Held at Bishopswood Village Hall
Wednesday 18 December 2019 at 7.30pm
Present: Councillors: Monica van Lienden (Chair), Joanne Akers, Simeon Cole, Ruth Dolman, Heather Evans, Sian Newbert, Bob Puzey, Guy Smith
In attendance: Richard Abolins (Parish Clerk) and 5 members of the public.
- Apologies: – Councillors Karen Chinn (leave), Eric Drummond (ill), Richard Jackson (resigned), Elizabeth Jordan (other engagement), Ian Matthews (resigned),
- Declaration of interests: – Cllr Dolman declared interest in planning application 194040 as a neighbour. Cllr Smith declared his interest in in items 6 and 8.4 relating to the Kerne Bridge Canoe Launch also as neighbour.
- Adoption of Minutes of previous meetings:
In item 12, appointments to the Safety Working Group, it was noted that it should have read Bill Cansdale not Carsdale. It was resolved to adopt the amended minutes of the meeting on 27 November 2019 as a true record of the meeting. The Chair signed the amended minutes.
- Public participation session:
- Estelle Stock from West Mercia Police gave a presentation on “We Don’t Buy Crime” and the use of smartwater in protecting householders’ property. West Mercia Police are able to provide security packs at a much reduced price and the Police and Crime Commissioner will provide 25% off the cost if there is substantial coverage in the parish. She will send details of the scheme and will provide support to the Council if it decides to promote the scheme.
- The Ward Councillor’s report had been circulated (see attached) but she was not present to take questions.
- A resident commented that when he lived in a different area, the use of smartwater had proved to be a very effective deterrent.
- Planning: –
Cllr Dolman left the room
- 194040 Hazelhurst Farm, Walford, HR9 5QU; Proposed single storey oak framed orangery and link extension; there was no objection.
Cllr Dolman returned
- 194183 – Barns at Warryfield Farm, Walford; Conversion of redundant barns to form 4 dwellings; subject to ensuring that the bat population was protected and that lighting restrictions were in place to protect the dark sky area and wildlife, there was no objection.
- 194184 – Barns at Warryfield Farm, Walford; Conversion of redundant barns to form 4 dwellings; there was no objection.
Cllr Smith left the room
- Kerne Bridge toilets: – Cllr van Lienden had spoken with Herefordshire Council and found that the Council could take on responsibility for the toilets at a peppercorn rent. However, this would include taking on the business rates and without charitable status this would cost around £3,700 a year. It was resolved to ask the Safety Working Group to consider the matter and recommend the next steps. Action – Safety Working Group
Cllr Smith returned
- Finance: – It was resolved to approve the proposed payments on the attached list.
- Budget and precept 2020/21:
- The draft budget had been prepared by collating the information received by the RFO from the committees and working groups. The estimate for inflationary increases may be high but the RFO felt it better to be prudent. He noted that although there was a budget for donations, no-one had applied for a grant for some years and maybe the Council should consider advertising the scheme more.
- In light of the presentation on Smartwater, the Safety Working Group was asked to look into the detail and make a proposal at the next meeting.
- The RFO commented that grant funding for the WCSS would not be known until the new year, so detailed discussion would probably be better then. The current figures are a best estimate. Cllr Newbert observed that there was a significant deficit for the scheme. The RFO said that this was a planned deficit for the current year and was backed by the surplus from the Canoe Launch.
Cllr Smith left the room
- The RFO reported that Riversea are projecting prudent figures because they are running at capacity now. He stressed that no café income had been included because Riversea did not know when they would be able to meet all the conditions and regulations for its placement. Cllr Newbert was unhappy that it had not been discussed with her, but the RFO stressed again that there were no proposals yet and certainly no decisions. When there were proposals which satisfied all regulations, they would be presented to the Council via the working groups.
Cllr Smith returned
- The Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group had presented their budget.
- The RFO said that the Council should also consider their reserve requirements as part of the precept process. The Council is not entitled to hold excessive reserves and Council policy is to limit the general reserve to no more than the annual precept.
- In the draft budget, the precept had been held at the current level and there was a small deficit arising. In the final budget, the Council will have to decide whether it keeps the precept unchanged and accept any deficit, or make a small increase to cover it.
- Items for next meeting agenda: –
- Draft budget 2020/21
- Howle Hill War Memorial
- To consider proposals for “We Don’t Buy Crime”
- To consider hedge cutting requirements
- Next meeting: – Wednesday 15 January 2020 at 7.30pm in Bishopswood Village Hal
The Chair closed the meeting at 21:05.