Minutes 9th March 2017

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Thursday 9th March 2017 in The New Bridge Community Centre, Bridge Sollars

PRESENT: Councillor John Macklin (Chairman), Councillor Sue Hubbard (Vice-chairman) Councillor Penny Redshaw; Councillor Neil Newton; Cllr. Sharon Knights; Cllr Rosemary Morgan; Cllr. Muriel Holmes and Cllr S Keefe.

PRESENT: Mrs Lesley Hay (Parish Clerk) Ward Cllr Steve Williams.
One member of the public

Chairman welcomed those present to the meeting

1. Apologies for absence: Cllr Serena Crump;

2. Declarations of interest or requests for dispensations – none received.

3. It was proposed and unanimously agreed that the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 12th January and the Extra Ordinary Meeting held on 2nd February 2017 – be adopted as a true record. Both minutes were signed by the Chairman.

4. Ward Councillor Steve Williams apologised for not attending the ‘walk about’ with the Locality Steward – but ,due to the very short notice of the date and time of the meeting, he was already booked for that morning. It was suggested and agreed that his email address be included in the group email and so he will receive all emails that are circulated by the Clerk.

5. Chairman’s report.

The Chairman reported that Cllr Keefe and Cllr Hubbard plus the Parish Clerk and himself had all met with the Locality Steward and had driven around the various Parishes. The Locality Steward had taken notes and photographs of blocked ditches; culverts and problems with various footpaths; gates; visibility problems etc.

To date none of this work has been undertaken – the Chairman will follow this up.

The lengthsman has since completed various jobs and this has resulted in additional drains and gullies needing jetting and /or unblocking. The Chairman will contact the Locality Steward and request a further site meeting.

The main topic of discussion was the ongoing problems with the BY11 footpath. Some Councillors thought this to be closed, but it still shows on the maps as open. It was very clear, during the drive round, that it is impossible to use this footpath as it now disappears into the river. After discussion, it was agreed that this issue should again be discussed with the Locality Steward but in the meantime, a ‘footpath temporarily closed’ sign should be purchased and erected in the interests of health and safety.

The Clerk will follow this up and, if agreed, will purchase a sign out of the P3 budget funding and the Chairman very kindly agreed to erect it.

The footpath by The Marsh is unwalkable due to the marshy ground – it was agreed that this should be diverted slightly to avoid this area. Cllr Hubbard will liaise with the landowner and a sign maybe necessary to direct walkers in the right direction.

The Chairman gave a short update on the work recently undertaken by the lengthsman.

The work at Bishon Lane is due to commence on Monday and the Chairman will go to see the lengthsman with regard to various other issues i.e. flooding on the road at Mansell Gammage and a pot hole by Church Lane both of which have arisen in the past couple of weeks.

(6.1) Open Session

There was some discussion with regard to the ever-increasing bad state of the roads within Hereford City and the outlying towns and villages. The Ward Councillor explained that Herefordshire Council’s budget has been severely cut back during the past three years and is due to be cut back even further before 2020.

It was proposed that Ward Cllr Williams invite Councillor Tony Johnson who is the Leader of the Herefordshire Council & Cabinet Member Corporate Strategy & Finance to attend the July meeting when he will be asked to give a short presentation with a Q & A session on the Herefordshire Budget and plans for future cut backs and how they will affect the Parish Councils.

(6.2) The Chairman closed the open session

6. Planning matters:

(6.1) Despite Ward Cllrs Williams’s continued requests for information there is no update re Application no: P161416/F Witchwater

7. Finance: An up-to-date accounts sheet had been circulated.

(7.1) A Schedule of Payments had been circulated and it was proposed and unanimously agreed that these invoices should be paid. There was an additional invoice presented for D C Gardening – this was approved and presented for payment.

(7.2) The Parish Clerk explained that the annual salary/hour review takes affect from 1st April. The Clerk produced a paper copy of the Spinal Column Point showing the 1% increase proposed by NALC. The Parish Clerk left the room. After discussion, the Clerk was invited back into the room – the Councillors had unanimously agreed that the Clerk should receive the 1% plus an increment to Grade 23. It was also proposed and unanimously agreed that as from April 2018 the Clerk would receive an annual increment of one spinal column point until the top Grade of 27 was reached.

The Clerk thanked the Councillors for their continued support.

8. Clerk’s update: –

(8.1) Update on Tesco bags grant – due to the legalities of providing an ownership document (and/or a lease document) for the proposed site for the play equipment and there being very little hope of obtaining a copy of the Deeds – it was decided not to follow up this project.

(8.2) An application for a free defibrillator plus all the associated equipment has been approved by the British Heart Foundation. The Chairman reported that he has received the first part of the training kit and he is now waiting for the defibrillator itself before training can commence.

(8.3) Update on web site – funding has been approved by HALC and the money should be paid into the Parish Council account before the end of the month. Once this is in place, Cllr Keefe will approach the web site designer and hopefully the new website will be up and running soon afterwards.

9. Highways report and Environmental Matters

(9.1) Report from Locality Steward – no report

(9.2) Discussion regarding the lengthsman and P3 worksheet for April – as most of the outstanding jobs are covered and hopefully will be funded from the 2016-17 lengthsman and P3 budget – it was agreed there would be no April worksheet.

11. Planning matters

(11.1) Cllr Hubbard gave an update on the Neighbourhood Development Plan.
An amended version of the Plan has been prepared incorporating comments made by stakeholders and residents during Regulation 14 Consultation. This has been circulated to steering group members for comment.

The outstanding problem at the moment is the housing development in Bishopstone where both Natural England and Herefordshire Council oppose the proposal for a development at Bishon Farm, part of which would be on a traditional orchard site.
Herefordshire Council are supporting development on a site in the field behind the bungalows to the east of the Pleck but this is opposed by local residents and is outside the proposed settlement boundary approved by residents during Regulation 14 consultation.
Natural England’s opposition is based on a desk-based survey with no site visit or current data about the Bishon Orchard site, on which the old trees are steadily being lost through age and storm damage.

Councillors agreed that we should pay for a professional survey of the traditional orchard to provide up to date information about the level of biodiversity and possible presence of Protected Species on the site. If the site proves to be of ecological importance we could then work with the landowner to incorporate the orchard into the development plans as a community conservation area which would safeguard it for the future.

12. Items for next agenda – not for discussion – The empty house at Byford; Invite to
Tony Johnson; Possible co-option of new Parish Councillor.

13. Date of next meeting – Thursday 11th May 2017 which will be Annual Parish Meeting and Annual Parish Council Meeting. Guest speaker Dan Guerche Police Crime Commissioner’s Community Advisor – refreshments

The Chairman closed the meeting at 9.00p.m.