Present: Councillors: Monica van Lienden (Chair), Joanne Akers, Chris Barron, Karen Chinn, Simeon Cole, Ruth Dolman, Eric Drummond, Heather Evans, Elizabeth Jordan, Sian Newbert, Bob Puzey, Guy Smith, Bridget Vine
In attendance: Richard Abolins (outgoing Parish Clerk), Jayne Putland (incoming Parish Clerk), Yolande Watson (Ward Councillor) and two members of the public.
1. Apologies: – none
2. Welcome to new officers: – The Chair welcomed to the Council the new Parish Clerk, Jayne Putland, and the WCSS Co-ordinator, Be Mackintosh. Both had started work on Monday and were undergoing their induction.
3. Declaration of interests: –
• Cllr Smith declared an interest in item 14, the Kerne Bridge Canoe Launch as a direct neighbour.
• Cllr Drummond declared a pecuniary interest in item 6.2, Hom Farm planning application and in item 9, grant application, as a trustee of Walford Village Hall.
• Cllr Chinn declared a non-pecuniary interest in in item 6.2, Hom Farm planning application.
• Cllr Cole declared an interest in item 12.2, NDP draft document.
4. Adoption of minutes of previous meetings:
It was resolved to adopt the minutes of the meeting on 10 April 2020 as a true record of the meeting. The Chair will sign the minutes when lockdown is over and physical meetings are permitted.
5. Public participation session: –
5.1 The Ward Councillor had nothing to report now. Her April report would be out at the end of the month and there would be some items of interest for the parish. There were no questions
5.2 A member of the public thanked the outgoing clerk for his work with the Council and wished him and his family well in the future.
6. Planning: – to consider comments on application for determination by Herefordshire Council
6.1 The summary of planning applications was noted and there were no questions.
Cllrs Drummond and Chinn left the meeting
6.2 P200678/F – Hom Farm, Hom Green, HR9 7TF; Retrospective permission for the construction of 3 biomass boiler houses and a woodchip store in connection with the existing poultry business. Cllr Barron did not understand the dates on the requirements for planning consent. It was resolved that there were no objections.
Cllrs Drummond and Chinn returned to the meeting
6.3 P200880/FH – The Bungalow, Deepdean Cottage, Deepdean, HR9 5SQ; Application to restrict use of the building known as The Bungalow as an annexe to Deep Dean Cottage. Cllr Evans did not understand the purpose of the application and abstained in the vote. It was resolved that there were no objections.
7. Personnel: – Cllr Akers reported that the Parish Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer and the WCSS Co-ordinator both started work on Monday 20 April. Cllr Chinn was handing over to Be Mackintosh and the outgoing Clerk was doing the same with Jayne Putland. She was sure that both were the right selections. The Chair thanked Cllr Akers for her work in handling the selection processes under difficult circumstances.
8. Finance: –
8.1 The financial reports had been circulated prior to the meeting and Cllr Chinn explained that subject to the Council’s approval, they would be submitted as the final year end accounts. The RFO will be sending these documents to the internal auditor within the next couple of days. He had also drafted the AGAR and explanation of variances for the year. Cllr Barron asked to what extent expenditure on the WCSS and Canoe Launch projects would be carried over into the new financial year and there was no depreciation shown for the Clerk’s office equipment. The RFO explained that no expenditure was being carried forward – the year started afresh with a new budget and there had been no material expenditure on equipment in the year. It was all written off to the Income and Expenditure Account, so there was no depreciation.
8.2 The bank statements and reconciliation had been circulated to all councillors prior to the meeting. Cllr Akers agreed to sign the reconciliation when lockdown is over and physical meetings are permitted.
8.3 It was resolved to approve the payments on appendix 3
8.4 It was resolved to ratify the payments on appendix 3
8.5 The Council owned a laptop which appeared to be adequate for the Clerk’s needs now. It was operated by Windows 10. The RFO explained that although the Council owned a large printer stored in Cllr Drummond’s premises, the new Clerk would need a printer for everyday use. He was very happy with his own printer – an HP Envy 5030 – and an HP Instant Ink agreement for 300 sheets a month cost £7.99 per month. Cllr Akers suggested that a laser printer could be obtained at a very reasonable price and the cartridges lasted well and worked out quite economical. It was resolved to approve the purchase of a printer up to a maximum of £100.
As an aside, it was pointed out that the laptop used by the WCSS co-ordinator was loaned by Walford Village Hall and may be purchased for a nominal amount.
8.6 The new Clerk is undertaking induction with HALC tomorrow by video conference. Formal commencement of training will have to be planned when video conferencing can be arranged.
Cllr Drummond left the meeting
9. Grant application from Walford Village Hall for a grant towards the replacement of radiators: – Cllr Chinn referred to the Grants Policy and asked why some of the required information had not been supplied by the applicant. The applicant pointed out that it had been provided in the covering letter. Cllr Chinn checked and retracted her question. Cllr Barron pointed out that if £1,000 was granted now there would not be anything available for other applicants later in the year. Cllr Vine asked if there should be more quotes for the job. The applicant said he had negotiated the price and the breakdown of the quote showed how this had been done. He would be happy to ask for another but during lockdown, it may take time. Cllr Chinn pointed out that receiving another quote was unlikely to bring the cost down below the maximum figure allowed for the grant. Cllr Vine asked why the Village Hall needed a grant when they appeared to have enough reserves of their own. The applicant stated that the Village Hall was currently receiving no income because of the coronavirus situation, but still had bills to pay. It was very uncertain when normality would be resumed.
Cllr Cole proposed to make the maximum grant of £1,000. This was seconded by Cllr Chinn but was rejected by the Council. A further proposal for a grant of £600 was also rejected. The Chair proposed a motion to accept the principle of making a grant. This was seconded by Cllr Cole and the Council resolved to make a grant. Cllr Akers proposed and Cllr Evans seconded a motion to grant £750. The Council was split with six votes for and six against. The Chair exercised her casting vote and it was resolved to make a grant of £750 to Walford Village Hall.
The applicant thanked the Council for the grant.
Cllr Drummond returned to the meeting
10. Risk management: – the risk management schedule had been circulated in advance. There were no questions or comments and it was resolved to approve the schedule.
11. Highways and footpaths: –
11.1 the Lengthsman Co-ordinator had little to report and normal work was continuing. There were no questions.
11.2 Other than a couple of overhanging trees which had been dealt with, the Rights of Way Officer had nothing to report.
12. Neighbourhood Development Plan steering group: –
12.1 there were no questions on the report. Cllr Barron pointed out the timescales would have to be re-planned due to the current conditions.
12.2 The structure of the plan in chapters was not conducive to making approval at each stage easy. It would result in a lot of duplication. It was resolved to approve the draft document on completion.
13. WCSS working group: – Cllr Chinn reported that she was handing over to Be Mackintosh who was already making herself know to the community. During the lockdown, the Scheme had received 8 new volunteers and the same number of requests for help. Currently much of the work involved matching up volunteers with needs and helping with shopping and collecting prescriptions.
Cllr Smith left the meeting
14. Kerne Bridge Canoe Launch: – quotes to fabricate and install railings at the launch site had been circulated before the meeting. Although the lead time was 4-6 weeks, it was essential safety work and should be completed as soon as possible. It was resolved to accept the quote from Ross Weld Limited of £925.00 plus VAT.
15. Items for next meeting agenda: –
15.1 Resilience plan update
15.2 Upgrade website to .gov domain
15.3 Insurance renewal
16. Next meeting: – Annual Council Meeting Wednesday 13 May 2020 at 7.30pm online
The Chair closed the meeting at 20.39.