Minutes of Clehonger Parish Council meeting held on 19th January 2012 at 7.30pm at Innesfield Community Centre
Present: Cllrs C Tomlinson (Chairman), G Walker (Vice Chair), C Protherough, P Jeffree, J Hammond, J Rider, J Thorne and A Hitchiner
In attendance: Mrs A Wright (Clerk), Mr D Taylor (Ward Councillor) and 13 members of the public. Also present, for item 3 only, was Mrs L Wilcox, Chief Executive of HALC.
1. Apologies for Absence
Apologies were accepted from Mrs J Whittal.
2. Declarations of Interest
Resolved: Cllrs Protherough, J Hammond, and J Rider declared prejudicial interests in matters relating to the Village Hall and Councillor Tomlinson declared similar in relation to Dore Community Transport.
3. Introduction and presentation by Lynda Wilcox, Chief Executive of HALC on Parish Plans.
Mrs Wilcox gave a presentation on parish plans. Of 134 authorities in Herefordshire 80 had already produced a plan for their area. A parish plan could act as a “wish list” for the area and could also be a business plan. You would be looking towards a five year forecast for the area and would incorporate all items of interest for the community such as for example, education, healthcare, policing. The initial idea would be that the Parish Council would lead the plan and parishioners would join in. You would hold a launch meeting and form a steering group and thereafter the group would meet say once a month to discuss the plan and move it forward. An important part of the plan would be the Action Plan where areas could be identified for actions to be taken. Mrs Wilcox explained that the present time would be a good time if we were interested in starting the plan as funding and help were available. The Herefordshire Council could provide a grant of up to £1500.00 and there would be an expectation that the Parish Council would match the funding as far as possible, but certainly to a level of at least £1000.00.
This money would then be held by the parish council and made available (via the clerk and chairman) to the steering group to fund events and consultation exercises and to further the plan’s production. Help would be available from Mel Preedy at HALC and also from Sophie Price at Community First. It would not be necessary to produce a “glossy” document as long as the fundamental findings had been documented and the resultant action plan is robust. There would be two sources of information for the consultation document. Firstly a “Planning for Real” exercise where a meeting would be held, to which everyone in the parish would be invited, and there would be large scale maps of the parish area for people to add models (suggested young persons exercise) and suggestions to. Small flags with ideas on would be placed onto the map and approval or disapproval indicators, in the form of coloured pins, would be used to measure support, or otherwise, for suggestions made. People could mark things such as broadband requirement, bins, healthcare centre etc.
The second initiative would come in the form of a questionnaire (compiled with assistance from Sophie) which would then be circulated to every house in the parish. Parishoners could be incentivised to complete and return the questionnaire by way of a cash prize (say £100) to be drawn from all completed ones returned. Mrs Wilcox also suggested there could be a junior return prize of £50.00 to encourage young people to send in their suggestions.
Once collated and produced the Plan would comprise an official document to be adopted by the Parish Council. Once adopted it would be recognised as a document which contains the views of the parishioners. It can be used as a “document of evidence” should challenges arise.
There is a further option to consider and that is the Neighbourhood Plan. This is largely concerned with planning matters and, due to the requirement for comprehensive and detailed planning advice to be obtained in the drawing up of the plan, is likely to be considerably more expensive to produce. Exact costs are not known but they are likely to exceed £10,000.00. Although the Government have passed legislation in regard to Neighbourhood Plans (November 2011) guidance notes are still awaited. It is likely these will be published in two stages, around April and September 2012, and these are eagerly anticipated. Under the Localism Act the parish council can access more powers and can action points, for the benefit of parishioners, provided that their actions do not infringe international, national or governmental rulings and are also not illegal.
The Neighbourhood Plan is not obligatory and would necessarily follow the Parish Plan anyway.
At the end of Mrs Wilcox’s presentation there were some questions from the floor. Clarification was given as to the precept and the potential for Governmental capping to be introduced if precept demands are deemed excessive. There is no cap on precept generation for parish councils at present.
4. Open Session
The following comments were made:
- Vehicles had been parked in Poplar Road directly opposite an overgrown hedge causing an almost total obstruction. The CSO said that he would have a look at the situation and the clerk would highlight the issue to Amey again. (A councillor reported that the situation had been advised to Amey previously and nothing had happened to date).
- The playground swings were mentioned and a parishioner had received requests for their replacement as the children were missing playing on them. Mr Tomlinson stated that he would take responsibility for sorting out the issue and explained that they had been removed because they had been found to be unsafe.
- The grit bins were still a cause for concern as the open bin at the top of Church Road had been found to be frozen solid when someone went to use it. Councillor Taylor suggested that the covered bin from Croft Road be moved to Church Road and that additional bins be requested (probably in July 2012). The clerk would write to Amey to ask for the move, or an additional bin if this were not possible, and also to ask if more bins could be provided.
- Bus stop at the top of Church Road on the route going towards Hay etc. The bus stop waiting area was described as being uneven, rutted and full of mud. Someone had nearly fallen when alighting from the bus. The clerk would notify Amey and ask them to arrange remedial action to make the area level and safe for the bus users.
- The Parish Plan. Public opinion on the plan proposal was sought and after discussion it was resolved by majority voting from the councillors, and those parishioners present, that the initiation of a Parish Plan for Clehonger would commence. A list of volunteers was circulated. The Clerk would write to Lynda Wilcox to ascertain her availability and to advise her re the decision to proceed.
5. Brief Verbal Reports:
5.1 Local Policing Team. The CSO updated those present on local criminal activity. There had been some tractor thefts and also thefts of oil and a generator. A gate had been taken from Ruckhall Lane. There had been cold callers trying to sell memory foam mattresses and also people wanting to undertake tree work. A pick-up truck had been stolen from Eaton Bishop. The CSO advised that a new Sergeant, David Boot, had started in the area and that the local PC was Chris Lea. He urged people to be vigilant and report anything they thought suspicious. He reiterated the new non-emergency reporting line number 101. A councillor commented that a complaint had been received about tractor drivers using mobile phones whilst driving and the CSO advised that the vehicle registrations be taken and the incidents reported straightaway.
5.2 Ward Councillor. Councillor David Taylor stated that the council tax may need to be increased for 2012/2013 because of increases in cost for the provision of the fire and rescue service. He also said that Madley and Eaton Bishop Parish Councils had approved the western route for the relief road.
5.3 Dore Community Transport, nothing further to report.
5.4 Clehonger Community Group, not present.
5.5 Broadband Champion, not present.
6. To approve minutes of previous meeting held on 8/12/11.
The minutes were subject to an alteration to item 126/11, line 7, in that it should read “contested” election and not “uncontested” . Resolved that these were then were approved and signed by the chairman.
7. Clerk update on Action Items and training
The clerk had written to Amey in regard to the overgrown hedges, as previously reported, and had received a message back from them on the 10th January. They would be sending an inspector to review the situation. The clerk resolved to chase this up again. The clerk had also received a response back from Herefordshire Council in response to the enquiry over activity at Home Farm, Belmont Rural. The letter assured that no planning applications had been received for the area and that Clehonger Parish Council would be kept informed as a neighbouring consultee should an application be received. The clerk distributed the current HALC training program notice to councillors.
8. To note correspondence.
Resolved: the following items were noted
Letter received from resident regarding illegal parking outside Clehonger Primary School, i.e. on yellow lines and causing an obstruction. A letter from the Enforcement Officer at Herefordshire Council had been sent to the School, with covering note, so that the school could circulate and advise parents to park with consideration for these matters.
Letter received from resident over alleged speeding haulage trucks and use of mobile phones while driving. Clerk has written to owner of Perry Hill Farm to ask them to speak with contractor over road safety issues.
Letter received from Herefordshire Council re Queen’s Diamond Jubilee beacon lighting. No decision taken to participate in this.
Letter received from would be Auditor, as before, but no action taken as still awaiting guidance information on audit from HALC.
Electoral role information, as updated, has now been received by the clerk.
Letter from Electoral Services stating that they did not have records of all of the councillors. Clerk has located copies, and obtained missing documents and will take them by hand to the Town Hall. The originals would appear to have been mislaid by Electoral Services.
A HALC Website Guide, obtained by the clerk, was passed to Councillor Jeffree as a member of the Website Working Party.
A letter had been received regarding a hanging branch in a hedgerow close to Clehonger School. The clerk would contact the land owner to ask them to check the situation.
9.1 Resolved: The following list of payments were approved:
Hire of Innesfield £10.00
Lengthsman (R. Layton Morris) £130.00
SLCC-CiLCA Management (Registration) £150.00
Mrs A Wright – (salary £280.46, mileage £20.88
Home office £41.67 and stamps £5.52) £348.53
Longfield Services £817.50
Tax due on salary payment (Payable to The Post Office) £70.00
9.2 Resolved: The bank balance was noted
10. To discuss and approve Precept Budget
Resolved: After discussion, and presentation of budget forecast figures as prepared by Councillor Jeffree, the Precept figure for 2012/13 was decided to be £11,000.00 and the majority vote by councillors confirmed the decision. The application for £11,000.00 would be submitted to the Herefordshire Council by the clerk.
Two applications had been received and circulated to councillors for discussion and comment. Councillor Protherough deputised for Councillor Whittal to return the findings.
Resolved: 1) To consider the Application ref DMS/113443/F for Silverdale, Clehonger (proposed coach house conversion to 2 bed roomed dwelling). No adverse comments or objections to be made. Application approved in principle by Clehonger Parish Council.
2) In consideration of the Application ref DMS/113567/F for land adjacent to the Village Hall in Clehonger (proposed three bed roomed property). Application for the building approved with no objection but concern was expressed in regard to access and to sewerage and water. It is a consideration that the sewer for the hall runs directly underneath the plot where the house will stand.
The comments to be incorporated on the returns sheets, as provided, and sent to the Planning Department by the clerk.
12. Report from Web Site Working Group
Councillor Jeffree advised that the website was available with web address www.clehongerparishcouncil.co.uk. At the moment is has basic information, such as councillor’s details, but will be built upon to include meeting dates, minutes and agendas plus other items of interest for people to access. There will be links to the community website also. The chairman extended thanks to Philip and the working group for their work on the website so far.
13. Standing Orders
It was agreed that these would go on the agenda for the next meeting.
14. Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
There was some discussion around celebrations for the Jubilee. It was agreed that the clerk would write to the Clehonger School to find out what they are intending to do and to seek their views. There will need to be a working party set up to interact with other community groups to co-ordinate joint celebrations. This would need to be formalised at the next meeting. It was agreed that the Clerk would contact Sergeant Dugmore to find out what had happened to the Clehonger Community Action Group and with a view to seeing if there could be involvement in the Jubilee activities.
15. Brief reports from Footpath Warden, HALC Rep and Village Hall Rep.
Footpath Warden. Mr Tomlinson gave a report on footpaths. He stated that a 12 foot five bar metal gate had been stolen from land belonging to Priors Mead. A replacement has been installed and the owner has been advised to secure it, by means of welding the fittings, to help prevent a further theft. The diversion along path CH20 has been completed and additional funding received to cover the cost. There is an issue over path CH6. A diversion looks likely but confirmation is awaited from Amey as to the way forward.
HALC Rep. No update on HALC but the rep asked for the issue of dog fouling and “poo” bins to be addressed. This will be place on the next agenda.
No report from Village Hall Rep. Not present.
Councillor Jeffree mentioned at this point that the Technology Grant application deadline was fast approaching. He would speak with Councillor Whittal to discuss. Clerk would forward copies of the application and criteria to Councillor Jeffree.
16. Items for next Agenda
Park land off Ruckhall Lane
Precept. To identify capital projects.
17. Review meeting dates
Some Councillors felt that meetings should move to a monthly basis. They will be held monthly for the next two months and then re-evaluated. The next meeting moves to 23rd February 2012 at 7.30pm. The 8th March meeting is cancelled and the March meeting will be held on 15th March 2012 at 7.30pm.
The meeting closed at 10.20 pm