Draft Minutes of a meeting of Wellington Heath Parish Council held
on Tuesday 26th November 2019 in Wellington Heath Memorial Hall commencing at 7.30pm
Present – Cllrs. J. Jones (in the Chair) D. Williams (DW), R. Kitto (RK) and M. Beaumont (MB)
Also in attendance were County Councillor Liz Harvey, P. Constantine and Jeff Wheeler, a representative from Cheltenham Car Club.
Minutes – The Minutes of meetings held on 17th September 2019 and 19th October 2019 were taken as read, confirmed and signed by the Chairman.
Resignation – The resignation of Marc Low was announced. Marc’s hard work for the Council regarding numerous tasks undertaken by him on the Council’s behalf was much appreciated and a unanimous vote of thanks was proposed by R. Kitto and carried. It was hoped Marc’s health would show signs of improvement now that his workload had been reduced.
Declarations of Interest in items on the Agenda – none declared or received.
Open Session –
(A) attending the meeting was Cllr Liz Harvey (LH) who reported she had met with the Planning Officers on 22nd November 2019 regarding the Gladman field decision and the impact on the Inspector’s report and deferral on the viaduct site. The Bloor application would be discussed again on the 11th December 2019 with no changes, so paperwork will remain as per the original application but with the addition of a statement as to why they are not prepared to consider adding another access under the viaduct. Three options remain
- The Planning Committee look at the application again and decide to grant approval.
- Consider the application again and decide to refuse it.
- Bloor sense that Hereford Council are likely to refuse, so they then decide to withdraw the application and appeal – this option being the least likely.
It was noted that Wellington Heath Parish Council could take the opportunity and lodge another objection, strictly confined to site access. L Harvey considered it a risk to hold out for a single access but added that Ward Members are likely to do so as local parishes are fearful of rat runs on local roads if this is agreed.
She confirmed she has asked for Officers to make a statement in writing why the policy was proposed to be changed by the Council in the first place as she feels everyone is owed an explanation and given strong reasons why this was necessary including the cost to the Council. If Bloor decide to consider this access, the application will not come before Council until summer 2020 as many consultations will need to be carried out. The view of Planning Officers is that it will be difficult to defend and will have to come up with the cost if they are going to argue. A refusal could jeopardise other land development, opening Ledbury up to further planning applications in the south of the town. Bloor have not put forward a good reason for not requesting an application under the viaduct but policy does require them to do so, nor have they said why the single access proposals are acceptable in highway terms. The Planning Committee could take its own views if they consider it satisfactory.
Network Rail have said they have no problem with the entrance under the viaduct subject to satisfactory reports. The Policy is part of the Core Strategy adopted in 2015. The name of the individual Planning Officer dealing with the matter is at present unknown.
Cllr Harvey urged Councillors to view Herefordshire Council’s budget consultations on the website and also reported that Balfour Beatty might be prepared to look at reinstating the Lengthsman/P3 allowance to Parish Councils on a match funding basis.
Open Session continued
(B) – attending the meeting was Jeff Wheeler representative from Cheltenham Motor Club to advise and discuss arrangements for an event in 2020 which would involve the use of some roads in Wellington Heath. The event is to be held on Sunday 6th September, approximately 120 cars will be involved, will be a non-spectator stage and involve use of some roads on the outskirts of the Parish. He advised this was now possible due to a change in the law enabling them to close local roads affected and advice has been taken from Motor Sport UK top safety expert. Councillors raised questions and discussed the matter and advised that they could not see any problem in holding this event, which is similar to one held in Eastnor during 2019.
Public Question time – Peter Constantine commented on the planning application for Pegs Farm which was reported as having been withdrawn, although it was also quoted that a determination has been made.
Update on matters outstanding –
- Smartwater project – the Account has been paid, now awaiting delivery of the kits. MB will do a pre-run to enable him to advise residents on useage. Kits will be available in the Committee room at the Welcome party on 1st February 2020; they will be free of charge but residents will be advised that voluntary donations towards the cost will be welcome.
- Viaduct planning site – See report from Cllr Liz Harvey in open session of the meeting.
- Donation towards cost of transport consultation – DW proposed that the Parish Council make a contribution towards the cost of this survey which was carried out by Ledbury Town Council. The sum of £500 had previously been mentioned – this was seconded by RK and carried.
- Withers Farm footpath diversion – Balfour Beatty had chased a response to this proposal. Following discussion with Marc Low at the Finance meeting held recently, the Clerk advised she had responded to the application that “the Parish Council were concerned that this was a retrospective application, and as such, saw little point in objecting to the proposal”.
- Improved reception for telephone & broadband in the Parish – MB advised there was no further news on this matter and that we were unlikely to get any of the mobile phone providers to do anything in the Parish, and that the cost was likely to be too onerous anyway. It was agreed to leave the matter in abeyance.
Items for consideration –
- ROSPA report on Pool Piece – A comprehensive inspection had been carried out by Wicksteed no major items of concern were raised but DW agreed to speak with David Darwood concerning the one or two minor items mentioned in the report.
- Account at Bradfords – Following a recent letter from Bradfords Building Supplies in Ledbury, the Clerk was to write closing the account for the time being.
(c) Welcome party – to be held on 1st February 2020 starting at 10am. Parish Council will provide refreshments.
- Supply of salt from Herefordshire Council – the existing salt bins had been filled up and due to lack of storage facilities, the Parish Council were unable to take up the offer of a surplus supply for local use in bad weather.
- Narrow road by Morton Cottage – Following an incident at this property where a large lorry had knocked down the boundary wall and caught the edge of the roof of the house, Cllr Williams agreed to contact our Balfour Beatty Locality Steward to see if any signs could be erected drawing attention to the narrowing of the road at this property.
- Resignation of Marc Low – following receipt of the resignation as a Councillor from Marc Low, it was necessary for alternative cover to be agreed and covered for the duties which Marc had so successfully carried out. It was with much regret that the Parish Council had had to accept his resignation, and all members wished him well.
- Memorial Hall representative – Mark Beaumont – Clerk to notify the Chairman Mike Bain of the new Parish Council representative.
- Footpaths Officer – Mark Beaumont will ask one of the footpath members if they were willing to take over these responsibilities, but which must remain under the ownership of the Parish Council.
- Lengthsman/P3 – Clerk to let Alan Wood, the Lengthsman Administrator know that she was dealing with this in the future.
- Newsletter – Marc Low had spoken with Keith Hough about these duties and it was agreed the Chairman and Clerk meet with Keith in the near future to discuss the matter, as it was necessary for this publication to remain under the ownership of the Parish Council and Keith’s offer was gratefully accepted.
- Payment of the following Accounts –
- Clerk salary November 2019 £287.00.
- Smartwater packs £1,078. + £215.60 vat.
- PAYE – October 2019 £38.00.
- PAYE – November 2019 £38.00.
- Cllr Beaumont, travelexpenses re Viaduct site £20.28.
- Truprint newsletter £255.00.
- Kevin Reid – mowing pool piece £130.00.
- HALC – WEB HOSTING £55. + £11. Vat.
- Clerk – 4m allowances and expenses £77.67.
- Cllr Williams travel expenses £12.60.
Confirm item paid during October 2019.
Clerk’s salary £287.00.
On a proposal by DW seconded by MB and carried, the above accounts were agreed for payment and cheques signed accordingly.
- Agree Budget and Precept for 2020/21 –
The Clerk confirmed that the figures had been advertised on the Parish Council notice board at the Memorial Hall for two weeks. No requests for detailed information nor any complaints received about the figures from members of the Public.
On a proposal by Cllr Kitto seconded by Cllr Williams and carried, the Budget for 2020/21 was agreed and it was agreed and confirmed that it was not necessary for any increase in the Precept for that year which would remain at £9,500.00.
Reports from Committee members –
Memorial Hall and Footpaths Committee – no report available.
Planning – (1) Cllr Williams advised that an application for outline permission had been submitted for the Sumner site.
(2) Fir Tree cottage had applied to build a small retaining wall.
(3) Woodmill Cottage had gone to appeal – granted with conditions that it could only be used as holiday lets and at specific times.
(4) Pegs Farm – query whether application has been withdrawn.
(5) Rose Cottage – no determination to date.
Core Strategy – The Planning Committee chairman advised that the Core Strategy is being revised up to 2041 and he agreed to let Councillors have the slides which were produced for the meeting in Hereford.
As regards the NDP he further advised that there was an indication that if the NDP was less than two years old, it would still be given full weight during applications, but after that it will not depending on the Core Strategy. Process of revision will take place, questions asked about the robustness of the NDP but it was generally felt that W/Heath was of a high standard and superior to many Parish plans which do not have a settlement boundary or allocated sites and some revision might well be necessary to resist speculative development and any challenges to the NDP. There will be a gradation of policies but Councillors would be kept informed during any process.
Information sheet – included current bank balances, training schedule from HALC, playground inspection report from Wicksteed, notices of forthcoming election from Hereford Council and details regarding NALC Section 137 local government document, currently standing at £8.12 per person and the guide to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) for Parish and Town Councils.
Next meeting to be held on Tuesday 28th January 2020.
There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 10.10pm.