16th March 2020, Eardisley Village Hall

Present: Alan Watkins, Phil Bayliss, James Forrest, Ken Goodman, Geoff Greenhill, Nancy James, Yvonne King, Terry Morgan, Lewis Price, Sue Prosser, Paul Whittall and Steven Whittall

In Attendance: Ward Councillor Graham Jones    Clerk to the Parish Council, Alison Morgan
Members of the Public: 6

1. Apologies were accepted from Chris England, Andrew Layton, Tony Raymond and Clint Welson.

2. A Declaration of Interest in Agenda Item 6.4.3 was received in advance from Cllr. England. However, in his absence at the meeting the register was revised accordingly.

2.1. No requests for Dispensation were received for this meeting.

3. Open Discussion:

3.1. Ward Councillor Address: Graham Jones attended a Council meeting on 6th March and advised £2 million was being diverted from the bypass to be used on U and C roadworks across Herefordshire. A feasibility study was approved into the possibility of reducing speed limits in the city and ‘large villages’ from 30 to 20 mph. Kevin Bishop, senior Planning Manager agreed to EGPC’s request for a meeting once this is practical given the situation with Coronavirus. Questions were raised about how the effectiveness of BBLP spending would be monitored and the use of public rights of way during the virus outbreak. Regarding the historical flood alleviation plan for Eardisley and associated funding, Graham has asked the Clerk for background details. Since this occurred before January 2017 when the current Clerk took up office, this requires a search of archived records.

3.2. Public Participation Period: Topics discussed included the following:

    • Recent flooding issues in the vicinity of Hobby Lyons Bridge, Eardisley, were raised, together with a request for future mitigation measures. Residents have complained to Herefordshire Council and taken legal advice regarding landowner responsibilities.
    • Speeding issues in Winforton were raised again. A Safer Roads Partnership survey is due to be undertaken in April/May to obtain an up to date assessment of the problems that may be used as a stepping-stone to possible additional enforcement measures.

3.3. Coronavirus Update: This extraordinary agenda item was added in response to the rapidly evolving situation and associated guidance. Based on an email received today from the CEO of HC and government advice, future public gatherings are suspended, including Parish Council meetings. The Clerk will keep everyone updated as new information is received, but it is highly likely April meetings of both the PC and Working Groups will be cancelled. May annual meetings are also doubtful but will require legislative changes to be re-scheduled. HALC will keep us abreast of developments.

4. The Minutes of the meeting held on 17th February 2020 were APPROVED and signed by the Chairman as a true record.

5. The Finance & Compliance Working Group (FCWG) reported councillor training on Planning in early March was very successful and councillors had found it valuable. More group sessions would be arranged in future. However, individual councillors attending training on the councillor role at HALC advised this was a repetition of the session delivered to all EGPC councillors earlier in the year. Therefore, other new councillors due to attend will now not be booked onto this course.

5.1. Update to Assets Register: The FCWG recommended updates to the Asset Register to reflect purchase of the new SIDs and changes to its format to make asset disposal more transparent. The proposed revisions were APPROVED and the latest version of the register will be posted on the web site shortly.

5.2. Expression of Interest (Lengthsman Scheme) 2020/21: The FCWG recommended the Expression of Interest should be completed and returned to Herefordshire Council, as it was likely the PC would continue to undertake works on the highways. Returning the form now would position EGPC to benefit if some form of funding does become available again in the next financial year. This proposal was APPROVED and the Clerk will complete and return the form as requested.

5.3. Lengthsman & Footpaths Contracts 2020/21: The current Lengthsman (Richard Mills) has decided not to continue working with EGPC after the end of this financial year. Alternatives are being discussed with the Highways Working Group and will be put to the PC for consideration asap. It was proposed the existing Footpaths Contractor should be retained for a further year, subject to his agreement and small amendments to the terms of reference (see Agenda item 7.3 below). This was APPROVED.

6. The Planning Working Group (PWG) advised the session organised by Herefordshire Council on 26th March to discuss NDP revisions was cancelled (due to Coronavirus).

6.1. Letter to Hereford Times: further to the correspondence with Bill Wiggin MP, it was proposed the Chairman should send a letter for publication in the HT concerning EGPC disappointment with HC Planning and recent decisions contrary to the NDP. This was unanimously APPROVED.

6.2. NDP Revisions: Nancy is in the process of drafting revisions for the meeting (now cancelled) on 26th March. It was agreed Nancy should continue to refine this document, which will be circulated to all councillors in due course.

6.3. Section 106 ‘Wishlist’ Revisions: Nancy is making draft revisions to the original list to be sent to parties at HC, as advised by HALC. As above, the draft will be distributed to councillors for review as soon as it is complete.

6.4. The following planning applications were considered at this meeting:

6.4.1. P200381/F & P200481/L – Great Quebb Barn, Eardisley: Proposed variation of condition 2 of planning permission P151898/F and P151899/L to amend approved plans to match as built development. The PWG recommendation to support this application was APPROVED.

6.4.2. P200370/F – Eardisley Tennis Club: Change of use from agricultural lad to outside sport and leisure activities (D2) to extend croquet lawn and construct a new one and tennis court in the future. The PWG recommendation to support this application was APPROVED as it represents a community asset.

6.4.3. Appeal: P191190 – Land Adjoining the Field House, Almeley Road, Eardisley: This appeal for the previously refused application was re-considered by the PC. It was AGREED the PC’s original objections continued to apply and should be reiterated by way of objecting to the appeal lodged. In addition, some photographs were now available to highlight the flood risk that would be posed by developing this site which is also outside the settlement boundary.

6.5. Delegated Power to the Clerk: In response to an already identified need to update Standing Orders with greater delegated powers to the Clerk to cover emergency and unforeseen situations, this item was brought forward to cover operational constraints imposed by the Coronavirus. It was, therefore, proposed and RESOLVED the Clerk should be empowered to forward responses on behalf of the PC to Herefordshire Council Planning Department between meetings, if asked to do so by the Chairman after consultation with Councillor members of the Planning Working Group.

6.6. As usual, a round-up of all recent planning activity can be found on the HC Planning Portal (direct link from EGPC web site): https://eardisleygrouppc.org/planning-applications/

7. The Highways Working Group (HWG) reported on a range of topics, including the Restricted Byway (Redgates), issues with the bridge and stream behind Eardisley Church (handed over to the Environment Working Group), Footpath EE49, Highways Maintenance Review, PCC Road Safety Survey, Parish Drive Round, Courtlands Road Signage, Works Order requests (Winforton) and TRO for parking spaces outside Eardisley General Store. To read the report in full, please refer to the relevant section on the Highways page on the EGPC web site: https://eardisleygrouppc.org/highways-working-group-reports/ In addition, recommendations were made on the following agenda items:

7.1. Purchase of SID Peripheral Equipment: The new SIDs were ordered and are due for delivery the first week of April 2020. As previously advised, an Android mobile phone is required in order to operate the SIDs and it may be necessary from time to time to purchase peripheral equipment, e.g. back-up batteries, etc. It was proposed the VAT element of the SIDs grant be earmarked for this purpose and approval given for this spend within this budget. The proposal was APPROVED and the Clerk will make the funds visible in the budget. All such spending needs to be requested from the Clerk for action.

7.2. Delegation of Approval for minor Works Orders: It was proposed and AGREED requests for minor Works Orders concerning maintenance, repairs and installation of PROW furniture in stock that fall within budget may be prioritised by Footpaths Officers, who are all councillor members of the HWG. Requests for Works Orders to be raised should be made to the Clerk (as now). In case of larger spending proposals and projects, these should be individually considered as agenda items for the main PC meeting.

7.3. Sign-off Process – Completed Works Orders: The HWG recommended additional checks and balances be introduced to strengthen controls on Works Order spending. These should apply equally to Lengthsman and Footpaths Contractors and be incorporated into the wording of contracts, as follows: (a) Requirement for ‘before and after’ photographs. The ‘before’ picture(s) to be taken by a member of the HWG, the Footpaths Officer or person reporting the issue; the ‘after’ picture(s) by the responsible contractor and submitted together with their invoice, to be reviewed by the PC as part of payment approval; ideally this should include a site visit by a councillor to check the quality of the work undertaken (b) the PC should adopt British Standard BS5709/2018 and ask contractors to follow these recommendations when carrying out work on its behalf; and (c) Timelines/priority for works to be completed should be specified as part of the Works Order. These recommendations were all APPROVED and the Clerk will take the necessary steps for them to be implemented with effect from the new financial year.

8. The Environment Working Group (EWG) met for the first time in March and will now be meeting more regularly. Matters discussed included the need to follow up on the Eardisley Flood Alleviation plan, as mentioned above. Further to recent flooding issues, a need to survey local water courses with landowners was identified. It was noted issues with flood warning signs at Letton were continuing despite the November meeting with Herefordshire Council.

8.1. Hobby Lyons Flooding Issue: This was discussed in the open session above. Steps would be taken by the EWG to establish contact with Environment Agency officer(s) responsible for the parish area. The initial aim would be to highlight the problems experienced recently and to re-start the dialogue on Eardisley flood alleviation.

9. Finances: As at 15.03.2020, bank account balances were as follows:

Main Account                                 £5,485.00
No. 2 Account                                 £8,641.76
Business Saver Account              £3,793.33

9.1. The following items (<£100 delegation, dispensation on green bags or approved previously) paid by the Clerk since the last meeting were ratified:

Payee                                             Description                   Gross Amount (£)   VAT (£)
Eyelid Productions                       Web Site Support (Annual)      100.00                    0.00
Mallatite                                         Replacement SIDs                 6,972.58             1,162.10
Mark Davies                                  Works Orders 85 & 86                80.00                    0.00
HALC                                               Planning Training                      225.66                  37.61
HALC                                               CAT Training (x 3)                        96.00                  16.00

9.2. It was resolved to pay the following:

Payee                                             Description                   Gross Amount (£)   VAT (£)
A Morgan                                       Clerk Expenses (Feb 2020)       23.74                    1.63

10. Correspondence: The following items were noted:

10.1. HALC re Coronavirus (see item 3.3 above).

10.2. HC Neighbourhood Planning Team – Cancellation of NDP Session (see item 6 above)

11. Matters for the Next Agenda – no discussion.

11.1. Defibrillator at Sportfish (Winforton)
11.2. Defibrillator Refresher Training
11.3. Work on Restricted Byway (Redgates)

Please send Agenda items for the next meeting to the Clerk at least 7 days in advance of the next meeting (date to be notified), thank you.

NEXT MEETING: To be confirmed in accordance with emerging Government guidance