3 Dec 2013 Ordinary Meeting : Minutes

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on 3 December 2013 at the Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF.

In these minutes APC stands for Avebury Parish Council, AHA for Aster Housing Association, AR for Avebury Rocks, ASA for Avebury Sportsfield Association, CATG for Community Area Transport Group, EA for Environment Agency, MAB for Marlborough Area Board, MADT for Marlborough Area Development Trust, NT for the National Trust, UKN for Upper Kennet News, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.

  1. Public question time: Four members of the public were present. A member of the public highlighted the problems people faced crossing the road between the bus stops outside the Red Lion. She asked whether there were proposals to improve the situation. The Chairman said the issue was in the Parish’s Traffic Plan which recommended that the apparent width of the road be reduced with white lines and that consultants working on the WHS Traffic Strategy also develop further proposals. The Parish’s Traffic Plan had been sent to the consultants and it was hoped that the WHS strategy would be published for public consultation in February or March.  
  1. Present: Councillors Andrew Williamson (Chairman and acting Clerk), Mike Bedford (Vice Chairman), Antoinette Kremer and Keith Howell.
  1. Apologies for absence:Councillors Mike Daniel, Paul Dixon, Maggie Lewis and Karyn Pearson.
  1. Declarations of interest: none.
  1. Minutes of meeting held on 5 November 2013:Unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Keith Howell and seconded by Mike Bedford.
  1. Matters arising from the minutes: None
  1. Membership:The Chairman reported that Wiltshire Council’s notice of the vacancy on APC had been put up on the five notice-boards in the Parish for at least 21 days from 1 November but no request for an election had been received. WC had therefore written to say that APC was free to co-opt. The vacancy had been included in ‘Headlines’ in UKN’s December edition and wording was agreed for an advert in January. Members agreed to decide on co-option at APC’s next meeting in February. Balance on the Parish Council was important and applicants from West Kennett, Trusloe and Bray Street would therefore be particularly welcomed.
  1. Planning applications:
    1. Grain store at Windmill Hill Corner, Avebury Trusloe: ref: 13/05183/FUL. The proposal would replace the grain drier in Trusloe. Members were concerned at the size of the structure in the WHS, but noted that:
      1. significant improvements had been achieved in reducing the impact of the design during a lengthy pre-application process
      2. about 250 tractor movements to the current drier during harvest would be reduced to about 100 truck movements to the A4361
      3. residents in Trusloe would be less affected by noise and dust
      4. the drier would only be used for crops grown at Manor Farm and would not be used for drying imported grain
      5. APC wished if possible to support enterprises in the local economy.
        Members agreed any additional road signage would undesirable and that the impact of lighting on residents and the WHS should be minimised. Subject to these two conditions, it was unanimously agreed the proposal be supported. Proposed Keith Howell, seconded Antoinette Kremer.
    2. Garage/car port at Barley Cottage, South Street:ref 13/05995/FUL. It was unanimously agreed the proposal be supported. Proposed Keith Howell, seconded Antoinette Kremer.
  1. Precept for 2014/15 and Precept Grant: The Chairman recalled that members had discussed at their last meeting the unsatisfactory situation that had arisen from central government decisions that resulted in the Parish’s tax-base being reduced by about 10%. He added that WC had paid a ‘Precept Grant’ that filled the deficit in the current year, but that WC now proposed to reduce the Precept Grant by 35% from about £1,020 to about £660 in 2014/15. He had circulated a revised budget to members (see Appendix 1) showing total income of £11,500 for 2014/15 of which £10,900 would come from the Precept and the Precept Grant, and the remainder would come from other sources. The implication of government decisions and a reduced tax base was that the Precept of an average household in the Parish would increase by about £1.50 a year.
    While concerned at the impact on local households of increasing the Precept, members were equally aware that APC needed funds to take action on local issues. Schemes for the current and next year included road plans and projects, Avebury Day, flood works and attempting to secure high speed broadband. These would be funded by the 2014/15 Precept. Other costs, such as parking in Trusloe or new equipment for the play area, would eat into APC’s current reserves.
    Members noted that most of the precept was spent on fixed costs, such as wages and insurance, and agreed that reducing the Precept on households would significantly cut APC’s ability to take positive action. It was unanimously agreed that the Precept for 2014/15, including the Precept Grant, be set at £10,900. Proposed Keith Howell, seconded Antoinette Kremer.
  1. Transport reports:
    1. Community Transport Plan:Moving the 30mph limit at Rawlins Park about 200m northwards on the A4361 was now being considered by Highways, separately from CATG. CATG had listed the planting of hedges over and beside Beckhampton roundabout as one of its projects but had deferred a decision pending the results of the WHS Transport Strategy.
    2. High Street re-surfacing:Works largely done. Jetting of the culvert at the end of the High Street had been discussed at a meeting on 21 November with consultants Atkins who would be contacting Wiltshire Council.
    3. WHS Transport Strategy and Design Guide:Atkins were working on the first draft of this report. APC agreed there was a need for review during its drafting to ensure it had value for residents. [APC is represented by the Chairman on the Task and Finish Group for this report.]
    4. Parking in Trusloe:a meeting had been held on 22 November between representatives of Aster Housing and Karen Kelleher and the Chairman. Aster was now working on possible options and a further meeting had been arranged for 31 January 2014.
  1. Flooding: The Chairman reported that he was due to arrange a meeting between Andy Theaker of the Environment Agency and local landowners and residents. The EA would no longer strim weeds or dredge riverbeds in the Parish due to budget cuts, but would put some resources into a partnership if a Flood Groupwas formed. It was hoped that Thames Water would contribute as well. Members supported the idea and noted they would also be willing to attend.

The Chairman reported that WC had written asking APC to appoint a Flood Warden.
It was agreed this be considered following the possible formation of the Flood Group.

  1. Community Orchard project on Sports-field:The Chairman reported that the hedge on to the Glebe Field had been cleared and fencing was being erected. APC was the tenant of the Sports-field and it was agreed that the Farthings be reimbursed £18.70 for APC’s share of costs of fencing materials.
  1. Local issues:
    1. Free Community Wi-Fi:the Chairman reported that Maggie Lewis was arranging a meeting with the National Trust to install the next phase in NT buildings.
    2. Avebury Day 2014: a date ofSaturday 13 September had now been set.
    3. State of repair of bus shelter:it was agreed that the Chairman circulate members with the specification of works prepared by Ron Dobson
    4. Paths for Communities funding: No further developments but would be followed up by Keith Howell
    5. Wassail event:a date of Saturday 11 January had been set.
    6. Winter Crisis Appeal: a winter crisis appeal had been announced in UKN by the Upper Kennet Churches Council to support people facing poverty or other hardships. Members discussed the opportunity to support the appeal and unanimously agreed APC contribute £200. Proposed Keith Howell, seconded Antoinette Kremer.
    7. Chair of WHS Partnership Panel: this post had been offered to Alistair Sommerlad but had not yet been confirmed.
  1. Correspondence:The Chairman reported correspondence from:
    1. the Good Neighbour Coordinator scheme which had requested a grant of £100. Agreed this bedeferred till February when more councillors would be present
    2. Race to the Stones which had requested that their Race end in Sports-field. The Chairman had declined their request. 
  1. Finance and admin:
    1. RoSPA and play area inspection: Although two of the three swing bolts now appeared to be firm and the swing seats were clean, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman agreed to investigate further.
    2. Asset Register:It was agreed the revised Asset Register previously circulated to members be adopted (see Appendix 2). Proposed Andrew Williamson, seconded Keith Howell
    3. Risk Register: It was agreed the revised risk Register previously circulated to members be adopted (see Appendix 3). Proposed Andrew Williamson, seconded Keith Howell.
    4. Cheques for payment: It was unanimously agreed that the following cheques be paid:
      1. Avebury Social Centre: rents for APC meetings: £16.00
      2. A A Farthing: fencing at sportsfield beside Jubilee orchard: £18.70
      3. Upper Kennet Churches Council: Winter Crisis Appeal donation: £200.00
        Proposed Mike Bedford, seconded Keith Howell.
  1. Date of next meeting:7.30pm on Tuesday 4 February 2014
  1. Any other business: Connect 2 buses were not turning up for youngsters from Beckhampton in particular. More information would be provided at next meeting. 

Appendices:

Appendix 1: Information for Precept 2014/15 dated 28 November 2013

Appendix 2: Asset Register dated 28 November 2013

Appendix 3: Risk Register dated 21 November 2013