MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 1ST JULY 2013 AT 8PM
Present: Cllr Jeremy Carlisle, Cllr Tony Slater, Cllr Graham Clark, Cllr Mark O’Brien,
Mr Tim Martin (RFO), Mrs Laura Childs (Clerk), 18 members of the public
Dst Cllr Morris and Cllr Ian Turner
Councillor’s Declaration of Interest
Minutes of Last Meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 3rd June 2013 were read and approved.
Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr T Slater
Mr Brian Haughey spoke on behalf of the Speedwatch team. Some of the issues that have arisen with the police recently have now been resolved however there is still progress to be made in order for Speedwatch to resume operating within the village. Mr Haughey explained to the meeting that he is pursuing the police to deploy a camera safety van within the village and that he hoped to meet with Hertfordshire Highways to discuss other speed reducing measures. Cllr Carlisle recommended that a separate meeting be held to discuss a way forward and Mr Haughey agreed to liaise with Cllr Carlisle to arrange a convenient date.
The Clerk advised that repairs to the collapsed roadway / drain in Church End are due to be started on 2nd July and road closure notices had been distributed to local businesses and residents advising of the proposed diversions.
The relevant notices have been displayed by the Clerk on the village notice boards asking for anyone interested in standing as a Councillor to step forward and the closing date for this is 2nd July. To-date there has only been one interested party, Ms Becky Wear and therefore no election would be necessary. If this situation is unchanged after the deadline date, it is proposed to formally co-opt Ms Wear to the Parish Council at our next meeting in September.
Financial Officers Report & Signing of Payments
Mr Martin advised the meeting that he is shortly due to present the annual accounts to the Audit Commission, but has been awaiting acceptance and approval from our internal auditors Hardcastle Burton to verify our position and statements before sending the accounts on to the Audit Commission.
Mr Martin confirmed that the Town House accounts have been submitted to the Charities Commission. He went on to explain that after recent work regarding the reclaiming of VAT he hoped to have some positive news to report at our September meeting.
Payments this month
Drage Security Town House fire alarm annual service £180.00
Laura Childs Parish Clerk (June) £144.00
Hardcastle Burton PAYE administration quarter £180.00
Playsafety Ltd RoSPA inspection of play equipment on Plaistow £ 81.60
HMRC PAYE payments for quarter £143.40
It was proposed by Cllr O’Brien and seconded by Cllr Slater that these payments should be made.
Carol Robinson Cleaning June £ 61.60
It was proposed by Cllr Slater and seconded by Cllr Clark that these payments should be made.
Development Plan update
Following a presentation held in the Town House on Saturday 29th June by a group of landowners within the village calling themselves Eco-Barley Group, letters of complaint and telephone calls have been received asking for the Parish Councils view on this matter. Some residents were unsure of who Eco-Barley actually were and exactly what it was that they were proposing.
Cllr Carlisle, who attended the presentation on Saturday 29th June and explained to the meeting that whilst the presentation given and the flyer distributed to villagers showed a ‘complete’ plan for the land in question, it wasn’t a formal planning application and so far as the Parish Council is aware no such application had been made. This land has not yet been allocated by North Herts District Council, as part of their ongoing Local Plan review, as a confirmed potential development site and consultations on this much enlarged site were only just commencing. Cllr Carlisle therefore asked those present at the meeting to put aside their views of the actual proposed development being suggested by the Eco- Barley Group and to consider the more fundamental issue of whether they wanted to see any sort of development on this land, at whatever scale.
NHDC are suggesting that the site shown could accommodate at least some 61 properties. Cllr Carlisle went on to explain that a much smaller part of this site was previously put forward back in 2007/8 as part of the same Local Plan review process (still) being undertaken by NHDC, Cllr Carlisle confirmed to the meeting that the Parish Council were previously totally opposed to it being used for any form of development as a matter of principle. Cllr Carlisle pointed out that it should be noted that this recent submission is for a significantly larger area of land amounting to some 7.5 acres (3.1 hectares) which is more than twice the size of the site originally put forward. Further lengthy discussions about the prospect of the site being developed then took place and without exception all those members of the public present at the meeting expressed their total opposition to any development on this land.
The Clerk also read out a letter of concern about the proposed plans put forward by the Eco-Barley Group received from a villager, asking the Parish Council to oppose any such development. It was proposed by a member of public present at the meeting that as the NHDC consultation period is so short, with a deadline for responses of 2nd August 2013, that a leaflet is prepared and distributed to everyone in the village asking them to register their views on this site as a prospective development area. The Council agreed to arrange a further meeting in the next few days to draw up a suitable leaflet for distribution. A number of the members of the public present agreed to help with the distribution.
Proposed diversion of Footpath 14 ~ northern end
Whilst this item was not on the agenda, Cllr Carlisle agreed that a recently received letter from Birketts, the solicitors acting on behalf of Mr Angus Thirlwell (the applicant) should be discussed as some of the residents directly involved with this diversion were present at the meeting. Cllr Carlisle also went on to say that whilst he was happy for discussions to take place, no final decision would be made at this meeting. Recent correspondence received from Carol Ramsden (of Birketts) advised that there is to be no revision to the proposal for the diversion of footpath 14 at the northern end. The applicant is however suggesting some improvements to the original standard for the proposed route. Cllr Carlisle expressed the Parish Councils disappointment that the alternative route as suggested by the Ramblers Association and preferred by the Parish Council was not being considered. He additionally explained that with a recently received application for Footpath 15, a footpath in the same vicinity as this part of Footpath 14 and involving some of the land owners involved with the diversion of Footpath 14, more consideration needed to be given to this whole issue. Lengthy discussions took place between some of the residents directly affected by the proposed diversion of Footpath 14 and the Parish Council, although in the absence of the applicant, Mr Thirlwell, some questions posed by members of the Parish Council could not be answered. Cllr Carlisle advised the residents present directly affected by the proposed diversion of Footpath 14 to go back and speak to the applicant regarding revisiting alternative routes suggested by the Ramblers Association.
In the absence of Cllr Turner, Mr Martin (in his capacity as member of the Town House Management Committee) explained that the committee were aware that various repair and remedial works needed to be carried out and that these needed to be driven forward by the committee. He spoke about the need for more volunteers to come forward to assist with this.
Cllr Slater noted that the fridge doors are still being left open and particularly with the new fridge (in the down stairs kitchen) this was unnecessary as it has a built in thermometer. Cllr Slater agreed that he would speak to Carol Robinson to ensure that they are left turned on with the doors closed.
Mr Martin agreed to write the Town House trustee’s report.
Mr Neil Drage has agreed to provide duplicate paperwork for the Fire Alarm testing to satisfy health and safety requirements.
The RoSPA inspection report undertaken in May has flagged up a couple of minor defects and Cllr Clark has now undertaken some of the repairs which were highlighted. Cllr Clark reported that the gates to the play area are still continually being left open and some of the panels on one of the kissing gates have been kicked out, additionally leaving the posts loose. Cllr Clark agreed to speak to James King to ask for costs to carry out the required repairs.
Cllr Clark confirmed that he has visited a number of children’s play areas in the area to look at the sort of play equipment they provided and styles etc. of the play areas. He additionally planned on contacting the Parish Clerks of those villages to find out how they went about funding their recent play ground projects.
Cllr Carlisle reported that he understood that The English Garden Company had experienced recent problems with their grass cutting equipment and this is what was causing the scruffy and unsatisfactory cutting of the grass on the Plaistow. Cllr Clark agreed to speak to Richard Wilson (of The English Garden Company) to make sure that he understood that the Plaistow needed to be in pristine condition prior to the Village Show on Saturday 13th July. A resident within the village, who works in the landscape industry had offered to cut the Plaistow, should it be required, prior to the Village Show. He additionally asked if he could put forward a tender for the contract when it was due in the New Year.
It was noted that a new resident of Bankside had erected a new fence and has requested to install a gate opening onto the Plaistow. Cllr Carlisle asked the Clerk to send the ‘standard letter’ to the residents to ensure they understood the Parish Councils’ position on the matter and the related legalities.
Nothing further to report, Cllr Clark reported that he had recently spoken to Mr G Kavanagh regarding this matter and that Mr Kavanagh was keen to progress this project in the near future.
Health & Safety
Cllr Slater advised that the recent Rospa report carried out to the play equipment and facilities in the Plaistow had shown no ‘high level’ issues. The report had however noted that some of the wooden equipment was continuing to show signs of deterioration and some bolts were loosening. As mentioned under Item No 9 above Cllr Clark has already undertaken some remedial works to the play equipment.
Cllr Slater reported that he is still waiting to receive the minutes of his last meeting with Janine Drew of Drew & Baltrop. He went on to explain that at their recent meeting Janine had expressed the need for the Town House Management Committee to hold a review of its Health & Safety policy and to effect any changes deemed necessary.
The Clerk reported that she had received a letter from Herts County Council Rights of Way Service regarding the diversion of part of Footpath 15 across land at Mincinbury, who despite our objections to the proposed diversion are in the process of granting permission. Cllr Carlisle informed the meeting that he understood that this application had the support of the Ramblers Association. Our objections on the grounds that by agreeing to this diversion a precedent would be set and that the diversion was not considered beneficial to anyone other than the landowner was dismissed. Hertfordshire Rights of Way Service considered that the proposed new route of this part of Footpath 15 is not less convenient to the public and the concern of setting a precedent is not a relevant consideration under s119.
Any Other Business
Mr Tim Martin, in his capacity as Governor for the Parish Council at Barley Primary School, asked if those present knew of anyone who might be interested in the position of Clerk to the Governors.
Meeting finished at 11.20pm