Minutes – 30 July 2020


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

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

20/23 Apologies – None.

20/24 Co-opt a new member to the parish council – Deferred.

20/25 Declarations of Members Interest and Requests for Dispensation – None.

20/26 Minutes of the previous meeting – It was agreed to amend the draft minutes of the meeting held on 20 May 2020 as follows: insert ‘coordinator’ after lengthsman in 20/12 b); and insert ‘consider purchasing’ in 20/15. With these amendments the minutes were agreed.

20/27 Report from the Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward
Ward Cllr. Bowen reported that the condition of Castle Road and Orchard Rise has been raised with the responsible cabinet member. The velocity patcher is back in operation repairing potholes. An extraordinary general meeting of the county council will consider a proposal to borrow £8 million for C and U roads. Financial support provided through the Bellwin scheme to fix the landslip at Fownhope caused by flooding has not been sufficient. The review of the bypass has been put back to September 2020. The Covid 19 outbreak at a farm near Ledbury has been contained successfully. New road layouts and cones in Hereford have led to complaints from some members of the public. There was a virtual Royal Visit to the county recently. There is to be a new Lord Lieutenant. Roadside ditches and hedges are generally the responsibility of landowners.

The Chairman asked the meeting to note that landowners on the B4361 have been made aware of Balfour Beatty’s guidance where hedges were covering road signs.

20/28 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish
There were no matters raised.

20/29 Planning
Herefordshire Council has granted planning permission for 200689 The Old Chapel. Planning application 200860 Castle Barn has been withdrawn.

20/30 Financial Items
a) The following payments were agreed: Luston Group Parish Council, share of new SID batteries and maintenance contract 2020-21 (£514.00); Hitrees, lengthsman (£30.00); Eyelid Productions, accessibility upgrade to website (£50.00); HALC, Leading Lights training (£48.00); Clerk, pads for defibrillator (£43.80); Clerk, wages April-July 2020 (£729.53); and R Bayliss, footpaths maintenance £216.00).
b) Implementation of electronic banking for payments: The signatories reported difficulties setting up electronic banking. The parish council agreed to write a letter of complaint to the bank’s head office. The Clerk reported that HALC will be looking at electronic banking shortly. It was agreed to put the move to electronic banking on hold for the time being.
c) Ratify payments made by the Clerk under delegated powers: None.
d) External Audit: The external auditor has extended the deadline for submission of the 2019-20 annual return to 31 August 2020. An additional meeting of the parish council was scheduled for 27 August 2020 to consider the annual return.

20/31 Appointment of lengthsman
The parish council agreed to appoint DC Gardening Services as lengthsman effective from 1 September 2020.

20/32 Herefordshire Council drainage grant
Cllr. Enzer reported on drainage defects. The parish council agreed to make an application to Herefordshire Council for a drainage grant. The grant will pay for the digging out of ditches and reinstatement of grippers as appropriate on Castle Road opposite Orchard Rise and on sections of Woodhouse Lane. And also for drains on Castle Road, Orchard Rise and on parts of Woodhouse Lane to be jetted. A defective ditch embankment will be raised with the developer of the plot off Castle Road.

20/33 Road safety initiatives for B4361
A working group comprising Cllrs. Alden, Bowen and Enzer recommended road safety options and measures to address speeding on the B4361 through Richards Castle. The parish council supported the recommendations. Balfour Beatty will be asked to provide costings under community commissioning.

20/34 Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP)
Cllrs. Munn and Ayres provided a report on an NDP Review working group meeting held with the Chairman of Orleton Parish Council and recommended that the review should begin once the outcome of Herefordshire Council’s core strategy review is clearer. The parish council supported the recommendation.

20/35 Frequency of parish council meetings
The parish council agreed to increase the number of scheduled meetings to 10 per year, which means meetings will be held each month except for August and December. In recognition of the extra meetings, the Clerk’s hours were increased to 7 per week.

[Cllr. Allwright left the meeting.]

20/36 Reports from parish councillor representatives
a) Footpaths: Cllr. Alden reported that work has been focussed on strimming and clearance of footpaths, effectively catching up on work delayed at the start of the year.

[9.30pm standing orders were suspended.]

b) Lengthsman: Cllr. Enzer reported on drainage defects under 20/32.
c) Highways: Cllr. Enzer said the Millennium Map will need to be replaced and noticeboard maintained.
d) Good neighbour scheme: Cllr. Munn said the scheme has been quiet recently.
e) Village hall/ communications: Cllr. Munn said the village hall is currently closed.

[Ward Cllr. Bowen left the meeting.]

20/37 Clerk’s Report
SID data from the deployment at the start of 2020 was noted. The average speed of 85 percent of vehicles on the B4361 through Richards Castle was measured at 39.1 and 38.2 mph heading north and south respectively. The SIDs will be deployed again in October 2020. A subscription to Zoom was noted. The cost of the Zoom subscription has been covered to the end of 2020 by a grant from Fastershire to Luston Group Parish Council.

20/38 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – Community resilience plan.

20/39 The next meeting will be on 27 August 2020. The meeting closed at 9.38 pm.