Minutes 28th February 2018

Minutes for the meeting of the Parish Council held at St Michaels and All Angels Church Walford on Wednesday 28th February at 7.30pm

Present:  Frank Myers – Chairman

Councillors: Dave Berry, Karen Chinn, Eric Drummond, Heather Evans, Sophie Hurley, Angus McIntosh, Murray Alston.

In attendance:  Clerk Catherine Murray and several members of the public.

  1. Apologies: Simeon Cole and Guy Smith (work commitments) Nesta Hirst (On leave) Luke Freeman (Illness)
  1. Declarations: Cllr Drummond: (Planning Agenda items 10.1.1 and 10.1.4)
  1. Parish Councillor Vacancy: The vacancy has been advertised and the notice was posted on 20th The Chairman extended thanks to Cllr Carlson for all his hard work.
  1. Resignation of the Parish Clerk: Notice of 2 months has been given. The Chairman read out a statement by the Clerk outlining the reasons for her resignation.  The Chairman said that the clerk has been most dedicated and professional and Cllr Chinn said that there would be big boots to fill. It was unanimously RESOLVED to take up the service offered by HALC, to advertise, interview, sort out a contract for a new clerk, and carry out a 6 monthly review, for a sum of £200.  It was also unanimously RESOLVED to appoint Cllrs Chinn, Myers and Berry as the selection panel for WPC, who will bring a recommendation to full council  The Clerk will advise HALC.  <<Action Clerk>>
  1. Minutes: It was unanimously RESOLVED to accept minutes of the previous meeting held on 10th January 2018
  1. Standing Orders and Complaints Procedures: It was unanimously RESOLVED to approve an update to Standing Orders, that the APM will take place no earlier than 6pm.  A new version of the complaints procedure will be drafted for the next meeting.The clerk will send the current version to Cllr Berry for review.  <<Action Clerk>>
  1. GDPR: Data Protection legislation compliance.   Action date: 25.05.18:  Walford PC acknowledges that it needs to comply and will wait for the legislation and act.  The Clerk will be attending a Data Protection course in Hereford on 16th March and was asked to contact HALC to find out costs for providing a Data Protection Officer.  <<Action Clerk>>
  1. To receive brief verbal reports from and address any questions to:

8.1 Community Support Co-ordinator: Gave her report

Since our last meeting we’ve provided 45 volunteer hours of assistance across our community, consisting of 12 shopping trips, 15 social visits & 5 trips to appointments. It’s important to understand that the majority of the help we offer is not just about assisting with transport. For example, the majority of the shopping trips we do are actually accompanying the person who requires the shopping, who are unable to get around the supermarket without assistance. This enables the people we’re helping to carry on with their independence for longer, plus means they have the added bonus of having company & social interaction whilst they’re shopping. Similarly, there are instances of transport to appointments – 5 this past 6 weeks – but these too provide an opportunity to interact with people who very often are lonely and isolated. Often including a cup of tea with the service user afterwards & half an hour’s chat. Loneliness & isolation is a huge problem for many people living alone, particularly in rural areas.

We’ve created our program of events & activities for the year – or WOW (short for What’s on Walford) & printed out flyers to be distributed across the community. Please do look out for those. The events & activities are open to all.  And we’re able to assist with the cost of these events & activities due to some very generous donations we’ve received from people living in our community.

We had a lovely first trip to the cinema in Monmouth at end of January to see Darkest Hour. Next activity is flower arranging & gardening advice at end of March.

I am in touch with the people at Ross Action Bus who are looking forward to working with us on the trips we already have planned throughout the year & other trips outside of that program to help build the network of people we’re assisting in the Parish.

I will be organising Dementia Awareness sessions in Walford Village Hall as there has proved to be enough interest. I am working on getting some dates together & will be publishing those on our Facebook page & the Parish Council Website.

Finally – the scheme only continues to be a success with the help of everyone in our Parish. Please do let me know – in the strictest of confidence – if you are concerned about anyone. We’re in the process of knocking on doors & leafletting at the moment so it’s a great time to talk to me about anyone you’re worried about. Chances are I’ll be knocking on their door anyway to make sure they’re aware of what we do. Similarly, if you’re aware of anyone who would like to volunteer. No limit as to how much time is expected – that is totally dictated by the volunteer.

  • Police representative: Was not present.
  • Ward Cllr: Gave his report

At Hereford we confirmed a 2.9% increase in council tax and a further 2% in respect of the Adult Social Care precept, giving an overall increase of 4.9% for 2018-19. We were able to agree a legal budget for the coming year, and a 3-year financial plan. However, we continue to lobby central government about the stress we are under in accommodating continual cuts in funding in our low waged rural economy and dispersed and aging population.

We have a change of leader at Hereford coming, with Cllr Jonathan Lester due to take over the reins from Cllr Tony Johnson in March.

Locally I’ve been engaged with the possibility of bringing back a part time warden to support our residents at Fowbridge Gardens. The first consultation I attended tabled the idea of an additional charge of £15 a week per residence to cover the costs of a 50% warden. I expressed concern about this, since only residents on housing benefit could recover the charge as an allowable expense. Thankfully Herefordshire Housing, now Connexus, reviewed the idea in the light of the negative feedback and have agreed that the warden would be free of charge for all current residents. On that basis in attending the most recent consultation I supported the project and a formal vote of residents has been held and the result is awaited.

Also, on 13th February, I invited Jill Morgan of the Ross Action Bus charity to a meeting with Sarah our Community Support Scheme co-ordinator, with a view to establishing a positive working relationship with that charity and allowing our Community Scheme, and indeed any new Warden at Fowbridge Gardens, to have positive access to their (free-except for donations) minibus.

I am pleased to say that the discussions have gone well and that we hope to make our first booking in support of the Community Scheme very shortly.

Finally, I’d like to say that I’m sorry to hear that our very able clerk, Catherine Murray, is moving on. Catherine has always acted with utmost professionalism and I will certainly miss her, with thanks for all her service and support Mr Chairman.

  • Localities Steward: Was not present.
  1. Finance: The bank reconciliation, Finance Appendix A and bank statements for January / February, which had been signed in Finance Committee, were noted.
    • Update from the Finance Chair: The election costs were £2,310.45 and the PC may need to pay for another election, if one is requested to fill the current vacancy.
  • Discuss payment due to Riversea Holdings Ltd. It had been unanimously RESOLVED by the Finance Committee, to give the Clerk delegated power, in conjunction with the working group to sign off the payment due to Riversea Holdings Ltd. <<Action Clerk and working group>>
  1. Planning: Applicants and members of the public will be invited to make comments prior to any discussion.
    • Planning Applications:
      • Application No: Site Address: Warryfield Barn, Walford, Herefordshire.

Cllr Drummond left the room.

This application had already been refused by Herefordshire Council Planning Department, but the PC had been asked to comment, bearing in mind that a re-submission is likely.  Comments:  The Parish Council unanimously RESOLVED to take time to study the application and consider it when there has been a re-submission.

  • Application No: 180372. Site Address: Old Hill Farm House, Old Hill Farm, HR9 7TQ.

This application was brought up the agenda to allow for Cllr Drummond to return to the room after it had been considered.

Comments: The Parish Council supported the application, there were no objections.

Cllr Drummond returned to the room.

  • Application No: Site Address: Hazlehurst Nursing Home, Bishopswood, HR9 5QX.

Prior to the application being considered, a member of the public spoke about the application, explaining the downsides, he feels that the changes are major, rather than minor.  The Chairman said that he understands the concerns expressed and read out a planning statement from Owen Hicks Architecture, outlining the changes.

Comments:  The Parish Council supported the application there were no objections on the detail. However, the following conditions were applied:

  • Emphasis is placed on the importance of landscaping in a sensitive area.
  • Local concerns should be given proper consideration.
    • Application No: Site Address: Land at Thorny Orchard, Coughton, Ross on Wye.

Comments: The Parish Council supported the application by a majority, there were two abstentions.

  • The content of the appeal for Little Howle Farm was noted.
  • Neighbourhood Planning: Will Warburg explained that the analysis of sites has thrown up some issues and the documents have been sent to Herefordshire Council for consideration. The issue is what is and isn’t a settlement? The definitions in the Core Strategy don’t match up with their definitions of ‘settlements’.  The PC should use consultants within the next month to assist with this.  There is a vacancy on the NDP group, which holds its meetings on a Wednesday night.
  1. Highways / Rights of Way / AONB: (Appendix D contains Councillors Highways & Rights of Way Reports.)
  • Leys Hill traffic management: The PC will commence the process as described and the clerk was asked to approach the Localities Steward to discuss a solution. <<Action Clerk>> Ward Cllr Newman said that the PC could look at an accelerated ‘TRO’, but there is a 4-year queue.  He is happy to engage with the PC over this.
  • Report from the Lengthsman Co-ordinator and Rights of Way Officer: All is going according to plan, there has been less activity on Rights of Way, as local users and landowners are keeping the paths in good order.
  • Approve work orders for the Lengthsman and Rights of Way: None further than the Annual Plan.
  • Annual Plan for 2018-19 for P3 and Lengthsman: Cllr Evans wants to include the purchase of new waymark and finger posts within the P3 budget, with a maximum spend of £1,500. Cllr Evans is to get quotes to demonstrate that competitive prices have been considered.  The Clerk was given delegated power to authorise the spend in conjunction with Cllr Evans.  <<Action clerk>> The clerk was asked to speak to Cllrs Evans and Cole and submit the Annual Plan to Herefordshire Council.  <<Action clerk>>
  • Warmhill and Hengrove Woodland Management Plan, Deepdean: Cllr Evans was asked to submit any comments. <<Action Cllr Evans>>
  1. Parish Projects:   To receive updates and discuss further action.
  • Community Support Scheme: Going along as planned.
  • Kerne Bridge Canoe Launch Site:
    • Management Agreement: Having taken advice from our legal representatives and considered the latest draft, he working group recommended to the Parish Council that they sign the Management Agreement.  It was unanimously RESOLVED to sign the agreement, which will be done by the Clerk and Chairman.
    • Updated Business Plan & Risk Assessment: Cllr Berry is putting together an updated business plan and comprehensive Risk Assessment for approval at the next meeting. The Environment agency, the BCA and Wye Navigation Committee are fully behind the Parish Council.
    • Planning Application and Overage Clause: The application has been withdrawn for the time being, which negates the overage clause and the approved Management Agreement states that RHL cannot put in an application without the approval of the PC.
    • Car Parking machine installation: Herefordshire Council has confirmed that it will supply

and install the car parking machine; Walford PC has to supply a location plan for the machine.  Cllrs Myers and Cole will visit the site and provide a location, which the clerk will send to Herefordshire Council.  <<Action Cllrs Myers, Cole and Clerk>>

  • Permits for local residents: The Chairman asked the public how it feels about what should be done regarding permits.  It was suggested that the PC publicises that permits are available, puts a sign up at the site and asks the public to spread the word.  Signage will explain that parking fees will only be due during the daytime.
  • Fees and timetable and Plans for 2018 Season: It was unanimously RESOLVED to approve a letter from Riversea Holdings to Canoe operators, outlining the fees and timetable for the 2018 season.
  1. Land at The Dam:  The land is a small quarry which has been left unattended; it is opposite the house of Mr Dinnick, who wants to buy the land, fill it in and park on it.  Cllr Evans explained that it is an area where drainage occurs, this would need to be addressed, should it be filled in.  It is about the size of a tennis court.  Cllr Hurley suggested that if it is not worth much it should be left as habitat.  The Clerk will contact Mr Dinnick to ask if he is prepared to pay for the District Land Surveyor to value the land, as a further step in the procedure which we are advised to follow, without incurring costs.  <<Action Clerk>>
  2. Information and correspondence
  • Appendix C, Appendix D and HALC Information corner were noted.
  • Responses required to correspondence received since last meeting: Letter from Mr Dowgill. (Clerk to respond)
  • Hereford Transport Package (HTP) Consultation. (Deadline 20th March) Those present were invited to respond as individuals.
  • Councillors reports on local matters:

Cllr Evans mentioned the access which has been created across the Kerne Bridge Canoe Launch Site.

  1. Public participation session:

A member of the public asked if the PC is considering permits for overflow parking from users at the Hall.  He explained that the hall has pre-booked canoe launch users who use the hall car park.  The Chairman asked whether Bishopswood Village Hall would consider overflow parking from the canoe launch site.

He also asked what was happening about the fence around the Bishopswood War Memorial.  The clerk explained that Cllr Cole had offered to plant hedging, set back from the memorial.  The clerk will check with Cllr Cole and the landowner.  <<Action clerk>>

Another member of the public drew attention to the Worcester Angling Club and suggested that WPC should make sure that canoe launch companies follow standards.  The Chairman explained that the PC intends to issue licenses and make sure that a code is followed by users.

Another said that many local people are very concerned about what is happening and what might happen at the site.  The Chairman explained the PC only wants to charge for canoe launching, car parking and put a café in, exactly in accordance with the business plan consulted on as far back as 2010. Cllr Berry said ‘we won’t do anything you don’t want’.

Another asked whether there was a land title for the land at the Dam.  The Clerk will check the archives.

Another said that if the PC does a TRO at Leys Hill, they should put in as much as possible, such as mini roundabouts.

Another expressed thanks to the Clerk, as did Cllr Berry.

  1. Items for next meeting agenda: Those included above.
  2. Next meeting: Annual Parish Meeting 4th April @ 6pm. Full Council @ 7.30pm at Walford Village Hall.
  3. Confidential Session: It was RESOLVED to go into confidential session.  The public were asked to leave the room.

Kerne Bridge Canoe Launch Site:  Summary

  • The access to the field adjacent to the river, across the land at Kerne Bridge Canoe Launch site was discussed and the Clerk was asked to write to the landowner.
  • Other items:

Adult safeguarding issues were discussed relating to the clerk.

Repeated freedom of information requests were discussed and the issue of the time burden this puts on the clerk.