DRAFT MINUTES OF THE WEST DEREHAM PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
HELD AT WEST DEREHAM VILLAGE HALL AT 7.30 pm
ON THURSDAY 7 DECEMBER 2017
PRESENT (Seven Councillors):- Pam Bullas (PB), Claire Cann (CC) – Chairman, Tom Foy (TF), Lorraine Hunt (LH),
Paula Kellingray (PK), Pam Walker (PW) and Claire Williams (CW).
In attendance: Norfolk County Council and Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Councillors (2) Councillor Brian Long (BL), Councillor Sandra Squire (SS).
Peter King, Parish Clerk, and two members of the public.
The Chairman welcomed everyone present to the Parish Council Meeting.
1. Apologies for absence
2. Declaration of Interest on agenda items
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?” There was no response from the members of the public present. 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 2 November 2017
CC confirmed all Councillors had seen the minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 2 November 2017.
The councillors agreed that they were content and that the minutes should be signed as a true record. CC signed the minutes.
Councillor Sandra Squire joined the meeting.
5. Matters Arising from the Minutes
5.1 (Highways) PB commented that village footpath sign was still leaning against a gate column at the entrance to her house. The Parish Clerk is to contact Norfolk County Council Highways Department (NCC-HD) to remind them that the sign needs to be re-installed along Station Road.
6.1 Chairman’s Report –
CC Reported that she had received messages from a couple of parishioners regarding an item from St Andrew’s Church that had appeared in the Village Pump magazine. CC noted that the item stated that the Churchwarden wanted to express his thanks to Country Grounds Maintenance (CGM) who had kept the grass under control free of charge this year at St Andrew’s West Dereham. It was noted the item added that they (CGM) stepped in when the Parish Council could no longer afford their generous grant to the Church in the form of grass cutting. CC commented that the Parish Council would have been able to include the cost of cutting the St Andrew’s Churchyard if CGM had not have pulled out of the grounds maintenance contract that included the cutting of the Churchyard grass.
6.2 Parish Clerk’s Report –
1. Banking – The Parish Clerk reported that after yet further chasing of Barclays Bank, he had been given telephone assurance that he would be granted access authority of the Parish Council bank accounts within the next two weeks. The Parish Clerk noted that to obtain the required level of access to carry out transactions and payments on-line, it would be necessary for one of the current Councillor signatories to contact the bank directly to seek authorisation.
2. Job Centres – The Parish Clerk reported that he had been approached by somebody on behalf of “Jobcentre Near Me” requesting that a link is provided from the Parish Council website to an on-line Jobcentre webpage. The Councillors requested that the Parish Clerk forward the on-line link to them for review.
3. Auditors – The Parish Clerk reported that he had received a notification from the Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments advising that a new external auditor had been appointed for the next 5 years. He noted that the new auditor was PKF Littlejohn LLP based in Canary Wharf, London and their annual charge for their services would be £200.00 per annum.
4. Two-Way Mirror (Junction of Lime Kiln Road and Ryston Road) – The Parish Clerk reported that NCC-HD would not be prepared to install a two-way mirror. The Parish Clerk commented that he had carried out some research into the mirror type and noted that the costs were variable. The Parish Clerk added he had identified that the purchase costs start at around £160.00 plus any charges for contractors to install the mirror. BL noted that NCC Councillors had some monies to match fund road safety signs, but would require the agreement of NCC-HD. LH questioned whether to introduce “SLOW” signs on the approach road surfaces would be more appropriate and recalled that in the past, the traffic priority had been different at the junction. LH questioned whether other traffic calming measures might be taken. TF whilst favouring the mirror option questioned whether a 30 mile speed limit sign might be more appropriate.
5. Norfolk Association of Local Councils (NALC) Membership Fees 2018/19 – The Parish Clerk reported that he had been informed that membership fees would be increased by 1.93% and that there was an additional charge of £30 for WordPress. The Parish Councillors asked the Parish Clerk to clarify the terms of increases.
6. Income Tax – Change of Payment Options – The Parish Clerk reported that he had spoken with a local Post Office Manager and determined that PAYE/NIC payments should be paid either by posting or on-line banking.
6.3 Handyman’s Report –
The Parish Clerk provided Roy Poole, the Handyman’s Report of work carried out during November 2017, noting the following actions:-
1. Grass Strimming – Strimmed areas around all the ten bridges, the safety signs in Basil Road, both phone boxes and post boxes on two occasions and the corner of Lime Kiln Road/Bath Road.
2. Overhanging brambles – These had been cut back along the footpath leading from the corner of Lime Kiln Road/Bath Road. CC noted that the overhanging brambles is the responsibility of the householder. BL and TF commented that the Parish Clerk should forward an invoice to the householder for the time spent by the Handyman in cutting back the brambles overhanging the footpath.
3. Litter – Spent sometime removing and collecting up litter from around the village.
4. Speeding Monitor – Moved the monitor once during November, from Station Road to Hilgay Road and made an additional visit to change the re-chargeable battery.
5. Phone boxes – Cleaned out both phone boxes.
Handyman Additional Payment – CC requested that the Parish Clerk include the item on the January Discussion Group Meeting Agenda and the February 2018 Parish Council Meeting Agenda.
6.4 Police Report –
PK stated that she had been made aware of 12 property and vehicle break-ins since the last Parish Council meeting was held. PK noted that this included one house and one farm break-in, involving the theft of a truck and the theft of a pony’s trap, in West Dereham. PK reported that one male person was in local custody in connection with several recent break-in related offences and was now awaiting trial. CW noted that there were on going reports on a local social media site of a white van touring and the driver seen to be apparently slowing outside several properties and looking into gardens. CC requested that a further note is put into the next Parish Notice, warning parishioners to continue to be vigilant. LH noted that the Safety Neighbourhood webpages were not being updated quickly enough and so members of the local community were not aware of the latest situation.
6.5 Village Hall Report –
PK reported that the West Dereham Village Hall (WDVH) has purchased a new commercial refrigerator for 50% of the showroom price. PK noted that the WDVH Secretary had written to British Sugar at Wissington and requested a donation towards the refrigerator purchase and had received a community funding grant of £250.00.
PK reported the WDVH had been very busy and listed recent events and bookings, that is; 2 bowls club nights, 2 roast lunches of which one was a Christmas lunch, a ‘banger & mash’ supper night, a games night, a live entertainment night, a hog roast, a St Andrew’s night supper and a quiz night. PK noted that hall hires included; a U3A ‘Patchwork & Quilting’ group, a U3A Sewing group, the British Legion for Remembrance Day, the West Dereham Heritage Group (WDHG), a 30th wedding anniversary party, a St Andrew’s Church Bingo fundraising evening, 5 weekly Yoga sessions, a Lovell’s Dole meeting and 5 weekly Wednesday morning Café Cre8 sessions. PK commented that the following events were planned leading up to the end of 2017; a carpet bowls night, a Christmas Coffee morning, Carol Singers evening, a Games night, a Christmas Draw and a New Year’s Eve Party. PK noted future planned WDVH hires include a Cre8 Children’s event, Wednesday morning Café Cre8 sessions, an 80th birthday party, a WDHG Christmas social and a Christmas works’ dinner for 41 staff. PK concluded that the WDVH bar opening times and details of events were also available in the West Dereham Village Magazine.
6.6 Broadband Report –
PW reported that she had not received any new recent contacts from Parishioners. The Parish Clerk reported that the broadband download speed of a Parishioner living in Basil Road was very low (0.13). BL suggested that a speed of 0.13 was more likely to suggest a fault. The Parish Clerk was asked to enquire if the Parishioner had experienced any recent improvement.
6.7 Glazewing Report –
PB reported receipt of an e-mail regarding the application for a Certificate of Lawful Use submitted by Glazewing. The Parish Councillors noting this, agreed that the Parish Council will respond and write a letter to the Planning Department at NCC and provide them with the dates when the fly and odour problems started in 2016 and 2017 and stating that they need to look very closely at the evidence either side of that period. CC commented that she would not think that it would be a problem to find parishioners who would be prepared to swear an affidavit to confirm that they were affected by the infestation of flies. The Parish Councillors asked the Parish Clerk to review the Parish Council minutes of 2016 and 2017 and messages received during the affected time periods in preparation of the letter to be sent to NCC.
Councillor Tom Foy left the meeting.
6.8 British Sugar Report –
Riverside Nursery – CC reported that she with CW, PW and the Parish Clerk had had a good visit and tour of the Riverside Nursery, being shown around by the site manager, Joshua Hoopes (JH). The Councillors were pleased to report that JH was very open about the running of the site, the growing of the cannabis plants, details and timescales of the harvests. CC noted that the councillors present did comment that there were variable factors to consider such as, the time of year, the air temperature, wind direction and whether Parishioners were likely to have their windows open or not at the time of the harvests. CC commented that JH stated that if at any time Parishioners were to become aware of unpleasant or obnoxious odours again, to contact him at the Riverside Nursery and he would come to the village. PW expressed concern at the drop of employment at the site, although JH had commented that this has affected seasonal workers coming from abroad, many who had chosen not to return to the site. CW commented that JH had noted that the numbers of large vehicles travelling onto and off the nursery site had significantly reduced since it had transferred its commercial interest from growing tomatoes to cannabis plants. PW noted that the Councillors had requested that they could visit the nursery again when a harvest was taking place. CC concluded that she was pleased that there was an open conversation with nursery management.
7.1 Accounts for November and December Advance payments.
7.1.1 Cash Book and Cash Flow November 2017 – The Parish Clerk displayed the Cash Book on the overhead projector, followed by the Cash Flow noting that he had received a cheque payment from Wayleaves (Eastern Power Networks Ltd.) for £200.59. The Parish Clerk noted that the usual monthly outgoings were higher than usual due to the payment to Bonnetts and the advanced December payments to R.Poole and the Parish Clerk’s December salary. PK questioned when the payments were expected for the allotment fees. The Parish Clerk responded that he needed to identify the allotment holders details and would then issue invoices.
7.1.2 Cheque Payments for Approval for November 2017 – The Parish Clerk displayed the itemised pending payments on the overhead projector.
Payee Cheque No Net VAT Gross Remarks
Holly Landscapes 100996 £487.50 £97.50 £585.00 Ground Maintenance – October 17
Thomas B Bonnett 100997 £1,525.00 £305.00 £1,830.00 2nd/Final Goalpost payment
R. Poole 100998 £76.29 £0.00 £76.29 Handyman’s Payment and Travel – Nov 17
R. Poole 100999 £91.20 £0.00 £91.20 Handyman’s Payment and Travel – Dec 17
P.King (Parish Clerk) 101000 £688.06 £0.00 £688.06 Staff Salary and expenses – Nov 17
P. King (Parish Clerk) 101001 £510.24 £0.00 £510.24 Staff Salary (Advanced) – Dec 17
Total £3,378.29 £402.50 £3,780.79
CC asked the Councillors present if they were content with the payments. All Councillors noted they were content. CC concluded that the cheques and control processes would be signed off at the end of the meeting.
7.2 Precept 2018/19 – Decision
Members of the public were advised that after considering the Precept for 2018/19 during a period of the past four months, the Parish Councillors would decide and set the Precept at this meeting. It was noted the Precept for 2017/18 was £16,532.92. The Parish Clerk displayed a Budget (Income and Expenditure) on the overhead projector to the meeting and noted that copies were circulated to the Councillors.
The Parish Clerk noted the Budget and actual Income and Expenditure for the financial year to 31st March 2017 (2016/17), the Budget, actual Income and Expenditure until 30th November 2017 and projected Income and Expenditure until 31st March 2018 (2017/18). The Parish Clerk commented that his prediction for the current year 2017/18 was that there would be a small surplus of £700.31, but that caution should be applied in case of any unplanned expenses. The Parish Clerk commented on the proposed 2017/18 budget noting that the Parish Council had recently entered a new 3 year Farm Business Tenancy and that its income would rise to £3,000.00 per annum. The Parish Clerk stated that donations and grants had been considerably higher than expected during 2017/18, but that they would be uncertain in 2018/19 and were currently set at £0.00. The Parish Clerk commented that monies accrued from allotment rents, cemetery fees and allotment deposits were also uncertain and relatively small sources of income. The Parish Clerk noted that the expenditure for the Parish Clerk’s salary line would show an overspend as a result of the need to employ a locum clerk for several months from the beginning of the 2017/18 year overlapping with the employment of the current Clerk. LH commented that because the Parish Council wants to retain its Quality Council Award status, the Parish Councillors have agreed that they want to increase the Parish Clerk’s hours for a fixed period to allow the Parish Clerk to study for the Cilca training qualification and that the staff salary would also need to reflect a national pay award and annual increment, to be agreed during the year ahead. The Parish Clerk noted that the Clerk’s expenses would be reduced and that most budget lines for services received were expected to either remain at the same level or assume small increases of around 5%. The Parish Clerk reported that the Parish Council had agreed to enter into a 3 year agreement with Holly Landscapes who had offered to maintain the current financial arrangement, this being a decrease of expenditure to the annual budget. The Parish Clerk was asked to clarify with Pear Technology what the terms of the current agreement covers. The Parish Clerk noted that the Admin and Professional budget line had been decreased by 50% and there were also decreases of variable amounts to Insurance, Open Spaces, Village Signs, Village Green, Parish Improvements and Contingency. LH commented that for 2018/19, to try and keep expenditure as low as possible and therefore some projects such as Open Spaces has had a budget reduction of 50%, however this will be monitored and may be increased should any grant or donation monies become available in the duration of the year. LH noted that the Parish Council is committed to maintaining the Cemetery and setting up a Green Burial area and the budget is to be increased by £600 to enable set up costs of providing some trees. LH added that the Training budget should be increased by £100 to cover the costs of any additional Cilca workshops. LH commented that were reserve amounts for Village projects; Village Signs, Village Green, Elections, Parish Improvements and Open Spaces and further amounts dependent on the end of 2017/18 year balances. CC asked the meeting if there were any comments or further budget proposals and the Parish Clerk whether any villagers had contacted him with requests or comments regarding the budget. The Parish Clerk responded that he had not received any calls or messages. BL noted that the Parish Council was entitled to an extra payment of £140 from Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk (BCKLWN). CC and LH proposed that the Village Hall Support be increased by 3.5% to £1450.00.
CC proposed that the Precept be increased by 2.8% in line with the latest Government’s Rate of inflation figures, increasing the precept to £16,955.84. The Councillors discussed the feasibility of increasing the Precept to 3%. A majority of Councillors agreed to set the 2018/19 Precept at 2.8%.
8. Green Burial – Update
CC noted that she was unable to identify any suitable benches and suggested any initial expenditure is invested in the purchase of suitable trees. PB commented that any purchased trees should be planted during February 2018.
9. Parish Council Internal Affairs and Policies
9.1.1 Cemetery Risk Assessment
CC questioned whether the Village Handyman held a weedkiller application certificate? The Parish Clerk was asked to confirm the position and that of other policies and procedure documentation held by the Village Handyman.
CC asked the Councillors present if they were content with the Assessment. All Councillors noted they were content. CC noted that the Assessment had been reviewed.
9.1.2 Community Engagement Strategy
CC questioned whether the village still maintained a Neighbourhood Watch? The Councillors discussed the position and it was agreed to retain the item. CC noted a number of typographical errors for the Parish Clerk to update.
CC asked the Councillors present if they were content with the amendments to the strategy. All Councillors noted they were content. CC noted that the strategy had been revised.
The Parish Clerk noted that he had received information from LH of an initiative from the National Trading Standards Scam Team and circulated a brief paper outlining details of telephone call blocking technology available to deal with unwanted phone calls, noting its value in particular for those living with dementia. CC commented that the details should be added to the Parish Council website, the Noticeboards and a separate page in the village magazine, with attention drawn to it in the next Parish Notice. LH mentioned that the Scams Team might be prepared to carry out a short talk for Parishioners at a future Parish Council meeting. LH to follow up the talk with the Scams Team.
11. To receive further reports/items of business for the next Agenda
CW commented that it had been suggested to her that the door to the Phone box in Station Road, be removed because the viewing of it is blocked by a small tree and that the door then be relocated to the Church Road box, that would also improve the view. PW wondered about the state of the Church road box. CC asked the Parish Clerk to ask Handyman to assess the work.
PW noted that a strip of land leading from Ryston Road to the side of the Recreation ground is overgrown with brambles affecting the access of the adjoining homeowner. CC requested that the Parish Clerk make initial enquiries of NCC-HD for the removal of the brambles.
PB asked the Parish Clerk to circulate the dates of 4 Saturdays to arrange the next Councillor’s Allotment inspection in the new year.
All other correspondence was covered by the Agenda.
12. Date of Next Meeting – Thursday 1st February 2018 at 7.30pm
CC confirmed the date of the meeting.
13. Open Forum
A Parishioner questioned about the dog waste bin emptying service as to where it appeared in the budget? The Parish Clerk is to clarify the position with the Parishioner.
Closure : The Chairman thanked everyone for attending, and final closure of the meeting was at 9.22 pm.
There were no further items raised by members of the Public present.
Next meeting is the Parish Council Meeting on Thursday 1st February 2018 at 7.30pm with Open Surgery from 7.00pm.
Clerk: Peter King – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 01366 502110
Chairman’s signature …………………………………… Date ………………………