21st January 2021 Minutes

Michaelchurch Escley, Newton, St Margarets, Turnastone, Vowchurch
Minutes of the Vowchurch Group Parish Council meeting
held on Thursday 21st January 2021 via Zoom
Please note that the meeting is being recorded

PRESENT – Councillors P Mason (Chair), E May, I Chadwick, A Picton, E Williams, M Engel, R Lloyd and J Kernahan.
IN ATTENDANCE – Ward Councillor P Jinman and Mrs L Cowles (Clerk)

  1. ACCEPT APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – Councillors H Franklin and T Williams.
  2. RECEIVE DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST & CONSIDER ANY WRITTEN APPLICATIONS FOR DISPENSATION – There were no declarations of interest or written requests for dispensation.
  3. CONSIDER GRANTING COUNCILLORS DISPENSATION FOR NON-ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS – It was agreed to grant a 6-month attendance dispensation to Councillors unable to attend council meetings remotely.
  4. ADOPT MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS ORDINARY MEETING – 19th November 2020 – The minutes were signed as a true and accurate record.
  5. OPEN DISCUSSION – For residents to raise local matters- No members of the public attended the meeting and therefore no specific points were raised.
    6.1 Ward Councillor – Ward Councillor Jinman’s report included: –
    Covid-19 update – Hereford hospital is currently very stretched, please take due care and follow the rules.
    Floods – It has been a busy 48 hours, with issues in Longtown and Ewyas Harold.
    Laptops – Please donate if you can to enable children to access teaching from home.
    Broadband – Details included in agenda item 12.
    Budget – Proposed 4.9% increase.
    Consultations – A reminder to complete consultations which are currently running.
    Misuse of countryside – Concerns have been raised regarding parking, litter and general misuse of the countryside. Whilst local residents do not want to make people unwelcome would ask for a little respect.
    6.2 Lengthsman report – The Lengthsman was unable to attend the meeting. His monthly reports had been forwarded to Councillors prior to the meeting.
    6.3 Footpaths Officer – Councillor May continues to walk the footpaths. Some gates have been closed with barbed wire, which has been reported. Please include reporting footpath defects via the Herefordshire Council website in the February newsletter.
  7. CLERKS UPDATE – The Clerk reported that Councillor Simeon Cole has tendered his resignation from the Parish Council as he no longer owned property in the area. The Chair thanked Councillor Cole for his involvement with the Parish Council and requested a letter of thanks be sent to him.
    A thank you letter has been received from Dore Community transport for the recent donation.
    Herefordshire Council has requested that BT keep the phone boxes in Lower Maescoed and Michaelchurch Escley.
    A reminder to complete the public consultations for the Future of waste & recycling by 7th February and changes to the oversubscription criteria for school admissions by 31st January.
    Herefordshire Wildlife Trust workshops on 17th February & 17th March.
    Feedback on Budget Consultation events on 9th & 11th February.
    B4348, Gooses Foot, Stoney Street, Kingstone will be closed from Friday 12th February – Friday 19th February.
    A public path diversion order for restricted by-way ME38 and CZ46 in Michaelchurch Escley & Craswall was made on 12th October 2020 and objections should have been received by 14th January 2021. The Parish Council has already responded with no objections.
    Keep Herefordshire Warm continue to run their initiative and can help with advice or possible grant funding for eligible homes.
    Correspondence has been received from a local resident regarding planning in Michaelchurch; the Clerk directed them to the planning department at Herefordshire Council for advice.
    A local resident has also raised concerns regarding the erosion of footings at the base of the bridge crossing the River Dore in Vowchurch. The Senior Bridge Engineer at Balfour Beatty has written to them advising that they intend to carry out work to repair the scoured area and other areas along the downstream edge that require repair this summer (2021).
    Site: Land at Wernagavenny, Michaelchurch Escley, HR2 0PU
    Description: The application seeks confirmation that Prior Approval under class Q2 of the Town and
    Country Planning (General Permitted Development (England) (Amendment) Order 2018 is not required for the building operations reasonably necessary for the building to function as a dwelling.
    Application No: 204071 Grid Ref: 328093:239744
    Site: Caeiron Farm, Michaelchurch Escley, HR2 0PU
    Description: Proposed general purpose agricultural building together with a new access from C1205, hardstanding, bund, entrance gate and fencing.
    Application No: 202590. Grid Ref: 328337:239027
    9.1 Confirmation of updated bank balance – £10,315.41 Statement Sheet No. 153 issued 17th January 2021.
    Receipts – £2500.00, 1st Drainage grant reimbursement.
    9.2 Payment to Mrs Linda Cowles for December 2020 Clerk’s hours and £11.99 plus VAT Zoom subscription – Payment agreed.
    9.3 Payment to Lexis Nexis, invoice no. I0447770Z for Arnold Baker Local Council Administration Manual of £119.99 – Payment agreed.
    9.4 Payment to Mr T Griffiths, invoice no. TGC1304 for November 2020 (7) roads account of £373.00 plus VAT, invoice no. TGC1320 for December 2020 (1) roads account of £373.00 plus VAT, invoice no. TGC1331 for December 2020 (2) roads account of £373.00 plus VAT – Payment agreed.
    9.5 Payment to HMRC of £65.20 for PAYE October – December 2020 – Payment agreed.
    9.6 Financial quarterly report – The finance working group had been unable to meet due to Covid-19 restrictions. The quarterly financial spreadsheets were noted.
  10. DONATIONS – The Clerk confirmed that the Local Government Act 1894 prohibits councils from spending any money maintaining or improving church property. The situation is complicated by the fact that subsequent legislation appears to contradict the earlier 1894 Act, however, the National Association of Local Councils advise that the governments current view on the legal issues is that there is no need for any further legislation. The Clerk would therefore recommend not making a donation at this time.
  11. FOOTPATHS VO53 & VO57 (part) Vowchurch public path diversion order 2019 – It was agreed to write to the Inspectorate to advise that if an accompanied visit took place the Parish Council would like to attend the meeting.
  12. BROADBAND – Councillor Jinman advised that he has been trying to pursue this with the local cabinet member and Jessie Norman MP to get more funding for broadband in rural areas. The problems have been highlighted again because of the need for children to access lessons via remote learning. There is inadequate broadband in many areas. The Parish Council would like to know who is in charge of the process now, where has fibre broadband been installed, when are the remaining areas going to be installed and where are the gaps? Ward Councillor Jinman advised that some areas have no coverage at all and there is a drive to get these areas covered. In many areas whilst there is some broadband it is still inadequate cover. Councillor Engel has written to Jessie Norman MP who has agreed to attend a meeting, once restriction allow. This would need to involve the whole of the Golden Valley, there needs to be a broader approach to bring in all of the local area. Councillor Kernahan has knowledge of an alternative approach by using network connectivity in rural areas which avoids using in the ground infrastructure but uses the mobile networks. Councillor Kernahan offered to get involved and help where he can. Councillor Engel stressed that some properties are not close to any mobile signal either. These properties will be the most expensive for BT or Gigaclear to supply and they could be left out forever. It was agreed that an update from Herefordshire Council or Fastershire would be appreciated to enable things to move forward.
  13. RESILIENCE PLAN – Any resilience plan would need to include contact details of somebody with local knowledge of the area, along with details of key holders to halls etc. The Herefordshire Council template is very detailed and would be immensely difficult to achieve in this area which is huge, sparsely populated, very broken up and with limited public facilities. Any plan would need to be kept up to date and follow GDPR guidelines. It was agreed to look at a basic plan.
  14. ACCESSIBILITY STATEMENT – The Website Accessibility Statement was adopted.
  15. LENGTHSMAN CONTRACT 2021/22 – It was agreed to participate in the BBLP 2021/22 Lengthsman Scheme. It was agreed to contact Mr T Griffiths to enquire if he was happy to continue in 2021/22 and to request details of any changes in his rates.
  16. TRAINING – Councillor May had attended the ‘Leading Lights’ training course on the 19th January and requested to attend ‘Best Behaviour’ on 28th January and ‘Planning Overview’ on 1st February – All agreed.
  17. TREE SAPLINGS – The Clerk confirmed there had been no interest for tree saplings, it was noted that the offer may be available again in the coming year.
  18. FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER – Reminder of Government Covid-19 restrictions and reporting defects on the Herefordshire Council online.
  19. RAISE MATTERS FOR THE NEXT ORDINARY PARISH COUNCIL MEETING – Thursday 18th February 2021 at 7.30pm via Zoom – Environmental Scheme, B4348 speed limit update, Water runoff on B4348 & C1206 in Vowchurch.

The Chairman declared the meeting closed at 8.38pm.


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