Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting 16th May 2019

Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting and the Annual Statutory Meeting of Clehonger Parish Council held on 16th May 2019 at 7.30pm at Innesfield Community Centre

Present: Cllrs J Rees, A Morgan, C Protherough (elected to the Chair) and J Whittal

In attendance:  Mrs A Wright (Clerk), Lengthsman Paul Wright and 2 members of the public plus outgoing Ward Cllr Steve Williams (for the start)

Part One   Annual Parish Meeting

  1. Open Session with parishioners

The outgoing Ward Cllr Steve Williams was in attendance and he said that he had enjoyed his time as ward councillor, even though it had been a steep learning curve and he had wished that it could have carried on. He said that he would not have missed the opportunity for the world.  He gave thanks to the parish council for their time and effort and the Parish Council recorded thanks to Steve who had been a “very good ward councillor and had taken up concerns”.

Steve left the meeting at this point.

The drains at the bottom of Croft Road were blocked and outside number 4 Croft Road the kerbstone had lifted out.

The 30 mph signs at Birch Hill were in the hedgerow below the Birch Hill drive. It was noted that there were counting wires at Birch Hill Road – possibly for a planning application.

Cllr Protherough gave her Chair’s Report for 2018 – 2019 as follows:

Clehonger Parish Council Chair Report May 2019

“It is customary to end annual reports with thanking all who have contributed to the work of the last year, but on this occasion I am choosing to prioritise expressing gratitude on behalf of our community to my colleagues, the councillors for the last term, and our hardworking clerk Alison, and Paul, our lengsthman. This is partly because it is not only the end of one year, but also of the term of office of the outgoing council.  The past twelve months have not been easy, in respect both of the sometimes contentious issues involved for the Council, but also in personal lives. Sadly serious health problems lead to the resignation of Cllr. Gil Savory, who had worked very hard both on the Neighbourhood Plan and as Tree warden, and is much missed. He was replaced on the Council by his wife, Su, and I would like to thank her for coming forward for co-option last year.  I do not intend to comment further on individual circumstances, but for several of our team, it has been a serious struggle to balance health and family commitments with their work for the Parish Council.

All local councillors came up for re-election last month. In the absence of sufficient nominations for a contest, all who stood forward for re-election are back on board. An exception is George Walker who has opted to retire, and will be much missed .A special thanks to George for putting so much effort into both the Parish Council and the Friends of Clehonger over recent years. A big thank you, too, to Alison Davies who has worked so hard for the Playing Field, Parish and Neighbourhood plans and so many other ventures, did not stand for re-election, but may yet reconsider

It is very regrettable that insufficient candidates came forward to stand as Parish Councillors, and there are currently still three vacancies which hopefully can be filled in due course.  Obviously we live in busy times, there is a general feeling of disillusion in politics, and this reluctance to become involved is not confined to Clehonger, but is very disappointing.

There may also be a degree of unwillingness to “put your head above the parapet “, as contentious issues can give rise to considerable unpleasantness. As well as the customary annoyances such as traffic, potholes and dog fouling, the growth of development throws up issues which hit residents very hard, and interests may conflict. This has indeed caused some unpleasant exchanges at meetings and within the community, which may have some impact on discouraging involvement in public affairs.

At one point his year, sadly, I believed it necessary to make a statement to the effect that threatening or abusive behaviour cannot be tolerated in meetings. The Parish Councillors are volunteers, and the parish clerk is employed to facilitate the smooth running of the council. Inevitably people will not always agree, but they all deserve courtesy.

Planning issues have been a major issue for Clehonger this year, and without doubt will continue to be so. In particular the construction of the Persimmon estate has given rise to many understandable concerns, especially for people living near the estate .As far as is possible. we have from the start made comments on the design of the estate and followed up issues with Persimmon the relevant authorities which have arisen during construction and we will continue to do so.

Unfortunately this does always lead to satisfaction for local residents, but at the end of the day the Parish Council can recognise report and pressurise on concerns, but actual power to respond lies elsewhere. Similarly the very contentious erection of an electric substation on Gosmore Road was impossible to influence as local government has no say in decisions relation to electric power.

Better news is that, after considerable delay and difficulties in 2017/18, the Neighbourhood Plan, skilfully supported by our consultant David Nicholson, is well under way. A draft Neighbourhood plan has been produced and we will be delivering flyers to advertise consultation on it very shortly. Hopefully we are on the way to have a clearer mandate to influence development in our Parish before very long.

Other good news is that small scale initiatives are making a difference to our parish. Examples are that again we have had our annual litter pick and  this resulted in  only half as many full bags  as last year – either people are  tidier or hidden angels, about their daily business, are bothering to pick up other people’s  litter  One good  input to a cleaner tidier village has been our recent purchase of four dedicated dog poo bins, which are very  extensively used .

As indeed is the Parish Freighter which continues to be a jolly day out for many in the village and is an effective service for disposal of larger items of rubbish – or indeed potential recycling.

Another joint initiative with Friends of Clehonger has been the Welcome Packs for newcomers to the village. This has included financial help from the Church this year to cover the Persimmon estate. The rate of change in the village seems to be accelerating, as although only half a dozen people have moved into the new estate, within the last 6 months as many packs have been delivered as in one year before.

The playing field is still very much appreciated and used. The Playing Field Committee has recently been able to fund an additional  two additional picnic benches , which are already well in use but will be christened by  a “Picnic in the park “ which Alison Davies has been kindly organising on Sunday 26th May .

We have also continued to report potholes, and are slightly heartened by the results of a task and finish County Council group who persuaded the contractors countywide to cluster fill holes rather than only the ones you could drown in. This does appear to be bringing some improvement – way to go still, and we thank in particular our outgoing Ward Councillor, Steve Williams, for his role in this group. Indeed we are very grateful to Steve for his reliable attendance at our meetings and his service in representing our concerns and providing information

We look forward to meeting with David Hitchiner, our new councillor. In the meanwhile we now have a Herefordshire Council with no overall control, and as yet no news of how this will pan out in forming an administration. It will be interesting to see how the future unfolds and how this may impact in our own small corner of this beautiful county”

Part Two   Annual Meeting of the Parish Council

  1. Co-opting of councillor(s) and signing of forms

Alison Davies was proposed as councillor by Cllr Morgan and seconded by Cllr Rees.

  1. Election of Chair with signing of acceptance and declaration forms

Cllr Carole Protherough was proposed as Chair by Cllr Rees and seconded by Cllr Morgan. It was resolved that Cllr Protherough be installed as Chair. Cllr Protherough then completed, and signed, the Acceptance of the Role of Chair Form.

  1. Election of Vice-Chair with signing of forms

This item was deferred.

  1. Election of Parish Council Officers

This item was deferred.

  1. To receive Apologies for Absence

There were apologies for absence received from Cllrs S Savory, J Harris and A Davies plus the new Ward Cllr David Hitchiner.

  1. To note Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest at this point.

  1. Brief Verbal Reports:

8.1 Ward Councillor.  Ward Cllr Hitchiner had sent his apologies.

8.2 Friends of Clehonger Parish: no update.

8.3 Clehonger Primary School: no update.

8.4 Lengthsman: The Lengthsman advised that the road from the Vallets Farm, Ruckhall Lane drainage system was completely blocked. The ditch was full. Balfour Beatty would need to ask the farm owner to clear the ditch and then the flooding would disperse.

8.5 Locality Steward: Not present. Bulletins circulated.

  1. To approve Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 18/04/19

Resolved: – It was resolved that the Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting held on 18th April 2019, were approved by the Council and then signed by the Chairman. Minutes were proposed by Cllr Rees and seconded by Cllr Morgan.

  1. Clerk update and correspondence

The Clerk updated the meeting on actions, correspondence etc. including:

Caravan at Madley site – Appeal rejected and the van must be removed

Appeal Decisions Hearing held & site visit made on 1 May 2019 by Tim Belcher FCII, LLB(Hons), Solicitor (Non-Practising) an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State Decision date: 9 May 2019 Appeal A Ref: APP/W1850/C/19/3220800 & 3223476 Land west of Upper House, Madley, Hereford, HR2 9NJ.

The appeal is made under Section 174 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 (“the 1990 Act”).

The appeal is made by (redacted) (“the Appellants”) against an Enforcement Notice issued by the County of Herefordshire District Council (“the Council”).

The Enforcement Notice was issued on 11 January 2019.

The breach of planning control as alleged in the Enforcement Notice is without planning permission unauthorised material change of use of the land from agricultural to a mixed use for agricultural and to site a caravan.

The requirements of the Enforcement Notice are: 1. Permanently cease the residential occupation of the unauthorised caravan, and 2. Remove the unauthorised caravan from the approximate location marked ‘x’ on the plan attached to the Enforcement Notice from the land, and 3. Remove from the land all associated materials, including service connections, that facilitate the siting of the unauthorised caravan in the approximate location marked ‘x’ on the plan attached to the Enforcement Notice.

The period for compliance with the requirements is six months.

The appeal is proceeding on the grounds set out in Section 174(2)(a) & (g) of the 1990 Act. Summary of Decision: The appeal is dismissed, and the Enforcement Notice is upheld with a correction. Appeal B Ref: APP/W1850/

Planning Decisions A reminder of the Planning Decisions web address for access to all planning matters – decisions can be accessed on http://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/searchplanningapplications

Herefordshire Council   Various, as circulated and including:

Election correspondence

Travellers Sites Development Plan (DPD)


Clehonger Litter Pick – Saturday 27th April – update

The litter pick took place and a number of bags of litter were collected. This saw a reduction on the quantity from last year so things do seem to be improving.



Updates received including further Election Briefing

End of Year Audit

The end of year audit papers had been examined by the Internal Auditor and would be presented at the June Meeting.

  1. Finance

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

Mrs A Wright (May salary £653.26, total expenses £56.63)                                   £709.89

Longfield Services (Lengthsman/Bins)                                                        £90.00

Longfield Services (Lengthsman)                                                             £120.00

Longfield Services (Lengthsman/bins/shelter)                                           £144.00

Total       £1063.89

11.2 Resolved: The bank balance was noted at £40586.83.

11.3 To sign Certificate for Accounts 2018 – 2019 (if applicable)

Accounting statements would be signed at the June 2019 Meeting.

  1. Planning.

12.1 Southern Link Road 151314 – update re position plus any further details regarding the Hereford Transport Package

Cllr Protherough advised that there was a new line up on the Herefordshire Council and there may be changes. There had been some ground works started at Dunan. There was no business case as yet for the Department of Transport. There may be other considerations relating to the proposed bypass also.

12.2 Update on Village developments including footway to rear of Persimmon site

The gap in the rear boundary had been raised with officers for a determination of the risks regarding visibility and access from the site to the highway.

Correspondence had been received from Stonewater Housing and Engie Regeneration Ltd via their agent Pegasus Group. They would be asked to supply more details of their plans for the Madley Road (Gladman’s site) and also would be invited to attend the June Meeting.

  1. Village Matters

13.1 Church re-ordering – no further update

13.2 Community Assets to review and revisit

13.3 Climate Emergency – PC statement – this was deferred

  1. Neighbourhood Plan

There would be an Open Consultation Meeting at Innesfield on 6th July. Papers would be circulated for the Regulation 14 consultation. Plans and information would be available on line and in public buildings.

  1. Playing Field – update

The shelter had been recoated with anti-climb paint.

The Picnic in the Park Event planned for the 26th June would have three bouncy castles. A requirement for a First Aider to be in attendance would be checked. The Chair would liaise with Cllr Davies.

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

Footpath Warden: Not present. Blue was confirmed in the role subject to acceptance.

HALC Rep:  No report this time

Tree Warden: Cllr Morgan advised that he had been in contact with the co-ordinator regarding seminars, training and the Ash die back situation.

  1. Items for next Agenda (no discussion)

All of the usual items would be on the Agenda plus adoption of accounts and end of year audit papers for 2018 -2019.

  1. Reminder of dates of future meetings

There was a reminder of the date of the next Ordinary Meeting of the Parish Council to be held on Thursday 13th June 2019, from 7.30pm, at Innesfield.

The Meeting closed at 9.00 pm.