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

Mrs J Palmer (Burial Clerk) attended part of the meeting.

District Councillors: Mr G Butcher, 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 and District Cllr Mrs C Braun.

  1. Declaration of Interests. There were no declarations of interest.

  1. The Council approved and signed the Minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 5th November as a true record. The Minutes of the November 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.

There were no members of the public present.

The Chairman re-opened the Meeting without further discussion.

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

Application Number: S.18/2327/LBC. Location: The Old Stables, Millmans Farm, Wotton Road, North Nibley. Application Type: Listed Building Application. Description: Revised scheme included as part of previously approved application S.16/2228/LBC of alterations to stable and store.

The council agreed to make no comment.

Application Number: S.18/1729/FUL. Location: Swinhay Small Holding, North Nibley, Gloucestershire, Application Type: Full Planning Application. Description: New Agricultural and Equine Barn, conversion of existing Stables into Tool and Machine Sheds.

The Parish Council objected to the application. The proposed stable structure is of the same size as the previous application S.17/0205/FUL refused on 27/3/17 and dismissed on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate on 25/1/18. This showed the same size building subdivided into 18 stables. Although the current plan shows 12 stables the applicants state that they will have removable partitions so that there is potential for up to 18 horses to be accommodated. This will be extremely difficult for the planning authority to control and enforce so that the objections highlighted by the Inspector still apply. The proposal would therefore create unacceptable levels of traffic generation on the adjacent substandard narrow lanes and due to its harmful effect on highway safety the development would be contrary Policy ES 3 of the Local Plan and ES9” (para 14 of Inspector’s decision letter dated 25th January 2018). It is noted the applicants have ignored part of the pre-application advice which states, “ I would also consider it appropriate to remove the existing stables from the site” so that there is potential for 4 additional horses to be housed on site adding further to traffic generation to and from the site.

Although the Parish Council strongly objects to the application and urges the planning authority to refuse permission and without prejudice to its objections should the planning authority be minded to grant permission, then it considers the following conditions should be applied:  1. Maximum of 12 horses to be kept on the site at any one time: 2. The site should only be used for private purposes for horses owned by the applicant and not for any commercial purposes whatsoever: 3. The existing stable building should be removed before the use of the new stable building commences. 4: If not 3 then the existing stable building shall only be used for storage of machinery/tools used on site and for no other purpose including stabling of horses: 5.Storage of waste materials and surface water to meet environmental health officer’s requirements.

  1. The Council noted the following Planning Application decisions by Stroud DC Planning:

None to report

  1. The Council received a written District Council Report. The Council received a written report from District Cllr Ken Tucker, who advised the district authority chief executive is settling into her new role. He is arranging a meeting in January to which town and parish councils will also be invited. He will liaise with the clerk to invite two parish councillors to the event in due course. This meeting to be followed by a meeting with Renishaw and visit to their facility at New Mills. The chairman thanked Cllr K Tucker for his report.

  1. The Council received a written County Council Report. The council received a written report from County Councillor Dr J Cordwell, who advised of a brief update on pot holes. The chairman thanked Cllr J Cordwell for his report.

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

Cllr K Brown reported there appeared to be a misunderstanding as to where fences should be installed in Wood Lane that had been followed up by the clerk but with no response to date. County Cllr J Cordwell agreed to clarify where the fences should go. As regards on-going surface maintenance at the lower Wood Lane area the clerk advised a resident who lives opposite had previously offered to monitor and report to the clerk. She undertook to contact him to see if this offer remained open.

Cllr K Brown advised of new interest in the shop from two applicants who proposed to run this as their own business. It appeared at least one candidate could make use of the flat.

  1. Parish Council Finances:

1/The council approved the Invoices and drew up cheques for items on the enclosed Payments Schedule.

A/PFF Littlejohn LLP limited assurance review of annual governance and accountability return for year ended 31st March 2018 £240.00

B/George Harper pollard yew tree and remove waste £170.00

C/Hawkins, contract mowing cemetery from 7th April to 18th May 2017. £528.00

Council agreed to defer decision on this delayed invoice until further information had been received by the clerk in response to her earlier request.

11/2 To consider quotes for scheduled work. The clerk reported she had contacted three contractors for quotations for tree work identified in recent cemetery and churchyard surveys. One set of quotes had been received to date itemising costs per tree. Councillors agreed to set the deadline of 20th January for receipt of the other two sets of quotations. All received would be considered at the February council meeting.

11/3 To receive update on audit procedures for 2017 to 2018. The clerk reported the external audit had been approved by the accountants in London and an invoice received for the standard fee with no additional costs incurred. However the auditors had advisory points on timing of final approval of audit forms, and the clerk undertook to discuss these with the internal auditor in the New Year. The implications meant the internal audit process need be completed by the end of May each year so the Annual Governance and Accountability forms were included on June agendas.

11/4 To receive report from annual finance meeting. The clerk highlighted key points from the separate annual finance meeting: the precept was planned as the same level as the previous three year agreement and there would be no increase for 2019/20; the combination of monies from legacy already received, and planning gain funds available to be applied for by 2020, equalled a sum approaching five thousand pounds agreed to be used for recreation projects. Cllr D Palmer and Cllr D Purnell had carried out initial research in brochures and on-line and would continue with this. It was agreed for each councillor to bring ideas to the March council meeting with a view to summarising the outcome into a one page report for the April Annual Parish Meeting. It was agreed to speak to representatives of the Recreation Field Trust to gain support in principle and to raise the question of the siting of recreation equipment. Funding available would likely cover three pieces of equipment, one rowing, one cycling, and one other. It was agreed to look at the shortlist of items before approaching the Recreation Field Trust. Councillors agreed to set the precept at the level discussed by the autumn finance meeting and to progress the recreation equipment project.

11/5 To consider draft budget for 2019/20. The clerk brought forward the draft budget document and advised this included items discussed at the autumn finance meeting. Where no new changes had been proposed, items had been brought forward from last year’s budget. The budget was in draft as some items identified by heading were subject to a subsequent councillor visit to the quarry which had now taken place. The clerk agreed to finalise the budget with all items for the January council meeting.

12. The council approved written Cemetery and Closed Churchyard Reports presented by Mrs J Palmer (cemetery) and Cllr D Palmer (Churchyard)

Cemetery. The Burial Clerk had investigated when a new unauthorised plot had been detected in the garden of remembrance. A notice was placed on the plot to contact the Burial Clerk and the chairman and neighbourhood warden were informed, as were local undertakers and grave digger.

The chair and and Burial Clerk met the Buckoke family in the cemetery regarding their application for a family memorial plaque. The family had agreed to place the inscription on a memorial stone by the fir trees in the cemetery rather than on the wall, and may also give a donation.

Ashes of Francis Warren were interred in the garden of remembrance on 22nd of November. A parishioner has applied to attend to his parent’s plaque that has “sunk” in the garden of remembrance. Application to inter ashes in an existing grave had been received although this will not take place until June 2019.

Small amount of badger diggings noted at the back of the cemetery and treatment continues. A well-attended Remembrance Day Service took place around the war memorial. A document had been received for safe keeping regarding the donation of land to the rear of the cemetery in 1960.

Cemetery income had been received for a £150 purchase of plot and interment of ashes in the garden of remembrance, £45 further inscription to a family grave, and £190 purchase of plot and internment.

Churchyard An inspection on 30th November showed no observable change since last month. Some ivy has been cleared from the wall of The Chantry. Grass cuttings are regularly left in the churchyard near the wall of the Old Vicarage and it was outstanding to request churchwardens not carry on with this practice.

In the future it may be advisable to reduce the soil level against this (outer) wall to reduce the pressure on the wall as the ground level in the churchyard is substantially higher than the other side. This should help with the stability of the wall. Work still needs to be done to cut through the ivy stems on this wall.

The chair reported he would cut the cut yew tree branches into lengths for a wood turner. The clerk to place notice in OTE for January issue. Making available on Ebay was also a possibility. Cllr R Symons has a contact who makes long bows.

12A/ Memorial and inscription applications. Councillors considered and approved an application for a memorial for Oliver Pain and an additional inscription to a grave with wording for Arthur Howard Woodward and Margaret Eileen Woodward.

13. To consider issues relating to councillor vacancy. The clerk reported the council had received a resignation with immediate effect from Cllr L Smitherman during the month. The chair and clerk had liaised with Elections concerning the public notice now posted on noticeboards and council website. The clerk advised if less than ten signatures to trigger an election were received from parishioners to the district authority by 17th December, the council was able to co-opt after advertising.

Councillors discussed methods to attract councillor candidates including the North Nibley Facebook page, sending information to parents at the school, the council website and OTE. Candidates need to live in the parish. If more than one candidate, the clerk confirmed council’s standing orders had been amended at the time of the most recent co-option to advise interviews be carried out. The chair had sent an email to L Smitherman to thank him for his work. The clerk would also draft a letter of thanks on behalf of the council to send.

14.To consider issues relating to speed awareness. Cllr R Symons had circulated an options paper prior to the meeting followed by a recent addendum to the original paper. The next stage was to meet with Paul Helbrow and then for members of the working party to meet to take items forward. Cllr J Burton advised another issue to add to options was vehicles dropping children off at the school.

15. To consider issues relating to location fees. After discussion councillors agreed to the chair applying his discretion on each occasion should this arise in future, although a rough guide for charges would be in the order of £300 (per hour).

16. To receive an update on land use and planning considerations. Cllr Keith Larkin reported new planning applications were awaited and these required careful examination on receipt. There was one other key issue outstanding: when did Stroud Council officers visit the site during a TEN event to experience for themselves the level of noise/disturbance. Despite requesting this information no direct answer had been forthcoming. He would forward an email relating to this to District Cllr K Tucker. TENS were also subject to an agreement with the district authority that they would let the parish council know when these applied. Cllr K Tucker agreed to raise at a meeting the following day.

17.To consider issues towards lease renewal. The clerk advised she had exchanged correspondence with the secretary of the Recreation Field Trust. She reported their response the risk assessment document was currently inaccessible in the archives, although a visual check is carried out before each game. As the risk document had not been presented, councillors agreed the renewal of the lease (effectively due 2017) need be conditional on receipt of a new risk assessment statement. The clerk undertook to write to the secretary to this effect.

18.To consider issues relating to Stroud District Local Plan Review and Emerging Strategy Public Consultation. Cllr K Larkin advised the council had commented previously at an earlier stage of the consultation. North Nibley is defined as a 3rd Tier settlement where limited growth to meet local needs is appropriate. However no specific sites had been allocated despite the parish council’s earlier comments. Councillor K Larkin undertook to look in more depth at these issues and draft the parish council’s response before the next meeting. The clerk advised the final date for receipt of comments was the 18th January. She had ordered three hard copies of the emerging strategy report. These she would make available for councillors as soon as possible.

19.To consider issues relating to Gloucestershire Vision 2050 Concordat: 22 October 2018. The clerk advised this consultation was brought to the council’s attention by District Cllr K Tucker with special reference to planned Wislow and Sharpness developments. Councillors agreed to respond to support the Sharpness development: this as a way to grow the overall strategy rather than as piecemeal development.

20.To consider issues relating to West of England Joint Spatial Plan, Technical Evidence Work Consultation. The clerk advised it was open to all to respond to the consultation although North Nibley was located just outside the South Gloucestershire area mainly represented in the report. County Cllr J Cordwell expressed concern that changes in South Gloucestershire affect Gloucestershire, but in other cases the latter has not been consulted.

21.To consider issues relating to Stroud District Council Statement of Community Involvement for the purposes of public consultation. Following discussion councillors agreed to object to the district authority in strong terms that they have ceased site notices and neighbour notification letters for planning applications. Cllr K Larkin undertook to draft the objection stating that this cost may come out of the planning fee. As the service has been discontinued without notice, the letter would request this be reinstated as a matter of priority. The objection would also state it is considered the period of 10 days is insufficient for proper assessment of changes to be considered by parish councils and other bodies, and this should at least 21 days. In terms of the Appeals section the objection would also state it is considered parish councils should be given an opportunity to comment on the councils’ final Statement of Case to enable additional relevant points to be raised to assist the Inspector decision. This could be enabled by the council producing its Statement earlier and not on deadline day as at present.

22.To consider council communication options. The clerk had received a letter from the village hall committee suggesting details of parish council meetings and activities be included on the village hall website. Councillors agreed details be sent including dates of future meetings. The clerk undertook to draft a response. Councillors also considered the option to change the date of the annual parish meeting and monthly parish council meeting from 1st April 2019 to 8th April 2019. The clerk to liaise with hall bookings to determine availability.

23.To receive an update on parish noticeboards. Councillors discussed the merit of the project for the parish information board continuing and agreed to defer a decision to the next council meeting after the chair had spoken to L Smitherman to request he pass over information accrued to date.

24.To receive for information details of Correspondence received. Clerk had received a public order notice for closure of a road relating to a planning item although coordinates were not given. Cllr D Palmer undertook to determine the exact location.

25. Other items. The chair reported he had challenged a recent suggestion not to pass over a percentage of DEFRA money to the parish council on an annual basis despite a long standing agreement the land be included in one parcel for grant receipt purposes. The clerk confirmed the land was part of the council’s asset register. The chair would pursue the payment.

Councillors discussed trees in the area on Wood Lane on the Cotswold way are lying at 45 degrees. As no owner to the land has come forward, the issue is difficult to track. District Cllr J Cordwell, would refer to John Hay.

Cllr J Burton reported a Wood Lane item as barbed wire appeared to create a barrier. Cllr D Palmer agreed to investigate.

The clerk reported the defib outside the village hall had some issues at its recent annual service. There were replacement options for the outer box, including referring back to manufacturer. The clerk would also order two sets of pads for the defib device itself. District Cllr K Tucker undertook to talk to David Owen concerning whether future annual services could go in with those carried out for Wotton Under Edge and also request recommendations for the type and brand of outer box replacement.

There being no other 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 7th January 2019