Minutes 15th March 2018

Minutes of Clehonger Parish Council Meeting held on 15th March 2018 at 7.30pm at Innesfield Community Centre

Present: Cllrs J Rees, G Walker, A Davies, C Protherough (Vice Chair) and J Harris

In attendance:  Mrs A Wright (Clerk), plus Lengthsman Paul Wright, Ward Cllr Steve Williams, Footpath Officer Blue Davies, Jason Price from Persimmon Homes and 11 members of the public.

  1. Introduction and welcome by the Chairman

The Vice Chairman, Cllr Protherough, was in the Chair and she welcomed everyone to the meeting.

  1. Apologies for Absence and consider request for leave of absence

There were apologies received from Cllr G Savory (long term absence request granted), also Cllrs Whittal and Morgan.

  1. Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations made.

  1. Open Session to include update regarding Village speeding

The Open Session heard a further presentation from Jason Price of Persimmon Homes. Proposals for the reserved matters application were discussed. The points raised in the Parish Council’s previous response to the diagrams did not appear to have been received by Jason and the Clerk would re-send these. Jason commented that there would not be a reduction in the proportion of affordable homes that were planned for the site.

The recent snow fall had caused some local difficulties in terms of large drifts. These drifts, approximately six feet in height were noted also on the stretch of the B4349 where some of the hedging had been removed. The hedgerow had previously acted as a bit of a barrier. The Clerk would raise the concern with the landowner.

The Parish Council recorded thanks to all those who had helped each other get through the effects of the snowy weather and praised the community spirit that had been in evidence.

  1. Brief Verbal Reports:

5.1 Ward Councillor.  Ward Cllr Williams advised that he had reported a case of animal welfare at Ruckhall Lane where animals had been seen out on the road. An inspector had confirmed that, although in a poor state, there was no further enforcement action to be taken at that time. If animals were seen out on the road then the Police should be advised.

The issue of parking enforcement regarding school parking issues was discussed. There would be co-ordination of response to the requirements for lines etc. with the planning application for the Gosmore Road development as further requirements may be identified.

5.2 Friends of Clehonger Parish: Cllr Walker advised that the Friends of Clehonger Parish had sponsored the purchase of a flag and holster for the Rainbows. The village litter pick, PC and FOCP, had been booked for the 14th April and the kits had been reserved.

5.3 Clehonger Primary School: Cllr Whittal had sent her apologies. Cllr Whittal had advised that, following her resignation from the Governing Body, there was now a vacancy for an LA appointed Governor.

5.4 Locality Steward details in the bulletins.

5.5 Lengthsman: The Lengthsman updated the meeting regarding actions taken. The Lengthsman showed a photograph of dog fouling right by the play equipment and next to a bin. There was an appeal for people to be considerate for children’s health and welfare on the field and for people to clear up after their pets. It was agreed that specific dog waste bins should be purchased for installation to help provide somewhere for people to dispose of pet waste.

  1. To approve Minutes of the Parish Council Meetings held on 15th February 2018

Resolved: – It was resolved that the Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on the 15th February 2018, were approved by the Council and then signed by the Chairman. Minutes were proposed by Cllr Davies and seconded by Cllr Rees. Carried

  1. Clerk update and correspondence

The Clerk updated the meeting on actions etc. taken.

  1. Finance

8.1) Resolved: The following list of payments were proposed by Cllr Harris, seconded by Cllr Rees and approved unanimously:

Mrs A Wright (salary £459.80, mileage £14.76, phone £8.51)                                           £483.07

HMRC (Tax)                                                                                           £93.00

Longfield Services (Lengthsman)                                                              £53.00

HALC (Subscription 2018 – 2019)                                                            £766.32

Information Commissioner (ICO)                                                              £35.00

Greenbarnes Ltd (Shop notice board door)                                               £152.64

Total      £1583.03

8.2) Resolved: The bank balance was noted at £25562.84.

8.3) To discuss new data protection regulations and appoint working party to look at policies

It was agreed that councillors would consider the policies for adoption once published and work towards ensuring compliance within the terms of the new legislation.

8.4) To discuss funding for new web site and decide on way forward.

The Clerk had obtained grant funding for the Transparency Act compliance. The Parish Council agreed that the recommended HALC supplier. Eyelid Productions, be asked to create a compliant web site for the Parish Council. This was proposed by Cllr Davies and seconded by Cllr Walker. The motion was carried unanimously.

  1. Planning.

No further applications had been received for consideration.

9.1) Southern Link Road 151314 – update re position

Reporting papers from the solicitor in relation to the compulsory purchase orders were to be considered and commented upon if required.

Western Bypass Consultation

The Meeting heard from a representative of the Benedictine Order from Belmont Abbey regarding concerns over the potential impact of the proposals for a Western Bypass. The Abbey provides a place for relaxation and reflection and quiet is essential to this. The Abbey is a listed building of architectural significance and a place of worship. The priests are dedicated to a life of silence. They have a growing mission in the community and also further afield, with a mission in Peru. The Consultation was presenting seven alternative routes for the proposal and inviting comments by 20th March 2018. The routes were discussed and the Parish Council resolved that a comment would be made to the consultation that the PC was minded to state a preference for there to be no western bypass route at all. If a route were to be chosen then the PC would ask that the routes going closest to the Abbey be avoided. No particular route would be recommended as the feeling was that there should not be any one of the proposed routes chosen. The Clerk would convey this comment to the relevant authority.

9.2) Update on Village developments including any comments on the Persimmon Homes Application regarding reserved matters

This was discussed during the Open Session. The revising of the proposals, in line with comments received, was ongoing. The final proposals putting forward the application for decision would be viewed when determined by Persimmon and the Planning Authority. The PC comments made in the e mail dated 22/02/18, which did not appear to have been considered, would be re-sent. The content of the e mail sent is as follows:

“Clehonger Parish Council comments – Persimmon Homes Development proposals for Gosmore Road/Seven Stars location

The Clehonger Parish Council has consulted on the presented material, from Persimmon Homes, and has collected the following observations together for presentation at the reserved matters stage of the application.

It should be noted that, although outline permission has been granted, there are major concerns over the volume of houses being built, at the location, for the primary reason of access and highways safety. This was highlighted very recently when an RTA led to the B4349 being closed for a period of several hours and the diversions put in place turned Gosmore Road into a “rat run” as it became the only way through.

It is believed that the low cost housing and social rented accommodation should be integrated across the site and not identified as one sub section of the estate. It is noted that the garage block concerns have been acknowledged.

The draft plan shows no bungalows being built and residents are asking why this is the case? If we are to live in a fully integrated society there should be housing for all, bungalows meet the needs for older people and people with a disability. The bungalows could be low cost and social rented accommodation plus be available on the open market for individuals wishing to downgrade from larger homes. All the proposed housing designs are less than optimal for people with a disability, in view of the advisability of “design for life”. Although there is provision of a ground floor WC of various degrees of adequacy, there does not appear to be  provision of sufficient space for a shower, or indeed very much manoeuvrability where assistance might be needed .

The issues of sewage and rain storm water have not been fully explained, or addressed. There is still some question of dates and funding. The next investment period for Welsh water is believed to be 2020 – 2025 as the sewerage plant is currently at capacity.

At this point in time, the position of the planned pond is covered by 6 inches of field run- off water and the ground is fully waterlogged. The proposed pond sits in a natural flood plain area which takes run off rain water from the length of Gosmore Road and the surrounding fields. It is suggested that the pond needs to be larger, and deeper, if it is to contain the extra surface rain run off water. All the ditches need to cleaned and maintained, which they are currently not being. There is a potential for sewage contamination of the local water courses and the River Wye. 

It is believed that a more environmentally effective solution would be to give all of the new homes a grey water catchment system. This water would then be used for toilet flushing, clothes washing and watering of the residents gardens, saving water, and financial cost to the local residents.

It has been suggested that all of new homes should be fitted with solar panels, this will help meet the green energy targets and reduce heating and lighting costs for the new home owners. The PC would like to emphasise the commitment made to the natural environment and to the welfare of indigenous wildlife such as hedgehogs. We are keen to preserve as much of the natural hedgerow as possible and at a reasonable minimum height to provide habitats and screening. The PC would also like assurance on the upkeep of communal areas, including grass and hedge cutting, going forward.

All hedgerows around and across the development site should be retained. Too few new trees are being planted to compensate for the loss of this green open space and the trees, when chosen, should be large sized specimens planted with areas for rain penetration and not encased in concrete.

The suggestion of an entrance midway on the eastern boundary is not acceptable. It will be mixed up with a potential parking / turning area on the estate and could present safety issues for children and young people. In general we have had reason in the past to be wary of multiple entrances and exits because of misuse – e.g. drug related activity, and we do not welcome potential gateways that could be used for concealment and way laying.

The Parish Council have already remarked on the assumption that the new foot/cycle path can exit the estate on to the playing field at the corner of the existing entrance, again coming through the hedge. Whilst the PC can see the logic of joining it up with  the existing footpath across the playing field we think this needs very careful consideration. As we have expressed, we are concerned that the foot/cycle path from one end of the estate to the other could attract, as well as pedestrians and cyclists, potential use by motor bikes.  Under no circumstances do we want these able to access the playing field, and indeed even additional cycles speeding through and up the playing field through the play equipment for young children would be hazardous. The exit at this bottom corner of the playing field is also far from ideal in terms of safely joining what can be a very hazardous road, especially at school leaving and arriving times, coming straight out into traffic, this all needs very careful thought and planning in cooperation with the Parish Council and the school.

There should be prohibition of vehicle access to the site during the development period from the Gosmore Road side. We note that the outline planning permission precluded a new vehicle exit on to Gosmore Road, and believe this was justified due to the spatial constraints of Gosmore Road for turning and passing. If this decision is changed so that there is an emergency vehicle access off Gosmore Road, it shouldn’t be controlled by an automated bollard system. It needs to be a closed agricultural five bar gate, this will prevent unauthorized access and ingress by small motor powered bikes and scooters using the opening as a potential rat run.

There is still a lot of concern that there is not enough parking provision within the estate, with only 1.5 parking spaces per house, given that many households have more than one vehicle and there needs to be access space for deliveries and sufficient volume of designated space for visitor parking. There are still concerns about refuse collection and the PC are seeking clarification about whether, given the small areas for manoeuvrability for refuse vehicles, residents will have a door to door service or will they be expected to bring their bins to central collection points?

The PC believe that to enhance Clehonger, rather than adding to its existing problems, section 106 contributions and imaginative cooperation between the developer, Parish Council and school could address issues such as :-

Speed restrictions e.g. a Speed Indicator Device (SID) to reduce speeding on the increasingly busy B4349

Resolving school parking problems

Better leisure provision for older children

Existing local residents continue to express concerns about the drain on resources that are likely to result from an influx of building in Clehonger and the surrounding villages. With this proposed development and others within the village, plus the proposed development of 150 new homes in Kingstone, there could up to 250 new homes in the local area in a very short period of time, this could result in over 1000 new patients for our local GP surgery. Have Herefordshire Commissioning Group (HCG) been informed of this potential increase in the Practice list? There is also concern for the already overstretched hospital resource.”

  1. Village Matters including Church re-ordering and defibrillator update

Church re-ordering would be progressing after Easter.

The defibrillator list was progressing through the DBS document checking process.

A resident advised that £305.00 had been raised by the recent Bingo evening.

  1. Neighbourhood Plan

11.1)  Update on Clehonger Plan

The Chair and the Clerk would be making arrangements for the analysis memory stick to be screened for data on a computer that was no longer needed in case of virus infection.

A letter of disclaimer would be sent to the Village Hall Chair concerning the stored questionnaires.

  1. Playing Field – update

No further update.

  1. Brief Reports from Footpath Warden, HALC Rep and Tree Warden

Footpath Warden: The Warden reported that there were some trees down following the snow damage. He would investigate further. He would also liaise with the Allensmore Footpath Officer concerning bordering paths.

HALC Rep:  The HALC Rep reported that there was no further update.

Tree Warden: The Tree Warden had sent his apologies.

  1. Items for next Agenda (no discussion) Neighbourhood Plan and analysis, Persimmon application, litter-pick, Southern Link and Western Link Roads, GDPR and other usual items.
  2. Reminder of dates of future meetings

There was a reminder of the date of the next Ordinary Parish Council Meeting to be held on Thursday 19th April 2018 from 7.30pm at Innesfield.

The Meeting closed at 9.51pm