet with Councillors to discuss his scheme should be accepted and that an informal meeting with input from both parties would be useful and should be arranged. However at this juncture and until an official detailed planning application had been received via Herefordshire Council this item could not be debated quantitatively in official council.
• Update from Cllr Piggott reference the vehicle that had been leaking waste onto the public highway along Harp Lane.
Cllr Piggott reported that he had spoken with the owner of the vehicle in question and that this matter has been resolved.
• Parish Signage
The Clerk confirmed that she had spoken with Herefordshire Council’s Highways and with Balfour Beatty to ascertain if planning permission was needed in respect of the installation of ‘Welcome’ and ‘Thank You’ types of signage on the A44 at the entrances and exits to Bredenbury village. She had been told that Balfour Beatty could provide and install this design and model of signage at a cost, but that a survey would be necessary to ensure the signage is not placed over any service cables/pipes and that it can be positioned in accordance with the current regulations. Cllr Milton enquired when the impending reduction of the speed limit to 30mph through Bredenbury was likely to take place as the Parish Council had been previously led to believe this was imminent. She commented that the local PC, John Meek, was also aware of the pending speed reduction, which suggested that it was ‘on the cards’ for implementation soon. Councillors felt that before appropriate signage could be considered, further clarification of the timing of the reduction in the speed limit was necessary. Ward Cllr Baker agreed to speak with the Locality Steward regarding this.
Action by: Cllr Baker
• Grit Bins
The Clerk advised that none of the Councillors had responded to her email regarding additional grit bins or replacements for any of the damaged ones in their respective districts. She advised however she had already asked that an additional bin be sited on the corner of the junction of Valley View with the C1062 (Harp Lane) as suggested by Cllr Fowler. The provision and siting of grit bins is one of the issues that the Chairman has been asked to raise with the Locality Steward during his forthcoming meeting with her.
Cllr Milton observed that she had noticed that the SID located at the village hall was out of action because it had been turned around and was no longer facing traffic along the A44. The Clerk confirmed that she was aware of this. Balfour Beatty had telephoned her to advise that the SID would not be operational in September. Subsequently she had received an email from Balfour Beatty stating that there would not be any deployment of SIDS during month of October either. This was due to staff illness and shortages. The Clerk reported that she had noted her records accordingly to ensure that the Council was not charged for those two months. Because of the absence of SIDS during these two months some of the Councillors questioned whether the Council should continue with the SIDS programme. The Clerk’s advice was that if the Parish Council were to withdraw from the programme it would be highly unlikely that they could re-join at a later date. The Chairman said that from sundry meetings that he and Clerk had attended it had become obvious that there was a shortage of SIDS and that they were in big demand by other parishes. At these meetings they had often received pleas from neighbouring parish councils to share our facility. He opined that our foresight and commitment in obtaining an exclusive arrangement for their deployment in Bredenbury had been both wise and timely and they should not be relinquished lightly. Therefore both his and the Clerk’s advice was to think hard before opting out of the SIDS programme.
• Any other Highway issues
Cllr Piggott drew attention to the letterbox drains along the stretch of the A44 between Grendon and Bredenbury that are blocked by debris. Surface water fails to drain away and is forced onto the footpath and also along the gutter to form substantial pools that are hazardous to traffic and pedestrians. He also expressed concern about both Herefordshire Council’s and the utility companies’ contractors practice of leaving tree pruning’s and brash cuttings in local ditches. The Chairman undertook to raise these issues during the forthcoming meeting with the Locality Steward. Ward Cllr Baker commented that there were similar issues throughout the county simply because Balfour Beatty do not have enough funds or staff to do these jobs and supervise them properly. The Clerk reported that she had already asked the Locality Steward to arrange the spraying of weeds and for the removal of debris and rubbish from the gutters and footpath along the length of the A44 from Grendon Firs to the Primary School.
The Clerk had enquired from the Locality Steward whether the Lengthsman is permitted to carry out repairs to the stone bridge on Wk.11, which is currently closed. The Locality Steward had advised that she needed to request that bridge engineers carry out a survey to ascertain the extent of the work and the likely costs. However, because there is a long list of outstanding works this was not likely to happen in the near future. Once the Locality Steward has obtained the engineers’ report she has promised to report back to the Clerk to ascertain if the Lengthsman could be utilised and whether this could be a way forward.
The Chairman advised that he had reported a case of fly tipping to Herefordshire Council. Despite the fact that he had given the exact location of the offence and had also pinpointed this on the Council’s interactive map the Council’s operatives stated that they were unable to find the offending material. Both the Clerk and the Chairman had since made several ‘phone calls to the Council reconfirming the exact location in an effort to get this issue resolved. Subsequently a local resident had also reported the offence to Herefordshire Council but to date the problem has not yet been attended to. The Clerk and Chairman will continue to pursue this.
Action by: Clerk and Chairman
Cllr Fowler reported on the passing bay opposite the entrance to St. Andrews Close that had been constructed to alleviate the problems that were occurring when farm machinery and traffic needed to pass one another at this narrow point. Vehicles were often parked there for long periods, particularly during the school’s opening and leaving times, and they were causing obstructions. This had also caused problems when a resident of St. Andrews Close wanted to exit the Close in his motorhome but was unable to do so. It was agreed that the Clerk should write to the Headmistress of the primary school urging that she communicate to all parents that this bay is intended to be used as a convenient passing place for the benefit of all, and that it is not intended for parking. It was also suggested that a notice should be installed in the bay declaring ‘Passing Bay Only’. The Chairman agreed to see if a notice could be installed and that this would be one of the items that he would discuss with the Locality Steward at their forthcoming meeting.
Action by: Clerk and Chairman
Update on Website
The Clerk reported that she and the Chairman have now attended two workshops organised by HALC and that between them they have started the varied tasks involved in putting together the preliminary skeleton of the Parish Council’s own website. They have taken the advice of HALC and the Clerk is currently in the process of obtaining to a ‘gov.co’ domain name and ‘gov.co’ email ID to be used in conjunction with the website. HALC are being given a sum of money by NALC that is to be used to help to fund those members of HALC that are setting up websites, This will enable them to comply with the Transparency Code. The Clerk has the necessary forms that will need to be completed and returned with complete costing’s in order to enable us to obtain a share of this funding.
Action by: Clerk
The Clerk informed that she has requested Lynda Wilcox, the CEO of HALC to offer some dates on which she would be able to undertake an ‘in-house’ training session for all of the Parish Councillors. This training had been agreed in the Parish Council meeting held on the 18th May 2015. The Clerk stated that as soon as she receives a reply from Lynda Wilcox she would email each of the Councillors to ensure that everyone can and will attend on one of the dates.
Action by: Clerk
15/97 LENGTHSMAN SCHEME
Cllr Milton reported that the landowner had not yet attended to the obstructive overgrowth at the beginning of footpath Wk 2. At the meeting held on the 13th July 2013 it had been pointed out that the Parish Council was permitted to ask the Lengthsman to undertake this work if the landowner was unwilling to do so and that the Council would then be entitled led to ask for reimbursement of the Lengthsman’s costs from the landowner. Before proceeding with this course of action Cllr Milton was asked to discuss the matter further with the landowner to try achieve an amicable resolution to the issue.
Action by: Cllr Milton
• Locality Steward
Because there are currently so many highway and footpath issues that need attention, the Clerk was asked to try to bring forward the meeting that was being arranged between Donna Tregenza, our Locality Steward, and the Chairman with Councillors. This meeting is provisionally scheduled for Friday 16th October at 10:30 outside the Parish Hall. The Clerk undertook to email the Councillors prior to any revised meeting date to remind them of it. Cllrs Milton and Piggott requested that the Clerk also remind them both by text.
Action by: Clerk
15/98 PARISH HALL
The Chairman informed that the Clerk has now been invited to be a member of the Parish Hall Committee. In that role she had agreed to also represent the Parish Council and liaise between the two bodies. She had attended her first meeting.
15/99 UPDATE RE DEFIBRILATOR
The Chairman advised that the defibrillator that had been part-funded by the Parish Council had been purchased and has been installed on an outside wall at the Barneby Inn. It was now fully functional. The proprietors of the Barneby will advise the Clerk when the necessary training session or sessions will be held. These are designed to enable Councillors and parishioners to familiarise themselves with the use of this equipment.
Action by: Clerk
15/100 UPDATE FROM FOOTPATHS & RIGHTS OF WAY OFFICERS
Cllr Milton advised that she had nothing of significance to report. However she was still waiting for the up-to-date ‘Letters of Authority for Footpath and Rights of Way Officers’ from the Locality Steward that the Clerk had been asked to obtain. The Clerk confirmed that she had made the necessary request but that the Locality Steward had stated that she would prefer to meet up with the Council’s three PROW officers in order that she could also give them necessary maps, way-markers, and other equipment. It will also be an opportunity to discuss what is outstanding on the local PROW network. The Clerk gave Cllr Milton the Locality Steward’s contact details and asked that she make contact directly with Donna to arrange the requested meeting. The Locality Steward’s contact details are mobile 07791 926387 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Action by: Cllr Milton
15/101 UPDATE FROM POLICE & RURAL WATCH LIAISON OFFICER
Cllr Milton reported that at a recent meeting that had been held in Brimfield the delegates were given details about a new facility called Facewatch. This system has been set up as a crime-reporting tool that will allow shops and businesses to instantly share CCTV pictures of suspects with each other electronically. It was stated that there has been a lack of NHW co-ordination recently. Mr Paul Crumpton has been appointed as the new NHW co-ordinator for Herefordshire and he is hoping to obtain additional money for NHW signage. Cllr Milton had enquired if there was a local NHW person in Valley View but was unable to obtain an answer to her question.
15/102 REPORT FROM DISTRICT WARD COUNCILLOR BRUCE BAKER
Cllr Baker reported that Hereford Library and Museum was now closed temporarily following the discovery of trace levels of asbestos in the building.
The Council Tax Reduction Scheme that is being considered will not affect pensioners because a Central Government scheme determines the level of support that is to be provided for all pension age applicants.
Recycling in the county is going well and has gone up by 5.3%.
Herefordshire Council’s public health team are urging all parents to have their children vaccinated against MMR. The latest figures for Herefordshire show that one in ten children have not received their first MMR dose, whilst two in ten have not had their second dose, leaving them vulnerable to these serious diseases.
Herefordshire Council have taken the decision to ban all Chinese Sky Lanterns being released from any of the Council’s land. Cllr Baker was instrumental in campaigning for the ban. From now on, when the Council are asked to issue event licences for any premises, there will be a clause included within the terms of these licences that will ban the use of sky lanterns.
Cllr Baker confirmed that the Local Development Framework or Core Strategy LDF has been agreed and signed off and can now be implemented.
The Chairman thanked Cllr Baker for disseminating this information and for his useful comments and observations during the meeting.
15/103 ITEMS TO BE INCLUDED ON NEXT AGENDA
The Chairman reminded that any items that Councillors needed to be included in the next agenda should be notified to the Clerk at least 7 days before the date of the next meeting.
RECONFIRM DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Scheduled for 9th November 2015
The Chairman closed the meeting at 21:45. He thanked everyone for their attendance and their contributions.