Minutes of a Parish Council Meeting PPC/MH/147 held remotely on
Tuesday 20th October 2020 at 19.00 hrs.
Councillors David Morgan, Brendan Treanor, Anna Coda, John Burgess, Johnny Scrimgeour, Robert Metcalfe and Maria Duggan.
In attendance…. Ward Councillor Jennie Hewitt, Mark Hearne (Parish Clerk) and 11 residents
- To announce the co-option of a new Parish Councillor – Councillors approved the co-option of Emma Thacker-Vuts to the Parish Council.
- Apologies for absence – None. The Chairman reported the resignation of Councillor Richard Gaze. The Clerk confirmed that the notices advertising the subsequent vacancy will be posted with effect from the 26th October 2020.
- Declarations of interest & written dispensation requests – None
- Minutes of previous meeting held on 15th September 2020. It was RESOLVED to adopt the minutes as a true record and will be signed by the Chairman in due course.
- Open session
- To receive a report from West Mercia Police – no representative from West Mercia was able to join the meeting.
- To receive a report from the Ward Councillor – During her report Ward Councillor Hewitt covered the following issues:
- Provided an update on Peterchurch Primary School mentioning specifically a feasibility study on the proposed rebuild. She is due to attend a Cabinet meeting in the near future to discuss the issue.
- A request has been received for a safe crossing outside Peterchurch Primary School and despite enquiries there is nothing substantive to report at this stage. A case has been made to Herefordshire Council to introduce the safe crossing in anticipation of the rebuild. Councillors highlighted the importance of understanding the timetable for the rebuild. Ward Councillor Hewitt confirmed that she will be able to provide a further update at the next Parish Council meeting. It was RESOLVED that the Parish Council write to Gemma Davis (Contracts and Procurement) at Herefordshire Council expressing the Parish Council’s strong support for rebuilding the primary school. Similar representations from the local community would also help.
- Asked the Parish Council to think about an idea for establishing a local group of economically active residents which would consider how to promote economic prosperity in the region.
- To receive views from local residents on parish matters – The following issues were raised:
- A resident asked if the Parish Council would write to Herefordshire Council asking if they would fund a pedestrian crossing outside Peterchurch Primary School arguing that this should not be linked to the rebuild of the school. The Chairman agreed to include this on the agenda for the next meeting.
- A resident asked if the Parish Council would be prepared to back the introduction of a Community Speed Watch in the village. The Chairman agreed to include this on the agenda for the next meeting.
- A resident raised the possibility of introducing a 20mph speed limit in the village or, if this is not feasible, an advisory speed limit. The Chairman explained that the Parish Council has, in the past, attempted, without success, to acquire additional speed reduction signs from Herefordshire Council/Balfour Beatty. The Chairman agreed to include this topic on the agenda for the next meeting.
- A resident advised that he has written to Herefordshire Council and both Fairfield and Peterchurch primary schools raising concerns on public safety when parents drop off and collect their children. A meeting has been arranged with the Highways and Engineering Department after the half term holiday to discuss the issue.
- A resident raised concerns that the proposal to extend the village car park would mean the reduction in the size of the playground adding that the priority of the Parish Council should be to provide a safe environment which encourages young children to play.
- A resident described a drainage problem outside her house in New Haven which, despite numerous investigations by Herefordshire Council, remains unresolved. The Chairman agreed to refer the issue to the Locality Steward.
- A resident asked if the Parish Council is intending to organise a public consultation before any action is taken to extend the village car park.
- In response to concerns raised by a resident the Chairman explained that the lengthsman has been instructed to remove vegetation growing alongside the kerbs in the village.
- Covid 19 Response in Peterchurch – Councillors Duggan explained that the Covid 19 volunteers remain ready to respond to requests for assistance that may be required during the second wave of the virus. Councillor Burgess drew attention to a poster he had produced which signposts sources of support for residents struggling with issues such as mental health.
- Planning – To comment on applications to be determined by Herefordshire Council. No planning applications have been received.
- The bank balances on 30th September 2020
- Business Bank Instant account … £39,463.00
- Treasurers Account … £13,910.30
- It was RESOLVED to make the following payments:
- Clerk’s salary (September 2020) in accordance with his employment contract.
- PAYE (September 2020) – £116.60
- Countrywide Maintenance- £447.98
- Reimbursement of Printing Costs (Cllr Scrimgeour) – £16.14
- Precept & Budget 2021/22 – Councillors approved both the budget and precept for 2021/22 with the latter remaining unchanged at £21,600.
- Feedback from the Finance Working Group (FWG) – Councillor Scrimgeour commented that the FWG recognised the importance of including sufficient monies in the budget to cover all activities for the lengthsman.
- The bank balances on 30th September 2020
- Highways – Councillor Coda mentioned the poor condition of Closure Place and the higher part of Crossways. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk report both issues to the Locality Steward.
- Action Planning Working Group – Councillor Scrimgeour explained that it was important to capture suggestions from the public and there are a variety of options for doing so such as ballot boxes. Councillor Duggan echoed this suggestion adding that it is important to consider how to capture views in a systematic way and suggested this be included as a substantive item on the agenda for the next meeting.
- Traffic Related Issues in the Village – There was discussion on the planned closures of sections of the B4348 during the next few weeks. Councillors expressed concern over the inadequacy of the communication as some residents were unaware of the forthcoming closures. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk bring these concerns to Balfour Beatty asking specifically which list of residents is being used for communicating to the local community.
- Footpaths – It was RESOLVED that the Clerk hasten the Locality Steward for a response on the status of the footpath outside the “old garage” before considering any further action. More generally, there was recognition that many footpaths in the village are in a poor condition and this needs to be addressed. It was suggested that a survey of all footpaths should be added to the Action Planning Log and this should also be discussed at the next meeting of the Parish Council. Councillor Metcalfe reported that a stile has collapsed at the end of Wells Lane and it was RESOLVED that the Clerk reports this to the Locality Steward.
- Playing Field – No issues were raised.
- Bus Services in Peterchurch – The Clerk briefly referred to the services that Yeomans are planning to put in place during the period of the forthcoming road closures affecting the B4348.
- Planning for the Future – There was agreement that the Government’s proposed changes to planning regulations would deprive local communities/authorities of any substantive influence in planning decisions and would erode local democracy and may leave Peterchurch vulnerable to unwanted or inappropriate developments. It was also suggested that these proposals would be a disaster for the provision of affordable housing in the future. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk submits the Parish Council’s opposition to the proposals as part of the consultation process and at the same time share these views with Jesse Norman MP and Herefordshire Council.
- Review of Code of Conduct Complaints – Councillors had no substantive comments in response to the review being undertaken by Herefordshire Council.
- Peterchurch Sports Fund – Councillor Treanor reported that he has not been able to make any further progress in tracking down the monies in the Peterchurch Sports Fund.
- Clerk’s Correspondence – The Clerk provided details of the correspondence received:
- A resident has written expressing concerns over Parish Council proposals to sacrifice part of the playing field to make room for an extended car park.
- The Head Teacher at Fairfield school has asked to meet the Parish Council to discuss the traffic problems in the village.
- A resident has written asking Parish Council support for a zebra crossing outside Peterchurch primary school.
- A resident has written about speeding traffic in the village. It was suggested that a speed audit should be undertaken, and data held by the Speed Indicator Devices may assist with this work if it proves feasible to access this information.
- Matters raised for the next meeting on the 17th November 2020 – The Chairman asked that any issues for discussion at the next meeting should be forwarded to the Clerk in time to be included on the agenda.
A resolution was passed to exclude members of the public from the following confidential item
- The Provision of Additional Car Parking in the Village – The Chairman reported that the Parish Council has been asked if they are interested in an alternative source of car parking in the village. Councillors agreed that this proposal offered an excellent opportunity for the village and it was RESOLVED to hold an extraordinary meeting to consider this issue further. In the meantime, Councillor Scrimgeour was given approval to search the Land Registry to establish ownership of a specific piece of land.
The Chairman closed the meeting at 21.23 hrs