MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 7th JANUARY 2013 AT 8PM
Present: Cllr Jeremy Carlisle (Chairman), Cllr Ian Turner, Cllr Marc O’Brien, Cllr Graham Clark, Cllr Tony Slater, Mr Timothy Martin (Financial Officer), Mrs Laura Childs (Clerk)
Apologies: Cllr Geoff Kavanagh, Dst Cllr G Morris
Councillor’s declaration of Interest
Cllr Turner declared an interest in the software that he has developed to assist the input of data for Speedwatch. This software may shortly be sold to other police authorities.
There were no other declarations of interest.
Minutes of meeting on 3rd December 2012
The minutes of the meeting on 3rd December 2012 were read and approved.
Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr M O’Brien
The Clerk had no further progress to report with regard to MD Landscapes forwarding any Method Statements or Risk Assessments despite repeated requests. It was discussed that now is the time to seek quotations for the grass cutting of the Plaistow for the year ahead and it was agreed to make the provision of Method Statements and Risk Assessments part of the tendering process. Cllr Clark agreed to contact various companies to seek prices for the works required.
The Clerk has received a quotation from Herts Tree Care for £288 to undertake the pruning works to the lower branches of the Sycamore tree that overhangs the recycling bins in the car park at the back of the Town House. The Council agreed to accept this quotation and the Clerk agreed to contact them to ask that they carry out the works.
Cllr Carlisle is to meet with Gary Henning of Herts Highways on 16th January to discuss highways issues within the village.
It has been noted, via postings in The Diary, that Barkway appear to be on a monthly street sweeping rota and it was discussed that a similar arrangement for Barley would be good to arrange. The Clerk agreed to contact Catharine Toms, the Clerk of Barkway Parish Council to find out how they set about making such arrangements.
Cllr Turner reported that the Speedwatch team have now been fitted with cameras to wear whilst carrying out their speed checks.
It was noted that Cllr Kavanagh was again not able to attend this months meeting due to work commitments. The Clerk agreed to contact him to ask whether his continuing and likely future work commitments were such that he was perhaps not going to be able to remain in his post of Councillor.
Despite previous requests, it appears that the owner of The Ramblers is continuing to park vehicles on the pavement outside the property and Cllr Turner reported that he was aware that the police had visited to warn the owner that he will be receiving a ticket if he continues parking there. Complaints have also been received regarding a Jeep vehicle, which is understood to belong to the residents of White Posts, High Street, parking on the pavement by their property. The Clerk agreed to send a letter stating that the vehicle was causing an obstruction and requesting that they park on the highway.
Financial Officers Report & Signing of Payments
Payments this month
Laura Childs Parish Clerk (December) £ 122.40
Malcolm George Oct, Nov, Dec maintenance of the play area £ 420.00
Annual fuel costs £ 86.30
MD Landscapes Sept & Oct grass cutting of the Plaistow £ 144.00
It was proposed by Cllr I Turner and seconded by Cllr M O’Brien that the payments should be made.
Carol Robinson Cleaning (December) £ 75.00
It was proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr T Slater that the payments should be made.
A deposit cheque was re-issued for £100.00
Cllr Carlisle confirmed that he had attended the NHDC meeting on 3rd January regarding the Council Tax precepts and Council Tax base calculations and reported that NHDC gave detailed explanations of the changes made by central government to the way Council Tax Benefits (CTB) are to be paid nationally and the new requirement for local (district) councils to arrange for these to be paid by them, rather than by central government, and the potential effect this may have on the level of council tax within individual parishes. While the calculation is to establish the quantum of Band D Council Tax this then affects all the Council Tax bands.
Although central government would generally cover the cost to councils of the CTB they pay by way of a grant this would not be the full amount, only approx 90%, and it was up to local authorities to recover the balance by efficiencies or other cost cutting. Also it is up to each local district authority to decide how they actually calculate the cost element of CTB across their district and parishes. It is quite likely that different authorities will use different methods, whether they are largely urban in nature, or rural or a mixture. Each parish would be affected differently depending on how many CTB claimants there are from time to time within their parish.
NHDC explained how they proposed to make the calculation and sought approval from those present to proceed as they propose. Cllr Carlisle confirmed that the meeting had approved the proposed method of calculation and this would now be carried forward to the NHDC cabinet for ratification by them within the next few days.
The actual amount of the Precept requirements from parishes would be unaffected by these changes but, because of the changes, there would probably be minor adjustments at parish level to the amount of Band D Council Tax, and thus the other tax bands, depending on the number of CTB claimants within their parish. In the case of Barley there was likely to be a very small increase.
There were no planning issues to discuss.
Mr Martin reported that he has had no further contact from the suppliers of the new chairs regarding the paint chipping off the frames, despite their representative taking a damaged chair away.
Since our last meeting, and following various email communications between Councillors, a decision has yet to be settled upon regarding how best to deal with the fridges in the Town House so that they comply with the latest Health & Safety recommendations. Following much debate and conflicting views on the best way forward it was decided to ask Drew & Baltrop who are the council’s H&S consultants to provide firm advice on the matter so that this can be presented to the Town House committee at their next meeting.
Cllr Clark will ask James King to provide a new locking gate latch and padlock for the gate that he has recently installed. Cllr Carlisle has temporarily secured this gate.
Cllr Clark reported that there has been mindless damage and vandalism carried out in the play area, the sign asking people to close the gate has been ripped off with other damage to fence posts etc. Cllr Clark will have another sign made up and agreed to post a note in The Diary asking people to report anyone they see causing further damage.
Cllr Carlisle reported that the Kissing Gate to Picknage Road needs to be repaired and which Cllr Clark will instruct James King to attend to.
In the absence of Cllr Kavanagh there was nothing further to report.
11. Health & Safety
Cllr Slater had noted that the fencing to the children’s play area was broken, Cllr Clark was already aware of this. The tests to the smoke alarms needs to be carried out and the annual test was now due, Cllr Clark agreed to ask the contractor, Neil Drage, to schedule a visit to carry this out.
All correspondence received was to be circulated to Councillors.
13. Any other Business
The Clerk handed £25 cash to Mr Martin being payment she has received from people who have purchased Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Coins. Other coins are still available should anyone still want one.
Cllr Clark advised that he has seen a lot of trees being felled at Wells Cottages, Smiths End Lane and wondered if permission had been sought to carry out this work. The Clerk agreed to look into this as tree applications were not considered at Parish Council level so there may well be an application that we hadn’t heard about.
Cllr O’Brien reported that ‘Polly’s Perch’ (bench) on Picknage Road has suffered damage or vandalism and needed either repairing or replacing. The Clerk agreed to speak with the Parish Paths Partnership to see if they are able to assist with this.
Cllr O’Brien is to contact NHDC to determine the current position regarding the emerging new Development plan and whether it is possible to yet determine the potential implications for the village.
The meeting closed at 9.45pm