6 November 2018 Ordinary Meeting : Minutes

Avebury Parish Council

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on Tuesday 6 November 2018 at the Social Centre, Avebury SN8 1RF.

In these minutes APC stands for Avebury Parish Council, ASB for Anti-Social Behaviour, ASSC for Avebury Sports and Social Club, ASSF for Avebury Sacred Sites Forum, AWHS for Avebury World Heritage Site, CATG for Community Area Transport Group, EH for English Heritage, FWO PC for Fyfield and West Overton Parish Council, NT for the National Trust, PC for Parish Council, TG for Transport Group, TPO for Tree Preservation Order, UKN for Upper Kennet News, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.

Present: Councillors Mr Stephen Stacey (Chairman), Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chairman), Mr Ben Butler, Mr Terence O’Connor, Mrs Lynzey Paradise and Mr Andrew Williamson.

In attendance: Miss Liz Moore (Clerk).

Time started: 19:30

  1. Public question time: there were five members of the public present including two representatives from Fowler Architecture and Planning, Mr Aaron Smith BA(Hons) DipTP MRTPI and his colleague Stella Turner and they were present for all or part of the meeting. The Chairman welcomed guests and members of the public to the meeting, explained that any questions the public wished to ask Fowler Architecture and Planning would be taken at item 6.a, and invited other questions. There were no other questions asked.
  2. Apologies: Councillors Mrs Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), Mr Paul Ryder-Morris, Ms Zandria Service and Wiltshire Councillor Jane Davies.
  3. Declarations of interest: none declared.
  4. Minutes of meeting held on 2 October 2018: unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Mrs Paradise and seconded by Mr Butler.
  5. Matters arising from the minutes:
    1. Min ref. 5.b. Emergency Planning: it was noted that the request for a salt bin for Bray Street would be covered at item 10.e.
    2. Min ref. 9.b. Removal of graffiti and re-painting Beckhampton bus shelter: it was noted that the work was in progress.
    3. Min ref. 9.d. AHA tree and rubbish reported to Aster: it was noted that the Chairman and Clerk would be meeting on-site with Jennie Kearley (AHA Neighbourhood Officer) on the 8 November.
    4. Min ref. 11.c. Parish Steward: the Chairman reported that he had written to Councillor Bridget Wayman to request the Parish Steward for a whole day per month as opposed to half a day and the response had been that it would be possible if another Parish might be persuaded to give up some of their time.
  6. Planning applications: the Chairman explained that for item 6.a. there would be a short presentation from Fowler Architecture and Planning and then a question and answer session before moving on to the other planning applications.
    1. Application for Full Planning for erection of dwellinghouse with garaging and access at land at South Street, Avebury, SN8 1QZ. Ref: 18/09889/FUL. Mr Smith explained that the architects had been instructed by Centurian Western to re-evaluate the vacant plot that had had previous planning applications submitted on it back in the 1960’s and 1990’s and to design a 5 bedroom detached house with new access onto South Street through an existing sarsen stone wall. He added that development in the area was restricted to infilling (which this application respected) and invited members of the public and Parish Council to ask questions. The following questions or concerns were raised by members of the public:

      1. Why was the proposed house nearer to the road compared to Barley Cottage on the adjoining land? Mr Smith stated that existing houses were set at various positions on their respective plots and that the new house had been designed as single storey out the back.
      2. The front of the house was the tallest part and very close to the house on the opposite side of the road. Mr Smith said that the architects could look at setting the property further back however Highways consultants had looked at the front and had not raised any issues.
      3. Why can’t the other access be used from the main highway?
      4. There had been a 7.6 metre height restriction condition on Barley Cottage (in fact the build height is 7.1 metres) and the proposed new house is over 8 metres high. Mr Smith said that he would take these comments back to his client. The following questions or concerns were raised by members of the PC:
      5. The house was enormous compared to the size of the plot. Mr Smith explained that the building had been designed to reduce its overall mass hence the single storey rear extension.
      6. In terms of the Parish, the PC’s Housing Needs Survey (March 2017 report) had indicated a need for 1-2 bedroom units and no need for 5 bedroom properties and would the client review this and consider, for example, a bungalow? Other issues included the overall bulk of the house and concern that it was not a natural fit with some of the other cottages (which are essentially linear in construction), that the sense of enclosure would be lost, and why could access not be given from the land outlined in blue. Mr Smith explained that the proposal was not required to meet the need of WC’s Housing Needs Survey and that the client would look at a more comprehensive development if the access needed to change.
      7. A further comment was made underlining the results of the housing needs survey and that there was no clear need for the proposed development.
      8. The archaeology survey submitted with the plans was 18 years old and there was no heritage impact assessment.
      9. WC conditions might require the front roof lights to be conservation style. Mr Smith stated that WC would control the development via planning conditions.
      10. WC had omitted to consult the WHS management team but they had now been notified by a member of the public and by the architects.
      11. If the building was positioned further back its prominence would be reduced and the PC would also need to consider the application as the owner of the adjoining Play Area.

      Mr Smith thanked everyone and said that he would take on their points and consult with his client and thanks were expressed by the Chairman to Mr Smith for answering the questions so fully. As there was particular concern about the size of the house, it was agreed that the PC would convene an on-site Planning Sub-Committee meeting at 10am on Saturday 17 November 2018. The Clerk to send copy of the meeting minute to Mr Smith at Fowler Architects and Planning.

    2. Application for work to trees in a conservation area. Proposal:- Silver Birch – Prune for maintenance, Cherry – Prune as above at Bannings Yard, Bray Street, Avebury, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 1RA. Ref: 18/09547/TCA. The plans were considered and it was resolved to support the application. Proposed by Mr Butler, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
    3. Application for Advertisement Consent to upgrade the visitor signage around Avebury Village. Removal of 11 signs around the village and installation of 12 new signs, 9 of which are direct replacement and 3 in new locations at National Trust Estates, High Street, Avebury, Wiltshire, SN8 1RF. Ref: 18/09436/ADV. The plans were very carefully considered and it was decided that the council would object to the application, although it was noted that it had benefits for residents and visitors alike in certain respects, for example in renewing life-expired sign boards with smaller ones with clearer lettering, using white letters on black backgrounds which certainly would enhance legibility, etc. It was observed that, white is hard on the eyes and so a more subdued colour scheme was preferred. In particular:
      1. Replacing a fingerpost in the centre of the village with 6 fingerboards for one in the same location with 10 fingerboards (and furthermore with two wall mounted signs nearby duplicating some of the information contained thereon) was ‘too much information’ and visually intrusive. Removing 11 signs and replacing them with 12 (3 of which being in new locations) does not sit easily with the WHS Management Plan’s recommendation that signage be decluttered wherever possible.
      2. Two signs at the entrance of the National Trust’s car park, both at right angles to the direction of travel along the Beckhampton Road and reading “welcome to Avebury,” would not help drivers as much as one sign reading “car park” placed so that oncoming drivers could see it easily.
      3. The very modest mention of the fact that Avebury is a World Heritage Site misses an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the location’s unique international significance. [Proposed by Mrs Paradise, seconded by Dr Bedford and carried unanimously].
  7. Parish Council budget and precept for 2019/20: The Chairman proposed to alter the order of business and move directly to item 8. All agreed and item 7 was deferred to the end of the meeting.
  8. Transport Group:
    1. Progress report on A4 traffic calming project: Dr Bedford said that he had received an update from Steve Hind (WC Highways) and was pleased to report that the Beckhampton project was progressing. The next step was to arrange a meeting with Sarah Simmonds (WHS Partnership Officer) and Atkins to view the preliminary design and if accepted Atkins would be instructed to carry out the detailed design work. The work at West Kennett had stalled because surrounding parishes were not happy with the unintended consequential closure of the Avenue. Also Steve Hind (WC Highways) and Atkins had other concerns about narrowing the A4 at West Kennett and closure of the Avenue because it raised design issues further east along the A4. Dr Bedford added that Steve Hind (WC Highways) was also not happy with the suggestion that the Avenue could be made one-way as this could make it into a race track. In discussion members expressed on-going safety concerns about the volumes of traffic trying to access the Avenue which resulted in cars queuing on the A4 at busy periods and that the only solution was a material change to the road. It was noted that WC’s speed assessments were 10 years old and should be looked at again. Dr Bedford recommended a second meeting with the surrounding Parish Councils and Steve Hind (WC Highways) to try to find a solution that would be acceptable to all parties and to move the West Kennett project forward. Members endorsed this view and asked to be kept informed of progress.
    2. Report on a meeting of the Chairs of Kennet Valley Parish Councils on 26 October: the Chairman explained that the Chairs had not been familiar with the 2015 Traffic Plan and that a second meeting was planned to understand proposals to improve road safety on the A4. It had been agreed that Jill Petchey (Chair of Berwick Bassett and Winterbourne Monkton PC) should also be invited to the meeting.
    3. Footpath 22 interim repair work: the Chairman said that it had been estimated by Mr Martin Cook (WC) that at least £35,000 would be needed to rebuild footpath 22. Interim repair work would still be costly and the PC would need to put £4,000 into the budget should they decide to apply for a pathway improvement grant (PIG) via MAB which attracts 50% match funding. Further discussion continues with Richard Broadhead, WC’s Rights of Way Officer, in the hope of finding a cost-effective solution.
    4. Footpath signage progress: the Chairman reminded members that £1,000 had already been pledged by the PC. Members understood that progress had stalled but that comments from the National Trust had been promised for the end of the year. This might allow work to be undertaken in the spring of 2019.
  9. Solstice Planning: Mrs Paradise’s idea for a resident’s permit in the form of a vehicle sticker inside the windscreen and a different one for visitors for the whole Parish was being explored by Chris Clarke at WC and the PC was waiting for his feedback. There was no further information on Police costs for Community Accredited Support Officers but it was agreed to ask Ms Service to request Support Officers for Green Street and Avebury Trusloe at the next ASSF meeting on 21 November. Mrs Paradise advised that information on the arrangements for Solstice should be given out much earlier and preferably with a map.
  10. Local Issues:
    1. A project to improve WiFi: Mr O’Connor explained that he was looking at current technology and how to future proof Avebury. He advised that old satellite technologies were moving to broadband and the emergency services currently on 2 and 3G brick technology were moving to 4 and 5G by 2023 and would require installation of ‘phone masts. He added he had received one response from his advert in UKN (asking people about their experience with their WiFi) and that was from a resident in Beckhampton who was on an 80 mg upload / download package but actually receiving under 9 mg service. Members noted that BT’s department for Parish Councils would be able to provide estimated costs for fast tracking the replacement of existing copper wires with fibre and evenly distributing this across the whole Parish. In discussion it was agreed that he and Mrs Paradise would set up and run a new community wifi survey to gather up to date information on people’s current broadband speeds as evidence.
    2. Repairs requested to road mirror in Beckhampton: Mrs Paradise said that she and her husband were still looking at how to renew the wooden frame as there was concern that the mirror might break when trying to replace it. The Chairman expressed his thanks to her husband on behalf of the PC.
    3. AHA tree and rubbish reported to Aster: it was noted that Aster had yet to complete its work and that ASB had been worse during the October half-term. The Chairman said he had met with PCSO Emily Sykes and the Police were well aware of continuing ASB in Avebury.
    4. Actions from ASB Survey carried out by the Police: the main issue had been the caravans and that had been dealt with by the Police and WC.
    5. New salt bin for Gilbert’s Hill / Bray Street: the price for a new salt bin was discussed and members noted that a yellow 400 Litre bin would cost £139.99, a yellow 200 Litre bin £99.99 or £37.99 for a small grey 30 Litre one with scoop, (all prices ex VAT). It was felt that a 200 Litre bin would suffice but that residents in Bray Street should be consulted before the PC made a final decision. It was agreed that the Chairman would write to Bray Street residents to invite their views as to the size and location of the bin. It was noted by members that permission would need to be sought from WC in order to place the salt bin on the verge.
  11. Refurbishment of Benches:
    1. Options for repair and replacement of benches on footpath 22: it was resolved to repair the slats on the bench placed in memory of Sherrie Echols on footpath 22 and to accept John Giles quotation of £130 + VAT. Proposed by Mr Williamson, seconded by Mr Butler and carried unanimously. It was resolved to replace the Millennium bench with a similar hard wood bench in iroko and to source a 1.8 metre Greenwich hard wood seat from Branson Leisure for £528 (ex VAT) fixings, delivery and installation would be extra. Proposed by Dr Bedford, seconded by Mr Williamson and carried unanimously. Members requested that the Clerk submit an insurance claim for both vandalized benches. It was noted that £250 excess would apply and that the PC’s insurance would not go up as a result of the claim as long as the total number of claims per year did not exceed £10,000.
    2. Draft policy for long-term maintenance of benches was tabled and considered. It was resolved to adopt the public bench policy document (see appendix 1). Proposed by Dr Bedford, seconded by Mr Butler and carried unanimously.
  12. BT Phone Box in West Kennett: in discussion members noted that the PC’s original objection to BT removing the ‘phone kiosk had been based on the likelihood of an accident happening on the A4, poor mobile signals in the area, and the concept that street furniture helped to slow traffic as they were signals that an area was lived in and people were about. BT was not obliged to keep its ‘phone boxes in good repair and one resident had recently complained that the box had become an eyesore. The Clerk advised that a risk assessment should also be carried out as the bench and its position next to the A4 had been previously flagged up as a safety risk. It was felt that West Kennett residents should be consulted before the PC made any decisions. Item deferred to next meeting agenda.
  13. Parish Steward Priority Sheet: the Clerk reported:
    1. Report on work completed in October: that the Parish Steward had not been able to fill pot-holes due to wet weather conditions.
    2. Job requests for November: included:
      1. Check the culverts at the bottom of the High Street and along the whole of the High Street.
      2. Check the drainage pipe that is located in the grassy verge, half way along the road in Beckhampton SN8 1QJ (adjacent to stone flower planter)
      3. Re-attach sign to telegraph pole indicating footpath from South Street to Beckhampton Road (pole located at the South Street end, detached sign at its base).
      4. Cut grass around the telephone box and adjacent bench on layby at West Kennett
      5. Fill two potholes located in middle of the road half-way along the Avenue / B4003.
      6. Fill the remaining potholes near to Horslip Bridge (road that leads to Windmill Hill).
      7. Fill potholes along road from Bray Street Cottages towards Windmill Hill.
  14. Play Area:
    1. Results of the mandatory annual inspection of the Play Area by RoSPA: (inspection report previously circulated to members). The Chairman gave a brief overview of the items of equipment that would need attention in the near future and these included the see-saw as the base was corroded, a vertical wooden post on the swing unit as there was possible rot in the post and the metal basketball post which was also corroded at the base. It was noted that the cost for wood testing was £495.00 + VAT and too expensive for the PC to consider. It was agreed that as none of the equipment was deemed very high risk and in the red area of the chart, the PC would monitor the equipment and review in a few months’ time. The Clerk reported that Wicksteed customer services had not yet responded about the broken baby swing and she would chase the supplier for information.
    2. Upgrading the Play Area and funding options: Mrs Paradise said that it was her opinion that choice of the play equipment should first be by the children living in Avebury Parish and that products should blend in with the environment because Avebury was a WHS. She reported that she had come across a company called Touchwood based in Bristol who design and install natural play environments and felt they would be an ideal company to approach. The Chairman welcomed her views and it was agreed that Mrs Paradise set up a survey so that the Parish children’s feedback could be recorded on what they would like for the Play Area.
    3. PC to set a date for Parish Consultation and invite community to meeting to give feedback on equipment options: not covered see item 14 b.
  15. Consultations:
    1. Consultation from Wiltshire Association of Local Councils on a proposal to extend its member services with added employment services from Monahans: members noted there would be a 4% increase to the WALC aspect of the subscription to add the HR support package as a benefit of membership. As the increase was a modest £5.80 (ex VAT) per annum and the PC did not currently have such a service it was resolved to support the proposal to extend member services with added employment services from Monahans. Proposed by Mr Williamson, seconded by Mr O’Connor and carried unanimously.
    2. Wiltshire Council Electoral Review: under the new proposals West Selkley would become part of west Marlborough and it was agreed that the PC would respond to the consultation next year when proposals would be ready to be viewed in more detail.
  16. Communications: the Chairman stated that the PC’s October 2018 Headlines had been submitted for the November Edition of UKN and published on notice boards.
  17. Correspondence: the Clerk reported that in addition to community information already published on the PC’s web site, the following emails had also been received:
    1. Notice regarding temporary road closure affecting C38 (Part) Alton Barnes, Alton (20/11/2018 – 22/11/2018).
    2. London Hearts Charity providing life saving defibrillators (Mrs Lewis was handling this matter).
    3. Flood Warden Resilience Day – 14 November (provided by Wiltshire Fire and Rescue, Environment Agency and WC).
  18. Finance and admin including:
    1. Internal audit: [since the meeting a date for the half year internal audit had been set for Monday 19 November 2018]. Mrs Paradise left the room for a couple of minutes.
    2. Donations to charities: the Clerk reported that there had not been any direct requests for support from any charities in the past 12 months. Previous charities supported by the PC were considered and it was resolved to donate £50 each to Citizens Advice Bureau, the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust and Victim Support. Proposed by Dr Bedford, seconded by Mr Williamson and carried unanimously.
    3. Web development: in progress.
    4. Report by Clerk on WALC’s AGM 22 October: the Clerk said that the meeting had been good and explained that information on the money tree was about illustrating how sources of funding i.e. the roots of the tree were few compared to the jobs that local councils had to do i.e. the leaves. She reminded members that WALC / NALC had regular communications with government to further the cause of local councils. For example, she had learnt that some local council views were that bus fares were expensive for young people and they wanted government to provide financial assistance especially as the law had enforced young people to stay in some form of education until they were 18 years of age and that WALC had been asked to lobby government on the issue.
    5. Clerk’s annual appraisal: the Chairman confirmed that he and Mrs Lewis would be carrying out the appraisal at 10 am on Thursday 15 November 2018.
    6. Cheques for payment: it was resolved and agreed that the following cheques be paid.
      1. Playsafety Ltd: annual inspection of Play Area by RoSPA (incl VAT)                                                                                            £79.80
      2. Liz Moore: Clerk’s overtime and expenses for the period 22 September – 21 October 2018                                                                       £319.85
  19. Date of next meeting: 7:30pm on Tuesday 4 December 2018
  20. Any other business: Mrs Paradise reported:
    1. that a wheel chair had been donated to the community from a member of the public and was being stored at the Social Centre should anyone need to use it.
    2. She had attended the Wiltshire Community Foundation Funding Conference on 16 October and had found there were many sources of funding available but because local councils were statutory bodies they would not qualify for the funding.
    3. Some of the planters in the High Street would need replacing and she suggested holding a community tidy up for the New Year. Chris Clarke at WC had recommended using planters with seating around them because the edge of planters was used by the public to sit on and this caused the structure to break. Mrs Paradise offered to do some research into new planters with seats for a February 2019 project.
    4. Mrs Emma Russell, Headteacher at Kennet Valley School in Lockeridge had asked her to help raise the school profile in Avebury and provide an update at PC meetings. Members agreed to receive the first update at the 4 December meeting.
  21. The Chairman stated that it was regrettable that the meeting had run out of time. Preliminary consideration of the budget was deferred to the next meeting of the Parish Council. In the meantime he would send members copies of the proposed budget and reserves policy.
  22. The meeting closed at 22:00

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

  1. Policy on donation of benches