MINUTES OF RICHARDS CASTLE (HEREFORDSHIRE) PARISH COUNCIL MEETING HELD AT THE VILLAGE HALL AT 7.30 PM ON THURSDAY 12 OCTOBER 2017
PRESENT Mr P Owen (Chairman); Ms L Munn; Mr A Davies; Mr S Greetham; and Mr R Alden.
IN ATTENDANCE Mr D Guerche, Area Ambassador for the Police and Crime Commissioner; Ward Cllr. S Bowen; and Mr R Hewitt, Clerk. There were no members of the public present.
17/68 Election of Chairman – Cllr. P Owen was elected, and signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office as Chairman.
17/69 Apologies for absence – None.
17/70 Co-opt two new members – Postponed to the next meeting.
17/71 Declarations of Interest and Requests for Dispensation – None.
17/72 Minutes of the previous meetings – The minutes of the meetings held on 27 July and 19 September 2017 were approved and signed as a correct record.
17/73 Local policing – Mr D Guerche, Area Ambassador for the Police and Crime Commissioner provided an overview of activities and initiatives.[Cllr. Greetham joined the meeting.]
Members of the parish council highlighted vehicles speeding through the village and rural crime and asked how these issues can be best addressed in the future. Mr Guerche said he would put the parish council in contact with two officers in West Mercia Police who could advise on these matters.
The Chairman thanked Mr Guerche for his time and interesting discussion, and Mr Guerche left the meeting.
17/74 Report from Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward – Ward Cllr. Bowen said the increased cost of renovating Blueschool House, Hereford will be the subject of an audit and peer review. The ‘Better Care’ target has been attained which safeguards health funding. The potential £10 million awarded from the previous highways contractor, is expected to be available early in 2018, and should be allocated to fixing ‘C’ and ‘U’ roads.
17/75 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish – There were no matters raised.
73539 and 173538 Old Church Cottage, Castle Road, Richards Castle, SY8 4ET. Proposed demolition of garage, erection of detached single storey structure containing bedroom with en suite and erection of single storey porch. It was agreed to support the proposed plans, and comment that removal of the present garage, and replacement with the proposed single storey structure, will improve the setting and aesthetics of the listed cottage and nearby church.
Update on planning decisions by Herefordshire Council – There were no decisions reported.
17/77 Financial Items
a) The following payments were agreed: R Bayliss, footpaths maintenance (£154.00); and Hitrees, lengthsman (£345.60).
b) To consider new quotation for two planters to locate at the entrance to the village. The requirement for a cultivation licence was noted, as well as the recommendation to use plastic planters. Cllr. Greetham kindly offered to locate a suitable plastic planter. A request for a cultivation licence has been made to Balfour Beatty.
c) To consider quotation for village signs. Quotations have been requested from Balfour Beatty and an independent company.
d) To review the cost of purchasing a gavel for parish council meetings. It was decided that a gavel is not required.
17/78 HALC training schedule – It was agreed that the Clerk should attend ‘Dancing with data’ on Tuesday, 28 November 2017. The briefing covers the new data protection legislation which will be in force from May 2018.
17/79 New signpost/ fingerposts at Rock crossroads – Following a discussion with the locality steward, a quotation has been requested from the enhanced lengthsman.
17/80 Highways petition and media planning – The number of signatures was counted, and confirmed as 199. Cllrs. Munn and Greetham kindly agreed to present the highways petition to the Chairman of Herefordshire Council the following morning. A media statement was agreed.
17/81 Reports from parish councillor representatives
a) Parochial Church Council (PCC): Cllr. Munn said there are no updates to report.
b) Footpaths: Cllr. Alden said the focus has been on keeping the busiest footpaths clear of growth. Several posts on the Mortimer Trail will be replaced. Three stiles have been repaired and new waymarkers will be put up. A rail across a bridge has been replaced. The footpath through Hanway Common will shortly be more clearly marked. Cllr. Alden proposed that the footpaths contractor is paid between meetings, and it was agreed to consider this at the next meeting.
c) Highways: Cllr. Greetham said Woodhouse Lane is a lot better as Balfour Beatty has repaired a good number of potholes. Hopefully, the highways petition will see more done to improve the roads in the parish.
d) Lengthsman: Cllr. Greetham said a tour of the parish with the locality steward and enhanced lengthsman identified 32 minor potholes for repair. The cold fill tarmac has been ordered so that the potholes can be repaired. Pothole repairs will be paid for from the £1,000 budget allocated by the parish council earlier in the year.
e) Village hall: There was no report.
17/82 Parish council communications, including ‘Parish Council News’ articles – The first parish council news article by Cllr. Munn was reported to have been well received based on anecdotal feedback. However, because the article was published in the October edition of Castle News alongside the draft minutes there was also some overlap.
It was decided that the minutes should no longer be published in Castle News, as they are available in full on the website in line with the transparency code. The idea behind the article is to have a more informal, accessible overview of the highlights of each meeting. The Chairman kindly agreed to write the next parish council news article, and will publicise the parish council website address. The agreed process for submission of parish council news articles is to pass the draft article to the Clerk who will submit it to Castle News on behalf of the parish council.
A number of the updates and information provided to the parish council by Herefordshire Council and other public bodies will be published on the news section of the parish council website. Selection of the information to publish on the website will be made by the Clerk and Chairman. Information on how to contact the parish council published in Castle News will be reviewed. Members expressed a preference to be contacted by telephone on local matters rather than email.
17/83 Herefordshire Council’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan – Cllr. Alden kindly agreed to review the Rights of Way Improvement Plan in his capacity as footpaths officer, and if necessary comment on the plan.
17/84 Clerk’s Report – Postponed to next meeting.
17/85 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – None.
17/86 The next meeting will be on Thursday 23 November 2017. The meeting closed at 10.25 pm.