Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Thursday 17th November 2016 in The New Bridge Community Centre, Bridge Sollars
PRESENT: Councillor John Macklin (Chairman), Councillor Sue Hubbard (Vice-chairman) Councillor Penny Redshaw; Councillor Cathie Draper and Councillor Neil Newton.
PRESENT: Mrs Lesley Hay (Parish Clerk) Two members of the public. Ward Cllr Steve Williams.
The Chairman welcomed those present to the meeting.
1. Apologies for absence: Cllr. Sharon Knights; Cllr Rosemary Morgan; Cllr. Muriel Holmes and Cllr Serena Crump
2. Declarations of interest or requests for dispensations: none received
3. The minutes of the meetings held on Thursday 8th September 2016 were approved and signed by the Chairman as a true record
4. Ward Councillor Steve Williams advised Councillors to be mindful that financial restrictions and possible capping of Precepts is becoming a real possibility in the future. Ward Cllr Williams reported that he had liaised with the Locality Steward with regard to the various items highlighted at the last meeting and these have now been addressed. He also reported that the grit bins have now been filled but if any have been missed please would Councillors let him know. Ward Cllr Williams deferred his update on the Witchwater planning until item 9.2.
5. Chairman’s report:
The Chairman reported that the footpath gate is broken on the BN4 at the Kenchester turn. It is in a dangerous state but reported that should there have been an accident involving walkers and the gate – the landowner is insured against such claims. A replacement will be discussed with the lengthsman.
The Chairman reported that he had dealt with the fly tipping issue by removing the chair and taking it to the tip.
The Chairman will be meeting with the lengthsman in the near future and will be walking the lanes and footpaths with a view to preparing a work sheet to be completed over the winter months. This will include the unblocking ditches and drains – in particular at Byford Common known locally as the BOAT.
There was a short discussion on the displaying of information on the individual Parish Notices boards. It was agreed that it is the responsibility of the Councillor for their particular Parish to display the Meeting Notices; agendas and minutes.
The Notice Board by Byford Church is in a poor state of repair. The Chairman offered to have a look while on his rounds with the Lengthsman and will arrange to get it repaired and waterproofed.
(5.1) Open Session – there were no issues raised by the public.
(5.2) Open session closed.
6. Finance: An up-to-date accounts sheet and Schedule of Payments had been circulated.
(6.1) It was acknowledged that there had been one payment since the last meeting. It was proposed and unanimously agreed that the outstanding invoices, itemised on the schedule of payments, should be paid.
(6.2) There was lengthy discussion on the setting of the Budget/Precept funding for 2017-2018. This discussion took in account the reduced Lengthsman/P3 scheme funding and a substantially reduced quote for the insurance policy 2017-2018. The Clerk reminded Councillors of the HALC Information Corner in which there was a warning of future proposed Precept capping. There was also advice that Parishes should allow for election costs and every Council should be considering setting aside an amount to cover any unforeseen legal costs.
In view of the fact that Cllr Redshaw has indicated that she will not be editing the Newsletter from February of next year – the Chairman proposed that the newsletter be discontinued. After discussion, it was unanimously agreed to accept this proposal and discontinue the newsletter from February 2017.
Taking all issues into account it was eventually proposed and unanimously agreed to set the Precept at £7000 for the financial year 2017/2018.
Resolved: Clerk to complete the Precept Claim application form and submit before 31st December 2016.
7. Clerk’s update: –
(7.1) Updated copies of the Standing Orders; Code of Conduct;
Financial regulations and Financial Risk Assessment documents had been circulated. After discussion, it was unanimously agreed to adopt these updated copies and the Chairman and Clerk signed on behalf of the Council.
(7.2) The Clerk explained that there was funding available via a Tesco bags grant for play equipment and/or a community event. It was discussed and agreed that the Chairman would approach the Housing Association Stonewater about providing some play equipment in the play area in Bishopstone.
(7.3) Removal of obsolete telephone boxes – no action required.
(7.4) New laptop security via Norton has been set up.
(7.5) Boundary review – new Constituency boundaries were explained – after explanation and discussion – no further action.
(7.6) The Clerk confirmed she had sent a letter to Mr J Price – Oakchurch Farm
(7.7) Financial Risk Assessment – it was agreed that the half yearly audit would be carried out by Mr Robert Taplin.
(7.8) The Clerk explained the role of Mr Dan Guerche, the Police Crime Commissioners Community Advisor, – it was suggested that he be invited to the Annual Parish Meeting in May as a guest speaker.
(7.9) The Clerk explained that a recent email had outlined an opportunity to apply for a free Defibrillator; cabinet and associated training via British Heart Foundation. After discussion, it was agreed that the Clerk would fill in the application form and the Chairman would speak with local residents in Bishopstone about the siting of the equipment if the application was successful.
8. Highways report and Environmental Matters
(8.1) A report from the Locality Steward was read out by the Chairman. There are presently no outstanding issues to report. However, Councillors asked to liaise with the Clerk if anything becomes apparent over the next two months.
(8.2) The Chairman will meet with the lengthsman to agree a programme of work for Dec and January – Clerk will then fill out a work sheet and forward to lengthsman. Cllr Hubbard asked about the possibility of replacing some stiles with kissing gates. The Clerk explained these kissing gates are £240 each via Balfour Beatty and that there may be funds available in this year’s budget to purchase two – however, this depended on the programme agreed with the lengthsman. To be deferred to next meeting.
(8.3) It was agreed to purchase two Dog Fouling Signs – no brackets are required.
(8.4) The problem with the employees from an agriculture firm parking their cars on the grass verge at Byford was discussed and photographs were available highlighting the problem. However, it has been reported that the firm’s offices will be closing on the 10th December and relocating to a new site – this should alleviate the problem. The matter to be deferred until the next meeting.
9. Planning matters:
(9.1) Application No: 162231 Land at The Greylands.
It was confirmed that there is a yellow planning notice displayed at the property. After discussion and reference to the overhead projector, it was unanimously agreed that the Clerk would respond to the Planning officer as follows:
Bishopstone Group of Parish Councillors have studied the comments made by Stretton Sugwas Parish Council and, whilst like them they do not wish to object to this application, they do hope that the points SSPC have made will be taken in consideration.
(9.2) Further discussion on the Witchwater planning application.
The Churchwardens of St Andrew’s Church were present at the meeting to represent Bridge Sollars PCC. The Grade 1 listed church is the building most affected by the application. The PCC held a meeting last Friday and asked them to attend the Parish Council meeting to give the views of the PCC. These were as follows:
(a) The change of opinion by the HC Buildings Conservation Officer who now suggests that a cosmetic change of timber cladding to brickwork will make the proposed building acceptable – the PCC reject this as untrue and irrelevant.
(b) The continued failure by the applicant to properly assess the effect of the size and scale of proposed building on the setting of the historic church and landscape
It was also pointed out that the applicant has committed a breach of the planning conditions for the existing building and requested that the Parish Council should take action on this. The breach was reported in a letter from the Parish Council to Simon Withers (Planning Officer) dated 18th September but Herefordshire Council will not act without a formal notification. Councillors formally agreed by a unanimous vote to institute breach proceedings and Councillors Hubbard and Draper were instructed to complete the required paperwork.
Ward Councillor Williams explained that he was in a position to apply for a conditional re-direction of the application with a referral to the Planning Committee. It was unanimously agreed that Ward Cllr Williams should take this action.
(9.3) There was discussion on the most appropriate action to be taken by the Clerk when receiving planning applications. It was generally agreed that this would be the responsibility of the Councillor of the Parish in question. However, before re drafting the proposal, it was agreed that the Clerk would enquire about the ruling regarding the issuing and display of yellow proposed planning notices.
(9.4) Neighbourhood Development Plan update – Cllr S Hubbard gave the following up date:
We are now in the formal Regulation 14 Consultation period which runs from October 17th to 5pm on December 17th.
The Draft NDP with all the relevant papers was put onto the parish council website before the date of opening of the consultation period. This was made more difficult and time consuming by the fact that our Planning Support Officer discovered at the last minute that she had sent me the wrong version of one important (long) document, which had to be corrected on the website.
A copy of the Draft NDP and explanatory letter was hand delivered to each household in the five parishes ready for the consultation.
A copy of the Draft NDP, explanatory letter and relevant papers was either emailed or posted to all the statutory stakeholders on the list provided by Herefordshire Council and to landowners not resident in the parish.
We held an Open evening on October 20th when councillors were available to answer questions and receive comments from residents at which six written comments were recorded.
To date we have received no other written comments from residents, and only one response from statutory stakeholders. I have written a piece for the December Newsletter to remind residents about the importance of making their views known.
At the end of the consultation period the steering group will meet to consider comments received and redraft the NDP where necessary before moving to the next stage of the process.
Cllr Hubbard extended thanks to the Chairman and to Cllr Redshaw for their help and support during this process. The Chairman again thanked Cllr Hubbard for all her hard work and dedication to the process of getting the Neighbourhood Plan to this stage.
10. Items for next agenda – Byford parking; dealing with planning application/yellow notices; kissing gates.
11. Date of next meeting: Thursday 12th January 2017
The Chairman closed the meeting at 9.50p.m.