17th November 2021 Minutes

Michaelchurch Escley, Newton, St Margarets, Turnastone, Vowchurch.
Minutes of the Vowchurch & District Group Parish Council meeting held on
Thursday 18th November 2021 at 7.30pm in Vowchurch & Turnastone Memorial Hall.

PRESENT – Councillors E May (Chair), I Chadwick, T Williams, E Williams, A Picton, G Franklin and R Lloyd.
IN ATTENDANCE – Ward Councillor Peter Jinman, Mrs L Cowles (Clerk) and Mr G Deas.

  1. ACCEPT APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – Councillor M Engel, Councillor J Kernahan and the Police.
  2. RECEIVE DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST & CONSIDER ANY WRITTEN APPLICATIONS FOR DISPENSATION – There were no declarations of interest or written requests for dispensation.
  3. ADOPT MINUTES OF THE ORDINARY MEETING ON THE PARISH COUNCIL – 21st October 2021 – The minutes were signed as a true and accurate record.
  4. OPEN DISCUSSION – The Chair welcomed Mr Graeme Deas to the meeting who had been co-opted as Councillor representing Vowchurch at the October meeting. Mr Deas signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office and joined the meeting. No members of the public attended the meeting and therefore no specific points were raised.
    5.1 Ward Councillor Peter Jinman’s report included: –
    Leaders Newsletter – This had been distributed to Councillors prior to the meeting, it included details on the Herefordshire County Business Improvement District (BID) and the Citizens Climate Assembly amongst many other items.
    Broadband – It has been confirmed that Gigaclear cannot fulfil their contract and Golden Valley South is the biggest affected area. Work is on-going to try and find an alternative but there is uncertainty as to what will happen next.
    Traffic Regulation Orders and Public Rights of Way – Between January and April TRO’s and PROW will be managed in-house by Herefordshire Council rather than Balfour Beatty.
    Coronavirus – Hereford Hospital is at breaking point as admissions for Covid-19 rise. 5 – 8-year-olds have one of the highest infection rates at the moment. It is still important to follow advice to help protect yourselves and others. Please get vaccinated and have the booster when you are eligible.
    Councillor May asked if there was any update on Pontrilas railway station, Ward Councillor Jinman currently has no further updates.
    5.2 Local Police – The local police were unable to attend the meeting.
    5.3 Lengthsman report – The Lengthsman was unable to attend the meeting. His monthly reports had been forwarded to Councillors prior to the meeting. The sign from the B4348 to B4347 is obscured by hanging branches.
    The C1206 between Cothill and The Slough will be closed on 17th December.
    Correspondence has been received from a local resident requesting an update on faster broadband in Micahelchurch Escley. The Clerk had updated them from the last meeting and advised to keep an eye on the Fastershire website and the Parish Council website for any future updates.
    The Lengthsman’s October defects list have all been actioned other than the ditch clearance (to be discussed in agenda item 10).
    There is currently no further update regarding the ‘Slow’ signs at Michaelchurch Escley.
    The Locality Steward has raised concerns regarding the new Vowchurch & Turnastone Memorial Hall sign. Being on the verge outside the hall would be dangerous as people would be stood in the road, he would prefer it to be erected within the grounds of the hall. Councillor Deas explained that the hall committee would like to cut into the verge and it was agreed that the Clerk would go back to the Locality Steward for further comment.
    Site: Evendine, Vowchurch, Herefordshire. HR2 0RL
    Description: Proposed single storey side extension, including garage conversion.
    Application No: 213859 Grid Ref: 336529:236881
    As this property is accessed via an un-adopted road the applicant should be prepared to make good any potential damaged done to the road whilst building works are taking place.
    8.1 Confirmation of bank balance – £14,427.36 Statement Sheet No. 162 issued 17th October 2021.
    Receipts – None.
    8.2 Payment to Mrs Linda Cowles for November & December 2021 Clerk’s hours – Payment agreed.
    8.3 Payment to Mr T Griffiths invoice no. TGC1684, Roads Account October 2021 (1) of £392.00 plus VAT and invoice no. TGC1704, roads account October 2021 (2) of £392.00 plus VAT – Payment agreed.
    8.4 Donations – It was agreed to donate £100.00 to Dore Community Transport. A donation request has been received from Vowchurch & Turnastone Parochial Church Council. The Clerk has explained that the Local Government Act 1894 prohibits councils from spending any money maintaining or improving church property as discussed at the January 2021 meeting. Councillor T Williams advised that he was aware the Diocese have sent a survey to churches regarding Parish Councils donations. It was agreed that at this time the Parish Council would follow NALC’s and HALC’s legal advice and would currently not donate to the church.
    8.5 PARISH COUNCIL BANK ACCOUNT – Following the activation of online banking, HSBC has confirmed that secondary users (Councillors) cannot authorise payments of the primary user (Clerk). The Clerk’s advice is that it is best practice for the Clerk to set up online banking payments for them to be authorised by either one or two Parish Councillors, unfortunately as this is not possible with HSBC the Parish Council may wish to consider moving to another bank who offer this facility. Councillor T Williams commented that whilst this was best practice, it is not always practical. The Parish Council is a small organisation with limited funds therefore the risk is limited. After consideration it was unanimously agreed to continue with HSBC. Payments will be authorised at each meeting, the clerk will make the online payments, the payments will be checked against the bank statement at the following month’s meeting. Invoices, bank statements and the payment record will be duly signed by two Parish Councillors. Two Parish Councillors will also have limited access to the HSBC online banking account.
    8.6 2022/23 PRECEPT – It was agreed to increase the 2022/23 Precept by 5% to £14,248.65.
  9. VERGE CUTTING – The correspondence from a local resident regarding the verge cutting at Vowchurch Common was noted. The Parish Council have previously requested for the verges to be cut once, later in the season but it was noted that they were cut very late this year, and only cut to 1 metre rather than the full width on the verge. The Parish Council were also concerned that the Balfour Beatty contractor had listened to a local resident requesting not to cut the verge rather than the request of the Parish Council. It was agreed that the Parish Council would consider again when they preferred the verges to be cut when Balfour Beatty made their annual request in early 2022. Councillor Deas agreed to contact the concerned local resident in Vowchurch. Councillors are also aware that the notices left by Plantlife not to cut the verges in some locations never appear to be collected.
  10. RIPERIAN OWNERSHIP – In the Lengthsman’s October defect report it was noted that two ditches on the C1206 in Vowchurch have not been cleared by the landowners, one of which has affected the recent grant funded drainage works. Balfour Beatty have confirmed it is the landowner’s responsibility to clear ditches although Councillors raised concerns that landowners need a license to work on the road to clear ditches and this was not always possible. Balfour Beatty would prefer Parish Council’s to approach landowners in the first instance before the Locality Steward took further action. Ward Councillor Peter Ward agreed to find out some further information.
  11. TREES & WILDER HEREFORDSHIRE – The Parish Council do not own any land in the Parishes but are aware that tree planting has always taken place at Michaelchurch Court and would encourage other local residents to do the same. Councillor Picton offered to contact the landowner adjoining the old railway track in Vowchurch, which would be another area to consider. Councillor E Williams is also aware that there are some grant schemes for landowners, some of which are for planting trees but these are still being worked through.
  12. HEREFORDSHIRE LOCAL PLAN UPDATE – Councillor Chadwick distributed a draft response to the pre-consultation survey. It was agreed that Councillors would forward any additional comments to him by 12th December as the survey must be returned prior to the January meeting.
  13. 2022 MEETINGS DATES – It was agreed to continue to meet on the third Thursday of every month apart from December and August in 2022 as the Clerk will be on holiday. Due to Covid-19 and limited space at Newton Church room the Parish Council will meet at Vowchurch & Turnastone Memorial Hall. Councillors will consider holding an Annual Parish Meeting.
  14. NEWSLETTER – New Chair, new Parish Councillor for Vowchurch, Riparian Ownership reminder, Covid-19
  15. NOTE THE CORRESPONDENCE SHEET – The correspondence sheet was noted.
  16. RAISE MATTERS FOR THE NEXT ORDINARY MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL – Thursday 20th January 2022 at 7.30pm at Vowchurch & Turnastone Memorial Hall – Discuss weight & size of bin lorries.

The Chair declared the meeting closed at 8.55pm.


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