Minutes 10th January 2013

Minutes of Clehonger Parish Council Meeting held on 10th January 2013 at 7.30pm at Innesfield Community Centre

Present: Cllrs C Tomlinson (Chairman), J Whittall (Vice Chair), J Rider, P Jeffree, J Hammond, G Walker, J Thorne and C Protherough

In attendance:   Mrs A Wright (Clerk), CSO Witcher, Ward Councillor Taylor and 10 members of the public.

1.  Apologies for Absence

There were no apologies.

2.  Declarations of Interest

Resolved: Cllrs J Hammond and C Protherough declared prejudicial interests in matters relating to the Village Hall and Councillor Tomlinson declared similar in relation to Dore Community Transport.

3.  Introduction and welcome by the Chairman

The Chairman welcomed everyone, including the members of the public, to the meeting. The Chairman officially announced the resignation of Cllr Ann Hitchiner who had left after many years on the Council. She had stated that if she could assist the Council in any way, going forwards, then she was more than happy to do so. Tribute was paid to her wisdom, and knowledge, and grateful thanks extended to her for all of her service to the Council and the community. The chairman had sent her a formal letter of thanks. Following a request for an election for a new councillor, this would now be managed by the Electoral Services Office at Herefordshire Council. The election would take place on Thursday 21st February and would be held in the Clehonger Village Hall.

4.  Open Session

Matters that were raised during the open session included flooding on the road close to the Lousy Oak junction of the B4349 with the A465. The Clerk would ask Amey to put up Flood warning signs when the problem occurred. The lengthsman was attempting to keep gullies clear but unprecedented rainfall was making the task very difficult and flooding was a problem on many roads. There was a problem in regard to the new bus stop in that pedestrians are required to walk further down a busy stretch of road to get to it. The Clerk would contact Amey to ask if it would be possible for a length of pathway to be extended to the bus stop, from the end of Church Road, to allow people to walk in more safety on the path rather than on the busy road.

A consultation (Your Community – Your say) had been published in the Hereford Times by Herefordshire Council inviting the public to contribute their suggestions as to how services etc. could be rationalised in line with the reduction in budgets available. It was in people’s interests to feedback their views so that they could be taken into consideration by the decision takers.

A danger was relayed as to the end of Croft Road, where it joins the B4349, in that there is no lighting and the white lines denoting the junction are not visible. It was felt that cars could go over the end into the main road without realising that they should stop there. Clerk to advise Amey about this.

5.  Brief Verbal Reports:

5.1 Local Policing Team.  CSO Witcher advised that it had been relatively quiet over Christmas and the New Year. There had been some “scams” going round and some of them were quite professional in their approach. The main criminal activity had been centred round thefts of tools, and power tools, from outbuildings, such as sheds and garages, and fuel theft. Advice was to mark items with “smart water” and to remember to report any suspicious presence or activity. Telephone the non emergency reporting number 101 or phone the local policing team number direct to report any concerns. The Clerk would supply CSO Witcher with a list of forward meeting dates for the Parish Council.

5.2 Ward Councillor. There would be a 1.9% increase in Council Tax. There were budget issues around areas such as social care and consequences to an “ageing” population. Potholes and road problems were to receive some funding from Central Government to help address the very poor state of the roads. It was suggested that the Clerk should write to Cllr Graham Powell to express concern over the condition of the roads, potholes etc. and to ask what was going to be done to help.

BT had speeded up broadband connectivity for the Madley and Burghill exchanges but customers had commented that they had not noticed an appreciable improvement and some had commented that it was in fact slower than before.

The New Ward boundaries have resulted in a “Stoney Street Ward” (including Clehonger). Cllr Taylor sought views from the Parish Council on the Link Road between the A49 and the A465. There was an informal discussion and mixed views. A “show of hands” came out as 6 in favour of and 2 against the Link Road.

5.3 Dore Community Transport. No further update.

5.4 Clehonger Community Action Group.  No report.

5.5 Broadband Champion. The Champion highlighted developments re proposed broadband speeds and fibre optic delivery systems which would be introduced over the next few years. It was hoped that by 2016 much faster speeds would be available. The Broad Band partnership, which includes Gloucester Council, is looking to brand their organisation and create a new logo.

5.6 Church. No update.

6.  To approve minutes of Meeting held on 26/11/12.

Cllr Walker raised the issue of item 21 and asked if the reporting of the discussion on the “Your Community Your Say” event could be removed. After consideration, the proposal to remove it was put to the vote and it was resolved that the item should remain intact. A further request, from Cllr Walker, to replace the organisation name of the group, who had applied for and obtained the equipment grant, with “The Jubilee Group”, was made.

Resolved: – The Minutes were then approved by the Council and signed by the Chairman

7. Clerk Update on Action Items

The Clerk updated the Council on action items including, potholes, grit bins and signs.

The Clerk to e mail the document on the Local Council Tax Support Scheme to all councillors.

8.  To note correspondence

Correspondence had included:

  • The Local Council Tax Support Scheme information letter
  • Neighbourhood Planning update from Cllr Russell Hamilton
  • Letter from resident re state of road in Ruckhall Lane (potholes etc)
  • Your Community Your say feedback

9.  Finance

9.1 Resolved: The following list of payments were approved:

Longfield Services (P3 Footpaths)                                           £102.38

Lengthsman (R. Layton Morris)                                              £230.97

Mrs A Wright – (salary £394.54 mileage £6.66)                                                 £401.20

Tax due on salary payment (Payable to The Post Office)            £98.60

J & D Sanders (hedge cutting)                                               £198.00

Mr C L Tomlinson (expenses)                                                  £11.70

Sub Total        £1042.85

Parish Planning for Real Payments

Nil this month                                                                          £0.00

PP Sub Total              £0.00

Grand Total         £1042.85

9.2 Resolved: The bank balance was noted

10.  Planning

No new applications had been received. The Home Farm Application at Belmont had been refused permission.

11.  Parish Plan

An update on the Parish Plan activity was given. Smaller working groups were being created to look at specific subject areas. Eventually a questionnaire will go to all houses in the Parish. Five playing fields had been visited and observations made. There would now be a design brief created as a basis for seeking contractors to supply ideas in regard to costs. There had not been feedback from Clehonger School, at present, but Cllr Whittall explained that there had been some other issues that may have altered the focus for the school and that the Steering Group should re-approach them, as they had previously expressed a wish to be involved. Details were given re forthcoming meetings and the next one on the 16th January would be on the subject of housing. All meetings would be held at Innesfield at 7.30pm.

12.  Precept 2013/2014

A disclosure of pecuniary interest dispensation was resolved until 2015 to enable councillors to discuss the precept proposals. After discussion of the issues, costs faced by the Council and examination of a draft budget, it was resolved that the precept application for 2013/2014 should be made for the sum of £12,000.00. All were in favour. The Clerk would submit the application to the Herefordshire Council.

13.  To discuss provision of an in house training session (by HALC) re the subject areas of a) Code of conduct, b) Due process, c) New rules for the Standards Committee and d) New powers under the Localism Act

It was stated that the Clerk had made extensive efforts to co-ordinate a training session previously but had been unable, at the time, to get all relevant parties together for this to take place. After discussion, it was proposed that the Clerk should contact Trefor Edwards to ask him if he would be prepared to facilitate an “away day” to cover issues as required.

14. Update on Fly Tipping and Flooding issues in Church Road, Old Clehonger

Further to the Clerk writing to Amey and the Council Enforcement Office, and chasing up these requests, there was nothing further to report.

15. Community Action Group, finance insurance and forthcoming activities

Cllr Protherough had made contact with the Group and had ascertained that they did wish to continue to fund raise and in particular to contribute to funds for development of the Playing Field. Monetary figures for the last fund raising event were still being finalised.

16. Councillor vacancy and elections

Two sets of 10 persons have requested an election. This will be carried out by the Herefordshire Council and will be chargeable to the Parish. The estimated cost is likely to be in the region of between £1300 and £2000.

17. Brief Reports from Footpath Warden, HALC Rep, Village Hall Rep and Tree Warden

FW no further information, HALC no further update, Village Hall Rep reported that there had been a successful New Year Party held and also that there was to be some tarmac laid in the vicinity of the hall. The Tree Warden advised that she would be chasing up the Preservation Order on the Oak at the “Gardner’s” property in Poplar Road. Allensmore Parish Council has also applied for protection of the tree.

18.  Items for next Agenda (no discussion)

Parish Plan, Village Matters (new agenda item)

  19.  Reminder of dates of future meetings

The next meeting will be Thursday 21st February 2013, 7.30pm Innesfield Community Centre. Clerk to set all future meeting dates for year 2013, book the hall and e mail info on dates to all.

The Meeting closed at 9.40pm