Minutes of a meeting held at 7.30pm on Tuesday 9th June 2020 held remotely under Government Covid-19 guidance
Present: Cllr Nash (Chair), Cllr Partridge (audio only), Cllr J Pudge, Cllr M Pudge, Cllr W Pudge, Cllr Ms Sincock, Cllr Morel and Ward Cllr Chowns.
Mr Brooman, the Council’s Treasurer was also present.
2020/48 Clerk/Treasurer Update
The Chairman advised councillors that there had been difficulties with finding a replacement Clerk and Treasurer and he had therefore asked Mr & Mrs Brooman if they would consider returning until a replacement has been found or 31st December 2020, whichever is first. He was pleased to report that they had agreed to do this.
2020/49 To receive apologies for absence
Cllr Parker and Cllr Hydes were not in attendance.
2020/50 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
Cllr Partridge did not have sound at this point in meeting, but he had an interest to declare in Agenda item 2020/53.8. An entry was made in the register and will be signed by Cllr Partridge when safe to do so.
2020/51 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 it was agreed that they will be signed by Cllr Nash (Chair) when safe to do so.
2020/52 Public Participation
There were no members of the public present.
53.1 Adoption of Unaudited Year End Account and Balance sheet 2019/2020 – Copies of the un-audited accounts were issued to councillors prior to the meeting. Having reviewed them, Cllrs agreed that the accounts should be adopted. It was agreed that they would be signed when possible by the Chairman to confirm that the entries on the statements on pages 1 to 3 fairly represent the financial position of the council as at 31st March 2020 and reflects its income and expenditure during the year.
53.2 Annual Internal Audit Report – this has been completed by our Internal Auditor and confirmed that all our objectives have been met.
53.3 Annual Governance statement 2019/2020 – The Assertions had been reviewed at meetings throughout the year. Councillors agreed that “Yes” could be recorded next to each of the assertions. Cllrs agreed that a sound system of internal control including preparation of the accounting statement, existed. The Chairman and the Clerk will sign the Annual Governance Statement when safe to do so.
53.4 Annual Accounting Statement 2019/2020 – The Treasurer had issued copies of the Annual Accounting Statement prior to the meeting. He ran through the figures with Councillors. Cllrs approved the statement.
53.5 Bank Reconciliation – a copy of the bank reconciliation from 1st April 2020 – 31st May 2020 had been circulated to Councillors prior to the meeting. The bank reconciliation was reviewed and agreed by the Chairman and RFO to confirm the current balance held by the Parish Council is £31,368.12.
The bank reconciliation will be signed by the Chairman and Treasurer when safe to do so.
An independent councillor who is a non-cheque signatory, will sign the bank statement to confirm that the balance agreed to the Council’s accounting statement, when safe to do so.
The Treasurer asked permission to pay the outstanding invoices (agenda references 2020/ 53.6, 53.8 and 53.9). Cllrs agreed that they could be paid.
53.6 Herefordshire Council – Uncontested election (re May 2019) – £104.97
53.7 Bromyard FC – request for PC to waive rent for quarter ending 30th June 2020. Bromyard FC had been in contact to ask if the Parish Council could waive their sports field rental fee for the quarter ending 30th June 2020 as they have very low funds due to being unable to play matches. Cllrs agreed that this would be permitted.
53.8 B C Partridge – Mower Diesel – £33.33
53.9 Eyelid Productions – upgrade of website – £50.00
(An upgrade to the website is required to conform with accessibility regulations. The Clerk
had instructed Mark Millmore to complete the upgrade – this was the charge for the upgrade being completed).
Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, there had been no Parish Council meetings since 10th March 2020. Several invoices had been received during that time and below are the payments which have been authorised for payment by the Chairman and Vice Chairman.
53.10 SmartWater – SmartWater kits – £1772.20
53.11 Play Safety – Play Area Inspection and checklist – £154.50
53.12 St Mary’s Church – grant towards churchyard maintenance £500.00
53.13 BC Partridge – Mowing & Diesel – £85.00
53.14 Community Garden – agreement to grant up to £700.00 again this year
Since the last meeting in March, 4 planning applications had been received.
54.1 P200938/U The Bungalow, The Grounds of Chapters,
Bishops Frome, WR6 5AX
Certificate of lawfulness for the use of a park home as a residential dwelling – Cllr Pudge reviewed the application on behalf of the Parish Council and submitted supporting comments.
54.2 P201206/ FH 15 The Hop Kilns, Bishops Frome, WR6 5AP
Proposed second storey side extension – Cllr Pudge reviewed this application on behalf of the Parish Council and supporting comments were submitted.
54.3 P201121/FH 1 Summerpool, Bishops Frome, WR6 5AZ
Proposed single storey extension to front and side of dwelling – This application has not been reviewed by a Councillor due to Covid-19 safety regulations.
54.4 P201633/XA2 20 Knights Court, Bishops Frome, WR6 5B
Application for approval of details reserved by condition 3 attached to planning permission
200206 – comments are not being accepted on this application.
2020/55 Ward Councillor Report
Ward Cllr Chowns started by giving her thanks to the volunteers supporting the vulnerable in these difficult times.
A small amount of money has been given by the government to support the re-opening of the High Streets, to aid with things such as signage and temporary widening of pavements.
All Council meetings are now online and Fastershires is expanding its broadband coverage in Herefordshire.
Agenda item 2020/57 was moved up the agenda for discussion. Ward Cllr Chowns had raised the issue of tree cutting after seeing a lot of trees cut down on the river bank opposite the old hop machine along the U65612 in Bishops Frome. Cllr Ms Sincock had looked in to the matter and found that a license had been obtained from the Water board to allow this. Additional work has been done on the edge of the village and it is unclear if this is covered by the same license. There is concern from the Environment Agency and the Wildlife Trust that the timing of the tree felling ties in with the time when birds are nesting and also about the disturbance of natural habitat for wild creatures such as otters. Cllr Ms Sincock is awaiting further contact from the Environment Agency and Wildlife Trust and will feedback to the next meeting.
2020/56 SmartWater signage
Due to the Coronavirus restrictions, the SmartWater team agreed to post out the SmartWater packs, pre-registered, to all parishioners. This has meant that we achieved saturation in our area and qualify for the free road signs. They now wish to know where we would like the signs to be positioned.
Cllr W Pudge emailed to all Councillors a mapped proposal for where the signs should go, covering all entrances to the Parish. Councillors thought the proposal should be submitted to SmartWater, with a request for an additional up to 6 signs for inside the villages.
2020/57 Environment Agency – Tree Cutting – see 2020/55 above
2020/58 Play Area
It was reported that the Play Area had been closed off twice since 24th March in accordance with Government Covid-19 instructions but the signs and taping had been removed. It had been reported that children had been seen using the playground. A member of the public had also reported a “loose” platform near the monkey bars. Councillors agreed that the Play Area should remain closed and Cllr M Pudge agreed to padlock the gate. Ward Cllr Chowns agreed to find out if Hereford Council had any standard Covid-19 Play Area closed signs which could be used. Cllr Partridge had agreed to take a look at the “loose” platform.
2020/59 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 date of the next meeting is 14th July 2020. This meeting will also be conducted via Zoom.
The Chairman advised councillors that he had been contacted by a parishioner regarding improving access to their property to meet health needs. Councillors considered the situation and agreed it was not for the Parish Council to resolve the issue, however they agreed to contact Fortis Living to support any improvements that could be made.
NB. In accordance with NALC Covid-19 recommendations, there will be no Annual Meeting of the Parish Council for 2020. Any appointments made in 2019 will continue until May 2021.
There will also be no Annual Parish Meeting for 2020.
There being no further business, the meeting concluded at 20:15.