Minutes of a meeting held at 7.30pm on Tuesday 14th January 2020 at Bishops Frome Village Centre
Present: Cllr Nash (Chair), Cllr Partridge, Cllr J Pudge, Cllr M Pudge, Cllr Parker and Cllr Morel.
Mr Brooman, the Council’s Treasurer was also present.
2020/1 To receive apologies for absence
Apologies had been received from Ward Cllr Chowns, Cllr Ms Sincock, Cllr W Pudge and Cllr Hydes.
2020/2 Declarations of Interest
a) To receive declarations of interest from councillors on items on the agenda
b) To receive written requests for dispensations for disclosable pecuniary interests (if any)
c) To grant any requests for dispensation as appropriate
There were no declarations of interest or requests for dispensations.
2020/3 To adopt the minutes of the previous meeting
A copy of the draft minutes had been circulated to all councillors prior to the meeting. They were accepted as a true record and signed by Cllr Nash (Chair).
2020/4 Public Participation
There was 1 member of the public present. The Clerk explained to them about the GDPR Consent form and a form was completed.
Agenda item 2020/8.1 was moved up the agenda.
A summary of the current situation regarding the separation of the church was provided. It was explained that 2 problems have been raised by the transferor’s solicitor regarding the separation of the church portion. First, there is an overage clause which needs to be split in the transfer documents but he is not happy with the way this will be dealt with by the church as the land will be held by Fromes Hill Church but the overage will be passed to the Parochial Church Council (PCC). Secondly, he is not happy for the request to change the original trustees at the same time as the transfer goes through. He wants the trustees to be changed on an individual basis within 12 months of the church separation.
Councillors discussed the options and agreed that perhaps the separation of the church portion should be postponed until after the overage clause expires due to the difficulties arising and the rising solicitor’s costs. In the meantime, it was agreed that works to fence off the land and complete the turning circle need to progress. With this in mind, it was agreed that a revised estimate should be obtained for the works as the original estimate was provided in 2016. It had previously been agreed in principle that Bishops Frome Parish Council would pay for the materials and local people from Fromes Hill would provide the labour. The Clerk was asked to put this matter on the next agenda for discussion under finance when a revised estimate should be available and an informed decision can be made.
Cllrs agreed that Cllr Partridge, accompanied by a member of the Fromes Hill Village Hall Trust, should visit our solicitors and explain that the option of postponing the separation of the church portion is being considered and see what their advice is. If the solicitors do not give a satisfactory option, Cllr Partridge was authorised by the Council to ask them to close their file and the transfer will be postponed.
It was also reported that there were still bales in the community field. The field was leased for a fixed period from 1st May 2019 – 31st October 2019. It was a condition of the lease that the bales be removed from the site within 14 days to protect the land. The Clerk was asked to write to Miss Morgan to request that the bales be taken off site within 14 days or the Parish Council would have them removed.
5.1 Bank Reconciliation – a copy of the bank reconciliation had been circulated to Councillors prior to the meeting. The bank reconciliation was reviewed and signed by the Chairman and RFO to confirm the current balance held by the Parish Council is £28243.11.
Cllr Morel, an independent councillor who is a non-cheque signatory, signed the bank statement to confirm that the balance agreed to the Council’s accounting statement.
5.2 Assertion 3
5.3 Assertion 4
The Treasurer read through the details of Assertions 3 & 4 and explained the measures in place to ensure both assertions were met. Councillors agreed that the conditions for these assertions were being met.
The Treasurer asked councillors to consider payment of the outstanding invoices:
5.4 P Eaton – Litter Picking (September – October – 2019) – £140.94
5.5 P Eaton – Litter Picking (November – December 2019) – £125.28
5.6 Sunderlands – Sports Field Rent – £350.00
5.7 HALC – £548.13 (see below)
(HALC Affiliation Fee 01/04/2020-31/03/2021 – £180.00
HALC Subscription Fee 2020/2021 – £316.36
NALC Subscription Fee 2020/2021 – £51.77)
Councillors agreed that all the outstanding invoices could be paid.
NB. By paying the subscription fees before 31st March 2020, the Parish Council will be given 2 free evening training sessions for councillors.
There were no new planning applications.
2020/7 Ward Councillor Report
Ward Cllr Chowns sent her apologies.
2020/8 Fromes Hill Report
8.1 Update on Fromes Hill Field – see 2020/4 above.
2020/9 Bishops Frome Report
9.1 Update on Village Centre request to transfer to CIO – Cllr Pudge confirmed that a very good meeting had been held between representatives of the Parish Council and representatives of Bishops Frome Village Centre on 16th December 2019. A copy of the minutes from this meeting had been circulated to all Cllrs prior to the meeting. A suggestion of a possible way forward had been made by Cllr Nash and he had sent details to the relevant parties for consideration. The Clerk was asked to arrange a follow up meeting.
9.2 Litter bins in Play Area – Cllr Partridge confirmed that he had repaired one of the bin liners and would return it to the play area and take the other one away for repair. There are 2 bolts which need replacing one on the swing and 1 on the bridge. Cllr Partridge agreed to have a look with a view to replacing the bolts.
The Clerk advised that she had received notification from Play Safety that the Play Area Inspection has been scheduled for March. Cllr M Pudge agreed to accompany the inspector and the Clerk was asked to arrange this. There will be an additional charge of £42.00 plus VAT for this. Play Safety are also offering to draw up a specific checklist adapted for our play area to be used as a basis for the weekly safety inspection. There will be a charge for this of £30.00 plus VAT. Cllrs wondered if the checklist would be provided as part of the accompanied inspection and the Clerk agreed to check this with Play Safety.
2020/10 Smartwater Scheme
The Clerk confirmed that she had received the information pack and application form for the Smartwater scheme. The first step is to complete the application form and return it with details of 3 or 4 volunteers who will help to set up the scheme. Cllrs felt it would be better to launch the scheme in the spring and asked the Clerk to check if it would be possible to make the application but defer implementation until April/May.
Cllr Morel advised that members of Bishops Frome Village Centre Committee were interested in volunteering to help with the Smartwater scheme roll out.
2020/11 Sports Committee Report
Cllr Partridge advised Cllrs that a bag full of small gas canisters, the type used in soda syphons, had been picked up from around the Sports Field. It was reported that youngsters may have been sniffing the gas expelled from them. Ledbury Police have been notified and an officer called to collect the canisters.
Cllr J Pudge advised that a football team from Ledbury had been in contact regarding the possibility of using the Sports facilities. Cllr Partridge confirmed that he had referred them to Bromyard Football Club as it had been agreed with the Sports Committee that they run the football played to ensure pitches are available for matches.
The Clerk was asked to arrange a meeting of the Sports Committee and Bromyard Football Club. The agenda will include reviewing any action points from the Risk Assessment drawn up in November 2019. Cllrs on the Sports Committee already have copies of this.
2020/12 Speed Watch Scheme
Nothing to report.
2020/13 Managing Verges for Biodiversity
The Clerk advised Cllrs that Balfour Beatty are considering their approach to verge side maintenance. They generally cut rural verges twice per year, in May/June and August/September. Several parishes have requested that C and U roadside verges remain uncut until August/September in 2020. They are now asking all Parish Council’s if they wish to leave the verges uncut until August/September. They will continue to cut at any junctions or other safety concerns, twice. Cllrs decided that they would like the verges to continue to be cut twice per year and asked the Clerk to inform Balfour Beatty of this decision.
2020/14 Footpaths Officer Report
A report had been received concerning a blocked footpath at Halmonds Frome. Cllr Ms Sincock is trying to contact landowner.
2020/15 To note the information sheet and date of next meeting
The Clerk drew attention to the items on the information sheet and confirmed that the next meeting will be on Tuesday 11th February.
The Clerk also confirmed that on 12th November2019, she and the Treasurer had given written notice to the Chairman of their intentions to retire from their positions with effect from 31st March 2020. Cllrs asked her to obtain an up to date job description from HALC and then advertise the position in the Valley News and on the notice boards.
There being no further business, the meeting concluded at 20:55.