Minutes 17th December 2015

 Minutes of Clehonger Parish Council Meeting held on 17th December 2015 at 7.30pm at Innesfield Community Centre

Present: Cllrs P Jeffree (Chairman), A Morgan, J Rees, J Harris, G Savory, C Protherough (Vice Chair) G Walker and A Davies

In attendance:  Mrs A Wright (Clerk), Ward Councillor Steve Williams, the Lengthsman, PCSO Lucy Morris and 1 member of the public.


  1. Introduction and welcome by the Chairman

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.

  1. Apologies for Absence

There were apologies received from Cllr Whittal.

  1. Declarations of Interest

Cllr Protherough in relation to the Village Hall.

  1. Open Session

There were no actual open session items raised by the public at this point.

  1. Brief Verbal Reports:

5.1 Ward Councillor.  Ward Cllr Williams highlighted an issue where a child had “run out” of the Playing Field under the existing fence. Plans for a replacement fence were in hand.

He then mentioned the planning application for the broiler houses and that the closing date for comments was the 24th December. People to write in with comments. It may not be until quite a way into 2016 that the application is put forward for determination, possibly April/May. Cllr Williams will be requesting that the application is determined by Planning Committee.

The application by Gladmans, for 90 houses off the Madley Road, would be going before the Planning Committee at some time in the new year with the directive being one of refusal of planning permission. There were issues with Welsh Water in relation to this.

The Southern Link Road application was currently under review in relation to some matters and also some questions being asked by Heritage England.

The Ward Cllr left at 7.45pm.

PCSO Lucy Morris was present and introduced herself to those present at the Meeting.

She explained about the local officers and that Peterchurch Police Station would be staying, at least for the present. There had not been any major issues in Clehonger, someone had been reported as knocking on a back door in Innesfield but this was not reported until the day following the incident. There was a reminder that any non urgent incidents should be reported via telephone number 101 and emergencies on 999. It was noted that if there is no demand the police service may be lost, “use it or lose it” applies. The emphasis on keeping an eye out for neighbours and passing information through was made. With more properties becoming vacant it was important to know what was going on in an area so that anything untoward could be reported. It was also stressed that it was important that any carers attending the area were aware that there was a defibrillator available outside the Community Centre should it be required.

The “Mobile” Police Station can come out to communities if required. It was also noted that the work mobile phones of the officers are not a reporting line option. The Police would be happy to pop in to any coffee mornings to raise awareness and were happy to hear of any concerns that they may then be able to pass on to Herefordshire Housing in terms of safety for the residents etc.

The PCSO left at 7.55pm.

5.2 Friends of Clehonger Parish: Cllr George Walker updated the meeting regarding the meeting held on the 7th December. There had been slips circulated but overall a low turnout. There had been 17 apologies but 15 people who offered to help. There will be another open meeting held soon to discuss ideas for the forthcoming 90th Birthday celebrations for the Queen. Ideas for the celebrations are most welcome. There were some concerns regarding insurance and Cllr Walker would advise of the type of activities so that the insurance details could be checked.

The “Welcome” Packs had been assembled and 14 had been distributed with a further 3 waiting to be given out. It was agreed that basic contact information could be collected from recipients of the Welcome Packs, under no obligation, and only for the sole purpose of keeping them up to date with village news and events.

5.3 Clehonger Primary School:  Cllr Whittal was not present.

5.4 Lengthsman: The Lengthsman updated the meeting on actions and advised that the jetter would be required at the lazy oak junction due to a blocked drain.

  1. To approve Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 19/11/15 and the Extraordinary Meeting held on the 30th November

Resolved: – It was resolved that the Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, held on 19th November 2015, were approved by the Council and then signed by the Chairman. It was resolved that the Minutes of the Extraordinary Parish Council Meeting, held on 30th November 2015, were approved by the Council and then signed by the Chairman. Both sets of Minutes were proposed by Cllr Davies and seconded by Cllr Rees.

  1. Clerk Update

The Clerk updated the meeting on actions etc. taken.

  1. Finance

8.1 Resolved: The following list of payments were approved, proposed by Cllr Morgan and seconded by Cllr Davies:

Mrs A Wright (salary £534.48, mileage £34.97, stationery £9.50 and NDP refreshments £7.84)    £586.79

Post Office Ltd (Tax due)                                                                        £133.60

Longfield Services (lengthsman)                                                               £140.00

Mr Terry Gordon (Playing field inspection)                                                 £300.00

Hay Ho! Bus Service Donation                                                                  £100.00

 Total                       £ 1260.39

8.2 Resolved: The bank balance was noted.

8.3 To discuss the Precept request:  The precept request was discussed and the financial commitments upon the Parish Council were noted as per the budget forecast and the potential for there to be further delegation of activities to the Parish Council. It was resolved that a further £1000.00 would be ring-fenced to the Playing Field Fund making the total held for the Fund £5947.64. Following discussion it was resolved that the precept request for 2016/2017 would be for the sum of £18500.00. This was proposed by Cllr Morgan and seconded by Cllr Walker. Carried. The precept request form was completed, and signed, and would be forwarded to Herefordshire Council by the Clerk.

8.4 To discuss possible donation to Hay Ho! Bus Service

The Hay Ho! Bus Service and information provided by the organisers were considered. The Meeting heard an update from Mr Pearson about the service and usage and the number of buses running on the scheduled timetable. The information was discussed and it was noted that public transport fitted in with identified Parish Plan objectives and that the service provided by the Hay Ho! Sponsored route was valued. The Donations Policy criteria of the Parish Council had been met by the information and details supplied. Publicity would be ongoing to maximise take-up and the group would be continuing to work closely with the Ramblers Association in terms of publishing walks etc. It was resolved that a donation of £100.00 would be made to help keep the service running. This was proposed by Cllr Harris and seconded by Cllr Rees. Carried.

There had been a request for a donation of £50.00 from the newly formed Action Group, ACAG. Following consideration, and advice taken from HALC, it was resolved that the request would be declined. The request did not meet the Donations Policy criteria and it was not the policy of the Parish Council to donate to Action Groups.

  1. Planning. To receive report from Planning Working Group Leader

Planning applications had been received as follows:

APPLICATION NO & SITE ADDRESS: 153121 – Land South of Bowling Green Farm, Clehonger, Hereford, Herefordshire,
DESCRIPTION: Proposed erection of 4 no broiler rearing buildings, 10 no feed bins, boiler building, straw storage building, hardstandings, attenuation pond and re-alignment of access.
PARISH: Allensmore
APPLICATION TYPE: Planning Permission

The comments about the application had been considered at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Parish Council held on 30th November. After consideration of the application the following comment would be conveyed to the Planning Department. Receipt of the answers to questions raised at the meeting was acknowledged and the questions and answers provided are tabled here also:

The Clehonger Parish Council has heard representation from the public on the planning application for broiler rearing buildings at Bowling Green Farm.

The Parish Council would like to thank the applicants for their offer to answer questions raised at the Extraordinary Meeting and for the feedback supplied, to the Parish Council, on said questions.

The Parish Council, having given due consideration to the points raised wishes to highlight the following concerns and is minded to object to the application because of:

1) Increase in large Heavy Goods Vehicle movements on relatively narrow and busy country lanes and roads. The road concerns were raised about the recent history of accidents, and with HGVs turning right towards Hereford into fast approaching traffic from the Clehonger direction.  The Parish Council noted that the traffic survey was carried out in a period with shorter daylight hours and relatively poorer road conditions and may not, therefore, truly represent year round speeds. There are very real concerns about the increased vehicular movements, particularly in the immediate access area, and the capacity of the road to cope with this.

2) Issue of odour and toxic content of air ejected from the units containing spores, faecal matter, bacteria and dust particles (list not exhaustive), on a continuous basis, and with periods of high level nuisance likely due to strong effluent smells when the buildings are cleared and muck is spread. The ammonia levels produced are likely to impact on the local environmental amenity. There is also concern regarding possible increases in the levels of vermin and insects.

3) Impact of odour, noise and heavy goods vehicle movements on local business including local business establishments. Impact on quality of life for local residents. Issues for tourism, walking and enjoyment of the countryside and use of local footpath networks, due to noxious and unpleasant smells emanating from the units, stored muck and spread.

Clehonger is, currently, situated in a very pleasant agricultural landscape, with considerable biodiversity throughout. There are a combination of protected river and stream sites, and also woodland, fields and gardens which provide habitats for a wide range of species. These matters also warrant consideration.

4) Concern regarding potential leech out and overspill from attenuation pond, and during wash down processes, leading to increased levels of contamination and phosphates in the water course and local river tributaries.

The broiler sheds have the potential for pollution from phosphates, ammonia, and bacteria which could also impact on wild life and foliage.

5) Concern over increased levels of odour nuisance from broiler shed clear-out when stored ready for spreading. There would need to be a robust manure management policy and there is the risk of ultimate seepage of phosphates into the local water courses, and ultimately the River Wye, if leech out should occur.

6) Concern over flooding issues from larger building footprint in an area prone to flooding leaving less available drainage capacity. The place where the watercourse meets the road on the A465 has a potential to flood currently.  Any additional water plus reduced soak-away could likely exacerbate the flood risk.

7) There is also concern for possible increased light pollution from the units, access points etc.

The Parish Council are minded that due to the magnitude of the application, and response heard to it, that a formal request be made, herewith, for the referral of this application for consideration by the Full Planning Committee. The Parish Council formally ask that the Ward Councillor support the Parish Council’s request in this regard.

Questions raised at the Meeting and answers provided by the applicant (in italics):

1) When the broiler sheds are cleaned out there appears to be no figures in relation to the smells.

 Odour is assessed in European odour units. 3 odour units is about the level of detection. 

The EA threshold is that you cannot exceed 3 odour units at the 98th percentile. This means that you can exceed 3 odour units for more than 2% of the time (i.e. cleanout) 

The EA have further guidance that the peak emissions (during that 2%) cannot exceed 7 odour units. The results are contained in 3 tables in the report. 

The 98th Percentile table on page 17 of the Odour Report shows that for 98% of the time a maximum exposure of 1.5 odour units. This is below the level of detection and 50% below the UK threshold. 

The higher percentiles take into account the peak emissions for short term activities, such as cleanout. The 99.8th percentile is shown on the last column of the table on page 18. This shows a maximum of 4.91 odour units against a threshold of 7. 

4.91 is a slight detectable odour but well below what would be regarded as a nuisance. The model shows that during the cleaning process, there is likely to be a slight detectable odour, however, the cleanout process using a contractor will only take approx. 2 hours per shed (1 working day) 8 times per annum. 

The regulations accept that you cannot operate a poultry unit with no smell at all times and endeavour to control it to acceptable levels so it does not create a nuisance. 

The site is 500m from the nearest house and well below the EA odour thresholds. 

2) How much noise will be created by the fans, are there any figures concerning level of decibels

The noise emission data is all in Appendix 2 of the statement. This shows that the fans will be acoustically attenuated so that they are not audible at the nearest houses. 

3) How would the levels of nitrate and ammonia be monitored.

Ammonia is controlled through the IPPC permit which is administered by the Environment Agency. The permit requires soil analysis and manure analysis for nitrates. 

4) Is there a risk assessment in relation to the spoil heaps

Risks in relation to manure heaps are controlled through the NVZ regs with specific siting requirements, e.g rotated around and not located in the same place consecutively, not within 30m of the ditch or watercourse, not overlying land drains and more than 50m from a ground water abstraction. 

5) How often will the chicken waste be ploughed each year, , and when not ploughed where will the waste be stored.

Incorporation of the chicken manure will be annually or bi-annually depending on cropping. Heaps will be stored across the farm in similar places as previously

as has been the case for the last ten years.

Odour from spreading manure is controlled through best practice. This is not a planning issue and something which happens on farms in any event. 

Currently 250 tonnes of Chicken manure is spread across the farm which is produced from the laying unit.

6) Will all the manure be spread on surrounding fields or transported out?

Probably some and some. David Watkins Clehonger Court currently purchases 500 tonnes per year and spreads it on his land.

7) Chicken waste – spread on the land – no figures in relation to the odour created from this.

This is down to best practice and NVZ rules.

There should be no spreading of Chicken manure between 1st October and 31st January

Incorporation should take place within 24 hours

This has been going on for ten years now on Bowling Green Farm and fifteen years on David Watkins’ farm with not a single complaint

8) Would consideration be given to less units?             

The infrastructure costs would not make it economic to build less than 4 chicken houses.

  1. Village Matters including Notice Boards Review

Cllr Savory had been to look at the Village Notice Boards. There was a pellet hole damage in the front of the board by the shop. This had been damaged for some time and the front had developed a “bloom” that made it difficult to view through. The condition of the other boards was okay. Sites would need to be considered for new boards and the one by the shop would need to be replaced with a better one. Cllr Savory to look at options for new boards and possible locations. The bus stop could be a consideration and also by the Playing Field.

The hedge at the end of Birch Hill Road, outside 9 The Bines, was hanging over the road. Balfour Beatty to be advised.

  1. Parish Plan Action Plan – to ratify

This item would be moved to the January 2016 Agenda.

  1. Neighbourhood Plan – update and to include consultant recommendation and to approve minutes of 12/11/15 and 9/12/15

The Minutes of the Steering Group Meetings held on the 12th November 2015 and the 9th December 2015 were approved and signed as true records of the Meetings. Cllr Savory had taken the meeting through a very good presentation at the first meeting and the objectives of the meetings so far had been achieved. Future events had been time tabled with the next meeting of the Steering Group scheduled for the 13th January, and with a “Drop In” Session being arranged for between 10.00 am and 1.00pm on Saturday 20th February at Innesfield. This would be an opportunity for people to come along, enjoy some refreshments and find out more about the Plan and how they could become involved, if they should choose to be. The event would be publicised in the “Tracking the News” with the aim of explaining about the objectives and encouraging people to come along to find out more.

The consultant choice to undertake the assisting of the Parish in completing a Neighbourhood Plan had seen quotations obtained from three companies: GDN Planning, Shire Planning and Kirkwells. Following discussion and consideration of the quotations, it was proposed that Kirkwells be appointed as the chosen provider of consultancy support. The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group was therefore formally proposing that Kirkwells be appointed. This was proposed by Cllr Rees and seconded by Cllr Savory. Carried. The Clerk would advise the successful candidate.

  1. Playing Field – update

Fencing quotations were being looked into by Cllr Davies and Protherough. A grant application had been submitted to Tesco with the intention of funding the next wish list item of the children for the Playing Field, a cycleway. It was hoped that at least £8,000.00 may be granted however, subject to a voting mechanism, the end amount may be for more than this and up to £10,000.00 or a maximum of £12,000.00. Wickstead had been asked to provide quotes for the various possible grant outcome amounts. The results of the shortlist should be known at the end of January and then the voting tokens system would determine the final grant amount. Other favoured items on the agenda, for fund raising, were a “birds nest” swing and a balance board.

The Christmas Tea that had been planned had been cancelled. It was felt that all was good with what had been achieved so far and the project would be now coming to a conclusion.

Some items required attention on the Playing Field:

  • The goal posts needed straightening up.
  • The exact location of the cycle track was to be determined.
  • There were 12 black caps now missing from the equipment.
  • A detailed plan for the fencing would be considered in conjunction with Fran White, Playing Field Advisor from Herefordshire Council.
  • Tree planting would be carried out in 2016.
  1. Local Transport Plan Consultation – to discuss

It was resolved that a Working Party would meet to discuss the Transport Consultation in more detail and feed back to the next meeting. The Working Party would consist of Cllrs Davies, Protherough, Jeffries, Harris and Rees with advice provided by Andrew Pearson who has significant information on the subject area to contribute to the discussion.

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

Footpath Warden: not present. Work to be carried out at the Cage Brook, as proposed by the Footpath Warden, was approved for action.

HALC Rep:  No report this time

Tree Warden: Cllr Savory reported that leaves were largely now off the trees. The report on the oaks at Pykeways that he had supplied had not been uploaded in regard to the Southern Link Road application. Cllr Savory would e mail Herefordshire Council to find out why it was not on the web site.

  1. Items for next Agenda (no discussion)

Usual Items plus Parish Plan Action Plan, Transport Consultation

  1. Reminder of dates of future meetings

There was a reminder of the date of the next Ordinary Meeting to be held on Thursday 21st January 2016 at 7.30pm.

The Meeting closed at 9.15pm