Present: Mr Ken Brown (chair), Mr K Larkin, Mr D Palmer, Mr D Purnell.

District Councillors: Mr G Butcher, Mr K Tucker.

County Councillor:

The Clerk: Mrs E Oakley.

The Chairman opened the Parish Council Meeting.

  1. The Chairman invited apologies. Apologies had been received from Cllr J Burton, Cllr L Smitherman, Cllr Rex Symons, District Cllr C Braun, and County Cllr J Cordwell.

  1. To Elect a Chairman of the Parish Council for the year 2018/19. The clerk took the chair to invite nominations. One nomination was received, proposed and seconded and Cllr Ken Brown was elected as chairman for the twelve months to May 2019. Cllr K Brown then took the chair for the remainder of the meeting.

  1. To Elect a Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council for the year 2018/19. The chair invited nominations for the position of vice chair. After nomination, proposal and seconding, Cllr D Purnell was elected as Vice chairman.

  1. To Elect Councillors onto the following Committees & Groups at which the Parish Council is to be represented during 2018/19. The council elected the following representatives, and also nominated representatives in their absence from the meeting where indicated below.

  1. Parish Councillors to receive and sign Declarations of Acceptance of Office and to receive forms for Register of Members’ Interests as required under the Localism Act 2011. The clerk requested an update of member’s interests, especially to identify any changes since previous declarations of interest on forms currently available on the council website. Councillors confirmed there were no changes to declarations of interest.

  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 9th April as a true record. The Minutes of the April 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 re-opened the Meeting without further discussion.

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

Application Number: S.18/0793/HHOLD, Location: Park Farm House, Park Lane, Stancombe, Dursley. Application Type: Householder Application. Description: Extension and remodelling of existing property. Revised scheme with changes to proposed new porch, patio and fenestration.

The council agreed to make no comment.

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

Application Number: S.17/2688/FUL. Land adjacent to Southwold Bournstream, Wotton Under Edge. Change of use of agricultural land to residential use and erection of a temporary dwelling (C3) subject to an agricultural occupancy condition. Permission. Councillors noted that this application had been referred to the Development control Committee on the 24th April. Cllr K Brown and District Cllr C Braun had attended.

Application Number S.17/2395/DISCON. Daisy Farm, Daisy Green Lane, Howley, Wotton Under Edge. Discharge of condition 5 (contaminated land) of planning application S.14/1551/FUL. Permission.

Application Number S.18/0389/HHOLD. Grooms Cottage, Isle of Rhe, Nibley Green, North Nibley. Rear extension to dwelling house to form a dining and family room area. Permission.

  1. 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 on behalf of councillors for his detailed and thorough report. Cllr K Tucker responded that all district councillors had contributed but he had edited this month’s edition.

  1. 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, in his absence, for his report. Councillors noted LED lights are coming in with an efficient system of installing noted to date by district councillors.

  1. To receive and discuss Reports of Committees and Meetings attended by Parish Councillors and the Clerk. Cllr D Palmer reported that a response to the overgrown trees issues highlighted in previous correspondence to Highways at Forthay was still outstanding and had not had a reply.

  1. Parish Council Finances.

1/ to approve the Invoices and draw up cheques for items on the enclosed Payments Schedule

Council approved and agreed:

Printing of Parish Council annual reports for 2017/18, 360 copies, insert for OTE.


Parish council meetings, hall hire, 5th February and 5th March. Main hall hire 9th April, annual parish meeting and ordinary parish meeting.


2/ to consider quotes for scheduled work

Council laptop. The clerk reported that in early May the council laptop had a (free) brief health check at the recommended computer store in Nailsworth. This report was generally good and the laptop regarded as in good condition with no virus issues. However, it was recommended to have an upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 operating system. Councillors agreed that the best advice was not to upgrade at present. If there were any operating issues Cllr D Palmer would investigate in the first instance.

Insurance renewal. As the current long term agreement was due to cease at the end of May 2018, the clerk had received a quotation for a new long term agreement from Came and Co. They had provided three quotes for comparison as well as a recommendation as to their view of the best quotation.

The clerk had received and circulated to councillors a table of comparison of the level of cover for the preceding cover and the proposed cover. Councillors agreed this latter was an enhanced offer under certain categories with some new categories of cover included. Whilst one item provided less cover, this was agreed to be less relevant to the council’s activities.

Councillors agreed to enter the 3-year Long Term Agreement (LTA) with Inspire. The annual premium was reduced by a further discount, giving LTA premium of £280.00 including insurance premium tax (IPT) plus Administration fee of £50.00, giving a total LTA premium: £330.00

3/ to consider and approve the statements of accounts financial year 2017/2018. The clerk presented the annual accounts for each of the three council accounts to include opening and closing balances, bank reconciliations, and listings of total payments and total receipts for each account. These statements also showed the transfer of sums during the year to cover capital expendure from the savings to the current account. Councillors noted from the clerk the savings accounts received interest but this was at a minimal rate due to low interest rates currently payable. The council approved the annual accounts for 2017/2018.

4/ to receive an update on audit review for financial year 2017/2018. The clerk informed councillors that Cllr Ken Brown and the clerk had met the new internal auditor in mid-April to present an overview of the audit process and to give her the template for assessment of audit items. She confirmed she was happy to assist.

16. To receive and approve Cemetery and Closed Churchyard Reports.

Clerk’s inspection on the 9th of May revealed the contractor had started tree works as agreed in the cemetery having set up a roped off an area as well as set up signs to inform the public before the start of work. This was expected to include removal of fallen branches at and under the line of trees at the rear of the cemetery.

The Burial clerk had received notification from funeral directors that the planned interment of Mrs Iball's ashes had proceeded on Sunday the 15th of April into an existing plot in the memorial garden. She had informed the funeral directors if a plaque is requested the wording will need approval from the parish councillors and a fee charged.

The Burial Clerk had received a request to purchase a grave and an internment from funeral directors on behalf of Mr Hadley of Forthay. Interment of his wife, Mrs Josephine Hadley, was due on Tuesday 24th of April. A cheque for the purchase of a grave and interment of Mrs Hadley was banked by the clerk at the end of April. The Burial clerk had received an enquiry from resident in Wotton-Under-Edge registered on the electoral roll interested in purchasing a burial plot for 75 years. The Burial clerk informed him as you live outside the parish of North Nibley the current cost of purchasing a burial plot for 75 years is £500.

The Burial Clerk had also received a request for the internment of ashes of Mrs Jill Jones on Tuesday 15th of May 2018 to be interred in an existing grave. Mr Jones has decided not to exhume his father's ashes. Additionally there was a request to purchase and reserve a plot in the garden of remembrance for Mr David Iball of Slimbridge.

Cllr D Purnell had discussed possible fencing to secure areas of the cemetery from wildlife visits and diggings with a contractor who had previously worked in this area. The scheme proposed to put a fence diagonally across the corner that had recently attracted wildlife.

St Martin’s Churchyard

The same contractor carrying out work in the cemetery had confirmed he planned to start work on the crown of the holm oak as the first part of phased work agreed by the family and facilitated by Cllr K Brown. Other phases of appropriate cutting were to be agreed at a later stage. Clerk’s inspection on the 9th May showed quite a high growth of grass over the last month, although recent cutting had preserved the walkways through to the back wall. The appointed contractor had confirmed he would start work on the wall’s ivy treatment after recent discussion with Cllr K Brown. However, clerk’s inspection on the 9th May showed this had not commenced to date. There is considerable growth of wild flowers inside and just outside the churchyard and trees in blossom in the churchyard.

A large branch from a yew was reported as fallen during the month. Some initial quotes for this work had been received. S. Merritt: £280 to remove the branch, £625 to remove the tree; G Harper: £200 to remove the branch, £450 to remove the tree. A further quote for comparison was due from a third contractor. Councillors discussed that whoever takes on the work be requested to leave the branches whole as there could be an application or even sale for these. The support for the planned noticeboard was a possible future use.

17. To consider rates for Burial and cemetery regulations. After local research carried out, Cllr D Palmer presented comparative rates for burial fees and also recommended update amendments to the burial, memorial garden and cemetery regulations. Research had included reviewing rates for Wotton Under Edge, Kingswood, Slimbridge, Berkeley and Dursley and the aim was to harmonize according to these comparisons. A structural change to the fee structure was also recommended, that it was better to buy a plot and pay per interment in the same plot. Therefore the recommended fees would separate out plot fees from interment fees.

Councillors approved the proposed changes to burial fees, garden of remembrance regulations, and cemetery regulations with effect from 1st June 2018, with some suggested amendments. Each plot in the garden of remembrance would be eighteen inches by eighteen inches, the fee schedule for residents would take the fees at the upper end of the comparative range presented, and the rates for non-residents living just outside the parish boundary would be subject to the discretion of the parish council. The clerk undertook to make the new rates and regulations available on the council website.

18.To receive an update on Wood lane. The clerk informed councillors of the letters sent by Cllr D Palmer concerning the delay in emptying the gulley at the bottom of the lane, and the overdue date for the installation of new lockable posts. Cllr D Palmer had subsequently had a response querying the number of keys that would be needed for the posts. Following his reply that the posts would need combination locks, he has heard no further.

19.To receive an update on parish noticeboard. Councillors agreed to include this item on the agenda for the June council meeting.

20.To consider issues relating to signage on chapel wall. The clerk reported she had spoken to the estates officers at the district authority about the status of the sign on the chapel wall stating the reserving parking for residents at certain properties. It had been confirmed that the sign on the chapel wall, as well as the car park immediately below it, were owned by the district authority. However, due to the complexities of a historic legal case, the district authority had no nomenclature of its own on the sign and had stated it was unable to enforce or police the sign. Cllrs agreed that the chapel authorities would review the sign. District Cllr K Tucker stated that similar signs in Wotton Under Edge with similar status had been taken down.

21.To discuss planning gain for benefit of the Parish, Section 106 statement. The clerk confirmed that the application to apply for planning gain remained open until 2020. Once a recreation related project had been identified at parish level, the clerk would need to complete the application process. Cllrs agreed that this project needed to be considered in the round and in terms of a project that everyone was happy with. Cllr D Purnell confirmed that there had been no specific response from young people locally as to a recreation project they would prefer to date.

22. To consider issues relating to ivy growth by the closed churchyard. The clerk confirmed she had sent the letters on behalf of the council meeting to both the Parochial Church Council (PCC) and to the property owner concerned. As she had received no response to date councillors concluded that the recipients accepted the premises of the letters.

23. To consider issues relating to the five year plan to include trees. The clerk stated she had circulated councillors the five year plan document as an updated listing giving works on council assets completed in the last year. Councillors agreed that a risk assessment as well as a tree assessment were now needed for both the cemetery and churchyard. Councillors agreed to request these from the contractor who had carried out the previous risk assessment and to include a copy of the five year plan. It was likely he had retained the assessments from previous work. The clerk also undertook to ask the PCC if they have a tree report completed from before they handed over to the parish council, as well as a copy of the last risk assessment before hand over.

24. To consider issues relating to footpath. The clerk had received a formal document with map drawing the council’s attention to the proposed closure of footpath CNN32. Councillors stated they were aware of this from previous correspondence and that this was part of the formal consultation procedure. No further comment was required at this stage.

25. To note recent guidance on data protection. The clerk reported that most recent advice revealed lobbying at national level by Gloucester Association of Parish and Town Councils and other organisations was likely to remove the mandatory requirement for councils to appoint their own Data Protection Officer. Additionally, compliance with the new regulations was also a continuing process without the requirement to be fully compliant by the end of May 2018. In anticipation of the new rules the clerk had continued to apply advice in terms of modifying the forwarding of email circulation lists to remove long listings of recipients.

26. To receive for information details of Correspondence received. The clerk had received a notice by email from a parishioner concerning a historic planning item decided in 2003. Having considered this in relation to the parish council and district authorities’ responsibilities for planning items as a whole, councillors concluded that no further comment was necessary.

27. Other items. Cllr D Palmer reported that the Cotswold Volunteer Wardens had said steps would be installed by the New Inn at Waterley Bottom as this area was very steep especially in wet weather. Cllr D Palmer agreed to liaise with he Cotswold Volunteer Wardens. Councillors noted from Cllr’s Ken Brown and D Purnell the spoil in pull-ins at Waterley Bottom, the contents of some of which had been levelled and scattered. Cllrs D Purnell and D Palmer had cleaned the seat under the Jubilee tree. Councillors reported the BT phone box at Pittcourt was not operational after some damage to the receiver. The clerk undertook to report to BT. The OTE editor had been in touch with Cllr K Brown to discuss a story about the phone boxes requiring painting and refreshing by volunteers for which payment on receipts for materials used to the clerk would be available.

There being no further business the chairman closed the meeting at 9.15 pm. The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held in the Village Hall on Monday 4th June 2018.