Minutes of a meeting of Wellington Heath Parish Council held on 29th September 2020
In the Memorial Hall commencing at 7.30pm.
Present – Cllrs. J. Jones (in the Chair) D. Williams (DW) and M. Beaumont (MB).
Also in attendance were five members of the public including P.Constantine, Chairman of the NDP Working Group.
There were no apologies for absence.
Minutes – The Minutes of the meeting held on 25th June 2020 had been taken as read, approved and signed by the Chairman on 28th July 2020. This was necessary to enable the application to proceed for re-registration of The Farmers Arms as an “Asset of Community Value” in accordance with instructions received from Herefordshire Council. The application has been lodged and we await the result.
Declarations of Interest – None received.
Open Session – County Councillor Liz Harvey was not in attendance and no members of the public raised any queries.
Update Reports –
- Smartwater – MB advised target of 70% had been reached, signs have been erected around the Parish but two will need to be changed for larger signage. We are still holding about 35 kits to hand out and he advised that the majority of people had made donations.
- Viaduct site – DW advised that the adjourned virtual Appeal inquiry had resumed on 22nd September 2020. It was reported that very few members of the general public from Ledbury or adjacent local communities had attended the first week of the inquiry in July via the web link facility set up by Ledbury Town Council (LTC). Both DW and Wellington Heath resident Colin Davis had presented statements to the Inquiry in July. DW reported that Cllr Harvey had been cross examined at length when presenting her evidence as a Rule 6 Party witness on behalf of LTC when the inquiry resumed last week. The Appeal Inquiry has now been completed and the Secretary of State will be receiving the recommendation from the Inspector within the next few weeks. The main issues have been traffic, planning, local heritage and conservation and AONB issues in order to give continued support to resisting this Appeal. Cllr. Harvey had urged members of the public to write to both the home and Parliamentary addresses of our MP and the Secretary of State Robert Jenrick. Liz Harvey plans to write down the key arguments which will be published on the LTC website in the very near future. Estimated cost to Ledbury to run the appeal will be of the order of £100 thousand pounds.
- Notice boards, street signs and footpath signs – MB felt it important to carry out repairs and renovations to street signs to stop them deteriorating further. This included the “Best Kept Village” sign. It was suggested a local handyman could be employed to do this work and include the renovation of notice boards in the Parish. Following discussion it was agreed to replace the notice board by Old School House, refurbish the notice board at The Memorial Hall, clean the board at top of The Common and to replace and move the notice board on Horse Road. The Chairman agreed to obtain some Quotations for consideration. As regards footpath signs, on receipt of the details from Allan Wood regarding waymarker signage for the various footpaths, the Clerk was to ask Hereford Council about replacement signs.
- Dog bin – This has now been purchased and installed on the Ledbury Road at the top of The Common.
- Memorial Bench – A new bench has now been installed in the same area as the one which had been damaged at the top of The Common. This has been situated a little further back off the road in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the vehicular damage by unknown persons which had resulted in the need for a replacement seat to be purchased. The Clerk advised that insurance monies had been received following our claim under the Parish Council insurance totalling £734.98.
- Oak Tree – Work to the tree had been completed, the surface area broken up to allow water penetration and good quality top soil had been spread around area in the hope of encouraging some growth. The Peter Garnett Memorial bench around the tree had been removed prior to work commencing to avoid damage from falling timber and it was hoped that this could be erected around a tree in the new Church yard in due course. Cost of work to the tree was £1,060.
Items for consideration –
- Donation to cost of Viaduct Appeal – At a cost of around £100K. it was agreed we would make a donation to the cost once we have more information.
- Cheltenham Motor Club – Permission had been given towards this Rally for this year but unfortunately it had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus lockdown. The Chairman had spoken with the Organizer about the planned event for 2021 when it had been confirmed that the route will remain the same but take place in reverse to the original planned now taking place up Petty France and down Raycombe Lane.
- Newsletter charges – Councillors agreed to waive any charges for advertisements in the Newsletter for the current year in an attempt to help local businesses during lockdown hardship and lack of business.
- Administrator for Lengthsman/Footpath schemes – Allan Wood has given up Administrator for the Lengthsman and had agreed to act as stand in for the footpath officer following the resignation of Marc Low from the Council. It was hoped to appoint a new Footpath Officer once the Council was fully up and running with the necessary six Councillors.
Financial Matters –
- The Clerk advised e-mail received from External Auditors advising that accounts to year ending 31st March 2020 had been approved by them, subject to any objections or queries being received from members of the Public. They had confirmed none had been received so no external audit had been necessary.
- The Clerk presented a list for Councillors regarding accounts which had been paid during July and August 2-020 when no meetings had been held. This was signed by the Chairman, see attached sheet numbered September 2020/10A.
- The Clerk advised the second instalment of the precept had been received for £4,750.00.
The following accounts were presented for payment –
Truprint Media, printing Newsletter £255.00.
HALC – web hosting and domain name £55.00. + vat.
Lengthsman and fixing new seat £212.50.
Clerk – September 2020 £301.20.
HMRC – PAYE £48.80.
Viking Direct – stationery £35.36.
Skip @ Pool Piece £225.00. + vat.
Noted – MB handed the Clerk cash and cheque totalling £69 for banking – donations for Smartwater.
Reports from Representatives –
Memorial Hall – MB advised the had group met in September; very little to report- risk assessment had been carried out, monies remain in hand from grant of £10,000 which will probably be taken up by painting inside of hall plus cost of renewing the curtains (existing ones have not been put up for the time being due to coronavirus). Hole in the roof which has been repaired and cleared of moss, some tiles broken which need repairing or replacing. Parish Council filing cabinet now in Committee Room making access more available. Plans for Village Festival next year (date and format not yet finalised) but it was felt that the Parish Council should be involved. It was hoped the bench which was around the oak tree would be removed as soon as possible.
NDP – DW advised the Working Group had completed its review of the NDP and all Councillors have seen the new proposals and no adverse comments were received.
Cllr Williams proposed a vote of thanks to the reconvened NDP Working Group and to be recorded for all their efforts in carrying out a very forensic review of the plan. Whilst the Vision, Objectives and Policies of the NDP remain unchanged, some of the background information has been updated, particularly with respect to the recently revised National Planning Policy Framework and to the current status of new build and approved planning applications in the Parish. The Council voted to allow the revised NDP document to be forwarded to Karla Johnson of the Neighbourhood Planning Team at Herefordshire Council for her consideration. The draft document will also be published on the Wellington Heath PC website. Revision of NDPs are categorised either as Minor, Material or Substantial in order to carry forward the full status of the adopted Plan beyond October 2018 it will be necessary to have the new plan approved by Herefordshire Council and reviewed by an external planning Inspector. It was hoped that the changes that have been made to the plan could be considered as material but not substantial. If this were the case and the changes approved, the NDP would be remade (adopted) without the need for a further referendum.
Cllrs Williams will let the Clerk have all the necessary paperwork for submission to Herefordshire Council once a preliminary review by Herefordshire’s neighbourhood planning team has been carried out
Planning Applications –
- Five dwellings at Becks Orchard, The Common – An earlier application was withdrawn and the current application has raised some questions from Herefordshire Council regarding landscaping. Parish Council broadly in support of the application.
- Land adjoining The Croft, Ledbury Road – Planning permission was granted before our NDP was adopted for three bungalows. The land was sold on and further application for three dwellings was in excess of what was included in the NDP. This application was rejected and a revised application has been received which has been scaled down for three dwellings with smaller floor area and lower roof levels. been received which is very scaled down for three dwellings which include lower roof levels
- Pegs Farm – A planning application was made in 2015 for conversion of some of the barns into four dwellings which was approved with conditions. Now seeking permission for the number to be revised and asking for conditions to be set aside with a modified plan. One unit completed and sold, three more left in abeyance which are now being put forward with a new planning application for conversion into separate dwellings.
Vacancies on the Council – Four applications originally received and notified, but one gentleman had kindly withdrawn his application. Since then two further applications had been received, resulting in five applications for three vacancies. Because of the fact that we now have the five applications for three vacancies, it was agreed to hold an ExtraOrdinary meeting of the Parish Council in October when the existing five applications would be considered, along with any other applications received before a specific closing date which would be three clear working days before the meeting could take place. Notices to this effect were to be displayed on the Parish Council website and local notice boards, whilst advising that no further applications would be considered after the closing date mentioned.
Councillor Reports –
It was hoped the outcome of the application for the Farmers Arms to be classed as an Asset of Community Value would be known by the date of the next meeting.
It was agreed to request an accompanied inspection of Pool Piece to take place, Clerk to advise David Darwood as it was felt he wished to attend.
Current Bank balances remain healthy.
Dates for future meetings, subject to change if needed due to Coronavirus regulations are as follows –
- 10th November 2020 – Finance meeting to agree Budget and Precept for 2021/22
- 24th November 2020 – Ordinary Parish Council meeting.
- 30th March 2021 – Ordinary Parish Council meeting.
- 27th April 2021 – Annual Parish Meeting.
- 25th May 2021 – Annual Meeting of the Parish Council.
There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 9.10pm
Signed Jennifer Jones, Chairman 15th December 2020.