MINUTES OF RICHARDS CASTLE (HEREFORDSHIRE) PARISH COUNCIL MEETING HELD AT THE VILLAGE HALL AT 7.30 PM ON THURSDAY 27 JULY 2017
PRESENT Mr P Owen (Vice Chairman); Ms L Munn; Mr A Davies; Mr S Greetham; and Mr R Alden.
IN ATTENDANCE Ward Cllr. S Bowen; and Mr R Hewitt, Clerk. There were one member of the public present.
17/40 Apologies for absence – The resignation of Mr S Broom was noted. It was agreed to thank Mr Broom for his exemplary commitment and long service as a councillor.
17/41 Co-opt one new member – Postponed to the next meeting.
17/42 Declarations of Interest and Requests for Dispensation – Cllr. Alden declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in planning applications 171880 Land at Spout House Field.
17/43 Minutes of the previous meeting – The minutes of the annual meeting held on 25 May 2017 were approved and signed as a correct record.
17/44 Report from Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward – Ward Cllr. Bowen said Shropshire Housing and Herefordshire Housing are to merge: The new organisation will be called ConnectUs.
Potholes have been marked up by the locality steward for repair. The £8 million award from the legal case is being held in an escrow account. A further £8 million may be provided by government for the county’s highways. The roads minister, is being lobbied to allocate more funding from vehicle taxes.
There are changes to the cabinet, and there will be two by-elections for ward councillors in the county. The new link road from Aylestone Hill to Edgar Street is likely to be completed by the end of the year. The road will open new land for development, including the canal, which could be redeveloped and form the centre of a new tourist attraction.
A number of tenants have raised some issues with regard to the sale of the county smallholdings. However, there is very little information forthcoming. The county smallholdings are expected to raise £30-50 million, and Ward Cllr. Bowen said this should be used to build an asset for future revenues., for example student accommodation which provides a regular income.
The Police and Crime Commissioner has proposed adding the fire service to his responsibilities. This is the subject of a spotlight review by the general scrutiny committee. Ultimately, a decision on the proposal may need to be made by the minister.
17/45 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish – There were no matters raised.
[Cllr. Alden left the meeting.]
171880 Land at Spout House Field, Richards Castle, SY8 4EW. Variation of condition 2 ref 170647/F Erection of 4 dwellings – amended plans. There was no objection to the proposed variation of condition.
[Cllr. Alden rejoined the meeting.]
Update on planning decisions by Herefordshire Council – There were no decisions to report.
17/47 Financial Items
a) The following payments were agreed: Eyelid Productions, website training (£60.00); the Clerk, wages April-June 2017 (£326.61); HMRC, PAYE Quarter 1, 2017-18 – £81.60; HALC, website hosting (£24.00); and R Bayliss, footpaths maintenance (£174.74).
b) To appoint enhanced lengthsman contractor for the repair of minor potholes – The meeting agreed to appoint R Mills, and a contract was signed by the vice chairman on behalf of the parish council.
c) To consider quotation for two new planters to locate at the entrance to the village – The meeting agreed to purchase two planters at a cost of £20.50 each, subject to confirmation of the regulations regarding the siting of planters at the side of the highway from Balfour Beatty. Once the necessary permissions are in place, a note will be placed in Castle News.
d) Agree date and cost of HALC training session – The agreed date for the training was 19 September 2017, and the cost will be £150.00 +VAT (mileage will be charged in addition).
17/48 Broadband at Richards Castle – There was a report on the Fastershire broadband briefing held on 19 June 2017. Herefordshire Council have signed a new agreement with a company called Gigaclear, to provide fast broadband to 6,500 properties that missed out on the first roll-out by BT. The website www.fastershire.com has information on which properties are included in the Gigaclear contract.
17/49 New code of conduct – The parish council agreed to adopt the new code of conduct proposed by Herefordshire Council.
17/50 Quotation for village sign and signpost/ fingerposts at Rock crossroads – The Clerk reported that a quotation for the village signs will be undertaken by a senior engineer at Balfour Beatty, and the Rock crossroads signpost will be looked at by the locality steward.
17/51 Joint Annual Parish Meeting, May 2018 – The meeting agreed to set the date for the next joint annual parish meeting, which will be held on 22 May 2018.
17/52 Neighbourhood Development Plan – The referendum on 13 July 2017 supported the proposed adoption of the neighbourhood development plan by Herefordshire Council. The neighbourhood development plan will now be adopted formally, which means it will inform planning decisions made by Herefordshire Council.
The Steering Group was thanked for the time and work that was required to realise the plan. It was agreed to write to the steering group members to thank them personally. As the steering group has achieved its objective, the parish council agreed that it should be dissolved with immediate effect.
17/53 Highways Petition – Councillors reported obtaining about 200 signatures in support of the petition. It was agreed to present the petition at the next full meeting of Herefordshire Council on 13 October 2017, and to invite members of the public to join the presentation via Castle News.
17/54 Reports from parish councillor representatives
a) Parochial Church Council (PCC): Cllr. Munn reported that the PCC did not think there was a parish council representative to the PCC, and did not see the need for such a role. In light of this, it was agreed that the role is to be the point of contact for the PCC to engage with the parish council.
b) Neighbourhood Plan: The report was provided under 17/52 above. It was agreed that a neighbourhood plan representative was no longer required as the steering group has been disbanded.
c) Footpaths: Cllr. Alden said the bridleway has been opened. The gate was provided to the landowner by Balfour Beatty. Landowners are being asked to contribute towards the cost of installing stiles on their land.
d) Lengthsman: Cllr. Greetham said the lengthsman is doing some general maintenance, including spraying of weeds. A note will be placed in Castle News to make people aware of the plans to replace the tree on the green at the top of Orchard Rise with a more vigorous specimen.
e) Highways: The report was provided under 17/53 above. Cllr. Greetham said he has been in contact with the locality steward regarding defects on the local roads.
f) Village hall: There was no report.
17/55 Representative roles and website updates – Cllr. Owen kindly agreed to be the village hall representative following the resignation of Mr Broom. Following training at Eyelid Productions, new postings to the parish council website will be sent to every subscriber.
17/56 Parish council communications – It was agreed to publish a short overview in Castle News after each full parish council meeting. Each overview will be drafted by an individual councillor, and the article will be fact checked by the Clerk before it is submitted to Castle News.
17/57 Herefordshire Council’s Budget Priorities consultation – Noted.
17/58 Rural Areas Site Allocations Development Plan Document – Issues and Options Consultation – Noted.
17/59 Clerk’s Report – The poorly positioned SID deployed in July2017 will not be charged to the parish council as the deployment was not requested. The Herefordshire area ambassador for the Police and Crime Commissioner has agreed to attend the next meeting on 12 October 2017. Electoral Services has been informed of the co-option of L Munn to the parish council.
17/60 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – None.
17/61 The next meeting will be on Thursday 12 October 2017. The meeting closed at 9.45pm.