4 December 2017 Ordinary Council Meeting : Minutes

Avebury Parish Council

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on Monday 4 December 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, 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, CPRE for Campaign to Protect Rural England, DCMS for Department Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, EH for English Heritage, FWO for Fyfield and West Overton, NT for the National Trust, OUV for Outstanding Universal Value, 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, up to and including item 13 Mr Terence O’Connor, Mrs Lynzey Paradise and Mr Stephen Stacey.

In attendance: Miss Liz Moore (Clerk) and from items 3 to 13 inclusive Wiltshire Councillor Jane Davies.

Time started: 19:32

  1. Public question time: there were no members of the public present.
  2. Apologies: Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chairman).
  3. Declarations of interest: Mrs Paradise declared an interest in respect of item 6.c. and said she had applied for full planning on behalf of the applicant.
  4. Minutes of meeting held on 7 November 2017: Unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Mrs Paradise and seconded by Mr Campbell.
  5. Matters arising from the minutes:
    1. Min ref. 5.a-b Invitation to NT to APC meetings and future uses of High Street car park: the Clerk read out a response received from Jan Tomlin (NT General Manager, Wiltshire Landscape) on 14 November, ‘We’re content in principle with the APC’s proposals and will let you know if we wish to request an agenda item at a future meeting.  And, as included in the most recent NT update, we are reviewing feedback and hope to share plans for the car park by the end of the year’.
    2. Min ref. 14e. Grass encroaching footpath AVEB27 from South Street: the Clerk reported WC had advised the area was not maintained highway as it was a right of way and that in order for the Parish Steward to complete the discretionary work it would need to be added onto the Parish Steward spreadsheet and sent into Northern Highways for completion. Mr Brotheridge to action as APC’s assigned co-ordinator for discretionary works.
    3. Min ref. 14f: Caravan on Nursery Site: it was reported the private land owner, Centurion, was starting legal proceedings to evict the trespasser/s who had set up an illegal encampment on their land.
    4. Min ref. 16e: bushes encroaching on west side of The Avenue: it was noted Hilary Makins (NT Countryside Manager) had advised that the NT usually cut hedges around the estate in January / February. Action: NT to liaise with the PC in the spring to address the issue.
    5. Min ref. 18f: Town and Parish Councils Training and Networking Day: Mr Stacey reported the WC run event had been useful and a very good networking opportunity. It had been very well attended and as a result WC had been requested to run similar sessions at least twice a year.
    6. Min ref. 21a: members noted work to electricity lines along Bray Street had been completed by Active Open Reach on behalf of SSE.
  6. Planning applications:
    1. Application for work to trees in a conversation area. Proposal: 10 Beech Trees – crown raise and clear around overhead cables by up to 2m at Avebury Sports Ground, SN8 1RD. Ref: 17/10975/TCA. The plans were considered and it was resolved to support the application.

    2. Planning application for Listed Building Consent to carry out internal alternations to two rooms within Avebury Manor at Avebury Manor, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF. Ref: 17/10679/LBC. The plans were considered and it was resolved to support the application.

    3. Full planning application for change of use from Agricultural to Equestrian
      at: Ashcroft, High Street, Avebury, SN8 1RF. Ref: 17/10917/FUL. The plans were considered and it was resolved to support the application.
      It was resolved to support the resolutions contained in items 6. a – c. Proposed by Mrs Lewis, seconded by Mr Brotheridge and carried unanimously subject to Mrs Paradise abstaining from voting on item 6.c.
  7. Transport Group: (draft minutes of 30 November meeting had been previously circulated to members and see appendix 1).
    1. Progress report on A4 traffic calming project: the Chairman reported that following the Transport Group Committee’s meeting on 30 November the Committee had recommended setting up a local exhibition in the New Year as an information exchange to include the six or seven different traffic projects. The Chairman invited Jane Davies (Wiltshire Councillor) to the table. Plans / drawings by Atkins were tabled showing possible works to the A4 carriageway at West Kennett (see appendix 2). The Chairman reported Aktins had looked at narrowing the highway to 7.3 metres but there were two problems: (i) narrowing the highway left a narrow verge / footpath on the south side of the A4 nearest to East Kennett and would be sub-standard for a shared use path and (ii) due to the left hand curve of the A4, drivers from Marlborough wouldn’t have time to see cars backing up to turn right into the Avenue; statistics given by Atkins were that drivers should be expected to see 215 metres when travelling at locally recorded average speeds of 55-57 mph. Therefore taking out the refuge ghost island for making a right turn into the Avenue significantly reduced safety, and improving the footpaths would not have any impact in terms of traffic calming.
    2. Possible exhibition: Mr Stacey said setting up a display for the community in quarter one of 2018 would help the PC to prioritise projects. In discussion the following points emerged: the PC should:
      1. bear in mind the effect of plans for the future particularly as tourism was likely to increase and therefore it would be worthwhile keeping footpaths safe.
      2. ensure NT views are gathered and the exhibition is open to all stakeholders.
      3. look at putting money into projects that would have a positive impact for more residents such as parking in Avebury Trusloe.

      A question was asked as to what analysis had been done on who used the A4 footpaths along the A4 at West Kennett and it was noted there were 13 households who might need to use them. Mrs Davies asked if there were any design plans for Beckhampton and the Chairman reported that although the aim was to take both schemes forward, no plans had been drawn up for Beckhampton yet as the focus was on West Kennett to see if the scheme there would be practicable. Mrs Davies said the PC might be able to get support from other parishes such as FWO Parish Council who were also working on traffic calming along other stretches of the A4. It was noted that although Avebury was in a WHS it did not have access to other funding sources despite its WHS status. Following the above discussions Mr Campbell was invited by members to join the Transport Group Committee and he duly accepted.

    3. Residents’ funding and APC contributions: the Chairman reported that about £2,000 had been committed so far by WC for design work and investigations at West Kennett for the A4 project. It was agreed resident funding be discussed at the next PC meeting as Beckhampton had yet to reach its target contribution.
    4. Beckhampton racehorse crossing and Beckhampton /  Windmill Hill track: members were grateful for a letter of thanks that had been received from Mr and Mrs Charlton (racehorse trainers) for the PC’s help in improving the horse crossing point on the A4 but noted that resurfacing works were needed for the track to Windmill Hill.
  8. ACSReC: the Chairman reported:
    1. To consider requested changes to draft Sports Field Agreement between ASSC and APC: further to ASSC meeting on 21 November the following change had been requested by Dominic Fry (Chairman ACC) that the PC ‘…. look again (specifically) at the wording which commits us to ensuring that the field is available to any parishioner, on any day of the year – which potentially cuts across the bookings system currently in place, under which we allow parishioners to book the field to the partial exclusion of other parishioners…’ Members discussed several options and it was agreed Mrs Paradise call an ACSReC meeting with ASSC.
    2. Surrender of lease and Deed of Surrender: a Deed of Surrender had been received from the NT’s solicitors that day and circulated to members. It was noted not everyone had managed to view the document. Sara Spratt had reviewed the document and sent an email to the PC with her observations. It was agreed Mr Stacey would work with Mrs Spratt to draft a reply to the NT’s solicitors.
    3. SSE Southern Electric contract: members noted the current contract ended on 31 January 2018 and it was agreed to leave the current arrangement in place. No further action.
  9. Avebury Trusloe Play Area refurbishment: Mr Campbell reported that he had inspected the swing unit and there was no visual or immediate risk of rot in any of the timber; the fencing was worse for wear and one of the PC’s signs was hanging off the fence. In discussion it was felt the cost of installing more robust fencing was cost prohibitive and it was agreed that the Clerk and Mr Campbell obtain quotes for replacing the chain link fencing next to the road. In further discussion it was agreed that it would be better to use a weedkiller to treat the algae on the artificial surface material under the play units because jet hosing as recommended by PlaySafety might damage the sand and mesh surface material. It was agreed Chairman and Mr Campbell to action algae removal.
  10. A303 Expressway: (A303 draft letter dated 3 December 2017 previously circulated to members and see appendix 3). Members noted that the letter of representation to government was consistent with the PC’s previous communications. It was agreed to include the additional wording at the start of the second paragraph: ‘Avebury is in the northern half of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site (WHS) and…’ that and the letter to be sent to Chris Grayling MP (Secretary of State for Transport) and copied to UNESCO and others as per the draft letter.
  11. Future use of High Street car park: it was noted the NT intended to share its plans for the High Street car park before the end of the year.
  12. Coach House toilets opening hours: the Chairman reported James Sheppard (Vice-Chairman, WC) had emailed to ask whether the PC had considered applying for  EU LEADER funding. The Chairman said the process of applying was very lengthy and that the funding was mainly for capital works. In discussion significant concern was expressed about the need for improved opening hours for the next tourist season. It was agreed that APC request Jane Davies make a follow up enquiry with WC.
  13. Update on communications between the Parish Council and the National Trust: there was nothing to report.
  14. Defibrillator for Avebury Trusloe: work in progress on obtaining refurbishment costs and it was noted supplies could be obtained from www.x2connect.com. In discussion it was noted the electricity supply was situated under the ‘phone box and therefore carrying out work to the foundations would be difficult. It was felt it would be better to leave the ‘phone box leaning as it did not appear to pose a safety risk. Mrs Paradise offered to contact AHA to ask if they would be willing to provide a donation towards the project. It was resolved to purchase a second defibrillator for £1,000 for Avebury Trusloe. Proposed by Mrs Paradise, seconded by Mrs Lewis and carried unanimously.
  15. Local Issues:
    1. Shed break-in on Sports Field: members noted the shed on the Sports Field had been broken into between 12-15 November. Mrs Paradise reported a bag of footballs and socket sets had been stolen.
    2. Resurfacing of footpath 22 and AVE30/10 from NT car park to High Street: the Clerk reported Martin Cook had emailed to advise the work was on the agenda for the next meeting of the Community Area Transport Group of the MAB in December and that other members of parish councils and Wiltshire councillors would decide which footways would get the allocation of the funding [in his area of the northern third of Wiltshire]. Action: Chairman to attend the next CATG meeting on 14 December 2017.
    3. Report on ASSF meeting 15 November: it was noted from the minutes that the NT had given a security firm a key to the Coach House toilets for the camping period over Solstice.
  16. Parish Council budget and precept for 2018/19: (see appendix 4, second draft estimated budget for precept and note on reserve fund). In discussion members noted the budget had been updated to include £1,500 for a Community Fund for community projects and £1,000 of MAB funding for the Coach House toilets had been earmarked in the Reserves. Members decided to keep the precept the same as the previous year because there was sufficient money in the reserves for additional projects. It was unanimously resolved that the precept for 2018/19 be set at a total sum of £12,100.00. Proposed by Mr Stacey and seconded by Mrs Lewis. Action: Clerk to send the signed form to WC Finance Team.
  17. Communications: members noted November 2017 Headlines had been published in UKN and on notice boards.
  18. Correspondence: the Chairman reported he had received a letter from Paul Ryder-Morris to inform members that he would be interested in re-joining the PC. The Chairman said he had responded to advise him that although there was no vacancy at present, he would be welcome to apply when a vacancy arose.
  19. Finance and admin including:
    1. Confidential item: Clerk’s appraisal: members agreed to defer discussion until later in the meeting.
    2. Half year internal audit: the Clerk reported the internal audit had been carried out successfully on 13 October 2017.
    3. External audit: the Clerk reported that from next year the PC would still receive an Annual Return but changes in the law meant it would be exempt from external audit. The annual return would need to go onto APC’s website in line with the Transparency Code.
    4. Improvements to Parish Council web site: Costings had yet to be received due to time constraints. Mrs Paradise said she had met with Kate Fry and had explored various options as well as setting up the Village Calendar and giving different community groups access to the PC’s web site to update the calendar. Mrs Paradise requested that members in the meantime send in a photograph of themselves for the contact page. It was agreed to ask Kate Fry to provide a presentation to the PC in the New Year on the proposed changes to the web site.
    5. Review of Financial Regulations, Standing Orders and TOR of Committees: Mr Stacey reported work on an improved ordering process had been completed. Item deferred to next meeting.
    6. Review of Risk Register: (previously circulated to members and see appendix 5). The register had been updated as per APC’s insurance schedule 2017-2018. Members reviewed the current risks and agreed that no other changes were required. It was resolved to receive and adopt the updated Risk Register. Proposed by Mrs Lewis, seconded by Mr Campbell and carried unanimously.
    7. The approved minutes of Transport Group Committee meeting dated 5 June 2017 were received for the minute book (see appendix 6).
    8. Cheques for payment: it was resolved that the following cheques be paid. Proposed by Mr Stacey, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
      1. Jamie Guy: half year internal audit carried out on 13 Nov 2017   £75.00
      2. Avebury Social Centre: block booking of 10 meetings for 2018   £80.00
      3. Upper Kennet News: annual contribution                                   £100.00
      4. SSE: electricity supply for Pavilion 26 Aug – 21 Nov 2017           £80.45
      5. Counselling Services: APC donation to charity                            £50.00
      6. Bobby Van: APC donation to charity                                            £50.00
      7. Victim Support: APC donation to charity                                      £50.00
      8. Avebury Social Centre: rent for P.C. meetings                             £20.00
      9. Liz Moore: Clerk’s overtime and expenses 22 Oct – 21 Nov 2017                                                                                            £225.95
  20. Date of next meeting: Tuesday 6 February 2018.
  21. Any other business: members requested that the Clerk book the Social Centre for the annual Village meeting in April 2018 and the suggested dates were: 24, 25 or 26 April.
  22. Clerk’s appraisal: members reviewed the Clerk’s appraisal and agreed her performance had been good.  Members took the decisions set out in a confidential note to these minutes.
  23. The meeting closed at 9:45pm.

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

  1. Draft minutes of 30 November Transport Group Committee meeting
  2. Atkins’ plans and design work for the A4 at West Kennett
  3. A303 draft letter dated 3 December 2017
  4. Second Draft Budget for Precept and note on reserve fund
  5. Register of Financial Risks dated 28 November 2017
  6. Approved minutes of 5 June 2017 Transport Group Committee meeting