MINUTES FOR THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 13th APRIL 2015
Cllr Jerry Carlisle (Chairman), Cllr Ian Turner, Cllr Tony Slater, Cllr M O'Brien, Cllr G Clark,
Cllr G Northen, Mrs Laura Childs (Clerk), Mr Tim Martin (RFO)
2 members of the public, Mr Brian Haughey and Mr Nick Shaw
Dst Cllr Gerald Moris, County Cllr Tony Hunter
Councillor's Declaration of Interest
Cllr Northen lives in an adjoining property to 3 Lower Farm Barns, High Street which has a planning application to be discussed. Cllr Slater lives in an adjoining property to September Cottage, High Street which has a planning application to be discussed
Minutes of Last Meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 2nd March 2015 were read and Mr Tim Martin (RFO) asked for changes to be made to the wording of Item 6, Financial Officers Report:
The Town House insurance premium should have read £1,607
Mr Martin informed the meeting that a review of our Risk Assessment Schedule is now due. He had previously circulated a copy of the Schedule to all Councillors. The meeting conducted a review of the effectiveness of our systems of internal audit control with particular reference to our financial risks and the arrangements for the management of these risks. The meeting concluded that our current systems and arrangements appeared suitably robust and that no changes to our Risk Management appeared necessary at the present time.
The War Memorial is currently included in the list of assets at a nominal value but not in our insurance schedule. The meeting was informed it is the responsibility of the Parish Council and Mr Martin said he would obtain a valuation for insurance purposes.
Subject to these changes being made the minutes were approved.
Proposed by Cllr M O’Brien and seconded by Cllr G Clark
Cllr Carlisle reported that nothing further had been heard regarding the cutting back of the trees on Bankside. This matter was discussed at a meeting held with Mr Gary Henning and County Cllr Tony Hunter, when they had walked around the village, assessing the condition of roads and drainage. In addition signage and road markings were discussed with particular attention to how these might assist with speeding issues through the village. It was noted that some ‘patch work’ has been completed in anticipation of re-surfacing in the Spring.
The Clerk reported that there has been no feedback from Mr Derek Jerrard of Ringway or County Cllr Hunter with regard to the proposed drainage works on the corner by the Fox & Hounds.
The Clerk confirmed that she had spoken to NHDC with regard to the required repair works to the paving surrounding the War Memorial which was damaged by a dust cart some months ago, despite being promised an update no further information has been received. Cllr Carlisle asked the Clerk to chase again.
Mr Brian Haughey reported that he had heard from Chief Inspector Julie Wheatley asking for some more time to enable her to pursue the possibility of deployment of the Camera Safety van in the village. She is additionally looking to train up some more rural PCSO’s on the use of speed cameras. Progress has also been made with regard to enforcement in that the police have agreed to commit to one session of speed enforcement per week, unless there are other major incidents or priorities that arise at the same time as planned visits. This policy will be reassessed after a 3 month period.
Cllr Turner advised that he had received complaints that several vehicles displaying the Better Removals & Storage livery, from Flint Cross, had been seen speeding through the village. It was agreed that a letter should be sent to their offices asking them to request that their drivers take more care when passing through the village.
Cllr Clark reported that he had had a constructive meeting with Mr Miles Beharrell, Mrs Rebecca Simms and Julia Clarke, Herts County Council Rights of Way Officer concerning the proposed diversion of Footpath 14. Mr Beharrell and Mrs Simms raised the question of whether all of the works requested by the Parish Council would be required, particularly regarding the gate at the exit of the footpath onto Bogmore Road. It had been confirmed that the Parish Council remained of the view that a gate should be installed but this requirement could delay the proposed diversion. In the circumstances the PC had agreed that in order not to delay matters further that we would accept the gate not being part of the initial diversion works but only on the understanding that it would be installed immediately after any diversion order was confirmed. It was proposed that the gate would be installed approx. 5 meters from the edge of the road. Cllr Clark had also requested that the path be graded down to the level of the road but the council objected to this proposal on the grounds that it could cause a possible future maintenance liability. After discussion it was agreed that this item would be left for one year to see how it works in practice and then it will be reviewed.
Financial Officers Report & Signing of Payments
Mr Martin reported that the following payments were due this month
Laura Childs Parish Clerk (March hours) £230.19
Tim Martin RFO (March hours) £ 79.20
HMRC PAYE contributions £ 386.27
Hardcastle Burton PAYE services £ 102.00
HAPTC Annual subscription £ 365.17
Sapele Designs Reimbursement of Planning application fee
(approved by Cllr Carlisle in between meetings) £385.00
It was agreed that these payments should be made
Proposed by Cllr I Turner and seconded by Cllr G Clark
Carol Robinson February & March Cleaning £165.19
Busy Bee PAT testing & removing & replacing damaged socket
in kitchen £238.17
Alison Stacey Letting officer & caretaking fee (March) & reimbursement
for advert placed in The Diary £269.00
Affinity Water Annual water charge £364.58
NHDC Annual rates charge (paid by Direct Debit) £235.00
Return of wedding deposit to Mr Christoper Wilshere £150.00
Return of wedding deposit to Ms Rachel Canning £150.00
It was agreed that these payments should be made
Proposed by Cllr M O’Brien and seconded by Cllr G Northen
Mr Martin reported that unfortunately to change the name of one of the savings accounts for the Playground Committee it has to be done via a signed form, with two signatures required, and not on line as he had hoped.
Mr Martin confirmed that he would complete the accounts in time for our next meeting and AGM.
The insurance disclosure information has been forwarded to Mr Nick Shaw, Town House Management Committee Chairman.
Mr Martin has received a verbal quotation for the reinstatement cost for the War Memorial (for insurance purposes) of £10,000 and he will add this to the asset register.
Further to queries raised at the last meeting, Mr Martin confirmed that he now understood, via Natalie Richmond, that the Show Committee do carry their own liability insurance for the day of the Village Show. He also advised that they have now taken over the cheque book for the show committee funds.
Discussions took place regarding a proposed salary increase for the Clerk and RFO, their first since 2010. It was agreed to increase the hourly rate to £11 per hour with a £20 per month office allowance payable to the Clerk. It was proposed by Cllr Northen and seconded by Cllr Turner.
Spindrift, Picknage Road, Barley ref: 15/00575/1HH – two 2 storey side gabled extensions following removal of outbuilding. Single store ront extension. Insertion of dormer windows in front and rear slopes to create additional accommodation in roof space.
The plans were reviewed and following detailed discussion it was unanimously agreed that the Parish Council objected to this application on the following grounds:
The scale and massing with particular reference to the height of the proposal is in the Parish Councils view inappropriate in this location, which is within the Barley Conservation Area, and does not conform with the Conservation Area policy.
The increase in height of some 2m to allow the creation of a 2nd floor is in the Parish Council view unacceptable and the resulting structure is particularly overbearing on its surroundings. The increased slope of the roof structure accentuates the problem. The roof is almost as tall as the original house when measured from ground level to the eaves gutter line.
September Cottage, High Street, Barley ref: 15/00761/1PN – Prior approval class J: Change of use from Use Class B1 (a) (offices) to Use Class C3 (residential) to provide a single dwelling.
Cllr Slater abstained from this discussion and decision as he lives in an adjoining property. Cllr Carlisle reminded the meeting that the Parish Council had previously objected to the original application to demolish the existing stables and rebuild. The Parish Council also objected to losing the building as offices, as it was a loss for employment opportunities within the village.
The planning regulations have however now changed, making it easier to change the use of buildings. This application falls into this category, allowing objections only under the grounds of highways issues, drainage, flooding and infrastructure. This application does not fall under any of these restrictions and therefore it was understood that consent will be granted. Nonetheless Cllr Carlisle asked the Clerk to respond to NHDC advising that whilst the Parish Council noted the position in connection with the proposed change of use it regretted that this application meant the loss of employment opportunities within the village.
Lower Farm Barns, High Street, Barley ref: 15/0075/1HH & 15/00805/1LB – Insertion of 2 roof lights to south east roof slopes and apex window to south west gable elevation of garage. Insert glazed screen in front of existing recessed porch, alterations to dormer window on front elevation and internal alterations.
Cllr Northen abstained from the discussion and decision as she lives in an adjoining property. Following a review of the plans and discussions it was unanimously agreed that there were no objections to this application subject to the use of the carport / garage / annex being tied to the use and occupation of the main house.
Cllr Clark reported that repairs have been carried out to the previously vandalized rubbish bin inside the childrens play area. The new swing seats have arrived although one appears to be damaged / faulty and has been returned for replacement. It has been discovered that new chains will be required as the sides of the seats don’t fit into the existing chains. Cllr Northen is liaising with the supplier to exchange the damaged / faulty seat.
Malcolm George has cleared the area at the back of the childrens play area of scrub, there is however a lot of debris to be removed and Cllr Clark agreed to ask James King to remove this. It was agreed that the well cover needs to be reviewed to ensure that it is safe.
Cllr Northen has produced a draft proposal for the Playground Committee constitution which Cllr Carlisle has reviewed and requested a number of amendments.
Cllr Turner advised that the AGM for the Tennis Club is due shortly and the proposed shelter would be discussed, he agreed to provide feedback at our next meeting.
Mr Nick Shaw, Chairman of the Town House Management Committee, asked if it was possible to move the Town House further up the agenda for future meetings, the Clerk agreed to revise the agenda going forward.
Mr Shaw reported that Mr Darren Partt had started works on the external decoration of the Town House already with works to the floor to take place later this week. Mr Shaw advised that he has a meeting with NHDC regarding a possible grant application for a new downstairs kitchen. He raised a query as to whether the downstairs kitchen needed an oven as he understood from Mrs Stacey that about 90% of people don’t use it. Mr Shaw also reported that he and Mr Martin had cleared out one of the cupboards and had disposed of a lot of rubbish. Amongst other items found were some old lead windows, with all the glass removed and Mr Shaw asked if the Parish Council were happy for the windows to be sold for the value of the lead. It was agreed that this should be done.
Mr Shaw has investigated the installation of Wi-Fi but at a cost of £35 per month it wasn’t felt that the demand was strong enough yet. He has however found a device that boosts 3G and mobile phone signals which would be a cheaper alternative.
It was noted that the gardens have been planted up by the Gardening Club and Mr Shaw.
Cllr Carlisle confirmed that the planning application has now been submitted and he was awaiting notification that it had been registered.
Health & Safety
Cllr Slater reported that everything was fine with the Town House and that the Plaistow was all looking OK. With Cllr Slater standing down as a Councillor somebody else was needed to take over responsibility for Health & Safety.
Cllr O’Brien advised that there had been some ‘stylistic differences’ between committee members about how the survey results should be presented but which have now been resolved. All the data has been collected, initial analysis collected and the general layout agreed. Everything was progressing well and a draft plan was expected to be available in June. Discussions took place regarding holding an open night to present the plan to the village and to have a display at the Village Show, where it all started last year.
The Clerk has received notification from NHDC regarding the forthcoming Parish Council Elections, they have not received more nominations than seats that are up for election and therefore the election is deemed uncontested. For any remaining vacant seats, the Parish Council may co opt. The Clerk agreed to contact Susan Wiseman, PA to the Monitoring Officer to request the Councillors Declaration s of Interest forms.
The Clerk has received a leaflet from BT with information about adopting the villages red telephone boxes for the sum of £1 each. It was unanimously agreed that we should proceed with this and the Clerk was asked to complete the necessary application forms.
All other correspondence received is to be circulated amongst Councillors.
Any Other Business
The Chairman expressed his disappointment that there hadn’t been more people come forward as candidates for the Parish Council to force an election.
Cllr Clark asked if it would be possible to take, say, half of the Parish Councils funds and invest them in Premium Bonds. Conversation followed about whether or not this would be allowed and Mr Martin agreed to check with HAPTC to see if this is permissable.
Cllr Carlisle advised that he had been approached by both Mr David Howes and Mr Andrew Richmond regarding Mr David Howes continued future occupation of a bungalow in Greenbury Close which is owned by Howard Cottage Housing Association. Mr Howes has always lived at home with his mother and has had to care for her for the last 10 – 12 years as her health has deteriorated due to dementia. Mrs Howes has recently been moved into Richard Cox House in Royston and due to a recent change in rules it is likely that Mr Howes will be forced to move out of his current accommodation because it is a two bedroomed home.
There is very limited single bedroom accommodation within the village, and it has been suggested that Mr Howes will be rehoused, possibly in Royston or even in Stevenage. Mr Howes does not drive and with limited resources it would be almost impossible for him to continue working at Richmond Coaches meaning the loss of his livelihood. Mr Richmond has asked the Parish Council to write a letter of support for Mr Howes which Cllr Carlisle has agreed to do.
Mr Haughey raised the issue of footpath benches, noting that a number of them are either damaged or missing. The one by the doctors surgery requires repair and the bench at the top of Picknage Road, known as Polly’s Perch is completely missing. It is understood that possible grants are available through the Parish Paths Partnership. Mr Haughey volunteered to assess the benches placed around the villages footpaths for any repairs required before approaching the Parish Paths Partnership for a possible grant.
Cllr Carlisle thanked Cllr Slater for his many years of service with the Parish Council.
The dates for the AGM / next meeting and the Annual Village meeting were discussed and agreed upon, being 11th and 13th May respectively. The Clerk was asked to post the dates in The Diary.
Meeting closed at 22:55