MINUTES FOR THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 3rd NOVEMBER 2014
Cllr Jerry Carlisle (Chairman), Cllr Tony Slater, Cllr Marc O’Brien, Cllr Graham Clark, Mr Tim Martin (RFO), Mrs Laura Childs (Clerk)
9 members of the public.
Cllr I Turner, Dst. Cllr Gerald Morris
Councillor’s declaration of interests
Cllr Tony Slater owns 3 High Street, Barley, which is an item under planning.
Minutes of last meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 6th October 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 O’Brien.
The Clerk reported that she has received correspondence from North Herts Disctrict Council confirming that as there were insufficient applications for the position of Councillor to force an election, that the Parish Council now have permission to co-opt a new member. Mrs Georgina Northen has expressed an interest in joining the Parish Council and Cllr Carlisle and Cllr Clark have met with her to explain the role and the duties and tasks involved. Mrs Northen introduced herself to the rest of the meeting. Following discussions it was unanimously agreed to co-opt Mrs Georgina Northen onto the Parish Council. The Clerk agreed to get all the necessary declaration of interest forms to Mrs Northen prior to next months meeting.
Mr Brian Haughey explained that following the meeting held in early October with Mr David Lloyd the Police Crime Commissioner, Dst. Cllr Gerald Morris, Cnty CllrTony Hunter, Cllr Jeremy Carlisle, Cllr Ian Turner, and members of the Barley Speedwatch team, two letters had been sent out to clarify certain issues. One has been sent to the Chief Constable asking if we can progress the idea of paying for extra policing to enforce the speed limits throughout the village and the other letter was sent to the new Chief Inspector inviting her to attend one of our next few council meetings as we had not met with a police representative for some time.. Mr Haughey also reported that the Speedwatch team have also held a recent session and unsurprisingly found speeds remain high through the village.
Cllr Carlisle reported that he has met with Mr Gary Henning of Herts County Council and discussed various issues around the village. The trees on Bankside were discussed and Mr Henning is looking into ‘ownership’ as some of the trees stand on Highways land and some are on North Hertfordshire Homes land. The actual position of the trees will determine who pays for the works to be carried out. It was also discussed that the trees along Picknage Road need to be looked out and an assessment made on their condition.
The Clerk reported that she has had no success in getting a response from Mr Derek Jerrard , our contact at Ringways, Herts County Councils Highways contractor regarding the further action that is required to the road gullys, in particular at the bottom of London Rd, the bottom of the High St, Smith’s End Lane and Gt Chishall Road.
Cllr Carlisle confirmed that the council’s solicitors had submitted the draft licence to assign the lease of the Clubroom to the tenants solicitors for approval. However the proposed assignees have advised that the personal guarantee that we had asked for would not be available. Nevertheless having regard to other provisions in the lease and the licence Cllr Carlisle recommended to the meeting that we drop this requirement which was agreed. Mr Tim Martin was asked to provide details of the current insurance risks covered as this was required to be seen by the proposed assignee.
Following the letter written to Mr & Mrs Marsh, regarding their running a business in a barn at their property in Smith’s End Lane, Mr Marsh attended the meeting in order to answer any questions. Mr Marsh explained the nature of the operation and expressed the view that in his opinion his business wasn’t at a stage yet that required any formal planning permissions to be in place. Cllr Carlisle advised Mr Marsh that the Parish Council were not sure that is the case and are concerned to establish at what point a small business such as his, based in a residential property and located in a residential area, with all the attendant transport and employment issues, becomes too large leading to a need for the use to be regularised by an appropriate planning permission (if granted) or more likely a need for more suitable purpose built premises to be found elsewhere.
Mr Marsh understood the councils concerns in this regard and invited the Councillors to view his operation and it was agreed that a date be set in December for this purpose.
The Clerk reported that she had invited PCSO Braebrook to an up coming meeting and he has confirmed that he will attend in February 2015.
Financial Officers report & signing of payments
Mr Martin reported that the following payments were due this month
Laura Childs Parish Clerk (October hours & expenses) £176.52
James King Installation of gate on the Plaistow £680.00
Tim Martin RFO (October hours & expenses) £ 59.79
Malcolm George Grass Cutting (July to September) £420.00
It was agreed that these payments should be made.
Proposed by Cllr Clark and seconded by Cllr O’Brien
Alison Stacey Letting Officer (October) £ 35.00
Carol Robinson Cleaning (October) £ 60.00
It was agreed that these payments should be made.
Proposed by Cllr Clark and seconded by Cllr Slater
Mr Martin reported that following the change in electricity supplier for the Town House, Scottish Power have advised that we will be getting a rebate.
Cllr Carlisle asked if Mr Martin has billed Sharon Fletcher, our current Clubroom tenant, for her portion of the insurance premium and if not then Cllr Carlisle asked that she be billed as soon as possible and for a copy of the demand be sent to him so that he can forward it on to Curwens to ensure that the assignment was not completed until all monies due from the current tenant had been paid.
The financial arrangements for any proceeds raised for the new playground equipment was discussed. Mr Martin confirmed that there are a couple of accounts in the Parish Councils name that are not currently used and he could arrange for one of these accounts to be renamed. Signatories on the account would remain as Parish Councillors.
Case ref: 14/02295/1LB – 3 High Street, Barley Listed Building: Re-paint front elevation
Cllr T Slater took no part in the following discussion. The application was discussed and it was unanimously agreed that there were no objections. The Clerk was asked to write to NHDC to confirm the decision.
Proposed diversion of Footpath 14
Cllr Carlisle gave an up date of discussions which had taken place at a meeting held on site between himself, Mr David Allard of the Ramblers Association and Mrs Rebecca Simms on behalf of the applicants. The Estate Manager at Cokenach has now confirmed that they would not allow any diversion to cross their land and therefore the preferred route supported by the Ramblers Association and the Parish Council was very regrettably not an option to be considered. Cllr Carlisle explained that having exhausted all other alternatives there remained two options; either leave the footpath as it is and continue with the permissive route, or go with the proposed diversion and make the current permissive path permanent.
Mr Allard confirmed that at the recent meeting both the Ramblers Association and Cllr Carlisle on behalf of the Parish Council had asked for a number of improvements to be made along the route of the current proposal and should these be agreed upon then the Ramblers Association would be removing its previously submitted objections to the proposed diversion and thereby allowing this application to proceed. Mrs Rebecca Simms confirmed that these improvements were acceptable and agreed by the applicants.
Cllr Carlisle asked the meeting to also consider the options outlined above as the Parish Council should now decide on the application. Following extensive discussions it was agreed that subject to the improvements requested by both Cllr Carlisle and by the Ramblers Association which amongst others included improvements to the exit of the footpath onto Bogmore Road, bringing the small bridge up to Herts County Council standards and cutting back a large Elderflower bush then the Parish Council would also withdraw its objections to the proposed diversion.
Mr Allard also spoke about Freemans Lane, advising that the County Council have said that they don’t have any historical evidence that it is a Right of Way. However Cllr Carlisle advised that contrary to that statement in previous correspondence received by the council from the land agents Sworders, on behalf of Cokenach Estate and Abbotsbury, in relation to a proposal to divert part of Footpath 15, they have confirmed that the County Council have advised that The Lane is designated as Highway Not Maintainable at Public Expense.
Mr Martin advised that he has been trying to get hold of Mr Darren Partt to ask him to carry out one or two small snagging jobs, mentioned at our last meeting. There are a number of bulbs that have failed and need replacing and one of the storage cupboards has no light working. This needs to be resolved as soon as possible as there a wedding booked for the coming weekend. Mrs Vanessa Martin has volunteered to polish the floors before the upcoming wedding. This is however something that needs to be done on a more regular basis to maintain the standard and appearance of the Town House. Cllr Carlisle advised that he is trying to get hold of a damp meter so any damage to the walls in the kitchen can be assessed for future repairs. Mr Martin advised that he noticed that the cigarette container on the outside wall of the Town House was over flowing but that there is however a lock on it and so he had not been able to empty it. It was discussed where the key for it may be and Mr Martin agreed to speak to Mrs Turner, former Chairman of the Town House, to see if she might know of its whereabouts. It was discussed that a further cleaner is required and that the hourly rate paid may need to be increased to be more in line with the ‘going rate’.
Following receipt of the monthly lettings list from Mrs Stacey, Mr Martin advised that there are a few more lettings this month, including the upcoming wedding previously mentioned.
A number of the local mothers who are progressing the playground project were present at the meeting to give an update on their progress to date. Mrs Jane Hart, spoke on their behalf and firstly thanked the Parish Council for the installation of the new gate, fitted to the exit of the Plaistow onto Bank Side. She went on to explain that the project was moving forward and that an email address was being created to enable easy communication with the group. They have calculated that there are approx. 100 children in the village under the age of 12 and that they are busy putting together a playground that would suit all the age groups. They have talked about fund raising and have looked into obtaining grants etc. They estimate that it could take at least a year to raise enough funds to build an ‘ideal’ option of the playground. Cllr Carlisle advised that it was important that any financial ‘comings and goings’ should be put through the Parish Council, so that everything was completely above board.
Mrs Hart spoke about the need to undertake maintenance work to the existing equipment in the meantime and provided costs to the meeting for the required repairs. Discussions took place regarding which items of the equipment required most urgent repairs and it was estimated that approx. £1,000 would cover the cost for this. It was agreed that the Parish Council would support the repairs for all the ‘essential’ items up to £1,000, but not to include a new cargo net or new chains to the swings, which weren’t considered to be essentials.
Mrs Hart advised that the group were to have a stall at the up coming Christmas Fair and would be asking people to pick their favourite piece of play ground equipment from a short list that they have compiled, to better understand what children in the village would like. They also plan on displaying a concept design of the new playground area to demonstrate what could be achieved.
Cllr Slater talked about taking the opportunity to rethink how the Plaistow is used and the possibility of changing the Plaistow around, to include possibly changing the orientation of the football pitch so that it runs up and down the slope and that the play ground could perhaps be moved to the other side of the tennis courts, so that it was not so shaded by the trees. The general consensus from the parents present was that the shading of the playground wasn’t so much an issue for the children although perhaps the equipment suffered because of it.
Mrs Hart went on to explain that the group have applied for a grant, through Stuart Izzard of North Herts Council and that they should hear before Christmas if they have been successful. They are also starting off their fundraising with a Family Christmas Disco, to be held in the Town House on 13th December.
Cllr Clark advised that Bullards, the grass cutting contractor for the Plaistow, had been in touch to ask who they should forward their invoices to, Cllr Clark asked that they send them to him and he could then forward them on to Mr Martin for payment.
Cllr Carlisle advised that Curwens are currently investigating the title to the Car Park at the rear of the Town House including the land on which the Scout Hut is located. This land has in the past been used for allotments as well as car parking and by the scouts. Curwens are investigating in order to confirm that, in relation to the proposed grant of a new lease to the Scouts ,the land belongs directly to the Parish Council or whether it was originally part of the Town House Charity, which is administered by the Parish Council as Sole Trustee.
Another quotation for the required tree assessment has been received from P R Newson Ltd which is of a comparable cost to the previous quotation, however Cllr Carlisle is trying to establish exactly what is covered in their assessment because the quotation is not clear.
Cllr Clark asked if any progress had been made on discussing access issues over the land owned by Richmond Coaches. Cllr Carlisle advised that he was yet to establish contact with the appropriate person.
Health & Safety
Cllr Slater advised that the Yellow Strips are still to be installed on the stairs and reconfirmed that there were various light bulbs to be replaced, as previously advised by Mr Martin. It was also agreed that the whole building needed a good clean.
A meeting is to be arranged in December with Drew & Baltrop, the Health & Safety advisors to the Parish Council. Cllr Carlisle asked Cllr Slater to find out at the next meeting if there were any procedures or regulations that required reviewing by the Parish Council.
A discussion took place on the need to include a question regarding the football pitch in the parish plan questionnaire to gauge support for football within the village.
Cllr O’Brien advised that the volunteers timetable has slipped slightly and that the questions for the questionnaire are being compiled and completed, with questionnaires being ready to be distributed at the beginning of December. The merits of delaying distribution until after the Christmas period into January were discussed.
A letter from North Herts District Council regarding dates for the Precept 2015 – 2016 has been received, Cllr Carlisle asked the Clerk to add this item to the agenda for the next meeting.
An email has been received from Dst. Councillor Gerald Morris advising progress of the Local Plan, whilst there is still a long way to go before the definitive Local Plan is published Barley has no sites listed over and above those already permissible.
All other correspondence received is to be circulated amongst Councillors.
Any other Business
The question of who owns/insures the war memorial remains unanswered, Mr Martin needs to confirm a value for insurance purposes and agreed to see if he could find this out.
The meeting closed at 22.17pm.