MINUTES FOR THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 7th DECEMBER 2015
Cllr Jerry Carlisle (Chairman), Cllr G Clark, Cllr G Northen, Cllr Y Lee, Dst Cllr G Morris, Mrs Laura Childs (Clerk), Mr Tim Martin (RFO)
4 members of the public
Cllr Ian Turner, Cllr M O’Brien
Councillor’s Declaration of Interest
Minutes of Last Meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 2nd November were read and approved.
Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr Y Lee.
Cllr Lee has read through the BT red telephone box agreement and it was noted that we ought to check with Herts County Council Highways department, on whose land the telephone box is believed to stand, if there will be any issues with the Parish Council adopting it. Cllr Northern agreed to contact Mr Gary Henning of Herts CC Highways.
It was also noted that some of the glass and perspex that are currently in the windows will need replacing as they are either broken or very badly scratched, it was suggested that BT might have a ‘spares’ department that holds such material as the box would appear to be of a standard size. Cllr Northen agreed to make some enquiries.
A meeting has now taken place to discuss improving the Village Website, Cllr Northern reported that in their absence, she felt she should report that both Cllr’s Turner and O’Brien want to keep the existing look of the website but were happy to restructure the content and improve the flow of the website, making it easier to navigate around. Cllr Northen and Mr Tim Martin are to look at what information they believe should be included in a revamped website. Discussions took place about whether the look of the website in the future should perhaps be reviewed. It was agreed that in the first instance if the website could be bought up to date and made more user friendly that this would be a good starting point.
Mr Brain Haughey advised that the black boxes are now in place to monitor traffic speed entering and leaving the village to establish our own set of figures to compare with those obtained by Hertfordshire police. These will remain in situ for the same period of time as those placed by, or on behalf of, the police. The results will be supplied by Traffic Technology in the same form as are supplied to the police.
Cllr Carlisle asked Cllr Clark to speak to Sgt Guy Westwood to enquire what speed checks have been carried out over the past month and what the results of these speed checks were.
Mr Haughey has now had the opportunity to look at the sign post at Shaftenhoe End and commented that the hedge is pushing the sign forward and needs to be trimmed back. He agreed to look into the costs of replacing the post.
The noticeboards have yet to be removed from the barns which belong to Mr Stuart White, it was decided that if Cllr Turner was not able to get them refurbished in the very near future then Mr Darren Partt will be asked to carry out the renovation works on his return from holiday.
Cllr Carlisle reported that he has spoken with Mr Chris Allen regarding his allotment plot and he has confirmed that he wishes to retain the plot and will ensure that it is tidied up.
In the absence of Mr Nick Shaw, Chairman of the Town House Management Committee, Cllr Northen reported that at a recent Town House committee meeting the various priorities for the coming year for the Town House were discussed. These are to include the renovation of the internal window frames and sills. The downstairs toilets need freshening up and it is proposed to get quotes for repainting, replacing the taps and refreshing the boxing in around pipes etc. which would make a vast improvement. The upstairs toilet also needs works carrying out but the committee will look at getting a quote for these works before officially adding it to the ‘to do’ list. The grant for the new curtains has now been received and these will be put up shortly. The downstairs kitchen has been finished and a new cooker installed. Discussions took place about replacing the upstairs kitchen cooker with an industrial standard cooker, costs for this sort of equipment are not inconsiderable and need to be weighed up against the amount of times it would be used. It was concluded that at this stage it would probably not be worth the investment.
Cllr Northen spoke about increasing bookings for the Town House and looking at encouraging corporate events / bookings although this type of booking would require investment in additional equipment such as projectors and white boards. The idea of a film club was also discussed, that would make use of the same projector and help to raise funds. It was agreed that perhaps this was an idea to be considered for the future and to first ask if there is support in the village for this type of thing.
Cllr Northen asked if we should start to plan now for the possible large expense of replacing the roof. Whilst this might not be needed for a number of years could it be something that the Parish Council would consider raising their precept for, suggesting it would be better to be proactive rather than reactive. Cllr Carlisle advised of the state of the roof when he last inspected it and felt that it was a longer term project, possibly something that might need doing in 10 – 15 years time, although ongoing monitoring was required. Cllr Lee asked if a survey of the roof had been undertaken and asked if there were any remedial works that could be carried out to lengthen the time till it needs to be replaced entirely.
Cllr Northen also mentioned that Mr Shaw had noted that one of the chimneys may require some works carrying out and would report further on this at our next meeting.
Cllr Carlisle advised that the letting conditions are still being reviewed by Curwens, the solicitors who act on behalf of the Parish Council.
Ref no. 15/02610/1 – Land adjacent to the Fox & Hounds, High Street, Barley, SG8 8HU
Detached 4 bedroom dwelling and ancillary works (as a variation of planning permission granted under ref. no. 13/01699/1).
Following lengthy discussions it was agreed that the Parish Council would have no objection to the single unit as opposed to two, but object to the application on the basis of the design of the new build as it is inappropriate for this elevated location / position which we further note is at least ¾ meter taller than the previously approved scheme and furthermore the footprint has increased by at least 25%. If notwithstanding these comments the district council are nevertheless minded to approve the application we would ask that appropriate conditions are imposed to ensure the ability of the adjoining public house to continue to trade during construction.
Ref no. 15/02690/1LB – White Posts, High Street, Barley, SG8 8HY. Single storey rear extension, internal and external alterations to kitchen/snug.
It was agreed that there were no objections to this application.
Financial Officers Report & Signing of Payments
Mr Martin reported that the following payments were due this month
The following payments were approved in between meetings by Cllr Carlisle & Cllr Northen:
Stuart Bullard Grass Cutting of the Plaistow £ 360.00
Hardcastle Burton PAYE professional fees £ 108.00
Philly Wilson 50% for new Town House curtains £ 955.20
(will be refunded when grant received)
Traffic Technology For speed assessment black boxes £ 714.00
Laura Childs Parish Clerk (November hours & office allowance) £ 264.40
Tim Martin Refund of Host-it fee £ 71.94
Tim Martin RFO (November hours) £ 206.80
Malcolm George Grass cutting for play area during 2015-12-14 £ 600.00
It was agreed that these payments should be made
Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr G Northen
Busy Bee Various electrical works £ 595.00
Nick Shaw Reimbursement for cleaning expenses £ 30.00
Nick Shaw Reimbursement for downstairs kitchen cooker £ 289.00
Nick Shaw Reimbursement for new tap £ 55.55
Darren Partt Fitting new kitchen taps and other works £ 391.22
Carole Robinson November cleaning £ 90.00
It was agreed that these payments should be made
Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr Y Lee
The bank statements were reviewed by the meeting.
Mr Martin confirmed that a payment of £752 had been received from Bright Advertising being there portion of the Clubroom insurance premium.
Mr Martin asked if Cllr Northen could produce a breakdown for the Playground account, stating where the monies had been received from, i.e. direct donations or as a result of fundraising / auction of promises etc.
Following the abolition of the Audit Commission the arrangements for external audit of councils are changing and from the start of 2017/18 a new regulatory framework is being introduced. Councils can choose to have an auditor appointed to them by a new ‘sector-led body’ or opt out and decide to procure their own. There is a deadline of 31st January 2016 for opting out. The council accepted Mr Martin’s recommendation that the council do not opt out. No further action required.
Budget & Precept 2016-2017
Discussions took place about the various projects that require funding around the village and what funds should be allocated to them.
Cllr O’Brien has advised via email that he would like to ensure that we look at renovating the lock-up during this coming year and therefore set aside funds to do this. Cllr Carlisle said that Mr Tony Slater still has the paperwork for the lock-up and he will remind him that he needs to take it back. Cllr Lee volunteered to take on this project and it is hoped that grants may well be available to assist towards the renovation costs.
Cllr Clarke has received a quotation for the renovation of the fencing around the Plaistow which has rotted away from J D King, the cost to repair the existing fence would be £985, however the cost to completely replace the fencing would be £2,565 and this would include sheep netting. It was agreed to include a sum of £3,000 in the budget to completely replace the fencing. Due to the high spend sum, Cllr Clark was asked to get a second quote for these works.
Cllr Northen provided an update report to the meeting on the fundraising progress made by the Reburbishment Committee. Essentially through fundraising events and donations the committee have so far raised £16,500. They have applied for a Lottery Grant for a further £10,000 which would achieve a total of £26,500 and would allow them to go ahead and build Phase A, which is estimated to cost £25,000. Phase B, which is estimated to cost between £10,000 and £11,500 could follow at a later date but there are cost savings to be made if Phase A and Phase B are built together. If the committee are unsuccessful in being awarded the lottery fund grant of £10,000 then using the Parish Council contribution of £10,000 would still allow them to build Phase A in Spring 2016 and then look to further fundraising for Phase B in the future. In light of the results in the Parish Plan which showed 19% of respondents felt renewal of the playground was quite important and 43% felt it very important the Playground Committee are asking the Parish Council to allocate £10,000 from the 2016 – 2017 budget towards the new playground equipment. Following discussions it was agreed that £10,000 would be allocated to the new Playground equipment in the budget.
Cllr Northen suggested putting a sum into the budget to purchase the flashing speeding signs that might be purchased sometime in the future. The sum of £5,000 would cover two of the middle of the range signs.
Putting money aside towards the new changing room facilities was also discussed however it was agreed that this would not be done for this years budget.
The precept currently stands at £22,000 and including the adjustments discussed it was proposed to keep the precept the same for 2016-2017. It was agreed that Mr Martin would make the necessary amendments to the budget with a view to agreeing a final version and precept at next months meeting.
Cllr Lee has looked into the rating issue of the tennis club and it is believed that an 80% relief could be achieved if the tennis club can prove that the occupier is a charity. A response is required by 22nd December otherwise a fine would be issued.
Mr Jack Shephard attended the meeting following previous discussions about the need to ensure that hirers of the village show marquees hold their own indemnity insurance, to ensure that they are covered for any loss or damage. Mr Shephard explained that they don’t lease out the marquees on a regular basis but he knows that one of the regular hirers, Langley Village Fete do hold their own insurance and he would check that they are also cover the hire of the marquees. It was decided that the new Village Show Committee should perhaps be bought up to speed with regard to their obligations towards the marquees. It was agreed that they should be invited to a future meeting to discuss this.
Cllr Carlisle has briefed the Parish Councils lawyers regarding renewing the lease and is waiting to hear from the Scouts who their legal representative will be. We are looking to arrange a 30 year lease with them. Cllr Clarke asked if now is the appropriate time to discuss the access issues with the Richmonds and Cllr Carlisle agreed to arrange a meeting.
Health & Safety
There are no health & safety issues although we are still waiting to hear from Drew & Baltrop who are due to visit shortly. Mr Slater had agreed to chase them to arrange a convenient date.
Cllr Lee reported that the committee are organising an article to be placed in The Diary calling for volunteers to come forward to assist with various projects.
Mr Tom Duke responded to the Parish Council's letter regarding the movement of farm vehicles and equipment around the narrow lanes in the village and Cllr Carlisle asked the Clerk to forward this on to Mr Miles Balharel who had originally expressed his concerns.
All other correspondence received is to be circulated amongst Councillors.
Any Other Business
Mr Stephen Marsh has asked that the minutes of the meeting held on 12th October be amended to remove the comment ‘disingenuous’ to read Mr Marsh disagreed with the councils understanding of the agreement reached in January 2015. It was agreed that this amendment should be made.
Cllr Clark asked Cllr Northen to check if Mr Nick Shaw is aware that the Town House fire alarm installation is subject to an annual maintenance/service check which is carried out by Mr Neil Drage and which will be due in the next month or so.
Meeting closed at 22:37