Present: Mr Ken Brown (chair), Mrs J Burton, Mr D Purnell, Mr L Smitherman, Mr R Symons and four members of the public.

District Councillors: Mrs C Braun, Mr K Tucker

County Councillor: Dr J Cordwell

The Clerk: Mrs E Oakley.

The Chairman opened the Parish Council Meeting.

  1. The Chairman invited apologies. Apologies had been received from K Larkin, D Palmer, and District Cllr G Butcher.

  1. Declaration of Interests. The Chairman invited members to declare any Interests relating to this Meeting. There were no declarations of interest.

  1. The Council approved and signed the Minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 8th January 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.

  1. The Chairman closed the Meeting for Public Discussion and Questions. The chairman welcomed members of the public to the meeting. The owners of Bird Farm gave councillors an overview of their plans for future development at the pre-planning stage. The site was proposed as an interactive part of the local community building good relationships and had been renamed Hope Farm. Developments proposed included building on an existing five year plan, with different growing areas, the showcasing of a nature reserve, organic groceries, and café and on-site parking. Discussions were in progress with planners as to the full scope of the proposed project.

The Chairman re-opened the Meeting without further discussion.

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

Application Number: 18/0057/FUL Location: Daisy Farm, Daisy Green Lane, Howley, Wotton-Under-Edge. Application Type: Full Planning Application. Description: New drive, change of use and replacement dwelling (renewal of permission S.15/0250/.)

The council agreed to make no comment.

Application Number: S.18/0027/FUL Location: Millmans Farm, Wotton Road, North Nibley, Wotton-Under-Edge. Application Type: Full Planning Application. Description: Erection of an all-weather private horse riding arena.

The council agreed to support this application for private use.

Application Number: S.18/0125/HHOLD Location: Dingle Farm, Waterley Bottom, North Nibley, Dursley. Application Type: Householder Application Description: Proposed single storey extension to create 'Garden Room' to end of West elevation, two storey 'infill' extension to rear/north elevation to accommodate replacement stair, passage & landing & to facilitate the installation of 'through floor' mobility lift, together with amendments to the fenestration of the central element of the building including parapet walling to front/south elevation & return gables. Erection of weather porch to west/rear door elevation. Reconfiguration of existing entrance porch & replacement of concrete interlocking roof tiles with stone slates (377680 - 196778).

The council agreed to make no comment.

  1. To note the following Planning Applications decisions by Stroud DC Planning:

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.

The appeal application was dismissed. The major consideration in the Planning Inspectorate’s decision was the impact of traffic movements on highway safety.

8. To receive a written District Council Report. The Council received a written report from District Councillor K Tucker on behalf of the ward’s District Councillors. The chairman thanked Cllr K Tucker for his report. District Cllr C Braun highlighted the loss of the Revenue Support Grant with the requirement to pay back just over half a million pounds to the Government. This was in the context of a rule change through which business rates return to the district authority.

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, who highlighted the return of some Highways elements back to the authority, the retaining of 100% business rates under a pilot, and the loss of some Highways local funding. Cllr J Cordwell was shortly due to meet all five new applicants in the Forest of Dean who had applied for the major Highways contact. The current contractors Amey had not applied.

10. To receive and discuss Reports of Committees and Meetings attended by Parish Councillors and the Clerk.

Cllr D Purnell reported from the district authority Chief Executive’s Parish and Town council meeting to include key points on changes to parking in Berkeley and Dursley from October, the dilemmas in identifying needs for housing where a preference for existing areas has to be modified under government rules to consider other areas, and the issue of the M5 Junction 14 being over-subscribed and Junction 13 also at maximum capacity. Whilst opening Charfield and Stonehouse stations was a Gloucester County Council priority there was also an effect on National Rail timetables and rail capacity.

  1. Parish Council Finances:

  1. To approve the Invoices and draw up cheques for items on the enclosed Payments Schedule.

There were no items.

2/ To consider quotes for scheduled work. The council received the quotation for £350.00 to clear fallen branches from the cemetery and remove overhanging branches. It had been subsequently requested this item be added to the additional work of cutting two leylandii trees in the cemetery for which the combined total was quoted at £1,130. Councillors agreed this combined work required two further quotes for comparison under the council’s financial regulations.

The council approved the quoted contract work by Hawkins.

To cut all of cemetery including new area. Strimming around trees. Cutting verge.

£113.00 per cut

Cutting grass in churchyard, May and September.

£206.00 per cut

3/To confirm arrangements for 2017/ 2018 audit procedures. The clerk informed councillors Cllr K Brown was due to meet the newly appointed internal auditor to confirm her interest in the role. The new external auditors had been in correspondence with the clerk and supplied detail of new audit requirements. The clerk had requested advice on whether an appeal could be allowed against a full external audit, as due to recent expense of capital expenditure only, this had raised the annual expenditure threshold over £25,000. She had been advised there would be no exemption from a full audit this year but this was a possibility for future years.

4/To receive the statements of council balances. The clerk presented the January statement for the three council accounts for comparison with statements for the previous November. The difference showed the major capital expenditure items on the cemetery had been processed through council accounts, as had the most recent clerk’s quarterly wages.

12/ To receive and approve Cemetery and Closed Churchyard Reports. The clerk highlighted she had amended the council website with the new contact details for the Burial Clerk and similarly the main document on Burial Regulations. Cllr K Brown had contacted the funeral directors with the new Burial Clerk contact details. Cllr D Purnell had updated the notice on the cemetery gate with the new contact details for public information. Cllr K Brown informed councillors the main contractor had done a very good job in building the new memorial garden wall but that pointing had not been filled in in one square metre. Cllr K Brown had received the information work on the Holme oak in the churchyard would not need a Faculty through the church authorities but an arborists report was required. The family had agreed to fund phased lifting and rising and cutting. Graham Beer would be requested to quote for this work at the same time as he was met at the cemetery for tree work. Councillors also agreed two other contractor’s quotes were required. Cllr K Brown and Cllr D Purnell agreed to meet the two other contractors identified to also provide quotes for the wind damaged trees and tree cutting combined.

13/ To consider issues related to Burial Clerk’s terms and conditions. The clerk informed councillors the last years’ internal audit had requested the council relationship with the Burial Clerk be formalised. After discussion councillors agreed to formalise the Burial Clerk’s conditions with her agreement as a voluntary position for which expenses related to the role could be claimed.

14/ To consider issues relating to ivy growth by the closed churchyard. Cllr K Brown informed councillors he had sought advice on the legal status of the wall, which implied that if ivy was on the wall when a property was purchased, it was a principle the buyer had accepted responsibility. However, in this instance the buyer had deemed the wall unsafe and councillors acknowledged the importance of any safety issues. Cutting back the ivy had had an effect, and councillor inspections concluded the wall was not less stable than ten years ago, but the ivy had grown. Councillors agreed Cllr D Purnell and Cllr R Symons would confer and then arrange a meeting with the householder concerned.

15/To confirm the new councillor appointment by co-option. The chairman welcomed the new councillor by co-option. The clerk acknowledged receipt of the completed Register of Interest form which she would send to Democratic Services and upload to the council website. After review of the recruitment process, councillors agreed to amend the council Standing Orders to state that during future recruitment processes all candidates would be interviewed.

16/To receive an update on issues relating to rural housing. The clerk informed councillors Martin Hutchings, the affordable housing manager, had written to say he would pursue contacts at the district authority to liaise with planning colleagues regarding potential rural exception sites for affordable housing. The clerk agreed to diarise for four weeks’ time to make contact if no further news was received in the interim.

17/To discuss planning gain for benefit of the Parish, Section 106 statement. Councillors acknowledged this opportunity to apply for funding for recreational facilities, but wished to prioritize the past offer of funding from Mr White. Cllr D Purnell undertook to speak to him to see whether this offer was still available. The clerk undertook to review past council minutes to identify the amount previously discussed. Councillors noted that funding need be considered but not only for school initiated projects. The clerk undertook to write an article for On The Edge to request ideas for recreational projects.

18/To consider issues relating to horse riding on the Knoll. The clerk had drafted a letter to the horse rider identified and this was ready to send.

19/To receive an update on the Wood Lane gate project. The clerk informed councillors she had written to the Amey contact to request detailed specification for the posts to include combination locks but had had no further response to date. County Cllr J Cordwell suggested John Lane was the other contact for an update on this work.

20/To consider issues relating to hedges and verges. The clerk informed councillors she had drafted a letter on behalf of the Parish Council to the builders identified in relation to damage to verges in the area of the new build at Forthay and this was ready to send. The owners of Bird Farm who were in attendance at the meeting stated they would plan to relay hedges at Snittend Lane as previously requested.

21/To consider the option for the planting of a memorial tree. Cllr D Purnell informed councillors he had received a quote for £45 for a Norwegian spruce Christmas tree. Councillors agreed that the tree be planted in the vicinity of the Jubilee Tree on a wide verge opposite and well off the road on the bank by the gate to the playing field.

22/To consider issues relating to naming of a hill. The clerk informed councillors she had received a request for the naming of a hill on behalf of a local running club leader. The hill currently has a designation of “USRN 38501432 - 41558 Whiteway Hill to Waterley Bottoms North Nibley” according to district authority records. The council agreed the hill had been known locally as Old Hollow for many years and requested the clerk contact the department responsible for naming to request this designation be included in their records and on appropriate maps.


23/ To receive update on broadband project. The clerk informed councillors she had received a few recent reports on the new service. These were very variable, with some good speeds in the morning followed by a dropping off of speeds later in the day, but also acceptable speeds especially in the area near the village shop. Cllr L Smitherman reported he had called engineers out eight times when speed had dropped. There was a recommendation that copper may provide a better service. Cllr R Symons had also called out an engineer and was now guaranteed 13 mps plus.

24/ To consider issues relating to exercising of dogs. The clerk informed councillors she had placed a request in On The Edge for information on dog walking in the recreation field and had not received a response to date. Councillors noted from Cllr L Smitherman a local resident had experienced dog waste on her property coming over from the recreation field. Councillors agreed the field needed regulation for dogs through the district authority as there was currently no exemption for dogs on the recreation field.

25/To note forthcoming new rules for data protection. Clerk informed councillors there were new rules for councils to be compliant by the 28th May 2018. Information was coming through but some areas of council and clerk responsibility had yet to be decided. The clerk stated the previous advice was that the council need not be registered for Data Protection purposes due to the nature of its scope and activities. However, this may need to be revisited in the light of new regulations. District Cllr K Tucker advised he had attended a recent workshop on Data Protection. One likely requirement would be placing a disclaimer on the council website, combined with rules about the use of emails especially to include circulation lists. The clerk undertook to monitor the new data handing requirements and ensure the council was compliant by the May deadline.

26/To consider the date for the 2018 Annual Parish Meeting. The clerk advised the date for the Annual Parish Meeting was the 9th April as the 2nd April was a Bank Holiday. The council had previously agreed this meeting required earlier local advertisement. The clerk undertook to put up posters accordingly and to write an article for March On The Edge. As the Clean Up Day had been brought forward slightly from the April date last year to the 17th March 2018, the clerk undertook to send this information for March On The Edge.

27/To receive for information details of Correspondence received. The clerk advised of update correspondence on the Stroud District Local Plan Review process. An initial report summarising consultee responses would be published on the district council’s website in February. The clerk had received correspondence offering a demonstration of local demographic and other data available through an OCSI tool for which the County Council had a licence. Cllr K Tucker would further advise the clerk on the viability and usefulness of this tool. Councillors noted from Cllr K Brown that there had been a further dog attack in the area. Cllr J Burton advised of continued running water over several weeks near Swinhay. The clerk advised she had reported an incident of flying tipping between Whiteways Hill and Waterley Bottom which the district authority had prioritised. Cllr L Smitherman advised passing places at Waterley Bottom had been filled up to include off the triangle and near the bungalow. County Cllr J Cordwell agreed to progress if a listing of passing places supplied.

There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 9.40 pm. The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held in the Village Hall on Monday 5th March 2018.