Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on Thursday 8th December 2011

Present:- Cllrs D Inskip (chair), R Winter, D Newman (arrived after item 6b), D Snowball, C Sharman.

                Clerk B Gale                      12 Residents


1. Apologies for Absence

Received from Cllr Atkinson and Cllr McMurdo.

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 6th October 2011

Councillors accepted these 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 6th October 2011.

4. Matters Arising – for information only

    a. Thurleigh Road Layout and Signage.  Cllr McMurdo, via Cllr Inskip, reported that he was continuing to pursue the question of effecting changes to prevent HGVs using Thurleigh Road. The possibility of taking the simple step of painting triangles on the road was raised and this will be relayed to Cllr McMurdo. The recent incidents of the Murco tanker having problems on Thurleigh Road and a resident walking along the A6 being sprayed by gravel by two HGVs travelling at speed very close to the kerb were noted.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to try and get warning triangles painted.

    b. Old Post Office Lane and other footpaths.  It was noted that some foliage clearance had been effected and that the recently installed bollards had had their intensity reduced although they were still quite bright.

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

    c. Church Green traffic.  “Private Road” signs have been requested from the Highways Dept but not yet installed; Cllr McMurdo will again be asked to progress the matter.

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

    d. A6 Signage.  The scheme is believed to have been completed and the matter can be removed from future agendas. 

5. Parish Action Plan

    a. A6 “Average Speed” Cameras.  Cllr Inskip was able to announce that the Borough had sanctioned funds for an “average speed” camera system trial in ME. The preferred system is being offered by Siemens but before it can be deployed, possibly in April 2012, there need to be satisfactory outcomes from discussions with police, the Ministry of Transport and the Camera Partnership. The system will include 4 cameras to avoid drivers finding “rat-runs”. No further action by the Council is required at present.

    b. Village Street Lighting Plan.  It was noted that a questionnaire from the Highways Dept has been delivered to everybody in ME asking for their opinions of of the new street lighting. In response to a point from the floor relating to the response time allowed and the timing of the issue of the questionnaire, Cllr Snowball noted the ease with which he been able to complete the document. The results of the survey will be discussed at the next meeting.

    c. Progress with Land Registry.  Letters and maps have been distributed to selected residents and their replies are starting to come in.

Actions:- Clerk to progress.

    d. Progress on Allotment Provision.  A letter received from Bedfordia indicated their reluctance to pursue the leasing of land for allotments because of the possibility, by allowing public access to the land, that permanent public access rights may be established and the land will become community property. It also indicated the company may wish to visit the conditions under which the playing field is leased. Suggestions were made from the floor over possible ways to proceed viz. by overcoming Bedfordia’s objections, contacting the national allotment body and identifying an alternative site eg by ME Hall. Cllr Inskip will pursue the first and third courses of action.

Action:- Cllr Inskip will draft a reply to the Bedfordia letter and approach the Dobranski family.

    e. Provision of glass recycling facility.  Cllr Snowball noted that the skip was now in place but it did protrude a little over the car park which is unacceptable. The possibility of installing a concrete pad to accommodate the lorry’s jacks so the skip can be positioned correctly was discussed; this could cost about £750; the matter will be discussed again at the next meeting.


Public Forum

Issues raised concerned:-

  • The early start to the meeting.
  • Thurleigh Road traffic and the possibility of width restrictions top and bottom.


6. Finance

a. Financial Situation@ month end November 2011
HSBC Community A/C 18,716.06  
HSBC BMM 27.16  
Total 18,743.22 18,743.22
Income yet to be credited    
VAT Refund 767.55  
Total 767.55 767.55
Total Cash   19,510.77
Uncashed cheques    
Total 0.00 0.00
Cheques to be written    
D Newman Litter 50.00  
Warners 6370 396.00  
Warners 6454 396.00  
Clerk’s Expenses 35.96  
D Tonks Clerk’s Salary (Oct-Dec) 538.35  
Visible Performance Ltd 130.00  
Light-up Expenses R Winter 83.99  
Light-up Expenses B Gale 28.38  
D Newman Litter 50.00  
Total 1,708.68 1,708.68
Total Committed Expenditure   1,708.68
Latest position   17,802.09
Ring-fenced Funds   7,011.77
Position at month-end exc. ring-fenced funds   10,790.32

    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. Budget for 2012-2013.  The clerk presented a budget for financial year 2012-2013; it represented a small increase in precept which was unanimously accepted.

Decision:- It was decided to accept the budget as presented.

Action:- Clerk to submit the precept request to BBC.

    d. Clerk’s professional qualification.  Following a training course, the clerk is in a position to prepare a portfolio for submission to CiLCA to get the basic professional qualification for PC clerking; Cllr Inskip proposed that the cost of this qualification, £150, be borne by the Council. The Council decided to accept this proposal.

Decision:- It was decided to bear the cost of the clerk’s qualification.

Action:- Clerk to finalize his portfolio and submit it CiLCA.

7. Village Welfare

    a. Biogen Power Action Up-date.  Following the granting of permission for the Covanta incinerator, further submissions have been made by Biogen Power; in response to these, a further objection letter has been sent to the Secretary of State by the chairs of ME, Thurleigh and Bletsoe. It was noted that Bedford Borough is raising a petition challenging the Covanta decision, on the grounds of compulsory purchase of Borough land, for presentation to Parliament. Further it says that it will place no waste disposal contracts with the company (although it was doubted that it would be able to sustain this attitude). The Biogen Power decision is still expected by 19th January 2012.

    b. National Planning Policy Framework.  It was hoped that the possibility of a collective response was being pursued by Cllr McMurdo. This will be checked out.

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

    c. Replacement Councillor.  Interviews will be arranged in early January 2012.

    d. Web-site Developments.  Some Councillors have still not received their log-in details; they will contact John Alsop to get them.

    e. BDF – Allocations and Designations Plan.  Cllr Inskip noted that she had recently circulated the letter written by Jane Walker to the Borough planners outlining the conclusions of a meeting of local Council leaders held to discuss the Plan. This letter again asked for strategic plans for Twinwoods Business Park and Thurleigh Airfield Technology Park; moreover, it was suggested that new buildings should only be allowed on the footprints of old buildings and should be height limited.

    f. Village Hall Survey.  The Village Hall committee are planning its future development and have asked for feedback from users. The survey was completed and will be returned to the Hall committee.

    g. Grass cutting arrangements.  The clerk will prepare draft tender requests for submission to at least three potential contractors and review them with the chair.

    h. Dog waste bin re-location.  The options were discussed and it was agreed to place the bin midway between the lamp post and telegraph pole downhill form the junction of Church Green and Thurleigh Road.

Decision:- Agreement was reached on the new location for the dog waste bin.

Action:- Clerk to arrange relocation.

    i. Treatment of bench in Riverside View play area.  A quotation of £35 has been received for the treatment of the bench and waste bin in this location; the Council decided to accept the quotation.

Decision:- It was decided to accept the quotation of £35 for treating the bench and bin in the above mentioned area.

Action:- Clerk to arrange for the work to be done.

    j. Gypsy and Traveller Sites.  Requests have been received from Bletsoe and Stevington Parish Councils to support them in writing letters to the Borough concerning G&T sites; the Council decided it could not support the Bletsoe letter because it appeared to be simply trying to pass the issue onto others who may or may not welcome such suggestions but it could support Stevington because it was making general suggestions to the Borough and urging them to address the issue seriously. 

Decision:- To support the Stevington letter but not the Bletsoe letter.

Action:- Clerk to advise Stevington PC of the decision.

    k. A6 lights.  Cllr Sharman recalled that some lights on the A6 had been reported as being defective but was unsure if they had been fixed. (Subsequently it was established that they had been).

    l. Litter.  Cllr Newman noted that there appeared to be litter on New Road and suggested that should Cllr Atkinson lead a litter pick this would be a good location to address.

8. Correspondence

    a. BRCC answers anything.  Cllr Inskip noted that she had been advised by Carol Hurrell of Just Ask – BRCC that BRCC is of offering a new service call Just Ask. Carol Hurrell is available to respond to any question and can be contacted on 07925-428323 or

    b. Cardinal Newman Charity  An email from the Borough advised that the Cardinal Newman Charity could offer support for the furtherance of education asked anyone interested to contact it for further information. The email will be circulated and mention of it made in the Villager Report and on the web-site.

Action:- Clerk to broadcast information.

9. Decisions on Planning Applications

    a. 11/02088/FUL Replacement dwelling, 9 Radwell Road, Milton Ernest.

    b. 11/02277/FUL Erection of garage and annex, Ouse Bank Farm, Milton Ernest.

    c. 11/01647/FUL Erection of garage and storage, Stone Cottage, Milton Ernest.

The above applications have been considered by Councillors since the last meeting and no objections were raised.

    d. 11/02475/EXT Extension of time of App. 09/00215/FUL, change of use and erection of stables at Piggery Paddock, Milton Ernest. This application is still being circulated and councillors’ decisions will be collated by the clerk who will relay them to the Borough Planning Dept.

    e. The Maltings.  Cllr Inskip has learned that a developer is considering purchasing the site with the view to demolishing the present building and rebuilding; she will try to get an early view of the proposals plans.

10. Reports from Representatives

    a. School Governors.  It was noted that Milton Ernest and Eileen Wade Schools are now formally Federated and that an Instrument of Governance will shortly be approved. There is a vacancy for one governor at Eileen Wade.

    b. Village Hall Committee.  Nothing to report.

    c. Playing Field Association Committee.  It was reported that the zip-wire had now been fully re-instated without charge; only the Safety Certificate was awaited. Cllr Newman thanked Nick Cromey-Hawke for the excellent letter that he had written to the company who had provided the zip-wire.

    d. P3 Sub-committee.  Nothing to report.

    e. Village Fete Committee.  Cllr Sharman advised that next year’s Fete would be combined with Jubilee activities and be known as The Royal Garden Party. The Village Hall car park is to be covered and in the afternoon events and stalls would be located there and on the Village Green, with Thurleigh Road possibly being closed. In the evening a pig-roast is planned. There will be no competitions this year but instead an art exhibition arranged. A “Songs of Praise” event is also planned. Commemorative mugs will be commissioned for the children and also for sale generally. The Fete committee will next meet on 23 January 2012 and a further meeting involving other parties will be on 8 February 2012.

    f. Neighbourhood Watch.  There had been no crimes in November. Hazel Snowball has agreed to take over the Co-ordinators role and will undergo appropriate training.

    g. Youth Club.  It looks as though that at the last minute volunteers may be forthcoming to take over the leadership of the Youth Club.

11. Members Calendar.

12. Date of next meeting.

    The next meeting will be on 5th January 2012 at 8pm.

The Chair offered her thanks to all attendees and the meeting closed at 9.40pm.

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

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

                  Mrs D M Inskip, Chair