Milton Ernest Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on Thursday 7th October 2010

Present:                Cllrs D Inskip (Chairman), R Winter, D Snowball, D Newman, R Atkinson, D Newman, C Sharman

                                Cllr J Walker, Bedford Borough Council

                B Gale, Clerk

                5 villagers

1 Apologies    
  Cllr K Harte    
2 Declaration of Interests    
  The Clerk read out councillor’s areas of interest:-

Cllr Newman and Cllr Winter are members of the Playing Field Association

Cllr Winter is a member of the Village Hall Committee

Cllr Atkinson is a member of the Gardens and Allotments Society

Cllr Inskip is a Governor of Milton Ernest Lower School

Cllr Sharman is a member of the Village Fete Committee

Cllr Harte is a member of the Neighbourhood Watch group

Cllr Newman’s children undertake litter picking for the Parish Council

Subsequently Cllrs Atkinson, Winter and Newman declared a further interest in the Youth Club.

3 Minutes of the Meeting held on 2nd September 2010    
  The minutes were accepted as a true record and signed by the Chair    
4 Matters Arising    
4a Speeding (07/12/11d)    
  Cllr Inskip declared that at a meeting with Mr Charles Roydon of BBC, he had been very supportive of the idea of a speed camera in the middle of the village but he stated that funds were under huge pressure. If the installation of a camera does come to fruition, then any financial contribution that the Parish Council could make would be most welcome. Mr Roydon was interested to hear that ten or so volunteer villagers were going to be having training to use mobile speed cameras to monitor speed on behalf of the village. Some top-up funds to support the installation of a camera could still be available from BBC. Cllr Walker suggested that the previously mentioned petition should be held over until after a further meeting she was having on the same topic.

Cllr Newman noted that there had been an article in “Bedfordshire on Sunday” on the success police had had in detecting speeding motorists in Bromham; the feeling was “if them, why not us?”. It was decided that we should be asking for similar action.

Charles Roydon suggested a further meeting with Cllrs Walker, Inskip and Harte, after the Government’s spending review on 20th October, as the financial situation may then be more clear.



4b HGV’s (09/104p)    
  Photos of HGVs taken by villager David Purser were sent to Ken Harte who forwarded them to Simon Deards and Charles Roydon. Their response was very positive. A DSD lorry had been noted by a group of villagers on Thurleigh Road at 10.50 am and were advised they should inform Cllr Harte who would progress the matter with BBC. Villager David Purser noted that the signs and road-marking were not completely correct and that BBC was not completely innocent as they now store busses at Twinwoods which also use Thurleigh Road. Mr Purser was also concerned that Clapham residents seem to have got their way; Cllr Inskip advised that this was not really the case and that it was the operators of Twinwoods who have chosen to invoke closure of the Twinwood Road access  as part of a previous planning application. Cllr Inskip is following this up with the Planning department in the Borough.

The clerk had spoken to Andy Prigmore of BBC; he is prepared to visit Milton Ernest to discuss the matter of HGVs with the council and suggest how this matter might be really progressed. Clerk to investigate possible dates.




4c Allotments (08/07/6h)    
  Cllr Inskip had spoken to Bedfordia advising them that really an area of 2 acres was needed to meet

the needs of the village; Bedfordia have implied that this should not present an undue problem and have suggested a further meeting, after the inaugural meeting of the Allotment society on 18 October 2010, to progress this and other general issues. Cllr Newman asked that the subject of tennis courts for the village, also be raised. Villager David Kerr advised that the meeting of the Allotment Society has been advertised in “The Villager” and flyers were being distributed. Cllr. Inskip thanked David Kerr and Gerry Stafford for all their hard work in preparation for this meeting.

4d Land Registry (07/04/8)    
  Cllr Atkinson has prepared a plan showing the areas in the village which the council wishes to have formally registered in it’s name. Two of the larger areas are well established as being the Council’s and Cllr Atkinson will write to the Land Registry immediately to formalize the situation. With several other smaller areas the situation is not so clear cut and long established local people will be asked to legally affirm that (for at least 12 years) the Council has been acting as if it were owner (by maintaining the areas). Cllr Atkinson will co-ordinate work to identify the residents in question; she will then pass the data to the Clerk who will pre-complete the documents for signature by the residents.  




4e Old Post Office Footpath (09/02/6a)    
  At a meeting with Cllr Walker, Charles Roydon indicated that the village should put some money toward this scheme; it was decided that other projects (eg speed monitoring) were a higher priority and the matter should be delayed until after the Governments spending review on 20 October; the issue will be reviewed at the November Council meeting.  


4f River Lane Lighting09/02/6a)    
  As above    
4g Village Footpaths (10/02/9b)    
  Accompanied by Cllrs Inskip and Snowball, Alistair Rundell BBC) went on a walk-around inspecting various parts of the village and agreeing various works to be carried out now and in the future when funds are available. In various places, there is overhanging greenery which needs attention:-

  • 2, Church Close – overhanging brambles; letter should go to the residents asking them to cut them back.
  • Village Hall greenery needs attention; a working party will be organized.
  • Old Post Office needs attention but there is likely to be a change in ownership quite soon now and we will hold off for a while.

Cllr Newman queried the apparently low priority work completed on the footpath on the east side of the A6 and it was explained that this was part of a rolling programme of work determined by a quantitative assessment of the path’s condition by a machine. Cllr Walker did suggest that if we could get a copy of the planned work schedule we may be able to change priorities and get more urgent work done first as had been done elsewhere.




4h Fence maintenance at Huntsman’s Way (10/04/6h)    
  Cllr Inskip and the clerk visited the site and noted that the fence round the parking and garage area was rather dilapidated and had already had a number of repairs effected. However, it’s condition was such that it was felt that the issue need not be actively pursued at present but reviewed next spring. Cllr Snowball had originally raised the matter because of the poor impression it created of the area and this had not changed. He was also concerned other things in the area like unchecked plant growth and deteriorating drainage.    
4i Web-site Upgrade    
  The matter is being pursued by Cllr Sharman CS  
4j Asbestos waste at 16 London End(10/06/6b)    
  Cllr Inskip mentioned the matter to Alistair Rundell who coincidentally knows the resident. The concern is over the speed of response by the Environment Agency and this will be followed up.  


4k Damage to Christmas Tree by grass-cutting (10/6/6e)    
  Cllr Atkinson has contacted Paul Warner of Warners who agreed to the replacement of the tree at their expense but did ask that the new tree should be protected to obviate further damage. Cllr Atkinson will arrange this.  


4l Grass cutting between Paula Radcliffe Way and the village.(10/6/6f)    
  The clerk is still pursuing the matter with Amey/BBC. Clerk  
4m School bus re-routing (10/03/6e)    
  Busses still seem to be using Radwell Road at speeds above 20mph; BBC to be written to. Clerk  
4n Christmas lights(10/09/7a)    
  The Garden Centre have agreed to supply new lights and the matter will be pursued by Cllr Atkinson. RA  
4o “School Railings” (10/09/7c)    
  It has now been established that the problem is children riding across the A6 from the pathway just to the north of the bus-stop on the east of the A6. Cllr Inskip has spoken to the school who were not currently in favour of railings because of their unsightliness but Cllr Inskip will now speak to them again. DI  





5a Monthly Finance Report    
  MEPC Meeting October 2010  
  TOTAL BALANCES @30 September 2010 17,967.90  
  LATEST POSITION 16,008.16  
5b Items for Payment  
  It was resolved to make the following payments:  
Tim Wesley – website maintenance £20
BATPC Clerk’s Training £195
Warners of Bedford – grass cutting and hedge trimming £387.75
Clerk’s Annuity – 1st-30th September 2010 £190.35
Litter Picking £70
Milton Ernest Youth Club £250
LG Digital Ltd £837


  Income from book sales – £20  
  Cllr Inskip expressed the Council’s appreciation of the sterling work by Cllr Newman in bringing up to date the financial record keeping software and for the thought he has put into optimizing the Council’s financial position. This includes consideration of whether the Council should turn to a single account banking arrangement and reclaiming VAT. In the interim it was agreed that most of the Council’s cash should be put into the Community account. The Clerk was able to assure Cllr Newman that he has now been in touch with HMRC and has the forms necessary to reclaim VAT back to April 2009; thereafter, a reclaim will be sought semi-annually.  


  The question arose whether the Council could still seek a rise in it’s precept and Cllr Walker was able to assure us that it was possible at present. Decisions on the precept have to be made in December.  
6 Parish Action Plan Action Points  
  Please see attachment  
7 Village Welfare  
7a Cllr Winter noted that the footpath by The Old Post Office was muddy and that in the wet a drain cover was lifting at the bottom of the Thurleigh Road; Cllr Sharman will contact Anglia Water about this.  


7b Cllr Atkinson raised the issue of the escape of heating oil into the river despite the Environment Agency putting in a boom to preclude this possibility. The problem is to find where the oil is coming from in such quantities to cause the problem and so far no source has been identified. It was determined that a notice should be put in “The Villager” to ask people to check their installations.  


7c Cllr Sharman noted the problem of leaves and conkers on footpaths. They seem to have been cleared on the A6 but perhaps not on Radwell Road. The Clerk is to check the situation here and contact DSD if necessary.  


7d Cllr Snowball noted overhanging branches near Huntsman’s Way substation; John Brown and his team of volunteers plan to tackle the issue.  
7e Cllr Newman noted mud on the path outside the Queen’s Head; DSD to be asked to clear it. He also noted street light 5A had failed; Cllr Snowball will report it. Based on information Cllr Newman supplied some time ago, an article on Milton Ernest has been published in Bedfordshire County magazine. Clerk










Cllr Inskip had received a letter from villager Godfrey Dunn concerning sycamore trees planted near his boundary overhanging his property. Cllr Atkinson knew of the location of the trees and suggested a tree surgeon would be required; the clerk will get quotes. It was also noted that the pavement was breaking up outside 40 Radwell Road.

A letter from villager Paul Sutherland pointed out that traffic travelling south on the A6 could not see the pedestrian crossing lights until very late because of overhanging trees. The clerk will get a quote for their removal but first check that the trees were on the public verge rather than on private property. Mr Sutherland also expressed concern about the lights on the village hall. They should be set to come on at dusk and go off at midnight; David Purser checked that the settings were correct (within 15 minutes). He also pointed out that the problem with a motion sensitive system that animals would be turning the light on through the night.

A letter from ex-villager Christine Hill asked that the people moving into her house be welcomed to the village. Cllr Inskip will ask Mr & Mrs Saunders to take care of this. Christine Hill said that she also hoped that “Bob’s Shop” could be sorted out expeditiously.

A letter from villager Sarah Winter discussed the location of dog mess bins. The matter was discussed and consideration be given to implementing her ideas. A “thank you” letter will be sent.

It was noted that the loft conversion at 35 Radwell Road was within planning rules. The resident is very familiar with these rules and worked within them.

It was noted that a leylandii hedge in London End had been replaced by a 6ft fence adjacent to the public highway; strictly this contravenes planning rules but it is an improvement to the situation and retrospective planning permission would probably be granted. It was noted further that there are numerous other examples of this around the village anyway.

 Cllr Inskip brought up the subject of Ward boundary changes. Cllr Walker confirmed they will proceed next May and that Milton Ernest would be allied with Sharnbrook and Felmersham, and that she would no longer be borough councillor for Milton Ernest – general dismay.

A villager expressed concern about 4 cars being parked in Church Close from time to time; it is not known why they are parked there but is causing some concern. It was pointed out that providing they were legally parked not much could be done about them.















A letter from Alistair Burt MP inviting councillors to meetings at Biggleswade Conservative Club at 7.15pm on Friday 26th November or Sharnbrook Village Hall at 9.45am on Saturday 27th November; councillors will check their diaries.

A letter from the Area Census Manager asking us to help her promote the forthcoming census to people who may not appreciate it’s importance; her notice will be put on the notice boards.

From BATPC, a newsletter and notification of their AGM; both were noted.

From BBC, notice of a dance festival; duly noted.

From BBC, notice of a bulky waste collection; put on notice boards.

A letter from Chalgrove Parish Council asking for guidance on the village experience with biogas digestors. Cllr Inskip will respond.





9 Planning  
  No applications.  
10 Reports from Representatives  
10a School Governors  
  Cllr Inskip advised a Full Governing Body meeting was held last week with the next scheduled for November.  
10b Village Hall – A survey is being conducted asking for people’s views on the Hall – size, facilities etc.  
10c Playing Field Committee – Cllr Newman advised a meeting was held on 20th September 2010. A request for rabbit shooting on the field had been turned down and this weekend a working party will be undertaking re-turfing work.  
10d P3 – Cllr Inskip expressed the Councils appreciation of Dave Kerr and Gerry Stafford for their work and enthusiasm in helping to establish the new shape of P3. Terms of reference were briefly discussed and at the next meeting the questions of the maintenance of trees and hedges, the planting of new trees and hedges, and footpaths. It was proposed that £207 left from the old committee be given to the new. Whether an independent accounting regime be set up was left in abeyance but generally thought to be not desirable.

At this point it was noted that Riverside Meadow had not been cut despite the best efforts of Cllr Atkinson. Warners have quoted £100 to cut only but the question of what to do with the hay is not decided – compost for the allotments? Cllrs will consider but money for the work will come from the ring-fenced funds.

10e Village Fete – Nothing to report.  
10f Neighbourhood Watch – Concerns were raised over the unsolicited approaches made, by among others St John’s Ambulance, to peoples homes asking for money. SJA said that the police and BBC were fully aware of their activities but this may not have been true. An approach to Trading Standards had received a very good response; they were very helpful.  
11 Members Calendar

Cllr Snowball is away until 24th October.

Cllr is away 20th – 30th October.

12 Date of Next Meeting – 4th November 2010, 8.00pm, Milton Ernest Village Hall.  
  The meeting closed at 10.45pm  
  These minutes were signed as a true record of the meeting  

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