2 February 2021 – Barlaston Parish Council Minutes

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Cllr G Jones
Cllr P Fisher
Cllr C Hurst
Cllr D Bentley
Cllr V O’Dunne
Cllr E Philpott
Cllr I Moran
Cllr S Tudor 

Also In attendance:

Mrs K St Leger (Clerk)

Three members of the public were in attendance.

It was noted a number of young men with dogs were seen in the village and are believed to be responsible for killing wildlife along the canal.

Cllr Parry informed the Highways Steering Group there was a link available on the County Council website to find out when gullies are cleaned, It was noted Old Road is classed as a C Road and will be cleared every 2 years.  D roads have to wait every 3 years. It does not give you specific schedules.  It was implied you could check for an exact locations and dates however the information appears to be generic.

153      Mr Cooke, Census Engagement Manager for Staffordshire Office for National Statistics gave a presentation on how the 2021 census will be run and how the Parish Council and Community Groups could be of assistance.

The census is a survey enshrined in Law since 1920, everyone must complete the census every 10 years. Failure to complete it could result in a fine or imprisonment. The data from the census impacts on all of us on a day-to-day basis as it dictates policy on schools, healthcare provision, security, housing needs, the armed forces etc.  One of the biggest problems is people don’t trust the Government and don’t understand why they need the data.

It is important to note that before anything is done with the data it is anonymised for 100 years.  All the information which does not identify an individual is released to Government departments after 12 months.

Census day is Sunday 21 March 2021 in England and Wales and we need everyone to complete it.  People will start to receive their packs in mid-February and will contain a code to enable you to complete it online.  If people cannot access the online version, they can request a paper copy, alternatively they can telephone for assistance and it will be completed for them. The details will be contained within the pack.  It will take the average person 45 minutes to an hour to complete.  It should be quicker online.

Social media will be available to commence the advertisement campaign. Barlaston Parish had a good uptake during the previous census and is hoped it will be better this time.

The Parish Council thanked Mr Cooke for his attendance.

154      Apologies – Cllr Hemming sent his apologies it was resolved to accept these.

155      Declarations of Interest – Cllr Moran declared an interest in item 35/36.

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

157      Minutes of the full Council Meeting of 5 January 2021 – It was resolved to accept these as a true record.

158       Matters arising from the meeting of 5 January 2021 and not otherwise on the agenda. 

117       Swing gate installation Barlaston Village Hall update

Gates are going to be powder coated imminently. The initial post will be installed one weekend, followed by further post and gate the following weekend due to concrete needing to set.  All works to be complete before end February.

It was noted Babbacombe Cottage had still not paid their Wayleave for this financial year, which should be paid in advance.  As they are constantly in breach of the Wayleave covenant. It was resolved to send a letter requesting payment of the outstanding fees by 28 February 2021, failure to meet this demand would see the automatic commencement of the termination clause within the Wayleave.

4 / 133  Vacancy for Barlaston Park & Barlaston West Position update – New posters have been installed on the noticeboards and uploaded on the website. Closing date for applicants is 19 February 2021. We have received interest from a resident on Lakewood Drive, the Clerk has forwarded details of the post.

7    Covid-19 / Leaflet preparation and determine actions – Posters have been distributed to shops and put on the notice boards.  The presentation of the Clock Tower will need to be scheduled before May.  The Wedgwood Memorial bowl dedication needs to be addressed, Cllr Jones will look at the wording.

22   Neighbourhood Watch schemes Update – The Clerk attended the Stone Area Parish Liaison Group, Chief Inspector Giles Parsons was in attendance.  The Clerk advised him the PCSO was looking into undertaking a virtual Neighbourhood Watch presentation, he will look into this to see what progress has been made.  She also raised the concern of residents regarding the number of visitors Barlaston is receiving during the pandemic, he advised that the Government issued guidelines for people to stay local, however this was not made law and they therefore had no powers to restrict movement.

35/36    Village Drainage Strategy 

It was noted following the latest storm, the land around Old Road up to 11a Meadow Road was flooded again putting 6 houses at risk. Superrod had visited the site and believed the first section of the culvert was where the problem was, under Riparian Rights, the homeowners responsible for the maintenance of this section of the culvert had been identified.

The Parish Council resolved to permit the Clerk to assist in organising a virtual meeting with residents and contractors, and when required, would issues a letter of Memorandum to the homeowners detailing the costs involved.  However, the Parish Council could not receipt monies on their behalf, a methodology would be required for the homeowners to pay the contractor direct, including VAT. Cllr Moran advised further quotations were being sought before works are commissioned.

With regards to wider flooding issues in the village, the following calls had been lodged with the County Council for action:

Flooding on Hartwell Lane – Ref: 4226075 refers

Flooding on Meaford Road – Ref: 4227504 refers

Flooding on Station Road adjacent to St John’s Church – Ref: 4227506 refers

Severn Trent have replaced a manhole cover on the green and have ordered a replacement for one on top of the green.

Paul Goodall and Cllr Hurst are going to investigate water coming up around The Lea with the homeowner.

Cllr Ian Parry advised there is a link available indicating the programme when gullies will be emptied, link will be forwarded and posted online when we are in receipt.

63  Memorial bench for Mr Stan Phillips – At the request of the family, the colour design has been changed. The Parish Council approved the recommendation.  The cost of fitting would be £50. It was resolved to accept this charge.

64  Former Wedgwood Memorial College Update – Cllr O’Dunne advised she had spoken to a representative of the new owners; they were not aware of the Lichfield Plan. The Parish Council expressed an interest in forming a good working relationship with them.

The Clerk had liaised with Stoke City Council with regards to the Council’s playing pitch strategy. Their current document covers 2017 to 2022; it makes reference to Barlaston Cricket Pitch only; however, it notes this is not in Stoke and is therefore not applicable.  She has asked if the two football pitches on the Wedgwood Memorial site could be included in the new strategy, although this is unlikely as the site is outside Stoke and the site is now sold.

The Clerk submitted a proposal from a landowner in the village indicating they would be willing to donate land for use as a football pitch, subject to an area of their land being released for building purposes.  The Cllrs thanked the landowner and noted the offer.

95  To determine actions to address Climate Change (deferred)

97  Fly tipping issues around Barlaston – Hot spot locations were forwarded to Street Scene for posters to be erected.

98  To receive update on play area design visit (deferred)

121   Public Right of Way issues on Footpath No. 9 – the kissing gate removed by the landowner has not been returned to the Council, they are going to write to the landowner to repair the stile or reinstate the gate.

138  Highways update:

Mr Norman has issued Cllrs with the latest speeding information.

A strategy meeting was held with Cllr Ian Parry, it was disappointing that no action had been taken as the Highways Meeting was not due to take place until Thursday, following which Cllr Parry will update the Council.

It was noted he is working on adopting the element of Lakewood Drive which is not fronted by houses, although this could take 12 months to resolve but appeared positive.

We are still awaiting quotations for the solar flashing safety devices to protect the crossing patrol officer and children crossing Station Road.

Cllr Parry noted the attitude of police is disappointing, they are not taking speed watch information seriously which needs to be addressed.

An area of concern previously raised was the junction between Longton Road and Station Road, there was talk to install yellow rumple strips to slow traffic down and the number of signs on the post being reduced to improve visibility. The Clerk advised Highways are looking at an engineering solution for Longton Road, the Council previously noted the risk with the number of signs but nothing has been done, she will add this item to the Highways Strategy Group agenda.

139 BT / SKY box located outside Orchard Place – It looks like this is an electric box, the Parish Council do not have any powers to change the colour. It was resolved to remove this item from the agenda.

140  Towpath and mooring trip hazard – The Canal & River Trust have removed some of the mooring rings.  Cllr Philpott had supplied images of the poor condition of the towpath which had been forwarded to the Canal & River Trust.  We are awaiting their response with regards to a schedule of works.

141  Hosted phone system update – The Clerk investigated VOIP hosting companies, it was difficult to determine what Countries these were storing the data in and found it difficult to get recommendations from other Parish Councils.  She looked at Hosting Systems Ltd in Trentham, their servers are UK based and used by Stoke City Council. The initial set up cost was £16.45 which included the adoption of the PC BT number, then £10 per month thereafter.  It was resolved to accept this recommendation.  The published PC number of 01782 551250 would now transfer to mobile moving forwards, which would make the Clerk more accessible and future proof the Parish Council.

143 Freedom of Information request – The Council approved the report submitted by the Clerk.

144  Planning Training course date – It was resolved to accept the date of Tuesday 16th February 2021.

159  Staffordshire Police’s ‘Your Police. Your voice. Survey’ – The Clerk submitted the link, it was resolved for Cllrs to complete the survey individually.

160   Broughton Crescent Parking Issues and Representation on the School of Governors

Cllr Hemming messaged The Head Teacher a week or so ago with regards to becoming a member of the School of Governors, to date she has not responded.

It was resolved to postpone the parking issue element until Cllr Hemming could advise.

The Clerk had requested a quotation for flashing signs, which will require planning permission and input from Highways, they may also require a ‘licence to plant’.  The Clerk to liaise with Highways.

161 Overhanging Hedge in front of The Mount – Cllr Hurst has been tasked with taking this back on behalf of the homeowner.  An update to be submitted to the Council at the March meeting.

This raised an issue of overhanging hedges around the village which are making it difficult for people to walk along the pavements.  The Clerk to liaise with Highways with regards to the legislation.

162  Footpath clearance in front of the cottages Longton Road – Cllr Fisher to investigate how far the tarmac pavement has been covered.

163   Lengthsman’s schedule of works and determine new works – It was noted the Lengthsman had been shielding and is scheduled to return to the village imminently.

164       To note financial matters:

            (a) to receive financial report and determine actions for 2021/2022 budget setting – It was resolved to schedule a final budget setting meeting.  The Clerk was in the process of preparing a grass cutting tender.

            It is noted Ladywell have served notice on providing the payroll services, the Clerk has found an alternative supplier Bradley’s recommended by Staffordshire Clerks @ £90 per annum plus VAT.  It was resolved to accept this recommendation.

The Internal Auditor will be undertaking the interim audit on 10th February 2021

(b) bank reconciliation reports – These were accepted as a true record

(c) schedule of payments report January 2021 it was resolved to accepted these

  NET VAT Cheque
Canprint – A5 Covid flyers Inv 30673 150.00 0.00 002694
Ladywell Accounts (up to end Mar 2021) Inv BARL001 92.00 0.00 002695
K St Leger Salary & Expenses     002696
Pension Contribution 310.76 0.00 002697

165      Risk Assessment update

AEDdonate carried out a site audit on the defibrillators last week and some of the units are not receiving any power to the cabinets, this could affect the effectiveness of the pads and reduce the life expectancy of the battery.  The recommendation was to undertake a repair/rewire to Park Drive, Flaxman Close, Longton Road and Ivyhouse Drive @ £100 per site.  It was resolved to accept this recommendation. The Clerk to liaise with the Cricket Club for an update on their device as it is not listed as being active.

The Clerk had been asked how residents contacted the First Responders, this was via 999. However, they are inactive at the moment.  They need new volunteers to get them back up to strength.

166      Grant application(s)

The Church contacted the Clerk to enquire if a grant had been paid in 2020 towards the cutting of the grass at the cemetery, the Clerk advised she had not received a grant application and without which the funds could not be forwarded.

167      Planning Committee Recommendations – There was no planning meeting.

168      Items for inclusion in next month’s agenda

  • Foul water / sewage issues on Flaxman Close between No’s. 16 and No. 24. The Clerk has been liaising with Severn Trent and the Environment Agency.
  • Residents complaints received regarding Blue Iris being in Possible breach of D7 exemption certificate as they are bringing waste to site to burn. They are also not happy with the removal of the hedges along the boundary line which has had a negative effect.
  • Crimes against wildlife – reports have been submitted with regards to animals being killed by visitors to Barlaston, this is also happening in surrounding parishes. The Clerk has posted the RSPCA emergency number on Facebook.
  • Correspondence from Staffordshire Lieutenancy re nomination of a superhero.
  • Residents have submitted complaints with regards to the marquee at the Plume of Feathers which is in breach of the Planning covenants.
  • Reinstatement / update of the Environmental Committee

169       Date of next meeting – 2 March