Present: Mr D Purnell (Chairman), Mr K Brown, Mrs J Burton, Mr S Hale, Mr K Larkin, Mr D Palmer, Mr L Smitherman

District Councillors: Mr G Butcher, Mr K Tucker

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.

  1. The Chairman invited apologies. Apologies were received and accepted from Cllr C Braun.

  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 September 2016 as a true record. The Minutes of the September 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 her Update Note which she spoke to at the Meeting. She advised:

  1. To consider and comment upon Planning Application

None received.

  1. The Council noted that the following Planning Applications have been approved by Stroud DC Planning.

None received.

  1. Meeting for Public Discussion and Questions. There were no members of the public in attendance.

The Chairman re-opened the Meeting without further discussion.

  1. The Council received a written report from District Councillor G Butcher on behalf of the ward’s District Councillors. The Chairman thanked Councillor Butcher for the report submitted. (See Report aside). Cllr Butcher drew attention to discussions on fly tipping and especially concerns this would increase after charges went up. There was evidence that over the last three months flying tipping has started to peak again. There have been two recent prosecutions.

  1. 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 had no further points to add to the written report.

  1. The Chairman invited Parish Councillors to report back on meetings they had attended.

  1. Finances.

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

£1,400 plus VAT Total: £1,680

(2) To consider quotes for scheduled work. The Council agreed to quotes for work on the cemetery hedges and young oak tree below but with the proviso that the overall total (to include VAT) would be £250 (not £250 before VAT). The Clerk undertook to negotiate the new fee:

(3)The Council acknowledged from The Clerk receipt of the second payment of the annual precept due on the 29th September.

(4)The Council acknowledged from The Clerk the statement of Council balances which was prepared for the meeting ahead of receipt of the precept above. 11(3)

(5) The Council considered The Clerk’s options statement (report aside) on the Government’s Automatic Enrolment Provision. The best advice from GAPTC, and the Pensions Regulator’s website, was that the Clerk fell into the “entitled worker” category. This was due to the current estimate on her annual earnings falling below the threshold of £5, 824 to trigger automatic enrolment.

As an entitled worker The Clerk, “can require the employer to arrange for them to join a pension scheme. The scheme does not have to be a qualifying scheme and the employer does not have to contribute to it”. (NALC Legal Topic Note, Staff Pensions, May 2016).

The Council noted the Clerk’s decision that, as she earned below the threshold for automatic enrolment, she preferred to take earnings as pay rather than as deferred savings via a pension scheme. She also currently receives two small occupational pensions. For these main reasons she would not require the Council to arrange for her to join a pension scheme currently.

However, Councillors noted from the Clerk that circumstances may change for the Council as an organisation in future. The possibilities included: a Clerk working more hours bringing pay above the qualifying earnings threshold; an expanded role for the Clerk; and a larger precept in future years.

Given the Clerk’s decision, the Chairman undertook to write to the Clerk about the conditions for Automatic Enrolment stating his understanding as to what had been agreed. The Clerk undertook to respond giving her reasons as per above for not requiring current pension provision. The Clerk agreed to copy this set of correspondence to The Pensions Regulator by the 1st November 2016.

(6) The Council approved the Clerk’s (Quarter 2) expenses payment (report aside).

(7) The Council approved the Clerk’s (Quarter 2) mileage payment (report aside).

(8) The Council approved the Clerk’s (Quarter 2) use of internet, telephone expenses and home office expenses (report aside).

(9)The Council approved the Clerk’s (Quarter 2) wages payment (report aside).

(10) The Clerk’s wages interval was noted as quarterly.

(11) The Council approved the Clerk’s attendance at GAPTC’s forthcoming half day course on Budget and Precept Setting.

(12) The Council approved the Clerk attending the GAPTC CILCA mentoring programme at a cost of £220 for 4 sessions plus additional support time. The first session was due to start at the end of October 2016 and the programme ended 16th June 2017. The Council agreed the professional CILCA (Certificate in Local Council Administration) qualification was an important route to follow to maintain the Council’s Foundation Status. For comparison the Council noted that registration for the qualification itself (additional to mentoring above) was roughly equivalent to the mentoring fee, at £250 to be paid to the SLCC (Society of Local Council Clerks).

  1. (1)The Council received and approved a verbal Report on the Cemetery from the Clerk. (Report aside). Councillors agreed that the work to cut around the family plaques in the memorial garden was work well completed. Cllr Smitherman raised the on-going issue of emptying of cemetery bins. Cllr Palmer replied he and his wife carry this out and recycle what is possible. A request had been submitted that bins in the layby outside the cemetery be emptied more often, as had a request to install a larger bin. A larger black bin had then been installed.

(2).The Council received and decided upon a written report on St Martin’s Churchyard Closed. (Report aside). Councillors acknowledged the Clerk’s report on the churchyard, especially that she had had an introductory meeting with the incumbent at St Martin’s. Councillors agreed that the ivy previously growing on wall and pole needed to be kept an eye on as the precept submission was due.

  1. To consider developments towards the Council’s new website (report aside). The Clerk informed the Council that major design and software work had been completed on the new website. The software developer had let the Clerk know the site was not far from “Live status”. However the Clerk noted that checks needed to be made to ensure that all appropriate documents had been transferred to the new site. The Clerk undertook to carry out this work in conjunction with the software developer and the District Council by the 1st December 2016. The Clerk thanked Cllr Palmer for his offer of a scanned map of the parish to upload to the new site.

Councillors agreed the design work on the website was very good to date, but felt that more photographs were needed to represent the area in terms of the variety of seasons as a number of photos already uploaded were taken in snowy winters. The Clerk undertook to supply new photographs and thanked Cllr Dave Palmer for his offer to supply photographs and text on historic buildings in the parish.

  1. To consider options for Speed Awareness (report aside). The Council had received recent notice of its successful bid for a Safe and Social Driving initiative. After consideration of the two options offered by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, the Council agreed grant funding would be spent on Option 1: a speed gun, tripod, signs and Hi Vis jackets. The Clerk undertook to write to the Commissioner’s Fund to let them know the Council decision.

  1. To consider options for Parish Council noticeboards. The Council agreed not to pursue this at the current time as current parish noticeboards were considered to be in a serviceable condition and previous quotes for repairs were expensive. Cllr Smitherman informed the Council the proposal for a new noticeboard was in hand with considerable support for funding it. He would submit a further report to the Council before Christmas.

  1. To note Clerk’s Listing for archiving Parish Council documents. (Report aside).

The Clerk informed councillors she had completed the listing in an Excel spreadsheet of all 99 items (files, ledgers, statements, minutes, agendas) inherited from her two predecessors. The Council agreed in broad terms that the 30 or items (approximating a third of the overall batch) be deposited with Gloucestershire County Archives. However, it was decided to retain the documentation relating to the relatively recent sale of the Breakheart Hill land.

The basis of the deposit at the County Archives would be that the items could be returned to the Parish Council if needed in future. In the interim, items deposited may be viewed for private study (and one copy made for that purpose only). Any requests for more detailed study of items deposited, or use for commercial purposes, or publication, or educational, or promotional, or exhibition purposes, would be referred back to the Clerk on a case by case basis. The Clerk undertook to arrange deposit of items agreed, less Breakheart Hill items, on the terms above.

  1. The Council noted for information details of Correspondence & Messages received during September. Parish Councillor Dave Palmer reported he had received a couple of comments about the condition of a style at Forthay between the triangle and Forthay Farm. He did a temporary repair and reported it to the Footpaths Officer, John Lane, for wardens to fully repair. Cllr Les Smitherman noted that hedges by the playing field parking for three places for the Cotswold Way would need to be cut. Cllr Ken Brown confirmed that the ownership of a hedge goes with the level of the land, but the question was whether it belonged to a house or to highways. The Clerk undertook to view the parking area and take action if required.

  1. There being no further business the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 8.45 pm.

The Chairman announced the next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held in the Village Hall on Monday 7th November 2016 at 7.30 pm. The Clerk acknowledged receipt of a councillor apology for the November meeting.