MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 3rd JUNE 2013 AT 8PM
Present: Cllr Jeremy Carlisle, Cllr Tony Slater, Cllr Mark O’Brien, Cllr Ian Turner, Cllr Graham Clark, Mrs Laura Childs (Clerk), Mr Tim Martin (RFO), 3 members of the public
Apologies: Dst Cllr Morris, Cllr G Kavanagh
Councillor’s declaration of interests
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.
Minutes of last meeting
The minutes of the meeting on 20th May 2013 were read and approved.
Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr M O’Brien
Mr Richard Emmerson spoke on behalf of the Speedwatch team regarding recent issues between themselves and the local police authority. The problems that have arisen have resulted in Brian Haughey being asked to step aside from his role within Speedwatch. Mr Emmerson explained that without Mr Haughey’s dedicated input the team felt that they would not be able to continue. Mr Emmerson is due to meet with the police again shortly and is trying to resolve issues and misunderstandings that have occurred recently in a move to get Mr Haughey reinstated. Mr Haughey and Cllr Turner spoke about the possibility of installing chicanes within the village and Cllr Carlisle expressed the view that while this issue may need to be considered and discussed and perhaps put before the village as a whole at some point other avenues should be explored first.
The Clerk reported that she has brought the sunken drain / pot hole in the road outside Brick House, Church End to the attention of Gary Henning of Hertfordshire Highways. She has advised him that despite reporting the problem to the Fault Line several times, no repair works have been carried out. Mr Henning has raised the problem with Ringway and agreed to report back.
The Clerk confirmed that she has been advised of the relevant process to follow in co-opting another Councillor following the formal resignation of Cllr Kavangah and advised the meeting accordingly. It was agreed to implement this process as quickly as possible with a view to co-opting a new Councillor with the minimum of delay.
Cllr Carlisle has spoken to Mr Phil Smith regarding the bench repairs required at various locations within the village. Mr Smith was previously responsible for organising the installation of these benches and has confirmed that he doesn’t hold any spares. He advised that the wood for the benches was acquired from Whippletree at Flintcross. Cllr Carlisle is to look into completing the works request sheet to put to Groundwork Hertfordshire, who can assist with such repairs.
The Clerk has been advised that new risk assessments and method statements are being carried out by John O’Connor with regard to the grass cutting at Bankside. Following this review the service should be resumed.
Cllr Carlisle requested that Mr Martin (in his capacity of Parish Council Governor for Barley School) find out what the situation is regarding the locking of the barrier/fence in the car park at the school which is supposed to be removable to allow emergency services free access.
Financial Officers report & signing of payments
Payments this month
Malcolm George Strimming & grass cutting (March & April) £315.00
Laura Childs Parish Clerk (May & Expenses) £214.35
It was proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr I Turner that these payments should be made.
Carol Robinson Cleaning (May) £ 64.00
Vicky Stacey Extra cleaning (May) £ 22.50
Alison Stacey Letting officer fee (May) £165.50
Vanessa Martin Caretaking (May) £ 50.00
It was proposed by Cllr M O’Brien and seconded by Cllr G Clark that these payments should be made.
Mr Martin explained that he is still looking into the possibility of claiming back VAT for the last three years. He understood from his research that he may also be able to claim back VAT for the Town House too as the Parish Council are sole trustees of the property. Cllr Carlisle thanked Mr Martin for all his time spent working on this matter.
Mr Martin presented the Town House accounts 2012-2013 to the meeting. It was proposed by Cllr M O’Brien and seconded by Cllr G Clark that the accounts be approved and accepted by the Council.
Proposed Diverson of part of Barley Footpath 15
Following a brief discussion Cllr Carlisle proposed and the meeting agreed that this application should not be considered in isolation and that any further discussions or decision should be deferred and be run in conjunction with the decision on the proposed diversion of Barley footpath 14.
Laurels, High Street, Barley ~ 12/02245/1HH Two storey and single storey rear extensions following demolition of existing rear extensions (amended by plans received 16th May ’13)
Following discussion it was unanimously agreed that there were no objections to this application / amendment.
Chequers Inn, London Road, Barley ~ 13/01107/1CAC & 13/01106/1 Demolition of barn and erection of one dwelling with car barn and associated hard surfacing and landscaping
Following a review of the plans and general discussion it was unanimously agreed to respond with the following comments:
Barley Parish Council objects to the proposed development and in arriving at this decision it wishes the District Council to take into account the following comments:-
It is this council's view that the size, scale and height of the proposed development is excessive and is inappropriate in this location and is contrary to the provisions of the Barley Selected Village Policy Area (Policy 7) and the Barley Conservation Area (Policy 20). We consider that the proposed development would also have a significant and detrimental affect on the private amenity area of the existing public house by removing virtually the whole of the current private garden. The site for the proposed development is within and forms part of the curtilage of the public house and grounds of the Chequers Inn. We note however that the application does not include for any change of use from, presumably, A4 (Drinking Establishments - public houses etc) to residential. Is it intended therefore that the use of the new dwelling is to be associated with, and incidental to, the use and occupation of the existing Chequers Inn?
We consider that the height of the proposed development, stated to be 6.6m from the internal floor level to the ridge but more probably some 6.9m from the external ground level, coupled with the the fact that the site is elevated from the adjoining roads and properties by some 1m, is excessive and will unduly dominate the surrounding properties. The size and scale is also in our view excessive.The proposed building amounts to some 229sqm (2465 sqft) which is over 254% bigger than the existing barn which is proposed to be demolished and which itself amounts to some 90sqm (969sqft) - about the size of a small estate house.
The loss of the barn will also have unfortunate consequences by opening up the whole development site in what is currently a very attractive environment and vista for all the residents in and around The Mount. In this respect we consider that any development proposal for this site ( in connection with which we acknowledge that the site lies within the Barley Selected Village Policy Area) should retain the barn which, from inspection, is clearly a very old building, probably long pre-dating the Chequers Inn itself, and which the applicant's advisers admit is not in poor structural condition but rather is in a generally sound state of repair. The barn could in our view be quite easily altered/adapted and used for the garaging, storage and utility room proposed as part of the new build in the application and if coupled with a more modest single storey new build development either attached to the barn, or even as a stand alone unit, would be far more in keeping with this sensitive location and maintain the important screening to the site that already exists.
The applicants Design & Access Statement refers to the site of the development as being an infill residential plot. Clearly this statement is wrong as any site inspection would demonstrate. The whole site amounts to some 0.325 hectares (0.80 acres) upon which there is one single building (the public house) and one quite large barn, forming one corner to the whole, amounting to some 90sqm (969sq ft) which is proposed to be demolished. There is nothing else on this side of the road. The whole site forms part of the very attractive entrance gateway into the village from the south (Barkway) on the B1368 and if permitted would result in the loss of a substantial part of the screening of the site afforded to the other surrounding properties on The Mount.
With regard to the proposed substantial loss of the private garden amenity to the public house we also regard this as a major issue as not only will it adversely affect the private use and enjoyment of the Chequers by the publicans and their families from time to time but will also severely restrict the potential for the public house to be altered/adapted/extended, subject to appropriate consents etc, to meet the possible future trading needs of the property as a public house. The parish council have major concerns about the future trading intentions of the applicant for the property as a public house and would wish to ensure that whatever potential the property may have to adapt to changing needs over time are maintained.
The conversion of the barn with perhaps some modest additions for use as "Bed and Breakfast" accommodation in connection with the use of The Chequers would we feel be a much better alternative to what is proposed.
As it stands the current application is in this council's view inappropriate in this location and is contrary to both the Barley Selected Village Policy and the Barley Conservation Area Policy, which require amongst other things ".....retaining and improving an existing building which contributes to the character or visual quality of the village and would maintain or enhance the character or visual quality of the village or the surrounding area and within a Conservation Area the positive preservation or enhancement of its character will be expected and will refuse the demolition of buildings which are important to the visual quality of the Conservation Area the loss of which would adversely affect its character ...". The development proposed in this application clearly fails to achieve any of these things and should be rejected.
We understand that some of the adjoining owners and occupiers also object to the proposed development.
If despite this councils' strong objections NHDC are nevertheless minded to approve the application we would request that suitable and enforceable conditions are imposed requiring the provision of all the amended/replacement public house leisure activities prior to the development commencing; that all necessary protection measures for all the trees on the development site are agreed and in place/implemented prior to any work commencing; and that all permitted development rights relating to the whole site (not just the development site) are withdrawn.
Mr Martin advised that the new fridge has been delivered and installed in the downstairs kitchen. Cllr Carlisle will endeavour to speak to Hanson Builders with regard to the repairs to the roof.
Cllr Slater reminded the meeting that the Marriage Licence for the Town House expires at the end of this year and would need to be renewed between April and October. Cllr Turner confirmed that this had been discussed at the recent Town House AGM and was in hand.
Cllr Clark advised that the grass has been cut and that no further damage has been done to the fencing panels. The gates to the children’s play area are still being left open, despite signs asking people to close them. Cllr Slater has recently visited a number of local villages play parks and advised that Melbourn, Whaddon and Gamlingay all have new equipment. Cllr Clark requested the Clerk to find out the Parish Clerks contact details and he would approach them to ask how they went about fund raising for their respective projects. It was noted that the RoSPA report was due shortly in respect of the annual inspection of the Plaistow and Children’s Play Area which is usually carried out in June.
In the absence of Cllr Kavanagh there was nothing further to report. Cllr Carlisle reported that following discussions with Cllr Kavanagh (and with his impending resignation in mind), he had been assured that he would maintain his interest in this project and would be happy to liaise with the Parish Council and the Scouts Association to drive this project forward.
Health & Safety
Cllr Slater advised that following the visit last week by Janine Drew of the council’s Health and Safety Consultants, Drew & Baltrop, she was generally pleased with the level of our Heath & Safety measures in place. There were however a couple of additional items that she recommended introducing which included a Caterers Check List and Manual Handling Notices, which should be displayed in the upstairs kitchen area. She additionally took the opportunity to review the Risk Assessment Schedule for Barley Parish Council and will let us have any amendments she considers necessary. Janine Drew also suggested that we have suitable risk assessments from Busy Bee for any electrical works they may carry out and that the test certificate and annual service records for the fire alarms be collated and kept in a suitably secure location preferably on site. Cllr Clark agreed to get copies of these from Drage Security. She also expressed some dismay at the state of the upstairs kitchen, particularly as it had recently had a ‘deep clean’. Additionally despite previous advice given the fridge was turned off, with the door left open and it smelt. Cllr Turner said that he would bring this to the attention of Mrs Carole Turner (Town House Chair).
All correspondence received was to be circulated to Councillors.
Any Other Business
Complaints have been received regarding hedges overhanging the footpath in London Road particularly outside the property known as Sunnyside. This is causing an obstruction to the footpath and Cllr Carlisle had been advised of a ‘near collision’ between a vehicle and a pedestrian earlier in the week due to the restricted width of the footpath. The Clerk agreed to write to the property owners and request that they have their hedges cut back.
Meeting closed at 10.30pm