THE ORDINARY MEETING OF NORTH NIBLEY PARISH COUNCIL WAS HELD ON MONDAY 8th JANUARY 2018, AT WATERLEY FARM, WATERLEY BOTTOM, NORTH NIBLEY, AT 7.30 PM.
Present: Mr Ken Brown (chair), Mrs J Burton, Mr D Palmer, Mr D Purnell, Mr M Dinham, (Motorcross), and four members of the public.
District Councillors: Mrs C Braun
The Clerk: Mrs E Oakley.
The Chairman opened the Parish Council Meeting.
The Chairman invited apologies. Apologies had been received from K Larkin, L Smitherman, District Cllr Ken Tucker, and County Cllr J Cordwell.
Declaration of Interests. The Chairman invited members to declare any Interests relating to this Meeting. There were no declarations of interest.
The Council approved and signed the Minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 4th December as a true record. The Minutes of the December 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.
Grant applications. The clerk had sent a copy of the new grant application form to the headmaster of North Nibley School, and sent a note to last year’s council grant beneficiaries to let them know of the new application procedure as well as the closing date.
Annual meeting for Town and Parish councils with SDC Chief Executive. The clerk confirmed Cllr David Purnell will attend the district authority’s chief executive annual meeting on the 30th January for Town and Parish councils.
Wood Lane. The clerk reported a fallen tree to Highways and Cllr Dave Purnell subsequently confirmed Cotswold wardens had cleared a path through. It was agreed Howard Cowls would clear the remaining wood including a high hanging tree at no cost and take the wood for firewood.
OTE. As there is no separate edition for January the prior copy requesting feedback on the quality and range of new broadband services was agreed to be taken forward to the February edition.
Neighbourhood Warden. The clerk advised Rachel Pratt will be away from her duties until the end of January. In the interim contact, Lisa Ellis Tel: 07779347113, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phone boxes. The good news of BT retaining parish phone boxes was included in an autumn report for OTE requesting volunteers come forward to help maintain the boxes. The clerk had not received offers to date.
5. The Chairman closed the Meeting for Public Discussion and Questions. Mr M Dinham outlined plans for the holding of future Motorcross events to further include the village in the planning, especially so that local events would not coincide, and to meet those people who would be affected. The new arrangements would include a contact phone number. Councillors requested areas affected be reseed after the events, and recommended an OTE article to inform parishioners of events.
The Chairman re-opened the Meeting without further discussion.
The Council considered and commented upon the following Planning Applications:
Application Number. Application Number: S.17/2688/FUL. Land Adjacent To Southwold, Bournstream, Wotton-Under-Edge, Application Type: Full Planning Application. Description: Change of use of agricultural land to residential use and the erection of a temporary park home dwelling (C3) subject to an agricultural occupancy condition.
The council agreed to support the application. Councillors considered it was essential to have accommodation for an agricultural worker on site for the wellbeing of livestock and the security of farm equipment. Animal welfare issues have been highlighted recently by dog attacks resulting in serious harm and the death of sheep. Accommodation on site would ameliorate this risk. Additionally, this is a proven and substantial business operating over many years that would benefit from the proposed development. This development would be in keeping with policy CP3 but would also enable sustainable development under CP14.
Appeal Ref: APP/C1625/W/17/3178172, TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (HEARINGS PROCEDURE) (ENGLAND). Land adjacent to Swinhay Small Holding, North Nibley. Erection of barn style stabling and ménage.
Councillors noted that the Planning Inspectorate had changed the procedure for this appeal from written representations to an informal hearing which will take place on 17th January at the District Authority offices in Stroud. Cllr J Burton would attend the meeting as the council representative.
7. To note the following Planning Applications decisions by Stroud DC Planning:
None to report
8. To receive a written District Council Report. The Council received a written report from District Councillor C Braun on behalf of the ward’s District Councillors. The chairman thanked Cllr C Braun for her report.
9, To receive a written County Council Report. The Council received a written County Council Report from County Councillor Dr J Cordwell. The Chairman thanked Cllr Cordwell for his report (in his absence).
10. To receive and discuss Reports of Committees and Meetings attended by Parish Councillors and the Clerk.
There were no items to report.
Parish Council Finances:
To approve the Invoices and draw up cheques for items on the enclosed Payments Schedule.
The Council received and approved:
Graham Beer, additional works to the cemetery to include cutting back lower hedge and removal of cuttings.
Village hall hire for council meetings, November and December 2017 (not including January 2018).
2/ To consider quotes for scheduled work. The council received the quotation for £350.00 to clear fallen branches from the cemetery and remove dangerous hanging branches. The council requested this item be added to for the work of cutting two leylandii trees either side of the main cemetery gate. The clerk undertook to request the same quote be extended to include this item.
3/ To confirm arrangements for 2017/ 2018 internal audit. The clerk informed councillors a meeting was planned for the clerk, new internal auditor, chair and vice chair, to discuss internal audit procedures ahead of the end of the financial year.
4/ To receive an outline of arrangements for 2017/ 2018 external audit. The clerk informed councillors of the new external auditors appointed. It was likely a full external audit of the council’s finances would be needed if the threshold for expenditure criteria was exceeded by the end of the financial year. The exact criteria to trigger a full audit requirement would be discussed a training session later in January organised by the new auditors.
5/To confirm precept application for financial year 2018/2019. The clerk informed councillors she had received the application form from the district authority and would submit this by the 1st February.
6/Clerks quarterly pay, broadband, expenses, mileage. The council approved clerk’s payments:
Quarter 3 wages: £1, 320.89
Quarter 3 broadband: £100.00
Quarter 3 mileage: £36.45
Quarter 3 expenses: £24.78
12/ To receive and approve Cemetery and Closed Churchyard Reports. The clerk notified councillors that, for the two memorials agreed by council in December, the assistant to the Burial Clerk had informed funeral directors. The scheduled burial had also taken place in early December. Councillors noted it was appropriate to increase the ratio of the work now undertaken by the assistant to the Burial Clerk and Cllr D Palmer agreed to give funeral directors her telephone number.
Clerk’s inspection of the cemetery on the 4th January revealed medium sized branches brought down in high winds with some evidence of recent animal, possible badger, diggings, in the same area. Winds had also partially torn two trees within the central area. Similarly a branch was torn but not detached from a tree to the immediate cemetery left hand side and to the right of the memorial garden. There were also scattered numbers of smaller twigs and branches through the cemetery as a result of the high winds. The clerk had moved some of these away from graves and paths.
Clerk’s inspection of the churchyard on the 4th January showed the overall condition inside the wall was good with grass in a neat condition and previous leaf-fall blown to other areas or decomposed into grassy areas. However, to the right hand side just above Frog Lane, were two fairly large fallen branches and also several small to medium sized branches fallen and blown onto the verge of Frog Lane encroaching on the road in some cases. Some of these larger branches the clerk removed from the roadside and placed in grassy areas.
13/ To consider update issues relating to cemetery regulations. Councillors acknowledged receipt of current regulations, together with those applicable to Wotton Under Edge, as attached for comparison with special reference to memorial garden regulations. However, they wished to complete current works in progress and the clerk undertook to contact the contractor for confirmation of his start date in the New Year for erection of the memorial garden plinth.
14/To consider issues relating to ivy growth by the closed churchyard. Councillors agreed it was key to narrow the liability for the wall and Cllr K Brown agreed to discuss this with Tim Hodsman. Roger Holcombe may also be invited to a future council meeting.
15/ To consider arrangements for the councillor vacancy. Councillors acknowledged receipt of two applications for the vacancy. Councillors voted to appoint Rex Symons to the position under the agreed co-option arrangement. The clerk undertook to write to Rex Symons accordingly and to notify Elections at the district authority. Cllr D Palmer agreed to contact the other candidate in person to let him know the outcome and explain the council’s decision.
16/ To receive an update on issues relating to rural housing. The clerk highlighted correspondence received from Martin Hutchings, Mark Russell, and Clr K Larkin following Martin Hutchings attendance at the December parish council meeting. However, the question of the planner’s change of view about the second preferred site for affordable housing remained open to determine, and if the original documentation could be identified the council was in a position to challenge this change of view. The clerk undertook to identify these in past council files and thanked District Cllr C Braun’s for her suggestion copies would be retained at the district authority’s strategic archives. Councillors did not wish to take up the proposal from correspondents above for a new walk-about to identify sites at the current time.
17/ To discuss possible gift from planning gain for benefit of the Parish. Section 106. The clerk had brought forward correspondence from the district authority’s Regeneration Office to advise of a set sum of money available for upgrading or improving recreational facilities within the parish. Councillors agreed to the council would welcome feedback from the school to get them involved in identifying recreational items. Councillors also discussed in outline the North Nibley Community Day, the possibility of ramps at the side of the recreation field for which a survey maybe needed, and possible facilities for older children.
18/ To consider issues relating to quarry maintenance. Councillors acknowledged this item brought forward from the autumn finance meeting and immediately previous council meeting. Councillors discussed issues of possible fencing by posts or wire combined with signage but concluded these required more detailed investigation and later discussion.
19/ To consider issues relating to horse riding on the Knoll. Cllr K Brown reported that he had already approached and spoken about this to the person concerned. Cllr D Palmer drew councillor’s attention to the draft letter to the person identified as responsible for exercising horses in the area. The clerk undertook to forward a copy of this letter to the chair by email. Councillors agreed the issue need be progressed by joint working between the Parish Council, the Monument Trustees, and The Knoll Trustees. Cllr ken Brown agreed to arrange a joint meeting.
20/ To receive an update on the Wood Lane gate project. Cllr D Palmer reported there had been no recent news but that information on the specifics of the installation of the posts was overdue. The clerk undertook to write to request an update.
21/ To consider issues relating to hedges and verges. Councillors acknowledged correspondence from a parishioner expressing strong concern about the condition of trees in the Forthay area. Councillors noted that despite having a strong case and bearing in mind the legal framework stating jointly and several liability he had still not had an official reply. Councillors expressed concern at least one of the trees is dead and could damage nearby property. Councillors concluded the matter be further referred to County Cllr J Cordwell.
Councillors acknowledged receipt of correspondence from Cllr K Larkin concerning the condition of verges at Forthay in the area of a new build. Councillors noted the builder involved and the clerk undertook to write to say it was expected they would repair damage to the verges. The letter would itemise verges at Forthay, in the area of the Pittcourt phone box, at Timothy lane, also noting so many vans on a single track road and residents complaining to the parish council they cannot pass parked vehicles. With reference to previous concern about the condition of verges at Swinhay, Cllr J Burton undertook to include this item at the appeal hearing on the 17th January.
22/To receive monthly update on broadband project. Councillors considered that the service provided by new broadband project was very disappointing. Whilst speeds were higher at the beginning of the day they were often ended lower at the end of the same day. The service was also very variable by area of the parish. The clerk undertook to request feedback from parishioners and she confirmed an article for OTE had been drafted for the next edition.
23/ To consider dog problems in the parish. Cllr K Brown confirmed there had been problems for three years and that Police had drafted a recent advert for the Gloucestershire Gazette following a particularly difficult incident when a dog attacked a deer and the Police marksman was summoned to humanely kill the deer. Additionally dogs in the area had killed lambs and some others were consequently aborted. Cllr K Brown felt that the Police view had moved recently towards taking these incidents more seriously. They had advised to ring 999 not 111 in the event of an incident and were more likely to undertake DNA testing. The NFU were also taking the problems seriously. The clerk agreed to write to the Police and Crime Commissioner highlighting the problems with a copy to the MP for the Cotswolds, Sir Clifton Brown.
24/ To consider the issue of dogs in the recreation field. Councillors noted that recent reports had been received by a councillor of dog walking on the recreation field. The clerk agreed to write a request for OTE for parishioners to report any further incidents.
25/ To consider a request for a parish Christmas tree for 2018. Councillors noted from Cllr D Purnell that it was very good for village morale to have a Christmas tree. This could be installed by the side of the Jubilee tree. Cllr D Purnell agreed he would request his neighbour supply a live tree with a view to this site.
26/ To consider nominations for representatives to 2018 Buckingham Palace garden party. Councillors agreed to nominate Cllr D Purnell to attend the summer event and the clerk agreed to forward his name to GAPTC.
27/ To receive for information details of Correspondence received. The clerk highlighted correspondence from a private company concerning forthcoming changes for councils in their management of Data Protection. She undertook to research these changes for a future agenda item. Cllr J Burton advised she would be able to assist with advice on changes in this policy area.
Other items. The clerk agreed to investigate a property that had previously received a letter some months previous concerning hedges maintenance. She would also revisit the previously sent letter if required.
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 5th February 2018.