Myrtle Cottage, Wellow, BA2 8QS
Tel: 01225 830159
Minutes of a meeting of the Parish Council held on Monday, January 14th 2013 at 8pm in the Village Hall.
Present: Cllrs Andrews, Betts, Caudle, Clarkson, Doman, Prentice, Wheeler and White along with some eighty members of the public.
13.001 To accept apologies for absence
District Cllr Butters sent their apologies
13.002 Declarations of interest in any matters on the agenda or in November minutes
Cllr Betts expressed an interest in the planning application regarding Bubblers Dytche and said that she would withdraw when that item was discussed.
13.003 To confirm minutes of meeting held on December 10th 2012.
The minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on December 10th2012 were approved unanimously.
13.004 To report matters arising from the minutes and not on the agenda.
Cllr Wheeler said that he had had further discussion with B&NES regarding the play area and that he expected everything to be finalised within the next four weeks. TW
The Chairman said that the Neighbourhood Plan Survey was now closed and that he would present some findings at the February meeting. HP
Cllr Karthauser said that the ford was still silted up. The Clerk said that he had already reported this to Council Connect but agreed to get in touch with them again. GW
Cllr Clarkson said that, as a result of her enquiries, the majority of people were in favour of siting the “Jubilee Bench” by the ford. It was agreed that this should be an agenda item in February.
13.005 Drainage in Wellow
Cllr Betts said that the drains at Popes Lane were not effective. The Chairman observed that the recent unusually heavy rains had caused many drainage problems, and notably across the village playing field and onto Hungerford Terrace and down the village hall drive, leading to flooding of the basement in the property at the bottom of the village hall drive – the Granary. The Clerk said that B&NES had already been called out to clear the basement at The Granary.
The Chairman proposed that we seek to fully understand the drainage problems associated with the village playing field, to ask B&NES and CURO and other professional advice about to achieve the best all round response. He suggested that the Parish Council may have to pay for advice and works to the field and drive. This was agreed to unanimously. Cllr Doman to follow up. PD
13.006 Vehicular Traffic over the Packhorse Bridge
Cllr Doman said that he had been approached by a Wellow resident who said that she had been told that vehicular traffic was not allowed to use the bridge. Cllr Doman said that he had made some enquiries and found that the road over the bridge was, in fact, listed as a C class road and so traffic was allowed to use it.
12/05281/FUL: Resubmission re Bubblers Dytche (Cllr Betts withdrew)
Both Cllr Caudle and Cllr Clarkson agreed that the resubmission is very similar to the original one although the new proposal is slightly smaller and there is a larger space between the proposed properties but slightly closer to the road.
Cllr Clarkson said that the proposal meant that the plot would be overcrowded.
Cllr Wheeler confirmed that, although the property appears to be single storey at the front it is, in fact, on two storeys at the rear.
Cllr Caudle said that our response should be the same as that to the original application, and we should ask District Cllr Butters to propose that this application go to committee. The Chairman formally proposed this which was passed unanimously. Cllrs Caudle and Clarkson were asked to respond to the Planning Department and to ask District Cllr Butters to refer this application to the Planning Committee. PC/DC
13/00063/TCA: Tree work at Hillscroft
Cllr White said that the trees concerned were not visible from the road but were blocking the light into the house. The goat willow is not subject to a preservation and is pressing against an adjacent wall. She has been advised by Wildwood that the intention at present is to leave the roots in situ which will result in new growth. She suggested that a better plan would be to remove the tree completely, including the roots, and to replace it with an indigenous species such as an oak. Cllr White agreed to respond accordingly. JW
It was noted that permission had been given regarding development at the rear of 1 to 7 High Street.
The financial statement for January was approved as were a number of payments.
The Clerk gave an update regarding the Millennium Fund and gave notice that the Parish Council would have to decide at the February meeting what any money would be used for. He asked that councillors provide costings for any proposals made at that meeting. This was necessary as one of the signatories to the original account had informed the Clerk that he would not give his permission for the release of funds unless this was done.
13.009 Wellow Sports
The Chair reported that a complaint had been received about the impartiality of some councilors, including the Chair, in dealing with the Sports Proposal, and asked the Clerk to provide more details. The Clerk reported that the complaint is being dealt with independently, by the Secretary of the Bath & North East Somerset Local Councils Association. The Secretary will respond and take appropriate action. Meanwhile, the Secretary has pointed us to the relevant sections of the Localism Act – Chapter 6, section 25, subsections 1 and 2. These two sections make it clear that Councillors are allowed to express a view on a subject before making a decisionon it. There does not appear to be any pecuniary interest, or other conflict of interest. As such, it seems reasonable that all councillorsare acting with an open mind, and should be allowed to continue.
The Chairman asked all councilors to confirm that they still have an open mind about the Sports Proposal, that they have not pre-judged the issues to vote on, and that they are acting in the best interests of the parish. All councillorsconfirmed this.
The Chairman gave a brief history regarding plans to increase use of the playing field.
In December 2011 a public meeting was held to consider building one or more tennis courts in Wellow, for public use. 15-20 people attended this meeting, and subsequently a smaller group began investigating how other villages had done this, sources of funding, location in Wellow, etc.
By May 2012, the discussions
included other sports, and were focusing on the playing field as the most
suitable location. In May 2012 the Wellow Sports Group submitted their draft proposals
to the Parish Council. The Parish
Council own the playing field, and their approval would be needed. Various
issues were raised, drainage, the legal position, lighting, noise, traffic,
membership fees, and costs/funding, as well as does Wellow want a tennis club?
At that stage the Parish Council saw the opportunity to improve sports
facilities in Wellow, but also many issues to be resolved and asked the Group
to sound out the views of parishioners, and bring a revised proposal back to
the Parish Council.
This they did, and in December 2012 the Group presented updated plans to an open day, when everyone was invited to see and discuss the proposals. About 70 people attended.
Following this the Chair of the Parish Council held a public meeting to hear and discuss the proposals. About 80 people attended this. The main outputs of this meeting were :
· Everyone supported the concept of “more sport is better”
· Most people supported the sports being proposed – tennis, boules, cricket, netball, outdoor gym and running
· BUT there was concern about the size of the two courts being proposed – the visual impact of the fencing and lights,
· And concern over the lighting
· And concern about the possible negative impact on Magic Box/Wrigglers
Following the public meeting, the Wellow Sports Group brought a final proposal to the 14th December Parish Council meeting. Wellow Sports proposed the construction of two tennis courts with floodlighting and a pavilion, a running track, a reduced size football pitch with some leveling, an outdoor gym and cricket nets. The Chairman had originally intended that the Parish Council would reach a decision in December but deferred it until January to enable councillors to establish for themselves the facts of the proposal, to possibly visit the tennis courts and to seek the views of the village.
The Chairman reported that, although he had received numerous messages of support he had also been presented with a petition with over 90 people against the proposals. He asked each councillor in turn to give their views.
Cllr Karthauser said that despite a great deal of consideration and discussion he was still undecided.
Cllr Betts said that she thought that a referendum should be held so that everyone would have a chance to express a view.
Cllr Andrews said that she had been upset by some of the comments she had heard. She highlighted one or two negative aspects but said she had been heartened by the support expressed by young people. She said that when she finally voted she would try and reflect on whether the proposals would be good for Wellow rather than expressing a personal view.
Cllr Caudle that she was concerned about the scale of the project and that a referendum would be the best way forward.
Cllr Wheeler stressed that the playing field is meant to be a sports field. He pointed that tennis is a game that can be played by all ages and mentioned the social aspect of sports. He supported the provision of sports facilities for young people but felt that, as most of the members of Magic Box were from outside Wellow, their influence on a decision should be minimal. He supported the idea of a referendum.
Cllr White said that while she was always able to reach a decision on matters presented to the Parish Council she felt unable to do so on this occasion. She felt that, as we live in a democracy, we must consult the village.
Cllr Doman said that while it seems to be generally agreed that Wellow needs sports facilities this particular proposal should be put to a referendum.
The Chairman said that no decision had yet been reached regarding sports facilities in Peasedown St John, and so we cannot assume that there will be tennis courts there. He said that drainage was an engineering problem, but that it was resolvable.He felt that the views of Magic Box needed to be “taken on board” in particular the safety of the children during construction should the project go ahead. The purpose of the proposals were to encourage more sport, and arrangement’s to ensure that the school and Magic Box had suitable access to the facilities would have to be made.
Cllr Caudle referred to the Parish Council’s conditions attached as an appendix.
Cllr Karthauser gave further details regarding concerns expressed by Magic Box which related to disruption caused by any construction. The Chairman said that, should it proceed, arrangements would be made to minimize disruption to Magic Box.
Cllr Andrews asked whether a pavilion was really necessary.
At this stage the Chairman proposed that the Parish Council accept the conditions referred to by Cllr Caudle. This was passed unanimously.
Having heard several councilors call for a referendum on the issue, the Chairman then proposed that the Parish Council hold a referendum on the issue. This was agreed unanimously. He outlined the options for the two types of “referendum”.
We could hold a Parish Poll (the correct term for a referendum) which would be organized by B&NES. This wouldcostbetween £1,000 and £1500, as it would be run along the same lines as a general election, with the poll being held 14 to 25 working days after calling a Parish Meeting. Alternatively, we could run it ourselves as an informal survey, which would cost under £300, and which could be held in about 10 days. Neither of these can be binding on the Parish Council.
Cllr Wheeler suggested that we use the electoral roll to identify those able to take part but suggested that we add new residents who would not yet be on the electoral roll. He also suggested that we lower the eligible age.
Cllr Doman said he would prefer to use B&NES electoral services. Cllr Caudle was inclined to agree but felt that the voting age should stay at 18. Cllr Betts also preferred a Parish Poll.
A vote was taken on whether we should run a Parish Poll or an informal referendum/survey. It was decided to run an informal referendum/survey by a vote of 5 to 3 with one abstention.
A further vote was taken on whether residents aged 16 and over could take part. This was agreed by a vote of 5 to 3 with one abstention.
It was further agreed that the question would be based on the original one proposed in December, ie two courts with lighting, a pavilion, running track, cricket nets and a reduced size football pitch, along with the conditions that the Parish Council is imposing. Voters would be asked whether they were in favour or not.
It was agreed that we should try and
distribute suitable notices by Friday, January 18th. Subject to the availability of independent
invigilators and the availability of a hall t
would take place on Thursday, January 24th from 7am until 10pm in
the Community Centre in Manor Close or in the village hall. It was agreed that those eligible to take
part would be those on the electoral roll plus any newcomers plus those aged 16
and 17. Cllr Karthauser said that those
under 18 should be asked for proof of age.
It was also agreed that we should accept postal votes and votes by proxy and Alex Martin kindly agreed to be a point of contact for those who wished to vote in this way.
The Clerk was asked to appoint suitable invigilators. GW
The Chairman agreed to design a suitable flyer which he would circulate to other councillors for approval.
13.010 Right to Bid
Cllr Karthauser gave a summary of the provisions of the Right to Bid legislation and offered to keep a register. His offer was accepted. The Chairman asked him to put a note in the Parish Newsletter. JK
13.011 Any other reports
Cllr Caudle said that she still had to get a final interpretation of the covenant and it was agreed that this would be on the February agenda.
13.012 Next Meeting
It was confirmed that the next meeting will be on Monday, February 11th2013at 8pm in the Village Hall.The meeting closed at 10.15pm.
For the Parish Council to support the proposal, the 7 conditions below must be met.
1) The Parish Council is satisfied that funding for any works is achieved before commencement of the works
2) The Parish Council is satisfied that the project is financially sustainable, and that financial risks to the Parish Council are minimised and acceptable. (as a minimum, the WSC to provide a business plan)
IF it is determined that the 1958 Deed is valid, then the conditions of
the deed must be upheld. (Current advice is that, if the deed is valid, then
C proposal will need to be approved by
the Charity Commission.)
4) Planning permission and any constraints applied by planners or Wellow Parish Council (eg control over the lighting and pavilion)
5) Some form of legal entity, to be agreed by the Parish Council, will be formed to contain the liabilities of the sports/tennis and to manage the sports/tennis. The Management Committee of this legal entity will include provision for two Parish Councilors. The legal entity will be “not-for-profit”, and offer limited liability to the trustees.
6) Provision must be made to meet the "public benefit". (eg some agreed mechanism to allow those who cannot afford to pay to access the facilities)
7) The Parish Council is satisfied that drainage from the playing field will not be made worse (and efforts should be made to improve it)