1.    Present:            Cllr Jeremy Carlisle (Chairman); Cllr Vanessa Martin; Cllr Philip Smith; Cllr Tony Slater; Cllr Richard Elliott; Cllr Ian Turner; Mrs Bridget Ashcroft (Clerk) Mr Timothy Martin (Financial Officer)

In Attendance: Mr Andrew Sims, John Elliott, Jack Shepherd

2.   Apologies:  None were received.

3.   Minutes of Last Meeting

The Minutes of the last meeting were read and approved. Acceptance was proposed by Cllr. R Elliot and seconded by Cllr. V Martin.

4.   Financial Officers Report & Signing of Payments

Mr Martin reported that he had been in communication with the Charity Commission. The annual return did not present any issues; however regarding the COIF investment fund, where Mr Martin had previously been informed that the money did not need to be refunded, it would now appear that as the money was given as a permanent endowment and cannot simply be annulled. To proceed, the Council either has to make a formal representation to the Charity Commission requesting that the endowment be annulled or should request that the repayment date be extended to allow repayment of say £500.00 a year over the next 15 years.

The level of Precept for 2009/2010 was also discussed. It was noted that the loss of revenue from the rental of the Club Room had made a difference to the Councils finances Also funds were still required to complete the allotments and repair the Lock Up although with this matter it was thought that the Royston and area Committee might be able to make a donation. As the Council faced a shortfall this year it was agreed unanimously that the precept should be raised for the forthcoming financial year.

After some discussion, it was agreed unanimously that the Precept be increased by £2,500.00 to a total of £15,000.00. This was proposed by Cllr Smith and seconded by Cllr. Turner. The Clerk agreed to confirm this decision in writing to the Hertfordshire Council.

Signing of Payments

It was proposed by Cllr. Turner and seconded by Cllr. Slater that the following payments be made.

Parish Council Payments

Mrs B Ashcroft

Mr M George         

It was proposed by Cllr. Smith and seconded by Cllr. Martin that the following payments be made.

Town House Payments

Paul Isle        Stripping & polishing the floor        

Paul Isle        Cleaning & caretaking

Cllr J Carlisle reimbursement for cooker

Carol Robinson      Cleaning    

Busy Bee      Electrics

A Crundle     Wedding deposit refund

A Martindale

Alison Stacey          Letting Officers Fee

5.   Matters Arising

Cllr. Carlisle reported that Curwen’s Solicitors had been appointed to deal with registering the Councils title for the Club Room with the Land Registry. He anticipated the fee for this work would be £350.00 + VAT and this figure included the registration fee and confirmation of site boundaries.

It was noted that the speed sign at the Cambridge Road entrance to the village had been repaired and was again working and in position.

The Clerk was requested to contact Hertfordshire Highways regarding the damaged barrier outside the School to clarify that it should be positioned in line with the wall between the School and the Club Room.

Regarding the repairs to the Lock Up, it was agreed to get an updated quotation from the contractor so that the application to English Heritage could be completed.

Cllr. Turner agreed to follow up the work on the War Memorial and to contact David Williams to see if he may be able to help raise funds for the work that has been done.

It was noted that cars were still parking on pavements and Cllr. Turner agreed to speak with the Police Community Support Officer to see what could be done about the problem.

The Clerk agreed to prepare an update of the current Health and Safety policy for the Councils approval and signature by the Chairman.

6.   Planning

Tythe Barn, Shaftenhoe End

Mr Sims presented additional photographs to support his planning application and after the work involved was discussed no objections were raised to the proposed alterations.

7.   Update Regarding Barley School

John Elliott, Governor at Barley School reported that the School currently has 36 pupils with a further 6 on the 2010 waiting list and 4 due to leave at the end of the academic year. Although these are low numbers, evidently the problem is county wide and Head Teachers are due to meet and discuss this in the New Year. The causes of the problem appear to be partly due to Hertfordshire’s three tier policy, older children leaving the school taking younger siblings with them and children moving into the Public School system.

As a result of the falling numbers, the schools budget has also been cut along with the SEN budget. The school is trying to keep three classes running and is prospecting for additional children to boost the numbers. A stay and play morning is being run to encourage new children to stay, the school received a very good Ofsted report and a governors news letter has been introduced which will in future be e-mailed to the Clerk so that the Council can remain informed on how the school is progressing. It was noted that the village website used to have a link to the school website and
Cllr. Turner agreed to check if it was still functioning.

With regard to the school building, the windows and roof are being replaced and repaired as appropriate on the old part of the school. As the work is being funded by Hertfordshire Council, it was thought unlikely that the work would have been undertaken if there was any doubt about the future of the school in the light of the current numbers.

John Elliott then took the opportunity to enquire about the Parish Councils plans to develop the Scout Hut area into a village amenity and continued with informing the Council that from 2010 each child attending the school must have five hours Physical Education a week. Mr Elliott agreed to send a timetable of terms to Cllr Turner so that time on the Tennis Courts could be reserved for the school to use.

Mr Elliott informed those present that the schools perimeter fence was due to be replaced with a more substantial six foot high steel fence. As this may impact on the tree line between the school and the Plaistow it was felt that the school should seek the agreement of the tree preservation officer before the work was undertaken.

Also regarding trees, Mr Elliott requested that the Council prune the overhanging branches from the tree behind the Club Room as some branches had dropped into the Children’s play area.

Finally the damaged barrier outside the school was discussed; Mr Elliott did not foresee a difficulty in relocating the barrier into the line of the wall between the school and the Club Room and agreed to write to Hertfordshire Highways in support of the Parish Councils request.

8.   Barley Show Marquees

Mr Jack Shepherd of the Barley Show Committee reported that he had met with

Cllr. Martin and Cllr. Slater to discuss the options of either buying new marquees, repairing the old ones or hiring ones for the future.

As the show account currently had just under £13,000 in the bank it was decided that one new marquee measuring 30ft by 30ft at £6,500.00 should be bought along with new canvas for one of the old existing frames. The cost in total would be £8,500.

The Council enquired if the shows marquees were often rented out to non village events and Mr Shepherd replied by saying that the marquees were rented out on request and availability and that annual rentals usually totalled about £600.00. The question of whether to charge VAT on rentals arose and Mr Tim Martin agreed to look into the matter.

9.   Town House

It was noted that the new cooker required a more powerful supply cable than the previous cooker and the Electrician was booked to visit the Town House to look into how the work could be done on Tuesday 8th December 2009, he also would put a plate over the socket at the bottom of the staircase.

Other areas requiring attention were the cover to the lights in the small upstairs room adjoining the kitchen which needed replacing as did a pane of glass in the rear door which had been damaged.

10.   Recreation Ground

The five a side goal posts still had not been removed and it was agreed by Cllr. Turner and Cllr. Elliott to do this on the following Sunday at 10am.

11.   Scout Hut

 Nothing further to report.

12.   Picknage Road Allotments

The contractor had not been in touch since the previous meeting and Cllr. Carlisle agreed to contact him to arrange a meeting where the contractor, Cllr .Carlisle and
Mr Ashcroft could meet to produce a method statement for the work required.

13.   Health & Safety

The only items to report were the ongoing issues of signs for the children’s play area prohibiting dogs, the bush on the swings to be replaced and fresh bark to be ordered for under the climbing frame.

14.   Correspondence

Cllr. Carlisle informed those present that he had received an e-mail stating that if Barley wanted to improve its traffic calming measures that it would have to produce a travel plan outlining the requirements of the village.

NHDC Members Information 06.11.09 13.11.09  20.11.09  27.11.09 & 04.12.09

Meeting of the Planning Control Committee 12.11.09  25.11.09

HAPTC 06.11.09 12.11.09 20.11.09 27.11.09 04.12.09

Herts Highways Letter re speed restrictions

Herts Highways re damaged barrier

Herts Highways re street lighting

Transport for the disabled handbook

HAPTC re budgets

HAPTC newsletter

Drew and Barltrop letter

LCR Magazine

15.   Any Other Business

Cars are still being parked on the corner by Richmond’s drivers making the visibility at the junction very poor.

Cllr. Elliott noted that the surface of Shaftenhoe End road between the junction with Church End and Lovely View Stables was in a poor condition and the drainage was particularly poor at the junction.

It was agreed that the next meeting would take place on 11th January 2010 rather than the 4th.

Meeting Ended at 10.25pm