11 January 2022 – Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

posted in: Minutes 2022 | 0


Cllr P Fisher (Chair)

Cllr D Bentley (Vice Chairman)

Cllr S Tudor

Cllr E Adams-Elsmore

Cllr C Hurst

Cllr G Jones

Cllr J Dando

Cllr A Hemming

Cllr V O’Dunne 

Also In attendance:

Mrs K St Leger (Clerk)

7:15-7:30 Public Open Forum – No members of the Public were in attendance.

149       Apologies – Cllr’s Philpott and Borasinski sent their apologies, it was resolved to accept these.

150       Declarations of Interest – Cllr’s Dando and Bentley declared an interest in item 118; Cllr Jones declared an interest in item 166 as President of the Barlaston Bowling & Tennis Club.

151       Written applications for dispensations under the Localism Act 2011 – there were no written applications for dispensation.

152       Minutes of the Parish Council 2 November 2021

Cllr Jones rejected the minutes of the 2 November advising an item discussed under ‘items for inclusion in the next agenda’ was omitted.  It was proposed Cllr Borasinski be appointed as Chairman of the Sole Trustee replacing Cllr Fisher. Cllr Jones advised the item was proposed was seconded and subsequently adopted by the Parish Council and noted under Standing Orders Section 10 it states that motions may be moved at a meeting without written notice to the proper officer this includes the ability to:

  • Move to a vote
  • To appoint a person to preside at a meeting

The Clerk advised that at the end of the meeting she informed the Council that the appointment could not stand as the item was not on the agenda, however it would be added to the next meeting agenda.

Cllr Jones requested the information discussed at the meeting be included in the minutes, the Clerk advised that only resolutions needed to be recorded.  The Clerk also clarified the legal position with regards to the resolution quoting Longfield Parish Council vs Write (1918) 88LJ Ch 119 whereby the Judge summarised the finding as “a Council cannot lawfully decide any matter which is not specified in the summons”.  Any decision made without a clear agenda item is unlawful.  This is supported by the Local Government Act 1972, Sch 12, Para 10(2)(b).

153       Matters arising from the meeting of 2 November 2021 and not otherwise on the agend

95        Parish Council Strategy update – Cllr Hemming advised the information required to support the Strategy was not due for release until March, it was resolved to defer the item until then.

115       Lighting of a beacon to commemorate the Jubilee – Cllr Jones advised the latest meeting with Stone Rural was not due to take place until Thursday 13 January. They are going to do something, but it is not clear at this stage what that will be.

It was noted a letter had been issued by the Lieutenancy Office regarding the lighting of buildings. Cllr Hemming would approach the owners of Barlaston Hall to see if they would be willing to participate.

118       Lakewood Drive update – Cllrs Dando & Bentley advised the scheduled December meeting was cancelled.  Cllr Parry has reported the County Council’s Legal Unit were retrieving some documents which may be relevant.  A further meeting is scheduled for 26 January at 18:30 at Wedgwood Cricket Club to maintain the pressure.

It was noted some residents in Stafford reported their cul-de-sac had not been adopted however it was subsequently found to be the responsibility of the County Council for maintenance.

131       Planning application 21/33687/FUL described as proposed housing development between Brookhouse Drive and Old Road update

It is noted the Planning Application is scheduled to go to a planning meeting in February to determine the outcome.

134       Twinning with Fiskars, Finland – Cllr Hemming had a meeting with Fiskars who confirmed Fiskars the Village would be interested in entering into a Twinning agreement with Barlaston.  Another suggestion would be to twin with Waterford however this may prove more complex as it would involve their Tourist Board.

There is no official body managing Twinning, it is something we would want to do.

Cllr Jones advised Stafford Borough is twinned with 5 towns from Germany, Spain, France, USA and Poland.  However, several of these are no longer active.

Cllr Hemming agreed to drive this forward.  It was resolved for Cllrs to submit suggestions / benefits / ideas to Cllr Hemming.

136       Ground works on Barlaston Park / Meaford Road update

The Clerk confirmed all works had now been completed and feedback from residents had been positive.

137       Emergency gate access on the Downs update – the Clerk advised there had been no update on this issue.

139       Dog fouling campaign Barlaston Park, Diamond Ridge & Silver Ridge – As there has been no feedback from residents it was resolved to remove this item from the agenda.

154       Committees updates / resolutions:

  • Environmental Committee
    • The car park works are being undertaken.
    • A request was submitted to purchase yellow rattle seed (these would be planted in seed trays for propagation prior to planting out), wild poppy and cornflower seeds. It was resolved to approve a budget of £150 to cover the cost.
    • Regarding the planting of trees, Cllr Hurst had approached the Upper House and several farmers to see if they would be supportive of planting trees, the response to date was positive.
    • It was noted the drainage issue on the green appeared to have been resolved following the recent drainage works. It was also noted flooding issues previously reported on Vicarage Lane were now also resolved.
    • The Canal & River Trust were looking for volunteers for a working party on 26 January, the Clerk had published details on the Facebook page. They are seeking funding for the procurement of trees from Staffordshire County Council, these will be planted within the hedgerows.
    • A zoom meeting to be scheduled.
  • Entertainment Committee
    • Due to the timing of the Platinum Jubilee event on 4 June 2022, a meeting is required to run through the budget for sign off at the February meeting.
    • Items which need confirmation:
      • Road Closure notice – Clerk to make the necessary arrangements. Cost around £1.5k. Due to timings it was resolved to accept this cost.
      • Arrange for St John’s to be in attendance
      • Possible lighting of the marquee
      • A generator
    • Cllr Tudor advised:
      • Mrs Moran had commenced making bunting for the inside of the Village Hall.
      • Mr Tony Dodd was happy to participate in the entertainment.
      • Charlotte Davies was willing to sing.
      • Shadow Man who plays acoustic guitar will participate.
      • Clerk to request the Fire Brigade to be in attendance as a static display if they are available
    • The shuttle bus previously used to ferry residents from around the village to the green to be investigated.
    • Cllr Adams-Elsmore confirmed the School will be attending and have a stall.
    • The Clerk confirmed the market will be in attendance and entertainment has been booked for the day and the evening. A Company has been approached to undertake the food. The WI will be in the Village Hall supplying refreshments.
    • A suggestion for planting a tree for the Platinum Jubilee was raised.
    • At previous Jubilee events free items were issued as a commemoration, ideas were discussed but no viable options were agreed.
  • Finance Committee – Clerk to arrange a Zoom meeting.
  • HR Committee – Clerk to arrange a Meeting

155       Highways update:

  • Speed Watch (figures distributed). Comments from Mr David Norman were as follows:
    • After a quieter (one-off) prior month the Meaford Road speeding has, unfortunately, again increased.
  • Whilst the volumes of excessive speed (thankfully) remain generally low on Station Road & Old Road we did record a speed of 89 mph coming into Barlaston on the latter! This was just after 12 noon on Tuesday 7th December. A good job nobody was pulling out of Brookhouse Drive!
  • Speeding on Station Road / Old Road / Meaford Road / Longton Road – The Clerk has approached the new Police & Crime Commissioner with regards to installing speed cameras, we have received an acknowledgement of our email and are awaiting his comments. We are still awaiting confirmation from Highways with regards to the installation of a flashing sign adjacent to the Crossing Patrol Officer, the Clerk to chase.
  • Walking Bus Scheme – Cllr Adams-Elsmore advised it was disappointing that the School had decided not to implement the walking bus scheme due to COVID-19, this will be reviewed again in March 2022.
  • 20’s Plenty for Staffordshire – The Clerk has confirmed to the County Council we support this initiative.

156       To note financial matters:

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

(b) Schedule of payments report November / December 2021 – The Clerk noted there was a duplication of invoice for Buxus Green, this had been removed.

(c) Precept for 2022/23 – The Clerk advised she had not received the figures from the Borough Council which meant the detailed budget figures could not be formalised. The Cllrs resolved to increase the Precept by 1.5% to cover the increase in costs.  The Clerk to inform the Borough Council.

(d) Audit position following resignation of Alan Topliss – The Cllrs resolved to accept Kim Squires as Alan’s replacement.  Kim had been trained by Alan to undertake this role and had worked with Alan on the last two Audit assessments.

(e) Ground maintenance tender for 2022/2023 – Due to the impact of COVID-19, it was resolved to suspend Standing Orders and retain Buxus Green for another 12 months. A formal tender exercise would be undertaken at the end of 2022 / beginning 2023.

Expenditure NET VAT Cheque
Hosting Systems – Voice over IP – Inv 63391 10.00 2.00 DD
Zoom Video Conferencing – Inv120032040 11.99 2.40 DD
BT – Broadband – Inv MO27OX 26.66 5.33 DD
Grass cutting grant – 50% contribution 1346.40 0.00 002779
Royal British Legion Grant 350.00 0.00 002780
J Poultney basket maintenance inv 147 155.00 0.00 002781
K St Leger, Pension contribution (shortfall error) 54.96 0.00 002782
Rural Services Network Annual Subscription inv RMTG/21/076 45.83 9.17 002783
K St Leger, Salary & Expenses 944.92 0.00 BACS
Staffordshire County Pension Fund 310.76 0.00 002784
Buxus Green – Inv 02111 – Ground works Meaford Rd/Barlaston Park 4370.83 0.00 BACS
Hosting Systems – Voice over IP – Inv 64157 10.00 2.00 DD
Zoom Video Conferencing – INV124922145 11.99 2.40 DD
BT – Broadband – Inv MO284J 26.66 5.33 DD
K St Leger, Salary & Expenses 919.99 0.00 BACS
Microsoft annual subscription 59.99 0.00 PAYPAL
Staffordshire County Pension Fund 310.76 0.00 002785
Buxus Green Grounds Maintenance – December Inv 202111/1 995.83 0.00 002786
Catalyst2 – Domain renewal barlaston.org.uk – 5yr term – Inv 276180 59.00 11.80 PAYPAL
CPRE annual subscription 36.00 0.00 BACS
HMRC NI/PAYE 181.32 0.00 002787
Stafford Borough Council – Bin emptying 1 Oct – 31 Dec inv 7070289256 320.00 64.00 002788
Income NET VAT N/A
HMRC VAT 2442.44 0.00 BACS

157       Village book of Thanks – It was resolved to contribute up to £50 for the compilation of the Book of Thanks.  The Church and Community Group would also contribute.  The Parish Council will be the custodian of the book for posterity.

158       Grounds Maintenance Contract for 2022/2023 – See 156(e)

159       Communication update from Brindsley Avenue – Cllrs Tudor and Dando updated the Council following a patients group meeting.  Cllr Tudor will liaise with Brindsley Avenue to ascertain what information (if any) we could share with the residents of Barlaston.  It was disappointing that the Practice requested the removal of the information posted in the box at Orchard Place as there was no breach of GDPR and the information was informative.

160       Free Trees from Woodland Creation – The Clerk reiterated that the minimum order quantity we can take is 150 which may prove problematic.  An alternative source would be from the Woodland Trust.

161       Wedgwood Memorial College Arboretum – It was resolved for the Parish Council to approach Royal Pilgrim to discuss the future of the Arboretum.

162       Appointment of Chairman of the Sole Trustee – Cllr Fisher advised this item will be addressed at the separate Sole Trustee Meeting, however Cllr Jones expressed concern there may not be time to hold the Sole Trustee Meeting, he also noted Cllr Borasinski was not in attendance.

Cllr Jones reiterated that Cllr Borasinski was under the impression that he had been voted in as Chair of the Sole Trustee following the November meeting as the item was proposed and seconded at the meeting and a resolution made. The Clerk advised that she emailed Cllr Borasinski following the meeting clarifying the legal position and that no resolution took place. Two Cllrs who were at the November stated they believed they had been voting for the replacement of the Chairman of the Village Hall Committee and two other Cllrs could not recall the item being discussed.

Cllr Fisher advised based on the legal ruling the item needed to be on the agenda and as this had already been ruled as unlawful the resolution cannot stand.

The Clerk quoted the Charity Commission Constitution which states the Chair of the Parish Council is the Chair of the Sole Trustee, until such time it is changed.  She had a meeting with the Auditor who confirmed this was the case. Any amendments to the Constitution would need to be submitted to the Charity Commission for ratification.

Cllr Fisher asked Cllr Jones why he was recommending the change of Chairmanship as under his tenure there had been many benefits including the installation of new gates, the installation of the new clock tower, the provision of two new sheds, the resolution of the flooding issues to the front of the building, he also instigated the implementation of the Tennant / Landlord agreement which meant the Village Hall Committee only paid for wear and tear and upgrades, whereby they would have been liable for the full building maintenance costs under the Constitution.

Cllr Jones advised there had been a breakdown in communication between the Village Hall Committee and the Sole Trustee.  Cllr Fisher advised Cllr Bentley had been appointed by the Sole Trustee to perform the liaison role, however Cllr Bentley had been removed off the Village Hall Committee and not been invited to meetings.  No minutes had been issued to the Parish Council from the Village Hall Committee until the Clerk raised this as an issue, items for the Sole Trustee meetings are obtained from these without which we have no feedback.

Cllr Fisher also queried why Cllr Jones had looked at removing the Village Hall from the management of the Parish Council as this has to be a decision taken by the Sole Trustee and could not be instigated by one Cllr. This move would leave the Village Hall at risk.

It was resolved to address these issued at the Sole Trustee meeting.

163      Rural School Transport Scheme – It was resolved for the Clerk to write to Staffordshire County Council requesting they re-join the scheme.  Cllr Tudor mentioned the ‘every child matters’ policy.

164       Monthly Coffee Morning update – it was noted the next meeting is in February.

165       Risk Assessment update and actions

  • Tree survey – this is now in hand.
  • Tree trunk – Orchard Place. Cllr Hurst has made arrangements for Blue Iris to move the tree trunks from the green up to the wild play area, they are awaiting specialist equipment to undertake the task. The PC are grateful for their assistance.  There is a possibility of using the smaller branches to create a ‘dead hedge’ which is beneficial to wildlife.

166       Grant application(s)

  • Contribution to Christmas magazine @ £400 – it was resolved to accept this request.
  • Barlaston Bowling & Tennis Club request £2473 for new kitchen units as part of refurbishment of clubhouse. Cllr Jones gave an overview of the Club, however he abstained from the vote. It was resolved the Parish Council would contribute £500 towards the costs.
  • Douglas Macmillan are seeking a grant of £500 to provide palliative nursing care at their children’s hospice, which was formerly The Donna Louise Trust. It was resolved to grant their application.
  • Silver Surfer Course £1,000 (40 weeks @ £25) – it was resolved to grant £500 from this year’s budget. If the course is successful and continues, the Parish Council would look to grant the remaining balance of £500 in the next financial year.

167       Planning issues

  • Wedgwood Memorial College – Already discussed.
  • Consultation Battery Storage Facility Planning Application – Land on Meaford Road, Barlaston, Stoke on Trent, ST15 8UX. This is still at consultation stage. Concerns had been raised with regards to the noise which can emanate from these, we need to ensure an adequate acoustic earth bund be recommended, Cllr Tudor to advise the Clerk of the relevant terminology.

168       Items for inclusion in next month’s agenda

  • The Wassail
  • Royal themed scarecrow event for Jubilee weekend
  • Community led shop on Barlaston Park

Date of next meeting Parish Council Meeting – 1 February 2022