Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting held in The Village Hall, Milton Ernest on Thursday 3rd May 2012

Present:- Cllrs R Atkinson (chair), R Winter, C Sharman, J Williams, M Quince, D Snowball.

Clerk B Gale                            3 Residents

1.   Election of Chairman for the coming year.

Cllr Atkinson was proposed by Cllr Snowball and seconded by Cllr Winter; there being no other nominations, Cllr Atkinson was duly elected. 

Decision:- It was resolved to elect Cllr Atkinson as Chair for the coming year.

2.   Declaration of Acceptance of Office by Chairman.

In compliance with statutory obligations, Cllr Atkinson signed her Acceptance of Office.

3.   Election of Vice-chairman.

Having earlier indicated his agreement to be nominated in his absence, Cllr Newman was proposed by Cllr Quince and seconded by Cllr Sharman; there being no other nominations, Cllr Newman was duly elected. 

Decision:- It was resolved to elect Cllr Newman as vice-chair for the coming year. 

4.   Apologies for Absence.

Apologies were received from Cllr Newman and Borough Cllr McMurdo. 

5.   Disclosures of Interests.

Members are invited to declare any 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. No interests were declared.

6.   Approval and Signing of Minutes of the meeting on 29th March 2012.

Councillors unanimously accepted these minutes as a true and accurate record of the meeting; they will be signed at a future date by the then Chair, former Councillor Inskip.

Decision:- It was resolved to approve the minutes of the meeting of 29th March 2012.

7.   Delegation arrangements to affiliated organizations. 

The following appointments were agreed:-

Playing Field Association                                Cllrs Newman and Winter.

Village Hall Committee                                   Cllr Winter.

Garden Society (redefined as P3 Group)      Cllr Atkinson.

Governor of Milton Ernest Lower School       Cllr Williams (subject to agreement with the school).

Village Fete Committee                                  Cllr Sharman.

Youth Club                                                      Delegation deemed to be unnecessary.

Turner-Rolt Charity                                         Cllrs Snowball and Newman.

Town & Parish Council Network                    Cllr Quince.

8.   Appointment of Councillors to particular interests.

The following appointments were agreed:-

Police Liaison and Neighbourhood Watch                  Cllr Snowball.

Highways & Infrastructure                                          Deemed to be unnecessary.

Green Infrastructure/Footpaths & Bridleways            Deemed to be encompassed by P3.

Internal Review of Accounts                                      Cllr Williams.

9.   Review and confirmation of Council’s Standing Orders, Publication Scheme, Risk Assessment document and Financial Regulations.

      It was agreed to re-adopt the exiting documents.

10. Review of inventory of assets.

It was agreed that the inventory was complete.

11. Review and confirmation of arrangements for insurance cover in respect of all insured risks.

The general insurance policy with AVIVA (brokered by Came & Co) was deemed to be adequate except for the cover of the playing field equipment; for this it was agreed to extend the cover which will cost 0.43% of the replacement value of the equipment, based on a valuation of £101,925 made by Cllr Newman. This was proposed by Cllr Quince and seconded by Cllr Atkinson.

Following discussion and advice from brokers Came & Co, it was judged that, subject to all conditions and exclusions outlined by the brokers, the Council’s existing insurance policy would cover the Royal Garden Party events.

Decision:- It was resolved to approve current insurance policy and extend it to cover the playing field equipment.

Action:- Clerk to extend the cover on the insurance policy to include playing field equipment.


12. Review and confirmation of the Council’s memberships of other bodies.

It was agreed to continue the Council’s membership of CRPE and BATPC.

13. Setting the dates, times and place of ordinary meetings of the Council for the year ahead.

It was agreed to continue the current practise of holding the meetings in the Village Hall on the first Thursday of every month (except August), except due to unforeseen circumstances. Any deviations will be to be clearly advertised.

14. Matters Arising – for information only

a. Thurleigh Road Layout and Signage.  The clerk advised that the planned meeting of former Cllr Inskip, resident Steve Freshwater and the clerk to discuss the whole situation, including the closure of the Twinwoods Business Park gate, with the Borough mayor had taken place with Borough Cllr McMurdo also being present. Mr Freshwater explained the situation from the resident’s point of view and showed numerous photographs of transgressions by HGVs; the Mayor had appreciated the problems posed and agreed to support moves to get the Clapham gate re-opened. Former Cllr Inskip advised she would try and elicit support from the Home Office which had been involved with access conditions for the Immigration Removal Centre. Further, It was agreed to progress the issue of constricting access to the Thurleigh Road by getting costings for HGV inhibitors at the top and bottom of the road.

b. Old Post Office.  It was noted that the condition of the footpath continues to deteriorate to the extent that a major refurbishment is really needed, including grading to encourage water to run away. The clerk will approach the Highways Dept with photos from Cllr Quince to support the proposals.

Action:- Cllr Quince to take photographs and send to the clerk who will progress the matter 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 pavements; further bollards are to be installed on the verge opposite to prevent parking there but their location may need to be reviewed.

Action:- Clerk to progress signs and query the bollard location with the Highways Dept.

15. Parish Action Plan – for information only

a. A6 “Average Speed” Cameras.  From the meeting with the Mayor it was clear that the project is on-going but was being delayed by the decision to install equipment only after type approval had been confirmed. The Council felt that installation should proceed even without such approval and even with dummy boxes to act as a deterrent. The exact constitution of the system was questioned; the clerk will ask for details. Interest was expressed in the results of a recent deployment of a police speed detector van; Cllr Snowball will try and get them.

Action:- Clerk to request details and immediate deployment of “Average Speed” system with Highways Dept. Cllr Snowball to liaise with police over speed detection results.

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. Cllr Atkinson confirmed that slow progress was being made and initial respondents to the letter requesting their help would be contacted again. It was noted that the clerk had received communication from a tree specialist company acting on behalf of an insurance company who had received a claim for tree damage down Radwell Road. They were trying to establish ownership of the land with the view to requesting the removal of the trees thereon. Unfortunately, ownership is not clear and it is one of the plots being subject to a claim by the Council.

Actions:- Cllr Atkinson will progress Land Registry issues.

d. Progress on Allotment Provision.  An expert is due to address a meeting at The Queens Head on 10th May; councillors and Allotment Association representatives are invited; it is hoped that he will be able to tell us how to identify suitable plots of land and how to go about acquiring them, maybe even acting as the Council’s agent in this respect. It was confirmed that Riverside Meadow had not been completely removed from consideration.

Public Forum.Issues raised included:-

  • Insurance for the RGP.
  • “Average Speed” camera system.
  • Progress on improving Thurleigh Road.
  • Removal of overtaking places on A6 north of ME.
  • Handling of HGV photos. (Cllr Snowball to process).
  • Progress on implementing recommendations on speed limit signs and “gates” on Radwell Rd.. (Clerk to raise with Cllr McMurdo).
  • Recent burglary.
  • Congratulations to Councillors Atkinson, Williams and Quince.

16. Finance.

a. Monthly Bank Reconciliation

  Bank Balances @29th March 2012      
  HSBC Community A/C 16,305.74  
  HSBC BMM 27.16  
  Total in bank accounts 16,332.90 16,332.90
  Precept 6,928.00  
  VAT Refund 415.43  
  BBC Grass cutting grant 344.13  
  RGP Receipts 265.00  
  Total 7,952.56 7,952.56
  Total   24,285.46
  Gift mugs 688.80  
  Litter picking 40.00  
  CPRE Subscription 29.00  
  Total 757.80 757.80
  Balance @ 30th April 2012   23,527.66
  c/w Bank Balances @ 30th April 2012    
  HSBC Community A/C 23,500.50  
  HSBC BMM 27.16  
  Total in bank accounts 23,527.66 23,527.66
  Cheques not presented    
  Friends of MELS 100.00  
  Total 100.00 100.00
  Payments to be made    
  D Newman Litter 40.00  
  All Saints PCC 1,150.00  
  Express Monitoring Ltd, web-site 117.60  
  Broker Network Ltd, Insurance 462.19  
  Graham Hayes, Internal Audit 50.00  
  Clerk’s Expenses 64.23  
  Gift Selection Ltd, Mugs 688.80  
  Total 2,572.82 2,572.82
  Total Committed Expenditure   2,672.82
  Latest position   20,854.84
  Ring-fenced Funds   7,071.77
  Position at month-end exc. ring-fenced funds   13,783.07

Decision:- It was resolved to accept the monthly reconciliation.

b. Payment decisions.

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

Action:- Clerk to make agreed payments.

c. Internal Auditors Report on Accounts to 31st March 2012.

The Internal Auditors Report, indicating that there were no issues which needed to be brought to the Council’s attention, was presented.

d. Acceptance of Year end Accounts.

The year end accounts were presented and it was agreed to accept them.

Decision:- It was resolved to accept the year end accounts.

e. Report on Accounts to the External Auditor.

The Council, having received a copy of the Statement of Accounts and the proposed responses in the Annual Governance Statement in the Return to the External Auditor relating to the Council’s Accounts of the year ending 31st March 2012, agreed that the Statements be approved.

Decision:- It was resolved to accept the Statement of Accounts.

Action:- Clerk to submit the Statement of Accounts to the External Auditor.

f. New cheque signatories.

It was agreed to make all Councillors signatories to the HSBC Bank accounts.

Decision:- It was resolved to make all councillors cheque signatories.

Action:- Clerk to make agreed arrangements with the bank.

g. Grant for ME Toddler Group. It was agreed that, as in previous years, a grant should be made to the ME Toddlers Group. Cllr Winter proposed a figure of £250; this was seconded by Cllr Atkinson and agreed unanimously.

Decision:- It was resolved to make a grant to ME Toddlers Group.

Action:- Clerk to make agreed payment to ME Toddler Group.

17. Thurleigh Meeting to discuss Neighbourhood Plan.

Cllr Atkinson is planning to attend this meeting on 22nd May to help formulate a Neighbourhood Plan (by 2013) for this area, especially the Airfield and Twinwoods Business Park sites, in response to the new Localism Act and the National Planning Framework. Cllr Atkinson also noted that she will be attending the Borough’s Planning Training Meeting on 10th May.

18. Village Welfare

a. Distribution of Jubilee Mugs.  It was agreed that the mugs for the ME Lower School children should be distributed by the school; other village children’s mugs would be delivered by Councillors calling at people’s homes. Extra mugs would be sold for £5 each at the Fete on Cllr Atkinson’s stall.

b. BBC Housing Strategy.  It was agreed that Councillors would review the Strategy document and deliver their responses to the clerk by 15th May; he will then formulate a “cabinet” response for submission the BBC.

Action:-Councillors to make response by 15th May; clerk to formulate response and forward to BBC.

c. Grass Cutting.  The new grass cutting contractors performance was welcomed and review will continue so a more realistic appraisal can be made when better weather comes. It was noted that the contractor had been careful to avoid bulb plantations but the state of the grass near Shoyswell caused concern; Cllr Atkinson will liaise with resident Monica Robinson over the optimum time to attack this area. She will also liaise with the contractor over cutting the “WI” plot and an area near ME Nursing Home gates.

The damage caused by kerb spraying was noted; the clerk confirmed that the Highways Dept had been informed and would note with them concern over the possibility of re-seeding.

Action:- Cllr Atkinson to liaise with M Robinson and the grass cutting contractor.

               Clerk to contact Highways Dept over re-seeding.

d. Neighbourhood Watch on the web-site.  A start over putting information on the Neighbourhood Watch on the web-site has been made. It was agreed that it would simply display information but that this could be routinely changed. The page will be prepared by Lynne Arch, a central organizer.

e. Damaged sign.  Cllr Williams noted that the damaged sign in London End had been replaced.

f. Councillor Training.  Cllr Atkinson will consider taking a chairmanship course offered by BATPC.

g. Councillor Data on the web-site.  Cllr Snowball noted that the information on Councillors needed to be updated; Cllrs Williams and Quince (and any others who wish it) will send photographs to John Alsop; the Clerk will ask him to up-date the site and get print outs to go on the notice boards.

Action:- Cllrs Williams and Quince to supply photographs.

               Clerk to contact John Alsop over new councillor list.

h. Water Leak in Radwell Road.  Cllr Sharman noted yet another water leak in Radwell Road and suggested a further letter to Anglia Water requesting a complete replacement of the pipe.

Clerk to draft a letter to Anglia Water.

19.Correspondence circulated to Councillors – for information only

a. BBC Borough Assembly.  The Assembly will be held on 16th May and councillors are invited to attend.

b. BBC Planning Training.  BBC will be holding a planning training meeting on 8th May; up to 4 councillors may attend. (Cllr Atkinson noted her intention of going).

c. BBC Litter Patrols.  A press release noted that newly instituted litter patrols had issued 28 fixed penalty notices in just over a week.

d. Parking outside ME Lower School.  A resident has been has noted ongoing problems with people parking unreasonably near the school; she made numerous suggestions to remedy the situation; the Council prefers an escalating approach to the problem and will liaise with the school to write to all parents asking them to co-operate. Subsequently, Cllr Atkinson has suggested reviving the School Travel plan started some time ago.

Action:- Clerk to contact MELS and suggest a letter.

20. Decisions on Planning Applications

a. 12/00490/FUL, erection of timber out-buildings, The Grange, Milton Ernest; the application has been reviewed by Councillors since the last meeting; no objections were raised and this has been communicated to the Planning Dept at BBC.

b. 12/00695/FUL, erection of porch, 27D Radwell Road, Milton Ernest; ; the application has been reviewed by Councillors since the last meeting; no objections were raised and this will be communicated to the Planning Dept at BBC.

c. Support for Bletsoe Residents Association.  A request is being made to all local residents to help Bletsoe Residents Association resist a G&T site being made permanent; the Council felt it should be associated with this and a letter of objection will be sent to the Planning Dept at BBC. Cllr Quince will send the clerk with a suitable draft.

Action:- Cllr Quince will send the clerk a suitable draft letter of objection.

21. Reports from Representatives

a. School Governors.  No report.

b. Village Hall Committee.  Meeting is planned for 7th May. A grant request from WREN is to be submitted to help with the cost of refurbishment of the existing building. However, the longer-term preferred option is to extend the building providing a bigger kitchen and a small meeting room.

c. Playing Field Association Committee.  A meeting was held on 30th April where the question of equipment insurance was discussed. A painting party is planned when the weather improves.

d. P3 Sub-committee.  It is hoped to shortly have a meeting to plan the Brandon Strip; a member of the team is looking into negotiating more permissive footpaths.

e. Village Fete Committee.  Meetings were held on 17th April and 2nd May and a final meeting is planned for 23rd May. The committee would like to see the Thurleigh Road closed for the afternoon event which will include 12 stalls on the village green plus sporting activities. The evening event will be limited to a total of 200 people and 130 tickets have so far been sold.

f. Neighbourhood Watch.  A street co-ordinators meeting was held on 30th April; more co-ordinators are required. Further steps to get things going will be a letter in “The Villager” (with follow-ups on a monthly basis), a property and number plate marking event on 16th June and a stall at the village fete where property marking will again be offered. There may also be a talk by an alarm company.

22. Members Calendar.

23. Date of next meeting. 7th June, 2012 at 8.00pm at The Village Hall.

The Chair offered her thanks to all attendees and the meeting closed at 10.05pm.

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

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

                  Mrs Rachel Atkinson, Chair