Minutes – 30 September 2020


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

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

20/47 Apologies – Mr M Ayres.

20/48 Co-opt a new member to the parish council – Deferred.

20/49 Declarations of Members Interest and Requests for Dispensation – None.

20/50 Minutes of the previous meetings – The minutes of the meetings held on 30 July and 27 August 2020 were agreed.

20/51 Report from the Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward
Ward Cllr. Bowen is to raise highway issues, including Castle Road and Orchard Rise, in a separate meeting with Balfour Beatty. It was confirmed that Balfour Beatty will be asked to take action at The Goggin as well. There are new gritting lorries which are calibrated for temperature and speed of vehicle.

Ward Cllr. Bowen expressed concern at the new 10pm closing time for pubs. The county council has borrowed £4.5 million for the roads and needs to get on and use the funds to repair B, C and U roads.

VJ Day was marked by a service in Hereford Cathedral. There was also a service for the departing Lord Lieutenant who has been very pro Herefordshire. It was agreed to write a letter of thanks to the former Lord Lieutenant. The new Lord Lieutenant is Mr Edward Harley. Remembrance Sunday is to be managed due to Covid 19 with a film to replace the usual parade.

20/52 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish
There were no matters raised.

20/53 Planning
202751/TD5 Land to north of Westbrook House, Richards Castle – Proposed variation of condition no.2 ‘approved plans’ and condition no.11 ‘drainage’ of planning permission ref: 191749/TD5 (Application for Technical Details Consent for Permission in Principle application 183388 (Proposed residential development of land for 9 no. dwellings, with associated hard and soft landscaping)), to refer to the revised plans previously submitted under the planning application but not identified in the Decision Notice”.

The parish council resolved to object to the proposed development as it was felt that the concerns raised by the parish council in relation to the previous application (191749) have not been addressed in this application.

• The parish council is extremely concerned that material road safety issues have not been given sufficient weight. It is understood that national highway guidance for junctions in a 30-40mph zone stipulates a sight line of 120 metres in both directions. However, the application has the sight line in the direction of Herefordshire running through the hedge of the neighbouring landowner(s). In other words, the sight line relies on a private landowner which effectively means it cannot be delivered in either the short or long term with any assurance. There will be a step in the hedge on the boundary between the areas of land, negating the visibility towards Herefordshire.

• The B4361 in both directions has significant bends, including a nearby junction, and in the direction of Herefordshire, a blind dip in the road, which makes it all the more important for the national highway guidance to be implemented properly. The future safety and well-being of drivers and pedestrians in the future will depend on this.

• The site plan proposes to place two houses (#4 and #5) on top of the existing public foul sewer. The parish council considers this to be unacceptable and short sighted as it takes no account of future maintenance by the water authority and is likely to store up problems for the householder(s). There is a six-metre easement between #8 and #7 and this width needs to be applied consistently where the public foul sewer crosses the site.

• Constraints imposed by the topography and geography of the site include flood risk, water management and surface water run-off. The parish council believes the development should be neutral in this respect and asks that the planning authority in considering this application ensures that any drainage system does not increase the rate at which water flows into the brook from the site. The concern is that the attenuation tank will slow the rate at which water flows but still mean that the flow of water is greater than if the site remained undeveloped (ORC4: Development should not cause or increase surface water flooding… Opportunities to address storm flooding problems should be taken where available).

20/54 Financial Items
The following payments were agreed: HALC, website hosting and domain 2020-21 (£102.00); D C Gardening Services, SID installation (£36.00); Clerk, wages August-September 2020 (£374.55); and HMRC, PAYE for period to 5 October 2020 (£276.00).

20/55 Smartwater parish initiative
The parish council resolved to work with West Mercia Police to become a Smartwater parish and agreed a budget of £734.25 to purchase 110 kits for households. Cllr. L Allwright kindly agreed to help facilitate the scheme.

20/56 Balfour Beatty guidance on responsibilities of landowners for roadside hedges, ditches and drainage
(Cllr. P Enzer joined the meeting.)
It was agreed to submit an article to Castle News to raise awareness of ditch and drainage responsibilities highlighted by Balfour Beatty. An article kindly drafted by Cllr. P Enzer was agreed and will be submitted to Castle News. In addition, 100 copies of Balfour Beatty’s leaflet on ditch and drainage responsibilities will be obtained, and a budget of £60.00 was agreed to produce full colour, folded copies.

20/57 Road safety initiatives for B4361
Quotations from Balfour Beatty and an alternative contractor were considered for village gates. The meeting agreed to work with the alternative contractor to place village gates at the start of the 30mph zone on the B4361. To deploy as wide a gate as possible, the hedges should be cut back, and it was reported that landowner(s) have indicated that they are supportive. New, larger village name signs will be purchased to place on the new gates with the caption: ‘Please respect our village’.

Balfour Beatty is to inform the parish council when the B4361 through the village is likely to be resurfaced. Once known, a request can be considered to exclude white lining in the centre of the carriageway and place solid white lines at the edges of the road.

Other maintenance matters have been raised with the locality steward, including: the repainting of speed signs on the B4361 and repainting of dragons teeth at the speed signs.

20/58 Traffic regulation order (TRO) to extend speed limit to south of Richards Castle
Not considered.

20/59 Consultation on Planning for the Future – White Paper and Neighbourhood Planning
A draft submission will be considered at the next meeting on 27 October 2020. Cllrs. L Munn and S Bowen kindly agreed to prepare the draft submission.

20/60 Police and Crime Commissioner Town and Parish Council Survey
The survey was considered, and responses agreed.

20/61 Community resilience plan – Deferred.

20/62 Schedule of parish council meetings – Deferred.

20/63 Sandbags
The village hall committee will be asked whether they might host the storage of lighter, expandable bags which work by absorbing water.

20/64 Reports from parish councillor representatives – Deferred.

20/65 Clerk’s Report – Deferred.

20/66 Matters raised for next meeting (no discussion) – None.

20/67 The next meeting will be on Tuesday 27 October 2020. The meeting closed at 9.43pm.