Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on Thursday 7th June 2012

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

Borough Cllr D McMurdo

Clerk B Gale                            0 Residents


1. Apologies for Absence



2. Disclosure of Interests

Members were 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. Cllr Newman confirmed his son’s litter picking activities for the Council, Cllr Atkinson confirmed her land may border an area which may be considered for allotments and Cllr Snowball confirmed an interest in the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.


3. Minutes of the Meeting held on 3rd May 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 3rd May 2012.


4. Review of Actions Summary from the meeting of 3rd May 2012

Item in previous minutes Who Action Completed

Carry forward

11 Clerk To extend the cover on the insurance policy to include playing field equipment. Completed
14b MQ To take photographs and send to the clerk who will progress the matter with the Highways Dept. C/F by DMcM
14c Clerk To progress signs and query the bollard location with the Highways Dept C/F by DMcM
15a Clerk To request details and immediate deployment of “Average Speed” system with Highways Dept. C/F by DMcM
15a DS To liaise with police over speed detection results. Completed
15b CS To liaise with the contractors/manufacturers. C/F by CS
15c RA To progress Land Registry issues. C/F by RA
16b Clerk To make agreed payments. Completed
16e Clerk To make agreed arrangements with the bank. Completed
16f Clerk To make agreed payment to ME Toddler Group. Completed
18b All To make response by 15th May; clerk to formulate response and forward to BBC. Completed
18c RA To liaise with M Robinson and the grass cutting contractor. Completed
18c Clerk To contact Highways Dept over re-seeding. C/F by DMcM
18g JW/MQ To supply photographs. Completed
18g Clerk To contact John Alsop over new councillor list. Completed
18h Clerk To draft a letter to Anglia Water. Completed
19d Clerk To contact MELS and suggest a letter. Overtaken
20c MQ To send the clerk a suitable draft letter of objection. Overtaken


5. Matters Arising – for information only

    a. Thurleigh Road Layout and Signage.  Cllr McMurdo advised that the BBC Economic Development Dept has established a good rapport with Allsops, the receivers for the Twinwoods site, and hoped for some positive developments. Further, he has a meeting with the Mayor and the police next week to discuss site access issues.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to progress Thurleigh Road issues.

    b. Old Post Office.  Cllr McMurdo confirmed that the lane was the responsibility of the Highways Dept. He will organize a walk-around with Highways (with the clerk in attendance) to review it and all other possible sites in the village which might need attention, including the question of bollard location on Thurleigh Road and the re-seeding of poisoned grass.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo will organize a village walk-around.

    c. Church Green traffic.  Cllr McMurdo has written to the Highways Dept to ascertain the progress on “Private Road” signs.

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

6. Parish Action Plan – for information only

    a. A6 “Average Speed” Cameras.  Cllr McMurdo has written to the Highways Dept to ascertain the progress on the “average speed” camera system, its specifications and places of deployment. As requested at the last meeting, Cllr Snowball had liaised with the police over their speed checking operations in the recent past and advised that 22 motorists were reported (and none cautioned) from January to May 2012 were over 8 occasions, totalling 8 hours observation. The 28 reported and 92 cautioned over the same period in 2011 were over 17 occasions, totalling 18 hours of observation. The highest proportion caught napping were over lunch time, when the volume of traffic may well be reduced.

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

    b. Village Street Lighting Plan.  Cllr Sharman noted that louvres had been installed on the Old Post Office Lane bollards but not on a bollard further down Radwell Road; he will try to find out what the situation is.

Action:- Cllr Sharman will liaise with the contractors.

    c. Progress with Land Registry.  Geoff Atkinson is gathering the information he needs using resources available to him.

Actions:- Resident Geoff Atkinson and Cllr Atkinson will progress Land Registry issues.

    d. Progress on Allotment Provision.  Cllr Atkinson advised that there had been two meetings to discuss this, the second of which had been attended by Cllr McMurdo. It appears that the two realistic options are land from Bedfordia or in The Park adjacent to ME Hall; Cllr McMurdo confirmed that he had been attempting contact with both parties with limited success; he confirmed he is persisting using slightly different approaches. He further confirmed that from his discussions with BBC lawyers, he felt that Bedfordia’s fears about any land offered ending up with permanent public access would not be realized with a properly constructed lease. The possibility of being able to use land at Twinwoods was mooted but considered less desirable because of its location and the likely complication and delay of having to deal with receivers.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to continue to try to establish contact with landowners.


Public Forum

No residents attended the meeting.


7. Finance

a. Financial Situation@ 31st May 2012
Bank Balances @30th April 2012    
HSBC Community A/C 23,660.50  
HSBC BMM 27.16  
Total in bank accounts 23,687.66 23,687.66
RGP Receipts 295.00  
Total 295.00 295.00
Total   23,982.66
D Newman Litter 40.00  
Broker Network Insurance 462.19  
Clerk’s Expenses 64.23  
BATPC Subscription 158.00  
Internal Auditor 50.00  
Express Monitoring Web-site 117.60  
Broker Network Insurance 478.59  
All Saints PCC 1,150.00  
DR Hedge RGP Band 600.00  
Total 3,120.61 3,120.61
Calculated Balance @ 31st May 2012   20,862.05
c/w Actual Bank Balances @ 31st May 2012    
HSBC Community A/C 20,834.89  
HSBC BMM 27.16  
Total in bank accounts 20,862.05 20,862.05
Cheques not presented    
Friends of MELS 100.00  
Total 100.00 100.00
Payments to be made    
D Newman Litter 40.00  
ME Toddler Group 250.00  
R Atkinson (Room Hire) 30.00  
M J Granger 894.53  
Clerk’s Salary 535.50  
Bolnhurst Vintage & Country Fayre 180.00  
B&T Brewery Ltd 229.20  
Clerk’s Expenses 17.32  
Total 2,176.55 2,176.55
Total Committed Expenditure   2,276.55
Latest position   18,585.50
Ring-fenced Funds   7,071.77
Position at month-end exc. ring-fenced funds   11,513.73

    b. Payment Decisions.

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

Action:- Clerk to implement the above decision.

    c. Financial Support for The Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.  After a brief presentation by Cllr Snowball and discussion, Cllr Quince proposed awarding an allowance of up to £200; this was seconded by Cllr Sharman and it was agreed unanimously. This is to be effected by the Scheme presenting bills for payment or receipts for payments made, up to the value of £200, with periodic reviews of how the money is being spent.

Decision:- It was resolved to offer financial support of £200 to The Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.


8. Village Welfare

    a. National Planning Policy Framework.  Recent changes in Government policy offer local communities the opportunity to develop a Neighbourhood Development Plan. Cllr Atkinson advised on the possible pros and cons of doing this but also that the full ramifications were still unclear, even to the professional planners. To try and understand the issues better and allow a more informed decision on whether this parish should have a plan, Cllr McMurdo will facilitate a meeting of neighbouring Parish Councils and Borough Planning officials. Cllr Atkinson noted that Thurleigh were working on such a plan and were extending it to consider Twinwoods Business Park, even though it is not in their area. Cllr McMurdo noted that next Tuesday Sharnbrook Parish Council was meeting to discuss housing developments in its parish.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to facilitate meeting.

    b. Grass cutting contract.  The new grass cutting regime seems not to be progressing too smoothly, perhaps partly hindered by the odd weather. A more rigid cutting plan for the verges, playing field and Riverside meadow was discussed and will be formalized by the clerk. For the “Shoyswell” plot, Cllr Atkinson will raise the issue with a visiting expert at the gardening Club, with the view to establishing a plan which satisfies near-by residents and keeps the site looking kempt. The matter will be discussed again in July.

Action:- Clerk to draft a cutting plan.

    c. Tree cutting outside ME Hall.  Cllr Newman noted these trees needed cutting back; Cllr McMurdo will request the work is carried out.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to request the work is carried out.

    d. Bollards opposite ME Hall.  Cllr Sharman noted these plastic bollards were in poor condition; the clerk will request their re-furbishment.

Action:- Clerk to advise Highways Helpdesk over plastic bollards.

    e. Youth Club on web-site.  Cllr Sharman requested confirmation that councillors were happy with the permission he and the clerk had given to allow the Youth Club to be featured on the web-site; all were content.

    f. The Brandon Strip.  Cllr Sharman noted that the plot adjacent to 36 Radwell Road was still a mess; cllr Atkinson will refer the matter to the P3 Group but in the meantime the clerk will get quotes to clear the site in preparation for horticultural work.

Action:- Clerk to get quotes to clear the Brandon Strip.

    g. Verge planting in London End.  Cllr Williams had had a request from residents to plant bulbs or a tree on the grass verge in London End; the Council felt the most appropriate solution would be a container of some sort which should be easier to maintain and not interrupt mowing operations.

    h. Motorhome in Huntsman’s Way.  Cllr Snowball noted that the motorhome in Huntsmans Way has returned and is again connected to mains electricity by a cable across the pavement. Cllr McMurdo will refer the matter to the G&T Officer at BBC.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to refer motorhome question to the G&T Officer at BBC.

    i. Bob’s Shop.  Cllr Snowball noted that the Bob’s Shop site was lying dormant; Cllr McMurdo will contact the BBC Planning Dept and the developer to ascertain when something might happen.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to contact planners and developer over Bob’s Shop site.

    j. River access at the bottom of River Lane.  Cllr Winter noted that access to the River at the bottom of River Lane was severely restricted by overgrowth; Cllr Atkinson will visit the site with the clerk and a representative from Grangers to discuss a remedy.

Action:- Clerk to arrange a visit from Grangers representative.


9. Correspondence – for information only

    a. BBC notification.  Standards Committee meeting to decide on a new Code of Conduct and Standards Regime; information circulated.

    b. BBC notification.  UpRising leadership programme for young people; circulated and on web-site.

    c. BBC Press Release.  Rural bus service facilities improved; on web-site.

    d. BBC notification.  Meeting to discuss new Paths 4 Communities scheme; circulated.

    e. BBC Newsletter.  Welfare Reform in Bedford Borough; circulated.

    f. BBC Press Release.  On new “Jobs Hub” in Bedford; circulated and on web-site.

    g. BBC Rangers Service.  New service to address anti-social behaviour in our streets; circulated.

    h. BBC Notification.  Summer play and sports schemes planned for the holidays; circulated and on web-site.

    i. Consultation the Main and Additional Modifications to the Minerals and Waste Core Strategy for Bedfordshire.  This is a long and highly technical document and is now out for consultation for a second time; it was noted that there appear to be no strategic developments proposed in this parish but it could be a useful document to refer to should relevant planning applications be made. Cllr Quince asked about gravel extraction in this area – it would appear nothing is proposed at present. The clerk has extracted proposed key planning criteria and presented them to the chair in an email.


10. Decisions on Planning Applications

      No planning applications are pending.


11. Review of Meeting Format.  Discussion the presentation of Actions Summary review was deferred until the July meeting.


12. Reports from Representatives

    a. School Governors.  There being no Council representative on the school FGB; no report could be made; further, it was felt that representation was not necessary so no regular reports are anticipated.

    b. Village Hall Committee.  It was noted that a meeting had taken place but there was no feed-back from it.

    c. Playing Field Association Committee.  At a recent meeting, it was decided to have a clear-up and paint day on 23rd June, weather permitting.

    d. P3 Sub-committee.  A meeting will be planned shortly but new membership was required.

    e. Village Fete Committee.  It was reported that there was a profit (after expenses) of about £2,900 from the Royal Garden Party and a profit from the evening pig-roast of £433. Cristina Goldwin has decided to step down as chair of the Fete committee after 4 years dedicated work, for which the Council, on behalf of the Village, wished to extend its grateful thanks.

    f. Neighbourhood Watch.  Via Cllr Snowball, the coordinator was able to report that new members had been recruited at the Royal Garden Party and a car and property marking session was planned soon when a PCSO would be in attendance to advise; a meeting was planned on 18th June for new street co-ordinators of which there was now nearly complete coverage for the village.

13. Members Calendar. 

14. Date of next meeting.

    The next meeting will be on 5th July 2012 at 8.00pm at The Village Hall, Milton Ernest.

The Chair offered her thanks to all attendees and the meeting closed at 10.40pm.

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

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

                  Mrs R Atkinson, Chair