YARPOLE GROUP PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the meeting held on 3rd December 2019 in Yarpole Parish Hall.
Present: Cllr Audrey Bott, Cllr Duncan Grant, Cllr Linda Middleton, Cllr Michael Denny, Cllr Geoff Trotter, Cllr Ian Salmon, Cllr Harold Holder, Cllr Sebastian Bowen, PCSO Steph Harper (items 1 – 3.2 only) Parish Clerk Ms E Lewis.
2 members of the public were present for items 1- 3.3 only.
1. Apologies for absence: Apologies were received from Cllr Nurse, Cllr Daniels and Cllr Russell.
2. Declarations of interest and written requests for dispensation: The Clerk made a declaration of pecuniary interest in relation to item 11 and it was agreed that she would leave the room during the discussion.
3. Public Participation
3.1 Report from Ward Councillor: The West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner has funding available towards road safety and Cllr Bowen raised the possibility of the Parish council looking to apply for funding from the PCC towards a Vehicle Activated sign at the Cockgate junction on the B4362. It was agreed that the Clerk would look into the matter.
3.2 Report from West Mercia Police: There have been a spate of phone scams targeting elderly and vulnerable residents; the scammers pretend to be from the police and convince the target to transfer money to them, so far over £85,000 has been stolen across Herefordshire. There have also been a number of shed thefts in the area.
3.3 Views of local residents on Parish matters: The members of the public wished to raise ways in which tree planting can be encouraged in the parish, and whether a call for land for tree planting could be issued. They also raised whether a tree could be planted by the noticeboard and bench to replace the whitebeam that was removed, and it was noted that Herefordshire Council would need to give permission for this. It was agreed that tree planting would be added to the agenda for the February meeting.
4. Minutes of Parish Council meeting held on 5th November 2019: The minutes of the meeting were agreed and signed as a correct record.
5.1 Financial statement to date: The financial statement was agreed. The current account has a balance of £28,477.10 and the High Interest account has a balance of £15,069.87.
5.2 Cheques: Cheques were signed as follows – Clerk (wages) £542.74, HMRC £12.60, HiTrees (PROW) £1008.00, Village Hall £24.00 and Robert Evered (PROW) £27.03.
5.3 2020/21 budget and precept: The draft budget and updated reserves plan, which had been discussed at the finance working party meeting, were agreed. The precept for 2020/21 was set at £24,000.
5.4 Village Hall request for funding: The Village Hall boiler has broken beyond repair and the Parish Council had been asked to consider funding a replacement boiler or making a contribution towards this. Three quotes for a new boiler had been received and the Parish Council raised some queries for the village hall committee, particularly whether they have considered other alternatives to an oil fired boiler (i.e. is this the best long term option), have they checked if there are other sources of funding available for the boiler and, should the Parish Council agree to purchase the boiler for the hall, whether any guarantee be transferred to the Village Hall. It was agreed that should the hall committee want to address all these points and come back to the Parish Council for funding, an extraordinary meeting could be arranged to consider this.
6.1 193889 Home Farm Bircher – works to trees in conservation area: The Parish Council agreed they had no objection to the works, but requested that for the two trees removed, two native trees be planted elsewhere on the site.
6.2 193884 Land at Beechcroft, Leys Lane – amendment to dwelling and garage design: It was agreed that the Parish Council had no comment on the application.
6.3 193900 Land at Brook House Farm – variation of conditions 9,11 and 12 of planning permission: The Parish Council agreed they wished to object to the application to vary the three planning conditions, and asked that the requirements for the developers to submit a habitat and biodiversity enhancement scheme, and schemes for provision of surface water drainage and surface water attenuation prior to any work commencing be retained.
6.4 194047 Brookfield Farm, Luston – external alterations to poultry units: It was agreed that the Parish Council had no comment to make on the application.
6.5 Gigaclear: It was noted that the one of the boxes being placed on the green at the corner of Croft Crescent and Green Lane has had to move out from the hedge position agreed with the Chair as the survey revealed underground utility pipes and cables which meant the cabinet had to be placed more centrally in the area.
6.6 Neighbourhood Development Plan: The Clerk and Cllr Grant had attended the NDP briefing organised by Herefordshire Council in November. NDPs stop holding full weight in planning decisions two years after they have been adopted and the options for reviewing an NDP were outlined at the briefing. (The Yarpole Group NDP was adopted in June 2018.) There are 3 levels of review, each with different levels of external scrutiny dependant on how many changes are being made. Herefordshire Council Core Strategy is also currently due for review; once this review has been completed NDPs will likely need to be updated to reflect the policies in the Core Strategy, however no timescale could be given for when this piece of work would be completed. A questionnaire on the NDP had been sent to all parishes, and it was agreed that the Clerk would complete this in the New Year.
6.7 Update on current planning applications/matters: It was noted that the hedgerow has now been replanted at the front of Meadowcroft on Green Lane as per the planning conditions for the property.
7. Volunteer celebration evening: The idea for holding a volunteer celebration evening to thank all those who volunteer in the parish had been raised and it was agreed that Cllr Denny would work on a proposal for discussion at the February 2020 meeting.
8. Updates and action
8.1 Lucton & Bircher Matters: Cllr Bowen and the Balfour Beatty team have been looking at the ford in Lucton to develop plans to put a new pipe in to prevent flooding in the area, the condition of the road in the area is also being looked into.
8.2 Parish Hall: No additional matters to report.
8.3 PROW and Lengthsman: The lengthsman will be asked to clear the path from the pub to Green Lane Crescent.
8.4 Ancient Pound: The Clerk has been in contact with Julian Cotton, the Archaeological Advisor for Herefordshire Council, who will make contact with Gigaclear concerning any work by the ancient pound. It was agreed that the Clerk would ask about the possibility of installing some form of plaque to mark the site of the ancient pound.
9. Items for next agenda: Tree planting in the parish, volunteer evening, community field consultation results.
10. Date of Next meetings: The meeting schedule for 2020 was agreed. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 4th February 2020 at 7.45pm.
A resolution was passed to exclude the public from the following item, and the Clerk and Cllr Bowen left the room.
11. Clerks Salary: It was agreed that the NALC pay award for 19/20 be implemented at the Clerk’s current scale point effective from December 2019. This takes the Clerk’s annual pay to £6836.49 p/annum (£25,295 FTE) or £569.71 per month. (This equates to scale point 20 on the new scales, as detailed in the NALC salary scales.)