MINUTES FOR THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 1st DECEMBER 2014
Cllr Jerry Carlisle (Chairman), Cllr Ian Turner, Cllr Tony Slater, Cllr Graham Clark, Cllr Georgina Northen, County Cllr Tony Hunter, District Cllr Gerald Morris, Mr Tim Martin (RFO), Mrs Laura Childs (Clerk)
2 members of the public.
Cllr M O’Brien
Councillor’s declaration of interests
Minutes of last meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 3rd November were read and the Clerk was asked to amend a typographical error, and following this amendment being made the minutes were approved.
Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr T Slater.
The Clerk reported that she had received a letter from Sgt Steve Oliphant on behalf of Julie Wheatley, Chief Inspector following the Parish Councils correspondence back in late October.
Mr Brian Haughey of Barley Speedwatch team then advised that he had heard today that Sgt Oliphant has in fact now been replaced by a Sgt Guy Westwood. The Clerk reported that save for a holding letter no response has been received from the Chief Constable following the Parish Councils correspondence in late October asking for the cost of hiring a police officer on a daily basis to carry out speed checks throughout the village. Cllr Carlisle asked the Clerk to write again asking for a response. Mr Haughey explained that he is considering attending one of the Highways Panel meetings where he, as a member of the public, is entitled to ask a question. Following discussions it was suggested that perhaps he should instead attend the Overview of Scrutiny Committee where he would also be able to ask a question.
Mr Haughey went on to explain that there are now only 5 active speed watch groups throughout Hertfordshire and that the police are asking the groups to destroy any records that they might hold after each Speedwatch session. Mr Nick Shaw (a member of the public) spoke about his Speedwatch experience in Cambridgeshire and told of what a positive and effective experience he’d had. Following further discussions it was agreed that by getting the police to carry out ‘official’ speed checks in the village, on a more regular basis, this would reinforce the Speedwatch message but with police resources so stretched at the present time this could probably only be achieved through the ‘rent-a-cop’ idea. It is therefore vital that we can get an answer about whether we will be permitted to do this and how much it would cost.
Mr Haughey informed the meeting that he has been asked by a number of people in the village about why the speed activated signs have not appeared recently, stating that they felt they had been very effective for the brief amount of time that they had been in place. Mr Haughey has looked into the cost to purchase such signs and each unit is £2,200.
County Cllr Hunter was asked if this could be a possible expenditure under his Highways Localities Budget. Cllr Hunter advised that whilst it was unlikely that the whole amount could be forthcoming it was something that he would be prepared to consider.
Cllr Carlisle spoke about the issue of cutting back the trees on Bankside and explained the history of this to the meeting. The trees stand on land that is at the top of the bank on Bankside and Herts Highways are arguing that apart from one tree this strip of land is not their responsibility and that either Hertfordshire Homes or NHDC are responsible. However both NHDC and Hertfordshire Homes are arguing that it’s Highways responsibility. District Cllr Morris agreed to investigate the matter further to see if he could get a resolution to the problem. The Clerk was asked to forward to Cllr Morris an email from Mr Gary Henning who is Herts County Councils’ Highways Locality Officer for North Herts containing a map showing the land that is considered to be highway land.
The Clerk reported that despite several attempts she had not been able to get a response from Mr Derek Jerrard, our contact at Ringways, Herts County Councils Highways contractor regarding the road gullys and surface water issues around the village. County Cllr Hunter advised that he is due to meet with Mr Jerrard shortly and agreed to raise this issue with him at this meeting.
Cllr Carlise advised that the licence to assign the lease of the Club Room has now gone through and the new tenant will no doubt be moving in soon. The rent due on 25th December 2014 would be payable by the new tenant and Mr Martin was requested to send an invoice to Bright Advertising Ltd for the sum due.
Cllr Carlise advised that he had visited Mr and Mrs Marshes property in Smiths End Lane to take a look at the business operations. Cllr Carlisle explained that following discussions Mr Marsh had spoken about possibly moving the business on in approx. 15 – 18 months time when it was a little more established. Cllr Carlisle is of the opinion that the business is now such that planning permission is required and will need to move premises sooner rather than later. Mr Marsh has now spoken with the planners who have indicated that based upon his confirmation that it is his intention to move the business to more appropriate premises in approx 12 to 15 months time they will not take action at this time but will monitor the position. The invitation still stands for all Councillors to visit the premises and take a look at the scale of the business, Cllr Carlisle asked for availability dates from all Councillors present to arrange a mutually convenient date.
It is still uncertain who actually owns the War Memorial, Cllr Turner agreed to follow up with Mr David Williams, Chairman of the British Legion . Cllr Carlisle said that he would also ask Mr Reg Cording and /or Mr Phil Smith if they know who is responsible for/ owns the Memorial.
Financial Officers report & signing of payments
Mr Martin reported that the following payments were due this month
Laura Childs Parish Clerk (November hours) £187.20
Tim Martin RFO (November hours, re-imbursement of ‘Host-it’
annual fee paid @ £79 and stationary @ £35) £235.54
Stuart Bullard & Son Ltd Grass Cutting of the Plaistow (16 cuts) £960.00
Malcolm George Annual charge Grass Cutting (Childrens Play area) £600.00
The Diary Parish Plan article £160.00
Sapele Design Part charges for design of new changing facilities £300.00
It was agreed that these payments should be made.
Proposed by Cllr Clark and seconded by Cllr I Turner
Carol Robinson Cleaning & materials (November) £ 63.70
It was agreed that these payments should be made.
Proposed by Cllr Turner and seconded by Cllr Slater
Mr Martin advised that a slight adjustment was required to the submitted Town House accounts as a result of the actual date when monies for a wedding were received and when the wedding took place.
2015 / 2016 Precept
The meeting reviewed the budget which has been prepared and previously distributed to everyone by Mr Martin. Various items of expenditure were discussed. Of note, the Lock Up, which is an expense that has been carried forward through several years but no restoration has take place needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Cllr Northen asked about the regulations on building up large sums in the bank account and Cllr Carlisle explained that it was allowed if the monies were to be spent on a costly item, such as the renovation of the roof to the Town House.
Cllr Carlisle suggested putting aside some funds (£1,000) for any future expenditure on policing in the village through the ‘rent –a-cop’ scheme. It was additionally suggested that the sum for Professional Fees should be increased (up to £1,500) should the new changing room facilities be pursued.
Following further discussions it was unanimously agreed that the precept should remain the same as the current year. Mr Martin will make the agreed amendments and the final budget will be agreed at our next meeting.
Ref: 14/03037/1HH Crown House, Shaftenhoe End, Barley, SG8 8LE. Single storey side and rear extensions following demolition of existing rear extension
Following a review of the submitted drawings and discussions of the plans, it was agreed that there are no objections to this application. The Clerk was asked to advise NHDC accordingly.
Local plan – NHDC’s Draft Preferred Options Plan is now available for viewing and out for public consultation. As the draft plan stands at the moment, there have been no sites allocated for substantial development within Barley. There are however proposals to amend the village envelope slightly and which appear to largely consist of including certain areas of garden land previously excluded and to take in some old farm outbuildings including those on the corner of Picknage Rd and Chishill Rd. County Cllr Hunter commented that any land that has been put forward as a preferred option will in all probability go into the final plan. Nevertheless as advised above the NHDC Draft Local Preferred Options Plan is now out for consultation and the Parish Council are able to comment on it.
Mr Shaw advised the meeting that he has submitted a planning application for his property at White Cottage (formerly White House) High Street, Barley. He is applying to knock down their existing garage and conservatory and replace it with a brick built extension although not increasing the current foot print of the property. The Clerk advised that the application has not yet officially been received and that this would most probably be discussed at our next meeting on 5th Jan ’15.
Mr Martin asked Cllr Turner if he could arrange for the internal keys for the Town House to be passed on to him. The room housing the large electric hot water tank needs to be inspected and currently only the Railway Club appear to have a key which is rather unsatisfactory.
Mr Martin reported that at the last function it was discovered that there is a problem with the cooker. Cllr Carlisle agreed to find someone to call in to repair it.
Mr Martin advised that he is still chasing the last electricity supplier of the Town House, Scottish Power, for a refund of monies owed.
Following discussions about the cleanliness of the building it was suggested that the floors could do with a deep clean and polish. Cllr Carlisle advised that he had a contact and would call them to obtain a quotation.
For the benefit of our new Councillor, Cllr Northen and for the members of the public present, Cllr Carlisle described the Town House and the Parish Councils role as trustee. He explained that our Letting Officer, Alison Stacey, handled all bookings and since the Management Committee had disbanded in May of this year the day to day management falls to the Parish Council. It is hoped that a new Management Committee can be formed in the future and Cllr Northen expressed an interest in assisting with this. Mr Shaw also expressed an interest and agreed to consider joining a newly formed committee.
It was reported that the newly installed gate that is sited at the exit of the Plaistow onto Bankside has been vandalised, Cllr Clark agreed to repair it.
The repairs authorised at the last meeting to the childrens play equipment are progressing, James King will be carrying out some of the works.
Cllr Northen reported that the new plans for the playground showcased at the Christmas Fair received a positive response. The feedback received needs to be collated and the findings will be reported to the Parish Council. Cllr Northen suggested that it would be best practice if the new playground committee set up a formal constitution as they will be raising quite a bit of money, it was agreed that this was a good idea.
Cllr Northen asked if a separate bank account could be opened in the playground committees name, a lot of the grant applications call for this as a matter of policy. Mr Martin agreed that he would arrange for this to happen.
Cllr Turner spoke on behalf of the Tennis Club who have asked for clarification on where they would be permitted to site some form of shelter on the perimeter of the tennis courts. Discussions took place about the tennis club and the need to ensure that it was accessible to all members of the village. Cllr Turner spoke in detail about the clubs policies with that regard and assured all present that all members of the village and indeed neighbouring villages were welcome at the club, that the fees charged were extremely reasonable and some of the cheapest in the area. The tennis club advertise its policies on both its website and via a notice on the tennis club fence instructing people on how they can gain access to the courts. Cllr Carlisle asked Cllr Turner if he could go back to the tennis club and find out exactly what type of shelter they ideally would like and its required position and that the Parish Council could then consider this request.
Cllr Carlisle advised that he is still waiting to hear from Curwens regarding the detail of the title to the Town House car park. In the meantime P R Newson Ltd have been instructed to proceed with the required tree assessment for planning purposes.
Health & Safety
Cllr Slater reported that he had met with Janine Drew of Drew & Baltrop, the Parish Councils advisors on Health & Safety. Mrs Drew was quite happy with everything, although she picked up on a few items that we are already of aware of and are in the process of dealing with. She is however keen to look in various locked cupboards in the Town House and once in possession of the keys, via Cllr Turner, this can happen at their next meeting.
Cllr Clark advised that the questionnaires are nearing completion and the plan is to distribute them in approx. the 2nd week in January ’15.
Cllr Northen asked if the questionnaire included any specific questions regarding the play area and if not then would it be possible to include some. Cllr Clark and Mr Haughey asked her to let them know what she would like included and they would put this to the committee.
A letter has been received from Sgt Steve Oliphant of Herts Constabulary as detailed under Matters Arising.
All other correspondence received is to be circulated amongst Councillors.
Any other Business
Cllr Northen gave her completed Register of Interests form to the Clerk for forwarding on to NHDC and she signed the Acceptance of Office book, witnessed by Cllr Carlisle.
The meeting closed at 22.56