DRAFT MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF WEST DEREHAM PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT WEST DEREHAM VILLAGE HALL AT 7.30 pm
THURSDAY 3 DECEMBER 2015
PRESENT (5 Councillors): – Claire Cann (CC) – Chairman, Pam Bullas (PB), Lorraine Hunt (LH), Pam Walker (PW), Claire Williams (CW).
Clerk: – Sarah Thorpe
4 members of the public were in attendance.
Papers presented to Councillors: (i) Financial Management Report (spreadsheet); (ii) Expenditure (for approval);
(iii) Budget for 2016/17 and accompanying notes; (iv) information on funds available for 2015/16 to aid Councillors’ decisions on expenditure being considered; (v) proposals for Community Payback Unit work and (vi) Glazewing report.
The Chairman welcomed everyone present and opened the meeting.
1. Apologies for absence. Apologies had been received from Tom Foy (TF), who was attending a work course, Paula Kellingray (PK), due to family commitments, Brian Long (County Councillor) due to another appointment, and Sandra Squire (Borough Councillor) due to family commitments.
2. Declarations of interest. No declarations were made.
3. Use of social media, audio recording of meeting and invitation for public contributions. CC asked “Will anyone present be filming, recording, blogging, or tweeting during this meeting?” No member of the public present at this stage advised that they would. CC advised members of the public that if they wished to comment on any item, at any time during the meeting, they should raise their hand at the appropriate time and they would be invited to speak.
4. Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 5 November 2015. CC confirmed all Councillors had seen the minutes of the Parish Council (PC) meeting held on 5 November 2015. These were agreed as a true record and signed by the Chairman.
5.1 Chairman’s Report.
5.1.1 Norfolk Association of Local Councils Autumn Conference. CC advised that three Councillors (CC, LH and PW) and the Clerk had attended the conference on 12 November. It had proved to be very useful and some items that appeared on the agenda were a direct result of information received at the conference.
5.1.2 Village Green. CC advised that a follow up letter had been sent to the landowners advising that the PC wished to move forward on the issue of acquiring land for a village green and asking for a response regarding the current situation on the sale of the land that had been discussed in 2011.
5.2 Clerk’s Report.
5.2.1 Woodland/green burial. Information is being obtained from Ely diocese, Norfolk County Council and a local solicitor to move forward with this issue in 2016.
5.2.2 RAF Marham. Councillors had been made aware that in recent weeks presentations had been given by representatives from the base for a couple of local villages regarding future plans for the base. WD had subsequently requested their own presentation and had received a reply to say that RAF Marham have recognised that there is a significant appetite for information from the community on the forthcoming changes at the base. They intend to invite representation from those villages closest to RAF Marham, which will include WD, to attend an open evening in their community centre with information displays and staff on hand to answer questions, so that those interested can drop-in at a time to suit. Depending on the success of this format, they will develop the template for future updates that will ensure information is available to as wide an audience as is practicable. Their initial thoughts would be to plan for a Friday evening as, to their knowledge, no Parish Councils hold meetings on a Friday. Furthermore, representation would not be restricted to members of the council but would include any interested members of the community who wanted to drop-in for a chat. Finally, they will endeavour to identify a date for the first event as soon as possible in order to allow adequate planning time and encourage maximum participation.
5.2.3 Meeting dates for 2016. PC meeting dates for next year will be the first Thursday of each month from February to December, with the exception of May when the meeting will be on the first Wednesday (4 May), as the village hall is already booked for an election on the first Thursday. The Annual Parish Meeting will be on Thursday 14 April. These dates will be displayed on the website and the village notice.
5.3 Handyman’s Report. The Handyman has spent his time over the last month trimming bridges on Station Road, Church Road; cutting back brambles on Hilgay Road, Ryston Road and Basil Road; trimming around road signs on Hilgay Road and Basil Road; planting bulbs in the wooden planters on Church Road; litter picking and carrying out a monthly inspection of the allotments, recreation ground and cemetery.
5.4 Police Report. PK was not present at the PC meeting and no report had been provided.
5.5 Village Hall Report. PK was not present at the PC meeting and no report had been provided.
5.6 Broadband Report. PW advised that there was no further update since the last PC meeting.
5.7 Glazewing Report. Richard Stimson, Compliance Manager, at Glazewing had provided a monthly report for the PC meeting. The report responded to the query raised by the PC at the last meeting regarding the comment from Glazewing that the use of Eddie Stobart vehicles did not represent an increase in vehicle movements asking how they could know that there was no increase in vehicle movements as they had previously advised that they did not record this information. Glazewing advised that their answer was based on the materials in and out of the site which they said has been fairly consistent throughout the year as shown on the graph they had provided. The PC agreed that this did not seem an accurate way of confirming no change to vehicle movements as it assumed that all of the vehicles did not carry the same amount of tonnage. Clerk to follow this up with Glazewing. The report also confirmed that there had been a death at the site, which was an out-of-hours suicide that was handled by the appropriate people.
6.1 Accounts. Accounts for approval and the monthly financial management report were submitted by the Clerk. She advised that the income and expenditure for October 2015 has now been confirmed, and that estimated figures for November and December have been inserted based upon invoices received.
Payee Cheque No Net VAT Gross
Clerk’s salary, expenses for Nov – 52 hours 100835 629.52 629.52
Handyman contract for Nov – 10 hours & expenses 100836 105.25 105.25
National ALC – Registration fee for Quality Award 100837 25.00 5.00 30.00
Post Office Ltd – PAYE for Oct to Dec 100838 40.16 40.16
Clerk’s salary, expenses for Dec – 46 hours 100839 504.16 504.16
Handyman contract for Dec – 10 hours & expenses 100840 85.00 85.00
Total 1389.09 5.00 1394.09
The Clerk advised that the last two payments would be post-dated to the 1 January 2016 as they were to cover payments due for December; as the PC did not meet in January they would need to be approved now to ensure they were paid at the correct time. The above payments were considered and approved. Cheques to be signed at the end of the meeting.
6.2 Budget and Precept for 2016/17. Copies of the Budget for 2016/17 along with accompanying notes had been circulated to all. The document now showed actual figures for the previous year (2014/15), budget and projected figures for the current year (2015/16) and proposed figures for next year (2016/17). The Clerk explained the figures and advised that she had managed to produce a budget for next year that meant the PC could maintain the Precept at the same level of £107.87 per Band D household and still manage to cover all of its commitments. Figures had also been produced to show the Precept available if the PC agreed an increase of 1.5% or 2% to the Band D household. A discussion took place on the information provided. Members of the public were invited to comment. One parishioner commented that they believed a 2% increase would be acceptable as it would only represent an additional £2.16 per annum to a Band D household. Members were aware that the current rate of inflation was -0.01% and felt that if the PC could manage its finances without increasing the Precept then this was the preferred option. It was agreed by all to set the Precept at the same level of £107.87 per Band D household which would provide £16385 plus £530 Council Tax Support Grant.
6.3 Application to Transparency Fund for Smaller Councils. A fund had been set up to assist smaller Councils with equipment, training and costs for additional staff hours to comply with the Transparency Code. The Clerk had attended training and an application form had been completed to claim £381.29 for a PC scanner, refund of costs of training and staff hours to maintain the PC website with the documentation required. The information was considered by the PC and it was agreed by all that the application form should be submitted.
7. Neighbourhood Plan. CC advised that the PC had received further information on Neighbourhood Plans at the NALC Autumn conference. The benefits of having a Plan are that the wishes of the parish has increased weight in the BC decision process on planning applications. It was suggested that now that some other villages had already completed the process it was much easier to obtain advice and guidance. If the PC agreed to go ahead and commence a Plan it could take up to three years to complete and would involve many stages, members of the public would be involved in the process and could join a steering group to work on producing the plan. Consultation with parishioners and anyone else affected by the Plan would be needed and the end of the process was a referendum in the parish to consider adopting the Plan. It was agreed by the PC that a Neighbourhood Plan should be undertaken.
8.1 Improvements to the Garden of Remembrance. Three quotations and preliminary sketches had now been received and the sketches were on display at the meeting. The options were discussed with a range of views being expressed by Councillors and members of the public. It was agreed that one designer was the preferred choice but that the preliminary sketch provided would need to be modified and adapted to a more simplified option that would reduce the cost of the project and future maintenance. Clerk to contact designer and arrange another meeting for her to discuss options with Councillors.
8.2 Quotations for pillars and gates. Three quotations had now been received for the gates. These options were discussed and Councillors and members of the public made comments. It was agreed to approve the cheapest option of £995 from Oz-UK. A final sketch would need to be provided for the design and price to be confirmed. It was anticipated that these gates could be supplied by the middle of January 2016. Clerk to advise builder that decision had been made and when gates should be available for him to construct the pillars and install the gates.
9. Parish Assets.
9.1 Purchase of goal posts/hoops for recreation ground. Three quotations for supply and one for installing the posts/hoops had now been received. The PC had obtained information which suggested that these items should be purchased from a manufacturer who could provide confirmation that they were produced to a British Standards requirement. The cheapest option was from a company called athleteshop.co.uk at a cost of £1517.05. Funding to replace unsafe goals, of up to £750, could also be available from the Premier League & FA Facilities Fund Small Grants Scheme. It was agreed that an application should be made to the Fund. The Clerk advised that the CPU had advised that they would be able to install the posts/hoops. Decision on installation to be made when available funding established.
9.2 Work for Community Payback Unit (CPU). A proposal had been produced to consider the options for work to be carried out by the CPU. The proposed work was clearing of brambles at the Recreation Ground, uncovering and re-edging a footpath on Station Road and Church Road, weeding and clearing around the new hedging at the Cemetery. A discussion took place on the options and it was agreed to go ahead with the weeding and clearing of the hedge at the Cemetery and clearing of the brambles at the Recreation Ground, after a parishioner agreed to remove the brambles from the Recreation Ground once they had been cleared. The remaining work on the footpath to be considered at a later stage. Clerk to contact CPU to make arrangements for work to be carried out on 13 and 20 December at a cost of the daily rate for two days.
9.3 Purchase of Vehicle Activated Sign (SAM2). The PC had obtained information at the NALC conference on signs available with the help of funding from the NCC Parish Partnership Scheme (PPS). These signs display the speed of an approaching vehicle. If the vehicle exceeds the speed limit a ‘SLOW DOWN’ message is shown. These signs are portable and need to be moved from a location after four weeks and must not return to that location within eight weeks; therefore a minimum of three locations are needed. The Clerk advised that she had spoken to the Highways Engineer, Andy Wallace, and he was willing to support the PC in an application to the PPS for one of these signs. The cost of the sign is £2800 but for an additional £250 there is a data addition with software and leads that records the time/date/volume and speed of all vehicles. Posts are available at £89 each and additional brackets at £50 each. Funding from the PPS would be for 50% of the total cost. A discussion took place on the information and it was agreed that one of these signs should be purchased for the village and that the Clerk should submit a bid for funding to the PPS before the deadline of 15 December 2015. Clerk to discuss the possible maximum cost with the supplier and then submit a bid for funding.
10. Parish Council policies and documentation.
10.1 Review of recommendations from report for Quality Status of the Local Council Award Scheme (LCAS). A lengthy report had been received from the LCAS accreditation panel which raised several issues where it required the PC to provide further information or make minor amendments to current policies/documentation. The report was discussed and it was agreed that amendments to the Standing Orders, Financial Regulations, Equal Opportunities Policy and Action Plan should be approved along with the addition on the PC website of the information on the Publication Scheme provided by the Information Commissioners Office. It was also agreed that a full and detailed response would be issued providing all of the information requested and advising the panel of the difficulties for a small parish like WD to provide the same number of examples of evidence for the award as it would be for a larger village or town.
10.2 Audit regime for 2017/18 onwards. Information had been provided on a Sector Led Body (SLB) that had been established by NALC through working with the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Society of Local Councils (SLCC) and Association of Drainage Boards (ADA). The aim is to procure audit for smaller authorities from the 2017/18 financial year. All smaller authorities will automatically be opted in to the new SLB unless they decide to opt out and appoint their own auditor locally. Opting out is likely to be more expensive and information on the measures put in place to secure a local auditor must be provided to the SLB. It was agreed by all that the PC should accept the automatic opt in to the new SLB.
10.3 Cemetery Risk Assessment. The document was reviewed and it was agreed that no amendments were necessary.
10.4 Community Engagement Strategy. The document was reviewed and it was agreed that no amendments were necessary.
11.1 15/01780/LDP Lawful Development Certificate for conservatory base and wall at Kingscroft, Basil Road.
The application was displayed and discussed. No comments were received from the public. It was agreed by all to SUPPORT the application.
12.1 Letters had been received from Norfolk Age UK and Norfolk Citizens Advice asking for a donation. It was agreed that the usual reply would be issued advising them that the PC made no provision for donations to charities in its budget but providing information on the options available for fund raising events at the village hall.
13. Other Business – Any additional reports and items for inclusion on the next Agenda.
13.1 PW advised that the next meeting of the Stoke Ferry Drainage Board (SFDB) was on 9 December.
13.2 PB advised that she had received a request for the PC to consider purchase of a defibrillator for the village. She had researched this issue and fund raising was needed to assist with the cost of purchase of this equipment. It was agreed to add this item to the next village notice to ask if there were any volunteers interested in fund raising for this purpose.
13.3 LH mentioned the public consultation on the options for budget cuts by NCC. Information should have been provided to all household in the form of a newsletter included with the local free paper.
The official meeting concluded at 9.50pm, and was opened to the floor for general comment.
• A parishioner asked about progress on the ownership of the ditch and hedging off Ryston Road. Information was provided on the progress so far which had shown that there appeared to be a strip of land that was not registered to anyone. PW advised that she was to raise this matter at the next meeting of SFDB.
• A parishioner asked about progress on the issue of the land falling into the ditch adjacent to the footpath from The Row to the Village Hall. Clerk to speak to the owner of the land to ask for urgent action.
Closure. The Chairman thanked everyone for attending, and final closure of the meeting was at 9.58pm.
Next PC meeting is on Thursday 4 February 2016 at 7.30pm with Open Surgery from 7.00pm.
Clerk: Sarah Thorpe
Telephone: 01945 430930
Chairman’s signature …………………………………… Date ……………………………