Minutes of a Meeting of the Parish Council held on Tuesday 13th February 2018 at 7.00pm in Storridge Village Hall
Councillors: Bruce Herriot (Chairman), Simon Davies, Alan Eldridge, Giselle Edgar, Geoffrey Fielding, Clare Jones, Miles Meager, Diane Merker, Anne Scarsbrook, Sarah Thomas, Janita Goodwin, Judith Aldridge, Ann Carver.
Apologies for absence:
Wynne Harries, David Roys
Clerk … Helen Tinson
Ward Councillor … Eleanor Chowns
4 members of the public.
1. Apologies for absence … as noted above.
2. Declarations of interest & written requests for dispensation.
2.1 Miles Meager declared a Pecuniary Interest in planning item 12.1 … A4103 Closure
2.2 There were no requests for dispensation
3. Minutes of meeting held on 23rd January 2018
A correction was made on Item 20.3 to note a vote against rather than abstained. Cllr Geoff Fielding disagreed with the recorded minutes for item 20.3 but remaining councillors were in support and it was therefore RESOLVED to adopt the minutes of the above meeting, with the correction noted above, as a true record and they were signed by the Chairman.
4. Open Session:
4.1 Ward Councillor report:
4.1.1 Cllr Chowns gave her apologies that she was unable to stay for the entire meeting as she has three Parish meetings on the same evening. It was reported that she had met with Clive Hall regarding the proposed A4103 closure for the Challenge Fund Phase 2 works and fed back local dissatisfaction about communication and the lack of consultation; had a site visit at Stoney Cross with the site engineer and was reassured there would not be a full road closure; a meeting with Richard Gabb regarding plans for investing the proceeds of council farm sales; we were advised consultation has started on the proposed Hereford bypass and that we should have a new Balfour Beatty locality steward in place by early March. We were urged to promote the use of the pothole reporting website which produces a reference number that can be followed up and to advise members of the public that they are able to attend meetings and ask questions to full council, cabinet and committees at Hereford Council. Finally Cllr Chowns reported that she has set up a Facebook page and would welcome feedback.
4.1.2 Questions from members of the public to Cllr Chowns:
A member of the public asked Cllr Chowns whether there was any news on the travellers site planning application and it was advised nothing was known as yet. A question was asked about Rectory Lane in Cradley and Cllr Fielding reported that this is an ongoing problem. HCC is responsible for laying hardcore and maintaining a walkable surface but have no obligation to drain or maintain past its present condition. A question was asked about Stoney Cross and Cllr Chowns reported that it seemed a lot of thought had gone into the design, there was a lot of discussion about access and the site engineer was open to discussion about the footways. It is understood that the plant is to be stored on Mirrorbrook during works.
4.2 Local residents’ views on parish matters.
4.2.1 There was concern expressed about the proposed road closure during the Phase 2 Challenge Fund works in particular in regard to inadequate signage and the impact on local business. A petition is available at the Red Lion, Crumpton Hill and Fromes Hill and a letter was submitted to the Parish Council to read during item 12.1.
4.2.2 A resident asked that the Parish Council do not scrap the Village Infrastructure Working Group (item 8) as the people of the parish are happy with it. A suggestion was made for a survey on the website for the residents of Cradley and Storridge to have input. It was advised that there is facility for residents to suggest topics for survey on the website currently.
4.2.3 The same resident asked that the Parish Council think carefully on item 10.2 and consider the opportunity to have Storridge included within the domain name.
There was no further representation from the public and the open session was closed. The Chairman reported that he would not accept further comment from the floor.
Cllr Ellie Chowns left the meeting.
The following comments were made on applications to be determined by Herefordshire Council:
5.1 Application 180021 … Works to Trees at The Elms, Cradley.
PC Comment … It was RESOLVED to support this application but that the Parish Council would like to see that Tree E is replanted with a native tree of sufficient maturity (in compliance with CNDP5, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Trees A, B, C and D were noted as non-native Leylandii. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk would comment accordingly.
5.2 Application 180051 … Winthill Farm, Cradley, WR13 5NR. Proposed replacement agricultural building on existing footprint. It was reported that determination had been made on this application and planning permission would be required.
5.3 Application 180302 … Upper House, Greenhill, Cradley, WR13 5JE. Proposed single storey extension and extension to garage to form car port. PC Comment … It was RESOLVED to support this application.
5.4 Application 180433 … The Mill House, Cradley, WR13 5LF. Works to Trees in a Conservation Area. PC Comment … It was RESOLVED to support this application noting that works were considered essential to repair damage caused by bad weather.
The following decisions made by Herefordshire Council were noted:
5.5 Application 174437 … Land at Mirrorbrook Smallholding, Cradley. Application for variation of condition 2 of planning permission 153490. The decision ‘approved with conditions’ was noted.
5.5 Application 173685 … Works to Trees within Cradley Churchyard. It was noted that a decision has already been made on this application and further comments are not being accepted.
6.1 A brief financial report was received from the Clerk which advised that the bank balance, with all due payments made, is estimated at £31,214.63, estimated due to a lack of current bank statements. It was further noted that there is a reserve account with a balance of £14,874.20. Regular bank statements should resume shortly. It was RESOLVED that a financial summary should be reported at each Parish Meeting.
6.2 The proposed budget for 2018/2019 was presented by the Chairman who advised that the figures in the budget may require further detailed work, in particular by the Village Infrastructure Working Group, but that the figure to be approved was the precept which needed to be submitted to Herefordshire Council before the end of February. It was proposed that the precept be set at £34,000 for 2018/2019 and it was unanimously RESOLVED to submit this figure to Herefordshire Council.
6.3 New Financial Regulations amended by HALC were considered and it was unanimously RESOLVED to adopt them, pending three minor text amendments.
6.4 It was proposed and unanimously resolved that the Clerk be delegated responsibility to be able to:
• Spend within budget on the Lengthsman scheme
• Spend up to a maximum of £1000 in an emergency situation between meetings
A donation request from Cradley Village Hall was considered. £2019.90 would reflect their insurance costs. It was RESOLVED to make a donation of this amount, all in favour with one objection.
6.5 A donation request from Cradley Church was considered to help maintain the churchyard. It was noted that whilst the Parish Council have no responsibility except to a closed churchyard, a donation has been made for many years and therefore it was unanimously RESOLVED to donate £1500 towards the cost of maintenance.
It was noted that a strategy should be in place to manage all donations and that it would be good practice to understand the financial position of the request maker before any donations are given in 2018/2019. It was RESOLVED that the Finance Working Group would undertake this task and will report all applications to full council.
6.6 It was unanimously RESOLVED to pay the following invoices:
6.6.1 Bromyard Timber and Fencing … Lengthsman materials, £82.25 plus £16.45 VAT
6.6.2 Storridge Village Hall … Room Hire, £7.00
6.6.3 Helen Tinson … Clerk Salary, £435.64
6.6.4 HMRC … PAYE, £108.80
It was noted that cheques for Clerk Salary will be post-dated to the end of the month.
With the permission of the meeting, the Chairman changed the order of the agenda to bring forward Agenda Item 8, Working Groups.
7. Working Groups
7.1 Discussion took place regarding previous working groups and the Chairman expressed his hope that each councillor would volunteer for at least one working group. A discussion also took place on the difference between working groups and committees and it was RESOLVED that only working groups would be created so that all decisions are made by full council.
It was RESOLVED to adopt the following working groups:
• Planning: to continue duties as existing
• Finance: to continue duties as existing but incorporate responsibilities of Small Donations working group
• Employment: to put employment policies in place and act as point of contact for employee/s
• NDP: to monitor the Cradley NDP in relation to planning applications
• Village Infrastructure: to manage the Lengthsman and P3 footpath schemes, playground inspections and anything else that falls within the remit of infrastructure, also incorporating environment and graveyard working groups.
• Communications Strategy: to continue as set up at 23rd January meeting.
It was RESOLVED that the following working groups be dissolved with immediate effect:
• Small Donations (to be incorporated within Finance)
• Environment (to be incorporated within Village Infrastructure)
• Graveyard (to be incorporated within Village Infrastructure)
• Emergency Planning (to be dissolved)
• Risk Management (under the responsibility of the Clerk, to be reported to full council on a regular basis)
No additional working groups were proposed.
7.2 Volunteers were received for each working group. Bold text highlights the co-ordinator for the first meeting. Working groups will establish a permanent co-ordinator at the first meeting.
• Planning: Cllrs Wynne Harries, Ann Carver, Giselle Edgar
• Finance: Cllrs Bruce Herriot, Clare Ward, Anne Scarsbrook, Alan Eldridge
• Employment: Cllrs Bruce Herriot, Miles Meager
• NDP: Cllrs Anne Scarsbrook, Ann Carver, Geoff Fielding, Clare Jones, Sarah Thomas
• Village Infrastructure: Cllrs Geoff Fielding, Diane Merker, Simon Davies, Miles Meager, Sarah Thomas, Janita Goodwin, Judith Aldridge
• Communications Strategy: Cllrs Wynne Harries, Anne Scarsbrook, Geoff Fielding, Miles Meager, Simon Davies
It was noted that Cllr David Roys would be asked which working groups he wishes to join and formally noted at the March meeting.
7.3 Volunteers were received for council representatives:
• Cradley Village Hall: Cllr Ann Carver
• Storridge Village Hall: Cllr Sarah Thomas
• East Herefordshire Association of Parish Councils: Cllr Miles Meager
• Highways: Cllr Geoff Fielding
• Parish Paths: Cllr Geoff Fielding
• Tree Warden: Jill Upton
7.4 It was RESOLVED that responsibility for emptying dog poo bins would fall under the Village Infrastructure Working Group.
7.5 It was reported that the current volunteer responsible for winding the church clock felt aggrieved that this had been suggested for discussion without his input. It was RESOLVED that he be contacted to enquire whether he wishes this duty to be reassigned. In the event he does require reassignment, it was suggested that an advert be placed on the website calling for volunteers. It was noted that this is a skilled task and training will be required.
8. Standing Orders
It was reported that a number of changes had been made by HALC to the draft Standing Orders as requested in October 2017, and therefore it was RESOLVED that the Clerk type a list of the amendments and email to all councillors with a view to adopting them at the next Parish Meeting.
9. To identify any urgent works to be completed by Lengthsman:
9.1 It was reported that the Lengthsman was keen to return to work and that he is available to work one day a week, normally a Saturday or a Sunday. There was discussion regarding the operation of the scheme and it was RESOLVED that Cllr Fielding forward the Lengthsman contract to the Clerk and further RESOLVED that the scheme continues to run as it has to the end of March 2018. Proposals for 2018/2019 are to be prepared by the Village Infrastructure Working Group and presented to full council for approval.
10. Communications Strategy:
10.1 A communications strategy was proposed.
10.1.1 Councillors were asked to vote whether the website contact form should have a mandatory field for name and address that could be withheld from publication on request, 11 in favour, 1 against, 1 abstention. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk contact the website designer to ask if this is possible.
10.1.2 It was RESOLVED that all councillors who wish their photographs and a 50-word biography should send them to the Clerk.
10.1.3 It was RESOLVED that the Communications Strategy Working Group set up a 3-month trial of drop in sessions.
10.1.4 Volunteers to put notices, agendas etc on the noticeboards were received:
• Chapel Lane: Cllr Geoff Fielding
• Butchers and Finchers Corner: Cllr Bruce Herriot
• Buryfields: Cllr Anne Scarsbrook
• Storridge Village Hall: Cllr Janita Goodwin
10.1.5 It was unanimously RESOLVED to approve a statement to the Cradley Enquirer.
10.2 The Chairman gave a brief summary of the history of the ‘.gov.uk’ website address and advised that HALC do not consider there has been a breach in Standing Orders. Advice was received that the ‘.gov.uk’ website address must be the official name of the Parish Council or the application would be rejected. It was noted that the official name of the Parish Council would need to change in order to change the new website name. It was unanimously RESOLVED that enquiries are made to Herefordshire Council regarding the process for a Parish Council name change with a view to then changing the ‘gov.uk’ domain name.
11. To consider proposed speed limit reduction on B4219 Cowleigh Road:
11.1 It was noted that the briefing note for proposed reduction has already progressed to a Traffic Regulation Order.
11.2 The proposed Traffic Regulation Order was presented and it was unanimously RESOLVED to support the proposal.
12. To consider A4103 Improvements:
Cllr Miles Meager declared an interest in item 12.1 and left the meeting accordingly
12.1 A proposal from Balfour Beatty was presented for Phase 2 of the Challenge Fund Road Works due to commence in May 2018. Options were presented in accordance with the report received from Balfour Beatty and a letter from a resident and local business owner was read out. It was RESOLVED to support option 1a, the longer lasting road surface completed in a 4-week time period necessitating full road closure. Very strong representation was made that signage should be fit for purpose and it was RESOLVED that the report to Balfour Beatty should state signage should clearly indicate where the road is closed and where open, that businesses are open as usual and that signs are removed as soon as work is complete.
Cllr Miles Meager returned to the room.
12.2 Safety works are due to begin on the junction of B4220 with A4013 to widen the visibility splay and it was reported that these works will be completed under traffic lights and possible convoy system but not road closure.
12.3 This item was discussed at the end of the meeting.
13. To consider grant applications:
13.1 Church Clock Faces: It was reported that a grant application is available to a maximum value of £5000 and it was RESOLVED to proceed to apply for both grant and faculty licence.
13.2 War Memorial: It was RESOLVED not to take further action at this time.
14. To consider full council training:
This item was deferred to the next meeting.
15. To consider a defibrillator annual policy:
This item was deferred to the next meeting.
16. To consider requirements and approve costs for Playground Inspections:
It was RESOLVED to approve expenditure of £117.20 for annual playground inspections at two sites to be completed by Frances White.
17. To note information sheet:
Information received was recorded, published on noticeboards and distributed to all councillors.
18. To consider a Village Picnic:
This item was deferred to the next meeting.
19. To note key items for CMS Newsletter:
It was RESOLVED that the Clerk write the article for the CMS Newsletter for this meeting.
20. Matters raised for next agenda:
20.1 To consider issues of speeding through the village
20.2 To discuss the role of HALC and consider membership for 2018/2019
21. Date of next meeting
It was RESOL VED that the next meeting would be held on Tuesday 13th March 2018 at 7pm at Storridge Village Hall.
A resolution was passed to exclude the public due for the following confidential employment and legal matters.
22. Employment Matters:
The Chairman introduced the confidential session and reiterated that it is imperative confidentiality is maintained and nothing discussed during this session is to leave the room.
22.1 The Chairman gave an update on employment matters relating to the ex-clerk and advised that access to the ex-clerk’s computer has now been achieved. The value of Kidwells’ final invoice was noted as £2400 plus VAT, which will be submitted for approval at the next meeting.
22.2 The Chairman gave an update on matters relating to the Internal Auditor and correspondence received was discussed. It was RESOLVED to seek further legal advice from Kidwells Solicitors and that the Chairman can act on that advice.
The meeting was re-opened to the public to address two points missed earlier in the evening
12.3 It was reported that a section of footpath on the junction of the A4103/B4220 is being considered for removal. It was considered that this footpath is never used and therefore it was RESOLVED to support the proposal.
6.7 It was reported that there was a minor error in the value of the cheque to be repaid to Groundworks UK (repayment of unspent NDP grant), which should have been £828.92 instead of £828.02 (refer to minutes of 23rd January 2018). It was RESOLVED to reissue the cheque for the sum of £828.92.
The Chairman closed the meeting at 10.40pm