Minutes of a Parish Council Meeting PPC/MH/154 held remotely on
Tuesday 16th March 2021 at 19.00 hrs.
Councillors David Morgan, Brendan Treanor, Anna Coda, John Burgess, Johnny Scrimgeour, Robert Metcalfe, Emma Thacker-Vuts and Samantha Metcalfe.
In attendance…. Ward Councillor Jennie Hewitt, Greg Warwick & Allan Gibbs (Footpath Officers), Mark Hearne (Parish Clerk) and nine residents
- Apologies for absence – None.
- Declarations of interest & written dispensation requests – None
- Minutes of previous meetings held on 16th February 2021. It was RESOLVED to adopt the minutes as a true record, and these will be signed by the Chairman in due course.
- To Review Resolutions reached at the meeting of the 16th February 2021. In response to a question from Councillor Coda, the Clerk confirmed that the West Mercia Police had advised that they did not have the facility to participate in meetings held on Zoom. Councillor Scrimgeour mentioned the report he had circulated in response to 11.2 of the minutes (noticeboards) and asked Councillors to consider the type of information they would like included on the noticeboards. Councillor Scrimgeour would also welcome thoughts on the preferred characteristics of the noticeboards (size & composition) and, to assist Councillors, he agreed to provide some indicative costings for the various options.
- 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 – Ward Councillor Hewitt advised that she had not written a report for March 2021 but updated the meeting by advising that the traffic survey to be undertaken outside the primary school will not now take place until May or June 2021.
- To receive views from local residents on parish matters – The following issues were raised:
- Reported an issue on a footpath near the Mowbage plantation involving a horse which was clearly distressed. The Footpaths Officers agreed to investigate the issue.
- The continuing and unresolved drainage issue at New Haven. The Clerk reported that the Locality Steward has referred the issue to the drainage team at Balfour Beatty. The Chairman added that this offers a good example which illustrates the problem with the lack of information and action from Balfour Beatty. The Clerk agreed to email the Locality Steward for an update which will be copied to Ward Councillor Hewitt. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk provides the Ward Councillor with the date when this issue was first reported to the Locality Steward.
- The flooding issues at Crossways. The Chairman explained that a partially blocked culvert is responsible for the accumulation of surface water when it rains.
- The Chairman assured a resident that the issue of the wooden pylon at Princes Orchard is being addressed.
- Covid 19 Response in Peterchurch – Councillor Treanor reported that much of the discussion at the latest Covid 19 meeting focused on the new Community Facebook page which now seems to be working in a more constructive way. The Hub remains keen to utilise the existing group of Covid 19 volunteers for other and future emergency events after the pandemic ends.
- Footpaths – The report produced by the Footpaths Officers had already been circulated to Councillors. The Footpaths Officers confirmed that they have acquired definitive maps. Allan Gibbs highlighted a problem with a stile at Wells Meadow and it was RESOLVED that the Clerk reports the issue through the Herefordshire Council website. Greg Warwick added that this should be the process for reporting all PROW issues and, where possible, all incidents reported in this way should be accompanied with photographic evidence. Mr Warwick mentioned that there is an issue with two bridges and depending on the significance of the defect it may be necessary to close them to the public. Councillor Scrimgeour suggested that the Finance Working Group considers setting a budget for work on the footpaths to include the procurement of a new PROW map.
- NDP – The Chairman explained that advice received from Lynda Wilcox (HALC) urges caution in proceeding with a costly review of the NDP as it may prove nugatory given the expected changes to Government planning policy and output from the current review of Herefordshire Council’s Core Strategy. Councillor Treanor accepted this argument but made the point that without a full review it could leave the village vulnerable to a speculative developer. Councillor Scrimgeour suggested that a targeted approach on the planning aspects of the NDP may offer a less expensive and quicker route to protecting the community should there be a threat of a speculative development and it was agreed to proceed on this basis.
- Planning – To comment on applications to be determined by Herefordshire Council. No planning applications have been received.
- The current bank balances are:
- Business Bank Instant account … £39,464.62
- Treasurers Account … £7,699.22
- It was RESOLVED to make the following payments:
- Clerk’s salary (February 2021) in accordance with his employment contract.
- PAYE (February 2021) – £119.80
- Countrywide Maintenance- £223.99
- Postage – £7.92
- Stationery – £3.72
- Clerk’s Travel Expenses – £27.90
- HALC – £746.65
- Border Contracts Fencing – £66.30
- The current bank balances are:
- Councillor Thacker-Vuts presented the outputs from the recent work of the Road Safety Action Group and explained that the focus has been the development of positive solutions to the issue of speed in the village and the group hopes to work in conjunction with numerous stakeholders including the Parish Council. The Action Group have looked at psychological traffic calming measures which will affect the behaviour of the driver rather than rely on physical obstacles such as bollards and speed cameras etc. It was RESOLVED to invite Mr Bernard Eacock to provide a presentation on the range of traffic calming solutions available. Given the scope of this initiative Councillor Thacker-Vuts explained that it may be necessary for a phased approach and the aim is to seek funding from a range of sources including the Parish Council. It is also expected that it will be feasible to sweep up the issue of car parking as part of the project. Councillor Thacker-Vuts added that the local police fully support the aims of the Road Safety Action Group and will be a source of independent data on speed issues. The first, but critical, step will be the collection of a comprehensive set of speed data and suggested that a company called Tracsis who excel in the field of traffic surveys would be ideally placed to capture the wealth of information required at a cost of £3432 (including VAT). The evidence collected from what would be a month-long survey will have a shelf life of 3 years. Councillor Thacker-Vuts asked if the Parish Council would be prepared to fund this proposed traffic survey. The Clerk reminded Councillors that, in accordance with Financial Regulations, it will be necessary to acquire two other quotes in order to demonstrate value for money which Councillor Thacker-Vuts agreed to do. It was RESOLVED that the Parish Council considers all the quotes at the next meeting in order to determine whether to proceed with a traffic survey. Councillor Robert Metcalfe also asked that the Parish Council invites the Traffic Management Team at West Mercia Police to undertake their own speed survey.
- Councillor Thacker-Vuts asked if the Parish Council would support work to introduce a 20- mph speed limit in the centre of the village but the Chairman commented that changing the Traffic Regulation Order to make that possible would take many years. It was RESOLVED that this issue would be further discussed at the next meeting.
- Councillor Thacker–Vuts made a general point about the apparent lack of support from Herefordshire Council/Balfour Beatty and Ward Councillor Hewitt expressed sympathy to the Locality Steward but asked for any evidence which shows the lack of responsiveness from Balfour Beatty which the Clerk agreed to provide.
- Councillor Burgess raised the issue of village gates which was discussed at the last meeting and it was RESOLVED that the Clerk contacts Balfour Beatty seeking confirmation that the preferred locations meet the required specifications. Councillor Scrimgeour commented that should there be inadequate space for the gates in the preferred location thought could be given to a different approach by not situating a gate on both sides of the highway.
- Councillor Robert Metcalfe asked if arrangements could be made to remove the barriers outside Hinton House. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk contact Balfour Beatty accordingly.
- Councillor Burgess offered his thanks to Councillor Robert Metcalfe for the work at Cheshire Turn which had made a significant difference in moving water off the road.
- In discussion, it was noted that Woodfield Cottage is located outside the parish, so the question of a new grit bin is not relevant.
- Future Parish Council Objectives – Councillor Scrimgeour referred to the paper circulated prior to the meeting which set out his thoughts for capturing key objectives for the Parish Council until the next election in 2023. Councillor Scrimgeour explained that the objectives would be measurable and offer a link to the budget, NDP and a future public consultation. The Parish Council would be accountable to the community for delivering against the published objectives. It was RESOLVED to establish a working group with Councillors Coda and Thacker-Vuts agreeing to join Councillor Scrimgeour to present some objectives for consideration at the next meeting. It was RESOLVED that Councillor Scrimgeour sets a date and circulates it to his fellow Councillors.
- Action Planning Working Group – There was nothing substantive to report and Councillor Scrimgeour commented that it is working effectively in capturing and resolving relatively minor issues though there is potential to broaden its scope.
- Playing Field
- Councillor Burgess enquired if the Parish Council could provide some financial support for a community event planned on the 17th and 18th July 2021 and also asked if the playing field could be made available for this occasion. The Chairman invited Councillor Burgess to present a proposal for the next meeting, but it was agreed that the organisers would need to arrange the requisite insurance for the event.
- Councillor Robert Metcalfe mentioned that he will need to purchase some screws in order to erect railings in the playing field.
- Peterchurch Sports Fund – Councillor Treanor reported that in order to progress this issue he is intending to present recently acquired paperwork to the bank as soon as the current lockdown restrictions are lifted and is looking at a date on or around the 12th April 2021. The Chairman alluded to a petition in which residents have exhorted the Parish Council to make progress in tracking down the monies belonging to the Sports Fund. Councillor Treanor agreed to keep the Clerk informed of future developments.
- Annual Parish Council and Parish Meetings – The Clerk explained that unless the Government extends current legislation to allow virtual meetings to continue it is likely that face to face gatherings will resume in time for the Annual Parish Council in May 2021. Guidance is still awaited on the arrangements for the annual Parish meeting. Councillor Thacker-Vuts suggested that once face to face meetings resume it would be beneficial for some residents if attendance via zoom remains an option.
It was RESOLVED to suspend Standing Orders to allow the completion of business.
- Drug Issues in the Village – The Chairman explained that some residents have expressed concern over the level of drug taking in the village with some frightened of venturing out during night-time hours. Following discussion, it was RESOLVED that the Clerk writes to the Police and Crime Commissioner asking that action is taken to deal with the problem. In parallel, Ward Councillor Hewitt agreed to report the issue to the Children’s and Young People Directorate at Herefordshire Council.
- Recycling and Communal Composting – It was RESOLVED to remove this issue from the agenda for this and subsequent meetings but note paragraph 22.2.
- Recruitment of a new Parish Councillor – The Clerk reported that an expression of interest has been received from one resident and it is hoped further members of the public will come forward before the closing date of the 31st March 2021.
- Parish Council Website – Councillor Treanor explained that the idea of publishing the roles and responsibilities of the Parish Council originated from the Covid 19 Response Group who considered that this would help inform the local community and lead to a reduction in the number of adverse comments on the community Facebook page. It was, therefore, RESOLVED that the Clerk publishes details of the roles and responsibilities of the Parish Council on the website. There was also agreement that the website could be used to raise the profile of the Parish Council and its Councillors.
- Clerk’s Correspondence – No correspondence was received.
- Matters raised for the next meeting on the 20th April 2021
- A presentation on the plans for Horsepool Meadow.
- The provision of a recycling facility in the parish.
The Chairman closed the meeting at 21.22 hrs