Minutes of the Annual Meeting of Wellington Heath Parish Council held on Tuesday 21st May 2019 in the Memorial Hall commencing at 7pm.
Present – Cllrs. J. Jones, Marc Low, David Williams and Richard Kitto.
Also in attendance were County Councillor Liz Harvey, Mark Beaumont, the Clerk and many members of the public.
Declarations of Acceptance of Office – all Councillors signed their Declarations of Acceptance of Office following the election earlier in the month, although there had not been a contested election within the Parish.
Election of Chairman for 2019/20 – On a proposal by D. Williams seconded by R. Kitto and carried, Jennifer Jones was re-elected as Chairman for the year and signed the Declaration of appointment in the presence of the Clerk.
Vice Chairman – On a proposal by the Chairman seconded by Richard Kitto, David Williams was re-elected as Vice Chairman for the year.
Open Session –
- Crawford Christie advised Councillors that he had purchased the plot of land for three dwellings on the Ledbury Road and presented revised drawings which he was proposing to submit to Hereford Council as he had been unhappy with the original designs proposed. These were discussed with Mr. Christie and Councillors thanked him for his attendance which was considered most helpful.
- Cllr Liz Harvey in attendance advised that Herefordshire Council was likely to be run as a coalition Council, mainly Independent with possible changes of direction. It was proposed to bring forward the Core Strategy with regard to the issues which remain on the Parish boundary and which may have an impact on local villages. She indicated there might also be an opportunity to bring back the match funding for the Lengthsman and P3 schemes. The first meeting of the planning committee was on 19th June but would probably not include the viaduct site. She asked that Councillors let her know if we have any applications which might need to be referred to the full Planning Committee.
With regard to the P3 Scheme, Cllr Marc Low, the Parish Council Footpath Officer commented on the fact that funding had been withdrawn this year for the Scheme and raised concerns about the safety of people working on the footpaths in the Parish. Clerk to contact Parish Council Insurers to query whether volunteers were covered by the Council’s Insurance.
Councillors congratulated Liz Harvey on her successful reappointment at the recent Election.
Planning issues –
- Attending the meeting was the owner of Woodmill Cottage with regard to their planning application for holiday lets on site. She presented various photographs and details regarding their application which had been submitted to Herefordshire Council. It was noted that the Parish Council had raised objections to this proposal.
- Attending the meeting was the owner of Pegs Farm regarding planning application for change of use and explained to councillors the reason why the current application was a retrospective one over 2yrs old. This was discussed at length and again noted that the Parish Council had raised objections to this proposal. The owner invited Councillors to visit the site to discuss his proposals.
- With regard to the viaduct site, Cllr Low and R. Kitto advised they had met with MP Bill Wiggin about this development, and whilst Bill Wiggin appreciated the Councillor’s concerns over the development, he advised that this was primarily in the hands of the Planning Dept at Hereford Council and that we should concentrate making our concerns known to County Cllr Liz Harvey as representative for the Ledbury North area.
Internal Auditors It was agreed to reappoint Greendawn Accounting for the year.
Planning Committee – It was agreed that all members of the Parish Council be elected onto the Planning Committee with Cllr. D. Williams as Chairman.
Finance Committee – It was agreed that all members of the Parish Council be appointed onto the Finance Committee for the coming year.
Cheque signatories – Following the resignation of David Packman, it was agreed that Cllrs. R. Kitto and M. Low be appointed as cheque signatories and the Clerk was to arrange for this to be carried out.
Declarations of Interest in items on the Agenda – None received/declared.
Minutes of Meeting held on 19th March 2019 – These were taken as read, agreed and signed by the Chairman.
Feedback on Parish Meeting – it was unanimously agreed that this had proved to be a successful Parish meeting this year when PC Paul Crumpton had advised regarding several safety aspects, and it was also agreed that the Parish Council take up his kind offer to attend later in the year.
Financial matters –
The Clerk advised the undermentioned Accounts had been paid during April –
- Williams, defibrillator – £37.80 + £7.56 vat.
- Parish Lengthsman – £50.00.
- HALC – Subscription – £367.49 + £73.50 vat.
- Quickskip at Pool Piece – £200.00. + £40. Vat.
- Clerk, salary & PAYE – £325.00.
- AED Locator – defibrillator – £49.00.+ £9.80 vat.
The Clerk advised the undermentioned Accounts were due for payment in May –
- Truprint, Newsletter – £225.00.
- Came & Co., insurance – £337.71.
- Marion Griffiths, payroll – £75.00.
- Richard Lee Buxton – £19.98 + £4.00 vat.
- Greendawn Accounting – £200.00. + £40. Vat.
- Clerk, salary & PAYE for May – £325.00.
- Clerk, expenses regarding election £89.75.
On a proposal by D. Williams seconded by R. Kitto and carried the above Accounts were approved and agreed for payment.
Annual Governance Statement for 2018/19 – The Clerk had forwarded to all Councillors the Annual Governance Statement and explained to them that it was necessary for them to approve/agree the contents of the Annual Governance Statement before any Accounts could be signed off at the meeting. The Clerk checked that all members were satisfied and the Statement was completed and signed off by the Chairman.
Audited Accounts – These had been prepared by Greendawn Accounting and forwarded to all Councillors prior to the meeting. There were no queries on the content of the Accounts but queries were raised concerning the Auditors statement regarding the increased level of reserves over the past few years. It was however noted that there had been no increase in the level of the Precept for 2019/20 and there had also been no increase in the salary to the Clerk for the same period.
On a proposal by the Chairman seconded by R. Kitto and carried, these Accounts were approved as drawn and signed by the Chairman and Clerk. The Clerk advised that again this year, the Parish Council would not be subject to an External Audit as our expenditure/income was once again under £25,000.
Annual Return – Figures were agreed for the Annual Return and the increased level in Asset value following installation of both the defibrillator and the additional piece of equipment installed at Pool Piece. These were agreed and approved and signed off by the Chairman and Clerk on a proposal by Marc Low seconded by David Williams and carried.
Item for consideration –
- Possible Twitter Account for the P/Council – Marc Low reported on the benefits to the Parish of opening a twitter account. This was discussed and it was agreed that he open a twitter account at no cost to the Parish Council and that this could be reviewed after six months.
- Improvement to Parish Newsletter with possibility of increased income – Marc Low floated a suggestion that the quarterly publication of the Newsletter could be amended to include the Parish Directory in only one publication per year rather than four, thus opening up space for more publications and advertising. Queries were raised regarding this suggestion, particularly with reference to newcomers into the Parish not receiving details in the first issue of the Newsletter which they might receive, and the matter was left in abeyance for the time being.
- Registration of Old School House as an “Asset of community value” – David Williams reported he had spoken to Herefordshire Council’s Conservation Officer Matthew Knight with regard to the possible registration of this property and had been advised that the local Council do not have the facility to create a list. DW queried whether the building is of sufficient interest/structure for it to be listed, although it was reported that it had been built in late 1830s, primarily as a Chapel but converted into a School in 1853. The Parish does benefit from protection under the AONB and it was suggested that the first course of action would be for the Parish Council to make contact with the owner, Mr. Holbrook.
- Memorial Hall – Cllr Low advised the theatre company production had been well attended. Plans were in hand for a scarecrow competition and a Dance through the decades” (with fancy dress optional). Finances remained healthy, Mike Bain is retiring as Chairman and other resignations were reported. It was reported that a TV Licence was no longer required for the Hall and that the AGM would be held on 1st July 2019 commencing at 8pm.
- Website – Proceeding well and all Councillors to receive training for the website production.
- Lengthsman/P3 – Funding for both of these had now ceased from Herefordshire Council, and that although there was no funding, the Parish Council still had to register for the Schemes with production of an Expression of Interest and our plans for footpaths in the area during the coming year, and that although there is no funding Herefordshire Council will refund cost of gates. Clerk to check regarding the Council’s Insurance and whether it covered volunteers used by the Council working on footpaths.
Information sheet had been distributed to all Councillors prior to the meeting which included details regarding local listing of historic buildings, Balfour Beatty briefing note and services Annual plan for 2019/20, HALC Information Corner and the Council’s bank balances at the end of our financial year.
Dates for next meetings scheduled to take place on 30th July 2019 and 24th September 2019.
Co-option – Attending the meeting was Mark Beaumont who confirmed his interest in being co-opted onto the Parish Council. Councillors were unanimously in favour and Mr. Beaumont completed his “Declaration of Acceptance of Office” for co-option onto the Council and would let the Clerk have his Register of Interests form to enable this to be forwarded to the Monitoring Officer in Hereford.
There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 10pm.