Shipton Gorge Parish Council

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SGPC 13 January 2016



WEDNESDAY 13 January 2016

at 7.30pm in Shipton Gorge Village Hall

Open Forum Concerns were expressed by Barbara West about water running across road at Mounting Block Cottage and suggested that ditches should be cleared. This was felt to be normal in the exceptional weather conditions recently and the ditch alongside the Mounting Black was in fact clear and the water was, as usual, coming off the fields using the channel between the Mounting Block and Kestrels.    It was however, pointed out that any member of the public could and should report such things to Highways through Dorset 4You and they would be investigated and a reference number given.  Also the footpath was felt to be dangerous up to the Orchard. Again this is the responsibility of the Council and should be reported on Dorset 4You. A good rule of thumb regarding responsibilities is that anything growing up from the ground is the responsibility of the County Council to keep clear and anything coming down (ie trees, branches etc) is the responsibility of the landowner to clear.

Present Cllr Mary Boughton (Chair) (MB); Cllr Richard Cunningham (V Chair) (RC); Cllr Barbara Chambers (BC), Cllr Hilary Cunningham (HC), Cllr Andrew Fry (AF), Cllr Christine Huxtable (CH), Cllr Gerry Pyke (GP),

In attendance Parish Clerk - Paula Biss (PB), John Russell (JR) District councillor, there were 5 parishioners in attendance.

16.09 Apologies for absence – Alex Drew (AD) who hoped to arrive part way through meeting, Cllr John Porter (JP), Ron Coatsworth (RC).  This was the third consecutive meeting JP had missed.  It was acknowledged by all that he was otherwise doing sterling work for the Council and MB felt he may not be aware that not attending a council meeting for six months, without a reason acceptable to the council, disqualifies him as a councillor.  GP thought that JP was now re-arranging his other commitments to enable him to attend council meetings.  All agreed more than happy for JP to remain on the Council.

16.10 Declaration of Interests – There were none.

16.11 Neighbourhood Policing update. PC Dave Ash.  Dave was unable to attend this meeting and his report (below) was read out to the meeting.

In May, Dorset Police received a report of a male riding a motorcycle carelessly along the footpath between Burbitt Close and Quarry Close.  The male was identified, eventually admitted to being involved, and was issued with a ‘section 59 warning’ – which means that any similar indiscretions with any vehicle in the following 12 months would result in that vehicle being seized by Police.  We have received no further reports of trouble by this male.

In July, local officers completed a ‘Stop that Thief’ crime prevention survey at an address in the north of Shipton Gorge, following reports of suspicious callers canvassing for work.  These ‘visitors’ caused the resident to consider the security of his home, and associated outbuildings, and was grateful for the advice given.

In September, there was a theft of 7 chickens from a farm in the St Catherine’s Cross area.  There were no lines of enquiry, but local officers reiterated crime prevention advice given previously.

Beaminster Neighbourhood Policing Team4

16.12 Chairman to sign Minutes of meeting held on 11 November 2015. These were unanimously agreed as correct and signed by the Chair.

16.13 To consider any matters arising from the Minutes, not on the Agenda. There were none.

16.14 Chairman’s Report.

I have been working with Christine Huxtable to revise the layout of our financial reports and accounts and we hope that the clerk and council will find the new format easier to follow.  Christine will present and explain this more fully under the agenda item to follow and then we will discuss the new format with our internal auditor, Peter Varney, for his comments.

A number of residents in the Cuckoo Lane area reported to me that there have been cars and vans driving down Cuckoo Lane and that at least one very large lorry with a trailer drove up the lane causing some damage to trees.  I contacted Dawn Atkins to see if anything can be done to improve the signage, particularly at the bottom end, to reduce these incidences.  Hilary Cunningham and myself were due to meet her and the officer in charge of signage before Christmas but this was deferred and we are currently waiting to hear back from her for a new date to meet and discuss this situation.  During the recent heavy rain the banks have stood up fairly well although there has been some small slippages which have covered the new gullies.  I took some photographs during the heavy rain last week and it is apparent that as we expected the gullies are not big enough to carry the water and protect the banks and so we can expect further damage to occur.  A fair amount of debris was also swept down the lane adding to the situation.

We have had three people contact us following the pleas in the Bride Valley News regarding taking over responsibility for the website and we will be reporting on this later in the agenda.

A mail from for support to organise a Fish & Chip supper in aid of Spinal injuries had been passed to the Village Hall committee and a positive response had been received from Sally Parker.

When the council was elected in May last year Barbara Chambers agreed to stand for one year and this period will be up after our March meeting, and Barbara has said that should would like to stand down then.  I will not be able to attend the March meeting and so would like to record my thanks to Barbara now for all the hard work she has put in, particularly with the Playing Field, over a number of years.  The council and the village owe her a debt of gratitude for her work and diligence in overseeing this important facility in the village.  Thanks were given for the many productive years Barbara had put into this post and all her achievements in this time.

Our May meeting is the one where positions of responsibility for the coming year are agreed and so we will be looking for someone to take over chairing the Playing Field committee at that time. A vacancy from May will be put in the BVN

I am sorry that I won’t be able to be at the March meeting but Richard Cunningham, as our vice-chairman, will be chairing that meeting so if you have any items for the agenda or any queries for March please contact him.

16.15 Clerks Report

1. Sandbags.  WDDC have no statutory responsibility to provide sandbags – (see attached)

Some information re sand bags:

At least 6 sandbags needed to keep out 20cm water from standard door. 15kg building sand for each bag Bradfords
20 x hessian bags and 300kg building sand (in plastic bags) for £57, delivered.

2. Financial Arrangements.  I have checked minimum amount above which extra quotes needed and there is no indication in our Financial Arrangements. The chairman commented that the council’s Financial Arrangements document needed to be reviewed.

3. Village Green – Still awaiting final Transfer documents from the Land Registry.  Our insurance policy provides automatic cover for the Village Green but if the Parish Council wishes to insure loss or damage for the fence when erected we need to let Came & Co know its replacement value and they can then confirm whether any additional premium is required.

Came & Co have been informed of the transfer, a draft Risk Assessment has been completed (see attached)

I have updated quote from Brights for fence for Village Green of £335.00 and have mailed R Coatsworth to enquire whether fencing could be partly paid for by the Membership Fund.

4. Update of Contact list – I have received corrections/additions to the SGPC Contact list as requested in my last report. I have forwarded these to all Councillors and ET for the Website.  If you know of any changes please let me know,

5. Grit bins.   Mail received from RC 24 October 2015. Our allocation from his Membership Fund is £216.00 plus roll over from last year of £190. I have a proforma invoice from Viatec.  Awaiting someone to fix the grit bin.   We estimated approx.  £215.00 for this purchase and installation but we will probably have approx. £190 left of this grant.

Awaiting reply from Dorset Waste Management re information about waste bin that takes dog waste and proforma invoices have to be with Ron by the 20th January 2016.  Sent update to Hilary.

6. Letter of thanks sent to ET.

7. Fly tipping – Barr Lane.  Further request sent to Dorset Waste Management. Ref No. 101001271613.

8. Mower Service – I have contacted Crewkerne Horticultural – their estimate for Hayter Ride-on mower is £119.50 + parts, + VAT.  Approx total £156.00. This includes collection and return of mower.

9. Ron Coatsworth – Grant from Membership Fund.  I have mailed Ron with details of fence for Village Green, Grit bin and am awaiting quote re new waste bin.(also see Grit Bins above)

Item 2 above: Financial Arrangements to go on next agenda for review.

Item 3 above: Cost of fence for Village Green to be sent to Came & Co to see if there is any additional premium. Clerk

16.16 Finance Report

CH and MB had been working on producing a simplified financial spreadsheet. CH handed out copies and accompanying handouts. She hoped it was self-explanatory and all agreed it was easier to understand. They had explained it to the Clerk before the meeting and would also meet with Peter Varney for his comments/approval. Clerk HC complimented them on the clarity of the spreadsheet.  MB thanked CH who had done the majority of the work.

£500.00 had been transferred to Playing Field Account for Maintenance of Equipment

Cheques approved since last meeting:

781 – P Biss – November Expenses - £47.00

782 – G Rosamond – Expenses from August - £8.04

Wayleave for £7.61 paid in.

16.17 Confirmation final Precept 2016/2017 (see attached)

Minor amendments to previously approved precept. Clerk to complete and send to Dorset Council’s Partnership before 31st January 2016

16.18 Outline Planning Application – Land behind Cairnhill, Shipton Gorge.  RC.  Outline application for three houses with garages at the rear of Cairnhill. After discussion it was unanimously agreed that the corporate view of the Council was that there was no reason to object to outline planning permission. There may however, be a different decision when the full application was made.

16.19 Service Level Agreement for Footpaths and Rights of Way.  AD not arrived for meeting so unanimously agreed item to be put on next Agenda

16.20 Village Green update – Papers are still with the Land Registry for their completion.  It was agreed however to:

a)     To go ahead with the fencing (quote updated to £335.00 including VAT).  RC agreed to confirm with Mr Mitchell See item 16.24

b)     When Risk Assessment for land completed, Came & Co. to be informed and copy sent to them if required.  Clerk

16.21 Fingerposts Update CH – Now has the posts – but it has been raining since!  Will be done as soon as weather improves.

16.22 Neighbourhood Plan - No response from residents to item in Bride Valley News. Item to come off future Agendas and an update to this effect put into the next Bride Valley News. Grateful thanks to RC for his hard work in trying to progress a Neighbourhood Plan for the village.

16.23 Parish Website. Update by MB in the absence of AD. Three applicants. One, Nigel Wheeler of Quarry Close Nigel has experience of working in IT programming.  AD and MB met with him and he has seen the draft of the new website that is being designed and is very happy to take this on. The other two applicants were thanked for their interest. AD to arrange handover between Nigel and Ernie. Agreed unanimously to leave the precept with reference to possible additional costs for website in case there are extra costs due to change of webmaster.

16.24 To receive the following reports:

a) Resilience - GP – Further papers circulated to committee.  GP reported two meetings with JP and they are approximately 75% of the way through the review of the Emergency plan. Some discussion ensued and it was agreed that there were only two known properties that might require sandbags. GP to visit Manor Farm and check on bags and sand that had previously been stored there.  Despite the Council not providing sandbags at present it would always be worth checking as this availability could change. Councillors happy for GP/JP to circulate their Information Sheet as soon as possible.

b) Highways – HC - Road closure Shipton Lane.  Bus has been diverted, but I cannot quite understand what route is being taken.  School bus is also diverted.

White lines - I have made an enquiry regarding repainting some white lines.
Drain repair at Innsacre has been completed (reported by Robert Cornish).
Grit bins have been filled.

Cuckoo Lane. There had been reports of some extremely large vehicles going all the way up the lane and some cars and vans also coming down the lane and there was heated discussion on how this could be addressed with regard to the signage at both ends of Cuckoo Lane.  It was finally agreed:

a. Mail to Dawn Atkins with a request that Highways review the signage and be made aware of the problems with large vehicles ignoring the signage. Clerk

b. Mail to Dawn Atkins asking if whoever updates Sat Nav routes has been contacted to report one way system, as she said she thought it was possible to do this. Clerk

c. Mail/letter to residents in lane to ask that they inform companies of the situation if they order large items/move etc and ask that deliveries are made in smaller vehicles.

c) Playing Field Report – BC - Outer hedge on Port Lane has been cut, but not inside the field as the ground is too soft.

JP has looked at the shackles and pins on the swing that had the most movement in the joints and has reported that it is the shackles which are worn through use - many, many years' worth.  The pins within the shackles which if worn could pose a danger to the swing user, show no wear whatsoever so nothing needs to be done at present other than for the weekly inspection of the equipment to take particular note of the shackles on all the swings.

I have been looking at where it might be possible to obtain grants for the Climbing Wall, and possibilities are from Sport England or Awards for All, both funded from the National Lottery.  So far I have heard nothing back from either of them.  The Dorset for You website lists the Bridport Car Boot grants which are not applicable to PC's and WDDC Leisure Development Fund which will typically pay up to 20% of any project for a play area but not if a grant has been received from them within the last 2 years, so again not available to us at present.

BC asked if some councillors could put new net on the small goalposts.

d) Planning – RC - Nothing further to report.

e) Rights of Way/Footpaths – No report in absence of AD.

f) Website – From Ernie Thomas. - Since my last report, copies of the following have been placed on the web site:

  1. The final version of the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of 16 September 2015.
  2. The draft version of the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of 11 November 2015.
  3. The Agenda for the Parish Council Meeting of 13 January 2016 together with supporting papers.
  4. Details of the Parish Council’s monthly expenditure over £100 for November and December 2015 (nil reports).
  5. Further entries have been made in respect of forthcoming village events

16.25 To confirm date for the next SGPC meeting – 9th March 2016.

Meeting ended 9.30pm