30 May 2023 – Draft Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting

posted in: Minutes 2023 | 0

Cllr P Fisher (Chairman), Cllr D Bentley, Cllr S Tudor, Cllr C Hurst, Cllr V O’Dunne, Cllr J Dando, Cllr D Borasinski, Cllr A Hemming, Cllr G Jones 

Also In attendance:

Mrs K St Leger (Clerk) 

Public Open Forum 

14 members of the public were in attendance.

Under Schedule 12 of Part III of the Local Government Act 1972 the Parish Council Chairman Paul Fisher presided

  1. Apologies – Cllr Philpott sent her apologies.
  2. Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting 17 May 2023 – These were accepted as a true record.
  3. Chairman’s Report

Cllr Fisher thanked the volunteers who made a contribution to the village over the last 12 months including the Village Hall Committee; Speed Watch; Voluntary Transport Scheme; Walking for Health Scheme; the Community Group; Becky Wilshaw for hosting the monthly coffee morning and the Womblers, not forgetting all those volunteers who facilitate the various Clubs’ in the village and those volunteers who undertake works as individuals.

It was noted that representatives of the Speed Watch Team and the Voluntary Transport Scheme were in attendance and available for members of the public to discuss their schemes at the end of the meeting.

  1. Financial Report – Copies of the end of year financial statement 2022/23 and budget for 2023/24 were made available during the meeting. These detail the financial breakdown from 2018-19 to 2022/2023. It also shows the budget set for 2023/2024. A financial data sheet showing the precept figures was also provided. It was noted due to planned work in the village, the precept has been increased by 4% (equivalent to £2.52 for a Band D property).  Cllr Fisher advised should the attendees have any queries to raise regarding these figures to contact the Clerk following the meeting.

A number of the public criticised this format and wanted to discuss the detail within the accounts further, and that a simple list of comparison figures was not a standard accounting process. The Clerk advised the detailed breakdown for 2022/23 was currently going through the external audit process and full details including a list of significant variances would be made available on the website imminently and should they wish, they could schedule a meeting with the Clerk to go through the figures in detail.

Cllr Fisher advised that in 2022/2023 the grants issued totalled £7,130 which were put towards village projects.  One project which benefitted from the grant scheme was DocBike Staffordshire.

Due to the demise of the First Responders during the pandemic, the Parish Council were instrumental in arranging the transfer of their 4×4 vehicle to DocBike; funding was provided by the Parish Council to insure the vehicle in its first year.  Carol Close from DocBike joined the meeting and gave an overview of the charity and how the donations were utilised to make the safety of bikers paramount and give them the necessary skills should an incident occur.  The courses were provided free of charge and covered what you should do at the scene of an accident; how to keep the casualty alive and how to safely remove their helmet in readiness for the arrival of the emergency services. Free first aid kits are provided at the conclusion of the course.  DocBike is fully supported by Staffordshire Police, the County Council and the Police & Crime Commissioner. Their volunteers include Paramedics, a Surgeon and Police Officers.

Carol showed an emotional video detailing the inception of DocBike Staffordshire and how the donations and the vehicle would be utilised moving forwards.  A member of the Community Group asked if a first aid course could be run for the residents of Barlaston, Carol advised these were Biker specific and may not be suitable as a basic first aid course.

The newly branded 4×4 was outside the hall should anyone wish to see it; Barlaston Parish Council’s logo was prominently displayed at the back of the vehicle. Carol thanked the Parish Council for their support, in turn Cllr Fisher thanked Carol for attending the meeting.

  1. Current Initiatives
  • Speed Watch – We are working with Mr David Norman and his team to upgrade the current Speed Indicator Devices to Solar, which should modernise the process. Works will commence this year. Cllr Fisher thanked Mr Norman and his team for their continued support with this project.
  • School Crossing, Station Road – We are still working on making the crossing at the entrance to Broughton Crescent safer for the children to cross. In the absence of a Crossing Patrol Officer we have provided the School with 4 safety characters to warn traffic they are in the proximity of a School. We have still not been given permission to install 20MPH safety signs by the County Council, something which we are still working on.
  • Affordable Homes Planning Application at Old Road / Brookhouse Drive – The Planning permission was rejected; however we are still at risk of applications being received with regards to the green belt. We will be looking to review the Neighbourhood Plan to strengthen our position moving forwards.
  • Wedgwood Memorial College – It appears The Limes and Estoril will be demolished as part of the development due to the deterioration of the buildings following the scaling back of security. The Parish Council have submitted tweaks to the proposed plans prior to the developer submitting these for planning approval.
  • Lakewood Drive – The Clerk has been working with the County Council with regards to the issue of potholes on the public access element of the Road. Unfortunately, the Parish Council and County have no jurisdiction with regards to the repairs, however she has asked if County could formally write to the owners to push them to undertake the repairs on the grounds of Health & Safety.  It was noted anyone who undertakes the works will be liable moving forwards which is a risk.  The residents are looking to address the potholes on the residential part of the road.
  • War Memorial Works – The war memorial is a good example of an Arts & Crafts structure and was dedicated in 1926. Works to clean and repair the pointing on the memorial in the run up to the King’s Coronation were complete, but this highlighted previous repairs which were made using the wrong stone which is unstable; there were holes in the main column which needed filling to stop water ingress, and a large stone needed replacement. All these works have been sanctioned and will be undertaken in the next few weeks.  It will ensure the memorial is in great shape for its 2026 100th year anniversary.
  • Footpath Works adjacent to the War Memorial – BT undertook cable works without permission and failed to install the topcoat which left a dangerous trip hazard. The Parish Council have undertaken the replacement of the footpath and installed 4 new Manchester Bollards and salvaged two from the Village Hall. The works were completed with the installation of the King’s Coronation Bench prior to the Coronation.
  • Wild Play Area – Following on from the installation of stepping logs, play fort and rope bridge, we have now installed mushrooms, a dragonfly, xylophone, spider and picnic benches, these have proved a great success with visiting families. The items for inclusion were approved following a public consultation at the Jubilee event in 2022.
  • Multi Use Games Area Barlaston Park – a restoration project has been undertaken to bring the play area up to date, we have also installed picnic benches at the request of residents.
  • Noticeboard Barlaston Park – Residents also requested a noticeboard which has now arrived and will be installed at the entrance to Ivy House Drive by the bus stop in the next few weeks.
  • Wild Planting – The Parish Council were successful in obtaining a grant for hedging which was installed by school children and volunteers on the public footpath by the Upper House. A wire fence is due to be installed imminently. A member of the public asked about the width of the path which was narrow and can get bogged down with mud when wet. Cllr Fisher advised the actual footpath crosses private land and the landowner has experienced walkers straying off the path to avoid the mud which causes damage to the crop in the field. The Upper House have agreed for the hedge to be planted with a 3m width to assist walkers. The Clerk has been in liaison with the Public Rights of Way team to see if aggregate could be added to the path, this is ongoing.  It was noted severe damage also occurred to Seabridge land where the path was widened to 30ft due to walkers avoiding mud, this is financially damaging to farm.  There is also an issue with dog fouling. The Clerk has issued notices to the landowners to try and address this problem.

It was noted where planting had taken place that it was agreed to backfill this.  Cllr Hurst advised volunteers were needed to assist with this element. Cllr Hurst to liaise with the Clerk to promote a date.

  • CCTV Downs Car Park – A new camera has been installed on the car park to address anti-social behaviour in the area.
  • Village Hall Porch – The main project to be undertaken in 2023/24 is the upgrade to the porch at the Village Hall. Planning permission has been granted and we are in the process of going out to tender.
  1. New Initiative
  • Development of the Meadow Road Site – The Borough Council have formally approved the lease of the land to the Parish Council. Once the contract has been finalised, a consultation will take place to determine how the site will be used.  This will be more traditional items. It is hoped funding from the development at the Wedgwood Memorial College site will contribute towards the costs.
  • Bus Shelters – Old Road / Barlaston Park. The Parish Council are currently investigating options for the procurement of two bus shelters.  A member of the public questioned the costs of this project given the limited funds available and whether due diligence had been undertaken in the decision making process.  This will be raised at the next Parish Council meeting for discussion.
  1. Village Strategy – Cllr Hemming gave an overview of the proposed Parish Council strategy, the intention being to create a strategic roadmap to assist the Parish Council in future decision making so their efforts can be concentrated on what will deliver the most value to villagers, within budget and avoid areas where they have no control. Four pillars make up the strategy being Community / Families & Children / Aesthetics and Sympathetic Development.

Where there are limited resources, having a unified vision of what the Council want to achieve is vital if they are to make decisions about what to focus on. It will act as a way of unifying the efforts of Councillors and ensure they have clarity on what they are looking to achieve, and the decisions required to get us there. This vision will not exclude all actions outside of that vision, some items will be deemed ‘business as usual’. It is also not intended to be a replacement for the local plan which remains in place and is the overarching plan for Barlaston.

A member of the public asked if the details of the Cllrs responsible for their wards could be published so they know who to contact.

  1. What the Parish Council are / are not responsible for – The Clerk has issued a summary which you may find useful. A member of the public asked if this information could be made available, Cllr Fisher advised copies have previously been made available, but were also provided at the meeting. This information would also be made available on the website.
  2. Public Open Forum

Communication – A request was made to improve communication with the reintroduction of the Heron. They also advised the Facebook reporting could be improved.  It was noted the Clerk worked limited hours and only 3 days a week which limits what can be achieved.

Orchard Place – the shops were not representative of Barlaston and needed to be improved. It was noted this was outside the jurisdiction of the Parish Council and that the Clerk had raised the issue with Homes Plus.

Bin outside the closed shop on Barlaston Park – It was noted that this was causing an environmental issue.  The Clerk had tried to contact the Charity to get the bin removed however it looks like they are no longer trading. The bin is situated on Homes Plus land, who would have given permission for it to be there. This site is scheduled for building, at which point the bin would need to be removed, however there was no date for the planned works.  This issue has been reported to Homes Plus and is outside the jurisdiction of the Parish Council.

Battery Storage Meaford – disappointment was expressed regarding the level of support the Parish Council had given to the neighbouring Parish with regards to the proposed battery storage project, in particular the pedestrian access. Cllr Jones advised he Borough had been in liaison with the residents affected and would respond to the concerns raised.

Cllr Fisher closed the meeting and thanked everyone for attending.


Receipts 2018/2019 2019/2020 2020/2021 2021/2022 2022/2023 2023/24            
Income 75423.00 74467.00 74631.00 75224.00 77255.00 74469.00  
Non Parish Income 6771.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 7418.00 7202.00  
Village Hall Income 708.00 2236.00 11403.00 2297.00 9538.00 4500.00  
VAT on Receipts 1173.00 0.00 8714.00 3803.00 4018.00 9000.00  
  84075.00 76703.00 94748.00 81324.00 98229.00 95171.00            
Wages & Salaries 11507.00 12295.00 10229.00 12354.00 13678.00 13500.00  
PAYE/NI 1309.00 1264.00 691.00 1125.00 1305.00 1500.00  
Pension 0.00 0.00 6342.00 4298.00 4875.00 4500.00  
Training Staff 1140.00 1317.00 704.00 577.00 80.00 500.00  
Training Members 200.00 1812.00 150.00 125.00 0.00 1000.00  
Expenses / Allowances 1293.00 1020.00 51.00 44.00 254.00 100.00  
Chairman’s Allowance 250.00 250.00 250.00 250.00 250.00 300.00  
Consultancy 982.00 1114.00 1187.00 840.00 125.00 3000.00  
Audit 480.00 485.00 171.00 493.00 539.00 600.00  
Insurance 980.00 1905.00 980.00 980.00 1036.00 1200.00  
Grounds Maintenance 5496.00 7247.00 4953.00 14249.00 15007.00 13600.00  
Repairs & Maintenance 3020.00 4873.00 791.00 10390.00 2774.00 28500.00  
Subscriptions 626.00 840.00 1271.00 887.00 1522.00 1500.00  
Other office costs 2439.00 4158.00 2941.00 7078.00 10904.00 3000.00  
Election 0.00 0.00 286.00 0.00 0.00 300.00  
Capital Projects / New Assets 0.00 18081.00 14650.00 4791.00 22009.00 17500.00  
Entertainment 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 9821.00 1000.00  
  29722.00 56661.00 45647.00 58482.00 84179.00 91600.00            
Non Parish Administration  
Lengthsman 794.00 2373.00 8048.00 1600.00 1316.00 1400.00  
Repairs & Maintenance 211.00 6370.00 675.00 0.00 78.00 0.00  
Grants & Donations 3052.00 1050.00 3400.00 7601.00 7131.00 8000.00  
Leases 3120.00 0.00 0.00 1050.00 2687.00 1220.00  
Civic Amenity Visits 325.00 447.00 0.00 0.00 1181.00 650.00  
Neighbourhood Plan 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00  
Electricity 738.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00            
  8240.00 10239.00 12123.00 10251.00 12393.00 11270.00  
Village Hall                
Wages 55.00 362.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00  
Audit 137.00 142.00 146.00 149.00 154.00 160.00  
Repairs & Maintenance 0.00 2299.00 26053.00 258.00 3680.00 0.00  
Gas 695.00 1139.00 615.00 1067.00 2040.00 3000.00  
Electricity 250.00 883.00 473.00 785.00 1421.00 1500.00  
Telephone / Broadband 390.00 166.00 360.00 496.00 513.00 500.00  
  1527.00 4991.00 27647.00 2754.00 7808.00 5160.00            
Earmarked Reserves                        
Election           7000.00            
Village Hall           10000.00            
HMRS reallocate to Village Hall           36000.00            
Play Park           12000.00            



The Parish Council has reduced the Council Tax by 0.6% for 2022/23 following a reduction
of 1.30% in 2020/21
2021/2022 2022/2023
Precept amount paid to Parish 67,949.00 Precept amount paid to Parish 68,968.00
Less Government Grant 3,429.19 Less Government Grant 3,568.72
Amount to be charged to taxpayers 64,519.81 Amount to be charged to taxpayers 65,399.28
Divided by Tas Base 1011.63 Divided by Tax Base 1031.43
Comparison to previous year: Comparison to previous year:
Amount per Band D Property 2019/20 64.88 Amount per Band D Property 2022/23 63.41
Amount per Band D Property 2020/21 64.60 Decrease of 0.6% from 2021/22
Amount per Band D Property 2021/22 63.78
Grants Awarded during 2021/2022 Grant Budget for 2022/23 8,000
50% graveyard grass cut for 2020/21 1320.00
Village Hall Energy Management System 600.00
Litter Picking Equipment – Womblers 200.00
Community Group – Thank You Event 250.00
Community Group Health & Safety Training 270.00
Community Transport H&S Training 175.00
Cricket Club Fireworks Event 500.00
British Legion Poppy Appeal 350.00
50% graveyard grass cut for 2021/22 1346.40
Silver Surfing Course 500.00
Douglas MacMillan Hospice Care 500.00
Bowling Club Kitchen contribution 500.00
Christmas Magazine Printing Contribution 400.00
Community Group Book of Thanks 40.00
Herons Refreshment Contribution 150.00
WI Refreshment Contribution 150.00
Guides Kenya Visit Contribution 250.00
Lions PSA Testing Contribution 100.00



  • Submitting a response to Planning Applications
  • Maintenance of Assets
    • The Village Green including trees
    • The WW1 War Memorial
    • The MUGA (Multi Use Games Area), Barlaston Park
    • Various Planters, benches and items around the village
    • Undertaking grass cutting on behalf of the County Council
    • Defibrillator devices
    • Noticeboards
  • The Village Hall as Sole Trustee
  • Supporting key initiatives


  • *Maintenance of roads including potholes
  • *Footpath maintenance
  • *Flooding and Surface Water issues
  • *Clearing of gutters and gullies
  • *Tree Maintenance (with the exception of the Village Green)
  • *Libraries
  • *Mud on the Roads
  • **Removal of Fly Tipping
  • The Canal
  • Maintenance of the Cemetery
  • Speeding
  • Transport
  • Health Services
  • Land and Assets owned by Stafford & Rural Homes

*Staffordshire County Council – www.staffordshire.gov.uk

**Stafford Borough Council – www.staffordbc.gov.uk/streetscene