MINUTES FOR THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 2ND MARCH 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)
3 members of the public
Dst Cllr Gerald Morris, County Cllr Tony Hunter
Councillor's Declaration of Interest
Minutes of Last Meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 2nd February 2015 were read and approved.
Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr M O'Brien
Cllr Carlisle reported that some progress seems to have been made with resolving who was responsible for the trees on Bankside. It would appear that North Herts District Council may be responsible although final confirmation has yet to be received. Cllr Carlisle is arranging a meeting with Mr Gary Henning of Herts County Council, Highways department, to discuss this matter and others highway issues around the village.
There remains no feedback from Mr Derek Jerrard of Ringway. The Clerk agreed to contact County Cllr Hunter regarding this matter to see if he been able to speak with Mr Jerrard as he had agreed to do so at our meeting in December ‘14.
Mr David Williams spoke on behalf of the British Legion to advise that he has formally applied to NHDC for repairs to be carried out to the paving around the war memorial which was damaged some months ago when a dust cart drove in to it. He had been informed that repairs can take up to 3 months and this has now passed. The Clerk agreed to make contact with NHDC to find out when repairs will be carried out.
Mr Brian Haughey reported on the recent meeting held with Chief Inspector Julie Wheatley, Sgt Guy Westwood, 4 members of the Speed Watch team and Cllr Carlisle. The Chief Inspector was well informed and advised what she expected the Safer Neighbourhood team in Royston to deliver and which she agreed to confirm in writing although as yet this has not been received. In brief, there is a new rural officer for the area, PC Mike Hardiman, who is experienced in traffic / speed enforcement and trains other officers in the use of Laser Speed Guns. He could be deployed for half hour sessions up to once a week, subject to there being no other more pressing unforeseen events. Prior to this meeting he had started in this role and has already issued a number of speeding tickets. He is also expected to operate on occasions alongside the Speed Watch team to reinforce their position. The use of ‘Specials’ is also being investigated. Chief Inspector Wheatley additionally agreed to look into the use of the Camera Safety Van although, despite her belief that its deployment would only enhance and reinforce the other efforts, this avenue of enforcement has its problems as the police are not responsible for choosing the deployment sites.
Mr David Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, has also visited the village, along with the Chief Inspector, her Inspector, Sgt Hardiman and PCSO Brabrook to discuss primarily the Speed Watch scheme. The Clerk was asked to write to Chief Constable Andy Bliss and C.C. Sir Oliver Heald MP with an update of recent progress.
Cllr Carlisle advised that following further investigation the rainwater drainage gully passing under Picknage Road appears to be running satisfactorily.
The Clerk advised that she had contacted NHDC regarding the problem with dog fouling along Church End and posted an article in The Diary. NHDC are sending an assessment team out to review the problem and if necessary will put up signs advising of possible fines.
Mr Tim Martin, RFO provided the Chairman with the NALC National Salary information for council employees. Following some discussion Cllr Carlisle asked Mr Martin to distribute the document to all Councillors with a view to discussing this matter further at the next meeting. The Clerk was asked to approach the Clerk of Barkway Parish Council to find out what her rate is set at.
Financial Officers Report & Signing of Payments
Mr Martin reported that the following payments were due this month
Laura Childs Parish Clerk (February hours) £194.90
Tim Martin RFO (February hours) £ 64.80
Mark Weatherhead Mower annual service £131.88
It was agreed that these payments should be made
Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr T Slater
Cavendish Equipment Repair to upstairs kitchen units £120.00
Vanessa Martin Caretaking duties £ 50.00
Alison Stacey Letting officer (January & February) £134.00
Return of wedding deposit to Mr Mark Herriman £150.00
It was agreed that these payments should be made
Proposed by Cllr T Slater and seconded by Cllr G Northen
Mr Martin reported that he has now had confirmation from the bank that the requested changes have been made to the signatories. If we wish to proceed further with internet banking, BACS payments etc. we would need to make an amendment to our financial regulations, Mr Martin proposed to discuss this further at our next meeting.
Mr Martin advised that the Town House insurance is due for renewal as of 15th April at a premium of £1,557 with our broker suggesting signing a new long term agreement with Aviva. This is an increase of £50 but the building cover has increased by 3% in line with building cost inflation. The building sum insured is £1 million. Cllr Carlisle advised the meeting of the importance of, and the need to comply with, the insurers requirements relating to disclosure of relevant events/ matters in connection with the use and maintenance of the Town House building.
These requirements and the duty of disclosure are to be brought to the attention of both Mr N Shaw and Mrs A Stacey in their capacity of Chairman of the Town House Committee and Letting Officer respectively. Mr Martin recommended that the Council sign again for 3 years and it was agreed that the Parish Council would again pay the premium. Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr T Slater.
Mr Martin has previously circulated the Parish Council's Risk Assessment to all Councillors and he advised that he has updated the Risk Schedule, to be re-approved by Hardcastle Burton, the Parish Council's internal auditor. He has also updated the asset register, adding in the war memorial. Mr Martin asked if it was possible to get a proper valuation done for this war memorial.
The Clerk was asked to ensure that all the Parish Council documents are backed up each month onto a USB stick and alternated with a spare USB stick. Any historic paper records should be kept in the storage cupboard at the Town House and the Clerk agreed to bring in files for storage.
Cllr Slater advised that he has sent a copy of the Risk Assessment to Drew & Baltrop for them to review but had not been advised that any amendments were required.
The Chairman signed the Risk Assessment schedule dated March 2015.
Mortimers, London Road, Barley: Single storey front extension. Ref: 15/00324/1HH & 15/00325/1LB
Cllr Carlisle spoke about the application and the existing Grade 2 listed property. Following discussions, although it was noted that the proposed extension is in front of the building line, it is very well shielded by the existing car port and on balance therefore there were no objections to the application. The Clerk was asked to advise NHDC accordingly.
Cllr Clark reported that there had been some vandalism of the rubbish bin inside the childrens play area. The bin needs to be fixed back into place as it could be pulled over by a small child but as the area is proposed to be remodeled / refurbished it was discussed that any repair costs should be kept to a minimum.
Cllr Clark advised that he has spoken with Stuart Bullard regarding the grass cutting of the Plaistow and they have agreed to inform him when they will be carrying out the work, prior to each visit, and also that they will invoice twice a year.
Cllr Northen spoke on behalf of the Playground Committee who are putting in some grant applications and writing a document to apply for grants. It was agreed that there should be a form of constitution for the Committee to confirm that they are acting on behalf of the Parish Council in relation to the proposed refurbishment and that they are charged, amongst other things, with raising the necessary funds for the work and which would hopefully add weight to any grant applications. The Playground Committee had also discussed raising funds by offering local businesses the opportunity to sponsor equipment with plaques being displayed to acknowledge their contribution.
Further conversation took place regarding the merits of altering the direction of the football pitch, both how it has been sited historically and the requirements of the FA on such matters particularly for league matches falling under their jurisdiction.
Cllr Northen asked about the possibility of ‘squaring off’ the play area but Cllr Carlisle explained that the bottom half of the play area is set like it is due to an existing right of way, which should not be blocked by fencing or any play equipment. Further discussion then took place about whether any fencing was required at all. Cllr Northen agreed to go back to the Playground Committee to suggest this as its exclusion would allow more space for equipment and benches etc. The well at the back of the play area at the bottom of the garden to Old Manor Farm was also discussed and the need for everybody to be aware of its existence and to ensure that from a safety point of view access to the cap was fully protected from the Plaistow.
Cllr Carlisle reported that some confusion has arisen over a letter received from Hertfordshire County Council Rights of Way service regarding the Parish Council's application in 2011 to register the Plaistow as a village green. It seems that the County Council are of the view that the Plaistow had already been registered as such in 1994 as part of the creation of the recreation ground. Cllr Carlisle has instructed Curwens to look into this matter.
Mr Nick Shaw, Chairman of the Town House Management Committee, reported that the cupboard doors in the upstairs kitchen had been repaired and new handles had been fitted. He also confirmed that he had spoken to Mr Darren Partt regarding the proposed works to the window sills and exterior decorations and received assurances that Mr Partt has the appropriate insurance certificates and indemnity insurance to proceed with the works. Mr Shaw was requested to ensure that he had evidenced Mr Partt's insurance arrangements and that Mr Partt produces an appropriate Risk Assessment and Method Statement for the works prior to works commencing in April. Mr Partt proposes to use his own scaffolding tower to carry out the works.
Mr Shaw has also received a quote of £700 from Mr Partt, to carry out the sanding and re-varnishing of the ground floor of the Town House. He estimates that it would take four days to carry out, one day sanding, and two days varnishing it and then a further day to dry. Cllr Carlisle advised caution and the need to make sure that it was done correctly, suggesting that perhaps the small meeting room is done first, before proceeding with the Undercroft. It was agreed that Mr Partt would liaise with Mrs Alison Stacey, lettings officer, regarding timing for this work.
Mr Shaw advised that there are some electrical items outstanding, although the PAT testing was to be carried out the day after this meeting. There is also a 5 year electrical systems check due to be carried out shortly. It was discussed that a complete list of all the electrical equipment owned by the Town House would be useful plus an overall inventory of all items. Mr Shaw confirmed that he has checked the previously damp wall and believes that it is starting to dry out, although the breeze blocks in the middle are still wet, he will continue to monitor the situation.
Cllr Northern has found a local curtain maker who has advised the cheapest way to re-do the Town House curtains would be to purchase ‘off the shelf’ ones and then adjust them to fit as necessary.
Cllr Carlisle reported that he had been called by the TV Licensing authority (on 25th February) asking why we didn’t hold a TV License. Cllr Carlisle had confirmed that there is no TV at the Town House, or any facility to record or watch live TV.
It has been reported that on one occasion, on opening up the Town House it was found that the toilet lights had been left switched on and a tap running. Mr Martin has asked Mrs Stacey to remind all users to switch off and turn off the lights and taps.
Cllr Slater talked about the need to review the Health & Safety policy for the Town House and the Plaistow.
It was reported that graffiti has appeared on the garages behind the Town House but which belong to the adjoining private houses. Unfortunately it would appear that nothing can be done unless the perpetrators are actually seen carrying out the crime.
Following receipt of the tree survey Mr Tim Ashcroft of Sapele Designs has reviewed it and advised that several of the trees are not good specimens and will need to be taken down. Additionally there will be the need for some root protection to be carried out as part of the foundation design for the proposed new changing room facility. Cllr Carlisle has requested Mr Ashcroft to proceed with the planning application.
Health & Safety
Cllr Slater reported that save for the yellow strips that need to be fitted onto the stairs everything else was fine.
Cllr O’Brien advised that all the questionnaires had now been gathered back in, with a very good return rate. Mr Andy Lee is now inputting data from the questionnaires with a view to creating appropriate spreadsheets and pie graphs with the results. There is shortly to be a meeting to discuss the results and to begin drafting the final document. It is hoped that the final version will be available towards the end of May.
The Clerk read out an email received from Mr Miles Beharrell of The Crown House, Shaftenhoe End regarding the proposed diversion of Footpath 14. Following works to improve the footpath as per previous discussion with the Ramblers Association and the Parish Council he wanted to ascertain if there were any other improvements required prior to submitting the application for diversion. Following discussions it was agreed that the path should be levelled off towards Bogmore Road, so that the footpath exited onto the carriage way at the same level, where the gate is to be positioned.
All other correspondence received is to be circulated amongst Councillors.
Any Other Business
The fees are due shortly from the allotment holders and the Clerk was asked to send out invoices, Cllr Slater gave the Clerk an up to date list.
Cllr Northen has reviewed the Welcome to Barley booklet and it was agreed that it needed revamping which she will address.
Cllr Clark advised that some horse manure/ wood chippings had been left at the allotments and he expressed a concern that as it was not straw based and if it wasn’t rotted down sufficiently it could damage the soil. It was understood however that one of the allotment holders had asked for the manure to be left for future use.
Mr Martin advised that as part of the parish Risk Assessment the trees around the Plaistow should be properly surveyed.
Mr Martin queried if the new Barley Flower Show Committee were aware of the situation regarding the marquees, their ownership and the insurance of them. The meeting was reminded that the Parish Council own the marquees and insure them and it was discussed that it would be best practice for the Parish Council to have a ‘hirers agreement’ with the Show Committee, and others who may hire them out.
Mr Jack Shephard administers the marquees on behalf of the Parish Council and limited money is available should repairs be required. However it was not known what insurance arrangements the Show Committee have for the Show and Mr Martin is of the view that the Show Committee should at the very least take out some form of 3rd party liability insurance and the matter needs to be raised with them and clarified well in advance of the show in July.
Meeting closed at 22:28