Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting
held on Thursday 11th May 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 Rosemary Morgan; Cllr Serena Crump; Cllr C Draper; Cllr. Muriel Holmes and Cllr S Keefe.
PRESENT: Mrs Lesley Hay (Parish Clerk); Ward Cllr Steve Williams.
One member of the public present
Chairman welcomed those present to the meeting
Apologies for absence: Cllr. Sharon Knights;
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 12th May 2016 were accepted as a true record and it was proposed and seconded and unanimously agreed they should be adopted and signed by the Chairman.
Chairman’s Report 2016-17
Last May the Parish Council started the new year without a Clerk and again we had to rely on Sue Hubbard to carry out the clerk’s duties, thank you Sue for helping out as acting clerk yet again.
Having advertised the position on the HALC website we failed to find a suitable clerk, several phone calls were made to Lynda Wilcox to ask if she could help, Lynda eventually managed to persuade Lesley Hay to apply for our vacant clerk’s position using her favourite ploy by saying Bishopstone Group was one of her favourite Parish Councils.
Lesley attended the September 9th Parish Council meeting and after a unanimous vote by the Councillors to offer the position of Parish Clerkship to Lesley, she kindly accepted and clerked the rest of the meeting. And I am glad to report Lesley is still our current Clerk.
Planning applications throughout the year have ranged from a summer house in Byford to a new build house in Bishopstone, we have dealt with applications from an extension at the Weir Nursing Home, change of tiles at Kenchester Court to a rebuild of Witchwater Bridge Sollars. The Parish Council supported the local residents and members of Bridge Sollars Church Council in their opposition to the rebuild at Witchwater, this application was passed by Herefordshire Planning Department with many conditions in place.
At the November 17th Parish Council meeting on discussing the best ways to use our precept money in 2017-18, the Councillors agreed to discontinue the Newsletter and move the money saved into the Lengthsman budget to cover deficiency caused by Balfour Beatty cutting the funding in the Lengthsman scheme.
Councillor Penny Redshaw at this meeting said as well as not editing the newsletter after this year she would be stepping down from managing the Website. Thank you, Penny, for your effort and time in editing the Newsletter for the last five years and creating and managing the website for ten years.
The Councillors co- opted Sarah Keefe on to the Parish Council as a councillor representing Bishopstone on January 12th. The Councillors also agreed a completely new website was needed, a grant of £500 was applied for, and our New Councillor Sarah Keefe kindly agreed to help in the setting up and managing the new website.
Lesley Hay our Clerk applied for two grants on behalf of the Parish Council, a Tesco grant for playground equipment, unfortunately this application failed due to the fact that the Parish Council had no public land on which to place the equipment, the area where it was hoped to erect the swings etc. was privately owned by the housing association.
The other application to the British Heart Foundation for a public defibrillator was successful; the three training courses on CPR and using the defibrillator agreed by the Chairman as part of obtaining the grant have now been completed. The defibrillator will be fitted into the Parish Councils telephone kiosk in Bishopstone next week. Thank you, Lesley, for completing and filling in these applications.
The Parishes lengthsman scheme this year has worked very successfully, the parishes are benefitting from the monthly maintenance visits in the summer months cutting back visibility spays, clearing drains and cleaning signs, etc.
In this year’s budget, we managed to employ the lengthsman for two days with his digger to clear the mud from Bishon Lane and clean out various ditches in the parishes, the flooding problems on the road in Bishopstone and Kenchester have now improved although we still wait for Balfour Beatty to clear several blocked drains under the roads, which the lengthsman discovered whilst carrying out this work.
The lengthsmans work on the footpaths have included cutting back undergrowth in Bishopstone, clearing access to the river and repairing broken stiles in Bridge Sollars , removing stiles in Byford and replacing the stolen gate on the Wye Valley Walk in Kenchester. Dog Fouling Signs were erected on footpaths in Bishopstone in January. I would like to thank Dave Campbell our lengthsman for his excellent service, and workmanship.
The Neighbourhood Development Plan reached the Regulation 14 stage in November and was submitted to Hereford Council, the plan has now been returned with their comments/responses. There was a very negative response to the Bishon Farm Housing Development site, after a site visit from Herefordshire Planning departments chief ecologist, a more favourable response was received.
The Neighbourhood Plan will be rewritten to include the agreed amendments and include the Parishioners choice of the Bishon farm site after which the plan will be resubmitted to Hereford Council. It is hoped it will then proceed to the next level of acceptance/adoption. Regulation 16.
I must thank Sue for all her work in dealing with the Neighbour Draft Plan. Finally, thanks to all the Councillors for their work during the last year.
Annual Report from Ward Cllr Steve Williams
Ward Councillor Williams gave a short update on his other Parishes within his Stoney Street Ward. Ward Councillor Williams reassured those present that he had done very thing within his power to support public opinion with regard to the Witchwater Planning application.
Ward Councillor Williams also reassured that he was totally committed to trying to get the ever-increasing number of potholes and the deteriorating condition of the roads in general repair and upgraded.
Ward Councillor Williams explained that he had recently proposed a motion with regard to getting recognition for the sterling work done by the Canary Girls in the munitions factory based at Rotherwas in World War 1. The canary girls were the United Kingdom’s female trinitrotoluene shell makers of World War I. The nickname arose because exposure to TNT is toxic, and repeated exposure can turn the skin an orange-yellow.
Ward Councillor Williams was delighted to report that motion had been carried and it is planned that, in the near future, a monument will be erected in association with the Skylon Park Tower at Rotherwas.
The Chairman welcomed Dan Guerch – Ambassador representing the Police and Crime Commissioner – John Campion.
Dan outlined the position of the Police and Crime Commissioner and his position as Herefordshire’s Ambassador to John Campion. Dan used a projected presentation to explain how and why the Police and Crime Commissioner role had been established and future plans John has for improving the service provided by the Police Force. He explained that one of John’s immediate tasks is to bring the Police Force into the 21st century with an upgrade in technology. He is introducing personal cameras and personal mobile phone/ tablets for recording incidents on site and these recordings can then be forwarded directly to the Police Station without having to physically return to the Station.
The link to this very interesting presentation is:- www.westmercia-pcc.gov.uk
During a question and answer session Dan was able to reassure those present that we would take forward their various concerns – the recent lack of a Police Newsletter; lack of Police support at meetings were a couple of the outstanding issues.
Although there were no immediate urgent issues, Dan offered his support in the future should the Parish Council feel in need.
The Chairman thanked Dan for his presentation.
Open Discussion – no questions were raised during the open session.
Chairman closed the meeting at 8.00p.m. Refreshments followed.