1 Dec 2015 Ordinary Meeting : MINUTES

Avebury Parish Council

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on 1 December 2015 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, AYFC for Avebury Youth Football Club, AWHS for Avebury World Heritage Site, CPO for Compulsory Purchase Order, LGA for Local Government Act, NT for the National Trust, SID for Speed Indicator Device, UKN for Upper Kennet News, URC for United Reform Church, WALC for Wiltshire Association of Local Councils, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.

Time Start: 19:30

  1. Public question time: There were three members of the public present for all or part of the meeting.  No questions were asked.
  2. Present: Councillors Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chairman), Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), David Brotheridge, Mike Daniel and Lynzey Paradise.
  3. In attendance:  Miss Liz Moore (Clerk).
  4. Apologies: Wiltshire Councillor Mrs Jemima Milton, Antoinette Kremer and Zandria Service.
  5. Declarations of interest: none
  6. Minutes of meeting held on 3 November 2015:  Unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Mr Daniel and seconded by Dr Bedford.
  7. Matters arising from the minutes: none or already covered on the agenda.
  8. Membership:
    1. Members welcomed Mrs Lynzey Paradise as a new member of APC. [A declaration of acceptance of office had been signed by Mrs Paradise prior to the meeting].
    2. Notice of vacancy in the office of Councillor for the Parish Council had been published on 20 November.
    3. Members to decide whether poll cards should be issued: In discussion members noted it would cost APC an extra £400-£600 if WC were to produce poll cards. This figure was included in WC’s estimated cost for an election at £1,800 per 500 electors. The Clerk explained if poll cards were not issued then APC would need to notify the public about the election. Members agreed they could do this more cost effectively by creating a flyer and delivering it to residents themselves. Decision: Members resolved to opt for a blanket decision not to produce poll cards. Proposed by Mrs Lewis, seconded by Dr Bedford and carried unanimously. Action: Clerk to check whether APC members could act as polling staff to save costs.
  9. Planning applications: No new planning applications had been received.
  10. Transport Group: update from Dr MB and AW following Transport Group meeting held on 19 November including:
    1. Progress report on application for extension of 30mph limit on Swindon Road: the Chairman reported that he and Dr MB had written to Cllr Whitehead as WC’s Cabinet Member for Highways to find a solution to moving the application forward. Cllr Whitehead had agreed to arrange a meeting with Dr MB, AW and WC staff and would be arranging a date shortly.
    2. Progress report on A4 project including Beckhampton and West Kennett proposals: the Chairman reported the A4 projects had been submitted to the Area Board under issue 4245 as the first step and now members needed to consider the draft CATG proposal for A4 at Beckhampton and West Kennett (a third draft had been previously circulated, see appendix 1). The Chairman said the document requested CATG to support the application and allocate funding for design and development so that a bid could be made to the Substantive Highways Scheme Fund in 2016. Members resolved that the document be submitted to CATG, proposed by the Chairman, seconded by Dr Bedford and carried unanimously. The Chairman asked members if they had any questions: Mr Daniel questioned why it had taken Cllr Whitehead two weeks to reply to APC. Mr Brotheridge asked if it would be possible to have a black and white chevron sign put up on the right-hand bend on the A4361 Avebury to Swindon Road (just past the NT Manor gates) to warn northbound drivers of the bend. Dr Bedford said this would be covered by the signage audit and that APC was currently waiting for the proforma paperwork from WC. Mr Daniel asked how it would be possible to request double white lines for A4361 Swindon Road. The Chairman said at present APC was sticking to the AWHS Transport Plan but another option could be to use SIDs. Mrs Paradise said this would not stop overtaking. Action: Dr Bedford and the Chairman agreed to raise both items at their meeting with Cllr Whitehead in case something could by done sooner. Clerk to include subject on next meeting agenda.
    3. Parking in Trusloe: the Chairman reported there had been no response from the private landowner at the Nursery Site and Mr James Cawley (WC) would be chasing this up. Members noted it was unlikely a CPO could be used in the current financial climate. Mr Daniel stated he was shocked at the condition of the grass verges in Avebury Trusloe. The Chairman asked members of the public if they had any questions; one reported that the metal containers on AHA land at the Nursery site were owned by AHA. [Later on in the meeting under item 15 k. members decided the Clerk should contact AHA to find out how long the containers were likely to be on site].
    4. SID handover to Parish Councils and members to decide whether to register to take part: Clerk to chase request for information from WC on likely cost of ownership. In discussion members considered using the APC owned speed gun on the A4361 Swindon Road. Dr Bedford advised members would have to be careful where they used it for safety reasons, that it couldn’t be used in a national speed limit area and training would be required.
  11. Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee:
    1. Progress report from Mr Daniel on Committee meeting: Mr Daniel reported the first official meeting of the Committee had taken place on 13 November. The group was working well together and working swiftly through a number of items including: (i) on-line bookings system considered (ii) conditions of use drafted for next meeting (iii) maintenance including security, inventory and quotations for the roof repair. Mr Brotheridge reported new keys had been cut for the Pavilion and handed them to Mr Daniel.
    2. Members to approve draft Terms of Reference (previously circulated and see appendix 2). The Chairman stated it was necessary to make it clearer that the Committee was a Committee of APC and not a separate Association; its name would therefore be Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee (ACSReC). Members resolved to adopt the updated document including modification to the name of the Committee. Proposed by Dr Bedford, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously. Action: Clerk to remove draft watermark from the document and circulate to members. In further discussion members noted Mrs Kremer had recently resigned from the Committee and so for the interim it was agreed the group would continue with four Parish Councillors. The Chairman expressed his concern that water had leaked into the Pavilion from the roof and asked a member of the public present at the meeting if he knew whether the electrics were on a modern circuit breaker (RCD). The latter said he believed a modern circuit breaker was fitted to the new section of the building.
    3. Connecting the Pavilion to mains water supply: Mr Brotheridge reported he had received no response yet from the NT in relation to the specification document he had previously circulated. He said the Farthings (as tenants of the Glebe field) had emailed to inform APC they were concerned in case the Glebe field was cut off from their water system during the installation works. Action: Mr Brotheridge to contact the Farthings to confirm their water supply would not be cut off.
  12. URC Chapel: Community Right to Bid application. The Chairman reported a working group had been set up in the community and he had invited Mr Adrian Mieras to the meeting in order to give an overview of the group’s work. The Chairman invited Mr Mieras to introduce the group’s proposals for the future of the URC Chapel. Mr Mieras explained that after the meeting at the Red Lion on 24 August, Reverend Maria Shepherdson had gathered together a group of people but had since stepped back from the project. Mr Mieras said since that meeting 12 people had met twice as a spiritual group to discuss what should happen to the Chapel. Mr Mieras tabled a document entitled Avebury Community Sacred Trust (see appendix 3). Mr Mieras said the group also had their own Community Right to Bid application and emphasized there was no intention to exclude the wider public. The Chairman asked Mr Mieras for the group’s vision and if the Chapel would have other uses other than those contained in the tabled document. Mr Mieras explained the plan was to continue with a Christian service at least once a month and for the Chapel to be open for hire. The Chairman asked members if they had any questions and members asked for clarification on the uses for the Chapel. Mr Mieras said the group had met with the URC in the past week, they were keen to work with the public and would like to co-opt a member of APC to the board. The Chairman said as an example, he was aware of public interest in improving the village’s outreach to visitors by reinstating a tourist information point and asked if this was in the group’s plan. In discussion members noted (a) there might be various options for a tourist information service (b) the group intended the Chapel to be open to the public every day and (c) to make the Chapel available to hire for weddings. The Chairman said he was aware of concern in some quarters of the community about the Chapel’s use for weddings because of the extra congestion it could cause in the village. It was noted the group’s estimated annual budget was about £40-50K per annum to cover repairs, general running costs and internal redesign.  Thanks were expressed to Mr Mieras for his report and it was noted two to three people would like to join the group. The Chairman stated that in view of the 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 and they were instructed to leave the meeting. Members decided to keep APC’s Community Right to Bid application on hold, to send the bid to the Community Group for their consideration and it was agreed the Chairman and Mrs Lewis would attend the next meeting of the group. Proposed by the Chairman, seconded by Mr Daniel and carried unanimously.  Members of the public were readmitted.
  13. Avebury Trusloe Play Area Inspection: the Clerk reported a number of minor remedial works could be done including repairing the wire fence at the entrance to the Play Area and removing the timber climbing frame. The Clerk said she had contacted Mr Rendle as APC’s handyman but he was currently too busy to carry out any repairs. Members decided to organize a site visit in the next few weeks.
  14. Budget and Precept for 2016-2017: (see appendix 4, second draft estimated budget for precept and note on reserve fund). In discussion members noted APC might be required to commission additional services for the Parish as a result of WC’s austerity programme and its general policy of devolving assets and services. However APC currently had reserves and the budget estimated a £92 surplus and with more households in the tax base the precept would only need to be increased slightly. It was unanimously resolved that the precept for 2016/17 be set at a total sum of £11,000.00. [This included £87.11 top up grant from WC and the net figure would therefore be £10,912.89]. Proposed by Mrs Lewis and seconded by Dr Bedford. Action: Clerk to send form to WC Finance Team.
  15. Local issues:
    1. Replacement field gate in north boundary of Sports field: the Chairman reported the National Trust had replaced the gate that afternoon with a new five bar gate.
    2. Puddles, potholes and weeds in road in Green Street: the Clerk said there had been no further update from WC about the requested interim repairs. Action: Mrs Lewis and the Clerk to contact the new Highways Community Co-ordinator.
    3. Damaged curb stones in the High Street: the Clerk reported several stones needed resetting into the curb outside the Henge Shop and she had reported this to WC on 20 November.
    4. WC grass cutting in West Kennett: the Chairman reported WC Highways had responded to advise grass cutting had been reduced from two to one cut per year. Members concluded further discussion would be needed on whether to APC should, as a general policy, commission additional works as a result of WC withdrawing services. Deferred to 2 February meeting.
    5. Phone kiosk in Trusloe in poor state: in discussion members noted APC could adopt the kiosk (and install a defibrillator for example) but were not certain how many people used the ‘phone. Action: Clerk to contact BT to find out if it would be possible for APC to carry out any repair work.
    6. Biting dogs and dogs mess on Knoll Down: Mr Brotheridge reported that aside from some small signs there was no sign on the fence near the main entrance to the right of way. Mr Brotheridge recommended a bigger sign should be put at the entrance so that the public be fully aware they had a duty to pick up after their dogs. Action: Clerk to draft a letter to Mr Charlton (landowner) with APC’s concerns.
    7. Lighting for bus shelters on A4361 at Avebury Trusloe: (item previously requested by Mrs Kremer). Clerk to contact WC to find out if there is an electricity supply to the bus shelters.
    8. Solutions for improving access to bus stops at Avebury Trusloe: the Chairman reported Mrs Kremer had also previously asked if a zebra crossing could be considered on the A4361 and lowering of the curb at the end of Trusloe Cottages (for wheelchair access and the elderly). In discussion members agreed lowering the speed limit on the A4361 to 40 mph needed to be addressed first and then the possibility of curb lowering. The Chairman stated curbs had been made higher in past years to prevent parking. Action: Clerk to include item on the agenda for the extra meeting / site visit to Avebury Trusloe.
    9. Road sweeping in Trusloe: Mrs Kremer had previously requested the main road through Trusloe should be swept as lots of leaves had fallen on the road. Following further requests by members of the public and as other areas of the Parish needed to be included (Church Walk and High St), the Clerk had requested road sweeping by WC on 27 November.
    10. Dustbins for Trusloe: Mrs Kremer had requested a free dustbin for residents. Action: Deferred to next meeting for clarification and as Mrs Kremer was not present.
    11. Complaint about Nursery Site: the Chairman reported he had received an email from residents who were concerned about the state of the Nursery Site in general. The Chairman invited the member of the public with that concern to speak. The member of the public said she was concerned about a couple of untaxed vehicles on the Nursery Site including a blue hatchback car with boot door missing and cars parking on the bend into the estate between 4 and 5 Trusloe Cottages. She said the blue car was parked on WC verge / highway and asked if it could be reported to WC as fly tipping. Members noted the other issues would concern the Police not the Parish Council. Two members of the public asked if APC could apply to MAB for double yellow lines for the bend and possibly additional parking bays outside Trusloe Cottages (nearest to the Nursery Site). Action: Clerk to include item on the agenda for the extra meeting / site visit to Avebury Trusloe. [The Clerk was also instructed to write to AHA to find out how long the metal containers were likely to be on site].
  16. Communications: the Chairman reported APC’s Headlines had been published on all notice boards and submitted for the December issue of UKN. WC notice of vacancy in the office of Councillor for the Parish Council published 20 November on all notice boards.
  17. Correspondence: the Clerk reported:
    1. Becky Busby (WC Highways) would be working with Malmesbury and as of 30 November 2015 Tracey Ruse would be the new Highways Community Coordinator for Marlborough.
    2. WALC: NALC had set up a company to procure audit services on behalf of town and parish councils but there was the option to opt out of the Sector Led Body audit procurement by 31 January 2016. Clerk advised keeping the status quo.
    3. Request from member of the public that APC help address poor broadband speeds in some areas of the Parish (including Bray St. and Trusloe Manor Farm) by distributing a letter to find out how many households were experiencing difficulties and to help APC map broadband speeds in the area. Mrs Paradise reported a member of the public had already registered a complaint with BT. Dr Bedford said the public would need to do an OCRA test to check their internet speed. Action: members agreed the first step would be for Dr Bedford to email the Clerk and Mrs Lewis with a link to the test and all three to work together on an advert for UKN.
    4. Concern from a member of the public regarding speeding or excess use of speed on entering Trusloe including past the play area, 1-4 Trusloe Cottages and then into the estate.  In discussion members noted that the national speed limit applied to the road through Avebury Trusloe but that speed had not been an issue when the Village Traffic Plan and the AWHS Transport Strategy had been put together. However it was likely to be the case that if the speed limit did get reduced on the A4361 between Beckhampton and Avebury then the speed limit into Avebury Trusloe would be reviewed at the same time. Action: the Chairman and Dr Bedford to raise the question at their meeting with Cllr Whitehead.
    5. WC Local Highways: Council Highways inspection manual (which details when maintenance is undertaken), the Code of Practice for Litter and Refuse (which details the standards of cleanliness levels and when reactive services are required) and maps showing the urban grassed areas, plus information on public liability insurance when carrying out extra community duties had been received.
    6. North Wessex Downs AONB – Interim Update November 2015
    7. Splash: Christmas holiday activities.
  18. Finance and admin: the Clerk reported:
      1. Half year internal audit: the half year internal audit for the 2015/2016 accounts had taken place satisfactorily on 24 November and the red book was tabled for members to inspect. The auditor had also provided additional advice on the Sportsfield accounts as part of the APC function.
      2. Approved minutes of Transport Group meeting 9 June 2015: received by members and see appendix 5.
      3. APC Scanner: the Clerk was authorized to apply to NALC for a grant of up to £100 to enable her to purchase a device capable of scanning documents that would be published on the APC web site and to ensure APC complied with the Government’s Transparency Code. Proposed by Dr Bedford, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
      4. Web development: the new APC web site was now live. Action: Clerk to invite Kate Fry to February meeting to provide a presentation of the new site to all members.
      5. Cheques for payment and cheques for ratification: It was unanimously agreed that the following cheques be paid. Proposed by Mrs Lewis and seconded by Mrs Paradise. Cheques were signed by the Chairman and Dr Bedford.
        1. Playsafety Ltd: annual inspection of Trusloe play area    £78.00
        2. Avebury Social Centre: rent                                             £28.00
        3. Upper Kennet News: annual donation                            £100.00
        4. Mr Jamie Guy: fee for half year internal audit + additional advice on Sportsfield accounts as part of the APC function      £100.00
        5. Liz Moore: additional hours 22 October – 21 November 2015 inclusive + expenses                                                      £331.30
  19. Date of next meeting: 7:30pm on Tuesday 2nd February 2016 at the Social Centre
  20. Any other business:  Defibrillator for Avebury: Mrs Lewis reported she still needed to do some research on the type of defibrillator to have installed and it would need to be approved by the local Ambulance Trust (South West Ambulance Trust).
  21. The meeting closed at 22:08

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

  1. Draft CATG proposal for A4 at Beckhampton and West Kennett dated 20 November
  2. Terms of Reference for ACSReC
  3. Avebury Community Sacred Trust
  4. Budget for Precept 2016/17 and note on Reserve Fund (second draft)
  5. Minutes of Transport Group meeting 9 June 2015