6 September 2016 Ordinary Meeting : Minutes

Avebury Parish Council

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on 6 September 2016 at the Social Centre, Avebury SN8 1RF.

In these minutes APC stands for Avebury Parish Council, ACC for Avebury Cricket Club, ACSReC for Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee, AHA for Aster Housing Association, ASSC for Avebury Sports and Social Club, AWHS for Avebury World Heritage Site, AYFC for Avebury Youth Football Club, EH for English Heritage, LGA for Local Government Act, MAB for Marlborough Area Board, NT for the National Trust, URC for United Reform Church, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.

Time Started: 19:30

  1. Public question time: There were no members of the public present.
  2. Present: Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Mrs Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), Mr Jon Campbell, Mrs Lynzey Paradise and Mr Stephen Stacey. In attendance: Miss Liz Moore (Clerk) and, from part-way through item 7 to the end of item 10, Mrs Jan Tomlin (NT General Manager, Wiltshire Landscape) and Ms Catherine Hosie (NT Rural Surveyor).
  3. Apologies: Councillors Dr Mike Bedford (Vice Chairman), Mr David Brotheridge, Mr Terence O’Connor and Ms Zandria Service.
  4. Declarations of interest: none declared.
  5. Minutes of meeting held on 27th July 2016: Unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Mr Campbell and seconded Mrs Paradise. The confidential notes were received and signed and dated by the Chairman. [The meeting was temporarily adjourned for a couple of minutes whilst members investigated someone wandering around at the back of the building. It was a member of staff from the Circle Nursery.]
  6. Matters arising from the minutes: none.
  7. Planning applications + results: including
    1. Listed Building Consent to fix an entrance sign to the Manor garden wall into existing fixings (sign 1200mm x 800mm). Ref: 16/06632/LBC. Members noted the Clerk had emailed them with the application and had submitted a response of no comment on behalf of APC.  Members ratified that decision.
    2. Advertisement Consent to erect one free standing welcome sign at Avebury Visitor Car Park, Avebury. Ref: 16/07142/ADV. Plans were tabled and considered. It was noted the board would be 1.8 metres high and in discussion three points were made (i) the sign was only in English (ii) was not very ambitious for a WHS and (iii) could include a welcome from the community. However it was agreed that none of these points were material planning considerations. It was resolved to offer no objection to the planning application. Proposed by Mrs Lewis, seconded by Mr Campbell and carried unanimously.
    3. Full Planning Consent for change of use of existing detached granary building and associated alterations to provide single consulting treatment room for chiropractor / other therapist at Manor Farm, Bray Street, Avebury. Ref: 16/07094/FUL. Plans were tabled and considered. It was resolved to support the application without conditions. Proposed by Mrs Paradise, seconded by Mr Stacey and carried unanimously.
    4. Work to Trees in a Conservation Area to fell one dead Walnut tree at Truslowe Manor, Bray Street. Ref: 16/08080/TCA. Plans were tabled and considered. It was resolved to support the application without conditions. Proposed by Mr Stacey, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
  8. National Trust update: summary: Jan Tomlin gave an update on recent Trust local events including its Feast of Food, its Summer of Play, yoga sessions in the Manor Gardens, archaeological landscape walks and a Craft Fair. Nationally, the Trust’s new media advertising campaign was being launched that week.  Locally the Trust would continue to focus on its key strategy of “Land, Outdoors and Nature” and was hosting an exhibition of local artists’ work in the Manor Gardens. The Trust would be providing support to Avebury Day, and had submitted advertising consent for a welcome sign beside the footpath from its main visitor car park as part of a national programme of improved signage. Work on the Trust’s toilets in the farmyard, the café and the coach house was due to start in November and should be completed by the end of the year dependent on work progressing smoothly.  Once complete, the main visitor toilets would remain those in the farmyard.  The Coach House toilets would be open when the food outlet was open and over particularly busy periods, and the Trust would continue to buy in additional portable toilets when required. A member of the Parish Council asked whether the toilets could be opened outside normal visiting hours.  Jan Tomlin said this was not currently being considered, but agreed to forward a number of potential dates to the Clerk for a meeting to discuss the issue. Following a question about the National Trust’s strategy for visitor activities, Jan Tomlin outlined the balance between conservation, open access and visitor experience.  In a nutshell, the Trust keeps conservation at its heart and engages with visitors to share its cause and encourage support for its work.  Jan Tomlin also provided a brief and high-level overview of the NT’s accounting principles and processes. On opportunities for information in languages other than English, Jan Tomlin explained that there was insufficient space on its new welcome sign for other languages, but there may be options elsewhere. In discussion it became clear that planning permission had not been sought for the new signboard on the sportsfield. APC would check whether planning permission was required.
  9. National Trust issues including:
    1. Preliminary discussion on identifying possible joint future projects. To be developed.
    2. Temporary closure of National Trust toilets in the High Street: the Chairman said the Parish Council had received representations from people in the village about lack of facilities with the result that visitors were relieving themselves in open public areas. The question was asked how both organisations could improve the situation. Mrs Tomlin welcomed the question and made the following points:
      1. NT objective was to try to pull visitors away from the main High Street to the Farmyard to minimise erosion on the Henge and congestion and noise in the residential area.
      2. The toilets in the High Street were owned by the NT and as such were not public toilets and there was no charge for the facility.
      3. The NT had experienced extreme negative issues opening toilets after hours and Mrs Tomlin gave an example of anti-social behaviour that had occurred at the NT’s Lacock site.

      Members felt they had a better understanding of the Trust’s concerns. It was agreed to organise a joint meeting to work together on the issue and seek to address community concerns. Mr Stacey to represent APC with any other interested members. Mrs Tomlin explained she had already instructed a project manager from 1 September, who was currently looking at budgets and diagrams and therefore the meeting would need to be arranged swiftly. The Chairman thanked Mrs Tomlin. He said the Trust’s experience elsewhere was valuable and APC could look at the possibility of supporting a scheme.

    3. Welcome by the community on ‘welcome’ sign by main car park: Mrs Tomlin explained standard signs were being rolled out at every NT car park, wording was restricted, the signs were being part-funded centrally and that she had very little flexibility in terms of budget. Mrs Tomlin added she had spoken to Sarah Simmonds (WHS Officer) and agreed reference to the WHS site would be on the sign. A question was asked as to whether English was the only language used and typical of all sites and whether the sign could be easily refigured. In answer to the first question Mrs Tomlin said she was not sure. She suggested that a joint welcome might be included on a parish notice board.
    4. Provision of defibrillators: Mrs Lewis reported the MAB would consider co-funding a defibrillator and gave an example of MAB recently funding half the cost of a defibrillator for Broad Hinton. Mrs Lewis advised the South West Ambulance Scheme was currently open and there was an up-front fee of £1,800.00 (ex VAT). It was noted the NT-owned defibrillator in the Farmyard offices was in practical terms for use within a 400 yard radius and therefore could not be moved. See item 12 for decision. The Chairman thanked the NT and added APC would be in contact shortly with Ms Hosie about the lease of the sportsfield.
  10. Transport Group: including:
    1. Extension of 30 mph limit on Swindon Road: the Chairman read out an email he had received from Mr Steve Hind (WC Highways) and members noted the project implementation date was the 28 October 2016.
    2. A4 improvements: the Chairman reported Steve Hind was currently in the process of obtaining a response from Atkins, WC’s design consultants, and would be in contact with APC soon afterwards. Mrs Paradise asked if APC had any proposals to make improvements on the A4361 near the NT’s main car park and to re-instate a verge that had become an informal layby. It was noted that part of the road was marked with double yellow lines and people could be fined if they parked on either the road or the verge. APC could request WC to reinstate the verge. Action: Clerk to log request with WC’s on-line service.
    3. Other works in pipeline: (i) Informal crossings (ii) signage audit: the Chairman stated there was no further progress to report.
    4. Parking in Trusloe: the Chairman said he had informed Mr David Croft (Centurion Western) that APC was considering carrying out a Rural Housing Needs Survey and was interested in facilitating a joint project. APC / Chairman to email Mr Croft with APC progress update.
    5. Members noted that the replacement of the little culvert adjacent to Galteemore Farm in Beckhampton and the replacement bridge was the same project. WC’s revised start date was 3 October and the road would be closed for four weeks until 28 October.
    6. Resurfacing of footpath 22 in Bray Street: Clerk had logged request with WC’s on-line service, members were waiting for a response from WC.
    7. Footpaths and byways: deferred to next meeting.
  11. ACSReC: including
    1. Items from APC 27 July meeting: priority capital expenditure projects and final draft budget deferred to next meeting in October.
    2. Renewal of sports-field lease: the Chairman stated the next item was confidential and it was advisable in the public interest that the public and press be temporarily excluded. In discussion the following items were considered:
      1. Heads of Terms (draft template previously circulated to members): members discussed the essential/non-essential terms APC required and it was agreed further research needed to be done on insurance.
      2. Covering letter (draft letter previously circulated to members): it was agreed the letter be revised to include Mrs Paradise and Mr Stacey as APC’s representitives for a meeting with Catherine Hosie. Proposed by Mrs Lewis, seconded by Mr Campbell and carried unanimously. Action: Clerk to email the updated letter to Ms Hosie.
    3. Progress report by Mr Brotheridge on permanent capping off of the old water supply: deferred to next meeting.
    4. New outside tap: deferred to next meeting.
    5. Banking: deferred to next meeting.
  12. Defibrillator for Avebury: members resolved in principle to purchase a defibrillator in 2016/2017. Mrs Lewis and Mrs Paradise to work together on draft application to MAB for funding. Proposed by Mr Stacey, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
  13. Housing Needs Survey: it was resolved the Clerk to instruct WC to carry out a rural housing needs survey. Proposed by Mrs Paradise, seconded by the Chairman and carried unanimously.
  14. Local issues: the Chairman reported:
    1. URC Chapel: the Chapel Steering Group had organised a mail drop to residents on 14 August (see appendix 1). A company / charity called Avebury Sacred Trust had been set up and the group was in the process of fundraising to complete the purchase of the Chapel for £150,000 and was asking for help with fundraising and donations. In discussion members felt they did not have sufficient information to consider giving a donation and would need to see a budget and have other details before making a decision. Action: Clerk to write to the Chapel Steering Group to request further financial information.
    2. The glass had been replaced in Community Shop notice board. Members expressed their thanks because the works had been financed by an anonymous individual.
    3. Tree and hedge cutting in Trusloe and in High Street: (i) the lower branches of two trees on the grass triangle near the Red Lion PH had been obscuring driver’s visibility and had been removed by two members of the Parish Council with help from the Farthings. (ii) a member of the public had previously requested that a tree’s branches be cut back from the highway in Avebury Trusloe. The tree was on private land and it was agreed the Clerk would write to the owners.
    4. Street cleaning in High Street, strimming in Church Walk / Hunters Walk and Trusloe: ordered: completed.
    5. Planters in High Street: work in progress to move a planter and the Chairman suggested removing plants and compost before commencing work. In addition, it was noted all the planters still needed attention. Mrs Paradise to organise a Community Planters’ Day for people in the High Street to rejuvenate their planters and or transfer responsibility to another household.
    6. Jetting of culvert in Beckhampton: WC only had one machine in the county and was waiting for it to become available.
    7. Footpath clearing along A4 at West Kennett: to be referred to the Parish Steward.
    8. Tarmac footpath adjacent to Red Lion car park wall and A4361: issue of rough surface / need for resurfacing raised by a member of the public at 5 July meeting. Action: Clerk to order the work via WC’s online service.
    9. Pothole on the Avenue: ordered: WC response: ‘The issue you raised does not meet our intervention levels. We will continue to monitor this area during regular highway inspections.’
    10. Community Wi-Fi and Broadband speeds: no further update.
  15. Communications: the Chairman reported APC ‘Headlines’ had not been submitted to the August edition of UKN as there was not enough to report. Notice of completion of audit by the external auditors to be published on APC web site by the Clerk.
  16. Correspondence: the Chairman/Clerk reported:
    1. There had been several requests by members of the public to make the Parish Council website more village friendly including putting in a new page to include more local information and the Clerk had suggested including an option for the public to subscribe to an APC e-mailing list. Action: Clerk to contact Kate Fry for information and pricing.
    2. Email from John Skinner (Calne Our Place 2016 Initiatives to Promote Tourism in Calne and Neighbouring Villages). Request for a list of anything parishes wished to promote for a pilot promotion of the A4 highway. Members noted they had already considered the request and declined the offer. Action: Clerk to request APC is taken off e-mailing list.
    3. PEAS Scheme for 2016/17 and application for Parish Emergency Assistance Kit. Members considered if any additional equipment would be required and it was decided no extra supplies needed.
    4. Community First AGM Wednesday 12 October (5:30pm – 7:15pm). Members noted they could consider nominating a group or individual for an award but would need to do so by that Friday.
    5. Race to the Stones: the organisers had apologised for inconvenience caused by shuttle bus parking across Rawlins Park entrance at 5:30am on the Saturday. The organisers had also experienced other issues and would be using an alternative supplier the following year.
  17. Finance and admin: including:
    1. Accounts Audit year ended 31 March 2016: the Clerk reported Grant Thornton had completed the review of the annual return and a clean audit report had been given aside from an advisory note that stated the Responsible Financial Officer should sign Section 2, the Accounting Statements prior to the meeting at which Section 2 is approved. [See appendix 2 for Section 3, external auditor certificate and report 2015/16].
    2. Review of APC’s Consultation Process (due 1 Sept): members considered reviewing the policy document and decided it should be reviewed in September 2017.
    3. Avebury Emergency Planning and Snow Plan: work in progress by Mrs Lewis and Mrs Judy Farthing.
    4. Review of Financial Regulations, Standing Orders and TOR of Committees: work in progress.
    5. VAT registration status, payments: nothing further to report.
    6. Training for Councillors: members noted the cost for new Councillor Training was £250 + VAT (1-10 Councillors). Mrs Lewis to request further dates from Katie Fielding at WALC.
    7. Cheques for payment and cheques for ratification: it was resolved that the following cheques be paid. Proposed by Mr Campbell, seconded by Mrs Lewis and carried unanimously.
      1. ACC: grass cutting April 2016 to July 2016                                £637.50
      2. S.Merrett Services: weed-killing on Sports-field (incl VAT)        £282.00
      3. Avebury Day: donation from APC                                               £500.00
      4. Southern Electric: electricity for Pavilion 25 May – 18 Aug 2016 (incl VAT)                                                                                           £63.98
      5. Fiona Wood: cleaning materials and cleaning of Pavilion on 5, 13, 19, 26 July 2016                                                                               £108.95
      6. Avebury Social Centre: rent for May 3, June 7, July 5, Sept 6   £16.00
      7. Liz Moore: Clerk’s overtime and expenses: 22 July – 21 August 2016                                                                                           £52.75[Cheques were signed by the Chairman and Mrs Lewis].
  18. Date of next meeting: 7:30pm on Tuesday 4 October 2016 at the Social Centre.
  19. Any other business: none declared.
  20. The meeting closed at 21:55.

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

  1. Newsletter from Avebury Chapel Steering Group – dated August 2016
  2. Section 3, external auditor certificate and report 2015/16. Not seen by the meeting but added subsequently.