Myrtle Cottage, Wellow, BA2 8QS
Tel: 01225 830159
Minutes of a meeting of the Parish Council held on Monday, July 9th 2012 at 8pm in the Village Hall.
Present: Cllrs Andrews, Betts, Caudle, Clarkson, Doman and Prentice. District Cllr Butters also attended along with eight members of the public.
12.088 To accept apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllrs. Wheeler and White.
Vacancy on the Parish Council
Since Cllr Witty had resigned in April 2012 the Clerk had followed the prescribed process for advertising the vacancy. The Clerk explained that no parishioners had requested a bye-election. This meant that the Parish Council was free to co-opt. A notice asking for expressions of interest had been posted on the noticeboard in Wellow Square, and the vacancy had also been published in the parish newsletter. The statutory deadline had now passed and the Chairman had received one expression of interest from Dr Joe Karthauser. Dr Karthauser had confirmed that he was still willing to offer himself for co-option and was present. The Chairman asked him to introduce himself to the rest of the Council after which he was co-opted unanimously.
Cllr Karthauser then took his seat.
12.089 Declarations of interest in any matters on the agenda or in June 2012 minutes
There were no declarations of interest.
12.090 To confirm minutes of meeting held on June 11th 2012.
The minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on June 11th 2012 were approved unanimously.
12.091 To report matters arising from the minutes and not on the agenda.
Cllr Betts said that she would be able to provide full details following on from the proposal to install gates on the Village Hall driveway at the September meeting. SB
12.092 Derelict properties in Wellow
Mr Anthony Weale had asked to address the Parish Council about this issue. He said that he had lived in Wellow for 12 years and that throughout that time the property opposite his house, 3 The Square, had been boarded up. There was a further property at the back of it in a similar condition and both had been in a state of disrepair for around 35 years.
He said he had been informed by B&NES that they had insufficient funds to compulsorily purchase the properties. However, Mendip Council had ordered the owners of two similarly derelict properties next door to the George Inn in Norton St Philip to renovate them and then to sell them.
The owner of Foxcote, next door to the house in question, said that his property suffers from damp caused by the derelict nature of the house next door.
Alex Martin, the previous Chairman of Wellow Parish Council, said the council had been trying to resolve this issue with B&NES for some 3 or 4 years. Graham Saborne from B&NES has compiled a list of derelict properties and we should press him for a satisfactory outcome, perhaps enlisting the help of District Cllr Butters.
Cllr Caudles said that in view of the fact that this is a listed building we should be able to increase the pressure on B&NES. District Cllr Butters said that he had already raised the problem with B&NES and that they intended to increase the Council Tax liability by 50% as a first step.
It was agreed that Mr Weale and the owner of Foxcote would make further representations to B&NES, as would District Cllr Butters, and then report back to Wellow Parish Council.
On a related matter Cllr Karthauser asked about the shop next door to the Fox and Badger. The Chairman updated him but asked that this be put on the September agenda. GW
District Cllr Butters said that it was still a possibility that the shop could be used as a replacement for the Mobile Library and that B&NES would restock it every six weeks.
1. New applications
Brook Lodge Cllrs Caudle and Clarkson said that they had looked at the plans carefully and could see no objection. They were asked to respond to the Planning Dept. accordingly. PC/DC
St Gregory’s sixth form building. Notification has been received that the “Outline application for the erection of a sixth form building linked to St Gregory's Catholic College and associated works (Resubmission)” has been approved. Along with this notification is a planning application 12/02548/REG04, the full submission. Alex Martin, from the floor, reminded the Council that we had not supported the original application. Cllrs Caudle and Clarkson were asked to look at the latest plans in detail and then to report back as soon as possible by email bearing in mind that our next meeting will be after the deadline for responses. PC/DC
Hillscroft The Council referred to the report from Cllr White and agreed that the application should be supported. The Clerk agreed to inform her accordingly. GW
2. Decisions received
Forge Cottage The Council noted that the application has been approved by B&NES.
The footpath at issue extends from Bath Hill, across the northern edge of Wellow and terminates before reaching Pope’s Lane – ie it comes to a dead end. The Council discussed the proposal for extending the existing footpath to Pope’s Lane.
. Mrs Horler, who owns the land over which the footpath passes, indicated that she was happy for the footpath to be extended to Pope’s Lane in return for the re-routing of the footpath around her land at the Bath Hill end of the footpath. This has been Mrs Horler’s position for some years. She would not put anything in writing herself; the matter is in the hands of her solicitor. The Council would like the same outcome – ie footpath open from Bath Hill to Pope’s Lane.
The problem at the east end of the path was caused when B&NES permitted the closure of the section of the path that connected to the High Street. The Council are frustrated that B&NES are now taking a neutral stance and not trying to resolve the issue. District Cllr Butters agreed to speak with Graham Stark at B&NES about it.
The matter has now been taken over by the Planning Inspectorate who required Wellow PC to submit a report by 29 June which was done. A reply from the Horlers is required in August and the Inspector will make a decision in September following a possible site visit. NB
a. The Council approved the payments in respect of street cleaning, the Clerk’s salary, stamps and website maintenance.
b. The financial report to July 9th was unanimously approved. The Chairman circulated accounts to the end of June 2012. The Chairman asked that the grant payments be made to the Shop, the Village Hall, the Minibus and the Burial Board, and these payments were approved..
Cllr Betts expressed dissatisfaction with the grass cutting on the playing field and agreed to contact B&NES with a view to making the contract more specific in terms of what they would actually do. SB
It was also mentioned that the land immediately to the south of the Village Hall should also be kept clear, particularly as a footpath crossed it. The Clerk was asked to contact B&NES about it. GW
c. Cllr Andrews had felt unwell earlier during the meeting and had to return home and so it was agreed to defer any discussion regarding the Millennium Fund until the next meeting.. HA
12.096 Neighbourhood Plan
The Chairman provided an update. Earlier this year, the process to update the Parish Plan into a Neighbourhood Plan had started. The first action was to devise a questionnaire to establish the needs of the Parish. Some councilors had consulted with residents from a range of groups and interests in Wellow, and by April had come up with a draft set of questions. The Chairman has now written up these questions onto an online questionnaire, and had distributed an electronic draft copy for review. He wants to re-convene the working group of councillors and other residents, to finalise the questionnaire and distribute it. He hoped that at least three quarters of the questionnaires would be completed online, and that the remainder would be complete on paper before being transcribed into the database. After some discussion it was agreed to hold at least one public event to publicise the process, and possibly more. The questionnaire will be distributed electronically in early September, with the paper version to follow. The Chairman will publicise the process in the August and September parish newsletter, and stress the importance of the Neighbourhood Plan and its significance for the Parish
Richard Holland agreed to put a suitable notice on the website once arrangements had been finalised.
12.097 Request from Miss Chloe Watson
Miss Watson had asked the Parish Council to support her in her planned work in Uganda.
The Parish Council is not constituted to do this but it was suggested that we could offer support in some other way. The monthly pub quiz was suggested, but Cllr Doman said that they are used only to support registered charities.
Cllr Karthauser said that she could put on an event which the village could support.
The Clerk was asked to write to Miss Watson with the decision.
12.098 Draft proposal for a Wellow Tennis Club
Cllr Caudle is now in possession of the original 1953 conveyancing deeds for the village playing fields and the road leading to the village playing field and the 1958 covenant relating to the village playing field. This covenant is signed by two Parish Councillors, and states
“By this deed the Parish Council of the Parish of Wellow … hereby declares that is holds the … Wellow Playing Field for the purposes of the Recreation Grounds Act 1859 and it hereby binds itself irrevocably to maintain and keep (the Playing Field) solely for the free and unrestricted use and benefit of the public in perpetuity”
After seeking informal advice, Cllr Caudle believes that the councillors were empowered to make the covenant. Cllr Caudle will now register the land with the Land Registry, and will approach a local solicitor to assist with the registration, and for advice on the covenant and the Recreation Grounds act 1859, to establish what weight the covenant has.
It was noted that the Village Hall is on the Wellow Playing Field and that access to the Hall is controlled, and that a charge is made for the use of the Hall. However the charge is in order as the reference to ‘free’ use refers not to monetary matters but to public use for all.
12.099 Petanque Piste
It was reported that Erica Smith was away at present and the weather had been against any development but that the project was in hand. The piste is to be installed in the car parking area outside the Village Hall before the next meeting. SB
12.100 Play Area
Cllr Wheeler had reported that he is continuing to try to establish if B&NES have completed their installation of the equipment in the play area, and formally handed it over to the Wellow Parish Council. TW
It had been suggested that pruning of shrubs and trees was required in the play area. In Cllr Wheeler’s absence, he was asked to evaluate the situation and then, if necessary, seek appropriate planning before asking Andy Elvin to carry out the work. .
12.101 Village Wear and Tear
Stuart Cole was worried that, if anyone continued to mow parts of the grass in the area where there are lime trees, there was a possibility that B&NES might stop carrying out the work. The Clerk agreed to look into it.
Mr Cole also referred to the manhole cover near the Old Rectory and agreed to meet with the Clerk to show him the problem.
12.102 Traffic Calming
District Cllr Neil Butters referred to a letter he had received from Gurti Stern, a resident of Manor Close. She had asked whether signage could be erected or a 20mph roundel painted on the road.
It was felt that the existing signage would automatically apply to Manor Close but it was agreed that we should carry out a speed check there once the signage elsewhere in the village had been completed.
12.103 Consultation Procedure for Community Projects
It was agreed to defer this item until the next meeting.
12.104 Wellow Community Minibus
Since this related to security in general at the Village Hall it was agreed to defer any discussion until the next meeting.
12.105 Opening of the Two Tunnels
The Chairman said that the opening was scheduled for October 6th. It was suggested that the Sustrans group be invited to an open meeting at the Village Hall. An evening would be best. HP
12.106 Any other reports
District Cllr Butters said that, following a request from a resident who had reported a piece falling from the structure, an engineer will be inspecting the viaduct.
The little bridge at the end of the Station Road car park had begun to look in some disrepair – and District Cllr Butter will see if this bridge is inspected annually. NB
District Cllr Butters also said that he will be putting the Wellow Community Bus Group forward for a Chairman’s Award. Councillors thought this was a good idea and thanked District Cllr Butters.
12.107 Date of next meeting
It was agreed that the next meeting would be held on Monday, September 10th at 8pm in the Village Hall.
The meeting closed at 9.58pm.
July 16th 2012