SHIPTON GORGE PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON
WEDNESDAY 9th March 2016
at 7.30pm in Shipton Gorge Village Hall
Open Forum a. Robert Langram reported Route 19 – Church to Sewage Farm – style dangerous as nails missing.
b. Elizabeth Langram – concern what is happening at Wayside. RC responded that three areas of concern in the village; Wayside, Sunny Bank and 12 Rosamond Avenue had been reported to the Enforcement Officer of the Planning Department, these had been acknowledged and decisions were awaited.
c. Graham Rosamond passed expenses form to BC
Present Cllr Richard Cunningham (V Chair) (RC); Cllr Barbara Chambers (BC), Cllr Hilary Cunningham (HC), Cllr Gerry Pyke (GP),
In attendance Parish Clerk - Paula Biss (PB), John Russell (JR) District councillor, and there were eight parishioners in attendance.
16.27 Planning Applications:
a) Installation of an external flue – Granary Cottage, Chapel Street. Heating Vent in boundary wall. (Cllrs R and H Cunningham unable to vote as neighbours)
b) Tree work at Shepherds Hay Studio, Shipton Gorge. Trees a danger to walls in garden.
The Council had no issues on either application. (Absent Councillors had also been consulted)
16.28 Apologies for absence – Cllr Mary Boughton (MB), Cllr Christine Huxtable (CH), Cllr John Porter (JP), Cllr Andrew Fry (AF), Cllr Alex Drew (AD) and Ron Coatsworth (RC).
16.29 Declaration of Interests – There were none.
16.30 Neighbourhood Policing update – No report had been received
16.31 Chairman to sign Minutes of meeting held on 3rd January 2016. These had been circulated and placed on the Website. They were unanimously agreed as correct and signed by the Vice Chairman in the absence of the Chairman.
16.32 To consider any matters arising from the Minutes, not on the Agenda. There were none.
16.33 Chairman’s Report.
Firstly my apologies for not being able to attend this meeting and thanks to my vice-chairman Richard for taking the chair. It’s been a busy few weeks with a lot happening, so this is a rather long report and I will itemise it to make it simpler to read.
At the last meeting I said would speak to John Porter regarding his recent absences and explain the 6 month absence rule to him. John pre-empted this by coming to see me to apologise for missing meetings and he assured me that he would be at the May meeting and that apart from September he hoped to attend most future meetings. I know we all appreciate the work that John does on both the Resilience Plan with Gerry but also in the Playing Field and so we look forward to him coming to meetings as well !
Tom Grace got in touch with me regarding the village producing a Neighbourhood Plan. Not only is he very keen to drive this forward but has already done a great deal of background work on it and started to put together a group of people from different sectors of the community to work with him. I have invited him to speak about this at this meeting and so it is an agenda item later on. As you know the Parish Council will not be responsible for producing the plan, although will have to adopt it eventually, but we will be the umbrella organisation under which it is prepared and so will need to have a parish councillor on its committee. I understand that Andrew Fry has agreed to join the committee, and many thanks to him for being involved. The Neighbourhood Plan committee will report to the parish council at each meeting and this can be either a verbal report via Andrew or a brief written report. The parish council can apply for grants on behalf of the Neighbourhood Plan committee and so will also act as the “accountable body”. If following Tom’s presentation the council support and approve the formation of the committee to produce a Neighbourhood Plan and to act as its accountable body then a formal resolution to this effect must be recorded in the minutes. I would like to record my thanks to Tom Grace for taking this on and to all those who are going to be involved to make it happen. The Councl’s thanks were also added for the massive amount of work that will be done.
In April each year we are obliged to hold the Annual Parish Meeting and this is the meeting where we invite representatives from other village organisations to give the village an update on their work. The date for the Annual Parish Meeting this year will be 13th April as this is a date when the hall is already reserved for us. In the past we have had a speaker to address us on a subject that was relevant to the parish at the time, and so with this in mind I would like to propose that we invite Tom and what will by then I hope be his newly formed committee to give a talk on the way that they envisage putting together the Neighbourhood Plan and its importance. This does not mean that we won’t have the usual village updates, but we may have to keep them a little briefer than usual. Could the council please discuss this suggestion in the agenda item on this and decide if this is a format they would support.
I have paid the clerk the second half of her annual salary and also sent off the tax deducted via PAYE to HMRC. They have, again, slightly changed the way we have to do this in future but I will explain the implications of this at our May meeting.
Unfortunately I am not going to be available for our May meeting on 11th May, so rather than miss it, I have brought the meeting forward to the previous week 4th May. Please make a note in your diaries of this changed date and I apologise if it causes you any problems.
You will all have received a copy of Gerry and John’s Resilience Plan, which was sent out to you with the papers, and approval of this needs to be formally minuted when it is discussed under the Resilience report. I would like to congratulate both Gerry and John for the work they have done on this and for coming up with a plan which seems to me to be easy to understand and fit for purpose.
You will all have received the information on our ability now to opt out of having to undergo an annual audit in the way we have done up to now. As a parish with a small income and expenditure we are able to opt out and so save ourselves the cost of the audit that BDO have carried out. Peter Varney, our internal auditor, and myself have looked at the details in the papers, and our proposal is that we do NOT opt out. This will mean that we will continue to have to pay an audit fee but we feel this is preferable to the extra work that would be involved in opting out and having to manage this ourselves. Basically as a small village we do not have the resources of time to do this. If the council agrees to this recommendation then we do need a formal minute to be passed agreeing that we will not opt out but that our audit arrangements will remain as they have been up to now.
Normally at this time of year we arrange to have a Litter Pick Up in the village, where we invite villagers to meet with us and collect litter and other rubbish from our roads and lanes. There may not be time to arrange for this to be done before Easter but if the council wish to do this again this year then a date, normally on a Saturday, needs to be arranged for April, and if agreed for Barbara to advertise in the April Bride Valley News.
This is Barbara Chambers’ last meeting as a councillor, although she will officially retire the day before our May meeting so she will continue in her role with the Playing Field until then. I would like to record our thanks to her for all her work, especially with the Playing Field which has continued to be well managed under her leadership. John Porter has agreed to take over chairing the Playing Field Committee from our May meeting which is the one when we elect our chairman, vice-chairman, committee chairmen and positions of responsibility. So goodbye Barbara and thank you on behalf of everyone, you will be missed but I know will still be available to give John the benefit of your experience when he needs it. Again the whole Council’s thanks were also given to Barbara for the huge amount of voluntary she had done over the years
Vacancies So we will have a vacancy for a new councillor, and I have been approached by Ross (aka Wally) Axford and his wife Sue who live at High Rigg on Icen Lane, expressing an interest in being involved. Wally was raised in Shipton and Sue in Bridport so they both have a local connection and know Shipton well. They are both hoping to attend the March meeting so you can meet them and I hope they find it interesting enough that one of them will put their name forward to join the council if the vacancy is to be filled by co-option, which of course we won’t know until the notices of a vacancy are posted in the village for the required period. It turns out, unbeknown to me and I suspect most of us, that High Rigg is not actually in Shipton Parish but is part of Loders. This is despite all the other houses in Icen Lane right up to the A35, being in Shipton. This does not affect Wally or Sue’s eligibility to become councillors as they live within the permitted 3 miles limit, but it does raise the question as to whether when there is the next proposed boundary changes whether we should ask for High Rigg to be incorporated into Shipton Gorge Parish, but that is for another day. Both were present at this meeting and introduced by the Vice Chairman. As I’m sure you are all aware, Alex Drew will be moving away from the village in the next few months, so we will have a further vacancy later this year. The Vice Chairman explained that if only one candidate was nomination they would be elected by co-option but if more than one was nominated by villagers, there would be an election.
Queen’s birthday celebration commemorative plaques. Councils and schools have been given the opportunity purchase these and Shipton Gorge Village Society had said they would like us to purchase 100 on their behalf which they intend to distribute to the children in the village at their event on 11 June. The cost is £1.99 each plus £7.50 deliver plus VAT. Total cost therefore to SGVS will be £206.50 which they will reimburse to us. We will reclaim the VAT content but there will be no actual cost to us. There is a six week delivery time, so I have suggested that we order them after 6th April so the cost and their reimbursement will all be accounted for the next financial year. Unanimously agreed.
16.34 Clerks Report
1. Financial Arrangements. Our Financial Regulations document need to be reviewed. To go on May Agenda
Village Green –Final Transfer documents from the Land Registry now received and invoice received (see 7. below) from Nantes – letter of thanks sent to Sam Smith. We need to let Came & Co know the replacement value of the newly installed fence (£335.00) and they can then confirm whether any additional premium is required. Clerk - this has been done – no additional premium until renewal
2. Letter, via Mr G Mitchell, sent to Mrs Mitchell thanking her for the donation of the Village Green now we have received the final Transfer.
The Risk Assessment has been amended and needs to be sent to Came & Co and put on the Website. Clerk - this has been done and copy sent to be put on website
3. Fencing and new grit bin have been installed and paid for through Ron Coatsworth’s Membership Fund. Our thanks to RC.
4. Have sent details from Weymouth & Portland re the Neighbourhood Plan to Tom Grace and Richard Cunningham.
5. 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.
6. Cheque received –from Chris Hewlett for £275.00 raised at car boot sales, towards the costs of the village fingerposts. Letter of thanks sent.
7. Shredder – There is a tremendous amount of paperwork that has to be shredded for the parish council and until now I have done this on my own machine. This has now broken and I wonder if the Council would approve reimbursement for purchasing a shredder? £57.59. Net £47.99, VAT £9.60 (February expenses)
8. Cheques to be approved:
Clerk’s Wages for £674.40
HMRC for £337.20.
Nantes - £755.00 fees for Transfer (see 1 above)
Cllr Chris Huxtable – refund of monies paid to Travis Perkins for hardwood for fingerposts £54.36
Dec expenses £17.33 (just allowance for working from home), January expenses £20.03. Total £37.36.
ICO Data Protection renewal – due April 8th - £35.00
G Rosamond – Expenses February - £46.90
G Pyke- Expenses net frames, playing field - £9.00
Above and Below – Tree work in playing field - £175.00
CAB – Charity donation - £25.00
Ring and Ride –Charity donation £25.00
Agreed Unanimously. Pro HC, Sec GP
9. I now have details of the 13 residents in Chapel Street who it was agreed at the last meeting would be sent a letter asking them to inform any large delivery lorries of restrictions in the lane. These are now ready for delivery. They have been delivered.
10. Charity Donations – a request has been received for the CAB and although no request has come, this year from Axe Valley and West Dorset Ring and Ride Services – I suggest our second charity donation goes to Ring and Ride? Unanimously agreed. This has been done
11. Although there are many mobile library services cuts across the County, Shipton is not affected –from 9th May – Shipton is Week 1:
Brook Street telephone box Thursday 11.45 – 12.00noon
Rockway Thursday 12.05 – 12.35pm
12. A final Audit for 2015 to be arranged with Peter Varney.
Litter Pick – It was unanimously agreed to hold a litter pick on Saturday 30 April starting at The New Inn at 10.00am. BC to put details in BVN – Note Risk Assessment needs to be carried out as per Came & Co insurance requirements and in line with guidance notes recently received) Clerk to order equipment
16.35 Charity Donations – See Clerk’s Report
16.36 Neighbourhood Plan – Presentation by Tom Grace. RC introduced Tom stating how delighted he was to hear that he had volunteered to form a Neighbourhood Forum.
Tom gave a brief resume of his work to date. He had so far a team of three including Cllr Andrew Fry and Peter Varney and three other people in the village had registered their interest. He felt the ideal number in “Tom’s Team” would be five or six, hopefully people with planning experience/expertise/law and procedures and who know the area well.
He had seen and read other Neighbourhood plans for Loders and Cerne Abbas; the impressive Cerne Abbas plan already adopted and in print.
The plan would embrace future planning policy and the difficulty would be in persuading villagers to agree to proposed planning in their area and to understand that with more and more development across the country it was vital that the village, and especially the younger generation had input into the future development of its village. The villagers would only have themselves to blame if development happened in the village and they hadn’t participated in the plan.
Tom hoped to have a meeting before the next Parish Meeting and then be able to give names, timescale and outline of what is in the plan. He queried whether the village boundary is the area for the plan to adopt and this was confirmed by RC.
RC confirmed the Neighbourhood plan would be a group consulting with the community but independent of the parish council. It was not a neighbourhood forum as this could only exist in a parish without a parish council. The plan when completed and approved would operate under the umbrella of the Parish Council who will maintain an interest throughout the process and will be the applying Authority for various grants and other administrative matters.
John Russell stated that he felt the plan should move forward as quickly as possible as he felt Local Government money would run out by the end of 2019.
The council supported and approved the formation of a committee of members (Tom’s Team) from the village community to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for Shipton Gorge Parish and that Councillor Andrew Fry would represent the Parish Council on the Committee in order to enable the securing of any appropriate grant funding on its behalf. The Council thanked Tom for agreeing to give a presentation at the Annual Parish Meeting on 13 April 2016. All unanimously agreed. Proposed BC, Seconded GP
16.37 Audit Arrangements for 2016/2017 – Peter Varney, Internal Auditor –
Peter Varney gave a brief report on the Internal/External Audits. Internal ones being carried out by Peter during the year culminating in an independent External audit at the end of the financial year to confirm the monies within the council’s accounts are accurate and above board. Small councils have the option to opt out of external audit arrangements if income under 25k.
GP queried why fines had had to be paid last year. It was explained that there had been a wrong interpretation of what was required in one small section of the audit by the external auditor which had been clarified. RC explained that the council members are essentially a volunteer body, not professional accountants and it is advantageous once a year that a professional body checks that the council is proceeding correctly.
The Council on the advice of the Internal Auditor and the Chairman agreed unanimously that the council should not opt out but continue with the existing audit arrangements. Proposed BC, Seconded HC.
16.38 Annual Parish Meeting – date confirmed as 13th April 2016
16.39 Village Green update – Final Transfer has been received from Land Registry for their completion.
16.40 Fingerposts Update CH – No report had been received.
16.41 Parish Website. Update by MB in the absence of AD. Alex has had meetings with both Nigel Wheeler, our new webmaster, and with Ernie Thomas to ensure a smooth handover. I have spoken to Nigel and he is planning to take over from Ernie sometime between our March and May meetings and Ernie is happy with this time frame. I will put something in the Bride Valley News so that all organisations and residents know how to contact him.
He has been working with Damon Allen on moving the website to the new platform and he also has a lot of good ideas for improving the site, particularly with regards to making it easier for people to navigate through to find what they need. Subject to the council’s approval I have given him permission to do whatever he feels is necessary to improve the design of the new site as he is very competent and keen to get to grips with it. This was unanimously approved by the Council Proposed GP, Seconded HC
Finally I heard from Tony Mallet, who is the broadband champion for the village, that Superfast Broadband has now been enabled in the village and residents can be connected to this by contacting BT. This is excellent news that I everyone will be pleased to know about so please spread the word.
16.42 To receive the following reports:
a) Resilience - GP had further consulted with Jessica from Dorchester who was happy with the updated three page document of the Emergency Plan Information Sheet to be circulated subject to a couple of amendments. There are 210 houses in the parish to be circulated and It was suggested a quote for photocopying be got from Footeprints. GP to check names of tree on Page 8. He was concerned about a site to land a helicopter if needed in an emergency, but RC pointed out that the helicopter pilot and personnel would actually make this decision on the day as necessary. He suggested GP contact the Air Ambulance operator for further information and RC to supply contact details. RC
GP was thanked for all his and JP’s work to date on the plan and information sheet and the meeting was unanimously agreed to support the Emergency Plan Information Sheet and it should, once the final amendments completed, be circulated to the village as planned. Proposed BC, seconded HC. It was also agreed that if individual councillor needed a copy of the actual plan they could ask GP/JP for one.
b) Highways – HC - Chapel Street
A meeting was arranged between SGPC representatives and WDDC Roads (Dawn Atkins) to address the concern regarding large vehicles going up Chapel St now that it is one way. These are usually delivery vehicles that have delivered to residents of Chapel St. The warning sign at the bottom of Chapel Street is only advisory, and a sign prohibiting large vehicles will NOT be provided. The only realistic solution is to turn the advisory sign slightly towards Port Lane. This issue will be kept under review.
A letter has been written to all residents asking them to be aware of this issue and to suggest that they inform firms that large delivery vehicles may not be appropriate.
Please note that vehicles were able to go up and down Chapel St prior to its closure.
The issue of worn white line road markings was raised with WDDC, but with little success. White lines will be repainted only if there is 75% wear. There are a couple of very worn ones around the village so I will peruse this issue again in the next few months.
Grit bins have been filled, and the new one at the bottom of Rosamund Ave has been installed.
The ditch has been cleared out by WDDC and is working well diverting water into the drain as opposed to down Shipton Road. Hopefully it will remain free of garden rubbish this time.
Dorset Highways Capital Programme 2016/17
This will not affect Shipton Gorge.
Road Closure – Icen Lane.
Closure has been applied for from 10 – 15 Mar but work is expected to be completed by 11 Mar.
Mud on the Highways
For information - Bridport News 11 Feb reported that Dorset Police are reminding contractors and landowners of their responsibilities of clearing mud off the highway following farming operations.
c) Playing Field Report At last there was a dry slot last week and GR was able to mow the playing field on 25th and 26th February - much earlier in the year than is usually necessary due to the mild winter weather.
The tree branches overhanging the swings were cut back on 1st March by Above and Below for health and safety reasons.
GP has kindly affixed the new nets to the small goal posts. Please be aware that children have been seen to use the nets as a climbing frame so if anyone sees this happening please stop them doing so and report the matter to one of the PF Committee, or any councillor.
One outstanding job within the field is the cutting of the hedge but this is still not possible as the ground is too soft for the weight of a tractor but it is hoped this can be done before birds start nesting.
Speaking recently with a former member of the PC about the lack of a water supply in the field for use during maintenance days, he thought it could be useful to install a water butt to catch water from the shed roof. As there is no guttering on the shed this would have to be costed and allowance for it made in the PF budget for 2017-18. HC queried the use of a water from a water butt but was assured that there was not a problem and guttering would be allowed for.
Under new regulations it is now necessary for GR to have a contract with the PC which will state what will be expected of him as our groundsman. I have spoken about this with GR who has produced a list of what he undertakes in the field during the year and I hope to meet later with both GR and the council chairman, Mary Boughton, to draw up a contract which will reflect our mutual needs.
d) Planning – RC – As Item 16.27 and nothing further to report, except RC pointed out that any parishioner can report to the Planning Authority on Dorset For You if they think planning regulation has not be adhered to and results of RC’s reports are awaited.
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:
The final version of the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of 11 November 2015.
The draft version of the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of 13 January 2016.
The Agenda for the Parish Council Meeting of 10 March 2016 together with all supporting papers.
Details of the Parish Council’s monthly expenditure over £100 for January and February 2016.
The latest version of Parish Council’s accounts for 2015/16.
The final version of the Village Green Risk assessment dated 18/01/16.
Further entries have been made in respect of forthcoming village events.
I am sad to report that an outdated version of the web site is currently on display. This is not of my making. Having raised the matter with Damon Allen of Ensign IT, I received the following explanation:
“I have been upgrading to a new server and have instated an older version of the site by accident, please leave it be and soon it will resolve to the current version. Or hopefully we can launch the new site.”
I have made clear to Mr Allen my unhappiness at this unfortunate situation. I have also stressed that I have no authority to instruct him to launch the new site and that he must take his instructions from the Parish Council or its authorised representative.
In conclusion, this is likely to be my last web site report and I take the opportunity to say how much I have enjoyed serving the Parish Council and the village as Webmaster for over ten years. I wish my successor, Nigel Wheeler, every success and look forward to hearing when the final handover process will take place. It was later confirmed by D Allen of Ensign IT that the outdated version of the web had been successfully updated.
The meeting gave a vote of thanks to Ernie for all his dedication and hard work in keeping the Website up to date over the years.
16.43 To confirm date for the next SGPC meetings:
4th May 2016 - Annual Meeting of the Parish Council and 13th April 2016 - Annual Parish Meeting.
Meeting ended 9.10pm