4 Nov 2014 Ordinary Meeting : Minutes

Avebury Parish Council

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on 4th November 2014 at the Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF.

In these minutes APC stands for Avebury Parish Council, ACC for Avebury Cricket Club, AHA for Aster Housing Association, ASA for Avebury Sports Field Association, AWHS for Avebury World Heritage Site, CATG for Community Area Transport Group, EA for Environment Agency, EH for English Heritage, LGA for Local Government Act, MAB for Marlborough Area Board, MADT for Marlborough Area Development Trust, MDNIA for Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area, NT for the National Trust, OFWG for Operational Flood Working Group, UKN for Upper Kennet News, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.

Time Start: 19:30

  1. Public question time: There was one member of the public present and no questions were asked.
  2. Present: Councillors Andrew Williamson (Chairman) present for all of the meeting except for items 7a and 7b, Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chairman), Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), Mike Daniel, Paul Dixon, Keith Howell, Antoinette Kremer, Paul Ryder-Morris and Zandria Service.
    In attendance: Wiltshire Councillor Mrs Jemima Milton (item 6 onwards) and Miss Liz Moore (Clerk) present for all of the meeting except for item 15 d.(i)
  3. Apologies for absence: None
  4. Declarations of interest: The Chairman declared an interest as the applicant for the planning application at Ashdown and also as a neighbour of the planning application for The Rectory (items 7a and 7b).
  5. Minutes of meeting held on 7th October 2014: Unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Mrs Kremer and seconded by Mr Dixon.
  6. Matters arising from the minutes:
    1. 1 Tonne Salt Bag Scheme 2014/2015 and storage: (Min ref. 7e). Mrs Lewis reported she was still waiting to hear from WC with regards to when the gel sacks and salt would be delivered and that they would be delivered together. The Chairman queried what WC had meant when they had told Mrs Lewis they would be instructing APC when to use the salt. Mrs Milton said it was simply that WC would be instructing APC only to use the salt when the roads were icy and that the salt was not provided for private use.
    2. Poor mobile telephone reception in Bray Street: (Min ref. 7d). Ms Service suggested that APC might send a questionnaire to residents in order to gauge feedback and members thought this was a good idea. Deferred to next meeting.
  7. Planning applications and results:
    1. Work to Trees in a Conservation Area at The Rectory, High Street, Avebury. Ref: 14/09963/TCA.
    2. Work to Trees in a Conservation Area at Ashdown, High Street, Avebury. Ref: 14/09965/TCA.
      [The Chairman reported (as, at the suggestion of Mrs Milton, a member of the public rather than an APC member) that he had had a couple of complaints regarding his trees overhanging Kyters Walk and that they made the path damp, dark and slippery].
      The Chairman left the room for the above two applications. Plans were tabled and considered. In discussion, members agreed the pathway would benefit from more light. Mrs Lewis also reported that the lower branches of one of the trees were used by people to climb into the Rectory garden and the Reverend Maria Shepherdson had therefore requested their removal. Members unanimously agreed to support both applications. Proposed by Mrs Lewis and seconded by Mr Daniel. The Chairman rejoined the meeting.
    3. Full Planning for a front porch and single storey extension at 25 Trusloe Cottages, Avebury Trusloe. Ref: 14/09825/FUL. Plans were tabled and considered. Members unanimously agreed to support the application. Proposed by Mr Daniel and seconded by Mrs Kremer.
    4. Work to Trees in a Conservation Area at Avebury Henge, North East Sector, Avebury. Ref: 14/10218/TCA. Plans were tabled and considered. Members unanimously agreed to support the application. Proposed by Mr Dixon and seconded by Ms Service.
  8. Preliminary discussion on budget and Precept for 2015-2016: (Information previously circulated by the Chairman to members on likely reserves next March and a possible budget for 2015/16). The Chairman reported that reserves were significantly above national guidance mainly due to delays in the publication of the AWHS Transport Strategy and savings on Clerk’s salary whilst she had been on maternity leave. The Chairman said he had therefore moved £6,000.00 from the reserves into next year’s budget so that APC could offer decent sums of Partnership Funding to the MAB and others.
    The Chairman noted that about £8,000.00 was spent on APC’s recurring costs such as administration, insurance and grass cutting.
    Members had a preliminary discussion on a first draft budget for 2015/16 (Appendix 1) and APC’s reserves (Appendix 2). Members noted the Chairman had included funding to improve the entrance gate to the Sports Field (next to the Social Club) and/or improvements to the western hedge/fence line. The Chairman asked if members had any additional projects they wished to include in the budget but none were suggested. Members felt additional funding might be needed for Clerk and Councillors’ training and that £100.00 be increased to £250.00.
    Mrs Milton advised against lowering the precept to avoid limiting funding for future local projects. [Also see item 10.a.ix. Later in the meeting, Mrs Milton’s suggested that APC might wish to put money towards printing a copy of the AWHS Transport Strategy for each household.]
    Action: The Chairman to circulate a revised budget for decision at the next meeting.
  9. Flood Group: including receiving a report from Mrs Lewis on flood work in progress.
    Mrs Lewis reported the Flood Group had discussed dredging of ditches and that she had attended the WC OFWG meeting. Mrs Lewis confirmed the culvert in the High Street was on the list to be jetted and that she and the Chairman had met Martin Cook (WC) to discuss the drainage of the verge of Beckhampton lane. He would explore the possibility of jetting out the field drains that came out by the bridge in Beckhampton in the near future. He had also said that the bridge was due for replacement, and the Chairman added that WC wanted to change the angle of the bridge and rebuild it at right angles to the road. The Chairman confirmed that the main watercourse from Big Arch Bridge to New Bridge had been dredged by Butler Bros and was now clear. Mrs Lewis said that Martin Cook had looked at the need for improved drainage of the verge of the A4 by Isobel Cottage in Beckhampton.
  10. Transport Issues:
    1. WHS Transport Plan and Design Guide: (previously circulated to members and see Appendix 3).
      The Chairman noted that the Strategy had not yet been signed off by the WHS Steering Committee and Wiltshire Council. APC could not yet therefore put specific requests to WC but it would be useful to have a preliminary discussion with a view to taking decisions as soon as the Strategy had been adopted.
      Members welcomed the draft, but felt that several points had been overlooked, as detailed below.

      1. Mr Ryder-Morris emphasized the need for immediate, short-term action to reduce the speed limit on the A4 at West Kennett to 40 mph. Mr Ryder-Morris said that decreasing speed limits on the A4 had been dealt within the overall traffic calming measures (1.3 Encourage Slower Vehicle Speeds) but it should be separated as a key issue to be looked at in detail.
      2. He added that the report did not realise the unintended consequences of closing the Avenue and that this could have the knock on effect of increasing vehicle speeds on the A4.
      3. Mrs Milton said that Beckhampton was not listed as a settlement.
      4. Dr Bedford said the five proposed schemes for the A4 (schemes 3.1 to 3.5) needed to be deconstructed into their component elements so that work could be planned in affordable chunks.
      5. He added that the report was primarily aimed at visitors and not residents.
      6. Mr Daniel queried why double white lines for the A4361 had been omitted through the Henge northwards to Rutlands Farm and recommended that the speed limit be installed further north. Mrs Milton said removal of centre line marking encouraged people to slow down.
      7. Mrs Lewis noted that grass splitter islands had been proposed along the middle of the A4 at Beckhampton (scheme 3.4_A4 Beckampton) and this might cause problems for residents who accessed their property from the road.
      8. Mrs Service noted that the large new barn complex at the Windmill Hill turning had inevitably increased heavy lorry traffic at times through Trusloe. It was hoped tree planting on the Avebury side of the barn would help improve the visual and noise impact. Ms Service had also noted the Sustran’s cycle track to Yatesbury was not being maintained and that a track near the Clay Pigeon Shoot was being newly tarmacked.
      9. Mrs Milton recommended APC put money into next year’s budget so that residents’ could have >a copy of the Strategy. Mrs Milton also advised members that it was not practical to limit the speed on the A4 to 40 mph as the speed limit could not be easily enforced; the road would also need additional repeater signs and this would mean more signage within the WHS. Mrs Milton said the road needed to be re-engineered to achieve decreased vehicle speeds.
      10. Members unanimously agreed the red bubble in the Scheme Evaluation Summary diagram (p.53) was not acceptable as it suggested the non-deliverability of all five A4 schemes.

      The Chairman proposed APC welcome the draft report as a useful document that gave a valuable overall strategy for the Parish but recommended that it should be amended to take into account that:

      1. The component parts of the five schemes for the A4 (schemes 3.1 to 3.5) should be deconstructed and presented as green dots if possible (i.e. deliverable projects) in the Scheme Evaluation Summary.
      2. Greater reference should be given to the needs of residents and riders.

      Seconded by Mr Howell, and agreed unanimously.
      Action: the Chairman to take the two proposed amendments above together with members’ comments to the Avebury WHS Steering Committee. Further discussion on priorities deferred to December meeting.

    2. Preliminary discussion on the next priorities for action at West Kennett and Beckhampton: As the Strategy had not yet been signed off by the WHS Steering Committee or Wiltshire Council, it was agreed that discussion be deferred until APC’s December meeting.
    3. Parking in Trusloe:
      1. The Chairman reported that Jenny Rowe (WC surveyor) had confirmed that WC officers were exploring the possibility of increasing space for parking by providing a lay-by outside 5 and 6 Trusloe Cottages.
      2. The Chairman proposed he write to Centurion to request a meeting with the company to see if they might be interested in developing a plan to unify the Nursery Site for joint benefit. Members agreed the Chairman draft a letter and circulate it to them.
    4. Beckhampton roundabout: the Chairman said he and Mrs Lewis had met with Mr Martin Cook (WC) the previous day and reported that although the roundabout tarmac at Beckhampton had been cleaned the connecting roads had not. Mrs Lewis reported that Mr Cook had advised not all surfaces were suitable for cleaning.
  11. Local issues, including:
    1. Reinstatement of hedge/fence between Glebe Field and Sportsfield: the Chairman, Mrs Lewis, Mr Daniel and the Clerk had met on the 31 October to look at the boundary following requests from various people for a new fence and a hedge planted with whips. The Chairman noted that the section of the boundary to the north of the Pavilion had been recently replaced with a new stock-proof fence and a hedge had been planted with whips of native species. About 100 metres of fencing would be required for the rest of the boundary.
      In discussion, members noted that parts of the hedge were very overgrown and these sections were therefore stock-proof. Also, the Glebe Field was hardly ever used for livestock and Mr Farthing installed electric fencing when it was. Mrs Lewis said that not all the hedge needed to be replaced and it would be an expensive job to do. Mr Dixon reported ASA felt there was no need for a new fence and that a greater priority was to re-hang the gate by the Club at an angle to improve sightlines on to the A4361.
      It was unanimously agreed there was no immediate requirement for improvements to the hedge or fence but APC would review this in 18 months’ time. Proposed by Mrs Lewis and seconded by Mr Daniel.
    2. Walks and sporting events in the Parish: the Chairman reported the following sporting events currently took place in the Parish:
      1. Sarsen Trial
      2. Marlborough Running Club
      3. Avebury 8
      4. Race to the Stones: confirmed for 11/12 July 2015
      5. Eve Appeal
      6. Discover Adventure: comprising three events: Open, MacMillan, Alzheimers

      The Chairman asked members for their observations regarding these events. Members felt it would be valuable to have a policy on how to deal with requests when approached by clubs. Members also noted Laura Cooper had given APC a donation of £400.00 this year from Discover Adventure. The Chairman reported the NT had decided not to give Discover Adventure a licence to use Trust land for its runs in 2015 due to the poor management of their events in 2013 and 2014 and issues with their proposed routes.
      Action: members agreed the Chairman’s suggestion that he should consult with the NT. APC would then review its response. Deferred to next meeting.

    3. Review of grass cutting on Sports Field (continued from previous meeting): the Clerk said she had contacted Mr Dominic Fry to inform him that APC was very happy with the services provided by ACC. Members felt they had nothing more to add to the review.
    4. Repairs to Beckhampton bus shelters: the Clerk reported work on the concrete bus shelter was scheduled to start at the end of November 2014. Mrs Lewis said a new, wooden bus shelter for the Devizes road was being sourced, but this might take some time to procure as a specific design was required due to the bus stop being in a WHS.
    5. Avebury Day: Mr Daniel reported many letters of thanks and appreciation had been received and that the event would be every two years with the next Avebury Day scheduled to take place on Saturday 10th September 2016.
    6. Repairs to Trusloe notice-board: the Clerk said she was still waiting for a second quotation. The Chairman reported he had spoken to Mr Martin Rendle who had confirmed he could straighten the notice board and waterproof the top. Mr Rendle would be contacting the Chairman with pricing.
    7. Phone kiosk in High Street: the Clerk reported that WC were co-ordinating the response to BT’s proposed public payphone removals project and one of the payphones listed for removal was in Avebury High Street. (Email previously circulated to members). The Clerk said members had been requested to either: agree, adopt or object to the removal of the phone box in its entirety, stating reasons. In discussion members emphasized that the phone was used, particularly by tourists, and was part of the character of the village and that in fact it was a listed building. Members unanimously agreed to object to the removal of the phone box for the following reasons:
      1. Phone box was a listed building and should be kept as such
      2. Mobile phone signal was not good in Avebury and therefore there were safety concerns

      Proposed by Ms Service and seconded by Mr Daniel. Action: Clerk to respond to WC with APC’s response to the consultation.

    8. Footpath between the Waggon & Horses and Silbury Hill: Mr Howell reported he was waiting for costing information from Mr Michael Crook (WC).
    9. Housing Needs Survey: members asked Mrs Milton for her feedback on carrying out a Housing Needs Survey. Mrs Milton said that a Housing Needs Survey was very useful if enough people responded and that the survey would discover if there was a need in the village. Mrs Milton advised that changes to the Social Housing Policy now ensured local homes would be for local people and she recommended going door to door with the questionnaire. Members decided they would like to see a hard copy example of a questionnaire. Action: Clerk to request a pdf and hard copy questionnaires. Deferred to next meeting.
    10. Community First Responders: the Clerk reported an email had been received from Mr Tim Chamberlain (NT Facilities Manager at the Estate Office) about the possibility of jointly sponsoring a defibrillator in the village. Avebury and surrounding villages had been invited to set up a first response team; there would be free training, but it would require at least 12 people to make the scheme a success. Mrs Lewis said it would be beneficial to have a defibrillator for the High Street and located somewhere visible such as outside the Community Shop. Members felt they should first of all consult the wider community and it was agreed to submit an advert to UKN. Clerk to action.
    11. Avenue dig in Summer 2015: the Chairman reported he had received a sponsorship request from Dr Joshua Pollard (University of Southampton), (email previously circulated to members and see Appendix 4). In discussion, members noted the NT would be putting in a lot of resources and that it would be a great opportunity to involve children and perhaps have a Schools’ Day. Mrs Milton endorsed the event if it involved the local community. Ms Service suggested having various collection boxes in the village, although Mrs Lewis reported the Community Shop only supported one charity per year. Members unanimously agreed to support the event with the proviso that the sponsors should involve the community. It was resolved that APC contribute £200.00 to the Avenue Dig. [Note: APC has the power to encourage tourism to the council’s area. LGA 1972, s.144]. Proposed by the Chairman and seconded by Mr Ryder-Morris.
  12. Donations to charitable organisations: the Clerk summarized a list of charities who had requested funding that year. In discussion, members agreed they should put together a list of criteria that the charity must meet in order to qualify for funding. Example, would the charity be of local benefit? Action: Dr Bedford to look into this, deferred to next meeting.
  13. Communications: the Chairman thanked Mrs Lewis for submitting October Headlines to UKN. Headlines were published on all notice boards. [N.B. there will be no January 2015 edition of UKN].
  14. Correspondence: the Clerk reported she had received:
    1. Letter from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust: Sarsen Sponsored Walk, Sunday 3rd May 2015
    2. Thank you letter from The Avebury Day Organising Committee.
  15. Finance and admin:
    1. Half year internal audit: The Clerk reported she had balanced the books and was in the process of contacting Mr Jamie Guy to book the audit shortly.
    2. Review of Asset Register: (previously circulated to members, dated 28 November 2013 and displayed at the meeting). Members noted that no assets had been acquired or disposed of and agreed no changes were required to the Asset Register.
    3. Review of Risk Assessment: (previously circulated to members, dated 21 November 2013 and displayed at the meeting). Members agreed that no changes had arisen and that no changes were therefore required to the Risk Register.
      Members unanimously agreed to adopt both the current Asset Register and Risk Assessment. Proposed by Mr Howell and seconded by Mr Dixon.
    4. Clerk’s Annual Appraisal on 29th August:
      1. The Clerk’s terms and conditions of service: The Clerk left the room. Following the Chairman’s email of 14 October. Members noted the Clerk’s good performance recorded in her appraisal and agreed an amended job description, confirmed her appointment, confirmed three months’ notice and agreed to increase the Clerk’s remuneration to £9.60 an hour in view of her significant increase in experience and the added value she brought to the work of the Parish Council.
      2. Matters arising from the Clerk’s appraisal: the Clerk rejoined the meeting. The Chairman asked members if they were happy with length of APC’s minutes or wished to have them shorter by, say, having a list of actions only. Members confirmed they wished to keep the minutes as they were because it gave the public information on the background and discussion related to a decision by APC. The Chairman requested that members should cc all emails and correspondence to the Clerk and said the Clerk was expected to write correspondence on behalf of APC apart from some by Chairman and / or those leading projects. On APC’s rules for obtaining quotes and ordering, members noted that they should first decide on any expenditure and then instruct the Clerk.
        Mr Ryder-Morris said it would be useful if the Clerk could put together a summary of emails sent by her on a weekly basis. Members agreed Clerk to do test email summary for one week.
        Action: the Chairman to write to the Clerk on behalf of APC to confirm her terms and conditions of service.
    5. HMRC and PAYE: the Chairman reported that he had confirmed with the Clerk that she would complete her timesheets up the 21st of each month so that Dr Bedford could submit her overtime payments to HRMC on time.
    6. General authority to pay mileage expenses to the Clerk and members: Clerk to check HRMC rule of 45 pence per mile. Deferred to next meeting.
    7. Cheques for payment: It was unanimously agreed that the following cheques be paid.
      1. Playsafety Limited: annual inspection of Trusloe Play Area £120.00
      2. Clerk’s overtime and expenses: October 2014 £175.68

      Proposed by Ms Service and seconded by Mr Dixon. Cheques signed by Dr Bedford and Mr Dixon.

  16. Date of next meeting:30pm on Tuesday 2nd December 2014.
    Mrs Lewis gave her apologies.
  17. Any other business:
    1. Re-thatching the barn at West Kennett: Mr Ryder-Morris asked if the tarpaulins covering the roof of the barn at West Kennett were likely to be removed soon. The Chairman said he had raised the question with Mrs Jan Tomlin (NT Manager) the previous week. The NT had no funding for this at present and that this depended on an allocation of budget.
    2. Light in bus shelter next to Rawlins Park: the Clerk said she had received that day an email from a resident at Rawlins Park regarding the light not working in the WC bus shelter and despite the resident logging the issue with WC at the beginning of September, nothing had been done. Mr Dixon said he had also logged the issue with WC last week. Action: Clerk to report problem to WC and follow up to ensure action is taken to fix light.
    3. Health risks of Wi-Fi: the Chairman reported he had received an email from Mr Adrian Mieras concerned about wi-fi waves. Mrs Lewis said she had contacted Mr Geoff Brickell (Director, MADT) who had sent Mrs Lewis an article from the Guardian that pulled all the information together regarding wi-fi. In discussion members felt that Mr Mieras was entitled to live ‘Wi-Fi free’, but that it was a lifestyle choice and not necessarily a choice that could be imposed on the rest of the community. Members also wanted more information on the issue. Action: It was agreed that APC needed more information. Mrs Lewis to forward Mr Mieras’ email to MADT and the NT for their feedback.
  18. The meeting closed at 21:45

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

  1. Draft Budget 2015-2016
  2. APC’s Reserves
  3. Avebury World Heritage Site Transport Strategy: Draft dated October 2014
  4. Information Sheet: excavation on the West Kennet Avenue occupation site, 2015