Myrtle Cottage, Wellow, BA2 8QS
Tel: 01225 830159
Minutes of a meeting of the Parish Council held on Monday, April 8th 2013 at 8pm in the Village Hall.
Present: Cllrs Andrews, Betts, Clarkson, Doman, Karthauser, Prentice, Wheeler and White along with eight members of the public.
13.046 To accept apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Cllr Caudle and Dist Cllr Butters.
13.047 Declarations of interest in any matters on the agenda or in March minutes
There were no declarations of interest.
13.048 To confirm Minutes of meeting held on March 11th2013.
The Minutes were approved unanimously.
13.049 To report matters arising from the Minutes and not on the agenda.
1958 deed relating to the playing field
The Chairman said that a barrister has been instructed to give a decision on the validity of this deed.
Neighbourhood Plan Questionnaire
The Chairman said that 132 questionnaires had now been completed and that he would distribute anonymised answers to Councillors. HP
Access up the village hall drive to the new build at West End Cottages
The Chair reported that Cllr Caudle has made arrangements with FDC Law to issue an easement instead of a lease to grant access to the owners of the new build. PC
Repairs to the wall at the bottom of the village hall drive
The Council wants to remove the tree stump at the bottom of the village hall drive, to widen the entrance to the drive. Cllr White has sought advice from Jane Brewer, and said that Jane Brewer would not be available until towards the end of this month but that she would be in touch with her again regarding the removal of the tree root. JW
The Chairman reported that he had been in contact with Paul Richards, Superintendent Avon & Somerset Police. Mr Richards has said that the police would not support a Community Speed Watch or enforcement unless engineering works have been put in place, when they might consider supporting CSW. The Chair has written back requesting that the police do support the CSW, because Wellow does have “engineering works”.
Cllr Doman said that he would be contacting B&NES regarding the flooding to the east of Ford Farm. PD
Children’s play area
Following the quarterly report from B&NES, repairs in the play area are on-going.
Shop next to the Fox and Badger
Cllr White said that she had been in touch with Peter Groves, the landlord’s agent, regarding the shop and that he had promised to be in touch with her in May. Cllr White has agreed to make sure this happens. JW
Cllr White said that it seems a good idea to try and establish a book exchange rather than a library at first which follows the model adopted by Combe Hay. She is trying to get in touch with Curo about the possible use of the residents’ lounge at Manor Close.
Survey of trees on the playing field and car park
Cllr White also reported that Scott would be carrying out a tree survey shortly but that she would remind him if necessary. JW
13.050 Road safety on Bulls Hill
Cllr White said that she had been in touch with Stefan Chiffers at B&NES and that he would be visiting the site with a view to implementing new innovations later this week.
From the floor Andy Smith reported that a lorry had hit Grierson Gower’s wall which had resulted in the power being cut. A similar collision had also taken place at Brook Lodge. Other Bull’s Hill residents expressed their concerns over road, and especially pedestrian, safety on Bull’s Hill.
Mr Gower was of the view that double yellow lines would not be appropriate as parked cars did, in fact, contribute to traffic calming on Bulls Hill.
It was suggested that an electronic system warning drivers of their speed might be effective.
A list of maintenance repairs to Bulls Hill e.g. road signs will sent to Nick Sperring, Highways Inspector. JW
Cllr White agreed to keep everyone up to date and Cllr Karthauser asked whether we could obtain any video evidence. JW
Site Location: Manor Barn Farm Lane Wellow
Description of Proposal: Internal and external alterations for the conversion of stone outbuilding into additional living space and artist's studio.
Site Location: Manor Barn Farm Lane Wellow Description of Proposal: Conversion of stone outbuilding into additional living space and artist's studio.
Cllr Clarkson said that she had no objections to the proposal but that we would need to make sure that we incorporated Roy Williams’ letter regarding the position of the solid fuel burner’s flue. She agreed to respond accordingly. DC
Site Location: Parcel 6722 Dunkerton Hill Dunkerton Bath
Description of Proposal: Erection of a building for storage and netting of harvested Christmas trees and machinery and animal feed
Cllr Clarkson referred to the report from Dunkerton Parish Council. This application is not agricultural in nature and there is a worry that the proposal would lead to an increase in traffic. We should turn it down. Wellow Parish Council will need to stress their objections as our view would have a greater influence than that from Dunkerton Parish Council as the proposal is within Wellow’s parish boundary. DC
Application Number: 13/00653/TCA
Site location: Canteen Cottage, Wellow
Description of Proposal: Fell 1x Apple tree No objection
The Parish Council noted the decision.
Other planning matters
Richard Holland, from the floor, reported that he has been corresponding with B&NES over the lack of a policy on non-material amendments. B&NES are now saying that they will be creating a policy.
Cllr Clarkson said that we are still awaiting a decision from B&NES regarding the apparently unauthorised development in a field opposite the Prince of Wales public house on the A367 at the top of Dunkerton Hill. She said that we are also awaiting a decision regarding the new window at Chapel House but that an enforcement officer had been round and was awaiting a planning application.
The application regarding Bubblers Dytche was expected to go to Committee in April, but has been withdrawn – it is now expected to go to Committee in May.
Cllr Clarkson reported on the
application to provide a new vehicular access into the field at Hillscroft. The
field is in the Green belt. She reminded
the Council that this had been discussed at the last meeting and that the
Council had voted against it. A similar
application was refused by B&NES in 2010.
The applicants have stated that the main reason for wanting this
development to proceed is for safety reasons. Councillors were not clear if
this could be considered “very special circumstances” as would be needed for
this type of development in the Green belt.
The development also did not “conserve or enhance the character and
local distinctiveness of the landscape”. Cllr Clarkson has spoken with the Case
Officer who has yet to make a decision.
The owners of the property were invited to address the Council. They said that the new entrance was a first step and that they intended to soften the appearance with new trees and shrubs. Cllr Clarkson said that she was worried about the possibility that the owners would seek permission for a garage in the future but this was ruled out.
Cllr Wheeler agreed that the existing entrance is dangerous if cars would need to back out on to the main road.
The Chairman asked about the height of the proposed walls and the owners assured him that any new walls would be of the same height as the existing walls.
Cllr Clarkson will report the Council’s observations. DC
13.052 General Power of Competence
The Chairman explained what this would mean. Under the Localism Act, Parish Councils can be granted a “General Power of Competence” (GPC) provided that two conditions are met. The first condition is that there at least two thirds of Councillors are elected – this condition is met. The second condition is that the Clerk is sufficiently trained and has a suitable qualification. The Wellow Parish Clerk does not have a suitable qualification. Thus, at the moment Wellow Parish Council does not have the GPC. The GPC would give the Parish Council the same power to act that an individual has. For example, it would allow the Parish Council the ability to set up a company providing broadband to the village. While there did not appear to any immediate need for this power, the Chair proposed that the Council take steps to obtain the GPC. This was approved by seven votes in favour with one abstention.
In order for Wellow Parish Council to be granted GPC status, the Clerk would have to gain a qualification, the most appropriate of which is the Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA). This course costs £280, but the Council is eligible to reclaim £100 as a bursary. The Chair proposed that the Clerk complete the course. It was agreed unanimously that he should do so.
It was agreed to pay the fee and the Clerk said he would apply for the bursary which would mean that the net cost to the Council would be £180. GW
At the March meeting the Chair had reported under Any Other Reports on a request from B&NES Legal and Democratic Services asking if Wellow Parish Council wanted to change the number of Councillors. The Council voted unanimously that Wellow Parish Council should continue to have nine councillors.
13.053 Station Road Car Park
The Chairman referred to the Council’s earlier suggestion that the Parish Council should look into the possibility of buying the car park from B&NES. He said that any threat of its being designated as a travellers’ site by B&NES had receded but some Councillors were concerned that when new B&NES councillors are elected in 2 years, they may reverse this policy. He understood that B&NES would consider transferring the car park to Wellow Parish Council if Wellow Parish Council wanted to continue using it as a car park. However, the responsibility for mowing the grass, keeping the edges trimmed and tidied, and possibly for rates, would pass to Wellow Parish Council.
Alex Martin, the previous Chairman said that we should guard against any possibility of the car park being used as a travellers’ site.
Cllr Andrews said that motor homes were often parked there overnight and that various websites actually recommended Wellow Car Park for that purpose.
The Chairman said he was concerned that if the Parish Council took over the management of the car park and it was used illegally by travellers, the Parish Council would have the responsibility to remove the travellers, and would have to fund this process. At the moment this is B&NES responsibility.
The car park is used a great deal and its use as a car park may increase if the plans for tennis courts on the playing field go ahead.
Richard Holland, from the floor felt that Wellow Parish Council would be responsible for the walls surrounding the car park although they might be the responsibility of the surrounding property owners. He agreed with the Chairman that B&NES have already discounted the site as a potential one for travellers.
It was agreed that the Parish Council should take steps to identify the risks of ownership, ie rates, mowing, boundary walls, insurance and the access road. This cost/benefit analysis will be carried out by the Chair. HP
Richard Holland referred to the barrier which was erected by B&NES but which has had the cross bar removed. It was intended that it would restrict the height of vehicles able to enter the car park. Cllr Karthauser pointed out that there were no notices on the approach to the car park warning of any height restrictions, nor were there any indications of other restrictions, eg not parking overnight.
It was suggested that we should ask B&NES to re-instate the barrier with appropriate information on restrictions being displayed. It was left to B&NES to decide whether this information should be on the barrier or on the car park sign at the beginning of Station Road. This was put to a vote and was agreed by four votes to one with three abstentions. The Clerk was asked to contact B&NES. GW
13.054 Traffic Calming
The Chairman said that we had already dealt with this issue in 13.050.
13.055 Financial Report
The financial report to April 8th 2013 was approved unanimously.
The Council agreed to the payments in respect of street cleaning and the Clerk’s salary. (The CiLCA payment was agreed to under item 13.052) The Clerk was reminded that the grants to the Village Hall, the Burial Board and the Shop were now due.
The Council ratified an earlier decision made by the Chairman and the Clerk to appoint Payman of Frome to administer the Parish Council’s payroll. Councillors had already received information about this by email prior to the appointment. The Clerk referred to the new Real Time Information scheme which had been introduced on April 6th by HMRC and explained that Payman will meet the RTI obligations.
The Clerk explained that he had agreed a three year fixed term contract with EDF for the Christmas tree lights and said that this meant we now had a fixed rate of just under 25p per unit, plus standing charges, for the next three years. EDF had intended to raise our tariff from April 1st to 35p per unit. He had earlier sought a better deal from other providers but to no avail.
The Clerk also suggested that we pay by Direct Debit rather than by cheque. This would result in a 7% discount and would also guard against late payments should a bill arrive shortly after a Parish Council meeting. It would also save on postage. This was agreed to unanimously and the Clerk said he would send off the necessary forms. GW
Cllr Karthauser said that he would advise councillors of the latest developments, if any, by email. JK
13.057 Maintenance of the Playing Field
It was agreed unanimously to renew our contract with B&NES for grass cutting. The fee will be £485 plus VAT for the year. Cllr Doman expressed the view that this was very good value for money. GW
13.058 Village Hall Trustees
It was agreed to defer this item until the May meeting.
13.059 Jubilee and Millennium Funds
It was agreed to defer this item until the May meeting but Cllr Karthauser said he would look into signage before then. JK
13.060 Landfill Sites
It was agreed to defer this item until the May meeting.
13.061 Any other reports
Stewart Cole drew attention to wall damage near the church and agreed to meet with the Clerk to show him the problem. He also said that a tree limb had broken in the play area.
Cllr Betts suggested that we organize a village walk for councillors. This can be an item on the May agenda.
Cllr Clarkson said that there was a lot of moss on the pavement on Bull’s Hill. Cllr White agreed to contact Nick Sperring about it. JW
The Clerk was asked to contact Peter Duppa-Miller regarding the rubbish left by the side of the road to the north of the Combe Hay crossroads. GW
Cllr White asked about the possibility of displaying the agenda and other documents during meetings electronically. The Chairman said that he hoped to able to try this out at the May meeting.
Cllr Andrews showed the Council a letter received from Dorothy House acknowledging the Parish Council’s donation.
13.062 Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting was confirmed as being on Monday, May 13th 2013 at 8pm in the Village Hall. The AGM and Annual Parish Meeting will be held at 7.30pm on the same date.
The meeting closed at 10.10pm.
April 11th 2013