MINUTES FOR THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 2nd SEPTEMBER 2013
Cllr Jerry Carlisle (Chairman), Cllr Ian Turner, Cllr Tony Slater, Cllr Marc O’Brien,
Mrs Laura Childs (Clerk)
11 members of the public
Cllr Graham Clark, Dist Cllr Gerald Morris, Mr Tim Martin (RFO), Mrs Carol Turner (Chair of Town House)
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.
Minutes of Last Meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 1st July ’13 were read and approved. Proposed by Cllr Slater and seconded by Cllr Turner.
The minutes of the meeting held on 15th July ‘13 were read and approved. Proposed by Cllr Slater and seconded by Cllr Turner.
There being no other candidates and therefore no election necessary, it was unanimously agreed at this meeting to co-opt onto the Council Ms Rebecca Wear. Proposed by Cllr O’Brien and seconded by Cllr Turner.
Mr Brian Haughey spoke on behalf of the Speedwatch team. He explained that he had met Gordon Pearsall of Hertfordshire Traffic Management, and come away from what was a positive meeting with an action plan. Some of the items on the action plan require co-operation from Hertfordshire Highways and so Mr Haughey would be looking to arrange a meeting with them to discuss priorities etc. Mr Haughey reported that he also had been told that the Police will be undertaking speed checks within the village shortly and that this should re-enforce the actions previously undertaken by the Speedwatch team. Mr Haughey’s enquiry about the possibility of the parish council, with others, paying for the services of police to undertake speed checks has been passed on to the Herts Police Events Management Team and they will take that forward. Other ideas that have been put forward include; renewing the rumble strips, installing ‘dragons teeth’ road markings at each approach to the village, erecting 30mph repeater signs. It was additionally suggested that Barley Parish Council should produce a ‘Parish Police Plan’ whereby we set our priorities for policing in the Parish rather than the police setting their own agenda of our perceived requirements.
Cllr Carlisle reported that in connection with NHDC’s consultation concerning the revised extent of the proposed land allocation at Site 204 for development the Parish Council had made their submission to NHDC objecting in the strongest possible terms to the proposal. A petition signed by a significantly high proportion of the residents in the village objecting to the proposal had been handed in to NHDC and a large number of individual objections had also been made. It was understood that the District Council would be deciding which sites district wide, but including those put forward in Barley, they consider suitable to meet their housing allocation figures at the end of the year/early in 2014.
Mr Tim Martin (in his capacity as Parish Council Governor at Barley Primary School) requested that Cllr Carlisle inform the meeting that he is still trying to find someone to act as Clerk to the Governors. Should anyone know someone who may be suitable please could they advise him.
Financial Officers Report & Signing of Payments
In Mr Martin’s absence, Cllr Carlisle reported the following payments to be made on behalf of:
Malcolm George Grass cutting around village £420.00
Paid in August and proposed by Cllr Carlisle and seconded by Cllr Slater
VAT Support & Solutions Help & Advice in reclaiming VAT £200.00
Cllr Carlisle Reimbursed postage cost for NHDC Development Plan £180.00
Hardcastle & Burton BPC internal audit £420.00
Laura Childs Parish Clerk (July & August) £300.70
Drew & Baltrop Health & Safety advisory services £960.00
Proposed by Cllr Turner and seconded by Cllr Slater
Carol Robinson Cleaning (June) £ 61.60
Carol Robinson Cleaning (July) £ 75.00
Mr Ian Turner Re-imbursed for new Town House keys £108.00
Proposed by Cllr Wear and seconded by Cllr O’Brien
The Parish Council insurances are due for renewal with effect from 1st October ’13 and there will be a slight increase in the sums insured of 3% due to inflation. The premium for the year is £1873 although there are a couple of items that need to be raised with the brokers by way of clarification prior to renewal and Mr Martin will report further next month.
Land adjacent to Fox & Hounds Public House, High St, Barley.
Ref: 13/01699/1 ~ Full Planning Permission: Erection of one pair of 2 bedroom semi detached dwellings and one 3 bedroom detached dwelling; ancillary works and creation of access onto Church Lane
Mr Adrian Parkes (applicant) attended the meeting to answer any questions that the Parish Council and those present may have. Mr Parkes spoke about the history of the pub and his plans, and his need to fund renovations of the pub, repairs to the roof and the chimney. Cllr Carlisle presented the plans and the application was discussed at length. It was unanimously resolved that the Parish Council object to this application and that the Parish Council would respond to NHDC in the following terms :-
It is this council's view that the proposed development is contrary to the provisions of the Barley Selected Village Policy Area and the Barley Conservation Area. We consider that the proposed development would in particular have a significant and detrimental affect on the Village Character Area V2 which requires "Essential open spaces between buildings to be retained as characteristic of the village centre". The site for the proposed development is within and forms an important part of the curtilage of the public house, restaurant and grounds of the Fox and Hounds which is a listed Grade 2 building. 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 dwellings is to be associated with, and incidental to, the use and occupation of the existing Fox and Hounds public house? Probably very doubtful.
The development would result in the complete loss of all the external amenity area of open grass and seating and childrens play area which we consider to be an essential part of the necessary offering required for a village pub. While the development would result in only a marginal loss of onsite parking (17 in place of 20+ currently) the fact that 2 of these spaces would be reserved for staff, coupled with reduced servicing for the business, and the need for clear rights of access over what is left of the car park for the benefit of the owners/occupiers of the plots 1 and 2 would in reality severely restrict the usability of the car parking for the pub/restaurant users. We consider that the potential access conflict between patrons of the pub and the private residential occupiers and their visitors of the pair of semi detached properties to be highly undesirable. We note that access to one of the car spaces reserved for Plot 1 is over "Bankside" which so far as we know is a private road in the ownership of either NHDC or Hertfordshire Homes and where the applicant admits he has not reached nor apparently even sought any agreement to use "Bankside" for access. Even if such agreement was reached the vehicular manoeuvre necessary to use the parking space would undoubtedly be highly unsatisfactory on highway safety grounds. We also note that it is proposed to close the existing access to the pub from Church End and to replace it with an access for the proposed Plot 3. However the on site parking/turning area for Plot 3, as shown, appears wholly inadequate suggesting that for a 3 bedroom detached house as proposed the plot size is too small (there is also no garage shown). This being the case an enlarged plot 3 would have a further detrimental affect on the remaining parking and servicing areas available for the public house.
The Parish Council have major concerns about the future trading intentions of the applicant for the property as a public house and restaurant and would wish to ensure that whatever potential the property may have to adapt to changing needs in the future for village public houses/restaurants are maintained and not eroded by short term monetary motivation.
This includes ensuring, particularly where it exists as part of the existing holding, sufficient land compatable with rural hostelry needs is maintained. In this regard we are aware that the applicant has recently been actively seeking to dispose of his interest in the property and continues to do so. By the applicants own admission, confirmed at the parish council meeting on 2nd September 2013, and mentioned in the Design and Access Statement, the public house is currently running at a loss and the sale of the 3 housing plots (which the applicant has confirmed would be his intention if consent were to be granted) would not change that. Whether the applicant would invest any of the proceeds in the repairs and improvements referred in the Design and Access Statement used to justify these proposals is considered very questionable indeed. The lost open grass, seating area and childrens play area, the reduced car parking and servicing area to the public house and generally poorly thought out access arrangements to plots 1 and 2, and apparent plot size shortcomings of plot 3, will all further undermine the future viability of the Fox and Hounds as a public house and restaurant and potentially lead to the permanent loss of this significant local amenity and well known local landmark.
Notwithstanding this last comment we reiterate that this application is in this council's view wholly inappropriate in this location situated as it is in the heart of the village and is contrary to both the Barley Selected Village Policy and the Barley Conservation Area which require amongst other things "........to 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...". The development proposed in this application clearly fails to achieve any of these things, is poorly conceived and should be rejected.
We understand that apart from this councils objection that in excess of 18 separate objections to the proposed development have also been made and that consequently NHDC will have full regard to the clear opposition within the village to this proposal.
Proposed diversion of part of Barley footpath 14 & 15
Mr Thomas Kier one of the landowners involved with the proposed diversion of Barley Footpath 14 & 15 was present at the meeting. Cllr Carlisle advised that the Parish Council do not usually look favourably upon footpath or other rights of way diversions unless there are clear benefits to the wider community, as distinct from individual landowner’s benefits, in such diversions. However in the case of the proposed diversions affecting both footpaths 14 & 15 the Parish Council would be minded to support a diversion but only if the route promoted by the Ramblers Association and the Parish Council was adopted by the applicants.
Mr Kier agreed to do his best to get all of the landowners involved with these applications to re-look at the Ramblers Association and Parish Councils preferred route to the northern end of Footpath 14 in an attempt to resolve this issue.
Cllr Carlisle reported on behalf of Mr Martin (Town House Committee member) that he had noted that the sink in the downstairs kitchen appears to have a slow leak and needs repair. Additionally the kettles seem to have disappeared and their whereabouts needed to be resolved and to ensure that they are returned. It was also noted that some of the old chairs remain in use and need to be removed. Cllr Turner reminded the meeting that the Town House Management Committee had all declared that they would be stepping down at the next AGM in May 2014 and that this may well be an ideal opportunity to re-think the structure and way that the Town House is managed.
Cllr Carlisle confirmed that he has spoken to Hanson Contractors regarding the repairs of the roof / guttering. They had offered a rough estimate of £700 /800 but advised that it would be impossible to determine exactly what works were required to carry out the repairs properly until they had removed some of the roof tiles and investigated further. This was particularly relevant regarding the bottom end of the rafters carrying the gutter which may be rotten and require replacing in part.
Cllr Slater advised that he understood most of the items/repairs required to the play equipment, raised in the recent RoSPA report, had now been carried out. In the absence of Cllr Clark there was nothing further to report.
The Clerk reported that she had received an email from Mr Geoff Kavanagh of the Scouts advising that they are hosting a regional scouting event on 29th September involving some 300 Beavers and Scouts and asking for permission to park cars on the Plaistow. There was some discussion regarding concerns on churning up the grass should the weather / ground be wet and Cllr Carlisle asked the Clerk to request that Mr Kavanagh contact him to discuss further.
Health & Safety
Cllr Slater advised that there was nothing major to report but asked that the ‘warning strips’ on the stairs are replaced as they have worn off. He additionally advised that the next meeting with Drew & Baltrop (Health & Safety advisors to the Parish Council) is arranged for October.
The Clerk reported that she had spoken with Susanne Crouchman who currently produces and distributes the ‘Welcome to Barley’ booklet to all new comers to the village. Mrs Crouchman is looking for a volunteer to take over from her, as of 31st December 2013. The Clerk asked the meeting if they knew of anyone who may be interested to contact Mrs Crouchman for further details about what is involved. Other correspondence received was to be circulated to Councillors.
Any Other Business
Localism scheme / Parish Plan
Following the grave concerns expressed by most of the village regarding the recent land allocation submissions (in particular site 204) as part of the new Local Plan being formulated by NHDC a number of concerned villagers requested that the Parish Council look into the merits of developing a Parish Plan in order to influence and guide the way in which Barley is developed in the future. Such a Plan would have regard to the NHDC Local Plan but would enable the district council to perhaps have better regard to local needs and wishes. A member of the public spoke regarding their worries that the current planning system appears to be too often developer led rather than a ‘formal plan’ set up and structured such that the villagers shape their own destiny. Cllr Carlisle suggested that we seek advice from NHDC as to exactly what benefits the implementation of such a plan would have for the village. The Clerk agreed to set up a meeting with the person responsible for advising on Parish Plans at North Hertfordshire District Council so that a better understanding of the implications and the process involved could be achieved.
Cllr Slater asked the Clerk to place a notice in The Diary advising of a spare allotment plot and that anyone in the village interested in taking it on should contact Cllr Slater.
Cllr Turner advised the meeting that he has put in a planning application to have two trees removed from his garden. Whilst this is not a planning issue that the Parish Council would be requested to comment upon he felt it prudent to mention it to the meeting.
Following Cllr Wear signing the Declaration of Acceptance of Office book, the Clerk confirmed that she would send through the Declaration of Interest form that also needs to be completed.
Meeting closed at 10.30pm