MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 4th MARCH 2013 AT 8PM
Present: Cllr Jeremy Carlisle (Chairman), Cllr Ian Turner, Cllr Graham Clark, Cllr Tony Slater, Cllr M O’Brien, Dst Cllr G Morris, Mr Timothy Martin (Financial Officer), Mrs Laura Childs (Clerk)
One member of the public, Community Support Officer Chris Braebrook
Apologies: Cllr Geoff Kavanagh
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 4th February 2013
The minutes of the meeting on 4th February 2013 were read and approved.
Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr T Slater
Only one response has been received from the letters sent out regarding the tender for the contract to cut the grass on the Plaistow. The Clerk agreed to chase up the other two to see if they still wish to tender for the contract.
Brian Haughey confirmed that he has spoken to Supt Andy McCraken, responsible for Crime Reduction & Community Safety, regarding funding for speed reducing measures within villages, he has been told that their budget won’t stretch to fund such projects and that they are having to focus on fatal collision accident hot spots. The cross roads at Picknage Road with Cambridge Road were discussed and the many accidents that have occurred here and Mr Haughey said that he would try to get this area classified as a ‘hot spot’ to enable some sort of funding to be given to the budget to improve road safety in this part of the village.
Cllr Carlisle asked the Clerk to report again the sunken drain in the highway next to Brick House as no action had been taken despite reporting it last month.
Cllr Turner suggested putting up small permanent triangular signs indicating that Speedwatch operates in the village. No-one objected to this suggestion and Cllr Turner agreed to look into any costs involved. Cllr Turner reported that the Speedwatch teams were now permitted to operate in just teams of two people and that a hand held radar gun (similar to that used by the police) was now being used.
Cllr Carlisle has spoken with Cllr Kavanagh and as previously thought he will unfortunately have to stand down from his position of Councillor due to work commitments. He is happy to remain in post until such time as a replacement can be found. The Clerk agreed to put an article in the Diary asking if anyone would be interested in joining the Parish Council.
Cllr Turner asked the Clerk to contact Ringways to request that the ‘dangerous slippery road’ signs be removed from the corner by The Fox & Hounds. They have been in place for some weeks now and the issue with the slippery road has long been resolved.
The Clerk reported that she had made contact with P3 and been advised to speak to Groundwork who are now administering P3. She is now awaiting a response from them regarding the repairs to various benches within the Parish, particularly ‘Polly’s Perch’ (bench) on Picknage Road which has suffered extensive damage. Cllr Slater reported that the bench outside the Doctors surgery also required some repair.
Financial Officers Report & Signing of Payments
Payments this month
Laura Childs Parish Clerk (February) £ 136.80
Herts Tree Care Works to Sycamore Tree at rear of Town House £ 288.00
Tim Martin RFO fees (Dec, Jan & Feb) £ 180.00
Graham Clark Re-imbursement for signs to Playground £ 42.00
It was proposed by Cllr I Turner and seconded by Cllr T Slater that the payments should be made.
Alison Stacey Letting officers fee (February) £ 104.50
Carol Robinson Cleaning (January & February) £ 124.00
Vicky Stacey Additional Cleaning (February) £ 37.50
Busy Bee Various works to include: Flood light, back door £ 321.62
It was proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr M O’Brien that the payments should be made.
Mr Martin explained that he had taken the opportunity to attend a free session regarding VAT laid on by HAPTC. As Mr Martin was the only RFO to take part he was lucky enough to receive some very in depth and helpful advice. Further to this information, Mr Martin is of the belief that the Parish Council will be able to claim back a ‘not inconsiderable sum’ in relation to the works carried out to the Club Room and the purchase of the Marquees for the Village Show Committee. Mr Martin will continue to research this matter.
Cllr Carlisle informed the meeting that a review of our Risk Assessment Schedule, including the auditing and reporting of our finances, is now due. The meeting conducted a review of the effectiveness of our systems of internal control with particular reference to our financial risk, which included the arrangements for the management of risk in accordance with our risk assessment schedules. The meeting concluded that our current systems and arrangements appeared suitably robust and that no changes to our risk management appeared necessary at the present time.
The meeting reviewed the plans and discussed the application. It was unanimously agreed that there were no objections to the application but the Clerk was asked to note in the response to planning that whilst this application falls outside of the village envelope the Parish Council feel that the site, scale and setting for the extension are in keeping with the current property.
Mulberry, High Street, Barley, Herts, SG8 8JA. Case ref: 1/00219/1HH ~ Full permission: replacement detached garage
The application was discussed and it was unanimously agreed that there were no objections.
Cllr Carlisle discussed with Dst Cllr Morris the frustrations that we as a Parish Council often have regarding planning issues. As a Parish Council we try to remain consistent when reviewing applications and feel in return that this consistency isn’t applied at a higher level. Dst Cllr Morris expressed that in his view it was generally best to ask planning to come out and speak to the Parish Council regarding any contentious planning issues.
The meeting discussed The Housing Options - Growth Levels and Directions and/or the Community Infrastructure Levy – Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule 2013. Cllr O’Brien agreed to gather the council’s comments together and distribute via email for agreement prior to submission before the deadline of 28th March. Dst Cllr Morris requested a copy of our submission for his reference.
Cllr Turner reported that the Town House had held their committee meeting in early February. It was decided at this meeting that thermometers that can be screwed / fixed to the inside of the fridges would be purchased to monitor the temperatures of the fridges. The temperatures will initially be constantly monitored and if found to be consistent a schedule for reporting the temperatures would be drawn up. If it proved that the temperatures were not consistent then it would be necessary to look into replacing the fridges.
It was reported that a deep clean of the kitchens had been carried out and whilst Cllr Turner hadn’t had the opportunity to take a thorough look, it was generally felt that it was satisfactory. Cllr Turner advised that an extra cleaner had been employed to work some additional hours, and that the fridges were to be cleaned weekly.
Cllr Turner reported that Busy Bees had visited to repair some wiring problems that were present in the thermostat that was controlling the heating in the gents loos.
The fire alarm annual service has now been undertaken and the alarm maintenance record book has been signed and stamped but has not been returned by the contractor (Neil Drage). Cllr Clark agreed to contact him to ensure it is returned.
Cllr Clark has been unable to get hold of James King to ask him to complete repairs to the fencing in the Plaistow, he will continue to pursue him regarding this.
Cllr Clark also reported that there has been further deliberate damage caused to a fence post and the recent ‘no dogs’ signs erected in the childrens play area. CSO Braebrook confirmed that he had been monitoring the area since speaking with Cllr Clark about the recent vandalism experienced in the area and would continue to do so.
In the absence of Cllr Kavanagh there was nothing further to report.
11. Health & Safety
Cllr Slater reported that he was happy with the deep clean that had been carried out within the Town House kitchens. There were a couple of bits of fencing in the Plaistow that needed attention, Cllr Clark was aware of this and was organising repairs via James King.
The Clerk had been contacted with a complaint about severe dog fouling to a footpath running off Smiths End Lane towards Pudding Lane and it was discussed whether a dog bin placed along the footpath in question might alleviate the problem. The Clerk was asked to look into costs of having a dog bin installed and the additional annual cost to empty the extra bin. It was noted that the parishioner had themselves made admirable efforts to dissuade further fouling in the area.
Email correspondence has been received from Sworders regarding the proposed diversion of part of footpath 14. Unfortunately it was received too late to add as an agenda item for this meeting but it will be added to the agenda of our next meeting. The content was however briefly discussed and it was noted that the preferred route at the northern section favoured by the Ramblers Association did not appear to have been used in this recent proposal. The Clerk was asked to correspond with Heidi Smith of Sworders to enquire why they had not chosen to use this route.
All correspondence received was to be circulated to Councillors.
Any other Business
Community Support Officer Braebrook spoke to the meeting about recent crime in the area, which included shed break-ins with tools, bikes and scrap metal stolen. Cllr Clark and CSO Braebrook have additionally recently met to discuss the current problems with vandalism in the Plaistow area. CSO Braebrook advised that 101 should be called to report anyone who is seen to be acting suspiciously. Cllr Carlisle expressed concern that police liaison should take place between Herts, Essex and Cambridgeshire forces as we are so close to all these counties. Cllr Turner asked about how to go about registering people onto the Neighbourhood Watch email notification ‘OWL’ system, which can be set up to notify registered members to alert them to targeted crimes, such as vehicle theft, horse tack thefts etc. CSO Braebrook explained that you could register for ‘OWL’ (which stands for Online Watch Link) via the website www.owl.co.uk and follow the links to find our nearest watch scheme.
Cllr Carlisle has been advised by Jack Shephard (retiring Chairman of Village Show Committee) that a meeting is to be held later this month, in the Town House, calling for new people to join the committee and to take over the running of the annual Village Show. Cllr Turner agreed to attend the meeting.
As the first Monday of April falls on Easter Monday it was agreed that the next Parish Council meeting would be held on Monday 8th April. The date for the May Parish Council meeting and the Parish Council AGM was decided as 13th May and the Annual Village Meeting would be held on Wednesday 22nd May. The Clerk agreed to post these dates in the Diary and on the village notice boards.
The meeting closed at 10.20pm