Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on Thursday 9th June 2011

Present:- Cllrs D Inskip, R Winter (arrived 8.28pm during item 2), C Sharman (arrived 8.34pm during item 5a),

                D Snowball, K Harte; Cllr Atkinson.

   BBC Cllr D McMurdo                             Clerk B Gale                      4 Villagers

1. Apologies for Absence

Received from Cllr Newman

2. Rural Affordable Housing

Zoe Ashby of Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity gave a presentation on Charity’s role in the provision of Affordable Rural Housing. In conjunction with the Jefferson Housing Association (in this instance), it seeks to indentify the need for affordable housing in a location by, with the local Council’s support, carrying out a survey of the entire village which should also identify the attitude of the existing residents to having such a development. In this particular instance, suitable land may or may not have been identified by the developers (Cllr Inskip believes that no local landowner is currently offering land) and it may be that the development is envisaged in an adjacent village and ME residents may become eligible to live there. Developments are typically 4-10 dwellings with up to 3 bedrooms with 1/2 bedroom houses and bungalows being particularly popular. When a need and land have been indentified, normal planning procedures have to be gone through and the Council will have their say on design etc. The land will have to be available at a lower than normal development price so the houses can be low cost. The houses will be available on a rented or shared-ownership (up to 80%) basis and will always be so, although part-owners should be able to benefit from escalation in market-determined house prices when they move on (and sell their share back to the Housing Association). The houses will initially be available to local people but if none come forward residents from nearby villages may be offered a dwelling; failing that the net will be widened to include the Borough. Residents must be on the Housing Register. There should be no development without a local need and local support for it. It was noted that the affordable houses scheme on Riverside View was working well. Zoe left a copy of the survey form and will discuss the matter further.

3. Declaration of Interests

The clerk read out the declared interests of the councillors:-

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

Cllrs Atkinson, Newman and Winter have an interest in the Youth Club

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

4. Minutes of the Meeting held on 12th May 2011

Councillors accepted the minutes as a true and accurate record of the meeting and they were duly signed by the Chair.

Decision:- to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 12th May 2011.

5. Matters Arising – for information only

    a. Thurleigh Road Layout and Signage.  Cllr Harte had referred the matter to Cllr McMurdo who had liaised with officials at BBC Highways Dept and management at Twinwoods Business Park to get an overall view of the traffic situation in the area and the factors behind it. Of the issues discussed with Highways in the past, the only project likely to go ahead in the short term was the railings on the A6 by the bus-stop and some signage and road markings on the Thurleigh Road near the Vicarage; for technical reasons (lack of space) no road/footpath changes can be effected in this area; for cost reasons, a zebra crossing by the school and “alternate passing” higher up are not possible. To his surprise Cllr McMurdo found that the use of the south gate at Twinwoods was not a requirement on any planning permissions granted and that the Economic Planning Group at BBC assume the use of the north gate. Other possible precautions at that gate include stronger limitations on left turning out of that gate and possible width restrictions. Further, he raised the possibility of a bollard at the bottom of Thurleigh Road making it more difficult for lorries to turn up there. The Siemens “average speed” systems have not yet been approved so nothing more can be done with them yet and it is probably not worth re-orientating the cameras at the end of Paula Radcliffe Way; this issue should be kept very much on the agenda.

Actions:- All Councillors to note the width restriction at Park Lane, Sharnbrook.

                Clerk to confirm with B Hayward at BBC that railings should be installed as soon as possible.

                Cllr McMurdo to pursue the possibility of left turn restrictions at the north gate and check the

                availability of the £56k 106 money

    b. Old Post Office and other footpaths.  It was noted that the hedge had been trimmed but still needs more attention. Cllr Sharman will lead a working party to remedy the problem after Cllr Inskip has inspected the site again and sought the agreement of the resident.

Action:- Cllr Sharman to organize a working party.

    c. “School Railings”.  See item 5a above.

    d. Protection of Village Open Spaces.  The clerk advised the meeting that Mr Brandon had signed the agreement to lease the small plot adjacent to 36 Radwell Road and returned the documents for signature by Cllr Inskip on behalf of the Council. This she did and the clerk will return one copy to Mr Brandon along with a cheque for the first year’s rent.

Action:- Clerk to send signed agreement and cheque to Mr Brandon.

    e. Church Green traffic.  The clerk reported on the replies he had received following the letter delivered to all residents in Church Green; from the 9 replies it seems that there is a problem with commuter traffic seeking to avoid queues at the bottom of Thurleigh Road and young drivers racing. Solutions suggested included a barrier and “sleeping policemen”. Cllr Inskip proposed a meeting (immediately before the next Parish Council Meeting) of residents to explore the way forward. The clerk will arrange this.

Action:- Clerk to issue invitations to residents.

6. Parish Action Plan

    a. A6 “Average Speed” Cameras.  See item 5a above.

    b. Village Street Lighting Plan.  The final phase of the plan is currently in progress.

    c. Progress with Land Registry.  Cllr McMurdo get a new plan of the village to be marked up showing the plots the Council propose to register in its name.

Actions:- Cllr McMurdo to get new village plan.

    d. Progress on Allotment Provision.  Cllr Inskip confirmed that of the three sites previously considered the one in Milton Ernest Hall grounds was favoured. Cllr McMurdo has written to the Hall’s management introducing himself with the view to getting a meeting to progress the matter.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to progress this latter site.

    e. Provision of glass recycling facility.  Cllr Snowball reported progress with BBC and that there was a good chance to get (on a trial basis at least) a small container requiring less substantial foundations. A site survey visit is being scheduled when the Garden centre owner is available. He will report back to the next meeting.

Action:- Cllr Snowball to progress.

7. Adoption of Code of Practice

The latest Code of Practice from BBC, which has functions in relation to the parish council under section 55(12) of the Local Government Act 2000, for unwarded parish councils, having been earlier promulgated for review by councillors, was proposed for adoption by Cllr Inskip; Cllr Atkinson seconded the proposal and it was agreed unanimously.

Decision:- To adopt the BBC Code of Conduct for unwarded parish councils.

8. Motion that the service of summons on councillors confirming the time, date, venue and the agenda for a meeting by delivery or post to their residences at least 3 clear days before a meeting is not expedient

This motion allows such a communication to be made electronically. It was proposed by Cllr Inskip, seconded by Cllr Winter and agreed unanimously.

Decision:-That the above motion is adopted.

9. Standing Orders

Under the Local Government Act 1972 Schedule 12, s42, the 2011 Model Standing Orders for Local Councils was customized to meet the needs of ME Parish Council and had been earlier promulgated to Councillors for review; adoption of these Orders was proposed by Cllr Harte, seconded by Cllr Sharman and agreed unanimously.

Decision:- To adopt the customized 2011 Model Standing Orders for Local Councils.

Public Forum

No contribution was made from the floor.

10. Finance

    a. Financial Situation@ month end May 2011
HSBC Community A/C 19,945.06  
HSBC BMM 27.16  
Total 19,972.22 19,972.22
Income yet to be credited    
Total 0.00 0.00
Total Cash   19,972.22
Uncashed cheques    
All Saints Grant 900.00  
BATPC Training (D Snowball) 10.00  
Total 910.00 910.00
Cheques to be written    
Warners of Bedford 5957 396.00  
Amenity Land Lease 50.00  
Aviva Insurance 463.35  
Dylan Newman Litter 40.00  
G Hayes – Internal Audit 50.00  
Total 999.35 999.35
Total Committed Expenditure 1,909.35
Latest position   18,062.87
Ring-fenced Funds   7,715.97
Position at month-end exc. ring-fenced funds   10,346.90


    b. Payment Decisions.

Decision:- It was decided to effect the above payments.

Action:- The clerk will make the necessary arrangements.

    c. Year-end Accounts.  The clerk reported that the Internal Auditor had reviewed the 2010-2011 year-end accounts and other documentation and found there to be no matters which needed to be brought to the attention of the Council. 

11. Village Welfare

    a. Biogen Power Action Up-date.  Cllr Inskip advised that the Appeal had been passed to the Secretary of State for a decision by 20th October 2011; she is planning to discuss with Alistair Burt how best the community can proceed to influence the decision in a co-ordinated way. Cllr McMurdo expressed concern that incineration would lead to the country not being able to meet European re-cycling targets.

    b. Operational issues relating to village street lights.  Following contact from the clerk, the Council still awaits a full response from the authorities.

    c. Web-site Developments.  Cllr Sharman has clarified a number of issues with John Alsop; the privacy conditions are currently appropriate but may need adjustment when new legislation comes out. Cllr Inskip was able to confirm that the Council, even though its website gives access to it, bears no responsibility for the Twinwoods Action Group. On the personal information front, when people give information, the Council is entitled to assume they have the authority to give it and so may publish it. Organizationally, the role of Administrator (JA) is to ensure the website is functioning correctly and correct any errors; updating the information is the Councils responsibility, currently undertaken by 2 villagers and the clerk. Keeping “News” current is a particular issue. To allow Councillors to review and suggest correction for other lengthy documents, Cllr Sharman will produce an instruction sheet to tell everybody how to do it.

Action:- Cllr Sharman to prepare instruction sheet.

12. Correspondence

    a. Riverside View.  Warners have inspected the hedges round the play area in Riverside View and suggest they be trimmed. The clerk will request this is done.

Action:- Clerk to instruct Warners.

    b. BBC.  Information on their Re-Active8 sports programme for the over 50s.

Action:- Clerk to announce in Villager and put notices up on notice boards.

13. Decisions on Planning Applications

    a. Application 11/00982/LBC – Re-arrangement of internal walls.  This application was received shortly after the last council meeting and immediately circulated to all councillors. There were no objections and this has been confirmed to the Planning Officers.

Decision:- To confirm the decision to raise no objection.

14. Reports from Representatives

    a. School Governors.  The school has now gone to Consultation over the proposed Federation with Eileen Wade School and a meeting for stakeholders to discuss the issue is planned before the end of this period on 8th July. Shortly afterwards the Full Governing Body will meet to decide the way forward.

    b. Village Hall Committee.  Nothing to report.

    c. Playing Field Association Committee.  A meeting was held to discuss minor maintenance issues and a further meeting is planned for 13th June. 

    d. P3 Sub-committee.  A meeting is expected soon to discuss further action. Cllr Atkinson will get quotes for the mowing and clearance of the central area of Riverside meadow.

    e. Village Fete Committee.  A final meeting was held on 23rd May; the final layout has been agreed. Raffle ticket sales over the last weekend totalled £140. Thanks to all involved.

    f. Neighbourhood Watch.  The Bedfordshire AGM will be at Kempston on 23rd June; Bedfordshire Neighbourhood Group will be taking a stand at the Fete.

15. Members Calendar

16. Date of next meeting

    The next meeting will be on 7th July 2011 at 8pm, preceded at 7.30pm by meeting with residents of Church Green.

The Chair offered her thanks to all attendees and the meeting closed at 10.30pm.

These minutes were signed as a true record of the meeting.

Signature……………………………………………………..                                Date………………………………

                  Mrs D M Inskip, Chair