Minutes of a meeting of Wellington Heath Parish Council held on Thursday 25th June 2020 at Long Acre, Wellington Heath commencing at 3pm
Present – Cllrs. J. Jones, D. Williams and M. Beaumont.
Also in attendance was Keith Hough (Wellington Heath Newsletter) Peter Constantine and the Clerk.
Apologies for inability to attend had been received from both Cllr. Liz Harvey and R. Kitto due to self-isolation during Coronavirus pandemic. It was also with regret that the resignation from the Parish Council was announced from Richard Kitto and thanks were expressed to him for his work with Councillors.
Chairman – Cllr J. Jones was appointed as Chairman for the year 2020/21 and signed the official Declaration of Acceptance of Office in the presence of the Clerk.
Finance and Planning Committee Members – It was agreed that all Councillors should remain as members of these Committees for the year 2020/21 and Cllr. D. Williams was elected as Chairman of the Planning Committee for the coming year.
Greendawn Accounting Ltd. – It was unanimously agreed that they be re-appointed as Internal Auditors for the Parish Council for the coming year.
Minutes – The Minutes of the meeting held on 28th January 2020 were accepted as drawn subject to one minor amendment concerning the Viaduct Appeal date, taken as read and signed by the Chairman.
Declarations of Interest in items on the Agenda – None received.
Update on outstanding matters –
- Smartwater Project – Cllr Beaumont advised the distribution of 73 kits had been reached indicating the Council were 39 off their target. It was hoped that the target could be reached now that restrictions were being lifted regarding the virus.
- Viaduct Site – Cllr. Williams advised that the Planning Inspector had advised that appeal will be held commencing on 13th July 2020 and scheduled to last five days. The Inquiry will be held using a Virtual on-line platform. Witnesses for the Appellant and Ledbury Town Council will present their cases to the Inspector but there will also be the opportunity for statements to be made by third parties. Cllr Williams will make a statement on behalf of Wellington Heath PC together with Wellington Heath resident Colin Davies. The key points to be raised by Cllr Williams at the Appeal will be circulated to Councillors for approval.
The proofs of Evidence compiled by each of Ledbury Town Council’s witnesses are available for viewing on Hereford Council’s planning website.
Cllr Williams congratulated Ledbury Town Council for the effort which they have shown in resisting the application and their willingness to engage Expert advisors in respect of Highways, Traffic management and Landscape and Visual matters.
Cllr. Williams also expressed thanks to two local members, Colin Davis and Peter Constantine for their support particularly on planning and proof of evidence. He felt opposition is well grounded but it is obviously unknown whether the appeal will be successful adding that it would probably be 4-6 weeks before the outcome is known as the final decision will rest with the Secretary of State for Housing and Local Government.
- Vacancies on the Parish Council – Cllrs were asked to try to encourage locals to join the Parish Council as following the resignation of Richard Kitto we were now down to three Councillors which meant that meeting dates would have to be carefully considered to work round any holiday commitments to remain quorate. The Clerk will advertise the vacancies once they have been received from Herefordshire Council. Co-option was not possible until the advertising period had expired.
- Notice Boards – It had been discussed at the January meeting regarding replacement of three boards in the Parish and Cllr. Williams agreed to see what types were available bearing in mind the Parish Council’s requirements.
Items for consideration –
- Dog bin – Clerk to check up on size of the existing bin purchased in around 2013 and order another one to be installed in the area of the seat and notice board at the top of The Common. Precise location to be decided once bin had been received.
- Oak Tree – Clerk to ask Highways if the kerbing around the oak tree site was done by Hereford Council and whether they employ an Arborist who could offer any advice how the tree can be preserved in this position, as it was agreed that the kerbing around the area was preventing the run off of water to the tree.
- Renovation of Village Signs – It had been reported to Cllr Beaumont that some of the local signs were needing renovation and repair. The Clerk was to look in Local Directories to see if they contained names of any local tradesman able to carry out this work.
- Donation to Viaduct site – A rough quote had been received for about £50K. and it was agreed that the Parish Council could make some donation towards these costs once the final figure is known.
- Lengthsman – Allan Wood has now tendered his resignation as Administrator for the Lengthsman scheme and also his role in connection with the footpaths scheme. Keith Hough advised he was discussing the Lengthsman role with both Allan and Darren and the Clerk was to attempt to obtain a Job Description from Herefordshire Council for both schemes.
- Farmers Arms – The Asset of Community Value had lapsed and following discussion with Herefordshire Council it appeared that the Council had to forward a complete new application. Cllr Williams advised the NDP review group has to protect community assets, one of which is the Farmers Arms and the need to specify a time frame limit to that restriction. Cllr Beaumont will deal with this new application on behalf of the Council.
- Bench at top of The Common – Clerk had advised Insurance Co. of the damage to the bench and requested a claim form. The bench appeared beyond repair and the Clerk was to let Cllr Beaumont have the Invoice for the bench which was purchased in about 2010.
Financial matters –
- Signature of Annual Governance Statement – All Councillors agreed that the strict requirements for this Statement had been met and the Chairman and Clerk were authorised to sign the form prior to signature of the Annual Accounts.
- Signature of Certificate of Exemption was authorised to be signed confirming that both the gross income or expenditure by the Parish Council did not exceed £25,000 during the year thus avoiding the need for any External Audit this year.
- Signature of Accounting Statement – this was authorised to be signed by the Chairman and Clerk as a true record of the Council’s expenditure during the year to 31st March 2020.
- Signature and adoption of the Accounts for the year ending 31st March 2020. These had been forwarded to all Councillors prior to the meeting and they were approved as drawn and signed off.
Proposal – all the above were approved on a proposal by Cllr. Williams, seconded by Cllr. Beaumont and carried.
The following Accounts were presented for payment –
- Came & Co. Insurance £349.22.
- Clerk – Salary for June £301.20.
- Wicksteed Playground inspection 2019/20 £45.00. + vat.
- Ledbury Fencing Lengthsman duties £145.00.
- Lock & Key Key for filing cabinet in Memorial hall £7.64 + vat.
- Greendawn Internal audit of accounts 2019/20 £200.00.+ vat.
- HMRC PAYE £48.80.
- AONB Annual donation, as agreed £100.00.
- ICO Data protection £40.00.
- Hereford Council Election charges £73.12.
On a proposal by Cllr Beaumont, seconded by Cllr Williams these accounts were approved for payment and cheques signed.
As there had not been a meeting since January 2020, the Clerk handed to all Councillors a list of accounts which had been paid by her up to the end of the financial year on 31st March 2020 and also up to and including 31ST May 2020. These were approved and the list is attached to these Minutes signed by the Chairman. See Page 6A.
Statements from Representatives –
Memorial Hall – Cllr Beaumont advised that whilst the Hall had been closed various activities had taken place during closure including a risk assessment, a new kitchen floor and following a worry about Legionnaires disease, the water had been tested and the heating now left on to lessen the risk.
Following receipt of a £10,000 grant to the Hall for maintenance the roof had been cleaned, new curtains and rails, decoration taking place and the expenditure of any monies unspent from the Grant will be discussed. The Clerk was handed a key to the filing cabinet for safe keeping.
NDP – Working group reconvened, Peter Constantine appointed as Chairman of the Group. Specific tasks had been handed out to group members about allocated sites and trying to look at reconfiguring for building site outside settlement boundary. This also included highways. The Core Strategy revision which might not appear in draft form until early 2021. This may affect development in NDP areas around the County, but it was hoped that this would be ready for Herefordshire in about two years’ time.
Planning applications – The Chairman advised the following applications had been received for consideration –
- Barn at Uplands – no objections had been raised.
- Development land adjacent to The Croft – comments had been made.
- Pegs Farm – change of use from residential – comments made but P/Council since notified it had been approved by the Planning Dept at Herefordshire Council.
- White Cottage, Church Lane – garden building – no objections had been raised.
- Downton, The Common – side extension with terrace above – no objections raised.
- Footpath diversion WH8 (in part) no objections had been raised.
- Viaduct site – Ongoing with Appeal taking place in July 2020 – see previous discussion.
Correspondence received –
- Letter of thanks received from Ledbury Town Council for the Parish Council’s donation of £500 towards the traffic survey in respect of the viaduct site.
- Letter to all Councillors from Greendawn Accounting advising that the records and accounts have been accurately maintained by the Clerk with expenditure properly authorised throughout the year.
- Letter – Lloyds Bank that Cllr. Beaumont had been added as a signatory on the account.
- Letter – Lloyds Bank that the interest rate on the savings account is reducing from 0.05% down to 0.01%.
- Various advice received from HALC, Hereford giving advice as to correct procedure for Parish Council’s during the coronavirus pandemic.
Councillor Reports –
- Request from The Farmers Arms seeking permission to continue to be granted the use of Pool Piece as additional space during special events, whilst being watchful of the play equipment on site. This was discussed and agreed the Parish Council await advice from the Landlord once further guidance from the Government is received on the 4th July 2020 relating to the coronavirus.
- Defibrillator – New governance has been set up on a Nationally based online reporting system known as “The Circuit”. Our phone box defibrillator is now registered with this. Cllr Williams added that although straight forward it was not as rigorous a system as the one previously used.
- Resignation – As previously mentioned Richard Kitto had been signed as a Parish Councillor and the Chairman was asked to write to Richard Kitto thanking him for his work whilst on the Council.
Next meeting to take place on 29th September 2020 in the Memorial Hall as Cllr Beaumont advised the hall might re-open towards the end of July.
The Chairman then declared the meeting closed at 5.15pm. Thanks were expressed to Cllr Williams for his hospitality in allowing this very important meeting for the Parish Council to take place.
Jennifer Jones 28th July 2020.
Signed………………………………………………. …….. Dated……………………………………….