Minutes – 29 November 2018


PRESENT: Mr P Owen (Chairman); Ms L Allwright; 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.

18/63 Apologies for absence – Mr S Greetham (Vice Chairman).

18/64 Co-opt two new members – Postponed to the next meeting.

18/65 Declarations of Interest and Requests for Dispensation – None.

18/66 Minutes of the previous meeting – The minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2018 were amended on page 2, bullet point 3, last sentence where ‘are’ was changed to ‘were’.  The minutes were then approved and signed as a correct record.

18/67 Report from the Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward – Ward Cllr. Bowen said there has been a continued and determined effort to repair pot holes, and where appropriate whole sections of road in the County, within severe budget restraints. The County’s budget has been prepared for 2019 / 20 and is undergoing the usual scrutiny by committees. It is likely that Council Tax will rise by 4.9% from April 2019.

18/68 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish – There were no members of the public at the meeting.

18/69 Planning
Herefordshire Council has granted permission in principle for 183388 Land to north of Westbrook House. The parish council expressed disappointment at the decision and agreed to hold a joint meeting with Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council in the event of future planning applications which are across both counties.

18/70 Financial Items
a) The following payments were agreed: Boy Thorne Garden Services, short and long grass maintenance (£137.00); The Clerk, expenses April-November 2018 (£132.07); R Bayliss, footpaths maintenance (£141.65); The Clerk, wages October-December 2018 (£444.15); HMRC, PAYE Q3, 2018-19 (£111.00); and Herefordshire Council, grant for local bus service (£750.00).
b) Parish council accounts 2018-19 to date, and precept for 2019-20: The finances of the parish council for 2018-19 to date were reviewed. The budget for 2019-20 was agreed and the precept set at £6,850.00. There is no grant for footpaths in 2019-20, so the parish council has allocated £1,000 for PROW maintenance. The lengthsman budget is £1,100.00. The Clerk’s salary will be in accordance with SCP27. A ‘Know Your Customer’ enquiry from the bank was considered and the form was signed.
c) Internal financial controls: Systems of internal control were reviewed, and it was agreed they are effective in safeguarding public money and resources.

18/71 Clerk’s Report
There have been a handful of expressions of interest in a village SmartWater scheme. It was decided to put this initiative on hold for the time being. SSL security has been added to the parish council website at no charge. The parish council’s comment on pothole repairs has been submitted to the general scrutiny committee. The Clerk attended the launch meeting of the Brimfield Brook Natural Flood Management project which covers parts of Richards Castle.

Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council has done work on the pavement from the county boundary to the village hall and will carry out more regular maintenance in 2019.

18/72 Reports from parish councillor representatives
a) Footpaths: Cllr. Alden reported that the Public Rights of Way are now at the appropriate standard and an ongoing programme of maintenance will continue. Another ‘Parish Walk’ will be undertaken in March 2019 with refreshments being provided at the village hall.
b) Lengthsman: The installation of the memorial plaque at Orchard Rise was noted and Cllr. Greetham was thanked for his time and effort in putting the plaque up.
c) Highways: Cllr. Alden and the Clerk attended a meeting with Highways England held to discuss ongoing safety issues along the A49. Highways England said they will re-consider replacing the Salwey Arms junction with a roundabout and will organise a minibus to identify concerns or defects on the A49 between Ludlow and Leominster.
d) Good neighbour scheme: Cllr. Allwright reported that there are enough volunteers to set up a scheme, and funding is in place as well thanks to donations that have been promised. A steering group will now need to set up the scheme formally, and the documents provided by Yarpole Good Neighbour Scheme will be a great help in this regard. The meeting thanked Cllr. Allwright for her commitment to setting up a scheme for the parish.

18/73 Mortimer Forest Plan – Forestry Commission Consultation
The parish council agreed to support fully the proposals in the plan which if implemented will protect the forest as a natural habitat through active forestry care and maintenance.

18/74 Travellers Sites Development Plan Document: Additional Sites Consultation – Noted.

18/75 HALC Training Schedule – Noted.

18/76 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – The lack of ‘safe connectivity’ by foot from the village hall to the Church.

18/77 The next scheduled meeting will be on Thursday, 24 January 2019. The meeting closed at 9.33 pm.