MINUTES OF RICHARDS CASTLE (HEREFORDSHIRE) PARISH COUNCIL MEETING HELD AT THE VILLAGE HALL AT 7.30 PM ON THURSDAY 26 JANUARY 2017
PRESENT Mr S Broom (Chairman); Mr A Davies; Mr S Greetham, Mr P Owen (Vice Chairman); and Mr R Alden.
IN ATTENDANCE Ward Cllr. S Bowen; Mr R Bayliss (footpaths contractor); and Mr R Hewitt, Clerk. There were no members of the public present.
16/99 Apologies for absence – None.
16/100 Co-opt new member – Postponed to the next meeting. A notice will be submitted to Castle News to ask for expressions of interest in becoming a councillor.
16/101 Declarations of Interest and Requests for Dispensation – None.
16/102 Minutes of the previous meeting – The minutes of the meeting held on 1 December 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record.
16/103 Report from Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward – Ward Cllr. Bowen said Council Tax is likely to increase by 3.9 percent in 2017-18, with 2 percent of the increase earmarked for social care. As a county, there are around 25 percent more older people relative to other counties. Children’s Services have been rated as being in the top quartile for the country. By 2020 financial support from government will be minimal and the funding is expected to be replaced by business rates. Following a legal ruling against a previous highways contractor, it is hoped that an additional £9 million will become available once the legal process has concluded. Ward Cllr. Bowen said he is urging the lump sum, once available, is used to improve the roads. The locality steward acknowledges the condition of the roads. The Police and Crime Commissioner has decided not to increase the policing budget in 2017-18, however increases are expected for the subsequent three years. Warwickshire and West Mercia Police share some facilities, including IT, to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
16/104 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish – The footpaths contractor expressed concern at the condition of the local roads.
163982 The Rock, Richards Castle – Erection of a single storey holiday home. The parish council agreed to support the planning application. Although the site lies outside the settlement boundary in the emerging neighbourhood development plan which is at the stage of independent examination, the parish council looks at applications on a case by case basis and considers the proposed plans merit an exception as the building will be of low impact and will be a holiday cottage.
Update on planning decisions by Herefordshire Council – 163375 25 Orchard Rise and 163593 & 163790 Cider Mill have been given planning permission. 163372 & 163373 Old Church Cottage has been withdrawn.
16/106 Financial Items
a) The following payments were agreed: Hitrees, work to oak tree, The Green (£480.00); Richards Castle Village Hall, donation re: Jubilee Room project (£350.00); Herefordshire Council, 490 bus service, April-December 2016 (£750.00); Leander Architectural, road name signs at Post Office Lane, Castle Road and Orchard Rise (£661.50 and £661.50); Village Hall, parish council meetings, 2016-17 (£73.00); and R Bayliss, footpaths maintenance (£70.00).
b) Mandate to update signatories to the parish council bank accounts – It was agreed to sign a new mandate form obtained by the Chairman to increase the number of signatories from two to five. All current members of the parish council will be signatories, and two signatures will be required for each payment by cheque. Cllr. Greetham kindly agreed to present the necessary documents at the Ludlow branch.
c) Consider support for 490 bus service in 2017-18 – The matter was postponed pending a report on the use of the bus service during 2016-17.
d) Lengthsman and P3 footpaths: Forecast 2016-17 and Annual Plan 2017-18 – The parish council reviewed expenditure to date and agreed to utilise the remaining lengthsman and footpaths grants before 31 March 2017. The Annual Maintenance Plan 2017-18 was reviewed and agreed. The meeting decided not to participate in the enhanced lengthsman scheme for the time being. The Annual Maintenance Plan 2017-18 will require £580.50 from parish council funds in order to be able to access £1,102.00 in lengthsman and P3 footpaths grants. A contract for footpaths maintenance during 2017-18 was agreed and signed by the footpaths contractor.
e) Allowances scheme for parish councillors – The parish council decided that an allowances scheme is not required.
16/107 Reports from parish councillor representatives
a) Appoint representative to the Parochial Church Council (PCC). It was agreed to leave this position vacant until new councillors have joined the parish council.
b) Neighbourhood Plan: Cllr. Owen said Herefordshire Council has recommended the neighbourhood plan should go forward to independent examination following the Regulation 16 consultation. Looking ahead, it was agreed that a high turn out at the referendum should be encouraged.
c) Footpaths: Cllr. Alden’s written report on the footpaths was noted along with the PROW crib sheet provided by Balfour Beatty. It was agreed to purchase six (stiles) and cross steps from Balfour Beatty at a cost of £59.00 per stile for the footpaths contractor to install before 31 March 2017.
d) Lengthsman: Cllr. Greetham kindly agreed to be the lengthsman corodinator, and will contact the lengthsman to review activities to complete by 31 March 2017. A tree in the island at the top of Orchard Rise may require replacing. The parish council thanked Cllr. Greetham for his kind offer to plant a replacement tree. The damaged planter box at the entrance to the village on the B4361 will be looked at once the village gates have been confirmed.
e) Highways: Cllr. Greetham said a letter has been sent to Balfour Beatty following the article in Castle News to raise concern at the condition of roads in the parish, particularly Castle Road and Orchard Rise.
f) Village hall: The Chairman said a ‘Starters and Puds’ event will be held on 28 January 2017.
16/108 Neighbourhood Development Plan – The parish council considered the shortlist of independent examiners and agreed to appoint Mrs B Maksymiw after noting that Orleton Parish Council will support the decision of the parish council.
16/109 Village Gate – Members held a site meeting with Balfour Beatty on 8 December 2017 to review proposed sites for village gates. Due to drains on the one side of the B4361, a full village gate will not be possible on both sides of the road. Cllr. Greetham kindly agreed to draft plans showing new village signs and a row of white posts, including planters under the new village signs, for the parish council to review.
16/110 Roadmarkings at Rock crossroads and Orchard Rise – It was agreed that the lack of clear white lines on the Orchard Close junction, and Rock crossroads should be reported as a defect to Balfour Beatty. Ward Cllr. Bowen kindly agreed to make this report and raise it with the locality steward.
16/111 Proposal for new signpost at Rock crossroads – The Chairman reported that the signpost at Rock Crossroads is illegible due to missing letters on the fingerposts, which are damaged. Ward Cllr. Bowen kindly agreed to make this report and raise it with the locality steward.
16/112 Community Speed Watch initiative – Noted.
16/113 Consultation on Parish Freight Strategy – Noted.
16/114 Consultation on Wigmore Group Neighbourhood Development Plan (Reg. 14) – Noted.
16/115 Hire of speed indicator device (SID) in 2017-18 – A single SID will be deployed in the village in February and March respectively, and data on traffic speeds will be made available. A decision on when to hire a SID from Balfour Beatty in 2017-18 was postponed.
16/116 Clerk’s Report – The parish council precept has been requested. VAT on parish council expenditure during 2015-16 has been claimed from HMRC. A notice of casual vacancy has been posted with a deadline of 9 February 2017. If a request for an election is not received by that date then the parish council will be able to co-opt to fill the vacancy. HALC has provided a training schedule for the period January-March 2017.
16/117 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – None.
16/118 The next scheduled meeting will be on Thursday, 6 April 2017. The meeting closed at 9.23pm.