7 February 2017 Ordinary Meeting : Minutes

Avebury Parish Council

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on 7 February 2017 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, ASSC for Avebury Sports and Social Club, AWHS for Avebury World Heritage Site, AYFC for Avebury Youth Football Club, EH for English Heritage, HE for Highways England, 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: 19:31

  1. Public question time: There were 12 members of the public present for all or part of the meeting. The Chairman stated the A303 presentation at item 7. had been arranged because Avebury had an interest in 1. protecting its WHS status and 2. protecting the site and monuments. He said it would be useful if all present could introduce themselves and then questions could be asked. Mr Andrew Alcorn (Highways England’s Project Manager for the A303 Stonehenge improvement) and Mr Chris Jones (Atkins Arup Consultant leading the public consultation) introduced themselves, as did members of Avebury Parish Council, local parishioners and other members of the public including Mrs Jane Davies (prospective WC Councillor), Mrs Gill Swanton (local landowner and archaeologist), Mr Ewart Holmes (Committee member, Avebury Society), Dr Kate Fielden (Vice-Chairman, Avebury Society) and two members of NT staff (see item 2). A member of the public then asked why did the A303 tunnel have to be a short rather than long tunnel, why a bypass could not be built and would there be a study / investigation on the impacts of the project. A member of the Avebury Society asked about the brief and the constraints that had been given to HE, the add-on costs per kilometre of building an extra length of tunnel given that all equipment would already be on-site, whether securing extra funding from overseas had been considered and how light and noise pollution would be mitigated. There was anxiety within the Avebury Society about the knock on effect to the roads surrounding the A303 when it was widened and possible problems for users of minor roads joining the A303. A member of APC asked 1. what was the response of the local population at Stonehenge and 2. what were the justifications for building a tunnel. A final question was asked by a member of the public as to what was the total cost of the project. The consultants for HE said they would answer all the questions during their presentation.
  2. Present: Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Mrs Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), Mr David Brotheridge, Mr Jon Campbell, Mrs Lynzey Paradise and Mr Stephen Stacey. In attendance: Miss Liz Moore (Clerk) except item 18.b, Dr Rosamund Cleal (NT Museum Curator, Alexander Keiller Museum) and Ms Catherine Hosie (NT Estate Manager).
  3. Apologies: Councillors Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chairman), Mr Terence O’Connor and Ms Zandria Service. Apologies had also been received from Wiltshire Councillor, Mrs Jemima Milton and mentioned later in the meeting at item 10.
  4. Declarations of interest: none declared.
  5. Minutes of meeting held on 6 December 2016: two amendments were requested. Item 12. second sentence: to change Mr Lewis to Mrs Lewis and to correct appendix item 5. from ‘…meeting 28 June 2016’. to ‘…meeting 28 May 2016’. It was resolved to include the amendments. Proposed by Mr Stacey, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously. Further to the aforesaid amendments the minutes were unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Mrs Paradise and seconded by Mr Campbell.
  6. Matters arising from the minutes: the Clerk reported:
      1. Repairs to swings at Avebury Trusloe: (Minute ref. 15). The work had been completed.
      2. New bridge in Beckhampton: (Minute ref. 16. f.). The work had been completed. (Pictures of the new bridge with new railings had been previously circulated to members by Mrs Lewis).
      3. Web-Site updates: (Minute ref. 21.c.). The work had been completed and members to agree management of on-line community notice board. It was agreed that the Clerk and Mrs Paradise would keep the notice board up to date.
  7. Planning applications + results:
      1. Full Planning Consent for erection of three single storey timber stables on an existing base at Beckhampton House, Beckhampton SN8 1QR. Ref: 17/00295/FUL. Plans were tabled and considered. It was resolved to support the application without conditions. Proposed by Mrs Lewis, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
      2. Work to trees in a Conservation Area to fell one Lawson Cypress at ground level at the Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF. Ref: 17/01010/TCA. Plans were tabled and considered. It was resolved to support the application without conditions. Proposed by Mr Campbell, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
      3. Members received the minutes of the Planning Committee meetings held on 17 December and 21 January 2017 (see appendix 1 and 2 respectively).
      4. Lower Acre, Bray Street: the Chairman stated the application had been withdrawn.
      5. NT Stables, High Street: the Chairman reported the application had been called in by Mrs Milton (WC Councillor) and the WC Planning Committee meeting was scheduled for Friday 17 February. It was noted the Chairman would not be able to attend, but other APC members would be present to put forward APC’s views as per 21 January Planning Committee meeting minutes. [The WC Planning Committee was in fact due to meet on Thursday 16 February.]
  8. Highways England presentation on A303 road scheme at Stonehenge:
    1. (map previously circulated to members and see appendix 3). Consultants Chris Jones and Andrew Alcorn distributed three hardcopy booklets entitled: 1. A303 Stonehenge Amesbury to Berwick Down: Public Consultation Booklet – January 2017. 2. The case for the scheme and 3. Creating an Expressway to the South West: the case for the A303/A358 Corridor. (See appendix 4 of the minute book). Mr Chris Jones explained there had been nine exhibitions to accompany the public consultation and the final one was to take place the next day. He then gave a power point presentation and background introduction to explain that Highways England had been created on 1 April 2015 and now worked under licence to the Department of Transport. There were eight sections of road for improvement on the A303 and the deadline for delivering the improvements was 2029. The objectives for the scheme were read out (see p. 17 of booklet A303 Stonehenge: Public Consultation January 2017). Mr Jones explained that Highways England was consulting on the 12 km of road that ran past Stonehenge and that Arup Atkins brief was to look at the options and propose solutions. The solutions were a pair of 2.9 km tunnels and a choice of a northern or southern bypass at Winterbourne Stoke to accommodate access.

    The following points emerged. 1. The tunnel would not be seen from Stonehenge 2. The Road Investment Strategy had come about through studies and had been put forward by the previous Prime Minister 3. Work with the NT and EH had informed and underpinned the decision that 2.5 – 2.9 km was an appropriate length for the tunnel including the location for the portals 4. Mr Jones had asked for the lighting to be removed from the portal entrances 5. It was estimated that £1.4 billon was the likely cost of the whole project. The final presentation was the project timeline (see Public Consultation Booklet, p.49 it was predicted work would start on site in 2020). Thanks were expressed to Andrew Alcorn and Chris Jones for their presentations.

    The Chairman asked members of APC for their views. Questions were raised as to how any adverse effects could be negated and whether all ICOMOS’s recommendations would be implemented (see ICOMOS web site for technical documentation). The Chairman stated if 60 scheduled monuments were likely to suffer slight to very large adverse impacts then those issues should be resolved. Mr Jones said that it was the UK Government who nominated Stonehenge to be a WHS and therefore they would be taking the ICOMOS recommendations seriously. The Chairman also pointed out that the word ‘protect’ did not come into Arup Atkins’ technical documentation but protection was the primary purpose of the WHS. APC members were concerned that a 2.9km tunnel necessitated about 1.5km of surface level dual carriageway in the western part of the Site.  The Chairman suggested an alternative solution could avoid a great deal of damage to archaeology if about 1.5km of the existing A303 in the western part of the WHS was recycled/reused as a one-direction pair of traffic lanes and coupled with a tunnel of about 2.9km and, for traffic travelling in the opposite direction, a longer tunnel of about 4.5km was built to emerge just outside the western end of the WHS. He also suggested that a test be applied to any scheme: if some monuments were 4,500 years old, was it likely that the built scheme would still be seen as an acceptable intervention in 4,500 years’ time?

    The Chairman asked members of the public for their views. Question 1. Would more money be going into the railways to counteract displacement of vehicles. Answer: the Government makes the policy and Highways England works on the specific brief. Referred to National Policy Statement. Question 2. Thanks were expressed to the consultants for their presentation and they were asked what was the Government’s brief on looking after undisturbed archaeology? What were the downsides? Answer: Atkins Arup was currently undertaking geophysical surveys and pit work that was overseen and signed off by the County Archaeologist and Historic England. Question 3. How would the likely increase in traffic on the A345 (Marlborough to Amesbury road) be managed? Answer: Atkins Arup would be putting in place Development Consent Orders to look at the temporary effects of traffic on A345 whilst the A303 road was a construction site and to look at any long-term effects.

    Action: It was agreed the Chairman draft a response to the Highways England and other authorities and circulate it to APC members for comment before submission.  The response should reflect points made in the meeting and should emphasise in particular that the Parish Council is concerned that the proposed A303 scheme could result in negative impacts on the Avebury half of the WHS if 1. UNESCO were to delist the WHS, or add it to its List of World Heritage Sites in Danger and 2. if a precedent was set whereby further damaging schemes in future could be built in either half of the WHS.  The Parish Council would therefore urge that 1. monuments, their settings and interrelationships including astronomical alignments be protected and adverse impacts on them be much reduced and 2. that all ICOMOS/UNESCO recommendations be included in the final design so that ICOMOS/UNESCO agreement is obtained.

    The Chairman warmly thanked Andrew Alcorn and Chris Jones for their assistance and advice.

  9. Transport Group: In the absence of Dr Bedford, the Chairman reported on the Committee meeting on 13 December:
      1. Atkins and A4 designs: CATG had agreed to fund 50% of the design project. (Total project cost = £18,775). It was resolved that APC fund 25% of the project from its reserves = £4,694. The Clerk stated APC had the power to act under section 274 of the Highways Act 1980. Proposed by Mr Stacey, seconded by Mr Brotheridge and carried unanimously. A member of APC reported a member of the public had asked what was being done about yellow lines in Avebury Trusloe as there were on-going issues with parking. Action: yellow lines to be put on next Transport Group meeting agenda for re-consideration.
      2. Local fundraising: the Transport Group would be working on raising the rest of the money needed for the A4 design project.
      3. Footpaths and finger posts: a meeting was currently being arranged between Mr Tim Lewis and Mr Stephen Leonard. Mrs Paradise reported that footpath 22 was not safe. Members noted they had received no further response from WC even though the Deputy Leader of WC had agreed to put the project on to WC’s list of projects for 2016/17. The footpath had also been logged via WC’s on-line system. Action: issue to be put on Transport Group agenda for urgent attention.
      4. Great West Way: the Chairman and Mrs Lewis reported they had attended the Great West Way Wiltshire Group meeting held on 27 January. They said this was a two to three-year project plan to 1. support sustainable transport by encouraging people to visit the attractions along the A4 using different modes of transport 2. encourage pre-booked visits via overseas travel companies. The Chairman said it was important to have APC representation at the meetings to convey APC’s views that increased visitor income, but not increased footfall, was needed in the Parish.
  10. Improving the Toilet Facilities at Avebury: (Draft note on elements of a service agreement between APC and NT previously circulated to members and see appendix 5). Mr Stacey referred to page 2 of the draft note and explained that APC could decide if it wanted to consider a trial two-year lease / service agreement with the NT to assist the NT in running the toilets during daylight hours, 365 days a year if possible. The Chairman reported Mrs Milton had given her apologies for the meeting that night but wished to make her concerns known with regards to MAB agreeing to put £5,000 towards the capital costs of improving the NT toilet facilities. He asked if the NT had any questions; Ms Hosie said she had nothing further to add. Questions were then taken from members of the public. A question was raised as to why other bodies such as APC were putting in funding for existing toilets particularly as the NT were refurbishing the toilets anyway. Ms Hosie clarified the NT was funding the whole refurbishment and not seeking money for that project. A member of the public suggested APC should clarify the need and determine which pot of money was going to be used by MAB. Action: It was agreed that (1.) APC should now write to the WHS Steering Committee (as per last meeting minutes) to see if other WHS stakeholders would be willing to contribute over two years to the project and (2) APC arrange a further meeting with the NT to explore drafting a service agreement.
  11. Defibrillator for Avebury: Mrs Lewis reported:
      1. Location for the defibrillator: the Trustees of the Social Centre had agreed a defibrillator could be put on the outside wall of the Social Centre.
      2. Consider options for the heated storage box: not covered.
      3. MAB Grant Application Form: in progress. The Community Shop had generously offered up to £900 towards the project and there were other members of the community willing to put money forward. Members noted it might therefore be possible to fund the project without going through the MAB process as the total cost for the defibrillator was £2,160 (including VAT). Action: Mrs Lewis to meet with other donors and provide progress report at next meeting.
      4. SW Ambulance Scheme Memorandum of Understanding: (terms previously circulated to members and see appendix 6). It was resolved that the defibrillator would be located on an outside wall of the Social Centre and the SW Ambulance Scheme’s Memorandum of Understanding was accepted. Proposed by Mrs Paradise, seconded by Mrs Lewis and carried unanimously.
  12. National Trust update: Dr Ros Cleal reported that she had a short update due to the Christmas holidays and the main points were: a. the NT had supported Wassail b. the NT were about to reopen the Manor on Saturday 11 February 2017 and it would be open every day until the end of October c. the toilet refurbishments were ongoing and would be completed that Spring. The Chairman asked if members had any questions for the National Trust. Mrs Paradise asked what thoughts the NT had about the A303 project. Ms Hosie said they worked closely alongside the NT Project Manager assigned to the work and the NT as a stakeholder was committed to influencing the process to achieve the best possible outcome. Ms Hosie agreed that, if APC wished to ask NT for a view, they could do so. The Chairman thanked the NT for their report.
  13. Payphones Consultation:
      1. BT’s telephone box consultation: the Clerk reported she had submitted a response to WC (previously circulated to members) to object to BT removing the Avebury Trusloe and West Kennett ‘phone boxes on the grounds of poor mobile ‘phone signal coverage for both locations and accident blackspot by the A4. It was hoped the response would be enough to keep the status quo and allow APC more time to consider options such as adopting the ‘phone boxes as BT was not willing to extend the consultation deadline.
      2. High Street ‘phone box usage: not covered (NB. the ‘phone box had been used 144 times to make calls in the past year).
      3. Members to consider adopting Avebury Trusloe and West Kennett ‘phone boxes: deferred to next meeting or until formal response from BT received.
  14. ACSReC: Mrs Paradise reported on the following matters from the 1 February Committee meeting. She explained that fundraising for the Pavilion roof had been organized in the form of film nights at the Social Centre see item 14.d. She said clearing work behind the Pavilion had been excellent including work carried out on the fence by the NT and that risk assessments had been done. The Committee had been investigating access to the septic tank and discovered it could be accessed by a hatch in the kitchen. The tank was likely to be about 10 years old but no record of it being emptied had been found yet.
      1. Renewal of sports-field lease: in progress. In order for sports clubs to apply for certain funding they would be required to show legal rights to the Pavilion and as APC was not allowed to sub-let the sports-field in the current terms of the lease that might be an area to explore further with the NT.
      2. Avebury Day: Mrs Paradise requested Avebury Day to be itemized separately on next meeting agenda and not under ACSReC. No further information.
      3. Survey of condition of pavilion: the Committee had considered the findings of the ‘brief’ survey carried out by Dolman Building Surveyors on 20 December 2016 (report previously circulated to members) and were prioritizing the roof repairs to ensure the building was water tight.
      4. Funding repairs to the Sports Pavilion roof: Avebury Social Centre was fund-raising to help with cost of repairs by running the first two in a series of archive films of ‘Britain on Film Tour’. Next screening: Thursday 30 March entitled ‘Rural Life’, tickets £5 from village shop.
      5. Banking: Lloyds account now in the name of the Parish Council and operational. It was noted a separate cash book would be needed to record transactions for APC to run two bank accounts.
      6. Noticeboard: the Chairman tabled a letter received from Jan Tomlin (NT General Manager, Wiltshire Landscape) that day (also circulated by email to members) informing him that a watching brief should have been carried out at the same time as the removal of the noticeboard. Mrs Paradise reported that to the best of her belief the board had been lifted out with minimal disturbance but requested that APC put together a checklist to document the procedures for future projects. Action: Chairman to respond to Jan Tomlin out of courtesy as the letter had been addressed to him.
  15. Local issues:
      1. Housing Needs Survey: deferred to next meeting – results and analysis due to be sent to APC that month. The Clerk stated the Parish Summary and results were being sent to APC for approval prior to publication on the WC website.
      2. URC Chapel: the Chairman read an email received from the Trustees of the Avebury Sacred Trust in response to APC’s email last month (both previously circulated to members). In discussion members noted that conveyancing was in progress, no donation was requested from APC but individual donations welcomed. It was felt APC was entitled to a better response particularly as APC needed to know what the planned activities would be to assess the impacts, and had previously requested a business plan and financial details. The Chairman opened the meeting to a member of the public to speak. In discussion it was highlighted that conveyancing processes can be very swift and that any delay might be part of a caveat in the purchase process allowing a delay until funding was in place. Concern was also raised about the state of the building deteriorating in the meantime. Action: APC to write to the URC Synod to request information on the proposed activities and business plan for the Chapel and to highlight concern about the building deteriorating over the coming year.
      3. Drains in Bray Street: Mrs Lewis reported a blockage had been found to be causing the overflow and work had been carried out to rectify the problem.
      4. Bus shelters: the Chairman reported a large window pane was missing in the bus shelter on Swindon Road and a member of the public had emailed to report that WC were not going to replace it due to budget constraints (email previously circulated to members). The issue had originally been brought to APC’s attention by Mr Brotheridge. In discussion it was noted APC should not be doing WC’s work for them but members of the community would suffer if nothing was done. Members agreed APC arrange for a clear piece of Perspex to be fitted to the bus shelter window. Action: Clerk to instruct the repair works.
      5. Planters in the High Street: the Clerk said a planter had been damaged by a WC dustbin lorry on 20 January. She had reported the incident to WC that day but no response had been received to date. Action: Clerk to write to WC and Wiltshire Councillor Jemima Milton.
      6. Parish Council notice boards: not covered but general maintenance work needed. Deferred to next meeting agenda.
      7. Leaf sweeping in the High Street and Church Walk: work ordered but not yet done. Action: Clerk to chase WC.
      8. Jetting of culvert in Beckhampton: work ordered but not yet done. Action: Clerk to chase WC.
  16. Communications: the Chairman reported the December Headlines had been submitted for the January edition of UKN.
  17. Correspondence: the Clerk reported:
      1. Thank you letter received from Citizens Advice Wiltshire for APC’s donation of £50.00. The Clerk tabled the letter.
      2. Avebury Police report: members noted that in the previous month one car had been broken into in the main NT car park.
      3. Sarsen Trail sponsored walk would be taking place on Sunday 30th April 2017.
      4. Planning for Communities Workshops delivered by Wiltshire Community Land Trust (WCLT) were available for members to attend in February. As a member of WCLT, the Chairman additionally offered to run a workshop for members at the Social Centre and that was the preferred option.
      5. South West Local Councils’ Associations’ Regional Conference: the venue was Taunton Rugby Club 10am – 4pm on Thursday 16th March 2017. Cost: £60 (+ VAT) per person. In discussion no delegates were proposed.
      6. Police Consultation: members of the public are invited to take part.
  18. Finance and admin: including:
      1. Budget 2017-2018: (previously circulated to members and see appendix 7). It was resolved to receive and approve the final draft budget dated 7 December 2016. Proposed by Mr Brotheridge, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
      2. Confidential item: report on Clerk’s appraisal held on 2 December. The Chairman proposed to defer item 18.b to the end of the meeting to allow the Clerk to leave the meeting earlier. Carried unanimously.
      3. Training for Councillors: Mrs Lewis to progress.
      4. Review of Financial Regulations, Standing Orders and TOR of Committees: the Chairman reported the he and Mr Stacey were working on the ordering process. The Clerk reported a correction was needed to the Standing Orders at item 26.i. Finance. to change the last sentence to ‘..payment shall be authorised by the Clerk.’ Members noted updates to the Financial Regulations and Standing Orders would be resolved at the next meeting.
      5. Ordering System: as above.
      6. Press and Media Policy: a draft Press and Media Policy had been previously circulated to members by the Clerk. It was resolved to adopt the new Press and Media Policy dated 7 February 2017. Proposed by the Chairman, seconded by Mrs Lewis and carried unanimously. (See appendix 8).
      7. The approved minutes of ACSReC meetings 27 July 2016, 24 October 2016 were tabled and received. (See appendix 9).
      8. Date for Annual Village Meeting: members agreed to set the date for Tuesday 25th April at 7pm. Clerk to book the Social Centre.

    i. Cheques for payment: it was resolved that the following cheques be paid. Proposed by Mr Campbell, seconded by Mr Brotheridge and carried unanimously. Cheques were signed by the Chairman and Mrs Lewis.

      1. Thames Water Utilities Ltd: water supply and wastewater disposal 21 Oct 2016 – 12 January 2017 (including VAT)        £275.97
      2. Elysium Woodworking Ltd: replacement of beam supporting swings on Play Area (including VAT)                £80.00
      3. Social Centre: PC meetings on 4 Oct, 1 Nov and 6 Dec + the Transport Group meeting on 13 Dec                  £16.00
      4. National Trust: annual rent of sports field          £60.00
      5. Clerk’s overtime and expenses 22 Dec 2016 – 21 Jan 2017  £46.49
  19. Cheques for ratification: members noted at the instruction of the Clerk, the following cheques had been raised in January 2017, signed by two Councillors and payment sent to the respective suppliers. It was resolved to ratify the payments as listed below. Proposed by Mrs Paradise, seconded by Mr Stacey and carried unanimously.
    1. Mr P J Mills: rabbit and mole control at Avebury Sports field      £85.00
    2. Fiona Wood: cleaning materials and cleaning of Pavilion in December 2016                                                                                                  £19.40
    3. Thames Water Utilities Ltd: fixed charge and wastewater disposal for the Pavilion (from previous bill)                                                £114.70
    4. Dolman Building Surveyors: brief survey of the Pavilion (including VAT)                                                                                          £360.00
    5. Playground Services Ltd: two pairs of log clamps for swing unit (including VAT)                                                                                          £216.00
    6. Honeystreet Sawmills Ltd: 3.6 metre timber beam for swing unit (including VAT)                                                                                          £28.80
    7. Liz Moore: Clerk’s overtime and expenses: 22 November – 21 December 2016                                                                      £321.56
  20. Date of next meeting: 7:30pm on Tuesday 7 March 2017 at the Social Centre. The Chairman gave his apologies.
  21. Any other business: Mr Brotheridge asked if the Parish boundary had changed because one of the Avebury WHS signs had been replaced and moved. The Chairman invited Mrs Davies (prospective Wiltshire Councillor) to speak and she reported the old WHS sign had not been in the correct place and that the WHS boundary sign was now much closer to the correct position. The Clerk left the meeting and the Chairman moved to Confidential item 18b: report on Clerk’s appraisal held on 2 December, see confidential minute.
  22. The meeting closed at 10.18pm

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

  1. Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 17 December 2016
  2. Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 21 January 2017
  3. A303 Map
  4. A303 Stonehenge Amesbury to Berwick Down: Public Consultation Booklet – January 2017. The case for the scheme. Creating an Expressway to the South West – the case for the A303/A358 Corridor.
  5. Draft note on Elements of a Service Agreement between APC and NT in respect of the Coach House Toilets
  6. SW Ambulance Scheme Memorandum of Understanding
  7. Budget 2017 – 2018 (dated 7 December 2016)
  8. Draft APC Press and Media Policy (dated 7 February 017)
  9. Minutes of ACSReC meetings 27 July 2016 and 24 October 2016