Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 18th November 2014 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall
Chair: Andrew Alexander
Councillors: Paul Hodson, Rachel Giddens, Robin Hayden, Chris Howden, Lydia James
Clerk: Caroline Bradley
D Councillors: Dick Tuplin, Darren Tysoe
Members of the public: 0
Chair advised the Parish Council (PC) that the Clerk would be audio-recording the meeting for the benefit of the minutes.
452.14 Chair’s Welcome
453.14 Apologies and reasons for absence
454.14 Member’s declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
455.14 Public and press participation session with respect to items on the agenda
456.14 To confirm and accept minutes of 21st October 2014
The Parish Council (PC) discussed and agreed the following amendments:
Item 429.14, “…due to them having reached their 40yr lifespan”, wording was removed.
Item 432.14, second sentence should read, “They advised that there were no guidelines supplied by Cambridgeshire County Council and that the PC should follow advice from insurance companies regarding commissioning aboricultural surveys…”
At this point D Cllr Tysoe arrived.
Item 432.14, the second to last paragraph should have the following sentence added at the end, “…turned off at certain times and some roads not gritted where they have been in the past”. Item 435.14, second to last paragraph regarding extra cuts of the recreation ground, it was believed that this was not discussed at the meeting and so the wording was removed. Chair added that the agreement for extra cuts was in accordance with the CGM contract.
Item 443.14, the word “repaired” was removed and the word “replaced” was entered in its place.
All amendments were initialled by the Chair and the PC then, unanimously, agreed these to be a true record of events. The Chair signed each page.
457.14 Matters arising from minutes (information only)
458.14 Communication from District and County Cllrs
D Cllr Tuplin informed the PC of planning concerns over new developments at Sawtry that are in advance of the new Local Plan. He advised that he has, recently, objected to the new developments due to the drainage system (middle level) used by Sawtry ward being at full capacity, now, without the introduction of new developments. He offered to keep the PC informed of progress. He added that the planning team at HDC was now running at full strength with the reduction of one post. When he asked the PC if there was anything they would like to take back to the District Council (DC), it was requested by Cllr Alexander, that the planning team make uniformed decisions and not, “In my opinion…” decisions, regarding, for example, types of brick agreed to be used when tackling a new build project. He suggested being allowed to choose from an agreed selection would help speed up a building project process. Cllr Alexander thanked Cllr Tuplin for taking this request back to the planning team.
D Cllr Tysoe offered that he believed Council Tax will be frozen by the District Council for the next 3 years. He informed that recycling centres were expected to be effected by financial cuts, however, as yet there were no definitive options.
He added that ‘Connecting Broadband across Cambridgeshire’ had gathered pace and that he would inform the Clerk when Gidding broadband would be addressed. He added that he anticipated this to be actioned by the middle of next year.
Lastly, D Cllr Tysoe informed the PC that the staffing issues that had been affecting ‘One Leisure’ in Sawtry, had been addressed.
The Clerk read an email from C Cllr Bywater advising the PC regarding the ‘Boundary Commission Consultation’. He informed them that Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) currently had 69 C Cllrs and were proposing to cut this to 63 and to realign some of the ward boundaries.
459.14 Communication from Parish Cllrs
Cllr Giddens, responsible for Rights of Way, reported that she was still aware of problems regarding dog fouling on the bridleway off Luddington Road. Clerk to add this to the next edition of the Clarion. It was felt that there was no need for extra stickers to be placed. The Cllr added that the surface of track by the water dyke across from Luddington Road, the membrane had lifted in places. Simeon Carrol had been emailed and he suggested adding a drain/gulley or more surface dressing.
Trustee, Cllr Hayden, responsible for Farm Business Tenancy/Grazing Land, informed the PC that he had had communication from a resident who was concerned about the church steps and possible crumbling of the stone and, therefore, perceived them as dangerous. Cllr Hayden also raised an issue with the handrail on the right-hand side of the steps which was positioned poorly making it difficult to use both rails. Clerk was requested to inform Tony King of both issues and to report back.
Cllr James, responsible for Highways/Police/Public Transport, reported that Cambridgeshire Future Transport had increased their consultation process and she expected to hear of a decision regarding the buses in April.
Cllr Hodson, responsible for Finance, informed that he would speak under agenda item 463.14.
460.14 Communication from Village Hall and Recreation Ground Charity Committee (VHRGCC)
Clerk informed the PC that she had only just received the minutes and that she would circulate them, following the meeting. The Clerk added that she had just received an email from the Chair of the committee following an annual inspection of the playing field. The Parish Chair fed back from the committee meeting he had recently attended and informed that the committee felt they needed clarification over what was their responsibility. It was confirmed that;
funding is the responsibility of the committee,
assets on the recreation ground belonged to the PC, however, they should be looked after by the committee on behalf of the PC.
In general, it was agreed that the committee were responsible for minor repairs, costing up to £300. For repairs above £300, the committee was invited to approach the PC to discuss funding for each individual case.
461.14 Clerk’s Report
Clerk explained that following the last meeting she had been requested to enquire why the ash tree, opposite 19 Chapel End, had had an order to be felled by CCC. (The PC were originally informed that the tree had/was in dieback). Following the request for more information the Clerk was informed that the order to fell had now been cancelled and the Clerk would be informed of further information, when there was some. Clerk to keep the PC updated.
The Clerk asked if actions had been taken following her report of her village walk with Tony King. Chair responded in informing the PC that ex-Cllr Trolove was happy to continue to support the PC and that they both would be addressing the action points from the report.
The Clerk advised that she had tried to source a definitive list of policies, to be held by Parish Councils. She informed that there was no such list as it is up to the PC to decide what is appropriate for themselves. She suggested that she brought one, existing policy, to each meeting for review and to log and file appropriately.
Clerk requested whether there would be a Cllr attending the Local Joint Committee on the 24th November. PC confirmed that no-one was able to attend.
462.14 Adoption of October 2014 Financial Regulations, inc:-
A discussion regarding the introduction of a Chairman’s Allowance
The Clerk advised that, as per PC instruction, she had amended the model minutes to remove reference to petty cash, as it was not relevant to the PC, and had amended item 10 (h), to reflect the PC’s agreed thresholds at which quotations need or do not need to be sourced.
The PC then discussed and, unanimously, agreed to introduce a Chair’s Allowance and to include the following wording, 5.22:
“The Chair will have an allowance of up to £50.00, to be used at his/her discretion and without the need of the agreement of the council. The Chair, however, will still be required to show good judgement and consideration of value for money.”
The PC gave their, unanimous, agreement to adopt these Financial Regulations.
463.14 Finance inc:- bank reconciliation and payment of accounts
£298.57 – Salaries (Paid by BACS)
£83.99 – Viking Shedder purchase (reimburse Chair CHQ)
£576.00 – Ibbets Strimmer purchase (paid by CHQ on 6/11/14)
£19.31 – CGM Extra grass cutting of the Village Green (CHQ) + VAT (£23.17)
£66.43 – CGM Extra grass cutting of the Recreation Ground (CHQ) + VAT (£79.72)
£40.00 – to register the Village Hall Land Title Absolute (paid by CHQ on 6/11/14)
All payments were unanimously agreed by the PC and two Cllrs signed the cheques and the accompanying paperwork.
464.14 Budget 2014/15 and Precept request
The PC discussed, in detail, a three year forecast and allocated funds. It was, unanimously, decided to request a precept of £10,835.00, as per last year.
465.14 Correspondence received inc:-
Cambs Children’s Trust – Funding offer for youth groups. PC decided that this was not relevant to Gidding.
Electoral Review of Cambs – Info re public consultation for a boundary review.
PC decided not to proceed further with this.
Cambs Timebanking Conference – Invitation to attend meeting 24th November.
PC decided that they would not be sending a representative.
Royal British Legion – A letter of thanks for PC’s donation. PC noted.
467.14 Health and Safety matters, inc:-
Drainage soak away, Top Farm development, Main Street. Clerk advised that she had received an email from Aragon Homes, following her letter of the 2nd October, to advise that they anticipated the water covering the pavement to be remedied once they had completed their works, planned to be completed at the end of the year.
Dog fouling signage – Cllr Giddens. It was resolved to add a piece to the next Clarion, regarding this matter, as it was understood that the village already had plenty of signage advising the public of their obligation to clear up after their dogs. The Clerk was requested to add the wording, “Anyone seen allowing their dog to foul without cleaning up would be reported.”
Horse signage – Cllr James. A proposal to post signage warning highway users of horses on the road was discussed and it was resolved that the PC would not cover the cost of the signs. It was suggested that an article be placed in the next Clarion to offer to residents the choice to purchase these signs (cost £680.00 + VAT to include posts and erection. Clerk to action
Dogs being walked on the recreation ground – Cllr James. After a discussion, it was resolved to add an article to the next Clarion. The Clerk was requested to ask the school to include a piece in their newsletter to parents, requesting that dogs should not be walked on the recreation ground.
468.14 Village Hall notice board replacement
Chair advised that he needs to provide a cost of materials Chair to report back.
469.14 Discussion of Parish Council procedures, inc:-
Addressing people by name in agendas and minutes – PC discussed and, unanimously, agreed to use names for Cllrs only, not members of the public.
Recording of minutes – PC agreed for the Clerk to record the minutes in note form and with an audio-recording device. PC discussed and, unanimously, decided that the Clerk would circulate the draft minutes, amongst the Cllrs and would consider their feedback. She added that, as Clerk, she was not obliged to change her draft minutes.
Publishing of the minutes – PC discussed and agreed that draft minutes would be published on ‘The Giddings’ website (following the circulation and feedback from the Cllrs) and a notice would be placed on notice boards advising residents to either view them on the website, request an emailed version from the Clerk or to call into the Parish Office to view a hard copy. When the minutes were signed at the following meeting, these would replace the draft minutes on the website.
All procedures were, unanimously, agreed.
470.14 Risk Assessment update, inc:-
Jubilee Wood Pond. Clerk advised that she was unable to find a comprehensive risk assessment policy. She was requested to ask the previous Clerk for advice.
471.14 Office management inc:-
Revision of office filing systems – Clerk reported that she had been unable to achieve the 2hrs filing that she had been requested to do.
472.14 Staffing matters inc:-
ILCA training – Clerk suggested she take up the training, as soon as possible. Clerk to action.
Pension scheme – Cllr Hodson advised that he had some information that he would share with the Clerk and the Chair.
473.14 Items for the CLARION
Clerk advised that she had a working list of items for the Clarion and requested some guidance with compiling it. Cllr Hayden offered his help.
474.14 Items for discussion on next agenda
No new items. Continuing discussions of those already indicated.
475.14 Date of next meeting
20th January 2014 – It was, unanimously, agreed to cancel the December meeting due to the school production taking place in the Village Hall on the same date. Clerk to advise the public on the notice boards and on the website.
Meeting closed at 9.30pm