Branston & Mere Parish Council.
Minutes of the Meeting held at the Pavilion, Moor Lane, Branston on
Monday 3rd October 2011 at 7.15 pm.
Present: Cllrs. Messrs Adams, Cucksey, Ford, Lundgren, Mumford, Newman, Ross Wood
and Cllr Mesdames Cannings, Price Willcox.
In Attendance: Clerk Mrs Stead.
Members of the Public: Five
Item 1 a) Apologies for absence.
The Council noted the reason and approved the apologies of Cllr Clarke.
b) Declarations of interest.
Cllr Mrs Price declared a personal and prejudicial interest in the planning application for solar panels at the Branston Academy where she is a teacher.
Item 2 Public Forum
A resident reported that two apple trees on Earlsfield needed attention. The clerk was asked to pass the information to the tree officer at LCC.
Item 3 To receive reports from representatives on outside bodies:
a) County Council.
· Cllr Mrs Overton said that she had been successful in getting cross party support for a motion to defer the National Planning Framework until the Local Plans were in place.
· Each councillor had been given £2000 towards local projects from the saving made by members not taking the payrise recommended by the independent panel. Cllr Mrs Overton said that she would select projects to benefit from the eleven villages that she represented and hoped that it could be used to attract partnership funding for larger projects. RAF Waddington was also keen to support projects in the communities, particularly those that involved children. A list of projects in Branston had already been provided but could still be reviewed or added to.
· The reduced provision of care for the elderly had been before the scrutiny panel and Cllr Mrs Overton had called in the decision that would see 2300 people lose Council support. She accepted that there had to be savings in the budget but minimal care at the right time would offer better value in the long run.
· Schools were being encouraged to leave County Council control and become academies.
· The budget for Youth Clubs had been decimated to 20% of the previous level. Many staff had already left and the service had been reduced to one session per week. Concern was expressed that equipment in the Youth Wing was being removed, but Cllr Mrs Overton was unable to confirm whether that was the case. Nothing had been put in place to fill the gap and she suggested that the government hoped that the ‘Big Society’ would step in.
b) District Council.
· Cllr Cucksey reported that financial matters were acute. Savings of 96% had been achieved at the half-year point and the Council was confident that the budgeted savings would be achieved.
· The Localism Bill was at the report stage in the House of Lords and Royal Assent was expected in December.
During the period 05/09/11 – 03/10/11, eight crimes had been reported:
3 counts of Criminal Damage
2 counts of Burglary – other
2 Thefts of motor vehicles
The Chairman said that the latest burglary at Hainton House had disturbed a neighbour who had called the police. He reported that the police had not attended but the reason was not known. The clerk was asked to make enquiries.
Item 4 a) To resolve that the minutes of meeting held on 5th September are signed as a correct record.
Acceptance of the notes was proposed by Cllr Mumford and seconded by Cllr Newman.
b) Matters arising from the Minutes.
13560 Ownership of the Waterwheel (13554) was still unclear. Originally it had been owned by four farmers. The land had since been sold to Tinsley’s but could have again changed hands. The importance of it remaining part of the historic environment of the village and accessible to the public was agreed. Further enquiries would be made.
13561 No response had been received about the site of the Reading Room being used as a sale yard (13555). A second complaint had been received about the sale of goods from a private dwelling on Lincoln Road. It was believed that selling excess produce was acceptable but that items could not be bought in. Further enquiries would be made.
13562 Planners at LCC had granted permission for the anaerobic digesters at Nocton Fen to be covered in an off-white tarpaulin (13558). Cllr Lundgren had had further dialogue with them and accepted that there would be no change but suggested that future applications should have more specific conditions.
Item 5 Correspondence:
a) Various Newsletters and Periodic Publications.
13563 Local Council Review Autumn 2011.
13564 Rural Links Autumn 2011.
b) Letters for information.
13565 NKDC – Confirmation that the new houses off Archer Road would be numbered 1 to 4 Cooper Close.
13566 A resident from Spruce Crescent had heard about government funding towards improved rural broadband, suggesting that parts of Branston needed an upgrade. The Chairman said that the funding had been given to the County Council. The details would be passed to Cllr Mrs Overton.
13567 A Heathfield resident had complained about an increasing number of model aircraft being flown on the sports field and over houses and gardens. The police had been made aware of the concerns raised and were monitoring the situation and speaking to the enthusiasts. Further enquiries would be made about safe flying practices and insurance.
13568 The Church Warden had spoken to the stonemason who had recommended that the recently repaired churchyard wall be sprayed annually to reduce the growth of weeds. The Chairman advised that although the Council had a responsibility for the repair of the wall; maintenance, including weed control remained the church’s responsibility.
c) Boundary Commission – 2013 Review of Parliamentary Constituencies.
13569 A 12 week consultation on the proposed changes would end on 5th December. Under the proposals, the current Sleaford and North Hykeham constituency would become Sleaford; losing North Hykeham to Lincoln and gaining Waddington and Bracebridge Heath.
d) Resident letter re Sleaford Road verges.
13570 Concern was expressed about the neglect of the verges along Sleaford Road; sections had not been cut, litter and fly tipping was a problem, footpaths were blocked by cars for sale and the speed limit was ignored. The clerk would raise the various issues with the relevant authorities and respond.
a) Planning decisions received.
Planning permission had been granted on the following application:
11/0890 Conversion of garage & single storey extension. 26 Rectory Lane
b) Applications for discussion.
11/0971 Two storey rear extension, side extension and alterations. 39 Silver Street
My Council has no objections to the proposals providing that conditions are put in place to ensure that the annexe can only be occupied as part of the existing property.
11/1062 Two storey and single storey extensions with balcony 60 Lincoln Road
My Council has no objections to the proposals providing that consideration is given to the risk of overlooking from the balcony compromising the privacy of the bungalows on Linden Avenue.
11/1059 Installation of roof mounted photovoltaic panels Branston Academy.
My Council wishes to support this application.
c) Tree Issues.
13572 Concern had been expressed about the weight of the ivy on an ash tree near the Jungle. A second quote for tree surgery was requested.
Item 7 Other Reports:
a) History & Mosaic Group.
13573 There was nothing to report.
b) Making effective planning comments.
13574 The Chairman said that there would soon be changes to the planning process with the opportunity for Parish Councils to take on a greater role, if they wish, as part of the Localism Act. He suggested that comments on applications needed to be structured around the policies in the Local Plan. A separate meeting would be held to examine recent applications and decisions to gain an insight into making more effective comments.
c) Update on evening bus service.
13575 Cllr Mrs Overton advised members that the call to reinstate evening bus services had been turned down. The situation had been made worse by the continuing increase in the cost of fuel and no private companies had come forward to provide an alternative service. Stagecoach’s half year result showing a 12% increase in profit was noted.
d) Update on a bus shelter on Station Road.
13576 Residents in the area had expressed reservations about the installation of a new bus shelter near their homes, based on past experience. Their objections were considered, however the open, clear structure planned would not harbour the same problems as the old concrete shelter. LCC had confirmed that they no intention of moving the stop. They were satisfied that all safety surveys had been completed and that there was an alternative stop nearby if disabled access was an issue.
Cllr Wood proposed that the application be made to construct a shelter and that residents be kept informed.
e) Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
13577 A meeting had been held to discuss the arrangements for previous jubilees and the possibility of hosting a village event. Previously, fundraising events had been held in the months prior to the event to pay for the celebration but support for such events seemed doubtful now. The cost of a marquee to hold various events over the jubilee weekend would be in the region of £2k; an expense that would be difficult to recoup. An article had been submitted to the Sheepwash Times asking for people to come forward with ideas and support. The clerk had also started to approach local clubs and groups to take part. Cllr Adams suggested that the support needed to be gauged and a decision was deferred until the November meeting.
f) Fairtrade update.
13578 In order to go ahead with the application for Fairtrade Status for the village, a formal resolution needed to be passed by the Parish Council and a steering group formed with representatives from schools, the Parish Council, Church and local businesses.
Cllr Ross proposed and Cllr Mumford seconded the following resolution and all agreed that Cllr Mrs Price should represent the Council.
a. To encourage use of fairly traded goods, for example goods carrying the Fairtrade mark, when catering for functions, internal and external meetings and events.
b. To promote awareness of Fairtrade through publications and website
c. To be represented on the the Branston Fairtrade steering group and to endeavour to support the work of the steering group within the village.
Item 8 Recreation Space:
a) Playdale remedial work.
13579 An independent inspection of the loose post by a resident had revealed that bolts had been used as chocks beneath the ground to cover poor workmanship. Playdale had since carried out remedial work on the two loose posts and had replaced a missing bolt on the Jungle Climber. The handyman had checked the work and was happy that the problems had been resolved.
b) Astro court update.
13580 The completion date was expected to be 21st October and the launch event would be held on 12th November. There had been an issue on site when vandals had managed to start a piece of machinery and had smashed the gate post into the field.
c) Future plans to extend the pavilion.
13581 The Chairman suggested that members should visit the new pavilion at Witham St Hughes, which had cost £250k. The Chairman would arrange a date. Cllr Wood said that Saxilby Parish Council had increased their precept to £140k and taken out a loan to provide better sports facilities for the village.
Item 9 Governance Review - Governance Review - Risk Assessment.
13582 The item was deferred in Cllr Clarke’s absence.
a) Accounts for payment.
Smith Construction Astro Court 23541.95
Mrs S Stead Wages & Expenses 1054.93
Mr R Williamson Wages & Expenses 837.63
Revenue & Customs Tax & NI 540.75
Matthew Vigurs Pitchmarking 50.00
Chris Bleaden Grass Cutting 566.88
Alpha Workwear HiViz Coat 25.20
Heighington P Council Dog Warden 1283.98
Jacksons Ltd Maintenance materials 51.00
Cllr Cucksey Mileage 11.84
b) Half-year report.
13584 The half year report was accepted without comment.
Item 11 Urgent items for information.
13585 Cllr Ross said that he had inspected the block paving laid outside the cottages opposite the MasterCraft garage and agreed with Cllr Adams that it was poor workmanship. The Highways officer had not been unduly concerned and had added the area to the list for weed treatment.
13586 Cllr Lundgren said that the condition of Delph Road was causing some cars to be grounded and that the problem was now rutting as well as subsidence.
13587 Cllr Mrs Cannings expressed concern that there had been three minor crashes in the village within three days as well as the fatal crash on Canwick Hill involving a Branston resident. The Chairman said that there seemed to be an increase in HGVs using the B1188 and that he had observed children running across the road to get to the play area. Enquiries about the accidents would be made.
13588 Cllr Mumford reported that the beck at the bottom of Cherry Avenue had trees in it that appeared dead. Residents were concerned about flooding.
13589 Cllr Willcox said that there was a lot of dog mess on Beech Road. The dog warden would be informed.
The meeting closed at 9.50pm.