Minutes of the meeting of Walford Parish Council on 18 March 2020

Held at Walford Village Hall
Wednesday 18 March 2020 at 7.30pm

Present: Councillors: Monica van Lienden (Chair), Joanne Akers, Chris Barron, Karen Chinn, Simeon Cole, Heather Evans, Sian Newbert
In attendance: Richard Abolins (Parish Clerk), Yolande Watson (Ward Councillor) and 2 members of the public.

1. Apologies: – Councillors Eric Drummond, (coronavirus), Ruth Dolman (coronavirus), Elizabeth Jordan (coronavirus), Bob Puzey (coronavirus), Bridget Vine (coronavirus),

2. Declaration of interests: – none

3. Adoption of Minutes of previous meetings:
It was resolved to adopt the minutes of the meeting on 27 February 2020 as a true record of the meeting. The Chair signed the minutes.

4. Public participation session:
4.1 The Ward Councillor had received several reports of dog litter around the parish. Cllr Cole will find out who empties bins if the council install them.
The Ward Councillor reported that several inns in the area were offering a drive-through meal service – a good example of how the community was pulling together in the pandemic crisis.
4.2 A member of the public was surprised that coronavirus was not on the agenda. The Chair said that the situation had worsened significantly since the agenda was published.

5. Planning: –
5.1 The summary of planning applications was noted.
5.2 200448 – The Shieling, Walford, HR9 5QU; it was noted that an ecology report had some requirements, but the Council had no objection.

6. Personnel: –
Local clerks had been contacted regarding the vacant clerk’s position and Cllr Akers was in contact with a potential candidate. Advertising was placed with HALC, Indeed, the website and the newsletter.
The Indeed advert for the WCSS Co-ordinator had been re-vamped and there had been much more response. The aim is to start telephone screening at the end of this week. In the short term, there may be a change in emphasis in the job because of the coronavirus pandemic and this would be discussed with the candidates.

7. Resilience Plan: –
7.1 Cllr Cole put himself forward for the position of Resilience Co-ordinator.
Cllr Cole left the room
Cllr Evans was sad that Mr Berry with all his experience had resigned from the post. It was felt that Cllr Cole was very practical, but two councillors were concerned that they didn’t know what the resilience plan involved and what was required of the co-ordinator. The Chair stressed that there was some urgency about getting going and suggested that if there was any doubt, Cllr Cole could be appointed as Interim Resilience Co-ordinator. Mr Berry said that if it helped, he would be prepared to assist Cllr Cole in this role until a permanent co-ordinator was found. It was resolved to appoint Cllr Cloe as Interim Resilience Co-ordinator.
Cllr Cole returned
7.2 Considering the pandemic, flooding issues were less urgent. However, the Ward Councillor asked that the Clerk send her copies of the emails sent to the Locality Steward in respect of flood-damaged roads.

8. Highways and footpaths: –
8.1 The Lengthsman Co-ordinator reported that there was approximately £800 left in the budget for the year. The drainage issue on Howle Hill was still in hand, with the Ward Councillor’s assistance.
Cllr Chinn reported that the road between Coughton Corner and Sharman Pitch had been closed on Monday 16 April without notice by Welsh Water. This meant that large lorries coming from a large farm in the valley towards the B4234 were diverted up Sharman Pitch into lanes not designed to cope with such traffic. The meeting asked the Clerk to lodge a complaint with Welsh Water.
Cllr Evans reported that near the junction by Suff Lodge where a lot of forestry work had been going on, finger signs had either been broken off or removed. Cllr Cole will deal with the matter.
8.2 The Rights of Way Officer reported that there was not much maintenance work with the weather, but a number of finger posts had been done.
The RoW Officer reported finding broken glass whilst walking on a bridleway. This was an unusual occurrence but would be monitored.
Cllr Cole said that he had been sent a stile to be installed. The Chair reported a broken stile but would check out it’s exact location to determine whether it needed replacing.
The RoW Officer will continue to follow up issues with WA39 and WA50.

9. Neighbourhood Development Plan steering group:
9.1 The NDP co-ordinator was asked if the pandemic lockdown would impact the plan. It would because the steering group may not be able to meet, and video conferencing was not currently a legal option.
9.2 After clarification of some of the entries in the questionnaire, it was resolved to approve the Core Strategy Settlement Hierarchy questionnaire.

10. WCSS working group: –
Since the update report had been presented, coronavirus had taken greater significance. However, there already appeared to be a good community network in action. The mobile phone signal was not always strong enough for callers, so they will be urged to leave a voicemail message.
Offers of volunteering are coming in and Ross are setting up a covid-19 support scheme.

11. Community engagement working group: –
11.1 Noticeboards at the canoe launch and Hom Green need replacement. Cllr Cole will obtain prices.
11.2 In the absence of Cllr Puzey, this will be deferred until the next meeting.
11.3 The Clerk was asked to compile an internal contact list if councillors did not object to their details being included. This was not for general circulation but for the use of councillors only. The meeting discussed which email addresses were required and it was resolved to set up addresses for the lengthsman co-ordinator, rights of way officer and resilience co-ordinator. Action – Clerk

12. Safety working group: –
12.1 There had been no meeting so there was no report from the working group.
12.2 It was resolved to approve the placement of new signs at the canoe launch. Riversea have agreed to bear the cost. The lengthsman co-ordinator is still working on signage on Howle Hill
12.3 Consideration of the Smartwater project will be deferred until the pandemic is over.
12.4 It was resolved to install additional safety barriers at the canoe launch site. The Maintenance Co-ordinator is obtaining quotes for the Clerk.

13. Environmental working group: –
13.1 There had been no meeting so there was no report from the working group.
13.2 The Great British Spring Clean had been postponed until September
13.3 The meeting welcomed the free tree scheme and asked the working group to find more informatio

14. Annual Parish Meeting: – Considering the pandemic, it was agreed that the meeting scheduled for April 1 should not take place. The Clerk explained that by law the meeting should take place before June 1, though it was possible that the government might relax this requirement. In the meantime, it was resolved to hold the meeting on May 13 at 7.00pm in Walford Village Hall. If, nearer the time, it was not possible to hold this meeting, the Council will consider it again.

15. Outstanding action list: – There were no additions at the meeting

16. Items for next meeting agenda: –
16.1 Coronavirus
16.2 Resilience plan

17. Next meeting: – Wednesday 15 April 2020 at 7.30pm in Walford Village Hall

The Chair closed the meeting at 20:58.

PDF copy of minutes

Planning summary

NDP progress report

Settlement Hierarchy Questionnaire

WCSS report

Outstanding action list