Minutes of Clehonger Parish Council Meeting held on 31st July 2014 at 7.30pm at Innesfield Community Centre
Present: Cllrs C Tomlinson (Chairman), J Whittall, A Morgan, P Jeffree, J Hammond, G Walker and C Protherough
In attendance: Mrs A Wright (Clerk), Ward Councillor Adrian Bridges and 23 members of the public plus Tim Dean and John Chorlton from Gladman Developments.
- Introduction and welcome by the Chairman
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting. The Chairman introduced Ward Cllr Bridges who would be representing the Parish in regard to the current planning applications, due to a declaration of disclosable pecuniary interest by Ward Cllr Taylor.
- Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Cllr J Rider and Cllr J Thorne was not present.
- Declarations of Interest
Resolved: Cllrs C Protherough and J Hammond declared a prejudicial interest in matters relating to the Village Hall and Councillor Tomlinson declared similar in relation to Dore Community Transport.
- Open Session
The open session commenced with a presentation by Gladman Developments around their application to build 90 homes on a piece of land off “Madley” Road, Clehonger. The Chairman introduced Tim Dean and John Chorlton from Gladman Developments who had come along to talk to the Parish Council about Gladman’s outline planning application to build 90 houses on a site described as being “off the Madley Road”, Clehonger. Tim Dean explained that Gladman Developments had been operating for 30 years across the UK. They expressed the wish to be open minded about suggestions, to listen to ideas and to learn about matters dear to the hearts of communities, whilst appreciating that what they were doing may be seen as potentially controversial. He explained that Herefordshire Council needed to supply circa 5300 homes in the rural areas of the County and that Clehonger had been identified as a “sustainable” area in line with the Council’s Core Strategy. Of the 95 homes to be built, 35 would be “affordable” homes. Key workers for such housing would be targeted such as fire service workers and teachers etc. He said that the amounts people were earning were out of sync with the size of mortgage salary multipliers required to buy property. There was an acceptance that there would be an increase in traffic impact and they would be seeking to manage this as “well as possible”. As many hedgerows as possible would be left in place and the old orchard would be retained with a dowry of funds made available for the ongoing upkeep of the orchard, as a genuine community facility. He stated that although the intended site is not “special in itself” it is close to an area classified as a “Site of Special Scientific Interest” (SSSI) at the Cage Brook. Money would also be made available to take care of the “ecological side of things”. They would be “levering money out of schemes to give to the community”. £75,000 to £100,000 would be made available to look after assets for existing and future generations. Buses were mentioned and the fact that it can take about an hour to get into Hereford at present, due to volumes of traffic. There will be cuts to subsidies to bus services effective from September 2014 and evening and Sunday services would be reduced as a result. There was acknowledged vulnerability in bus service provision. The employment situation was a country wide issue and Herefordshire had not taken such a “big hit” as some other parts of the country, to date. There were plans to increase business ventures. The Core Strategy was not yet in place but should be by 2015. The forecast build for Clehonger over the 20 years of the Strategy was around 100 but this could be increased by a “goldrush” of planning applications front loading the building in the area by greater numbers than foreseen. The Cores Strategy deals with issues other than housing but the Government is envisaging a growth rate that will boost significantly the delivery of new homes. Tim explained that it was not Gladman who would develop the site. They were land brokers and they would seek to deliver planning for the site with a specific planning condition. House builders would need to build quickly to get their investment monies back as soon as possible. Reserved matters of the application may include the final permission. 38 sites had been prospected over the last five years. It would be anticipated that there would be one developer for a site of this size. There was currently no Neighbourhood Plan and the Core Strategy was indicating a minimum number of 100 new houses for the Parish by 2031, with a commencement date of 2011. It was stated by the public present that smaller pockets of development would be more acceptable and that some developments have already been built and these should contribute to the 20 year plan total. Concern was expressed over the impact of a large number of houses on the sewerage system and Tim stated that the Water Company had a 21 day obligation to provide either a pipe to connect to the main sewerage system or, alternatively, to provide tanks until mains connection could be provided. Comment was made that the main access to the site was off the B4349 and this had seen 5 accidents in 5 years. The road was described as being “lethal” with it being “too dangerous” to walk or cycle along it. The potential increase in housing developments in villages such as Kingstone, with increased school traffic would add to the volume of traffic trying to use the road. If a 2 metre pavement is installed this may preclude bus travel. Tim stated that the Core Strategy had “stress tested” the road for traffic capacity. The localised traffic impact was a concern. Gladman would take this concern back and look at “traffic patterns”.
Tim stated that he was not a sewerage expert but that proposals had been tested and a report had gone to the utility provider. A member of the public said that a minimum of a 4’0” diameter pipe would be required for 95 houses. Comments were added about numbers of dogs and people frequenting the Cage Brook area with potential for dog fouling and other destruction of habitat issues being a concern. Concern was also expressed that local communities do not always get all of the Section 106 or Core Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments as these are often directed elsewhere by the Planning Authority. At this point the £100,000.00 community fund, administered by the Parish Council, was again sited as amelioration. Someone then remarked that the Village is not interested in “sweeteners” as they mean nothing when assessing the actual impact to the village of the increase in houses. Ward Councillor Bridges took up the issue with Gladman about their “reluctance” to hold a public meeting for the Parish. Tim explained that this was due to damage to property occurring at previous such meetings, in other parts of the country. Cllr Bridges also commented on the traffic concerns via Belmont and would take all of the concerns raised on board. Cllr Bridges would be attending the Planning Committee to represent the interests of the Parish. Concerns could also be raised with Ed Thomas the Planning Officer in charge of the application. It was stated that the Parish has been consulted during the Parish Plan analysis and there has been no wish identified for large scale development of estates of 80 – 90- houses. At this point Tim stated that there was no developer currently in mind for the site and that the scheme would be competitively tendered, if outline planning permission was obtained. The question was asked by the Clerk as to how many of the proposed schemes put forward by Gladmans had been “successful”. The answer was 33 out of 38, as at the date of the meeting. Cllr Bridges reiterated the wish for a public consultation. He said there would be a site meeting for the councillors who would make the decision.
The public open session concluded at 8.25pm and Gladman representation left the meeting.
- Brief Verbal Reports:
5.1 Local Policing Team. Not present and apologies sent. There was a questionnaire to complete and this was completed with opinions on local policing issues being given ready to be sent back to the Commissioner and this feedback was intended to inform local police interaction with communities going forward.
5.2 Ward Councillor. Cllr Taylor was not present however Cllr Tomlinson reported that it was hoped that Ruckhall Bridge would re-open on 1st September 2014. There was still work required on the Clehonger side to clear overgrown hedges and verges. The Valletts hedges continue to be an issue and it has been agreed with Eaton Bishop Parish Council that they are going to chase up the issues. The Lengthsman will look at the drains. The bridge repairs have cost twice as much as envisaged. The new Balfour Beatty Locality Steward for the area has been appointed and her name is Linzy Outtrim.
5.3 Dore Community Transport. Cllr Tomlinson reported that the new vehicle would be taken over on the 2nd August. The final cost of the new vehicle stood at £36,000.00 and it had been supplied by South Hereford Garages. The insurers of the person who caused the accident on the Bowling Green are only offering £750 out of the claimed £1157 for out of pocket expenses incurred while without the vehicle, which, in itself, is very low against what could have been claimed.
5.4 Friends of Clehonger Parish The Friends had published a Business Plan detailing the Organisation. The Friends of Clehonger Parish started as the Clehonger Jubilee Group. The initial purpose was to celebrate the Queens’s 2012 Jubilee and promote a sense of community. Surplus funds from this event and subsequent fundraising activities are now being directed to providing a legacy for future generations. The Objectives of the organisation were defined as:
- Honour Queen Elizabeth II on her Diamond Jubilee year of 2012
- Celebrate any further Anniverseries of Queen Elizabeth II or her successors
- Promote and aim to keep alive community spirit and integration
- Raise monies to sponsor new initiatives for the benefit of the community
- Promote and support leisure activities and competitions
- Provide physical and equipment support to local projects, where possible
- Provide financial support to local projects through grant applications or donations
- Where appropriate, the Organisation will explore opportunities to obtain the benefits of charitable status.
To represent the new direction the name of the Group was changed to the Friends of Clehonger Parish (FOCP).
The Business Plan went on to detail the project planning and financial planning in progress with the current Playing Field Project seeking to benefit the whole local community:
- By providing a meeting place, exercise, recreation and play opportunities for existing residents of all ages
- By making the parish a more attractive place for younger people and families to live and ensure a balanced sustainable community.
- Improving a facility for outdoor fund raising events etc.
Phil Moore was now the Chair of the Group. The Gardening Competition was again in progress with prizes on offer for the main and special Innesfield categories and with the judging taking place on the 3rd August.
5.5 Broadband Champion. Not a lot more to report. There is the Fastershire webpage where you can put in your phone number and find out when you should be online for the new faster service (2 mega bites per second minimum), 01981 should be upgraded by the end of September, for example and 01432 numbers by the end of December 2014.
5.6 Church. No update
5.7 Clehonger Primary School
There had been a Governors Meeting on 14th July. The progress of the Pre-school moving was progressing quite slowly. The Head has indicated that a big issue is the transfer of staff. Eventually Clehonger Pre-school will close and the new facility will open, possibly around Christmas. Cradley and Madley are good examples of how existing pre-school facilities are working. The playing field grass had been cut and the key to the lock and the pin it went into had been mislaid. Jim Jones had kindly provided a new pin and fixed it to the support post. Cllr Tomlinson would speak with Lisa Honey about the key in September when the school were back from the summer holidays. Numbers on School roll had been 127 at the end of term, with 116 anticipated from September and the school has overall capacity for 175 children and is therefore under-subscribed at present.
A foot note to this part of the meeting was that the Community Group had folded and a cheque for £500.00 had been presented towards the Playing Field Fund. Thanks would be conveyed to Sue Tompkins via Alison Davies.
It was suggested that it might be a nice idea, going forward, to have a graph in the notice boards showing progress of the Playing Field Fund.
- To approve minutes of the Meeting held on 26/06/14.
Resolved: – The Minutes of the meeting, held on 26th June 2014, were approved by the Council and then signed by the Chairman
- Clerk Update on Action Items
The Clerk updated the meeting on actions taken including feedback from Herefordshire Housing over signage for parking.
- To note correspondence
The Clerk advised re some of the correspondence received including items from HALC and Herefordshire Council and Police Commissioners Feedback Questionnaire.
9.1 Resolved: The following list of payments were approved:
Mrs A Wright – (salary £518.32 mileage £17.19, CiLCA fee £50.00, postage £4.37) £589.88
Tax due on salary payment (Payable to The Post Office) £129.80
Longfield Services (Lengthsman) £275.56
Sub Total £995.24
Parish Planning for Real Payments
Printing and postage for grant application total £11.65
Grand Total £1006.89
9.2 Resolved: The bank balance was noted and the current submission of Parish Plan expenses for £11.65 was passed from the Parish funds. It was noted that future expenses may have to be deducted from the ring fenced funding if not within budget parameters set out by the Parish Council.
There would be an Emergency Planning Meeting arranged to compile the Parish response to the Gladman Planning Application.
A further application had been received and comments to be returned were as follows:
Site: Land adjacent to Glasnant House, Clehonger, Hereford, HR2 9SL
Description: Proposed erection of four dwellings and construction of vehicular access
Applicants: Mr A Haines
Application No: P141905/O
Grid Ref: OS 345260, 237714
Application Type: Outline
The Parish Council of Clehonger wish to make the following comments regarding the application: “The proposed development is acceptable in both size and its location, however it is difficult to support because it will inevitably become part of the proposed larger development. Access is an issue. There would be two accesses onto the main road linked internally within the development which is potentially hazardous. If the driveway is going to be used as the second entrance it is not wide enough.”
- Update on Link Road
A paper had been received outlining the history of the progress of the concept for the road including background, provisional endorsement of the Southern Link Road, consultations and the information that funding had been obtained. Further information would follow at a later date.
- Village Matters
The Councillors had arranged a collection and thank you card for the retiring Lengthsman, Mr Robert Layton Morris, and he had sent a “thank you” card to the Parish Council for the gift.
Cllr Walker gave an update on the Blue Light Police Evening that he had attended on behalf of the Parish. The Commissioner had not been able to attend, due to recovering from cancer treatment, but the new Police Superintendent, Susan Thomas, was there and she was commented as being “approachable”. There was an explanation on how Speed Watch, under the safer roads partnership, can take action on speeding by gathering data which can be followed up by the police. The general consensus of the PCSO’s is that they will attend Parish Council Meetings when they are able to do so. They will be integrating more with the villages and it was noted that more “Special Constables” are required. These are volunteers with an upper age limit of 50 years. The Questionnaire, completed this evening, was highlighted with feedback requested. A question was raised at this point about speeding in Church Road, Clehonger. Cllr Taylor to be asked to check where the process of speed evaluation is for Church Road.
There is an issue of “overgrown” hedges at a property in Gosmore Road. Cllr Tomlinson to advise the Clerk of the number of the house – 6 or 8 and Herefordshire Housing to be asked to action trimming.
Also further overgrown hedge was mentioned (Robin to advise Cllr Tomlinson of address).
- Neighbourhood Plan and developments update
Cllr Tomlinson and the Clerk to complete application forms and submit them, with regard to papers required by the Herefordshire Council Neighbourhood Planning Team, from Allensmore and Clehonger.
- Bus Service Review
Herefordshire Council were to make cuts to the subsidies for bus service provision and a draft reduced timetable of journeys had been published. Re-tendering would take place from September and some of the routes would not be viable. The 449 night bus and route 39A were likely to be affected with cuts in the number of buses being run. Yeomans had agreed to try to fill the gaps, as far as costs would allow, and there would be a bus into town at about 6.30pm but not back out again that evening.
- Computer Finance Software and hard drive – possible acquisition
This item would be tabled for the next meeting
- Brief Reports from Footpath Warden, HALC Rep, Village Hall Rep and Tree Warden
Footpath Warden: No further update
HALC Rep: The HALC Rep reported back on the Southern Area Meeting (SAM) and had learned of another new locality steward, Dave Atkinson. Defect reporting could be done via the Herefordshire Council web page. Parish Councils would also liaise with Locality Stewards. Category 1 potholes (certain classification parameters apply) should be fixed within 24 hours and Category 2 potholes within 28 days. Category 3 would join routine and wish list items for fixing, but if not resolved within 3 months they should be chased. Public Rights of Way would also go through the Locality Steward and grass cutting was being sub contracted out. Speed Indicator Devices (SIDS) were also discussed and they are in use by some councils who can also move and re-site them where they are required. There will be new warranty processes for Statutory Bodies and the New Executive Committee was confirmed at the meeting. Sam Banks will be giving a Neighbourhood Plan update at the next SAM Meeting. The issue over the Herefordshire Standards Panel is in the process of being resolved.
Tree Warden: The Tree Warden may be looking to seek preservation of the trees on the “Gladman” site. She would be carrying out a tree audit and looking at those felt desirous of a TPO. The letter containing environmental information about the Gladman’s proposal would be tidied up and sent to as many consultees as practicable.
Village Hall Rep: Notice board prices and information had now been advised. The Village Hall item would move to the item 5 updates as from the September Meeting Agenda, by request.
- Items for next Agenda (no discussion)
Neighbourhood Plan, Parish Plan update, Computer software and hard drive
- Reminder of dates of future meetings
The next Meeting will be held on Thursday 18th September 2014, at 7.30pm, at the Innesfield Community Centre.
The Meeting closed at 10.25pm