Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on Thursday 5th July 2012

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

Borough Cllr D McMurdo

Clerk B Gale                            3 Residents


1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies were received from Cllrs Newman and Quince.

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 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. Further, Cllr Atkinson wished it to be known that she is now helping with the Youth Club.

3. Minutes of the Meeting held on 7th June 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 7th June 2012.

4. 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 work was progressing to get the south gate opened. The receipt of the copy of a letter from Clapham Parish Council to the Mayor was noted and the clerk will send a copy to Cllr McMurdo. Cllr McMurdo further advised that he had met with representatives of the Borough Highways Dept from which meeting a plan was evolved. In the short term it was agreed to install a CCTV system to quantify the HGV problem and justify further work, and maybe prosecute offenders. Following this study, it will be decided exactly what traffic calming measures will be installed. In the long term it is hoped to create a new access route direct from the A6 to the Twinwoods site but this could cost £2M. All the above will be constrained by budgetary issues.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to progress Thurleigh Road issues.

    b. Old Post Office.  (and other sites around the village) Cllr McMurdo is meeting with the relevant Borough Dept on 18th July to discuss all issues and arrange a village “walk-around”.

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 Church Green signs with the Highways Dept.

5. Parish Action Plan – for information only

    a. A6 “Average Speed” Cameras.  Cllr McMurdo has written to the Highways Dept to get the system specification but still awaits a reply.

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

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

Action:- Cllr Sharman will liaise with the contractors.

    c. Progress with Land Registry.  Geoff Atkinson has got the first statutory declaration duly signed and is working on the others.

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

    d. Progress on Allotment Provision.  Cllr McMurdo advised that he was continuing to attempt discussion with Bedfordia and Majesticare but it was slow going.

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

6. Decision on adopting a new Code of Conduct.  It was explained that one of the consequences of the new Localism Act 2012, it was necessary to operate under a new standards regime requiring a new Code of Conduct to be adopted. The options for this were discussed and Cllr Williams proposed the adoption of the Bedford Borough model which had been previously circulated. This was seconded by Cllr Snowball and unanimously accepted.

Decision:- It was resolved to adopt the Bedford Borough model Code of Conduct.

Consequent upon this, it is required that councillors complete a new Personal Interests form, previously circulated, and return it to the relevant authority within 28 days of the adoption of the new Code.

Action:- All councillors to complete their personal interest forms as soon as possible and return them to the clerk for onward transmission to the Borough authorities.

Public Forum

The issue of the opening of the Twinwoods Business Park South Gate was raised.

7. Finance

a. Financial Situation@ 30th June 2012
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
RGP Receipts 60.00  
Mug money 45.00  
Total 105.00 105.00
Total   20,967.05
Clerk’s Expenses 17.32  
D Newman Litter 40.00  
Friends of MELS 100.00  
Room Hire 30.00  
M J Granger 894.53  
Clerk’s Salary 535.50  
RGP cost 229.20  
Total 1,846.55 1,846.55
Calculated Balance @ 30th June 2012   19,120.50
c/w Actual Bank Balances @ 30th June 2012    
HSBC Community A/C 19,093.34  
HSBC BMM 27.16  
Total in bank accounts 19,120.50 19,120.50
Receipts yet to be credited    
From MEPFA 312.48  
Final RGP Income 271.84  
Mug sales D Snowball 15.00  
Total 599.32 599.32
Cheques not presented    
RGP cost 180.00  
ME Toddler Group 250.00  
Total 430.00 430.00
Payments to be made    
D Newman Litter 40.00  
ME Village Hall (Final RGP balancing Payment) 42.64  
Wicksteed Leisure (Off -set by £312.48 from MEPFA) 374.98  
NHW Co-ordinator 30.00  
M J Granger 596.35  
M J Granger 298.18  
Total 1,382.15 1,382.15
Total Committed Expenditure   1,812.15
Latest position   17,907.67
Ring-fenced Funds   6,892.86
Position at month-end exc. ring-fenced funds   11,014.81

    b. Payment Decisions.

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

Action:- Clerk to implement the above decision.

8. Village Welfare

    a. National Planning Policy Framework.  Cllr Atkinson had attended a meeting at Stevington where the question of a Neighbourhood Development Plan was discussed. It was understood that the Borough Mayor was very interested and was hosting a further meeting at his office for certain parishes , including ME, Thurleigh and Bletsoe, on for 24th July at 5.30pm. Cllr McMurdo is planning to organize a meeting in September for the parishes in his ward with Borough planning officers in attendance to explain all issues.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to facilitate a Neighbourhood Development Plan meeting.

    b. Grass cutting contract.  A new cutting schedule (including how to deal with bulbs) was discussed and will be put to the contractor along with observations that the verge grass seemed to be left too long and the fact that some areas of the village were omitted in the contract. In the short term it was agreed that the contractor should be asked to trim the bushes around the play area in Riverside View.

Action:- Clerk to arrange for bush trimming.

              Clerk to renegotiate grass cutting contract.

    c. The Brandon Strip.  Cllr Sharman noted that the plot adjacent to 36 Radwell Road was still a mess and the clerk will get Grangers to strim the site; the clerk has had one quote to clear the site and was asked to get two more, to include the removal of the stump.

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

              Clerk to get Grangers to strim the site.

    d. Old Post Office Lane.  Cllr Sharman noted that greenery was overhanging again; Cllr McMurdo advised the matter had been reported to the Highways helpdesk, reference 162570. The matter is a little complicated because it might not be all the householders problem.

Action:- Clerk to liaise with Highways Helpdesk over OP Lane greenery, ref 162570.

    e. 24 Huntsmans Way.  It was noted that the hedge was heavily overgrown an obstructing the path. Cllr McMurdo has asked the Highways helpdesk to resolve the matter.

    f.  Water pump painting.  Cllr Williams noted that Mr Allen (her father) had painted an old water pump very nicely and would do all the others if the Council would pay for the paint. The Council agreed to this and wished to extend its appreciation to Mr Allen for all his trouble in improving the village environment.

    g. Playing Field litter.  There have been complaints about litter including alcohol bottles in the playing field and it was noted that the bins can get too full. Currently volunteers empty the bins so it is not always possible to effect a proper routine; Cllr McMurdo noted that the Council would empty any bins close to the entrance and will discuss this and the possibility of getting another bin there with Cllr Winter.

Action:- Cllrs McMurdo and Winter to discuss waste bin problem.

    h. Glass recycling.  Cllr Snowball has investigated the glass recycling credit scheme; the Council must register for the scheme and make a quarterly claim. He has completed the necessary forms and given them to the clerk for signature, Currently, £240 is awaiting claim.

Action:- Clerk to sign glass recycling forms and effect reclaim regime.

    i. Noise at bus stop.  There have been complaints about noise at the A6 bus stop, mainly on a Saturday night; there is little the Council can do directly but Cllr McMurdo will advise the local police sergeant to be aware of the problem and ask him to attend when possible.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to advise police of noise problem.

    j. Jubilee Mugs.  It was noted that there were some spare mugs still with councillors; they will return them all to the clerk so that some sort of reckoning can be carried out. Cllr Snowball will deliver 3 mugs to a family which hasn’t received them yet and a note will be included in the next Villager Report asking for anyone else who hasn’t received mugs to make themselves known.

Action:- Clerk to put note  about mugs in the Villager Report.

9. Correspondence – for information only

    a. Request for support for the idea that the Local Government Ombudsman should be given the remit to investigate complaints from parish councils. Proposal supported by the clerk and Borough Cllr McMurdo.

    b. Letter from Friends of MELS offering thanks for the Council grant supporting the children’s party.

10. Decisions on Planning Applications

      12/00980/FUL 3a Radwell Road, ME; house/garage link. Borough advised the Council had no objections.

11. Review of Actions Summary from the meeting of 7th June 2012

Item in June 2012 minutes Who Action Completed/Carry forward
  DMcM To follow up letter to Highways Dept over removed SID and village “gates” supplier. See below
5a D McM To progress Thurleigh Road issues. See 4a above
5b DMcM To organize a village walk-around. See 4b above
5c DMcM To follow up on “Private Road” sign query to the Highways Dept. See 4c above
6a DMcM To follow up on “Average Speed” camera queries to the Highways Dept plus See 5a above
6b CS To liaise with contractors over Radwell Road bollard louvre. See 5b above
6c RA Geoff Atkinson and Cllr Atkinson will progress Land Registry issues. See 5c above
6d DMcM To continue to try to establish contact with landowners. See 5d above
7b Clerk To implement payment decision. Done
8a DMcM To facilitate a Neighbourhood Development Plan meeting. See 8a above
8b Clerk To draft a grass cutting plan. See 8b above
8c DMcM To request cutting of trees outside ME Hall. See below
8d Clerk To contact Highways Help Desk about deteriorating plastic bollards on A6. See below
8f Clerk To get quotes to clear the Brandon Strip.. See 8c above
8h DMcM To contact BBC G&T Officer over motorhome in Huntsmans Way. Completed
8i DMcM To contact BBC Planners and developer over Bob’s Shop . See below
8j Clerk To arrange a visit with Grangers over River Lane clearance. See below


From chart:-

  • Item 4 – Highways confirm loss of SID in an accident and are pursuing a claim; still to advise name of village gate supplier. DMcM to do.
  • Item 8c – tree cutting still to be requested by DMcM; to do.
  • Item 8d – A6 bollard repair requested but to be followed up, ref 171918, by clerk.
  • Item 8i – Check status of Bob’s Shop to be done by DMcM.
  • Item 8j – Arrange visit by Grangers to be done by clerk.

12. Review of Meeting Format.  There was discussion about the positioning of the Actions Summary in the agenda and whether timed items should be introduced. It was concluded that the Actions Summary should be towards the end of the agenda; it was further concluded that trying to put a time on individual items would be meaningless but that the clerk should attempt to put times on sections. The clerk advised that Cllr Quince had further ideas about the positioning of items to help the public; it was decided to let Cllr Quince expand on these ideas at the next meeting.

13. Reports from Representatives

    a. Village Hall Committee.  No report; next meeting in October.

    b. Playing Field Association Committee.  The clear-up and painting day had taken place, with a few bits and pieces still to complete.

    c. P3 Sub-committee.  No report.

    d. Village Fete Committee.  No report except that a new committee chair was being sought.

    f. Neighbourhood Watch.  Via Cllr Snowball, the coordinator was able to report that the security marking event had taken place with a slightly disappointing turn-out. Otherwise, things were moving on well with almost the whole village now having street representatives. In the last month a domestic incident had been reported in Radwell Road and a burglary in Church Green.

14. Members Calendar. 

15. Date of next meeting.

    The next meeting will be on 6th September 2012 at 8.00pm at The Village Hall, Milton Ernest.

The Chair offered her thanks to all attendees and the meeting closed at 10.00pm.

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

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

                  Mrs R Atkinson, Chair