Minutes – 27 October 2020


PRESENT Mr R Alden (Chairman); Ms L Allwright; Ms L Munn; Mr M Ayres; and Ward Cllr. Bowen (Vice Chairman).

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

20/68 Apologies – Mr P Enzer.

20/69 Co-opt a new member to the parish council – Deferred.

20/70 Declarations of Members Interest and Requests for Dispensation – None.

20/71 Minutes of the previous meeting – The minutes of the meeting held on 30 September were agreed.

(Ward Cllr. Bowen joined the meeting.)

20/72 Standing orders
The parish council resolved to include a three-minute time limit for contributions by councillors under 1 t) Rules of debate at meetings. In addition the parish council will aim to have a maximum of 16 agenda items, and end monthly reports from councillor representatives unless a decision is required from the parish council or otherwise in exceptional circumstances as agreed by the Proper Officer in consultation with the Chairman.

20/73 Report from the Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward
Ward Cllr. Bowen reported that work has been done on the roads after much persistence and that Orchard Rise is scheduled to be resurfaced during the period December 2020-March 2021. Ward Cllr. Bowen was thanked for his work in achieving this.

A brief report was noted on Covid 19. There has been some increase in cases in the county though from a low base. The county is doing its best to provide school meals during half term by providing some funding. There are 3,200 children who receive free school meals. Remembrance Day will be very low key due to Covid 19 restrictions – a film has been made to help mark the occasion.

The future of the church is a concern, and in response the parish council agreed to look at community options at the next meeting.

Ward Cllr. Bowen has asked Balfour Beatty and the cabinet member to do more white lining on the roads on grounds of safety. The absence of clear lines at the Rock crossroads was highlighted as an example.

20/74 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish
There were no matters raised.

20/75 Clerk’s Report
New defibrillator pads have been delivered to a volunteer for installation on the device. The Speed Indicator Devices have been deployed on the B4361. Herefordshire Council has paid the second part of the 2020-21 precept (£4,250.00). An embankment to the side of the self build plot in the village is understood to be the responsibility of the owner and the embankment has been repaired and improved. There has been no response to the letter of complaint sent to the parish council’s bank. The external auditors have confirmed receipt of the certificate of exemption.

The parish council article highlighting guidance from Balfour Beatty on responsibility for maintenance of ditches and drainage has been submitted to Castle News. The village hall committee is to discuss the storage of sandbags at their next meeting. A note thanking the outgoing Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire has been acknowledged. The SmartWater application has been submitted to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office.

20/76 Planning
No planning decisions by Herefordshire Council were reported.

20/77 Financial Items
The following payments were agreed: Whitley Printing, Balfour Beatty leaflet on maintenance of ditches and drainage (£60.00); Village Hall, meetings 2019-20 (£80.00); and Clerk, wages October 2020 (£328.00).

Balfour Beatty/ Herefordshire Council have awarded the drainage grant based on 55 percent of the costs that will be incurred. It was noted that the highway authority has already undertaken work that was to have been done under the grant. It was resolved to ask the lengthsman to review the outstanding drainage work required and adjust the quotation accordingly for consideration at the next meeting.

20/78 Footpaths
The Chairman reported that maintenance was ongoing, including a new fingerpost for RC5 to help walkers cross a field.

20/79 Highway/ Lengthsman
The 100 copies of Balfour Beatty’s leaflet on ditch and drainage responsibilities are now available for distribution. Cllrs. Munn, Ayres and the Chairman kindly agreed to do this and will let the Clerk know the number of leaflets they will need. Covid 19 guidance will be observed and there will be no contact with households.

20/80 Village gates and name signs on B4361
The Chairman and Clerk reported on a site meeting with a contractor. The parish council resolved to have two village gates at the start of the 30mph limit with dimensions of 60cm (W) x 1 metre (H) which is the maximum width available after cutting back the hedges. A further single gate with the same dimensions will be placed at the start of the 30mph limit by the county boundary.

A quotation for these gates, including installation, has been delayed as the contractor is subcontracting the installation and would like to obtain a more cost-effective price for this work.

The Clerk reported that a local farmer has kindly offered to cut back the hedges at the south of the village. The parish council thanked the member of the public for their kind offer and agreed to proceed once the hedge cutting has been agreed with the respective landowners.

The Clerk will enquire about the paperwork needed and approach Fownhope and Aymestry parish councils, which have both recently implemented village gates, to ask about this.

20/81 Consultation on Planning for the Future – White Paper and Neighbourhood Planning
A draft response prepared by the working group was considered, and it was agreed to adopt this for submission to the consultation, and to Herefordshire Council. The Chairman thanked the members of the working group for their time and effort in developing the excellent response.

20/82 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – Sandbags, Smartwater, potential community options for All Saints Church, accounts to date 2020-21 and precept 2021-22.

20/83 Date of next meetings – A schedule of meetings to September 2021 was agreed. The next meeting will be on Thursday 26 November 2020.

The meeting closed at 9.00pm.