18th November 2019, Whitney on Wye Village Hall

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

In Attendance: Clerk to the Parish Council, Alison Morgan
Members of the Public: 6

1. Apologies were accepted from Ward Councillor Graham Jones.

2. Declarations of Interest in Agenda item 5.3 were made by the Chairman, Alan Watkins and Councillors Terry Morgan and Lewis Price (Whitney Village Hall committee members). The Register was signed accordingly.

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

3. Open Discussion:

3.1. Ward Councillor Address: Graham Jones had contacted the Clerk by email to advise little of substance had changed since the last meeting; he had attended a BBLP briefing and was hoping to make it to the HC Flood Meeting on 19th November. Anyone wishing to raise issues with Graham is welcome to contact him directly by email or through the Clerk.

3.2. Public Participation Period: Items discussed included:

    • There was still an issue with standing water on the A438 between Winforton and Willersley, as well as on the Woodseaves Road between the crossroads junction at Millhalf out towards Eardisley. These matters would be added to the list of topics for the next Parish Drive Round and mentioned to Graham to raise with BBLP.

4. The Minutes of the meeting held on 21st October 2019 were APPROVED and signed by the Chairman as a true record.

5. Finance & Compliance Working Group (FCWG) matters:

5.1. Outsourced Payroll Services: On advice from HALC to reduce risk for the Parish Council and following research, the FCWG recommended EGPC should outsource payroll services for calculation of the Clerk’s Salary and issue of pay advice statements, submission of HMRC returns (including year-end), producing reconciliation reports of statutory payments due, including Employers’ PAYE and to liaise with the Pensions Regulator to ensure compliance, as required. It was suggested Autela Payroll Services should be engaged as the provider [a copy of the proposal, including estimated costings, can be viewed on the web site on the Accounts & Finance page]. This proposal was APPROVED in full and it was RESOLVED the Clerk should take the necessary next steps. If feasible, this would be done in time for December payroll.

5.2. Finance Software Package Proposal: The FCWG advised they have been looking into the option of purchasing or subscribing to financial software as a tool for helping to manage and control day to day accounting, as well as end of year reporting and VAT claims, etc. Research is ongoing; meanwhile Geoff Greenhill volunteered to design a spreadsheet for the Clerk to trial that should simplify input and reduce duplication of effort. Timeline for introducing the new spreadsheet is 01.04.2020.

5.3. Donation Grant Request – Whitney Village Hall: Vice Chairman Forrest presented the application in the absence of councillors named in item 2 above. Rather than give a purely monetary donation, the FCWG suggested the PC purchase individual heaters to a value up to £500.00 (ex VAT) and gift them to the hall. This proposal was AGREED and the hall Secretary will provide the Clerk with the necessary details. It was further RESOLVED to transfer £250.00 from general funds into the 2019-20 budget for grants and donations to cover this expenditure.

5.4. IOC Annual Fee: The FCWG recommended with immediate effect the IOC annual fee should be paid by Direct Debit. This was to improve efficiency and to secure a £5.00 discount on the £40.00 mandatory fee. This was APPROVED and the Clerk will set this in motion (see also item 9).

5.5. EGPC Precept & Budget Setting 2020-21: Following a meeting with HALC, the FCWG recommended the precept figure agreed at the last meeting should be increased from £15,000 to a total of £17,000.00 to cover additional staff costs that had been identified (item 12 below refers). This was APPROVED and the Clerk will submit the revised figure to Herefordshire Council. The 2020-21 budget will be updated accordingly and the changes reflected on the PC’s web site as soon as possible.

6. Highways Working Group (HWG) matters: It was reported the Winforton TRO and white lining by the Courtlands have both been implemented. A meeting had taken place with Community Police Officer Dean Wall; a range of topics was discussed including speed enforcement (another check took place recently in Whitney), safety issues affecting school children in Eardisley and the parking issue by the Tram Inn. The HWG was delighted to advise confirmation was received from the Police & Crime Commissioner’s office that EGPC’s application for grant funding for two replacement SIDs would be approved in full; the group will liaise with the Clerk to ensure necessary paperwork is completed and sent to the PCC. The HWG will meet again before Christmas to assess additional Works Orders for Lengthsman and Footpaths and any other outstanding issues.

6.1. Blocked Ditches behind Eardisley Church: This issue is ongoing. BBLP has been chased for feedback on whether letters were sent to the landowners concerned. An update to follow when available.

7. Planning matters:

7.1. Three members of the Planning Working Group (PWG) attended the HC Neighbourhood Planning/Core Strategy workshop on 6th November. The group understands it may be possible to make minor changes to the Housing Policies of the NDP in order to overturn the ‘out of date’ status. Nancy outlined initial thoughts and it was AGREED she should pursue this with HC to clarify the situation and progress if appropriate.

7.2. The PWG reported that due to HC planning deadlines, a response was submitted on the following planning application since the last meeting:

7.2.1. P193709/EN – Courtlands Farm, Winforton HR3 6EA: Electricity Prior Approval – proposed upgrade of the existing overhead line to low voltage three phase. Supported.

7.3. The following new planning applications were considered at this meeting:

7.3.1. P191291/FH – Glebe Cottage, Whitney on Wye HR3 6EG: (Re-consultation) Proposed extension and annexe extension of outbuilding for ancillary accommodation to the main dwelling. Objection. Most previous objections remain, especially vis-a-vis NDP housing policies, vehicular access and parking arrangements, septic tank location and lack of flood mitigation.

7.3.2. P193681/F – Land Adjoining Courtlands Farm, Winforton: Variation of condition: Variation of condition 2 of 174088/F (Five dwellings with garages) amended design. Objection. It was considered latest designs would further increase the cost of the properties and changes, such as double conservatory on one property, were not in keeping with other properties or desirable. Contrary to NDP Housing Policy.

7.3.3. P193762/O – Outline Planning – Open Space land, Millstream Gardens, Eardisley HR3 6NR: Outline planning application for development of up to 18 dwellings (6 affordable homes), associated open space, landscaping and infrastructure, including access road and surface water balancing pond. Supported. The proposals are represented in the NDP and are close to the original intention. Mixed housing, including bungalows, gives diversity and is needed by the local community.

7.3.4. P193608/L – Great Quebb, Eardisley HR3 6LP: Listed Consent – Proposed replacement of upstairs window in the Southeast facing end of the cross wing. Supported.

7.3.5. P193750/F – Land at Barley Close, Eardisley: Variation of a condition 10 following grant of planning permission 193051/F (Proposed variation of condition 2 of planning permission 174059 (two detached 2 storey houses) to allow for minor re-alignment of eastern boundary). To enable re-alignment of culvert to facilitate construction of vehicular access. Supported – pipe should be at least 1m width.

7.3.6. P193803/PA1 – Home Notification Prior Approval – Oaklea, Almeley Road, Eardisley HR3 6PP. Proposed extension and alterations. The extension will extend beyond the rear wall of the dwelling house by 5 metres. The maximum height of the enlarged part of the dwelling house is 2.6 metres and the height of the eaves of the enlarged part of the dwelling house is 2.6 metres. Supported.

7.3.7. P193390/AM – Non-Material Amendment – Fairlands, Winforton HR3 6EB: Proposed non-material amendment to planning permission 172910. Take down pole barn and replace it with a new agriculture building – apply to add concrete slabs, Yorkshire boarding on the gable end, sliding door and a personnel door. Objection (unless Yorkshire boarding was used on the whole building, as per the original plan, rather than metal).

7.3.8. P193916 – Works to Trees in a Conservation Area – Garden House, Church Road, Eardisley HR3 6NH: Proposal to fell Douglas Fir (T1) and Birch (one of a group of 3 (T2)). Supported.

The Clerk has responded or will respond to Herefordshire Planning on behalf of EGPC as indicated above. A round-up of all planning activity can be found on the HC Planning Portal (direct link from EGPC web site): https://eardisleygrouppc.org/planning-applications/

7.4. PWG Delegated Authority: A RESOLUTION was passed following a majority vote to permit the Planning Working Group to respond to Herefordshire Council on non-contentious planning applications requiring response between now and the next PC meeting in January. This to include applications with deadlines that cannot reasonably be extended until after the January meeting. If new applications are believed by the PWG to be categorised as ‘contentious’, the Chairman may call an extraordinary meeting at his discretion.

8. Parish/Community Noticeboards: It was previously recognised noticeboards in all 3 parishes were unfit for purpose as they were not lockable for parish council and statutory notices and most were in a poor state of repair. It was noted that Terry Morgan has subsequently provided a new board for Whitney. Chris England researched options on behalf of the Community Working Group and presented his report. Initial research based on an outline specification of 1 x 3 bay and 2 x 2 bay units, weather-proof, maintenance free and of a minimum 6-8 x A4 capacity indicated costs would be in the region of £2,400 and £1,600 (each) respectively, inclusive of VAT. It was decided further research on possible local suppliers was required and all councillors were asked to forward any suggestions to Chris and/or the Clerk for consideration. The Clerk will also investigate whether any grant funding might be available.

9. Finances: As at 08.11.2019, bank account balances were as follows:

Main Account:                               £11,588.19
No. 2 Account:                                 £8,641.76
Business Saver Account:              £3,790.11

It was resolved to pay the following:

Payee                                            Description                       Gross Amount (£)    VAT (£)
Information Commissioner       Annual Fee                                      35.00                    0.00
Richard Mills                                Lengthsman – WO12-LM            209.40                  34.90
A Morgan Clerk                            Expenses (Oct 2019)                     32.23                     1.63

10. Correspondence: The following items were noted:

10.1. BBLP invitation to Parish Briefing, Thorn Depot, Rotherwas, 5th December.

10.2. Church of England Commissioners: confirmation regarding proposal to close the Church of St Silas, Bollingham.

10.3. HC Copy of Notice of Order regarding Modification Order, addition of footpath EE49, Eardisley.

11. Matters for the Next Agenda – no discussion:

11.1. Flooding
11.2. Canon Ford Avenue rubbish
11.3. To consider changes to Working Groups structure

A RESOLUTION was passed to close the public meeting for the final agenda items due to their confidential nature; the Clerk also left the meeting.

12. Employment Matters:

12.1. Clerk’s Appraisal 2019 and Future Appraisal Process: The Chairman briefed councillors on the Clerk’s Appraisal interview held at HALC and conducted by Lynda Wilcox, CEO together with the Chairman. It was suggested and AGREED future annual appraisals would be carried out in the same way at least once per year or as required.

12.2. Review of Clerk’s Salary and Hours of Work: The Chairman reported the recommendations from HALC that based on the size of the parish council and number of councillors/working groups, etc., the Clerk’s hours of work should increase from 10 to 12 per week. In addition, the Clerk’s salary had not been reviewed since her appointment in January 2017 and should be uplifted accordingly based on performance and experience; it was recommended this should take place in two stages, the first with immediate effect and the second on successful attainment of the CiLCA qualification. These proposals were APPROVED and the Chairman undertook to consult with the Clerk to make the necessary changes.

Please send Agenda items for the next meeting to the Clerk by Friday, 10th January, Thank You.

Monday 20th January 2021 – Eardisley Village Hall, 7:30pm