NORTH NIBLEY PARISH COUNCIL
AN ORDINARY MEETING OF NORTH NIBLEY PARISH COUNCIL WAS HELD ON MONDAY 5th SEPTEMBER 2016, IN THE VILLAGE HALL, NORTH NIBLEY AT 7.30PM.
Present: Mr D Purnell (Chairman), Mr K Brown, Mr S Hale, Mr K Larkin, Mr D Palmer, Mr L Smitherman
District Councillors: Mr G Butcher
County Councillor: Dr J Cordwell.
The Clerk: Mrs E Oakley
There were no members of the public present.
The Chairman opened the Parish Council Meeting.
The Chairman invited apologies. Apologies were received and accepted from Councillor J Burton. Her new email contact was also noted.
Declaration of Interests. The Chairman invited members to declare any Interests relating to this Meeting. There were none.
The Council approved and signed the Minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 1 August 2016 as a true record. The Minutes of the August 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.
The Council noted matters arising from the Minutes not covered by agenda items. The Clerk referred to her Update Note which she spoke to at the Meeting. She advised:
Asset Register. For reasons of update required under Transparency conditions for the new Parish Council website and following the sale of the Breakheart Hill land, I have updated the February 2016 version of the Council’s asset register. (Agenda Item).
New Parish Council Website. I have been working with Vision ICT to produce the main design elements of the new website over 10 pages within the Transparency rules brief. Whilst limited to 10 pages there is nonetheless scope for the careful use of space. We have chosen a font size for clarity bearing in mind the older population and also younger people viewing on tablets and smart phones. I took new photographs during July and August to reflect the local landscape, history, and feeling of community. These were forwarded to ICT for inclusion. Some key documents have been uploaded including the external auditors’ report and scan of the parish map. Historic photographs have been included in the History link. The updated asset register has been uploaded. Other finance information will be uploaded by launch date, for example, expenditure over £100. The plan is to present the new website design to Council at or by the October Council meeting. This gives time for review of the overall design and documents uploaded by the launch date of 1st December 2016.
Current SDC Jigsaw website. During August I discovered a technical issue with the current Jigsaw site. Some items do not automatically upload but require SDC authorisation. This issue will disappear with the launch of the new website by 1st December 2016.
Audit (external). The audit report was received and passed with the exception of the inclusion of the cost of the defibrillator. The auditor’s instruction is to correct this element in the audit for the next financial year. The external audit for the current year has been scanned and linked to the new website under development.
Letter of authority to mole trapper. I have drafted a letter for Council amendment or approval. A shortened version was subsequently given to the mole trapper before the commencement of works on site.
Repairs to St. Martin’s Churchyard wall. The condition of the wall shows considerable improvement following the work carried out to treat the ivy and the strimming of the verges under the walls.
Community Speed Watch Group. I await the result of Rex Symons’ bid to the Police & Crime Commissioner Fund for a grant to purchase equipment. I will be notified of this result by the end of August or early September.
Pension. I have had a preliminary look at the Pensions Regulator automatic enrolment requirements and written to request clarification of the rules that apply to small public sector employers where employee earnings are likely below the threshold for pension contributions.
Work to clear ragwort. This was completed by mid-August and I have drafted an expression of thanks to the voluntary group to meet the On The Edge deadline of the 10th of September, (October edition). It is also proposed to follow up the last edition of OTE’s thanks in their summer double issue with a photo of the magnificent flower beds for the October issue.
Council Insurance obligations for the 1st October Tyndale monument event. I have spoken to the Council insurance company and received a written reply. In summary the council obligation would be in terms of the condition of (any fault with) the land owned by the council. Otherwise the event organisers would need their own insurance cover. The insurance company statement on this was forwarded to councillors.
Parish Noticeboards. I have received marketing details of new Parish Council noticeboards and sent details to councillors by email. These maybe an option to consider for the future for comparison against the costs of maintenance of existing parish noticeboards.
Archiving. I am working towards a master listing of inherited (70-90 items) in a spreadsheet by date, type of data, type of file or register. I have contacted Gloucestershire Archives for their copyright rules and terms of deposit.
Banking. I have written formally to Lloyds Bank to confirm I am the new Clerk requesting all correspondence to include bank statements be addressed to myself. To facilitate my non-signatory on-line view-only access to council bank accounts, one further councillor signature is requested on the bank form. By the October council meeting I should be in a position to provide a Financial Statement to reflect the three current balances following the sale of the land, the receipt of the transparency fund, and receipt of half annual precept.
Clerk’s Training. The new autumn listing of GAPTC training options for Clerks and councillors have been received and details sent to councillors. The Budget and Precept setting day on the 11th of October would be very useful to attend. The cost is £35 (to GAPTC members) for the half day.
To consider and comment upon Planning Applications
S.16/1628/MISC Miscellaneous Files 13.07.2016, Dursley/PCP001v2/EB, BT PLC, Telecommunications Cabinet Outside Corner Cottage, Warren Hill, North Nibley, Gloucestershire. (No comments are allowed for this application).
The Council noted that the following Planning Applications have been approved by Stroud DC Planning.
S.16/1454/CPL 2 Weavers, Millend Lane, North Nibley. Demolish polycarbonate canopy between two extensions and replace with glass roof, French doors and windows. Permission.
The Chairman closed the Meeting for Public Discussion and Questions.
Meeting for Public Discussion and Questions. There were no members of the public in attendance.
The Chairman re-opened the Meeting without further discussion.
The Council received written reports from District Councillor G Butcher on behalf of the ward’s District Councillors. The Chairman thanked Councillor Butcher for the two reports submitted: July and August. (See Reports aside). Cllr Butcher drew attention to the Environment section of the reports and the new waste collection service’s introduction of new bins. He awaits to hear from the District council if extra fly tipping is likely. Cllr Cordwell noted that if new bags under the recycling scheme were put out more than 24 hours early, this would qualify as fly tipping.
The Council received a written County Council Report from County Councillor Dr J Cordwell. (See report aside). The Chairman thanked Councillor Cordwell for his report. Cllr Cordwell highlighted bridge closures at Berkeley on the A38 and the Railway Bridge near Blanchworth. The Chairman noted new bus services from the 4th September were not to everyone’s liking although through bus services to Gloucester were good. But those through to Wotton Under Edge were a less good service.
The Chairman invited Parish Councillors to report back on meetings they had attended.
Parish Councillor Ken Brown reported that the Knoll Trust had decided not to fence the hill. From two viewpoints on the Knoll it was difficult to see the cemetery on Wotton Road due to tree growth. The Stroud District Council Arboriculture Officer, Mark Hemmings, had been contacted, but he had not responded to date. A fallen branch in Wood Lane had been removed. It also looked as if green saplings had been cut, but the instruction “don’t cut anything that’s alive” had also been passed on.
Parish Councillor Ken Brown reported that he and the Clerk had met the mole contractor at the cemetery on Wotton Road. Having passed over the Council’s signed Letter of Authority, the contractor started straight away on setting traps. A notice to inform visitors of the mole control works had been placed on the main gate the following day.
Parish Councillor Ken Brown wished to thank Jean Palmer for the magnificent flower displays opposite the Black House Public House. The Clerk has drafted an article for the October On The Edge to include a photograph of the flowers and an expression of thanks from the Parish Council.
Parish Councillor Dave Palmer reported he had cleared undergrowth around the monument and may do more with a few volunteers. Cllr Ken Brown had cut The Knoll. The cutting of overhanging branches on Frog Lane had already been instructed.
(1)The Council approved the following Invoices and drew up cheques for items submitted on the enclosed Payments Schedule.
Reimbursement of UWE Print costs for the Parish Council Annual Report insert to On The Edge. £33.62
T.W. Hawkins, contract mowing cemetery from 15th June to 28th July 2016. £506.64
Grant Thornton, fee for 2016 Annual Return. £120.00
Church hall Hire for Parish Council Meetings
(May to August 2016) £48.00
Treecreeper Arborists, removal of ivy in churchyard (on 12th July)
The final water bill for the Breakheart Hill account remained outstanding due to Severn Trent’s conclusion that there was, most likely an on-going leak, a misreading of the meter, and/or the meter was inaccurate. They will conduct a further site visit to determine the exact cause and recalculate accordingly and contact the Clerk in due course.
(2) To consider quotes for scheduled work. The Council noted the quotation received for work in the cemetery on Wotton Road. Councillors agreed a one-off cut to the grass around family memorial plaques at £100 and a one off cut and strim of the area over the right hand side wall of the memorial garden at £100.
Councillors agreed not to action the quote received for the proposed work to the cemetery gate as there were relevant skills held by a member of the Council who had offered to carry out the work by early November. However councillors agreed The Clerk would contact the appropriate contractor to cut back cemetery hedges and the younger oak tree within the cemetery. This had grown out markedly to the left hand side.
(3)The draft letter of authority to the mole contractor (Report aside) had subsequently been revised to a shortened version and given to the contractor on site before work started.
(4)To review and agree the amended asset register following the sale of Breakheart Hill land. The Chairman signed the amended Asset Register dated August 2016. This item was key to the development of the new website and a draft updated asset register already supplied to the new website contractors.
(5) The Clerk’s attendance at the forthcoming GAPTC session on Budget and Precept Setting was agreed for the 11th of October.
(6) The Clerk undertook to provide financial statements of the balances of the Council accounts for the Council update at the October Council meeting especially following the receipt of the Precept and transparency fund income and payment of the receipts for September at Item 11 (1).
(1)The Council received and approved a verbal Report on the Cemetery from the Clerk. (Report aside). The Burial Clerk had sold a further grave and the receipt passed to the Council Clerk for payment. The Burial Clerk had given the payee a receipt. Cllr Dave Purnell undertook to organize the Rowan tree in memory of the Burial Clerk’s late husband. Councillors agreed that the establishment of a Cemetery sub-committee would be considered at a subsequent Council meeting once the overall Council’s financial position had been presented.
(2).The Council received and decided upon a written report on St Martin’s Churchyard Closed. (Report aside). The Clerk had contacted the appropriate contractor to determine the date for the outstanding major wall works on the left hand side of the churchyard. He agreed to prioritise for the current week or following week at the latest.
To consider hedge maintenance issues. Cllr Dave Palmer referred to his former report on footpaths: Autumn 2015/Spring 2016. This highlighted the condition of CNN26. Subsequently overgrown hedges in Innocks Lane had become more pronounced. Whilst Cllr Palmer had previously undertaken a twice yearly strim, more recently several complaints had been received about the overgrown hedges. Councillors agreed it was now appropriate for the Parish Council to write to identified house owners In Warren Croft. The letter would request they cut back (not trim) along the length of their properties, and also specify that cuttings be removed. The letter would include the reminder that otherwise the issue would need to be referred to County Council Highways who may charge homeowners for this service.
To note update on Affordable Housing. Councillors were informed by the Chairman he had received a telephone call from Paul Burgess in July to tell the Chairman he had spoken with agents who renegotiated the Black Horse Public House Lease to exclude the field. This renegotiation had taken time. He surmised that Enterprise Inns were still interested but he planned to reply to Enterprise Inns to emphasize that this is an exception site. The Chairman commented the issue would need to be looked at again on its merits in a few months’ time.
To consider a response to the GAPTC consultation on devolution (letter aside). The Clerk drew councillors’ attention to the formal letter she had received from the Chair of the Gloucestershire Association of Parish and Town Councils. This letter expressed concerns about the published plans for devolution, the negotiation process, and their potential longer term impact on Parish and Town councils. The letter from GAPTC had invited comments from Parish and Town Councils by the 15th of September. The Clerk noted that the plans for devolution from national to local government were ambitious, but that an initial application on the Gloucestershire County Council website had undergone subsequent revision.
Cllr John Cordwell reported he would attend a regional level meeting a week on Friday to discuss devolution, reflecting concerns that it was unclear from the current proposals where power would lie in the new structure proposed. There was additional concern that devolution could mean an upwards change and not only a downwards restructuring.
The Clerk undertook to write to the Chair of GAPTC: "Devolution Gloucestershire: Observations and your request for comments by the 15th of September. We subsequently understand that a revised draft for the devolution set of proposals is now going forward. However, your Observations paper was included as an Agenda item at our September Parish Council meeting. Our Councillors acknowledged the importance particularly of your comments on the second page with regard to rural proofing: "What rural proofing will take place to ensure that rural areas are not disadvantaged through any devolution proposals?" Your observations on the second page and especially the paragraph, "This proposal will have implications for Parish and Town council roles and could lead to increased pressure on them" was thought very pertinent by Councillors. The Council would certainly be keen to be kept informed of the negotiations during the devolution process and please regard me as the best contact in that respect”.
To note Clerk’s Listing for archiving Parish Council documents. (Report aside).
The Clerk informed councillors she had analysed and listed in an Excel spreadsheet, 70 of the 85 plus Parish Council items inherited from her two predecessors. These items took the form of hard copy files, ledgers and key registers that went back to the earliest dates of 1906 and 1926. They also spanned the one hundred years or so in between of Parish Council activities. The records were of historic significance and once the complete listing was finalised, the Clerk undertook to make a recommendation against each item for the best future location of each item. These would be made with reference to the GAPTC Legal Topic Notes and the Notes on Submission, Storage, Access and Copyright supplied by Gloucestershire County Archives. Councillors acknowledged the importance of this archiving process and supported its work to completion.
The Council noted for information details of Correspondence & Messages received during August. The Clerk highlighted two main items. A notice of free flu jabs available at the Cam surgery to those falling within certain age and health criteria had been received. The Clerk undertook to put details on both Parish noticeboards subject to space. The Clerk had also received details of the new Village Agent from mid-September. Details of this change had been forwarded to councillors. Cllr Dave Purnell drew councillor’s attention to the forthcoming tea extravaganza to which all were invited to celebrate the work completed in the chapel, and also to a Strawberry Ball in mid-September for which it may be necessary to rent additional tables.
There being no further business the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 8.35 pm.
The Chairman announced the next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held in the Village Hall on Monday 3rd October 2016 at 7.30 pm.