Minutes – 20 May 2020


PRESENT Mr R Alden (Chairman); Ms L Allwright; Ms L Munn; Mr M Ayres; Mr P Enzer; and Ward Cllr. Bowen.

IN ATTENDANCE Mr R Hewitt, Clerk. One member of the public was present.

20/1 Election of Vice Chairman – Cllr. S Bowen was elected vice chairman.

20/2 Apologies – None.

20/3 Co-opt a new member to the parish council – Deferred.

20/4 Declarations of Members Interest and Requests for Dispensation
Cllr. Enzer and Cllr. Alden each declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in planning application 200689 The Old Chapel.

20/5 Minutes of the previous meeting – The minutes of the meeting held on 23 January 2020 were agreed and signed as a correct record.

20/6 Report from the Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward
Ward Cllr. Bowen reported on the county council’s work during the Covid 19 pandemic. Government funded grants have been administered effectively by Herefordshire Council. The defects on the parish’s roads have been raised with the cabinet member responsible for highways and acting director, Economy and Place, Herefordshire Council. There is a new locality steward, and a tour of the local roads will be completed shortly in separate vehicles. Hillside Care Home has been opened in Hereford. The re-opening of schools is seen as a decision for governors to make.

20/7 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish
A member of the public proposed the implementation of ‘home zones’ for cars and pedestrians and kindly offered to provide further information.

20/8 Planning
200860 Castle Barn, Richards Castle, SY8 4ET – Conversion of existing outbuilding into ancillary annexe accommodation and occasional holiday let. The planning application was supported.

200649 and 200650 Cider Mill, Castle Road, Richards Castle, SY8 4EW – Removal of existing conservatory to be replaced by new single storey rear extension. Not considered as decision to grant permission already made by the planning authority, Herefordshire Council.

(Cllr. Enzer and Cllr. Alden left the meeting. Cllr. Bowen chaired the meeting.)

200689 The Old Chapel, Richards Castle, SY8 4EL – Variation of a condition 4 ref 192158/FH (Erection of detached building to be used as garage and ancillary accommodation). Amend to allow for a short term holiday let. The planning application was supported.

(Cllr. Enzer and Cllr. Alden rejoined the meeting. Cllr. Alden resumed the chairing of the meeting.)

The parish council noted that Herefordshire Council has granted planning permission for 191749/TD5 Land to north of Westbrook House, Richards Castle. Three members of the public were concerned that sight lines shown on drawings for the planning application appear to run through the hedge of the neighbouring landowner(s), and in each direction fell short of the 120 metres stipulated in national highway guidance for junctions in a 30-40mph zone. Ward Cllr. Bowen kindly offered to raise the issues and concerns with the sight lines with planning services at Herefordshire Council.

The following planning permissions granted by Herefordshire Council were noted: 193085 and 193086 Church House, 194423 Tan House, and 200368 Ryecroft.

20/9 Financial Items
a) Annual insurance renewal: It was agreed to renew the insurance policy with Came & Co.
b) The following payments were agreed: Came & Co, parish council insurance (£358.66); Hitrees, maintenance of footpath to village hall (£176.40); Eyelid Productions, annual website support (£100.00); Clerk, wages/ PAYE January-March 2020 (£683.80); Herefordshire Council, uncontested election (£73.47); HALC, affiliation and subscription 2020-21 (£346.87); R Bayliss, footpaths maintenance (£206.02); and D C Gardening Services, SID installation Jan. 2020 (£36.00).
c) Implementation of electronic banking for payments: It was agreed to set up electronic banking subject to payments requiring separate authorisation by two different signatories.
d) Ratify payments made by the Clerk under delegated powers: None.
e) External Audit: The external auditor will be asked to extend the deadline for submission of the 2019-20 annual return.

20/10 Clerk’s Report
Herefordshire Council has made the first precept payment for 2020-21 (£4,250.00). As agreed at the last meeting, Balfour Beatty has been asked to leave verges uncut until August/September to encourage biodiversity. Junctions should be cut as usual for reasons of highway safety. Castle News has been asked to update the list of members. The SIDs will need to be deployed in line with Covid 19 guidance – the next deployment is scheduled for July 2020.

20/11 Annual Maintenance Plan 2020-21, processes to manage ongoing work in light of Covid 19 guidance
The Annual Maintenance Plan for lengthsman and P3 footpath activities in 2020-21 was agreed. Guidance from Balfour Beatty on lengthsman and P3 footpaths work and Covid 19 was considered. The parish council agreed that lengthsman and footpath work should carry on in line with the Annual Maintenance Plan provided that the current contractors are committed to following Covid 19 government guidance, and that the volunteer lengthsman and footpath coordinators are willing to carry on at this time.

20/12 Reports from parish councillor representatives
a) Footpaths: Cllr. Alden reported that activity has been limited due to Covid 19.
b) Lengthsman: Cllr. Enzer’s proposal to be acting lengthsman c0-ordinator for an initial 2-3 month period was supported.
c) Highways: Cllr. Enzer said there were no new matters to report.
d) Good neighbour scheme: Cllr. Allwright provided a report on activity by volunteers during recent weeks. The parish council thanked the volunteers for their support of the community.
e) Village hall/ communications: Cllr. Munn will review with Castle News. There has been minimal communication during recent weeks due to Covid 19.

20/13 Road safety initiatives for B4361
A working group comprising Cllrs. Alden, Bowen and Enzer was formed to assess road safety options and measures to address speeding and will provide recommendations to the parish council in due course.

20/14 Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP)
Cllr. Munn and the Chairman provided a report on an NDP Review meeting in March 2020 at Herefordshire Council. At the meeting, Herefordshire Council suggested some policy areas to look at as part of the review. It was agreed to consider the process and timing of the review at the next meeting.

20/15 Provision of sandbags
The meeting decided to consider purchasing sandbags in September in preparation for the winter and store them at the village hall.

20/16 Balfour Beatty leaflet on ditch and drainage responsibilities of riparian owners
A request will be made to Balfour Beatty for 30-40 printed leaflets to make available to riparian landowners.

20/17 Fastershire ‘Keep Connected’ Grant – Noted.

20/18 Police and Crime Commissioner’s Covid 19 grant for local community groups – Noted.

20/19 Website accessibility regulations
The requirement for local authority websites to meet new accessibility guidelines by September 2020 was noted. A budget of up to £50.00 was agreed for the website contractor to implement this for the parish council website.

20/20 Clerk’s delegated powers
The following delegated powers were agreed provided that the Clerk consults with the Chairman or Vice Chairman, or if unavailable a councillor, and that actions implemented under delegated powers are reported and recorded in the minutes of the next parish council meeting:
a) Delegated powers to spend up to £1,000 between meetings when unforeseen circumstances occur;
b) Delegated powers to spend against specific items in the annual budget i.e. for contractors such as the lengthsman, hall hire, clerk’s salary, as identified in the budget when setting the precept; and
c) Delegated powers to comment on planning applications between meetings when unforeseen circumstances occur.

20/21 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – No matters raised.

20/22 The next meeting will be on 30 July 2020. The meeting closed at 9.35 pm.