14 May 2024 – Draft Minutes of the Parish Council

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Cllr P Fisher (Chairman), Cllr C Hurst, Cllr J Mirceta, Cllr E Philpott, Cllr G Jones. Cllr D Borasinski. Cllr S Tudor

Also In attendance:

Parish Clerk: Ms Vivien O’Dunne

1. Welcome and introductions

The retiring Chairman to welcomed those present.

2. Barlaston Parish Council/Declaration of Office

Councillors to declare any interests in accordance with the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012.
Cllr Jones declared we was also a Borough Councillor.

3. Election of Chair

• Cllr Tudor was duly elected Chairman
• The Chairman duly signed the Declaration of Office form.

Cllr Fisher duly left the meeting.
Cllr Oakden joined the meeting.

4. Election of Vice Chair – Cllr Borasinski was elected as Vice Chair.

5. Apologies – Cllr Dando sent her apologies, it was resolved to accept these.

6. Working groups determined as follows

Finance Committee (Operates across all pillars of the Strategy). All Cllrs to be included. A Chairman to be determined.

Planning & Development (Formerly Planning Committee) – encompassing Joint Playing Fields Committee. All Cllrs to be included. A Chairman to be determined.

Sustainability (Formerly Environmental Committee). Chairman to be determined:

Cllr Tudor, Cllr Borasinski, Cllr Dando, Cllr Hurst, Cllr Jones, Cllr Philpott

Sole Trustee Representative(s) – The Parish Council act as Sole Trustee. The Chairman of the Parish Council shall be the Chairman of the Sole Trustee.

Representatives on the VHC:

Cllr Jones (Chair). Cllr Borasinski

HR Committee. Chairman to be determined.

Cllr Tudor, Cllr Dando, Cllr Oakden

Community (inc Patients Group). Chairman to be determined.

Cllr Philpott. Cllr Tudor, Cllr Dando, Cllr Jones

Aesthetics (village branding). Chairman to be determined.

Cllr Tudor, Cllr Borasinski, Cllr Dando, Cllr Hurst, Cllr Jones, Cllr Philpott

7. Banking arrangements
Cllr Tudor to be added to the banking system.

8. Asset Register – the register dated 31 March 2024 was formally approved, details to be published on the website.

9. Risk Register – This was formally approved, details to be published on the website.

10. Annual Governance and Accountability Return for the Year ending 31 March 2024

a) Annual Internal Audit Report was issued and accepted. It is noted that the Parish Council have increased the level of reserves to conform to JPAG guidelines.
b) Section 1 (Annual Governance Statement 2023/2024) of the Annual Return was duly accepted by the Parish Council and signed by the Chairman and the Clerk.
c) Section 2 (Accounting Statements 2023/2024) of the Annual Return was duly accepted by the Parish council and signed by the Chairman.
d) The date for the advertising of the exercise of public rights was set for 3 June and will conclude on 12 July.

11. Budget Details for Financial Year 2024/2025 including earmarked reserves – were issued and duly accepted.

12. Auditor for 2024/2025 – Kim Squires has been duly appointed as auditor.

13. The following Governing Documents were approved:

• Standing Orders, copies were issued to Cllrs.

• Financial Regulations – these are based on NALC’s 2024 revision, amended to be in line with the workings of Barlaston Parish Council i.e., there is no Financial Committee, all decisions are made at full Council and the figures included are as per NALC’s recommendations. We have again added the provision of a Chairman’s Allowance currently standing at £300. Copies were issued to Cllrs.

The Parish Council meeting commenced

Public Open Forum

It was noted three people were in attendance, two members of the public and County Councillor Ian Parry.

A request was submitted for the procurement of ceramic poppies to represent WW1 Soldiers Who failed to return. It was resolved to add this to the next agenda.

A member of the public gave the Clerk his business card and offered his services to undertake PR on behalf of the Parish Council. This item to be added to the next agenda.

Cllr Parry updated the Parish Council on the following items:

Lakewood Drive – Unfortunately, the County Council failed to come up with a solution with regards to road repairs. He suggested Fiskars be approached under a moral obligation to undertake works.
Wedgwood Memorial College – Cllr Parry raised concerns with regards to the poor maintenance and security of the site. He is going to attempt to convene a meeting with the Local MP, Cllr Jones as the Borough Representative and the site owners. Cllr Sue Tudor to represent the Parish??? Ask Ian to invite her??
Double Yellow Lines – the sizeable majority of residents were opposed to any lines being implemented around the crossroads with Station Road / Tittensor Road / Meaford Road / Old Road. Instead they will concentrate on the junction with Tittensor Road and Park Drive.
20’s Plenty – there is no appetite for this,
Stop Sign – Old Road / Meaford Road. It was noted the legislation did not warrant a Stop Sign at this junction, instead he recommended a SID Device be installed along Tittensor Road. He would match fund this project if it was implemented.
Bush on Longton Road – Cllr Parry had a meeting with a member of the public who had concerns with regards to an overhanging buddleia on Longton Road, however it was determined that this was not overhanging a public highway and not under Highways jurisdiction.
Boundary Commission – Cllr Parry gave an overview of the impact of the new boundary changes and how this affects Barlaston and surrounding Parishes. Barlaston now comes under Stone Rural North.
Staffordshire County Council Report It – It was noted residents were being advised to contact the Parish Council which was deemed inappropriate as the Parish have no powers to act, Cllr Parry will take this back to investigate accordingly.
Tree Surveys – It was noted the County Council will undertake their own tree surveys. They will also remove debris from fallen trees, however these need to be reported to Highways through their website.
Crossing Patrol Officer – Cllr Parry advised that the role could be a job share whereby someone could undertake the am slot and someone else the pm slot. Role to be advertised accordingly.
• It was noted the County Council had obtained a JCB surface patching machine to address the backlog of potholes. He advised the roads have never been in such poor condition and apologised to residents.
• They are looking to increase the number of gullies being cleared.

14. Declarations of Interest – Cllr Tudor noted she was a personal friend with Mrs Moran, Coordinator of the Barlaston Volunteer Car Scheme who would be submitting a grant request (item 41). Cllr Tudor would not participate in this item.

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

16. Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting 9 April 2024 – these were duly accepted and signed by the Chairman.

17. Matters arising from the meeting of 9 April 2024 and not otherwise on the agenda

18. Updates covered in the Clerk’s Report, see appendix A

19. Parish Council’s Strategy update – due to the low number of Cllrs it was determined that the Parish Council Strategy be put on hold until there was a full compliment of Cllrs. In the interim the appointed Chairman of the relevant committees will submit their reports to the Clerk prior to the next meeting.

20. To note financial matters:

(a) Bank reconciliation reports – these were accepted as a true record
(b) Schedule of payments report April 2024 – these were approved.

Expenditure – Standard GROSS VAT NET Payment
V O’Dunne – Expenses inc. postage – April 2024 3.54 0.00 3.54 BACS
K St Leger – Salary / Expenses March 2024 849.64 0.00 849.64 BACS
Buxus Green – April Grass Cutting 1,050.00 0.00 1,050.00 SO
Bradleys Accountancy Services – Payroll – Inv 2024/ 487 164.28 27.38 136.90 BACS
Barlaston Community Group grant for Silver Surfers 200.00 0.00 200.00 BACS
Kim Squires – internal audit – inv 24/09 222.60 0.00 222.60 BACS
Rural Services Partnership Ltd – Annual renewal – Inv RMTG/24/25/9 120.00 20.00 100.00 BACS
Rialtas Business Solutions – Accountancy Software – Inv SM28706 230.40 38.40 192.00 BACS
BT – Inv– Broadband Inv M055 7I 36.70 6.11 30.59 DD
Tesco Mobile – Inv 134203305083 14.00 0.00 14.00 DD
Pozitive Energy Gas inv W2PEADW-PE-261818 288.76     DD
Pozitive Energy Electricity Inv KXZ8VDC-PE-261816 136.04     DD
Income – Standard GROSS VAT NET Payment
Precept 57,931.00 0.00 57,931.00 BACS
Staffordshire County Council – Additional grass cut 553.00 0.00 553.00 BACS

21. Insurance renewal for the Parish Council – The insurance renewal was duly approved, Clerk to update the Insurance Company accordingly.

22. Management of the Village Hall in line with the Charity Commission guidelines – Due to the risks raised by the Clerk, work is required to determine how the Village Hall will be formally managed to ensure the building is not at risk with regards to insurance and we are conforming to the Charity Commission’s guidelines.

In the interim, the Village Hall have purchased insurance to ensure they are not at risk, however if an incident occurs the Insurers may not pay out.
Alan Toplis is looking into the structure of the Sole Trustee to ensure we are compliant; however we still require a formal document with the Village Hall Committee setting out their roles and responsibilities and ours. The Clerk to investigate further and submit her findings to the next meeting.

23. Meadow Road Lease – Due to the amount the Parish Council are looking to invest on the site, it was resolved for the Clerk to approach the Borough Council to see if the 30-year term could be extended. With regards to ratifying the lease, a Cllr asked if there was a free service we could obtain advice from, this was to be investigated.

24. Cricket Club Lease update – Myatt’s advised the terms and conditions in the current lease are no longer valid, and therefore an extension to this lease is not a feasible option. They are now looking at producing a new lease. We still own Wooliscroft’s for the work they have undertaken. It was resolved to pay Wooliscroft’s any outstanding fees and to arrange for Myatt’s to produce the up-to-date lease. This will be sent to Wooliscroft’s for checking, additional fees will be incurred.

25. Damage to the bus shelter on Old Road – A quotation has been requested for repair works.

26. Weeding of Station Road Bridge footpath – It was noted that the weeds have been treated, however these are still unsightly.

27. Barlaston Park update – It has been noted that works have now commenced with the removal of the doors on the garages. Further clearance works will follow.

We have established a contact whereby all communication should go via the Clerk.

28. Installation of a dog waste bin at the entrance to Barlaston Park – It is noted installing a dog waste bin comes under environmental health and needs specialist disposal services. To minimise costs and to address the issue the Clerk has approached Stafford Borough Council for a general waste bin to be installed on the corner of Lakewood Drive and Wedgwood Drive, a response is awaited.

29. Gully emptying at the bottom of Queen Mary’s Drive – It is noted this is outside our jurisdiction.

30. Installation of items on County Council Land – The Clerk clarified the position that the Parish Council cannot install items such as trees on land which is not in its ownership. Grass verges around the village are predominantly owned by the County Council, permission will need to be granted and if approved could incur a cost due to a ‘licence to plant’ being required.

Any works undertaken by the residents without Parish Council involvement will be at their own risk.

31. Access to the Arboretum at Wedgwood Memorial College – It is noted the Parish Council does not have the relevant permissions to access the site. It is noted the new land owners undertook a survey in line with the Borough Council’s TPO guidance, it is recommended that they approach the Borough Council for permission/information.

32. Notice board at the Upper House Car Park – The Upper House have recommended a single board without branding. It was resolved to accept this recommendation, the Clerk to liaise with the Upper House.

33. Parish Council vacancies – We now have two vacancies one at Barlaston Park one at Barlaston East. We have received formal approval to Coopt for both these. The recommendation would be to move Cllr Marcita over to represent Barlaston Park, which leaves a vacancy at Barlaston West. The Clerk will advertise the positions accordingly.

34. Village Hall Porch tender works – The go-ahead has been given for Byatt’s to issue the tender documents. The Parish Council will need to determine a process for reviewing the responses and awarding the tender. In the absence of Cllr Fisher, Cllr Borasinski was elected to liaise with Byatt’s moving forwards. The Clerk to inform David Byatt accordingly.

35. Speed Watch update – Mr Norman has issued an up-to-date summary. Due to the level of detail it was proposed the information be published on the website so residents can review the data, this was formally agreed. The Parish Council thanked Mr Norman and his team for their continued efforts in reducing speed in the village.

36. Planning application validation guidance letter issued to Stafford Borough Council – The Clerk has requested an update from the Borough Council however no response has been received to date as their response was not deemed appropriate. We are still waiting for an update.

37. Protection of Blue Bell Wood at Meaford – Cllr Jones will raise the issue with Stone Rural.

38. Risk Assessment updates and actions:

• Biennial tree survey recommended works / costings. A quotation should be received imminently.
• Tree in the grounds of the Village Hall car park omitted from the Survey – it was resolved to appoint N&J to undertake the survey.
• To mitigate risk regarding PC data – The Clerk has procured a hard drive to ensure a full back up of the Council’s electronic data. It was also recommended the Council back up their data to Dropbox which incurs a fee of £7.99 month for 2tb of storage. The links to folders can be issued to Cllrs to maintain data security, permissions can be removed if a Cllr leaves. It was resolved to accept this recommendation.

39. Weekly play reports / recommendations from appointed. A report was received from Cllr Mirceta, no action was required. Cllr Hurst gave a verbal update, it was noted this needs to be in a paper format.

40. Correspondence from residents – An email was received regarding issues on Barlaston Park, the Clerk responded. A copy of the correspondence was made available.

41. Grant application(s)

• Barlaston Volunteer Car Scheme submitted an application for £150, it was resolved to accept this.

42. To note Planning decisions – No planning applications have been received.

43. To receive items for inclusion in next agenda

• Resignation of Rose Kingsbury, Voluntary Car Scheme Coordinator
• Ceramic poppies
• Water on Station Road
• Implementation of the Design Codes Barlaston Neighbourhood Plan

44. Date of next meeting(s) – 11 June 2024


Appendix A

Clerk’s Report May 2024

92  Highway updates / Applying the Highways Act 1980 Legislation

Cllr Parry attended the meeting and updated the Parish Council under the open forum element.

161 Wedgwood Memorial College – There is still no movement on any planning applications. The Housing Needs Assessment report may have an impact on any development as it is anticipated the 13 bungalows at Barlaston Park could offset the requirements for Barlaston and would open up this site for more suitable housing on the site. The HNA report should be issued imminently.

221 Neighbourhood Plan review

The Clerk issued Cllrs with a copy of the Design Plans, this has been signed off. The completion of the Housing Needs Assessment report is in the process of being completed.

Works will commence on the draft Neighbourhood Plan imminently.

7 Banking Arrangements – The relevant paperwork has been received to add Cllr Fisher onto the system

21 Crossing Patrol Officer– There has been no update with regards to applicants for the Crossing Patrol Officer, the Clerk has re-issued the advert.

164 Wire fence / posts at the Upper House – No update has been received (Chris Hurst to update)

228 Drainage issues on the Village Green (below the War Memorial) – Update required. (Chris Hurst to advise)

229 Footpath clearance works adjacent to Plume of Feathers – It is believed works are complete.

282 Risk assessment updates – Tree survey

The Clerk has requested N&J Tree Services Ltd to visit the Village Green to re-quote for the trees which are under the ownership of the Parish Council. It was also noted that the tree in the grounds of the Village Hall is not on the survey. This will be added to the Risk Register and a quotation requested from N&J to undertake the survey.