Minutes – 11 January 2022


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

IN ATTENDANCE: PCSO S Harper, West Mercia Police; and Mr R Hewitt, Clerk. No members of the public were present.

21/112 Apologies – Mr M Ayres.

21/113 Co-opt to vacancy on the parish council – Deferred.

21/114 Declarations of Members Interest and Requests for Dispensation – None.

21/115 Minutes of the previous meeting – The minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2021 were agreed to be a true record.

21/116 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish
PCSO S Harper, West Mercia Police provided an overview of local policing matters. The safer neighbourhood team has grown with two new police constables.

21/117 Report from the Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward
Ward Cllr. Bowen reported that the PCC budget agreed by the Police and Crime Panel includes funding for 200 new police officers. Herefordshire Council’s chief legal officer has resigned. The meeting of the county council scheduled for 8 December 2021 has been deferred to 28 January 2022 and will be followed by a meeting in February to set the budget for 2022-23. The resignation of a ward councillor means the council is a minority administration. Ward Cllr. Bowen has proposed that the county council borrow £30 million to improve C and U roads. The JCB patcher looks to be very effective.

21/118 Planning
Herefordshire Council have granted planning permission for 212945 19 Orchard Rise.

21/119 Financial Items
a) The following payments were agreed: Luston Group PC, share of solar panel retro-fit (£491.12); Clerk, wages December 2021; HMRC, PAYE to 5 January 2022 (£246.00); and Castle Digging Solutions, footpaths (£200.00).
b) Mid-year accounts 2021-22 and precept 2022-23: The finances of the parish council for 2021-22 to date were reviewed and noted. Discussion of the draft budget and precept for 2022-23 followed. It was agreed to reduce the frequency of scheduled parish council meetings from 10 to 7 per year, and for the hours of the Clerk to be adjusted proportionately. The budget for 2022-23 was agreed and the precept set at £9,500.00.
c) Effectiveness of internal financial controls: Systems of internal control were reviewed, and it was agreed they are effective in safeguarding public money and resources.

21/120 Clerk’s Report
An email from the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust about ‘Team Wilder’ was noted. The highway authority does not support the new edge of carriageway lines, central 30mph roundels and removal of centrelines on the B4361 through the village requested via community commissioning. The highway authority will support a review of repeater sign locations and replace with yellow backed signs to increase their visibility. The Clerk was asked to request that the decision is re-considered by the highway authority. A proposal to communicate with businesses to request that their vehicles observe speed limits when driving through the village will be considered at the next meeting. The Clerk will follow up the request to the highway authority to commission measurements for the speed of traffic through the village. The dates of the next Parish Council Summit facilitated by Herefordshire Council and annual plan briefing by Balfour Beatty were noted.

21/121 Footpaths
The Chairman reported on footpaths. A new kissing gate has been installed off Orchard Rise. RC5 will be checked. A review of 2021 submitted to Castle News by the Chairman was noted.

21/122 Lengthsman/ highways
Cllr. Enzer said the sump by Rock crossroads was raised with the locality steward at a recent online briefing by Balfour Beatty. Hedges have been well maintained by their owners this year, and the highway authority will be asked to cut verges in July. The lengthsman can clear the ditch and gully on Castle Road by Rock crossroads to help keep water off the road. A defective grate on the pavement by Springfield will be reported to the highway authority.

21/123 Herefordshire Local Plan update
The responses to the pre-engagement questionnaire on the Local Plan prepared by the working group were supported and will be submitted to the planning authority.

21/124 Fastershire training
An invitation to express an interest in internet training sessions by Fastershire has been published in Castle News. There have been no expressions of interest received from members of the public. It was agreed to take no further action on this matter.

21/125 Community directory
The online directory was reviewed. It was agreed to publish the directory on the parish council website.

21/126 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – Lengthsman review, Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen, and revised schedule of meetings.

21/127 Date of next meeting – The next meeting will be on Tuesday 22 February 2022 in the Jubilee Room of the village hall.

The meeting closed at 9.28 pm.