13 February 2024 – Barlaston Parish Council Minutes

posted in: Minutes, Minutes 2024 | 0


Cllr P Fisher (Chairman),  Cllr C Hurst,  Cllr S Tudor, Cllr G Jones

Also In attendance:

Parish Clerk: Ms Vivien O’Dunne

1 member of the public was/were also in attendance.

7:15 – 7:30       Public Open Forum a member of the public expressed an interest in the Barlaston Ward vacancy.

    1. Barlaston West Ward Vacancy – Ms Shaina Oakden formally applied for the vacant position of Parish Councillor representing Barlaston West Ward. As Ms Oakden lived outside Barlaston the Clerk has been in liaison with the Elections Office to determine whether the application was valid, it was noted that the application was deemed valid as the distance from Ms Oakden’s home from the boundary line was within the set criteria. It was therefore resolved to accept this application.  Ms Oakden signed the declaration of acceptance of office and was invited to join the meeting. The Clerk to inform the Elections Office.
    2. Apologies – Apologies were received from Cllr’s Philpott, Borasinski, Mirceta, Dando and Hemming, it was resolved to accept these. It was noted no apologies were received from Cllr Bentley.
    3. Declarations of Interest – there were no declarations of interest.
    4. Written applications for dispensations under the Localism Act 2011 – There were no written applications for dispensation.
    5. Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting 9 January 2024 – the minutes were accepted as a true record and duly signed by the Chairman.
    6. Matters arising from the meeting of 9 January 2024 and not otherwise on the agenda
    7. Clerk’s Report – See appendix A
    8. Parish Council’s Strategy update:
    • Environmental / Community (Cllr Hurst / Cllr Mirceta) A report from Buxus Green on activity during January was circulated at the meeting.
    • Children & Families (Cllr Dando / Cllr Tudor) Cllrs Dando and Tudor had submitted a written report prior to the meeting setting out the scoping exercise they had undertaken to look at the needs of families and children (0-19) in the village (Appendix B). It was resolved to approve the wording of a request to be put out on social media to further support their research.

Cllr Hemming had submitted a suggested timetable of actions and a press release to the Clerk and Chair prior to the meeting. As we have restricted Clerk hours available at the moment some of the deadlines had passed. It was resolved that the Chair and Clerk should meet with Cllr Hemming prior to the next meeting of the Council to discuss the strategy and an achievable way forward.

    1. To note financial matters:

            (a) Bank reconciliation reports – these were approved

            (b) Schedule of payments report January 2024 – these were approved

(d) Reporting of the precept to Stafford Borough Council – It was noted the Borough Council acknowledged receipt.

(e) It was resolved to accept Alan Toplis Associates as the auditors for 2024/2025.

List of payments as follows:


Expenditure – Standard GROSS VAT NET Payment
K St Leger – Salary / Expenses January 2024 804.97 0 804.97 BACS
V O’Dunne – Expenses – Mileage / Stationary January 2024 3.75 0 3.75 BACS
Buxus Green –    202311 January Grass Cutting 1,050.00 0 1050.00 BACS
Canprint – 10 No. A4 flyers 60.00 10.00 50.00 BACS
N&J Tree Services Ltd – Bi-annual tree survey Inv 16994 460.80 76.80 384.00 BACS
Douglas MacMillan Grant 200.00 0.00 200.00 BACS
BT – Inv– Broadband Inv MO52 WK 36.43 6.07 30.36 DD
Tesco Mobile – 131381518 2.00 0.00 2.00 DD
Pozitive Energy Gas inv 26181820244830737 340.90 18.06 361.29 DD
Pozitive Energy Electricity Inv 26181620244839395 147.27 7.01 140.26 DD
Income – Standard GROSS VAT NET Payment
Staffordshire County Council – Credit Barlaston Allotments (£300) to be offset against next Allotment Invoice        


    1. Village Hall Porch tender – The Clerk distributed a set of recommendations to amend financial regulations, it was resolved to accept this recommendation. This will simplify the process.

We are still awaiting the formal quotation from Cllr Borasinski to progress the tender. We are also awaiting a meeting with Mr David Byatt to finalise the process.

    1. Public Participation at Parish Council Meetings – The Clerk issued a draft policy, it was resolved to accept this recommendation.
    2. Westbridge Park opening – The Borough Council have confirmed the grand opening of the park will take place on 27 April 2024.
    3. Village Green drainage works (below the War Memorial)

 It was noted a budget of £300 was already approved for the manual labour covering drainage works on the green, plus materials (to be confirmed).

It was resolved to replace the problematic grid with a cast iron replacement and undertake the associated pipework at a cost of £1,200.00. If, once works commence, any further issues are identified, these are to be brought back to the Parish Council.


    1. Footpath clearance adjacent to Plume of Feathers – Buxus Green have submitted two quotations: 
    1. To clear back and remove off site the ivy on the bridge @ £105 (cost is high due to trafic management). It was resolved to accept this quotation.
    2. To trim back the laurel below the bridge @ £60 

The Clerk reported the laurel on the green opposite the Plume belongs to the County Council and any costs associated should be borne by them. It is a dangerous president to cut back hedges etc which do not belong to the Parish Council and could be classed as double taxation. It was resolved to add this as an item for discussion with County Councillor Ian Parry. 

    1. To clarify the remit of Councillors – Any Cllr undertaking visits to Businesses where they are representing the Parish Council need approval beforehand to ensure the scope has been clarified. The Parish Council act as an elected body and not as individuals. It was also noted any hospitality / gifts received should be declared.
    2. Training date for new Councillors – Next available date is 8 May 2024, the Clerk will circulate the time of the session to Cllrs Oakden & Mirceta.
    3. Allotment lease terms – It was noted that The Parish Council lease land from the County Council on behalf of the Allotment Association. The terms of the lease are set by the County and include what can / cannot be undertaken on their land. As part of the lease terms, allotment holders are not permitted to erect any structure including sheds etc.
    4. Village Stores thank you letter – It was resolved for the Clerk to write a thank you letter to the village stores for the provision of Christmas lights.
    5. Terry Smith thank you letter – It was resolved for the Clerk to write a thank you letter to Mr Smith for the electrical works undertaken with regards to the installation of the lighting at Orchard Place.
    6. Shopkeepers at Orchard Place – Cllr Oakden confirmed she was working with the shop lease holders to address any issues. It was resolved that Cllr Oakden would coordinate any issues the Parish had with Homes Plus. We need to be mindful that One Stop are included in any developments in the village which are outside the remit of Homes Plus.
    7. Planning application validation guidance issued by Stafford Borough Council – It was resolved the Clerk would write to Mr Tim Clegg, the Chief Executive of the Borough Council to clarify the legal position regarding their guidance as it is a requirement of Section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, to determine planning applications in accordance with the policies of the statutory development plan, unless material consideration indicate otherwise. The statutory development plan includes the adopted Local Plan (Part 1 and 2) and in the case of Barlaston Parish Council the Barlaston Neighbourhood Plan.  The validation criteria must be updated to reflect the statutory development plan.
    8. Parish Council tree strategy – The Clerk distributed a draft copy of the tree strategy, it was resolved to accept this recommendation.

It was also noted that Boultons have accepted our comments and as a gesture of good will are going to provide the Parish Council with two fruit trees for the wild green. The Parish Council would like to thank Boultons for their kind gesture.

    1. Village Hall accounts for 2022/23 – These were duly signed by the Chairman. A copy has been submitted to the Village Hall Committee.
    2. Risk Assessment updates and actions:
      1. Bi-annual tree survey January 2024 – this has been completed. We are awaiting a quotation for any works identified. It was noted the trees on The Green are deemed safe.
      2. Asbestos removal at the Village Hall – this is still outstanding.
      3. Raw sewage on the Village Green – Cllr Hurst gave an update.
      4. De-fib replacement batteries – this is in the process of being arranged.
      5. Tree on the corner of Meaford Road / Station Road – The County Council have inspected the tree and deemed this to be safe.
      6. Flooding at Meaford Road junction – The Clerk has submitted this to the County Council for action.
      7. Mud on the road – there are procedures in place which can be located on the Parish Council website.
    3. Correspondence from residents – the Councillors were provided with correspondence received from and sent to residents since the last meeting.
    4. Grant application(s)

(note the new section 137(4)(a) has increased per electorate from £9.93 (2023/24) to £10.81 (2024/25))

Wedgwood Cricket Club have requested £1,000 towards their running costs to support their teams events for 2024. Overall costs approx. £10,000. It was resolved to award £500 to them.

    1. Planning decisions

Planning Application 23/38527/LBC & 23/38526/HOU – Barlaston Hall, Queen Mary’s Drive Barlaston – Alteration to an existing opening at basement level at Barlaston Hall. It was resolved to accept this application however any works to meet with heritage officer requirements.

Planning Application Reference 23/38479/HOU at Briar Hill 52 Tittensor Road described as demolish side single storey garage, with proposed single storey side extensions, two storey rear extension, raise walls and new roof to existing garage and new dormer to side elevation at first floor. It was resolved to accept this application.

    1. To receive items for inclusion in next agenda
    • A review of the village hall renovation plans (Cllr Jones)
    • The wild flowerbeds (Cllr Tudor)
    1. Date of next meeting(s) – 12 March 2024


Appendix A

Clerk’s Report

92        Highway updates

The following email was issued to Cllr Ian Parry to address issues within the Village:

(a) Flooding:

(i) The flooding at the entrance to Broughton Crescent, as advised we have had the gully pots flushed but the contractor has advised this needs specialist attention by Highways.  It was noted that a contractor has now been on site and cleared the gully pots, it is not clear if they have flushed under the road which is where the problem exists. Cllr Hurst noted the gully pots had terracotta fragments in the bottom which points to a collapsed drain. We have informed Cllr Parry that we will monitor the situation.

(ii) Flooding at the crossroads at the junction of Tittensor Road / Meaford Road / Station Road / Old Road.  This has resembled a lake during the recent rainfall.  The water is coming from the direction of Meaford Road. This is already a dangerous junction and there are added concerns of the water freezing causing further hazards. This has been forwarded to Cllr Parry.

(b) We have a number of issues with overhanging branches / hedges in the village especially along Longton Road.  The Clerk has noted when attempting to raise the issue on the County Council’s ‘Report it’ site it recommends residents liaise with the Parish Councils to identify occupiers.  It is noted Highways is not the remit of Parish Councils, we are in a position to identify owners in some instances (however the Borough Council are in a better position), but this is not always the case.  Under the Highways Act 1980 section 154 (1)(2) it empowers the Highways Authority to instruct the removal or cutting back of trees, shrubs and hedges that obstruct or endanger highway users.  We have queried this with Cllr Parry and await his response. It is noted if the Parish Council deal with these issues on their behalf it would be classed as double taxation.

Cllr Parry proposed a number of dates for a teams meeting, a date is yet to be confirmed as it is noted he is now on leave.

It is noted we have not heard any outcomes from the County with regards to Lakewood Drive.

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

195      Land at Meadow Road lease – The Heads of Terms are being worked on and are with the Borough’s legal department.  Cllr Jones to update.

214      Cricket Club Lease – A meeting date of 17 February has been agreed.

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

A budget of £300 has already been approved plus the cost of materials for Chris Roberts to undertake the works.  These have been further delayed due to the flooding issues.

Chris Roberts has also quoted to replace the damaged manhole cover with a cast iron replacement and associated pipework at a cost of £1,200.  It is noted this work will only cover what is deemed to be the issue and will not cover any unforeseen costs.

221      Neighbourhood Plan review – The consultation at the January coffee morning went well it was noted the same issues were raised.

 A meeting has been set for 13 February for a design brief to be undertaken in conjunction with Urban Vision.

 It was noted a request came in to clarify the expenditure from the Parish with regards to the Housing Needs Assessment, response as follows:

 “I can confirm that I have obtained a grant for this and there will be no costs associated for the Parish Council.  There was a requirement to undertake a housing needs assessment for a number of reasons:

 (a) The prospective builders on the Brookhouse Drive / Old Road site quoted a Housing Needs Survey, this was not a rationale for building affordable housing as the figures were not a true representative of the needs of Barlaston.  The survey will give an accurate picture of the housing type / its occupation and the future requirements of its residents. It will also take into account the current provision e.g., the availability of nursing homes / the age of the residents / their housing type.

(b) It will take into account planning applications – for information the new Barlaston Neighbourhood Plan will have the Lichfield Plan fully ensconced to ensure the plan is followed by the Borough. They have also noted the approved planning application for the bungalows at Barlaston Park, and although lapsed, the planning approval for a residential block behind Old Road Garage. 

(c) It will look at the terminology of ‘affordable housing’ i.e., is it truly affordable.  Given Barlaston is an affluent village and its popularity, when prospective builders apply under the remit of affordability, this has to be quantified.

(d) They will look at the requirements of residents who wish to downsize but want to stay in the village.

(e) It will look at the incomes of residents / how many people occupy a premises and of what age or if a property is of single occupancy.

(f) It will look at social housing i.e., how many people rent or own their properties.  It will also look at geographical areas as there are very diverse house prices / sizes around the village which can be clearly zoned.  

(e) The Borough have advised that there is no further requirement for housing in Barlaston, this assessment will take this into account and ensure the Borough adhere to their recommendations moving forwards. 

(f) Finally it is to protect the green belt land and retain a clear boundary between Barlaston and Stoke on Trent.” 

 7         Banking Arrangements – We are now in receipt of the information from Cllr Fisher to complete the bank mandate.

21        Crossing Patrol Officer – an update is awaited with regarding the outstanding vacancy.

127      Noticeboard at the Downs Car Park in conjunction with the Upper House – This has now been installed.  The Parish Key will be retained by the Clerk, the Public key will be retained by Cllr Mirceta.

164      Footpath No. 3 – There has been no movement on this item.

125      Applying the Highways Act 1980 Legislation – A letter has been produced which can be issued to residents. Canprint are designing a leaflet to accompany the letter. It is however noted that the ultimate responsibility for any overhanging shrubs / trees comes under the jurisdiction of the County Council.  

126 Noticeboard at the Downs Car Park in conjunction with the Upper House – This is yet to be purchased / installed.

164      Wire fence / posts at the Upper House – It is noted the wire fence has been damaged. Cllr Hurst will look into this issues, however it is noted that this is not funded by the Parish Council.

226      Maintenance of Speed gates Meaford Road – We are awaiting a date for the completion of works.

229      Installation of noticeboard Barlaston Park – This is now complete, the keys have been dropped off.  The Clerk will take responsibility for the Parish Noticeboard, Cllr Mirceta will post items on behalf of the residents for the Public Noticeboard.

Appendix B

Sue Tudor and I have been scoping the needs for families and children 0-19, in on behalf of, Barlaston Parish Council looking at supporting documents that already available about Children in Staffordshire.

Please find links to documents for your perusal :

Staffordshire Families Strategic Partnership – Staffordshire County Council

Staffordshire Connects | Families Health and Wellbeing Service (0-19) – health visitors and school nurses

We’ve been looking at is the Staffordshire Families Strategic Partnership 2018 to 2028. Also please find local provision from health visitors and school nurses.

This evidenced-based data about the profile of children and young people in the Staffordshire, including the population and includes children’s views.

Particularly it points out some of the facts and figures if there are 100 children in Staffordshire then:

1 in 5 living poverty.

1 out of 10 is a young carer.

1 out of 10 is Early Helps

1 out of  10 is on the child protection plan

3 children in 10 have a social worker.

21 out of 100 will be living with domestic violence, drugs and alcohol

56 will be experiencing bullying.

19 out of 100 would be obese.

10 in 100 would have a mental health problem.

10 out of 100 would be absent from education.

Good news is that 64% will go onto university.

one of the things that come out of public engagement generally and  the views of young children they say by being active, eating healthily and avoiding drugs and alcohol, helps them to be healthy and happy and they’re safe .

Sue and Julia have been engaged with the Barlaston’s school head master and the church groups and they are have been supportive with public consultation

We have been looking to establish the need for venues to carry out Child Health clinic or Child Surveillance session in the village, this is only if possible NHS capacity allows.

As you can see there are plenty of resources for families provided by Staffordshire County Council .Resources such a parenting courses such as pram to primary in the children’s centres.

Professionally Families are engage with social media sites such as Netmums and professional support for central point of access call centres for advise

So much information is available online to parents and children and also the feedback from Barlaston school is that a lot of the children do not actually live in the village.

We have engaged with the  GP health Centre for venues, also  the Wedgewood Cricket club,  and the Village Hall.

We’ve need tp be mindful that some of the population of Barlaston live in a Stoke-on-Trent postcode and Staffordshire is separate from this local authority.

Finally we have been engage with Micola Black to create a Facebook post to ask young people and families what they think on the Community Facebook page

This is the narrative what we propose to post

Barlaston Parish Council

Calling all parents/guardians with babies & young children
As part of a local Barlaston Parish council children and families strategy, we’d like to hear directly from those with young children aged 0-4 years old.  In order to assess local provision we’d like to know more about where you go for parenting advice and resources, whether there has been a particular time when more parenting support would have been helpful?  And to help us build a picture of what local needs are, what would your ideal family support look like?
We hope this information will enable us to understand the composition of families in Barlaston and what can be done to improve family services going forward.
We know how important early years are for children’s outcomes, and how challenging this period can be for new parents. We want to hear from you about the support you need when raising young children.  Please email your responses to Barlaston parish council at barlastonparishclerk@gmail.com

Julia Dando

Health Visitor