Minutes of Walford Parish Council Meeting
Held at Walford Church – St Michael and All Angels
Wednesday 13 February 2019 at 7.30pm
Councillors: Frank Myers (Chairman), Eric Drummond (Vice Chairman), Michael Agyeman, Dave Berry, Karen Chinn, Simeon Cole, Heather Evans, Nesta Hirst, Sophie Hurley, Angus McIntosh, Neil Parfitt and Guy Smith
In attendance: Richard Abolins (Clerk), Paul Newman (Ward Councillor) and approximately 24 members of the public.
1. Apologies for absence were received from Murray Alston (holiday)
2. Declarations of interest and written requests for dispensation – Councillor Myers declared a non-pecuniary interest as non-executive director of Riversea Holdings in relation to references to the Kerne Bridge Canoe Launch.
3. Adoption of Minutes of previous meeting
It was RESOLVED to adopt the minutes of the meetings held on 9 January 2019 and 28 January 2019 as a true and accurate record. They were signed by the Chairman.
4. Public Session
4.1 Report from the Community Support Co-ordinator
See appendix 1
4.2 Report from the Ward Councillor
The Ward Councillor expressed sorrow at the death of Herefordshire Councillor Jenny Hyde – a lovely lady who will be sadly missed.
He reported that Herefordshire Council is meeting on Friday to accept budgets.
He had nothing to report locally and asked the meeting if there were any questions for him, but there were none.
4.3 Police Representative
The Chairman had spoken to a local community representative, but there were insufficient resources to send a representative to the meeting. We will however maintain links for the future.
4.4 Localities Steward
The Chairman and the Clerk had a useful meeting with the Localities Steward. Unfortunately, they also had limited resources to send a representative to the meeting, but it was agreed to keep communications open between the Localities Steward and the Clerk to ensure issues were highlighted and attended to.
4.5 Representations from the public
In relation to item 6.1.1 on the agenda, a resident of Cherry Tree Lane voiced his objections to the application. He had several but was unhappy that ownership of the land was unclear and that further work should not be undertaken until this was clarified. Another resident of Cherry Tree Lane had met with the applicant who said he was thinking of constructing buildings on the land. He objected because this was the real reason for the application. Another resident of Cherry Tree Lane stated that the complaints seemed to boil down to a few issues, all of which had arisen before in the area without objection.
The Chairman replied to all these participants by stating that the Council must make an impartial judgment which can’t be based on ownership or future intentions. There was no penalty for retrospective applications, but any enforcement would come from Herefordshire Council.
5.1 The Finance Chair had little to report except that noting that the Clerk is qualified, the Finance Committee had agreed that the payroll will be brought back in-house from the external bureau. The Finance Committee also agreed to re-appoint the internal auditor for this year’s accounts. The Clerk will check that the Committee is empowered to do so and if not, it will appear on the next agenda.
5.2 The Finance Chair presented the draft budget for 2019/20. The Finance Committee recommended the second option with no budget for unforeseen bye elections and with the contingency line removed on the grounds that contingency had been built into each budget line. It was also noted that the election expenses would only be necessary if there were at least 14 nominations for the elections in May. This would leave a projected deficit for the year of £798. The proposal was seconded and unanimously approved.
5.3 Based on the budget, it was recommended to make no change to the precept. The proposal was seconded and unanimously approved.
6.1 Planning applications
6.1.1 184582 – Land at Cherry Tree Lane
In the interest of impartiality, the Chairman asked the applicant to clarify the details of the application and gave Councillors opportunity to ask him questions. Following some intervention from the public, Councillor Evans reiterated that his was not a debate, the Parish Council did not decide the application but merely commented and any objections should be served to Herefordshire Council.
Although it does not approve of retrospective applications, the Council had no objection to the application but expects that any future activity in this area will go through due planning process.
6.1.2 190158 – Berrington Cottage, Walford, HR9 5SD
The Council had no objection to this application
6.2 There was no representative from the Neighbourhood Planning working group to report on progress. It was resolved to reconstitute the group as a committee. Although, there would be more administration involved, there would be greater transparency and the committee would have greater powers to make decisions, thus speeding up the process. Councillors Cole, Berry, Agyeman and Parfitt and a resident, Jon Stern, expressed their willingness to stand on this committee. Although he was absent, it was understood that Councillor Alston would also wish to be involved.
7. Highways / Rights of Way
7.1 Rights of Way –signage was being installed
Lengthsman – working on footways
7.2 There were no works orders to approve.
7.3 Several councillors expressed dissatisfaction that access to Phoenix Meadow had been taken rather than requested and that it should simply be closed. Councillor Evans suggested that we start with no access and the landowner should formally apply to us for access.
The Chairman said he was concerned that the Council might be making decisions without understanding the value that this access might have. If it was insignificant, the decision may go one way, but if, as suggested, the value might be as much as one third of the land value, the Council might decide on different action. He also felt that if there was an agreement to be reached, we might be better resolving this without confrontation
He suggested that we instruct an initial valuation at a cost of £600 and depending upon the outcome, the Council might then consider obtaining further valuations in accordance with the Financial Regulations.
A proposal was made to instruct a valuer. This was seconded and unanimously approved.
7.4 Councillor Smith reported that a Speed Indicator Device could be installed, at a cost, in an attempt to reduce speeds at Leys Hill. Other devises were discussed but had been considered in the past and the consensus was that they were not practical. However, the Clerk was asked to investigate the schemes for manual speed guns and the Ward Councillor will resurrect the work that he started last year on Traffic Regulation Orders at the Ley Hill junction.
7.5 The Council considered a request from a resident to reinstate the milestones on B4234 towards Ross. It was felt that any remaining milestones should be cleared of undergrowth and tidied up, but that the Council would not install new milestones.
8. Items for next meeting agenda (No discussion)
8.1 To consider the Lengthsman contract
9. The date of the next meeting – The next meeting will be held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 27 March 2019 at Walford Church – St Michael and All Angels
The meeting closed at 8.49pm