Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on Thursday 1st September 2011

Present:- Cllrs D Inskip (chair), R Winter,  D Newman (arrived 8.48pm near the end of item 5d), D Snowball, K Harte (left before item 1 following his resignation); R Atkinson.

               Clerk B Gale                      14 Villagers

Prior to the meeting proper starting Cllr Harte offered his letter of resignation and Cllr Inskip thanked him for his valuable contribution especially in police liaison; in response, ex-Cllr Harte expressed his pleasure in his role. (A replacement must be sought; Cllr McMurdo will advise the clerk who he needs to contact to effect this).


1. Apologies for Absence

Accepted from C Sharman

2. 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

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

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

3. Minutes of the Meeting held on 7th July 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 7th July 2011.

4. Matters Arising – for information only

    a. Thurleigh Road Layout and Signage.  The letter from Nick Chapman of Amey concerning A6 signage had indicated that they plan to proceed with their work plan as originally envisaged and that the question concerning width restrictions on the Thurleigh Road had not been raised; Cllr McMurdo was able to confirm that from discussions he had had with Brian Hayward that very day that width restrictions were very much part of current thinking and that moreover he was also planning modifications to the access to this road to discourage traffic travelling north from entering it in the first place. However, at present there was no capital provision for any work but pressure will continue to be applied.

    b. Old Post Office Lane and other footpaths.  Steps to eliminate overhanging foliage were being pursued by the Highways Dept which will contact residents directly.

    c. “School Railings”.  Following exchanges with the Highways Dept, the Council is satisfied with the design and agrees to the scheme being implemented.

Decision:- To accept the layout as designed.

Action:- Clerk to advise the Highways Dept of this decision.

    d. Church Green traffic.  Following advice from the Highways Dept on the cost of any measures which may be taken, it was decided to implement a step-by-step approach and adopt the low cost option of installing “Private Road” signs and then gauge their effect.

Decision:- To install “Private Road” signs.

Action:- Clerk to ask the Highways Dept to implement this decision.

    e. A6 Signage.  Refer to item 4a.

5. Parish Action Plan

    a. A6 “Average Speed” Cameras.  A further response from the police to Cllr Inskip’s initiative to try and obtain “average sped” cameras in the village had been as discouraging as the first, suggesting only that SID speed checks are carried out by residents which is already being done. Cllr McMurdo suggested that there may be a better avenue into the police hierarchy via the Traffic Division; he and Cllr Inskip will pursue this.

Action:- Cllrs Inskip and McMurdo will approach the police again via a different path.

    b. Village Street Lighting Plan.  It was noted that the scheme was not yet complete with some work still required in River Lane. The clerk will establish the current situation.

Action:- Clerk to contact Amey.

    c. Progress with Land Registry.  With all maps available, Cllr Atkinson and the clerk will liaise to take the matter forward.

Actions:- Cllr Atkinson and the Clerk to finalize maps.

    d. Progress on Allotment Provision.  Cllr Inskip outlined the issues raised by residents overlooking the proposed allotment site 1. Access from the A6  2. Hedge height – high enough for shed-shielding/low enough for a view  3. Parking  4. Gate security  5. Residents fencing  6. Soil contamination. Queries raised from the floor:- Was this the best site (only one on offer), who bears the costs (grant plus further costs to be largely recovered through rents so essentially self-financing), sheds (should be uniform and largely hidden and shared where possible). The major costs are likely to be fencing, hard-standing and water provision. The users need a longer lease period than 5yrs (to condition the soil takes 7 years). It is hoped to get the heads of agreement agreed by early October. It was decided to proceed with this site subject to final considerations.

Decision:- To proceed with arrangements for establishing allotments on this site.

    e. Provision of glass recycling facility.  Following disruption at BBC through personnel changes, the matter has been delayed but their current offer is to install a skip on a 3-4 month trial basis. It was decided to accept this offer and Cllr Snowball will progress the matter.

Decision:- To accept the offer of a skip on a 3-4 month trial basis.

Action:- Cllr Snowball to progress.

6. Council Publication Scheme and related documents and policies.

Following the circulation of drafts of these documents, the Council decided they should be put on the Council web-site in draft form (along with the Code of Conduct, Standing Orders and Financial Regulations in final, adopted form) to allow comment by all interested parties.

Decision:- To put the Council Publication Scheme and related documents on the Council web-site in draft form.

Action:- Clerk to implement the above.

Public Forum

Issues raised concerned:-

  • Affordable Rural Housing and the Parish Plan.
  • Accuracy of Minutes
  • Council Procedures for Correspondence

7. Finance

a. Financial Situation@ month end August 2011
HSBC Community A/C 16,544.06  
HSBC BMM 27.16  
Total 16,571.22 16,571.22
Income yet to be credited    
Total 0.00 0.00
Total Cash   16,571.22
Uncashed cheques    
Activitots chq 100213 250.00  
Total 250.00 250.00
Cheques to be written    
Warners  6075, 6115, 6124, 6204 1,680.00  
Dylan Newman Litter (July-August) 80.00  
Clerk’s Salary (July-Sept). 538.35  
Village Hall Hire 109.50  
M Towler 967 300.00  
JC Ibbett – playing field rent 0.05  
Clerk’s Expenses 15.60  
Total 2,723.50 2,723.50
Total Committed Expenditure   2,973.50
Latest position   13,597.72
Ring-fenced Funds   7,618.57
Position at month-end exc. ring-fenced funds   5,979.15

    b. Payment Decisions.

Decision:- It was decided to accept the monthly reconciliation and effect the above payments.

Action:- Clerk to implement the above decision.

8. Village Welfare

    a. Biogen Power Action Up-date.  Following a letter from A Burt MP advising that a concise submission to the Secretary of State setting out reasons for local opposition to the Biogen Power scheme, Cllr Inskip suggested that she confer with other interested parties to draft an appropriate document; Councillors agreed that she should represent the Council’s views. Further, Damian Goodyear has mooted the creation of a ‘Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) made up of those Parishes in the ‘Twinwoods Parishes Liaison Group’   to help in responding to this and other undesirable developments on the Twinwoods site.

A visit to the Millennium site (Thurleigh Airfield) had been suggested and Cllr Inskip will make the arrangements for herself a other interested Councillors.

    b. Operational issues relating to village street lights.  See 6b above; issues over timer controls to be addressed next March. In future this item will become part of the Parish Action Plan.

    c. Kerbs at Marsh Lane and Church Close junctions with Thurleigh Road.  The Highways Dept has reservations about the scheme and a number of permissions would have to be sought anyway; as a next step, Cllrs Inskip, Snowball and McMurdo will meet on site to assess the situation more closely.

Action :- Cllrs Inskip, Snowball and McMurdo to meet on site.

    d. Web-site Developments.  Some Councillors had received their log-in details; others not and they will request them from John Alsop.

    e. Treating benches.  The clerk has requested quotations for treating 3 benches plus refettling a fourth bench. He also noted the bench on the WI Green to be in poor condition and recommended its removal. The WI need to be consulted prior to this which the clerk will do.

Action :- The clerk will progress the quotes and contact the WI.

    f. Manhole cover damage.  It was noted that minor damage had been caused to a manhole cover surround during recent mowing operations. A resident had volunteered to effect repairs if the cost of materials were refunded; it was agreed to do this.

Decision:- It was decided to refund material costs to the resident.

Action:- Cllr Atkinson to liaise with the resident.

    g. Obscured school warning sign.  A councillor noted that a school warning sign on the A6 was obscured by foliage. The clerk will ask the Highways to resolve the problem.

Action:- Clerk to contact Highways Help Desk.

    h Roadside Litter.  A resident has commented on roadside litter outside the village boundaries. Cllr McMurdo will arrange for litter clearance from beside the A6; Cllr Atkinson will consider organizing a litter pick (and also bulb planting).

Action :- Cllr McMurdo to arrange for A6 litter clearance and Cllr Atkinson will consider a litter-pick and bulb planting.

    i. Mayor’s Visit – Pints in the Pub.  It was decided to take the Mayor up on his offer to visit the village to address people’s concerns.

Action :- Clerk to make arrangements.

    j. Skate Board Incident.  Following the removal of a skate board from outside a residents house, Cllr Inskip will contact him to discuss what, if anything, should be done.

Action :- Cllr Inskip to contact resident.

9. Correspondence

    a. Riverside Meadow cutting.  A resident advised that no more grass cuts are needed on Riverside Meadow, especially on the paths.

    b. Rural Housing.  Following earlier discussions, it was decided to ask Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity to conduct a survey throughout the village to ascertain people’s needs/concerns.

Decision:- To request a housing needs survey to be carried out.

Action:- Clerk to implement the above decision.

    c. Vandalism.  There have been a few recent incidents of vandalism (the clerk is keeping a log) brought to the Council’s attention, some involving dog faeces; it was queried whether the dog bins were being emptied regularly and Cllr McMurdo was able to confirm that they were. Unknown youngsters had been seen in the vicinities and the police had been advised but not much can be done except for everybody to be as vigilant as possible.

    d. BBC Briefing Workshops on the Allocations and Designations Plan.  It was decided that Cllr Atkinson should attend and she would make her own arrangements.

Decision:- Cllr Atkinson to attend.

    e. Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council.  This Council has made proposals to the Government relating to planning applications by major developers and seek the support of as many other councils as possible to ensure they are heard. It was decided to support this Council in its endeavours.

Decision:- To support Leiston-cum-Sizewell Council in its proposals.

Action:- Clerk to implement the above decision.

    f. BBC Bribery Act Documents.  The BBC Standards Committee wish to make local Councils aware of the new Bribery Act; the briefing document is being circulated to all Councillors.

    g. Bedfordshire Police Organizational Update.  This document is being circulated to all Councillors.

    h. Royal Horticultural Society.  The Society are urging all towns and villages to become involved in the “Britain in Bloom” competition; Cllr Atkinson took the letter for consideration by the Garden Society.

    i. BBC Voting Place Review.  This group is charged with assessing the suitability of currently used voting stations; the Council is quite happy with arrangements in Milton Ernest and has therefore elected not to reply.

    j. Peak Gen Power Ltd.  The clerk has received a letter from this company which has recently applied to install a standby electricity generation facility at Twinwoods Business Park. The letter seeks to allay fears about the facility and purports to be an open document sent to all local residents; only the clerk seems to have received the letter. He will circulate a copy to all Councillors and ask the company to send it to all residents.

Action:- Clerk to circulate letter and contact the company.

    k. Bedford and Luton Local resilience Forum Update Document.  This document, received via Ringmaster, will be circulated to all Councillors.

10. Decisions on Planning Applications

    a. Application 11/01618/FUL – Erection of porch at 5 Starey Close, ME.  The Council has no objection to this application.

    b. Application 11/01621/FUL – Building extension and cladding, Thurleigh Airfield Business Park.  The Council has no objection to this application.

    c. Application 11/01641/FUL – Transmission dish replacement, Twinwoods Business Park.  The Council has no objection to this application.

11. Reports from Representatives

    a. School Governors.  There has been no activity over the holidays but a new Local Authority governor is needed. This appointment may be superseded by the process of Federation with Eileen Wade School.

    b. Village Hall Committee.  No meeting planned until October.

    c. Playing Field Association Committee.  New nets have been installed and seats repaired. The next meeting will be in late September.

    d. P3 Sub-committee.  A P3 meeting was held in July and a walk-around undertaken. To assess the need for foliage to be cut back a ”village standard person” in the form of Cllr Atkinson was used. At The Old Post Office footpath a lot of growth was noted to be on public land and it is planned to remove this in the Autumn. The River meadow hedges will be trimmed. The “Brandon” land will need mechanical assistance to get it clear for normal maintenance; the Council agreed to quotes being requested for this work. Further work will then be decided. It was noted that the Christmas tree seems to be recovering.

Decision:- To agree to quotes for mechanical help being obtained.

    e. Village Fete Committee.  A meeting is planned for September.

    f. Neighbourhood Watch.  No report.

12. Members Calendar

    No absences planned.

13. Date of next meeting

    The next meeting will be on 6th October 2011 at 8pm.

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