3 March 2020 Barlaston Parish Council Minutes

posted in: Minutes 2020 | 0


Cllr P Fisher (Chair)

Cllr I Moran

Cllr S Tudor

Cllr C Hurst

Cllr D Bentley

Cllr V O’Dunne

Cllr S Hall 

In attendance: Mrs K St Leger (Clerk) 

7:15 – 7:30       Public Open Forum – No public were in attendance

189      2 minutes silence was held as a mark of respect following the passing of former Parish Council Members Mr John Plant and Mr Reg Barley.

190      Apologies were received from Cllr’s Macmillan, Jones and Philpott, it was resolved to accept these.

191      Declarations of Interest – There were no declarations of interest

192      Written applications for dispensations under the Localism Act 2011 – There were no written applications for dispensation.

193      The minutes of the full Council Meeting of 4 February 2020 were accepted as a true and accurate record.

194       Matters arising from the meeting of 4 February 2020 and not otherwise on the agenda

256      Environmental Committee update

  • The replacement of Wooden Panels on the Downs Car park is still outstanding, it was resolved to defer this item.
  • It was noted the installation of the rope bridge on the wild play area has been completed. Before this is formally opened and publicised, the Clerk has requested a RoSPA inspection to be undertaken. Cones have been placed around the area to prevent people accessing the site until a safety certificate has been issued.

9          Speed Watch campaign update – The batteries went on the sign at the end of last week, these were due to be changed on Monday 2 March, however, that has meant the data could not be downloaded in time for the PC meeting.

However, in terms of a general update the Speed Watch Group have continued with an average of 2 sessions per week, despite some being rained off. They have also had some police presence during the last month which is encouraging. The number of speeding vehicles being recorded is, encouragingly, on a downward trend.

The Parish Council were appreciative of Mr Norman for providing the update.

473      MUGA update – the Lengthsman has visited the site and advised clearing the crumb matting with a pressure washer would damage the surface. The PC resolved to appoint the Lengthsman to undertake the cleaning using a brush cleaner followed by an application of moss and weed killer at a cost of £175.

There is a broken boundary fence which need to be looked at, the Lengthsman has requested a visit with a Cllr to determine what solution is required. Clerk to arrange.

Refreshments for volunteers working on site will be provided by the Clerk.

It was noted there is a leaning tree on the boundary line which needs to be risk assessed. Clerk to make the necessary arrangements.

507      Station Road Crossing Signage – the signs are ready to be installed. It was resolved to remove this item from the agenda.

53        Village Hall Update

  • Building works – The contractors are still unable to schedule the works due to the weather; they will update the PC when they are in a position to commence works.
  • Damage caused by flooding –
    • 2 roofing companies have visited site, one has supplied a quotation which has been forwarded to the Insurance Company, the 2nd Company gave a verbal quotation but has failed to provide a formal quotation. A third Company is therefore required, Clerk to make the arrangements.
    • It is believed the suspended ceiling tiles are no longer available, a Company has visited site and provided a quotation which has been forwarded to the insurance Company. A second quotation is required – difficulties are being encountered with Companies not wanting to undertake visits to site. Clerk to approach further companies.
    • The Insurance Company have asked for the back history of Insurance Policies and Claims, this is proving very time consuming for the Clerk.
  • Provision of a clock tower – It was noted the Village Hall used to have a clock tower but was removed due to damage and never replaced. Replacing the tower would enable the building to ‘breath’ and reduce condensation. The current clock is not working, this needs to be replaced ideally with a GMT system which keeps accurate time and does not involve volunteers to re-set it. The project to be costed and details submitted to the Finance Committee for consideration.

92        Stone Ramblers request to replace 5 stiles for kissing gates – The request for the gates was to enable the Ramblers to remove old gates and replace these with modern metal gates as part of the Walking for Health Initiative. The Ramblers would provide the manual labour free; they were looking for the Parish Council to provide the funding for the gates as the County Council no longer supply these. The gates would be installed along footpaths through Barlaston and Cocknage, installation would proceed imminently. The Clerk provided the PC with three quotations for the kissing gates as follows:

(a) Centrewire @ £280 (total £1400), SCC would collect ensuring no delivery costs.

(b) Jackson’s Fencing @ £368 (total £1840)) + delivery

(c) McVeigh Parker @ £326.31 (total £1632.05+ delivery

SCC advised they may be in a position to provide one of the gates through Unison.

The PC resolved to forward the procurement request to the Finance Committee to be dealt with as a Project. Clerk to schedule a Finance Committee meeting.

94        Wedgwood Arboretum and Statues update – The item to be deferred.

114      Wayleave agreements for wicket gates onto the green update – The Clerk has submitted a request to Dicksons to cost the production of a Wayleave agreement, we are awaiting their response.

116      Lakewood Drive pothole update – Clerk to liaise with Cllr Parry.

125      Facilities on Barlaston Park – Cllr Bentley has been liaising with parents on the Park, there is a consensus on a number of items required, these will be presented at the Annual Parish Meeting to start the formal consultation process, these include picnic tables produced from recycled plastic, skate ramps, an adult gym and the installation of a wild play area. Items will be fully costed prior to submission to the Finance Committee.

It was noted a grant is currently open from Sports England via a Community Asset Fund to improve and protect existing sports facilities.

Cllr Jones joined the meeting at 19:55 hours

135      Wedgwood bowl update – The Clerk is still waiting for a meeting date with Fiskars. A request was made to include urgent works required on Queen Mary’s Drive (a badly sunken drain cover and large potholes adjacent to the Hall).

136      Barlaston to Longton / Barlaston Park transport

Cllr Moran submitted a feasibility report; it was noted Cllrs Hall and Bentley had canvassed opinions around Barlaston Park. It was noted the perceived need for the service was not corroborated as residents had found ways of undertaking their shopping.

To support local business, it was resolved to commence a monthly trial shuttle bus from the Park to the bus shelter on Station Road on a Friday. Before the trial commences, Cllr Moran will hold a meeting with the Transport Manager to obtain the relevant documentation. A meeting will be publicised at Wedgwood Cricket Club to gauge interest with Barlaston Park residents, a minimum of 16 people need to register to use the bus @ £7 per head, failure to meet this target will cease the trial.

Users of the bus will contribute £1.50 per trip; this will be offset against the running costs. The Parish Council will subsidise the bus to the tune of £18 per week (£72 per month). The trial will run for a month to establish the new regime. The service will only run whilst there are no shop facilities on Barlaston Park. If the trial is successful, the details to be submitted to the Finance Committee for formal approval.

138      Play Equipment for back of Meadow Road update –Proposals to be issued to the Finance Committee, engagement with residents to be undertaken at the Annual Parish Meeting. Play Equipment Companies have been approached for feasibility studies.

175      Complaints Policy & Procedure – The names of the Clerk and Chair are on the form, if positions change, the form needs amending. It was resolved to include the ‘right to appeal’ within the Policy. The Clerk to make the amendments and re-issue.

177      Civic Amenity Visits – Following the February meeting, it was noted the Civic Amenity Vehicle left the site, however it returned to complete the scheduled two hours. The Parish Council therefore resolved to increase the length of the visits to two hours, it was also resolved to move the February meeting to January to cover the post-Christmas waste. Details as follows:

Site:      Ivyhouse Drive opposite Parkside Store

Dates:  11 April 2020              13 June 2020             8 August 2020

10 October 2020         12 December 2020     16 January 2021

Times:  10:00 – 12:00

Cost:     6 visits @ £138 = £828

178      Planning Training update – As part of the training course, the recent Retrospective Application 20/31804 Hartwell Farm was used as an exemplar. Using the Barlaston Neighbourhood Plan, the PC objected to the application and submitted the response to the Borough Council.

In response to PC objection to the application, Cllr Jones had a meeting with Head of Planning and the planning officer assigned. They did not accept any of the objections raised and were comfortable with the application and it would be approved under delegated responsibility. The Borough Council offered the PC planning training.

It was noted during the implementation of the Neighbourhood Plan, the Borough Council had a lot of training at the PC’s expense as they were not aware of the law and how it should be interpreted. Getting the NP recognised is proving problematic; there has not been a single applicant or planning application that mentions it.

The PC will now commence responses to Planning Applications that the NP, together with the adopted Local Plan, forms the Statutory Development Plan for the area. Our responses will be in line with our NP policies.

Cllr Jones advised the NP is subservient to the Local Plan. The PC believed the NP was worth more recognition.

It was resolved the Clerk would write to the Head of Planning requesting a written response to the refusal of the points raised.

The PC will analyse the responses received from the Borough Council for a period of 6 months to ascertain the way they interpret the NP, where required will seek third party advice. Other Parishes who come under Stafford Borough are also not happy with the inadequate responses received from the BC.

179      SCC Grass Cutting Arrangements – SCC have acknowledged our response i.e., to continue to cut the grass on their behalf and to subsidise the shortfall to maintain 8 grass cuts per annum.

195       To note financial matters:

(a) To determine grant application(s)

  • Stone Ramblers submitted a request for £200 for the tooling required for inserting the kissing gates (item 92). As this item was deferred to the Finance Committee, it will be considered in line with the Procurement of the gates.

(b) The bank reconciliation report was accepted. The Clerk noted she had applied to claim back the VAT @ £4047.91.

(c) Schedule of payments report was accepted.

  NET VAT Cheque
Boulton’s Nurseries – Planting for Village Green – Inv 009923/0 117.95 23.59 002578
SLCC– CILCA enrolment – Inv QL197524 350.00 0.00 002579
A J Philpott & Sons – 2nd Hand Office Chair Inv SO295077 20.00 4.00 002580
Urban Vision – Planning Training Inv 0712-20 538.05 105.00 002581
K St Leger Salary / Expenses 1020.77 0.00 002582
Ladywell Accountancy Services – Year 2019/20 Inv 20/191856 92.00 0.00 002583
Buxus Green – Grounds maintenance works – Inv2 860.20 0.00 002584
Allied Westminster – Village Hall Insurance – BS64537 914.63 0.00 002586

196      SBC confirmed the BC could co-opt a new Cllr, Clerk to publish the advertisement, preference to be given to residents in Barlaston East.

197      Finance Committee structure – the current Committee consists of Cllr’s Fisher, Hall, Macmillan, O’Dunne, Jones and Tudor. Cllr Fisher proposed Cllr O’Dunne to be appointed Chair and was duly elected by the Committee.

198       Ground maintenance update and determine new works

  • Lengthsman works – Update Station Road / Park Drive now complete. The gullies are too wet to gain access but will be completed imminently.
  • Proposed New works –
    • Downs Car Park and Meadow Bank – remove weeds and overhanging vegetation from around the car park, selectively prune laurels to encourage new overgrowth to form arches, remove epicormic growth from pear trees, cut down meadow grass on bank side and cut back fallen branch and other overhanging tree branches. Load all on a trailer and remove from site @ £300
    • Village Green (monument) – Create new strait lines where the lawns meet the path, all soil removed would be used in one of the sunken areas in the lawn by the road side; cut branches back to make safe; repair bench and create small drainage gulley filling with 20mm pea shingle gravel and relaying the original turn – this will allow drainage. Remove epicormic growth from the tree on the triangle. @ £260
    • Longton Road (opposite The Mount) – Cut all grass down and edge the lawn to the path cuttings to be disposed of @ £70
    • Village Sign – Longton Road, cut grass and hedge remove arising from site, make tidy and make sign more visible @ £40

Total works @ £670 – if all agreed less 8% = £616.40. It was resolved to suspend standing orders and accept this recommendation.

It was noted the Clerk was now in receipt of the Hi-Viz vests, these are available for the Lengthsman and Cllrs undertaking works around the village.

It was resolved to increase the Lengthsman budget to £8,000 per annum. Due to difficulties obtaining 3 quotations for these works, and rather than circumventing Standing Orders, it was resolved to approve works based on individual quotations received from the Lengthsman.

199      Damaged verges following works on Meadow Road – Contractors were due to finish on 6 March; however, this has been extended to 13 March due to flooding issues. It was noted they took pictures before works commenced and would repair some areas as they leave. They have stated Highways would assist if we contacted them. With regards to the green which has been used for soil storage, this would have a coat of topsoil applied and seeded. Clerk and Cllr Moran to visit the site on 13 to survey the site.

200      Damage to canal side – Clerk has reported the damage to The Canal & River Trust and is awaiting a reply.

201      Road surface at entrance to Orchard place – Job cards have been raised by SARH to deal with the pot hole issue. It was also noted tree branches falling from trees on the corner of Flaxman Close and Etruscan Walk have also been raised.

202      Vehicular damage to grass verges throughout the village – SCC have advised there is little they can do with regards to restricting vehicles parking on grass verges. It was resolved to remove this item from the agenda.

203       PC’s involvement in VE Day Celebrations –

  • The Community Group have requested £500 to cover the catering for the 2 evenings
  • They have suggested a ‘contribution of £2’ to be added to the tickets, funds raised will go an appropriate charity (this stops people saying they are going and not turning up)
  • Tickets be restricted to 80 No. in line with H&S for the Hall
  • Raffle prizes requested (these will need to come out of Chairman’s allowance)
  • Clerk has agreed to look at producing the artwork for tickets, they have asked if the PC will print them.
  • They are not looking for physical help.
  • Possible assistance is required with the distribution of tickets. The Community Group to advise the PC accordingly.

It was resolved to accept these recommendations.

204      Annual Produce Show – The two WI’s and the Church will take a lead on this. The Clerk has the relevant paperwork.

205      Wild Play area for Children’s activities – a request has been received to undertake a ‘Garden in a Pot’ competition for the younger residents of Barlaston. They are keen to see activities for the younger members of the Community incorporated into the event; this will be held at the Wild Play Area. Prizes and materials will be supplied, they are covered by DBS and will require PLI. It was resolved to accept this request.

206      Brinsley Avenue Practice Patient Group A report detailing the Primary Care Network was provided by Cllr Moran, this is an initiative from the NHS to enable practices to share expertise and staff. Brindley Avenue comes under South Stoke West along with Blurton Health Centre, Honeywall Medical Practice, Hanford Health Centre, Trentham Mews Practice and Trent Vale Medical Practice, who will be working together to offer patients a greater choice of appointments, be able to access primary care services with longer opening hours and will have a wider range of professionals working across the practices, meaning patients will not have too far to travel for certain services. They will have staff who specialise in dealing directly with drug companies and can provide services such as physio. It will ensure more specialist services will be retained locally.

It was noted some residents who are within walking distance of Brindsley Avenue are not classed as being in the Brindsley Avenue catchment area, this needs to be changed. Work will be required with the CCG to change the boundary lines.

Brindsley Avenue are hosting a cuppa club at Trentham for the elderly, this is targeted at people over 75 and have extended this invitation to Barlaston residents.

It was noted that the Covid19 outbreak restrictions will be in place for anyone visiting the surgery, the recommendation is to phone for support.

207      Borough Council member for the area – No report was submitted

208      County Council member for the area – No report was submitted

209      Planning Committee Recommendations – There were no planning applications.

210      Risk Assessment action(s) – Tree Works are required on the Village Green – quotations have been requested. Buxus Green can undertake the works in with other works on the Green, it was resolved to accept this recommendation.

211      Asset Management works – Replacement notice board (replacement of an asset). It was resolved to approve the Nimbus design board and a budget of £3,000 was approved. This needs to include ground works (removal of old board and installation of the new board).

212      Correspondence and circulars

  • Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Consultation 2020-2024
  • Enquiry via Facebook requesting information on Barlaston School cuts (-£86,760 in 2020 – equivalent to -£678 per pupil loss) The Head of the School is away; the school is not aware of these figures. The Clerk to send the link to SCC to ascertain accuracy

213      Review Clerk’s performance – Exclusion of the press and public under S2 and S3 of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 during consideration of item 473 below because of the confidential nature of the items for discussion. It was resolved to exclude members of the press and public.

It was resolved to defer item to enable Cllrs to make their comments / recommendations. Clerk to forward a copy of the Job Description. Item to be raised to top of the agenda.

214      Questions from Councillors for inclusion on next month’s agenda

  • A request has been made for a bus shelter to be added to Old Road (the benches which are situated by the stop are soaking and unusable). Bench to be added to the Lengthsman’s list to sand down and varnish.
  • SCC to visit Barlaston to ascertain if the Methodist Hall can accommodate a Library
    • To investigate cost and feasibility of providing a reading box to the School.
  • Coronavirus risk impact (home working / isolation)

215      To note date of Next Meeting and determine agenda for the Annual Parish Meeting:

  • 14 April 2020 – Parish Council Meeting
  • 28 April 2020 – Annual Parish Meeting
    • Clerk to scope consultation for Play Areas – Meadow Road
    • Review projects undertaken in the Village
    • Provide overview of grant funding supplied
    • It was resolved to provide food @ £350 for the event.