Minutes – 24 January 2019


PRESENT: Mr S Greetham (Vice Chairman); Ms L Munn; and Mr R Alden.

IN ATTENDANCE: Ward Cllr. S Bowen; and Mr R Hewitt, Clerk. There were no members of the public present.

18/78 Apologies for absence – Mr P Owen (Chairman); and Ms L Allwright.

18/79 Co-opt two new members – Deferred.

18/80 Declarations of Interest and Requests for Dispensation – None.

18/81 Minutes of the previous meeting – The minutes of the meeting held on 29 November 2018 were agreed and signed as a correct record.

18/82 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish – There were no members of the public at the meeting.

18/83 Planning
There were no planning matters considered or reported.

18/84 Financial Items
The following payments were agreed: HALC, domain name and website hosting (£102.00) and Richards Castle Village Hall, room hire (£72.00). The charge from HALC will be shared with Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council.

18/85 Clerk’s Report
The Pensions Regulator requires the parish council to undertake a ‘re-declaration of compliance’. The 2019-20 precept agreed at the last meeting has been submitted to Herefordshire Council. The parish council’s insurers have announced they will be acquired. A note has been placed in Castle News to highlight how to report highway defects such as potholes. A member of the public who raised a concern about the village hall car park has been asked to contact the village hall.

18/86 Reports from parish councillor representatives
a) Footpaths: Cllr. Alden said he is looking at improving access to footpaths for people with dogs or with mobility difficulties. It was agreed to purchase two metal kissing gates from Balfour Beatty and obtain permission from landowners for these to be installed in appropriate locations. Following complaints made about dog fouling, up to six ‘no dog fouling notices’ will be placed to remind owners to pick up after their dogs.
b) Lengthsman: Cllr. Greetham said the lengthsman has been asked to clear weeds growing on the village pavements, and the gutters will be cleared as well. The grip opposite Springfield will be checked.
c) Highways: Cllr. Greetham said the locality steward is to get the uneven surface at the centre of the Castle Road/ Orchard Rise junction repaired with a triangular patch and has requested the sweeper to clean the gutters in the village.

According to the locality steward, Balfour Beatty receives relatively few complaints about the roads in the parish. A notice has been published in Castle News to encourage local people to report highway defects to Balfour Beatty to help prioritise programmed work such as resurfacing. Grit bins have been refilled by Balfour Beatty.
d) Good neighbour scheme: There was no report.

18/87 Goats at Richard’s Castle
Councillor Munn reported on complaints received about the goats at the Castle Heritage England site, which have become ‘over friendly’ in their desire for visitors and tourists to feed them. This could be a safety issue, especially on the narrow path up to the tower. The Clerk was asked to raise this concern with the landowner.

18/88 Footway from the village hall to the Church – No further action will be taken on this proposal for the time being which requires the support of the landowners.

(Ward Cllr. Bowen joined the meeting.)

18/89 Report from the Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward – Ward Cllr. Bowen said the locality steward has confirmed Castle Road will be patched by the pub and at the bottom of Orchard Rise, and Woodhouse Lane is to be patched as well. Repairs are scheduled according to a risk assessment carried out by Balfour Beatty. The task and finish group looking at potholes and highways maintenance, which is chaired by Ward Cllr. Bowen, has examined the benefits of a long-term asset management approach. The C and U roads are the arteries of the countryside, and more funding should be made available so that they can be maintained. Government has provided an additional £5 million for roads in the county.

An emergency full meeting of Herefordshire Council has been called to look at Children’s Services following a recent decision to fine the council. It will be important to sustain the morale of staff. An academy is in place, and salaries improved. The traveller site at Luston is in poor condition. A new transit site for travellers at Leominster is being assessed.

18/90 Mortimer Forest Plan – Forestry Commission Consultation – The parish council completed the consultation form. The parish council fully supports the proposals in the plan which if implemented will protect the forest as a natural habitat through active forestry care and maintenance. Activity in respect of forest products and services will need to be sensitively managed. For income and employment/ recreation and access, opportunities should support sustainable tourism, and exclude development of camping or chalet facilities. Trails need to be in keeping and exclude unsuitable materials like tarmac.

18/91 Consultation on Hereford Transport Package – Noted.

18/92 Consultation on Wigmore Group Neighbourhood Development Plan (Regulation 16) – The meeting agreed to comment that the Wigmore Group NDP (Reg 16) is a well thought through plan and very sensitively done.

18/93 Standing Orders – The parish council agreed to adopt new Standing Orders.

18/94 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – There were no matters raised.

18/95 The next scheduled meeting will be on Thursday, 28 March 2019.

The meeting closed at 9.02pm.