1 November 2016 Ordinary Meeting : Minutes

Avebury Parish Council

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on 1 November 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, DCLG for the Department for Communities and Local Government, EH for English Heritage, LGA for Local Government Act, MAB for Marlborough Area Board, NT for the National Trust, TRO for Traffic Regulation Order, URC for United Reform Church, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.

Time Started: 19:30

  1. Public question time: the Chairman welcomed two members of National Trust staff to the meeting. There were no other members of the public present and no questions were asked.
  2. Present: Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Mrs Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), Mr David Brotheridge, Mr Jon Campbell, Mr Terence O’Connor, Mrs Lynzey Paradise, Mr Stephen Stacey and Ms Zandria Service (up to item 18). In attendance: Miss Liz Moore (Clerk) and up to item 13.d. Ms Hilary Makins (NT Countryside Manager) and Ms Catherine Hosie (NT Estate Manager).
  3. Apologies: Councillor Dr Mike Bedford.
  4. Declarations of interest: none declared.
  5. Minutes of meeting held on 4th October 2016: Unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Mrs Paradise and seconded by Ms Service.
  6. Matters arising from the minutes:
    1. Min ref.11: Coach House toilets: the Chairman reported the Clerk had drafted a letter to AWHS Steering Committee and the letter was tabled. It had not however yet been sent as Sarah Simmonds (WHS Partnership Manager) was away until the end of the week. The Chairman said it could also be useful to explore possible offers and suggestions for improving toilet facilities with businesses and individuals in Avebury that might be able to assist on a partnership basis.  Any practical proposals could then be included in a further paragraph in the letter. He had informally talked to several businesses and they were keen to attend a meeting and suggested provisional dates of 10:30am on the 17 or 24 November. In discussion members agreed a questionnaire should be given to the businesses to help understand the issues and collate solutions. A draft list of some questions was tabled by the Chairman. It was resolved APC arrange a meeting with the local individuals and businesses in Avebury, collect their responses in a questionnaire and include an extra paragraph in the letter to AWHS Steering Committee. Proposed by Mr Stacey, seconded by Ms Service and carried unanimously.
    2. Min ref. 14b: alteration to ACSReC Terms of Reference: the Clerk stated Mrs Paradises’ request for Mrs Paradise to be able to spend money in between meetings was not allowed in law.
    3. Min ref. 15: capping town and parish precepts: the Chairman reported
      1. the Clerk had sent an email to Lady Scott (Leader, WC) to convey APC’s support of her lobbying against the capping.
      2. the Clerk in consultation with the Chairman had submitted a response to DCLG’s questionnaire to answer the questions specific to the capping and submit APC’s views against the proposal.
      3. WC’s response to DCLG’s questionnaire had been previously circulated to members; it had opposed all proposed changes set out in the consultation in the strongest terms.
    4. Min ref. 21b: request for new form on website: the Clerk advised Mrs Paradises’ suggestion should not be actioned as it was not correct process for the public to directly request agenda items. Members of the public could ask Councillors questions or email the Clerk.
  7. Planning applications + results:
    1. Listed Building and Full Planning Consent for extension to west elevation at Galtee More Farm, Beckhampton SN8 1QJ. Ref: 16/09437/FUL, 16/09791/LBC. Plans were tabled and considered. It was resolved to support the application without conditions. Proposed by Mrs Paradise, seconded by Mrs Lewis and carried unanimously.
    2. Work to trees in a Conservation Area to remove four elder trees, crown raise one hawthorn to clear pavilion roof and coppice remaining two and remove one yew tree at the Sports Field, Avebury. Ref: 16/10118/TCA. Plans were tabled and considered and thanks expressed to the NT for arranging for the work to be done. It was resolved to support the application without conditions. Proposed by Mr Campbell, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
    3. Work to trees in a Conservation Area to reduce and partial pollard ash trees 1 – 3  by approximately 30% and light crown lift and clear canopies of ash trees 4 & 5 from roof by approximately 10% – 15% reduction at visitor route to old farmyard, Avebury  Ref: 16/10247/TCA. The plans were considered and it was resolved to support the application without conditions. Proposed by Mr Brotheridge, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
  8. Parish Council budget and precept for 2017/18: (Draft first budget 2017/18 and note on likely reserves next March were tabled by the Chairman. See appendices 1 and 2 respectively). On reserves, the Chairman said he had provisionally moved £5,000 to the budget for 2016/17. Members noted the reserve on 31 March 2016 had been about £19,000 and was likely to drop to about £10,000 on 31 March 2017 if transfers were made to cover the costs of Avebury Day, transport projects, APC’s share of the mains water supply scheme for the pavilion and a possible deficit of £1,563 in the 2016/17 budget.  On the budget for 2016/17, he explained that approximately £9,000 of APC’s income of about £11,000 went on fixed costs, and only about £2,000 a year remained for discretionary spending. In discussion it was recognised there would be no top-up grant from WC next year and that increasingly the government would be dropping services to cut costs. Members’ preliminary view was therefore that the precept should be increased by up to 2% which equated to about a £1 increase a year per household (if the Parish Council part of the Council Tax bill remained £50 per year). [Since the meeting, WC has published the Tax Base figures for Avebury and APC will need to review this in December.] Members also felt further discussion was needed in ACSReC about funding. Mr Campbell asked how the cost of the defibrillator would impact on the finances as it was not itemised in the budget. Mrs Lewis reported that if the project was made into a community led project then MAB would give full funding for it. She said the cost of the signing up for the SW Ambulance scheme was an upfront sum of £1,800 for a four year period; it would be possible to purchase a machine but then APC would be responsible for its maintenance. Action: a revised budget including updated precept figure and a contribution towards defibrillator costs to be circulated for consideration at next meeting.
  9. Transport Group:
    1. Progress report on existing applications to CATG: the Chairman reported
      1. extension of 30 mph limit on Swindon Road had been done but the two pairs of poles currently in position were temporary. The Chairman read out an email he had received from Steve Hind (WC Highways) and tabled WC’s design for the 30 mph signs (see appendix 3). In discussion some members felt the signs were too high and that the wording ‘please drive carefully’ was unnecessary. Mr Brotheridge asked why the chevron warning sign had not been replaced on the first bend located on the A4361 when travelling northwards out to the village; some members felt it probably wasn’t necessary if people adhered to the speed limit of 30 mph. Action: APC to write to Mr Hind to ask if ‘please drive carefully’ could be removed from the 30mph signs and the signs reduced in height from 9ft to 8ft.
      2. A4 improvements: the quotation from Atkins for comprehensive design studies of the A4 at Beckhampton and West Kennett had been received and the cost would be £18,000 to develop more detailed designs.  When finance became available, final drawings could then be completed and APC would be able to press for investment with a ‘shovel ready’ plan. Action: report to considered at the next meeting of the Transport Group.
    2. Current issues: the Chairman reported
      1. construction of new bridge at Beckhampton was still in progress.
      2. an acknowledgement had been received from Lady Scott (Leader, WC) with reference to the letter sent by the WHS Steering Committee to WC about closure of the Ridgeway. (See appendix 4, extending the TRO on the Ridgeway). The letter was tabled and members noted APC’s suggestions had been included in the eighth paragraph.
    3. Great West Way: the Chairman explained that VisitWiltshire was now involved in this project bringing together many partners between Heathrow and Bristol. He understood that international foreign travel operators were going to be developing holiday packages that had to be booked abroad. The Chairman asked if the NT had heard anything. Ms Hosie said she had not heard any news and advised to approach the situation with caution. The Chairman explained that Mr David Andrews also sat on the WHS Steering Committee and the Committee’s general view was that spend and not footfall should be encouraged. In further discussion members noted that APC also represented businesses in Avebury and Mr O’Connor reported that interesting, new multi-media projects involving the Avebury stones as a backdrop were underway. It was agreed that it would be in the Parish’s interests to know more about the project and that the Chairman contact Visit Wiltshire.
    4. Other works in pipeline: (i) informal crossings (ii) signage audit: not covered, deferred to next meeting.
    5. Parking in Trusloe: not covered, deferred to next meeting.
    6. Parking in the High Street: Mrs Paradise reported there had been recent issues with people parking inconsiderately outside the Social Centre and along by Fosse House. The Chairman said he had investigated the issue at the time and it had not been anyone attending the Social Centre. The Chairman invited Ms Hosie to speak. Ms Hosie added that the NT was actively asking any coach drivers to use the main NT car park.
    7. Footpaths: deferred to next meeting. The Clerk reported the requested works to footpath 22 was on the WC system but there was no further progress to report or timescales provided. Mr Campbell to also log the request on the WC on-line system.
  10. National Trust update: Ms Hilary Makins introduced herself as the Countryside Manager for the NT and gave an update on the work of the NT as follows: ‘We held our second open meeting with residents on Tuesday 25th Oct, in the Manor tea room.  Just one person attended who did not have any specific concerns or questions but enjoyed their afternoon tea and guided tour of the Manor. Looking ahead we will continue to provide updates in the Parish Newsletter and will send out an invite for another open meeting in the summer to provide an update on our work and share key initiative’.              Ms Makins was asked if she thought the time of day might have affected the number of people able to attend the open meeting and she reported that the NT would try different times.                                                                    ‘We will shortly be submitting a planning application to open the old Stables adjacent to the High Street car park. The intention is to undertake basic renovation before opening an initial welcome / meet and greet point to help orientate the visitors, sales, starting point for Henge tours etc’.                               A question was asked if it was still the NT’s intention to funnel people to the farmyard and Ms Makins reported not all people were being directed to the farmyard, there were various options and the new orientation point was aimed at walkers.                                                                                                                 ‘Half term has been busy with lots of activities for families throughout the week. This last weekend saw camping for 20 tents for those wishing to stay overnight to celebrate Samhain, which was well received and passed with only one minor incident reported – so far!’       Ms Makins was congratulated about the ginormous pumpkin that had been on display and members noted it had been produced by a ranger’s brother.      ‘Already included in Upper Kennett News – the Xmas Preview event. Wed 23rd November 3pm in the Manor, with festive drinks and mince pies. Other Christmas activities on our website. Finally – we will once again be supporting the Auction of Promises – Christmas photograph, in costume, in Avebury Manor, followed by a behind the scenes tour’.  The Chairman thanked Hilary Makins for the update and asked if members had any questions for NT staff. Mr Stacey asked for an update on the progress of work to the Coach House. Ms Hosie said there was nothing to report and to the best of her knowledge no work had started. Questions were asked about whether the old antique shop had been re-let and to whom. Ms Hosie stated the new lease for the tenant was in progress and that the business going in would be complementary to existing businesses in Avebury. Mrs Lewis asked if the NT would be interested in putting a Community Wi-Fi node in the building for members of the public visiting that part of the Henge and Ms Hosie agreed to pick that up with the new prospective tenant. In discussion it was not clear if there was broadband in the Manor and it was agreed Mrs Lewis and Ms Hosie to work together to review the possibility of introducing community hubs in more NT locations.
  11. Sports-field noticeboard: the Chairman reported a letter (previously circulated to members and see appendix 5) from Mrs Jan Tomlin (NT General Manager, Wiltshire Landscape) had been received requesting that APC remove the notice board on the Sports Field as a formal written request had not been received by the NT and approval had not been given under the lease. The Chairman asked members for their comments. In discussion it was felt there had been a misunderstanding but that a meeting should be arranged before taking down the notice board because APC needed to clearly understand the issues, particularly as NT staff had been in agreement with the work and had given lots of positive feedback six to nine months previously. There was also a cost implication in taking the notice board down. Members noted the action from the last APC meeting on 4 October was for a site meeting to be arranged and members agreed that should happen. A question was asked as to why Sarah Simmonds (WHS Partnership Manager) had not been involved initially but no one had an answer. The Chairman read out an email from Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chairman APC) ‘… It would be good to know what the facts are in this case as a lot of time and effort was spent in discussion and planning with NT knowledge. Do we know what the legal status of the board is as it is a woeful waste of our precious time, money and good will if it really has to be removed.’  The Chairman asked NT staff if they had any comments but they had none. Action: Mrs Paradise to arrange a meeting with Sarah Simmonds (WHS Partnership Manager), Catherine Hosie and Nick Snashall.
  12. Defibrillator for Avebury: See item 8. In discussion a member reported that he had been advised by a heart surgeon that as Avebury had both high footfall and sports activities then a defibrillator was a necessity. Members agreed in principle that the village should have a defibrillator and that it should be community led. Action: Mrs Lewis to research pricing to purchase a defibrillator.
  13. ACSReC:
    1. Report on 24 October meeting: Mrs Paradise explained the Committee had reviewed Dr Bedford’s budget (previously circulated to members and see appendix 6) and reported:
      1. all capital expenditure projects would be stopped as they were not affordable.
      2. emergency works were needed across the whole of the Pavilion and a ‘working group’ to discuss fundraising had been organised for 1 December 2016.
      3. the Committee recognized that if it wanted to attract sport then it would need a good facility
      4. the cleaning services had been stopped

      In discussion, Mrs Paradise explained that as per the terms of the NT Lease, APC and the Committee were not able to allow commercial concerns to use the sportsfield to make profits.  She also said that cars on the field could cause damage in bad weather. The Chairman stated £1,000 was in APC’s draft budget for that year and next year from APC and asked if £1,000 was needed from APC for 2017-2018. The Chairman raised the subject about ensuring a proper process was in place for ordering goods and services, checking that they had been received correctly and that payments were authorised; this had been centralized from ACSReC to APC. Members agreed there should be a written process and the Chairman and Mr Stacey offered to do some work to document the procedure. A question was asked by Mr Brotheridge as to whether it would be possible to raise some money by reselling the UV filter and members gratefully accepted his offer to do some investigation. Mrs Lewis reported she had sent a letter to the cleaner that day giving her 6 weeks’ notice. The Clerk advised the decision could not be endorsed and would need to go onto the next Committee or Council meeting for decision.

    2. Avebury Day: Members noted the project appeared to have made a loss of £1,683 with £600 left in the bank from the 2014 reserves. As Mrs Paradise had only recently received the draft statement and it had yet to be reviewed by the Avebury Day Committee, a further report was deferred to next meeting.
    3. Fundraising for sports-field: a meeting was already arranged by ACSReC to think of new ideas as per item 13 a.i.
    4. Renewal of sports-field lease: Mr Stacey’s report from 10 October meeting with NT was tabled and see appendix 7. Members noted the lease was being drafted by the NT’s Solicitor.
    5. New outside tap: not covered.
    6. Banking: in progress.
  14. Play area inspection report: an inspection had been carried out on 30 September 2016 by Playsafety and the report had been previously emailed to members with the Play Area being classed as overall low risk. The Clerk reported she was currently in the process of obtaining quotations for a new wooden top beam for the swing equipment (an interim check to tighten a swing shackle had resulted in the discovery that the wood was in fact rotten in the top beam only). Item deferred to next meeting.
  15. Local issues including:
    1. Unveiling of WHS plaque on 12 November: the Chairman reminded members about the invitation from Alistair Sommerlad, Chair WHS Partnership Panel.
    2. Housing Needs Survey:
      1. members to agree who will complete Parish summary: not covered.
      2. recap on timetable: the Chairman said the forms would be available from 14 November for completion by 23 December and that he would pick them up from WC offices.
      3. distribution of forms: Mr Brotheridge offered to deliver to Rawlins Park and Swindon Road, Ms Service to deliver to Bray Street, Mr Stacey to deliver to Green Street, Mr O’Connor to do the bottom of the High Street, Mrs Paradise to do the top of the High Street, the Chairman and Mr Campbell to deliver to Avebury Trusloe, the Chairman to cover West Kennett and Mrs Lewis and Dr Bedford to do Beckhampton. It was additionally agreed that Mrs Paradise would put together an advert for the December edition of UKN with information on the process for residents.
    3. Planters in High Street and Community Planter Day arrangements: deferred to the New Year.
    4. Re-instating verge on A4361 near NT main car park: the Chairman had heard that the Police had ticketed people parking on the verge; he understood that parking on either side of double yellow lines was prohibited.
    5. URC Chapel: no update
    6. Jetting of culvert in Beckhampton: no further information.
    7. Dog fouling along footpaths: the Clerk reported she had logged an issue concerning dog fouling on the footpath near Chapel Corner on the WC web site and requested for the dog warden to do some patrolling. Members agreed a polite notice should also be put in the next edition of UKN within Headlines.
    8. Community Wi-Fi and Broadband speeds: Mr Campbell reported he was looking into fibre connectivity and in the process of contacting BT. Members noted the BT exchange box opposite Longfields currently served households up to Chapel Corner with very good broadband speeds.
  16. Communications: the Chairman reported the October Headlines had been submitted for November edition of UKN.
  17. Correspondence: the Chairman reported:
    1. Council Tax Reduction Scheme Consultation from WC was open until 19 November. Clerk to email members the web link.
    2. WALC AGM Thursday 10 Nov (6pm for 6:30pm start at Trowbridge Civic Centre). The Clerk asked if anyone wished to attend and no one was forthcoming.
  18. Finance and admin: including:
    1. Improvements to Parish Council web site: the Clerk reported the costings received from Kate Fry were £80 for a new page to post local information and events and £40 for a form on the front page which allowed users to enter their email address and name to be added to the mailing list. A further request from a member of the public had been received for a village diary of events or calendar to be put on the website. The Clerk said she was waiting for a price for this work and members would have to think about who would be able to keep the diary up-to-date. It was agreed to defer any decisions until next meeting.
    2. Review of Asset Register: (previously circulated to members and see appendix 8). Members noted two items had been added to the register, being the new notice board on the Sports Field and the 6ft aerator. Decision: see 18c below.
    3. Review of Risk Register: (previously circulated to members and see appendix 9). The register had been updated as per APC’s insurance schedule 2016-2017 and health and safety risk assessment for the Pavilion included. Members reviewed the current risks and agreed that no other changes were required. Decision: it was resolved to receive and adopt the updated Asset Register and Risk Register. Proposed by Mr Stacey, seconded by Ms Service and carried unanimously.
    4. Review of Financial Regulations, Standing Orders and TOR of Committees: work in progress
    5. Donations to Charities: the Clerk reported she had received a request for support from Wiltshire Citizens Advice in the past year and tabled a letter dated 12 May 2016. Members noted the charity was asking for £100 donation or any support; the charity was of benefit to people in the Parish and as per APC’s Policy, it could make a donation of up to £50. It was resolved to donate £50 to Wiltshire Citizens Advice. Proposed by Mr Campbell, seconded by Mr Stacey and carried unanimously.
    6. VAT registration status, payments: not covered.
    7. The approved minutes of ACSReC meeting 28 June, 27 July 2016 were not available and would be received at the next meeting.
    8. Cheques for payment and cheques for ratification: it was resolved that the following cheques be paid. Proposed by Mr Brotheridge, seconded by Mr Campbell and carried unanimously.
      1. PlaySafety Ltd. (RoSPA): Play Area Inspection (including VAT) £79.80
      2. Mr P J Mills: rabbit and mole control on the sports-field (1 Aug to Nov 2016)                                                                                          £85.00
      3. Mr Jason Welland: supply and fit new cold feed water pipe and connect to new supply + supply and fit an outside tap              £390.00
      4. Stocksigns: prohibition sign ‘not drinking water’ for outside tap on the Pavilion (including VAT)                                                            £8.40
      5. Jamie Guy: Internal audit for half-year accounts 2016/17         £75.00
      6. Liz Moore: Clerk’s overtime and expenses: 22 Sept – 21 October 2016                                                                                          £192.85  [Cheques were signed by the Chairman and Mrs Lewis].
  19. Date of next meeting: 7:30pm on Tuesday 6 December 2016 at the Social Centre.
  20. Any other business: none declared.
  21. The meeting closed at 21:55.

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

  1. Draft Budget 2017-18
  2. Draft APC’s Reserves for next March
  3. 30 mph sign details for A4361
  4. Letter sent from WHS Steering Committee to WC about extending the TRO on the Ridgeway dated 12 October 2016
  5. Letter from Mrs Jan Tomlin (NT General Manager, Wiltshire Landscape) dated 31 October 2016
  6. ACSReC revised budget
  7. Lease letter sent to Catherine Hosie and Notes on a meeting with the NT by Mr Stacey
  8. Register of Assets dated 26 October 2016
  9. Register of Financial Risks dated 26 October 2016