Minutes – 26 November 2020


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

IN ATTENDANCE Mr R Hewitt, Clerk. No members of the public were present.

20/84 Apologies – Ms L Allwright and Mr M Ayres.

20/85 Co-opt a new member to the parish council – Deferred.

20/86 Declarations of Members Interest and Requests for Dispensation – None.

20/87 Minutes of the previous meeting – The minutes of the meeting held on 27 October 2020 were agreed.

20/88 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish
There were no matters raised.

20/89 Community use of All Saints Church
Cllr. Alden said the parochial church council is to apply for Festival Church status and will require grant funding to support this. Informal discussions with local people found widespread support for keeping the church open.

20/90 Report from the Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward
Ward Cllr. Bowen reported on resurfacing planned for Orchard Rise and Castle Road. The Remembrance Sunday ceremony has been filmed due to Covid 19. A wreath was placed on a train at Hereford Station to be displayed at Paddington alongside others from the GWR network. The scrutiny committee has looked at the Transport Review. The option of an eastern bypass is to be reviewed. Adult and Children’s social care is set to end the financial year within budget. A new care home run by the council is proposed. A brief report was noted on Covid 19. Ward Cllr. Bowen said he addressed the online WI annual general meeting on behalf of Herefordshire Council.

20/91 Clerk’s Report
Balfour Beatty printed leaflets will be posted to members shortly for distribution. Response to Planning for the Future white paper has been submitted. Socially distanced meeting held outside with lengthsman.

20/92 Planning
No planning decisions by Herefordshire Council were reported.

20/93 Financial Items
The following payments were agreed: D C Gardening Services, SID deployment (£36.00); Boy Thorne Garden Services, grass maintenance (£85.00); Clerk, wages November and December 2020 (£327.80 and £327.80); and HMRC, PAYE for period to 5 January 2020 (£245.80).

Cllr. Enzer, lengthsman coordinator reported on a meeting held with the lengthsman to review the proposed drainage work and recommended that the parish council consider undertaking work up to the full value of the grant awarded by Balfour Beatty/ Herefordshire Council. The parish council resolved to provide £1,489.50 for drainage work under the grant scheme. A new contract to enable the lengthsman to undertake the drainage work funded by the grant was agreed.

The finances of the parish council for 2020-21 to date were reviewed. Discussion of the draft budget and precept for 2021-22 followed. A decision on the 2021-22 precept was deferred. Systems of internal control were reviewed, and it was agreed they are effective in safeguarding public money and resources.

20/94 Footpaths
The Chairman reported on planned footpath work.

20/95 Highway/ Lengthsman
Cllr. P Enzer, lengthsman coordinator, advised that the lengthsman will clear pavements and kerbs of mud and weeds. A skip will be required for the arisings. A recommendation to request a single cut of verges by the highway authority in 2021-22 was supported. A complaint has been made to Balfour Beatty about work done on Woodhouse Lane. The highway authority has been asked to renew road markings and improve the B4361 in preparation for the village gates.

Cllr. Enzer was thanked for his work and effort on the lengthsman initiative.

20/96 Village gates on B4361
A quotation for two village gates at the start of the 30mph limit with dimensions of 60cm (W) x 1 metre (H) and a single gate with the same dimensions placed at the start of the 30mph limit by the county boundary was agreed subject to due diligence regarding the subcontractor doing the installation, and clarification of the process with the sub-contractor.

The Clerk reported on the experience of Aymestrey and Fownhope parish councils in respect of commissioning village gates. The gateway licence required by Balfour Beatty covers subcontractors so it is important to know that the subcontractor has the required streetworks licence, insurance with £10 million public liability cover, and will take due account of any utilities which may run under the verge.

20/97 Smartwater
The Clerk reported that West Mercia Police can post the Smartwater kits to households in the parish and will cover this cost. This has been introduced due to the Covid 19 lock down in England. The police say they require a mailing list printed on labels to do this. The parish council agreed to take up the offer from the police to send the Smartwater kits to households directly and to inform local people via an article in Castle News. The parish council will prepare a mailing list addressed to ‘The Occupier’ for this purpose. The police have provided two updated templates to reflect the new mailing process. The letter agreed by the parish council will be sent out by the police with the Smartwater kit. Cllr. Enzer kindly offered to draft an article about the Smartwater initiative for Castle News and said he will approach Royal Mail regarding a mailing list. The Clerk said it may be possible to re-use an existing mailing list.

20/98 Sandbags – Deferred.

20/99 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – Sandbags.

20/100 Date of next meeting – The next scheduled meeting will be on Thursday 14 January 2021.

The meeting closed at 9.35pm.