7th December 2020, Eardisley Village Hall

Present: Alan Watkins, James Forrest, Ken Goodman, Geoff Greenhill, Yvonne King, Andrew Layton, Terry Morgan, Lewis Price, Sue Prosser, Tony Raymond, Paul Whittall and Steven Whittall

In Attendance: Clerk to the Parish Council, Alison Morgan

Members of the Public: 4

1. Apologies were accepted from Ward Cllr Jones, Phil Bayliss, Chris England and Nancy James.

2. No Declarations of Interest or requests for Dispensation were received for this meeting.

3. Open Discussion:

3.1. Ward Councillor Address: The Clerk advised several update emails were received from Graham on highways matters, which had been incorporated into the Highways Working Group report.

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

  • An acrid smell, possibly rubber being burnt, had been reported in Eardisley but the source was not known.
  • The question of responsibility for ash die back affected trees was raised, in particular those growing in between the verge/ditch and the road that pose a potential risk.

4. The Minutes of meetings held on 19th and 28th October (Extraordinary Meeting) 2020 were APPROVED and duly signed by the Chairman as a true record.

5. Finance & Compliance matters: The Finance & Compliance Working Group (FCWG) presented the following items.

5.1. Co-option Policy (Casual Vacancies): The Clerk confirmed the resignation of Cllr Clint Welson and reported the Elections page on the web site had been updated. It now includes vacancies and links to Notices, plus the updated policy and application form. Councillors had considered the draft policy and application form and RESOLVED they should be adopted without change.

5.2. Debit Card: It was proposed the Clerk should apply for a debit card to purchase larger items, e.g., green bags, directly from PC funds – rather than purchasing them herself and requesting subsequent reimbursement. The proposal was unanimously approved and the Clerk will take the necessary next steps.

5.3. Donation Request: The PC was asked to consider a donation request from Cobalt, a medical health charity that partners with the NHS to provide teenage and young adult cancer care & support in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. After consideration, there was a majority decision that as a smaller PC, this PC was not able to approve this request. The Clerk will advise the applicant accordingly.

5.4. 2021-2022 Budget Requirements: This item was taken in parallel with item 5.5 as the draft budget informs the setting of precept for the following year. Geoff took councillors through the headline figures; adjustments will be made once additional spend for the current financial year is known, but it was AGREED the draft figures should be accepted as a baseline.

5.5. Precept Levels 2021-2022: Following debate of item 5.4, it was RESOLVED an incremental increase of £1,000.00 was appropriate, i.e., a total of £18,000.00. Essentially this would take into account predicted cost increases during the year.

5.6. Monthly Bank Reconciliation Reports: October and November reconciliations were complete and councillors reviewed the latest report in detail. The reports were APPROVED and will be published on the web site shortly. The FCWG will complete a detailed reconciliation as part of their quarterly checks.

5.7. Lengthsman Authorisation Process: Councillors were asked to consider a change to the authorisation process for ad hoc Lengthsman works orders to give the contractor more flexibility to undertake routine maintenance as he identifies it while travelling in the parish. A final decision was taken to authorise in advance a general Lengthsman works order up to the value of a day’s rate. The contractor would be asked to provide before & after photographs (as now) and to keep the Clerk informed about what tasks were completed. In addition, councillors may request works through the Clerk who will issue a works order up to this amount. It was RESOLVED to issue a new works order now; the Clerk will ascertain whether any procedural changes to standing orders/financial regulations to permit this spend as part of delegated powers and bring forward to the next meeting, if required. This change will be reviewed at the end of this financial year.

6. Planning matters: In the absence of Nancy, the Chairman presented the recommendations of the PWG on the following matters.

6.1. Planning Applications:

6.1.1. P203351/L – The Threshing Barn, Winforton – listed building: – Proposed replacement of softwood glazed front door and double patio doors due to rot and distortion from storms. The proposal to support this application was APPROVED as being necessary.

6.1.2. P203719/F – Land at Barley Close, Woodseaves, Eardisley: Application for variation of condition 2 of planning permission 174059(Two detached 2 storey houses). To allow change of design of dwellings and layout. The proposal to comment on this application to accept the proposed design changes, with the proviso the addition of loft-style upper areas to the garages was not intended for conversion to residential accommodation, was APPROVED.

6.1.3. P203801/K – 1 New Barns, Church Road, Eardisley: Works to trees in a conservation area. The proposed remedial works were considered necessary and the proposal to support this application was APPROVED.

6.1.4. P202174/O – Land at The Meadows, Eardisley: Outline planning permission for 17 dwellings, access and estate road. Recommendations from the PWG were accepted and added to. It was RESOLVED to submit comments rather than objecting or supporting this application as the observations are wide-ranging. The PC response can be seen in full by a link from the Parish Council web site.

6.1.5. P202990/L – Listed Building Consent – Arboyne House, Church Road, Eardisley: Proposed replacement streetlight. The PC RESOLVED to support this application. Necessary authorisations had been obtained and the replacement was deemed necessary.

As usual, 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/

6.2. Re-Making the NDP: PWG member, Ian Bowman, gave councillors an update on his and Nancy’s meeting with HC NDP team representatives. It was confirmed EGPC should go ahead with revising its NDP now despite uncertainty over the core strategy and implications of as yet unknown changes to planning policy. Feedback had been sent by HC development managers as a starting point for the review. It was AGREED next steps required the set-up of a small focus group to consider what changes could render the NDP housing policies back in date, without going to the extent of needing to call another referendum, etc. It was confirmed Nancy and Ian should continue work they have already started. In addition, Steve Whittall volunteered and was accepted; the Clerk will email councillors asking for another volunteer following the meeting.

6.3. Community Right to Bid: Following agreement at a previous meeting to consider implementing this initiative, it was AGREED a small of councillors should undertake initial research and report back to the PC to consider next steps. Geoff and James volunteered and were accepted; the Clerk will email councillors asking for another volunteer following the meeting.

7. The Highways Working Group (HWG) reported on a wide range of topics, including status of the new SID’s, footpaths, road maintenance, noise and road surface issues in Eardisley and the planned flood repair works near Whitney on Wye toll bridge. To read the December 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. Nomination of Non-Councillor HWG Members:

7.1.1. Pippa Prosser, Willersley – Nominated by Cllr Yvonne King: APPROVED by a majority vote.
7.1.2. Gill Sommers, Eardisley – Nominated by Cllr Tony Raymond; APPROVED by a majority vote.

7.2. TRO Traffic Lights Central Eardisley: A request from an Eardisley resident had been passed to the Parish Council for consideration by the BBLP Locality Steward. The proposal to install traffic lights as a means of traffic calming/control in central Eardisley was considered by the HWG. The recommendation was for the PC to advise BBLP it could not support this request. The suggestion had been considered and rejected in the past and was not believed to be a practical solution to the problem. Councillors agreed and it was RESOLVED the Clerk should respond to the Locality Steward of this decision.

8. Defibrillator Signage, Winforton: Complaints had been received about the visibility of signage indicating the defibrillator located at Sportfish, Winforton. The Sportfish manager has given consent for a larger sign to be attached to the existing Sportfish sign at the entrance to the business and easily seen from the main A438. The Clerk had obtained quotes for two sizes of sign, with the larger, more expensive of the two amounting to £34.95 each, plus £20 carriage and VAT. It was APPROVED for the Clerk to liaise with Sportfish to determine the most appropriate size and place an order for two signs to give visibility to passing motorists from both directions.

9. Payments:

9.1. The following payments made under delegated powers or approval in Minutes since the meetings on 19th and 28th October (see payments schedule below) were ratified:

Payee Description Gross Amount (£) VAT (£)
A Morgan (Clerk) Green Bags Reimbursement 400.00 0.00
Starboard Systems Scribe Subscription 345.60 57.60
Autela Payroll Payroll Services 80.40 13.40

9.2. It was resolved to pay the following:

Payee Description Gross Amount (£) VAT (£)
A Morgan Clerk Expenses (Oct-Nov 2020) 71.46 9.52
MCG Davies Lengthsman & PROW 310.00 0.00

10. Correspondence: The following items were noted and will be circulated via local email noticeboards as appropriate:

10.1. HC Consultations on the future of rubbish & recycling and the future of mobility: rural strategy.

10.2. Gigaclear Community Engagement Manager re PC briefing

10.3. Bill Wiggins MP: acknowledgement of receipt of EGPC’s response to Planning for the Future Consultation

11. Matters for the Next Agenda – no discussion.

11.1. Environment Working Group structure / non-resident nomination (Andy Layton)

11.2. Gigaclear Broadband

11.3. Risk Assessment Review

Please send Agenda items for the next meeting to the Clerk by Friday, 29th January 2021, thank you.

NEXT MEETING: Monday, 15th February 2021, 7:30pm, on-line (Zoom)*

*Should it not be possible to meet in person due to Covid-19 restrictions, the meeting will be held online using Zoom and connection details will be issued closer to the time