MINUTES FOR THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 6th OCTOBER 2014
Cllr Jerry Carlisle (Chairman), Cllr Tony Slater, Cllr Marc O’Brien, Cllr Ian Turner, Cllr Graham Clark, Mr Tim Martin (RFO), Mrs Laura Childs (Clerk)
1 member of the public.
Dst. Cllr Gerald Morris
Councillor’s declaration of interests
Minutes of last meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 1st September 2014 were read and approved.
Proposed by Cllr O’Brien and seconded by Cllr T Smith.
Cllr Carlisle reported that he had now received a formal letter of resignation from former Cllr Becky Wears and the Clerk advised that NHDC had sent notices to be displayed around the village asking for any volunteers to come forward. The Clerk has posted an advert in The Diary and further notices are to be put up in the village shop and on other notice boards. If an insufficient number of people come forward and an election is not required then the Parish Council will be permitted to Co-opt a new Councillor.
Cllr Carlisle asked the Clerk to chase up Mr Derek Jerrard, our contact at Ringways, Herts County Councils highways contractor. The remedial works carried out to the road gullys haven’t had the desired effect and further action is needed, in particular at the bottom of the High St, Smith’s End Lane and Gt Chishall Road.
Mr Brian Haughey updated the Parish Council that a meeting is to be held with David Lloyd the Police Crime Commissioner next Thursday morning, 9th October. Those attending are; Dst. Cllr Gerald Morris, Cnty CllrTony Hunter, the chairman of the Parish Council Cllr Jeremy Carlisle, together also with Cllr Ian Turner, Mr Nick White and Brian himself on behalf of the Barley Speedwatch team. Items to be discussed include; the Camera Safety Van, the ‘rent-a-cop’ scheme and Speedwatch. The outcome of the meeting will probably establish whether Speedwatch can continue in Barley, because without the support of the local police it is a worthless exercise. Cllr Turner discussed the possibility of installing ‘pinch points’in the roads to slow traffic but Cllr Carlisle asked that the meeting with the PCC takes place first and then following the outcome of that meeting then ‘pinch points’ could perhaps be discussed again if necessary.
It was discussed that the Council must be due a visit to one of its meetings from the police and the Clerk was requested to contact PCSO Braebrook to ask when they could next attend.
Cllr O’Brien believes that the problems with the village website have now been resolved following him contacting the necessary parties.
Concerns have been raised regarding the trees on Bankside, they are growing on the edge of a steep bank and if tree cutting is to be carried out Cllr Carlisle asked the Clerk to ask those responsible for them to also carry out a safety assessment on the trees. The Clerk reported that the ownership of the trees is currently being disputed and that she is in ongoing correspondence with Mr Gary Henning of Herts County Council to establish who is responsible for them.
During the recent straw cart a large amount of straw debris has been left, particularly along Smiths End Lane and which could easily block the road gullys, the Clerk was asked to write to Rand Brothers who are understood to be the farmer responsible to requested that they take steps to clear up the debris.
Financial Officers report & signing of payments
Mr Martin reported that the following payments were due this month
Laura Childs Parish Clerk (September & Expenses) £196.00
HMRC PAYE (July – September) £144.00
Tim Martin RFO (September) £122.40
Hardcastle Burton Professional services £102.00
BDO Government auditors Audit commission £240.00
It was agreed that these payments should be made.
Proposed by Cllr Turner and seconded by Cllr O’Brien
Alison Stacey Letting Officer, caretaker and window cleaning
Vanessa Martin Caretaking (September) £ 50.00
Carol Robinson Cleaning (September & Cleaning materials) £ 51.75
Prompt Fire Protection Fire extinguishers annual inspection £ 126.36
Busy Bee Electrical work £125.00
J Whiting Return of wedding deposit £150.00
Gemma Stone Return of wedding deposit £150.00
Mrs Whisby Cancelled event £ 50.00
It was agreed that these payments should be made.
Proposed by Cllr Clark and seconded by Cllr O’Brien
Mr Martin reported that the second payment of the precept has been paid into the bank account.
A note was made by the Auditors requesting that the precept is broken into the two parts showing a separate amount for the Council Tax Support (CTS) grant element.
Mr Martin confirmed that, save for the above note regarding the CTS grant, BDO have completed their audit of the Parish Councils accounts for the year ended 31st March 2014. The Annual Return was duly accepted and approved by the Parish Council.
Mr Martin, as requested at our last meeting, met with the insurance brokers Came & Co and asked them to confirm that they had tested the market to be certain that the renewal quote is the most competitive and that it is one that they recommend we accept. The brokers advised that a cheaper quote was found but only a small saving could be achieved and Came & Co. recommended staying with Aviva who we have a ‘relationship’ with. It was agreed to take their advice and stay with Aviva. Therefore the Aviva insurance renewal premium of £1.828.19 has been paid by BACS transfer to Came & Co.
Mr Martin also reported that at the meeting Came &Co made a number of recommendations in connection with various matters including:- a weekly check list for the Plaistow, an annual tree inspection for trees the Parish Council are responsible for which would then help to provide some degree of indemnity for the Parish Council should there be a problem. A query was raised about when the Club Room and Town House were last valued for insurance purposes, and whether the businesses that use the Town House have their own public liabilities insurance.
Cllr Carlisle reported that the Clubroom was valued some 2/3 years ago when the dilapidations settlement was agreed and he thought that the Town House was valued approx. 5/6 years ago. Mr Martin was asked to check if Mr Steve Burton from the Tai Chi club and Mrs Amanda Veitch of Barkway Karate Club hold the relevant insurances and that they include third party insurance. Mr Martin was also asked to check the letting agreement to ensure that it states that any person hiring the Town House must have the relevant public liability insurances.
Cllr Carlisle asked Mr Martin to update the asset register, breaking down where necessary the individual details, although some items may fall below the threshold at which the excess applied.
Mr Martin was also asked by Cllr Carlisle to inform the insurance company that with regard to the Clubroom, that the property is let and that the lease to Sharron Fletcher is still in place and who continues to be responsible for complying with the terms of the lease although she is in negotiations to assign her lease and lawyers have been instructed.
Cllr Carlisle advised the meeting that he understood the Clubroom change of use application has been granted by NHDC, although no official notification has yet been received.
Cllr Carlisle reported that a number of parishioners have expressed concerns regarding someone running a business, flavouring gin, in a barn at their property in Smith’s End Lane. Reports have been received that large vehicles are reversing up the driveway and questions have been raised about whether planning permission has been sought to run a business from this property. The Clerk was asked to write to the occupier, to ask if they have spoken to NHDC and to confirm that they have satisfied themselves that they do not need planning permission and that the licensing authorities have been satisfied.
Cllr Carlisle has now purchased the gutter hedgehogs and will install them as soon as he can. He will also test the wall, that has previously been damaged by damp, with a damp meter to see if the problems have now been improved.
The Clerk has received and distributed the Lettings List from Alison Stacey. Mr Martin reported that there is a steady income coming in although no weddings are booked for this month the usual clubs continue. There is a lunch, cheese & wine evening and a ball being held during the month and Barley Church are holding a curry evening to raise funds.
Mr Martin reported that following research he has moved the power supplier to a new provider, Extra Energy, for a one year deal starting on 1st November.
Mr Martin advised that he understood that Vicky Stacey has left to go to University and is no longer cleaning, this leaves just Carole Robinson doing the cleaning and perhaps a second person needs to be engaged to assist her. Mr Martin agreed to speak to Alison Stacey to confirm that Vicky no longer wants to continue doing it.
There are a number of small snagging jobs to be carried out and Mr Martin agreed to talk to Mr Darren Partt to provide a quote for these tasks.
Mr Martin reported that one of the lights in the car park at the rear of the Town House is not working, he agreed to speak to Busy Bee to ask them to repair it.
Mr Martin confirmed that he has now had the opportunity to check the Wedding Licence paperwork and can confirm that a pay phone is not required under the term of the licence. It does state that a free telephone service should be available and therefore a mobile telephone would suffice to meet the terms required.
Cllr Clark reported that the installation of the gate onto the exit to Bankside is almost complete.
Cllr Turner asked, on behalf of the Tennis Club, if the Parish Council would object to them building a covered seating area at the side of the courts, by extending out the fencing, following discussion it was agreed that in principle there were no objections although the council would wish to see full details of what was proposed. It may also be necessary to obtain planning permission.
Cllr Turner advised that he has been approached by youngsters from the village who were asking if they could have a basketball net installed. It was discussed that this sort of idea would hopefully come out of the Parish Plan and these ideas could then be taken forward as appropriate.
Plaistow Childrens Play Area
Cllr Clark reported that the group of local mothers who are progressing the playground project have received various quotes for new play equipment. They are exploring play equipment in all types of materials and have found a good supplier of wooden equipment, who fitted the Whaddon playground.
In the short term Cllr Clark has been looking at remedial work of the existing equipment. The swing frame, slide and walking frame could be retained with renovations of the 4 swing seats and changes to the chains and hook attachments costing some £600. Cllr Carlisle advised that we need to tread carefully with replacing items prior to the Parish Plan coming out, but Cllr Clark argued that this was not introducing new equipment, merely maintaining existing equipment. Cllr Carlisle agreed that some maintenance does need to take place and that replacing the play equipment on a grander scale is another matter, to be taken forward once the out come of the Parish Plan has been established. Cllr Turner expressed the view that he would feel happier if the ‘playground committee’ raised funds to pay for the maintenance of the equipment but Cllr Clark argued that as the work he was talking about doing was purely maintenance of the existing equipment it was something that should be funded by the Parish. After much discussion Cllr Carlisle asked Cllr Clark to provide quotes to replace the swing seats and a new cargo net, the old one of which was vandalised and taken out of use sometime ago.
Cllr Carlisle advised that he has now met with Mr Richard Tiffin, of North Herts District Council Planning department for a pre-application meeting to discuss the proposals for the new building behind the Scout Hut. In principle Mr Tiffin couldn’t see any particular difficulties. Cllr Carlisle advised that an Arboricultural Impact Assessment report needs to accompany any planning application and they have received one quotation of £620 to carry this out, the Clerk advised that she has a contact for a local company to give a comparison quotation.
Cllr Carlisle will instruct Curwens to look into the formalities of renewing the lease of part of the site to the scouts on the terms recently discussed. The access issue over the land owned by Richmonds Coaches was also discussed.
Health & Safety
Cllr Slater advised that the yellow strips to the stairs were still not in place, but with this exception everything else was in order.
Cllr O’Brien reported that all is progressing well, although volunteers are dwindling. They plan to produce a ‘centre fold’ to appear in The Diary with feedback taken from the drop boxes placed around the village and at the Village Show. The hope is that the questionnaire should be produced for distribution shortly.
Cllr Turner received an email from a concerned Parishioner that a fence was being erected along a footpath and was possibly moving the boundary of the property. Cllr Carlisle had been to view the new fence and found that the fence appears to have been erected in the correct location. Cllr Carlisle has assured the concerned resident that everything was in order.
The Clerk will circulate in the Correspondence bag a letter from the Local Government Boundary Commission regarding the electoral review of Herts County Council: Draft recommendations.
Any other Business
Cllr O’Brien noted that some posters have been put up on the notice boards regarding the consultation document from Hertfordshire County Council on the merits of retaining bus services throughout the evenings and weekend periods. Cllr O’Brien hoped that other bus users would complete the questionnaire.
Cllr Carlisle asked the Clerk to contact Gary Henning of Herts County Council to arrange a meeting to discuss highways issues around the village.
Cllr Carlisle spoke about the need to get the damaged paving stones by the war memorial repaired and the bench replaced. Mr Martin asked if anyone knew who insured the war memorial as it was not currently on the Councils asset register and Cllr Turner agreed to ask Mr David Williams, who is the President of the local branch of the British Legion, if he can confirm who owns it.
The meeting closed at 22.47pm.