Minutes 1st March 2016

Minutes of the Moreton on Lugg Parish Council Meeting held on Tuesday 1st March 2016 at 7.30p.m.

Parish Clerk – Lesley Hay

Councillors: Cllr. Cooper (Chairman); Cllr. P. Spong (Vice-Chairman); Cllr. C. Boden;
Cllr N Lindsay; Cllr S Browne; Cllr B Jackson

Parish Clerk: Lesley Hay

Present: Ward Cllr Guthrie; Mr Adrian Parry; 8 members of the public

1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – Cllr Joan Boden. Phil Pankhurst (Locality Steward)
Cllr Kim Cooper declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in the Village Hall.

3. TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE LOCAL POLICE OFFICER – as there was no representative present – the Chairman read from the recent SNT Newsletter which reports no recent incidents within the parish.
4. WARD COUNCILLOR’S REPORT to include an update :

Please see full report attached to these minutes and on the website. www.moretonparish.weebly.com

Further to Ward Councillor’s update – it was agreed that the following issues would remain on the agenda for the next meeting:

The Gratton Waste Site, Lower Vern
Ordnance Close – general update
Upper House Farm – update on Appeal
Highways England – update on response to request to resume meetings

Ward Councillor Guthrie reported that the SID project was on hold for the time being due to worn out/out of date equipment.

Ward Councillor Guthrie will follow up the two lights which are not working on the A49

(4.4) OPEN DISCUSSION – with local residents present at meeting.

(4.4) (a) Upper House Farm –there was an initial explanation by the Chairman regarding the appeal to overturn the refused planning application to construct six additional poultry houses and associate buildings.

One of the residents present handed round his personal response to the above appeal. This was discussed at length and it was stressed that as many people as possible need to send in a personal letter of objection – this can be done via the online link; emailing or by sending three copies of a letter to the given address in Bristol. It was stressed that every letter must quote the appeal reference.

The main issues against the planning application remain the same – and it was agreed that the Parish Council would send in their objection to an appeal to overturn the refusal of planning permission as issued by Herefordshire Council – The Clerk to amended the letter and to circulate to Councillors for their agreement asap as the dead line for representations is 11th March 2016.

Resolved: Clerk to amended previous letter and circulate – then to email and/or post according to the time scale.

(4.6) Open Session – closed

5. VILLAGE HALL REPORT – it was confirmed that all the grant applications had been completed and submitted – no results expected until May 2016.

Thanks were extended to Ray Smith for painting the hall area – it was a great improvement.

There had been a village leaflet drop advertising forthcoming events. It was discussed and agreed that the present Parish Councillor vacancies and vacancies on the Village Hall Committee would be highlighted in the April leaflet.

It was discussed and agreed that that Cllr Browne on behalf of the Parish Council would liaise with the Village Hall Committee with regard to advertising within The Hereford Times ‘village activities’ pages events associated with Moreton on Lugg.

Village Hall accounts looked healthy at £3,184 but it was acknowledged that the insurance premium of £1,500 is due to be paid at the end of March.

Dates had been booked for forthcoming elections/referendum which would help generate some additional income.

6. TO APPROVE MINUTES OF PARISH COUNCIL MEETING – the minutes for the meeting on the Tuesday 2nd February were approved as a correct record, adopted and signed by the Chairman.

It was proposed and agreed that in future Cllr Spong would display the agendas; draft minutes and Notice of Meetings on the Notice Board.

Resolved: Clerk and Cllr Browne to liaise.

Clerk to follow up with Locality Steward the possibility of having an additional Notice Board to be positioned near to the Village Hall.

(7.1) Annual Playground Inspection with Fran White – Cllr Browne requested that he accompany the Inspector on the annual Playground Inspection.

(7.2) Update on Tesco Bags of Help Grant – Cllr Browne explained that the voting was taking place in Ledbury branch of Tesco and finishes this weekend. It is hoped to have a decision by the end of March when, depending on the amount awarded, it can be decided what new equipment can be purchased for the play area.

The insurance implication of the new equipment was discussed and it was agreed to defer this until the outcome of the grant application was known. In the meantime, disclaimer notices are prominent within the park and the surrounding area.

Sincere thanks were expressed by Councillors to Cllr Brown for all his efforts in applying for this grant and his continued support to the play area.

Cllr Browne handed round a list of outstanding jobs that needed to be carried out in the park within the next few weeks – weather dependant – and asked for volunteers from Council and those parishioners present to help him complete these tasks.

The monthly inspection of equipment has been recorded as satisfactory.
A short list of items needed to be purchased for general maintenance was discussed and it was agreed that Cllr Browne could go ahead and purchase these items and he would be reimbursed the outstanding £90.40 at the next meeting.

Trees in Play Area and along boundary fence
Cllr Browne outlined his concerns regarding the trees in the Play Area and along the boundary fence. It is paramount that the area is safe for use and at the moment he has serious concerns that there are hang-ups in the very tall trees – some over 60’ high which need urgent attention. The boundary trees which over hang Church House Farm fields also need urgent attention before they are blown down destroying the boundary fencing.

Cllr Brown has received one set of quote from Ross Tree Services – for the overhanging 9 tress to be pollarded and made safe = £900 and for the 14 trees within the wooded area itself = £1350.00 again for pollarding and any necessary safety measures.

This was discussed at length – it was acknowledged that there had been funds set aside within the financial budget for 2016/17 for any necessary tree work.

It was agreed that a second quote was required – but it was proposed and unanimously agreed that if the quote from Ross Tree Services was the lower – that Cllr Browne could go ahead and award the contract to Ross Tree Services before the next meeting. The work, although weather dependant, would then get underway before the spring leaf growth takes hold.
Resolved: Clerk and Cllr Browne to liaise once second quotes are available.

8.1 Highways report – Balfour Beatty Locality Steward had sent in a report:
Locality Steward reports that he carried out an ad hoc walked inspection of Cedar Close and logged several pothole defects – any defects meeting intervention levels are now fixed.

As requested he has been to St Peters Close and has raised a job for the barriers to the Street lighting gangs.

The Parish Council have received an email from Allan Collett who lives at 97 St Peters Close regarding the three trees in front of 93; 95 and 97 St Peters Close. Copies of the emails have been circulated. It was acknowledged that this is a long ongoing problem known to the Parish Council; Amey; Balfour Beatty and Herefordshire Council for many years.

The Locality Steward had been asked by the Clerk to have another look at these tress prior to the meeting and his response is:

With regards the trees – Balfour only have funding to carry out works to trees which are Dead, Diseased or Dying. I agree with the customer that the trees are now very large but funding is not currently available for active management of the tree stock. As the trees were originally planted by the Parish Council I wonder whether they would consider funding any future maintenance works? There are no actionable defects along the footway at present. The customer has been informed previously that HC do not carry out works to trees because of lack of light and or poor signal to sky dishes or because of leaf or seed fall.

It was noted that the Locality Steward referred to ‘no actionable defects along the footway’ – however, although the footpath was resurfaced in the summer of 2015 there are already visible hairline cracks appearing and it will not be long before the root growth again renders the surface dangerous for pedestrians.

There was again lengthy discussion and it was agreed that Cllr Browne would ask for two quotes with a view to pollarding these trees and/or felling them completely. It was acknowledged that as these trees were planted by the Parish Council – the expense involved would probably have to be met out of precept funds – however it was acknowledged that this could set a precedent with regard to other trees that maybe considered a nuisance with in the village. It was noted that Mr Collett would be prepared to contribute towards any work that was considered possible.

It was acknowledged that the ownership of these trees remains a grey area and needs to be officially established in writing from Herefordshire Council and written permission for the Parish Council to maintain the trees within the village as considered necessary within the Health and Safety remit.

Resolved: Cllr Browne to obtain two quotes for severe pollarding and/or felling for these trees. Clerk will attempt to get a clearer picture on who has ultimate responsibility for these trees and written confirmation from Herefordshire Council that the Parish Council can proceed with necessary action.

With regards to the new lamp column installation – the Locality Steward has forwarded all relevant information to the senior management team and this has been passed to HC. As yet there has not been conformation that HC are able to instruct BB to deliver a quote for the column install and future maintenance costings.

8.2 Footpaths – Footpath Officer reported that the footpaths, although very wet, were in good conditional at the moment.

(9.1) Schedule of payments had been circulated.
These invoices were explained and it was proposed and unanimously agreed that payment could be made.

Parish Council Budget
Two years ago, Central Government altered the way that County Councils were to be funded; they broke down a certain element called the support grant which was to be divided up appropriately between each Town and Parish Council. The grant to Herefordshire Council amounted to some £298K; the proportion that Moreton was allocated for the last 2 years was £985. Herefordshire Council has now withdrawn this support grant from all but a handful of councils and for these it is being phased out.

10. PARISH COUNCILLOR VACANCIES – invitations to become a Parish Councillor will be included in the next Village Hall leaflet. Members of the public present at the meeting were also invited and encouraged to come forward and fill the two vacancies.

(12.1) Celebrations for the Queen’s 90th Birthday in 2016 – Village Hall
Committee are considering holding a Royal Tea Party – more information
maybe available for the next meeting.
(12.2) Village Fete – Cllr Spong provisionally suggested July – date to be
(12.3) Post Office is still not on line – dates for reconnection vary.
(12.4) There was discussion on difficulties in accessing the current website

Resolved: Clerk asked to contact Herefordshire Council and get website address updated. Clerk to ask Webtec to remove its site once the current contract has finished at the end of March.

13. PLANNING MATTERS – to consider Neighbourhood Plan (NP) /Rural Areas Site Allocation Development Plan Document (DPD) – info had been circulated. The two options were discussed at some length.
Resolved: The clerk would invite a representative from the Planning Department to attend the next meeting to give a presentation on each option before a decision is made.

Cllr C Boden left the meeting

14. LENGTHSMAN SCHEME: Work sheet for March 2016 was discussed and various outstanding jobs itemised. Chairman agreed to approach some new residents about trimming back a very overgrown honeysuckle plant which is encroaching onto the pavement.

Resolved: Clerk to send itemised work sheet to lengthsman.

It was agreed that the Clerk would prepared and submit the application for the Lengsthman/P3 scheme 2016/2017 funding and this would include a £500 Parish Council contribution to the enhancement scheme as allocated within the budget/precept funding.

Resolved: Clerk to fill in and submit application form.

15. TO CONSIDER MATTERS RAISED BY MEMBRS FOR NEXT AGENDA The Gratton Waste Site, Lower Vern; Ordnance Close – general update; Upper House Farm – update on Appeal; Highways England – update on response to request to resume meetings; Fete;

16. DATE for next PARISH COUNCIL MEETING: Tuesday 5th April 2016

Chairman closed the meeting at 10.00p.m.


5th April 2016

Herefordshire Councillor’s Report

Highways England – Response to key issues raised are as follows:-

Junction with Ordnance Close – concerns about no lighting
“In regards to this issue, as previously advised in my email of 27.1.16, the footway/cycleway installation was subject to an independent Road Safety Audit (a copy of which was forwarded) with no significant problems identified. There have been no collisions at the A49 Ordnance Close junction. We will continue to monitor the A49 at this location in terms of its safety and collision record and seek to implement measures where there is sufficient evidence to warrants action.”

Holmer – Starting Gate Roundabout Highways England Roadworks
“The scheme we have just completed consisted of the installation of a toucan crossing and short lengths of combined foot/cycleway on both sides of the A49 just north of the Starting Gate roundabout. The design did not include the provision of a bus stop or pull-in. I am not aware of any further schemes at this location in the immediate future.”

Re: Request for Meetings with Highways England (Northern Section of the A49)

I have requested that Highways England resumes these meetings & I am awaiting a response accordingly.

Re: Investment in Herefordshire Roads

The recently issued Proposed Resurfacing Programme 2016/17 is most disappointing. I have asked Cllr. Paul Rone (Cabinet Member for Highways) the following question – “Would you please explain how such a low spend will safeguard the highways infrastructure when the recent injection of capital only improved a small fraction of the network, and those roads not improved will now have less money spent on them than they did before?”

Unfortunately, no resurfacing works are scheduled for Sutton Walls Ward. The C1120 Moreton on Lugg to Marden road, is in a very poor state of repair and in desperate need of resurfacing. Once again, as Local Ward Member, I have raised this issue with Cllr. Rone & Balfour Beatty.

Upper House Farm, Poultry Units – APPEAL REF – APP/W1850/W/16/3143328
Written Representations

All representations must quote the appeal reference & must be received by 11 March 2016.

Re: The Gratton Waste Site, Lower Vern, Marden

Bill Wiggin MP contacted the Environment Agency & their response is as follows:-

“Thank you for your e-mail of 18 January outlining your constituents’ concerns about the land at Lower Vern.

The role of the Environment Agency in relation to waste management is to regulate activities in England to ensure that they do not cause pollution. One of the main ways we achieve this is through the use of environmental permits which authorise certain activities and enable us to set conditions to protect the environment.

In 2012 the Pipe Corporation Ltd applied for an Environmental Permit because they wanted to use waste materials to restore the Gratton (a shallow borrow pit used to construct a nearby rail embankment). Their plan was to collect soils from local building sites and spread these across the pit, with the aim of then reseeding and returning the site to agricultural use.

During the permit application process we consulted with our local environmental experts and with the wider community including the local Parish Council. Before we granted the permit we undertook environmental risk assessments and satisfied ourselves that the process would not cause significant pollution or harm the public or the environment.

The Environmental Permit was issued on 12 October 2012. It places a legal requirement on the operator to conform to certain environmental standards. We inspect the site biannually to make sure they continue to meet those standards.

In 2015 the operator applied for a variation to its existing permit. The variation will allow an additional 30,000 tonnes of waste soils to be bought to site which will extend the duration of the operation for a further 12 months. In order to utilise these soils the operator has been required to submit a Waste Recovery Plan to show that this is genuine recycling and not avoidance of landfill tax. The Plan must show a clear benefit and the applicant has provided expert opinion to demonstrate that restoring this land will improve drainage and confers agricultural improvement.

We are satisfied that the waste being imported to this site being of generally clean and inert nature is of sufficient quality and quantity that it will improve the land. There is an environmental benefit in terms of reducing waste to landfill and avoiding the need to extract virgin materials.

Concerns regarding the volume of traffic movements on all roads close to the Lower Vern site, except the A49 trunk road, are the responsibility of the local highways authority. Herefordshire Council has contracted Balfour Beatty Living Places to deliver its Highways management and maintenance work. I would therefore recommend contacting Stuart Nowell in the first instance if you want to follow up on these concerns(stuart.nowell@bblivingplaces.com). Concerns regarding traffic on the A49 should be directed to Highways England.

Marden Parish Council and local Councillor Kema Guthrie have also expressed concerns to the Environment Agency and the Local Planning Authority – particularly relating to the movement of HGVs carrying waste to the site along narrow lanes. We have explained that we do not regulate any off site activities nor have any jurisdiction over the highways.

In determining the permit applications, we have taken proportionate, efficient and flexible approaches to public participation. This has been mindful of the level of environmental risk.

I’m sure that you will appreciate that we will continue to regulate local businesses in a way which supports economic growth whilst safeguarding the environment.”

Council confirm tax increase to protect services for the vulnerable in Herefordshire
Herefordshire Council confirmed (on 5th February 2016) that the council tax levy for Herefordshire residents is to rise by 3.9% in 2016/17. The increase will help protect council services, including safeguarding vulnerable children, and will include an additional 2% (£1.7m) to support the significantly rising costs of adult social care for Herefordshire’s ageing population, which will be reviewed annually.
The final council tax figure will be confirmed in March, to include precepts from the police, fire authority and town or parish councils.
UPDATE ON “WISH”, Herefordshire’s directory for wellbeing, care, support activities and services, is now up and running

For the first time in Herefordshire, people can find all the information on wellbeing, care and support they need in one place. From zumba to advocacy, home care to swimming, care and support to children’s play groups, it is all there. People can find out what’s happening where they live by visiting WISH:
Online www.WISHerefordshire.org By phone 01432 383880 or by visiting WISH on St. Peter’s Street, Hereford.

Have a say about engaging with your council

Communities are now being given the opportunity to have more participation in the shaping and on-going development of the area around them.
The updated Statement of Community Involvement gives comprehensive information on the various ways to do this, such as Neighbourhood Development Planning, Community Right to Build and Neighbourhood Development Orders.
On Wednesday 10 February 2016 a 6 week public consultation will begin on the revised Statement of Community Involvement.
More information on the consultation can be found at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/sci-consultation

Park and Shop offer
Shoppers visiting Hereford will be able to stay longer for less after 3pm in March 2016.
The council’s Park and Shop offer allows shoppers to park in West Street, Gaol Street and Garrick multi-storey car parks in Hereford, purchase a one hour ticket between 3pm and 5pm and stay until 6pm every day throughout the month of March.
For information – The Europe-wide emergency telephone number is 112
People in distress can call 112 around the clock to contact the emergency services. The European emergency number is free and can be reached by landline phones as well as mobiles. It works in all 28 EU member states and several other countries too. But awareness of the number is alarmingly low. 11th February has been declared European 112 Day in order to promote the number.