Present: Mr D Purnell (Chairman).

Mrs J Burton; Mr S Hale; Mr K Larkin; Mr D Palmer; & Mr L Smitherman.

District Councillors: Mrs J Cordwell; & Mr P Smith.

County Councillor: Dr J Cordwell.

The Clerk: Mr R Symons.

There were two members of public present for the Meeting.

The Chairman opened the Parish Council Meeting.

  1. The Council invited apologies. An apology was received and accepted from Mr K Brown.

  2. Declaration of Interests. The Chairman invited members to declare any Interests relating to this Meeting. There were none.

  3. The Council approved and signed the Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 4 November, as a true record. The Minutes of the November Ordinary Meeting had previously been distributed to all members and displayed on the public notice boards and the website. All members agreed the Minutes should be signed, as a true and accurate record. The Minutes were duly signed by the Chairman.

  1. The Council noted matters arising from the Minutes, not covered by agenda items. The Clerk referred to his Update Note, which had been issued prior to the Meeting. He advised that:

  1. The Chairman closed the Meeting for Public Discussion and Questions.

There being no matters raised, the Chairman re-opened the Meeting.

  1. The Council considered and commented upon the following Planning Application & Application for Listed Building Consent.:

The Council took these two applications together. Following discussion and consideration of the documents linked to these applications the Council agreed to make “No Comments”.

(1) The proposed development adjoins the Cotswold AONB and there would be a significant visual impact from many parts of the AONB throughout the Parish, including Nibley Knoll and Stinchcombe Hill.

(2) The development would be a visual detriment to the large number of walkers on the nationally recognised Cotswold Way, which passes through the Parish.

(3)  The adjoining area of Nibley Green is the site of an ancient battle between William, Lord Berkeley, and Thomas, Lord Lisle with a combined force of more than 1,000 men.  This was the last battle between private armies fought on English soil and took place in 1469/70.  The "Battlefield Trust" could be an interested party.  Furthermore it is believed that the fields in this area are of archaeological interest due to the Battle. 

(4) The area has two water identified courses, which could be affected.

(5) Potential distraction/impact to users of M5 Motorway.

(6) A loss of solar generated heat to the agricultural land beneath the solar field.

(7) Potential problems for birds migrating to & from Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust.    

(8) The height of the solar panels (2.8 metres) is significant given the extent of the proposal.

(9)  The Parish Council understands that there are two similar proposals solar pv developments in the area, including one at Upper Huntingford Farm, in the adjoining Parish of Charfield, South Gloucestershire.  This would swamp the area to the South & West of this Parish (& the AONB), with solar panels”

  1. The Council noted that consent has been granted in respect of:

  1. The Council received a letter from St Martin’s PCC and were asked to make a decision on a written request that the Parish Council take on full responsibility for the Closed Churchyard at St. Martin’s Church. (Local Government Act 1972 S 215 (2)).

The Clerk read out the letter from the PCC. The letter acknowledges the recent fall of one area of the boundary wall. During their discussion the Council expressed concern about the overall state of the Churchyard boundary wall and the potential long term financial cost to the Council. The Council decided that it needed to take further advice on this matter in order that it could consider the full implications. The Clerk was requested to acknowledge receipt of the letter in response to St Martin’s PCC; to request a copy of the latest Survey by the Church Surveyor; and to place the matter on the January Agenda.

  1. Mr L Smitherman reported on progress towards the Parish Information Board. The Parish Information Board is still in the design stage. It will contain a map of the Parish, showing points of interest and key local services. Mr Smitherman reported that he was working with the contractor and is in contact with a number of commercial partners. He expressed confidence that the project would be completed this financial year and come in well within budget. He planned to send Councillors a draft map, prior to the January meeting.

  1. The Council received a written District Council Report from Councillor Mrs Cordwell. In response to a question Cllr. Cordwell explained that when considering the future distribution of Local Council Tax Support (LCTS), Stroud DC had rejected the officer’s recommendation on the 2015/16 LCTS. The Chairman thanked Cllr. Mrs. Cordwell for her report.

  1. The Council received a written County Council Report from County Councillor Dr J Cordwell. (See filed aside). There were no questions on his report. The Chairman thanked Cllr. Dr. Cordwell for his report.

  1. The Chairman invited Councillors to report on Committees and Meetings they had attended. There were no reports.

  1. Parish Council Finances.

  1. The Clerk reported on progress towards setting the Parish Council’s Budget & Precept for 2014/15; and Draft Budgets for 2015/16 & 2016/17. A number of items had been identified during the Council’s preliminary discussions. As a result adjustments had been made to the Draft Budget for 2014/15. The Clerk reminded Councillors that the level of Local Council Tax Support for next year would probably not be known until January 2014, although it is known that the amount will be smaller than this year’s support.

Councillors agreed that the possibility of buying an animal shelter for Breakheart Hill land should be further explored. It was suggested that an advert in the “Gazette” would be more appropriate in the New Year. Meanwhile an entry had been placed in “On The Edge”. The land has also been advertised for rent.

Discussions about the Council taking on responsibility for the Closed Churchyard at St Martin’s Church, had identified increased costs to the Parish Council by at least £1,000 pa. Additional consideration of the potential costs in maintaining the walls might mean that this figure will need to be further increased. Councillors discussed the possibility of using Parish Council grant money for this purpose.

There will be a full discussion at January Meeting when the Council will set the Budget and decide the level of Precept for 2014/15.

  1. The Council approved the Invoices and drew up cheques for items on the enclosed Payments Schedule. (see attached).

  1. Cemetery Report. The Council were informed that there were no further matters to report on the Cemetery.

  1. The Council received for information details of Correspondence received.

(See attached)

There being no further business the Chairman closed the Meeting at 9.10 pm.

The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held in the Village Hall on Monday

6 January 2014 at 7.30 pm.