Present: Mr D Purnell (Chairman).

Mr K Brown; Mr S Hale; Mr D Palmer & Mr L Smitherman.

District Councillors: District Councillor Mrs J Cordwell.

County Councillor: Dr J Cordwell.

The Clerk: Mr R Symons.

Burial Clerk: Mrs King.

There was one member of the public present for part of the Meeting.

The Chairman opened the Parish Council Meeting.

  1. The Chairman invited apologies. Apologies were received and accepted from Mrs J Burton; & Mr K Larkin. Also from District Councillor Mr P Smith.

  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 6 January 2014, as a true record. The Minutes of the January 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 on:

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

A member of the public sought clarification of the financial impact of the Council taking on responsibility for the Closed Churchyard upon the Council Tax for 2014/15. The Clerk advised that this would be covered later in the Agenda, but that it was anticipated that there would be no increase in 2014/15.

There being no further questions, the Chairman re-opened the Meeting.

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

  1. The Council received a verbal update on progress on the Parish Information Board from Mr Smitherman. He reported that there hadn’t been a lot of change since his previous report to the Council. However to date he had received pledges of £750 from sponsors and he anticipated that there would be nil cost to the Council. Mr Smitherman explained the proposal and displayed an early draft of the design. He expected that the project should be completed by the end of the year and there would be something to display at the Parish Meeting in April. The Chairman thanked Mr Smitherman for his work on this project.

  1. The Council received a draft of new Standing Orders for the Council to adopt. The Clerk explained that the Council’s previous Standing Orders (set up in 2010) had been made redundant by changes in legislation. The draft submitted to the Council had been produced by National Association of Local Councils (Nalc) and amended by the Clerk to accurately reflect the Council’s position.

Following discussions and some minor amendments the Council agreed to adopt the new Standing Orders.

  1. The Council received a written District Council Report (see filed aside) from Councillor Mrs Cordwell. Cllr. Cordwell explained that Stroud DC has frozen its element of Council Tax for 2014/15. Cllr. Cordwell also informed the Council of planned improvements to Dursley Swimming Pool. The chairman thanked Cllr. Cordwell for her Report.

  1. The Council received a written County Council Report from County Councillor Dr J Cordwell. (See filed aside). Cllr. Cordwell explained that progress on carrying out repairs to Old London Road (Wotton under Edge) were unlikely to be made until after April. There were no questions on his report.

  1. The Chairman invited Councillors to report on Committees and Meetings they had attended.

There were no reports from Councillors. The Clerk reported back on the Parish Forum (7 January) which had been attended by the Chairman and the Clerk. He reported:

  1. Planning Matters. The Stroud Local Plan is with the Government Inspector. An Examination in Public (EIP) is due, possibly April 2014. The EIP should take around 10 days during which time evidence would be taken from interested parties. In commenting on draft policies it was said that “emerging policies have some /not a lot of weight”. Any policies which had been “unopposed” during the consultation period carried significant weight. Due to Inspectors’ decisions on planning applications, Stroud District are now required to have a 5 year supply of housing plus 20%, to satisfy the Department.

The meeting were told that “poor performing local planning authorities” can lose their right to make decisions under “Growth & Infrastructure Act 2013”. One LPA elsewhere had already had their decision making powers removed.

  1. Pre Application Community Involvement Protocol. The meeting received information about the protocol which encourages councils & community groups to hold early discussions with developers and thereby help shape planning applications to meet local needs. (NPPF Para. 66 expectation of consultation).

  2. Stroud DC Boundary Review. The meeting received information about the forthcoming Review by Local Government Commission for England. The Consultation will start in a few weeks. The outer boundaries of parishes would not be up for change. The timescale for implementation is May 2016, when a new election cycle would start. All parishes in Stroud District would also hold Parish Council elections in 2016. The Clerk explained that this would mean that North Nibley Parish Council, which is due to hold an election in 2015 and would normally remain in place for 4 years, would now only sit for one year, prior to the 2016 election.

  1. Affordable Housing & Rural Exception sites. The Clerk reported that a presentation by Gloucestershire Rural Council Community Council (GRCC) on this topic provided some optimism to believe that an Affordable Housing solution might be achievable for the Parish. He explained that GRCC would be willing to assist with the Housing Needs Survey and provide advice on recent changes in planning regulations. Following discussions the Council agreed that a representative should be invited to attend a future meeting of the Council.

  1. Finances:

  1. The Council received and signed-off a Bank Reconciliation Statement of Council Finances for the period to 31 December 2013. (See filed aside).

  2. The Council received a verbal report from the Clerk on the developments relating to the 2014/15 Precept and Local Council Tax Support. The Clerk explained that information on LCTS for 2014/15 was received on 8 January. The Council will receive £370 (compared to £417 in 2013/14).

  3. The Council decided that it would maintain its Precept at the 2013/14 level, meaning that the overall budget for 2014/15 would be reduced by £70 due to reduced LCTS. The amended Budget for 2014/15 (see aside); and the draft Budgets for 2015/16 & 2016/17 were agreed.

  4. The Council approved and signed-off the 2014/15 Parish Council Precept for £13,430, including Local Council Tax Support (£347).

  5. There were no invoices to be paid.

  1. The Council made some minor amendments and agreed the Agenda for the Parish Meeting on 7 April 2014. (See aside).

  1. The Council was briefed on proposed programme of works to trees in the Cemetery. Following discussion it was agreed that the Chairman would meet with the contractor to discuss the situation relating to one tree and report back to the Council.

  1. The Council received for information details of Correspondence received. (See aside).

There being no further business the Chairman closed the Meeting at 9.30 pm.

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

3 March 2014 at 7.30 pm.