2 Feb 2016 Ordinary Meeting : Minutes

Avebury Parish Council

Minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on 2 February 2016 at the Social Centre, High Street, 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, AYFC for Avebury Youth Football Club, AWHS for Avebury World Heritage Site, CPO for Compulsory Purchase Order, LGA for Local Government Act, NT for the National Trust, SID for Speed Indicator Device, UKN for Upper Kennet News, URC for United Reform Church, WALC for Wiltshire Association of Local Councils, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.

Time Start: 19:30

The Chairman welcomed PCSO Polly Ritchie to the meeting and introduced Polly to all members present and the Clerk.

  1. Public question time: There were two members of the public present for all or part of the meeting. No questions were asked.
  2. Present: Councillors Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Maggie Lewis (Vice Chairman), Dr Mike Bedford (Vice Chairman), David Brotheridge, Mike Daniel (items 1-15), Antoinette Kremer, Lynzey Paradise and Zandria Service.               In attendance: PCSO Polly Ritchie and Miss Liz Moore (Clerk).
  3. Apologies for absence: none.
  4. Declarations of interest: None declared except later under item 14b.
  5. Minutes of meeting held on 16 January 2016: Unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Mr Daniel and seconded by Ms Service.
  6. Matters arising from the minutes and to action decisions in the minutes:
    1. Repairs to Play Area fence: the Chairman asked a member of the public whether there was some spare chain link fence still in Mr Butler’s barn and it was confirmed there should be some in there. Action: Clerk to instruct repairs.
    2. Entrapment risk on wooden climbing frame: Clerk to refer to manufacturer for further advice.
    3. See-saw: members noted the equipment had been considered low risk in the RoSPA report and in previous years no further action had been taken as the Council had thought they might remove the see-saw altogether. The Clerk reported a seat would cost £63.00 (ex VAT) and a protective skirt / gasket would cost £244.00 (ex VAT). Action: Clerk to order one new seat but defer purchase to the March meeting if more cost effective to purchase a protective skirt and seat at the same time.
    4. Small sign on basketball pillar: the Clerk reported she had received a quotation for a 200 x 300mm sign. Members were concerned the sign would itself become a risk if affixed to the post and asked the Clerk to source a much smaller sign of A6 size and in a sticker format if possible.
    5. Possible creation of public parking bays outside 1-6 Trusloe Cottages: referred to Transport Group to review.
    6. Road sweeping: Clerk to chase progress.
    7. Litter bins: Mrs Kremer to review the need for bins.
    8. Request by disabled residents for dropped kerb outside 43/44 Trusloe Cottages: Clerk to write to AHA to advise them of the request.
    9. Removing railings at ends of three pathways: Clerk to submit advert to UKN to seek local views.
    10. Need for speed limit review in Avebury Trusloe: referred to Transport Group so they could gather evidence using APC’s speed gun.
    11. Bulb needed in bus shelter on the west side of the A4361: Clerk to action.
  7. The Chairman altered the order of the business and proposed moving directly on to item 11. Police Report. The Chairman invited PCSO Polly Ritchie to provide an overview of crime in the area. PCSO Ritchie said Avebury was a low crime area, the main issues were car break-ins at the car parks and the Police had met with the NT to discuss solutions. She explained other issues in the Marlborough area were shed break-ins and theft of power tools but these were occurring in the villages to the east of Marlborough. PCSO Ritchie added that other recent issues included hare coursing, for which people had been arrested, and theft of catalytic converters; the public were being advised to park their vehicles up against walls to deter thieves. Mr Daniel asked what sort of solutions were being discussed with the NT about car break-ins. PCSO Ritchie said the options were to install a camera or signs to warn the public. Ms Service reported the byway on route to Windmill Hill was un-walkable due to damage by 4×4 vehicles and that in the past week she had seen four vehicles using the track late at night. Ms Service asked if the Police had any advice on the matter. PCSO Ritchie explained the Police and rural crime team were talking to landowners but 4×4 users were allowed on the byways and therefore user groups were being asked not to use them when water was on the footpaths. Ms Service reported the jurisdiction regarding byways appeared to be different in different counties. Decision: it was resolved that the Chairman write to Mr Richard Broadhead (WC Rights of Way) to find out what powers or remedies could be used for dealing with that particular byway. Proposed by Mr Daniel, seconded by Ms Service and carried unanimously. No further questions were asked and the Chairman thanked PCSO Ritchie for attending.
  8. Membership: 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 and they were instructed to leave the meeting. Two people had expressed interest in joining APC and members were impressed by the quality of both applications. Members noted that Mr Stacey had expertise in transport issues which was a large part of Parish Council’s work and also expertise in dealing with central government. In discussion members resolved to co-opt Mr Stephen Stacey to the Parish Council. There was a majority of votes in favour of Mr Stacey except one, and two abstentions. Members of the public were readmitted.
  9. Planning applications and results:
    1. Work to hedge and trees at Avebury Sportsfield: Ref: 16/00424/TCA. Plans were tabled and considered. It was unanimously agreed to support the application.
    2. Work to trees at Truslowe Manor, Bray Street, Avebury Trusloe: Ref: 16/00528/TCA. Plans were tabled and considered. Members felt the request to re-pollard the Poplar Stems was reasonable and it was unanimously agreed to support the application.
    3. Work to trees at Avebury Manor, High Street, Avebury: Ref: 16/00551/TCA. Plans were tabled and considered. It was unanimously agreed to support the application.
    4. Two 10.75m diameter grain silos at Rutlands Farm, Swindon Road, Avebury: Ref: 16/00669/FUL. Plans were tabled and considered. The Chairman reported he had not heard the views of the WHS. In discussion members felt a site visit would be necessary with the main concerns being the size and potential noise of the silos. It was resolved that the Clerk contact WC to ask for an extension to the response deadline and an on-site meeting of the Planning Committee be arranged.
    5. Courtesy Planning Consultation re Manor Farm Winterbourne Monkton: Ref: 16/00151/FUL. The Chairman reported he had spoken to Sarah Simmonds (WHS Officer) and no anxiety had been expressed by her on behalf of the WHS. The applicant had previously obtained permission for the conversion of a large barn in the scheme into a single large dwelling but was now applying to convert it into three smaller homes. In discussion members resolved to object to the planning application for the following reasons: (i) APC had not been informed of the original planning permission. (ii) The development was out of scale and out of character with the surroundings. (iii) The development would have an adverse effect on the view from Windmill Hill. (iv) The development would contribute to more lighting in the WHS at night. (v) The traffic implications would include a significant increase in traffic and issues with access onto the A4361.                                                                                                         The decisions contained in item 9. a-e were proposed by Dr Bedford, seconded by Mr Daniel and carried unanimously.
  10. Transport Group: the Chairman invited Dr Bedford to provide a report on the work of the Transport Group Committee:
    1. Dr Bedford reported on the recommendations contained in draft minutes of Transport Group meeting on 18 January and notes dated 14 January 2016 (see appendix 1) of meeting with Cllr Philip Whitehead (Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport):
      1. APC would apply to CATG to extend 30mph limit on Swindon Road beyond Melbourne House and then negotiate a second phase to include double white lines, and a 40 mph buffer zone north of the new limit.
      2. Speed limits in Avebury Trusloe, such as 40, 30 or 20 mph, could all be possible, but it would first be necessary to address a number of matters including checking speeds perceived by pedestrians with actual traffic speeds. It was up to APC to propose. See item 6. j.
      3. Raising private contributions for fees for design work on the A4 at Beckhampton and West Kennett would be pursued. Four splitter islands and associated works might cost in the region of £100,000.
      4. Mr Whitehead had suggested the idea of informal crossing points for pedestrians. APC to arrange for Sarah Simmonds to agree design for informal crossings in WHS and then APC to finalise application to CATG for crossings on Swindon Rd, the Henge, Trusloe bus stops, footpath from NT car park to Silbury Hill, West Kennett, and four at Beckhampton.
      5. Provide non-slip surface across A4 at Beckhampton Stables.
      6. Instruct the Parish Steward to clear footpath by A4 at West Kennett to East Kennett. Clerk to action.                                                                                                 The Chairman explained that in order to pay for the plan / design for the big A4 projects at 10.a.iii above individuals in the community, local businesses and APC would need to be willing to put money into the project. It was resolved APC should move forward with the above recommendations and decisions and for the Transport Group to have a follow up meeting with WC. Proposed by Mr Brotheridge, seconded by Ms Service and carried unanimously.
    2. SID handover to Parish Councils: members considered the likely cost of ownership and resolved not to take part in the scheme. No further action.
    3. WC Bus Service Consultation: a newspaper cutting dated 7 January 2016 was tabled entitled ‘Council looks to cut its subsidised buses’. Members noted WC was currently carrying out a public consultation that opened on 11 January for 12 weeks and a link to the questionnaire had been put on APC’s website. In discussion members felt the bus service was a big asset for the rural community and APC should survey residents and visitors. Action: (i) Mrs Paradise to obtain hard copies of the questionnaires for the Community Shop (ii) Mrs Lewis and the Clerk to work on an advert for UKN (iii) Clerk to draft a letter objecting to any reduction in services.
  11. Police Report: Community Beat Manager Sgt Richard Barratt (PCSO Polly Ritchie). See item 7.
  12. ACSReC: the Chairman invited Mr Daniel to provide a report on the work of ACSReC. Mr Daniel confirmed the next meeting would be taking place the following week and reported on the items below:
    1. Sports Field gate adjacent to the Social Club: Mr Daniel explained ACSReC would like to re-site and re-angle the gate so that it would be in line with the track and vehicles could navigate the exit/entrance more safely. He said it would be advisable to put in a new gate if possible. Members noted the hedgerow next to the road was nearly six foot wide and should be trimmed back from the field. Mr Daniel reported they were hoping to engage a number of volunteer helpers to keep costs down and to carry out additional works to improve the entrance including filling in ruts and re-instating tarmac where needed. In discussion members noted the group had met on-site but no firm conclusions had been made therefore it was decided ACSReC should continue to develop the proposal. Item deferred to the next meeting of ACSReC.
    2. Providing funds and insurance for works to the western boundary hedge/fence: Mr Daniel and Mrs Di Gater had offered to supervise the project on behalf of the Parish Council and other members offered to assist. In discussion, members resolved to contribute £150 towards the fence if matched by ACSReC. Proposed by Mrs Kremer, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously. Clerk to check standing orders on contracts and whether the money could be paid direct to the contractor.
    3. Review of grass cutting contract by ACC: in discussion members agreed they were very happy with the current grass cutting service. The Chairman reported ACC had made a request for an advance towards pre-season preparatory costs and machine maintenance. In discussion, members noted APC did not pay before receipt of services but members understood that ACC had non-profit charity status and APC would therefore consider paying a half part-year payment if invoiced by ACC in the middle of the year.
    4. Notice board for Sports Field: the NT had offered £200 towards a new notice board and ACC had offered £100. Mr Daniel suggested £244 would need to be funded by APC or ACSReC for a basic notice board. In discussion members noted the board would face west and felt it should have a door so that any notices would not get wet. The Chairman invited a member of the public to speak. The member of the public said he had obtained two quotations. A cabinet with glass front, two oak posts and with the top engraved ‘Avebury Sportsfield’ would cost approximately £1,500 (including VAT). In general members felt it would be a good idea to have another notice board. Mr Daniel to put item on agenda for next ACSReC meeting.
    5. Connecting the Pavilion to mains water supply: the Chairman tabled plans for the pipe works. Members noted it had taken 10 weeks to obtain archaeological consent and the next step was to go out to tender by selecting contractors from a list of TAP registered contractors supplied by Thames Water.
    6. Bank accounts: Dr Bedford reported £574.84 in cheques had been paid to date and there was a total of £6,126.23 funds in the combined bank accounts.
  13. Devolution of assets and services from Wiltshire Council to Town and Parish Councils and consideration of providing services by the Parish. The Chairman reported if APC offered to provide services that were being withdrawn by Wiltshire Council there was the issue of the public paying twice. The Chairman and members offered their particular thanks to Peter Swatton for doing voluntary grass strimming and litter picking. The Chairman asked members if they wanted to achieve reasonable standards of services despite WC’s reduced performance and the view was affirmative. He said the question should also be raised at the village meeting in April to find out if the public shared APC’s view. In discussion members noted: (i) they needed to research what services were being cut (ii) to decide what services APC would cover and the cost and (iii) ask the public for their views at the village meeting. Action: Clerk to put item on next meeting agenda to develop the idea further.
  14. URC Chapel:
    1. Consideration of consultation documents and drop-in session: the Chairman asked members for their feedback and reported both he and Mrs Lewis had attended the drop in-session informally and Mrs Paradise had attended earlier in the afternoon. Mrs Kremer had also been present. In discussion members put forward a number of observations and concerns including:
      1. Lack of parking
      2. Long-term funding
      3. Lack of a realistic business plan
      4. No information on how much the building would cost to buy and or maintain
      5. Information had yet to be received on the results of the mandate request sent to all Avebury residents
      6. Communications should be much improved

      Overall it was felt that the Chapel Steering Group had not provided sufficient information for APC  to take a decision as to whether it supported the initiative. The majority of members were not therefore prepared at this stage to sign a mandate in support of the group taking the project forward.

    2. Written representations from members of the public: the Chairman tabled five written representations that had been received by APC. Members noted concerns and questions about the nature of the main focus of the Chapel project, the need to retain the quiet garden, the form of any music events, the form of any religious practices, congestion and the lack of parking, governance, long term financial viability, the lack of information in the form of a business plan, the cost of buying and maintaining the building and the financial impact on existing community halls. The Chairman declared an interest as a Trustee of the Social Centre. He said Mrs Lewis was also APC’s representative on the Social Centre committee. The Social Centre trustees had written to say there was a foreseeable economic problem that income could move to the Chapel from existing activities in the Social Centre and other village institutions such as the Club. Mrs Kremer explained that the URC still owned the Chapel and the group was planning to go back to the URC with the results of the mandate to then hear whether the URC considered the mandate to be representative. Members questioned why the group did not invite other people to help the charity. The Chairman reported members of the public had asked for an open meeting as opposed to a drop-in session so that a debate could be held. Members endorsed this view and Mrs Kremer offered to take APC’s comments / feedback back to the group.
    3. Possible Parish Council representation on Chapel Charity: the Chairman stated the consultation documents asked for interest in becoming:
      1. a Trustee
      2. a Member of the Management Committee

      Members felt they had too little information to take a decision on behalf of the Parish Council as to whether it would want to be a trustee or member of the Charity but hoped that these options would remain open until a decision could be taken.

    4. Community Right to Bid Application: Members decided to keep APC’s Community Right to Bid application on hold. Mrs Kremer stated the URC Synod would only negotiate with one party.
  15. Local issues: including
    1. Broadband speeds: Mrs Lewis reported she was in the process of putting together a spreadsheet of results.
    2. Defibrillator for Avebury: Mrs Lewis reported applications to the British Heart Foundation had now closed and the alternative was to lease a defibrillator from Wiltshire Ambulance Service; it was a three year lease with up front costs. Action: Mrs Lewis to provide further details. Deferred to next meeting.
    3. Emergency Plan: Mrs Lewis and Mrs Farthing had attended the event organised by WC but the MAB meeting had overrun and they had not been able to stay for the seminar. Deferred to next meeting.
    4. Housing Needs Survey: deferred to next meeting.
    5. Sports Field gate northern boundary: covered earlier on the agenda.
    6. Puddles and potholes in Green Street: Mrs Lewis and the Clerk were having difficulty contacting the new Highways Co-ordinator for Marlborough. Both would continue to follow up requested works.
    7. Planters in High Street: deferred to next meeting.
    8. Damaged curb stones outside the Henge Shop: the Chairman reported the repairs had now been done by WC.
    9. Sweeping of leaves in Avebury Trusloe, Church Walk and the High Street: WC had not yet done this, but the Chairman reported he had swept the leaves in Church Walk.
    10. Damage to NT car park wall: nothing further to report, a local person had backed into the wall by accident.
    11. Beckhampton surface water: Clerk to raise the issue with Tracey Ruse (Highways Co-ordinator).
    12. Phone kiosk in Avebury Trusloe: deferred to next meeting.
    13. Extra sign at entrance to Knoll Down to remind people to pick up after their dogs: the Chairman reported he had visited Knoll Down and there was no problem apparent at present. Members agreed to review again when there was evidence of dog fouling.
  16. Communications: the Chairman reported a notice that APC would like to co-opt a new member to the Council had been published in January edition of UKN. A flier had been delivered to all households inviting members of the public to test their broadband speed and an advert had been submitted to February edition of UKN.
  17. Correspondence: (received by email unless otherwise stated). The Clerk reported:
    1. Complaint regarding NT access facilities: high kerb stone and lack of safety recess at the entrance to the wooden gate opposite the Red Lion PH and disabled access toilets.  WC and NT to action.
    2. Police Consultation: members of the public invited to take part.
  18. Finance and admin: the Clerk reported
    1. Members resolved to receive the approved minutes of Transport Group meeting 19 November 2015. (See appendix 2).
    2. Members resolved to receive the approved minutes of ACSReC Committee Meetings 13 November and 8 December 2015. (See appendix 3). Decisions for items 18 a-b proposed by Mr Brotheridge, seconded by Dr Bedford and carried unanimously.
    3. Review of APC’s Standing Orders and Financial Regulations: deferred to next meeting.
    4. Complaints Procedure Policy (previously circulated to members and see appendix 4). Members resolved to adopt the Complaints Procedure Policy dated 21 January 2016. Proposed by Dr Bedford, seconded by Mrs Paradise and carried unanimously.
    5. Date of Annual Village Meeting: members agreed to set the date for Thursday 28 April at 7.00pm. Clerk to book Social Centre.
    6. Donations: requests received from Victim Support and The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust. Deferred to next meeting.
    7. Transparency funding application form (see appendix 5).
    8. Cheques for payment and cheques for ratification: it was unanimously agreed that the following cheques be paid. Proposed by Dr Bedford, seconded by Ms Kremer and carried unanimously. Cheques were signed by the Chairman and Mrs Lewis.
      1. Kate Fry:  web development / overhaul                                          £240
      2. Liz Moore: Clerk’s overtime and expenses: 22 Nov – 21 Dec 2015        £291.20
      3. Liz Moore: Clerk’s overtime and expenses: 22 Dec – 21 Jan 2016   £201.85
  19. Date of next meeting: 7:30pm on Tuesday 1 March 2016 at the Social Centre.
  20. Any other business:
    1. a member of the public asked why double yellow lines at item 6. had not been mentioned. The Chairman said this would be referred to the Transport Group.
  21. The meeting closed at 22:25


  1. Notes dated 14 January 2016 of meeting with Cllr Philip Whitehead
  2. Minutes of Transport Group Meeting on 19 November 2015
  3. Minutes of ACSReC Committee Meeting on 13 November and 8 December 2015. (Not seen by the meeting but previously circulated and added subsequently).
  4. Draft Complaints Procedure Policy dated 21 January 2016.
  5. Transparency Fund: funding application form for scanner (for appendix of 2 December meeting)