The Minutes of the meeting of Ashwell Parish Council held in the Ashwell Village Hall on Thursday 15 March 2018 starting at 7pm.
1 Apologies were received from Brian Farr, away from Ashwell, and Ward Councillor June Fox, attending an RCC meeting.
2 The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed and signed.
3 There were no Declarations of Interest.
4 Police report for Ashwell from PC Appleton, read out by the Chairman:-
“In relation to crime from April 2017 to February 2018: -1 x Burglary dwelling (July 2017) 1 x Burglary other than dwelling (May 2017) 1 x Theft of motor vehicle (July 2017) 1 x Theft from motor vehicle (July 2017) 1 x Criminal Damage (October 2017)
There were 8 months where no crimes were reported. The current priority is still rural crime and we are concentrating our attentions to both Burglary patrols and Hare Coursing issues which include damage to crops etc.
I am very interested in having a beat surgery in the village towards the end of the year September onwards and if there are any events or coffee mornings I would be grateful for any details, many thanks.”
It was decided to request further information from PC Appleton regarding a beat surgery.
There was then some discussion regarding a letter forwarded by the Community Safety Team, RCC, received from Leicester Police Superintendent Local Planning, Shane O’Neill.
Leicestershire Police – Current Demands and Impact on Resources
To ensure that the investigations and incidents are dealt with correctly with scenes secured, house to house enquiries are completed, recovery of evidence progressed, while maintaining staff to respond to normal 24 hours demand, the force has to use resources across the whole of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The force is also seeking support across the region to manage the demands.
These are decisions made every day but the number and complexity of the demands currently being dealt with mean that it may be more obvious than normal.
Correspondence has been received from LRALC that there was evidence that thieves were removing some village telephone boxes with pneumatic drills, etc. It was decided to inform residents through the Wellspring to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour.
5 Matters Arising from the previous meeting.
The benches and shelters have been inspected and will need attention in the near future. The weeds in the gutters will be inspected by APC to check if they have been sprayed by RCC as requested. Information received from RCC states that the next inspection of Langham Road trees by RCC will be in 2020. It was decided to ask for an earlier inspection of the wild cherry tree. The green waste collection charges by RCC are now in place. The caravan parked near the post box has been removed. The drains in Cottesmore Road will be inspected by APC, especially after heavy rain or snow melt. The new Children Playing notices are in hand with Tish Barnwell at RCC.
6 Data Protection Officer requirement.
Ashwell has a very small requirement for data protection. This will be further discussed before the deadline of compliance in May 2018.
7 Parish Council Forum,
The minutes of the last Forum are online. There was discussion of the item by Barrowden Parish Council that RCC Building Control had not checked that Conditions were being fulfilled in developments. It was decided to write to support Barrowden as several such incidents had occurred in Ashwell, resulting in inappropriate developments.
8 End of WW1 in 1918 commemorations.
It was suggested that the book Ashwell Remembers by Sally Harnett should again be promoted. Ashwell Parish Council will contact the Committee of the Ashwell Village Hall to inform that Parish Council would be prepared to help financially in any plans the Committee might have.
9 Public debate.
A resident had asked for comments on the increase in large adverts on fences at the roundabouts, some being commercial ventures such as Bathroom sales, and Housing Developments sales. It was suggested that the landowners may be renting the space, RCC will be contacted to enquire what their current policy is.
10 Finance report by Tony Graveling.
The present balance stands at £8642. This is higher than the predicted budget for the end of the financial year.
The Parish Precept of £3500 was applied for in January. An invoice for £214.12 for street lighting has been received for 2017/18 and will be paid shortly. We were advised by RCC that invoicing for street lighting was being brought forward, with the next one due in January 2019. A Bank reconciliation was carried out on 29 December 2017. No request for donations has been received to date. Membership fees for LRALC will be due shortly at a cost of approximately £140. Renewal of CPRE is also due shortly, £36 last year.
Resolution: To approve the renewal of LRALC membership: proposed by David Pettifer, seconded by David Thwaites, passed unanimously.
Resolution: To approve to renew the CPRE membership: proposed by Wendy Cheesman, seconded by David Thwaites, passed unanimously.
With the new regulations APC will be exempt from an External Audit but P K F Littlejohn will be available for any questions from the public regarding our Annual Return for the year ending 31 March 2018. I have requested hard copies of the Annual Return form in preference to emailed versions. As mentioned in the last Parish Council meeting in December, Fiona Tylecote will be our Internal Auditor this year. Finally, on behalf of APC, I wish to thank the clerk for all her hard work and pay wages of £223.76 for 20.25 hrs.
Tony Graveling was thanked for his work and report by the Chairman.
11 Highways report by David Thwaites.
Railway crossing closures, Whissendine Road residents will be informed, there are school children involved. Residents have commented on the placing of logs on the grass verge near to the village hall, with a possible danger to pedestrians. The parking problem on the verge at the village hall has been resolved. Traffic speed checks by RCC: the clerk will enquire where on the list Ashwell is. It is believed that the new PCSO can now fine drivers if working with a speed watch group. Potholes: RCC Highways do fill in potholes fairly regularly, APC will continue to notify RCC of possible hazards. Forestry group at RCC, it was decided to make a decision whether to join if the group does form. Puddles in Brookdene, this is an ongoing problem and an eyesore. There have been meetings between residents and RCC, it was decided to ask residents if they would appreciate a letter of support from APC. Grit Bins: RCC refilled in Ashwell, thanks were expressed to Tony Graveling for organising the use of the grit bins during the recent thick snow.
12 Planning report by Wendy Cheesman
After attending a Planning Meeting at Rutland Council villagers and Ashwell Councillors expressed serious concerns about several aspects of the Planning Meeting.
Ashwell Parish Council requested a meeting with Development Control Manager Mr Gary Pullen to discuss their concerns.
A meeting was arranged for Monday 4th December
Meeting attended by;
Mr Gary Pullen – Development Control Manager RCC. Mrs June Fox – Rutland Councillor. Graham Smith – Ashwell Resident. Wendy Cheesman – Ashwell Councillor
Impartiality of the process, Transparency – lack of detail, Role of Local Plan
Code of Conduct – Declaration of Interest
Poor quality of experience for public attending the meeting
The above items were discussed with a view to raise awareness of how the process of the committee meeting appeared to councillors and members of the village, and hopefully gave some useful feedback.
Graham Smith discussed this with Mr Pullen. Many issues open to interpretation. Different Councils have different procedures; many in Rutland have remained unchanged for years.
June Fox discussed transparency and asked for details of CIL payments that are not published in Rutland but are in the public domain.
The Local Plan is under review, RCC not able to implement elements of Local Plan e.g. sustainability issues. During the meeting some comments made by RCC members of the Planning Committee were not in line with Planning Guidance of the Local Plan.
Code of Conduct and Venue
Wendy Cheesman asked about Code of Conduct –declaration of interest. It is the Solicitor’s job to bring to the attention of members if anything is out of order. She also raised the issue of the poor quality of experience for the public attending Planning Meetings; the position of seating, poor sound quality, no way to identify RCC committee members when they were speaking. Many other Councils have better facilities for the public.
All issues were fully discussed. Mr Pullen made notes on some issues and said that he would raise our concerns with the Planning Department.
We have had no official feedback from RCC.
We understand that RCC have recently initiated training for members of the Planning Committee. They must now complete the training or forfeit the right to vote during Planning Meetings
The Chairman thanked Wendy Cheesman for organising the meeting. Ward Councillor June Fox will be requested to closely monitor the supervision by RCC over the Conditions attached to the permission granted for the development at Manor Farmyard. It was strongly emphasised that Building Control must inspect the site continually to ensure that the Conditions of Approval are being met. There should be provision of a footpath in Teigh Road, and it was suggested that the developer should contribute towards improvements in the village hall.
Oakham Business Park heavy traffic. It was decided to ask RCC to ensure that heavy construction traffic is directed on to the by-pass, and not to drive through Ashwell, due to weight restrictions. Heavy lorries have been observed in Ashwell.
APC will continue to press that the name “Ashwell South” for the area of Langham and Burley parishes near the Rutland Garden Centre is removed from the RCC Draft Plan. The boundaries of Ashwell must be preserved.
Wendy Cheesman was thanked by the Chairman for her report.
13 Correspondence Received. It was decided not to volunteer for the proposed Councillor Mentoring Scheme. The request from RCC for an Ashwell Tree Warden will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting. The Rutland Poppy Project has been passed to the editor of The Wellspring.
14 No AOB was proposed.
15 The date of the next meeting was fixed at 31 May 2018, this will be the Annual Parish Meeting, after the close of that meeting, it will be followed by the Annual Parish Council meeting.
The meeting was declared closed at 8,20pm.