MINUTES FOR THE MEETING OF BARLEY PARISH COUNCIL

HELD AT THE TOWN HOUSE ON MONDAY 7th MARCH 2016


  1. Present

Cllr Jerry Carlisle (Chairman), Cllr I Turner, Cllr G Clark, Cllr M O’Brien, Cllr G Northen,

Mrs Laura Childs (Clerk), 5 members of the public


  1. Apologies

Cllr Y Lee, District Cllr G Morris, County Cllr Tony Hunter, Mr Tim Martin (RFO)


  1. Councillor’s Declaration of Interest

None


  1. Minutes of Last Meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 1st February 2016 were read and approved.

Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr M O’Brien.


  1. Matters Arising

Following Mr Ian Fidler of Smith’s End Lane interest in the BT red telephone box that stands adjacent to his property the Clerk agreed to contact him to ask what he wanted to use the box for. Cllr Northen asked that the agreement form now be signed for the telephone box that stands on the High Street so that this project can be progressed.


Cllr O’Brien said that the website is now working again. Cllr Carlisle asked that Cllr Northen and Mr Martin progress their suggestions for improvements to the flow of the website to enable it to be more user friendly and current.


Mr Brian Haughey explained that the proposed speed awareness cameras that County Cllr Hunter had discussed with the council at last months meeting may not be able to issue tickets as had previously been hoped. They will however still be an asset to the efforts to reduce speeding through the village.


Cllr Clark reported that he has recently spoken to Sgt Guy Westwood who confirmed that speed enforcement had again been carried out in the village with at least one ticket being issued. They have so far been able to carry out the enforcement visits that had been promised and Cllr Clark has agreed to meet up with Sgt Westwood again to review policing activities in this regard once his imminent paternity leave has ended.


Mr Haughey spoke about the results from the black boxes placed to monitor traffic speed entering and leaving the village. He has produced an extensive report and analysis but Cllr Carlisle considered that there was a need to further analyse the figures before taking any further steps.


The Clerk confirmed that she had not heard back from County Cllr Hunter or Mr Gary Henning regarding the introduction of a 30mph speed limit through Shaftenhoe End and agreed to chase for an answer.


The poor condition of the road at the bottom of Bakers Lane was discussed and the Clerk agreed to report it via the Herts County Council website. It was noted that fly tipping continues to be an ongoing problem in the village, particularly along Bogmoor Road.

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  1. Town House

Mr Nick Shaw, Chairman of the Town House Management Committee reported that the repairs to the windows was due to start this week and that the 5 yearly testing of the electrical installation was also due to be carried out this week. Mr Martin had previously circulated the Town House budget and Cllr Carlisle noted that £1,500 should be included for electrical works. Busy Bee had been instructed to repair the Ventaxia and was installing a hand dryer in the disabled toilet.


Mr Shaw advised that there was a management committee meeting scheduled shortly and the possibility of increasing the letting fees was discussed. Cllr Carlisle agreed to chase Curwens for the review of the letting agreement. The requirement for possibly introducing a ‘winter surcharge’ was discussed due to the increased heating costs during that season, Mr Shaw agreed to discuss this at their upcoming management committee meeting.


Cllr Carlisle spoke about the memorial that the family of the late Mrs Yvonne Goodings wanted to place in the village, they were now not so keen on a bench due to difficulties in finding a suitable location and wondered if they could perhaps contribute to a fixed memorial in the Town House. A new clock with a memorial plaque was a popular suggestion and Cllr Carlisle agreed to go back to the family to see if this was an option they would be happy with.


  1. Planning


Ref no. 15/03168/1HH – 4 Cambridge Road, Barley, SG8 8HN amended scheme

Full planning permission: Two storey side extension, single storey rear extension and first floor rear extension.


Following discussions it was agreed to respond as follows:-


Barley Parish Council considered the amended plans as detailed in the email correspondence from Joanne Cousins, NHDC Planning Officer on Monday 7th March ’16. The amendments generally meet this Councils previous concerns about the scale, size and street scene implications of the original proposals and based upon the amended plans (plan nos 15-P43-PL003B and 15-P43-PL002B) unanimously resolved to raise no further objection to the proposed development.


Cllr Clark has been approached with concerns regarding the ongoing building works at Nobles Cottage, Smiths End Lane. The position of the new cart lodge was discussed and Cllr Carlisle is confident that it is in the position on which planning permission has already been given. The Clerk was asked to make enquiries to the planning department over what permission had been given regarding the rebuilding of the old flint wall at the front of the property which has partially been taken down and


Cllr Carlisle asked if Cllr Northen was able to give an update on the situation with Mr Stephen Marsh’s plans to move his business away from his property, Dovehouse Shott, Smiths End Lane. Cllr Northen explained that the business had grown sufficiently to definitely require new premises and that they were actively seeking them. Cllr Carlisle asked if Mr Marsh could perhaps put his future intentions in writing to the council to formalise his plans and that for PR purposes Mr Marsh would also benefit from speaking with his immediate neighbours to reassure them of his future intentions to move the business. Cllr Northen agreed to speak to Mr Marsh.



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  1. Financial Officers Report & Signing of Payments

In the absence of Mr Martin, Cllr Carlisle reported that the following payments were due this month


Parish Council

Laura Childs Parish Clerk (February hours & office allowance) £ 249.30

Tim Martin RFO fees (February hours) £ 254.00

HAPTC New Councillor Training (Cllr Y Lee) £ 35.00

Came & Company Town House insurance renewal £1671.79


Cllr Carlisle spoke about the cover that Came & Company arrange for the Town house and had asked for an increase in the cover for loss of income for upto to a period of 3 years, in the event of damage or destruction to the building and increasing the contents cover to £65,000.

It was agreed that these payments should be made

Proposed by Cllr I Turner and seconded by Cllr G Northen


Town House

Neil Drage Annual Fire Alarm maintenance £ 144.00


It was agreed that these payments should be made

Proposed by Cllr G Clark and seconded by Cllr I Turner


The water rates have been received and the annual charge is £375.50


Before the meeting Mr Martin (RFO) had circulated to all Councillors copies of the Risk Assessment Schedule and an up to date Asset Register. This Risk document was reviewed and discussed in detail by the council. It was agreed to continue with our internal auditors and PAYE providers and no changes were required to the banking arrangements. The Clerk is to investigate whether the council needs to be registered regarding Data Protection. With no changes or amendments required the Schedule was approved by the meeting. Regarding the Asset Register some items have been put under different headings as requested by our insurers but otherwise it was unchanged.


Cllr Carlisle spoke about the introduction of the new Working Place Pensions. Currently the Parish Council does not have any staff that earn sufficient money to qualify under the scheme but this situation will need to be continually monitored.


  1. Recreation Ground

Cllr Northen spoke on behalf of the Barley Playground Committee to advise that they had now chosen a contractor to undertake the work and the proposed plans of the new play equipment were shown to the meeting. The Committee have managed to raise more money making a total raised of £33,000. The Chairman congratulated the Playground Committee on their fabulous achievement. The Parish Council reconfirmed their contribution of £10,500 to the new scheme. Cllr Carlisle suggested that Cllr Northen, as a matter of courtesy, pass copies of the plans for the Playground to Fields in Trust, with whom the Parish Council have a Management Agreement for the Plaistow, as they are part owners of the Plaistow, although not of the area where the new playground will actually stand.


Cllr Clark advised that the contractors will shortly start cutting the grass on the Plaistow. Discussions took place regarding the appointment of a new Village Grounds Maintenance person. We now have two applicants and with the grass cutting season almost upon us progress needs to be made. Cllr Carlisle agreed to speak with Malcolm George to compile a works schedule.

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  1. Scout Hut

Cllr Carlisle advised that solicitors have been instructed and things are progressing although he hadn’t heard back from the Richmonds yet regarding formalising the access to the car park at the back of the Town House and agreed to see if he could get an answer from them shortly.

  1. Health & Safety

Cllr Carlisle met with Janine Drew of Drew & Baltrop and carried out the fire risk assessment for the Townhouse. Everything appeared in order and no issues were raised. Cllr Carlisle needs to liaise with Mr Nick Shaw on the Health & Safety policy and working practices for the Town House, which need to be tied in with the letting agreement.


The possibility of placing a defibrillator in the BT red telephone box on the High Street was discussed and Cllr Northen agreed to put this idea forward.


  1. Parish Plan

Following the article placed in The Diary calling for volunteers to come forward to take on some of the projects highlighted in the results of the parish plan Cllr Lee had prior to the meeting advised the Clerk that only one volunteer had come forward, who was interested in footpaths. Cllr Lee also suggested that it might be helpful to revisit the relevant sections of the Parish Plan to ensure we report those areas of the plan that are of particular concern to residents:-


Roads and pavements

Respondents’ primary concerns are to ensure that potholes and worn tarmac surfaces are repaired promptly (with 87% expressing the view that this is quite or very important), and that hedges are cut back regularly at junctions to maintain visibility (with 84% expressing the view that this is quite or very important). 

A considerable number also thought that improving road drainage in the village (66%) and that keeping pavements clean and free of weeds (62%) is quite or very important.  Individual comments drew attention to poor drainage in Smith End Lane, Shaftenhoe End Road, and the High Street.

A significant minority of respondents (36%) thought that more salt bins should be provided (and replaced).

Also given  the funds that could be available to assist with the maintenance of footpaths, this is another area that villagers feel strongly about:-


Roads and pavements

Respondents’ primary concerns are to ensure that potholes and worn tarmac surfaces are repaired promptly (with 87% expressing the view that this is quite or very important), and that hedges are cut back regularly at junctions to maintain visibility (with 84% expressing the view that this is quite or very important). 

A considerable number also thought that improving road drainage in the village (66%) and that keeping pavements clean and free of weeds (62%) is quite or very important.  Individual comments drew attention to poor drainage in Smith End Lane, Shaftenhoe End Road, and the High Street.

A significant minority of respondents (36%) thought that more salt bins should be provided (and replaced).

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Both the footpaths in and around Barley, and the Plaistow are used frequently by a large number of villagers, and both are valued highly by respondents.  75% use the footpaths weekly or more often, with a further 15% using them monthly.  41% use the Plaistow weekly of more often, with a further 24% monthly.

Over three quarters those responding think that the continuing availability of both the footpaths (82%) and the Plaistow (80%) is very important.

               Comments worth drawing attention to include:

               “Can the PC/village help landowners maintain their permissive footpaths?”

               “Would use footpath by doctors’ surgery and beyond daily, if it wasn’t in such a bad state.”

Given the strength of local opinion about the importance of footpaths to the village, any additional funding that is on offer, we should go after!

  1. Correspondence

The Clerk has received a mail shot of a commemorative coin for the Queens 90th Birthday celebrations and discussions took place about the Parish Council funding a coin for each of the children who attend the primary school. Cllr Northen agreed to speak with the school to see if this was something they would like us to do. It was suggested that an email should be circulated to see if anyone wanted to organise any other celebrations for the village, perhaps a tea party to celebrate the occasion.


All other correspondence received is to be circulated amongst Councillors.


  1. Any Other Business

Cllr Turner asked that a note is posted in The Diary to advise that the Parish Council have not increased the precept again this year. Cllr Turner agreed that he would write the article.


Cllr O’Brien spoke about the Fox & Hounds and the long term viability of the building, he proposed applying for its registration as an Asset of Community Value. This was unanimously agreed and Cllr O’Brien will start to complete the application. The Clerk was asked to contact Mr Adrian Parkes to ask a number of things; could he let the Parish Council know what his intentions for the building are now that the planning application has been refused, a number of interested parties have approached members of the Parish Council to ask if the pub is still for sale but we haven’t known what to say. In the meantime, could he please make arrangements for the perimeter walls and fences to be repaired and to cut back shrubs that are overhanging the footpath, causing pedestrians to walk into the road.


Cllr Turner spoke about the laptop that the Clerk uses and that following ongoing issues he now considered that it was no longer fit for purpose. He suggested updating it for a new laptop and it was agreed that he would compile costs for suitable replacements to be reviewed at the next meeting.


Meeting closed at 22:53






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