Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of Clehonger Parish Council held on 10th December 2020 from 7.30 pm via Zoom Platform during the Covid 19 Virus Pandemic
Present: Cllrs J Rees, S Savory, C Protherough (Chair), A Davies (Vice Chair) K Langdon, J Whittal, W Watkins, J Harris and J Jones
In attendance: Mrs A Wright (Clerk), Ward Cllr David Hitchener, Footpath Officer Blue Davies and two members of the public.
1. Introduction and welcome by the Chair
The Chair welcomed everyone to the Zoom meeting.
2. To receive Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies for absence.
3. To note Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest made.
4. Open Session
There were no matters raised during the open session.
5. Brief Verbal Reports:
(5.1) Ward Councillor: Ward Cllr Hitchiner gave an update regarding the Hereford transport package. Plans for the Southern Link Road and Western Bypass had been cancelled under Cabinet recommendation but full council would need to ratify the decision. Alternative strategies were being explored such as a second river crossing as a “resilience benefit” and increased walking, cycling and getting more children onto school buses. The Ward Cllr explained about the budget strategy and about the requirement for there to be a balanced budget. Reviews of spending in various areas would be required to address possible deficit of funds. Good housekeeping, plus a reduction in services may be required. Roads, public realm services, emptying bins, car parking and other items would be reviewed. Social care for adults and children consumed the bulk of the county budget. The Ward Cllr advised that parishes and market towns would take on services, where it was possible for them to do so, under a transfer of responsibility.
(5.2) Lengthsman: No further update
(5.3) Footpath Officer: The Footpath Officer noted that the paths were very slippery at present. The paths were being well used and a lot of dog walking was going on. Dogs to be kept on leads where there were sheep.
There had been correspondence received from the Locality Steward regarding the removal of warning signs and tape on the footbridge on the pathway at Cage Brook that runs through the SSSI site to Littlemarsh Common Road. The footbridge had been closed as unsafe, and was due for replacement, but someone had removed the signage and tape. The Locality Steward indicated that this had put other path users potentially at risk and asked for the Parish Council to be made aware.
(5.4) Tree Warden: The Tree Warden was not present. No update this time.
6.0 Playing Field
(6.1) Update and allocation of funds plus update re 106 monies
The 106 money designated for the playing field would need to be spent on the playing field. It was noted that there was loss of amenity land with the new house building. It was proving difficult for people to find suitable places to walk, particularly with dogs. It was stated that it might be difficult to spend all of the 106 funding on the actual playing field. There was also the issue of costs involved with possible specifications etc. from Balfour Beatty. The Ward Cllr would look into the possibility of whether the 106 agreement for the playing field could be altered to facilitate spend on possible other areas for recreation. The school would also have a specific amount of 106 funding. Ring fencing of a sum from parish council funds to the playing field was deferred unto such time as the 106 funds were actually received.
(6.2) To discuss possible marking out of 5 a side football pitch and upkeep
Some work had been done into looking at the viability of a marked out football pitch. New goal posts would be required. The meeting heard that the school grounds men could mark up the pitch by burning in the lines because the upkeep of white lining was not thought practicable. The school were happy to commission the marking up when required. It was resolved to proceed with the marking up of a 5 a side pitch for school and public use. The School would confirm they would use the pitch and Cllr Davies would progress this.
(6.3) To discuss possible acquisition of additional parcel of land for recreational use
This would be discussed further when 106 funding was obtained and information regarding possible change of target use for the funds from just the playing field had been determined.
7. To approve Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 12/11/20
It was resolved that the Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on 12th November 2020, were approved by the Council.
8. Information and correspondence
The Clerk updated the meeting on actions, correspondence etc.
• Hereford Transport Strategy Review
• Weekly Covid update 27/11/20
• 3 items including Licensing Policy draft – summary of change
• ROAD CLOSURES – NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020 – 20.11.2020
Clehonger PC Meeting Dates for 2021
May 13 (Annual Parish and Annual Statutory)
There was a discussion about the footbridge by the Cage Brook and the fact that there were many footpath facilities awaiting repair or replacement. The question was asked about Balfour Beatty monopoly on the repairs etc. and whether sub-contractors could be used, as in the past, to catch up the long list of tasks which were outstanding. The Ward Cllr would look into this with the Cabinet Member for Infrastructure. Balfour Beatty accountability and how the contract was managed was a matter of importance.
The Meeting Zoom calls ran from 7.30 to 8.10 PM, then 8.15 to 8.55 PM and finally 9.00 to 9.15 PM.
9. Finance and Policies
(9.1) Resolved: The following list of payments were approved:
Clerk paid in accordance with contract
Longfield Services (Lengthsman/Bins) £218.35
Alison Davies (Ink for playing field papers) £20.99
PKF Littlejohn (External Audit fee) £240.00
Octaga Security Services Ltd (patrols) £72.00
Eyelid Productions Ltd (web services) £30.00
(9.2) Resolved: The bank balance was noted at £49969.94
(9.3) To determine precept for 2021 – 2022
The budget and precept for 2021 – 2022 were discussed and considered and it was resolved that the precept request for 2021 – 2022 would remain at £22800.00. The Clerk would submit the necessary paperwork to the Herefordshire Council Finance Team.
The Chair, Cllr Protherough, had difficulty rejoining the Zoom Meeting at this point and the Vice Chair, Cllr Davies, took the chair for the first part of the discussion on item (9.4). The Chair rejoined the discussion and retook the chair during item (9.4)
(9.4) Consideration of request for funding help for mowing by Clehonger PCC
There was a discussion on the application, by Clehonger Parochial Church Council, for funding assistance with the upkeep of the Clehonger Churchyard, in regard to mowing. Reference was made by the Vice Chair about looking at alternative methods in order to keep the churchyard in a tidy condition, plus other points of view on the topic were expressed.
The Parish Council heard and considered the legal advice given by the HALC and NALC bodies on the topic. The Parish Council resolved, by a majority vote, to make a donation of £650.00 towards the mowing of the churchyard.
(9.5) Consideration of request for funding help by Dore Community Transport
The Parish Council discussed the request for a donation to help with the running costs of Dore Community Transport and considered the current trends. It was recognised that there had been a reduction in take up due to the pandemic but the service was being used by local people and a donation of £650.00 was resolved to be made.
(10.1) To consider response to Planning Applications, as notified, and then determined by Herefordshire Council
There were not new applications to consider. The Parish Council noted that the emerging Clehonger Neighbourhood Development Plan had been sited, and given significant weight, in two recent application refusals, Gosmore Road and Garnom.
(10.2) To note requirement for electric charge points for vehicles when considering planning applications plus other “green” initiatives where applicable
It was resolved that the Parish Council would incorporate the requirement for there to be electric charging points, and other “green” initiatives, used in planning projects for the village, wherever possible.
11. Village Matters
It was agreed that Cllr Whittal would meet with the Lengthsman, at a convenient time and date, to discuss a suitable place for the dog waste bin that had been purchased for the Gosmore Road area.
There would be an additional dog waste bin sited on the estate once the site roads etc. were all completed. (Note to be sent to site Manager to remind).
White lining had worn off the roadway at the end of Pleasant Row going onto Birch Hill Road and also at the end of Gosmore Road coming out onto Birch Hill Road.
The Chair advised that around 70 Welcome Packs had been distributed to new householders, in the village, in the previous twelve months.
12. Items for next Agenda (no discussion)
All of the usual items would be on the Agenda. It was agreed that an advance notification of the Ward Cllr Report, would be helpful with a brief summary only at the meeting. Emphasis on local issues and those that were topical to Clehonger would be favoured above Herefordshire Council information.
13. Reminder of dates of future meetings
The next Ordinary Meeting of the Parish Council would be held on Thursday 14th January 2021, from 7.30pm, on Zoom unless notified otherwise. There would be three consecutive meetings set up on Zoom.
The Meeting closed at 9.15 PM.