17 May 2022 – Draft Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting

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Cllr P Fisher (Chair), Cllr D Bentley (Vice Chairman), Cllr S Tudor, Cllr C Hurst, Cllr V O’Dunne, Cllr J Dando, Cllr D Borasinski, Cllr E Philpott 

Also In attendance:

Mrs K St Leger (Clerk) 

Public Open Forum 

8 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 Hemming sent his apologies

  2. Chairman’s Report

The Chairman thanked the volunteers who had made a contribution to the Village over the last 12 months, he also thanked the Clerk for keeping things together.

  1. Financial Report

  • End of year financial statement 2021/2022 / Budget for 2022/2023
    • Budget Comparison Data sheet has been provided; this shows the financial breakdown from 2018-19 to 2021/2022. It also shows the budget set for 2022/2023 (Appendix A)
    • We have also provided a financial data sheet showing the precept figures. We reduced the precept by 1.30% in 2020/21 and have further reduced the precept by 0.6% for 2022/2023
    • This is equivalent to a Band D property being £63.41 (£63.78 in 2020/2021) (Appendix B)
  • Grant Expenditure
    • In 2021/2022 we granted £7,601.40 towards Village Projects
    • In 2022/2023 we have increased the budget to £10,000

In 2022 The Parish Council provided a grant to Stone Lions PSA Testing project.

Mr Ravenscroft and Mr Ward from Stone Lions were invited to give an overview of the PSA testing which Barlaston helps to support via means of a grant.

‘The Lions became involved in 2015, it was all down to a Consultant Mr David Baxter-Smith who wanted to solve the Prostate cancer problem. He spoke at the annual conference which prompted Stone Lions to get involved.

They liaised with Uttoxeter Lions Volunteers to see how it operated, Mr David Baxter-Smith was in attendance. They went back to the Stone branch to report their findings and organised their first event in 2015.

Funding was needed, money was they had would be ringfenced. They wrote to Stone Town Council and surrounding Borough / Parish Councils. They wanted to provide the service free with donations being given on the night.  Stone House Hotel provided their ballroom free of charge along with refreshments for the nurses who all volunteered.

The first one in 2015, 145 men attended, donations and money covered the event, it was £20 per test.

It grew to 250 men in year 2, and 280 in 2019, which was the last physical event held due to COVID-19.  For 2 years we offered a Home Test Kit which wasn’t a great success, they didn’t like taking their own blood samples.

This year we asked people to pre-register which worked well, we commenced at 6:30 and concluded at 9:30 increasing from 30 slots to 40 slots during the evening.  500 men were booked in and 13 nurses volunteered. The time slots were adhered to and men were in and out without any delays.

Unfortunately, two Companies who supported the event have now gone. With contributions on the night, they raised £3k.  The funding may not cover the cost of hosting the event. By Wednesday the attendees would have received a notification of Green / Amber or Red results.

Of the 488 tests on 26 April, 1 failed due to blood clotting; 453 tests were green; 16 were amber and 15 were red. For the amber and red tests results they were advised to go and see their GP straight away. The results could be an enlargement an infection or cancer.

This year the percentage of people having an amber / red test were down by an average of 10%.

The cost to cover the event was £10k.  If we are short of funds, we will ask men to pay a percentage, it may require us to take a deposit upfront next time before they book.

We are now testing people from the age of 40, if problems are caught early there is a better chance of survival.

The Project is to raise awareness, the men who received red letters didn’t know they had an issue.

The Lions appreciated the support received and do this to give back to the community.’

Cllr Dando asked what percentage of men were being captured for testing and do you know who we are missing so these could be targeted?

This was difficult to quantify, however the data from the trials is being gathered in London through the Graham Fulford Charitable Trust as part of a wider project.

Cllr Fisher thanked them for their attendance and the works they have undertaken.

  1. Current Initiatives

  • Speed Watch

    – Mr David Norman gave an overview of the current situation

‘I started coordinating the Speed Watch initiative in 2018, we now maintain 10 core members who are enthusiastic, and you’ll see by the roadside.  We monitor various sites in Barlaston which are pre-approved by Highways and the Police. Volunteers have received the appropriate training.

We are responsible for the maintenance of 3 speed indicator devices (SID) across the village. The volunteers undertake 2 x 1 hour sessions per week, however not in the rain as this is deemed too dangerous.  We record the details of vehicles exceeding 35pmh + whereby an advisory letter is issued by the Police. If caught again a further, stronger letter is issued. If a 3rd instance is recorded they will get a visit from the Police.  No fines or tickets are issued.

The SID’s record data 24/7 which include the vehicle numbers and speeds; however they do not record specific vehicle details.  The data obtained is useful. The SID devices record data from vehicles travelling in both directions, their speed varies dramatically when facing the sign.  The aim of the Speed Watch group is to educate drivers not catch people, it is about safety.

The Roadwise statistics advise the following:

20% of pedestrians will die if hit by a vehicle doing over 30mph

50% of pedestrians will die if hit by a vehicle doing over 35mph

90% of pedestrians will die if hit by a vehicle doing over 45mph

We have spent 4 years waiving at vehicles in Barlaston. In 30 sessions 300 vehicles were recorded, 60 exceeding 40mph.  In Meaford Road by the speed gates adjacent to the 30mph sign, with the SID device and 3 people in high viz vests recorded speeds of 40/50mph

We download the data every month and regularly encounter vehicles doing 80/90mph in a 30mph speed limit and have encountered speeds in excess of 100mph.

On Station Road we have recorded speeds of 60/70mph and the same on Old Road.

We are engaging with Cllr Ian Parry and Giles Parsons the Police Commander. We are aware they have tight budgets and will concentrate on areas where there are deaths, but we need to educate people.

Ben Adams, Staffordshire’s Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner & his Deputy, Helen Fisher spent 45 minutes roadside. As a result the Police will be undertaking monitoring with their van along Meaford Road, anyone caught speeding will result in points / fines.’

A resident from Nursery Gardens advised visibility for vehicles existing from Nursery Gardens onto Old Road is poor. Concerns were raised with Teslas as these vehicles are silent and you won’t hear them coming. Vehicles accelerate past the Wedgwood Estate. There are also conflicting speed limits, the signs point to 30mph however vehicle SatNav’s advise the limited is 60mph. They asked if a SID device could be located in the area, however this is not feasible as the site has to be risk assessed by the Police and Highways as being suitable.

Mr Norman advised there were cables across Station Road undertaking some kind of monitoring, he wasn’t sure if this was speed or volume of traffic, however as this was adjacent to the SID device this seemed irrelevant. The Clerk advised she has again asked Cllr Parry to look at installing a 20mph flashing speed sign for the Crossing Patrol and this has been installed since this request was submitted. Mr Norman will try to ascertain what it is for.

Cllr Fisher thanked Mr Norman and his volunteers for the work they undertake on behalf of the village.

  • Affordable Homes Planning Application at Old Road / Brookhouse Drive

still not resolved. If this development is approved by the Borough Council, the Parish Council are set to fight this.

  • Wedgwood Memorial College

Although the site has been sold, the owners are seeking a partner to commence the build. We have made them aware of the ‘Lichfield Design Plan’ which has been approved by referendum.  The Borough Council are aware we will only accept plans which adhere to this plan.

Prior to the meeting Cllr Fisher requested an update from Mr Scott Royal of Royal Pilgrim Communications (the owner’s PR Company), he advised the following:

“Due to Stafford Borough Council’s resource constraints, their pre-application service advice unfortunately remains suspended until further notice and no further pre-applications will be accepted. This has remained the situation since February.

Technical investigations on the site constraints to inform an intended planning application to Stafford Borough Council have substantially progressed since our last communications. These have included updated surveys and verifications, additional utilities and drainage investigations, an extended topographical survey and other matters, which are still ongoing at the time of your request. It is now forecast, with increasing certainty and alongside the positive progress made, the ongoing technical matters should reach a robust conclusion throughout June. This should facilitate further steps by the landowners’ delivery partner. Obtaining full clarity of the site constraints is paramount prior to resolving an intended development proposal.

Once again I reaffirm the intentions to engage with the parish council ahead of an application submission.”

Cllr Jones advised that Borough Planning staff have left and they are finding it difficult to recruit. This has meant there is no pre-application service available.

Cllr O’Dunne advised there is a fence broken at Station Bank which is used as an access by teenagers who are ripping out pipework. As soon as the fence is repaired, they break it again. The damage caused could now result in the houses being demolished, although we did request these stay as part of the Neighbourhood Plan.

  • Lakewood Drive

The Clerk advised she had approached Cllr Ian Parry and the Head of Law for Staffordshire County Council to adopt the public section of Lakewood Drive. Cllr Parry wished to address the residents of Lakewood Drive and she asked Cllrs Dando and Bentley to confirm the next meeting date to Cllr Parry. It was hoped there was some good news.

Cllr Dando advised the volunteers including Cllrs attended site to fill the holes with magnesium hardcore donated by the Parish Council.  This has worked well as a temporary measure.

Cllr Bentley was looking at trying to resolve the flooding issue, it appears the overflow is from Lakewood steam, they had approached Severn Trent. The Clerk suggested they contact Cllr Ian Parry as Staffordshire County Council are the Lead Water Authority and responsible for surface water issues. If there is a risk to houses being flooded they will act.

  • Improvements to the Wild Play Area
    • We are seeking options for new play equipment to be added to the Wild Play Area. Designs are currently being considered.
  • Environmental developments
    • Trees – Looking to plant more trees around the village as part of our Climate Emergency commitment.
    • Planting – Chris planting Crocus to commemorate the eradication of Polio / Wild planting around the village is still in its infancy
    • Grounds Maintenance – Paul Goodall has been retained for a further year
  • Upgrade of the Village Hall
    • See Plans regarding the change to the porch area
  • Jubilee Event – 4 June 2022
    • The Parish Council have resolved to provide the entertainment free of charge, this has been helped with the award of a National Lottery grant. This is to ensure the event is accessible by everyone.  A leafl will be distributed to residents detailing the activities which will be available.
    • A minibus will be provided to pick residents up / drop them off around the village from 12 noon to 4pm.
    • The entertainment will commence at 7pm in the evening and close at 11pm.
    • The Church will be holding the following events on Sunday 5 June:
      • 8:30 am – A Holy Communion Service in St John’s Church
      • 11:00 am – A Service of Praise & Thanksgiving for her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the Marquee on the Green
      • 12:00 noon – A Royal Toast for our Queen
      • 12:15pm – A bring a shared Lunch (All Welcome)
    • Cllr Fisher advised the lighting of the beacon will take place on Thursday 2 June at Old Road, Oulton. A flyer will be sent out with the details.
  • New Assets
    • 4 Oak Trees have been installed (2 Meaford Road / 1 Orchard Place / 1 Barlaston Park)
    • We are in the process of procuring a Bench to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee
    • The Parish Council are looking at installing picnic benches around the greens to encourage visitors
    • We are in discussions with the County Council to install a reduce speed sign by the Crossing Patrol Officer
  1. New Initiatives

  • Development of the Meadow Road Site –
    • The Parish Council have formally approached the Borough Council to lease the site for a Play area, this will go to Cabinet in June 2022
  • Twinning with Fiskars
    • A table will be set up in the Marquee at the Jubilee Event to enable residents to discuss the possible Twinning with Fiskars.
    • It was noted a new fence was being installed at the Fiskars site, it was unclear why the works were being undertaken. It was noted Fiskars had full planning to install a marina in the area.
  • Introduction of a Youth Council
    • The Parish Council have been approached to form a Youth Council, we are open to the idea, however we need to know there is a demand. Cllr Emma Adams-Elsmore agreed to assist.
  • Development of a Village Strategy
    • The Parish Council are currently looking at producing a short / longer term strategy document
  • School Governor Representation

    – Emma to update (walking bus scheme etc)

  1. What the Parish Council are / are not responsible for

       Document issued (Appendix C)

  1. Public Open Forum

A suggestion was submitted for the Parish Council to approach Stafford & Rural Homes to make a recommendation to improve the frontages of the shops. It was noted Douglas MacMillan had only just undertaken branding works on their shop.

It was also noted the hedge at Orchard Place was unsightly and needed to be addressed / replaced.

Date of Next Meetings Parish Council Meeting

View the Appendices to this meeting