04 July 2023 – Minutes of Barlaston Parish Council

posted in: Minutes 2023 | 0


Cllr P Fisher (Chairman), Cllr C Hurst, Cllr S Tudor, Cllr G Jones, Cllr J Dando, Cllr A Hemming

Also In attendance:

Mrs K St Leger (Clerk)

4 members of the public were in attendance.

7:15 – 7:30     Public Open Forum 

    • Concerns were raised with regards to the approved planning application at Meaford, evidence submitted by their consultant advised residents were spoken to at length and this is not the case. If the development brings in 3000 jobs to the area, the level of traffic will only exacerbate the issues already experienced on Meaford Road and throughout the village. Cllr Jones made strong representation to the Borough Planning Department with regards to the concerns raised. This was now being considered by the Secretary of State.
    • It was noted the Barlaston Community Group Facebook page had been targeted by an unknown faction who have set up a page with the same name. To address the issue the Community Group have Trade Marked Barlaston Community Group which is reflected on their page. Concerns are raised with regards to the level of threats made by this group to the Community Group, and that residents who have unknowingly joined this group may become subject to scams, believing their posts are legitimate.
  1. Apologies – Cllr’s Philpott and Borasinski sent their apologies, it was resolved to accept these.
  2. Declarations of Interest – there were no declarations of interest.
  3. Written applications for dispensations under the Localism Act 2011 – There were no written applications for dispensation.
  4. Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting 6 June 2023 – these were approved and duly signed by the Chairman.
  5. Matters arising from the meeting of 6 June 2023 and not otherwise on the agenda

Updates covered in the Clerk’s Report – see Appendix A

Reports from Councillors:

133       Implementation of electric charge points in the village (deferred)

49. Updates and actions regarding the following Committees:

    • Environmental Committee

Signage for the Wild Green following installation of new items (deferred)

It was noted the wildflowers were visible on the green at Meaford.

Cllrs Hurst and Fisher attended a Basic Tree Course in Derbyshire, it was noted under the Highways Act 1980 the Parish Council can write to residents to request trees or hedges overhanging the highway to be cut back, if they fail to act the Parish Council can undertake the works and charge the homeowner to cover the costs.

  1. To note financial matters:

            (a) The bank reconciliation reports were approved.

            (b) The schedule of payments report June 2023 were approved.


Expenditure – Standard NET VAT Payment
K St Leger – Salary / Expenses 1162.05 0.00 BACS
Staffordshire County Pension 389.21 0.00 BACS
Buxus Green – Inv202306– June Grass Cutting 1,050.00 0.00 BACS
HMRC – NI / PAYE 427.78 0.00 Cheque
Zoom – Video Conferencing Inv 2000162221 12.99 2.60 BACS
Derbyshire Assoc of Local Councils – Tree Training – inv SI-3854 280.00 0.00 BACS
Stafford Borough Council – Quarterly bin emptying – Inv 7070292682 361.90 72.38 BACS
Barlaston Cricket Club Grant – Smoking Bin 74.96 0.00 BACS
P Fisher – Chairman’s Allowance 300.00 0.00 BACS
P Fisher – Travelling Expenses 82 miles @ £0.45 mile 36.90 0.00 BACS
Staffordshire County Council – Quarterly Allotment Charge 1000106473 300.00 0.00 BACS
BT – Inv– Broadband Inv MM045 2A 15.18 3.03 DD
J Poultney – Planter refresh 475.00 0.00 Cheque
Pozitive Energy Gas inv 26181820233501147 99.28 4.96 DD
Pozitive Energy Electricity Inv 26181620233502420 117.41 5.87 DD
Income NET VAT Payment
Barlaston Village Hall – Utility Invoice 1906.08 0.00 BACS
Community Link Staffordshire – Return of duplicate payment 153.00 0.00 BACS
Staffordshire County Council – Grass Cutting Grant 3320.00 0.00 BACS
  1. Precept levels for 2024/25 to accommodate known projects / events including:
    • New Assets (bus shelter(s)) etc
    • Barlaston Parish Council 130th Anniversary Event
    • Meadow Road play equipment (subject to successful lease)
    • Neighbourhood Plan Review consultancy fees

Possible costings to be incurred need to be considered by October / November for budget setting for 2024/25.  Where required consultations will need to be undertaken, especially if the rise in precept is considerable.

  1. Village Hall Porch tender update – The Clerk noted the previous asbestos report undertaken in 2019 would not be suitable for contractors undertaking the works as it was out of date and not targeted. Cllr Borasinski believed the total cost of build would be in the region of £36k, which is in line with the Quantity Surveyor estimate from David Byatt of around £40k. This means the tender needs to go through the Government Tender route which is quite complex. There were still a few questions which needed answering before the Clerk can commence the process, including whether there was a requirement for any damage incurred by the contractors to be covered in the tender, which could incur around a 5% uplift in costs to offset any liability, given the size of build it was felt this was unnecessary.
  2. Co-option process of Councillor vacancy – The Clerk would advertise the position, the results to be presented at the August meeting.
  3. Appointment of replacement Clerk including formation of an interview panel – It was resolved Cllrs Fisher, Dando and Tudor would form the interview panel. The Clerk and Cllr Dando would review the questions prior to the interview, which was set for Thursday 13 July 2023 at 2pm. If the interview was successful, the applicant would be appointed. Failure to appoint would result in the Clerk readvertising the position.
  4. Wedgwood Bowl recipient – Several names were submitted for consideration by Cllrs; however, it was felt the Parish Clerk would be a fitting recipient for works undertaken in the village during her tenure. This was unanimously agreed. Names submitted who were unsuccessful will be considered next year.
  5. Inscriptions and costings for the Chairman’s Chain of Office and possible Chain of Office for the Vice Chairman – dates for the Chairman’s Chain of Office to be investigated. The chain for the Vice Chairman to be delayed and added to the list of possible expenditure for 2024/25.
  6. Lakewood Drive update – A contractor attended site to quote for the residential element of Lakewood Drive, however this was several weeks ago, and no response has been received to date. The Clerk would supply a link to a tendering website.  There was still no update with regards to the non-residential element of Lakewood Drive.
  7. Landlord & Landlady of the Duke of York departure – It was noted the pub was now vacant, however the Parish Council wised to thank the departing Landlord and Landlady for their contribution to the village during their tenure.
  8. August meeting – It was resolved to hold a meeting on 1 August 2023 to address outstanding issues prior to the Clerk’s departure.
  9. Risk Assessment updates and determine actions:
  • Rialtas Cloud – Training to be provided to the new Clerk
  • Resilience training to cover office duties – to be determined following the appointment of the new Clerk.
  1. Grant application(s)

It was resolved to grant Brindsley Avenue £150 towards their Friday coffee mornings.  It was also resolved to pay for the hire of the Methodist Church for the monthly coffee morning @ £20 per month for the duration of the hosting of the event.

  1. Planning issue(s) and outcomes:
  • Planning Application Reference 23/37416/HOU at The Cottage, The Green, Barlaston – described as 2 storey side extension. It was noted that this planning application was approved by delegated decision. Cllr Jones advised he did call this application in; however, it was missed by the Planning Department and had received an apology accordingly. They noted that the application would have been approved anyway. The Parish Council deemed this maladministration and requested the Clerk to approach the CEO of the Borough Council to see what course of action they can take to redress this issue, as the Parish Council had agreed to appoint the Planning Consultant to make representation to fight this application.
  • Planning Application Reference 23/37510/HOU at The Conifers, Bedcroft, Barlaston described as proposed extensions, garage conversion and car port. The Parish Council noted the concerns of the neighbouring properties, however after studying the application could find no grounds for refusal under planning guidelines, therefore the Parish Council had no objections to this planning application.
  1. To receive items for inclusion in next agenda
    • Parish Council Strategy
  2. Date of next meeting(s) – 1 August 2023


 Clerk’s Report July 2023

92        Highway updates

The date of the visit by Cllr Parry has not been confirmed, the Clerk has chased for an update.

161       Wedgwood Memorial College – No further update has been received to date.

195       Land at Meadow Road lease – Due to the increase in the cost of advertising the lease due to inactivity from the Borough, the Parish Council refused to pay the additional fees.  The Clerk has chased for a progress update but to date hasn’t received a reply.

214       Cricket Club Lease – The information has been submitted to Wooliscroft’s Solicitors; this is based on a 40 year extension to the existing lease with an increased peppercorn rent of £5.

221       Neighbourhood Plan review – There has been no movement to date with regards to the Government releasing new funding to review the NP.  Our Planning Consultant will update us when this has changed.

119       Replacement noticeboard on Barlaston Park – The Clerk has again approached Fiskars with regards to them collecting the posts which are at the Methodist Church, and the methodology to deliver the noticeboard currently held by our ground’s maintenance contractor to their premises.  No response has been received.

134       Bus stop shelter outside Orchard Place – Chris Roberts has been approached to provide a quotation for a timber bus shelter as per the one on Station Road, which he previously made.  However, there are still concerns that the funding availability for projects this year is limited and ideally this needs to be deferred to next year’s budget. This recommendation was accepted.

135       Drainage issues on the green (below the war memorial) – A date is still awaited to undertake the works.

7          Banking Arrangements – To be addressed upon the appointment of the new Clerk. Cllr Fisher’s name to be added to the mandate and the previous Clerk’s details to be removed.

20        Upgrade of SID devices to Solar – Approval was granted to upgrade the three devices to Solar, however Mr Norman has advised the posts will need to be upgraded to take the additional weight, prices are awaited. The original SID need batteries which are now on order.

21        Flashing Speed Sign / Crossing Patrol Officer – The School are in receipt of the 4 safety speed figures; these were being used outside the School to prevent parents from parking outside the gates. It was agreed with the Head Teacher that these will be placed on Station Road and a number of parking barriers will be delivered to the School for the gates.

The Head Teacher will advertise the position of Crossing Patrol Officer on their Social Media Accounts, this would be ideally suited to a parent who has children at the School. Until a Crossing Patrol Officer is appointed, a flashing speed sign cannot be installed.

54        Reduce dog fouling on the Cricket Pitch – Saul Hocking from Stafford Borough advised that dogs on leads cannot be enforced here basically because it’s not in the councils PSPO order, the landowner can put up signs but that’s all he can suggest.

However, they can do something about the dog fouling, they would require times / dates and description of persons and dogs that are causing the issue, they would then try and catch the culprits.

Details have been forwarded to the Cricket Club.

59        Use of Personal Emails – The alternative options are expensive and varied, and some tie into websites (this option has been looked at previously and discounted). Further research is required. It was felt this should be managed by the new Clerk.