Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on Thursday 2rd February 2012

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

               Borough Cllr D McMurdo                                 Clerk B Gale                            12 Residents


1. Apologies for Absence

Received from Cllr Snowball and accepted.

2a. 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 Garden Society

Cllr Inskip is a Governor of Milton Ernest Lower School

Cllr Sharman is a member of the Village Fete Committee

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

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

2b. Welcome of new Councillor

A welcome was extended to recently co-opted councillor Jo Williams; prior to the meeting she had signed her Declaration of Acceptance of Office for the position and submitted her form registering her interests. She confirmed none were relevant to the matters under discussion at this meeting.

3. Minutes of the Meeting held on 5th January 2012

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

Decision:- to approve the amended minutes of the meeting held on 5th January 2012.

4. Matters Arising – for information only

    a. Thurleigh Road Layout and Signage.  Cllr McMurdo advised that he and the Borough Mayor have a meeting with the operators of Twinwoods Business Park scheduled for 16th February, when the ongoing traffic issues will be discussed. Some of the problems arise from the fact that access permissions to the various companies on the Park were granted piece-meal without a cohesive plan. The question of the section 106 agreement money dating from 2006 set aside for remedial works should there be significant accidents arising at the A6/Thurleigh Road from the re-modelling of the Thurleigh Road gate was raised. There had been no such accidents so the money had been returned to the then owners, QinetiQ.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to progress issues.

    b. Old Post Office Lane and other footpaths.  It was noted that the surface of Old Post office footpath was still in a poor condition and needed re-surfacing; Cllr McMurdo will request that the Highways Dept address this.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo will advise the Highways Dept.

    c. Church Green traffic.  Cllr McMurdo confirmed that “Private Road” signs have been ordered by the Highways Dept; no charge will be levied on the Parish Council for them.

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

5. Parish Action Plan – for information only

    a. A6 “Average Speed” Cameras.  Cllr Inskip advised that she had met with the Mayor and Borough Cllr Royden, who confirmed that installation of the system would commence soon, maybe before the end of the financial year and perhaps prior to actually getting approval for the Safezone Technology equipment. Further, she expressed the Parish Councils gratitude to all who had been involved with the preliminary work, such as speed and traffic monitoring, to justify ME being selected for the initial trials for this new system.

    b. Village Street Lighting Plan.  The results derived from the first analysis of the raw survey data were presented by Cllr Inskip; they showed that 105 households had responded to the survey, approximately 75% of which had expressed general satisfaction; the details will be posted so all the results can be viewed. A resident felt that this rate of response did not give a representative picture and that some people were now turning their own outside lights on; another said that in his experience the results were statistically meaningful. Cllr Inskip said she would like to see follow up work to understand better the concerns of those who had expressed dissatisfaction and investigate how they could be addressed.

Cllr Sharman had been pursuing the issue of the brightness of some bollards; it was generally thought that they are too bright despite the efforts of the contractors to dim them; Cllr Sharman has taken the matter further by fabricating a set of baffles which may resolve the problem and he is continuing to liaise with the contractors.

Action:- Cllr Sharman will pursue with the contractors.


    c. Progress with Land Registry.  Geoff Atkinson has reviewed the preliminary responses from residents and feels he needs more; the clerk will circulate the questionnaire to councillors who may be able to provide the necessary input.

Actions:- Clerk to circulate questionnaire to councillors.

    d. Progress on Allotment Provision.  Cllr Inskip advised that she had had discussions with Jan Dobrzanski about the possibility of locating allotments near ME Hall; he was sympathetic but still has ownership issues to resolve before he can offer anything.

Action:- Cllr Inskip will pursue the Dobrzanski family.

    e. Provision of glass recycling facility.  The clerk explained he had been pursuing the issue and that currently the plan, subject to the approval of Margaret Turner, was to let the matter run for some months without making a concrete pad to assess how often the skip will need to be emptied and if the haulage contractors can repeatedly place the skip in a suitable location.

Actions:- Clerk to progress. 

Public Forum

Issues raised concerned:-

  • The time allowed for a response to the lighting survey and the change of habits of residents over outside lighting.
  • The possibility of a “gate” and 40mph signs at the western end of Radwell Road and a 20mph limit along it.
  • The effectiveness of the strategy for CCTV cameras in Kempston.

6. Finance

a. Financial Situation@ month end January 2012
HSBC Community A/C 17,707.30  
HSBC BMM 27.16  
Total 17,734.46 17,734.46
Income yet to be credited    
Total 0.00 0.00
Total Cash   17,734.46
Uncashed cheques    
None 0.00  
Total 0.00 0.00
Cheques to be written    
D Newman Litter 40.00  
Bedford Borough (Election Expenses) 72.41  
Clerk’s Expenses 16.50  
Cllr Atkinson (Gift Vouchers) 80.00  
Total 208.91 208.91
Total Committed Expenditure   208.91
Latest position   17,525.55
Ring-fenced Funds   7,071.77
Position at month-end exc. ring-fenced funds   10,453.78

    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. Donation to The Friends of Milton Ernest School.  After discussion it was decided to make a donation of £100 to The Friends to help with the cost of food and entertainment at their Diamond Jubilee party. 

Decision:- It was decided to make a donation of £100 to The Friends of MELS.

Action:- Clerk to implement the above decision.

    d. Playing Field Insurance.  It transpires that the playing field insurance being paid over the last few years only covers public liability and not damage or loss of any of the equipment; this public liability is already being covered by the Council’s general insurance so the former policy will be allowed to lapse. The question of damage and loss insurance, which will cost about £450, will be considered again in the future after the clerk has consulted other clerks. 

Decision:- It was decided to lapse the current Playing Field insurance cover.

Action:- Clerk to implement the above decision.

7. Village Welfare

    a. Biogen Power Action Up-date.  Cllr Inskip confirmed the decision by the Secretary of State had still to be made and that contact was being made to access the information as soon as it is available.

    b. National Planning Policy Framework.  Cllr McMurdo is meeting David Brewer on 3rd February to establish what response the Borough has made. Cllr Atkinson advised that at the meeting in Pavenham that she had attended, it was mooted that such issues be pursued as a group by local councils.

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

    c. Replacement Councillor.  Following interviews, the decision has been made to co-opt Mrs Jo Williams as Parish Councillor. Cllr Inskip noted that another vacancy is anticipated in the near future and the Council would then go through the statutory procedures to identify a suitable candidate.

    d. Web-site Developments.  No significant developments.

    e. Grass cutting contract.  The clerk has taken references on the leading contractor; these were very positive; a further final check on his experience with playing fields will be made and if this is satisfactory he will be awarded the contract.

Action:- Clerk to follow up reference.

    f. Dog waste bin relocation.  This has taken place.

    g. Structural Maintenance Scheme 2012-2013.  It was noted that the Borough Council plans to do further work on the A6 which the Parish Council feels to be unnecessary; on the other hand, work required on River Lane and London End is not planned. The relevant department will be advised.

Action:- Clerk to advise relevant department.

    h. The 6th bench.  A resident has noted that the bench near the entrance to ME Hall needs treating. It was decided that this should happen. 

Decision:- It was decided to treat the bench.

Action:- Clerk to implement the above decision.

    i. Bench on green opposite Parkside.  Residents will take care of its removal.

    j. Oil cans by skip.  It was noted that somebody had dumped oil cans by the glass recycling skip at the Garden Centre. Cllr Sharman had disposed of the cans but everybody should do all they can to discourage this anti-social act in the future.

8. Correspondence – for information only

    a. Leiston cum Sizewell/Suffolk Association of Local Councils.  This body is pursuing the possibility of Government support for the idea of local councils getting help to review large planning applications; MEPC has supported this idea in the past and is now being invited to intervene by writing to the relevant Government minister and our local MP; it was agreed to do this and the clerk will draft a letter.

Action:- Clerk to draft a letter of support.

    b. Invitation to Stevington Meeting with Alistair Burt MP.  Following the meeting, Cllr McMurdo was able to confirm that the pressure was now very much on the Borough Council to resolve the G&T site issue. It had received its £1.2M grant and planning for the use of Meadow Lane was going before the 26th March Planning Committee Meeting.

    c. BBC initiatives on “Health and well-being strategy” and “Vision for Education”.  The Borough Council has launched these initiatives and is inviting feedback from the Council and the public. Information has been posted on the web-site.

    d. Action Note following the Parish & Town Council Network Meeting.  Note received including discussion on several topics.

    e. Structural maintenance Schemes.  Having been left over from last month, this document was considered in item 7g above.

    f. Advice from Clapham Clerk.  The Clapham clerk has advised that the Borough Council has offered Clapham PC 3.26 acres of land for use as a burial ground.

    g. Concerned resident’s letter.  A letter was received from a resident concerned about the early start to the December meeting; Cllr Inskip has replied hopefully re-assuring the correspondent.

    h. Meeting at Pavenham, 11th December.  The minutes of this meeting, attended by Cllr Atkinson, have been received.

    i. BBC Note of a prosecution.  A press release detailing a conviction for road-side car trading has been received.

    j. BBC Note of a prosecution.  A press release detailing a conviction for fly-tipping has been received.

    k. Freedom of Information Act.  A note has been received from BATPC highlighting the fact that the Freedom of Information Act covers councillor’s personal files and computers. It was noted that this is not anticipated to be a major issue.

    l. BBC Rights of Way initiative.  The consultative document relating to BBC’s Rights of Way Strategy has been received and is being circulated to Councillors; the same information is available on the web-site and the public’s input is invited.

    m. The Villager Minibus.  A request has been received for a donation; this will be put on the next agenda.

    n. Permissive Paths.  A set of maps has been received from Bedfordia showing permissive paths on their land (not in ME). If an electronic copy can be obtained it will be put on the web-site.

    o. Police Notice on mobile phones.  Cllr McMurdo has received a note from the police to remind everybody of the dangers of using a mobile phone when in charge of a vehicle and the penalties which can ensue.

Action:- Clerk to check with Bedfordia.

9. Decisions on Planning Applications

    a. 11/02690/S73 Removal of conditions attached to Appeal Decision APP/K0235/A/08/2082215 to allow permanent use of the G&T site at “Waiting for the Sun”, Bletsoe. Bletsoe PC are opposing this and ME PC decided to do the same; the clerk will draft a letter of objection.

Decision:- It was decided to object to the application.

Action:- Clerk to draft a letter of objection.

    b. 12/00115/FUL Replacement dwelling, 9 Radwell Road, Milton Ernest; an new application has been submitted and is being circulated for review by councillors.

10. Reports from Representatives

    a. School Governors.  The school is now formally federated with Eileen Wade Lower School and the major considerations currently are the future of the pool at ME and a new classroom at EW; further, it was noted that EW had had a good report from its Ofsted Inspection.

    b. Village Hall Committee.  Nothing to report.

    c. Playing Field Association Committee.  Nothing to report.

    d. P3 Sub-committee.  Now the “Brandon Strip” agreement is in place the Village work party will check the cost of clearing the site and then determine how to proceed using top-soil from Cllr Atkinson’s excavations. The hedge at Riverside View will be inspected and treated as required.

    e. Village Fete Committee.  The first 2012 meeting was on 23rd January when the issue of dwindling stalls and helpers was addressed. It is anticipated that after this the Fete and Royal Garden Party Committees will coalesce.

    f. Neighbourhood Watch.  Nothing to report.

    g. Youth Club.  The future has now been secured.

11. Members Calendar. 

12. Date of next meeting.

    The next meeting will be on 1st March 2012 at 8.00pm.

The Chair offered her thanks to all attendees and the meeting closed at 9.55pm.

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

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

                  Mrs D M Inskip, Chair