6 June 2017 Ordinary Meeting : Minutes

Avebury Parish Council

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on Tuesday 6 June 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, AHA for Aster Housing Association, 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, SORN for Statutory Off Road Notification, SSE for Scottish and Southern Electric, URC for United Reform Church, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.

Time Started: 19:30

  1. Public question time: there was one member of the public present for part of the meeting who raised the following points: (a) there was an increase in vehicles parking in the WHS and as a result verges were being eroded and there were safety issues especially along West Kennett Avenue (b) people parking in the NT village car park appeared to be using NT permits that had been photocopied (c) there was a SORN vehicle parked in the NT village car park. Mrs Paradise reported she had received a number of complaints about campervans parking in the village car park and Mr Campbell said he had spoken to a campervan owner about the parking rules and had not been well received. The Chairman said that parking would be covered later on in the agenda under the Transport Group item and expressed thanks for the concerns that had been raised.
  2. Present: Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Dr Mike Bedford, Mr Dave Brotheridge, Mr Jon Campbell, Mrs Lynzey Paradise, Mr Stephen Stacey and Ms Zandria Service (from part-way through item 10). In attendance: Miss Liz Moore (Clerk), and up to item 12. Wiltshire Councillor Mrs Jane Davies and Councillor James Sheppard (Vice-Chairman WC).
  3. Apologies: Councillors Mrs Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman) and Mr Terence O’Connor.
  4. Declarations of interest: none declared.
  5. Minutes of meeting held on 18 May 2017: subject to changing Mrs to Mr Stacey at item 5, the minutes were unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Mr Campbell and seconded by Mr Stacey. The confidential meeting minutes under item 8. National Trust update / dialogue / progress and item 9. Improving opening hours of Coach House toilets were accepted as an accurate record. Proposed by Mr Stacey, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
  6. Matters arising from the minutes:
      1. Item 14: Strimming of verges in Frog Lane and footpaths in Avebury Trusloe: the Clerk reported the work had been ordered via the WC on-line reporting tool.
      2. Item 14: Tree branches overhanging SSE power cables in Avebury Trusloe: the Clerk reported the work had been ordered via SSE Emergency response team..
  7. National Trust update, dialogue and progress: APC noted the following NT update had been sent to the Clerk that afternoon and then circulated to members by email:

    Programming activities in June                                                                          After a busy half term, June is a relatively quiet month in terms of our programming activities. We have an “Ancient Avebury Landscape Walk” coming up as well as our popular early morning yoga sessions in the Manor Garden. It would be lovely to welcome some members of the local community to these special events.  For more details see https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury     A big thank you to the Kennet Valley National Trust Association              We’ve received a very generous donation from the Kennet Valley National Trust Association towards providing site information in alternative languages and braille. This will build on our current set of foreign languages leaflets and help us to engage even better with visitors from all around the world and with visually impaired visitors, ensuring that everybody can fully enjoy and appreciate Avebury. A heartfelt thank you for the donation which is really appreciated.                Second-hand bookshop in our Old Stables building                                  Having received planning permission in February for the change of use of the Old Stables building next to our High Street car park, we are currently clearing out the building before undertaking basic renovation of the inside to get it fit for a second-hand bookshop. This is a volunteer-led initiative and our volunteers are really enthusiastic about the opportunity to run a simple outlet to help raise vital funds for conservation.  All the money raised will be put back into our work at Avebury, both by improving the building further, and by helping to care for the Stone Circle and Henge.                                                                                                        Emma’s Country Fair Catering                                                                          We have completed our trial with Emma’s Country Fair Catering that operated from our main visitor car park between April and May. The offer has generated lots of very positive comments from our visitors.  Thank you to the APC for providing their feedback.  In our upcoming village newsletter we will be inviting the wider community to provide feedback so we can take all points of view into consideration when assessing the potential future feasibility of the offer.          Potential Lease to the APC to open Coach House toilets out-of-hours         We hope to continue to work towards an agreement to fulfil the APC’s wish to operate public toilets out-of-hours in the Coach House.  The time that Stephen Stacey has given to assist with this is much appreciated and we hope to be able to meet again later this month to discuss options further.                             Summer Solstice                                                                                          Working closely with Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Council , Avebury Parish Council, St John Ambulance and local Pagan representatives the arrangements for managing additional visitors during Summer Solstice have been agreed, and the Countryside team will shortly be distributing the Solstice newsletter to ensure everyone is fully informed.  Additional infrastructure, timings and staffing are all similar to previous years and as Solstice falls mid-week we do not envisage huge numbers this year.  Additional staff and volunteers from across the National Trust join both the Avebury and Stonehenge Landscape property teams to provide extra help – including patrols throughout the night – to help us deliver support during this busy time.  If anyone has any concerns or questions please call the Countryside office on 539920.                                                                                Pop-up Exhibition in Avebury Manor                                                               The popular and fascinating free pop-up exhibition ‘Away from Avebury’ has returned to the Servants’ Hall at Avebury Manor.  Visitors will be invited to delve into the adventures of some of Avebury’s past residents to discover where they journeyed to.  The exhibition runs until Sunday, 19th November, during normal Manor opening times.  And do please remember that local Parish residents can gain free access to the Manor.

    The Chairman adjourned the item to later on in the meeting. Please see item 11.

  8. Improving opening hours of Coach House toilets: Mr Stacey reported the MAB grant of £1,000 had been extended for another 6 months whilst APC continued dialogue with the NT. He reminded APC that his last meeting with Ms Catherine Hosie had been to explore what a two-year lease might look like. Mr Stacey explained that the issue was what would happen at the end of the two-year lease; what would be APC’s liability and the consequences if the additional toilet provision had to be closed down at the end of the two-year trial. He added there was also the question as to what sustainable funding was available and whether APC was indeed the correct body to take the project forward because it would effectively be funding toilets for a nationwide charity / business. The Chairman invited the member of the public present to speak, who asked whether the project would affect the precept. The Chairman stated that APC’s only precept payers were residents, and that APC did not have access to business rates. APC members noted that if APC used the precept then the cost of funding the toilets would fall on local residents and not on organisations paying business rates. Mr Stacey added that APC would be very much taking the issue into consideration. The Chairman adjourned further discussion to later in the meeting. please see item 11.
  9. Planning: the Clerk reported no planning applications had been received from WC. The Chairman stated that the application for a mobile phone mast behind The Bell PH had been turned down by WC Planners and that the ‘phone company might look for an alternative location for the mast.
  10. Transport Group: Dr Bedford reported the Transport Group had met the night before. He provided the following update:
      1. WHS Atkins: he had spoken to Steve Hind (WC Highways) on 1 June and had been advised that Atkins had identified a number of issues with the West Kennett part of the A4 project and that Atkins had been asked to identify what those issues might be. Dr Bedford would receive a further update from Steve Hind in two weeks.
      2. Double yellow lines and speeding in Trusloe: the Transport Group had agreed to put together a survey to canvass opinion. Casual Parking on the Nursery Site: the Transport Group would be investigating short-term solutions to potentially help with the parking. Dr Bedford reported that rubber matting cost approximately £40 per square metre to buy and the total cost for materials might be £1,500 with installation costs of £5-6k. In discussion it was noted the idea might be a non-starter due to cost and also because permission would need to be sought from Centurion. Mr Campbell asked if there were any alternatives to matting. Dr Bedford said that scalpings and gravel could be used but that meant digging the site. Ms Service said the track [from byway CHER18/10] to Yatesbury had been resurfaced using scalpings and that APC might be able to source left-over material from WC. Mrs Jane Davies however reported Martin Cook (WC Highways) had recently advised her it was now hard to get hold of them.
      3. Signage of footpaths: members noted the cost for new signage could be up to approximately £15,000.
      4. Results of Cyclothon: the three-day cyclothon had raised £568.92 for the Transport Group. Moya Brannan had cycled the equivalent of 297.98 miles and that the total distance covered with co-cyclists had been 400 miles. The Transport Group was thinking about planning other fundraising events for later on in the year. Members expressed many thanks and great admiration for her commitment, energy and vision.  Action: a thank you card to be sent to Moya Brannan.
      5. Possible closure of the Avenue: Members recalled the need to base any discussion on evidence. Mr Stacey and Dr Bedford were putting together a table of pros and cons for a Stage One discussion in the Parish.
  11. The Chairman invited the member of the public present to speak. He said that he was concerned about (i) the NT village car park filling up with tour operator buses (ii) speeding in Avebury and he felt the extension of the 30 mph limit on the Swindon Road was not working well (iii) too many light aircraft and drones in the skies over Avebury and also drones flying over the monuments. The Chairman thanked him and said that his concerns would be addressed by APC who also acknowledged the issues. Thanks were expressed by the member of the public who then left the meeting.  The Chairman stated that in view of the confidential nature of the business that was about to be transacted on the NT update, dialogue and progress and the Coach House toilets, it was advisable in the public interest that the public and press be temporarily excluded. The proceedings that followed were recorded in a confidential note.
  12. Housing Needs Survey: (WC report and survey results previously circulated to members). The Chairman asked if members had any observations, and the following points emerged:
      1. the report stated that 273 survey forms had been supplied but there were in fact only about 235 households in the Parish. The percentage return rate was therefore incorrectly recorded at 29.7% and should be 34.5%. The percentage of social homes in the Parish should also be amended from 17.4% to 20% for the same reason.
      2. Four households needed affordable housing but there were also two households on the WC waiting list. Therefore at least six households needed housing. Employers such as Beckhampton Stables also required affordable housing.
      3. Completion of the Housing Needs Survey meant WC could now release Community Infrastructure Levy funding to the community should new homes be built in future. It was noted that CIL was paid by developers. Action: the Chairman as the designated WC contact along with Mr Campbell to write to WC to report on points a-b as above.
  13. Defibrillators for Avebury and Trusloe: in the absence of Mrs Lewis, the Chairman said he was pleased to report that the new defibrillator had been installed on the outside wall of the Social Centre and that training had been arranged for the 26 June at 7pm. He further advised that if some Avebury Trusloe residents attended the SW Ambulance Trust awareness training then the Ambulance Trust would provide a second defibrillator for Trusloe at a reduced price of £1,000. In discussion members felt a further defibrillator might also be needed for Bray Street as the defibrillators had to be within 200 yards of the person requiring assistance. It was noted that offers of funding a defibrillator had also been received from residents in Bray Street. On the question of location, it was noted Mrs Lewis had emailed BT to enquire about using the public ‘phone box outside Trusloe Cottages to house the defibrillator and members also considered the possibility of using a more prominent location such as the side of a barn wall. The Parish Council unanimously agreed that a second defibrillator for Avebury Trusloe would be valuable. Many thanks were expressed to Mrs Lewis for driving the project forward.
  14. ACSReC: Mrs Paradise gave the following report from the Committee’s meeting on 31 May:
      1. A generous offer of funding had been pledged so that cleaning services could continue to be carried out at the Pavilion.
      2. An on-site meeting had taken place to consider alternative locations for the Sports Field noticeboard. The suggestion was to have the notice board erected on the edge of the footpath running next to the North Eastern corner boundary of the Sports Field as that meant there would be enough room for people passing to stop at the noticeboard without blocking the path and it was also noted views of the Henge would not be blocked either. In discussion the following points emerged: (i) the noticeboard should be as close to the fence as possible (ii) placed in a lower position so as not to dominate the landscape (iii) archaeological consent would be needed (iv) important to involve Sarah Simmonds (WHS Officer) as soon as possible. Action: Mrs Paradise to email Ms Catherine Hosie with ACSReC’s proposal.
      3. Sports Field Lease and Repairs to Pavilion: 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 about the renewal of the sportsfield lease and repairs to the pavilion were recorded in a confidential note.
  15. Local issues: the Chairman reported:
      1. Summer Solstice arrangements would be the same as last year and he would be sending out detailed information to residents. Mr Campbell expressed concern about people using the Nursery Site for parking. The Chairman said any intelligence should be passed to the Police and he offered to email Inspector Mawson with information.
      2. Play Area fencing: Mr Campbell reported the wire fencing had been damaged on two sides nearest the entrance and that Mr Robin Butler was going to take a look at the damage and report back to APC. Mr Campbell offered to do some research into different types of fencing.
      3. Visitor parking in the High Street and Green Street: the Chairman explained that residents normally parked about 20 cars in the High Street . This left about 17 more parking spaces that filled up quite quickly at busy periods when the High Street did become congested. It was agreed APC write to the Circle Nursery, the Henge Shop and the Community Shop to ask them to encourage their customers to use the NT village car park.
      4. Footpath 22: the Chairman tabled WC’s response to Mr John Cronk’s letter of 2 years ago. It was noted WC had originally included footpath 22 in their repairs schedule for 2016/17 but no work had been carried out to date. It was agreed Dr Bedford email WC’s letter to Mrs Jane Davies (Wiltshire Councillor) for further action.
  16. Communications: the Chairman reported the Headlines from 2 May and 18 May APC meetings had been published in UKN.
  17. Correspondence: the Clerk reported:
      1. Letter from Seafarers UK: request for APC to commemorate Merchant Navy Day on 3 September by flying the Red Ensign. It was noted APC did not have anywhere to fly the flag other than the Pavilion building and Avebury was a long way from the sea. No further action.
      2. Email from WC offering to paint yellow lines in the Parish. Mr Stacey stated it would be useful to have the yellow lines re-instated in Green Street. Action: passed to Transport Group and the Clerk to contact Mr Malton at WC to verify the process.
  18. Finance and admin:
      1. To appoint Dr Bedford to roles within the Parish Council: it was resolved to appoint Dr Bedford as Vice-chairman of APC, member and Vice-Chairman of Planning Standing Committee, member and Chairman of Transport Group, member and Treasurer of ACSReC, and as a Footpaths Councillor. Proposed by Mr Stacey, seconded by Ms Service and carried unanimously.
      2. Independent internal audit: the Clerk reported the internal year end audit had taken place satisfactorily on 25 May 2017 and a clean internal audit report had been given.
      3. Members to approve the Annual Governance Statement (Section 1) of the Annual Return. The annual governance statement was tabled and it was resolved to approve the document. Proposed by Mr Stacey, seconded by Ms Service and carried unanimously.
      4. Members to approve the Accounting Statements (Section 2) of the Annual Return. The accounting statements were tabled and it was resolved to approve the document. Proposed by Mrs Paradise, seconded by Mr Stacey and carried unanimously.
      5. Cheques for payment and cheques for ratification: it was resolved that the following cheques be paid. Proposed by Mr Campbell, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously. Cheques were signed by the Chairman and Dr Bedford.
        1. Community First: Parish Council Insurance year 1 of 3 year LTA                                                                                 £745.06
        2. SSE Southern Electric: 25 Feb – 26 May 2017 (inclu VAT) £76.02
        3. Jamie Guy: Internal Audit for the full year 2016/2017 accounts                                                                            £75.00
        4. Liz Moore: Clerk’s overtime and expenses: 22 April – 21 May 2017                                                                                   £386.85
  19. Date of next meeting: 7:30pm on Tuesday 4th July 2017 at the Social Centre.    Mr Brotheridge gave his apologies.
  20. Any other business:
      1. Members were saddened to note that the funeral of Mr John Cronk had taken place on 5 June 2017. Mr Cronk had been a long serving member of the Parish Council, and had been Chairman for many years. It was agreed Mr Williamson write a letter to Betty Cronk to express the Parish Council’s sympathy and condolences.
      2. Mr Stacey (Footpath Councillor) reported a member of the public had emailed to report several damaged stiles on the White Horse Trail footpath. He added that he had visited the site and verified the stiles were in need of repair. Action: Mr Stacey to contact the landowners (Mr and Mrs Cooper) to inform them.
      3. Mrs Paradise reported Kennet Community Transport Bus would be using the Sports Field over several days in the summer holidays to raise funds for its cause and had also agreed to donate some of the money raised to ACSReC. It was noted that she had already informed the NT. She also reported that an ACC event, including pizza being served on the Sports Field, would be taking place on the 18 June.
  21. The meeting closed at 10:19pm