Present: Mr D Purnell (Chairman).

Mr K Brown; Mrs J Burton; Mr S Hale; & Mr L Smitherman.

District Councillors: District Councillors Mrs J Cordwell; & Mrs L Reeves.

County Councillor: Dr J Cordwell.

The Clerk: Mr R Symons.

There were eight members of the public present at the start of the Meeting.

The Chairman opened the Parish Council Meeting.

  1. The Chairman invited apologies. The Council received and accepted apologies from Mr K Larkin & Mr D Palmer.

  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 Ordinary Council Meeting held on 5 January 2015, as a true record. The Minutes of the January Ordinary Meeting of the Council 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:

A parishioner has suggested that a Community Land Trust may be the way forward. For this to operate a community group would need to be formed to take the lead. Any group would probable still have to work with a Housing Association in order to provide the necessary funding for the project. The Clerk will write to the parishioner following the Meeting.

Councillor Mrs Burton reported that she had received information from a parishioner about an event at Kingshill House, Dursley on 17 February, when a Community Land Trust expert will be present.

  1. The Chairman closed the Meeting to enable members of the public to ask any questions.

A member of the public raised an issue about S.14/2460/FUL. Planning permission for “Continued use of land for agricultural purposes and the installation of up to 5MW of solar photovoltaic panels and ancillary works. The chairman requested that the matter be deferred to Item 8 on the Agenda. This was agreed.

The Chairman Re-opened the Meeting.

  1. The Chairman invited Peter Gleed, Neighbourhood Warden, to explain what services the Neighbourhood Warden Service could be providing to parishioners. Mr Gleed explained that he covered the Parish as well as Dursley, Wotton under Edge and Kingswood. He assists with litter picks, dealing with fly tipping, assisting vulnerable people, helping people resolve issues with their benefits, as well as working closely with the police, social services and the Village Agent. It was agreed that the Neighbourhood Warden Service could be providing more help in the Parish, particularly to vulnerable people and there was a general lack of awareness of the service. The Clerk requested Mr Gleed to provide further information to enable him to publicise the Service, including information for “On The Edge”. The Chairman invited Mr Gleed to attend the Annual Parish Meeting on 13 April.

  1. The Council received and discussed the following planning applications:

Following discussion the Council agreed to Object to the application on the following grounds:

The application does not meet the requirements of the Stroud Local Plan Policy HN 10. The proposed development is outside the Settlement Boundaries of North Nibley and Dursley. The development is not linked to the efficient operation of agriculture or forestry”.

The application does not meet the requirements of the Stroud Local Plan Policy NE8. The site is within the Cotswolds AONB and is not linked to the conservation or enhancement of the natural beauty of the landscape”.

  1. The Council noted that Planning Consent had been granted in respect of:

The Chairman closed the Meeting and invited a member of the public to introduce the issue from Agenda Item 5. The Council was asked to seek confirmation from the land owner in connection with permission provided under planning application S.14/2460/FUL (see above). He asked if the two parish councils could secure from the landowner Colin Rea, something in writing by way of a contract or undertaking, that there would be no further applications on his land now that planning permission has been granted. He explained that such an agreement, even if it were simple exchange of letters would need to be between recognised and identifiable parties to hold any credibility. Given that the land owner has offered to enter into this undertaking he asked would it not be appropriate and proper for our Parish Councils to be the identifiable parties with which he enters into such an agreement?

The Clerk responded on behalf of the Council. He explained that for the Council to do so would require obtaining legal advice so that a legal agreement could be drawn up. Although he had been in contact with Alkington Parish Council he was unsure of their position, as they had not yet met to discuss the proposal. However in the meanwhile the Clerk had discovered that there was already a letter in existence from the applicant (Mr Rea) to Alkington Parish Council and this appeared to provide the undertaking requested by the questioner. The Clerk also explained that the letter was held by Stroud DC Planners. The Clerk read out the content of the letter. The member of the public agreed that this letter appeared to meet his requirements.

  1. The Council has been approached by a member of the public asking for information about the outcome of the Chief Executive of Stroud DC referral of a matter concerning the Leader of Stroud DC to the District Monitoring Officer for investigation. The Clerk explained that he had not been advised. Following a brief discussion the Clerk was asked to write to the Monitoring Officer for further information.

  1. Finances:

  1. The Council approved the invoices and drew up cheques for items on the attached Payments Schedule.

  1. The Council received a paper setting out proposals to increase Burial charges at North Nibley Cemetery by 4%, with effect from 1 April 2015. The Clerk explained that the last increase came into effect on 1 April 2012 and that charges were still significantly cheaper than other Cemeteries in the area. The Council agreed to the new charges which will come into effect from 1 April 2015. (See Paper aside).

  1. The Council received a verbal report and a written quote for work to repair north wall at St Mary’s Churchyard. The Clerk advised the Council that any works on this wall would require a full road closure by Highways, which will have to be funded by the Parish Council. He had spoken to the headmaster at the Village School to ascertain the least inconvenient dates. This would be during the Easter School holidays (28 March to 12 April). In response to questions the Clerk explained that the costs would need to be met from next year’s budget as there was unlikely to be the anticipated underspend in 2014/15. It was agreed by the Council that in order to save further future expense, repairs should be carried out to all four areas of the wall identified by the Chairman and Clerk in their recent site visit with the contractor. The quote for work was accepted. The Clerk was asked to advise Highways and carry out the necessary paperwork to secure a road closure for period 28 March to 12 April 2015. The Clerk agreed to publicise the arrangements through OTE and elsewhere.

  1. The Council received a paper setting out a proposed Council Budget & Precept for 2015/16. The Clerk explained that due to three issues to enable the Council to set a balanced budget in 2015/16 it would need to increase the Precept requirement.

The Clerk explained that the costs of the repairs to St Martin’s Churchyard wall would now be in the region of £2,400, against an anticipated £1,600. Grants from Defra & Natural England would be around £180 less than previous years; and that as there isn’t a tenant in Breakheart Hill land, the income from that would be significantly smaller in 2015/16.

  1. Following discussion the Council agreed to set a Budget of £17,760 for 2015/16.

  2. The Clerk explained that this would require the Council to set a Council Precept, including Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) of £279, of £15,240 for 2015/16. The Clerk explained that the impact of this increase would amount to less than £4.00 per annum for a Band D Council Tax payer.

The Council agreed to apply for a Precept of £14,961 plus LCTS of £279.

  1. The Council were sent a written District Council Report from District Councillor Mrs June Cordwell. The Chairman thanked Councillor Cordwell for her report.

  1. The Council received a written County Council Report from County Councillor Dr J Cordwell. Councillor Cordwell added that there would be a Special Meeting of GCC to discuss the Javelin Park decision. This would precede the County Council Budget discussions.

  1. The Chairman invited Parish Councillors to provide reports of Committees and Meetings they had attended.

  1. The Council received and approved the Agenda for the Annual Parish Meeting.

  1. The Council received and approved written Reports on (a) The Cemetery; & (b) The Closed Churchyard. (See aside). The proposals in the Clerk’s Report on this Agenda Item were approved by the Council.

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

The Clerk read out the letter from Mr White regarding Millmans Farm.

There being no further business the Meeting closed at 8.50.

The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held in the Village Hall, on Monday 2 March 2015 at 7.30 pm.