17th February 2020, Whitney on Wye Village Hall

Present: Alan Watkins (late arrival), Phil Bayliss, Chris England, James Forrest (Vice Chairman, Chair), Ken Goodman, Geoff Greenhill, Yvonne King, Andrew Layton, Terry Morgan, Lewis Price, Sue Prosser, Tony Raymond, Clint Welson, Paul Whittall and Steven Whittall

In Attendance: Ward Councillor Graham Jones   Clerk to the Parish Council, Alison Morgan
Members of the Public: 4

1. Due to the Chairman being delayed, Cllr James Forrest (Vice Chairman) took the chair for this meeting. Apologies were accepted from Nancy James.

2. A Declarations of Interest in Agenda Item 5.2 was received from Cllr. Layton and the register was updated accordingly.

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

3. Open Discussion:

3.1. Ward Councillor Address: Graham Jones reported Herefordshire Council budget was approved at its meeting on 14th February, resulting in an increase of 3.9%, 2% of which is ring-fenced for adult social care. The County Plan 2020-24 was finalised and a link will be circulated when available. Causes of raised phosphate levels in the River Lugg and onwards to the Wye are still unidentified. Planning appeals are a hot topic. Graham was asked about HC responsibility for necessary works on the restricted byway Redgates to Winforton. In addition, the issue of blocked culverts on the A438 by the toll bridge needed to be highlighted to BBLP.

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

  • Flood Alleviation and Environment Agency responsibilities need to be researched, especially considering recent bad weather and flooding issues.
  • The Members Bill regarding Planning Appeals and NDP’s is still pending after the second reading was delayed
  • Historically the Courtlands road was widened to permit access for lorries, rubbish collection, etc., and the road was mistakenly tarmac’d up to No. 12, although this was part of the privately owned road.
  • Police Report: The Clerk read out a report sent by Kington police highlighting local criminal activity and trends. This is intended to be a regular report and police officers will attend PC meetings whenever possible. The Clerk will arrange for reports to be posted on the web site.

4. The Minutes of the meeting held on 20th January 2020 were APPROVED and signed by the Chairman as a true record.

5. The Finance & Compliance Working Group (FCWG) reported since the last meeting HALC had offered two dates for Councillor Planning training, 3rd or 5th March; 3rd March was chosen. The Clerk will make the necessary arrangements and send confirmation of details.

5.1. Revisions to Risk Assessment: The FCWG recommended the last Risk Assessment (July 2019) should be updated to take account of payroll processing changes. The Clerk presented the proposed revisions which were unanimously APPROVED. The latest assessment will be posted to the web site accordingly.

5.2. Donation Request – Millennium Green Trust: The FCWG recommended the PC should purchase replacement swing seats that were needed following a recent risk assessment report on the children’s play area. A quote for £355.00, plus VAT was provided. After some debate, the request was APPROVED and it was RESOLVED monies should be from the general account into the donations budget to cover this unexpected but necessary request to support this community amenity.

5.3. Noticeboard Funding Options: Further to ongoing research into replacement noticeboards, the Clerk had begun investigating grant funding options. It appeared Awards for All was the most appropriate agency to approach. A suggestion was made that the parish council may wish to consider adding other items of community benefit as this kind of grant can be made up to £10,000.00. It was AGREED the Clerk should continue researching noticeboard supplier options and that representative councillors for each village should propose additional items [Terry Morgan, Andrew Layton/Geoff Greenhill and James Forrest/Ken Goodman were nominated and should liaise with the Clerk as appropriate.]

6. The Planning Working Group (PWG) reported three councillors would attend the session organised by Herefordshire Council on 26th March from 2:00pm to discuss NDP revisions. There was no further update on the Glebe Site (Eardisley) outline planning application or proposals for the Sawmills site. The application pertaining to Glebe Cottage (Whitney) was likely to go to April Planning Committee.

6.1. It was proposed and ACCEPTED all councillors should sign up for automated update notifications on planning applications from the Herefordshire Council Planning Portal. The Clerk will assist with setting this up, if required.

6.2. The following planning application was considered at this meeting:

6.2.1. P200177/F – Fairlands, Winforton HR3 6EB: Application for variation of a condition 2 ref P172910/F (Take down pole barn and replace with new agricultural building) – to allow height and external changes to building (retrospective). Recommendation from the PWG was to reiterate previous objections regarding the materials used. The Clerk will respond accordingly.

6.3. 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. Highways Working Group (HWG): It was reported the old SIDs have now been decommissioned and disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. A note was made to update the Asset Register accordingly. Funds from the PCC were received and an order for the replacement SIDs will be placed asap. The Chairman will write a letter of thanks to the PCC. The group had followed up on a report of littering in the unofficial layby between Winforton and Willersley, which is now clear. A list of items for the parish drive round had been passed to the Clerk. 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/

7.1. Blocked Ditches Issue behind Eardisley Church: Since the last meeting, Steve Whittall has cleared debris from the ditch. However, there is a collapsed bridge further up, which needs to be reported to the Environment Agency for action.

7.2. Unofficial Road Sign, Courtlands: A new sign for ‘Court Meadow’ has been affixed to existing posts erected for The Courtlands signage, which is located on land owned by Stonewater. The sign does not indicate ‘leads to’ nor does it include the Paddocks and is, therefore, confusing. It was agreed this is a Planning issue. Research is ongoing with HC Planning and the developer may need to be approached if the sign needs to be re-sited and/or re-worded.

7.3. Verge Maintenance (Herefordshire Council): The HWG was asked to consider a suggestion from Hereford Council to cut verges once a year in Aug/Sept rather than the current twice a year starting in May/June. This was suggested by HC as a way of encouraging wildflower growth and saving money that could be diverted to ditch and culvert clearance. However, the HWG took the view that verge maintenance should continue twice yearly, especially around junctions, as it considered not to do so would compromise road safety. It was also doubted that any funds saved would substantially lead to a notable increase in ditch maintenance. This was AGREED in a vote by councillors as the preferred approach and the Clerk will respond accordingly.

7.4. Works Orders: Several Works Orders for footpath maintenance had been identified and provisionally agreed with the Chairman. It was proposed and APPROVED that Works Orders with a focus on the maintenance and repair of stiles and gate should be issued by the Clerk with a view to getting the work completed before the end of this financial year.

8. Finances: As at 17.02.2020, bank account balances were as follows:

Main Account                                £7,669.20
No. 2 Account*                            £15,614.34
Business Saver Account              £3,792.00

*Includes SID grant from the PCC.

8.1. 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 (£)
Eardisley VH                                     Hall Hire                                      19.00                    0.00

8.2. It was resolved to pay the following:

Payee                                              Description                        Gross Amount (£) VAT (£)
Richard Mills                                   Lengthsman, WO14-LM            190.20                 31.70

HALC                                                Annual Subscription                  810.12               135.02

A Morgan                                        Clerk Expenses (Jan 2020)          18.94                    1.63

9. Correspondence: The following items were noted:

9.1. West Mercia Police – We Don’t Buy Crime project.
9.2. HC Neighbourhood Planning Team – Review of Rural Facilities Survey
9.3. Keep Britain Tidy – the Great British Spring Clean, 20 Mar – 13 April 2020
9.4. The Planning Inspectorate – Statement of case re Additional Footpath EE49 Eardisley

10. Matters for the Next Agenda – no discussion.

Please send Agenda items for the next meeting to the Clerk by Sunday, 8th March, thank you.

NEXT MEETING: Monday 16th March 2020 – Eardisley Village Hall, 7:30pm