Cllr P Fisher (Chairman), Clr D Bentley (Vice Chairman), Cllr A Hemming, Cllr V O’Dunne, Cllr S Tudor, Cllr E Adams-Elsmore, Cllr C Hurst, Cllr D Borasinki
Also In attendance:
Mrs K St Leger (Clerk)
7:15-7:30 Public Open Forum
Four members of the public were in attendance. The following items were raised
:Problems with parking on Longton Road due to the Milk Barn. It was noted as its worst a bus and an ambulance could not access the road. Everyone was supportive of the new venture and to resolve the issue various suggestions were put including parking in the field adjacent to the barn. Item to be added to the October agenda.
- School traffic along Longton Road. There has been an increase in parents utilising the gate at the lane off Longton Road. Cllr Adams-Elsmore has arranged a meeting with the school and is looking at setting up a walking bus scheme. It was noted the Church are looking to open for coffee mornings so parents could meet; concerns were raised this may exacerbate the parking issue on Station Road which is already proving a bottleneck. Item to be added to the October agenda.
- Issues accessing appointments at medical centre and the lack of GP’s. It takes on average 35 minutes to book an appointment and basic testing is no longer accessible. Clerk to arrange a meeting with the practice and feed back to the next PC meeting.
- Cannabis fly tipping – to date 3 instances have occurred around the village where large piles of waste material has been deposited. The Womblers have been liaising with Street Scene to get these removed, however there are serious concerns with regards to animals ingesting the waste as it is toxic. Notices to be published warning residents.
Cllrs Jones, Philpott and Dando sent their apologies, it was resolved to accept these.
74 Declarations of Interest – there were no declarations of interest
75 Written applications for dispensations under the Localism Act 2011 – there were no written applications for dispensation
76 Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council 6 July 2021 – the minutes of 6 July were accepted as a true record.
77 Matters arising from the meeting of 6 July 2021 and not otherwise on the agenda.
78 To receive updates and determine requests from the following Committees:
- Environmental Committee
- Canal Towpath works update – 40 tons of aggregate was laid to repair the towpath from Trentham to the Plume of Feathers by volunteers over a 4-day period. 5 Tons of topsoil was ordered, 3 tons were used to backfill the verges to improve drainage of the towpath. The remaining 2 tons were used to backfill the green by the goal posts. Malcolm Gray, the lead volunteer for the Canal & River Trust will be back in October to blow off the leaves to ensure this does not encourage growth on the towpath. The Parish Council thanked everyone for their involvement in the project.
- Hedge cutting on Village Green update – it was noted one resident had already cut their hedge. Cllr Hurst coordinated the remaining hedge cutting to ensure heavy plant was not used around the wicket gate area to safeguard the newly installed drainage. A programme of works was required for 2022.
- Drainage works on the main Village Green update – Works commenced around the wicket gate accessed by Vicarage Lane. A broken land drain adjacent to Green Cottage was identified. A 3m drainage pipe was installed and connected to the surface water drainage system. Water from around the top of the green started to dissipate immediately and resident along Vicarage Lane reported a marked improvement. A new manhole cover by the goal post is required and will be undertaken in the winter. The grids adjacent to the Vicarage are blocked, it was resolved for the Clerk to instruct the Lengthsman to clear these. The manhole adjacent to the memorial as been rodded, this drain crosses Station Road and enters the ditch on the wild green, this is now running freely. It was resolved for this to be undertaken annually. Works have now started on the wild play area; these have been hindered by a 3ft clay deposit previously left by builders. Total cost of works to date £2670, it was resolved for the Clerk to pay this.
- Joint Playing Fields Committee meeting date – no response from the Cricket Club to date.
79 Clerk’s Update Report – it was noted the items were on the main agenda and no formal report submitted.
80 Planning Application 21/33687/FUL described as proposed housing development between Brookhouse Drive and Old Road update. No decision has been made yet but believe this is imminent.
Cllr Tudor witnessed a survey being undertaken I the field behind Old Road by Westwood Development. It was noted the flooding issue in the field were worse than anticipated as it is used as an overflow for the two fishing lakes and the canal; there is no sluice or culvert to stop water coming into the field. The field is currently very wet and forms part of a flood plain. No formal notification of the findings has been published to date. It was resolved for the Clerk to raise these concerns with the Local Planning Authority.
81 Distribution of the ‘Welcome Back Fund’ by Stafford Borough Council. Following various attempts to get a formal response from the Borough Council it was resolved for the Clerk to raise a Freedom of Information request to determine how the decision for distributing funds was made.
82 Travellers Incident in Barlaston
Travellers arrived at the Upper House on Thursday 22 July, they then relocated to the Downs Car Park on Friday 23 July. The Clerk contacted bailiffs and instructed them to remove the travellers from site using a piece of common law legislation, this ensured the Parish did not need to undertake court action which would be a lengthy and costly process. The Police were happy with this approach and subsequently escorted them from site.
As the action required an immediate response the Clerk used Financial Clause 12.1 “Procedures as to contracts are laid down as follows: a) Every contract shall comply with these financial regulations, and no exceptions shall be made otherwise than in an emergency”. The total cost of removal was £840 plus VAT. It was resolved to approve the actions undertaken by the Clerk.
84 Chairman’s Allowance update – Following the departure of the Travellers, it was noted Cllr Hurst and his wife Marilyn cleared the site of the toxic waste and disinfected the area to enable the play site to be brought back online. Cllr Fisher presented them with a voucher for afternoon tea from his allowance as it was deemed they had gone above and beyond for the benefit of the village and visitors alike.
85 Staffordshire Police update
It was noted PCSO Heather Fearnall has replaced PCSO Sarah Fordham on a temporary basis and will be working with the Parish to address local issues.
Karl Green is the Engagement Officer at Stafford Borough Police Station. He has expressed an interest in sending a representative to Parish Council meetings.
86 Highways Issues:
A meeting was held with Mr David Norman from Speed Watch, Cllr Ian Parry and representatives of the Parish Council. Mr Norman has been liaising with Chief Inspector Files Parsons, Neighbourhood Policing Commander for Stafford Borough with regards to speeding in Barlaston, they undertook surveillance and only encountered a maximum speed of 50mph. It was noted they are not locating the vehicle in problematic areas. There was frustration that the Police did not consider the information gleaned from the Speed Indicator Devices as sufficient evidence which clearly identifies the extend of the problems in the village. It was resolved to invite Chief Inspector Parsons to the next meeting.
Other issues were discussed including parking on the corner of Meadow Road and Brookhouse Drive; speeding on Station Road / Old Road / Meaford Road and Longton Road; the walking bus scheme and issues encountered with parents driving on the track off Longton Road to access the School. Cllr Parry advised there were two issues which clearly needed addressing which was the safety of the children and the speeding issues.
The Clerk has written to Cllr Parry to ascertain if the County Council will be funding a flashing light for the school crossing, or whether this is something the Parish Council should look at and whether the County are investigating traffic calming measures for Longton Road. To date we are still awaiting a response.
Monthly report attached for our 3 devices.
Volumes of speeding thankfully remain lower than average due alongside the reduced traffic flow due to the roadworks on Meaford.
However, the maximum excesses remain high – twice the speed limit on Old Road & Station Road, but even worse on Meaford Road. For the 4th time in the last 5 months we’ve recorded speed in excess of 100 mph. This time 114 mph entering the village at 5-5:30pm Monday 5th July. It was noted one new volunteer had joined speed watch.
A question was raised with regards to whether the devices were calibrated, the Clerk to ascertain the details.
87 To note financial matters:
(a) Outcome of the External Audit – it was noted the external auditor Mazar’s had notified the Parish Council of another clear audit with no issue.
(b) Bank Reconciliation reports – were accepted as a true record.
(c) Payment Report July / August 2021 – It was resolved to approve the payments.
|SPCA Training Inv SI-198||50.00||0.00||002749|
|Staffordshire County Pension Fund July 2021||334.61||0.00||002750|
|Barlaston Community Group – Thank you event grant||250.00||0.00||002751|
|Salary / Expenses K St Leger August 2021||921.97||0.00||002752|
|Staffordshire County Pension Fund Aug 2021||310.76||0.00||002753|
|Longcliffe 14 July 2021 – 5 tons aggregate – canal works||470.00||94.00||BACS|
|Hosting Systems July – Voice over IP||10.00||2.00||DD|
|Informaton Commission – subscription||35.00||0.00||DD|
|Longcliffe 27 July 2021 – 5 tons aggregate – canal works||470.00||94.00||BACS|
|Zoom Video conferencing||11.99||2.40||DD|
|British Telecom – Broadband||26.66||5.33||D|
|Canprint – replacement COVID-19 sign||27.50||5.50||BACS|
|Rialtas Software – finance annual subscription||124.00||24.80||BACS|
|K St Leger salary & Expenses July 2021||1005.08||0.00||BACS|
|UK Bailiff Services – Removal of Travellers||840.00||168.00||BACS|
|Hosting Systems August 2021 Voice Over IP||10.00||2.00||DD|
|Buxus Green – Grounds Maintenance July 2021||995.83||0.00||BACS|
|Mazar LLP – External Audit Fees||300.00||60.00||BACS|
|Jackson Marquee Hire – Jubilee Event 2022||528.00||015.60||BACS|
|Buxus Green – Grounds Maintenance August 2021||995.83||0.00||BACS|
It was noted two additional payments were submitted for payment:
Stafford Borough Council @ £10 for lease of land
Stafford Borough Council @ £384 bin emptying April – June 2021
It was resolved to accept these.
88 Entertainment Committee recommendation – It was resolved to implement an Entertainment Committee. It was resolved Cllr Tudor would Chair, Cllrs O’Dunne, Bentley and Adams-Elsmore would form the Committee, members of the public would be co-opted to fulfil certain functions. A new code to be added to the finance system for 2022/23 onwards and envisaged an event would take place every two years, the first being the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 and the 130-year anniversary of the Parish Council in 2024. The Committee to look at the budget to be set aside to cover the associated costs.
It was noted the WI are already working on bunting for the Jubilee, as this would benefit the village, it was resolved for a grant application be submitted to cover material costs. Cllr Tudor to address this with the WI.
The Parish Council wished to make this a village affair and encourage local talent to participate, a number of suggestions were made.
The first meeting of the Committee to be held on 12 October via Zoom.
89 Lighting of a beacon to commemorate the Jubilee – The Clerk has asked the Clerk for Stone Rural if a beacon will be lit for the Jubilee, to date there has been no response It was noted RICS usually organised beacons, the Clerk to liaise with them to ascertain if they will be undertaking the lighting of the beacon on the Downs.
90 Lakewood Drive update
- JCB informed the Clerk that they unfortunately do not have the relevant equipment to undertake the works.
- Cllr Bentley updated the Parish Council with the Legal position to date. It appears land either side of Lakewood Drive was Fiskar’s responsibility, however it was not clear if the Drive was included. Cllr Hemming would liaise with Cllr Bentley to go through the current position.
91 Monthly Coffee Morning feedback:
- Increase in dog fouling on Barlaston Park and Diamond Ridge – The Clerk to liaise with Street Scene.
- GP concerns – when will availability be made available for face-to-face consultations? Problems were encountered with parking at their Trentham Practice especially for disabled, there is ample parking at Barlaston why aren’t they using this? Concerns would be raised by the Patients Group.
- Wildflower planting, this was looking unsightly.
- Grit on the road affecting motorcyclists using Rough Close roundabout, Hartwell Lane. This was reported online.
92 Implementation of Public WIFI in the Methodist Church – It was resolved to provided WIFI at the Methodist Church to benefit the residents. The Clerk to investigate solutions.
93 Barrier at the entrance to the Downs Car Park – Residents adjacent to the Downs Car Park requested a barrier be installed across the entrance to stop anti-social behaviour taking place. A number of issues were raised including the usage of the car park early in the mornings and later in the evening for legitimate activities; who would open / close the barrier, no assurances were given at the meeting to confirm this would be sufficiently covered; the cost to the residents of Barlaston.
The Clerk advised a number of Parish Councils who had barriers installed had either removed them or left them open due to aggressive and anti-social behaviour when their staff were trying to close the barriers in the evening. It was noted the Clerk had liaised with the Police and anti-social behaviour posters would be installed at the site warning users of the consequences if they failed to act responsibly.
Due to the concerns raised it was resolved not to install a gate.
94 Wild planting review – It was noted due to the unusual weather conditions that a large number of weeds had appeared in the flower beds, Cllr Hurst advised these would be removed by hand over the next couple of months and areas which hadn’t taken would be re-seeded. The beds would be cut around December to enable the flowers to re-seed ready for next year. It was also noted a request for a survey to be taken of the benefits of the flowers was requested at a cost of £100, it was resolved to accept this cost.
95 Village Strategy format and scope – The Clerk issued a Strategy Template and requested the Cllrs input prior to the next meeting.
96 Risk Assessment update
- Broken fence at the MUGA – as this was an immediate risk, the Clerk arranged for this to be repaired.
- Tree in the school playground – it was noted the large tree in the school playground was shedding large branches into neighbouring properties, concerns were raised that this could cause an injury to pupils who play beneath it. The Clerk has raised the concerns with the school but no response has been received.
- 2 dead trees on green off Meaford Road – these were reported to highways ref 4254404
- Overgrown hedges on Station Road – The Clerk has written to the owners requesting these be cut.
- Review of tree survey – it was noted the last tree survey was undertaken nearly 2 years ago; it was resolved for the Clerk to make arrangements for an up-to-date survey to be undertaken.
97 Grant application(s)
- The Community Group have submitted a request for £250 towards a ‘Thank You’ event taking place on 5 September 2021 towards entertainment costs. It was resolved to accept this application.
- Barlaston / Stone Guides requested a contribution towards a trip to Kenya in 2022. A number of Guides will be working with a school in Mombasa to renovate their building. No formal application has been received to date. It was resolved to review this application once formal paperwork has been received.
98 Planning Committee Recommendations
- Application Ref 21/34249/HOU at 1 Ivyhouse Drive, Barlaston described as alterations to existing garage and rear single storey extension. No objections were raised.
- Application Ref: 21/34398/HOU at Willow Lodge, 63 Longton Road, Barlaston described as replacement porch and two storey front extension. No objections were raised.
99 Stafford & Rural Homes (SARH) Development on Ivyhouse Drive – Cllr Bentley has been in contact with SARH who confirmed they are looking to progress works on the bungalows during 2022 with a 12 month build plan.
100 Items for inclusion in next month’s agenda
(a) Milk Barn parking issues
(b) Grant application Barlaston Strollers / Transport Scheme
101 Date of Next Parish Council Meeting – 5 October 2021
Meeting of the Sole Trustee – date to be confirmed.