MINUTES OF JOINT ANNUAL PARISH MEETING OF RICHARDS CASTLE (HEREFORDSHIRE) AND RICHARDS CASTLE (SHROPSHIRE) PARISHES HELD AT 7.00 PM ON TUESDAY 22 MAY 2018 AT THE VILLAGE HALL
Richards Castle (Herefordshire) Parish Council: Mr P Owen (Chairman); Ms L Allwright; Mr S Greetham (Vice Chairman); and Ms L Munn.
Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council: Mr H Salwey (Chairman); Mr D Ayres; Mr A Hall; and Mr A Cowell.
IN ATTENDANCE: Ms B Nurse, Yarpole Good Neighbour scheme; Mr P Crumpton, West Mercia Police; Herefordshire Ward Cllr. S Bowen; Shropshire County Cllr. V Parry; and Mr R Hewitt, Clerk. There were 20 members of the public present.
1. Apologies – Cllr. R Alden (Herefordshire). Cllrs. C Giles, R Smith and T Wright (Shropshire).
2. Minutes of the Joint Annual Parish Meeting held on 22 May 2017 – The minutes of the meeting were agreed and signed as a correct record.
3. Tackling Rural Crime – West Mercia Police – Paul Crumpton, West Mercia Police talked about rural crime and gave some solutions to dealing with the problems of machinery and tool thefts. There is a scheme to mark property with an invisible ‘water’ that has a unique chemical identifier. Stolen goods can then be traced back to the owner, and it has been demonstrated that villages which have the Smart Water logo displayed have minimal thefts, and it is therefore an effective deterrent. If half the village signs up for the Smart Water scheme, West Mercia Police will help to fund the costs.
Paul Crumpton then distributed free card-reader blockers to stop thieves extracting card information through bags and pockets with ‘pineapple’ reader devices. He also provided a good system for remembering passwords and emphasised that different ones must be used.
Lastly, Mr Crumpton encouraged people to check their credit rating. If your credit rating plummets, it may mean someone has stolen your identity to borrow money.
4. Being a ‘Good Neighbour’ – Mrs Barbara Nurse, Yarpole Group Good Neighbour scheme, outlined how the scheme worked, with one to three people acting as core organisers supported by volunteers who help people out in the parish. It was emphasised this scheme isn’t for regular needs, but for occasions when extra help is needed. Both Luston and Orleton have a scheme which relies on grants and fund raising for costs like running a telephone, travelling expenses and publicity.
5. To receive the Annual Report from the Chairman of Richards Castle (Herefordshire) Parish Council
Cllr. P Owen, chairman, welcomed two new councillors and thanked the outgoing councillors for their service to the community. The neighbourhood development plan was adopted by Herefordshire Council in 2017, and Cllr. Owen thanked everyone who has been involved over the years. Other highlights of the year included:
• The work done by Cllr. Alden to maintain and improve access to our footpaths;
• The talk by the Police and Crime Commissioner Area Ambassador;
• The petition calling for our roads to be brought up to an acceptable standard;
• The planting of a new tree at the top of Orchard Rise by Cllr. Greetham; and
• A new planter for the village.
The parish council has had advice on options to tackle speeding from the Safer Roads Partnership. There are now newsletter style articles on the activities of the parish council instead of published minutes in Castle News.
Cllr. Owen said there are three vacancies on the parish council and asked for expressions of interest in becoming a new councillor.
6. To receive the Annual Report from the Chairman of Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council
Cllr. H Salwey, chairman, welcomed a new councillor, Richard Smith. Members of the public were asked to report any concerns regarding the biodigester to their compliance officer as they can be immediately investigated and resolved. There have been 7 planning applications, and the parish council has supported all the applications. The Planning Inspectorate held a local inquiry in November 2017 on the Bridleway Additions, Modification Order 2015, and the notice of the confirmation of the Definitive Map Modification Order can be viewed on the parish noticeboard outside the village hall.
Earlier this year, developers shared their plan for a proposed fuel station, shop and ‘drive-through cafe’ by Starbucks at Woofferton. It has yet to be presented as a planning application, and any development will need the support of Highways England. The parish council has expressed concern at the proposed 68 holiday cabins in Mortimer Forest. Although a formal planning application has yet to be made to Herefordshire Council, the parish council has told planning services, Herefordshire Council, that the proposal is neither appropriate or suitable for the local community.
Congratulations to the Herefordshire PC for completing their Neighbourhood Development Plan. Here in Shropshire, our parish is treated as open countryside in Shropshire Council’s Place Plan, which sets a high bar for proposed development. Applications for new housing in Richards Castle Shropshire should meet the criteria for exceptional development.
The parish council agreed the 2018-19 budget and kept the precept for this year at £5,000.00. On the roads, the parish council and Cllr. Viv Parry lobbied to keep the northbound lay-by by Starbucks on the A49. Highways England accepted the use of the lay-by by the school bus. The parish council’s request to extend the 50mph speed limit at Woofferton junction further south on the A49 to include the turnings to Brimfield was not taken up by Highways England however, which considered that there is not ‘sufficient justification’ based on the history of personal injury collisions further south.
After long delay, work to improve the passing points at Park Lane was done by Highways. The work to date is disappointing: the surface is poor; one passing point was surfaced unnecessarily, and the work seems to have stopped part way along Park Lane. The parish council has contacted Highways to ask when the work will be completed.
The pavement from the county boundary to the village hall has been cleared of weeds. This is going to need to be done regularly, so it is good news that Shropshire Council’s proposed new environmental maintenance grant for rural parish councils.
7. Report from the Shropshire County Councillor
Shropshire Cllr. V Parry offered her support to local people and said she is easy to reach by telephone. There are concerns at the impact of the proposed fuel station and shop at Woofferton on the Salwey Arms junction on the A49. The environmental maintenance grant is back for rural parishes but will require a commitment to match fund. ‘Slow down’ signs for Wheatcommon Lane are expected to be done by highways. Ludlow is supporting a new initiative to become a ‘Dementia Friendly Town’. Shropshire Council is to invest in affordable housing.
8. Report from the Bircher Ward Councillor, Herefordshire Council
Herefordshire Cllr. S Bowen said he shared the concerns expressed about the Salwey Arms junction on the A49. Roads have suffered during the long, cold winter. Castle Road needs to be mended properly, and the problem to the one side resolved. Although the budget for roads has increased to £30 million, it would require an estimated £100 million fix all the roads in the county. A ‘velocity patcher’ has been hired to help increase the speed of pothole repairs.
Herefordshire Council has a new leader, and the new university in Hereford is preparing to welcome students from autumn 2018. It is estimated that the university will bring £100 million into the county. The precept in 2018-19 has increased by 4.9 percent. Seventy-six percent of the budget supports care services. It means other services need to get by on less and the result is that things can take longer to get done.
Ward Cllr. Bowen talked about the recycling put in place so that very little now goes to landfill. There is a recycling centre and waste to power facility that produces 20 Megawatts. Universal Credit is being introduced in Herefordshire on 13 June 2018.
9. Items from Members of the Public – Members of the public asked about support for the bus service, white stones on verges and bridleway access. Shropshire Cllr. Parry said the bus service is being supported by Ludlow Town Council in 2018-19. Ward Cllr. Bowen said that placing stones on a verge may make the landowner liable for damage that might be caused.
Representatives of the Parochial Church Council asked for support to help the church hold events and become a venue for concerts. Interest was expressed in setting up a Richards Castle Good Neighbour Scheme.
The meeting closed at 8.51 pm.