2 May 2017 Ordinary Council Meeting : Minutes

Avebury Parish Council

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on Tuesday 2 May 2017 at the Social Centre, Avebury SN8 1RF.

In these minutes APC stands for Avebury Parish Council, ACC for Avebury Cricket Club, ACSReC for Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee, AWHS for Avebury World Heritage Site, EH for English Heritage, FWO for Fyfield and West Overton Parish Council, MAB for Marlborough Area Board, NT for the National Trust, URC for United Reform Church, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.

Time Started: 19:30 

  1. Public question time: There was one member of the public present, Mrs Jane Davies (prospective Wiltshire Councillor), for part of the meeting up to item 8. No questions were asked.
  2. Present: Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chairman), Mrs Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), Mr Terence O’Connor, Mrs Lynzey Paradise and Mr Stephen Stacey. In attendance: Miss Liz Moore (Clerk) and Councillor James Sheppard up to item 8.
  3. Apologies: Councillors Dave Brotheridge and Jon Campbell.
  4. Declarations of interest: none declared.
  5. Minutes of meeting held on 4th April 2017: the Chairman read out an email received by the Clerk that day from Mrs Jan Tomlin (General Manager, Wiltshire Landscape) regarding the accuracy of the minutes. He also read out an email he had received on 27 April from Mrs Tomlin and his email response that had attached a copy of APC’s Code of Conduct. In discussion it was noted it was only APC members who could decide on the accuracy of the minutes and that, whilst others could comment, no detail on the accuracy of an individual item had been given by the NT. The minutes were approved after item 6 and unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Mrs Paradise and seconded by Mrs Lewis.
  6. Matters arising from the minutes: The Chairman stated that in view of the confidential nature of the business that was about to be transacted it was advisable in the public interest that the public and press be temporarily excluded. Proceedings recorded in confidential minute. Members discussed issues raised by email from the NT concerning the last APC meeting. The views of those who attended the meeting differed from those of the NT. It was agreed that the Parish Council would very much like the NT to engage with it as set out in the confidential minute. Action: APC to respond to Mrs Tomlin’s email. Councillor James Sheppard to attend APC’s next meeting on 6 June.
  7. National Trust update/dialogue: not covered as the NT had not been present.
  8. Improving opening hours of Coach House toilets: Mr Stacey tabled his report (see appendix 1). Mr O’Connor asked how APC had become involved in offering money to the NT. The Chairman explained that last summer members of the public including Mr John Wilding (Manager, the Henge Shop) had brought the issue of lack of toilet facilities to the attention of APC. APC had decided to represent these concerns, and to take proactive steps by seeking management and financial resources to assist the Trust, and the community had subsequently offered funding. The Chairman reported further to APC’s letter to AWHS Steering Committee that the following points had emerged from WHS Steering Committee meeting on 25 April; the WHS Steering Committee took the view that (i) there should be adequate facilities for people to visit the WHS comfortably and that (ii) relevant partners should get together to have a discussion to find a resolution to the situation, including Wiltshire Council. Further to Mr Stacey’s report APC considered whether the principle of a commercial lease was acceptable. The Chairman suggested that if the Coach House toilets and Café were open at busy times the NT should pay for a proportionate amount of running costs. In discussion members felt APC should not be expected to take on a lease because APC did not receive visitor income and other APC commitments for the community would suffer. A doubling or more of the precept for the purpose of funding NT toilets was not a realistic option. If however WC was formally involved it might be possible to request a contribution of about half the costs i.e. about £5,000 a year and to ask the NT for a contribution of about £5,000 pa whilst APC might cover some extra costs. It was noted Jane Davies had offered to speak to WC. Action: APC to consider in June when (i) more figures were available, (ii) members had looked at other NT sites and (iii) APC had talked to WC and others about making a contribution. Mr Stacey to report back after next meeting with NT. Mr O’Connor asked whether Lacock had similar issues; Mr Stacey said that although Lacock was an open access site like Avebury, the village was largely owned by the Trust.
  9. Planning applications:
    1. Full planning and listed building consent for removal of existing rear conservatory and erection of a single storey rear extension and first floor rear extension, with conversion of barns to provide enlarged residential and ancillary guest accommodation and swimming pool plant room at Galteemore Farm, Beckhampton, SN8 1QJ. Ref: 17/03045/FUL and 17/03774/LBC. Plans were tabled and considered. It was noted the application was a resubmission of an application that had been considered by APC’s Planning Committee in April 2015 and APC had supported the development without conditions. It was resolved to support the application without conditions. Proposed by Dr Bedford, seconded by Mrs Lewis and carried unanimously.
  10. Review of the Annual Village Meeting held on 25 April 2017:
    1. Emma’s Pantry: the NT had provided APC with a newsletter mid-March, which informed readers that a converted horsebox run by Emma’s Country Kitchen would be popping up in the NT’s main car park soon. Members were concerned that the feature in the NT’s newsletter was the first time APC had heard of the proposal and that APC had not been previously consulted about this new business development in the village. Concerns had been raised by several people at the annual village meeting on 25 April and the Chairman said he had been approached by a number of residents, including Mr Brian Vickers and Mrs Sara Spratt, both residents in the High Street. Mr Vickers had expressed concern about the impact of Emma’s Pantry on Teas for Tourists especially Easter Monday trading. Mrs Paradise stated both she and Kate Fry, also residents in the High Street, had approached Emma’s Pantry and obtained feedback that the caterers were aware of the need to avoid competition and that they did not want to upset the village or be controversial. The trial was however proving successful and they were hoping to stay. It was noted that the opening times for the catering van were 10am – 6pm but that it also opened earlier for festivals. In discussion members expressed concern as to whether there was a need for another food outlet and the following issues were raised: (i) the caterers were using an A-board to advertise the business, contravening WHS objectives to minimise advertising and signage (ii) concern about increased litter as food sold was to take away (iii) the lack of toilet facilities when the catering van was trading outside of NT opening hours and hence toilet opening hours (iv) the increased commercialisation of the site and changing its character (v) reduced car parking spaces (vi) the fact the NT was reviewing the project in the light of visitor experience but not of those of people living and working in the village. The Chairman referred to Sara Spratt’s email to the NT (previously circulated to members) and members noted her points. The NT’s response had made clear the catering van was actually on a trial until 14 May. Members understood that any feedback to the NT would need to be sent by 18 May which was the day the NT would be discussing results of the visitor experience. In discussion, it was suggested that the number of days Emma’s Pantry was closed and others such as Teas for Tourists were open should be by agreement and that this should come from the community. Mr O’Connor reminded everyone that with regards to the opening of the new shop in Green Street the NT had stated it had been careful not to let the building to a conflicting business and questioned why the same principle appeared not to apply to Emma’s Pantry. Dr Bedford expressed his deep concern that profits would be going to a private company outside the community and that only a fraction of the income generated by Emma’s Pantry would be going to the NT. This was not an effective use of visitor spend for local activities, and Mrs Paradise said it would have been more understandable if the catering van had been owned by the NT. The Chairman said the WHS Management Plan stated that the local community should receive benefit from economic activities and questioned whether income for them would be correspondingly reduced. Members queried whether the trial was for 28 days per year or for a longer period. It was felt strongly by all members of the Parish Council that they very much wanted to discuss and consult on the project in a spirit of partnership with the NT. Action: APC to ask for the NT’s meeting on 18 May to be deferred so that the community’s views could be taken into consideration as well.
    2. It had been suggested locals could reduce traffic speeds on Swindon Road by doing 30mph. Action: Chairman to include a paragraph in APC’s Headlines for UKN to ask residents to drive at 30 mph.
    3. A request had been received for a sign to deter visitors from parking in the High Street. Mrs Lewis said it was her understanding no one had a legal right to park outside their own house on the public highway. In discussion members noted APC had considered a residents parking scheme in the past but it would require considerable signage and road markings, and problems arose with people visiting local institutions and homes. WC Highways had agreed the approved signage that was currently in place. Mrs Paradise felt that the ‘no tourists parking’ sign should be reviewed as it was her opinion people disregarded the word ‘no’. Other members felt the sign did its job. Action: APC to write to Martin Cook (WC Highways) to enquire about options. Mrs Paradise also requested that APC write to the Church, the Social Centre, the Henge Shop and the Community Shop, and not only the Circle Nursery as suggested at the village meeting, to request assistance in ensuring visitors did not block the High Street. Action: deferred to APC’s June meeting.
    4. A member of the public had noted at the annual village meeting that the minutes of the annual parish meeting last year showed that the NT had listed support for the community by helping to finance the sports-field noticeboard, but queried whether it had paid. Action: agreed later in the meeting at item 13.
  11. Transport issues:
    1. A4 projects at Beckhampton and West Kennett: Dr Bedford reported at the last meeting with Steve Hind (WC Highways) it had been agreed with the support of Sarah Simmonds (WHS Officer) that both projects should move forward together.
    2. Cyclothon update: Dr Bedford confirmed the money being raised would be going towards transport projects including the A4 project.
    3. footpaths and signage update: Dr Bedford said he had logged footpath 22 again on the WC online system.
    4. request for gravel track on Nursery site in Avebury Trusloe: Mrs Paradise reminded everyone that the request from the village meeting had been for small actions / interim improvements for the parking in Avebury Trusloe and members agreed to look at alternatives such as rubber matting or gravel. Action: referred to Transport Group.
    5. request for traffic speed monitoring through Avebury and Trusloe: referred to Transport Group.
    6. the need for a structured discussion on the possible closure of the Avenue: the Chairman reported the WHS Steering Committee was interested in helping to collect evidence on the issues. Action: referred to Transport Group.
    7. date of next Committee meeting: Monday 15 May.
  12. Defibrillator for Avebury: Mrs Lewis reported the defibrillator package had been ordered and paid for and SW Ambulance Trust had requested an installation date. The Chairman said the Social Centre Trustees had decided to locate the defibrillator on the Social Centre ‘fake’ porch. Mrs Paradise asked if it would be possible to have a second defibrillator in Avebury Trusloe as per a request from the village meeting. In discussion it was agreed that (i) APC should put an advert in UKN to ask local people if they would like a defibrillator in Trusloe (ii) APC should at a future meeting consider supporting a defibrillator in Trusloe with the same contribution it had made in the High Street and (iii) discover whether anyone including local businesses would be willing to make a donation.
  13. ACSReC: Mrs Lewis reported Teas for Tourists had raised about £428. It was noted no donation had been received from the NT for the noticeboard (see item 10d above). Action: Clerk to check progress with NT accounts department and further action deferred to next ACSReC meeting. The Chairman stated that in view of the confidential nature of the business that was about to be transacted it was advisable in the public interest that the public and press be temporarily excluded. Proceedings recorded in confidential minute. Members discussed the future of the Sports Field.
  14. Local issues: the Chairman reported:
    1. URC Chapel and Community Right to Bid application: following the annual village meeting no community group had expressed an interest in mounting a project, and APC had therefore withdrawn its CRtB application.
    2. Housing Needs Survey: results received and previously circulated to members. Deferred to next meeting on 18 May.
    3. management of Solstice and parking permits: in progress.
    4. planters in High Street: Mrs Paradise reported the new planter had been installed and was in the process of being planted up.
    5. payphones consultation: the Clerk reported no further information had been received from BT.
    6. leaf sweeping in High Street and Church Walk: ordered but not yet actioned by WC.
    7. jetting of culvert in Beckhampton: Mrs Lewis said she believed the work had been completed.
    8. Avebury Rocks 7-9 July at East Farm: dates noted.
  15. Communications: 4 April Headlines submitted to UKN News
  16. Correspondence:
    1. Bobby Van News tabled by the Clerk and request for donation deferred to November Council meeting when donations to charities would be considered.
  17. Finance and admin including:
    1. The Clerk reported the Parish precept (£6,050.00) had been received from WC on 21 April.
    2. Internal audit: Clerk to action.
    3. Parish Council Insurance renewal due 1 June 2017: APC had received two quotations and it was agreed one or more further quotations be sought. Item deferred to 18 May meeting.
    4. It was resolved to approve the confidential minute of 4 April 2017 meeting. Proposed by Mr Stacey, seconded by Mrs Lewis and carried unanimously.
    5. Councillor Training: not covered.
    6. The approved minutes of ACSReC meeting 1 March 2017 and Transport Group Committee meeting 13 December 2016. Not seen by the meeting but added subsequently. (See appendix 2).
    7. Cheques for payment and cheques for ratification:  it was resolved that the following cheques be paid. Proposed by Mr Stacey, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously. Cheques were signed by the Chairman and Dr Bedford.
        1. ICO: annual renewal of data protection registration          £35.00
        2. WALC: annual subscription 2017/2018 (including VAT)   £200.88
        3. Social Centre: rent 30 April 2017 by ACSReC                  £30.00
        4. Liz Moore: Clerk’s overtime and expenses 22 March – 21 April 2017                                                                                  £85.20
  18. Date of AGM and next meeting: 7pm on Thursday 18 May 2017 at the Social Centre. Mrs Lewis gave her apologies for the 6 June meeting.
  19. Any other business: none declared.
  20. The meeting closed at 10:06pm.

Appendices: (included in the book of Parish Council papers): 

  1. Coach House toilets – update 2 May 2017
  2. The approved minutes of ACSReC meeting 1 March 2017 and Transport Group Committee meeting 13 December 2016 (not seen by the meeting but added subsequently).