Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on Thursday 4th October 2012

Present:- Cllrs R Atkinson (chair), R Winter, J Williams, D Snowball, D Newman.           Borough Cllr D McMurdo.

Clerk B Gale                            8 Residents


Preamble: Prior to the meeting starting, the Council was addressed by Mr Brian Hayward, Head of the Highways Dept at BBC. He explained the long awaited “average speed” camera system was being installed and should be complete in 2-3 weeks. The system will consist of two cameras on the A6 and one on Radwell Road, linked to Bedford Police. The Council expressed its thanks to Mr Hayward, to Borough Cllr McMurdo and his predecessor, Cllr Walker for their efforts in this matter. Councillors and residents took the opportunity to raise the on-going problem of traffic, especially HGVs, on Thurleigh Road. It was noted that a survey by SLR showed that there were 21 weight violations per day, whereas on a visit the Borough mayor had noted 11 in a single hour. Following this he had asked to be kept abreast of developments. There were calls for some sort of width restriction at the road’s junctions or key-operated bollards but Mr Hayward explained the problems of this sort of solution. With encouragement from Cllr McMurdo and with the Council’s agreement, Mr Hayward agreed to:-

  1. Install an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) camera on a lamp-post in Thurleigh Road (with suitable signage) to reconfirm the magnitude of the problem and identify any peak offence times so the police can target these times.
  2. Re-assess the width restriction option, taking experience from other local installations.
  3. Continue to develop new designs for the road junctions feeding Thurleigh Road.


1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies were received from Cllrs C Sharman and M Quince (who was attending a P&TC Network Meeting).

2. Disclosure of Interests

Members were invited to declare any pecuniary, non-pecuniary, personal or prejudicial interests they may have in any items on the Agenda for this meeting, in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct for Members. None were made.

3. Minutes of the Meeting held on 6th September 2012

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

Decision:- It was resolved to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 6th September 2012.

4. Matters Arising – for information only

    a. Thurleigh Road Layout and Signage.  Please refer to the preamble.

    b. Old Post Office and other footpaths.  A village “walk-around” is being arranged to inspect this and other sites; please refer to item 4e below.

    c. Progress with Land Registry.  Statutory declarations have now been prepared and resident Geoff Atkinson will visit declarants to get them signed and witness the signings. 

Action:- Resident Geoff Atkinson to arrange to have Statutory Declarations signed.

    d. Report on tasks placed on the Highways Dept.  (Highways Helpdesk responses in carmine italics)

1. Bollard no 3 on Old Post Office footpath is not working. Replaced the bulb on the 27-09-12.

2. The 30mph speed limit sign on the Thurleigh Road coming down into the village is obscured by greenery. CRN 177951. Order raised on 12-09-12 to trim back trees from speed limit signs.

3. On the left hand side going down River Lane, the hedge from the parking area down towards the river needs to be cut back. CRN 177954 Order raised on 20-09-12 to trim back thorns from road side edge.

4. On the left hand side going down River Lane, after the junction with London End, trees overhang the road. CRN 177955 20-09-12 This has been passed to the Borough tree team to inspect. Work order subsequently raised by and new tree suggested K Parsons, Arboricultural Officer, 03/10/2012.

Action:- Clerk to query new tree.

5. On the A6, the footpath along the wall of Milton Ernest Hall (from its entrance to the start of houses) is being obstructed by overgrowth. CRN 177957  Inspected 12/09/12 and you will be aware that the Government has made clear its most urgent priority is to tackle the UK’s record budget deficit to restore confidence in the economy and to support the recovery. This is forcing Local Government to look very closely at their current levels of public spending. Whilst we do not wish to dismiss this request out of hand, we need to be even more prudent with our expenditure to conserve our resources to enable us to continue to repair the more dangerous parts of our highway network. As a result, we cannot action this request at this time and the customer report has been closed down.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to query decision cutting back overgrowth outside ME Hall.

6. There is considerable weed growth in the gutters of Huntsmans Way, Arkwright Road, Marsh Lane, and Church Close (and I think along the wall of ME Hall). CRN 177969 12-09-12 Our weed spraying programme has been completed and needs time to have an effect. There are no safety issues at the location and so no further action required at this time.

Action:- Clerk to query weed spraying decision.

7. On the west side of the A6 from Butterfield Court down towards the village centre, grass is encroaching onto the footpath. CRN 177971 Inspected 12/09/12 and no obstructions were found on the section of footway. We will continue to monitor the area through our regular inspection cycle.

Action:- Clerk to query A6 footpath clearing decision.

    e. Report on Village walk-around.  One of the dates offered by Amey will be selected.

Actions:- Councillors to select a walk-around date.

    f. Church Green traffic.  It was noted that “Private Road” signs had been installed but on the wrong side of the road; the Highways Dept will make new signs and install them correctly.

5. Parish Action Plan – for information only

    a. A6 “Average Speed” Cameras.  Please refer to the preamble.

    b. Progress on Allotment Provision.  Cllr McMurdo reported he had made no headway and didn’t expect to with Majesticare; there is still a possibility with Bedfordia with whom he will persist. The clerk now has a name to contact at the diocese. It was noted that plots are available at Clapham and Felmersham.

Actions:- Clerk to contact the Diocese over glebe land up Thurleigh Road.

                Cllr McMurdo to continue approaches to Bedfordia.

Public Forum

  • 40mph warning signs before 30mph signs and “Gates” on Radwell Road.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to raise 40mph sign and “Gates” with Highways Dept.

  • The progress on installing the final bollard up Thurleigh Road

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to progress bollard installation with Highways Dept.

6. Finance

a. Financial Situation@ 30th September 2012
 Bank Balances @ 31st August 2012    
 HSBC Community A/C  £  18,481.12  
 HSBC BMM  £          27.16  
 Total in bank accounts  £  18,508.28  £     18,508.28
 Receipts since last reconciliation    
 Book Sales  £          10.00  
 Precept  £    6,928.00  
 Total  £    6,938.00  £       6,938.00
 Total    £     25,446.28
 Payments since last reconciliation    
 D Newman Litter  £          80.00  
 ME Village Hall Hire  £          63.00  
 BDO Audit Fee  £       162.00  
 J C Ibbett Playing Field Rent  £            0.05  
 M J Granger  £    1,192.70  
 Clerk’s Salary  £       535.50  
 Total  £    2,033.25  £       2,033.25
 Calculated Balance @ 30th September 2012  £     23,413.03
 c/w Actual Bank Balances @ 30th september 2012  
 HSBC Community A/C  £  23,385.87  
 HSBC BMM  £          27.16  
 Total in bank accounts  £  23,413.03  £     23,413.03
 Receipts yet to be credited    
 None  £                -    
 Total  £                -    £                    -  
 Cheques not presented    
 Water pump renovation – paint  £          53.98  
 RGP cost  £       180.00  
 Total  £       233.98  £           233.98
 Payments to be made    
 D Newman Litter  £          40.00  
 BATPC Training  £          25.00  
 M J Granger  £          60.00  
 H Snowball – NHW Co-ordinator  £          10.00  
 Total  £       135.00  £           135.00
 Total Committed Expenditure    £           368.98
 Latest position    £     23,044.05
 Ring-fenced Funds    £       6,636.60
 Position at month-end exc. ring-fenced funds    £     16,407.45


    b. Payment Decisions.

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

Action:- Clerk to make payments.

    c. Heritage Trail Booklet Printing.  Three quotations were obtained; Cllr Snowball proposed and Cllr Williams seconded the acceptance of the least expensive quotation from Rosetta Publishing (of which Cllr Quince is a director); Cllr Atkinson proposed and Cllr Winter seconded the purchase of 4,000 copies.

Decision:- It was resolved to order 4,000 copies of the Heritage Trail Booklet from Rosetta Publishing.

Action:- Clerk to place an order on Rosetta Publications.

7. Village Welfare

    a. National Planning Policy Framework.  A meeting with Thurleigh and Bletsoe Parish Councils had been arranged for Monday 8th October; unfortunately this was too short notice for most Councillors so it was decided to cancel this meeting and re-arrange at a date more suitable for most people.

Action:- Clerk to check councillors availability and liaise with other clerks to set up a meeting.

    b. Trees at 64 Radwell Road.  Nothing more has been heard from the insurers of 64 Radwell Road since the Parish Council asserted right of ownership over the amenity land in question; a visit is awaited from the BBC Tree Officer to assess the scale of any problem and how the Council should proceed.

Action:- Cllr Atkinson and the clerk to meet with the BBC Tree Officer.

    c. Grass cutting contract.  It was noted that the “Brandon Strip” had been sprayed and will be re-examined for possible cultivation when the weeds have withered sufficiently. Three quotes have been received for the cutting of Riverside Meadow; Cllr Winter proposed and Cllr Williams seconded accepting the least expensive quotation (from Mr Towler of Thurleigh); as a matter of some urgency the clerk will order the work and at the same time request a quotation from Mr Towler to clear the cut grass. It was proposed by Cllr Snowball and seconded by Cllr Williams to accept Granger’s quotation for cutting back overgrowth at the bottom of River Lane.

Decision:- It was resolved to order Grangers to cut back overgrowth in River Lane.

                   It was resolved to order M Towler to cut Riverside Meadow.

Action:- Clerk to place orders on Grangers and M Towler and to request a further quotation for M Towler.

    d. Litter picking.  An advertisement for a litter picker has been placed in the Villager and so far three responses have been received. The job description presented by Cllr Newman was approved and there was a brief discussion on selection procedures and criteria. It was concluded that it would be sensible to seek advice from the clerk of Sharnbrook PC who is currently responsible for several litter pickers. This will be done by the clerk. The advantages of job-sharing were considered. It was noted that the Council will probably have to buy more safety equipment. On a related topic, it was noted that the Environmental Health Dept of BBC would clear the bins on the Playing Field at a Cost of £26.85 plus VAT per week. Cllr McMurdo will query this.

Actions:- Clerk to seek litter-picking advice from the Sharnbrook clerk.

                Clerk to send copy of bins clearance quotation to Cllr McMurdo.

                Cllr McMurdo to query bin clearance quotation.

    e. Parish Council access to Ombudsman services.  Currently only members of the public can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman. Thurleigh PC have requested that BATPC propose a motion to extend this facility to parish councils at its forthcoming AGM; TPC have requested MEPC’s support; Cllr Newman proposed and Cllr Winter seconded the proposal that support be offered.

Decision:- It was resolved to offer support to TPCs motion to allow PCs access to the LGO.

Action:- Clerk to advise BATPC of MEPC’s support for TPCs LGO motion.

    f. Membership Reports.  Postpone until next month.

    g. Christmas Light Turn-on.  Cllr Newman advised that Rushden Town Band had booked the Village Hall for 1st December for a concert. Following discussion last month about the Council collaborating with the band, Cllr Newman now suggested that the event be taken over by the Council which would hire the band for £250 and arrange a more elaborate pre-Christmas village celebration, involving the concert, tree-lights turn-on, sale of entry tickets, refreshments and raffle tickets. Cllr Atkinson proposed and Cllr Snowball seconded the adoption of this proposal.

Decision:- It was resolved to organize a pre-Christmas village celebration and hire Rushden Town Band.

Action:- Cllr Newman to place an advertisement in the “The Villager”.

    h. Cllr Snowball again noted the apparent lack of concern for the condition of the village and Cllr Newman noted debris and spirit bottles at the bus-stop. It was thought that something could be done if the problem were youngsters at Sharnbrook School but names would be needed.

    i. Cllr Newman had noted overgrowth by Milton Hill and reported it to the Highways Helpdesk on 1st October, reference 179558.

    j. Cycle Paths.  Cllr Sharman has spoken to the Mayor whose assistant has referred it to the relevant dept.

    k. Riverside Meadow Hedge.  Residents have complained about the condition of the hedge at Riverside Meadow; the hedge will be examined by P3 and the residents written to asking for their opinion.

Action:- Clerk to write to Riverside View residents about the hedge.

8. Correspondence – for information only

    a. Letter from Mrs Hayes concerning speeding in Radwell Road.

Action:- Clerk to write advising latest speed reduction actions.

    b. Victim Support Donation request.  In line with normal policy, no donation will be offered.

    c. The BATPC AGM on the 16th October was noted; this Council can send two delegates.

    d. BBC Consultations on Budget Reduction and Council Tax Reduction were noted and documentation is being circulated.

9. Decisions on Planning Applications

    No applications received.

10. Review of Actions Summary from the meeting of 6th September 2012

Item in Sept 2012 minutes Who Action Refer/Completed
4a Clerk To progress Thurleigh Road issues with BBC Highways Dept. See preamble
4b Clerk To organize a village walk-around. See 4e above
4d RA/GA To progress Land Registry issues. See 4c above
5a Clerk To progress speed camera system with Borough Cllr Royden. See preamble
5b Clerk To report fault on B3. Completed
5c Clerk To contact the Diocese over glebe land up Thurleigh Road, Twinwooods administrators and Cllr McMurdo to get the address of ME Hall owners. See 5b above
PF Clerk To arrange clearance of growth. See 4d 1 above
6b Clerk To make payments. Completed
6b JW To write letter of appreciation to Mr Allen. Completed
6d Clerk To get quotes for reprinting 2,000 and 4,000 copies. Completed
6e Clerk To put notice in “The Villager” re. Litter picker. See 7d above
7a Clerk To liaise with other clerks to set up meetings. See 7a above
7b Clerk To request spraying of the Brandon Strip. Completed
7c Clerk To request Highways Helpdesk to cut back trees from London End junction downwards and trim the hedge from the parking area downwards. See 4d 3&4 above
7d Clerk To request Highways Helpdesk to cut back overgrowth by ME Hall. See 4d 5 above
7g Clerk To draft an enquiry re cycle paths following input from Cllr Williams. See 7j above
7i Clerk To request borough to empty bins. See 7d above
7j Clerk To request Highways Helpdesk to spray gutter weeds. See 4d 6 above
7k Clerk To request Highways Helpdesk to clear A6 path. See 4d 7 above
7l Clerk To place a notice in “The Villager” asking for these practices to stop. Completed
7o Clerk To contact contractor and request further tree information. Completed
12c RA To draft a notice for “The Villager”. Completed
12d Clerk To place a notice in “The Villager” asking for a volunteer as fete chair. Completed
Action Chart Actions      
June 4 DMcM To get name of village gate supplier. See PF above
June 8i DMcM To contact BBC Planners and developer over Bob’s Shop . Superseded


11. Review of Meeting Format.  Discussion postponed until next meeting.

12. Reports from Representatives

    a. Village Hall Committee.  Next meeting on 8th October to discuss extension plans.

    b. Playing Field Association Committee.  Next meeting is planned for 25th October.

    c. P3 Sub-committee.  No report but it was noted that for Riverside meadow issues, Cllr Atkinson had devolved responsibility to resident G Stafford.

    d. Village Fete Committee.  No report, but it was noted that following the advertisement in “The Villager” for a new Fete chair, Rev Inall had claimed the responsibility for the appointment and advised she had a prospect. The right to claim this responsibility was challenged on the grounds of historical precedence.

    f. Neighbourhood Watch.  The security marking event which took place at the Garden Centre was good but could have been better attended; there is to be a meeting of street co-ordinators on 10th October. In November there will be a “Meet the Burglar” social event in the Village Hall.

13. Members Calendar.  

 14. Date of next meeting.

    The next meeting will be on 1st November 2012 at 8.00pm at The Village Hall, Milton Ernest.

The Chair offered her thanks to all attendees and the meeting closed at 11.00pm.

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

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

                  Mrs R Atkinson, Chair