21 Apr 2015 Annual Parish Meeting : Minutes

Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on the 21 April 2015 at the Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF.

In these minutes, AHA stands for Aster Housing Association, AONB for North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, APC for Avebury Parish Council, ASA for Avebury Sportsfield Association, ASSF for Avebury Sacred Sites Forum, CATG for Community Area Transport Group, DfT for Department of Transport, EH for English Heritage, MAB for Marlborough Area Board, NT for the National Trust, TVM for Traffic and Vehicle Management Group, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.

Time Started: 19:05

Present: Councillors Mr Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Mrs Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), Mr David Brotheridge, Mr Mike Daniel, Mr Keith Howell, Ms Zandria Service, together with 18 members of the public who were present for all or part of the meeting.

Apologies: Councillors Dr Mike Bedford, Mrs Antoinette Kremer and Mr Paul Ryder-Morris. Apologies had also been received from Jenny Haines (Chairlady of ASA), Ewart and Diana Holmes, Kate Fry, Mike and Janet Polack, Tony Farthing, Jan Tomlin (NT General Manager, Wiltshire Landscape) and Sarah Simmonds (WHS Officer).

In attendance: Wiltshire Councillor Mrs Jemima Milton, Mrs Michele Lomas (Chair of Avebury Community Shop and representative of the Community Orchard), Dr Nick Snashall (NT Archaeologist and Deputy Manager NT), PC David Tippetts (Community
Beat Manager) and Miss Liz Moore, Clerk to APC.

  1. Welcome and introductions
    The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming all present and introduced members of the Parish Council. He said that members of APC were greatly saddened at the death of Paul Dixon on 17 December and that they greatly missed his valuable advice, his commitment to others, and his sense of fun. The Chairman stated that members of APC, as individuals, were planning to plant a tree in his memory.
    The Chairman said APC were also very disappointed that Karyn Pearson had had to resign in February last year following the need for her to move to Calne due to the imposition of the Bedroom Tax on her home.
    The Chairman introduced Jemima Milton, WC Councillor and Chair of MAB, Liz Moore as APC’s Clerk and Judy Farthing as Civil Emergency Officer. He said that Kate Fry had taken over from Paul Birkeland-Green on 1 May 2014 and now looked after APC’s website, Ron Dobson gave advice to APC on buildings and David Throup was the editor for UKN. The Chairman expressed how very sorry members were to lose Len Adams, APC’s handyman, who had died on 4 March and that many had attended his Service of Thanksgiving on 23 March. He said Martin Rendle also provided Handyman services to the Parish Council.
  2. Minutes of the annual Parish meeting held on 24 April 2014. (Previously published on Parish Council web site).
    The Chairman asked if the draft minutes were accurate. There were no amendments and it was unanimously agreed that the Chairman sign the minutes.
  3. Matters arising from the minutes:None
  4. Report on the work of the Parish Council, Avebury Sportsfield Association and other local organisations in the past year:
    The Chairman said APC represented the interests of Avebury residents, employers and employees. APC had met 10 times during the year and its Planning Sub-committee had met twice. APC met on the first Tuesday of the month, except January and August. The Chairman reported that APC had attended 53 meetings during the past year on regular committees such as MAB, CATG, Marlborough Area Parish Forum, Solstice Planning and Sacred Sites Forum, Social Centre Trustees, WHS Steering Committee and current sub-committees including WHS Management Plan Review, WHS Partnership Panel, WHS Transport Strategy and Design Guide and Task and Finish Group. APC also attended meetings with NT staff, especially Jan Tomlin, and other ad hoc events and meetings such as those with Aster Housing, AONB, MDNIA, WC, EH and NT.
    The Chairman reported:

    • Membership and elections
      Following Karyn Pearson’s resignation in February 2013, APC had decided to give priority to co-opting someone from Trusloe or Bray Street. APC advertised and seven people in the Parish expressed interest. APC was pleased that Zandria Service joined in June 2014 and represented Bray Street. Also, following Paul Dixon’s death, APC advertised having decided to give priority to Rawlins Park, and was pleased when two residents there expressed interest. APC appointed David Brotheridge who joined APC in April 2015. Furthermore, as a result of Mike Bedford being away a lot on business APC had appointed Maggie Lewis as a second Vice Chairman last year.
    • Planning applications
      APC had been consulted by WC planners on 25 applications (from 24 April 2014 to 21 April 2015) and had either supported 23 of them, some with recommended conditions, or agreed not to comment in a few cases. APC had objected to two:

      1. Garden wall at Bridge House. The application had been withdrawn by the applicant.
      2. Installing gate in field wall north west of the Great Barn. The application had been approved by WC.

      In addition, APC had been consulted on an application for a licence for a mobile food stall at the lay-by half a mile west of Beckhampton. APC had supported the application with conditions, including: mobile food van to park at west end of lay-by, discourage trucks, clear up litter daily, no advertising, no availability over solstice fortnight and to remove van every evening. APC had not yet heard whether a licence had been given.

    • Avebury Sportsfield Association:
      the Chairman read out an email received from Jenny Haines (Chairlady ASA):‘As a committee our efforts to run the summer Car Boot sales has once again paid-off and has brought in enough money to pay the costs involved to run and maintain the Pavilion for another year and also add to our contingency fund.We are currently looking into the possibility of widening the gateway into the sports field to make it safer for vehicles to enter and leave. We understand that the P.C. has committed £250 in this year’s precept towards a new gate and we will fund the balance of the work. We are ready to ask the P.C. to enquire if planning permission is required.Over the winter months we seem to have suffered a leak in the roof and the repair of this is in hand.

      As in other years the testing of the water supply, carried out by the Environmental Health Department at W.C., has once again highlighted the increase in the result of the Nitrate content. Last week I was informed that we must start to investigate the installation of Nitrate treatment as soon as possible. This must be installed within a reasonable timescale. I have already spoken with someone at Whatley’s in Pewsey who will give me some prices sometime this week. We are also in the position to fund this work. I have already informed W.C. of our intention to investigate the installation of a filter system.

      The only age group that is affected by a high Nitrate content in the water are bottled fed babies under the age of 6 months. I have put notices in the Pavilion advising that the water must not be used for this purpose.’

      The Chairman emphasized how well the Sportsfield was being managed. He said the cost of running it was in the low thousands and that ASA did a really good job through their fundraising.

    • Policing:
      the Chairman invited PC David Tippetts to provide an update.PC Tippetts said he had been Community Beat Manager for Marlborough Rural West for the past three years and he was aided by PCSO Polly Ritchie. He gave the following report:Overview of crimes from 2015 to date:

      • At the start of the year there had been five burglaries from dwellings. The CID was still investigating and two people had been arrested and were on bail.
      • There had been a theft of stone from St. James’ Church.
      • Seven thefts from motor vehicles and most of them had been parked in the NT car park.

      In the past 12 months:

      • The police had carried out a rural crime day targeting people carrying red diesel, waste and so forth. The message the police wanted to send out was that they did not want people using the road illegally.
      • The police had also carried out a speed enforcement day. There had been 97 offences and 40 officers on the ground taking part.
      • There had been a spike in non-dwelling burglaries predominately in the East of Wiltshire.
      • Police had been putting their efforts into minimising thefts from beauty spots.

      PC Tippetts said he had leaflets available on how to sign up for free messages about policing and crime matters in the area. See appendix 1 or go to http://www.wiltsmessaging.co.uk.

      PC Tippetts reported he had recently been promoted to Sergeant and would soon be working in Swindon. He said his replacement would be PC Richard Barrett who was currently Beat Manager for Pewsey. PC Tippetts invited members of the public to ask questions.

      Mrs Alice Macaire asked how the thefts from cars were carried out. PC Tippetts said that usually the windows were broken into, but that depended on the car and that most of the thefts were being carried out by people visiting or travelling through the area.

      Mr Brotheridge reported there had been three recent accidents near Rawlins Park involving people in cars coming off the road. He said he had been told the Police were not in favour of extending the 30mph speed limit northwards and asked if there was any opportunity for the police to come and have a look at that. PC Tippetts said he shared Mr Brotheridge’s concerns but the police had no control in terms of signage and stressed he would support anything that improved safety.

      Ms Service asked if the burglaries in Trusloe represented a significant increase compared with the previous year and PC Tippetts said they did. PC Tippetts confirmed that in the main, properties were targeted when people were away or in the day time. The Chairman thanked PC Tippetts.

    • Local improvements and repairs to Highways:
      the Chairman reported

      1. APC had previously requested an extension of the 30mph limit on the A4361 north of the Henge, and had objected to Highways’ subsequent briefing note. APC then asked for their request to be deferred while the AWHS Transport Strategy was being drawn up. Atkins (the consultants for the AWHS Transport Strategy) had recommended extending the 30mph limit and APC had therefore now decided to re-apply to the Community Area Transport Group (chaired be James Shepherd (WC)).
      2. Parking in Trusloe: APC had considered plans drawn up by Aster for parking on the Nursery Site and, following a letter to John Thomson (Deputy Leader, WC), had met with WC (including Karen Kelleher, an Avebury resident, and Jenny Rowe, a WC Surveyor). As a result, WC was exploring more parking in a lay-by outside 5 and 6 Trusloe Cottages. APC had yet to write to the private development company about the Nursery Site.
      3. Horse crossing at Beckhampton Stables was in the process of being improved.
      4. Beckhampton roundabout road surface had been shot-blasted and then the A361 had been resurfaced.
      5. Wooden bus shelter at Beckhampton had been replaced by WC.
      6. Concrete bus shelter at Beckhampton had been repaired and was partly financed through the generosity of the Beckhampton Community Group who donated £54.00.
      7. Path from the Waggon & Horses to Silbury Hill was being pursued by Mr Howell.
      8. APC had signed up for the one tonne salt bag scheme.
      9. Speed Indicator Devices had been withdrawn and WC had invited parishes to take on the scheme. APC had decided not to do so as the management issues versus the cost and effectiveness were not worthwhile. APC had decided to concentrate on funding the extension of the 30mph limit.
      10. Various requests for leaf clearance, street cleaning, potholes, street lamps, salt, strimming verges. The Chairman said APC had requested various works during the year. Some potholes had been filled in including the Avenue and footpath 22, and the High Street tarmac had been rectified in June 2014.


    • Wiltshire Council:
      the Chairman invited Mrs Jemima Milton, Wiltshire Councillor, to provide an update. Mrs Milton stated WC had to find £30m in savings across the board and therefore the Council was putting more emphasis on helping parishes do their own thing. WC priorities were:

      • vulnerable adults
      • vulnerable children
      • the environment

      Mrs Michele Lomas asked how shutting down the WC Music Service helped vulnerable children and also raised the question as to whether WC might like to consider provisioning a whole class service so that all children had the chance to take part in music lessons. Mrs Milton stated that WC had simply acted as a conduit for the service and had now given lists of music teachers to schools and / or would make available those lists. Mrs Lomas pointed out it would not be as easy for small, rural communities to attract teachers.

      The Chairman observed WC had been contact with Parish and Town Councils about parish elections and that due to austerity cuts the Parish Council would now have to pay WC for the service. The Chairman said WC could have increased the Council tax to cover this but instead APC would have to make provision in its budget. Mrs Milton provided further explanation of the election service and said she was saddened by WC’s decision both in terms of funds being withdrawn for the music service and parish elections.

      Mrs Judy Farthing asked if there was any update on the garden waste bin service. Mrs Milton commented that the consultation had been poor, whilst members of the public explained the process for those that wished to continue with the waste bin service. A member of the public commented that the road-side litter seemed to be very bad and asked whether WC provided any help with this. Mrs Milton confirmed WC would be very happy to provide tools and equipment to members of the public and that WC did regular litter picks. Mrs Milton reported road-side litter had increased twentyfold and part of the solution was education, starting in schools.

      Mrs Milton wished to express thanks to APC for being one of the hardest working Parish Councils in the area. The Chairman thanked Mrs Milton for her support.

    • Summer Solstice 2015:
      the Chairman reported that the normal series of planning meetings were going on and Inspector Armstrong had indicated the forthcoming Solstice would be managed the same way as in previous years. APC had details of the camping dates. The Chairman said that last year 230 campervans had been parked on the Ridgeway. PC Tippetts said the event was very much weather-dependent.
    • Avebury WHS Transport Strategy completed:
      the Chairman reported

      1. Drafts of WHS Transport Strategy had been developed over the past year
      2. Final draft included the great majority of proposals in the Parish Traffic Plan
      3. Village meeting held on 19 March
      4. Copies available


    • Transport Group:
      the Chairman reported the Transport Group was chaired by Mike Bedford and there were 11 members including himself, and they were: Dr Mike Bedford, Mike Daniel, Keith Howell, Kate Fry, Rob Macaire and, following the village meeting, Dave Brotheridge, Moya Brannan, Peter Wilson, Simon Vatcher and Stephen Stacey.
      The Chairman read out APC’s list of priorities for action:
      ‘All schemes should be in APC’s Parish Traffic Plan and the WHS Transport Strategy, unless there were very exceptional circumstances:

      1. benefited the greatest number of residents, businesses and local employees, as well as visitors
      2. attracted the largest amount of ‘partnership funding’ from others, and so gear up APC’s money as much as possible
      3. were nil cost, or very low cost schemes
      4. were nil or low cost if they were pre-planned as a part of routine Highways’ maintenance
      5. were, if possible, funded largely by others that had a special interest in a project (i.e. perhaps Greene King for the Red Lion forecourt area and possibly Wadworths for the extended traffic island outside the Waggon & Horses, or the NT for the pedestrian route across the High Street?)
      6. were schemes that had already been in the Parish Council’s pipeline for some time, i.e. APC’s application to CATG to move the 30mph signs northwards on the Swindon Road, or the scheme with Aster and Wiltshire Council for parking at Trusloe Cottages
      7. were particularly important for safety or amenity reasons
      8. ensured that each of APC’s four communities benefited from one or more projects
      9. were realistic and deliverable fairly soon
      10. were based on evidence


    • Flood Group:
      Mrs Lewis reported

      1. Silt under bridge at Beckhampton had been removed and other ditches dredged with the help of local landowners.
      2. Culvert at end of High Street had been jetted out.
      3. Repair and Renew Grant was available for a limited time to those households who had been flooded last winter.
      4. APC had signed up to PEAS (Parish Emergency Assistance Scheme) and now had 150 gelsacs and a collection of flood warning signs and tabards. Gel sacs were also being stored in Victor Paradise’s shed and some had been distributed across the Parish. Mrs Lewis said she would like to see more residents come forward for gelsacs if they required them.
      5. Outstanding issues: Wansdyke Byway in Beckhampton. APC hoped to get drainage gripps put into the byeway.

      Mrs Macaire asked if anyone knew what work was being done along the River Kennet as she had noticed pipes and huts in the fields south of West Kennett. Dr Nick Snashell said it was most probably the water company carrying out required works. Mr Paradise reminded everyone that 40 bags of salt were being stored in his garden shed behind the hedge. N.B. salt only for use on highways and byways.

    • Community Wi-Fi and High Speed Broadband:
      the Chairman stated there were seven wi-fi hubs altogether and cables for high speed broadband were now in the road. There was no further information on whether the cables had been connected.
    • Local initiatives:
      1. Community Shop: Mrs Michele Lomas reported the shop had been open for six years; there were three part-time managers and 35 volunteers including bakers and they were looking for more volunteer bakers. Mrs Lomas was very happy to report they had just negotiated a new lease for the building from the NT and she thanked the NT for carrying out regular maintenance work. Mrs Lomas said the shop supported a lot of local groups, it had:-
        • bought an apple press for the Orchard Group
        • bought a projector for the Social Centre
        • given donations to local churches (including Avebury and Winterbourne Monkton), ACC, Avebury Social and District Club
        • installed a charity box in the shop

        Mrs Lomas said the shop was keen to develop local products that year.

      2. Community Orchard: Mrs Lomas stated the Orchard had been planted as a lasting outcome of the Jubilee and to help replace the loss of Orchards in past years. The Group had planted 12 trees next to the Pavilion and two apple trees donated by local individuals. The idea was for local people to be able to harvest the apples. Mrs Lomas added that in 2014, the group acquired 300 whips of native species.
      3. Fence/hedge on west of Sportsfield: Natascha Kenyon reported the Community was looking for volunteers to clear the hedge, coppice and then replant the boundary. Mr Fred Gillam said he would be applying for Conservation Area consent for the work.
      4. Avebury Day: APC had donated £250.00.
      5. Litter bins: supplied for the High Street by WC. The Chairman observed that the cleaner a place, the less litter was dropped.
      6. APC had objected to removal of High Street phone box on the grounds it was a listed building, and it was required as an emergency telephone due to poor mobile telephone signal in the area.
      7. Between the Monuments dig: APC had donated £200.00.


    • Local archaeology, National Trust and WHS updates:
      the Chairman invited Dr Nick Snashall to address the meeting.Dr Snashall introduced herself and reported that the team had been recently restructured. Mrs Hilary Makins (NT Head Ranger) would also now be responsible for the Countryside Team. Abby George was the new Marketing Manager and in May 2015 the NT would be joined by Mr Simon Brooks, the new Head Gardener. Dr Snashall reported there were three launch events planned for the AWHS Management Plan. They would be at Avebury, Trowbridge and Stonehenge. Dr Snashall thanked the Chairman for both APC’s input and that of the AWHS Steering Committee.Archaeology Update: (See Appendix 2, Archaeology Update to view the report).Mrs Macaire asked Dr Snashall if the NT had any plans to improve the NT owned buildings in West Kennett including a dovecot covered in ivy. Dr Snashall reported that conservation work had already been done on the dovecot and its condition was fine. Dr Snashall said there were unfortunately no funds for all conservation work needed across NT’s portfolio of properties and work would be done in order of priority.
      Mr Howell posed the question regarding ownership of Silbury Hill. Dr Snashall confirmed the NT had been interested in owning the monument but EH had ceased negotiations pending a split in their organisation. A new body had been set up called Historic England. Dr Snashall confirmed that EH still owned Silbury Hill. Dr Snashall asked members of the public to contact the NT if they noticed any coach companies taking people onto the monument.

      Mrs Milton said she was saddened the NT had not been able to renovate their properties in West Kennett and questioned whether the land could be sold. Dr Snashall stated the NT had no intention of selling the land, quite a lot of land was inalienable and there was underlying archaeology present. The Chairman agreed to raise the concern with Mrs Tomlin (NT, Manager).

      The Chairman thanked Dr Snashall for her input.

    • Other local issues:
      1. Great Stones Way: the Chairman reported a meeting had taken place the previous night and the parishes of the Pewsey Vale had decided to object to the proposed footpath.


    • Precept, finance and administration:the Chairman reported:
      1. The precept was £10,900; but Precept Grant would eventually be withdrawn.
      2. Bank balance at 31 March 2015 was about £19,200. This compared with about £16,600 for last year. However the balance was in reality in the region of £7,100 because of £12,100 pledges outstanding. The balance was therefore much the same as £7,100 at 31 March last year.
      3. BBLP mowing contract terminated on Sportsfield and APC instructed ACC with a two year mowing contract. BBLP mowing Trusloe Play Area as part of WC contract
      4. Annual accounts and internal audit were available for the public to view.


  5. Local issues from the public: the past year and for the next 12 months:
    1. Mr Vic Paradise asked why dangerous nails were sticking out of pieces of wood beside the Manor Garden fence (north side of the fence). Mrs Judy Farthing said she thought the nails had been driven out of the logs to deter burrowing animals. Mr Paradise stated it must be a badger. Dr Nick Snashall said she would relay the report to Mrs Jan Tomlin (NT Manager).


  6. Local issues from the Parish Council: past year and for the next 12 months: none
  7. Any other business:The Chairman thanked all those who supported the Parish Council, including:
    • litter pickers and those who cleared up after their dogs especially on the recreation grounds, in the Henge and on the footpaths.
    • Trustees, Secretaries and Treasurers of local voluntary organisations and especially to Mrs Jenny Haines and members of ASA.
    • Police, staff at Wiltshire Council and the National Trust.
    • Miss Liz Moore (Clerk), Mrs Jemima Milton (Wiltshire Councillor), Mrs Judy Farthing (Civil Emergency Officer), Mrs Kate Fry (APC web site), Mr Ron Dobson (advice on buildings), Mr Martin Rendle (small works) and Mr David Throup (Editor, UKN).
    • colleagues on the Parish Council
    • and all those who attended the meeting.


The meeting closed at 20:45

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

  1. Police Community Messaging Leaflet
  2. NT Avebury Archaeology Update
  3. National Trust Update 17 April 2015
  4. Documents available for inspection were the AWHS Transport Strategy, the Avebury Parish Traffic Plan and APC’s minute book, audit reports, bank statements and books of account.