MINUTES FOR THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 12th OCTOBER 2015
Cllr Jerry Carlisle (Chairman), Cllr Ian Turner, Cllr M O'Brien, Cllr G Clark, Mrs Laura Childs (Clerk),
Mr Tim Martin (RFO)
2 members of the public
Cllr G Northen, Cllr Y Lee, Dst Cllr G Morris
Councillor’s Declaration of Interest
Minutes of Last Meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 7th September were read and Mr Martin (RFO) asked for the Financial Officers Report to be amended slightly. The following changes were agreed.
Mr Martin reported that he had reclaimed and received the VAT paid by the Parish Council and Town House up to the end of the last financial year, to the sums of £1,656 and £548 respectively.
Mr Martin confirmed that BDO, the government appointed external auditors, have now completed their audit of the Parish Councils accounts for the year ended 31st March 2015 and with no matters having come to their attention. The Annual Return was duly accepted and approved by the Parish Council.
However BDO did produce an ‘Issues Arising Report’. This noted that the fixed assets included in the Annual Return appeared to be undervalued namely it did not include the new fencing that was installed behind the Scout Hut, and that the council should ensure all assets and costs of assets replaced are correctly recorded and reported. In addition as a recommendation the councils asset register should contain for each asset held the date acquired, purchase cost and location held.
The budgeting process was also highlighted with a note that the Parish Council did not undertake adequate budget monitoring during the year. It was recommended a review of the planned budget against actual income and expenditure should be carried out at least quarterly and the review should be minuted.
Finally it was noted that the council should implement the recommendations in Hardcastle Burtons report, the Parish Councils internal auditors. This report had been sent to all Councillors earlier in the year and discussed. Mr Martin again highlighted the main findings and it was agreed that a member of the council would regularly check the cash income and expenditure books.
Following these amendments the minutes were approved.
Proposed by Cllr I Turner and seconded by Cllr M O’Brien.
Cllr Carlisle has made no further progress with regard to the cutting back of the trees on Bankside and who would be responsible for this; he agreed to try a different tack and take the matter up with Hertfordshire Homes and NHDC, who own the access road.
The meeting to discuss improvements to the village website is still to take place, a date would be agreed for this on Cllr Northens return from holiday.
The Clerk reported that she will place a request with BT to adopt just the one red telephone box on the High Street.
Cllr Carlisle is waiting to hear back from the family of the late Veronica Gooding following discussion about placing their proposed memorial bench near the war memorial.
Mr Nick Shaw, Chairman of the Town House Committee reported that the grant has now been received for the downstairs kitchen and the new units are being made. A new floor is also shortly being installed, the cost of which will also be covered by the same grant.
Mr Shaw has also received an email from Herts County Council which alludes to the success of another grant application for half the cost of the new curtains and blinds. Mr Martin confirmed that a payment has been made by Herts County Council for approx. £700 into the Parish Councils bank account and it was thought that this was the grant sum. No ‘official’ confirmation has however been received as to the success of this grant application.
A floor polishing machine was donated to the Town House some time ago and Mr Shaw hoped to get this running and functional. Discussions took place regarding the necessity to polish the floor given the finishing coat that was applied recently.
Mr Shaw reported that a quotation of £300 had been received from Busy Bee to move a wall plug in the kitchen upstairs, following discussions it was decided that this was quite expensive and an alternative quotation should be sought. Moving the socket will enable the wall cabinet to be replaced.
The testing of the noise limiters in the Town House has now taken place and the results showed that they are slightly out of calibration. They should cut out at 90 decibels, the downstairs one cuts out at 92 decibels and the upstairs cuts out at 96 decibels. Following discussions about how we can go about re-calibrating them to 90 decibels Mr Shaw was asked to go back to the company who tested them and enquire if the discrepancy is sufficient that they should be recalibrated.
Case ref no: 15/02100/1HH – 2 Shaftenhoe End, Barley
Two storey side/rear extension and part single storey rear extension following demolition of existing side conservatory and existing single storey rear extension. Front entrance canopy (as amended by plans received 2/10/15).
Following discussions it was unanimously resolved to respond as follows:-
Barley Parish Council objects to the revised proposals and in arriving at their decision wish the District Council to take the following comments into account:-
While the revised application shows a smaller proposed extension at 1st floor level, the ground floor is of similar size and scale to the original proposal and it remains our view that the proposed development, which lies outside the Barley Selected Village Policy Area, is fundamentally contrary to the provisions of saved Planning Policy 30 of the current NHDC Local Plan.
Planning Policy 30 states:-"For existing dwellings anywhere in the countryside outside excluded or selected villages, the Council will normally refuse proposals for their replacement or extension if a materially greater impact would result. A landscaping scheme related to the surrounding countryside will be expected. Also, extensions will normally be refused if they result in a size, scale and design out of keeping with the original building and give the effect of a new dwelling."
It is this Council's view that the proposed development is contrary to all of the provisions of this policy in relation to extensions in terms of its size, scale and design being out of keeping with the original building and gives the effect of a new building. The proposed development also continues to ignore the pre-planning advice given by NHDC that any extension should be subordinate to the original building. In this regard we note that only a small notional change in the roof line and set back to the front elevation to the proposed extension is offered. The lack of any fenestration above the ground floor on the proposed N E elevation is also to be regretted.
It is our view that any 2 storey extension should be more modest and perhaps be of similar proportions to the relatively recent extension to the other half of this pair of semi detached properties.
The revised proposals would unacceptably severely impact on the design and character of this group of 2 pairs of otherwise originally identical small semi-detached dwellings, which when viewed together would have the overall composition and collective quality destroyed if the application were to be consented - paragraph 3.24 of Planning Policy 30 refers.
Case ref no: 15/02511/1HH – Dibble Cottage, School Lane, Barley
Two storey side / rear extensions.
Following discussions it was unanimously agreed that there were no objections to this application.
Case ref no: 15/02367/1HH & 15/02368/1LB – Mortimers, London Road, Barley
Single storey front extension, alterations to fenestration and internal alterations.
Following discussions it was unanimously agreed that there were no objections to this application and the Clerk was asked to respond with the following comments:
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.
Case ref no: 15/01902/1LB – Nobles Cottage, Smiths End Lane, Barley
Single storey rear extension, erection of detached double garage following demolition of existing detached carport and replace existing thatch to porch roof with hand-made clay tiles.
Cllr Carlisle reported that the building conversation group have viewed the previously submitted planning applications and raised similar objections to ourselves in their report. A revised scheme has been drawn up by Mr Mark Simmons, Senior Conservation Officer, as to what would be more acceptable in terms of the erection of detached double garage, single storey rear extension and alterations to the porch roof. Following discussions it was resolved that the Parish Council would raise no objections in principle to the amended proposals. However it was noted that on the eastern elevation the lean-to which is not the subject of this application has been re-roofed in slate, this appears to not be a replacement of the roof covering that was there before. The Clerk was asked to write and ask if this change of roofing material is acceptable to the planners.
Dovehouse Shott, Smiths End Lane, Barley
Following our correspondence sent last month, Mr Stephen Marsh has written in response and Cllr Carlisle noted that Mr Marsh disagreed with the councils understanding of the agreement reached in January 2015. Cllr Carlisle agreed to speak to Mr Richard Tiffin of NHDC Planning department to enquire what his thoughts were and seek advice on how we should respond.
Financial Officers Report & Signing of Payments
Mr Martin reported that the following payments were due this month
Laura Childs Parish Clerk (September hours & office allowance) £ 238.00
Tim Martin RFO (September hours) £ 118.29
Malcolm George Grass cutting July/August £ 405.00
HMRC PAYE July to September £ 272.80
Weatherheads Repair of the strimmer £ 333.00
It was agreed that these payments should be made
Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr I Turner
Alison Stacey Sept Letting Officer & caretaking & advertising £ 255.25
Alison Stacey July Letting officer fee £ 90.00
Carol Robinson Cleaning September £ 72.00
Busy Bee Damaged socket, light in car park £ 552.30
It was agreed that these payments should be made
Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr M O’Brien
Deposit cheques returned
M Jennings £150.00
The bank statements were reviewed by the meeting.
Mr Martin reported that the balance of the playground refurbishment committee account stood at approx. £7,000. Mr Martin was unsure if the recent monies received from Herts County Council was for a grant application made for the Town House curtains or the Playground. On Cllr Northens return from holiday Mr Martin agreed to check this with her.
Mr Martin has finally had confirmation that the Parish Council should shortly be receiving approx. £1,300 back from Scottish Power having had to challenge this through the Ombudsman for overpayments made on the account.
In line with the comments made by BDO, the governments appointed auditors, regarding our not monitoring the budget and concerns regarding planned expenditure sitting in our accounts for projects which are not carried forward discussions took place. Mr Martin spoke about allocating funds held towards specific projects and targets, for instance the Lock up. Cllr Carlisle said that Mr Tony Slater held the paperwork in relation to the Lock up and he would retrieve this from him.
Mr Martin reported that the Railway Club had approached him to enquire if the items that they stored in the Town House were covered on the Town House insurance. Mr Martin confirmed that the Parish Council cover insurance for the building but not items stored by hirers and that this was the responsibility of the hirer to whom the items belonged.
Cllr Turner advised the meeting that the Tennis Club had been served with a notice advising that the tennis courts have been given a rateable value of £1,500 and that the fee would be taken back three years. Cllr Carlisle advised that the tennis club determine what the ‘poundage is’ this being the rateable value per annum, Cllr Turner agreed to do this.
We have been advised by our insurance brokers, Came and Company, that the children’s playground should be inspected on a weekly basis with any damage reported. Cllr Clark agreed to undertake this.
Cllr Carlisle has been unable to take forward formally terminating the Scouts lease as his contact at Curwens, the Parish Councils solicitors, has been away on holiday. He agreed to take this forward this month.
Following a conversation with Mr Michael Richmond last month, Cllr Carlisle has heard nothing further with regard to arranging a meeting to discuss the right of way and access issues. Cllr Carlisle agreed to speak to Mr Richmond to set up a meeting.
Health & Safety
Cllr Carlisle reported that he was aware that Mr Slater was waiting to hear from Janine Drew, of Drew & Baltrop regarding any necessary updates for our Health & Safety policy and risk assessments following our recent meeting on site.
Cllr O’Brien advised that there was nothing further to report on this matter at present. A meeting is due to be held shortly to take forward the idea of a ‘web forum’ which was one of the matters raised by the Parish Plan, the date of the meeting is still to be agreed.
All other correspondence received is to be circulated amongst Councillors.
Any Other Business
Comments have been received from parishioners regarding large farm machinery manoeuvring around the village and surrounding lanes at speeds which appear excessive for the size of the equipment involved resulting in safety concerns being raised. The Clerk was asked to write to all the local farmers, Rands, Geoff Wilkerson, Matt Dogget and Tom Duke in Reed asking them to speak to their staff and requesting that they take more care.
Mr Brian Haughey spoke about the recent article written by Hertfordshire Police and published in the Royston Crow this week on the ‘Success of the Drive Safe campaign within Barley’. Mr Haughey spoke about the fact that the press release was in direct contrast to what the Barley Drive Safe team have experienced. Mr Haughey proposed to write to the editor of the Royston Crow with a response, contesting the article.
Cllr Clark spoke about encouraging a children’s initiative to create speed awareness signs to be placed at all entrances to the village to encourage drivers to think about their speed whilst driving through our village, this is being driven by PCSO Brabrook and Cllr Clark agreed to liaise with the village school.
Cllr Carlisle asked the Clerk to add the Parish Councils Freedom of Information act to next month’s agenda.
Meeting closed at 23:10