3 October 2017 Ordinary Meeting : Minutes

Avebury Parish Council

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on Tuesday 3 October 2017 at the Social Centre, Avebury SN8 1RF.

In these minutes APC stands for Avebury Parish Council, ACSReC for Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee, AHA for Aster Housing Association, AONB for Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, ASSC for Avebury Sports and Social Club, AYFC for Avebury Youth Football Club, AWHS for Avebury World Heritage Site, DCMS for Department Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, EH for English Heritage, MAB for Marlborough Area Board, NT for the National Trust, SID for Speed Indicator Device, UNESCO for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.

Present: Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Mrs Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), Mr Dave Brotheridge, Mr Jon Campbell (from item 10 onwards), Mr Terence O’Connor (from part way through item 6 to item 7) and Mrs Lynzey Paradise.

In attendance: Miss Liz Moore (Clerk), and from items 1 to 14 inclusive Wiltshire Councillor Jane Davies.

The Chairman welcomed members of the public to the meeting and explained there would be a closed session during the meeting and that the Sports Field lease at item 10 would be dealt with later on in the meeting.

Time Started: 19:32

  1. Public question time: there were five members of the public present for all or part of the meeting. The Chairman asked if there were any questions. A member of the public said she had a question for WC and read out the following letter of which an electronic copy was taken by Jane Davies (Wiltshire Councillor). ‘Can Wiltshire Council instruct the National Trust in Avebury to consult first with the Parish Council (our representatives) in matters that have an impact on the Village. For example:- Jan Tomlin on Friday at an open meeting in the Chapel told me, when pressed, that she was meeting Sarah Simmonds World Heritage representative to discuss the Village car park and moving the sign. I asked her to include the Chairman of the Parish Council who was standing beside me and knew nothing of these proposals. She refused. Wiltshire Council we need your help……’ A member of the public asked if anyone could confirm whether minibus drivers were entitled to be in the High Street car park because he had been told by one of the drivers that they could park there because they paid a fee to the NT. The Chairman said the question would be asked later in the meeting. A further question was asked about how to get the Beech trees on NT land near Rawlins Park reduced in height as they were restricting sunlight to a mobile home (located on the south side of the Park) and interfering with satellite signals. The Chairman asked whether the NT had been contacted about the matter and the member of the public confirmed he had not done so that year. The Chairman advised him to confer with his neighbours to see if others had the same issue and to bring the issue back to APC who could then contact the NT on their behalf. The Chairman reported he had received the following question from a member of the public and read out an email that had been received that day and circulated to members:

    ‘Dear APC,

    I am writing in advance of today’s APC meeting to set out in writing a few concerns I have in relation to the National Trust and their consultation relating to the use of the small High Street car park.
    After all the difficulties last year with the planning and licence applications I had understood that it was the intention of the NT to liaise more closely with APC, with the intent of avoiding a repeat of those difficulties.  From the perspective of a parishioner it appears that unfortunately this is simply not happening (viz Ella’s Pantry earlier in the year which was suddenly announced with no consultation with APC at all).    In relation to the car park I am concerned about any reduction in parking for locals using the village facilities (although I agree with the addition of more blue badge spaces) which may well lead to parking congestion further down the high street.    Any parking congestion further down the high street is both a nuisance to high street residents and risks difficulties with access for the emergency services.  It is therefore vital that, when considering future plans for the high street car park, the NT take this into account.  
    APC are the democratically elected  body which represents the local parishioners.  They speak on our behalf.  Therefore for the NT to have a positive relationship and ongoing dialogue with the village it is necessary for them to work closely with APC.  Sadly this does not seem to be happening and, as a parishioner, I cannot see why.  It should be a simple process for the NT to consult appropriately with APC (as opposed to just announcing plans in their newsletter with no prior discussion with APC) and to work with them.  Can APC explain to parishioners what they perceive the issue to be preventing this and how this can be addressed to ensure that going forward there is a harmonious working relationship for the benefit of us all?  
    The NT brings many positive benefits to Avebury so it is a shame for the value of those benefits to be soured by the NT failing to recognise that working with the village means working with the APC who are our representatives….’
    Jane Davies (Wiltshire Councillor) reported that the issues of communications were discussed with the NT at a meeting between WC and NT the previous Tuesday and that Wiltshire Councillor Richard Gamble (Portfolio Holder for Arts, Heritage and Tourism) who attended that meeting was going to try to find funding for extending the opening hours of the Coach House toilets. The Chairman stated WC Councillors Jane Davies and/or James Sheppard (Vice-Chairman WC) had attended several recent APC ordinary meetings and had been very pro-active in helping to improve dialogue.
  2. Apologies: Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chairman), Mr Stephen Stacey and Ms Zandria Service. Members noted Mrs Jan Tomlin (NT General Manager, Wiltshire Landscape) had written to say that the NT would not be represented in person.
  3. Declarations of interest: there were none.
  4. Minutes of meeting held on 5 September 2017: Unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Mr Brotheridge and seconded by Mrs Paradise. The confidential meeting notes under item 6. National Trust update: closed session were accepted as an accurate record. Proposed by Mrs Lewis, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
  5. Matters arising from the minutes:
    1. Min ref. 13. d. Obscured ‘no through road’ sign at entrance to Gunsite Road: the Clerk reported the work had been completed by WC and thanks received from Mrs Haines (resident in West Kennett)
    2. Min ref. 15. e. The Story of the North Wessex Downs: the Chairman reported the North Wessex Downs AONB team had accepted an invitation to provide a presentation to the village at the annual Village / Parish Meeting next April.
  6. National Trust: closed session: 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, the future of URC Chapel 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. The debate was adjourned part way through when Mrs Sara Spratt (local resident) joined the meeting for item 10. The Chairman proposed to alter the order of business and move directly to item 10. ACSReC.
  7. Report to the public on item 6: the Parish Council
    1. Received and noted NT’s update (see appendix 1).
    2. Received results of WC meeting on 26 September 2017: Jane Davies (Wiltshire Councillor) reported:

      We discussed how best to ensure future confidence in communications between National Trust and Avebury Parish Council.  We agreed that future PC meetings could be electronically recorded for the duration of Trust attendance, which may be for a specified time at the beginning of proceedings. Councillors James Sheppard (Vice-Chairman, WC) and Jane Davies (Wiltshire Councillor, West Selkley) would raise this suggestion at the next APC meeting.

      We talked about WHS toilet provision above and beyond that which is provided by NT. Ms Catherine Hosie (Estate Manager) recapped NT’s existing offer of a lease – including an NT contribution of some £6k – for the Coach House toilets, and shared the estimated running costs of £11k.  Councillor Sheppard suggested that Wiltshire Council should be able to help in meeting the £5k shortfall due to the importance of Avebury and its WHS status. Councillor Richard Gamble (Portfolio Holder for Arts, Heritage and Tourism) agreed to progress this proposal within Wiltshire Council.

    3. Agreed APC’s next steps: Clerk to write to the Trust with suggestions for electronic recordings and other detailed arrangements for meetings the Trust attends.
  8. National Trust: Future plans for High Street car park: the Chairman reported he had attended the drop-in session at the Chapel and understood that the Trust was not considering a pay and display system for the High Street car park. The possibility of moving the ‘No tourist parking’ sign by the Farthings’ gate had been mentioned. He reported APC had received, or had been copied into, emails from about ten residents in response to the consultation including a number of representations of concern about what future changes the Trust might have in mind. It was agreed the Clerk to write to Jan Tomlin to ask her to clarify the Trust’s proposals for the High Street car park.
  9. Planning applications: there were none.
  10. ACSReC: Proposal that Avebury Sports and Social Club (ASSC) takes a lease on Avebury Sports-field from the National Trust (note on surrender of Sports-field lease, dated 29 September 2017 previously circulated to members and see appendix 2). The Chairman invited Mrs Sara Spratt (local resident and solicitor) to the table. The Chairman altered the order of business and proposed moving directly to 10.a. with APC’s resolution recorded at item 10.i.
      1. Report on ASSC Emergency General Meeting on 19 September: Mrs Paradise reported that 30 people had attended the EGM and everyone had agreed that ASSC should take on a lease of the Sports Field from the National Trust.
      2. Results of responses to public notices: the Chairman said that public consultation notices had been put up on the five notice boards in the Parish on 20 September and had also been included in Headlines in Upper Kennet News. Mrs Paradise and the Clerk reported that they had not received any feedback from the public.
      3. Agreement on future use:  in agreeing to surrender APC’s lease of the sports-field, APC members were aware that circumstances and personalities at ASSC would change in future years. To date, APC had been the lessee and, as a statutory body, was subject to democratic control and was permanently accountable to all electors in the Parish. ASSC was not democratically accountable in the same way and in the longer term a different group of people might decide to exclude some uses or users. APC should therefore obtain an agreement with ASSC that: 1. Any Avebury parishioner will be eligible to be a member of ASSC 2. The sports-field will be available to all parishioners for sports and recreation 365 days a year 3. APC will be represented on ASSC’s sports-field sub-committee and 4. that ASSC should include these conditions 10.c.1-4. in any future lease of the sports-field from the NT. It was agreed the agreement be exchanged simultaneously with APC surrendering its lease and ASSC taking theirs. The Chairman stated he had spoken to Mr Dominic Fry (Chairman of ASSC) and that he was happy with having such an agreement. In discussion questions were raised about whether the agreement would be enforceable and how future pitch hire rates could be kept affordable. [Mr Dominic Fry joined the meeting and the Chairman invited him to the table.] Mrs Sara Spratt said it would be advisable to request successor leases to carry the same terms as the agreement but future levels of pitch hire rates would be hard to incorporate.
      4. Report on dilapidations: members noted that Ms Catherine Hosie (Estate Manager, NT) had replied to the Clerk on 29 September to advise that ‘…In light of the strong local support for current lease with the Parish Council to be surrendered and a new lease to be negotiated with the Sports and Social Club, it seems sensible in principle, subject to the PC also agreeing to the surrender and the Sports and Social Club agreeing to accept the Pavilion under a new lease in its present condition, to agree that dilapidations will not be charged..’
      5. The future ownership of assets in the pavilion and on the sports-field: the Chairman read out a list of assets in the pavilion and on the sports-field as set out a note dated 29 September and shown at Appendix 2.  Members discussed their disposal to ASSC.  Action: It was agreed that 1. while assets were shown at historic cost in APC’s accounts, a policy on disposal of assets and depreciation be brought to APC’s next meeting and 2. as APC was holding these assets for the benefit of the sports-field, APC would in principle wish to make a donation in kind of them to ASSC for the use of the sports-field.  The Clerk confirmed that APC could provide financial assistance under section 19 LGA (Local Government Act) Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1976. N.B. financial assistance included grants and gifts.
      6. Future beneficiary(ies) of funds held by APC for the sports-field: the Chairman reported that Dr Bedford, the Clerk and he had reconciled the sports-field’s financial figures as at 13 September as shown at appendix 2.  At that date APC was owed approximately £1,020, although figures would change with any subsequent income and expenditure.  [The figures also need to be double checked.]  Action:  Subject to checking, APC agreed to relinquish control of the Nationwide and Lloyds accounts on surrender if its lease and repayment of monies owing to APC.
      7. Annual contribution towards sports-field costs: Members noted that APC had made annual contributions over the years in respect of the costs of grass mowing and insurances.  In 2017/18 this amounted to about £1,440.00 and members debated whether APC should provide on-going financial assistance in 2018/19 and possibly 2019/20. Action: it was agreed that APC would consider a request for a contribution.
      8. Drafting an Agreement:  It was agreed that APC request Mrs Spratt to draft an agreement between APC and ASSC on behalf of APC and terms to be agreed by APC at next meeting in November.
      9. RESOLUTION: The Parish Council resolved in principle to surrender its lease of the sports-field subject to satisfactory terms being agreed for termination as follows:
        1. ASSC taking a lease of the Sports-field from the National Trust simultaneously with the Parish Council surrendering its lease
        2. the National Trust not charging dilapidations
        3. ASSC entering into an Agreement with the Parish Council simultaneously on taking a lease with the National Trust and APC surrendering its lease that 1. any Avebury parishioner will be eligible to be a member of ASSC 2. the Sports-field will be available to all parishioners for sports and recreation every day of each year 3. APC will be represented on ASSC’s Sports-field Sub-committee 4. ASSC will include these terms 10.i.c.1-4. in any successor lease of the sports-field by ASSC from the National Trust.  The Parish Council also agreed in principle that: 1. tenant’s fixtures, goods and chattels on the Sports-field and in the pavilion would be transferred to ASSC for the use of the Sports-field as a donation in kind and that the Clerk be asked to check that this was possible (Section 19 LGA (Local Government ACT) Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1976) 2. APC would relinquish ultimate control of ASA/ACSReC’s Nationwide and Lloyds accounts on surrender of its lease and repayment of monies owing to APC 3. a policy on depreciating the value of assets proposed for disposal would be drafted for approval at APC’s November meeting. Proposed by the Chairman, seconded by Mr Campbell and carried unanimously.
      10. Nationwide bank account and future: not covered.
      11. Community Sport: deferred to next meeting.                                         – Proceedings resumed from item 6. National Trust: closed session.
  11. Transport Group:
    1. Progress report on A4 traffic calming project and CATG meeting on 21 September: the Chairman reported he had attended a CATG meeting on 21 September. The A4 project had been temporarily taken out of the top five priority projects because Atkins’ investigatory work at West Kennett had now started.
    2. Results of double yellow lines and speeding questionnaire sent to Avebury Trusloe residents: Mr Campbell reported that he had received lots of feedback and had yet to combine the results with Dr Bedford’s responses. Item deferred to next meeting. The Chairman tabled a photograph that a resident had emailed of a truck parked on the T-junction between 4 and 5 Trusloe Cottages. PC members suggested that
      parking on a T-junction was more of a policing matter than one for Highways and it was agreed to ask PCSO Stonestreet to look into the matter.
    3. Parish consultation on pros and cons of closure of the Avenue: In discussion Mrs Davies asked whether the PC would be consulting beyond the Parish. The Chairman said that the initial plan was to start with Avebury Parish and then depending on feedback to consult with others. It was noted the next meeting of the Transport Group was scheduled for the end of November.
    4. Coaches parking in the High street: the Chairman reported that the Transport Group was looking into the issue and Mr Brotheridge requested that they also consider SIDs for the A4361 Swindon Road to discourage people from exceeding the 30 mph speed limit.
    5. A303 announcement and WHS status: the Chairman tabled a letter from Highways England on its preferred route for the A303 road scheme at Stonehenge following its public consultation (document not previously circulated to members but tabled at the meeting, please see appendix 3). Members noted the proposed solution was to build a twin-bore tunnel at least 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometres) long under the World Heritage Site (WHS), about a mile of surface dual carriageway to the western boundary, a bypass for Winterbourne Stoke and improve the existing junctions between the A303 and the intersecting A345 and A360. Please see the following web link to Highways England for details of the preferred route. Members expressed concern about the effect of the Stonehenge proposals on Avebury’s WHS status and it was noted WHS sites could be delisted by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee or put on their ‘at danger’ list if they failed to meet certain criteria. Liverpool’s Maritime Mercantile City was currently on UNESCO’s ‘at danger’ list. Item deferred to next meeting agenda.
  12. Defibrillator for Avebury Trusloe: Mrs Lewis reported:
    1. agree location: work in progress, the ‘phone box might be the best location for the defibrillator and members would need to look at funding.
    2. adopting the ‘phone box: Item deferred to next meeting agenda.
  13. Housing Needs Survey: members received the final survey report, noted its findings and agreed that the report could be uploaded to the Wiltshire Intelligence Network: http://www.intelligencenetwork.org.uk/planning-housing/. Proposed by Jon Campbell, seconded by Mrs Lewis and carried unanimously.
  14. Local issues including:
    1. Play Area fencing and options: the Clerk reported the email advice from RoSPA was that whilst there was no legal requirement to have fencing around play areas, the PC had a duty of care and if considering removing fencing then the PC should carry out a risk assessment. It was noted that the RoSPA inspector’s recommendation was to maintain the fencing next the road. [The Clerk and Chairman had visited the play area on 27 September to inspect the fencing and had also by chance met with Robin Butler. It had been recorded that the length of fencing that would require replacement by the main road was about 60 metres x 1.8 m chain link fencing]. Mr Campbell said he had researched a more robust type of fencing used for football pitches but it was 3-4 times more expensive than chain link fencing. Action:  it was agreed to set up a working party consisting of Mrs Paradise, Mrs Lewis and Mr Campbell and to arrange a site visit to explore all options and then make recommendations to the PC.
    2. Resurfacing footpath AVE30/10 from NT main car park to the High Street: the Clerk said she had logged a report on the WC on-line system to request repairs to the footpath but the work had been re-assigned from Rights of Way to Highways. Mrs Davies offered to email Mr Martin Cook (WC Area Highway Engineer) to fast track investigations.
    3. Request for APC web site to be more village friendly: Mrs Davies suggested the PC could consider changing the contacts page to a ‘who we are page’ with photographs of APC councillors. It was agreed the Clerk to email Kate Fry for further information and pricing. Item deferred to next meeting.
    4. Trees at South Street / APC play area: the Chairman reported a member of the public was concerned about trees overhanging South Street. It was agreed the working party set up at item 14.a would investigate the issue.
    5. Long grass at northern end of footpath linking South Street to A4361: a member of the public was concerned about long grass encroaching a public footpath. Action: Clerk to log issue on WC on-line reporting system.
    6. Caravan on Nursery Site: the Chairman and Clerk said there had been several reports by members of the public about a caravan parked on the Nursery Site. The Chairman confirmed the caravan was parked on Centurion owned private land. Action: Clerk to write to Centurion to inform them a caravan was parked on their land.                                                        – Thanks were expressed to Mrs Davies (Wiltshire Councillor) who then left the meeting.
  15. Communications: the Chairman reported the September 2017 Headlines had been submitted to UKN.
  16. Correspondence: the Chairman reported:
    1. Letter from NFU Mutual: ‘Hare Coursing is a Crime’ A4 plastic signs were available from the local NFU office free of charge.
    2. Oil Club information had been received, leaflets placed in the Community Shop and please see http://www.oil-club.co.uk.
    3. Community First AGM to be held on Wednesday 11 October.
  17. Finance and admin: the Chairman reported:
    1. Parish precept had been received from WC for £6,050.00.
    2. Draft budget for Precept: the Clerk asked if there were any requests for items to be included in APC budget for 2018-2019.  Members suggested that £1,440 could be earmarked for the sports-field and funding for new play equipment at Avebury Trusloe play area could be included.
    3. Review of Financial Regulations, Standing Orders and TOR of Committees: not covered.
    4. Review and adoption of APC’s Consultation Process: (document previously circulated to members and see appendix 4). It was resolved to adopt APC’s Consultation Process dated 2 October 2017. Proposed by Mrs Lewis, seconded by Mr Campbell and carried unanimously.
    5. RoSPA play area inspection: the Clerk reported that the inspection had been delayed and was due to take place later that week or the next. The Clerk asked if anyone could volunteer to scrape the moss off the play surface under the swings and climbing frame and Mr Brotheridge offered to do so. Mr Campbell said he would cut back the brambles encroaching the see-saw.
    6. New data protection regulations: not covered. Clerk to seek advice / training via WALC.
    7. The approved minutes of ACSReC meeting to be received: there were none to receive.
    8. It was resolved to ratify the decision made at 5 September meeting to pay Avebury Cricket Club an extra £100.00 for extra expenses they had incurred during the maintenance of the Sports Field at Avebury for the period April – September 2017. Proposed by Mrs Paradise, seconded by Mrs Lewis and carried unanimously.
    9. Cheques for payment: it was resolved that the following cheques be paid. Proposed by Mr Campbell, seconded by Mrs Lewis and carried unanimously.
      1. Grant Thornton: external auditor’s fee for 2016-2017 Accounts (including VAT)                                                        £120.00
      2. Southern Electric: electricity for the Pavilion (including VAT)  £32.45
      3. Mr P. J. Mills: rabbit and mole control on the Sports Field (for the period 1 Aug – 1 Nov 2017)                                                      £85.00
      4. Liz Moore: Clerk’s overtime and expenses 22 August – 21 September 2017                                                                                        £265.55
  18. Date of next meeting: 7:30pm on Tuesday 7 November 2017 at the Social Centre.
  19. Any other business: none.
  20. The meeting closed at 10:30pm

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

  1. National Trust Update – 2 October 2017
  2. Surrender of Sports-field Lease – dated 29 September 2017
  3. Letter from Highways England: consultation results and preferred route for A303 Stonehenge
  4. APC’s Consultation Process dated 2 October 2017