15th February 2024 Minutes

Michaelchurch Escley, Newton, St Margarets, Turnastone, Vowchurch.
Minutes of the Vowchurch & District Group Parish Council meeting held on
Thursday 15th February 2024 at 7.30pm in Escley & District Sports Pavilion

PRESENT – Councillors E May (Chair), E Williams, D Cross, I Chadwick, G Deas, A Picton, S Craddock, J Kernahan and R Lloyd.
IN ATTENDANCE – Mrs L Cowles (Clerk), PCSO Margaret Andrzejewska and one member of the public.

  2. RECEIVE DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST & CONSIDER ANY WRITTEN APPLICATIONS FOR DISPENSATION – There were no declaration of interests or written requests for dispensation.
  3. CO-OPTION OF PARISH COUNCILLORS TO REPRESENT ST MARGARETS AND MICHAELCHURCH ESCLEY – There were no official applications. The member of the public present had shown an interest in the Michaelchurch Escley vacancy and had come along to the meeting to see how the Parish Council work.
  4. ADOPT MINUTES OF THE ORDINARY MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL – 18th January 2024 – The minutes were signed as a true and accurate record.
  5. OPEN DISCUSSION – No members of the public attended the meeting therefore no specific points were raised.
  6. B4348/C1206 – Councillors May, Picton and Deas have recently held a Teams meeting with Bruce Evans and Callum Bush from Herefordshire Council. They seem very reluctant to introduce a speed limit and this is very frustrating. Whilst the speed survey concluded that 85% of motorist were not speeding it is the 15% of motorist which are of a concern. The problems fall into two parts, the B4348 and C1206 through the village. Councillors were advised that the junction was not exceptional, so a speed limit would not be appropriate and in particular a 40mph speed limit could be seen as a speed to aspire to so traffic speed would likely increase. 85% of users had an average speed of just over 40mph. The 15% of outliers will not reduce their speed because of a 40mph sign. The concerns of speed through the village were also discussed but with the narrow bridge and the double bends between Turnastone Church and The Villa these are traffic calming features anyway. Alternative options to consider would be gates, planters and cutting back the verges. They have agreed to a site visit but they did recommend that the Parish Council look at the Department of Transport guidance on appropriate speed limits as these are the criteria with which they have to comply. Councillors agreed that the new road marking through Peterchurch do give the impression that motorists needed to slow down and something similar could be an option. It was agreed that the Clerk would chase them up for a date for a site visit.
    7.1 Ward Councillor – Ward Councillor Matthew Engel report included: –
    Ward Councillor Engel had attended the recent Herefordshire Council budget meeting.
    £3.66 million has been received from Government to repair potholes over the next two years.
    The new library as Shirehall should open in August 2026.
    There is a Cabinet meeting next week which he is hoping to attend
    The mirror has now been installed at the Vowchurch junction.
    The Lengthsman funding has been reduced for 2024/25 as extra funding was made available this financial year due to underspend in 2022/23.
    Recently held a meeting with Steve Churchill and Tony Agate from Balfour Beatty primarily regarding excessive road closures. They are sympathetic, if you have an issue please report.

7.2 Local Police – PCSO Margaret Andrzejewska reported that since 15th June 2023 there have been no reported crimes in the parish. There has been a spike in crime in Madley, Kingstone and Allensmore. Three arrests have been made in Kingstone concerning theft and investigations are on-going.
Operation Snap – members of the public can report and submit digital footage showing potential traffic offences via a secure online form.
7.3 Lengthsman report and any new road defects -The Lengthsman was unable to attend the meeting. His latest reports had been distributed to Councillors prior to the meeting via email. The Clerk confirmed that only two jobs remained on his priority list, one on C1206 and the other on C1209. Both jobs were a total of £7300 nett, which would need to be funded solely by the Parish Council.

  1. CLERKS UPDATE – HALC training courses for February and March had been circulated to Councillors prior to the meeting.
    A reminder about the meeting with Police and Crime Commissioner in Bacton on 22nd February 2024. Councillor E May had agreed to attend.
    Councillor I Chadwick has agreed to have his name put forward for a new Town & Parish Charter group.
    A letter has been sent to the Enforcement Officer regarding the barn north of Marlborough Grange.
    Site: Building at Lunnon Farm, Vowchurch Common Road, Vowchurch, Herefordshire
    Description: Prior approval for change of use of agricultural building to one larger dwelling house (Class C3), and for building operations reasonably necessary for conversion.
    Application No: 240138 Grid Ref: 337489: 237287
    OBJECTING TO THE APPLICATION – Vowchurch & District Group Parish Council object to this application. Having spoken to the previous property owner the agricultural building has not been used for agricultural purposes within the last ten years, therefore planning under (Part 3) Class Q3 – Prior Approval does not apply. Footpath VO61 also runs through the farm, any development could hinder use of this footpath.
    Site: Park Farm House, Rock Road, Newton St Margarets, Herefordshire. HR2 0QW
    Description: Proposed installation of 16 x solar PVs on south east facing roof
    Application No: 240121/240122 Grid Ref: 335562:233860
    SUPPORT APPLICATION – The solar panels are positioned in such a manner that they do not affect the Grade 2 listed building. The Parish Council are keen to support green measures.
    Site: Building & Land at New Barn Old Farm, Newton St Margarets, Herefordshire. HR2 0QW
    Description: Proposed change of use of an agricultural building and land to a use falling within Class C3 (dwelling house).
    Application No: 231940 Grid Ref: 334847:234036
    Ward Councillor Matthew Engel left the meeting
    10.1 Confirmation of updated bank balance – £12,521.60 dated 13th February 2024.
    Receipts – £2775.00 and £1760.00 Lengthsman reimbursement
    10.2 Payment to Mrs Linda Cowles for February 2024 Clerk’s hours, to include pay rise as agreed at January meeting and £49.03 plus VAT Ink cartridges – Payment agreed.
    10.3 Payment to Mr T Griffiths invoice no. TGC2574 roads account December 2023 (3) of £440.00 plus VAT, invoice no. TGC2545 roads account January 2024 (1) grant funding work of £4800.00 plus VAT, invoice no. TGC2561 roads account January 2024 (2) of £440.00 plus VAT and invoice no. TGC2560 roads account January 2024(3) OF £440.00 plus VAT – Payment agreed.
    10.4 Payment to Herefordshire Association of Local Councils, invoice no. H2088 affiliation and subscription fees 2024/25 of £615.68 plus VAT – Payment agreed.
    10.5 FINANCIAL REGULATIONS – It was agreed to adopt the new Financial Regulations to incorporate online banking with Unity Trust Bank.
  4. ANNUAL PARISH MEETING – The Annual Parish Meting will take place on 25th April 2024 in Escleyside Hall from 7pm. Tim Hoverd from Herefordshire Council has agreed to attend to talk about the excavations at Snodhill Castle. It was agreed to pay a speaker’s fee of £60.00 as requested.
  5. FIRE OFFICER RECRUITMENT AT PETERCHURCH – Recruitment of local Fire Officers was not straight forward. The Fire Station have contacted local factories and used the census to try and encourage local residents to join the service. They must live or work within 6 miles of the station. Locally, there are the vehicles available but they are understaffed for call-outs. It was agreed to advertise in the March newsletter to try and encourage volunteers to join.
  6. MARCH NEWSLETTER – Annual Parish Meeting and Fire Service recruitment.
  7. NOTE THE CORRESPONDENCE SHEET – No additional correspondence has been received other than items already forwarded to Councillors.
  8. RAISE MATTERS FOR THE NEXT ORDINARY MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL – Thursday 21st March 2024 at 7.30pm in Vowchurch & Turnastone Memorial Hall – Annual Parish Meeting and verge cutting.

The Chair declared the meeting closed at 8.45pm


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