4 December 2018 Ordinary Meeting : Minutes

Avebury Parish Council

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on Tuesday 4 December 2018 at the Social Centre, Avebury SN8 1RF.

In these minutes APC stands for Avebury Parish Council, ASSC for Avebury Sports and Social Club, ASSF for Avebury Sacred Sites Forum, AWHS for Avebury World Heritage Site, BB & WM PC for Berwick Bassett and Winterbourne Monkton Parish Council, CATG for Community Area Transport Group, EH for English Heritage, FWO PC for Fyfield and West Overton Parish Council, NT for the National Trust, PC for Parish Council, TG for Transport Group, UKN for Upper Kennet News, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.

Present: Councillors Mr Stephen Stacey (Chairman), Mr Ben Butler, Mr Terence O’Connor, Mrs Lynzey Paradise and Mr Andrew Williamson.

In attendance: Miss Liz Moore (Clerk).

Time started: 19:32

  1. Public question time: there were three members of the public present for part of the meeting including Eva Stuetzenberger (Acting General Manager, Wiltshire Landscape NT), Mr Chris Goodsall (Architect) and Mr Harry Mottram (Reporter, Wiltshire Gazette and Herald). The Chairman welcomed guests and member of the press to the meeting. There were no questions asked.
  2. Apologies: Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chair), Mrs Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chair) and Ms Zandria Service.
  3. Declarations of interest: Mr Stacey (Chairman) and Mrs Paradise declared an interest in respect of item 15.i as they were both on ASSC’s Fundraising Committee.
  4. Minutes of meeting held on 6 November 2018: the Chairman requested an amendment to item 8.c and that the name ‘Michael Crook’ be corrected to ‘Martin Cook’. Proposed by Mr O’Connor, seconded by Mr Williamson and carried unanimously. It was unanimously agreed that the corrected minutes be accepted as an accurate record of the meeting. Proposed by Mr O’Connor, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
  5. Matters arising from the minutes: the Chairman reported:
    1. Min ref. 5.b. Removal of graffiti and re-painting Beckhampton bus shelter: work had been completed by Mr Dave Brotheridge who had very kindly volunteered to do the work free of charge. Mr Brotheridge used to be a Parish Councillor and members were extremely grateful for his services.
    2. Min ref. 10.b Repairs requested to road mirror in Beckhampton: in progress and likely that a replacement mirror would need to be sourced.
    3. Min ref. 11 Refurbishment of Benches: work to two benches had been completed by Mr John Giles. The remaining two benches at West Kennett and outside St. James Church would be refurbished in due course. Benches on footpath 22: the bench dedicated to Sherrie Echols was in Mr Giles’ workshop and work on it was in progress. A quotation for a brand new second bench was with the insurers for authorization.
    4. Min ref. 12 BT ‘phone box in West Kennett: item deferred to next meeting  as a survey of West Kennett residents’ views had yet to be carried out. The grass had been strimmed around the ‘phone box and bench by the Parish Steward as requested by the PC. Mr Butler offered to assist the Chairman with the survey.
    5. Min ref. 18.c Web development: members’ photographs had been published on the contacts page of the PC’s website and it was agreed that those members that wished to do so would submit a short biography too.
  6. Presentation from the National Trust: the Chairman thanked his guests for attending the meeting and said that the purpose of the presentation was for Eva  and Chris to explain the NT’s plans for the re-development of the Circle Café in advance of submitting the formal planning application to WC. Ms Stuetzenberger thanked the Chairman for the invitation and advised that she was  Acting General Manager whilst Jan Tomlin was on long-term sick leave. Ms Stuetzenberger explained that refurbishment of the Circle Café was necessary due to damage that had been caused to the fabric of the building by the severe weather conditions experienced earlier that year in the form of the Beast from the East. Ms Stuetzenberger provided an introduction to the background of the Circle Café. She explained that it was a grade II listed building that had been in use as a café since 1980 and that since 2000 had been in hand by the NT, operating 48 covers indoors and 58 covers outdoors. Ms Stuetzenberger said that the NT had experienced capacity issues throughout the peak season and had concerns about the kitchen being located next to the grade I listed thatched barn. She added that the NT had been operating from three sites (including Avebury Manor and the Coach House Café) to produce food for the Circle Café and that whilst the Circle Café was closed they were running a temporary pop-up café in the Education Centre limited to 24 covers indoors and 58 covers outdoors. The preferred option was redevelopment of the café with seating upstairs for the following reasons: [The site location plan was displayed and existing plans and photographs showing first floor interior beams and five roof lights overlooking the Stones].
    • to relocate kitchen to opposite end of the building and away from the barn
    • to provide a larger kitchen on the ground floor to make it possible to prepare food for the Circle Café from one site
    • to increase internal seating capacity by utilizing the upstairs area and thus accommodate existing visitors
    • to provide a better visitor experience by utilizing the upstairs area and giving visitors a new perspective and view of the Avebury Stones
    • to improve the toilet facilities by providing better toilets on the first floor, separate staff welfare facilities on the first floor and a toilet for disabled people on the ground floor
    • opportunity to improve energy efficiency of the building and apparatus
    • to provide a flexible space on the first floor that might be used as separate area for educational purposes or extra seating.                                               Ms Stuetzenberger stressed that the external appearance of the building would stay the same apart from moving the five small roof lights downwards to provide better daylight and to give views of the Avebury Stones. It was noted that the potential number of covers indoors would range from 84 – 114 (if flexible area utilized). The following questions and points emerged:
      1. The seating capacity would double.
      2. Statistics on how many people being turned away? No but the NT was consistently turning people away in summer and at weekends.
      3. Concern was expressed about how the NT was intending to advertise the flexible space as the new facility might become direct competition with others such as the Social Centre and ASSC. It was noted that the NT planned to use the space for internal staff use and educational purposes only.
      4. Costs and timescales? The NT was still in the process of getting quotations. It was envisaged that the planning application would be submitted over the next month, installation would be in two stages starting with the kitchen, then the café and the whole refurbishment to be finished by the end of summer 2019.
      5. Risk assessments would be carried out to carefully manage disruption and contractors would be asked to use the Estate Drive. It was pointed out that the NT could consider applying for a different postcode to the High Street to mitigate the everyday issue of satnavs directing vehicles to the High Street.
      6. There would be no change to the other refreshment facilities, for example cream teas would continue to be provided at the Manor.
      7. The extraction fan for the kitchen would be located at the end of the building through the ground floor external wall. Smells would be limited to the baking of bread etc as the café would not be serving fried food.
      8. There was not going to be air conditioning in the building.
      9. Would there be a new menu for the café? Potentially yes, each NT property tried to include a local recipe on the menu.                               Thanks were expressed to both the guests and reciprocated.
  7. Planning applications:
    1. The draft minutes of the 17 November 2018 Planning Committee meeting were received and approved as an accurate record of the meeting. Proposed by Mr Williamson, seconded by Mr O’Connor and carried unanimously. (See appendix 1).
    2. Application for Full Planning for change of use of agricultural building to B8 (storage), with associated modifications to doors and windows, and construction of new apron and provision of vehicular parking at East Farm, Swindon Road, Winterbourne Monkton, SN4 9NW. Ref: 18/10301/FUL. The plans were examined and it was noted that change of use was being sought for the storage and distribution of agricultural vehicles. There was concern about a potential increase in the volume of agricultural vehicles pulling out onto the A4361 as this was a fast and dangerous section of the road with a 60 mph speed limit and excessive vehicle movements could compromise road safety. Mr Butler pointed out that the visibility splays out onto the A4361 had been widened to improve safety. It was resolved to support the application on condition that the building was used for storage only and not distribution due to concerns about excessive vehicle movements onto the A4361. Proposed by Mrs Paradise, seconded by Mr Butler and carried unanimously.
    3. Members noted that the NT’s application for advertisement consent to upgrade the visitor signage in Avebury [ref: 18/09436/ADV] had been approved by WC.
  8. Parish Council budget and precept for 2019/20 (draft budget and note on reserve fund previously circulated to members). The Clerk reported that a couple of corrections had been made to the budget and tabled the final draft document. It was envisaged that a large part of the PC’s expenditure for 2019/2020 would be on the Play Area, Broadband and Transport Group projects (see appendix 2 for copy of final draft budget for 2019/20 and note on likely reserves next March) and that these projects would be mostly funded from the reserves. The reserves on 31 March 2020 were likely to be ₤16,724 but approximately half of this money was already designated to meet commitments made in earlier years and also included funds earmarked for the A4 Design Project. The precept was the PC’s only source of income other than match funding secured through the MAB or fund raising by volunteers. In discussion it was agreed that incrementally raising the precept should help cover future rental renewal costs for the two existing defibrillators and other projects that WC might delegate to the Parish Council. Members noted that last year the precept was set at ₤12,100 and that increasing the precept by ₤600 would result in a modest increase of approximately ₤4.19 per annum per household compared to the current year. Therefore it was resolved to approve the draft budget for 2019/2020. Proposed by Mr Williamson, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously and it was resolved to set the total precept for 2019/2020 at ₤12,700.00. Proposed by Mr Butler, seconded by Mr Williamson and carried unanimously. Clerk to email WC with precept requirement.
  9. Transport Group: the Chairman reported:
    1. There was a project to improve road signage in Avebury that would help funnel visitor traffic to the NT’s large car park on the A4361. He had a meeting scheduled with the NT on 19 December to look at the 2015 draft signage plan and a meeting planned with WC in the New Year. Mr Williamson reminded members that the scheme should be linked to the WHS Management’s advise to declutter signage in the Parish. Mrs Paradise asked whether the ‘no tourist parking’ sign attached to the planter in the High Street could be replaced with symbol or that the PC look at a residents’ permit scheme. She said that visitors often glanced at the sign thinking it meant tourist parking.
    2. A project to investigate the feasibility of creating a footpath along the A4361 from Winterbourne Monkton to Avebury was under consideration since it was understood that local landowners including the NT might be supportive and had been suggested to Mrs Jill Petchey (Chair of BB & WM PC.
    3. An urgent meeting that had been proposed by the WHS team was being set up to look at options for the informal layby on the B4003 Avenue.
    4. The Red Lion PH was now charging for parking at a cost of £1.50 per hour however this was fully refundable on purchase of a refreshment from the Pub and designed to encourage legitimate use of the car park.
    5. There was a meeting of the Parish Chairs on 10 December to talk about next steps on A4 traffic calming.
  10. Solstice Planning:
    1. Report by AW on ASSF meeting that took place on 21 November: Mr Williamson stated that camping dates would be the same as previous years and would be issued by the NT in due course. He had learnt that the NT had a methodology for removing sacred litter and other items after Solstice.
    2. Report by LP on a proposed permit scheme: in progress.
  11. Local Issues:
    1. Replacement glazing panel for bus shelter on A4316 at Avebury Trusloe: the Clerk tabled a quotation received from Mr Giles (PC’s handyman) and it was resolved to replace the broken glazing panel for £120 (ex VAT). Clerk to order the work. Proposed by Mrs Paradise, seconded by Mr O’Connor and carried unanimously.
    2. New salt bin for Gilbert’s Hill / Bray Street: the Chairman reported that he had received four replies from residents stating that they were not in favour of a new salt bin for Bray Street although preference would have been given for a grey coloured bin. In discussion members noted that there was already a salt bin in Bray Street and the proposed location of the extra bin would not be ideal as most of the water ran down into the nearby pond and salt would have an adverse effect on the water life. It was agreed not to purchase a salt bin.
  12. Parish Steward Priority Sheet: the Chairman reported:
    1. Report on work completed in November: potholes located in middle of the road half-way along the Avenue / B4003 had been filled and grass cut around the telephone box and bench at West Kennett. The sign on the telegraph pole indicating footpath from South Street to Beckhampton Road had been re-attached.
    2. Job requests for 5 December and requested by members had included:
      1. Check the culverts at the bottom of the High Street and along the whole of the High Street.
      2. Check the drainage pipe located in the grassy verge half way along the road in Beckhampton.
      3. Fill the remaining potholes near to Horslip Bridge (road that leads to Windmill Hill).
      4. Fill potholes along road from Bray Street Cottages towards Windmill Hill.
      5. Clear leaf mulch on road at junction into Beckhampton from A361.
  13. Play Area Refurbishment: the Clerk reported that Wickstead had generously offered to replace the top rail on the broken baby seat free of charge and she was waiting to hear if they would give the option of a discount on a complete new baby seat. Members indicated they would be happy with the latter option. Mrs Paradise reported that she was in the process of designing a questionnaire to record the local children’s ideas and would offer site visits to interested suppliers in the New Year. The Clerk advised that consent would be required should the PC wish to email individual families otherwise the survey could be filled in anonymously.
  14. Communications: the Chairman apologised for failing to submit headlines to UKN last month and bumper headlines would be submitted to UKN in time for the February 2019 edition.
  15. Correspondence: the Clerk reported:
    1. Police report for November had been received (see appendix 3).
    2. Head Teacher’s update from Kennet Valley School: see UKN and Ms Paradise gave an overview of the fundraising achieved at the school’s Xmas Fair in November.
    3. Carols by Candlelight, 6pm on 16 December at St James’ Church, Avebury. Members had been invited by Reverend Maria Shepherdson to light a candle and perform a reading. Ms Paradise offered to represent the PC.
    4. Older person’s standard Wiltshire concessionary bus passes: from 1 Jan 2019 not all bus passes will be renewed automatically. See PC web site and notice boards for information.
    5. Audio Visual Direct: suppliers and installers of hearing loop systems for the hard of hearing: information had been passed to Village Hall Chair, Trustees and Church Warden.
    6. Temporary Closure of: B4003, Avebury (19/12/2018 – 21/12/18) to enable BT Openreach to install fibre cable.
    7. Waiting and parking restriction requests using WR1 and WR2 forms to be submitted to WC by 31 January 2019. There were no requests by members.
    8. Updated Flood Plans and Emergency Plans had been requested from Renate Malton (WC Flood Resilience Officer). Mrs Lewis and Mrs Farthing were currently working on updating the Emergency Plan and it was due to be finalized in January 2019.
    9. Request for funding assistance from ASSC for new Pavilion (see appendix 4). Mrs Paradise gave an overview of the fundraising initiatives to date and reported that £40,000 had been earmarked or pledged by others and that 50% funding was needed before ASSC could approach the big investment charities to fund the rest. She said that the new Pavilion had been ordered and the next step was to start the ground working. On the question of whether the PC would offer funding, members thought it was essential to have sight of a budget for the whole project before making a decision. Mrs Paradise said that she would speak to Mr Dominic Fry who was organizing the fundraising.
  16. Finance and admin including:
    1. Half Year Internal audit: the Clerk reported that the half year internal audit had been carried out on 19 November and a clean audit report given. The Chairman thanked her for her work in this connection.
    2. Web development: the Chairman thanked Mrs Paradise for publishing members’ photographs on the contacts’ page of the web site.
    3. Clerk’s annual appraisal: the Chairman stated that a satisfactory appraisal had been carried out on 5 November 2018 and that he would provide a written report in due course. Mr Williamson advised that the current system of recording overtime was working well but that the Clerk would need to adjust her invoice so that the PC was charged for any overtime over 20 hours as opposed to 22 hours and that this should take effect from the New Year onwards.
    4. Cheques for payment: it was resolved that the following cheques be paid. Proposed by Mr Williamson, seconded by Mr Butler and carried unanimously.
      1. Social Centre: hire of projector on 6 November                        £10
      2. Jamie Guy: half-year internal audit 2018/19 accounts              £75
      3. Social Centre: pre-booking for 10 meetings during 2019          £80
      4. UKN: annual donation                                                               £100
      5. Bobby Van Trust: donation                                                        £50
      6. Citizens Advice Wiltshire: donation                                            £50
      7. Victim Support: donation                                                            £50
      8. Liz Moore: Clerk’s overtime and expenses for the period 22 October – 21 November 2018                                                                   £730.15
  17. Date of next meeting: 7:30pm on Tuesday 5 February 2019
  18. Any other business: there was none.
  19. The meeting closed at 21:58

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

  1. Minutes of the 17 November 2018 Planning Committee meeting
  2. Draft budget for 2019/20 and note on likely reserves next March
  3. Police report for November 2018
  4. Letter from ASSC – request for funding for new Pavilion