Minutes of an Ordinary Parish Council Meeting PPC/MH/162 held in the village hall on
Tuesday 16th November 2021 at 19.00 hrs.
Councillors David Morgan, Brendan Treanor, Anna Coda, John Burgess, Johnny Scrimgeour, Emma Thacker-Vuts, Samantha Metcalfe and Isabelle Watkins.
In attendance…. Ward Councillor Jennie Hewitt, Allan Gibbs and Greg Warwick (Footpath Officers), PCSO Pete Knight, Mark Hearne (Parish Clerk) and five residents.
- Apologies for absence – Councillor Robert Metcalfe.
- Declarations of interest & written dispensation requests – None
- Minutes of the previous meeting held on 19th October 2021- It was RESOLVED to adopt the minutes as a true record, and these were signed by the Chairman.
- To Review Resolutions reached at the meeting of the 19th October 2021 – The Clerk provided a brief update on the resolutions from the previous meeting. Councillor Scrimgeour commented that a recommended response to the pre-consultation on the Local Plan/Core Strategy will be discussed at the December meeting.
- Open session –
- To receive a report from West Mercia Police – The Chairman thanked PCSO Pete Knight for attending the recent public consultation.
- Currently there are no reported crimes of significance adding that the graffiti reported last month has been removed with the support of some Parish Councillors.
- Numbers of people signing up to Neighbourhood Matters continues to grow with over 1000 people having joined the scheme.
- With the advent of winter, it is important for residents to keep their houses lit during the hours of darkness to deter burglars.
- Residents who wish to take advantage of a property marking scheme should contact the local police.
- To receive a report from the Ward Councillor – Ward Councillor Hewitt commented on the recent public consultation which is an important development in achieving residential wellbeing. Other issues reported included:
- An architect has been appointed as part of the re-building of the primary school. Herefordshire Council have been asked for sight of the plans for the school, but they have not been forthcoming. Ceri Morgan (AD for Education, Development & Skills) has agreed to attend a future Parish Council meeting to allow Councillors the opportunity to quiz him on the plans for the school. There was discussion on the proposal for a wellbeing provision in the school, but Councillors were concerned that this should be an additional facility and not at the expense of existing places.
- To receive views from local residents on parish matters – A resident thanked the Parish Council for organising the recent public consultation and asked if the noticeboard could be used for advertising a local event. Councillors were content to accede to this request provided it did not limit the space for Parish Council notices.
- Footpaths – The report produced by both Footpaths Officers had already been circulated to Councillors and no other substantive issues were raised. Councillor Scrimgeour commented that footpaths featured prominently as an issue of importance for residents who attended the public consultation exercise.
- Planning – To comment on applications to be determined by Herefordshire Council – No applications were received this month.
- The current bank balances are:
- Business Bank Instant account … £55,314.57
- Treasurers Account … £8,604.21
- It was RESOLVED to make the following payments:
- Clerk’s salary (October 2021) in accordance with his employment contract.
- PAYE (October 2021) – £137.20.
- Postage (Public Consultation) – £23.76
- Stationery – £23.49
- Clerk’s Contractual Expenses – £100.00
- Microsoft 365 – £59.99
- Clerk’s Travel Costs -£5.40
- Countrywide Maintenance – £223.99
- Village Hall Hire – £30.00
- Public Consultation Costs (Cllr J Scrimgeour) – £213.67
- Lengthsman – £348.00
- Financial Monitoring 2020/21 – The Clerk reported that based on the current and predicted spend it is anticipated that the reserves at year end will be in the region of £44k net of the ring-fenced Peterchurch Sports Fund (£10.5k).
- Insurance – Following further information from the insurance company it was RESOLVED to exclude the play equipment from the policy. It was further RESOLVED that the Clerk notifies the insurance company accordingly.
- The current bank balances are:
- Future Parish Council Objectives – The Chairman extended his thanks to Councillors Scrimgeour and Thacker-Vuts for their hard work in arranging the public consultation exercise. Councillor Scrimgeour referred to his report summarising the outputs from the public consultation. An analysis of the results reinforced the relevance of the five key objectives as the majority of comments coalesced around these issues. Many parishioners had attended the event with prepared comments and others made full use of the comment books to record their views and priorities. Councillors discussed the demographic profile of the 120 people who attended the event noting that those under 30 and those living in the outlying areas of the parish were poorly represented but there is probably a host of reasons for this. It was agreed that, in the future, some consideration should be given on how to engage with these particular categories of the population. Councillor Thacker-Vuts picked up this point with specific reference to young people suggesting that an outreach programme with the local schools may pay real dividends. Councillor Scrimgeour outlined what he considered to be the next steps which include the following key activities:
- Identify leaders or champions for each of the five working groups.
- Gather key information to inform the development and pursuance of the underpinning action plans.
- Publish feedback from the public consultation as soon as practicable.
- Regular update and reporting of progress against the action plans for publication on the Parish Council website and noticeboards.
- Use the Community Facebook page as a vehicle for communication but suggested that the option for leaving comments be turned off.
- Use the winter newsletter for reporting on the public consultation and subsequent progress.
- Encourage parishioners to subscribe to the Parish Council website which will allow the Clerk to send information to their personal in-boxes.
During the discussion the Chairman commented that it is important that the various working groups should not operate in silos especially as some issues and priorities will straddle one or more objectives. Councillor Thacker-Vuts added that, due to the high volume of comments received at the public consultation, it was taking longer than anticipated to collate the information but it would be ready for the December meeting. It was already clear that there was a high level of support for the initiative across the local community.
In conclusion, it was RESOLVED to accept the key recommendations proposed by Councillor Scrimgeour which are:
- The Parish Council agrees the process of working to improve the Parish through Action Plans which reflects the priority views of the public as expressed in the recent consultation exercise.
- That the Parish Council publish the findings of the consultation both on-line and on notice boards.
- The membership of the Working Groups is confirmed, and they are empowered to undertake works towards implementing the Action Plans and reporting back to the Parish Council each month for updates, approval of plans and proposals.
- That the ‘champion’ of each Working Group be responsible for updating the Action Plan spreadsheet each month and such updates be posted on the council website and on notice boards in the village.
- Highways – Councillor Metcalfe reported that the Peterchurch Road Safety Action (PRSAG) had met recently during which they had discussed the outputs from the recent TRACSIS speed survey. The PRSAG also considered the importance of a pedestrian crossing outside the primary and urged the Parish Council to lobby Herefordshire Council to decouple it from the rebuild of the primary school and put it in place now. The Chairman considered that this would be an issue for the working group leading on traffic issues, but it was recommended that it could also be raised with Ceri Morgan if he attends the next Parish Council meeting.
- Playing Field – Councillor Burgess reported that Herefordshire Council have granted the Parish Council £6,800 following an application for monies for outdoor adult gym equipment. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk confirms that the Parish Council wish to accept the grant offered and advise that if no additional monies are acquired the project will be scaled back to reflect the amount of funds available. With this in mind it was further RESOLVED that Councillors will consider, during its December 2021 meeting, whether to grant any additional financial support towards the project. Councillor Burgess reminded the meeting that the equipment will either need to be positioned 25 metres from the children’s play equipment or fenced off. Councillor Metcalfe reported that the damaged equipment in the children’s playground has been removed.
- Risk Management Policy – Following discussion, it was RESOLVED to adopt the risk management plan.
- Proposed Erection of 89 Dwellings in Peterchurch – Councillors considered how best to respond to the recent letter received from Paul Smith Associates which raised two issues linked to planning application 201441. It was noted that the planning portal now includes a raft of new information linked to the planning application. Given the significance of the proposed development Councillors considered that, rather than a fragmented response to specific questions, a holistic approach would be more appropriate. For this reason, it was RESOLVED that the Clerk contacts the case officer at the LPA to establish the current status of the development. It was further RESOLVED that a holding reply is sent to Paul Smith Associates.
SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS – It was RESOLVED to suspend standing orders to allow the outstanding business on the agenda to be completed.
- Herefordshire Local Plan – Pre-Consultation Engagement – It was noted that this was an issue for discussion at the December 2021 meeting.
- Felling of Trees at the Primary School – Councillor Thacker-Vuts expressed concern over the recent felling of trees at the primary school by Western Power. Although the headteacher had signed off on the removal of the trees Councillor Thacker-Vuts considered there may have been other options available to Western Power and it was RESOLVED that the Clerk writes to the company seeking an explanation and justification for their actions. Councillors also noted that the primary school has been offered £500 in compensation by Western Power who have also agreed to replant trees at the site.
- Community Climate and Nature Grants – Following discussion, it was RESOLVED that Councillor Watkins explores candidates for the grants made available by Herefordshire Council noting the 15th December 2021 deadline for applications.
- Clerk Correspondence – The clerk correspondence received this month raised the following issues:
- A resident has written asking for the defibrillator to be moved to a more prominent location and suggested training for volunteers should be arranged. Councillors commented that the defibrillator is not a Parish Council asset and noted that it is more prudent to take instruction from the emergency services should a need to use the equipment arises. Councillors considered, however, that the location of the defibrillator could be publicised in the next edition of the newsletter.
- A resident has pointed out that information imparted at the last meeting regarding vehicle speed was erroneous. This was acknowledged and noted by Councillors.
- A resident raised concerns over changes to the bus timetable for the service departing Hereford for Peterchurch and the high cost of bus travel. Ward Councillor Hewitt agreed to explore whether these services could be subsidised by Herefordshire Council which may, if implemented, have a positive impact on bus fares.
- Councillors noted the contents of an email from the headteacher at Fairfield School which focused on traffic related issues in the parish.
- A resident has raised concerns over the poor condition of the pavements in the parish. Councillors were aware of this longstanding issue which chimed with comments raised at the recent public consultation.
- Matters for the next meeting (21 December 2021)
- Review of Local Plan/Core Strategy
- Public Consultation
- Adult Gym Equipment
The Chairman closed the meeting at 21.50hrs