Avebury Parish Council
Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on the 24 April 2018 at the Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF. [Adopted 16 April 2019].
In these minutes, ACSReC stands for Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee, AHA for Aster Housing Association, AONB for North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, APC for Avebury Parish Council, ASA for Avebury Sportsfield Association, ASSC for Avebury Sports and Social Club, ASSF for Avebury Sacred Sites Forum, BT for British Telecommunications plc, CATG for Community Area Transport Group, EH for English Heritage, FWO for Fyfield and West Overton Parish Council, MAB for Marlborough Area Board, NT for the National Trust, PCSO for Police Community Support Officer, SID for Speed Indicator Device, UNESCO for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.
Time Started: 19:04
Present: Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Mrs Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), Mrs Lynzey Paradise, Ms Zandria Service and Mr Stephen Stacey, together with 21 members of the public who were present for all or part of the meeting.
Apologies: Councillors Dr Mike Bedford, Mr David Brotheridge and Mr Terence O’Connor, Sir Peter Beale, Betty Cronk, Tony Farthing, Kate Fry, Dianne Gater, Keith and Sally Paradise, Rev Maria Shepherdson, John and Geraldine Wimble, and see last bullet point of item 4 b vii below for an email from Abby George of the National Trust.
In attendance: Wiltshire Councillor Jane Davies, Michele Lomas (Chair of Avebury Community Shop), Helen Miah (WHS Partnership Officer), Jan Polack (Chair of Orchard Group), PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) Emily Sykes to item 4.e.iii, and Miss Liz Moore, Clerk to APC.
- Welcome and introductions: The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming the public and asked if everyone had an agenda. He said he would ask various people to speak during the meeting. It was noted members of the press were not present. He reported Parish Council members were the same as last year apart from Jon Campbell who had recently resigned to take up a job in the USA and that members included Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chairman), Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), David Brotheridge, Terence O’Connor, Lynzey Paradise, Stephen Stacey, Zandria Service and himself. The Chairman introduced Jane Davies (Wiltshire Councillor), Liz Moore (Parish Clerk) and Judy Farthing (Civil Emergency Officer). He said that Kate Fry had done much to update APC’s Website, Ron Dobson gave advice on buildings, David Throup was Editor of UKN and Martin Rendle and John Giles worked as Handymen for the Parish Council. He said he was pleased that Helen Miah (WHS Partnership Officer) was present as Sarah Simmonds (WHS Partnership Manager) was not able to attend and he also welcomed Police Community Support Officer Emily Sykes to the meeting.
- Minutes of the annual Parish meeting held on 25 April 2017. (Draft minutes published on Parish Council web site www.aveburyparishcouncil.org). The Chairman asked if the draft minutes were accurate and it was unanimously agreed that they were an accurate record. Chairman to sign the minutes.
- Matters arising from the minutes: there were none.
- The work of the Parish Council, Transport Group, ASA, Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee and other local organisations. The Chairman said that the Parish Council was here to report on its work during the past year. It had met 12 times during the year including extra meetings in January to discuss the Sports Field Lease and in May to discuss ways of improving communications with the National Trust. It was noted the Planning Committee had not met outside of the ordinary Parish Council meetings.
- Elections and membership: the Chairman explained that he had been Chairman of Avebury Parish Council for the past seven years and that although he would be standing down as Chairman from 1 May 2018, he was keen to remain a member of the Parish Council. He said he would also be standing down as Chairman of the AWHS Steering Committee. He explained that he had been Chairman for four/five years and rotation of the role was supposed to be every three years.
- Transport Group: in the absence of Dr Mike Bedford the Chairman reported:
- Members were Dr Mike Bedford, Stephen Stacey and himself from APC and local residents; Kate Fry, Rob Macaire (who had just taken on the role of British Ambassador to Iran), Angela Norman, Tim Lewis, Moya Brannan, Simon Vatcher, Paul Ryder-Morris and there were two new members; Lyn Bennett-Nutt and Helen Ramsay who both worked in the Parish.
- The Parish Council was trying to get plans drawn for A4 improvements at West Kennett and Beckhampton in preparation for funding that might become available. The initial study for West Kennett had been partly completed and then halted and the study for Beckhampton was just starting.
- Horse crossing at Beckhampton Stables had been improved.
- Cyclothon at Red Lion PH had raised £568.92 with thanks to Moya Brannan who had cycled the equivalent of 298 miles.
- Parking in Avebury Trusloe: the project depended on the willingness of AHA, Centurion and WC to progress matters. APC was chasing the private company and he would report later in the meeting on the Housing Needs Survey that the Parish Council had commissioned last year.
- Footpath Signage: a new group had been set up and included Tim Lewis, Hilary Makins (NT Head Ranger), Steve Leonard (WC Rights of Way Officer), Helen Miah (WHS Partnership Officer) and himself and they would like to get the farmers involved. APC had pledged £1,000 to get the £5,000 project started. The Chairman invited Stephen Stacey to report on the next item.
- Transport Group Exhibition held on 7 March 2018 at Red Lion PH. Mr Stacey thanked members of the public for coming to the exhibition and said that many constructive suggestions had been left on 50 Post- it notes in total. He reported that the Transport Group had produced a draft summary report with interim recommendations that was available on the Parish Council’s web-site under Transport Group Meetings. Mr Stacey explained that the Transport Group wanted to achieve a set of deliverable short-term actions so that results could be realised sooner.
- It was noted further feedback would be collected from members of the public that night and there was also a meeting / exhibition at Kennet Valley Hall in Lockeridge on 16 May between 4-8pm.
- Ideas for Avebury Trusloe included yellow lines, 20 mph limit and reducing speed on A4361
- Ideas for Green Street included improving road surface condition, repairing damaged verge, stopping cars turning back and installing clearer signage.
- Ideas for footpaths included improving signage, stiles, addressing dog fouling, provision of paths on A4361 to Berwick Bassett and resurfacing of footpath 22.
- Ideas for the High Street included clearer car parking signage and that was going to be picked up the National Trust, yellow lines and better enforcement of Solstice parking permits and that was going to be addressed by WC.
- Mr Stacey explained that the bigger ticket project involved reducing speeds on the A4 by traffic calming (from Bell to Sanctuary, West Kennett, Silbury Hill, Beckhampton and Knoll Down) and included the future of the Avenue. He said that the Parish Council would push hard to secure the work. The Chairman asked the public if they had any comments and that APC would like to include other villages in the traffic calming scheme for the A4. The following points emerged or questions were asked:
- parking enforcement in the High Street had been non-existent at Solstice last year and 28 caravans had set up on the nursery site in Avebury Trusloe. It was noted improvements were being planned by WC enforcement and the Police for Solstice that year.
- when would the speed limit on the A4361 Avebury Trusloe road be reduced from 60 mph to 30 mph? It was noted a 40 mph speed limit was in the pipeline as soon as the Beckhampton traffic calming scheme was implemented. Jane Davies (Wiltshire Councillor) said that she sympathised with members of the public and agreed that the road was intimidating and suggested a short-term solution would be for APC to raise the problem with CATG.
- parking in Avebury Trusloe had not been addressed since the issue was first raised in 2012 and was wasting Police resources when issues arose. It was noted residents had opposed a car parking scheme at Trusloe Cottages but that there was space for 22 cars on the nursery site furthest from the highway and nearest the houses.
- residents had been asking for a 30 mph limit in Avebury Trusloe for the past 25 years and was there any reason why the proposed 40 mph limit on the A4361 had to wait for the traffic calming project at Beckhampton? It was noted there was no reason to wait and that APC could talk to MAB’s CATG.
- why had Speed Indicator Devices (SIDs) been withdrawn? It was noted the SIDs had been withdrawn by WC due to budget cuts. Jane Davies (Wiltshire Councillor) reported that Mildenhall Parish Council had recently bought their own SID for £7,000. It was noted PCs could band together to purchase their own SIDs with funding from CATG however there was the issue of maintaining them and that road users often ignored the SIDs.
- had the Community done a speed watch? It was noted speed watches had been done informally in the past but there were issues of safety and insurance cover.
- parking was made worse by the B&Bs in Avebury Trusloe.
- what had happened to a previous suggestion by Dr Bedford for a 40 mph limit in the whole of the WHS? It was noted speed limits were more likely to be disobeyed but not if the roads were narrowed. A member of the public reported about 10-15 years ago a similar request for a 40 mph speed limit across the WHS had been rejected by WC because 40 mph limits could not be implemented across A-roads but could if the road network consisted of B-roads.
- the importance of decreasing the speed limit on the A4361 Avebury to Beckhampton road was re-stressed.
- there used to be double white lines in the middle of the road on the A4361 from the bus layby to New Bridge and they should be re-instated to improve safety. Jane Davies (Wiltshire Councillor) reported that white lines were cheap to implement and cost about 50 pence per metre to put in. She said that if there was previous evidence of them being in the road then WC would put them back again but it would need to be requested via the CATG. The Chairman encouraged members of the public to join the Transport Group. He then said he had forgotten to give the NT’s apologies earlier in the meeting and tabled an update that had been emailed to the Clerk the previous day (see appendix 1). He read out the email the Clerk had received from Abby George (Marketing and Communications Officer):
Please see attached the National Trust update for the Annual Parish Council Meeting tomorrow. We’re also distributing this at key points throughout the village so that residents can pick up their own copy.
Very best wishes, Abby’
Members of the public expressed general disappointment that they had not received a copy of the update and that there were no representatives of the NT at the meeting that night. The Chairman asked the public if they would like him to read out the NT’s newsletter also received by the Clerk the previous day but they declined. A member of the public requested that the Parish Council write to the NT to inform them that if they wanted to best communicate then they should attend meetings. [And also see item 4.i.]
- ASA / ACSReC: Mrs Paradise stated the members of ACSReC were herself (Chair), Maggie Lewis, Dr Mike Bedford, Dave Brotheridge, Stephen Stacey, Diane Gater, Bruce Hinder, Dominic Fry and Alan Blake. Mrs Paradise reported that APC had held the Sports Field lease since 1947 and that ASSC had taken over a new, 40 year lease of the Sports Field on 17 April 2018 because the Parish Council was not allowed to raise funds from Charities [e.g. Sport England]. She said that APC wanted to protect the interests of users of the field and had also exchanged a side-agreement with ASSC. The Chairman read out part of the agreement as follows: ‘In consideration of the transfer at no cost by the Council to the Club of the machinery, equipment, furnishings, goods and chattels set out in the first schedule hereto, the Club will for the duration of any tenancy or legal interest that it may hold in Avebury Sports Pavilion and Field (Sports Field):-
- Admit any parishioner of Avebury Parish in the County of Wiltshire into membership of the Club.
- Ensure that all Avebury parishioners will continue to have the same priority access to the Sports Field for sports and recreation as they have enjoyed since the [Parish] Council first leased the land on 14 May 1947.
- Not allow anything to take place at the Sports Field that may be or may become a nuisance, annoyance or inconvenience to the public.
- Include a representative of the [Parish] Council as a member of any Club committee which is responsible for the management of the Sports Field.
- Procure that any entity to which the Club assigns its interest in any lease of the Sports Field enters into an agreement with the [Parish] Council on the same terms as those included herein as a condition precedent of any such assignment.
This Agreement will come into force simultaneously with the surrender of the [Parish] Council’s lease of the Sports Field and the Club taking a lease of the Sports Field from the National Trust….’
Mrs Paradise further reported that the ASA / ACSReC bank accounts were in the process of being transferred to ASSC and that any ideas for the future of the sports field would be gratefully received by herself and Dominic Fry. She explained roof repairs to the Pavilion were in the pipeline and that other work had already been done to prepare for the Cricket Season. In terms of communications all members of ACSReC had agreed to stay together and report to ASSC annually at ASSC’s Annual General Meeting. She said that there would always be a PC member on the Club Committee; the only requirement to be on the Committee was to be a Club Member. Thanks were expressed to ACC for their involvement in refurbishment work at ASSC to improve the quality of services. Mrs Paradise encouraged members of the public to get involved with Avebury Day 2018 on the 8 September and said they could volunteer by leaving their details on the sign-up sheet on the front table. The Chairman thanked Mrs Paradise for her report.
- Local initiatives:
- Community Shop: Michele Lomas reported that it had been 10 years since the village had met and decided to set up a Community Shop and that the shop had opened in March 2009 and that next March would be its 10th year of being open. She said it had been challenging keeping the shop open in the snowy weather but thanks to volunteers the shop had been able to remain open. Mrs Lomas said the shop had made donations towards a community defibrillator located outside on the Social Centre wall and had given hampers to various organisations. She thanked everyone for all their support as customers and especially thanked her wonderful volunteers and encouraged anyone to volunteer to help with the shop.
- Community Orchard: Jan Polack explained that the idea for the Orchard Group had been formed in support of the Queen’s Jubilee in 2012 and that at the event they had auctioned three varieties of apple trees. She said that 13 trees had been planted on the Sports Field including a crab apple tree in memory of Paul Dixon, two trees had been planted in the Church grounds and one tree had been planted in the Community Shop garden. That year the Orchard Group had offered trees for the Community to adopt and seven trees had been supplied for people to nurture in their own gardens. Mrs Polack thanked all volunteers including Fred Gillan and the Farthings who had helped replant the hedge on the north-western boundary of the Sports Field with native trees and edible plants. Thanks were also expressed to the Community Shop for holding apple day celebrations, Avebury Wassail for fund raising to support the Orchard Group and Marlborough Downs Space for Nature farmers for re-introducing wildlife onto the Downs. Mrs Polack said that the Orchard Group was also supporting the Bee Road Project, a project developed to encourage everyone to plant bee friendly plants to extend the pollinating season. The Chairman thanked Mrs Lomas and Mrs Polack and asked the public if they had any comments and there were none.
- Wiltshire Council: Jane Davies (Wiltshire Councillor) reported that Wiltshire Council had to make 45 million pounds worth of cuts over the next three years and was giving more responsibility to Town and Parish Councils for anything non-statutory and that meant there would more pressure on Avebury Parish Council. She said APC meetings were friendly meetings and she especially thanked the Chairman. Members of the public gave their support by clapping too.
- Police: Emily Sykes introduced herself as the new PCSO for Marlborough and rural and said that part-time colleagues included Mark Braithwaite and Lucy Stonestreet. She reported that over the past year there had been a low amount of crime in the Avebury area and only 55 occurrences, mainly road related, but that 16 occurrences had been vehicle crimes especially at beauty spot areas. She said the Police had installed warning notice boards at all beauty spots and they were asking for support from the National Trust and the Parish Council in putting leaflets on tourists’ cars that contained guidance including asking them not to leave satnavs in their cars. PCSO Sykes reassured members of the public that the waiting time limit for 999 emergency calls in the Avebury area was 10 minutes and that for non-emergency calls the Police aimed to respond within one hour. She said members of the public could also contact the Police via their web-site and emails would be received by a Community Co-ordinator and then sent to the appropriate officer. The Chairman thanked PCSO Sykes for her report. [PCSO Sykes left the room].
- WHS Partnership Manager and Partnership Officer: the Chairman introduced Helen Miah as the new WHS Partnership Officer. Mrs Miah explained she had joined on the 30 November 2017 and was focussed on improving communications. She asked if everyone had seen the Bee Road activities in the NT Farmyard in Avebury on 18 April to celebrate World Heritage Day however no one was aware of the activities. She reported WHS would be involved in Open Farm Sunday, Avebury Day 2018 and the annual Archaeology Conference taking place in Devizes on 13 May 2018 and had most recently been working on the A303 consultation. Mrs Miah reported WHS was hosted by WC but WHS was looking to move to a more independent way of working. The Chairman stated WHS were very strong in representing Avebury’s messages and had been talking to the NT about the Chapel and how they could say more about World Heritage. Mrs Miah asked if everyone was aware of Megalith magazine and most people were aware of the magazine published by WHS. Members of the public were encouraged to submit any interesting articles. Mrs Miah said she had been asked by Sarah Simmonds (WHS Partnership Manager) to thank the Chairman for chairing the AWHS Committee. A member of the public reported the state of the Avenue and parking was getting worse and asked whether any improvements were planned. She said that she and her husband were against closure of the Avenue and that a weight limit on the Avenue had been suggested. Mrs Miah said she was working with the Transport Group on solutions and Mrs Davies reported that Steve Hind (WC Senior Highways Engineer) was currently working on ways to rebuild the verges on the Avenue. A member of the public asked who would be taking over the Chairman roles and who would pay for the WHS Officers if WHS was moving away from anything non-statutory. Mrs Miah reported that the WHS Co-ordination Unit was only moving towards being more independent and not separate from WC. Mrs Davies stated WC would continue to pay members of staff and that WC was committed to making a thriving economy.
- APC Website: in the absence of Kate Fry, the Clerk reported that improvements to the website would soon include photographs of Councillors and a new detailed calendar for local events.
- Planning: the Chairman reported that APC had supported all planning applications received, being 25 applications from 29 April 2017 to 24 April 2018, some with suggested conditions. The PC had made observations on an application for a mobile ‘phone mast behind the Bell PH in West Overton.
- Local issues and Parish Council decisions:
- Defibrillator: Mrs Lewis reported the defibrillator on the Social Centre had been part funded by the Henge Shop, the Community Shop and the Parish Council and that a second defibrillator had been purchased at a reduced price for Avebury Trusloe and had been part funded by local residents who wished to remain anonymous and again the Parish Council. She explained the defibrillator would be housed in a heated cabinet inside the BT telephone kiosk because the pads needed to be kept warm to work efficiently and that Mrs Paradise would be looking for a volunteer to look after the defibrillator / check the kit and send a monthly report to SW Ambulance Service via email. Mrs Lewis reported that the next defibrillator training session was taking place at 7pm on 9 July in the Social Centre, all welcome. A member of the public asked if the kiosk would be straightened as it had been leaning for years. It was noted the Parish Council had considered straightening the kiosk but would not be doing so due to electricity supply being located underneath the concrete foundations. A member of the public asked what the procedure was if a tourist became ill. It was noted that in an emergency the public should call 999 for an ambulance and if an ill person was within 200 metres of a defibrillator then it could be used by a member of the public. The emergency services were aware of the location of all defibrillators. The Chairman thanked Mrs Lewis for her report.
- Flood Group: there was nothing to report.
- Civil Emergency Plan: Mrs Lewis and Judy Farthing were working on updating the document.
- Great West Way: the Chairman explained Visit Wiltshire had set up a one million pound project called The Great West Way to encourage foreign, internet based travel agents to bundle holidays for two nights or more and bring tourists to areas of interest along the A4, Great Western Railway, Kennet and Avon Canal and River Thames by all means of transport. It was noted Avebury had about 18 bed spaces for tourists. The Chairman said Visit Wiltshire recognised some places would be able to get huge community returns but that other places such as Avebury were fragile and wouldn’t be able to cope with too many tourists. It was additionally noted with satisfaction that the WHS icon on a Great West Way map was on Stonehenge and not Avebury.
- Ridgeway: the Chairman reported WHS had sent a letter in October 2016 to Jane Scott (Leader, WC) requesting that the Ridgeway be closed all year round and had yet to receive a response. APC had included: There should be a plan to ensure that displacement of vehicles particularly at summer solstice does not impact on other visitors, residents, farmers and landowners and the wider WHS. Mrs Davies (Wiltshire Councillor) reported that WC did not want to get involved in litigation with byway users such as the 4×4 Club. Mrs Miah (WHS Partnership Officer) said she was meeting with Sarah Wright (Ridgeway National Trail Officer) because preserving underlying archaeology was a legal reason to close the Ridgeway.
- Housing Needs Survey: the Chairman stated that the results of the survey were accessible via the Parish Council web-site and showed there were six households in need. This was not, however, likely to be a good representation as the response rate had been 34% and demand was likely to be higher.
- URC Chapel: noted further information in the NT update (see appendix 1).
- High Speed broadband: there were various requests by members of the public for assistance in improving broadband and the Chairman said that the PC would continue to try to help.
- APC Donations and contributions: the Chairman reported the Parish Council had donated £500 for Avebury Day, agreed to contribute £900 for defibrillators in the High Street and at Trusloe, pledged £1,000 for footpath signage scheme and £250 for HLF fund application for new WHS Trust.
- A303 consultations: the Chairman stated APC had written to Chris Grayling (Secretary of State) and responded to the Highways England Consultation. He said it was important to avoid UNESCO taking action that might put Stonehenge and Avebury’s WHS status at risk and that a bypass or longer tunnel would solve the problem.
- National Trust: representations on issues and planned improvements in dialogue. [The Clerk temporarily left the room]. The Chairman reported that APC had included NT update as a standing item on its agenda from June 2016. He said that the NT (Jan Tomlin and Catherine Hosie) had attended one meeting of the PC in the past 12 months on 4 July and since then they had attended no meetings. Councillor James Sheppard (Vice-Chairman WC) had attended four PC meetings (2 May – 5 Sept inclusive) and Jane Davies (Wiltshire Councillor) had attended seven meetings. He reported the Coach House toilets were opening more frequently when the bookshop was open and Emma’s Pantry mobile food van for the High Street Car Park would not be proceeding for the time being as reported in July 2017 PC minutes. In discussion, members of the public expressed discontent and felt that the NT did not recognise that Avebury was an independent village and not the same as Lacock. Mrs Davies (Wiltshire Councillor) proposed that APC write to the new Director General at the National Trust about the need to improve communications and the public asked that APC include that the village also recognised the valuable contributions made by the NT. Proposed by Mrs Davies (Wiltshire Councillor), seconded by Mr Butler and unanimously agreed by those present.
- Civil Emergency Plan: covered under item 4.g.iii.
- Flood Group: covered under item 4.g.ii.
- Arrangements for Summer Solstice 2018: not covered.
- Local improvements and works including: the Chairman reported:
- High Street planters had been damaged and re-instated.
- Litter picking had been postponed twice due to adverse weather and a new date would be announced by the PC very soon.
- The PC had made various requests for leaf clearance, street cleaning, potholes, street lamps, salt, strimming verges and some potholes had been filled in including The Avenue, Green Street, Church Walk and Footpath 22.
- Precept, finance and administration: the Chairman reported:
- The precept had been set at £12,100 in 2017/18 and had remained the same for 2018/19. Expenditure had been budgeted at £16,694, using £4,194 of reserves after allowing for VAT refund of about £400.
- The bank balance at 31 March 2018 was £19,861 and compared with about £16,262 on the 31 March last year and that APC’s actual position was more like £6,300 because of £13,500 pledges outstanding. A member of the public asked if the precept might be increased to pay for more services and the Chairman said that if APC didn’t need the money then the precept would not be increased.
- APC policy on disposals of assets had been adopted.
- The audited accounts for 2016 – 2017 were available for inspection.
- Asset register and risk assessments had been reviewed and updated.
- Insurance cover had been renewed at a lower rate of £745 for three years until June 2020, but the cost would further decrease to about £360 because the PC would not be insuring the Pavilion.
- Annual accounts inspection and internal audit carried out twice a year.
- Annual inspection of the Play Area at Avebury Trusloe was carried out by RoSPA.
- APC had leased two defibrillators.
- Local issues from the public:
- A member of the public reported that Thames Water had been carrying out pumping work at the sewage works in Beckhampton until 9pm at night and asked if anyone knew the length of time it would go on for. A member of the public said that tankers had been going through the High Street to get to the pumping station at the end of Church Walk at 4am in the morning. It was noted there were difficulties keeping the pumping station at Avebury going, the sewer systems were connected and that might be the reason why Thames Water were pumping at Beckhampton. Mrs Lewis offered to investigate.
- A member of the pubic reported potholes on Green Street needed urgent attention. Mr Stacey said they were on the PC’s list and they would pursue the issue.
- A member of the public reported two lamps on Church Walk and two more down by the pumping station needed fixing, one of which had been out for a long time. Clerk to log issue on WC on-line reporting tool.
- Local issues from the Parish Council: there were no issues.
- Any other business: none declared.
- Thanks: the Chairman thanked all those who supported the Parish Council:
- Litter pickers and those who cleared up after their dogs especially on the recreation ground, Circle and on footpath paths.
- Trustees, Secretaries and Treasurers of local voluntary organisations and especially ACSReC members.
- Jane Davies (Wiltshire Councillor), Police, the National Trust, Sarah Simmonds and Helen Miah and Wiltshire Council.
- the Parish Council’s wider team of Judy Farthing (Civil Emergency Officer), Kate Fry (APC web site), Ron Dobson (advice on buildings), Martin Rendle (small works), John Giles, David Throup (Editor, UKN) and the farmers for fixing stiles and many other small works.
- Liz Moore (APC’s Clerk).
- Colleagues on the Parish Council.
- All those attending the meeting.
Mrs Lewis proposed a vote of thanks to Andrew Williamson for his dedication and hard work as Chairman of Avebury Parish Council for the past 7 years and presented him with a gift from fellow members and the Clerk. The Chairman sincerely thanked everyone.
The meeting closed at 21:15
Appendices (included in the book of Parish Council papers):
1. National Trust update Documents available for inspection were the APC’s minute book, audit reports, bank statements and books of account. The accounts were not inspected.
Avebury Parish Council
Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on the 25 April 2017 at the Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF.
In these minutes, ACSReC stands for Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee, AHA for Aster Housing Association, AONB for North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, APC for Avebury Parish Council, ASA for Avebury Sportsfield Association, ASOPM for Avebury Solstice Operational Planning Meeting, ASSC for Avebury Sports and Social Club, ASSF for Avebury Sacred Sites Forum, CATG for Community Area Transport Group, DfT for Department of Transport, EH for English Heritage, FWO for Fyfield and West Overton Parish Council, LGO for Local Government Ombudsman, LTA for Long Term Agreement, MAB for Marlborough Area Board, NT for the National Trust, TTRO for temporary Traffic Regulation Order, TVM for Traffic and Vehicle Management Group, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.
Time Started: 19:05
Present: Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Mrs Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), Mr Jon Campbell (from item 4.i.i onwards), Mr Terence O’Connor, Mrs Lynzey Paradise, Ms Zandria Service and Mr Stephen Stacey, together with 29 members of the public who were present for all or part of the meeting.
Apologies: Councillors Dr Mike Bedford and Mr David Brotheridge, PCSO Lucy Stonestreet, Mike and Jan Polack, Brian and Helen Vickers, Reverend Maria Shepherdson, John and Geraldine Wimble, Gill Swanton and Philippe and Dominique Ullens.
In attendance: Wiltshire Councillor Jemima Milton, Michele Lomas (Chair of Avebury Community Shop and representative of the Community Orchard), PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) Melissa Camilleri and Paula Yarranton to item 4.e., Hilary Makins (NT Wiltshire Countryside Manager) and Peter Oliver (NT Wiltshire Landscape Ranger), Sarah Simmonds (WHS Partnership Manager), Liam Wiseman (WHS Partnership Officer) and Miss Liz Moore, Clerk to APC.
- Welcome and introductions: The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming all present and said it was the parishioner’s meeting at which the Parish Council reported on the past year and planned for the future and that it was very much a two way process. He then outlined some ground rules and asked that contributions should be limited to a couple of minutes, that everyone should treat each other with respect and all should concentrate on addressing issues. It was noted members of the press were not present. He reported Parish Council members were Dr Mike Bedford (Vice Chairman), Maggie Lewis (Vice Chairman), David Brotheridge, Jon Campbell, Terence O’ Connor, Lynzey Paradise, Stephen Stacey, Zandria Service and himself. He reported Jemima Milton was Avebury’s WC Councillor and also Chair of CATG, and thanked her in particular for attending as the meeting that evening would be her last Parish Meeting. The Chairman then introduced Liz Moore (APC’s Clerk from Lockeridge) and Judy Farthing (Civil Emergency Officer). He reported Kate Fry had done much to update APC’s Website, Ron Dobson gave advice on buildings, David Throup was Editor of UKN and Martin Rendle and John Giles worked as Handymen for the Parish Council. He said he was also pleased to welcome to the meeting Hilary Makins (NT Wiltshire Countryside Manager), Peter Oliver (NT Wiltshire Landscape Ranger), Sarah Simmonds (WHS Partnership Manager) and Liam Wiseman (WHS Partnership Officer) as well as Police Community Support Officers Melissa Camilleri and Paula Yarranton who were attending instead of PCSO Lucy Stonestreet.
- Minutes of the annual Parish meeting held on 28 April 2016. (Draft minutes published on Parish Council web site www.aveburyparishcouncil.org). The Chairman asked if the draft minutes were accurate and it was unanimously agreed that they were. Chairman to sign the minutes.
- Matters arising from the minutes: None.
- Report on the work of the Parish Council, ASA, ACSReC and other local organisations in the past year: The Chairman said APC represented the interests of Avebury residents, employers and employees. The Parish Council normally met 10 times a year but had met 12 times in the past year; there had been two extra meetings to discuss:
- the possibility of appealing a recent premises licence decision given to the National Trust
- ACSReC issues.
The Chairman said that APC normally met at the Social Centre but had also met for one meeting each in the Sports and Social Club and the pavilion. APC’s Planning Committee had met twice, once on site at Lower Acre, Bray Street and Beckhampton House stables, and once at The Stables, High Street. APC also attended many meetings such as MAB, CATG, ASSF, ASOPM, NT staff, Social Centre Trustees, WHS Steering Committee, WHS Partnership Panel and WHS Transport Strategy. APC also attended ad hoc events and meetings such as those with Aster Housing, AONB, WC, EH and NT.
- Membership and elections: the Chairman reported employers and people working in the Parish could join APC. It was noted Jon Campbell had been co-opted to the Parish Council in May and Terence O’Connor in June 2016.
- Transport Group: item deferred to later in the meeting as Moya Brannan not present. (See item 4.f.).
- ASA/ACSReC: Lynzey Paradise (Chairman, ACSReC) reported the main focus of the Committee in the past year had been on maintenance of the Sports Field Pavilion including installation of a new mains water supply, new guttering, roof repairs, interior re-fit and refitted storage shed. She reported fundraising efforts such as the film nights had been a great success and all were welcome to take part in the ‘Teas for Tourists’ event that would be taking place in the Social Centre that Sunday. The Committee would be looking to support Apple Day taking place on 8 October. Mrs Paradise explained revenue had been approximately the same as the previous year and there was a desire for a future long-term plan as the Pavilion was over 70 years old. Mrs Paradise said the Orchard Group had planted 120 metres of new hedge-line and had asked her to express huge thanks to all involved and also to Reece and Greg from ACC for mowing the grass in and around the Orchard. It was noted new apple trees had been planted in the Community Shop garden, in the Churchyard and on the Sports Field. Mrs Paradise reported ACC had carried out a massive refurbishment of the Cricket Square and following a recent merger with Cherhill Cricket Club were now running 84 fixtures, 69 of which were on the Sports Field and that ACC were helping with the new ‘All Stars’ cricket club for children. Mrs Paradise reported the Committee were working closely with ASSC to utilise the Social Club which had four new Committee members and a new bar Manager. The following work had been carried out at ASSC in the past year including new entrance gates, work to trees, renovations to the stock and pool table room, reintroduction of draft beers and purchase of a card machine. She also reported ASSC had submitted an application to Sport England to refurbish the building. The Chairman thanked Mrs Paradise for her report and explained that mains water had been installed in the Pavilion, instead of a new nitrite filter to purify water from a private supply that would have cost £1,800. He also expressed many thanks to the NT staff who had done a lot of good work to help with hedge work and chipping and thanked everyone for their combined efforts including Mrs Paradise for chairing ACSReC .
- Police: PCSOs Melissa Camilleri and Paula Yarranton reported their focus had been on theft from vehicles particularly in tourist areas and they had spoken to the NT about additional signage otherwise there was nothing of real significance to report. It was noted Avebury was on the patrol route. A member of the public reported there had been issues of burglaries in Bray Street where someone had entered a house and that fuel had been taken from a farm in Avebury Trusloe and that as a result CCTV had been installed. The Police said they relied on residents reporting incidents to them as they were limited due to staff cuts and asked if everyone was on Community Messaging Scheme which was a new way of Neighbourhood Watch via email. To sign up see http://www.wiltsmessaging.co.uk. A member of the public asked if there were any issues the Police would not get involved in and the following list was given: fly tipping, abandoned vehicles, lost / found animals unless they were causing a danger to the public and noise abatement. A member of the public asked how often a resident might see a patrol in Avebury. The Police explained there were five skeletal teams and both PCSOs were on the East Central Team covering Devizes to Hungerford but there were also support officers in Calne and Chippenham that could provide additional help. Jemima Milton requested the Police to ask Officers to drive through the villages and not just stick to the main route as their presence was a deterrent. The Chairman thanked both PCSOs for attending the meeting and they left the room.
- Local Initiatives: Community Shop. Michelle Lomas thanked everyone for their continued support for the shop. She reported the fridge freezers had been replaced and the shop redecorated and thanked the NT for providing the building at a very low rent and carrying out its maintenance. Mrs Lomas said one of the shop’s aims was to try to support local producers and gave the example of their honey producers and cake suppliers and that she was open to suggestions. Mrs Lomas stated the shop still needed volunteers and expressed many thanks to those who were able to volunteer.
- Transport Group: in the absence of Mike Bedford and Moya Brannan, the Chairman reported:
- Members of the Transport Group were Mike Bedford, Dave Brotheridge, Stephen Stacey and himself as APC councillors, together with local residents Kate Fry, Rob Macaire, Angela Norman, Tim Lewis, Moya Brannan and Simon Vatcher.
- 30mph sign: on Swindon Road north of Melbourne House was now in place and became operational on 28 October. APC had received feedback from some Rawlins Park residents that cars were going slower and it was noted that it would only take one person to adhere to the new speed limit and the cars behind would have to do the same. Jane Davies reported that since Lockeridge residents had begun to drive at 20 mph in anticipation of the new 20 mph speed limit signs, the village had become a lot calmer.
- A4 improvements at West Kennett and Beckhampton: the quotation from Atkins for fees for design work for the major improvement project totalled £18,775 + VAT. CATG was funding 50% of the work (£9,400), APC 25% (£4,700), local people and businesses in West Kennet and Beckhampton meeting the remaining 25% of costs with private funding of £2,350 each. Currently £1,400 more was needed in Beckhampton. The first £1,000 of initial investigatory work was being commissioned by WC. Thanks were expressed to Sarah Simmonds for helping. Moya Brannan was raising funds for transport projects and had organized a Cyclothon for the 27, 28, 29th May Bank Holiday weekend. The Transport Group had proposed the possible closing or part-closing the Avenue B4003, and was aware that there were many different views in the Parish and in nearby communities. The Transport Group had taken the view there was a need for a structured discussion on the pros and cons for closing or part-closing the Avenue. The plan was to gather facts and evidence and increase dialogue about the proposal within the Avebury community. Depending on results, the Parish could then open discussion with other parishes in a second stage. The AWHS Partnership Panel had met that day and had agreed to provide information and develop / discuss views too.
- Parking in Trusloe: the project at the Nursery Site depended on the willingness of Aster, Centurion and Wiltshire Council to progress matters together with APC. Following AHA’s planning consultant’s report, APC had taken the next step, by commissioning a Housing Needs Survey. The survey was conducted last November/December and results expected very shortly. AHA’s planning consultant’s report said in March 2016 that parking would be allowed. Constraints were mature trees and a footpath, and any housing development would be limited to minor infilling housing projects or a few affordable homes. A resident in Avebury Trusloe asked what the next step was and pointed out the original residents’ parking meeting had been nearly four years ago. Jemima Milton explained WC would work out the need for affordable homes and these would be earmarked solely for people in the village. She explained the survey wouldn’t resolve the parking but a housing project could link to the Community Infrastructure Levy that could be used to fund parking. A member of the public reported she had originally been told by WC planners that their home would be the last new build on the Nursery Site in Avebury Trusloe.
- Speed of traffic and double yellow lines in Avebury Trusloe was currently being considered by the Transport Group.
- The project to replace signs and footpaths was off the ground and involved Tim Lewis, who had done an audit, Steve Leonard, Hilary Makins and Liam Wiseman.
- Horse crossing at Beckhampton Stables had yet to be improved.
- New WHS boundary signs were now in place. The Chairman invited questions from the public. A member of the public asked if it would be possible to have a better sign at the top of the High Street to stop tourists parking in the High Street. The Chairman said it was not possible to have prohibition signs at present as the road could be legally used by anyone. Lynzey Paradise reported she had received a photograph of a coach parked next to the planters causing an obstruction. Action: Clerk to put request for a sign on next APC meeting agenda and it was additionally agreed a reminder be sent to the Circle Nursery to ask they request parents to park in village car park and to slow down if they came down the High Street. A member of the public stated Avebury Trusloe parking was just as important as High Street parking and, as there were not as many Avebury Trusloe residents present that night, representation was unbalanced. Discussions should not become an either / or situation. A member of the public reported the planters in the road outside her home had reduced parking in the High Street. A member of the public reported cars were frequently turning around at the bottom of the High Street and damage had been caused to parked cars and a question was asked about what had happened to the Avebury Trusloe car parking project. The Chairman explained the car parking project was part of a holistic plan that required four different landowners to work together and it was currently at the housing needs survey stage. A member of the public questioned whether any smaller scale action could be taken in the meantime. She reported at the end of the estate the garage ways were being used as overspill parking and ‘No parking’ lines had been discussed but no action taken. Jemima Milton stated the land swap scheme was a bigger priority. A question was asked if there would be a survey to monitor traffic through Avebury. Action: Clerk to ensure request put on next APC meeting agenda for action by the Transport Group.
- Wiltshire Council: Jemima Milton reported Jane Davies and Sara Spratt were present at the meeting and that they were both prospective Wiltshire Councillors. She explained that she looked after 12 parish councils and in her view Avebury was the best with a very good community. She expressed her thanks to APC and in particular the Chairman, Andrew Williamson. Jemima Milton explained that with ongoing WC budget constraints the Area Board would become a stronger voice between WC and APC. She said ‘Well Done’ to the Transport Group. The Chairman said Jemima Milton had done a lot of valuable work for the Parish and he recalled that one of her first achievements was extending the pavement at the bus stops at Avebury Trusloe. She said that she had had been in office for eight years and as she had moved away from the area she had decided not to seek re-election as a Wiltshire Councillor. She said one of her most satisfying achievements had been helping an elderly resident move to more suitable accommodation. The Chairman thanked Jemima Milton for her work and invited questions from the public; there were none.
- National Trust: Hilary Makins handed out a hard copy regular update (see appendix 1). The Chairman thanked her and invited questions from the public. A member of the public asked when the NT would stop using chippings in the entrance gateway to the SW quadrant as the chippings got everywhere and he had to keep sweeping them up. Hilary Makins reported an application for scheduled monument consent had been submitted and the aim was to have hard standing in place by the end of October. A member of the public asked why the Coach House had not been finished. Hilary Makins said it was not her department but she understood the Coach House was considered to be finished. A member of the public said it would be useful for the NT to give more information in its Newsletters that would be of interest to local people, and less on items of interest to visitors. Jemima Milton questioned why there was a need for a catering van in the main car park when the Coach House Café was now open. Hilary Makins stated the catering van was on a trial / test period that included part of the Easter holidays and it was being provided as an additional experience. A member of the public reported the company web-site for the catering van stated it would be open for 30 days but the NT had disputed that was the case. A question was asked if the NT had considered the needs of other charities based in Avebury who were trying to do business. Hilary Makins said the NT was a charity as well and she would take the feedback back to the NT. The Chairman read out the Emma’s Pantry / catering van circular and reported APC had not gathered views as it had not been informed by NT about the project. He said it was regrettable APC had not been consulted and stressed the importance of two-way communication. A member of the public asked what the NT’s criteria were for the success or failure of such a project. Hilary Makins stated she was not sure but would note there was a degree of concern from the meeting. A member of the public expressed concern about lack of consultation. The Chairman thanked Hilary.
- WHS: the Chairman invited Sarah Simmonds to provide an update. She introduced Liam Wiseman and explained he had joined her six months ago and that his role was to help co-ordinate the implementation of the WHS Management Plan. Sarah Simmonds explained that due to restructuring she now covered the whole WHS site including Stonehenge. She said last year there had been a number of events to celebrate the WHS’s 30th birthday including a successful conference in Devizes with a number of speakers on archaeology. British artist, David Inshaw, had also spoken about the importance of art in the WHS. Locally, the Ridgeway National Trail was being developed and WC had agreed to consider implementing a TRO that would cover the whole year, not just in winter, to help minimise damage on the Ridgeway. Sarah Simmonds said the public could contact her for the WHS Research Framework and Liam Wiseman was looking at interpretation across the Site. She said she was helping with the A303 consultation and had worked on the WHS’s response. A copy was available for anyone interested. It was noted a WHS plaque had recently been installed at Stonehenge, and another one had been unveiled in Avebury but not yet installed. It had been funded by the Avebury WHS Charity among others. Sarah Simmonds explained she was looking at the Great West Way and how the WHS related to that project. She added that meetings with farmers had been organised at Stonehenge to look at stewardship of the land as issues such as hare coursing and metal detecting were a concern. Furthermore she was working on (i) a burrowing animal strategy and would be consulting with the farming community (ii) a WHS Setting Study on how to protect the WHS and ensure that development close to the WHS was appropriate. Thanks were expressed to Sarah Simmonds. Members of the public were asked if they had any questions but there were none.
- APC Web Site: the Chairman invited Kate Fry to report on her work on the Parish Council web site. She introduced its various features including a calendar with meeting dates, pages with minutes, agendas, a booking form for organisations to book the Sports Field and the new on-line Community Notice Board page.
- Planning consultations: the Chairman reported WC planners had consulted the Parish Council on 25 applications since the village meeting 12 months’ ago. The Parish Council had supported 23 of them, some with suggested conditions, and had objected to two, for a replacement house at Lower Acre in Bray Street and for Class A1 Shop/Retail use at The Stables in the High Street.
- Local issues and Parish council decisions:
- Defibrillator: Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman APC) explained there was currently only one defibrillator in the village but it was in an NT office and not accessible available when the office was closed. She said the Parish Council had therefore looked into the possibility of purchasing a second defibrillator and had decided to lease one as that option covered damage and included training. Thanks were expressed to the Community and Henge Shops and the Parish Council for providing funding. It was noted the location for the defibrillator would be on the front of the Social Centre in the High Street. A member of the public expressed his own thanks to all involved and explained he had helped to introduce defibrillators in the various stations in London. (The Chairman introduced Jon Campbell who had just joined the meeting and was a member of the Parish Council.) A member of the public asked if the defibrillator would be properly fixed to the wall so that it couldn’t be stolen. Mrs Lewis said the defibrillator would be securely fixed but in the event of something happening to it the SW Ambulance Trust would replace it. A member of the public asked if there was a plan to put a defibrillator in Avebury Trusloe. It was noted funding would be needed for that to happen. Action: Clerk to put request on next APC meeting agenda.
- A303 consultation: the Chairman reported APC was concerned that Avebury should retain its WHS status and had therefore responded to the consultation by writing to the Secretary of State for Transport, Highways England, UNESCO and others to urge that the scheme be amended to ensure UNESCO’s agreement was obtained. APC had suggested either a by-pass round the WHS at Stonehenge should be built or the idea of a scheme based on re-using the existing carriageways of the A303 should be developed.
- Sewer improvements: the Chairman stated the £1.4 million project by Thames Water was to help improve the pumping of sewage to East Kennett.
- Great West Way: it was noted this was a branding project to attract foreign tourists.
- Ridgeway TRO: the Chairman reported that APC had added the following sentence to a WHS letter sent in October 2016 to Jane Scott (Leader, WC): ‘…There should be a plan to ensure that displacement of vehicles particularly at this time of year [summer solstice] does not impact on other visitors, residents, farmers and landowners and the wider WHS…’
- URC Chapel + Community Right to Bid: the Chairman explained the purpose of a CRtB application was to give community projects six months time to arrange a scheme and that a decision to approve an application was made by WC. He added WC would be making the decision to approve APC’s application the next day and that private bids were also due in by 12 noon that day. APC was not aware of any charities or groups being interested in the URC Chapel, and those present were asked if they were aware of any community interest. In discussion it became apparent that no community group had expressed an interest and the Chairman said the CRtB application would therefore be withdrawn. Action: WC to be advised.
- BT Payphone Boxes: it was noted there had been no further information from BT following their consultation and it was also noted the ‘phone box outside the Community Shop was listed. A member of the public reported the Royal Mail post box in the High Street needed repainting. Action: Clerk to email Royal Mail with the request.
- National Trails: the Chairman reported National Trails had earmarked Green Street as a ‘strategic link’ and part of the Ridgeway system.
- Footpath 22: it was noted despite the resurfacing work being put onto a list of works for WC to action, the work was still outstanding. Members of the public reported the fencing also needed maintenance along the footpath and that some groups had been recently surveying the fencing along by the pumping station / Big Arch Bridge.
- National Trust: Representations on issues and planned improvements in dialogue: the Chairman reported:
- NT Update had been added as a standing item on APC’s meeting agendas from June 2016. APC was also proposing a joint project to assist the Trust with financing and managing the toilets at the Coach House. It was felt in the community that there was a need to improve dialogue.
- Coach House toilets: Stephen Stacey explained that members of the community were keen to see the Coach House toilets open for extended hours and that the Parish Council had been talking with the NT since October about how to extend the opening hours. Both organisations were looking into the feasibility of a commercial arrangement. Mr Stacey stressed that the Parish Council did not have the financial resources to fund extended opening hours but had secured £1,000 grant from MAB to support the servicing of the toilets over two years. Jemima Milton expressed frustration that the issue had gone on for so long and thanked the Parish Council for their continued efforts in trying to find a solution. The Chairman said that pledges for nearly £2,000 more had been given by the Henge Shop, the Community Shop and the Parish Council, together with an offer of a fundraising event at the Red Lion. He also reported the NT toilet facilities had been discussed at a recent WHS Steering Committee meeting. In discussion members of the public asked whether the cleaning of the facility was the stumbling block and whether the toilets should be fee paying. Hilary Makins said that there were issues with insurance and other complications. A further question was asked about why toilet provision in Avebury was not the same as the NT’s open site at Studland Bay which had 24 hour toilet provision. Hilary Makins explained that the NT toilets in the farmyard were considered by the NT to be the main toilets but agreed to provide Mr Stacey with a contact at Studland Bay. Mr Stacey stated that discussions were continuing with the Trust and that he hoped further progresss would be made in due course.
- The Stables: A1 Shop/retail use had been granted by WC The planning consent included the wording ‘…part of the building to which the application relates shall be used as a voluntary book sales/exchange store and visitors’ information centre and for no other purpose (including any other purpose in Class A1 of the Schedule to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended)…’
- Removal of sports-field notice-board: a new location would need to be found and a member of the public asked whether the NT’s donation towards its cost had been received. The Clerk would follow this up.
- Emma’s Pantry: issues had been raised by the community but the objective of the trial period was not known.
- High Speed Broadband and Community WiFi: Jon Campbell reported fibre had been connected to the cabinet in Avebury Trusloe but funding would be needed to extend it to all parts of the surrounding area. The Chairman asked how that might be done and Mr Campbell said that in his experience a mini distribution business case would need to be put together. It was noted grants were available. Thanks were expressed to Mr Campbell and Mrs Lewis for working on high speed broadband and Community WiFi respectively. A member of the public added that ASSC had also installed WiFi and membership of the Club was still only £5 per year.
- Civil Emergency Plan: Mrs Lewis stated the plan was work in progress and the aim would be to publish the main document on the APC web site, excluding confidential items.
- Flood Group: Mrs Lewis reported the gulley had been cleared in Beckhampton and a new bridge installed.
- Arrangements for Summer Solstice 2017: the Chairman said arrangements would be the same as last year and a ‘Permit Only Parking’ system would be operated on all roads in Avebury and Avebury Trusloe. The TTRO would be in place over 19-22 June and APC would provide all residents, employers and employees that needed to park on the highway in those areas with one or more permits.
- Local improvements and works: the Chairman reported:
- New bridge at Beckhampton: already covered.
- Play equipment: new swing seats and timber top beam for the swing unit and a new see-saw skirt and seats had been installed. Dave Brotheridge had kindly painted the see-saw.
- Perspex in bus stop: APC had arranged for a replacement panel to be installed in the Swindon Road bus shelter owned by WC.
- High Street planter: APC had arranged for a new planter to be purchased from Erlestoke Farm Shop to replace the one damaged by a WC refuse lorry.
- Litter pick day had taken place successfully on 28 May 2016.
- Lower branches of trees on triangle had been removed by APC volunteers and members of the public.
- Various requests for leaf clearance, street cleaning, potholes, street lamps, salt, strimming verges. Some potholes filled in (including the Avenue, Green Street, Church Walk and Footpath 22)
- Renewal of sportsfield lease was being negotiated.
- Precept, finance and administration: the Chairman reported:
- Precept: was £11,000 in 2016/17 and increased to £12,100 in 2017/18. Expenditure budgeted at £19,273, and so using £6,894 of reserves.
- Bank balance at 31 March 2017 was £16,262 compared with about £19,234 last year but balance in ASCReC’s accounts of £2,474 at 14 March should be added. However APC’s actual position was more like £7.7k because of £8.6k pledges outstanding as follows:
- Traffic projects £3,556
- WHS Transport Plan £2k
- Play equipment £2k
- Trusloe pavement on A4361 £500
- Community projects including Avebury Day £500
- Press and Media, and Consultation policies adopted
- The audited accounts for 2015 – 2016 were available for inspection.
- Asset register and risk assessments available and up to date.
- Insurance cover: current supplier was the most competitive of three: Premium was locked for the third of three years until June 2017.
- Annual accounts and internal audits carried out and scheduled.
- Annual inspection of play area by RoSPA and report available.
- Local issues from the public: the past year and for the next 12 months: a member of the public asked if it would be possible for APC to purchase some gravel to put on the Nursery Site to help with parking. Action: Clerk to put the suggestion on the next APC meeting agenda.
- Local issues from the Parish Council: none
- Any other business: none
- Thanks: The Chairman thanked all those who supported the Parish Council:
- Litter pickers and those who cleared up after their dogs especially on the recreation ground, Circle and on footpath paths. Judy Farthing reported the litter bins in the High Street had been a huge success.
- Trustees, Secretaries and Treasurers of local voluntary organisations and especially ACSReC members.
- Police, the National Trust, Sarah Simmonds, and Wiltshire Council.
- the Parish Council’s wider team of Judy Farthing (Civil Emergency Officer), Kate Fry (APC web site), Ron Dobson (advice on buildings), Martin Rendle (small works), John Giles, David Throup (Editor, UKN) and Liz Moore (APC’s Clerk).
- Jemima Milton (Wiltshire Councillor)
- Colleagues on the Parish Council.
- All those attending the meeting.
Mrs Lewis proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman of the Parish Council. It was noted all existing members of APC wished to stand for re-election as APC councillors in the forthcoming local elections; all had re-applied except Dr Mike Bedford who had missed the deadline but could be co-opted back as a member.
The meeting closed at 21:29
Appendices (included in the book of Parish Council papers):
1. National Trust update Documents available for inspection were the APC’s minute book, audit reports, bank statements and books of account. [The accounts were inspected by two members of the public after the meeting].
Avebury Parish Council
Annual Parish Meeting
The Annual Parish Meeting will be held in the Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF at 7.00pm on Tuesday 24 April 2018.
All members of the public are very welcome.
Chairman 16 April 2018
- Welcomes and introductions
- Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 25 April 2017 (see Parish Council website www.aveburyparishcouncil.org)
- Matters arising from the minutes
- Report on the work of the Parish Council, Avebury Transport Group, Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee and other local organisations in the past year, including:
- Elections and membership
- Transport Group: report on local road and footpath schemes, Transport Exhibition and Cyclothon
- Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee: report including Parish Council surrender of Sportsfield lease
- Local initiatives, including Community Shop and Community Orchard
- Reports from Wiltshire Council, the Police, the National Trust and the World Heritage Site Partnership Manager
- Planning decisions
- Local issues and Parish Council decisions including Trusloe parking, Defibrillators, Great West Way, Ridgeway, Housing Needs Survey, URC chapel, High Speed Broadband, and BT phone boxes
- A303 Expressway consultations + safeguarding World Heritage status
- National Trust: representations on issues and the need to improve communications
- Civil Emergency Plan
- Flood Group
- Arrangements for Summer Solstice 2018
- Precept, finance and admin, data protection and improvements to Parish Council website.
- Local issues from the public: the past year and for the next 12 months.
- Local issues from the Parish Council: the past year and for the next 12 months.
- Any other business.
Avebury Parish Council
Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on the 28 April 2016 at the Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF
In these minutes, ACSReC stands for Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee, AHA for Aster Housing Association, AONB for North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, APC for Avebury Parish Council, ASA for Avebury Sportsfield Association, ASSF for Avebury Sacred Sites Forum, CATG for Community Area Transport Group, DfT for Department of Transport, EH for English Heritage, FWO for Fyfield and West Overton, LGO for Local Government Ombudsman, LTA for Long Term Agreement, MAB for Marlborough Area Board, MDNIA for Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area, NT for the National Trust, TTRO for temporary Traffic Regulation Order, TVM for Traffic and Vehicle Management Group, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.
Time Started: 19:04
Present: Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Mrs Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), Mr David Brotheridge, Mr Jon Campbell, Mrs Lynzey Paradise, Ms Zandria Service and Mr Stephen Stacey, together with 23 members of the public including one non-elector who were present for all or part of the meeting.
Apologies: Councillor Dr Mike Bedford, Wiltshire Councillor Jemima Milton, PC Richard Barratt (Acting Sergeant and Community Beat Manager), Sir Peter Beale, Tony Farthing, Ewart and Diana Holmes, Heather Peak-Garland, Katie Guest, Inspector Nick Mawson, Mike and Janet Polack, Dr Josh Pollard (Southampton University), Dr Nick Snashall (NT Archaeologist and Deputy Manager NT), Jan Tomlin (NT General Manager, Wiltshire Landscape), Adam and Diana Wethered.
In attendance: Michele Lomas (Chair of Avebury Community Shop and representative of the Community Orchard), PCSO Pauline Ritchie (Police Community Support Officer) part way through item 1. to 4.f.ii, Sarah Simmonds (WHS Manager) and Miss Liz Moore, Clerk to APC.
- Welcome and introductions: The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming all present and introduced members of the Parish Council including Lynzey Paradise who had joined in December, Stephen Stacey who had joined in March and Jon Campbell who had joined that day. He said that members of APC were greatly saddened at the death of Keith Howell in June 2015 who had played a very active part in the work of the Parish Council since he had joined in 2011 and that they missed him. The Chairman reported three members of the Parish Council had resigned during the year, Paul Ryder-Morris in October (who had joined in 2014), and Mike Daniel in February and Antoinette Kremer in March (both had joined in 2011). The Chairman said APC had been very grateful to all of them for their service to the community and to the Parish Council. The Chairman introduced Liz Moore as APC’s Clerk, Judy Farthing as Civil Emergency Officer and Kate Fry who looked after the Parish Council’s web site. He reported that Ron Dobson gave advice to APC on buildings, David Throup was the editor for UKN and Martin Rendle provided Handyman services to the Parish Council. Apologies were noted as above and the Clerk read out an email she had received from Jan Tomlin on 27 April: ‘Dear Liz, Please read out the following apology verbatim tomorrow evening:“Jan Tomlin, General Manager for the National Trust, has apologised for not being here this evening because her husband underwent surgery this afternoon. It is unfortunate that this is the second time village meetings have clashed with operations and funerals of close family. She has provided a written update on the Trust’s work, along with an invitation to meet and talk with the NT team at an open evening in May. She has asked me to stress that she and her team are happy to answer questions, or discuss concerns, directly with Parish residents at any time, not just at meetings.” The Clerk stated hard copies of the NT’s update and invitation to a public meeting on 19 May were available for everyone. The Chairman said he had emailed Jan Tomlin to accept her apologies and had offered good wishes to her and her husband, and to him for a speedy recovery. The Chairman said the absence of anyone from the NT was regrettable and made communication difficult. He had previously made representations, but had received no reply. More recently he had encouraged attendance, especially as the NT had not attended the meeting a month ago at the Red Lion. The Chairman explained that in terms of balance, it was useful to record the number of ways in which the Trust had taken steps to support the community recently, including:
- Helping to finance new notice-board on Sports-field
- Helping with coppicing of sports-field hedge by putting many man-hours of Rangers’ time into supporting the Community Orchard
- Providing a five-bar gate on the north side of the sports-field at no charge
- Continuing to let Hope Cottage at a low rent to the Community Shop
- Managing Solstice and other observances. The Chairman stated for those that were not at the Red Lion he would read out what he had said and the Parish Council had minuted last month: ‘…He said that the NT, Police, Wiltshire Council and others had done a very good job in managing solistice in previous years, and read a statement that: ‘Members of the Parish Council are aware of the very valuable and costly work the Trust does to manage solstice each year. We understand that Trust staff should not be exposed to some of the hazards and unpleasantness of managing a number of badly behaved people occupying the Ridgeway at solstice. We also understand the Trust’s concern that the issue of informal occupation of the Ridgeway has been a growing problem in the past few years and that it should be tackled.’
The Chairman reported there had been significant shortfalls in communication by the Trust in recent months over proposals for changes. He said he had drafted a note on the need for a consultation scheme to help cope with change through the democratic process and that this would be covered later on the agenda. He asked members of the public if they would like to start thinking about the idea; at present individuals or small groups were coping with change but a pro-active system was needed to help take the strain. The Chairman said the NT’s invitation to a meeting at St James’ was on the agenda later and it would be useful to hear the public’s views.
- Minutes of the annual Parish meeting held on 21 April 2015. (Draft minutes published on Parish Council web site www.aveburyparishcouncil.org). The Chairman asked if the draft minutes were accurate. The Clerk said the name Fred Montague should be corrected to Fred Gillam. Further to the one amendment it was unanimously agreed that the Chairman sign the minutes.
- Matters arising from the minutes: None.
- Report on the work of the Parish Council, ASA, ACSReC and other local organisations in the past year: The Chairman said APC represented the interests of Avebury residents, employers and employees. He explained the Parish Council had met 14 times in the past year but normally met 10 times a year. There had been four extra meetings to discuss:
- the handover of the management of the Sports field
- the future of the URC chapel and a possible Community Right to Bid
- Trusloe issues and
- the impact of the proposed closure of the Ridgeway at solstice and other NT issues; Coach House, licensing and small car park.
The Chairman explained, as well as the Social Centre, APC had met in the Pavilion, twice in the Red Lion and once at a walk-about meeting in Trusloe – where the Parish Council had had to adjourn its meeting for five minutes to help Robin Butler round up some of his heifers that had escaped onto the road. APC’s Planning Committee had met twice and APC also attended many meetings on regular committees such as MAB, CATG, Solstice Planning and Sacred Sites Forum, Social Centre Trustees, WHS Steering Committee and launch of WHS Management Plan, WHS Partnership Panel and WHS Transport Strategy. APC also attended meetings with NT staff and ad hoc events and meetings such as those with Aster Housing, AONB, MDNIA, WC, EH and NT.
- Membership and elections: already covered.
- Transport Group: in Dr Mike Bedford’s absence, the Chairman reported:
- the Transport Group was chaired by Mike Bedford and its members were Dave Brotheridge, Stephen Stacey and Andrew Williamson from APC and local residents Kate Fry, Rob Macaire, Angela Norman, Tim Lewis, Moya Brannan, Peter Wilson and Simon Vatcher
- Avebury WHS Transport Strategy had been adopted and included the great majority of proposals in the Avebury Parish Traffic Plan.
- two useful meetings had taken place with Cllr Philip Whitehead (Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport). Councillor Whitehead was very supportive of the Transport Group’s plans.
- the application to CATG to move the 30mph sign on the Swindon Road about 100 metres north of Melbourne House was now in CATG’s five top priority schemes.
- WC was in the process of obtaining a quote from consultants Atkins for the second phase of a feasibility study to improve the A4 at West Kennett and Beckhampton including the roundabout. The strategy was to commission a feasibility study of necessary works so the project would be oven-ready as and when additional funding became available.
- Tim Lewis (Secretary, Ramblers’ Association) had carried out an extensive audit of the footpaths across the Parish and was working with WC and the Parish Council to progress required works.
- plans were in motion to improve the road surface at the racehorse crossing at Beckhampton Stables which had become slick and therefore dangerous.
- the concrete bus shelter by the Waggon & Horses had been re-roofed and its floor drainage improved.
- further progress was planned for WHS signage in the next 12 months.
The Chairman invited questions from the public.
A member of the public asked if there were any improvements planned to slow traffic on the A4361 at the Avebury Trusloe entrance. The Chairman said two options had been raised with Cllr Philip Whitehead (i) extension of the existing 30mph limit westwards to the junction or (ii) introduction of 40mph limit from the existing 30mph zone to Beckampton roundabout. The Chairman explained government guidelines restricted what could be done and it would be difficult to extend the 30mph limit. It had been agreed to review the project at the next meeting with WC. Rev Maria Shepherdson asked if the Parish Council had considered joining forces with FWO Parish Council and reminded everyone that it was only recently that a child had been knocked down near Beckhampton roundabout. A member of the public stated the traffic bollards outside the Waggon & Horses PH were not in the right place and it made crossing the road from the village dangerous. Another person said the traffic islands had brought the speed down but it was only half the solution. The Chairman explained the new design in the plan would be to have grass splitter islands in the A4 at Beckhampton and these would narrow the carriageway and slow traffic by design. Rob Macaire thanked the Chairman for the work that had been done and said his reflection of the WHS Transport Strategy was that it was a really good tool. He urged the Parish Council to keep the political momentum going because the WHS was a very special place. Sarah Simmonds stated that community support was crucial. Gordon Rimes asked if the group had considered a 20mph speed limit through the middle of Avebury. It was noted the strategy was to use design to lower the speed as opposed to putting up signs. Rev Maria Shepherdson reported that she had an insight into the regulations due to the recent death in Lockeridge and explained that existing speeds needed to be an average of 24mph or lower before WC would consider reducing the speed limit.
- ASA / ACSReC: Maggie Lewis gave an overview of the work that had been done by the new Committee that had been formed last November to continue the work of ASA. It included work to the roof of the Pavilion, improving drainage on the Sports Field and a new noticeboard that had been part funded by the Community Shop and the NT. She said the Orchard Group and volunteers had successfully planted the new hedge on the western boundary of the Sports Field but there was still some more work to do on trees behind the Pavilion. Dave Brotheridge reported the new mains water supply was just about to be installed. A question was asked as to whether the car boot sales would continue and it was noted ACSReC had decided not to run them due to lack of resources but anyone else was welcome to organise and run them. A question was also asked as to what basis the map man sold maps on the field and what happened if other people wished to do similar. Maggie Lewis explained it was on a historical basis and that ACSReC intended to formalise the arrangement. It was noted the map man contributed about £70 per annum towards income. The Chairman reminded all present of the huge amount of good work ASA had done in the past 13 years whilst running the Sports Field and said that a tribute had been put into UKN to thank ASA’s members.
- Local initiatives:
- Community Shop: Michele Lomas reported the shop continued to remain financially viable and the committee had recently installed new air conditioning, bought a printer and introduced charges for carrier bags with a reduced price on reusable bags. She explained that last year there had been a distraction burglary and on the advice of the Police they had installed CCTV. She was aware the CCTV was not popular with everyone in the village but it was unfortunately necessary. She said the shop had made the following donations to the Community including: hampers for Trussell Trust, Kennet Valley School, food towards Lent Lunches at Avebury and Winterbourne Monkton, money pledged to AYFC, money donated to ACSReC for the new notice board. She reported the shop volunteers had been asked to choose a charity to receive donations from the charity box on the shop counter and Hft had been nominated [a national charity that supported people with learning difficulties]. Michele Lomas thanked all the volunteers especially Kate Fry and Victor Paradise. Rev Maria Shepherdson thanked the Shop for supporting the Church with the Winter Crisis Appeal and for collecting for the Trussell Trust. The Chairman thanked Michele Lomas for her contribution and for chairing the Community Shop.
- Possible cuts to WC Services: the Chairman asked members of the public for their views on whether APC should raise the precept to pay for services provided by Parish Council if WC withdrew those services. It would mean that the electorate would potentially be paying twice, once in the Council Tax and once in the precept. The following points were made:
- There was a query as to whether the electorate would be paying twice, if Wiltshire Council did withdraw a service; the Council Tax payer might not be paying twice if it was considered that Council Tax no longer met the costs of providing that service.
- There was some interest in using the precept to fund local contractors to do work such as strimming.
- It was stated the Parish Stewards would be doing the work. The contractor Ringway had recently invested in a fleet of new vehicles for the County.
- It was suggested if WC did withdraw services then a concerted approach across, for example, five parish councils would be better. Rev Maria Shepherdson suggested using a charity such as Hft should it become necessary to employ additional contractors.
- The question of giving every person the opportunity to vote using a simple letter drop was raised.
- There was concern about the effect of any increase in tax on people with low incomes.
- It was suggested the Parish Council could link up with the job centre to get free labour as part of the job centre’s back to work scheme.
- Between the Monuments Dig: the Chairman reported the proceeds from Jane Brunning’s art sale had originally inspired fund raising for the dig. The Parish Council had pledged a contribution and many donations had then been given to meet the last £2,425 shortfall including a valuable grant from MAB. The Chairman stated Dr Josh Pollard might be able to give a presentation at Avebury Day and that this would help fulfil a requirement of MAB funding which was that the public should hear the results of the dig.
- URC Chapel: the Chairman asked if there was anything new to report. Natascha Kenyon stated there were no further updates. It was noted people in the Parish could keep up to date by subscribing to an email address.
- Summer Solstice 2016: the Chairman explained that:
- The National Trust will not be applying for a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order to close the Ridgeway at Solstice this year.
- A partnership of the Police, Trading Standards, Environmental Health, Parking Enforcement, Fire and Rescue, the National Trust and others will be politely but robustly managing the Ridgeway this year.
- The general view of the Police, National Trust and Wiltshire Council is that the changed arrangements at Stonehenge will not have a significant impact on Avebury.
- A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order to prohibit waiting/parking on certain roads in the Parish over solstice, see below, will be processed by Wiltshire Council.
- The TTRO will except permit holders, and the Parish Council will be working with Wiltshire Council to sort out the permits and the people that will need them.
- Providing a TTRO is in place, the Police can consider putting officers on point duty on the entrances to the High Street, Green Street and Avebury Trusloe as in previous years.
- Although there will be some reductions in Police numbers, new arrangements will ensure that the apparent Police presence will be much the same as in previous years.
- The TTRO will be applied to the roads that have previously been coned or subject to Police officers on point duty at their entrances. The coned roads have been the A4361 from Beckhampton to Winterbourne Monkton including the lay-bys in Winterbourne Monkton, the B4003 Avenue and West Kennett lay-by. The areas that have been subject to Police officers on point duty at their entrances have been the High Street/Church Lane, Green Street to the end of the tarmac and Avebury Trusloe (which includes the main highway in Trusloe, Bray Street and out to Robin Butler’s new barn, Frog Lane, Longfields, and South Street/Nash Lane to its junction with the A4361). As Beckhampton and Gunsite Lane have not been coned or policed before, they won’t be included in the TTRO, but Wiltshire Council will consider other options such as signage for Beckhampton to help deter informal camping.
- Dates for the TTRO had not yet been fixed but the Parish Council and Wiltshire Council will be liaising on these shortly.
- A general media message will be put out by all involved that these new arrangements will be in force. Please see the following link as an example http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/National-Trust-crackdown-Avebury-solstice/story-29147628-detail/story.html
- Wiltshire Council will be holding a substantial review shortly after solstice with a view to making adjustments and agreeing a long term, comprehensive plan, and the National Trust will also be reviewing solstice arrangements as in previous years. Chris Spratt proposed a vote of thanks to the Parish Council. Robin Butler added his thanks, and voiced concern about the Nursery Site; he asked if it would be possible to have the loan of some Heras fencing from the NT.
There was consensus that finally there would be proper policing of the Ridgeway and that steps had been taken to look after the whole area.
- Wiltshire Council: no report as Cllr Jemima Milton was not present.
- Police: the Chairman invited PCSO Polly Ritchie to provide an update. PCSO Ritchie reported in the past year there had been 47 car break-ins in the area, one person had no insurance, one road rage incident, one theft of a staddle stone, two shed break-ins, a farm fence had been cut, two arrests for drugs offences, thefts from three farms, hunting deer and hare coursing offences, criminal damage to two cars, one instance of a person shooting from inside a car, two drunks arrested and one vehicle stolen. PCSO Ritchie stated the current priorities were to work on theft from cars, non-dwelling burglaries, van break-ins with work tools being taken and theft of bicycles. Rev Maria Shepherdson thanked PCSO Ritchie on behalf of the community for her care, listening and help for the elderly including the Bobby Van Trust service. PCSO Ritchie acknowledged the thanks and in response to two questions from the public confirmed that Wiltshire Police did attend house burglaries and were aware of motorbikes speeding on the A4361 past the NT car park. The Chairman thanked PCSO Ritchie and asked her to convey thanks to PC Richard Barratt and Inspector Nick Mawson. PCSO Ritchie left the meeting.
- National Trust: the Chairman handed out the NT update (see appendix 1) and update as follows: ‘The National Trust is an independent conservation charity that was founded in 1895 on the simple and enduring premise that people need historic, beautiful and natural places. We look after some 650,000 acres of land, over 500 historic houses, 775 miles of coastline, and help to manage 10 World Heritage Sites. The comparatively small core of just 10,000 staff is supported by over 60,000 volunteers and over 4 million members. The Wiltshire Landscape team are responsible for looking after NT sites across the county, including over 3,500 acres of land and property in the WHS, some 1,800 acres of land of Special Scientific Interest across about a dozen sites, numerous listed buildings and the Accredited Alexander Keiller Museum (AKM). Here at Avebury, the National Trust has once again delivered exemplary conservation and engagement work, welcoming over 100,000 visitors to our Farmyard site, and significantly more to our open access land, including the Avebury Stone Circle. We have continued to support the Parish through the provision of the Community Shop, the Post Office, offering free access to the AKM, giving talks and lectures to local groups (including talks to the Kennet Valley NT Association and the annual Avebury Society Lecture) and by supporting the local community through foot patrols and litter-picking throughout the year, and especially by providing extensive support and resources at key Observances, notably Solstice. In addition, we have helped the Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee to fund their new notice board at the sports field, provided a unique tour of Avebury Manor for the Auction of Promises, once again helped to organise and host the village Wassail, and are looking forward to supporting both the upcoming Avebury Rocks and Avebury Day. During the final year of excavation on the Avenue, we hosted special visits for local residents and groups, providing a ‘behind the wire’ tour for our neighbours. The Museum has continued to be popular with schools (particularly primary schools) and colleges which are now required to include Stone Age to Iron Age on the history curriculum. In the first year of the new curriculum the AKM saw 5,507 students visiting across all levels of education, including many from Wiltshire schools. Entrance is free to educational groups, but many schools also take our optional talks and tours. Circles Nursery visit the open areas of the site throughout the year and particularly look forward to visiting the Manor at Christmas, enjoying songs and stories amongst the decorations of the period. Each year the Museum and Manor accept secondary school students from local schools for work experience and are currently preparing for five to come in June and July for a week on site. In terms of conservation, survey work has re-confirmed that water voles are breeding on the River Kennet. This is excellent and exciting news after a long dry run, and we will continue to monitor progress. Please look out for more information in our newletters. Through prudent financial management we were able to build up sufficient resources to rethatch the cart shed at West Kennett Farm, and continue to work to find a solution to the ongoing challenge of jackdaw damage to thatch on the threshing barn in the Farmyard. We also carried out extensive improvements to the main visitor car park. Maintenance of this area is a real challenge as we’re restricted in the type of surface dressing and working practices that are appropriate within the WHS. That said, we have identified funding for regular maintenance in coming months, and now have sufficient monies to refurbish our toilets. The programme of works is currently being drawn up by our Building Surveyor and is planned to be delivered in 2016. Recognising the 30th Anniversary of our inscription as a WHS, we recently launched “The Stonehenge & Avebury Walking Challenge”, setting a challenge for people to walk eight routes across both halves of the WHS. The walks follow ancient routes, sharing facts and stories about the amazing landscape and wildlife of the area. The current presentation of Avebury Manor continues to be popular with visitors, allowing them to enjoy this property in a unique way. The team have welcomed visitors from around the world, and continue to respond to their insightful questions about the lives and times of those who once lived here, including Alexander Keiller. In the Garden, the new team are tackling the significant problem of box blight in a professional and sustainable manner. In addition, we are progressing major changes and improvements in management and horticultural practice. We have identified a sum of money to improve the walls and paths, and this work is due to be completed in 2016. Across the estate, we reviewed and removed signs from many areas, and will be leading on the wider interpretation strategy as part of our commitment to the WHS Management Plan. We have also completed phase one of our strategy to improve interpretation across NT countryside sites, installing panels at The Coombes, Lockeridge and Cherhill Down. Fund raising is a vital part of our work to allow us to deliver conservation across the whole portfolio. In the shop, we’ve introduced exciting new products, including a range of plants, as well as introducing more local products and a wider range of Avebury related gifts. The Catering Team introduced new seasonal dishes in the Circles Café and are baking delicious cakes for our wonderful tea-room in the Manor. We’re working towards the ambitious target of achieving the Soil Association’s “Food for Life” catering mark, demonstrating our high environmental standards in buying and producing our food. Finally, the NT team hope very much that you will join us for an Open Evening on 19 May so we can share a little more of our work, and hear your thoughts and ideas about how we might work together more closely as neighbours. Please see the attached invitation’.
- Premises Licence: the Chairman said the licence had been granted subject to some extra conditions. It was noted that it was difficult for the community to understand the logic behind the decision to grant such an extensive, blanket licence.
- Coach House: the Chairman reported after a 5:3 vote planning consent was granted at the Planning Committee meeting.
- Invite to St. James: (see appendix 1). The Chairman asked if anyone had received a hard copy invitation to the NT’s open evening. Rev Maria Shepherdson said her loose understanding was that a paper drop had been organized for the meeting that would be in 19 days’ time but that most people had expressed a preference for electronic communication. She said because of anxiety, she had felt as Rector and backed by the PCC to respond to the NT and allow them to use the Church for the venue. Rev Shepherdson said she understood the meeting was meant to be a two way street. She also expressed concern that two children of a NT employee living in the village were being affected by negative criticism directed towards the NT. At that point Sara Spratt interjected to say it was inappropriate to personalise the issue. Jan Williamson said she considered their neighbour, who happened to be a NT employee, to be a good neighbour and a friend, and had expressed that sentiment to the person concerned at the recent hearing. She stressed that communications should not be personal. Lady Beale referred to the recent licence hearing and gave a personal account of her frustrations regarding the proceedings. Victor Paradise stated as the oldest family in the village he had witnessed the NT steam roller its way and gave an example of many years ago when field trenches for drainage had been filled in by the NT. A general discussion took place on the process and procedure for appealing decisions on the Coach House and the Licence. On the Coach house: 1. had the application been done before the new core strategy it would not have gone through and 2. WHS residents were the key custodians of the WHS and it was a shame their views were not listened to. On the Premises Licence 1. the appeal period was 21 days from the decision notice and 2. only objectors could appeal. An alternative was for objectors to go through WC complaints procedure about the behaviour of a member of the Licensing Committee. An offer of legal assistance was given by a member of the public. Alice Macaire expressed thanks to Sarah Simmonds for working tirelessly on the WHS Plan.
- The need for a consultation process: The Chairman suggested the Parish Council put in place a process of consultation (see appendix 2). In discussion and in response to several questions asked by the public the following points were made: 1. APC represented employers and residents 2. the consultation process was mainly for bodies / organisations as opposed to individuals 3. the process would help facilitate two-way, open communications 4. opening communications early applied to any group involved in the village and 5. taking part was optional.
- The Chairman said that the NT update meeting on 19 May could be a good opportunity for both parties to listen to each other. Sarah Simmonds emphasized that the local NT General Manager wanted residents to have an equal hearing.
- WHS Officer: the Chairman invited Sarah Simmonds (WHS Officer) to provide an update. She explained her priority last year was working on the publication of the WHS Management Plan. She reported the major threats to the WHS included: 1. cultivation and the need to work with farmers; she gave the example of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. 2. badgers and other burrowing animals 3. traffic on roads causing damage to monuments. She stated her priority was now to ensure that actions in the Management Plan were implemented, including getting tourists into the landscape, producing a WHS leaflet and increasing research. This could be achieved by working with the Parish Council and many others. She reported there was a meeting planned in May to see how to get all parties on board. Various documents were tabled including a synopsis of the WHS Management Plan and ‘Megalith’ for distribution to members of the public. It was noted Stonehenge and Avebury were celebrating 30 years of being a WHS that year. She reported the general conference of UNESCO would be taking place on 19 November and she was waiting for a report on the feasibility of a tunnel in the WHS at Stonehenge. Several questions were asked by members of the public concerning damage to the monuments and it was noted one possible solution such as closing the Avenue would need to be reviewed in great detail prior to any decision. Repair work to paths around the Henge was the responsibility of the NT. It was agreed that APC would contact Sarah Simmonds if significant issues of Outstanding Universal Value arose when APC was considering a planning application.
- APC Website: the Chairman introduced Kate Fry. She reported on her work for the past two years on the Parish Council website and gave an overview of the functionality of the new website. Thanks were expressed by Sara Spratt.
- Community Wi-Fi and High Speed Broadband: Maggie Lewis reported MADT offered a certain amount of free Community Wi-Fi and that an annual pass could be purchased for greater use. She said four new nodes had recently been installed in the village with the NT hosting six at various locations around the Trust’s properties and it was noted there had been 700 individual users in the month of March. She thanked everyone who had responded to the broadband speed survey. A member of the public questioned whether the broadband speeds could be improved by upgrading local phone lines.
- Planning: the Chairman reported WC planners had consulted APC on 22 applications during the past 12 months. He said the Parish Council had supported 20 of them, some subject to conditions, or had agreed not to comment in a few cases. APC had objected to two, which were for a change of use at the Coach House and advertisement consent for the Coach House. The Chairman also reported that outside of the Parish, APC had objected to a clay pigeon shoot off Gunsite Lane in East Kennett and an increase in the number of houses proposed at Winterbourne Monkton.
- Housing Needs: no report; to be progressed later in the year.
- Civil Emergency Plan: it was noted Maggie Lewis and Judy Farthing were currently working on updating the document.
- Flood Group: Maggie Lewis stated no one had contacted her to report any flooding issues.
- Local improvements and works: the Chairman reported:
- Various requests for leaf clearance, street cleaning, potholes, street lamps, salt and strimming verges had been actioned and some potholes had been filled in on West Kennett Avenue, Green Street, Church Walk and Footpath 22.
- Renewal of sportsfield lease was being negotiated; it had originally been issued in 1947 for one shilling a year for 21 years.
- Other local issues and Parish Council decisions:
- APC had endorsed the WHS Management Plan in October
- Meetings had been held about the Great Stones Way which was not accepted by the parishes at the northern end of the walk.
- Precept, finance and administration: the Chairman reported:
- Precept was £10,900 in 2015/16 and was now £11,000 in 2016/17. He gave a brief overview of estimates for 2016/17; he said that about £9,000pa met fixed, recurrring costs leaving only about £2,000 available for discretionary spending.
- Bank balance at 31 March 2016 was £19,200 and compared with about the same as the previous year. In reality the balance was about £4,700 because £14,500 had been reserved for outstanding commitments and pledges.
- A Complaints Policy had been adopted earlier that year by the Parish Council.
- The The audited accounts for 2014 – 2015 were available for inspection.
- The Parish Council’s asset register and risk assessments had been updated.
- Insurance cover: current supplier was the most competitive of three and the Parish Council was in the third year of a three year Long Term Agreement.
- The Play Area was inspected by RoSPA annually.
5. Local issues from the public: the past year and for the next 12 months
- Julie Butler asked if the Parish Council had any plans to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday in June. The Parish Council had no plans in place but she would speak to members of the community to see if they would be interested in running an event. Kate Fry reported Kennet Valley School was planning to do a tea party and would be inviting members of the public.
6. Local issues from the Parish Council: none
7. Any other business:
- Kate Fry asked why the Avenue was being closed 3-5 May. Sarah Simmonds reported WC Highways was retexturing the surface to improve adhesion.
- Sarah Simmonds reported the old WHS signs on the main roads would be replaced very soon.
- Robin Butler reminded everyone that Open Farm Sunday would be on the 5 June between 11am-4pm at his new grain store and entry was free of charge.
8. Thanks: The Chairman thanked all those who supported the Parish Council:
- Litter pickers and those who cleared up after their dogs especially on the recreation grounds, in the Henge and on the footpaths. He also thanked Robin and Ben Butler for mending the play area fence.
- Trustees, Secretaries and Treasurers of local voluntary organisations and especially members of ASA in 2015 and now ACSReC members.
- Police, staff at Wiltshire Council and the National Trust.
- the Parish Council’s wider team of Judy Farthing (Civil Emergency Officer), Kate Fry (APC web site), Ron Dobson (advice on buildings), Martin Rendle (small works) and David Throup (Editor, UKN)
- Jemima Milton (Wiltshire Councillor)
- Liz Moore (Clerk),
- Colleagues on the Parish Council.
- All those who attending the meeting.
Judy Farthing thanked the Chairman and the Parish Council.
The meeting closed at 21:40
Appendices (included in the book of Parish Council papers):
- National Trust Update and invitation to an evening with the National Trust.
- A possible consultation scheme for Avebury by Andrew Williamson dated 27 April.
- Documents available for inspection were the APC’s minute book, audit reports, bank statements and books of account. [The accounts were inspected by two members of the public after the meeting].
Avebury Parish Council
The Annual Village Meeting will be held at 7pm on Tuesday 25th April 2017 at the Social Centre, Avebury SN8 1RF.
All members of the public are welcome to attend.
- Welcomes and introductions
- Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 28 April 2016 (see 28 April 2016 Annual Parish Meeting : DRAFT minutes)
- Matters arising from the minutes
- Report on the work of the Parish Council, Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee and other local organisations in the past year, including:
- Elections and membership
- Transport Group: report on local road and footpath schemes
- Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee: report
- Local initiatives, including Community Shop and Community Orchard
- Reports from Wiltshire Council, the Police, the National Trust and the World Heritage Site Officer
- Planning decisions
- Housing needs survey
- Local issues and Parish Council decisions including Trusloe parking, Defibrillator, A303 consultation, sewer improvements, Great West Way, Ridgeway, URC chapel and BT phone boxes
- National Trust: representations on issues and planned improvements in dialogue
- High Speed Broadband, Community Wi-Fi and Parish Council website
- Civil Emergency Plan
- Flood Group
- Arrangements for Summer Solstice 2017
- Local improvements and works, including play equipment and bus stops
- Precept, finance and admin, including mains water supply to pavilion.
- Local issues from the public: the past year and for the next 12 months
- Local issues from the Parish Council: the past year and for the next 12 months
- Any other business