5 Nov 2013 Ordinary Meeting : Minutes

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on Tuesday 5th November 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:No members of the public were present
  1. Present: Councillors Andrew Williamson (Chairman and acting Clerk), Mike Bedford (Vice Chairman), Mike Daniel, Paul Dixon, Keith Howell, Maggie Lewis and Karyn Pearson.
  1. In attendance:Wiltshire Councillor Mrs Jemima Milton.
  1. Apologies for absence:Antoinette Kremer.
  1. Declarations of interest: none.
  1. Minutes of meeting held on 1 October 2013:The Chairman noted that Antoinette Kremer had offered to be APC’s contact point for the Good Neighbours Scheme and that the minutes had been revised to show this. Proposed by Mike Daniel, seconded Paul Dixon and unanimously agreed that the minutes were a correct record.
  1. Matters arising from the minutes: There were no matters arising from the minutes.
  1. Membership:The Chairman noted that Judy Miller had moved to Broad Hinton which created a vacancy on the Parish Council. Wiltshire Council’s notice of vacancy had been posted on notice-boards in the Parish for the period 1 to 21 November. If no parishioners requested an election then APC could co-opt a new member.
  1. Planning applications:
    1. The Chairman had circulated a revised minute of the meeting of the Planning sub-committee on 22 October (Appendix 1). The revision added Karyn Pearson’s declaration of interest as a member of staff at the Red Lion. The planning application for a new house in the garden of 44 Trusloe Cottageshad been objected to. An application to install dormer windows at 44 Trusloe Cottages had been supported as had an application for internal alterations at the Red Lion.
    2. Red Lion SN8 1RF: signage: ref 13/04819/ADV and 13/04820/LBC:a new application for listed building and advertising consents had been received from Greene King to change the signage and lighting on the outside of the pub and the sign board. Karyn Pearson declared an interest as a member of staff but remained in the meeting. The plans for the changes were inspected. The main views/concerns expressed by the meeting were:
      • the changes followed Greene King’s corporate image for their properties.
      • what would be the timing of lights operating
      • how would bats in the area be affected by the brighter outside lights
      • the pub was in the centre of the Henge and in a WHS so any changes should be sensitively done.
      • it was felt that the lettering being installed on all aspects of the building was too intrusive.
      • members understood the need for the brewery to highlight the pub’s existence but, as it was the only pub in the village, there was no competition and no need for additional signage.
      • the Red Lion was unique and sat well in the area in its present form.
      • that it was self evident that building is pub.
      • it would be worth asking for a sample of exterior paint colour.
      • the balance was too much in favour of commerce.
        It was unanimously agreed, subject to Karyn Pearson not voting, to object on the grounds of additional and intrusive signage, lighting levels and that the new pictorial sign which would be out of keeping. It was also agreed that APC would be more in favour of upkeep than a complete change and that the Chairman circulate a draft response to WC planners for members’ approval. Proposed by Mike Daniel, seconded by Paul Dixon.
    3. Chestnut House, Beckhampton SN8 1QJ: extension: ref 13/05204/FUL:As the application concerned his house Mike Bedford absented himself from meeting for this item. The application was for a car port adjacent to the existing garage with the space above existing garage being converted for use as a study. Councillors inspected the plans and agreed to support the application. Proposed by the Chairman, seconded by Keith Howell.
  1. Precept for 2014/15 and Precept Grant:The Chairman had circulated information on the Precept Grant and he briefly explained the basis for the current precept, in which Council Tax and the precept were based on about 90% of the houses in Avbeury instead of 100%. There had been no guidance to date from central government although Mrs Milton noted that the change had been introduced about seven months ago. The current precept was mainly raised in the usual way, but a precept grant from WC and central government made up the balance. Issues were:
    1. Would APC want to accept a Precept Grant in the future?
    2. If APC had to increase the precept, should it be raised incrementally over four years or should the whole increase be applied in one year?
    3. Mention had been made of a cap on the amount that parish councils would be able to increase their precept but it was not yet clear if this would be applied
    4. The Chairman had previously circulated members with a draft response to a WC consultation that had to be returned by the previous day. He thought the document had been badly drafted, a subject on which APC councillors agreed.
      Members agreed that APC should if possible remain independent and not accept a Precept Grant in future. The general feeling was that central government was making savings at the expense of local communities. It was also felt that any grant would inevitably come with conditions in the future, such as undertaking some of the services currently provided by county or national government. Members thanked the Chairman for his rapid action in responding to the survey. The Chairman also reported that the Marlborough Area Parish Forum of local parish council chairs had a meeting that evening to discuss the matter. Mrs Milton commented that she hoped that parish councils would write to Jane Scott, leader of WC, expressing dismay at poor quality of the survey.
      Members had a preliminary discussion on a first draft budget for 2014/15 (Appendix 2) and APC’s reserves (Appendix 3), and agreed to budget for some fencing between the proposed community orchard and the Glebe Field, and for some additional work to the bus stop at Beckhampton (see item 13). It was resolved that the Chairman produce a budget for decision at the December meeting. Proposed by Karyn Pearson and seconded by Keith Howell.
  1. Transport reports:
    1. Transport Plan:APC was pressing CATG for the 30mph limit to be extended on the A4361 at Rawlins Park and had proposed planting hedges over Beckhampton roundabout as a natural solution for speed reduction. Other action was pending the completion of the WHS design guide
    2. High Street re-surfacing:The work was now in progress and the carriageway was to be re-surfaced on Friday 8 November to Tuesday 12 November inclusive, or later. The improvements to the drainage have been finished and Sarsen setts had been laid in several places. It was hoped the culvert at the end of the High Street would be jetted as part of Atkins’ brief is to ‘ensure outfalls are clear’. Robin Butler had been approached about digging the ditch from culvert to carry the outflow and the timing of works needed to be negotiated.
    3. WHS Transport Strategy and Design Guide:A progress meeting of all the parties had been held on 23 October at which the consultants’ brief had been clarified and extended.
    4. Parking in Trusloe:The Chairman reported that Karen Kelleher and he were signing a draft letter to Aster Housing asking for meeting about solutions to parking problems.
    5. Road sign de-cluttering scheme: The Chairman reported that virtually all the 25 signs and ironmongery that had been identified six weeks previously as being redundant had now been removed by Highways.
  1. Flooding:Andy Theaker of the EA had sent a brief identifying where works were needed and the Chairman was seeking some corrections to it before circulating it.. It did not include Beckhampton where there had been problems in the past 12 months. It was agreed there was a need for a Parish flood group rather than one just for Avebury itself as the problems are not just located there.
  1. Community Orchard project on Sports-field: A meeting of local stakeholders had been called by the Orchard Group. The fence between the sports field and the Glebe field was virtually non-existent and not stock proof. The Farthings had offered to provide materials to put up a fence, but not the labour to put it up, and the Chairman had suggested that APC might consider contributing up to £100 towards fencing costs if needed. Paul Dixon said that ASA had made its views clear on this matter and that it did not want to get too involved. It was agreed that, as it was not clear what obligation APC had under the terms of its lease, the Chairman look at the lease and that the matter be reviewed at APC’s next meeting.
  1. Local issues: 
    1. Free Community Wi-Fi:Equipment had been installed at the Henge Shop and was now working. Users were limited to 20 minutes use at a time to prevent abuse. The Chairman and Maggie Lewis were due to have a meeting with Geoff Brickell of MADT and Tim Chamberlain of NT the following week to discuss the possibility of using NT broadband capacity to extend the network further. MADT is also putting a bid to MAB together.
    2. High speed Broadband: The Chairman reported that Avebury was currently in an ‘Intervention Area’. Such areas were not economically viable for BT to install high speed broadband but could qualify for WC’s Wiltshire Online funding and the Chairman had expressed Avebury’s interest.
    3. Avebury Day 2014: A meeting was due the following week. No date had yet been set but it would not be back to back with Avebury Rocks.
    4. Mobile library: Following a meeting with Rebecca Bolton of the service it had been agreed that the mobile library would now stop outside the Community Shop in the High Street.
    5. State of repair of bus shelter at Beckhampton: Ron Dobson, local architect, had met on site with Keith Howell, Andrew Williamson and Maggie Lewis to give his professional opinion. In general he felt that the structure was fairly sound but that the roof had wet rot. He would prepare a specification for re-roofing and re-surfacing the floor to improve drainage.
    6. Paths for Communities funding: Keith Howell reported that he had had an email from Michael Crook who had spoken to Sarah Simmonds from WHS. Although Mr Crook wanted clarification on a number of questions, Keith Howell thought he had answered all these points in previous email correspondence. He would reply as such and copy it to Sarah Simmonds, David Thomas and APC members.
    7. Wassail event:Members noted that a group had formed to organise a traditional Wassail on Saturday 11 January 2013.
  1. Correspondence:
    1. Flood Wardens:the Chairman tabled a letter from WC suggesting that APC establish a Flood Warden.
    2. Sarsen Trail: the organisers had asked if APC had any commentary on their proposal. No date had however yet been set due to military exercises but the Chairman would send on any comments when date had been set. It was agreed that an observance at the beginning of May should be avoided
    3. A private company in Hungerford had written asking if APC would like them to provide facilities managementsuch as grass cutting. Mrs Milton suggested a quote be obtained and that works to the bus shelter be included.
  1. Communications and Chairman’s action and information – none
  1. Finance and administration: 
    1. RoSPA and play area inspection:three of the four swing bolts were found to be loose, raising the risk factor. Two bolts had since been tightened and seats cleaned but it is not known by whom, though wet weather could have caused wood to swell, tightening the bolts, and washed the bird droppings from the seats The swing would still need fixing and could be included in the facilities management quote. Karyn Pearson said she would see if Mark Ford would do bolt tightening and also provide a quote for bus shelter renovations.
    2. Review of Asset Register: the asset register was reviewed. The planters had been added to it and, as the millennium bench by the Beckhampton bus stop was not on the register it was agreed it also be added. Proposed by Karyn Pearson and seconded by Mike Daniel
    3. Review of Risk register: Members reviewed the risks APC faced and agreed they were the same as last year, subject to the planters being included. Proposed by Karyn Pearson and seconded by Paul Dixon
    4. The Chairman declaredthat he had bought two loads of logs for personal use from the NT @ £70 per load + 5% VAT = £147.
    5. Cheques for paymentand cheques for ratification: it was unanimously agreed that a cheque for £78.00 be drawn to Playsafety Ltd for the RoSPA survey on the playground, being £65.00 plus VAT.
  1. Date of next meeting: at the changed time of 8.00pm on Tuesday 3 Dec 2013.
  1. Any other business: Karyn Pearson relayed thanks from a parishioner who loved the APC decision on a recent planning application and was very grateful for the work that APC does on behalf of parishioners

There being no other business, the meeting adjourned at 9.15 p.m.

Appendices:

  1. Minutes of Planning Sub-Committee held on 22 October 2013
  2. Draft first budget for 2014/15 dated 29 November 2013
  3. Draft note on APC’s reserves dated 29 November 2013