MINUTES OF MEETING OF BREDENBURY & DISTRICT GROUP PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON 9TH MARCH 2015 IN BREDENBURY PARISH ROOM
PRESENT: Cllrs D. Sutton (Chairman). Cllrs: H. Milton P. Thorne K. Nielsen C. Gwynn
District Cllr G. Swinford R. Sutton (Clerk)
15/18 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – Cllr M Piggott (notified by telephone)
District Cllr J. Millar
15/19 Declarations of Interest: None Declared
Members of the Public Present: There were no members of the public present
15/20 CHAIRMAN’S REMARKS
The Chairman opened the meeting at 19:38 and expressed everyone’s disappointment and inconvenience that the Hall had not been opened, which meant members had arrived at a cold and unwelcoming venue. This was despite the fact that the custodians of the Hall had been reminded of the date of this meeting and they had also been notified the dates of all of the Parish Council’s future meetings. This necessitated a delay by having to obtain a key from ex Cllr. Fellows before the Hall could be opened and the meeting could commence. It was agreed by all that the Clerk should seek permission from the Parish Hall Committee for the Parish Council to have a key of their own cut, in order to try to avoid any repeat of these circumstances in the future.
Action by: Clerk
The Chairman advised that item 15/21 was to be withdrawn from the Agenda following the strong advice to do so that had been received from both of our District Councillors and also from HALC. District Cllr Millar had emailed the Clerk advising that if Mr Gibbard were allowed to attend and to address this meeting as a prospective Ward Councillor, then the Parish Council would have been in danger of breaching the established convention and pre-election protocol revolving around the rules of purdah. They were thus possibly being in serious danger of holding an illegal meeting. Cllr Millar had asked for an assurance from the Clerk that item 15/21 would be withdrawn. Cllr Swinford had also emailed the Clerk to point out the discomfort that he had felt when Mr Gibbard had been allowed to participate in another Parish Council’s meeting that he himself had attended. The Chairman reported that the Clerk had then sought confirmation from HALC that this item should be withdrawn as advised, and had also asked for additional instruction on how to proceed. HALC had confirmed that the District Councillors’ advice was correct and they had also reinforced the recommendation that the item should be withdrawn. They had advised the Clerk to ‘phone Mr Gibbard as soon as possible to relay the position to him. However, on making contact with Mr Gibbard attempting to do this, Mr Gibbard had immediately told the Clerk that he had already withdrawn his candidacy and consequently he did not intend to be present at the meeting. Therefore the issue had resolved itself without further ado.
The Clerk’ reported that during the conversation with HALC, whilst seeking the advice referred to above, she was asked by HALC which persons were usually sat around the table at our Parish Council meetings. She replied by saying that the table usually consisted of the Parish Councillors, the District Councillors, and the Clerk. She was then told that under the rules and regulations of Parish Council meetings it was not appropriate for District Councillors to be seated at the main table. It emerged that they should be considered as invited guests and as such should be given a separate table. She was advised that, strictly speaking, Ward Councillors are only there to deliver their reports, to answer questions, and to comment and give advice only when requested to do so. However, as this was to be District Cllr Swinford’s very last meeting representing Bringsty Ward, and because of the significance of the occasion, the Chairman chose to invite him to the table, with the unanimous approval of everyone present.
Action by: Clerk
15/21 ADDRESS BY MR BILL GIBBARD, PROSPECTIVE DISTRICT CLLR FOR HAMPTON WARD
Item withdrawn for the reasons stated above
15/22 MEETING WILL BE ADJOURNED FOR PARISHIONERS QUESTIONS
As no members of the public were present the meeting was not adjourned.
15/23 ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON MONDAY 19TH JANUARY 2015
The Chairman asked if everyone had received the Minutes of the meeting held on the 19th January 2015 and if they considered them to be a true and accurate record of that meeting. There were no questions or queries raised, therefore the Minutes were adopted as a true record and signed by the Chairman.
Proposed: Cllr Thorne
Seconded: Cllr Milton
15/24 FINANCIAL MATTERS
• Report from Clerk
The Clerk handed everyone a copy of an up-to-date spreadsheet that she had prepared which detailed the income and expenditure for the Parish Council and also for the Lengthsman Scheme. She asked if anyone had any queries or questions about the figures shown. There were no queries raised. A copy of this spreadsheet has been placed on file with these minutes for future reference.
The Clerk confirmed that the Precept of £5360.00, which had been agreed by Councillors, had been presented to Herefordshire Council and had been accepted by them. This will be paid in two instalments, the first of which will be received on the 17th April 2015.
The Clerk confirmed that she would be sending a completed VAT form to HMRC at the end of the month and that the total amount that she was reclaiming to date amounted to £293.46.
The Clerk confirmed that she would be completing the Audit requirements by the end of this month. However it was not clear to her whether an external audit was now required as there had been a draft document issued that seemed to indicate that any Parish Council that had an income of less than £25,000 would need only to have an internal audit. The Clerk said she would be contacting HALC to clarify the requirements.
Action by: Clerk
• The Clerk had received an invitation from BBLP for two persons from the Council to attend a briefing about the Public Realm Annual Plan for 2015/16. This briefing was to take place on the 19th March 15 and the invitation was for a maximum of 2 persons from each Parish Council. The Chairman said he would be prepared to go and he asked if anyone else would attend with him. Cllr Milton suggested that she would be able to accompany him. The Clerk was asked to reply to BBLP accordingly.
Action by: Clerk
• The Clerk read out a letter she had received from The Earl Mortimer College. The College wanted to make Councillors aware of a flyer they will be sending out to all the households in our three Parishes. The flyer will advertise the College and confirm that they will be running a subsidised bus route from our area to the College.
• The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) had sent a letter requesting that as many Parishes as possible hold a “Fish N Chips Evening”, with all proceeds going to the SIA, and that a flyer could been placed on the Parish Council’s Notice Board. Cllr Milton suggested instead that she take the flyer and the letter to the Barneby, as she felt that it could be something they could organise. Accordingly the letter and flyer were given to Cllr Milton.
Action by: Cllr Milton
15/26 PLANNING APPLICATIONS
• 150515 – WICTON FARM, WINSLOW, HR7 4LR
Applicant: Mr Anthony Howlett
Description: Proposed milking parlour extension to existing cattle building
The application details and drawings of this planning application were placed on the table and passed around the Parish Councillors for their comments and observations to be recorded. No issues or objections were raised. The Clerk was asked to reply to the Planning Authority accordingly.
The Chairman handed out nomination forms and instruction packs to all of the Councillors present. He outlined the requirements of the forms and suggested that, those of them who intended to re-seek election could either ‘phone or email the Clerk to obtain the required elector numbers of their own proposers and seconders if they needed them. The Chairman reminded everyone that the nomination papers must be submitted in person and cannot be sent by post, fax, email or any other electronic means. He further reminded everyone that the deadline for lodging their nominations was 4pm on the 9th April 2015, and that they should ensure that a receipt for them was obtained at the time. The Chairman said that if anyone had any queries or questions or needed further clarification about procedure, then they could speak to him or the Clerk, who held a set of detailed instructions of the timetable and requirements of the local Ward and Parish elections.
The Clerk read out the reply she had received from the Locality Steward with reference to the correspondence from St. Richards School and the Parish Council regarding the concerns that had been expressed by St Richards about the visibility and the speed of vehicles along that stretch of the A44 alongside the school. In summary, the Highways Authority had stated that the existing road markings and signage at this point were adequate and were in fact compliant with all of the present regulations. They felt that to increase the severity of the present signage and markings would compound rather than alleviate the problem of speeding drivers making overtaking manoeuvres. Additionally they stated that the perceived issues regarding visibility should be addressed by St. Richards themselves, and offered suggestions as to how this could be achieved by attending to the hedges and fences at the entrances to the school.
The Clerk said that she had forwarded this response to St. Richards and had received a reply from the Principal, Fred de Falbe, expressing his disappointment at the outcome but thanking the Parish Council for supporting the school’s efforts.
Cllr Milton enquired whether the issue of the soil that spills out onto the carriageway of the A44 from the verge opposite the rear of Valley View had yet been tackled by BBLP. The Clerk advised that she had raised this issue again with the Locality Steward but it would seem that nothing has been done yet. The Clerk will remind the Locality Steward that this problem is still outstanding.
Action by: Clerk
The Chairman confirmed that the Lengthsman had now enlarged the width of road and had cut back the hedge opposite to the entrance to St. Andrews Close, in order to form a passing place. This was to enable large vehicles and tractors with agricultural machinery to pass one another at this point without having to mount the verge near the entrance to the Close, which had been happening frequently. Residents in the Close were concerned that the drainage and sewage systems for their properties, which are situated in this verge, could be seriously damaged. However the residents now report that the creation of this passing facility has caused another problem because some people, principally parents, are now using this area as a parking/waiting space whilst delivering or collecting children from Bredenbury Primary School. The Chairman suggested that a sign simply saying “No Parking Please – Passing Place only” could be obtained by the Parish Council and erected at this spot. It was felt that perhaps the Clerk should also write to Bredenbury Primary School suggesting that parents are requested not to park or wait on that particular part of the road.
Action by: Clerk and Chairman
15/29 PARKING – CHURCH AND PARISH HALL
(Report from Chairman)
The Chairman reported that he had been invited by Mrs Lindy Howlett to attend and represent the Parish Council at a meeting that she had arranged between St Andrews PCC and representatives from the Hereford Diocese. The objective of the meeting was to determine if a strip of land from the front of the garden at the New Rectory could be utilised to make into a car park for the use of people attending St Andrews Church. After inspecting the site and considerable discussion, it was considered by the Diocesan representatives present that this would not be an option, not least because of the impact that it would have on the amenities of the New Rectory, but also the impact on the new Rector now in residence. Representatives of the PCC had suggested that an alternative would be to consider turning the narrow strip of neglected land in the churchyard that adjoins the boundary with the Primary School, together with the derelict piece of land at the rear of this, into a car parking area. If this idea were to be pursued then it would mean that a number of mature trees on the site would have to be felled, although they were not of any particular amenity value. Additionally, an entrance onto the A44 with visibility splays would have to be constructed. It was felt that the whole scheme would be achievable but would be both major and costly. The representatives of the Hereford Diocese felt that it was possible that they could agree that the areas of land indicated could be used in that way, but they would have to go away and discuss it further. The Chairman felt that the Parish Council should support the idea of a car park at that location and that the Parish Council should also assist the PCC in their endeavours as much as possible. He commended Mrs Lindy Howlett for her commitment to the project, and for her conduct and delivery of the meeting.
15/30 PARISH COUNCIL’S ARCHIVE
The Clerk reported that Cllr Piggott had made her aware that he now has in his possession numerous Parish Council documents that Jennie Piggott had handed to him. She had had custody of them during the period when she was the Clerk. The Chairman felt that whilst most of the planning applications in that archive could now be viewed ‘on-line’ it was still worth keeping these and many of the other documents in their paper format, for future reference. The Chairman enquired the feelings of Councillors regarding this idea and offered to donate a couple of lockable filing cabinets to the Parish Council in which to store them. Cllr Milton volunteered to help him to go through these records, together with those that are currently stored in the Parish Hall, to decide which of them should be kept and which of them should be destroyed. All Councillors were in favour of this course of action and decided that the filing cabinets should be kept in the Parish Hall.
Action by: Chairman and Cllr Milton
15/31 LENGTHSMAN SCHEME
The Clerk reported that she and the Chairman had attended the BBLP presentation that had outlined the requirements of the new Parish Lengthsman Scheme. The new scheme can now include the repair of some lower category potholes on C and U roads. It became apparent however that there are only three Lengthsman in the whole of Herefordshire who have the necessary U2 Street Works Card that allows them to repair potholes. Lengthsmen who don’t have their U2 Card can go on training courses to qualify for one, but this will incur costs that in some cases the Parish Councils’ will be asked to subsidise. If a Parish Council chooses not take up the option of repairing of potholes by their lengthsman, then any of these on C and U roads in that particular parish would have to go to the back of the queue for repair by BBLP. Those Parish Councils taking up the pothole option would need to cost out all the materials required from a ‘materials and equipment’ price list that BBLP have prepared. Parish Councils will have to enter into a new contract made between Herefordshire Council, the Locality Steward(s) and the Lenghtsman. Before any such contract can be entered into, the Parish Council will have to complete an Annual Maintenance Plan that includes all the proposed costing’s, and return this to BBLP. Presently, the person (usually the Clerk) who administers the Lengthsman Scheme is allowed to claim 10% of the Lengthsman Scheme’s allowance for the time involved in running it. However, this will no longer be the case, and in future the scheme will have to be administered without payment, and all money must be spent on the roads. The Clerk reported that she has never exercised this right anyway and has always redirected her allowance back into the Bredenbury scheme. After discussion it was unanimously agreed that the Parish Council should take up the pothole options in the new Lengthsman Scheme.
Action by: Clerk
Subsequent to item 15/12 in the January minutes the Clerk was asked if a second Lengthsman could be appointed because Councillors had agreed that George Day, our present Lengthsman, seemed to be so busy that sometimes it is difficult to get hold of him and difficult to get work completed. The Clerk reported that she had duly made contact, as instructed, with Mr Sam Walsh and Mr John Poyner in order to ascertain their workload and their qualifications. Mr Sam Walsh had advised her that he does not have his Street Works Card and had stated that he felt that it was not worth him attending any training to obtain this, as it would not be cost effective. Therefore this excluded him from our consideration. On the other hand, Mr John Poyner confirmed that he already has this qualification and that he had the capacity to take on further work. Therefore Councillors agreed that the Clerk should approach Mr Poyner with a view to him becoming one of our chosen Lengthsman.
Action by: Clerk
The Clerk reminded everyone that she has to submit the end of year accounts for the Lengthsman Scheme to BBLP by the 31st March 2015. She reported that there is a substantial balance still unspent in the Lengthsman’s account. It was agreed that some of this money should be spent on an order for road planings and that these should be stored to use in the future along Harp Lane in order to keep the passing places useable. Cllr Gwynn offered to store these planings at Horsnett Farm. The Chairman suggested that the Parish Council should take up her kind offer. Agreed by all.
Action by: Clerk
15/32 IT AND TRAINING
The Chairman confirmed that it is a now a requirement for all Parish Councils to have their own website. Presently there are some 85 Parishes in Herefordshire who do not have a website. Herefordshire Council had arranged a training course to provide help and instruction on how to build this type of website but they were only able to provide 10 places on this. This course is being delivered by an outside provider over a 5-week period and does incur significant cost to the Parish Councils attending. The Chairman advised that he and the Clerk had been prepared to register on this course as agreed, but in the event they could not attend, even if places had been available, because it clashed with another IT course that they are both attending. The Clerk had made enquires to ascertain if other opportunities for the same training would be available in the future and had been advised by Herefordshire Council that it had plans to hold another course, but later in the year. Cllr Gwynn also expressed an interest in attending.
15/33 UPDATE FROM FOOTPATHS & RIGHTS OF WAY OFFICER
Cllr Milton advised that she had nothing to report other than that persons unknown had torn down the ‘Closed’ notice that had been displayed on WK11 because of the dangerous bridge. The Clerk was asked to report this incident to the Locality Steward.
Action by: Clerk
15/34 UPDATE FROM POLICE & RURAL WATCH LIAISON OFFICER
Cllr Milton advised that she had nothing to report because the next Police & Rural Watch Meeting was not due to take place until Tuesday 10th March 2015.
15/35 REPORT FROM DISTRICT COUNCILLOR JEREMY MILLAR
In the absence of District Cllr Millar the Clerk confirmed that his report would be forwarded to all Councillors when received.
15/36 REPORT FROM DISTRICT COUNCILLOR GARY SWINFORD
District Cllr Swinford reported that Herefordshire Council’s Core Strategy had gone though an examination process that had lasted some 3 weeks and that this had taken place at Belmont Abbey. He said that many modifications to the plan were still required. The alternative plan put forward by Bromyard Town Council for our locality was still seen by them as a preferred plan. Because there are major modifications still to be made to the Core Strategy this means that it will have to go back out to consultation yet again and this will take some time. Therefore nothing is likely to happen until long after the election. He suggested that most NHP’s are now on hold until the Core Strategy is in finally in force.
He advised that various hedge and tree work has now been carried out across Bromyard Downs costing their Parish Council some £3,500. He confirmed that the planning application to build 120 houses off Pencombe Lane in Bromyard had been heavily rejected by Herefordshire Council; this was seen as a major victory for Bromyard Council’s Planning Councillors.
He said that he was pleased to advise that Herefordshire Council now have a manned Enforcement Department and a that a couple of enforcements have already been issued in Linley Green where 2 houses will have to be demolished because they had been built without obtaining planning permission.
Cllr Swinford reported that back in the 1960’s era Bromyard had started a ‘swimming pool fund’ and that over the years this fund had built up reserves of around £64,000. Because it is highly unlikely that a swimming pool could ever be built in Bromyard he had suggested to the Trustees of the fund that this money could be used to subsidise swimming lessons for every child in primary schools at Bredenbury, Brockhampton and Pencombe. Each of these schools could receive a subsistence of around £2.00 per child per lesson and at that rate the money could last between 8 and 10 years. At a recent Governors’ meeting at Bredenbury Primary School it was agreed that a letter would be written to every parent to advise them of the availability of these subsidised swimming lessons.
District Cllr Swinford ended his report by saying that because of the imminent ward boundary changes this would be his last attendance at meetings of Bredenbury Parish Council and he wished all the Councillors well for the future.
Responding on behalf of the Councillors, the Chairman thanked District Cllr Swinford for his continuous support of the Bredenbury group of Parishes throughout his term as a District Councillor, for his regular attendance at the Parish Council’s meetings, and for the sound advice and comment that he had often offered throughout this period.
15/37 ITEMS TO BE INCLUDED IN NEXT AGENDA
• Responsibilities of being a parish councillor.
RECONFIRM DATE OF NEXT MEETING
11th May 2015 to include the Annual Parish Meetings