18th April 2024 Minutes

Michaelchurch Escley, Newton, St Margarets, Turnastone, Vowchurch.
Minutes of the Vowchurch & District Group Parish Council meeting held on
Thursday 18th April 2024 at 7.30pm in Newton Church Room

PRESENT – Councillors E May (Chair), I Chadwick, A Picton, E Williams, D Cross, G Deas, S Craddock and R Lloyd.
IN ATTENDANCE – Ward Councillor M Engel, Mr T Griffiths (Lengthsman) PC Geoff Rouse, PCSO Pete Knight, Mrs L Cowles (Clerk) and 4 members of the public.

  1. ACCEPT APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – Councillors J Kernahan and A Mason.
  2. RECEIVE DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST & CONSIDER ANY WRITTEN APPLICATIONS FOR DISPENSATION – Councillor E Williams declared a non-disclosable pecuniary interest in agenda item 9.1; the declarations book was signed accordingly. There were no written requests for dispensation.
  3. CO-OPTION OF PARISH COUNCILLOR TO REPRESENT ST MARGARETS – Mr John Andrews was in attendance and had expressed an interest in joining the Parish Council. It was agreed to co-opt Mr Andrews for the vacancy to represent St Margarets. Mr Andrews signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office and was welcomed to the meeting.
  4. ADOPT MINUTES OF THE ORDINARY MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL – 21st March 2024 – The minutes were signed as a true and accurate record.
  5. OPEN DISCUSSION – Members of the public present made comments regarding planning application 240652 at Commerce House, Vowchurch and supported the plan in principle with conditions. They have concerns regarding the progress of the speed review through Vowchurch and after 9 years would like to see the Parish Council change direction to get a better response from Herefordshire Council. They appreciate that Herefordshire Council must follow guide lines but do feel that some of the guidelines do apply to the road through Vowchurch. They commented that local residents do not see or hear about what is going on and that the Parish Council website has not been updated. They are trying to be pro-active and would like to work together as a team. Councillor May noted their comments and this would be discussed later in the meeting.
    Members of the public present left the meeting.
  6. PLANNING OFFICER VISIT – A response from Mark Tansley, Development Manager at Herefordshire Council regarding the Barn near Marlborough Grange had been forwarded to Councillors prior to the meeting. He had declined to attend a meeting due to limited resources available. It was agreed not to take the matter further at this time.
    7.1 Local Police PC Rouse reported that there had been no reports of theft or burglary in the Parishes although there had been some in neighbouring parishes including Kingstone. After a late-night operation, 2 stolen quads have been recovered and 4 arrest made. The Police are aware of the lorry parked on B4348 near Vowchurch, it is not causing an obstruction and there is little the police can do. Councillor May asked their opinion regarding the speed through Vowchurch and whilst PC Rouse believes this should be lower than 60mph it would be best for the Parish Council to contact Ian Connolly the Traffic Management Advisor at West Mercia Police for an official opinion.
    The Police left the meeting.
    7.2 Ward Councillor – Ward Councillor Engel’s report included:
    Tina Russell has been appointed the new Corporate Director of Children and Young People. This is a troubled department and needs to be turned round as soon as possible.
    Highways – The western bypass looks to be going ahead.
    Pontrilas Station – £50k has been granted for further research on the site, this will hopefully be used for survey works.
    He is hoping to attend an online meeting with Herefordshire/Shropshire/Monmouthshire and Powys Councils next week – one issue to be discussed is transport.
    Herefordshire draft local plan consultation – There was very low attendance at a recent local road show. The Golden Valley does seem low down on the list for development.
    Please be aware of a planning application at Aubreys in the Olchon Valley and comment via planning enquiries if you wish.
    7.3 Lengthsman report – Terry reported that the maintenance days had gone well for 2023/24 and the drainage is now a lot better following on from drainage grant works. There has not been much information from Herefordshire Council regarding 2024/25 since the Lengthsman administration has gone ‘in-house’. He does have concerns that funding levels will not be advised until later in the year and there will be a rush to complete works. Terry did confirm that he has a PROW team if funding becomes available for the parishes.
    The Lengthsman left the meeting.
  8. CLERKS UPDATE – Nothing additional to report other than agenda items.
    Site: Former Chapel and land adjacent Commerce House, Vowchurch, Herefordshire.
    Description: Proposed conversion and extension of former chapel to create a dwelling, additional detached dwelling and replacement access.
    Application No: 240652 Grid Ref: 336243:236517
    SUPPORT – Vowchurch & District Group Parish Council support this application and are pleased to see that it is situated within the settlement boundary of the adopted Neighbourhood Development Plan. The presentation of the designs was quite compressed and a different format would be easier to read, although appreciate that this was probably sent from the designer. The design of the house is quite banal and the Parish Council would liked to have seen a little more interesting design to include timber and stone. They would also query the statement that the dwelling cannot be seen from the road.
    Site: New Barn Old Farm, Newton St Margarets, Hereford. HR2 0QW
    Description: Proposed regularisation of residential curtilage, single storey extension and minor alterations to existing fenestration of dwelling
    Application No: 233200 Grid Ref: 334812:233849
    Ward Councillor Matthew Engel left the meeting.
    Site: Blainey Farm, The Glibes, Michaelchurch Escley. Herefordshire. HR2 0JZ
    Description: Proposed conversion of Grade 2 traditional stone barn to 4 bedroom residential dwelling.
    Application No: 231323 Grid Ref: 329759:237352
    9.4 THE HIDEAWAYS, PONTYPINNA – It was agreed that the season had been too wet for planting and to monitor the situation.
    10.1 Confirmation of updated bank balance – £5013.47 issued 31st March 2024.
    Receipts – £1000.00 Herefordshire Council Lengthsman Funding
    To include £14.64 bank charges 22/12/23 – 04/03/24.
    10.2 Payment to Mrs Linda Cowles for April 2024 Clerk’s hours and £48.60 plus VAT for ink cartridges – Payment agreed.
    10.3 Payment to Mr T Griffiths invoice no. TGC2654 roads account March 2024 (1) of £440.00 plus VAT and invoice no. TGC 2664 roads account March 2024 (2) of £440.00 plus VAT – Payment agreed.
    10.4 Payment to Wyehost invoice no. 36231 secure standard web hosting of £75.00 plus VAT – Payment agreed.
    10.5 FINANCE WORKING GROUP – The latest quarterly 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.
    10.6 INTERNAL AUDIT – Quotes have been received from Parish & Towns Audit Services (last years auditor) of £137.50 and £250.00 plus VAT from HALC. It was agreed to appoint Parish & Town Audit Services for the 2023/24 internal audit.
  11. LENGTHSMAN SCHEME 2024/25 – Herefordshire Council have taken the administration of the Lengthsman scheme in-house and very little has yet been confirmed. Funding has been confirmed of £6420 with possible match funding of £3210. It was agreed to sign the contract with Herefordshire Council and register interest in the local drainage funding and PROW schemes and await further details.
  12. B4348/C1206 SITE VISIT – Councillor May gave a brief report from the recent site visit with Bruce Evans, Callum Bush and Joe Grice from Herefordshire Council with Councillors May, Picton and Deas. Earlier comments from local residents were again noted. This meeting had been a follow up to an earlier Teams meeting to discuss the recent survey results. The survey had shown that 85% of drivers were driving at 40mph on the B4348 and 35mph on C1206 through the village. Bruce Evans had earlier indicated that these results had shown that a speed limit was not justified. However councillors wanted a site visit to show the team the Parish Councils particular concerns. It was agreed that the Parish Council would still like to see a speed limit on this road. Whilst the Parish Council appreciate that Herefordshire Council must follow guidelines for rural road speed limits, the road through the village does seem to qualify when looking at some of the guidelines. It was agreed that Councillors Craddock and Deas would draft a response to the recent meeting and the Clerk would follow up with Bruce Evans regarding their feedback from the site visit.
  13. VERGES – It was agreed to request the verges be cut twice in all areas. Maps will be at the Annual Parish Meeting next week if local residents would like to adopt a stretch of verge. Balfour Beatty can then be informed to leave the initial cut.
  14. PRE ORDER CONSULTATION – FOOTPATHS PR5 (Part) and VO34 (Part), Bridleway VO57 (Part), VO69 (Part) and PR5A (Part) – It was agreed to defer to the May meeting to enable Councillors to walk the route if desired.
  15. HEREFORDSHIRE DRAFT LOCAL PLAN 2021 – 2041 CONSULTATION – Councillor Picton had attended the recent local open session although not much information was available. It was agreed that the Parish Council would not comment at this time and await further information.
  16. WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA – Councillor Craddock has now set up the Parish Council Facebook page and the Clerk will take over management of the page. It was agreed that the page will be used to help communicate with local residents, will be for information only and sharing any relevant local information. Comments will be disabled unless the Parish Council would like feedback on certain articles. It was agreed to include Parish Council details on the noticeboard outside Turnastone Village Hall.
  17. NEWSLETTER – Co-option of Mr John Andrews and verge cutting.
  18. NOTE THE CORRESPONDENCE SHEET – The correspondence sheet was noted.
  19. RAISE MATTERS FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL – Thursday 16th May 2024 at 7.30pm at Vowchurch & Turnastone Memorial Hall. – Footpath pre-order consultation.

The Chair declared the meeting closed at 9.45pm


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