Present: Mr Ken Brown (chair), Mrs J Burton, Mr K Larkin, Mr D Palmer, Mr L Smitherman, Mr R Symons.

District Councillors: 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 Cllr D Purnell, District Cllr C Braun and District Cllr G Butcher.

  1. Declaration of Interests. There were no declarations.

  1. The Council approved and signed the Minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 4th June as a true record. The Minutes of the June 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.

4. The Council noted matters arising from the Minutes, not covered by agenda items.

5. 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 Application:

Application Number S.18/1239/FUL. Location: Fortune Farm, Road Green, North Nibley, Dursley. Application Type: Full Planning Application. Description: Installation of a waste water storage tank.

The council agreed to make no comment.

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

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

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.

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 additionally highlighted the chief fire officer had resigned due to maladministration over a fire vehicle, and that councillors had responded to the consultation on changes to paying car parking arrangements as especially would apply at Wotton Under Edge.

10. To receive and discuss Reports of Committees and Meetings attended by Parish Councillors and the Clerk. There were no items to report.

  1. Parish Council Finances:

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

Council approved and agreed:

a/ Waterplus, cemetery water supply 01st February 2018 to 11th June 2018.


b/ George Harper, cemetery, cutting of two conifer trees, one snapped-out limb, dealing with miscellaneous fallen and hanging branches. £450.00

c/ George Harper, churchyard, cutting yew tree branches and removal of all waste.


The clerk had also received invoice for payment from Hawkins for contract mowing in the cemetery and churchyard. However, as the dates for each separate cut were unclear on the invoices, the clerk would contact Hawkins to clarify the number of cuts this season corresponded with what had previously been agreed. An invoice had also been received from S Merritt Services Ltd for work to treat the ivy on the churchyard wall. .However, as the work had not been fully competed at this stage, Cllr K Brown would pursue to ensure the work was completed before payment was considered.

2/To consider quotes for scheduled work.

a/ Treecreeper Arborists, to carry out tree report survey work in the cemetery and remove wood and brash from site.


Councillors agreed to accept the quote on the condition the quotation for tree survey work be additionally inclusive of trees in the churchyard. Cllr D Purnell would be requested to liaise with the contractor for this. Councillors also noted the Christmas tree erected near the Jubilee tree was also a new tree to include in the overall stock of trees to be maintained. Councillors also agreed to consult the quinquennial report received within the last year from the Parochial Church Council to establish the condition of any trees covered in this report. The clerk undertook to bring this document forward for reference.

An additional quote for comparison was also required for tree survey work.

b/ George Harper, cemetery fencing

Post/rails/fittings £60.00

50 metres of badger stock wire £170.00

Labour £250.00

Total £480.00

Councillors compared this quote to that previously received from another contractor in the spring. It was agreed that this new quote was a like for like assessment to include an equivalent trench and council agreed to accept the above quote. George Harper’s quote includes the price of wire fencing. He has confirmed to the chair he would leave the remainder of any unused wire for this project for parish council’s future use.

c/ George Harper, churchyard, to pollard yew and remove all waste. £170.00

Councillors agreed to put this quote on hold for the time being. Cllr K Brown was liaising with the Diocesan Tree Officer and awaited confirmation from the diocese before further work could commence.

3/To review 2017/ 2018 audit procedures. The clerk reported she had been working with the new internal auditor for some weeks whose final report was now completed and had been forwarded to councillors. The clerk reported the audit assessment had been fairly intensive under a number of financial and management criteria, but the audit for the year was agreed as passed and the appropriate governance form signed off by the auditor. In a supporting letter the auditor had made three main suggestions for ways of her continuing to work with the clerk during the following year in the lead up to the 2018 to 2019 audit.

4/To receive and approve annual governance statements 2017 to 2018 sections 1 and 2.

The clerk presented completed sections 1 and 2 to the meeting. Section 2 was a statement of annual accounts to tie in with the bank reconciliations already achieved for the annual accounts. The clerk clarified in Section 2 that the overall value of council assets had been adjusted downwards after the land sale in financial year 2016 to 2017. The clerk also clarified the public works loan figure outstanding for the pavilion was paid twice annually in instalments and the overall sums now outstanding showed a reduction over the previous year.

5/To receive and approve payment schedule clerk Quarter 1 wages and expenses.

Council approved quarterly wages, spinal column point from 1st April 2018, £1,402.54, broadband and office expenses, £100, expenses, £27.78, and mileage, £51,75.

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

Councillors acknowledged recent good comments about the condition of the churchyard. However councillors noted from Cllr L Smitherman the saddle bins outside the cemetery filled up rapidly with litter. Whilst these were due to be emptied every two weeks, they appeared not large enough for the level of use. Cllr D Palmer said that the contents were transferred regularly to the black bin inside the cemetery when needed. Cllr L Smitherman offered the use of the bin in the pub car park for this purpose and confirmed ninety seven per cent of content was recycled.

The clerk had been informed by the burial clerk ashes were interred on Tuesday 26th of June into an existing plot in the memorial garden and there was no fee due as it was a second internment in the same plot. A double burial plot was also purchased at £250 and there was a further purchase of space in the old memorial garden and internment for £270. Also purchased was a space in the old memorial garden, £180. The clerk has banked these payments.

Clerk’s inspection on the 25th June revealed the cemetery overall in a good condition with well looked after graves and memorial plots, and with large numbers of flowers on plaques or graves. The grass cut around the memorial plaques appeared as neatly done, especially around the edges of plaques. Some graves have flowers growing directly from them. The new memorial garden plinth has been erected. Cllr D Purnell has thanked James Storey for the excellent work on the plinth. Cllr D Palmer and Cllr D Purnell had completed the pointing on the memorial garden wall and will also deal with the existing shelves to be moved onto the new plinth. The brackets will require an angle grinder.

The burial clerk had received some comments from a parishioner and also passed these concerns to the chair and clerk. After discussion the burial clerk telephoned the parishioner and talked with her about the points made, stressing the parish council are continuing to complete the cemetery improvement plan. The clerk, following discussion with the chair and burial clerk, had an informal discussion with the contractor by telephone about cemetery grass cutting who confirmed they now use a hand held mower (sometimes strimmer) for most of the cemetery cutting other than the open area behind the trees at the back. On this area they use a sit-on mower.

Councillors agreed to hold an opening event in the cemetery on the 16th September at 3.00 pm. This would be a gathering open to those in the village and those from outside to show the big amount of work that had been done, and also give the parish council an opportunity to explain what had been achieved. The clerk would draft a small article for OTE with a photograph giving advance notice of the September date.


Clerks’ Inspection on the 25th June showed a recent grass cut and also some work completed on the old yew tree, although mulch and pulping inside the tree remains. There is an advantage to this in that removing it would mean the tree dries out and be more subject to water damage later on. Logs from the tree have been taken to Waterley Farm, and putting these on eBay to assess the demand, is a possibility. The tree itself will likely require pollarding to retain its overall health. The chair will contact Ian Sergeant in the Tewkesbury Diocese for permission.

The clerk undertook to request dates for the last grass cuts completed in the churchyard this year as it appeared this was cut early this year. The sprayed ivy on the churchyard wall is beginning to show effect. However, some areas of ivy were missed in the initial spray. Cllr K Brown has contacted S Merritt to request the work is completed. Councillors also noted the neighbouring pole requires attention due to a previous split and the growth of ivy. These were previously reported. The clerk undertook to follow up these items.

13.To consider issues relating to ivy growth by the closed churchyard. The clerk had circulated a letter received from the Parochial Church Council in response to the council’s letter sent to the PCC in April. Councillors agreed this letter be sent to the neighbour concerned with a covering letter from the council inviting any further comment.

14.To receive and approve the updated council risk management policy. The clerk reported she had updated the first part of the policy with the new details of the council insurance policy giving the new insurance company name and the main areas of cover in a table format. Councillors discussed areas in the existing policy to be clarified. Amendments need be made to correct nomenclature “KPC” under the Churchyard section. Councillors noted from Cllr R Symons The Knoll did not appear as a separate section in the risk management policy as brought forward. The clerk undertook to consult the lease for The Knoll to identify who was responsible and draft a clause for inclusion in council’s risk policy. Cllr R Symons also stated that as regards the recreation field it was unclear who was responsible, the parish council or the Recreation Field Trust. The clerk undertook to investigate for the purposes of managing risk.

15.To receive an update on speed awareness issues. Cllr K Brown stated he had been contacted by two families concerned about speeding in the village such that they used their cars to help children cross the road. The clerk had also received a parishioner letter forwarded by County Cllr J Cordwell on a similar issue. Councillors discussed the various initiatives which had been considered over recent years to include zig zags, a roundabout, and a crossing to channel pedestrians. Councillors noted that there were already flashing signs near the school. However, there was no pedestrian footpath down to houses on New Road between the main village junction and the garage. There was a need to cut down old signs, and order new 20 is 20 signs. Cllr D Palmer confirmed one could be repaired.

16. To receive an update on Data Protection issues. The clerk informed councillors the privacy statement proposed for the council website was one devised by the website hosts as part of their on-going service. This mainly covered generic elements to ensure data protection was complied with. The statement assured users of the website that user data collected would be anonymised, key data encrypted, and data collected overall destroyed after ten years. Councillors agreed the privacy statement be uploaded to the website and the clerk agreed to contact ICT Vision. Cllr L Smitherman also raised the issue of the handling of emails under data protection as recommended by ICT Vision. As councillors had previously agreed not to set up separate official email accounts for council business, the clerk had devised a proforma for councillors to sign to this effect at the next council meeting.

17. To receive an update on changes to the Village Agent and the Neighbourhood Warden Services. The clerk reported that both these services had been recently restructured. The Village agent service was now an on-line referral service. The clerk had completed her details as an example on their on line proforma to determine the level of response and had not heard to date. On a response being received she would refer this to Cllr R Symons for inclusion in an article about the new service for On The Edge in September.

18. To receive an update on the parish noticeboard. Cllr L Smitherman reported he had spoken to three main people who were willing to commit to support the project and there were also other new people he was due to contact in order to cast the net wider. The noticeboard itself has been designed but not made.

19. To receive for information details of Correspondence received. The clerk reported there was a councillor vacancy to represent Stroud district parishes on the GAPTC executive committee for which councillors were invited to place a nomination by the 17th July. The GAPTC AGM was due to be held on 21st July at Highnam.

20. Other items. Cllrs D Palmer and D Purnell and two other volunteers had cleared the footpath towards the phone box and had cut back the soil that had encroached on the path. Cllr D Palmer had also strimmed growth up against the cemetery railings. Cllr R Symons reported there had been some evidence of clearance at the bottom of Wood Lane, but there were still drains on the main road that were blocked right to the top. The clerk undertook to report this again quoting the original reference number. Cllr L Smitherman reported the steps opposite the New Inn were now installed.

Councillors heard from Cllr R Symons and Cllr Ken Brown that litter had been left by people celebrating and listening to music in the quarry and also there was evidence of fires being lit on the top areas. Cllr K Brown undertook to install two or three signs in the quarry area to say don’t light any fires. An article for OTE had already been supplied to encourage people to take their litter away from the area.

The clerk and chair had received a request for a family to spread two sets of ashes and plant wild flowers on The Knoll. The chair had replied by email and will contact the necessary bodies and let the family know. Councillors agreed it would be preferable to scatter seeds rather than plant flowers, and trees were not permitted to plant. Councillors discussed the proposal from Cllr L Smitherman that those wishing to scatter ashes have a memorial plaque in the cemetery for a fee, or a memorial seat.

Councillors discussed complaints received about loud music from the events field on the top of the hill adjacent to the Ashen Plains campsite that continued into the early hours. There was also concern about the types and numbers of structures now erected on site to include yurts, barns, shepherd huts, and stables, and whether some of these had become residential. District Cllr K Tucker agreed to raise this with the district authority licencing committee of which he was a member. He also advised to keep a log of times and dates for the noise experienced. There was also a need to refer the issue to the district authority planning enforcement team to determine what conditions had been placed at the planning stage and whether these had now been complied with. The clerk undertook to draft a letter on behalf of the parish council.

Councillors noted that whilst the parish council had had General Power of Competence previously approved, clarification was needed now that the new clerk was in post. The clerk would enquire from GAPTC whether these powers still applied.

There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 10.00 pm. The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held in the Village Hall on Monday 6th August 2018.