MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 1ST JUNE 2009 AT 8PM
Present: Cllr Jeremy Carlisle (Chairman); Cllr Vanessa Martin; Cllr Philip Smith; Cllr Tony Slater; Cllr Richard Elliott; Cllr Ian Turner; Mrs Bridget Ashcroft (Clerk)Attendance: Paul Marina, Chris Brabrook & Mark Ellwood
There were no apologies.
2. Minutes of Last Meeting
The minutes were read and approved. Proposed by Cllr. V Martin and seconded by Cllr. Ian Turner.
3. PC Marina spoke to those present about current policing of the local area. He reported that compared to a similar sized residential area in Stevenage, they had 544 recorded crimes over the last year compared to 128 in this region. On saying that he noted that there had been a rise in drug related incidences in the area but that the police had recently successfully raided a property in Royston and recovered narcotics found there.
The Police had also been successful in prosecuting a Hare Courser who was convicted, received a £1000.00 fine and an ASBO that prevented him owning a dog or being with someone else’s dog.
With regard to speed detection, PC Marina reported that this will now only be done where there is a proven need, hopefully about 3 times a year. It was agreed by those present that the Council should request clarification as to what would be considered proven need.
Other crime discussed included a suspicious vehicle in the area whose driver had been offering to sell gravel.
3. Matters Arising
Scout Hut: Cllr. Turner reported that he had spoken to Wendy George who informed him that the Scouts were speaking with their solicitors regarding their requirements and also the position on their current tenancy before responding. In the meantime it was discussed that the Parish Council should begin to refine the work planned for the Scout Hut area and to prepare a minimum specification for the building of what would be generally required. It was also noted that before plans reached a more advanced stage, it would be sensible to discuss the outline proposals with NHDC Planning Office so their opinions can be taken into account. In order to try to maintain momentum Cllr. Carlisle agreed to speak to the Scouts as to the timing of their response to the initial suggestions. Cllr. Turner suggested that it would also be worth while to involve Ken Charles of the North Herts. Sports Council as there was a possibility that they might be of some assistance with funding.
Highways: Further to the meeting with Roger Flowerday of Hertfordshire Highways and his colleagues about the crossroads of Picknage Road and Cambridge Road to discuss the number of accidents and speed issues in this area, the report outlining their recommendations was discussed. As the guide lines for the recommendations were not included in his report it was felt that it was not possible to comment on the report as there was nothing to judge his recommendations against. It was agreed that Cllr. Carlisle would respond to Mr Flowerday.
War Memorial: It was noted that a grant of up to £485.00 was available for this work and it was agreed that the work should proceed without any further delay. Cllr. Turner agreed to contact the relevant people.
Lock Up: Cllr. Turner agreed to take pictures of the Lock up so that the required work could be discussed at the next meeting.
4. Planning Applications
Abbotsbury Farm, Abbotsbury, Barley Royston
The Parish Council had no objections to this proposal providing that no objections are received from local residents.
Land rear of 20 Picknage Road, Barley, SG8 8HP
It was noted that no design statement was received; however no objections were raised to this proposal. The Council did however request that if this proposal is approved that the property owner is precluded from using the current parking spaces accessing onto Picknage Road as they access onto a dangerous stretch of the road with poor visibility.
Willow Barn, Shaftenhoe End Road, Barley, SG8 8LD
No objections were raised to this proposal.
5. Town House
It was confirmed by Cllr. Elliott and Cllr. Martin that a cheque for £450.00 had been made towards the outstanding hire charges for the keep fit classes however as a large balance was still outstanding, they intended to speak to the person concerned at his next class.
Cllr. Carlisle noted that it was possible to get diffusers for the strip lights in the Town House and the general opinion was to proceed with the matter. Cllr. Turner agreed to speak to the Chair of the Town House committee about the matter.
It was noted that a tree belonging to the school had fallen down on the driveway at the rear of the Town House but that it had been moved onto the car park area and was not causing an obstruction.
With regard to bill payments in relation to the Town House, Cllr. Carlisle clarified that although the building insurance was paid by the Parish Council this was as Trustee of the Town House Charity to ensure that such insurance was always in place. This was an historic arrangement dating from a time when there were often insufficient funds in the Town House accounts to meet all day to day financial liabilities. The other utility bills and day to day expenses including contents insurance are paid for from the Town House account. It was also noted that the contents insurance and been increased this year to £50,000.
It was noted that the child proof security clips had as yet not been fixed to the services cupboards and Cllr. Turner agreed to see to the matter.
Cllr. Martin reported that a recent wedding party had left the Town House in a mess and requested the Council’s opinion as to whether their deposit should be repaid. The matter was referred to the Town House committee to make a final decision.
6. Recreation Ground
Cllr. Turner reported that he was looking into the possibility of purchasing dog grills to place in the gateways to the play area, also that a new rubbish bin needed ordering. The Clerk agreed to liaise with Cllr. Turner to sort the matter out. It was also noted that one of the goal post’s still required fixing. Finally it was noted that some of the trees on the Plaistow had been damaged by the grass cutters when they strimmed around the trunks and the Clerk was requested to contact them regarding the matter.
7. Picknage Road Allotments
Cllr. Carlisle updated the Council that he was currently waiting a response from Adrian Redrup regarding the access gate to the site. It was noted that a water supply was required and the provision of such should be looked into. Finally Cllr. Elliott was asked to confirm with the contractor that the Council was happy for him to proceed and clear the land.
As interest had already been expressed regarding the allotments, it was agreed that a list would be opened so that when they became available, interested parties could be contacted.
8. Health & Safety
Cllr. Elliott handed the Clerk the previous months Health and Safety report for filing. He noted that regarding the Club Room, he was concerned that there may be a water leak in the basement which he intended to keep under review. He also passed to the Clerk a request to read the metre form for the Club Room with a current reading for the Clerk to pass onto the appropriate person.
The Clerk agreed to put a note through the door of the former Clerk Anne Wright, requesting that mail in future be forwarded to Mrs Ashcroft’s address.
10. Signing of Payments
It was proposed by Cllr. Smith and seconded by Cllr. Martin that the following payments should be made.
Paul Isle Caretaking
M Budd Cancelled wedding deposit
Carol Robinson Cleaning
Mr Martin reported that he was in the process of establishing his position with Barclays Bank to allow him to act as Responsible Financial officer. He noted that the previous years accounts had been agreed at the Parish Council’s AGM and had already undergone a third party audit.
He also requested that the separate Plaistow account should be closed and the remaining funds in the account should be transferred into the main Parish Council account. No objections were raised regarding this matter.
11. Any Other Business
Following the resignation of Mrs Sue Neilson the appointment of a new Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer to the Parish Council was discussed. It was agreed that the role of the Parish Clerk for the foreseeable future would be split so that the Clerk would undertake all administrative responsibilities but that the role of Responsible Financial Officer, to deal with all the Council’s accounts and financial matters, should be a separate appointment. It was agreed that to give effect to this arrangement it should be formally proposed and agreed by the Parish Council and recorded in the minutes of this Meeting.
Mrs Bridget Ashcroft has agreed to become the new Clerk on the above basis. The appointment of Mrs Ashcroft as Clerk, with immediate effect, was proposed by Cllr. Turner and seconded by Cllr. Martin. The appointment was agreed unanimously.
Mr Timothy Martin has agreed to become the new Responsible Financial officer on the basis outlined above with immediate effect.
The appointment of Mr Martin as the Parish Council’s Responsible Financial Officer, with immediate effect, was proposed by Cllr. Elliott and seconded by Cllr. Smith. The appointment was agreed unanimously.
The previous Clerk Mrs Neilson was thanked for helping the Council in the period since Anne Wright’s departure.
The Clerk requested keys for the Town House and High Street notice board.
Cllr. Turner had been asked to find out if there was any intention for the Church to cut the trees in the Church yard, Cllr. Smith replied that the trees will be lopped in Autumn.
The Clerk was asked to write to the owners of The Old Hall on the High Street, to request that they prune back the hedge.