17 May 2011 Annual General Meeting : Minutes

Minutes of a meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on the 17th May 2011 at the Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF

Time Start: 19:30

  • Election of Chairman and Deputy Chairman

The Clerk requested nominations for the post of Chairman.  Members voted unanimously that the current Chairman, Cllr Andrew Williamson, be elected Chairman of Avebury Parish Council. Proposed by Dr Mike Bedford and seconded by Mr Paul Dixon.  The Chairman gave declaration of acceptance of office.

Members voted unanimously to re-elect Dr Bedford as Deputy Chairman. Proposed by the Chairman and seconded by Mr Dixon.  The Deputy Chairman also gave declaration of acceptance of office.

  • Public question time: Two members of the public were present. There were no questions asked.


  • Welcomes and introductions: The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming all attendees including newly elected member, Mrs Antoinette Dyson.

Present:  Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chairman), Mr Paul Dixon, Mrs Antoinette Dyson, Mrs Jenny Haines and Mrs Beryl Greenaway.

       In attendance: Miss Liz Moore, Clerk.

  • Apologies: None.


  • Declarations of interest: There were no declarations of interest.

6.    Minutes:  The minutes of the Council’s meeting held on 19th April 2011 were agreed by all and signed by the Chairman.

7.    Matters arising from the minutes:

  • Street trading and informal advertising: rules and standards: Minute ref. 1(i) and 1(ii). The Clerk confirmed that a new notice prohibiting street trading in the High Street and Green Street had been put up on the notice board outside the Community Shop. The Clerk also circulated a leaflet from Wiltshire Council’s web site entitled Guidance Notes, Street Trading. (See Appendix 1).

The Clerk said she had also contacted Trading Standards at Wiltshire Council but there were no rules regarding informal advertising as long as it was not offensive.  A member of Wiltshire Council should however be contacted to remove offensive advertising.

  • No Access sign for High Street: Minute ref. 1 (iii). The Chairman was awaiting further information and will report at the next meeting.
  • Great Stones Way: Avebury WHS Steering Committee and other local villages: Minute ref. 7. h. The Chairman reported that both he and the Clerk had attended the World Heritage Site Steering Committee on the 11th May. He had requested that the Parish Council be included as a member of the Scoping Group for the Environmental Impact Assessment project on the GSW and that it had been agreed that this be considered.
  • Bus Shelter: Minute ref. 7i. The Clerk reported that CLARENCE do not provide progress reports or communicate when works are completed. A site visit by the Clerk had confirmed that the bus shelter is now mended.
  • Stumps: Minute ref. 17c. Mr Dixon confirmed the stumps outside Rawlins Park had been replaced by the National Trust.
  •   Long grass/slabs: Minute ref. 7d. Mr Dixon said that the issue of long grass making the path slippery near the Diamond Stone had not been resolved. The Clerk had previously telephoned the National Trust and had also written to Hilary Makins to report the issue. There had been no response to date.

8.    Membership and arrangements for new election of Parish Councillors:

  • Mrs Jenny Haines: The Chairman read out a letter of resignation from Jenny Haines who confirmed that she wished to attend her last Parish Council meeting on Tuesday 21st June.  She said she felt it necessary to resign due to other full-time work and voluntary commitments. She was also finding it difficult to process the number of emails she received on Parish Council business. The Chairman and other members expressed great regret at her news and urged her to take time to reconsider her position because she was a much valued member of the team. Mrs Haines said her decision was final.
  • Mrs Antoinette Dyson: The Chairman welcomed Mrs Dyson who lives in Avebury Trusloe and who had stood for one of the vacant seats on the Parish Council. Wiltshire Council had informed the Parish that Mrs Dyson had been duly elected in the absence of other candidates and that an election would not therefore be held on Thursday 26th May.
  • Expressions of interest for election: The Chairman reported that 10 people had to date expressed preliminary interest in becoming a Parish Councillor. There were now three spaces currently to fill following Mrs Dyson’s election, two by election on 23 June and one by co-option thereafter. The Chairman had emailed those previously interested to keep them informed and noted that the Council would also have to decide at its next meeting how to fill Jenny Haines’ space.
  • Timings for election: Nomination forms would be available from Wednesday 18th May and needed to be received by Wiltshire Council by Noon on Thursday 26th May. The Election would be on the 23rd June. The Chairman stated that the timescales were too short to include an advert in Upper Kennet News. Action: The Clerk will contact the Electoral Services Team at Wiltshire Council to find out if the election can be put back a couple of weeks.
  • Duties: Responsibilities/duties were assigned to members as follows:
  • Social Centre                                Mr Williamson
  • Footpaths                                      Dr Bedford
  • Avebury Sportsfield Association   Mrs Haines, Mrs Greenaway, Mr Dixon
  • Play Area                                       Mr Williamson and Mr Dixon


If the public have any questions, issues or feedback regarding the above amenities, they should contact the assigned member of the Council who will deal with their query promptly. Contact details are displayed on all notice boards.

9.  Planning

  • Applications:
    • Two storey extension at Frog Cottage (Ref: E/11/0516/FUL).

The Chairman reported that the Parish Council’s Planning Sub-Committee had visited the site on Monday 16th May. The Chairman, Dr Bedford and Mr. Dixon had agreed to support the application but with conditions. The plans were passed round the table for all members to view.

All agreed to support the application subject to the following conditions:

1.         Reduce ridgeline of the extension by 500mm

2.         Omit first floor, west facing ensuite window or use frosted glass

    • Works to trees at Circle Nursery (Ref: E/11/0494/TCA).  The Chairman reported that the Planning Sub-Committee had visited the site on Monday 16th May. The Chairman, Dr Bedford and Mr. Dixon had come to the following decision about the proposal to fell a tree and raise the crowns of five others at the end of the Circle Nursery property.

Object, for the following reasons:

1.       The north side of the path from the National Trust car park to the monument benefits from trees along most of its length.  They are an attractive feature that give a sense of enclosure and intimacy for most of the length of the footpath and help to create a pleasant introduction to the main monument.

2.       Most of the branches of the five trees proposed for crown work are already about 2.5 to 3.5 metres above footpath level and do not need any work to reduce them to 2m above footpath level.  Some light pruning of small branches in a few areas would ensure that 2m headroom was achieved along the whole path.  Some small, dead branches should be removed for reasons of safety.

3.       The trunk and branches of the Horse Chestnut appear diseased but the tree otherwise appears to be in good health, being in full leaf and flower.  If it is not seriously diseased, the Parish Council would wish to see it retained for the reasons of visual amenity above.  If it is a danger to passers-by the Parish Council agrees that it should be removed.  We therefore recommend that a second opinion is obtained from a qualified tree surgeon and a decision taken accordingly.

A response had been emailed to the Planning Officer on 17 May.

    • Single storey rear extension at East Farm, Winterbourne Monkton (Ref: E/11/0573/FUL).

The plans were examined. All Members agreed to support the application.

  • Revised terms of reference for the Parish Council’s Planning Sub-Committee.

A revised draft had been previously circulated. (See appendix 2). All agreed to adopt the new terms of reference.  Proposed by Dr Bedford and seconded by the Chairman.

10.  Communications:

  • Upper Kennet News: The Chairman reported that he and the Clerk had that evening attended a meeting with Mr Throup, editor of Upper Kennet News. Mr Throup had agreed to give Avebury Parish Council half a page each month for a synopis of the Parish minutes. There was no fixed charge as the Parish was a non-profit organisation but most other Parish Councils give an annual donation of £100 a year towards the costs of UKN for a half page.

     It was resolved that the Council submit 10 monthly contributions to Upper Kennet News and make an annual donation of £100 a year. All members were in agreement.

  • Dates of Parish Council meetings: The Chairman stated that UKN had a copy deadline of the third Friday in every month. He said the turnaround would normally be too tight for the Parish to include its news. The Chairman proposed changing the date of Parish Council meetings to the first or second Tuesday in every month from September 2011. All Members agreed that the Parish Council meet on the first Tuesday in every month as from 6 September. Proposed by the Chairman and seconded by Mr Dixon.

11.  Chairman’s Actions / Information.  The Chairman reported that:

(a) Water Leak: Following six calls to Thames Water by the Chairman and the Clerk, the fresh water leak at the pumping station had been fixed.

(b) Wood chippings: The NT had cleared up wood chippings in the High Street near the Henge Shop.

(c) Avebury WHS Group meeting:

(i)  Survey: WHS will be doing a condition survey of the monuments.

(ii) Stokholm: It had been confirmed that Wiltshire Council Planning Department had been at fault regarding the Stokholm site. Plans had been approved despite English Heritage and the WHS Officer objecting. A complaint had been sent to The Secretary of State. The Chairman had been told that the planning decision would not be revoked, although he and Dr Bedford thought it was probable the decision could in fact be revoked if WC were prepared to pay compensation.

(d) National Trust Open House meeting: The Chairman and the Clerk attended a meeting at the Manor on the 28th April. There was a question and answer session about the BBC and the Trust’s plans.

(e) BBC update: The BBC wished to film the publics’ attitudes to the transformation at the Manor and a meeting was planned in 10 days’ time to film local people and obtain their views on the content of the programme. Dr Bedford asked what did the BBC want? The Chairman said that, although the BBC had invited the Parish Council to the meeting, the Parish Council’s main interest was not so much the content of the programmes as the need to represent the views of local people on the after-effects of the four programmes and to work with, and negotiate with, the National Trust on issues such as visitor numbers. It was agreed that the Parish Council would not attend the meeting and there were no further comments from members.

(f)  Notice Boards: Mr Martin Rendle had yet to provide the requested quotations.

(g) Emergency Plan: A meeting needs to be arranged. The Clerk will organise this.

(h) Avebury Village Plan: To be discussed at next meeting.

12.  Correspondence

  • Grant for Community Shop till: The Chairman read out a letter received from Mrs Lomas thanking all members for supporting the Shop’s successful application for a grant for a new till for Avebury Community Shop. The Chairman understood the Shop had received a grant in the region of £2,100.
  • Renovation of bench: The Chairman reported that he had received an email from Mrs Jennifer Bromilow, one of three executors of Sherrie Winn Echols’ estate, requesting permission to renovate the existing bench on the footpath from the High Street to Bray Street. She had stated that the executors will pay for the works. Members were grateful for the offer and agreed the proposal. The Chairman noted that there may be Town Planning implications. Action: The Chairman will email Mrs Bromilow to agree to the work. He would also advise her to contact Dr Amanda Chadburn of English Heritage who dealt with development in the WHS.
  • Camping on the Ridgeway and parking in the High Street: The Clerk reported that Mr Gordon Rendle had contacted her regarding two issues:

(i) Travellers were camping on the Ridgeway and a white tee-pee/tent had been set up. Mr Rendle had contacted Graham Morrison in Highways at WC and this issue was now being dealt with by WC.

(ii) Parents parking in High Street. There was a lot of parking congestion in the High Street, especially in the mornings. Mr Rendle stated this was due to parents dropping off their children at the Circle Nursery and not using the designated car parks. Mrs Greenaway stated that (i) visitors without permits are parking in the car parks and filling them up (ii) there are no signs to tell people not to park in the High Street.

Action: The Clerk will write to owners of the Circle Nursery to ask them to ensure parents use the car parks in the mornings.

13.  Code of Conduct:  The Chairman reported that he and the Clerk will obtain revised copies of Standing Orders and Code of Conduct. The documents will be circulated for consideration and possible adoption at the next Council meeting. The Clerk stated it is best practice to review these documents every year.

14.  Local Affairs:

a. Motor bike nuisance at Beckhampton: Dr Bedford reported on behalf of residents at Beckhampton. He stressed there was a serious issue with excessive motor bike noise. It occurred at about 6:30am every morning and caused undue distress to nearby residents. Dr Bedford showed a video that had been taken of the motorbike. It showed someone travelling from Devizes to Calne via the Beckhampton roundabout and doing 130 mph. The noise on acceleration suggested the bike had illegal silencers fitted. He stated it constituted a nuisance. Dr Bedford said he had been in contact with WPC Sarah Watts and discovered the number plate was also illegal. He emphasized that both WC and the Police should be responsible for this issue. There is also general motorbike racing every Wednesday and Sunday. Mrs Greenaway stated this is not the first time there had been issues with motor cyclists’ behaviour.

Action: (i) Dr Bedford will volunteer to be on a special Committee that WPC Watts is setting up. (ii) Dr Bedford will email the Clerk with details regarding the motor bike issue together with the video. The Clerk will forward the information to WC Noise Abatement Team.

b. Public footpath behind West Kennet House: Mrs Haines requested that the pathway behind West Kennet House be cleared of weeds/stinging nettles. Action: Clerk to contact Hilary Makins.

15.  Finance:

  • Internal audit: The Chairman reported that a meeting with the internal auditor, Mr Jamie Guy, had been arranged for Thursday 19th May to audit the books.
  • External audit: The Chairman showed members the annual return document that would be sent to Mazars, external auditors.  He reported that one part would be signed by him and the Clerk and the other would be signed by Mr Guy. The Chairman was going through the Parish Council’s documents that had been handed over to him but he had not yet completed this task due to pressure of other commitments.  He reported that he and the Clerk did not have all the information necessary to tick all boxes on the form and that they anticipated that the internal auditor will advise them at their meeting on 19 May. The Chairman stated that the completed annual return will be presented for approval by members at the next Council meeting.
  • PAYE for Parish Clerks: The Chairman and members had previously considered the new requirement that Clerks be subject to PAYE and the Marlborough Area Parish Forum had also taken up the issue. He said that Jane Scott, Leader of Wiltshire Council, had written to the Rt Hon George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer.  All Members agreed to wait for a response by Mr Osborne before setting up a PAYE system.
  • Accounts: The Clerk presented the accounts (the red ledger book) for each member to view. The Clerk said that a statement of the annual accounts, usually prepared by an accountant for larger organisations, is not required due to the simplicity of the ledger.
  • Cheques:

(i) Chairman’s expenses for photocopying                         £ 92.10

(ii) Clerk’s pay and expenses: invoice number

APC03 presented at the meeting and signed

by the Chairman for 25 additional hours work

plus Clerk’s expenses of £24.40                                          £ 250.40

(iii) IT Services from Mr Paul Birkeland-Green                       £ 65.00

(iv) The Information Commissioner                                        £ 35.00

(v) Community First: Zurich Insurance Policy                      £ 955.84

Proposed by the Chairman, all present in agreement. Cheques signed by Mrs Haines and Mr Dixon.

f.   Asset register: The Chairman showed a document listing all assets owned by the Parish Council and their estimated value. It had been completed to the 31st March 2010 but it was not clear whether the estimates were market values or reinstatement costs. If they were reinstatement costs, the assumptions on which reinstatement costs had been estimated would need to be clarified and the Council could then review the figures, including the value of the Pavilion. Mrs Haines reported that she was in possession of the strimmer that belongs to the Parish Council.

g.  Insurance premium: The Chairman will review the Zurich Insurance Policy provided through Community First and report back.

16.  Date of next meeting: 21st June at 7:30pm at the Social Centre.

17.  Any other business: None declared

18.  The meeting closed at 21:05


Appendices (included in book of Parish Council papers):

1. Guidance Notes, Street Trading.

2. Revised Terms of Reference for Planning Sub-Committee