MINUTES FOR THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 3rd FEBRUARY 2014
Cllr Jerry Carlisle (Chairman), Cllr Ian Turner, Cllr Tony Slater, Cllr Becky Wears, Cllr Graham Clark, Cllr Marc O’Brien, Mr Tim Martin (RFO), Mrs Laura Childs (Clerk), County Cllr Tony Hunter
2 members of the public
District Cllr Gerald Morris
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 be sold to the police authorities.
Minutes of Last Meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 6th January 2014 were read and approved.
Proposed by Cllr Clark and seconded by Cllr O’Brien.
County Cllr Hunter reported that works had been carried out to the drainage gully on London Road to stop the road flooding on the corner outside The Fox & Hounds pub. Following a failed attempt to clear the drain by jetting it was discovered that tree roots had grown through the drainage pipes and a specialist cutting tool was used to clear these. Cllr Hunter advised that he has requested that further works are carried out to this drain whereby a plastic sleeve is used to line the drainage pipes to prevent any future reoccurrence of the tree root problem.
Cllr Hunter advised that he understood the police had carried out 4 speed checks throughout January. He has also been chasing for progress to be made on the installation of the grasscrete blocks for the police camera van and the poles for the speed activated signs. Although he understood that Herts Highways priority at the moment was the drainage and flooding problems throughout the county he had been advised that the work had been scheduled to commence on 3rd March 2014.
Cllr Carlisle expressed his concerns about the general state of the drainage gullies throughout the village and spoke about the need to clean them on a more frequent basis than the 18 months currently scheduled. Cllr Hunter offered to arrange a meeting with Terry Wilkinson of Ringway, the County Councils’ contractors responsible for highway maintenance, to look at the drainage gullies in the village.
Cllr Hunter spoke about the possible implementation of a 30mph speed limit through Shaftenhoe End and advised that there are conversations going on at the moment at a higher County Council level and he hoped to be able to push forward with this once these talks are completed.
Cllr Carlisle asked Cllr Hunter if he was aware of the reason why salt bins within the village had been moved or taken away. Additionally a brand new bin had appeared next to Horseshoe Close and it was a bit of a mystery as to why it had appeared. Cllr Hunter advised that he understood the missing bin at the end of Smiths End Lane, where it meets Bogmore Lane, was due to be replaced shortly. He was unsure why the bin at the corner of Shaftenhoe End Road, where it meets Church Lane, had been moved. Cllr Carlisle requested that the new bin next to Horseshoe Close be moved to Greenbury Close, a location that the Parish Council had requested a bin be placed last year but in respect of which we had been told that new bins were not being funded or provided. Cllr Hunter asked the Clerk to email him with the location that the Parish Council would like the bin to be placed and he would endeavour to get it moved.
Cllr Carlisle noted that there still appeared to be no progress being made with permanent repairs to the Fox & Hounds.
The Clerk reported that she had received a letter of response from Hertsfordshire Homes regarding the tenant at 30 Picknage Road and their chickens that were causing problems with and damage to neighbours gardens. It would appear that they have been given a warning and have been told to keep the chickens within their own garden and repair the perimeter fencing where they have installed a gate. The tenant has been told that if they receive any further complaints they will be asked to remove the chickens.
Financial Officers Report & Signing of Payments
Mr Martin reported that the following payments were due this month
Laura Childs Parish Clerk (January) £175.30
James King Repairs to fence in Plaistow £ 35.00
Tim Martin RFO fees (January) £ 43.20
It was agreed that these payments should be made.
Proposed by Cllr Turner and seconded by Cllr O’Brien
Vicky Stacey Cleaning (January) £ 28.13
Alison Stacey Letting officers fee January £ 22.50
Reimbursement of letting deposit £137.50
Drage Securities Fire alarm maintenance £204.00
It was agreed that these payments should be made.
Proposed by Cllr Slater and seconded by Cllr Clark
Michelle Heathcote Wedding event deposit refunded £150.00
Mr Martin explained that he has now received payment from the tenant of the Clubroom for the insurance premium due in respect of the Clubroom and that payment had been made to her for the agreed contribution towards the cost of the heating system installation.
Mr Martin also advised that a review of the financial risk management assessments needs to be made. He explained that he would email the relevant information to all Councillors and asked that they review this prior to the next meeting.
Full Planning Permission: 14/00119/1 Indeni, High Street, Barley. Two storey side extension
The application was discussed and it was resolved to respond to NHDC with the following comments.
Barley Parish Council objects to the proposed development and in arriving at this decision wishes the District Council to take into account the following comments:
It is this council’s view that the size, scale, height and general bulk of the proposed development, being situated immediately adjacent to the boundary fence with the next door house known as Avalon (which itself is physically only 1m away from the boundary in places), is excessive and wholly inappropriate.
The proposed development is shown on the plans as virtually abutting the boundary, being only some 150mm away at ground floor level and less than that when taking the GF gutter into account, and only 1 metre away from the adjoining house and a point of entry/exit from that house. It is noted that at 1st floor level along this boundary the external wall of the proposed development has been set back by some 0.8m but this has little beneficial impact on the adjoining property. The scale and bulk of the proposal, being so close to the boundary and the adjoining building, is excessive and overbearing and in our view unacceptable. By building so close to the boundary little if any future maintenance to the proposed development can be achieved along this boundary in terms of gutters, decoration or otherwise. Furthermore there will be no ready access to the rear of the property for emergency services e.g. Fire Brigade, should that ever be needed.
There will also be serious overlooking issues adversely affecting the adjoining property Avalon, from the new rear bedroom window. This will be exacerbated by the proposed new double French windows and ‘Juliet’ balcony proposed for the existing rear bedroom at 1st floor.
From a street scene and visual impact point of view the proposed development will also, having regard to the current elevations of the existing matched pair of semi detached properties, lead to a very unbalanced and arguable unsightly result. The proposal will block the feeling of open space between buildings which we consider to be contrary to the provisions of the Barley Selected Village Policy Area and the Barley Conservation Area which generally require that development proposals should maintain or enhance their character. Had this proposal been of single story construction only, there would not be anything like the adverse impact the current proposal would have in this respect.
The proposed alterations to the front elevation in terms of the new front entrance arrangements and changes to the existing GF window are also considered detrimental and will further upset the balance of this originally elevationally matched pair of semi detached houses.
Having regard to all the above we would ask that NHDC refuse this application. Additionally it is understood the owner of Avalon, the adjoining property, also objects to the proposed development.
The Clerk has printed off leaflets regarding the Parish Plan for distribution around the village.
Cllr Turner reported that he has now made contact with the electrical contractor Busy Bee and they are coming to repair the emergency lighting. Additionally the PAT testing will be carried out shortly.
A meeting has now been scheduled with the Rural Community Halls Funding Scheme people to discuss a possible grant for the Town House, Cllrs Turner and Carlisle together with Mrs Carol Turner the Chairman of the Town House Management Committee will meet with them and report back at our next meeting.
Cllr Turner expressed concern over the wall upstairs still being damp, despite repairs having been undertaken to the roof and guttering to prevent this. Cllr Carlisle expressed his view that having regard to the time of year the damp was probably still present in the plaster and that it would take some time for it to dry out completely. Cllr Turner spoke about installing some sort of monitor to keep check on the situation.
Cllr Turner advised that there is a problem with the rear doors to the Town House where they have swollen in the recent wet weather such that they were now extremely difficult to open. As they are a fire safety door it is imperative that they are easy to escape from and so the problem needs to be dealt with promptly.
Cllr Turner invited the Councillors to the next Town House Committee meeting and agreed to confirm the date with them shortly.
Discussions took place about the fire evacuation procedure and it was thought prudent to include instructions for this within the letting agreement. Cllr Turner said that it was already in the letting agreement and Cllr Carlisle asked that perhaps it be given more prominence.
During the last inspection of the fire alarm system, Neil Drage of Drage Securites advised that the sounder within the actual fire alarm panel does not work. It should make a beeping noise every time a button was pressed but this was no longer working. Mr Drage had informed Cllr Slater that this has absolutely no bearing on the working of the system itself and that it was purely a ‘nice thing to have’. Mr Drage has quoted £230 to fix it and Cllr Turner said that this would be raised at the next Town House meeting.
Cllr Slater reminded Cllr Turner that the yellow strips to the stairs still need re-applying and Cllr Turner explained that he was delaying this until the meeting with the Rural Community Halls Funding Scheme people and see what expenses they will cover.
Cllr Clark has now received the quotes from James King to replace the fencing at the back of the Scout Hut.
Cllr Clark explained that one of the quotations received from James King was for a 1.2 m high fence, but concerns were raised that this height might be susceptible to vandalism as it was still of a height that could be climbed over and perhaps trodden down, which is what has happened to the existing fence. The price quoted for this is £1,390.
The second quotation is for a 1.8 m high fence (6’) and it was felt that this height would be less likely to be vandalised. The price quoted for this is £2,310.
It was discussed that if possible the fencing should match that of the perimeter fencing at the school as this might look aesthetically better. Mr Martin agreed to ask the school for the supplier of this fencing and pass this on to James King.
Cllr Clark also reported that James King had expressed an interest in tendering for the grass cutting of the Plaistow. Cllr Clark has forwarded James King the specification and health & safety requirements he would be required to meet.
The Clerk was asked to contact Richard Wilson of the English Garden Company to ask if he intended to keep his prices the same as he was charging this year and that the specification and health & safety requirements will remain the same.
Cllr Carlisle reported that he has now met with Tim Ashcroft of Sapele Design and Geoff Kavanagh who is the Group Scout Leader for the 7th Royston Barkway Scout Group to discuss provisional plans for extending the scout hut to include changing rooms and toilets etc. for people using the Plaistow – football teams, tennis etc. Cllr Carlisle is expecting Mr Ashcroft to confirm his fee basis in the next couple of days and then he can instruct him to go ahead and produce some plan proposals.
Cllr Carlisle explained that the scout hut water and electrics are currently supplied from the Town House and going forward it would be prudent to investigate the cost of running proper electrical and water supplies down to the new building. In addition the current scout hut uses a sceptic tank that then uses a macerator to pump its waste back up to Church End sewerage pipes. Unfortunately the macerator has been vandalised and is no longer working, and an alternative system will need to be investigated. It was agreed that it was good to see progress was finally being made on this project.
Health & Safety
Cllr Slater confirmed that he had no issues to raise regarding the Plaistow and that the Town House was also fine save for re-applying of the yellow strips to the stairs.
Further discussions took place regarding the problem with the fire alarm panel buzzer not sounding and whether it was a health & safety issue. Cllr Carlisle asked what level of importance Drage Securities had placed upon this element of the alarm system. Cllr Slater has been advised that whilst it is helpful to have it is not a necessity.
The Clerk informed all Councillors that the Hertfordshire Waste Site Allocations document was now available to view on line and advised that she would email the website link to them after this meeting.
Quotations have been received from Malcolm George for the grass cutting around the parish for 2014. He proposes to keep his hourly rate for the grass cutting at £7.50, the same as last year, and similarly the rate for the grass cutting and maintenance of the children’s play area also at £7.50 per hour. Following discussions it was agreed to accept these quotes, proposed by Cllr Turner and seconded by Cllr O’Brien. The Clerk was asked to write to Mr George to confirm acceptance of these charges for 2014.
All other correspondence received will be circulated around all Councillors.
Any Other Business
Cllr O’Brien advised that the Freedom of Information Act is now posted on the website.
There being no other business the meeting closed.
Meeting closed at 10pm