05 October 2021 – Barlaston Parish Council Minutes

posted in: Minutes 2021 | 0


Cllr P Fisher (Chairman), Cllr D Bentley (Vice Chairman), Cllr S Tudor, Cllr E Adams-Elsmore, Cllr C Hurst, Cllr D Borasinski, Cllr G Jones, Cllr E Philpott, Cllr J Dando

Also In attendance

Mrs K St Leger (Clerk)

7:15-7:30 Public Open Forum

One member of the public was in attendance, the following items were raised:

  • Windflowers on the green.
  • Village Hall works / Sole Trustee meeting. Cllr Fisher advised the revised drawings for the porch were still awaited, as soon as we are in receipt a meeting would be scheduled. It was agreed this would be held in the Village Hall.

7:15 – 7:30 Public Open Forum

102 Apologies – Cllr’s Hemming and O’Dunne sent their apologies, it was resolved to accept them.

103 Declarations of Interest – Cllr Bentley declared an interest in item 92, public WIFI provision.

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

105 Minutes of the Parish Council 7 September 2021 – It was resolved to accept these as a true record.

106 Matters arising from the meeting of 7 September 2021 and not otherwise on the agenda

It was noted a suggestion for twinning Barlaston with Helsinki, Finland (Fiskars HQ) was submitted, the item to be added to the November agenda.

92 Public WIFI in the Methodist Church, it was noted Cllr Bentley has arranged free WIFI through a grant scheme via his Company DWB Media.  This offer is also available for other organisations in Barlaston wishing to host Public WIFI, this has been forwarded to the Village Hall Committee for consideration.  The Parish Council thanked Cllr Bentley. It was noted the system would be installed on 6 October in the Methodist Church.

94 Wildflower Planting update – It was noted the college survey request on the benefits of the flower mix has not been submitted yet as the students have just returned for the new term. The Lengthsman is scheduled to start work on the beds pulling out the long weeds; the beds will be cut back to ground level in December. It was noted a number of complaints had been received by Cllrs from the residents. Cllr Hurst advised this was a long-term project. It was suggested we take steps to obtain the maximum number of flowers, including the introduction of yellow rattle to keep the weeds down and the introduction of native flowers. It was resolved to defer the item to the November meeting.  

95 Parish Council Strategy Update – Cllr Hemming submitted a strategy plan for consideration, it was resolved to defer this item until the next meeting when Cllr Hemming would be in attendance but were happy to look at this approach.

107 Committee updates:

  • Environmental Committee
  • Drainage works on the Village Green / Wild Play area – these are now complete. The Wild Play area just needs to be re-seeded.  The outfall at the bottom of the green needs to be addressed next.
  • Joint Playing Fields Committee update – A meeting was held on Sunday 3 October, however only Cllr Fisher was in attendance from the Parish Council. It was noted Cllr Jones was omitted from the invitation as Borough Councillor. 

108 Planning application 21/33687/FUL update – Cllr Jones advised the Local Planning Authority (LPA) are still mindful to refuse the application.

The Clerk noted a Staffordshire Parish Council is in the process of taking their Local Planning Authority (LPA) to the High Court for approving 5 affordable houses in the green belt, the barrister appointed believes they have a strong case as they are in breach of the NPPF guidelines.  The Clerk will monitor progress. 

The Clerk has made Staffordshire County Council (as the Lead Water Authority) aware of the additional flooding issues. They are now awaiting the LPA to update them accordingly.

109 ‘Welcome Back Fund’ distribution update – The Clerk submitted a Freedom of Information request to ascertain what process was used in distributing the funds. The date for a reply is not due until 21 October. 

110 Highways update:

    • Speed Watch – Mr David Norman issued the latest statistics.  It was noted are also awaiting an update meeting with Cllr Ian Parry, it is hoped the Chief Inspector will attend. 
    • Parking on Meadow Road & Brookhouse Drive – This is not considered a priority by Highways, it is recommended the Clerk liaise with the PCSO to address this.
    • Track along Longton Road accessing the School – The Head Teacher has published an article to parents stating the observations of the residents is not true.  This has caused further hostilities between the residents and parents. The recommendation for the school is to continue to use the track.  There is no mention of the Walking Bus Scheme. 
    • Walking Bus Scheme – Cllr Adams-Elsmore attended a meeting with the Head Teacher and confirmed two routes had been approved, the risk assessment by Staffordshire County Council (SCC) is scheduled for 8 November.  Route 1 is from the Plume car park; Route 2 is from Wedgwood past the milk barn.  SCC will provide the relevant hi-viz.  Parents will be trained to undertake bus duties.  A meeting has been scheduled at the school on 19 October for parents to find out what is involved. A request has been made for 4 parking buddy signs encouraging parents not to park in certain areas, the school will put these out and take them back in.   The School are happy to open up early to facilitate the scheme however they have advised they were not in a position to fund a breakfast club.  Cllr Adams-Elsmore will be running the breakfast club and participating in the walking bus scheme and is to Chair the PTA.  Cllr Hurst advised Stone Rotary may be in a position to fund the breakfast club. 
  • Milk Barn parking issues – The Farm noted the concerns raised by the residents. They advised this occurred during bank holidays and following the Sentinel article as it was a new concept. They believe footfall will even out. There is sufficient parking for 11 vehicles which is sufficient 90% of the time.  To address residents’ concerns they close the milk barn on Sundays and early evening at 7pm. The farm also experiences issues of residents parking at the junctions to the farm and would support double yellow lines on both sides of Vicarage Lane to Queen Mary’s Drive.  The Clerk has asked if suitable signage could be installed as visitors are queuing and blocking access to the car park spaces. 

111 Financial matters:

(a) Financial Regulation 4.5 – The Clerk submitted a request to change Standing Orders to include an emergency legal fund of £3,000 signed off by the Clerk in conjunction with the Chairman in light of the recent Traveller incident.  It was resolved to accept this change. 

(b) Bank reconciliation reports – it was resolved to accept these. 

(c) Schedule of payments report September 2021 – It was resolved to accept these.

Expenditure NET VAT Cheque
K St Leger Salary / Expenses 1105.36 0.00 002756
Staffordshire County Pension Fund 379.90 0.00 002757
Barlaston Methodist Church – Room Hire – Inv 146 650.00 0.00 002758
Mainwaring Roberts – Works on Wild Play Area – Inv 0448 1459.00 0.00 002759
Stafford Borough Council – Bin Emptying July – Sept Inv 7070288754 320.00 64.00 002760
Buxus Green – Grass Cutting Inv 202109 995.83 0.00 002762
ROSPA Play Safety – Annual inspection play areas – Inv 58738 137.00 27.40 002763
Hosting Systems – Voice over IP Inv 61863 10.00 2.00 DD
Zoom Video Conferencing – Inv109693466  11.99 2.40 DD
BT – Broadband – Inv  26.66 5.33 DD
SPCA training – Explore Chairmanship inv SI-459 50.00 0.00 002764
SPCA CILCA training – Inv SI-406 250.00 0.00 002765
SPCA – Councillor Fundamentals inv SI-411 25.00 0.00 002766
HMRC July – Sept 2021 258.46 0.00 002767
Canprint Inv 31265 – Heron printing / distribution 1950.00 0.00 002768
Barlaston Volunteer Scheme First Aid Training Grant 270.00 0.00 002769
Barlaston Strollers – First Aid Training Grant 175.00 0.00 002770
Barlaston Cricket Club fireworks Grant 500.00 0.00 002771

112 CILCA report from Clerk – It was resolved to accept the recommendation. 

113 Parish Councillor School Governor representation update – The Head Teacher noted 

‘We do not have the LA position available, and I reiterate the message from my chair of governors from yesterday, that we are not obliged to have a parish representative on our governing body. Should we wish to, it will be our decision as to who we appoint, and when.’ 

The response from the school was disappointing.

114 Platinum Jubilee Event planning – Cllr Tudor raised the issue with the WI, due to the cost of materials it was recommended the Parish Council purchased off the shelf bunting.  The Clerk and Cllr Hurst to determine the lengths required. 

115 Lighting of a beacon to commemorate the Jubilee – Cllr Jones agreed to liaise with Stone Rural to ascertain if they are participating.

116 GP provision in Barlaston – Brindsley Avenue issued a comprehensive response to the issues raised by the Parish Council (Appendix A).  It was resolved to post the information in the noticeboards for residents to see.

Cllr Dando highlighted the pressures the hospitals and GP’s are under. The use of technology is making a difference with virtual consultations.  She was approached by the Lord Mayor of Stoke and asked how she felt he was doing; it may be a means to broker a discussion with them. 

117 Western Power issues on Meaford Road – The reported issues have now been resolved. However, it has been noted that the SLOW road marking has been partially obscured which needs to be addressed. The Clerk to liaise with Highways.

118 Lakewood Drive – Fiskars advised they did own Lakewood Drive originally, but it was sold in the 1950’s, along with the housing stock to Stone Rural District Council. They only own the grass verges in front of the housing estate.  The Clerk went back to Fiskars to advise Lakewood Drive was omitted from the sale and therefore must still be under their ownership.  No further update has been received.

A meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 7 October 2021 at the Wedgwood Cricket Club. Cllr Parry and a representative from Fiskars will be in attendance. 

119 Monthly Coffee Morning update – The format has changed which seemed to have a detrimental impact on the attendance. No issues were forthcoming.

120 Risk Assessment update and determine actions

  • MUGA – works were undertaken to repair the broken fence.
  • Tree is School Playground – Cllr Adams-Elsmore noted the tree had been cordoned off.
  • 2 dead trees Meaford Road – Staffordshire County Council have been informed. It was resolved for the Lengthsman to remove the trees and a couple of saplings be planted to replace these.
  • Wild Play Area / MUGA ROSPA Reports – Both sites passed their RoSPA inspections. The MUGA needs moss / leaves clearing and could do with being re-painted.  Cllr Fisher suggested brightly coloured panels could be applied to the sides to make it more inviting. It was resolved for the Clerk to investigate.
  • Tree survey – The request has been submitted to NJC along with the request for a quotation to undertake and suggested works. The cost of the survey is £336.00.
  • Hedge overhanging Station Road – Nothing has been received from the owners of the site.
  • Farm waste on roads – Slurry has been reported on Tittensor Road, the Clerk has submitted a document to one of the homeowners stating the landowner’s responsibility, she will add it to the website.  Where there is a H&S risk, Staffordshire County Council will visit site, detailed information along with photographs submitted to the ‘Report It’ link on their website will prove advantageous.  In this instance Cllr Hurst visited the homeowner along with the landowner, who swept the site.  The residents thanked Cllr Hurst for his assistance.
  • Lights on the tree on the green – it was noted these were still hanging down and needed removing as a matter of urgency.  Cllr Hurst will liaise with the electrician. 

121 Grant application(s) 

  • Barlaston Strollers – 1st Aid Training for coordinators @ £175 – it was resolved to accept this request.
  • Barlaston Volunteers Car Scheme – 1st Aid Training for drivers @ £270 – it was resolved to accept this request.
  • Barlaston Cricket Club – Annual Firework Display @ £500 – it was resolved to accept this request.

122 Planning Issues:

Planning Consultation / Scoping 21/34883/ESS – Solar Panel Farm Application – Land South of The Rockery. It was noted the application was not yet available for consultation, as soon as this was submitted to the Parish Council we can deal with it accordingly. 

123 Items for inclusion in next month’s agenda 

  • Provision of Cycle Safety Training
  • Ground works on Barlaston Park / Meaford
    • Treat / remove weeds in the curb lines and paths in Barlaston Park 
    • Lawn Edging on Barlaston Park 
    • Edging on Meaford Road
  • National Trust Signs on Down’s gates
  • Twinning Barlaston with Helsinki

124 Date of next meeting Parish Council Meeting – 2 November 2021


Appendix A


The concerns raised are as follows: 

  1. There is a lack of GP’s at the practice, positions seem to be filled by locums who do not know patient history.  Is this going to be resolved?

GP’s at Brinsley Avenue Practice recruit to Locums to help support our GP’s in times of sickness, Annual leave and Maternity leave. As you can understand without cover from Locums this would be extremely difficult to cover GP’s who fall sick, take time out to have a holiday or plan to have a baby. Our locums that we recruit too are long standing GP’s who are fully qualified GP’s they have full access to our patient records and their care history. Unfortunately due to ever changing times no patient has a ‘set’ GP that they see. A GP is allocated to a patient of which is available on the day. There has never been a ‘lack of GP’ presence, we have adequate clinicians for each day. It has however been more apparent over the last 12 months that we have had long standing locums due to cover for 2 female GP’s who have been on their Maternity leave alongside our Senior GP Partner who has bravely been off due to a battling a personal illness.  The locums in question however are local to other practices within the area and have built up rather a good rapport with our patients. I feel that this is something that the residents of Barlaston do mention frequently having feedback from our reception team however as I hope that you can understand and also offer a level of empathy GP’s are also human beings and are allowed to become ill (unfortunately) alongside taking some well-deserved R and R and of course start a family of their own if they wish too.  

2. On average it takes approx. 35 minutes to get through and make an appointment 

Due to the current pandemic and ever so increasing demand upon general practice, the phone lines are forever increasing. We have audit reports monitoring our phone lines on a weekly basis and at present our average waiting time is between 25-30 minutes. We are unable to change the demand coming into the practice due to present times, the pandemic is something that is out of our hands. However we have tried to cut down on the flow of calls coming into the practice, for example asking patients now to post their prescriptions (if they are able to) rather than waiting on the telephone to order their prescription. We also have a queuing system which allows the patient to know their place in the queue. We are also always reviewing ways in which we can improve our telephone system, therefore this system is something that is always being looked on for improvement.  

3. There is a limited service being run from Barlaston, when patients are sent to Trentham there is limited or no parking available. This is particularly difficult for disabled residents.  There is ample parking at Barlaston and questions have been asked about why this is not being utilised. 

Brinsley Avenue Practice is a practice that runs from both sites, they are not separate due to the fact that they are in another location. I can assure you that every day the clinical rooms at Barlaston are being utilized with either a Practice Nurse clinic, a midwife clinic and also a GP is present at the site every day. With regards to the parking at Trentham we are aware that this has always been an issue however we ask that patients when arriving for their appointment please respect the residents and to park where suitable. For our less mobile patients we do try and accommodate them and risk assess them via their consultations, for example if the patient was seen at Trentham we would always make sure that they are seen on the ground floor and not a clinical room upstairs.  

4. Simple tests including blood tests are not being undertaken at the practice which means vulnerable residents are having to travel across Stoke to access these services.  Is this going to change?

 Blood tests at the practice is something that we haven’t always delivered. Our CCG expect us to deliver a maximum of hours per week, again this is something that we as a practice have recently agreed to further forward as an Enhanced Service to our patients. Remembering that Prior to this service patients were directed to community services for bloods. However we have been recently instructed by our local CCG to stop any routine blood tests, this is due to an international supply disruption with blood bottles. This is a global shortage and completely out of our hands. Immediate action was to cancel all of our routine blood clinics and to prioritise urgent blood tests only. We are still yet to receive a date when we are able to resume our services. However when this does resume again as per instruction via our CCG we are only committed to a maximum amount of hours per week, anything over that amount and we direct patients to our community services.   

5. A 95 year old resident was asked to visit the Barlaston site and ring the bell upon arrival.  She rang what she thought was the bell, however there are two bells on he door and she rang the wrong one.  For people with deteriorating eye site / difficulty reading this needs to be addressed.  The lady in question sat in her car for 45 minutes waiting for someone to notice her.  

Whilst I am unable to comment on individual cases due to patient confidentiality any complaints of this type we do take very seriously and patients will receive a full investigation and are replied to in an appropriate time. 

 6. Test results, there appears to be no follow up procedure in place.  

Regarding test results, it is for the patients responsibility to chase up any test result that they undertake. I know that different practices have different procedures and this is ours currently. Patients are always given helpline numbers if this is through another service. 

7. When we originally worked with Brinsley Avenue before you signed up for provision of services in Barlaston, it was believed you would be moving the Trentham practice to Barlaston, due to a limited lease left on the Trentham building, has this now changed?   

Any future impacts to the patients of Brinsley Avenue (Trentham and Barlaston) shall be circulated if there is any direct impact on services or care to our patients. Notices are always placed on our website and updated regular to ensure that patients are kept up to date where necessary.