Minutes 13th March 2018

Minutes of a Parish Council Meeting held on Tuesday 13th March 2018 at 7.00 pm in Storridge Village Hall


Councillors Bruce Herriot (Chairman), Judith Aldridge, Ann Carver, Giselle Edger, Alan Eldridge, Geoffrey Fielding, Janita Goodwin, Wynne Harries, Clare Jones, Miles Meager, Diane Merker, David Roys, Anne Scarsbrook, Sarah Thomas.

In attendance

Tony Ford – Acting Clerk (HALC)

Cllr Eleanor Chowns – Ward Councillor

Members of the public – 17.

The Chairman read a statement from the clerk concerning her resignation and also read his own statement on Current matters relating to Cradley Parish Council.

1. Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Simon Davies.

1.2 The Chairman highlighted the sad circumstances of Cllr Davies’ apologies and it was agreed that a formal letter would be sent to him.

2. Declarations of interest and written requests for dispensations

2.1 There were no requests for dispensation.

2.2 Cllr Roys declared a Non-disclosable Pecuniary Interest in agenda item 6.3.1.

3. Minutes of the previous meeting … 13th February 2018

3.1 It was RESOLVED to adopt the minutes subject to the following amendment and they were then signed by the Chairman:

3.1.1 Item 7.5 the word aggrieved to be deleted and replaced with ‘upset’.

4. Open Session

The Chairman commented that the session would be limited to 15 minutes and that the public part of the meeting would conclude at 9.00 pm to allow time for confidential items to be considered.

4.1Ward Councillor Report … Cllr Chowns:

4.1.1 Expressed her condolences to Cllr Davies.

4.1.2 Commented that she was sad to note the resignation of the Clerk.

4.1.3 Highlighted key issues from Herefordshire Council:

a) The Scrutiny Committee would be looking into the sale of farms.

b) The provision of libraries and museums was under review.

4.1.4 Local residents were requested to report potholes and copy her into correspondence, quoting references.

4.2 Representations from the public:

4.2.1 In response to a query on the traveller site application, the Ward Councillor commented that consultations were being undertaken with Malvern Hills District Council.

4.2.2 The Chairman responded to a query on Rectory Lane, stating that no update was available.

4.2.3 Potholes were raised as a concern.

4.2.4 A local resident criticised the unnecessary cost of the recent parish council election (£3618.78) and was not in favour of changing the name of the parish council.

5. Planning Matters

5.1 The following comments were made on applications to be determined by

Herefordshire Council:

5.1.1 Application 180402 Winthill Farm Cradley … Proposed replacement of agricultural building on existing footprint, no change of use: It was noted that the new building would be a little higher than the current one but not as high as surrounding buildings and would be shielded by trees from the west. It was RESOLVED to support the application.

5.1.2 Application 180702 The Coach House, Cradley … Fell Fir tree because of snow damage and fell Eucalyptus because of significant bend in trunk. The tree was in a Conservation Area and AONB and leaning dangerously over the drive entrance. It was therefore RESOLVED that the parish council had no objection.

5.1.3 Application 174057 Pixiefields … Outline application for residential development. It was noted that a previous application from another developer had been refused planning permission. The current proposal was for 51 homes (compared to 60 previously) within the settlement boundary. This would include 20 affordable units and 8 single storey dwellings. The number of bedrooms had decreased from
177 to 124. It was RESOLVED to make the following comments:

i) Whilst recognising that the application was an improvement on previous plans, it was felt that the 51 should be the absolute maximum permitted.

ii) There were concerns about access to the site through the current Pixiefields estate.

iii) Whilst it was pleasing to note that there would be no construction parking on the Pixiefields estate, restrictions on construction parking on the nearby sections of the Bosbury Road would be welcomed.

iv) There was no pedestrian access to the site from the west or north – inclusion of such access would encourage walk-to-school etc.

v) Extensive protected tree planting throughout the new development would be required to comply with the Cradley NDP Policy 5 (AONB), as this is

vi) an open hillside site which is clearly viewed from the east. In addition, the current built-up area of Cradley has good tree cover generally and this development should blend in with that concept eventually.

vii) Cradley NDP Policy 9 does not permit any street lighting.

viii) The Planning Authority is urged to check any proposed surface water systems as this site is a known problem area and nearby houses flood at times of high rainfall.

ix) Cradley Parish Council welcomes the reduction in the number of bedrooms, the better mix of housing and the inclusion of a good proportion of affordable properties, together with the improved general layout in comparison to the first application.

x) Cradley Parish Council wishes to remind HCC that the 2011 SCHLAR report recommended only 30 houses on this site

5.2 The following planning permissions granted by Herefordshire Council were noted:

5.2.1 Application 173685 St James Church, Rectory Lane, Cradley. Works to trees.

5.2.2 Application 180111 Talland, Cradley. Works to trees.

5.2.3 Application 180021 Plot 1,The Elms, Rectory Lane, Cradley. Works to trees.

5.2.4 Application 174416 New Inn, Storridge. Granted with conditions.

5.3 Consideration of delegated powers to the Clerk to comment directly to

Herefordshire Council in liaison with the Planning Working Group:

5.3.1 It was RESOLVED to defer this item to the next scheduled meeting.

6. Finance

6.1 Financial Report:

6.1.1 It was noted that the precept would be paid in two equal instalments on 20th April and 21st September 2018.
6.1.2 Bank balances (subject to receipt of statements):

Current account: £20,572.00.

Reserve account: £14,874.00.

6.2 Annual Membership of HALC/NALC for 2018/19 at a cost of £792.90.

6.2.1 The matter was discussed under agenda item 18 when it was RESOLVED to make the payment.

6.3 It was RESOLVED to pay the following invoices:

6.3.1 Cradley Village Hall … grant of £2,019.90.

6.3.2 Cradley Church … grant of £1500.00.

6.3.3 Herefordshire Council … parish election fee of £3,618.78.

6.3.4 Kidwells legal fees … £2,898.00.

6.3.5 March employment payment of £435.44 … The matter was discussed under agenda item 18, when it was RESOLVED to make the payment.

6.3.6 March payment to HMRC of £109.00 … The matter was discussed under agenda item 18 when it was RESOLVED to make the payment.

7. Standing Orders … It was RESOLVED to defer the item to a future meeting.

8. Local residents on Working Groups

8.1 Following a brief discussion it was RESOLVED to consider the matter as part of the Standing Orders review.

8.2 Village Infrastructure Working Group

8.2.1 It was RESOLVED that David Roys would be a member.

8.2.2 2018/19 Lengthsman/P3 Scheme:

i) The Working Group had recommended the scheme be continued in line with the proposed Annual Maintenance Plan.

ii) The current cost of £30 per hour was considered high in comparison to the hourly rate of the clerk and, in line with the proposed contract would amount to nearly £9k per annum. Cllr Fielding commented that because he volunteered his services alongside the Lengthsman, the cost was really only £15 per hour.
iii) It was noted that no work had been undertaken for six months.

iv) In accordance with normal practice and in the light of employee/contractor issues, it was RESOLVED to put the 2018/19 Lengthsman contract out to tender. Cllrs Meager and Merker would draft a tender document.

v) It was further RESOLVED that Cllr Fielding would submit the draft Annual Maintenance Plan to Herefordshire Council on the understanding that it could be changed subject to the outcome of the Lengthsman tender process.

8.2.3 Notes from the Working Group meeting included:

i) Seek permission for bus shelter.

ii) Purchase new grit bins.

iii) Tender for new grass-cutting contractor.

iv) Mole management on hold pending 2018/19 contract.

v) The bin emptying list was in place.

vi) The inappropriate behaviour and language of some members of the Working Group was raised.

8.3 It was RESOLVED that David Roys would become a member of the NDP Working Group.

It was RESOLVED to defer items 9-17 to a future meeting.

9. Highways.

10. Village Hall Reports.

11. Name change from Cradley PC to Cradley & Storridge PC & associated costs.

12. Communications Strategy.

13. Training.

14. Information Sheet

15. Key items for CMS Newsletter.

16. Items for future agendas.

17. Date of next meeting … Tuesday 10th April 2018.

A resolution was passed to exclude the public from the following agenda items due to their confidential nature

18. Confidential Items

The Chairman reminded members that no discussion on the following items was permitted outside the meeting room:

18.1 Update on matters relating to the ex-clerk:

18.1.1 The Chairman gave an update on legal advice concerning the impending tribunal.

18.2 Update on matters relating the outgoing Internal Auditor:

18.2.1 Following discussion it was RESOLVED to ask Kidwells to act on behalf of the parish council.

18.3 Communication between councillors and the clerk:

18.3.1 It was RESOLVED to defer this item and include it as part of future training by HALC.

18.4 Anti-bullying Policy:

18.4.1 There was detailed discussion on aspects of bullying and it was RESOLVED to defer writing a policy until the outcome of an impending Judicial Review case involving another local authority.

18.5 Clerk’s Employment Contract:

18.5.1 It was RESOLVED to defer the matter to a future meeting.