16th March 2023 Minutes

Michaelchurch Escley, Newton, St Margarets, Turnastone, Vowchurch.
Minutes of the Vowchurch & District Group Parish Council meeting held on
Thursday 16th March 2023 at 7.30pm in Vowchurch & Turnastone Memorial Hall.

PRESENT – Councillors E May (Chair), T Williams, E Williams, I Chadwick, G Franklin, R Lloyd, A Picton, D Cross, S Craddock and M Engel.
IN ATTENDANCE – Mrs L Cowles (Clerk).

  1. ACCEPT APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – Councillor G Deas and the police.
  2. RECEIVE DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST & CONSIDER ANY WRITTEN APPLICATIONS FOR DISPENSATION – Councillor G Franklin declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in agenda item 7.1, Councillor D Cross declared a non-disclosable interest in agenda item 7.1; the declarations book was signed accordingly. There were no written requests for dispensation.
  3. ADOPT MINUTES OF THE ORDINARY MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL – 16th February 2023 – The minutes were signed as a true and accurate record.
  4. OPEN DISCUSSION – No members of the public attended the meeting and therefore no specific points were raised.
    5.1 Local Police – The local police were unable to attend the meeting.
    Councillor M Engel joined the meeting.
    5.2 Lengthsman report – The Lengthsman was unable to attend the meeting. His monthly reports had been forwarded to Councillors prior to the meeting. The Locality Steward has advised that the majority of land close to the drainage works recently completed in Turnastone on C1206 is owned by Rose Cottage, with the small initial section having no known owner. It was agreed to ask the Lengthsman to quote for drainage works on the smaller section of land with a view of contacting the owners at Rose Cottage to complete the rest of the works.
    5.3 Footpath Officers report – Reports had been distributed to Councillors, via email, prior to the meeting. Councillor May reported that during 2022 the majority of footpaths in Newton, St Margarets and Michaelchurch Escley have been walked with any problems reported to Herefordshire Council. Footpath SM33 is currently closed. Councillor Deas reported that he will undertake most of the footpath survey from Springtime onwards. The VO61 remains a difficult area and has been reported to Herefordshire Council on at least two occasions. There is due to be a Footpath Officers update hosted by Herefordshire Council on 24th March 2023.
    The Clerk gave Councillors an update on the election process.
    Road closures are noted on C1206 in Michaelachurch Escley from 3rd April – 27th April, this will be a full road closure and C1209 near Percival Place from 27th April for approximately 3 weeks, vehicle access will be allowed at the discretion of Herefordshire Council.
    Councillor G Franklin left the room
    Site: Tanners Place, Michaelchurch Escley, Herefordshire. HR2 0LA
    Description: Proposed change of use of barn to private kennelling along with internal reconditioning (retrospective).
    Application No: 224246 Grid Ref: 330768:237577
    COMMENT – The Parish Council are happy for the barn to be used as private kennelling but have concerns that a group of dogs maybe an issue with sound pollution for nearby residents.
    Councillor G Franklin returned to the meeting.
    8.1 Confirmation of bank balance – £9,532.23 Statement Sheet No. 179 issued 17th February 2023
    Receipts – None
    To include £5.00 bank charges 17th January 2023 – 16th February 2023.
    8.2 Payment to Mrs Linda Cowles for March 2023 Clerk’s hours – Payment agreed.
    8.3 Payment to Terry Griffiths Contracts, invoice no. TGC2166 roads account February 2023 (1) of £400.00 plus VAT, invoice no. TGC2184 roads account February 2023 (2) of £400.00 plus VAT – Payment agreed.
    8.4 Consider payment to Terry Griffiths Contracts for Grant Funding Projects 2022 invoice no. TGC2182 job VGPC006 March 2023 (1) of £1800 plus VAT, invoice no. TGC2183 job VGPC007 March 2023 (2) of £1200 plus VAT and invoice no. TGC2186 job VGPC001 March 2023 (3) of £1400 plus VAT – Payment agreed once funding has been received from Herefordshire Council.
    8.5 Payment to Information Commissioners Office of £40.00 for data protection renewal fee – Payment agreed.
    8.6 Payment to HMRC of £98.60 for PAYE January – March 2023 – Payment agreed.
    8.7 Finance Working Group – The latest reports were distributed to Councillors prior to the meeting. The Finance Working Group confirmed spreadsheets, invoices and PAYE had been checked and all were in order.
  9. THE HIDEAWAYS @ PONTYPINNA, VOWCHURCH – Concerns were raised that the burrows have not been built as per the original planning. It was noted that an amendment to the design and layout was approved in July 2021; the Parish Council had no objection to the amendments at the time. After consideration it was agreed that the Parish Council would raise concerns about light pollution as the amended plans now have more glass in the structure and are visible in the local area. This should be minimised given the proximity of the Black Mountains as per the Parish Council’s comment to the original planning application.
  10. LENGTHSMAN GRANT FUNDING 2022/23 – Having spoken to Balfour Beatty the Clerk advised that any funding for 2022/23 had to be spent by 31st March 2023. The signed grant funding agreement had to include details of specific projects and expenditure. Any funds not utilised by 31st March 2023 will go back into the pot to be distributed next year. This does not mean the Parish Council will get double the funding in 2023/24. The Lengthsman has advised that there has been no time to deliver any projects before 31st March this year. He would still recommend completing any projects outstanding from the previous drainage grant funding schedule. Councillors were concerned that Herefordshire Council had left this too late in the year for any works to be considered, it was agreed that Councillor May would draft a letter to be sent to Herefordshire Council expressing the concerns.
  11. LENGTHSMAN CONTRACT 2023/24 – It was agreed to continue to use Terry Griffiths Contracts for the Lengthsman contract in 2023/24.
  12. WEST MERCIA POLICE COMMUNITY CHARTER – It was agreed to add rural theft and large vehicles to the top 3 community issues along with an increase in police presence as an additional comment.
  13. HEREFORDSHIRE LOCAL PLAN 2021 – 2041 – AGRICULTURAL PLANNING SUPPLEMENTARY PLAN – Note response sent to plan – The general consensus of opinion is that this is a very complex document, not user friendly and needs more in-depth discussion. The industry is constantly evolving and a lot of the guidance is already in place. It is a complex issue and some of the evidence used is questionable. In general discussion amongst Councillors from Vowchurch & District Group Parish Council, it is the overall opinion, that the time scale pertaining to this plan is considerable and with the state of flux current in farming matters which is likely to persist for some time, it would be prudent to incorporate regular reviews of the plan, or perhaps at intervals of no more than 3 years to ensure that the plan remains relevant to future changing conditions
  14. APRIL/MAY NEWSLETTER – Elections, road closures and reminder of riparian ownership.
  15. NOTE THE CORRESPONDENCE SHEET – The correspondence sheet was noted.
  16. RAISE MATTERS FOR THE NEXT ORDINARY MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL – Thursday 27th April 2023 at 7.30pm at Newton Church Room

The Chair declared the meeting closed at 8.20pm


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