Minutes of Wellington Heath Parish Council
Zoom meeting held on 30th March 2021 commencing at 7.30pm
In attendance were Cllrs. D. Williams (DW in the Chair) R. Barnes (RB) H. Tierney (HT) K.Shaw (KS) and J. Tearle (JT).
Also in attendance were County Cllr. Liz Harvey, Parish Correspondent Peter Constantine and the Clerk.
- An apology for inability to attend the meeting had been received from the Chairman.
- The Minutes of the meeting held on 28th January 2021 were taken as read, confirmed and signed by the Chairman on a proposal by RB seconded by KS and carried.
- There were no Declarations of Interest in items on the Agenda.
4.Open Session – County Cllr. Liz Harvey had circulated a comprehensive member’s report from Herefordshire Council and Ledbury Town Council. She advised Locality Sessions were being held this week and she agreed to forward a copy of the plan to us. Because of the damage to the roads during works, a maintenance programme was proposed to bridge structures with a change in the way bridge works are planned, having approximately 700 bridge structures in Herefordshire to be done during summer periods. It was hoped to enforce some responsibility for drainage work onto land owners.
She also advised Ledbury was to become one of two “talk hubs” about Support Services which will be looking at various buildings in Ledbury and there had been many volunteers to assist in this project.
With regard to Pub Lane she advised she had been in touch with residents and talked with the PROW Officer and Balfour Beatty workforce in view of the major water management problem in the area. Many residents had complained and the Chairman advised that the Parish Council had put together a Code of Conduct for Builders which will be discussed later during the Parish Council meeting and added that the Council would welcome anything which can be done to make surface water less problematic in the Parish including making sure that drains are cleared of debris.
Cllr Harvey advised the Town Council were very unhappy about the viaduct appeal outcome. The Chairman enquired if she was aware about the level of the costs and she advised that if it was not possible to agree the costs between the parties then the matter would be referred to the Court to settle the matter. She quoted costs incurred to Ledbury Town Council are £105,000 adding that they had always aware that they were going to face these costs. However as they have an underspend in their Budget this year, this will be offset against the Town Council charges. The Chairman advised the Parish Council were looking to make a gesture donation towards the costs which would be discussed later in our meeting. KS proposed a sincere vote of thanks to Cllr Harvey for her dedicated work in connection with the Appeal.
Update Reports –
5 (a) Notice Boards – HT advised the Board at the Memorial Hall had been taken down and stored to enable it to dry out before any work could be done to repair it. She suggested putting a notice in the Newsletter advising that the PC thinks the board outside the Old School House is surplus to requirements and asking for views about this proposal. If it is to be replaced, this would cost approximately £1,100 to £1,200. This proposal was seconded by KS and carried.
Action HT/KS – 30/5/21.
It was agreed a lot of PC equipment needed maintenance and HT enquired if a handyman could be found to carry out the work or whether it would fall under the remit of the Lengthsman. However, KS kindly offered to carry out some work to the boards one at a time voluntarily and without charge.
5 (b) Viaduct site – The Chairman advised the outcome of the Appeal was very disappointing. It was agreed that the Parish Council had agreed in principle to make a donation to Ledbury Town Council costs. This was discussed at length, the Clerk advised on current Bank balances and it was agreed to put aside the sum of £500 towards costs until the Parish Council know what further expenses they will have to meet in the new financial year. Action – 30/05/21.
5© Pool Piece – As regards the funding request for new paths and access to the play area, the Chairman had spoken with David Darwood and advised that the Parish Council would meet this cost of £720. on the proviso that they would not be asked to provide a skip on an annual basis as the PC will incorporate the hedge cutting into the Parish hedge cutting Scheme. The Phoenix Festival was being advertised around the Parish and it was thought that the Pub would arrange their own insurance as they had done for an event which they had held last year involving the use of Pool Piece.
KS advised an event was planned by the Memorial Hall Committee on the same day and he would make some enquiries at the next Memorial Hall Committee meeting and report back to us.
Action KS – 30/05/21.
5 (d) Pub Lane – Following disputes between some residents and workmen on the new building site the Chairman had drawn up a draft Code of Conduct for the work in progress and enquired whether this should be sent to the Builders and residents. Following lengthy discussion about whether this should have been made clear when the application was considered and whether it should apply to all future development in the Parish, it was unanimously agreed that a more modified Code should be drawn up with suggested principles designed to encourage good relations between developers and local residents. Action DW – 30/05/21
As regards surface water problems on The Common, it was confirmed that Severn Trent are not responsible for the surface water drainage and discussion took place concerning the problem and whether to get a Commercial Co. to attend to our needs. No contact has yet been made to get work done but it does need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency especially around the top of the Common and The Swallow and Balfour Beatty are the responsible company for this drainage but it is clear that the PC cannot rely on them to attend to our needs. DW agreed to let Cllr Liz Harvey know of our concerns and enquire whether she can ask them to survey the problem and give their appraisal about how to go about rectifying this. Action DW – 30/05/21.
5 (e) – Village Assets and Liabilities – JT advised he has maps about this and where our responsibilities lie. He said he would work with RB so that we know the cost of maintaining our assets over a period of time. This would include The Plecks but to date Adrian Hope had not been asked to do a survey on the trees. JT suggested also putting something in the Newsletter asking for peoples opinion on what should be done in the Plecks.
Action TJ/RB – 30/05/21.
5 (f) Broadband speeds in Parish – The Chairman advised he had telephoned Gigaclear for an update which had not been very productive. The target time for when work should be completed is now “Q2” which is probably at the end of June when we can only hope for better news.
5 (g) Village Signs – All Councillors very appreciative of the work done by Denise Wright. Darren had indicated he was not happy to reinstate the sign. RB advised he had asked Jeremy Newby about being the Parish Lengthsman and he was not interested in this role. He was however willing to erect the Best Kept Village Sign.
Action RB – 30/05/21.
Denise Wright had expressed her willingness to renovate other signs in the Parish and it was agreed to ask her to do so and report back at the next meeting.
Action RB – 30/05/21
6.Items for consideration –
Verge Cutting – the Clerk had circulated information from Balfour Beatty advising that some Parishes are reducing cutting to once a year to help wildlife and visibility. The matter was discussed and agreed that we should only have one cut in the Autumn and it was agreed to put this information in the Newsletter . Action HT- 30/05/21
Tasks & Time Scales – It was agreed now that the Parish Council are running at full strength that the Clerk would advise in the Minutes which Councillor had agreed to undertake the various tasks and, if possible, add a timescale for the work to be done or a report back to Council on progress. Action Clerk – immediately.
Advertising costs in Newsletter – During the Covid period in 2020/21 the Parish Council had waived advertising costs to help members of the public during this difficult time – however it was unanimously agreed that for the period 2021/22 these charges would be reinstated and the Clerk to inform Keith Hough accordingly.
Action Clerk – immediately.
Lengthsman Vacancy – RB advised he had spoken to Darren Hill and discussed the situation regarding his role as Parish Lengthsman and he had confirmed that he had resigned from this post. It was also confirmed that neither Jeremy Newby or Hamish Skinner were interested in the vacancy. However JT thought Leon Skowron might be interested in taking this role on. If it was confirmed that he was not interested, it was then agreed unanimously to place a Notice in the Newsletter advising that the Parish were looking for a Lengthsman to commence work as soon as possible. Hours and hourly rate of pay to be discussed with applicant.
Action RB – 30/05/21.
Financial – The Clerk advised some of the following had been paid (as indicated) when no Meetings were held and the remainder were due for payment
- Clerk – Salary – February 2021 £301.20 (paid)
- HMRC – PAYE £48.80 (paid)
- Trueprint Media (newsletter) £255.00 (paid)
- Clerk – Salary – March 2021 £301.20.
- HMRC – [PAYE) £48.80.
- Clerk – allowances/expenses to 30/03/21 £155.75.
- Denise Wright “Best Kept Village Sign” expenses £22.99.
On a proposal by DW seconded by HT and carried it was agreed the remainder of the items presented for payment were approved for payment.
- Reports from Committee Representatives for
- Memorial Hall – KS advised a brief meeting had been held. The Hall was being cleaned ready for reopening and various products following Covid guidelines were not required. Use of the Hall had been offered as a vaccination centre but was not taken up and it was hoped full use of the Hall would commence on 17th May 2021. A healthy Bank balance was reported.
- NDP – DW advised that the revised NDP along with a modification statement had been submitted to Hereford Council which has been accepted and published on Herefordshire NDP site. Some Notices had been displayed around the Village advising that these changes had been registered and that submission of the revised NDP and Modification Statement was in their hands. DW again expressed sincere thanks to the NDP working group for achieving a successful modification statement.
Report (3) Planning – DW advised as follows –
- Retrospective application re Uplands yet to be determined.
- Discharge of conditions regarding Myrtle Cottage (earth sheltered dwelling) has been determined and approved.
- Planning application by 4J Developers for land above Farmers Arms with access off Floyds Lane had been received. Both the Parish Council and the Herefordshire Council’s Highways Unit had raised objections and the application has been withdrawn.
- The proposed development on the Sumner land (allocated site 23 in the Parish Council NDP) has been granted outline permission in November 2020 for five houses with appropriate access. Peter Constantine had received a communication from Andrew Sumner advising that the land had been sold to a Cheltenham Property Developer and we wait to see whether we will be contacted by the Developer to discuss the plans. Considerable access work and the problem with surface water will be necessary before the Developers are able to put in a full application for development.
- Information and brief update on correspondence –
The Clerk advised the annual Insurance renewal had been received and circulated to all Councillors to ensure that the Policy met with their requirements. To date the premium had not been advised which might be increased following the successful claim for the damage and replacement of the seat at the top of The Common.
The Lengthsman Contract for 1921/22 had been received from Balfour Beatty for signature by the Chairman and Clerk.
10. Councillor Reports –
RB reported on meeting with the Footpath Officer on various issues and more particularly with regard to the footpath which runs onto Nick Bickham’s land as you walk from Dogberry which requires urgent attention. It was agreed to buy sleepers and stakes totalling £35 for repairs and it was confirmed that there would be no labour costs involved.
HT advised the Garden Club were going to plant a small Crab Apple Tree on land at the Memorial Hall in memory of Clive Gunn.
HT also advised she was in touch with the Garden Furniture Centre regarding water retention on the new seat at the top of The Common.
- Date for future meetings was dependent upon Covid restrictions but the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council would be held on 25th May 2021 commencing at 7.30pm. It had not been possible to hold the usual Welcome party in the Memorial Hall and it was doubtful whether it would be possible to hold the Annual Parish Meeting. The Government had advised that no further Zoom meetings were to be held after 7th May 2021, although it was understood that this was being challenged.
There being no further business the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 21.35.
Jennifer Jones 25th May 2021.