Draft minutes

Minutes of the Parish Meeting
held on Thursday 9th January 2020
in The New Bridge Community Centre, Bridge Sollars

PRESENT: Councillor John Macklin (Chairman), Cllr S Hubbard (Vice Chairman); Cllr Sharon Knights; Cllr Lesley Handscomb; Cllr L Goldwater; Cllr S. Crump; Cllr C Draper; Cllr S Keefe; Cllr R Morgan

PRESENT: Mrs Lesley Hay (Parish Clerk; Ward Cllr D Hitchiner

The Chairman welcomed those present to the January meeting.

1. Apologies for absence – Cllr N Newton

2. To receive declarations of interest or written requests for dispensations – none recorded.

3. To receive a report from the local Police Officer. The Chairman welcomed PC Sarah Smith. PC Smith explained that she and a colleague, PC Peter Knight, had recently been appointed as Rural Crime and Business Officers within the West Mercia Police.

PC Smith explained that this new role covers all aspects of rural crime but, in particular, encompasses ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ and the ’Smart Water’ campaign. It also includes local speed awareness and PC Smith agreed to return to the area, in particular the A438, with a speed gun at some time in the near future. PC Smith will share her findings with the Parish Council who may then be able to use this information in support of their on-going case to reduce speed on the A438.

The Chairman thanked PC Smith for a very interesting and information presentation.

4. Ward Councillor David Hitchiner gave a very interesting report and answered various questions from the floor. Please see full report attached to the end of these minutes.

During a question and answer session – a Councillor raised the issue regarding the general poor condition of roads throughout the County including fading/nearly non-existent white line road markings. Ward Cllr Hitchiner suggested the Chairman discussed any local issues with the Locality Steward.

It was also acknowledged that Councillors and residents could report any local issues direct via the on line link :

5. Chairman’s report:
On Saturday 21st December, parishioners were concerned about the depth of the flood by Kenchester rectory. One had reported cars were turning around and the service Bus on Friday evening had water flooding the lower deck. I went down to investigate and with the help of parishioner Neil Wright we managed to unblock the drain covers and remove the flood.

I contacted Lesley our Clerk to request a meeting with the lengthsman, Dave Campbell, when he was next in the Parishes to see if he could help to eliminate further flooding by removing the mud blocking the pits under the drain covers. I met him Wednesday morning and Dave cleaned out the blocked drains where possible to free the flow of water.
However, Kenchester Rectory site and the top end of Bishopstone village is still a problem with blocked pipes between the grids. We will have to request Balfour Beatty to pressure wash out the pipes.

Following the NDP meeting presented by Herefordshire Council, Councillor Sue Hubbard reported back that maybe we needed to revisit our Plan. It has become evident that there is a possibility that after 12 months Herefordshire Council could promote planning development in our area without referring to our NDP for guidance,

So, in order to protect our plan, it may be prudent for the Parish Council to write to Landowners asking if they could start developing the allotted sites referred to in our NDP. It would show Herefordshire Council that the Parish Council is trying to reach our allotted number of new houses.

After discussion, it was agreed that a personal approach would be best in the first instance maybe to be followed up with a letter. The Chairman and Vice Chairman will approach the landowners. To be discussed further at the next meeting.

6. The Chairman opened the Open Session

6.1 Speeding issues on A438 – Clerk confirmed that she had forwarded Cllr Knights letter to Balfour Beatty and receipt had been acknowledged. Clerk confirmed that no other letters has been received.

6.2 Talk Community Hub – report from Cllr Lesley Handscomb
The Talk Community Hub has been open on three Wednesdays. Advice has been sort on topics such as phone scams, U3A and ICT courses for beginners
Link person with Hereford Council has changed. New person is Karen Stanton
Hot spot is working as new internet link but needs monthly top up. Airband has now changed their position regarding the internet link. Herefordshire Council have informed me that, ‘They are happy to leave you with an active connection, so you would have broadband without paying monthly rates. This would be on a “try-before-you-buy” basis, although they have not given an actual term for how long it would be left for.’ I am still awaiting a final decision. The hub is being loaned a tablet to trial as this would be more friendly to use and share ideas

Still no contact with the Social Prescriber at Staunton Surgery who will be our link for referrals. Once training has been completed, I hope that the social prescriber will attend one of the Talk Community Hub mornings. I am due to have a knee replacement at the end of the month. Jo Dzioba from Hereford Council will attend the next meeting on Wednesday 5th February.

6.3 The Greater Collaboration – Cllr S Keefe reported that she had recently attended a meeting organised by Herefordshire Green Network whose vision is a resilient low carbon future for Herefordshire. Cllr Keefe explained the aims under the banner of The Great Collaboration and after discussion – it was agreed to set up a small working party within the Parish Councillors to discuss further ways of helping to facilitate targeted/ practical solutions in order to meet Herefordshire’s zero carbon target.

The Clerk explained that there was an opportunity to attend a similar meeting in The Tudor Room, Talbot Hotel, Leominster on Thursday 6th February – starting at 18.30 – 21.00. For further information contact Connie Orbach on events@hgnetwork.org
Item to remain on the agenda.
The Chairman closed the open Session

7.0 The minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 14th November 2019 were unanimously agreed to be a true record. These were duly adopted and signed by the Chairman.

8.0 Highways report and Environmental Matters
(8.1) Lengthsman work sheet – the lengthsman had visited the area recently as outlined in the chairman’s Report – so there were no outstanding issues at present.

(8.2) Footpath update – covered in Chairman’s report

(8.3) Update Tree Warden
Cllr Goldwater explained that due to personal circumstances he had recently stood down as the local Tree Warden. The Chairman, on behalf of the Parish Council, expressed thanks to Cllr. Goldwater for all his hard work whilst undertaking the role of Tree Warden. It was acknowledged that his resignation will now create a vacancy for a local Tree Warden.
Cllr Goldwater reported that he was still in the process of organising a small-scale Parish Walk in association with Garnons Estate. It is hoped this will be about March time 2020.
(8.4) The Clerk confirmed that the sand bags had been delivered -but no invoice received to date.
(8.5) Locality Steward – the Clerk was asked to contact the Locality Steward with a view to arranging a meeting with the Chairman to discuss some outstanding issues – these include:
(i) Kenchester Rectory site and the top end of Bishopstone village has blocked pipes between the grids – pressure wash out the pipes.
(ii) Large pot hole – A438 – opposite turn to Byford Common.
(iii) A438 junction with U90013 Ferry Turn – several pot holes
(iv) B4230 – Mansell Gamage Village – pot holes and receding verges
(v)) U90012 – Byford – pot holes
(vi) Further to email from resident – Bishon Lane pot holes
(vii) C1098 – query the installation of road markers – two cars have recently gone off the road into the ditch.
(viii) White lining – as mentioned above.
In the meantime, description and position of all pot holes will be reported on line as is now the recommended procedure.

9. Finance: Up-to-date accounts sheet/schedule of payments sheet had been circulated.

(9.1) It was unanimously agreed to pay all outstanding invoices and cheques were raised and signed.

10. Planning matters: no recent applications received.

Planning application 193492 – Sugwas Pool Cottage – was outside the parish area – there were no objections noted.

11. CORRESPONDENCE: It was acknowledged that all correspondence had been circulated and content noted.

13. Date of next meeting – Thursday 12th March 2020 – 7.30pm start.

Chairman closed the meeting at 8.55p.m.

Date: January 2020

Report from Ward Cllr David Hitchiner – Leader of Herefordshire Council.

On 2 December the tourism portfolio holders for Shropshire, Telford and Herefordshire met to explore opportunities for joint working in the future. The visitor economy is a very important part of Herefordshire’s economy, in terms of employment and generating spend across the county. It is also a critical enabling sector, which helps promote our county and its outstanding natural assets and quality of life offer as a great place to live, learn, work, invest as well as visit. Shropshire and Telford councils are also keen to further develop the tourism industry in their respective areas. As the visitor doesn’t recognise administrative boundaries, there is significant benefits from developing and promoting tourism with our neighbouring authorities and partners.

Cyber Security Centre
On the 12 December Cllr Marsh and I visited the Midlands Centre for Cyber Security construction site on the Hereford Enterprise Zone. Through a £9m joint venture between the council and the University of Wolverhampton, the Cyber Security Centre will provide a range of specialist facilities to enable the start-up and growth of businesses in this rapidly growing global market. Construction is progressing very well, with the wooden structure of the building now impressively in place with the building due to open in the summer 2020.

The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership Board (LEP) and NMiTE
As mentioned in my last update, the LEP Board approved a further £5.66 million of funding to NMiTE to build a Centre for Timber Technology, Centre for Automated Manufacturing and a Centre for Future Skills on the Hereford Enterprise Zone. The complication is that the LEP require NMiTE to provide an indemnity. We are continuing to look, with officers and the Cabinet, at how the Council might be able to help NMiTE. Once a position has been reached where a recommendation can be made, this will go to the General Scrutiny committee for scrutiny before going to the Cabinet.

The Marches LEP also launched a call for new project applications in November. The Growth Deal funds are only currently available until the end of March 2021. The council submitted a range of Expressions of Interest by the LEP’s deadline of the 6 December, including a package of further support to develop the Hereford Enterprise Zone, the development of the Ross Enterprise Park, a phosphate reduction plan, a grant programme for businesses, and a Hereford city centre improvements package. The outcome of the call for projects will be considered by the LEP Board at the end of January.

Leominster Heritage Action Zone
On the 6 December we submitted our draft Leominster Heritage Action Zone delivery plan to Historic England, which has been jointly developed with Leominster town council. Earlier in the year the council successfully applied for £2m of Heritage Action Zone funding for Leominster. The draft plan identifies a range of activities to support the conservation of the town’s heritage, as well as improve opportunities for tourism and public realm.

Talk Community
A number of new Talk Community Hubs will launch formally in January and February 2020. The Talk Community Hubs project team is working with a wide range of community groups to help them establish a Hub, with an aim of 20 to be operating in 2020. A new grant scheme has been approved and will be launched in January to enable seed funding for hubs, with grants of up to £2.5k to support the launch or initial operation of hubs in local communities.

Herefordshire Council appreciates that flooding has affected many people and businesses in the county, so we took an urgent decision to provide hardship schemes to residents and businesses whose homes or businesses have been flooded. This includes a Community Flood Recovery Grant worth £500 to each affected household. In order to qualify for the assistance, flood water must have entered the habitable areas of their property, or the residence has been considered unliveable for any period of time due to flooding. Alongside this is a Business Flood Recovery Grant, which will provide up to £2,500 per eligible small and medium-sized business. To qualify, businesses must be able to demonstrate that they have directly impacted or have directly suffered a loss of trade as a result of the flooding that cannot be recovered from insurance. For more information and to apply online, visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk/floods

The Lugg catchment phosphate moratorium on development was considered at a meeting between council officers with Welsh Water and a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) hosted by the council at Plough lane on 6 December. The next Nutrient Management Board meeting, chaired by Cllr Swinglehurst, is now scheduled for 29 January, when the Board will consider proposals scoped by the TAG to strengthen the Nutrient Management Plan.

Land Supply
The decision by the Planning Committee to refuse permission for the development of the Viaduct site in Ledbury was, for me, a demonstration of democracy at work and interestingly involved Independents, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats providing a united front in opposition to the application. This decision will put pressure on the County’s land supply, and we (Cabinet and Officers) will need to seek solutions to this significant issue.
David Hitchiner