Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in All Saints Church, Milton Ernest Hall on Thursday 29th March 2012

Present:- Cllrs D Inskip (chair), R Winter, D Newman (arrived at 8.25pm during the Public Forum), R Atkinson, C Sharman, J Williams, D Snowball.            Clerk B Gale                            2 Residents

The Meeting proper was preceded by the Annual Parish Meeting at which the Chair, Cllr Inskip reviewed developments through the year, mentioned the grants made to various village enterprises including the Church, noted the evolution in social groups within the village and thanked people for their support and contributions.


1. Apologies for Absence

None received.

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 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

3. Minutes of the Meeting held on 1st March 2012

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

Decision:- It was resolved to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 1st March 2012.

4. Matters Arising – for information only

    a. Thurleigh Road Layout and Signage.  Cllr Inskip announced that a meeting has been arranged for 19th April for herself, resident Steve Freshwater and the clerk to discuss the whole situation, including the closure of the Twinwoods Business Park gate, with the Borough mayor. With the owners of the Business Park in receivership, the future of the proposed quarterly meetings of tenants and MEPC is in abeyance.

    b. Old Post Office.  The status of the work is unclear; the clerk will check it out with the Borough Highways Dept.

Action:- Clerk to progress the repair work with the Highways Dept.

    c. Church Green traffic.  The “Private Road” signs are still not in situ; the clerk will check out the situation with the Highways Dept. It was noted that bollards were now in place at the entrance to Marsh Lane to prevent “U-turns” on the speed table; further bollards are to be installed on the verge opposite to prevent parking there.

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

5. Parish Action Plan – for information only

    a. A6 “Average Speed” Cameras.  Cllr Inskip advised that the project was still scheduled to proceed and that preparatory work was being done. It was unclear if the removal of the VAS sign was part of these works; the clerk will check with the Highways Dept.

Action:- Clerk to check the VAS sign with the Highways Dept.

    b. Village Street Lighting Plan.  Cllr Sharman’s confirmed that his louvred light reducing device has been taken by the bollard manufacturers but that there had been no response from them (the manufacturers!) yet.

Action:- Cllr Sharman will liaise with the contractors/manufacturers.

    c. Progress with Land Registry.  There has been no progress but Cllr Atkinson confirmed that she will now be taking the necessary action herself

Actions:- Cllr Atkinson will progress Land Registry issues.

    d. Progress on Allotment Provision.  Cllr Inskip advised that she had again spoken to Bedfordia with no success because of the potential legal issues; she had also spoken to the previous owners of The Maltings who still own the land at the back of The Maltings. They do not wish to consider just now the possibility of “hosting” the allotments on that land. Concern and disappointment were expressed at what appears to be Bedfordia’s intransigence – it was thought that proper provision could be made to obviate the legal problems. To explore this idea further, Cllr Atkinson will invite David Empson from Kempston, who has expertise in land acquisition, to a future meeting. Cllr Atkinson will also contact resident Monica Robinson to explore the idea of using glebe land. The possibility of using part of Riverside Meadow was again mooted but with so much agricultural land around it seems a pity to reduce the even now small amount of public amenity land. The plot of land at the top of the playing field was also suggested but it was felt that Bedfordia could legitimately resist offering this.

Action:- Cllr Atkinson invite David Empson to a meeting and discuss Glebe land with Monica Robinson.

Public Forum

A resident noted that he felt depressed that Bedfordia seemed so resistive over allocating land for allotments. 

6. Finance

a. Financial Situation@ 29th March 2012
HSBC Community A/C 16,455.74  
HSBC BMM 27.16  
Total in bank 16,482.90 16,482.90
Income yet to be credited    
Total 0.00 0.00
Total Cash   16,482.90
Uncashed cheques    
CPRE Subscription 29.00  
Villager Minibus 150.00  
Total 179.00 179.00
Cheques to be written    
D Newman Litter 40.00  
Friends of MELS 100.00  
Total 140.00 140.00
Total Committed Expenditure   319.00
Latest position   16,163.90
Ring-fenced Funds   7,071.77
Position at month-end exc. ring-fenced funds   9,092.13

    b. Payment Decisions.

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

Action:- Clerk to make agreed payments.

    c. Support to All Saints Parish Church.  After discussion, Cllr Newman proposed making a grant of £900 for clock and churchyard maintenance and a donation of £250 towards the cost distributing “The Villager” within Milton Ernest; this was seconded by Cllr Atkinson and agreed unanimously.

Decision:- It was resolved to make a grant of £900 and a donation of £250 to All Saints Church.

Action:- Clerk to pay the grant and donation to All Saints Church.

    d. Diamond Jubilee gift for village children.  After discussion of the relative merits of a money-box and several designs of mug, their prices and exactly who should receive a gift, it was decided to order 200 (subject to confirmation by a “child count” to be conducted by councillors with the results being relayed to the clerk by 1st April) Mugstore mugs with the inscription “A gift from Milton Ernest Parish Council”. The recipients will be every child (0 to 18 years at the time of the Jubilee) living in the village and/or attending MELS.

Decision:- It was resolved to order 200 mugs as gifts.

Action:- Clerk to place order for mugs as defined.


7. Village Welfare

    a. Grass cutting contract.  It was confirmed that a contract had been concluded with Martin Granger to cut the village grass for 2 years.

    b. Nuisance calls/rubbish.  Cllr Snowball indicated he had had complaints about nuisance calls (doors being knocked and the caller running away). He further noted that benches on the playing field were being moved and surrounded by discarded food wrappers clearly purchased from the Garden centre. The clerk was asked to put a notice about this in “The Villager”.

Action:- Clerk to insert notice in “The Villager”.

    c. New bollards.  Cllr Inskip noted the new bollards in Thurleigh Road and asked about more on the grass verge. The clerk will clarify the situation with Borough Cllr McMurdo.

Action:- Clerk to query bollard situation with Cllr McMurdo.

    d. RV in Huntsmans Way.  Cllr Inskip queried the current situation of this vehicle. The clerk will check this with Borough Cllr McMurdo.

Action:- Clerk to query RV situation with Cllr McMurdo.

    e. Damaged sign.  Cllr Williams asked about the damaged sign in London End; the clerk will check with the Highways Dept.

Action:- Clerk to check the damaged sign situation with the Highways Dept.

    f. Traffic light timing.  Cllr Winter had received a complaint about the traffic lights for the pedestrian crossing being green for too short a time. The clerk will check this with the Highways Dept.

Action:- Clerk to query traffic light timing with the Highways Dept.

8. Correspondence circulated to Councillors – for information only

    a. BBC Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  Asking for suggestions for topics it should consider this year. MEPC suggested cycling and cycleways, speeding (again) and document handling procedures in the Planning Department.

Action:- Clerk to propose the above topics.

    b. BBC Press Release.  BBC will be holding Gardening Workshops on 17th March (too late was the cry) and 28th April; has been put on the web-site.

    c. BBC Changes in the Standards Regime.  Following the Localism Act 2011, certain changes are necessary, including the adoption of a new Code of Conduct (the model for which will hopefully soon be available from BBC) and the option of granting dispensations locally to engage in discussion even when having a disclosable pecuniary interest.

    d. BBC Consultation in Dog Control Laws.  BBC is considering implementing new orders using powers under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, creating the offences (among others) of failing to remove dog faeces, not keeping a dog on a lead and permitting a dog to enter land from which they are excluded. The Council is generally in favour of the new regulations and the clerk will respond appropriately.

Action:- Clerk to respond supporting the new dog control regulations.

    e. BBC has produced a Draft Housing Strategy and is inviting comments from stakeholders. This will be brought back to the next meeting for more detailed discussion

    f. Barkers Lane Recycling Centre.  BBC has advised of extended summer opening hours. Put on web-site.

    g. Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council.  Again asking for this Council’s support an Early Day Motion to allow local councils to appeal against the granting of planning permission where they recommended refusal. This was thought to be a good idea so the clerk will respond appropriately.

Action:- Clerk to respond supporting the council right of appeal motion.

    h. Meadow Lane G&T Planning Decision.  It was noted that there had been numerous emails urging action to ensure that a decision on this proposal is not deferred. It wasn’t!

    i. CPRE.  Advised their AGM is to be on 29th March – too bad!

    j. Police Making Contact.  Newsletter keeping people up-to-date with policing in Bedfordshire.

    k. BBC Affordable Housing.  BBC noted it has delivered 50% above its target for affordable housing in 2010/2011.

9. Decisions on Planning Applications

    a. 12/00115/FUL Replacement dwelling, 9 Radwell Road, Milton Ernest; it was noted that permission had been granted with certain minor conditions. The failure of the Planning Dept to note the comments offered by this Council was regretted and an explanation will be sought. (Subsequently, it has been confirmed that the email in question had for some reason gone into their spam file and not retrieved by their normal procedures). It has been noted that the demolition is proceeding brick-by-brick and the bricks being cleaned and treated with respect which seems at odds with the developers assertion that the bricks have deteriorated too much for re-use. This is to be communicated to the Planners.

Action:- Clerk to advise the planners of the brick handling situation.

10. Reports from Representatives

    a. School Governors.  Cllr Inskip advised that there was a Full Governing Body meeting on 21st March when the implementation of an off-site swimming programme at MELS and the removal of its swimming pool because of its limited usefulness and high cost of upkeep were ratified.

    b. Village Hall Committee.  No further report.

    c. Playing Field Association Committee.  A meeting had been held on 19th March at which it was agreed not to run the normal BBQ on Jubilee Day because of the planned pig-roast, have maintenance/painting day on 12th May and clear rubbish from the site. It was also decided to reconsider the possibility of insuring the equipment. The clerk will get details of cost etc. Their AGM will be on 30th April at The Queens Head.

Action:- Clerk to check out cost and conditions for playing field insurance.

    d. P3 Sub-committee.  Following a confrontation over the cutting of the Riverside Meadow hedge, a clear strategy needs to be agreed, based on the original planning permissions granted. The clerk was asked to draft a letter to residents.

Action:- Clerk to draft a letter to residents outlining the situation over hedge cutting.

    e. Village Fete Committee.  All seems to have been agreed concerning stands, the children’s art exhibition and raffle ticket selling for the Royal Garden party.

    f. Neighbourhood Watch.  After Easter Co-ordinator Snowball will be moving to establish street wardens.

    g. Youth Club.  No report.

11. Members Calendar.

12. Announcement by the Chair.  After many years service, the chair tendered her resignation to allow her to prepare for her new prestigious role within the County.

13. Date of next meeting.

    The next meeting will be on 3rd May 2012 at 8.00pm. It will be preceded by the Annual Council Meeting of Milton Ernest Parish Council at 7.30pm.

The Chair offered her thanks to all attendees and the meeting closed at 10.10pm.

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

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

                  Mrs D M Inskip, Chair