Cllr G Jones (Chairman)
Cllr I Moran
Cllr S Tudor
Cllr C Hurst
Cllr S Hall
Cllr D Norman
Cllr E Philpott
Cllr V O’Dunne

In attendance: Mrs K St Leger (Clerk)

7:15 – 7:30 Public Open Forum

408 Apologies Cllrs Westwood, Fisher and Macmillan sent their apologies it was resolved to accept these.

409 Declarations of Interest

Cllr Hurst declared an interest in item 256 Environmental Issues
Cllr Jones reported that he had discussed the matter of his appointment as a Director of Stafford and Rural Homes with the Head of Law and Administration at Stafford Borough Council to establish whether there was a conflict of interest. The appointment had been included in his personal declaration of involvement of outside bodies and assurances had been given that there was no conflict of interest.

410 Written applications for dispensations under the Localism Act 2011
There were no written applications for dispensation

411 Minutes of full Council meeting of 6 November 2018 It was resolved to accept these as a true record.

412 Matters arising from the meeting of 6 November 2018 and not otherwise on the agenda

Key themes 2018

574 Draft Neighbourhood Plan update The External Examiner has sent through several clarification points. We are working with Urban Vision to address these.

Campaigns 2018

9 Speed Watch campaign Update

As envisaged, the wet weather is starting to impact on session delivery, but we are still maintaining visibility once or twice per week. Despite going for what we thought might be quieter time-slots, the Barlaston roads remain busy e.g., 515 in an hour on Meaford Road from 3.15pm.

Overall recordings since we started in May >800 but the average now reducing from 8% to 6% with only 4% during October/November. i.e. c15 per hour. The average from Barlaston post code also coming down – now 19% (from 22% in the summer).

It definitely feels like we are making a difference. I’m also delighted at the continuing great support from our dozen active volunteers.

We have received confirmation from Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership that we were successful with the grant application ‘Barlaston Speed Watch Group – Signage & SID’. Funding to be provided £5000. £684 of this funding is to provide Community Speed Watch signage and will not be paid directly to us, Staffordshire Police will coordinate this element. It is envisaged Amey will get the signage out during December / January.

A request was made to install signs on the back of the speed gates thanking people for driving safely, it was resolved to accept this request. Clerk to investigate.

It was noted a number of tankers are travelling through the village to access the Strongford Site, as the site is not within Barlaston, vehicles should be adhering to the restrictions in place and accessing the site via Trentham. Details of these vehicles should be reported to Strongford, they will then ensure contractors comply accordingly.

Wedgwood have installed signage indicating the direction construction traffic should take, some contractors are ignoring these instructions and accessing Hartwell Lane via Blurton Road. Some lorries are coming through Lady’s Mile which is dangerous, Clerk to liaise with David Wilson Homes to reiterate the traffic instructions. Cllrs to note details so these can be reported.

485 Dog Foul Campaign update

SBC surveyed Barlaston Park and recorded the number of incidents which was negligible, it appears when the campaign for voting was being undertaken, residents made an effort to clean up.
The reported number of incidents on the canal has gone from 89 to 2 which is a great reduction. The bins on Wedgwood Drive are overflowing and need to be monitored, Clerk to liaise with Street Scene to see if the number of collections can be increased. An article will be included in the February edition of the Parish News.

The dog dispenser equipment has now been received, arrangements will be made to install these. The locations are as follows:

a) Cricket Ground – Dispenser to be located by the Public Pathway Gate to Cricket Ground off Malthouse Road. They have offered to top up the dispenser. 5 signs are now in place.
b) Barlaston Park – Dispenser to be located on the corner of Bell Land and Wedgwood Lane on the green. Tony Dodd has kindly offered to top up the dispenser. We may require permission to install the post, Clerk to investigate. Signs to be installed.
c) Adjacent to the Plume of Feathers, near the Parish Council display board. We need a volunteer to fill the dispenser. If digging is required on the Canal, we will need to liaise with the Canal & River Trust to ascertain where the cables run along the tow path. Clerk to investigate.
It was noted there are no longer specialised dog waste bins, any bin can now be used to dispose of dog bag waste.

182 MUGA Update

No update reported

193 Joint Playing Field Committee meeting Dickson’s Solicitors have not responded to the offer of £250 towards Legal fees. Clerk to chase for a response.

195 WWI Commemorations update

a. Village Hall afternoon tea feedback
Event went well, the people who attended responded positively. Surplus sandwiches and cakes went to the Church event hosted on the Sunday; the sandwich fillers went to the Salvation Army Hostel in Stoke which was gratefully received; the tea/coffee was given to Cllr Hurst for use on voluntary environmental days. The Clerk purchased a 5L flask to aid with these events. It was resolved to remove this item from the agenda.
b. Memorial Bench The bench was installed in time for the Sunday memorial service. It was resolved to remove this item from the agenda.
c. Poppy hero stickers A number of stickers were distributed before the WW1 memorial event and received a positive response. We are awaiting update on what happened to the balance.
256 Environmental projects and future works

Grass cutting at Barlaston Park / MUG
Stafford Street Scene quoted £30 per cut x 12 cuts per annum – total £360. This will ensure the MUGA will be cut in conjunction with the childrens’ play area.
It was resolved to accept these charges.
o The two areas which were disputed on Barlaston Park belong to Stafford & Rural Homes, these have now been cut and added to their schedule for future cuts.

Wildlife area update

Car Park

Three quotation were submitted with regards to the resurfacing of the car park adjacent to the wildlife area on Station Road:

  • Option 1 – All works including scratch up vegetation and soil, level stone. Create a camber for water runoff. Supply tarmac plainings (60 ton approx.) and grade out. Compact the stone using a vibrating roller leaving a smooth and level finish @ £5,530
  • Option 2 – Resurfacing of the car park and extending where necessary. Digging of drainage channels for the run off of surface water. Price to include all labour, plant and twenty tons of crush @ £2700.00 / Additional cost of aggregate @ £16.50 per ton x 40 tons £660 – total cost £3,360
  • Option 3 (a) – Grub off vegetation, scarify existing stone on car park. Supply, level and compact 50mm MOT Type 1 stone 0.75mm thick. Supply, level and compact 20mm to dust 25mm thickness @ £8,500
  • Option 3 (b) – Grub off vegetation, scarify existing stone on car park. Supply, level and compact 100mm thickness road plainings. Sealing grit cover over plainings @ £6,600

All three options would provide the same outcome utilising different materials.

It was resolved to approve quotation 2 based on price @ £3,360.

The works would start to address the lack of asset maintenance undertaken within the village; it would also encourage visitors and residents to visit the wildlife area. Positive feedback has already been received following the recent works in this area, the school children will also be involved in growing and planting shrubs moving forwards.

It was recommended the lighting to the car park be looked at before the works commence. Clerk to look at the options.

Wildlife Area Works

Initial works have already been undertaken in conjunction with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust (SWT), a further voluntary event is scheduled for February 2019, works to include:

  • Clearing the Wildlife Area
  • Cutting back woody vegetation on the south side of the Wildlife Area
  • Cut back the vegetation by Vicarage Lane

SWT will provide all tools and equipment and take responsibility for the safe delivery of the event and participate in the works @ £250

Works to remove the trees recommended by SWT @ £250.
Re-planting of species recommended by SWT @ £750.
It was resolved to approve this expenditure, total £1,250

Barlaston Village Hall car park – We are still awaiting date from Western Power Company to enable works to take place

Canal works – First organised voluntary date took place on 1 December 2018, the canal stone was re-set and hedge works started. Four people attended, possibly due to the wet weather. A number of volunteers arriving later failed to locate the working party, this will be addressed at the next event. The works are scheduled with the Canal & River Trust and driven by the Parish Council. Timetable of future events will be published.

270 Rights of way / footpath adoptions Staffordshire County Council have implied they will no longer be providing funding for the upkeep of these areas. This item will be encompassed within the Environmental works programme moving forwards.

287 County Council member for the area update

2. Stafford & Rural Homes Planning Application Barlaston Park No update has been received. Barlaston Park is not within the settlement boundary and classed as residential development in the Green Belt, as such any planning will need to be submitted as a rural exception site and submitted as social housing.
SBC are demanding that SRH provide evidence of the need for Social Housing within Barlaston, it is alleged there is a list of 35 people who require these, this needs to be verified as the data is outdated. SRH are supposed to be arranging two consultation sessions whereby they will request expression of interest, this was to be undertaken to enable approval during this current financial year ending 31 March 2019. The Planners have not mentioned a consultation, which will take a period of time to achieve. The Parish Council have offered to work with SRH to host the events and undertake administration if required. The residents need to come from within the village, if they cannot show the relevant number of residents requiring this type of housing the project will not be approved. Clerk to liaise with SRH for an update.

6. Library update. After March 2019 the Library van will visit the Plume of Feathers, travel to Fulford and return to the Village Hall. Timings and duration information are yet to be published.

A meeting was held with the Mobile / Community Library Manager from SCC. He advised there are no plans or funding available for any further community library projects. However, if we would like to research how these ventures are run, he would be open for us to visit Rising Brook Library and facilitate introductions. If we decide to proceed with a proposal, we will need to meet the strict criteria which will be submitted for consideration. A full submission will be required with a cost benefit analysis, we need to tie this in with Social Inclusion elements. If this is successful, we would lose the mobile library service, our current service is already being downgraded. Future planning will require a lot of research, but we do have time.

In the interim SCC have recommended the promotion of the Home Library Service whereby volunteers deliver books to people who want them. They will target local papers in this area to promote the scheme. Books will be put onto the Library bus, these will be collected and distributed by volunteers and is particularly targeted at housebound people.

349 Cocknage Noticeboard update – This has been installed and is working well, they will promote social events and the first set of agendas has been issued. It was resolved to remove this item from the agenda. Cocknage sign has been received, installation to be undertaken.

351 Wayleave Agreement Upper House – The Upper House have paid the invoice for this year. Moving forwards, they propose to allow the PC to install a light on their post to address the lighting issues over the car park. A legal notice is still required to clarify the position. It was resolved to accept this proposal.
357 Car park Orchard Place – SRH are awaiting signs to be installed, Clerk to liaise with SRH for installation schedule. The shops have reported the car park is full but no one is shopping which is proving detrimental to their businesses. People are now leaving their cars and getting on the bus which is exacerbating the situation.

It was suggested the PC approach Potteries First to see if the bus which goes between Newstead and Blurton could call in at Barlaston Park.

There are 12 parking spaces available by the level crossing which are underutilised. The shops could post notices on cars showing there are long stay car park spaces available. This needs to be pursued.

371 Hedge works on Station Road – These have been completed, the hedge cutter was used to trim the hedge on the inside and outside with the spoil being shredded and disposed of. To maintain the hedge it was recommended the farmer cuts this biannually in line with other hedge works in the Village, it was resolved to accept this proposal.

The dead leaves and overgrown shrubs now need to be raked off the footpath, this will require a skip to be located at Station Road car park.

An old grit bin was discovered, it is damaged and difficult to get to. The road is gritted by SCC, the grit in the bin was used for the level crossing. Clerk to liaise with SCC to see if this could be replaced and relocated by Orsett House.

373 Drainage issues on Old Road – There has been no further update. Clerk to liaise with Cllr Parry for progress report.

374 Mr Peter Proctor memorial plaque – The plaque is now in situ, it was resolved to remove this off the agenda.

387 Christmas Lighting Update – The electrician Mr Terry Smith assisted Cllr Hurst with the installation of lights on the Village Hall and the tree on the village green, the Parish Council would like to thank Mr Smith for his assistance. Two sets of new lights have been installed on the tree and several replacement bulbs ordered to replace failed bulbs on the existing set. In future, if additional lights are added, a cherry picker will be required. It was noted the tree was in a poor state of health and required some remedial works, Clerk to obtain a quotation.

Cllr Jones will liaise with the householder to discuss a fee for the supply of the electricity for the lighting the tree over the Christmas period. A timer unit has been installed to limit the time this was lit. Provision for a tree in a different location was discussed, however it was felt this was the best location with regards to visibility.

The Community Group asked if solar / battery lighting could be installed around the poppy display, Clerk to investigate.

Cllr Hurst’s cousin donated the Christmas Tree installed on the canopy of the Village Hall, the Parish Council would like to thank him for the donation.

407 (a) Cemetery Grounds Maintenance update – Remedial works have been undertaken to address the issues. It was resolved to remove this item from the agenda.

(b) Wedding Ceremony / Blessing on the Village Green – It was resolved to approve this request; the item will be removed from the agenda.

413 Country Cabin drain – SCC call ref 4138927 – The soil has been eroded around the drain leaving a concrete ridge which has a 900 edge, 6 vehicles have sustained wheel damage over recent months and limped into the Country Cabin to await recovery. Cllr Norman left a pack at the Country Cabin explaining how these issues are to be reported to SCC and subsequently received a further three calls. Highways have categorised this as 3, low risk, however due to the number of vehicles affected the matter was escalated to Cllr Parry who has agreed to investigate this issue. Date for works to commence is still awaited.

414 Clerk’s appraisal This will be undertaken in January 2019. Cllr Jones will liaise with Cllrs during December.
414 Barlaston Railway Station – An article in a reputable railway magazine advised Barlaston Station was scheduled to be reopened in late 2020 or early 2021, no official notification has been received. Opening the station would benefit the residents and also deter traffic from using the village as a cut through due to the number and length of times the railway gates would be closed.

No consultation has taken place to show a need for the station to be reopened. We would expect to be involved in the process. With HS2 undertaking high speed links, the Barlaston Station would only be used as a local service for residents. Since the loss of bus services in the Village, local opinions on the station may have changed. A Facebook poll may be a good way to gauge local feeling. It was proposed to take this seriously and undertake some investigative works, Cllr Jones will undertake this.

415 Barlaston Park Update. Feedback from a resident advised the park was in turmoil with motorbikes being driven around the estate, they requested the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme be resurrected. It was noted Cllr Westwood suggested this several months ago and the residents did not want it. There were no other reports of issues from the Park, Clerk to monitor the situation.

416 Wedgwood Report. No report was received. It was noted we were still not in receipt of the presentation bowl promised in October. We previously had a good relationship with Wedgwood, which needs to be reinstated.

Cllr Hurst noted a recent incident where a resident was cutting down yew trees on Queen Mary’s Drive, the Clerk checked with SBC to see if these had TPO’s but they were not listed. The Wedgwood Facilities Manager was called, he immediately stopped the works, they are making arrangements to get their horticulturist in the assess the trees. They were happy for the Parish Council to plant crocuses. He has asked to be updated with any environmental works going on the in village.

417 Public Forum – No items were raised
418 Borough Council member for the area – Items covered within the agenda.
419 County Council member for the area – Cllr Parry sent his apologies.

420 Planning Committee Recommendations

  • 18/29680/HOU at 11 Whitethorn Avenue, Barlaston ST12 9EF, proposed development described as single storey rear extension and raising of existing garage roof. It was resolved to approve this application.
  • 18/29523/HOU at 5 Parkfields Farm Rowan Barn Tittensor Road, described as retrospective planning application for new door. Subject to the door being in keeping with the adjacent properties, it was resolved to approve this application.

421 Financial update

Cllr Norman gave an overview following the Finance Committee Meeting held on 26 November 2018. Earmarked reserves were agreed based on the recommendation of the Auditor. A request was made to promote the finance element higher up the agenda for future meetings due to its importance.

  • Village Hall
    In terms of the Village Hall, it has its own funds c £20k, they have generated a small surplus in the past and it was resolved they should maintain enough to carry out emergency works. A strategy will be required to determine how the PC allocate funding in conjunction with their funds. Works will need to be prioritised, quotations obtained and establishment of a programme of works; consultation will need to be undertaken with the hirers to minimise disruption.
  • Projects
    As custodians of public funds, the PC need to demonstrate money is spent in an appropriate manner based on the needs of the village and stand up to scrutiny. All projects costing in excess of £5k will require submission of a project proposal, if approved these will be project managed from initiation to execution, ensuring all aspects are controlled and meet the required timeframes and resources. The PC will determine projects, the Finance Committee will clarify the financial elements to ensure sufficient funds are available. The overriding caveat is that the process does not become a prevarication and drawn out affair.
    A meeting of the Finance Committee will be scheduled for end January 2019 which will report back to the PC meeting in February. It was resolved Cllr Jones and Cllr Norman will meet to discuss the approach.

Following the recommendation of the Finance Committee, the Parish Council resolved to maintain the precept at the current level.

Bank reconciliation – Statements were provided.
To review Cash flow and budget comparison – The budget comparison data was submitted.
Schedule of payments – December 2018
NET VAT Cheque
JRB Enterprise Ltd – Dog Bag Disp. Inv 19100 NET 652.00 VAT130.40 Cheque 2431
David Ogilvie Engineering Ltd – WW1 Bench Inv 182486 NET 876.00 VAT 175.20 Cheque 2432
Staffordshire & Wildlife Trust – Wildlife Works NET 250.00 VAT50.00 Cheque 2333
St Johns – Grant for WW1 Printing NET 115.50 VAT 0.00 Cheque 2434
K St Leger – Salary & Expenses  NET 1100.04 VAT 27.96 Cheque 2435
WW1 Event Refreshments / Printing NET 204.10 VAT 0.00
Christmas Tree Lights NET 116.95 VAT 0.00
Cilca Training  NET165.09 VAT 0.00
J Poultney – Removal of Planters / Replanting NET 100.00 VAT 0.00 Cheque 2436
Perennial Landscapes
Inv 1402 (missed off Aug Invoice) NET 285.00 VAT 57.00
Inv 1310 (missed off Sept Invoice) NET 285.00 VAT 57.00
Inv 1401 (Oct cut) NET 570.00 VAT 114.00
Inv 1400 (missed off July Invoice) NET 285.00 VAT 57
Total  NET 1425.00 VAT 285.00 Cheque 2437

Creative Landscapes – Fitting Bench / Sign NET 70.00 VAT 0.00 Cheque 2438

422 Weekly play equipment report No issues were reported.

423 Risk Assessment Actions An order has been raised for the MUGA RoSPA inspection

424 Correspondence and circulars Issued upon receipt

425 Items for inclusion on next month’s agenda

SCC Gritting Arrangements – volunteers required

HS2 going to go through legal consultation

Apologies were submitted from Cllr’s Hall and Philpott for the January meeting

Date of Next Meetings – 8 January 2019, Barlaston Village Hall, 1 Longton Road, Barlaston ST12 9AA