16th May 2024 Minutes

Michaelchurch Escley, Newton, St Margarets, Turnastone, Vowchurch

Minutes of the Annual Meeting of Vowchurch Group Parish Council held on
Thursday 16th May 2024 at 7.30pm in Vowchurch & Turnastone Memorial Hall

PRESENT – Councillors E May, I Chadwick, A Picton, D Cross, J Kernahan, G Deas and S Craddock.
IN ATTENDANCE – PCSO Margaret Andrzejewska, Ward Councillor M Engel and Mrs L Cowles (Clerk).

  1. ELECTION OF CHAIR – Councillor May was proposed by Councillor Chadwick and seconded by Councillor Kernahan. There were no other nominations and the proposal was carried. Councillor May signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.
  2. ACCEPT APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – Councillors E Williams and J Andrews.
  3. RECEIVE DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST & CONSIDER ANY WRITTEN APPLICATIONS FOR DISPENSATION – There were no declarations of interest or written requests for dispensation.
  4. ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIR – Councillor Chadwick was nominated by Councillor Picton and seconded by Councillor Kernahan. There were no other nominations and the proposal was carried.
  5. NOTICE OF REGISTRABLE INTERESTES – Councillors were reminded to update their Notice of Registrable Interests when applicable.
    6.1 Ward Councillor (deferred until his arrival) – Councillor Engel report included: –
    Herefordshire Council have decided to end its contract with Balfour Beatty from 2026.
    The Annual meeting of Herefordshire Council is due to take place next week. It looks like there will be no change in Leadership.
    Pontrilas Railways Station – Geoff Pickford is now in charge of the station project; he has experience in re-opening railways stations. There is a small sum of money available although it is still not known if the project will happen.
    Councillor Engel would like to arrange an informal meeting with all five Chairs in the Golden Valley South ward, hopefully this will happen in June.
    6.2 Local Police – PSCO Andrzejewska reported that there has been nothing to report since the last meeting, although please be aware that 20 coping stones have been stolen from Abbey Dore which was reported on 13th May. Please remember to report any suspicious vehicle in the area. The foreign lorry parked recently in Vowchurch has now been moved.
    Councillor May asked about the recent damage at Vagar Hill. The police were aware of the situation and it has been logged as a crime incident. A group of 4 X 4 off road drivers have cut the surface of the hill to shreds and caused a lot of damage. Balfour Beatty have advised that it is in fact a highway and landowners should not be padlocking gates used as a public highway. It is believed that Balfour Beatty are due to hold a meeting with landowners to advise the process of getting the land declassified and what legal steps need to be taken.
    6.3 Lengthsman report and any new road defects – The Lengthsman was unable to attend the meeting.
  7. PARISH COUNCIL INSURANCE – As the Parish Council are currently in a long-term agreement with Zurich, it was agreed to pay the renewal fee of £349.76. It was noted that the long-term agreement ends in May 2025.
    Ward Councillor M Engel joined the meeting.
  8. FINANCIAL WORKING GROUP – Finance working group members for 2024-25 will remain the same. Councillors E May, I Chadwick, E Williams and A Picton.
    Councillor S Craddock joined the meeting.
  9. ANNUAL REVIEW OF BANK MANDATE – It was agreed that signatories would be members of the finance working group – Councillors E May, I Chadwick, E Willimas and A Picton.
    Ward Councillor M Engel left the meeting.
    10.1 Standing orders – Approved.
    10.2 Financial regulations – New financial regulations approved.
    10.3 Complaints procedure – Approved.
    10.4 Risk assessment – Approved.
    10.5 Community Resilience Emergency Plan – Confirmation is required from The Bridge Inn, Michaelchurch Escley as a key location for use as a place of refuge and/or safety.
    10.6 Data protection – Approved.
    10.7 Model Publication Scheme – Approved.
    10.8 Planning applications between meetings – Approved.
    10.9 Website Accessibility Statement – Approved.
    10.10 Scheme of Delegation – Approved.
    10.11 Press and Media Policy _ Approved.
  11. ASSETS REGISTER – It was agreed to add the noticeboard at Vowchurch to the register for a nominal fee – The asset register was noted.
  12. ADOPT MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS ORDINARY MEETING – 18th April 2024 – The minutes were signed as a true and accurate record.
  13. OPEN DISCUSSION – No members of the public attended the meeting therefore no specific points were raised.
  14. CLERKS UPDATE – Councillors were reminded of the guidance notes on respect under the Councillors’ Code of Conduct. Herefordshire Council will be ending its contract with Balfour Beatty in 2026. There is a Bi-monthly meeting with Balfour Beatty on 18th June at Thorn Business Park from 12pm. Correspondence from a local resident has been received regarding an incident on B4348 due to speed.
    Site: 2 Birch Cottages, Vowchurch, Herefordshire. HR2 0RA
    Description: Proposed studio
    Application No: 240781 Grid Ref: 335869:236293
    Site: Land at Chanstone Court Farm, Vowchurch, Herefordshire. HR2 0QE
    Description: The proposal is for the siting of 1 timber-built fully accessible treehouse, which is a cabin built on pile foundations plus associated landscaping and parking. The unit would provide accommodation for 6-8 guests, year-round.
    Application No: 240836 Grid Ref: 336391:235653
    GENERAL COMMENT – Whilst the Parish Council supports rural businesses and diversification, they have concerns regarding the scale and obtrusiveness of the building
    16.1 Confirmation of bank balance – £13029.03 issued 30th April 2024
    Receipts – £8620.44, 1st Precept payment.
    16.2 Payment to Mrs Linda Cowles June 2024 Clerk’s hours and £12.75 postage – Payment agreed.
    16.3 Payment to Councillor Elizabeth May of £10.00 for Annual Parish meeting expenses – Payment agreed.
    16.4 INTERNAL AUDITORS REPORT 2023/24 – The Internal Auditors report was received and comments noted.
    16.5 CONSIDER AND APPROVE ANNUAL GOVERNANCE STATEMENT 2023/24 – The Annual Governance Statement was approved and signed by the Clerk and Chair.
    16.6 CONSIDER AND APPROVE ACCOUNTING STATEMENT 2023/24 – The Accounting Statement was certified by the RFO prior to being approved and signed by the Chair.
    16.7 NOTICE OF PUBLIC RIGHTS AND PUBLICATION OF ANNUAL GOVERNANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY RETURN – The dates of public rights to view the accounts were noted as Tuesday 4th June 2024 – Monday 15th July 2024.
  17. PRE ORDER CONSULTATION – FOOTPATHS PR5 (Part) and VO34 (Part), Bridleway VO57 (Part), VO69 (Part) and PR5A (Part) – After careful consideration the majority of Councillors agreed that route J – K and H- J were an acceptable alternative to the public footpath. Although a new public bridleway A – L – E is not deemed acceptable as a permanent solution. It was agreed that Councillor Deas would draft a response to circulate to Councillors for approval before any response is sent.
  18. B4348/C1206 – After much discussion it was agreed that the current structure of the letter needed re-wording. Councillors Deas, Craddock and Chadwick would look at the draft response again for approval at the June meeting. Councillor May thanked Councillor Deas for the time he had put in to the response so far.
  19. VAGAR HILL DAMAGE BY OFF ROAD VEHICLES – As discussed in Police report.
  20. VERGES – It was noted that a request has been sent to Balfour Beatty to cut all roads twice. Ward Councillor Engel believes the first cut should hopefully be at the end of May.
  21. JUNE NEWSLETTER – Annual meeting thanks, Facebook page.
  22. NOTE THE CORRESPONDENCE SHEET – The correspondence sheet was noted.
  23. RAISE MATTERS FOR THE NEXT ORDINARY PARISH COUNCIL MEETING – Thursday 20th June 2024 at 7.30pm in Escley Sports Pavilion, Michaelchurch Escley – Phone box

The Chair declared the meeting closed at 9.30pm


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