DRAFT MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF WEST DEREHAM PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT WEST DEREHAM VILLAGE HALL AT 7.30 pm
THURSDAY 3 MARCH 2016
PRESENT (5 Councillors): – Claire Cann (CC) – Chairman, Pam Bullas (PB), Tom Foy (TF), Paula Kellingray (PK), and Pam Walker (PW).
Clerk: – Sarah Thorpe
Sandra Squire (SS) – Borough Councillor
5 members of the public were in attendance.
Papers presented to Councillors: (i) Financial Management Report (spreadsheet); (ii) Expenditure (for approval); (iii) Glazewing report; and (iv) Comparison of Cemetery fees.
The Chairman welcomed everyone present and opened the meeting.
1. Apologies for absence. Apologies had been received from Lorraine Hunt (LH) due to family commitments, Claire Williams (CW) due to her being unwell and Brian Long (BL) – County Councillor.
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, before a decision was made, they should raise their hand and they would be invited to speak.
4. Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 4 February 2016. CC confirmed all Councillors had seen the minutes of the Parish Council (PC) meeting held on 4 February 2016. These were agreed as a true record and signed by the Chairman.
5.1 Chairman’s Report.
5.1.1 Cemetery – Garden of Remembrance. CC advised that Councillors had considered options for reducing the cost of the improvements and a meeting was to be arranged with the designer to discuss these options.
5.1.2 Cemetery – removal of rubbish. CC advised that the 28 bags of rubbish generated by the Community Payback Team (CPT) when they cleared vegetation from around the hedge had been taken to the tip by her son; thanks was expressed to him from the PC.
5.2 Clerk’s Report.
5.2.1 Planning Update. The Borough Council (BC) had held a meeting to give an update on the planning system.
Five Year Land Supply – The BC are hopeful that they will be able to demonstrate that they have a five year land supply by May 2016; however it appears that there will not be a complete return to their previous position due to the fact that the five year land supply is a rolling target and at any point this could be challenged again by an appeal.
The LDF Site Allocations and Management Plan – an update was provided on the preliminary findings of the Inspector. A report was provided to the BC Cabinet on 1 March advising of some suggested amendments to the plan which included additional or changed allocations. A further consultation will take place shortly.
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – there will shortly be another consultation on the draft charging schedule. Following this the proposals will need to be examined by an independent inspector. It is hopeful that the CIL will be adopted by the end of 2016.
E-consultation – from 1 June 2016 the BC intends to issue parish consultations electronically and will no longer be posting hard copies. At the meeting several PCs expressed concern about this change and the BC did agree to look into the broadband provision in the area prior to rolling this out.
Proposed changes to the National Planning Policy 2016 – The government is currently considering changes to the Policy and these changes could mean that applications for up to 10 dwellings adjacent to existing settlements are allowed even where they are not allocated in the plan and ‘starter homes’ could be treated as rural exception sites and only refused where there are overriding design, infrastructure and local environmental considerations that cannot be mitigated.
5.2.2 Neighbourhood Plan. The BC have agreed to give a talk on Neighbourhood Plans at the Annual Parish meeting on 14 April 2016.
5.2.3 Transparency Fund for Smaller Councils. The application has been successful and the funds of approximately £380 will be paid into the PC bank account shortly.
5.3 Handyman’s Report. The Handyman had changed the tap fittings at the village hall and met with PW and a local resident to discuss options for clearing the ditch off Ryston Road and improving the footpath from The Row to the village hall. PW advised that it had been agreed that the brambles would be cut back on the footpath to allow access the other side of the dog waste bin and maybe moving of the dog bin. CC advised that the bin could not be moved without permission from Highways and it was agreed that the Clerk would speak to the Handyman about this issue. PW advised that the Handyman had also been asked to remove the directional arrows that were around the village and to trim the footpath on Lime Kiln Road.
5.4 Police Report. PK advised that weekly updates from the police included information on their search for a wanted man who was believed to be in the King’s Lynn or North Norfolk area and information on crime prevention for sheds, which included fitting a good quality lock, obscuring visibility into the shed and not storing items of high value. It was agreed that this information would be displayed at the village hall and on the PC website.
5.5 Village Hall Report. PK advised that 10 bookings had been made recently and that she had spoken with “The Upper Octave,” a Norfolk based vocal ensemble offering an evening of opera and musical classics, about returning to the hall for another booking and they had advised that this could be possible for 2017.
5.6 Broadband Report. PW advised that she had no further update on the proposed additional cabinet on Church Road other than sighting a BT Openreach van in the village.
A parishioner from St Andrew’s Walk provided an update on the problems he was experiencing getting connected to superfast broadband. He had been told by BT that they were able to connect him and then BT had discovered that the cabling approached his property and then went off in another direction before eventually looping back to his property; this meant a significant reduction in speed due to the additional cabling. It appeared to him that the obvious solution was for BT to lay new cabling to join his property with the current cabling where it first approached his property. He had contacted the Chief Executive of BT and was expecting a reply shortly. He had been told that the additional cabinet to be installed on Church Road would not affect his property.
An email had been received from a prospective resident enquiring about the broadband speed for a property on Ryston Road. It was agreed that a reply should be sent to him to update him on the broadband situation in the village. The email also enquired about possible smells from the British Sugar factory. It was agreed that these are only present during October to March when the wind is in the direction of the village and that it is a gentle smell that is not unpleasant.
5.7 Glazewing Report. Richard Stimson, Compliance Manager, at Glazewing (GW) had provided a monthly report for the PC meeting. The report responded to the query raised by the PC at the last meeting regarding closure of the road on 13 January; he apologised for missing this out last month, he was aware of the incident but wasn’t aware the road had been closed. GW had investigated the incident, the driver has been through further training and undertaken a medical. GW apologised for any inconvenience caused to local residents. The watercourse banks had been repaired.
The report also referred to a road closure and traffic movements on 29 February 2016, when West Dereham/Wereham Road was closed by BT/Highways Agency. GW were unaware this road was being closed until they saw the signs going up. They contacted the Highways Agencies ASAP, eventually it was agreed to allow GW vehicles through and put traffic lights up. GW weren’t informed before the event, because the repairs were deemed an emergency. GW vehicles did go through the village, and they thanked the village for their patience.
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 January 2016 had now been confirmed, and that estimated figures for February have been inserted based upon invoices received. Expenditure was generally as expected.
Payee Cheque No Net VAT Gross
Clerk’s salary, expenses for Feb – 43 hours 100848 534.05 534.05
Handyman’s contract, expenses plus 3 hours for Feb 100849 61.40 61.40
Paragon Bank Business Finance – printing of notice 100850 6.00 1.20 7.20
BCKLWN – dog bin emptying Mar 15/Feb 16 100851 181.89 36.38 218.27
Total 783.34 37.58 820.92
The above payments were considered and approved. Cheques to be signed at the end of the meeting.
7. Parish Council policies and documentation.
7.1 Equal Opportunities. The document was reviewed and a minor amendment of wording from “all men and women” to “everyone” was agreed.
7.2 Media Relations Policy. The document was reviewed and removal of the wording “schools, shops and statutory agencies” was agreed as none of these were present in the village.
7.3 Cemetery Fees and Regulations. Information had been provided to show the fees being charged by other local cemeteries. The fees for Non-parishioners were much higher in other cemeteries and varied from four times the rate for parishioners to ten times the parishioner rate. It was agreed that the current rate for purchase of a grave for non-parishioners should state £225 and not £125 as shown on the WD website. A discussion took place on setting the fees for WD cemetery and the following was agreed:
Burial of still born or child under 12 years £0 £200
Burial (over 12 years) £200 £800
Purchase of grave £130 £520
Cremated ashes £100 £400
Erection of headstone £100 £200
Additional inscription £40 £40
Review of the regulations to be considered at the next PC meeting.
PK advised that Anglian Water offered a scheme to help their customers with funeral costs in cases of hardship.
7.4 Disciplinary and Grievance. The document was reviewed and it was agreed that no amendments were necessary.
7.5 Co-option. The document was reviewed and it was agreed that no amendments were necessary.
7.6 Lighting within the parish. The document was reviewed and it was agreed that no amendments were necessary.
7.7 Members’ Code of Conduct. The document was reviewed and it was agreed that no amendments were necessary.
A discussion took place on the cemetery gates with CC expressing concern that the company producing the gates were advertising this fact on Facebook which it was felt was inappropriate at this stage and that the PC should have been asked for their consent. Concern was also expressed that the photos shown on Facebook did not match the design that the PC had agreed. Cllrs were invited to view the gates by company’s employee present at the meeting and it was agreed that the drawing submitted with the planning application would be provided to confirm that the gates did match the specifications agreed by the PC.
9.1 An email from Norfolk County Council (NCC) advising of a consultation on amendments to the Local List for validation of planning applications. The consultation was open until 19 April and it was agreed that the matter could be considered at the next PC meeting.
9.2 An email from the BC advising of a change of property address on Church Road from “Diablo” to “Thistledo.”
9.3 Information and a free sample from a company producing commemorative medals for schools and councils to mark HM Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th Birthday. The sample was given to PK to be used as a raffle prize at the village hall.
9.4 A letter had been received from the tenants of Grange Farm (GF). The full letter was read out and will be put on the PC website. The letter stated that numerous dates had been provided by GF but that Cllrs were unable to make these dates due to holiday commitments. Cllrs had then decided to suggest dates to GF but they had advised that these should not be from the end of July or during August due to harvest time. The dates suggested by the PC were during this period and therefore a date of 21 August was agreed but GF had advised that they may need to cancel this at short notice due to the harvest period and this was the case. The next time they heard from the PC was in late November to arrange dates during the next 2-3 weeks but as they are a working farm they do not take time off over Christmas and as the weather was so wet it was not a good time for GF. The letter went on to say that Elizabeth Truss MP had told them in 2014 that they were doing nothing wrong and in fact praised them for their hard work in turning around the farm and making it clean, tidy and a pleasure to drive past. She had also informed them that by law they did not have to answer the questions put to them by the PC; however they had decided to answer them and these answers were attached to the letter. GF added that they produce British pork in an environment that they feel is the best for their animals and bring jobs to the area by employing 4 local people. They requested that the letter be read out at the next PC meeting and added to the minutes for all parishioners to read. The letter concluded by asking one question of WDPC; how have the pigs affected WD since they arrived?
A letter of reply had been sent to GF from the PC and this was also read out at the meeting and will be available on the PC website. It advised that at the end of the previous tenancy the news that the rented single farm area was being extended to cover the village side of the A134 and that it was changing from arable to pig farming, not surprisingly, caused interest in WD as to how this quite significant change may impact on the village. In response to a number of questions from within the village the PC sought answers from NCC, Norfolk Property Services, our MP and our County Councillor with the latter suggesting the questions be put direct to GF; this was done on 17 September 2014. At no point had the PC requested a visit to GF. On 9 October 2014 GF invited Cllrs to view the farm on 22 October and discuss the issues. Cllrs wholly appreciated that GF was a working farm and expected GF to appreciate that finding a time to accommodate a visit by 7 Cllrs – all of whom worked and fitted their voluntary PC duties around this and their families – would be difficult.
In November 2014 the PC suggested GF provide some dates from 12 January 2015 onwards; in February 2015 the PC chased up this request. At the end of April 2015 GF offered 3 dates which the PC could not make as it is a busy time for the PC and in May the PC offered 7 further dates in June, July and August which GF could not make. In July the PC offered 6 more dates and GF accepted one but had to cancel for family reasons. In November 2015 the PC tried to arrange further dates and in the same month contacted GF again without reply.
The PC had simply sought a response to the perfectly understandable practical questions that people living in WD had asked and while the PC appreciated that GF did not have to answer these questions, it felt there could be no reason why they would not do so. When a business is carried out in a residential area it affects that community and residents wanted to know how it could impact on their lives. The much delayed answers to these genuine questions were uninformative; in the light of these responses the PC would redraft the questions in an attempt to elicit some realistic and sensible information. The PC was surprised at GF’s assertion that tidying the farm made it a pleasure to drive past as this was accomplished by numerous trailer loads of detritus from GF farmyard being dumped into the historic lime kiln pit on the Village side of the A134 in November 2014, destroying the flora and fauna of that area, and resulting in the Environment Agency ruling requiring GF to clear it.
The PC agreed however that, from the road, the pigs looked well cared for in an attentive operation and welcomed the news that GF employs 4 local people. The PC employs 2 local people and firmly believes that being accountable to the community in which you live and operate is always the most effective and beneficial way to proceed.
Cllrs would be in a position to answer the GF question as to how the pigs have affected WD as soon as GF are able to fully answer the questions put to them about the effect of having the pigs housed the Village side of the A134.
10. Other Business – Any additional reports and items for inclusion on the next Agenda.
10.1 PW advised that she would be attending a meeting of the Stoke Ferry Internal Drainage Board next week.
10.2 PK advised of free NHS health checks. Notice to be displayed in village hall and on PC website.
10.3 CC advised of the date of the next PC meeting and the Annual Parish Meeting where reports would be needed from the Handyman, the Allotment Liaison Officer, the Village Hall, the Village Trust, the Heritage Group, the Royal British Legion, and St Andrews Church.
10.4 PW offered her apologies for the next PC meeting due to a family commitment.
The official meeting concluded at 8.55pm, and was opened to the floor for general comment.
• A parishioner asked about removal of the rest of the vegetation left behind on the Recreation Ground from the work completed by the CPT. CC advised that more volunteers were needed for this work. It was agreed that Highways would be consulted on how the PC could prevent unauthorised vehicular access to the site.
• Clerk to contact CPT to check when they would be completing the work at the cemetery as arranged dates had been cancelled.
• It was reported that pot holes on Ryston Road and Basil Road had not yet been repaired.
Closure. The Chairman thanked everyone for attending, and final closure of the meeting was at 9.05pm.
Next PC meeting is on Thursday 7 April 2016 at 7.30pm with Open Surgery from 7.00pm.
The Annual Parish Meeting is on Thursday 14 April 2016 at 7.30pm.
Clerk: Sarah Thorpe Email: email@example.com
Telephone: 01945 430930
Chairman’s signature …………………………………… Date ……………………………