Minutes – 27 September 2018


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

IN ATTENDANCE PCSO S Annette, West Mercia Police; Ward Cllr. S Bowen; and Mr R Hewitt, Clerk. Eight (8) members of the public were present.

18/46 Apologies for absence – None.

18/47 Co-opt two new members – Postponed to the next meeting.

18/48 Declarations of Interest and Requests for Dispensation – Cllr. Allwright declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in 18/54 c) Good Neighbour scheme.

18/49 Minutes of the previous meeting – The minutes of the meeting held on 17 July 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.

18/50 Leominster Safer Neighbourhood Team – PCSO Annette, West Mercia Police provided a report on local police matters. Local levels of crime are low. Recent incidents include sheep theft and breaking into outbuildings. Local crime incidents can be checked by postcode via the West Mercia Police website. There has not been a local PCSO for two years. PCSO Annette has been undertaking speed enforcement in local villages in recent months.

The Chairman thanked PCSO Annette for attending the meeting.

18/51 Report from the Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward – Ward Cllr. Bowen said a three-year programme of speed enforcement is set to begin on the A4110 from Hereford to Leintwardine. Herefordshire Council has been commended nationally for its finances, which are ‘in balance’ at present, except for children’s services where there has been a high need. There is a housing land supply for 4.55 years. Other planning matters are still taken into consideration and weighted significantly. The general scrutiny committee will welcome parish council views on the repair of potholes and other public realm services. Ward Cllr. Bowen said one possibility is to borrow to bring the roads up to standard and pay the loan back using savings gained from a reduced maintenance programme.

Fastershire, created in partnership with Gloucestershire County Council, has been shortlisted for the first Superfast award, which recognises the innovation and achievement in transforming the availability of fast broadband in the county. Herefordshire’s new University specialising in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has its inaugural opening on 19 October.

18/52 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish – A member of the public said potholes in Castle Road have not been repaired well. Potholes were reported on Woodhouse Lane, and a recommendation made that the stretch of road should be resurfaced. Ward Cllr. Bowen said the defects highlighted have been raised with Balfour Beatty’s locality steward and expressed concern at the quality of repairs in some instances. Maintaining 2,000 miles of roads in a county with a population of 190,000 is a challenge for the county. On the basis of the experience this year, Herefordshire Council is to purchase a velocity patcher for pothole repairs.

18/53 Planning
183388 Land to north of Westbrook House, Richards Castle – APPLICATION FOR PERMISSION IN PRINCIPLE – Proposed residential development of land for 9 dwellings.

Members of the public present at the meeting raised objections to the planning application.

The parish council agreed to support some development at the site in principle as the land is designated as a proposed housing site in the neighbourhood development plan (ORC10). Any housing proposed for the site should meet the following points:

• The density of housing on the development needs to be in line with that of surrounding plots. There is a concern that the proposal to develop nine dwellings will not meet the requirement for development to be “of a scale, massing, density… and layout compatible with the character, size and form of the particular part of the settlement within which they are located” (ORC9 b).

• The current location of the proposed access via the county of Shropshire is opposed and needs to be reconsidered as it is too close to the nearby bend in the B4361 and will obscure visibility. Moving the hedge back to try and create more visibility simply raises the question of who will be responsible for maintaining the hedge – the concern is that it will grow and block visibility in future years due to poor or intermittent maintenance.

The parish council believes access via a modified existing gate by the telephone box will allow for much better visibility without the need to alter the hedgerow or require additional maintenance of the hedgerow. As well as being a safer access due to improved visibility, locating the proposed access by the telephone box will support ORC10 b) which states: “The vehicular entrance onto the adjacent road should be designed to reflect the rural character of the village; and ORC10 c) which stipulates that development should retain “as many natural features within or surrounding the site as possible”.

• The speed limit should be made a consistent 30 mph on the grounds of road safety. Currently, the speed limit is 30mph in Herefordshire, and changes to 40mph at the county boundary. Policy ORC9 e) states “There should be safe access for vehicles”, and a variable speed limit by the point of access is confusing for drivers. The traffic survey is noted, but the parish council feels it should be updated to reflect normal traffic movements outside of the summer period when the roads were quieter, and there should be an executive summary highlighting the main findings and conclusion.

• The parish council feels it would be helpful to mark out land in the drawings adjacent to the proposed site that may be owned by the applicant.

• Drainage is a significant constraint given the history of surface water run off causing localised flooding, and nearby brook in a natural hollow or dip. Policy ORC10 a) requires “A detailed flood risk assessment [to] identify the extent of developable land… and [to meet] the provisions of Policy ORC4”. ORC4 states that “Where flood risk is… an issue [development] should not cause or increase surface water flooding…”

The following planning decisions by Herefordshire council were noted: 182289 Land at Spout House Field (granted); and 182162 Upper House (refusal).

18/54 Financial Items
a) NALC Legal Topic Note re: Financial Assistance to the Church – Noted.
b) The following payments were agreed: R Bayliss, footpaths maintenance (£234.10); Memorial plaque, Orchard Rise (£127.14); Clerk, wages July-September 2018 (£444.15); HMRC, PAYE Quarter 2, 2018-19 (£111.00); S Greetham, bedding & plants for village planter (£13.75); and Boy Thorne Garden Services, short and long grass maintenance (£187.00). Payment of the ICO data registration fee, which is made by direct debit, was noted.
c) Good Neighbour scheme. Cllr. Allwright provided a short report on the meeting held earlier in September with members of the public interested in participating in the scheme. There are several costs involved in setting up a Good Neighbour scheme in Richards Castle, such as insurance and a mobile telephony service. The Good Neighbour scheme will be separate, and independent of the parish council.

(Cllr. Allwright left the meeting.)

The meeting agreed to donate £250.00 to the Good Neighbour scheme and expressed the hope that further donations would be provided by Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council and the Parochial Church Council.

(Cllr. Allwright rejoined the meeting.)

18/55 Clerk’s Report – Herefordshire Council has paid the second half of the 2018-19 precept (£3,425.00). The 2019-20 precept will be on the agenda of the November meeting, and will need to be submitted to Herefordshire Council by 31 December 2018. The parish council has been invited to attend a meeting with Highways England at Brimfield Village Hall on 12 October 2018 to “discuss the ongoing safety issues along the A49”. Cllr. Alden kindly agreed to attend the Highways England meeting. Posters have been submitted to Castle News to raise awareness of the beacon commemoration on Remembrance Sunday (11 November 2018), and to encourage expressions of interest from members of the public in Richards Castle becoming a Smartwater village. An earlier notice publicised a Good Neighbour scheme meeting on 25 September 2018. Members of the parish council are invited to attend the Parish Council Summit hosted by the Leader of Herefordshire Council on 17 October, and the inauguration of the new university in Hereford on 19 October 2018. There is a consultation on the Habitats Regulation Assessment for the Aymestrey Neighbourhood Development Plan – the notification was received too late for inclusion on the agenda – which closes on 31 October 2018.

18/56 General Scrutiny Committee’s invitation to comment on pothole repairs and other public realm services – The parish council agreed to comment on the poor quality of pothole repairs in the parish. The outside edges of the potholes are not sealed meaning water will get in and shorten the life of the repair. Where there are multiple potholes more use should be made of patching. Potholes are often left for too long before being repaired, for example on Castle Road.

18/57 Social media and parish council communications – It was noted that a Richards Castle Facebook page has been set up and will be run on a voluntary basis without the involvement of the parish council.

18/58 Reports from parish councillor representatives
a) Footpaths: Cllr. Alden said there was a good turnout and great refreshments provided for the Herefordshire Walk on 11 August. There will now be a local walk every quarter and the next one will be in November or December 2018. Maintenance is ongoing, for example a new stile, but the backlog of work has been done.
b) Lengthsman: Cllr. Greetham suggested that a request is made to Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council to maintain the pavement to the village hall more regularly and asked about plans for the planter in the Shropshire end of the parish by the village sign.
c) Highways: Cllr. Greetham said highways needed to redo the white lining on the village roads, and potholes remain an ongoing concern.
d) Good neighbour scheme: See 18/54 c) above.

18/59 Consultations by Herefordshire Council
a) Children’s and young people’s plan: Noted.
b) Hereford Area Plan – Housing and Employment Site Options: Noted.

18/60 Consultation on Wigmore Neighbourhood Development Plan (Regulation 16) – Noted.

18/61 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – None.

18/62 The next scheduled meeting will be on Thursday, 29 November 2018. The meeting closed at 9.55pm.