Present: Mrs EA James (Chairman)

Mr. D Purnell; Mrs A Hale; Mr D Palmer; Mr R Smith.

District Councillors: Mr P Smith; Mr A O’Connor (arrived at Item 7; and left at Item 17).

Clerk: Mr R Symons

One member of the public; and Mr Eddie Whitlock, (Neighbourhood Watch Administrator) for Item 10).

  1. Apologies were received and accepted from: Mrs. P Kelly; Mr K Brown. District Councillor Mrs June Cordwell; County Councillor Dr.John Cordwell.

  2. The Election of a Chairman of the Parish Council for year 2010/11.

Mrs Ann James was nominated by Mrs Hale, seconded by Mr Palmer. All the Council agreed to her election.

  1. The Election of the Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council for year 2010/11.

Mr David Purnell was nominated by Mrs Hale, seconded by Mr Palmer. All the Council agreed to his election.

  1. To Elect Councillors to Committees & Groups at which the Parish Council is represented.

Following discussion the Council agreed to nominate and elect Parish Councillors to represent North Nibley Parish Council on these Committees & Meetings as follows:

  1. Declaration of Interests. The Chairman invited Councillors to declare any Interests.

There were none.

  1. Councillors were invited to update their Written Declarations of Members’ Personal interests. (LGA 200 Section 81 & The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) Order 2007).

Following discussions Mrs James (Chairman) requested a new form. All other Councillors confirmed that their Written Declarations were unchanged.

  1. To Approve and Sign the Minutes of the Meeting held on 12 April 2010, as a true and accurate record.

The Minutes had previously been distributed to all members and displayed on public notice boards and websites. All members agreed that the Minutes should be signed as a true and accurate record. The Minutes were duly signed.

  1. The Council noted Matters arising from the Minutes that were not covered by agenda items. The Clerk’s Update Notes, which had been issued prior to the Meeting, informed the Council that:

At this point in the Meeting the Chairman proposed and the Council agreed to close the Meeting and invited Mr Turk (Bush Street Farm), on whose land the tree stands, to speak. Mr Turk said he was surprised that the Council had discussed this matter without first contacting him, particularly as he had been at the Meeting in November when the matter was first raised. He had received contact from Mr Tandy who informed him that the Council had written to Mr Tandy (Council letter dated 29 April 2010). Mr Turk was particularly concerned that the letter to Mr Tandy referred to the Council’s belief “the tree is being damaged by horses”.

Mrs James explained that the discussion about the tree had come up after Mr Turk had left the Meeting and the Council had been discussing the general position of trees and enquiring into the extent of Tree Preservation Orders (TPO). Mr Purnell added that they were concerned about trees being cut down within the previous 6 months. The Clerk commented that through their District Councillor they had been in contact with Mr. Hemmings, (arboriculture at Stroud DC). Mr Hemmings had previously advised the Council that the tree had no historic links to the battle at Nibley Green. (See Minute 4/03/10 (bullet point 8)). The Council had challenged this view and instructed the Clerk to contact Mr Tandy to find out more about the history of the tree, as it was known that he had done research on the subject.

Mr Turk said that he too recognised the importance of the tree at Bush Street Farm and was keen to keep it in good order. He added that some 3 to 4 years ago there were 30 head of cattle in the vicinity of the tree. Because he was concerned about possible damage, having sought advice from the Ancient Tree Forum, he had fenced the tree to protect it. Last year, or the year before, the farmer discontinued using the field. There were now 3 cows and 2 or 3 horses in the field. He added that although the fence was no longer closed, he was checking to make sure that cattle/horses weren’t damaging the tree.

Mr Purnell commented that this must be one of the oldest trees in the area and that in the last 6 months there had been cases in the parish of trees being felled, where a TPO would have protected them.

Mr Turk agreed that the tree was roughly 800 years old. He reaffirmed that Mr Tandy and the Historical Group had visited the tree and that by agreement he would be happy for the Parish Council to visit.

Mr Turk was asked if he had applied for a TPO and he responded that he hadn’t. He went on to add that it was his intention to look after the tree and that a small number of cattle/horses were not causing problems.

The Council welcomed these comments but added that they were concerned about the long term. The Council asked Mr Turk whether he would support an application, should they decide to apply for a TPO. Mr Turk was not willing to make such a commitment. The Council said that they would work together with Mr Turk should they decide to make a TPO application. Meanwhile, the Clerk would find out about the process to make a TPO application, keeping Mr Turk informed.

The Chairman apologised on behalf of the Council as it had not been their intention to go behind Mr Turk’s back.

The Chairman re-opened the Meeting and resumed Item 8. The Clerk’s Update advised the Council that:

The Chairman informed the Council that she and the Vice Chairman had conducted a review of the Clerk’s year. The Chairman reported that it had been another satisfactory year and confirmed that the Clerk’s salary would increase to the next incremental point. The Chairman also reported that the Clerk had just completed his CiLCA portfolio and was due to submit it for marking.

The Chairman reported that the Clean-Up the Parish Day had been very successful. She was particularly grateful for the level of response from volunteers and with the contribution made by several children. It was suggested that we should organise a further Clean-Up Day, either in early Spring 2011 or in the Autumn of this year. Next time we should arrange refreshments; and organise warning signs for the main roads.

The Clerk reported that he has been in contact with Stroud DC to arrange for removal of the rubbish which amounted to around 25 black bags and several other items (including tyres, battery, carpet, gas bottle and kitchen cupboards).

  1. The Meeting was opened for Public Discussion and Questions.

The Chairman congratulated Mr Alan O’Connor on his recent election as District Councillor.

Mr Palmer requested that we get the rubbish bin outside the Cemetery replaced with a larger bin as the present one often overflows.

In his capacity as a parishioner, Mr Palmer raised the mater of the letter about the woods, in May OTE. He added that he had previously advised the letter writer that the area was not a public right of way but on privately owned land and that it was for the landowner to take action, if appropriate.

  1. The Council invited Mr Eddie Whitlock, Neighbourhood Watch Administrator to give a presentation on the present arrangements for Neighbourhood Watch in the Parish. Mr Whitlock explained that there are no set rules for Neighbourhood Watch (NW) and that Groups vary in size and structure and operate in whatever way they choose. He said that there are 3 groups in North Nibley (Waterley Bottom; Highland Drive; & The Street)), each covering only part of the parish. Some villages have a group covering the whole village, but that was the exception. For example Kingswood has a single group covering the whole village; whilst Stinchcombe has 6 groups covering different parts, but not a full coverage. It all depends on what people want. There are no fees and no cost.

Mr Whitlock suggested that he is willing to address a meeting in the parish to explore whether parishioners want to develop further Watches. Meanwhile leaflets have been left with the Council to publicise NW and the Clerk will make contact with Mr Whitlock to organise a further meeting, if there is interest.

  1. The Council considered and commented upon the following Planning Applications:

  1. The Council to note decisions of the Stroud District Planning Authority:

Although no notifications have been received since the last meeting the Clerk reported that he had noticed that Approval of the application for 15 Highlands Drive, was on the website.

  1. The Council received a verbal report on their land at Breakheart Hill.

The Clerk reported that Mr Owen’s “Notice to Quit” took effect that day (10 May). The Clerk read a note from Mr K Brown who had been unable to attend the Meeting.

Since returning Mr Owen’s cheque (23 April 2010), Mrs Owen has redelivered the cheque and a further undated letter on 5 May. The Clerk read out that letter. He informed the Council that he had told Mrs Owen that as the “Notice to Quit” takes effect on 10 May that, on behalf of the Council, he would not accept the cheque. But he had been unable to get her to accept the cheque. The Council instructed the Clerk to return the cheque to Mr Owen.

Following discussion the Council further agreed:

  1. Due to election purdah District Councillor Mrs J Cordwell had no meetings to report upon.

  1. The Council received a brief report from District Councillor Mr P Smith

(See attached).

  1. The Chairman welcomed Mr O’Connor to the Meeting.

  1. The Council received a brief report from County Councillor Dr J Cordwell

(See attached).

  1. The Council received and discussed Reports of Committees and Meetings attended by Parish Councillors.

The Chairman reported that she had attended the AGM of Vale Vision. (See attached). She had also attended GL11 Forum. Mrs James added that the meetings had little relevance to North Nibley and that she was unlikely to attend in future.

Mrs Hale informed the Council that she had been involved in the appointment of the new head teacher for North Nibley Primary School.

  1. The Council received the End of Year Financial Report of the Council. The Clerk reported that because the internal auditor had not completed his work he was unable to seek the approval of the Council for those accounts.

  1. The Council received details of the following Invoices. Following careful consideration of each item the Council agreed to approve payments and drew up cheques for the following six items:

  1. The Council was advised that there were no matters to report under the Cemetery Report.

  1. The Council received a written update on Correspondence received since the last Meeting. (See attached).

The Clerk read out a letter from the Recreation Field Trust thanking the Council for taking out a loan to enable the pavilion project to be completed this year.

There being no further business the Meeting closed at 9.55 pm.

The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held in the Village Hall on Monday 7 June 2010 at 7.30 pm.