Minutes 10th July 2018

Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the Parish Council on Tuesday 10th July 2018 at 7pm in Cradley Village Hall

Present: Councillors Judith Aldridge, Ann Carver, Giselle Edgar (until after item 7.5.4), Geoff Fielding (Chair), Janita Goodwin, Wynne Harries (Vice-Chair and minute-taker for this meeting), Clare Jones (from 7.37 pm), Miles Meager, David Roys, Anne Scarsbrook and Sarah Thomas.

In attendance: 6 members of the public and the Ward Councillor Ellie Chowns.

1. Apologies for absence:
Simon Davies (dispensation of leave of absence due to bereavement), Giselle Edgar (unwell after item 7.5.4), Alan Eldridge (holiday), Clare Jones (family, until 7.37 pm), Diane Merker (family).

2. Declarations of interest & written requests for dispensation.
None received.

3. Minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting on 28th June 2018.
Approved, subject to the following amendment:
Item 4, Village Green Policy, 4th paragraph – delete “along the side of” and replace with “over”.

4. Open session:
The meeting was now opened to the public.

Ward Councillor’s Report:
4.1 Councillor Ellie Chowns gave an update on various highways issues. She promised to pursue the clearing of Kingsbridge so that it is done properly by Balfour Beatty. The petition she organised at the Cradley Fete regarding the re-surfacing of Rectory Lane would be presented at Herefordshire Council.
4.1.2 The retrospective planning application for a barn at Shuttifield Coppice, Storridge, would be referred to planning committee if the planning officer were of a mind to approve it.
4.1.3 Cllr. Chowns will be putting her first formal motion to Herefordshire Council regarding the Development Partnership and its sustainability.
4.1.4 Following questions from members of the public, Cllr Chowns stated that the proposed travellers’ site application at Storridge was still pending, and that the 3 houses proposed for Chapel Lane were subject to an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

Representations from the Public:

4.2 A resident of Halesend objected strongly to the retrospective fence application at The Cart Barn. Another Storridge resident enquired about the progress of the Council name-change to Cradley and Storridge Parish Council; Cllr Harries confirmed that the official request for the change of name had been sent some time ago, and that he would check on progress at Herefordshire Council.

5. Planning Matters:
5.1 The following comments on Planning Applications for determination by Herefordshire Council were agreed:
5.1.1 182215 and 182216 – The Cart Barn, Halesend, Storridge. New fence and drainage work. Full Householder and Listed Building Consent (retrospective).
PC comment: Cradley CNDP5 supports the character of the AONB and the Parish Council would greatly prefer the post and rail fence proposed in the original planning application, as being more in keeping with the character of the fieldscape of the immediate area. In addition, we feel that the fence currently in place greatly detracts from the integrity of the significant Grade II listed building of The Cart Barn, particularly as it is approached from the west up the lane, but also from other directions. We suggest that a height restriction of no more than a metre is imposed on any replacement fence or hedge around the curtilage of the property. With regard to the proposed drainage work, we should like to ask for the ground to be returned to grassland on completion of the work, assuming that the planning department deem these to be necessary in the first place. We should also like to point out that the planting in front of the stable block on planning application 171857 has not been put in place by the current applicant and we request that the Planning Dept. investigate this to ensure that it is enforced.
5.1.2 182216 – The Cart Barn, Halesend, Storridge. New fence and drainage work. Listed Building Consent (retrospective). See comments above.
5.1.3 182199 – 7 Kings Orchard, Cradley. Remove existing conservatory and build on existing footprint an orangery. PC comment: – no objection.
(Cllr. Clare Jones joined the meeting at this point)
5.1.4 182225 – Wells Farm, Tanhouse Lane, Cradley. Change of use of former poultry house from business use to a large luxury holiday lodge. PC comment: We welcome the employment opportunities in this application in the flavour of Cradley’s CNDP3 and other references in the NDP. The Council feels that a detailed landscape plan for the site should be requested in order to ensure the preservation of the trees and surrounding meadows to mitigate the visual effect of the development on the surrounding landscape. The Council also requests that a planning restriction be imposed which limits any nocturnal noise for residents in the immediate area.
5.1.5 182437 – High Crest, Cradley. Remove large pine tree and replace with a smaller pine tree. Remove hedge of Leylandii (6 trees) and replace with a fence and small plants. PC comment: no objection to removing the Leylandii hedge. With regard to the large pine tree, the Council supports its removal, but we suggest that it is replaced with a native species and that the privacy of the neighbouring flat overlooking this be respected in terms of height.
5.1.6 182060/PA7 – Ivydene, Stifford’s Bridge. Application for prior notification of proposed agricultural building. No documents on Herefordshire website, and “We are not accepting comments for this application”. No PC comments were made.

5.2 To note decisions made by Herefordshire Council on Planning Applications:
5.2.1 171658 – Land at Russet House, Cradley. Site for erection of a dwelling. Withdrawn.
5.2.2 173290 – Land to North of Chapel Lane, Cradley. 3 new dwelling houses. Decision: “non-determination”.
5.2.3 181003 – Southrise, 4 Brookside, Cradley. Replacement of rear extension. (conservatory type) with new rear and side extension. Approved.
5.2.4 181742 – Little Halesend, Storridge. Non-material amendment N121493/FH (Summerhouse) increase internal depth by 550mm. Approved.
5.2.5 181459 – Crumpton Hill Farmshop, Storridge. Convert ¼ of existing shop floor space into a tea/coffee shop. Approved.

6. New Standing Orders for Cradley Parish Council. It was resolved to adopt the 2018 NALC Model Standing Orders appropriately amended (as circulated before this meeting to councillors, except for Section 3.f. which was amended to state 15 minutes, not 3 minutes), and retain the Cradley Parish Council Co-option Procedures (as previously approved) as an addendum to these. This whole package was proposed for adoption by Cllr David Roys, seconded by Cllr Clare Jones and adopted unanimously.

7. Finance:
7.1 AGAR audit submission, Annual Governance Statement, and updated asset register – Cllr Geoff Fielding reported that these documents had been submitted to the external auditors.

7.2 Finance Working Group. A report from the Finance Working Group was noted, including the need to address the following issues in the near future: 1. more detail required on the monthly monitoring reports [the budget figures are now built in]; 2. Risk Management policies to be reviewed; 3. investigate ways to fund refurbishing the Parish Clock; 4. organise the appointment of an internal auditor.

7.3 Quarterly monitoring update was received by Council – Cllr. Wynne Harries pointed out that the absence of a clerk’s salary and with the lengthsman’s expenditure only just beginning to come through the accounts, this meant that the expenditure of 12% of the budget was much lower than would normally be the case at this time of year. Income was higher than normal at 56% due principally to the income from community fund raising and a grant for the Surgery defibrillator (now on order) and a higher than anticipated VAT refund for 17/18. Around 50% would be the normal income at this time of year with half the precept paid from Herefordshire to the Parish Council. At 1st July, the total cash balance in the Council’s accounts stood at £51,973.80.
7.4 The detailed monthly update on the 18/19 accounts was noted by Council.
7.5 The following invoices were approved for payment:
7.5.1 Storridge Village Hall, Hire charge (22.5.18) £17.50
7.5.2 Eyelid Productions Website management June 18 £30.00
7.5.3 Wynne Harries expenses
(stamps, copier paper, various filing materials) £33.49
7.5.4 Really Rural (Lengthsman, R. Clarke) May/June £140.00
(Cllr. Giselle Edgar apologised and left the meeting at this point due to feeling unwell)

8. To receive reports from Working Groups:
8.1 Village Infrastructure Working Group.
8.1.1 To consider VIWG reverting back to its original constituent working groups. This was proposed by Cllr Ann Carver, seconded by Cllr David Roys and approved. The details of the new arrangement (leaders, membership, and guidelines within which each working group would operate) is still to be finalised by Council, hopefully at the next meeting. Councillor Carver wished to point out that no-one had been to check Buryfields Recreation Ground and she was worried about insurance and safety.
8.1.2 The monthly report from the VIWG meeting on 2 July was noted by Council.
8.1.3 Lengthsman Tasks Work update – Richard Clarke has begun strimming and other work in the Chapel Lane Recreation Ground, and dealt with barbed wire removal and the litter bins at Buryfields Recreation Ground. The following tasks were approved for the Lengthsman – Strimming and hedge cutting on all sides of Chapel Lane Rec. Ground. Collecting and removing dead wood from rec. grounds and around the villages following the winter. The mechanism of hiring a chipper would need checking first for some of this work. Regular maintenance of St Katherine’s Passage (Sandy Lane) in Cradley (path and vegetation control). Footpath CD37 – cut back vegetation. Bridleway CD17 – cut back vegetation.
8.1.4 Council decided that further research was required to check the Lengthsman’s Lone Worker Policy to ensure it conforms to relevant contractual arrangements and risk assessments of the Council. It was approved that Cllr. David Roys would conduct this research and report back.
8.1.5 Crumpton Hill Village Green Policy – Cllr. Geoff Fielding reported to Council that the policy approved at the meeting on 28th June 2018 had been checked by an independent solicitor who could see no problem with it.

9. To receive a report from the interview panel for the post of Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer for Cradley Parish Council. This item was discussed in the confidential section of the meeting.
9.1 The offer to the preferred candidate was approved by Council and further announcements would be made if accepted and confirmed.
9.2 The Employment Working Group would look into transitional arrangements and induction for the new Clerk/RFO, as appropriate.

10. To consider whether to require Herefordshire Association of Local Councils to provide written replies to all Cradley PC written requests for professional advice. Council approved that Cradley Parish Council requires that any professional advice from HALC be in written form (“written” is defined as including email), to be valid. It was agreed that any telephone conversations vis a vis Cradley Parish Council matters should be summarised in a subsequent email from Cradley PC to HALC.

11. To consider whether to include a Highways Co-ordinator in the Council’s list of working groups and appointments. This item was deferred to a future meeting.

12. Information Sheet re communications to Cradley PC. This was read out by Cllr. Wynne Harries and would be emailed to all councillors.

13. To note key items for CMS Newsletter. These would include:
– Ward Councillor – including highways and planning matters
– New clerk
– Approval of Crumpton Hill Village Green policy
– Approval of new NALC Model Standing Orders

14. Requests for items for future agendas:
– Storridge defibrillator
– Highways Co-ordinator
– Lengthsman – finalise administrative and contractual arrangements
– Financial arrangements for Fred Beard plaque and refreshments 22nd July

15. Date of next meeting: Tuesday 14th August 2018 7pm at Cradley Village Hall

A resolution was passed to exclude the public from the following confidential items:

See Item 9. above re appointment of Clerk.

16. Confidential Items:
16.1 To consider legal advice regarding ex-internal auditor. Legal advice was received and it was agreed to further instruct the Council’s solicitor .

Wynne Harries, Vice-Chair / acting Joint Clerk 14th July 2018