Hatfield and District Group Parish Council
Minutes of the two hundred and fourth parish council meeting of Hatfield and Distict Group Parish Council held on 1 September, 2015, in Pudleston village hall at 7pm.
Councillor M Thomas Councillor R Hanson Vice Chairman Councillor C Price Councillor T Brooke – Chairman Councillor E Griffiths Clerk A Billinge
No members of the Public Ward Councillor B Baker
1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE Councillor A Lewis [Harvesting]
2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND WRITTEN APPLICATIONS FOR DISPENSATIONS by Parish Councillors. Councillor T Brooke, signed the book, regarding a planning decision number 151970, changes of wires at Nicholson Farm, agenda item 6.
3. MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING, were approved and signed.
4. OPEN SESSION There were no members of the public.
4.1 Councillor Baker reported that there was no progress with the Malvern Hills planning application for chicken sheds at Bockleton. The council tax reduction scheme was being reviewed, comments could be made on Herefordshire Council website. Recycling rates for Herefordshire had gone up. Herefordshire Councils Public Health team, had new vaccinations available. Trading standards had warned of rogue traders, posing as burglar alarm suppliers. In response to a question from the chair, Councillor Baker told the meeting he would make enquiries regarding the collection of commercial rubbish.
The subject of ditches and drainage was raised. Belfour Beatty’s instruction regarding the ownership of ditches and drainage, stated that council funding should not be utilized to maintain riparian ditches. A long discussion followed. Landowners were expected to take over responsibility for ditches, that Herefordshire council had been maintaining for years. Councillor Baker said it was always the responsibility of the landowner. Councillor Price suggested that Herefordshire Council with the aid of the locality stewart should notify landowners. Councillor Baker replied that the Parish Council have the authority to tell the locality stewart the names of any offenders.
Councillor Baker left the meeting.
5.1 Pre-agreed expenditure cheques for the Inland Revenue, clerks wages and village hall rental, were signed. Parish Council expenses of £75.07 were agreed. Lloyds bank had confirmed that the mandate was now up to date and included newly appointed Councillor Lewis as a signature. The bank statement showed a balance of £3723. To meet the new financial regulations, the clerk reported that a finance working group needed to be formed and a meeting arranged before the next Parish Council meeting, to discuss any financial risks to the Parish Council, ie pensions, clerks absence, electronic banking. Also the
clerks yearly appraisal, the precept deadlined for 31 December, budget monitoring, and internal auditor. Councillor M Thomas, Councillor C Price and the clerk/RFO agreed to form a Finance working group.
IT WAS RESOLVED THAT A MEETING OF THE FINANCE WORKING GROUP BE ARRANGED BEFORE THE NEXT PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED 152416 Woodside Pudleston, demolition of garage and proposed side extension. NO OBJECTIONS
PLANNING APPLICATION APPROVED
151960 Wires at Nicholson Farm, Docklow had been approved.
The clerk read out emails regarding the diversion of the bridleway at Highfields, Pudleston. Susan White the ROW officer at Belfour Beatty, had received the Parish Councils approved route and comments, and had replied stating that she would now consult all the other users.
A combine had caused damage to a ditch in Pudleston, and it was agreed that the clerk, on behalf of the chair, write to the contractor, before any further action was taken.
A parish walk had been requested at the last meeting, and the clerk was asked to chase this as no reply had been received from the locality stewart.
IT WAS RESOLVED THAT THE CLERK CONTACT THE LOCALITY STEWART
IT WAS RESOLVED THAT THE CLERK WRITE TO THE COMBINE CONTRACTOR
8. CLERKS REPORT AND UPDATE Items of interest had been circulated, which included the latest HALC training programme. It was requested that the clerk book places on the training courses.
9. GRANTS AND WEBSITE
9.1 The clerk had researched grant funding for the Neighbourhood plan. This was only valid for 6 months or the end of the financial year, which ever came sooner, and could be up to £8000. Councillor Thomas speaking as chair of the Neighbourhood planning steering group, discussed the costings. Tentative costings of £2000 for printing costs, and £2000 for planning consultancy fees, plus other expenditure would be needed to complete the plan. £4700 had been spent, £374 was available, and the planning consultant, Claire Rawlings could attend one more meeting. The plan was awaiting Herefordshire Councils inspector’s report regarding the Core Strategy, this made it very difficult to know when was the right time to apply for the grant funding, as if the grant timed out, it would have to be repaid. It was agreed that the clerk email Councillor Baker to chase this inspection report.
IT WAS RESOLVED THAT THE CLERK BOOK TRAINING PLACES
IT WAS RESOLVED THAT THE CLERK EMAIL COUNCILLOR BAKER AND ASK HIM TO CHASE THE DELIVERY OF THE LONG AWAITED REPORT
9.2 The clerk explained the training she had attended on 17 August, which covered the following points.
a. Outline requirements of the transparency code.
b. Support councils to achieve compliance
c. Ensure transparency is embedded in all Parish Council practices.
d. Explain how councils can access grant.
A copy of the Transparency code for smaller authorities was given out to every councilor, together with notes from the training, and details of the grant. The clerk added that we have a lot of work to do to comply, but had no choice as this is the way Parish Councils had to be run now, or face heavy fines. A long and lively discussion followed, with some members showing strong concerns regarding the extra pressures being put on Parish Councils. Other views were that Parish Councils were, step by step being prepared for future responsibilities and powers. It was agreed that the clerk instruct the website provider, to proceed with the construction of a Parish Council website. Although the Parish Council could apply for a .gov domain name, this was very expensive, so the council agreed to a .co.uk at a cost of £10 per year. The set up cost for the website was £500, and this included 10 months free hosting and training. The Parish Council completed all the questions on the grant funding form, and it was agreed the clerk apply as soon as possible. The old laptop, was not up to the job, so a new one was to be included in the grant funding, along with set up fees, training, and payment for the clerk to oversee and maintain the website for the first 12 months.
IT WAS RESOLVED THAT THE CLERK INSTRUCT THE WEBSITE PROVIDER [MARK MILLMORE] TO CONSTRUCT A WEBSITE, AND APPLY FOR THE GRANT FUNDING,AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
10. LENGTHSMAN The clerk had printed out details of the scheme and this was available for inspection. Councillor Hanson had been researching prospective new lenghtsmen and gave the meeting printed details. It was agreed that this be discussed at the next meeting.
11. MATTERS RAISED AS AGENDA ITEMS FOR NEXT MEETING Lenghtsmen, Website.
12 DATE OF NEXT MEETING, was agreed for 3 November.