Minutes – 25 February 2021


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

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

20/125 Apologies – Mr R Alden (Chairman).

20/126 Co-opt a new member to the parish council – Deferred.

20/127 Declarations of Members Interest and Requests for Dispensation – None.

20/128 Minutes of the previous meeting – The minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2021 were agreed.

20/129 Report from the Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward
Ward Cllr. Bowen reported that the western bypass has been axed. Cycle ways, buses and other measures will benefit Hereford. The cabinet member has indicated that the link between the A49 and A465 will be improved. An eastern bridge will be looked at as an alternative to the bypass. Council tax is likely to increase by 4.99 percent with 3 percent earmarked for social services. The problems with the roof at Shire Hall will take some time and expense to fix. Roads are in a poor condition. Resurfacing work has been scheduled for Castle Road and Orchard Rise. The velocity patcher requires warmer weather to work effectively. Larger potholes are being fixed, and potholes on the Shropshire side have been raised with their ward councillor. There will be a site meeting with Highways England to look at the Woofferton junction.

20/130 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish
There were no matters raised.

20/131 Clerk’s Report
The SIDs have been deployed during February 2021. Sixty-three Smartwater registrations have been received and the kits distributed by post. The drainage and jetting work agreed by the parish council has been completed and a grant application completed for 55 percent of the cost. A damaged grit bin and potholes have been reported to the highway authority.

20/132 Financial Items
The receipt of £1,820.00 from Herefordshire Council for 55 percent of the cost of drainage and jetting work was noted. The following payments were agreed: HALC, affiliation and subscription 2021-22 (£354.84); Clerk, postage for Smartwater kits (£81.27); and Clerk, wages February 2021 (£327.80). The following payment was ratified: D C Gardening Services, drainage work (£4,033.68).

The parish council decided that postage will no longer be available for distribution of the kits which will be done by hand delivery instead, and councillors kindly agreed to be available to help with this.
The highway authority’s offer to award 100 percent of the costs submitted in the drainage grant application was accepted formally by the parish council. A submission for the cost of the additional work will be made to Herefordshire Council.

20/133 Footpaths
There was no report.

20/134 Maintenance of drainage sump, Rock crossroads
Drainage at Rock crossroads is an ongoing issue. The sump has been cleared out but is vulnerable to debris. Ward Cllr. Bowen kindly agreed to speak with the adjacent landowner and also to review the matter with the locality steward. The underlying problem is thought to be that the pipe under the road is 6 inches in diameter and is fed by a 12-inch pipe.

20/135 Highway/ Lengthsman
The parish council agreed to look at a protocol at the next meeting to encourage landowners to maintain their roadside hedges and ditches as set out in the guidance leaflet from the highway authority.

20/136 Verges and grassed areas cut by the highway authority
It was noted that the highway authority should cut the grassed areas on Orchard Rise, Green Farm and Springfield six times per year. A note to advise residents will be submitted to Castle News. It was agreed to request a single cut of the verges in the parish during 2021, ideally as late in the season as possible, and that the lengthsman will be asked to cut visibility splays at junctions as required.

20/137 P3 footpaths and lengthsman programme in 2021-22
The annual maintenance plan 2021-22 for lengthsman and P3 footpaths work was agreed. The annual maintenance plan and expression of interest will be submitted to Balfour Beatty.

20/138 Village gates on B4361
An updated quotation for the cost of three gates was agreed, and the required gate dimensions confirmed. Quotations for installation of the three village gates were considered. It was agreed to clarify that the work will be done in line with the requirements set out in the Gateway Licence with Balfour Beatty/ Herefordshire Council. Once clarified, the Clerk was delegated to accept the quotation that provided both best value and met the gateway licence requirements.

20/139 Smartwater
Seventy-seven registrations are needed to obtain signs which indicate that the village has a Smartwater scheme operating. Sixty-three kits have been distributed to date. A second notice will be published shortly in Castle News and has already been placed on the news section of the parish council website and sent to members of the public registered to receive parish council news. Cllr. Allwright said the availability of kits has been highlighted on the village Facebook page as well. It was agreed to review the numbers at the next meeting, and to consider making any excess kits available to members of the public in Richards Castle Shropshire.

20/140 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – Letter of thanks to landowner and update on festival church status for All Saints.

20/141 Date of next meeting – The next scheduled meeting will be on Thursday 25 March 2021 and will be held online.

The meeting closed at 9.18pm.