Minutes of a Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 27th July 2021 in the Memorial Hall commencing at 7.30pm.
Present – Cllrs J. Jones (in the Chair) D. Williams (DW) K. Shaw (KS) R. Barnes (RB) and H. Tierney (HT).
Also in attendance were County Cllr. Liz Harvey, Village Correspondent Peter Constantine, three members of the public and the Clerk.
An apology for inability to attend had been received from Cllr.J. Tearle.
Minutes – The Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting and the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council were taken as read, confirmed and signed by the Chairman.
Declarations of Interest in Items on the Agenda – None received/declared.
Open Session –
County Councillor Report – Cllr Harvey reported as follows –
- She had taken on responsibility for planning portfolio.
- She had been appointed Deputy Leader of the Council.
- Release of some of the funds awarded against Amey for failures to meet their responsibility.
- Matched funding for Lengthsman being reintroduced and for Parishes which suffer from flooding to provide support and finance to help them get up and running to maintain gullies/drainage which would include people who have their own drainage problems. She advised she was not sure whether the PC would qualify for this but suggested we might be able to make a case for funding. She also advised it might not be Balfour Beatty who will take this on as there was no evidence they were giving “value for money” and it had therefore been proposed to obtain a qualified opinion elsewhere. (It was agreed by Councillors that if match funding was re-introduced this would be very beneficial for the Parish Council).
- Detailed planning application for the viaduct site should be received within four to six weeks.
- Ledbury NDP just closed in terms of consultation on options. She suggested the PC write to support why we would welcome the other access to the viaduct site being retained as a viable option.
- Planning applications being dealt with very slowly partly due to Covid. Some reorganisation going on in planning team which is now running at full compliment.
- Consultation shortly taking place on Budget for next year followed by public consultation in September/October 2021 but it is hoped they will not have to make the savings which it was necessary to implement last year.
- Working with Dept. of Education and Ofsted following peer on peer abuse going on in School to safeguard children with programme to repair and fix with new people being brought in.
- Litter/dog fouling is a problem Countywide and also fly tipping.
- Core Strategy update out with consultation taking place in autumn.
- A five year housing plan has now been achieved in the County.
Cllr Harvey replied to questions from the floor about Adult Social Care and suggested contacting hotline if they know of someone who is feeling isolated.
Cllr Harvey then left the meeting and said she would look at the flooding taking place during the current storm on her way home.
Public Question time – Local resident unhappy about the length of time it was taking to refurbish local signs, some of which were beyond repair. Cllr RB advised of his negotiations with Denise Wright and that it was hoped a final decision could be reached during the meeting so that work could be put in hand on some of the signs. Action – RB.
Update Reports on outstanding issues –
- Notice Board – It was confirmed by HT the notice board at the Memorial Hall was now back in position and use. A replacement board had been ordered for outside Old School House at a cost of £730 plus VAT. Delivery expected within the next month/six weeks. Action – HT.
- Drainage problems – Following torrential storm prior to the meeting it is unfortunate the Parish Council do not have resource to deal with this – however as suggested by Cllr Harvey it might be possible for the Council to “make a case” for funding and obtain a report by someone with sufficient expertise. Action – all Councillors to consider.
- Viaduct site contribution to Ledbury Town Council – HT proposed that we give more consideration to this matter once we have more information on the total cost involved. This was seconded by KS and carried. Agreed to monitor situation.
- And (e) Village Assets/liability and The Plecks – Councillors had met on site at The Plecks and discussed various options but it was agreed to await an Ecology Report and full report by Cllr Tearle at next meeting. Action – JT.
- Broadband – DW advised on progress, some black spots are being connected but the matter is progressing albeit slowly. Gigaclear currently expect full fibre coverage to be available in the parish by the end of Q3. Monitor – DW.
- Verge cutting – as agreed at the last meeting, H/Council/Balfour Beatty had been requested to cut the verges once during this year in the autumn. Some concern over whether this was adequate was discussed and agreed that it might be necessary to revert back to cuts in both spring and autumn next year. Agreed to monitor situation.
Items for consideration –
- Lengthsman vacancy – Notice appearing in parish magazine and RB given permission to advertise in local shops in Ledbury and other local areas. It was agreed that we might get more financial support according to what Cllr Harvey had advised. Action – RB.
- Oak tree – It appeared the tree was now dead and the Clerk asked to contact Ancient Oaks who had carried out the work last year to give his opinion on whether it is now safe and also whether it is suitable for sculpture. Action – Clerk.
- Donation from Rally in September – the Organisers had advised the Parish would be entitled to a donation from the rally funds – the cost of the Village signs was proposed and agreed and Cllr RB advised he would make contact with the Organisers. Action – RB.
- Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – It was discussed whether something could be organised to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee and it was agreed to keep this under review and await any initiatives or funding which might be forthcoming from Central Government.
- Frequency of future meetings – In an attempt to keep items moving along without the use of numerous e-mails it was agreed to hold meetings every two months for the sake of clarity for full Council meetings but to call an interim Extra Ordinary meeting if thought necessary. Action as necessary – Clerk.
- Welcome party – It was suggested to hold the annual welcome party for new residents during November rather than around Christmas and New Year. Action as necessary.
Financial matters –
The Clerk advised the following accounts had been paid in June when no meeting had taken place –
- Clerk – salary for June 2021 £298.60.
- HMRC – PAYE £51.40.
- Truprint Media, newsletter printing £255.00.
- Newby – notice board renovation £560.00.
- Newby – handrail and footpath £120.00.
The undermentioned Accounts were presented at the meeting for payment –
- Clerk – salary for July £298.60.
- HMRC – PAYE to 5th July 2021 £51.40.
- Information Commissioners Office £40.00.
- Match funding for Parish Festival £50.00.
- Hamish Skinner, fixing Bickham Orchard stile £115.00.
- Clerk – allowances expenses to 30/07/21 £173.21.
The above Accounts were approved for payment on a proposal by DW seconded by KS and carried.
Clerk to send account to Mr. N. Bickham for £100 as his agreed contribution towards the supply and fixing of the new stile at Bickham Orchard.
Reports from various Committee Members –
- Memorial Hall – KS advised the AGM had been held in July. Mike Bain had resigned as Chairman and Kiel Shaw appointed as the new Chairman. Debbie Harrison now deputy Chairman and a new Secretary had also been appointed. A healthy cash balance is in hand and covid restrictions remain in place for the time being.
- NDP – DW advised the P/C Neighbourhood Development Plan is now almost three years old. Minor revisions updates have been added which have now been accepted by Hereford Council and published. Plan has gained strength and been re-energised now that a sufficient housing supply exists for Herefordshire.
- Planning – a note of guidance to encourage good relations between developers and local residents has been agreed by Councillors and will be published in the Newsletter and also on the Parish website for all to reflect upon. Two new applications have been received for Pegs Farm asking that conditions attached to the original development (which was submitted nearly six years ago and granted with conditions attached) be amended to support changes in his business model for that site which involves renting out units for airb&b holiday lets. Application meeting some resistance and has yet to be determined. DW advised he had met with Mr Tansley from Herefordshire Planning and the Enforcement team to raise our concerns about foul sewage flowing onto Hollow Lane and also concerns of noise for immediate neighbours.
A proposed rear extension and insertion of dormer windows at “Arknell Farm” had raised no objections from the Parish Council and an application for a carport /garden machinery store with home office and fitness room over at “Lincoln”, Horse Road has also raised no objections from the Parish Council. Both of these applications have now been granted.
The three houses at “The Croft” Ledbury Road (on site 19A North of our NDP) continue to raise unhappiness as the immediate neighbours had been promised that they would not be overlooked, although this statement had been applicable on the original application. No response has been received from the Planning Department in Herefordshire Council about these objections in replying to either the Parish Council or Mr. & Mrs. Lott from the Ledbury Road whose property is affected by overlooking from the changed development.
Information – brief update on correspondence including whether the PC would welcome a regular visit from the Police to report on local issues at some meetings. This was agreed and twice a year was suggested.
The Clerk was to reply to a “Bus service improvement plan survey” that Wellington Heath wished to ensure that the existing service be maintained.
The Newsletter Editor Keith Hough was given permission, on a flexible basis to extend the content of the Newsletter up to 20 pages if felt appropriate such as for coverage of the forthcoming Phoenix Festival.
It had previously been agreed at the meeting that a donation from the Community Support Fund from the rally due to take place in September could be used towards the cost of renovating the various village signs.
There being no further business the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 10.25pm.
Next full Council meeting to take place on Tuesday 28th September 2021 at 7.30pm.
Jennifer Jones 28th September 2021.