4 April 2017 Ordinary Meeting : Minutes

Avebury Parish Council

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on 4 April 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, AWHS for Avebury World Heritage Site, EH for English Heritage, FWO for Fyfield and West Overton Parish Council, 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: the Chairman welcomed to the meeting Wiltshire Councillor James Sheppard (Chairman MAB), Mrs Jan Tomlin (General Manager, Wiltshire Landscape) and Ms Catherine Hosie (Estate Manager) of the National Trust, and Mrs Jane Davies (prospective Wiltshire councillor). No questions were asked.
  2. Present: Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Mrs Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), Mr Jon Campbell, Mr Terence O’Connor, Mrs Lynzey Paradise, Ms Zandria Service and Mr Stephen Stacey. In attendance: Miss Liz Moore (Clerk), Councillor James Sheppard up to the end of item 15 e. and Mrs Jan Tomlin and Ms Catherine Hosie up to the end of item 13.
  3. Apologies: Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chairman), Mr Dave Brotheridge and Mrs Jemima Milton (Wiltshire Councillor).
  4. Declarations of interest: none declared.
  5. Minutes of meeting held on 7 March 2017: Unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Mrs Paradise and seconded by Mr Stacey.
  6. Matters arising from the minutes: none
  7. Planning applications + results:
    1. Full planning consent for second storey rear extension, single storey front extension and new front entrance porch at North Rutlands, Swindon Road, Avebury SN8 1RH. Ref: 17/01667/FUL. The Chairman reported the Clerk had agreed an extension of time from WC so that feedback could be sent in by that Friday. Plans were tabled and considered. It was resolved to support the application without conditions. Proposed by Mr Campbell, seconded by Mrs Lewis and carried unanimously.
    2. Full planning consent for a two bay timber framed car port with storage over at Isobel Cottage, Beckhampton, Marlborough SN8 1QJ. Ref: 17/01671/FUL. Plans were tabled and considered. It was resolved to support the application without conditions. Proposed by Mrs Lewis, seconded by Ms Service and carried unanimously.
    3. Full planning consent for outbuilding conversion to residential lodge as an annexe to the main house at The Grange, Beckhampton, SN8 1QR. Ref: 17/02397/FUL. 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.
  8. Transport Group: in the absence of Dr Bedford (Chairman, Transport Group Committee) the Chairman reported:
    1. A4 projects at Beckhampton and West Kennett: the initial design cost was £18,775 for the A4 projects. APC had budgeted to meet a quarter of the cost, CATG had agreed to fund half the cost with the remainder being funded by local residents and businesses. Dr Bedford and Mr Rob Macaire had met with Sarah Simmonds (WHS Manager) and Steve Hind and the thought was to do both A4 projects concurrently. MAB had recommended that APC pay £1,000 for investigatory work at West Kennett. Mr Stacey said it was important the Beckhampton project didn’t get left behind. It was felt APC should fund the investigatory work in order to get the project started but only if it came out of the £4,500 previously budgeted funds. It was resolved APC pay £1,000 for the investigatory work at West Kennett. Proposed by Ms Service, seconded by Mr Stacey and carried unanimously.  The Chairman reported that the Transport Group Committee had raised the question of closing the Avenue and he read out a number of benefits the Group had listed. Mr Stacey expressed concern there was not a list of dis-benefits and suggested putting the subject on the Village Meeting agenda. Ms Service also felt there was the need for a list of both benefits and dis-benefits such as increased pollution due to extra journey times. The Chairman opened the meeting to the public. Mrs Jane Davies stated FWO Parish Council had significant concerns about closing the Avenue; it was used frequently by residents of adjoining parishes and she urged APC to consult with them too. Members agreed APC should consult adjoining parishes and raise the issue at the village meeting on 25 April.
    2. Footpaths and signage meeting on 2 March: Tim Lewis, Stephen Leonard (WC Rights of Way) and Liam Wiseman (WHS Partnership Officer) had met and were now involved to take the signage project forward.
    3. Double yellow lines in Trusloe: deferred to next meeting. Dr Bedford needed to consult with Mr Campbell.
  9. National Trust update: (NT update / leaflet previously circulated to members and see appendix 1). The Chairman invited Mrs Jan Tomlin to report.  She said that >400 leaflets had been delivered to residents and gave the following overview:
    1. The Durrington Dig results had yet to be analysed, but it was exciting that a new structure consisting of 200 timber posts had been discovered. Research project of the year award had been given to Dr Nick Snashall (NT Archaeologist).
    2. The Manor Gardens were basking in Spring splendour after being magnificently replanted by the Head Gardener and a team of 25 volunteers.
    3. Planning permission had been granted by WC for the Stables in the High Street to be used as a second hand book shop, to promote Avebury, the WHS and NT membership.
    4. A project making handmade costumes had proved very successful.
    5. The NT’s Easter Programme had been published.

    Mrs Tomlin reported that she had been through a process of reviewing her staff workload and that regrettably she would no longer be able to provide a NT representative at APC Council meetings. She would however like to provide the update via Mrs Paradise on a quarterly basis during the year. Mr Stacey expressed concern over this situation and asked Mrs Tomlin to reconsider the importance of having a channel of communication with the Parish Council. The Chairman stressed the importance of two-way communication; he suggested that the purpose of dialogue was to speak and listen to each other and not only conduct dialogue via newsletters. Ms Service noted that routine attendance at local parish meetings was an important and recognised part of the democratic process, which was of value to all in the community. Mrs Tomlin said she was increasing the number of open events for the wider Parish and asked if an APC representative could attend the NT event instead. Members again expressed concern at losing communications at formal Parish Council meeting level and Mr Campbell asked how APC could add value to existing arrangements from the Trust’s point of view. Ms Service added that the Trust was an important part of the community and that it should be represented.

    The Chairman opened the meeting to the public. Mrs Jane Davies stated that she was standing for Wiltshire Councillor and, if elected, it would be her duty to listen to views of the democratically elected Parish Councillors who were the conduit for the wider Parish. Councillor James Sheppard added that listening was a good way of getting information back and forward. Mr O’Connor asked why Mrs Tomlin felt the APC meetings were not useful. Mrs Tomlin said she felt there was no feedback at the meetings and referred to the NT Stables planning application that had been objected to by APC on 21 January. The Chairman stated A1 Shop/Retail use (which allowed any shop use) had not been previously declared by the NT. The Stables application was subsequently called in and then a condition had been attached to the permission limiting it to use for voluntary book sales and a visitors’ information point. There was further discussion on whether the NT could attend APC meetings every other month and it was suggested the NT send specific agenda items to the Clerk as Mrs Tomlin wanted to be able to comment. The Chairman asked if the community had been raising issues with Mrs Tomlin over the past year. In response Mrs Tomlin said she had received hand-written thank you notes for the Feast of Food event and that Ms Hilary Makins (NT Head Ranger) dealt with complaints about the outside areas. The Chairman expressed the view that APC was therefore doing the job well by channelling community issues to the NT. He gave an example of ‘Emma’s Pantry’ where this had not happened. APC members had first learned of this initiative in the NT’s spring newsletter and when they been asked questions by the public they couldn’t answer and had had to direct queries to the NT.

    In further discussion Cllr James Sheppard suggested that the NT could meet with APC earlier in confidential session and use APC as a sounding board before broadcasting their ideas to the public. It was agreed that APC ask Mrs Tomlin to (a) consider whether or not the NT could accept an APC invitation either to a confidential pre-meeting to the Council’s monthly meetings or to a confidential session early in the Council’s monthly meeting agenda (b) consider APC’s request that a member of NT attends every full Council meeting. It was also agreed that the existing NT update could be put higher on the agenda and possibly changed in emphasis to be an open dialogue / conversation.

    Thanks were expressed to all by the Chairman.

  10. Improving opening hours of toilets at the Coach House: Mr Stacey stated it was the NT’s view that the running of the toilets outside of NT Coach House opening hours should be a commercial arrangement between both parties with APC taking on the full financial and management commitment of running them. He explained that APC did not have the finances to carry on after the trial period and therefore needed to consider how to extend the opening of the Coach House toilets beyond that point. The Chairman added that Mr Stacey had been in dialogue with the NT for the past six months and had no detailed financial information to inform the feasibility of taking a lease. In discussion the NT advised it had given approximate running costs of £11,000 per annum and that the organisation did not offer toilets outside its working hours. The Chairman reported the Coach House Toilets had been available 50 years ago. He also said the NT had provided no evidence on the frequency of antisocial behaviour that had occurred in the toilets out of hours. In further discussion it was noted people came to Avebury at all times; Mrs Tomlin’s view was that public toilets should therefore be provided. The Chairman invited Mrs Jane Davies to speak. Mrs Davies asked who managed the permissive open access for the Stones and land that was open 24 hours and Mrs Tomlin stated it was the responsibility of the NT. Mrs Lewis observed that she and others doing the baking in the shop were aware of the number of tourists in the village at about 7.30 in the morning, particularly if one or two coaches arrived in the High Street and the small car park. Mrs Paradise asked if there was any way of increasing the opening hours as there would soon be more staff around the new Visitor Centre, but Mrs Tomlin raised the issue of vandalism. It was noted the optimum opening hours for the toilets would be from dawn to dusk. A final question was asked as to whether the NT could redefine the Coach House toilets as the main toilets rather than those behind the Great Barn, particularly as the primary purpose of the NT’s presence in Avebury was as guardian and manager of the WHS Monuments. Mrs Tomlin stated visitors came to the Farmyard area where all central activities were based. The Chairman stated that some confidential business would be considered later in the meeting under item 15. In the meantime, it was agreed that APC (i) ascertain facts and figures on running of the toilets (ii) seek to set up a scheme for a six month trial period (iii) Mrs Jane Davies to enquire about possible WC funding (iv) acquire the toilet plans and NT access to the building with a service provider to get costs (v) ascertain management problems (required as part of risk assessment) and (vi) NT to defer work on a lease until APC had ascertained if the project was viable in the long term. It was noted an extra Ordinary meeting to further discuss the toilets might be set up in the meantime and that a vote to take on some form of lease agreement would need to be taken in the next couple of months so as not to lose the £1,000 already received from WC for the project.  The Chairman adjourned the confidential session to item 15. under Correspondence.
  11. Defibrillator for Avebury: Mrs Lewis reported the defibrillator was likely to be situated near the porch on the outside of the Social Centre and that WC had confirmed planning permission would not be needed as the proposal came under permitted development. Mrs Lewis said she needed to prepare the Memorandum of Understanding with the South West Ambulance Trust and it was agreed she would be the contact on the form. She added she would also approach those people who had offered funding to ask for their donations, however, she was still chasing Greene King for a donation but it was noted this would only need to be about £100 which should cover the electrical installation work. Mrs Lewis also explained training would be provided once the defibrillator was installed and that someone would need to do a visual check of the installation daily. Mrs Paradise offered to do the visual checks.
  12. ACSReC: Mrs Paradise reported:
    1. Renewal of sports-field lease: it had been discovered that the Pavilion would need to be returned in the condition it was handed over in and ACSReC were looking at the wording to aid the Sports Clubs getting funding.
    2. Repairs to the Sports Pavilion roof: quotations were being sought.
    3. Fundraising: a third fundraising event had taken place successfully on 30 March and the next event they would be running was ‘Teas for Tourists’ on Sunday April 30th. She was working with Eva Stuetzenberger (NT Visitor Engagement and Enterprises Manager) who would be providing some marketing materials / posters for the event. Mrs Paradise said a working group meeting was taking place the next evening and the Chairman requested she circulate a note of the meeting.
  13. Local issues: the Chairman reported:
    1. URC Chapel and Community Right to Bid: a letter dated 7 March from the URC to Mr Simon Day (WC) was read out by the Chairman. He added that it had become apparent in recent weeks that the seller must sell at price sanctioned by its own valuer, the ground floor area was about 105 square metres, the first floor was about 20 square metres and the planners had listed the building as D1 Use Class. The Chairman read out a list of possible uses for the building that had been suggested by various people including altruistic uses and added the use of the Chapel as a Tourist Information Centre was of interest to APC. It was noted WC would be taking a decision on whether to make the Chapel a CRtB project between 29 March – 26 April and that this would give APC time to air the topic at the Village Meeting. It was resolved to ask Mr Simon Day (WC) to defer a decision to 26 April which was also the day any tenders for the building were due in and to ensure the item was on the Village Meeting agenda. Proposed by Mrs Paradise, seconded by Ms Service and carried unanimously. Cllr James Sheppard also agreed to find out who the Cabinet Member was for that subject.
    2. Housing Needs Survey: results not yet received from WC. Clerk to chase.
    3. Summer solstice 2017 management and permits: arrangements would be the same as last year and include a permit system. It was agreed Mrs Paradise contact Mr Simon Rowe (WC) to agree dates and the Chairman to work with her on the permits as per last year.
    4. Beckhampton notice board: the post had been fixed by Mr John Giles.
    5. Payphones consultation: nothing further to report.
    6. New Perspex for Swindon Road bus shelter: a quotation from Mr John Giles had been previously circulated to members for the supply and fitting of a 6mm solid polycarbonate glazing panel to the bus shelter. It was unanimously resolved to accept the quotation of £120 (excluding VAT). Proposed by Mr Stacey, seconded by Mr Campbell. Clerk to order the work.
    7. Jetting of culvert in Beckhampton: completed 10 March 2017.
    8. Planters in High Street: the new planter from Erlestoke Farm Shop was ready. Mrs Paradise to collect the planter using a trailer.
    9. Faulty street lamps: ordered and work completed outside the Old Vicarage in the High Street and scheduled for the lamp on the A4 opposite the Avenue.
    10. Low flying helicopters: Mr Daniel (local resident and owner of Dorwyn Manor B&B) had lodged a formal complaint with the relevant aviation authority.
  14. Communications: none.
  15. Correspondence: the Chairman reported:
    1. Highways England’s reply 16 March to Parish Council’s response to the consultation on A303 road scheme at Stonehenge was read out by the Chairman. It was noted all feedback was being assessed and considered as Highways England developed their proposals. The Secretary of State for Transport was due to make a preferred route announcement on the scheme later in 2017. The Chairman reported the Avebury Society had written to the Rt Hon Phillip Hammond MP as Chancellor of the Exchequer to point out that a bypass would be a quarter of a billion pounds cheaper than the tunnel and suggested APC could do the same.
    2. WC Highways Evening 15th May 2017 – County Hall, Trowbridge, 17th May 2017 – Monkton Park, Chippenham, 23rd May 2017 – City Hall, Salisbury,  24th May 2017 – Kennet House, Devizes 1900hrs to 2100hrs.
    3. Invitation to a special Pilgrim event: Sunday April 30th 2017 3pm St James Church Avebury
    4. Superfast Broadband Advice Surgery Friday 12 May at Devizes Conservative Club. Communities and Parish Councils who wish to attend should email claire.perry.mp@parliament.uk. Action: Mr Campbell to attend.
    5. Coach House toilets. The Chairman stated that in view of the confidential nature of the business that was about to be transacted it was advisable in the public interest that the public and press be temporarily excluded. Proceedings recorded in confidential minute.
  16. Finance and admin: including:
    1. Training for Councillors: to be actioned by Mrs Lewis.
    2. Ordering System: not covered, deferred to next meeting.
    3. The approved minutes of ACSReC meeting 1 March 2017 to be tabled and received. (See appendix 1).
    4. Cheques for payment and cheques for ratification: it was resolved that the following cheques be paid. Proposed by Ms Service, seconded by Mrs Lewis and carried unanimously. Cheques were signed by the Chairman and Mrs Lewis.
      1. C.M.Loney Electrical Services Ltd. PAT test 12 items in the Pavilion                                                                                    £36.00
      2. Mr P.J. Mills: rabbit and mole control on Sports Field             £85.00
      3. Liz Moore: Clerk’s overtime and expenses: 22 Feb – 21 March 2017                                                                         £331.15
  17. Annual Village Meeting at 7pm on 25 April: members considered additional items for the agenda.
  18. Date of next meeting: 7:30pm Tuesday 2 May 2017 at the Social Centre.
  19. Set date for AGM: [Date agreed at meeting has subsequently to be changed in view of election regulations, and will be set shortly.]
  20. Any other business: none declared.
  21. The meeting closed at 10:08pm.

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

  1. NT update / leaflet
  2. The approved minutes of ACSReC meeting 1 March 2017 (not seen by the meeting but added subsequently).