DRAFT MINUTES OF THE WEST DEREHAM PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
HELD AT WEST DEREHAM VILLAGE HALL AT 7.30 pm
ON THURSDAY 4 AUGUST 2016
PRESENT (6 Councillors): – Pam Bullas (PB), Claire Cann (CC), Tom Foy (TF), Lorraine Hunt (LH), Paula Kellingray (PK), Claire Williams (CW).
Clerk: Sarah Thorpe
County Councillor Brian Long (BL)
Norfolk Association of Local Councils (NALC) Representative: Councillor Doug Lawson (DL) and guest
4 members of the public were in attendance.
Papers presented to Councillors: (i) Financial Management Report (spreadsheet); (ii) Expenditure (for approval); (iii) Glazewing report.
The Chairman welcomed everyone present and opened the meeting.
1. Presentation of Quality Award from NALC. DL advised that he was very pleased to be presenting this award to West Dereham Parish Council and gave a short speech on the importance of training for PCs to ensure that they understood and followed the correct procedures; obtaining this award was recognition of the high standard achieved by the PC. CC thanked DL for the award and acknowledged that in order to achieve this award the PC needed a first class Clerk, as well as this WDPC had very good Councillors who gave an enormous amount of their time and energy to the village because of their commitment to their community. She said their efforts were rarely acknowledged so she welcomed the opportunity to recognise their dedication.
2. Apologies for absence. Apologies had been received from Pam Walker (PW) who was away; and Borough Councillor Sandra Squire (SS) due to a family commitment.
3. Declarations of Interest. No declarations were made.
4. 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.
5. Minutes of the Parish Council meetings held on 7 and 28 July 2016. CC confirmed all Councillors had seen the minutes of the Parish Council (PC) meetings held on 7 and 28 July 2016. These were agreed as a true record and signed by the Chairman.
6.1 Chairman’s Report.
6.1.1 Garden of Remembrance. CC advised that it was in need of weeding and the Clerk was seeking additional quotations for a specific maintenance contract. The benches and bird bath needed to be installed and one quotation had been received for this work. It was agreed that a further quotation should be obtained and a member of the public offered to provide a quotation from his employer, who had made the cemetery gates.
6.1.2 Cemetery Gates. A new latch was still needed for the gates and CC asked the contractor who was present when this would be done. Details of options would be sent to Councillors immediately so a decision could be made.
6.1.3 Grounds Maintenance. A letter had been sent to the contractor regarding several issues and a reply had been received which was discussed. It was agreed that a further letter should be sent to challenge the reply on the lack of poppies in the extension area of the cemetery; grass cutting of the extension area of the cemetery; and the continued spraying of weed killer at the village hall despite this being removed from the contract in 2015. Clerk to produce letter and pass to all for approval before issue.
6.1.4 Verge cutting on St Andrew’s Close. CC advised that a member of the public had spoken with her about the lack of verge cutting on St Andrew’s Close. CC said the PC would not be including verge cutting in their programme because it would be prohibitively expensive to cut all village verges; the PC had already taken on extra ground maintenance work to cover local government cuts.
6.2 Clerk’s Report.
6.2.1 Cemetery. Documentation had now been received from Land Registry confirming the registration of the land at the cemetery.
6.2.2 Verge cutting. Following on from a query raised by a resident at the last PC meeting contact had been made with Shouldham PC regarding verge cutting in their parish. A reply had been received from them on 18 July which stated that they don’t actually cut any verges themselves, just the playing field, village green and a couple of footpaths. They do have residents who cut the bit in front of their house even if it should be highways and one local farmer keeps his verges neat. With regard to the main roads they are certainly not cut fortnightly more like 6 monthly. They had just been cut though so it did look good at the moment.
6.3 Handyman’s Report. The Handyman had finished painting the bridge at The Row; strimmed verges on Ryston Road and around the footpath at the junction of Church Road/Lime Kiln Road; cut vegetation back from a bridge on Ryston Road and wire brushed the railings. He had also reported that the hedge around No 1 Church Road was now in need of trimming by the resident to keep it back from the footpath; however it was noted that this had been done in the last few days.
CC requested that the Handyman be asked to regularly maintain the wooden planters on Church Road. The Clerk advised that she had spoken to him about this recently.
6.4 Police Report. PK advised that there had been no information from the police on any reported crimes in the parish since the last PC meeting; however she did wish to report that she had called the police on 101 a couple of weeks ago to report noise from a gunshot in the St Andrew’s Close area at approximately 10.30pm. PK commented that they did not seem very interested. BL advised that he believed 999 should have been called for an incident of this nature and that senior police should be informed that 101 did not seem to take this matter very seriously.
6.5 Village Hall Report. PK advised that the village hall continued to go from strength to strength. August was a slightly quieter month but September was very busy. The end of year accounts had now been finalised and the bar had made a good profit. It was also reported that a recent wedding party had been so happy with the hall that they had decided to donate their deposit to hall funds.
6.6 Broadband Report. CC reported on an update from Karen O’Kane (KOK) from Better Broadband for Norfolk (BBfN) which had advised that most of the work for the new cabinet on Church Road (Stoke Ferry 9) had now been completed and it was expected that the new cabinet would be live from the end of August or the start of September. Some properties in the village would be moved from the other cabinet to this new cabinet and there would be some disruption to service while this took place.
6.7 Glazewing Report. A letter had been sent to Glazewing (GW) advising that the whole village had suffered from the fly infestation during May and June and that this had not been limited to the GW site. It advised GW of the amount of money residents had been forced to spend on measures to kill these flies and noted that GW had not offered any kind of apology to residents for the situation. The letter commented on the surprise of the PC that there had been no mention in their July report of the Environment Agency (EA) telephone call to GW which was the result of several complaints from residents regarding the fly infestation. Following this phone call, although GW claimed to have been trying to address the problem for some time, they managed to take successful pest control measures which had an immediate effect on the fly problem throughout the village. The letter also referred to the increase in volume of material stored at the site due to significantly more material being taken in for the first six months of the year compared to the material leaving the site; it asked if this pattern was likely to continue. A reply had been received from Richard Stimson (RS), Compliance Manager, GW which stated the following:
“We acknowledge that we have been in dialogue with EA over fly infestation and they have been to inspect our pest control systems. Any issues we may have had have been captured by our control systems. We will continue to implement our control procedures.
Market conditions dictate stock level held of scrap, these now would appear to be stabilising after BREXIT and we are exporting scrap stock at a faster rate than incoming, therefore levels will reduce over the coming weeks.”
Information had been received from a resident on 31 July regarding a number of concerns about operations at GW including operating outside of their permitted hours for the waste transfer station; storage of more vehicles and trailers at the site than their license allowed; use of untaxed skip lorries on the highway near the site; health and safety concerns regarding stacking of skips in the yard; gate to the skip yard being left open; height of piles of waste and potential fire hazard; installation by GW of chippings on a restricted byway; and lack of installation of screening for skip yard that had been agreed in April 2011 at a meeting with Liz Truss MP, NCC Planning and the EA.
The Clerk read out a report produced by PB which gave details of the action that had been taken on the above issues:
• The excessive number of vehicles and trailers had been reported to the Traffic Commissioners Office.
• Operating outside of their permitted hours had been discussed with NCC planning and photographic evidence and further information would be passed to them by the Clerk along with an enquiry regarding if any operating hours have ever been set for the skip parking yard.
• Use of untaxed skip lorry had been reported to DVLA.
• Stacked skips, open gate in skip yard, height of piles of waste and potential fire hazard all reported to EA. Rachel Flanagan from EA had responded to say that she had spoken with RS and asked GW to implement a fire prevention plan in line with new regulations. EA had been told by GW that their gate was always shut at leave of business (7pm) but photographic evidence showed this not to be the case. EA had also been informed of the litter around the site and that GW had not mentioned the involvement of EA with the fly infestation in their report to the PC. EA had advised that the stacks of skips and height of piles of waste should be referred to NCC. Clerk to report this to NCC.
• Clerk to speak to Highways regarding installation of chippings on restricted byway.
CC spoke about the meeting that took place in 2011 when GW had agreed to install the screening but when they had been challenged about this at a later date they had denied agreeing to this.
BL advised that residents should be encouraged to report issues directly to the relevant authority as one report from the PC would not hold as much weight as lots of individual reports from residents. He suggested that the PC could provide details to residents of where to direct reports of their concerns.
CC advised of metal wiring that had been passed to her from a resident who had found it under their car shortly after they were passed by a vehicle travelling to GW.
RS had provided the monthly report for the PC meeting. The report stated:
“Flies & Odours: we continue with our pest control programme.
Litter Picking & Road Sweeper
We have a person litter picking once or twice a week. The road sweeper has been off the road, we are working on the repairs.”
CW noted that she had reported an incident of a GW vehicle nearly forcing her off the road to GW and asked for RS to call her back about this incident. It was not mentioned in their report and he had not called her back.
7.1 Accounts. Accounts for approval and the monthly financial management report were submitted by the Clerk. She advised that the income and expenditure for June 2016 had now been confirmed and estimated figures for July had been inserted based upon invoices received. The Clerk advised that although expenditure had been high over the last couple of months it was in line with budgets.
Payee Cheque No Net VAT Gross
Clerk’s salary, expenses for July – 47 hours 100880 586.19 586.19
Handyman’s contract, expenses plus 10 hours for July 100881 123.44 3.99 127.43
WD Village Hall – hire of hall for meetings Apr-June 100882 150.00 150.00
CGM Ltd – Grounds maintenance June-July 100883 537.69 107.53 645.22
R J Constable – cemetery pillars 100884 1860.00 372.00 2232.00
Lorraine Hunt – refund of cost of paint for telephone boxes 100885 24.66 4.93 29.59
WD Village Hall – annual village hall support 100886 1350.00 1350.00
Total 4631.98 488.45 5120.43
The payments were considered and approved. Cheques to be signed at the end of the meeting.
Decisions. 16/00261/F First floor extension at Springfield House, Lime Kiln Road. Permission had been granted.
9. Review of PC Policies and documents.
9.1 Standing Orders. CC spoke about a unanimous decision made by the PC to increase the quorum from 3 Councillors to 4 in 2012, after consultation with NALC on the legality of this amendment, as WDPC believed that decisions should not be made by less than 50% of the Councillors; subsequent to this the Standing Orders had been updated and the quorum was stated as 3 Councillors. NALC had been contacted again and had now advised that the quorum should be 3 and could not be amended to 4 as the PC could leave themselves open to a challenge of not making a timely decision if a meeting did not go ahead with 3 Councillors. CC advised that this had not happened in the period since 2012. In order to comply with the law and also include the belief of the PC it was agreed to insert the following sentence on page 7 under item 3u. “West Dereham Parish Council considers that all decisions should be made by more than 50% of its Councillors and therefore will endeavour at all times to have no less than 4 Councillors present at any meeting. Should this not be possible a meeting will go ahead, in accordance with the law, with only 3 Councillors.”
9.2 Financial Regulations. The draft document had been sent to all members prior to the meeting. It was briefly discussed and agreed that no amendments were needed to the document at this review.
9.3 Publication Scheme. The draft document had been amended to show the new email address for the Clerk and sent to all members prior to the meeting. It was briefly discussed and the amendments were agreed by all.
9.4 Allotment Fees. A discussion took place on the allotments including fees, deposits, empty plots and the cost to the PC of maintaining empty plots and clearing plots when tenancies had been ended due to the poor condition of the plot. It was agreed that a meeting should be arranged between the PC and allotment tenants on Saturday 3 September at 9.30am in the village hall to discuss the future of the allotment plots. Clerk to issue letter to all tenants inviting them to attend. A decision on fees and deposits to be postponed until the next PC meeting on 1 September.
10.1 A report had been received from the Allotment Liaison Officer regarding the condition of some plots. Allotments had already been discussed and any remaining issues to be dealt with at the September meetings.
10.2 Letter from an allotment tenant regarding reasons for lack of work on his plot and a request to reduce his plot size. Allotment plot sizes to be considered at the September meetings.
10.3 An email had been received from a member of the public informing the PC of anti-social behaviour on Station Road which had been reported to the police and the BC Community Safety & Neighbourhood Nuisance team.
11. Other Business – Any additional reports and items for inclusion on the next Agenda.
11.1 Allotment fees and deposits to be included in the next agenda.
11.3 BL offered his apologies in advance for the next PC meeting as he would be away.
The official meeting concluded at 9.25pm, and was opened to the floor for general comment.
• A parishioner reported that some of the pot holes on Church Road had still not been repaired.
• A parishioner reported an incident of boxes of bees that had been dumped on land belonging to the EA near the cut off channel on Station Road. He had reported this to the EA but they had not shown much concern.
• A parishioner advised that the dedication of the Standard for the West Dereham Branch of the Royal British Legion would be taking place on Sunday 11 September at the St Andrew’s Church and would be followed by an event at West Dereham Village Hall.
Closure. The Chairman thanked everyone for attending, and final closure of the meeting was at 9.30pm.
Next PC meeting is on Thursday 1 September 2016 at 7.30pm with Open Surgery from 7.00pm.
Clerk: Sarah Thorpe
Telephone: 01945 430930
Chairman’s signature …………………………………… Date ……………………………