Avebury Parish Council
Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on Tuesday 4 July 2017 at the Social Centre, Avebury SN8 1RF.
In these minutes APC stands for Avebury Parish Council, ACSReC for Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee, AHA for Aster Housing Association, AWHS for Avebury World Heritage Site, EH for English Heritage, 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.
Present: Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Dr Mike Bedford, Mr Jon Campbell, Mrs Lynzey Paradise and Ms Zandria Service. In attendance: Miss Liz Moore (Clerk), and from items 6 to 9 inclusive Wiltshire Councillors Jane Davies and James Sheppard (Vice-Chairman WC), Mrs Jan Tomlin (NT General Manager, Wiltshire Landscape) and Ms Catherine Hosie (NT Estate Manager).
Time Started: 19:34
- Public question time: Wiltshire Councillors Jane Davies and James Sheppard and Mrs Jan Tomlin and Ms Catherine Hosie were present from items 1 to 5 inclusive. No questions were asked.
- Apologies: Councillors Mr Dave Brotheridge, Mrs Maggie Lewis, Mr Terence O’Connor and Mr Stephen Stacey.
- Declarations of interest: none declared.
- Minutes of meeting held on 6 June 2017: Unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Dr Bedford and seconded by Mr Campbell. Please also see NT clarification under item 6 below. The confidential meeting notes under item 4. National Trust update / dialogue / progress and item 14. c. ACSReC: Sports Field lease and repairs to Pavilion were accepted as an accurate record. Proposed by Mrs Paradise, seconded by Dr Bedford and carried unanimously.
- Matters arising from the minutes: the Chairman reported:
- Item 7: Emma’s Pantry: the scheme would not be proceeding for the time being.
- Item 12. Housing Needs Survey: APC awaiting a response from Claire Moore (WC).
- Item 17.b. additional yellow line painting on roads: AW read out Mr Molton’s email from WC. In discussion it was additionally agreed APC would consult other organisations in the village and Transport Group to consult with residents in Avebury Trusloe. Action: the Chairman and Dr Bedford to contact Mr Molton to discuss options for the WHS and Dr Bedford and Mr Campbell to put together a leaflet / survey for immediate distribution to Avebury Trusloe residents.
- Item 20: thank you letter from Betty Cronk was tabled and received.
The Chairman invited Cllrs James Sheppard and Jane Davies and Mrs Jan Tomlin and Ms Catherine Hosie to join the table.
- National Trust update, dialogue and progress: the Clerk had circulated APC members with the NT’s Update the previous day: National Trust Update
- New Discovery at Avebury: You will no doubt have seen and heard the national media coverage last week highlighting the discovery of a new monument at Avebury. Archaeological surveys on National Trust land have revealed a unique square megalithic monument at the heart of the Avebury WHS in the South East quadrant, within the Southern Inner Circle, just behind the chapel. Our own Archaeologists, Dr Nick Snashall and Dr Ros Cleal, helped to direct the survey, and Nick has written a blog on our web-site under the heading “Avebury – Squaring the Circle”. You can find both the blog and links to Nick’s Radio 4 “Today” programme podcast by searching for “NT FragmeNTs” or following the link: https://ntarchaeostonehengeaveburywhs.wordpress.com/blog/. The blog includes a full report and images, including a possible visual reconstruction of the site.
- Summer Solstice: Once again, the local team were joined by National Trust staff and volunteers from across the charity to help manage Solstice to ensure a safe and enjoyable occasion for all. We work in partnership with a number of organisations, including primarily the Police and Wiltshire Council, and are pleased to report that once again the air was celebratory and joyful, with very few incidents of any note. This is a tremendous effort which includes a large number of people working through the night and into the early hours of the morning. While there was once again an unfortunate amount of litter and debris left in the Henge, I am pleased to say that staff and volunteers cleared this very quickly to return the site to its normal clean and pristine condition.I would like to record the National Trust’s heartfelt thanks to all those who support us in the management of this Observance, which means a very great deal to so many people. We could not do this alone, and greatly appreciate the support of so many agencies and individuals who work to ensure a peaceful Solstice for all, both at Avebury and at Stonehenge.
- Avebury Chapel: We’re pleased that our bid to purchase Avebury chapel was successful. Feedback from the URC themselves, from partners and local groups, and from much further afield, has been really very positive and we look forward to starting work on a programme of simple renovation soon. Before beginning this work, we’ll be opening up the chapel to hear ideas about how best to develop this lovely space. The chapel will be open between 3pm and 7pm on Wednesday on 5th July for anyone to drop in and meet the National Trust team, and to share thoughts. Our overall vision for this unique and beautiful building is to develop a space to engage with people to share our passion for the landscape, its abundant nature and world-renowned archaeology. We’ll be working with WHS partners to showcase the essential work we do to conserve and protect the site. We’ll also welcome local communities, and the many national and international visitors coming to Avebury each year, providing advice and information on wildlife and heritage. In showcasing nature and conservation, we’ll also reflect the important history of the building as a Five Mile Chapel, and plan to introduce talks and presentations by specialists in ecology, archaeology and heritage in due course. Following the open event, we’ll start work to repair and protect the building, and develop our plans to open properly as a welcome, information and engagement space. The Chairman invited Mrs Jan Tomlin to speak to the Update. She reported:
- New Discovery at Avebury: she tabled copies of newspaper reports containing photos and said it was worth looking at national coverage to view images together with the following blog: https://ntarchaeostonehengeaveburywhs.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/squaring-the-circle-archaeological-detectives-discover-secret-square-beneath-world-famous-avebury-stone-circle/
- Summer Solstice: the NT had received phenomenal support from the Police. 100 vehicles, 400 people and various tents and dogs had been moved off the Ridgeway. The appearance of WC enforcement tow-trucks had helped to move vehicles off the Ridgeway too.
- Avebury Chapel: the NT’s bid to purchase Avebury Chapel had been successful, keys to the Chapel had been picked up on Monday and the open evening for the public was the next day.
Mrs Tomlin requested a clarification to item 8 of APC’s 6 June 2017 meeting minutes be noted (see fourth sentence ‘…it would effectively be funding toilets for a nationwide charity / business…’) to say ‘May we take this opportunity to clarify the Minutes at Item 8. I would like to make clear that, should APC take on a lease to extend toilet hours at Avebury, this would not be funding toilets for a nationwide charity, because the opening hours would be above and beyond those that the National Trust provides. Specifically, we have received no feedback or evidence that toilets are required overnight’. Mrs Tomlin stated that the NT gone through its records for the past 10 years and had found no evidence of the need to open its toilets for longer hours than at present.
Mr Campbell welcomed Mrs Tomlin’s presentation of the NT update and her presence at APC’s meeting. The Chairman said the agenda item also covered dialogue and he was keen to see as much positive discussion as possible. He said the NT had been invited to attend pre-meetings and possibly have a seat on the Parish Council, and that the relationship was an evolving process. Mrs Paradise said a good example of APC and NT working together was NT asking APC for any questions on their plans to replace various gates at the Manor prior to a formal planning application being submitted to WC. It meant members had a ‘heads up’ on the work of the NT and could answer questions from members of the public. Mrs Davies stated that improving footpaths and pavements, including the pedestrian route from the NT main car park to the High Street, could be another example of joint working and reported MAB had funding available for pavements. She asked if APC had considered coloured pedestrian crossings as these had worked well in Lockeridge. – Ms Service left the meeting for a couple of minutes.
- Future of URC Chapel: the Chairman explained that the community had been concerned a couple of years ago about the future of the Chapel and had held a well-attended public meeting in August 2015. Those present had suggested 14 possible uses, and the Chairman read out a list of them. He then read out an extract from an email APC had sent the URC Synod urging the URC Synod ‘to enter into a proper dialogue with all concerned locally to explore a scheme to increase the Chapel’s outreach into the local, national and international communities, with particular focuses on:
- the spiritual lives of local people and visitors of Christian and all other faiths
- the needs of people for reflection, and the use of the Quiet Garden
- the use of the Chapel as a centre for the arts, talks and seminars related to the community and all those visiting or involved in the World Heritage Site
- the possible use of part of the Chapel as a centre to disseminate information on the World Heritage Site, the North Wessex Downs AONB, the Marlborough Area Nature Improvement Area and, as in the past, a Tourist Information Centre
- other similar uses.’
The Chairman stated a Chapel Group had been formed in September 2015 to try to save the Chapel but in February 2017 it had announced that it could go no further with its project. The NT had then announced on 27 June that it had purchased the Chapel (please see NT Newsletter at appendix 1). The Chairman asked members if they had any feedback from the community or questions. Members said they had received no particular feedback yet from the community but they were glad the building was going to be looked after. The Chairman asked the NT about joint working and whether the quiet garden was likely to be retained. Ms Hosie and Mrs Tomlin explained the purpose of the drop-in meeting the Trust was arranging the next evening was for the public to provide their thoughts and for the NT to listen, but that the NT was concerned not to provide further information at this stage to avoid raising public expectations. Dr Bedford asked about the timescales for the restoration work and Mrs Tomlin said she was not sure how quickly the work was going to be assessed but it would be a sympathetic restoration. While those APC members present were aware they had not had significant feedback from the public following the NT’s purchase the week before, they were unanimous in welcoming the news on the information provided and looked forward to receiving more detail on future uses and activities. The NT had invited the public to a drop-in the next day. Action: Clerk to put Chapel on 5th September meeting agenda.
- Review of Summer Solstice 2017: the Chairman invited members and the NT to provide their observations on Solstice. In discussion it was noted there had been lots of parking issues in Avebury Trusloe with some people photocopying APC parking permits. There had also been many parking issues in the High Street and Green Street and the permit scheme had been largely ignored. Members noted the bollards had not worked because they were spaced too far apart. Councillor Sheppard asked how long people stayed in Avebury and it was noted it was between 2-4 days. It was noted there had been no issues in West Kennett as the layby had been closed for parking and no issues in Beckhampton. The NT had worked pro-actively with the Police and WC enforcement to ensure minimal issues on the Ridgeway and had been very well supported and it was noted any music / drumming had been stopped very quickly. However, APC members said that people in the community had not felt so well supported by the Police or WC enforcement compared with the previous year when two cars had been towed away at peak times and had deterred parking. Photo evidence had been taken of 10 vehicles parked illegally in the High Street. A member reported lots of teenagers had been having their own small parties in the High Street and the Henge during the Kings Drummers performance, some young people had been taking drugs and that had affected the atmosphere compared with last year. The Chairman asked how many people had attended Solstice that year. Mrs Tomlin said it was difficult to assess numbers in Avebury but last year there had been up to 5,000 people and it was about half that figure this year probably due to the very hot weather. About 13,000 people had attended at Stonehenge. During further discussion, it was reported there was still some litter on the Ridgeway and in the Windmill Hill area. The Chairman had received several emails including complaints about the provision of toilets and concerns from the Red Lion PH. Mrs Tomlin reported the toilets were the same as the previous year and that the NT provided a porta-loo in the village car. Action: Chairman to report parking, behavioural and litter issues at the Solstice de-brief meeting the next day and request better Police support for next year. Mrs Davies (Wiltshire Councillor) to speak to WC enforcement for next year. Thanks were expressed to all present by the Chairman.
- Improving opening hours of Coach House toilets: members noted that Mr Stacey, who was working on this issue, was not present. The Chairman reported APC had received recent emails (previously circulated to members) from the Red Lion PH and the Henge Shop regarding the need for the toilet facilities at the Coach House to be open at times needed by the public. In discussion Mrs Tomlin explained the NT opened it toilets free of charge and needed clear evidence for overnight toilets. She was asked what the NT classed as evidence. Mrs Davies asked if the need for toilets was 24 hrs a day; the Chairman said that opening hours from dawn to dusk would meet the needs of many people. Mrs Tomlin said the NT took its feedback from visitor experience and had no shred of feedback from anyone that they could not go to the toilet at 2am. Dr Bedford recalled that 15 years ago the lack of toilet facilities had been a major and real issue for residents and it seemed to be a recurring theme. In further discussion Mrs Davies felt evidence might not be reported as people would be embarrassed to do so. Councillors Davies and Sheppard agreed they would approach WC to request that the Council consider taking on a lease and/or provide funding for extended opening hours for the Coach House toilets given the unique importance of the World Heritage Site. A question was asked as to why the NT website stated access to Avebury Stone Circle was 24 hrs and it was clarified by Mrs Tomlin that only the monument and footpaths were open and the NT had made it clearer on its web site. Mr Stacey and the Chairman would share evidence with the NT and WC and have further talks with WC to contact Claire Perry MP. It was additionally agreed APC ask the Henge Shop and the Red Lion PH to record evidence. Before leaving, Councillor James Sheppard expressed a many thanks to all present for the progress made. The Chairman asked if anyone had any other questions. Footpath 22 [Church Walk to Bray Street] was discussed and Mrs Davies advised APC should email Mr Andrew Jack as funds for footpaths had been given to Area Boards. Mrs Paradise raised the issue of coaches parking outside the High Street car park and blocking the High Street. It was noted the NT had no authority to move vehicles on and APC was advised to ask PCSO Lucy Stonestreet to carry out some patrolling. The Chairman expressed a many thanks to WC and the NT for their contributions and assistance. Cllrs Jane Davies and James Sheppard and Mrs Jan Tomlin and Ms Catherine Hosie left the meeting.
- Planning applications:
- Full planning and Listed Building Consent to remove the temporary wooden gates which are fitted to the Grade II walls within Avebury Manor Gardens and replace them with full sized permanent wooden gates at Avebury Manor Gardens, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF. Ref: 17/05290/FUL and 17/05857/LBC. Plans were tabled and considered. It was resolved to support the application without conditions. Proposed by Dr Bedford, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
- Work to trees in a Conservation Area to remove Leylandii to ground level at High Trees, Bray Street, Avebury SN8 1RA. Ref: 17/05976/TCA. Plans were tabled and considered. It was resolved to support the application without conditions. Proposed by the Chairman, seconded by Dr Bedford and carried unanimously.
- Work to trees in a Conservation Area. Sycamore needing some crown reduction and a Pine and Cypress Tree needing similar attention at High Trees, Bray Street, Avebury SN8 1RA. Ref: 17/06346/TCA. Plans were tabled and considered. It was resolved to support the application without conditions. Proposed by Mr Campbell, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
- Application for Certificate of Lawfulness Ref: 17/05573/CLE to confirm that a “material operation” had been carried out pursuant to implementing the development granted under planning permission 14/02099/FUL at Lower Acre, Bray Street, SN8 1RA. In discussion it was noted the foundations had been observed by a local resident before the expiry of the planning application and a material operation had therefore been carried out. Action: Clerk to write to WC. Proposed by Ms Service, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
- Ms Service reported she had been informed by the home owner at 2 Bray Street that the planning application for their house had been granted by WC but the driveway had been turned down on the grounds of creeping urbanisation. It was noted APC had originally supported the driveway to help with the parking issues in the road. Action: Ms Service to contact the resident to ask them to provide a written report.
- Transport Group: Dr Bedford reported: a traffic speeding survey was underway and on the 3 July there had been an accident outside Melbourne Villa on the A4361 Swindon Road involving Moya Brannan’s son. The A4 project was now in MAB’s top five priority projects thanks to Cllr Jane Davies’ support at CATG, and the Transport Group needed to raise a further £1,300 for the design work at Beckhampton. Dr Bedford said he had started a list of pros and cons for closing the Avenue. It was noted the next meeting of the Transport Group was on the 10 August.
- Defibrillators for Avebury and Trusloe: in Mrs Lewis’ absence, Mrs Paradise reported 15 people had attended the defibrillator training including residents from Bray Street in Avebury Trusloe. That meant APC would qualify for a defibrillator for Avebury Trusloe at a reduced price of £1,000 but one of the conditions was that no further training was offered by SW Ambulance and those that had received the training would train anyone else that was interested. Action: item deferred to next meeting agenda.
- ACSReC: Mrs Paradise reported:
- Sports Field Noticeboard: an on-site meeting had taken place between Mrs Lynzey Paradise, Ms Catherine Hosie, Dr Nick Snashall, Ms Sarah Simmonds and Mrs Maggie Lewis to agree a location for the noticeboard. Mrs Paradise tabled a location map of the Sports Field and surrounding footpaths. In discussion it was noted the proposal was for the board to be positioned on NT land adjacent to Mr and Mrs Williamson’s back garden. It was agreed the location was fine as long as the notice board did not block light to Mr and Mrs Williamson’s hedge. Mrs Paradise to put proposal on the next ACSReC Committee agenda for their consideration. The Clerk confirmed that she had written to the NT to request the grant of £200.
- Lease: no further progress to report.
- Repairs to Pavilion: as above.
- Local issues: the Chairman reported:
- re-lining sewer from Avebury to East Kennett: nothing to report. Item to be removed from next meeting agenda.
- Play Area fencing: Mr Campbell to investigate and look at other options other than repairs to the fence.
- Setting up a Residents’ Group: APC might organise alternative options such as (i) walkabouts (ii) Village meetings (iii) sending out flyers twice a year (iv) establishing closer links to the WI, Church and other organisations (v) a permanent agenda item for residents’ issues (vi) setting up a face book page. Action: Clerk to put item on next meeting agenda for members to review further.
- Damaged stiles on the White Horse Trail footpath: repair work in progress, update report at next meeting.
- Visitor parking in the High Street and Green Street: item referred to Transport Group.
- Parking in NT Village car park: covered earlier in the meeting at the end of item 9.
- Aircraft flying over Avebury: item referred to Transport Group.
- Footpath 22: Dr Bedford confirmed he had emailed Mrs Davies that evening with information on the status of Footpath 22 to confirm it was still ‘reassigned’. Mrs Davies had also been given a copy of the original letter from John Thomson (Deputy Leader of WC) sent to Mr John Cronk in 2014. In discussion it was noted WC footpath AVE 30/10 running next to the Sports Field was in need of resurfacing. There was a question as to what budget could be used for the work as footpath 22 had been outstanding for three years and was the priority.
- Communications: Headlines had not been submitted to UKN.
- Correspondence: the Clerk reported:
- Letter received from Citizens Advice Wiltshire. Action: request for donation deferred to November meeting as per APC policy.
- Finance and admin:
- The approved minutes of Transport Group meeting 19 April 2017 were received (see appendix 2).
- Cheques for payment and cheques for ratification: it was resolved that the following cheques be paid. Proposed by Ms Service, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
- WALC: Councillor training session on 7 June 2017 (including VAT) £306.48
- C.M. Loney Electrical Services Ltd: wiring for defibrillator (including VAT) £84.00
- S. Merrett Services: weed killing on Sports Field 20 June 2017 (including VAT) £282.00
- Mr P J Mills: rabbit and mole control on the Sports Field (1 May – 1 August 2017) £85.00
- Liz Moore: Clerk’s overtime and expenses: 22 May – 21 June 2017 £364.15
- Date of next meeting: 7:30pm on Tuesday 5th September 2017 at the Social Centre. Mr Campbell gave his apologies.
- Any other business:
- Ms Service said a resident had reported issues of vandalism and children swearing in Avebury Trusloe. It was noted this was not an APC matter and the Police had already been made aware of the situation.
- The Clerk tabled an article from Clerks and Councils Direct magazine featuring a Village that had honoured community spirit by giving certificates and gifts to residents.
- The meeting closed at 10:30pm
Appendices: (included in the book of Parish Council papers)
- NT Newsletter dated 27 June 2017
- The approved minutes of Transport Group meeting 19 April 2017