Minutes October 2020


Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 6th October 2020 via zoom.

Present: Cllr Audrey Bott, Cllr Linda Middleton, Cllr Geoff Trotter, Cllr Ian Salmon, Cllr Barbara Nurse, Cllr Diane Russell, Cllr Harold Holder, Cllr Michael Denny, Cllr Sebastian Bowen, Parish Clerk Ms Emma Lewis .

2 members of the public were present, 1 for item 7 only.

1. Apologies for absence: Apologies were received and accepted from Cllr Daniels, Cllr Grant and PCSO Harper.
2. Declarations of interest: Cllr Russell made a declaration of interest in item 11 and the Clerk made a declaration of pecuniary interest in item 12. It was agreed that both would leave the meeting for discussion of the relevant items.
3. Public Participation
3.1 Report from Ward Councillor: Cllr Bowen has met with the BBLP locality steward in Lucton to look at issues with the ford, and the drainage team will be visiting the parish soon. Herefordshire Council has been discussing the proposal for changes to the national planning system and will be responding to the consultation.
3.2 Report from West Mercia Police: A suspicious vehicle was seen in the village which reportedly left a marking on a wall, possibly due to the fact there was a dog in a nearby garden to steal. Police attended and have patrolled the area since but no further incidents have been reported.
3.3 Views of local residents on Parish matters: The member of the public indicated that they had information on charities that might offer financial support for the community field plans, when they have been developed. This information will be forwarded to the Clerk.
4. Minutes of Parish Council meeting held on 1st September 2020: The minutes were agreed and will be signed as a correct record after the meeting.
5. Finance:
5.1 Financial statement to date: The financial statement was agreed. The current account has a balance of £37,451.67 and the high Interest account has a balance of £15,087.67.
5.2 Cheques: Cheques will be signed after the meeting as follows – Clerk wages £567.31, HMRC £2.40, Battlefield land surveys £540.00, Clerk (petrol) £49.05, Footpath Officer £6.48.
5.3 Bank reconciliation: The bank reconciliation was agreed and will be signed after the meeting.
6. Planning
6.1 20300 – 2 New Cottages Bircher – proposed two storey extension: It was agreed that the Parish council had no objections to the plans.
6.2 200626 – Rosebank Cottage Lucton: The Parish Council agreed that they wished to object to the plans. Policy YG6 of the adopted Neighbourhood plan states that development within the settlement boundary in Lucton is expected to compromise principally “extensions to existing properties and conversion of non-domestic buildings to dwellings.” The plans fit neither of these categories, nor do they contribute to the provision of the defined need for small 2 bedroom properties and small housing for elderly people. POlicy YG6e) of the NDp directly refers to the need for “safe access for vehicles” and the Parish COuncil is concerned that the access to the property is from a road that is prone to flooding, and the allocated parking for 2 cars will be insufficient for a 3 bedroom house, with safe parking in Lucton already being a huge issue for residents. Policy YG6d) states that all development shall “protect and enhance heritage assets within the village in particular….its Listed Buildings and their settings” and considers the proposals, in the ground of the Grade II listed Rosebank Cottage to be in direct contradiction of this policy. Given the wildlife and natural habitat provided by the current site in an ecologically sensitive area, the plans are in direct contradiction of both NDP policies YG1c), which states that ” a high priority will be given to preserving and enhancing the natural, built and historic environment within the Group Parish” and Policy YG6c) which states that developments shall “not result in the loss of important features such as trees and hedgerows that contribute to the unique character of the village.” The Parish Council is also concerned that given the currently ‘failing’ conservation status of the Lugg Special Area of Conservation catchment, there is not sufficient information provided to show certainty that the drainage for the proposed dwelling will not have a detrimental impact on the Lugg SAC.
6.3 Update on current planning applications/matters: The Clerk has written to the MP outlining the Parish councils concerns about the white paper on planning.
7. Welsh Water: There was foul water discharge again from the Yarpole sewer over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th October. The Clerk has been in contact with Welsh Water and the Environment agency over the issue. Welsh Water have completed the minor works to the chamber and manhole lids and the presentation on soakaways, which Welsh Water were going to undertake, has been postponed indefinitely due to COVID 19. Following freedom of Information requests to Welsh Water by a resident, it has been confirmed that 38 properties in Yarpole are in receipt of a surface water rebate – which means there are about 90 properties that are legally discharging surface water into the sewerage system and paying Welsh Water for this service. The resident will be putting an article in the next edition of the Parishioner asking residents to write to Steve Wilson, the Managing Director for Waste Water Services, to ask for Welsh Water to take urgent action to ensure that the situation is resolved. It was agreed that the Clerk would write on behalf of the Parish Council to Welsh Water, the Environment Agency, the MP and Herefordshire Council Environmental Health to raise the issue.
8. Updates and action
8.1 Lucton & Bircher Matters: Balfour Beatty have visited Lucton to look at the condition of the road.
8.2 Parish Hall: The local searches on the additional land at the hall are underway as part of the transfer to the parish council. A donation box for those parking at the hall has been installed.
8.3 Footpaths and Lengthsman : The lengthsman has been asked to clean the road signs. A number of residents have volunteered to join the footpaths team. The storage of footpath equipment, so that is it accessible to all the volunteers, needs to be arranged and it was suggested that the Parish Council approach the Bell Inn, as they have some concrete sheds in the pub garden that might be suitable as an equipment store.
8.4 Leominster Household Waste and Recycling Centre appointment system: Concern has been raised that the new system of requiring residents to make an appointment to take waste to the centre could lead to an increase in fly tipping. It was noted that whilst appointments are currently readily available, needing a computer or smart phone to make an appointment excluded some residents. Cllr Bowen agreed to raise the issues with Herefordshire Council.
8.5 Replacement of Road signs in Bircher: The Clerk will raise the request for new road signs with the Balfour Beatty locality steward.
9. Items for the next agenda: Talk Community hub.
10. Date of Next meetings: Tuesday 3rd November, Tuesday 1st December

A resolution was passed to exclude members of the press and public from the following item (Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960) as publicity would prejudice the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted.

Cllr Russell left the meeting
11. Complaint: The Council considered a letter of complaint from a resident and agreed their response.
The Clerk left the meeting
12. Clerks Pay Award: It was agreed to implement the 2020/21 national pay award for the Clerk effective from November 2020. It was also agreed that a spinal point increase for the Clerk would be discussed in March 2021.