Minutes of Richards Castle (Herefordshire) Parish Council Meeting Held at the Village Hall at 7.30 Pm on Wednesday 10 February 2016
PRESENT Mr S Broom (Chairman); Mrs R Thomas (Vice Chairman); Mr A Davies; Mr T Evans; Mr W Hall and Mr P Owen.
IN ATTENDANCE Ward Cllr. S Bowen; and Mr R Hewitt, Clerk.
15/70 Apologies for absence – Mr K Butcher has informed the parish council that he has resigned from the parish council with effect from 10 February 2016.
15/71 Declarations of Interest and requests for Dispensation – None.
15/72 Minutes of the last meeting – The minutes of the meeting held on 2 December 2015 were approved and signed as a correct record.
15/73 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish – There were no members of the public present. Cllr. Davies said he has been approached by a member of the public requesting signs to help identify Old Post Office Lane as there is a concern that emergency services may have difficulty finding the lane. The member of the public has said they are willing to contribute to the cost of the signs. The parish council agreed to support this request, and also to ask for a sign to identify Castle Road at the junction with the B4361. Ward Cllr.Bowen kindly agreed to request the signs from Balfour Beatty.
The Vice Chairman said there is a planned event at Hanway Common on the evening of 21 April 2016 to mark the Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen. There will be a Beacon, which will require a risk assessment for insurance purposes.
15/74 Planning – Herefordshire Council has granted approval of reserved matters for planning application 152716 Land at the Forge. It was agreed to consider planning application 153508 Land adjacent to Upper House at an extraordinary meeting on 29 February 2016.
15/75 Financial items
- a) The following payments were agreed: Boy Thorne, cutting of grass, Old Church (£87.00); R Bayliss, footpaths maintenance (£243.50); HALC, share of Arnold Baker, 9th edition (£14.06); and the Clerk, wages, December 2015-January 2016 (£179.34).
- b) In light of the probable closing of Shrop.Net by June 2016, the parish council decided to apply for a £600.00 transparency code grant to fund a new website. The new website will be shared with Richards Castle (Shropshire) if possible.
- c) Restoration of Clock: The meeting noted the request from Richards Castle (Shrop.) for a contribution of £333.00 towards the restoration of the clock. This was agreed in principle. The previous Clerk will be contacted to see if additional funding has been obtained and allocated for this purpose.
- d) The parish council noted a letter from the Pensions Regulator which states the staging date for automatic enrolment is 1 July 2016. Under the provisions, the Clerk will be an ‘entitled worker’ which means a pension can be requested. The parish council is not obliged to make contributions to the pensions of entitled workers.
- e) It was agreed the parish council will opt in to the external audit arrangements arranged by Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd for 2016-17
15/76 Reports from parish councillor representatives
- a) Church/ Village Hall: The Vice Chairman said plans for the ‘open gardens’ event in June 2016 were progressing; the online hall bookings system has been suspended for the time being; the village hall will receive a deep clean in preparation for three weddings.
- b) Footpaths: Cllr. Evans said the meeting with Balfour Beatty’s locality steward has not happened, despite calls to the steward. Ward Cllr. Bowen said he will facilitate a meeting. The Clerk suggested outstanding work, such as the bridge repairs, could be undertaken by Hitrees under the footpaths scheme.
- c) Lengthsman: Cllr. Hall agreed to plan a maintenance schedule with the lengthsman, Hitrees, in line with the Annual Maintenance Plan agreed with Balfour Beatty.
- d) Highways/ Neighbourhood Plan: Cllr. Owen said the neighbourhood plan is being drafted. There is a meeting of the steering group on 29 February 2016 to review the latest draft. Davies reported a blocked drain that is damaging the road surface on Castle Road by High Bank Cottage.
15/77 Clerk’s Report – West Mercia Police has advised that speed data shows a problem with speeding on the B4361, but the volume of traffic is quite low. The local policing team will pay periodic enforcement visits once the appropriate Traffic Regulation Order has been confirmed by Herefordshire Council. A member of the public has emailed to thank the parish council for cutting back the hedge that fronts on to Castle Road.
All costs to do with the provision of white gates will be the responsibility of the parish council, including visits to advise on location and checking the design and specification. The cost of an initial site meeting with the appropriate Balfour Beatty engineer will be obtained.
Defective road markings on Woodhouse Lane at the junction with Castle Road have been reported to Balfour Beatty. Notification of the weekday road closure at Wheatcommon Lane from 15-26 February 2016 was noted. Balfour Beatty has updated the procedure for borrowing litter pick kits so that the equipment is checked before it is issued.
15/78 Lengthsman – The meeting agreed to review the Expression of Interest and Annual Maintenance Plan 2016-17 at the next meeting on 29 February 2016.
15/79 Extended 490 bus service to Ludlow – The cost of a three day per week extended service provided by Herefordshire Council was noted. The situation will be monitored and reviewed at the April 2016 meeting of the parish council. The proposed re-routing of the ‘Ludlow Traveller’ service between Tenbury Wells and Ludlow to pick up in Richards Castle on Friday mornings was welcomed. There is a meeting on 1 March 2016, facilitated by Leominster Town Council to review options for shared support of the 490 bus service.
15/80 Sandbags – It was agreed not to stock sandbags as there is no facility for storage. This policy will be reviewed periodically and in the event of a request from a local member of the public.
15/81 Speed awareness wheelie bin stickers – The proposal was not supported.
15/82 Training for parish councillors – The meeting noted the availability of training for councillors via HALC, and agreed to hold a Richards Castle training evening from 7-9pm on 25 April 2016.
15/83 Report from the Councillor for Bircher Ward – Ward Cllr. Bowen said most parish councils on the 490 route are considering supporting the service financially. Ludlow Town Council has yet to confirm whether they will provide financial support.
Council Tax will increase by 3.9 percent in 2016-17, which includes 2 percent earmarked for social care services. Social and Children’s Services look to be on budget for 2015-16. The debate on whether the Hereford relief road will go east or west continues. Rail improvements have been ruled out for now. There may be a light railway system in the long run. Notice has been given to a number of tenants of county smallholdings in preparation for the sale of the property. There should be an option for the tenants to buy their smallholding from the county, but this has yet to be confirmed by Herefordshire Council. The police and fire service will be moving to a shared facility.
15/83 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – Dog fouling, Castle Road
15/84 The next meeting will be at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 13 April 2016. The meeting closed at 9.33 pm.