Present: Mr Ken Brown (chair), Mrs J Burton, Mr K Larkin, Mr D Palmer, Mr D Purnell, Mr L Smitherman, Mr R Symons. Mr R Maxwell, the chairman of the village shop association attended.

District Councillors: Mrs C Braun

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 District Cllr K Tucker.

  1. Declaration of Interests. There were no declarations.

  1. The Council approved and signed the Minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 6th August as a true record. The Minutes of the August 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 welcomed Mr R Maxwell, chairman of the village shop association, who outlined current issues with the shop and Post Office, including forthcoming change of tenants and plans to repay the balance of the mortgage if contributors could be identified. There was a need for new volunteers to come forward generally, including to help with newspapers. Councillors raised the question of shop opening hours to meet customer needs. On behalf of the parish council the chair offered continuing moral support for the operation of the shop and Post Office.

The Chairman re-opened the Meeting without further discussion.

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

Application Number: S.18/1438/COU. Location: Hunts Court Farm, Forthay, North Nibley, Dursley. Application Type: Change of Use. Description: Change of use of land for the stationing of four glamping pods.

The council made the comments:

In the pre-application advice letter dated 21st February 2018 it was recommended in conclusion the proposals were discussed openly with neighbours and those directly affected and also the Parish Council. Despite this no contact has been made either with adjoining neighbours or the Parish Council to discuss or explain the proposals. The Parish Council considers this to be unacceptable and feel that neighbours should be consulted before a decision is made on the application. In the same letter the planning officer states “The two units within mature shrubs and trees of the former nursery would be discreet. I expressed some concern regarding those within the adjoining field". The Parish Council shares these concerns. The pre application advice letter also requires a basic ecological assessment to be submitted. This does not appear to have been submitted as part of the application. The Parish Council is concerned adequate provision is made for the proper disposal of sewerage and surface water. The Parish Council is also concerned to ensure that any proposals are "low key" and should not create a precedent for further intensification of camping or other commercial uses within this site or adjoining land situated as it is outside the settlement boundary and within the A.O.N.B.

  1. To note the following Planning Applications decision by Stroud DC Planning: There were none.

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. Cllr C Braun reported August had been a relatively quiet period for meetings, but main developments were, the dropping of proposed parking charges in car parks, appointment of the district authority’s new chief executive, and the government’s withdrawal of the negative revenue support grant. Parish councillors raised their reservations about the People’s Vote on Brexit at district authority level following the previously held national referendum on the issue.

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 J Cordwell for his report. Parish councillors expressed concern that following new development changes to yellow line markings would still allow access to the fire station (Wotton) by retained firemen.

10. To receive and discuss Reports of Committees and Meetings attended by Parish Councillors and the Clerk. The chair reported that as a footpath down Waterley Bottom had been badly blocked, John Hay, Rights of Way Officer, had subsequently cleared trees and brambles from the path.

  1. Parish Council Finances:

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

Council received and approved:

James storey (Storey Civil and Marine), installing plinth in memorial garden

Total £550.00

Cole Builders, to repair noticeboard adjacent to the shop.

Total £85.00

The clerk reported an invoice had been received for the badger fence work but as this was accompanied by a query concerning the original specification for the work, councillors agreed to defer payment until Cllr D Purnell had further discussed with the contractor.

2/To consider quotes for scheduled work. The clerk reported a quotation had been received for the scheduled tree survey for £250 to cover both St Martins Church and Cemetery. However, the contractor stated any report would only be valid as a risk assessment/health and safety report and not be valid as an insurance based report as his current professional indemnity insurance would not cover a report of this size. Councillors agreed the clerk contact the council’s insurance company to determine whether this report from a contractor with this level of qualification would be satisfactory under its insured terms. The quote from the contractor would be sent to the insurance company by the clerk.

3/To receive update on audit procedures for 2017 to 2018. The clerk reported it was approaching two months since external audit papers had been submitted to accountants in London. There had been no follow up queries or questions from the auditors’ to date.

4/ To consider method of payment options. The clerk reported she had received a request from Water Plus for future payment by direct debit for which a £10 bonus would be paid. As this would mean less control in the event of any overpayments councillors, declined to change from payment by cheque only.

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

The Burial Clerk reported a cheque received for £250 for pre-purchase of grave space. There has been a request for permission ashes to be scattered in the cemetery by someone not currently resident in North Nibley as her parents have plots in the garden of remembrance. The bench near the memorial garden has been moved slightly so visitors do not have to walk on memorial stones. Two applications for plaques are pending when wording and size have been decided upon.

Clerk’s inspection on the 30th August showed the cemetery in good condition. It appears much visited judging by flowers placed near memorial plaques and on graves. There has been a fairly recent grass cut. The badger fencing has been installed at the right hand side back and across the far corner with trench behind the general foliage. There is some browning of some branches in the tall trees in the line at the far back. These will be assessed in the forthcoming tree survey. The clerk had arranged a grass cut on the 12th or 13th September prior to the gathering in the cemetery on the 16th of September.

Clerk’s inspection of the churchyard on the 30th August showed the churchyard in good condition to include the stone wall whose outside verges have been fairly recently cut. However, there is some ivy type growth growing over the wall mid-way down Church Lane. There are wild flowers throughout the main open areas of the churchyard. Approval has now been given by the Diocese for the treatment of the previously cut yew to include possible pollarding. Following recent treatments there nonetheless appears some ivy on top of the wall by the neighbouring property. (This item is also covered at Minutes item 14). The activity of some moles in the churchyard requires reporting to the PCC.

In order to have a unified approach to monthly reports, it was agreed to request the Burial Clerk write the monthly report on the cemetery, and a councillor, Dave Palmer, write the monthly report for the churchyard.

13. To consider issues relating to cemetery gathering event. Cllr K Brown planned to set up white tables and four chairs in the cemetery to receive visitors. As many councillors as could attend would also attend. The clerk undertook to draft a poster as a means of additional publicity for the event and Cllr R Symons agreed to set these up. The new Wotton newspaper was also a possibility for publicity but this depended on the copy deadline for a monthly publication.

14. To consider issues relating to ivy growth by the closed churchyard. The clerk had received correspondence from the neighbour which had been circulated to councillors. This supported further treatment of the ivy. Councillors noted October was a good month to do a new spray. Cllr D Palmer said there was a need to cut stems and leave a gap and assess thereafter. The chair agreed to ring the contractor who had previously sprayed and the clerk undertook to contact the neighbour to let him know this will be carried out. A working party in the spring could review further.

  1. To consider issues relating to speed awareness. Councillors discussed speed data collated from the work of six members in a speed watch group collected every fortnight when the group was active. The statistics covered period from October 2017 to August 2018 and overall showed one per cent travelled at 40 mph or above. Cllr R Symons stated county policy has changed in Gloucestershire whereby the Police would previously receive data at regular intervals and would write to and/or contact specific offenders. Councillors agreed to request improvement from Highways of the existing speed signs that flash to show a motorist’s actual speed. Cllr J Cordwell said his Highways Local Fund was a possibility. Paul Helbrow, the Highways manager was the first contact. 20 is plenty signs maybe available.

16. To consider issues towards lease renewal. The clerk advised it was important to complete the scheduled lease review before finalising the review of the council’s risk management policy. It was agreed the clerk would liaise in the first instance with the recreation field committee and if required the legal firm active at the time the lease was set up.

17. To receive an update on land use and planning considerations. Councillors noted the Ashen Plains event field still hosts events that create a regular disturbance every weekend. It is understood the district authority planners are in discussion with the owners with a view to their submission of a planning application. A meeting is also due to be held with planners, the owners and their agent. However, there is no evidence to date of the planning application having been submitted. The best advice is to continue to report the breaches. A local resident is assisting by keeping a regular log. The evidence is that a TEN was not issued for the last night when noise was experienced. In writing to the district authority as to whether TENS had been issued in order to check the list with the events held, Planning Enforcement said that this information could not be released. However, councillors noted TENS information is public information in practice through Licencing. The clerk agreed to follow up previous messages of council concern about issues to include provision of water and disposal of sewage, to Health and Safety, Environment Health, and the Police. Cllr K Larkin undertook to request District Cllr K Tucker follow up the issues.

18. To receive update on the National Policy Planning Framework. The clerk advised she had circulated notes to councillors on the twenty five key policy changes in the national planning framework that had come into effect on 24th July 2018. These items provide the national framework for planning decisions at district level.

19. To receive clerk’s report on the council website. The clerk outlined that as the council website was now almost two years old, the software developer had made contact to recommend slight changes to improve clarity of layout and design. The clerk also recommended photographs, especially of the cemetery, required replacing to reflect the new works carried out. The clerk undertook to take her camera to the cemetery gathering event for this purpose. The clerk advised that the number of visitors to the site had greatly increased in August over July this year, there being almost 300 more site visits in August over July according to the most recent Google Analytics report.

20. To receive an update on the parish noticeboards. The clerk advised the parish noticeboard near the village shop had been satisfactorily repaired and the invoice received. Cllr L Smitherman advised there had been no new developments as regards the new noticeboard.

21. To consider the date for autumn finance meeting. The councillors and clerk agreed the 14th November at 2.30 pm at Waterley Farm for the annual budget setting and financial review process.

22. To receive for information details of Correspondence received. The clerk reported she had just received notification of the Stroud District Community Governance Review 2018/19. As the initial consultation runs until 26th November the governance review would be an agenda item for October.

23. Other items. Councillors expressed concern at the apparent running of a business in the Forthay area without planning permission. A draft letter to Planning Enforcement will be produced. Councillors noted concern that one of the acts at the recent music festival was unsuitable for a family audience. Cllr D Palmer agreed to raise this issue at the first meeting of the festival organisers. In response to the issue raised by Cllr K Larkin on behalf of a local resident, the clerk acknowledged volunteers had come forward to paint the two parish phone boxes. Councillors agreed that the parish phone boxes would be taken forward as an agenda item for October.

There being no other business the chairman closed the meeting at 9.35 pm. The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held in the Village Hall on Monday I st October 2018