Minutes of Meeting of Bredenbury & District Group Parish Council held on Monday 19th January 2015 in Bredenbury Parish Room
PRESENT: Cllrs D. Sutton (Chairman) H. Milton P. Thorne M. Piggott C Gwynn
District Cllr G. Swinford
R. Sutton (Clerk)
15/01 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – Cllr K Nielsen District Cllr J Millar
15/02 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – None declared. None recorded
Members of the Public Present: There were no members of the public present
15/03 CHAIRMAN’S REMARKS
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the New Year, and thanked all the Councillors that were present for their attendance. The meeting commenced on time at 19:30
15/04 MEETING WILL BE ADJOURNED FOR PARISHIONERS QUESTIONS
Because no members of the public were present the meeting was not adjourned.
15/05 ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL MEETING HELD ON MONDAY 17TH NOVEMBER 2014
Cllr Gwynn pointed out that the Clerk had omitted to include her name in the minutes as having been in attendance at the meeting on the 17th November. The Clerk duly amended the minutes accordingly. The Chairman then asked if everyone had received and read the minutes and if they were considered to be a true and accurate record of that meeting. There were no issues or queries raised, therefore adoption of the minutes was duly proposed and seconded. The Chairman then signed them.
Proposed: Cllr Milton
Seconded: Cllr Thorne
15/06 FINANCIAL MATTERS
• Report from Clerk
The Clerked handed everyone a spreadsheet that she had prepared earlier. This detailed the Parish Council’s income and expenditure to date. She explained the breakdown of the monies that related to the Parish Council and those that related to the Lengthsman Scheme. The present balance of the Parish Council’s money being £6,509.02 The balance of the Lengthsman Scheme money being £2,370.00. The Clerk confirmed that the total balance to date of both funds, namely £8,879.02 did agree with the latest bank statement that had been received. The Clerk confirmed that she had received a BACS payment from Herefordshire Council in respect of the Lengthsman Scheme in the sum of £1,825.20. A copy of this spreadsheet is held on record with the minutes.
• Cheques requiring signature:
The Clerk requested confirmation that it was in order for her to issue two cheques, one in the sum of £29.51 in respect of the setting up of the new email identity for the Parish Council and also to reserve a domain name in readiness for the Parish Council’s website, both of which will be hosted by Fasthosts. The second cheque was in respect of payment of the Clerk’s salary for the 6 months period August 2014 to end of January 2015. All were in agreement that these cheques should be issued.
The Clerk reported that she had sent an email to Mr. and Mrs. Chambers, whose property adjoins the land on which the trees have been felled along the A44. Her email explained that despite considerable efforts by both the Parish Council and District Cllr Swinford over a number of months, Herefordshire Council have advised that they do not intend to pursue the matter any further. Although they agreed that some of the trees that had been felled probably had T.P.O’s on them, they had been unable to locate their records of those individual trees and thus identify which of the trees had been felled in contravention. Therefore they were not willing to undertake any enforcement action due to lack of evidence. Mr. & Mrs. Chambers have expressed their disappointment but have accepted the outcome. They had thanked both the Parish Council and District Cllr Swinford for their efforts.
The Clerk reported receipt of a letter from an ‘Oil Buying Club’. The Chairman outlined the purpose and function of Oil Buying Clubs that had sprung up in many parts of the country and enquired of Councillors if they felt that this would be of any interest locally. After some debate it was decided that the running and co-ordinating of any such scheme would be outside of the Council’s remit and in any case would be too onerous for any individual Councillor to take on. It was therefore suggested that the Chairman should précis the letter for publication in ‘Roundabout the Parishes’ magazine, when perhaps someone else might take it up.
Action by: Chairman
15/08 PLANNING APPLICATIONS
• Definitive Map – proposed modification to Wk9 at Butterley Mill, Wacton
A report from Balfour Beatty had been received in respect of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981: Proposed Definitive Map Modification order: Addition of Footpath at Butterley Mill, Wacton. The report relates to an application in April 2006 whereby Mr W M Everitt from The Ramblers Association had applied to Herefordshire Council to modify the Definitive Map to include a missing section of footpath on WK9 at Butterley Mill in Wacton Parish. The Chairman, Cllr Milton and Cllr Piggott recalled the original application in 2006. They were surprised that at long last, after some 9 years, Balfour Beatty had got around to examining and considering it. The report states that Herefordshire Council’s recommendation is that no order should be made to re-instate the missing segment under section 53(2)(b) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, because there is no substantial evidence to prove that a public right of way ever existed at this point, although there is evidence that a Permissive Path may have existed at sometime in the past. All Councillors were agreed that it in the light of the recommendations and the evidence provided, that they would raise no objection to the Council’s recommendation. However they wished to point out that it made no sense for this footpath to come to an abrupt end at this point and not to join up with the remainder of the very same path that leads onto the metalled road beyond. This interruption means that walkers have to turn around and retrace their steps the entire way they had come. This causes inconvenience to the owners of the land that they have already walked through. It was suggested that Herefordshire Council should explore the provision of an alternative route. This could perhaps be routed to the west of Butterley Mill and Butterley Brook, away from that property. The Clerk was asked to respond to the application, agreeing the proposal, but pointing out the inconsistencies and a possible solution along the lines suggested.
Action by: Clerk
15/09 COMMUNITY RIGHT TO BID
The Clerk explained that this item had been put in the Agenda several times for discussion at previous meetings but had never been discussed satisfactorily enough to reach a conclusion. She felt that sooner or later the Council would be asked to nominate buildings or land that it believed to be community assets that they would be interested in acquiring if they became available for purchase. The Clerk reminded Councillors of the mechanisms of the Community Right to Bid, explaining that it is not a right to buy. She emphasised that, following the expiry of a moratorium period, owners ultimately can sell to whosoever they choose. Some Councillors recalled that on previous occasions The Barneby Arms was a building that had been suggested as being an important community asset. The Clerk reminded everyone that during the prescribed moratorium period the means to purchase any such facility would have to be provided by parishioners. The Bredenbury Group of Parishes is widely spread and within the three Parishes there are only 156 properties. It needed to be borne in mind that perhaps not everyone would want to buy shares in owning and running a pub even if it became available to bid for. She also reminded everyone that the Right to Bid could also relate to land that was not attached to residential properties. The Chairman felt that it was very important that if the Council was interested in nominating a property or land as a community asset, it should always firstly approach the owners of the said property as a matter of courtesy and protocol, stating their interest, in order that both parties were aware of each others intentions. Whilst all Councillors considered that there were undoubtedly some local buildings and land that could be considered as community assets, they felt that to enter a process of nominating these was not really an option at present as it will need a great deal of consideration. It was suggested that it is unlikely that enough money could be raised to purchase any local asset even if the opportunity arose. The Chairman enquired of District Cllr Swinford it any of the parishes in his ward had gone down this route. Cllr Swinford advised that to date none of them had exercised a right to bid. He explained that whilst Whitbourne had a village shop it was run entirely by volunteers. The Parish Councillors were in accord in deciding that Community Right to Bid need not be put in any of the agenda for any of the meetings in the immediate future.
The Chairman reminded Councillors about the forthcoming elections in May when the District Council and Parish Council elections would be taking place alongside the General Election. They will be required to stand down prior to the election and offer themselves for re-election if they so wished. The Clerk said that she expected a timetable of events together with the proceedures and the candidates’ papers would be available for the next meeting.
The Chairman confirmed that he was “minded to carry on” as a Councillor for a further term if he were re-elected, although he indicated that he would probably not want to do the entire term as Chairman if asked. He enquired of each Councillor if they intend to stand for re-election. Cllr Milton and Cllr Thorne both stated that they were undecided as to whether they would stand again. Cllrs Gwynn and Piggott were both non-committal. The Chairman asked all Councillors to consider the future of Parish Council. If they felt that there were parishioners in their area who would be prepared to become a Councillor whom they felt were able and committed enough to give the position the time and effort necessary to do a good and effective job, then they should “put feelers out” to them in the meanwhile. Cllr Milton felt that a short note about possible vacancies should be included in the ‘Roundabout the Parishes’ magazine, bearing in mind that there would be a need to replace ex Cllr Gordon Fellows, even if all the present councillors were returned unopposed.
Action by: Chairman
15/11 PARISH COUNCIL WEBSITE
The Clerk confirmed that she had organized a Council email account and that it is now ‘live’ and already available for the public to contact the Council directly. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org. She advised that she has also reserved a domain name with Fasthosts in preparation for a Parish Council website and that this had been registered as www.bredenburygroupparishcouncil.co.uk. She advised that she was now waiting for dates to be confirmed by Herefordshire Council about the training sessions on building websites that they are arranging. The Chairman and the Clerk have agreed that they would attend these if they can. The Chairman enquired if any of the other Councillors were interested in helping to build the Council’s website. Cllr Gwynn expressed interest. It was agreed that when the dates are received the Clerk would let Councillors know, in order that they can decide if they wish to be included in the training. District Cllr Swinford provided the Clerk with the contact details of Mr Ken Nason, the person who has built Brockhampton Parish Council’s website, as a source of advice.
Action by: Clerk
15/12 LENGTHSMAN SCHEME
The Chairman confirmed that he had spoken with Lengthsman George Day and had requested quotations for the passing places along Harp Lane to be attended to and improved. He had also requested a quotation for the hedge immediately opposite the entrance to St. Andrews Close to be trimmed and the width of the road at that point to be enlarged, in order that large vehicles can pass each other without mounting the grass verge where the sewage ducts of adjacent properties are situated. Residents are very concerned that these will be damaged. The Chairman advised that he had also reminded the Lengthsman that the grass is still to be cleared from the middle of the road along Wacton Lane. The Clerk reported that George Day had forwarded estimates for the work requested but that they were incorrect because they did not include the cost of the road planings that are required to surface the passing places. The Clerk also reported that whilst going through the invoices that had been presented by the Lengthsman she had discovered a duplicate charge for clearing out the cattle grid at Butterley Cottages, and that the amounts shown for this work differed. She advised that she has now written to George Day pointing out the duplication and she has requested that an overcharge of £140.00 be deducted from his next invoice.
Councillors observed that perhaps George Day has taken on too much work for local parish councils because it is now increasingly difficult to get hold of him and difficult get any work completed in the time promised. The Clerk advised that she has established that Parish Councils can sub-contract work out to additional lengthsman, provided that they have the correct insurance, training and machinery, to enable them to work to specification. The Clerk has obtained the contact details of three additional local lengthsmen. After discussion it was agreed that one of them, Mr. Mervyn Walsh, should be approached. Cllr Piggott stated that knew Mr. Walsh and he agreed to make contact with him to ascertain if he was in a position to undertake additional work for our Parish Council.
Action by: Cllr Piggott
The Clerk reported that she has been advised that the New Lengthsman Scheme for 2015/16 had received final Cabinet Member approval. The Chairman and Clerk confirmed that they would be attending the BBLP workshop scheduled for February in order to obtain full guidance on the new scheme. Under the new scheme, funding is based on C and U roads. The Clerk advised that she was bemused to receive three emails from BBLP, each one reducing the length of C and U roads in our parishes. The final figure for C and U roads now seems to be 7.5km. She advised that it appears that the basic grant will be now be £120.00 per km, therefore the amount that we will receive is £900.00 – the previous grant for our Parish Council was £1,958.00. Herefordshire Council will provide a further amount of up to a maximum of £100.00 per km. This means that we can apply for an extra £750.00 – provided that our Parish Council match-fund at least the same amount, or more, from our precept. After much debate Councillors unanimously decided to instruct the Clerk to (a) apply to join the scheme and (b) to request the maximum amount of £750.00 of extra funding and (c) that the Parish Council should set aside £750.00 from the precept to match this, thus making a total fund of £2,400.00. The Clerk also advised that she understood that the Lengthsman would now also be allowed to fill in class 3 and 4 potholes under the new scheme, but only along these C and U roads.
Action by: Clerk
15/13 UPDATE FROM FOOTPATHS & RIGHTS OF WAY OFFICER
Cllr Milton advised that she had nothing to report and was now waiting for a change in the weather before she could walk the footpaths in her area of responsibility. She did comment that horse riders were still ignoring the closure notice and were still using the bridge on Wk.11. Councillors Gwynn and Piggott had nothing to report from their areas.
15/14 UPDATE FROM POLICE & RURAL WATCH LIAISON OFFICER
Cllr Milton had nothing to report because there had not been any meetings recently.
15/15 REPORT FROM DISTRICT COUNCILLOR JEREMY MILLAR
In the absence of District Cllr Millar there was no report. The Clerk advised that she was confident that a written report would be received from him and that she would then circulate it to all Councillors.
15/16 REPORT FROM DISTRICT COUNCILLOR GARY SWINFORD
District Cllr Swinford reiterated his concern about the present inadequacy of Herefordshire Council’s Planning Department. He stated that he knew of applicants who have waited some 8 months for a response to their pre-planning applications, whereas the time limit for a reply should be just 20 days. The Planning Enforcement section is still in total disarray. He has arranged to meet with the Head of Enforcement to discuss this issue further. An Enforcement Officer has left the department recently and it had come to light that a lot of work has been left undone. Herefordshire Council’s Core Strategy 20 Year Plan is now being inspected by a Senior Officer to ensure it is legally compliant etc. Cllr Swinford advised that he is still working to obtain the badly needed improvements to the access into the Linton Trading Estate. The issues are complicated because there are three landowners involved and the cost of the proposed improvements will be in the region of £165,000.00. However there are detailed drawings in place for a major restructure and with an improved access road the whole area could be further developed as an important trading estate. The Bromyard Downs Parish Council have built up some reserves and are also bidding for a Lottery Grant, with the intention of using the money for work on improving the hedges and ditches on the Downs. Cllr Swinford confirmed that he had written to Fred de-Falbe at St. Richard’s School to advise him that the A44 is not classified as a trunk road and therefore he really needed to address his safety concerns to Mr. Richard Ball at Herefordshire Highways Dept. The Clerk reported that consequently she has received an email from Fred de-Falbe confirming that he had written to both Mr. Richard Ball and Bill Wiggin MP, outlining his concerns.
Cllr Swinford confirmed that the boundaries of Bringsty, the ward that he represents at present, would be changing in May, at which time he will lose the parishes of Bredenbury and Thornbury, but he will acquire some other parts of Bromyard.
The Chairman thanked Cllr Swinford for his report and said he hoped that he would be able to attend our next meeting, which is scheduled for 9th March, as it may be his last meeting as a District Cllr for Bredenbury.
15/17 ITEMS TO BE INCLUDED IN NEXT AGENDA
None were advised, therefore the Clerk requested that if anyone had items for discussion that they email her at least a week prior to the scheduled meeting.
RECONFIRM DATE OF NEXT MEETING – 9TH MARCH 2015
The Chairman thanked everyone for their attendance and input and closed the meeting at 20:45