Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on Thursday 6th October 2011

Present:- Cllrs D Inskip (chair), R Winter,  D Newman, D Snowball, C Sharman, R Atkinson.

                Borough Cllr D McMurdo                   Clerk B Gale                      2 Villagers


1. Apologies for Absence


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 1st September 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 1st September 2011.

4. Matters Arising – for information only

    a. Thurleigh Road Layout and Signage.  It was noted that the new signage on the A6 up to at least ME was complete. Cllr McMurdo advised that he had seen drawings for the modification of the A6/Thurleigh Road junction but that there was currently no money to effect the changes. However, he had been asked by Mayor Hodgson for full background information on the traffic issues around Thurleigh Road; it is hoped he will be able to positively influence developments. Cllr McMurdo will progress developments.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to progress.

    b. Old Post Office Lane and other footpaths.  Work appears to have been started on “other footpaths” by BBC; the clerk will check progress. On Old Post Office footpath, the resident has started to clear excess growth but may ask for help with some of the heavier work.

Action:- Clerk to check progress with the Highways Dept.

    c. “School Railings”.  It was noted that the railings had been installed; this item can be removed from the Agenda.

    d. Church Green traffic.  “Private Road” signs have been requested from the Highways Dept; Cllr McMurdo will progress the matter.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to progress with the Highways Dept.

    e. A6 Signage.  Refer to item 4a. Remove from future agendas.

5. Parish Action Plan

    a. A6 “Average Speed” Cameras.  Cllr McMurdo has been having discussions with various bodies but did not detect much enthusiasm for the project but will pursue the issue further; Cllr Inskip noted that Borough Cllr Royden would at least offer his support. Cllr Snowball re-emphasised the importance of some form of incentive to reduce speed having observed fast traffic heading out of ME on the A6.

Action:- Cllrs Inskip and McMurdo will pursue the issue when opportunities present themselves.

    b. Village Street Lighting Plan.  It was noted that the bollard had been installed in River Lane and power would be applied in the near future. Cllr Snowball was able to confirm that, following modifications to lights in Huntsmans Way, they did indeed go off in the night, albeit that they come on again earlier than some other lights. The situation will be observed after the “hour-change”.

    c. Progress with Land Registry.  Cllr Atkinson now has the maps, will mark them and pass them back to the clerk for distribution to previously designated residents.

Actions:- Cllr Atkinson and the Clerk to progress.

    d. Progress on Allotment Provision.  The letter received from Bedfordia just after the last meeting raised concern over establishing a permanent right of public access. Cllr McMurdo has consulted the Borough solicitor who advised that with a correctly drawn lease in place such rights should not be established. Cllr McMurdo will write with a précis of his discussion and e-mail to Cllr Inskip. Cllr Inskip will then draft a reply to the letter laying to rest the concerns and identifying other terms and conditions the Council would like to see in place.

Action:- Cllr Inskip will draft a reply to the Bedfordia letter.

    e. Provision of glass recycling facility.  Following further discussion with BBC, it was decided to accept their offer on a trial basis of a larger skip; Cllr Snowball will get clearance from the Garden Centre and relay the decision to BBC. Assurance has been given that we would always have a new-looking skip. Cllr Newman agreed to “police” the skip on a weekly basis ensuring that it is emptied when required and that there is no build up of extraneous debris. It was noted that when the skip was in place, another item on the Parish Action Plan could be ticked off.

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

Action:- Cllr Snowball to progress.


Public Forum

Issues raised concerned:-

  • Copies of “The Villager” for Mayor Hodgson and Cllr McMurdo.
  • Footpath clearance.


6. Finance

a. Financial Situation@ month end September 2011
HSBC Community A/C 14,358.91  
HSBC BMM 27.16  
Total 14,386.07 14,386.07
Income yet to be credited    
Total 0.00 0.00
Total Cash   14,386.07
Uncashed cheques    
Douglas Tonks chq 100217 538.35  
Activitots chq 100213 250.00  
Total 250.00 250.00
Cheques to be written    
D Newman Litter 40.00  
BDO llp 342.00  
Warners  6238, 6278, 6287, 6326 1,242.00  
Total 1,624.00 1,624.00
Total Committed Expenditure   1,874.00
Latest position   12,512.07
Ring-fenced Funds   7,239.37
Position at month-end exc. ring-fenced funds   5,272.70


    b. Payment Decisions.

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

Action:- Clerk to implement the above decision.

    c. External Auditor’s Report.  The Annual Return from the External Auditor was presented to and accepted by the Council. The clerk will now post the Conclusion of Audit notices.

Decision:- It was decided to accept the External Auditor’s Report.

    d. Cllr Newman gave the clerk £10 book money to be banked.

    e. Cllr McMurdo urged all councillors to review the schedule he had sent outlining the cost savings (totalling £36M) being proposed by BBC and to respond as instructed if there were any issues which concerned them.

    f. Youth Club.  A letter had been received requesting a grant for the Youth Club; this was agreed but Cllr Winter suggested that payment be withheld until the new year since, after 7 years service, he and his wife felt they had to hand the reins on to someone else and it is uncertain at this time who that might be. So, new leaders are urgently required; this will be highlighted in the next “Villager” Council Report.

Decision:- It was decided to make a grant of £250 to the Youth Club, subject to new leaders being found.

Action:- Clerk to highlight search for new leaders in “Villager” Report.

7. Village Welfare

    a. Biogen Power Action Up-date.  Cllr Inskip noted that the decision by the secretary of State was due shortly; since the last meeting she had written re-presenting the case against the development by local councils; having had no acknowledgement of receipt, she plans to communicate again to ensure the objections have been received.

    b. National Planning Policy Framework.  Following general discussion about the implications of the proposed planning policy, the Council felt it wanted to express an opinion and wanted this opinion to have a greater force than might normally be accorded to a small village Council; Cllr McMurdo will contact David Brewer at BBC to see if the matter can be progressed under the umbrella of the unitary authority.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to progress with the Mr D Brewer.

    c. BDF – Allocations and Designations Plan.  The plan is to be circulated to all Councillors with the view to completing the questionnaire at the next meeting. Cllr McMurdo will ask the responsible BBC officers for the differences between this and the earlier plan and suggested that the Council should be asking him for information over any matters which come to their attention. In particular, are there any aspects regarding both Twinwoods Business Park and Bedford Business Park (Airfield) that we should consider.

Action :- Clerk to circulate plan.

    d. Replacement Councillor.  Two residents have put their names forward for consideration but the Notice inviting others to follow suite did not make it into the “Villager” this month. So, as it was felt important to be seen to be acting openly and fairly, it was decided that the Notice should be inserted next month with a closing date for expressions of interest of 15th November. Current candidates will be advised of the situation and invited to visit the next meeting to observe proceedings.

Action :- Clerk to re-present the Notice and issue invitations to the current candidates.

    e. Web-site Developments.  Some Councillors have still not received their log-in details; Cllr Sharman will speak to John Alsop. A resident agreed to try and print out from the web-site Welcome Pack information for distribution among new residents.

    f. Bench Treatment.  The clerk confirmed that the bench treatment work had been ordered and will be under-taken in late October.

    g. Dog bin re-location.  Cllr Inskip will meet with the clerk to finalize the proposed new bin location.

    h. Affordable housing survey.  The clerk confirmed that the survey had been requested and was awaiting timing information from BRCC.

    i. Mayor’s Visit – Pints in the Pub.  The mayor’s office had advised the clerk that ME could not be included in this round of visits but may be in the future.

    j. Mobile home occupation in Huntsmans Way.  Concern was expressed that this was happening; Cllr McMurdo will check with BBC Environment Dept about it’s legality.

    k. Path clearance/ME Hall path and Huntsmans Way/Radwell Road paths.

Action:- Clerk to arrange clearance.

    l. Bob’s Shop. Demolition.  It was noted that 9 Radwell Road was being demolished apparently without permission; the legality of this was questioned and Cllr McMurdo will raise the issue with the Planning Dept.

    m. Litter Pick. Cllr Atkinson suggested this should take place and Cllr McMurdo will get a date from BBC.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to contact BBC.

    n. Grass cutting/Huntsmans Way.  Cllr Snowball noted that an area between 17 and 19 Huntsmans Way had become overgrown. The clerk will ask Warners to tackle this.

Action :- Clerk to contact Warners.

    o. Millennium Studios.  Cllrs Inskip and Snowball reported on a visit they had made to this very impressive development at Thurleigh Airfield. Cllr Inskip advised that she would forward details of Ronan Willson’s websites so that all could take a look at his activities.

    p. Nuisance noise.  A resident had reported a noisy party going on until 4.30am; this has been noted and any further similar events may trigger the involvement of BBC Environmental Health Dept.

8. Correspondence

    a. ME Events.  BBC has requested information on events planned for 2012; this will be supplied when it is available.

    b. BATPC AGM.  Information will be circulated.

    c. Borough Assembly 2012.  Information will be circulated.

    d. Parliamentary Constituency Review.  Information will be circulated.

    e. School Transport Consultation.  Information will be circulated.

9. Decisions on Planning Applications

    a. Application 11/01246/FUL – Stand-by generator sets at Twinwoods Business Park. Incomplete information had been sent and the clerk will establish the situation. (Subsequent enquiries revealed that the Parish Council has seen all available information and duly commented. The decision will be made by committee in the near future).

Action :- Clerk to contact and establish the situation.

    b. The Maltings.  It was reported that adjacent residents, Mr and Mrs Harris-Watson and Mr and Mrs Mann, had been approached by Relmfield Developments for a meeting to discuss it’s ideas for the development of The Maltings; it was felt that the residents should take up the offer and say that they would like representatives of MEPC to be present.

10. Reports from Representatives

    a. School Governors.  The process of dissolving the old governing body and appointing a new one is on-going; delays had been caused by the local authority. A meeting is expected in early November.

    b. Village Hall Committee.  At the meeting last Tuesday the preliminary results of the survey were discussed; the survey will now be extended to user groups..

    c. Playing Field Association Committee.  A meeting was held on 26th September; 2x gazebos have been purchased. The decision to ban dogs from the playing field was confirmed. Concern had been expressed about the Radwell Road gate not being locked but it had been decided to keep it like this to facilitate emergency vehicle access. Repairs had been carried out on the field surface and on the fence. A response to the Playquest letter concerning safety checks on equipment was being formulated. It was felt that all safety issues had been covered. Next meeting 19th March 2012.

    d. P3 Sub-committee.  Nothing to report.

    e. Village Fete Committee.  A meeting is planned for 11th October to plan for next year’s Fete and co-ordinating it with other Jubilee Year events.

    f. Neighbourhood Watch.  There had been no crimes in the last month. A new co-ordinator is required and Hazel Snowball may take on the role.

11. Members Calendar

12. Date of next meeting

    The next meeting will be on 3rd November 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