Strawberry Tree Cottage, Radwell Road, Milton Ernest MK44 1RY; 01234 823889

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on Thursday 7th March 2013

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

Clerk B Gale                            8 Residents


Public Forum

  • A resident gave a verbal presentation (with a written copy to the clerk) refuting certain issues relating to the Riverside Meadow hedge raised in the Public Forum at the last meeting.
  • A resident queried the phrase “legally based” in the record of the Public Forum of the last meeting; (see item 4 below).
  • A resident expressed his view that his communication about planting had not been properly responded to.

Action: Clerk to place a notice in “The Villager” to ensure residents are familiar with the need to register questions with the clerk at least 3 days before Council meetings.


1.         To receive apologies for absence

Apologies were received from Cllr R Winter.


2.         Declaration of Interests – Members were reminded that where they have a local and/or disclosable pecuniary interest in any business of the Council to be considered at this meeting they must disclose the existence and nature of that interest at the commencement of that consideration, or when the interest becomes apparent, in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct.

Cllr Atkinson declared a personal interest in issues relating to Riverside Meadow; a resident challenged this suggesting her interest was prejudicial which she refuted on the grounds that she was unaffected over the contentious issue of the hedge-height, she only ever spoke in the interests of wild-life and always in line with Council decisions.

Councillors agreed that her contention was correct and that she should discuss and vote on the issue.


3.         Planning Applications         

            3.1 – 13/00310/FUL & LBC, extension to The Old Rectory, Thurleigh Road, ME, MK44 1RF.

The details are still in circulation.


4.         To consider approving the Minutes of the meeting on 7th February 2013

With the removal of the words “legally based” in the record of the Public Forum, Cllr Quince proposed the approval of the minutes as a true and accurate record of the meeting; this was seconded by Cllr Newman and unanimously agreed. The minutes were duly signed by the Chair.

Decision: It was resolved to approve the modified minutes of the meeting held on 7th February 2013.

5.         Matters Arising – for information only.

            5.1 – Report on progress of road layout and signage around Thurleigh Rd. (09/10/4p)

No report made. 

            5.2 – Report on Old post Office & other footpaths. (09/02/6a)

The continued presence of a puddle on Old Post Office footpath had been reported to Amey who promised to address the matter in the new financial year.

            5.3 – Report on progress with Land Registry. (07/04/8)

It was reported that Geoff Atkinson and the clerk had put together the final details and an application was to be shortly lodged with The Land Registry.

Action: Resident Atkinson to lodge claims with The Land Registry on behalf of the Parish Council.

6.         Parish Action Plan – for information only.

            6.1 – Report on progress with A6 “average speed” cameras. (07/12/11d)

No report made. It was noted that the new “Average Speed” sign coming north into the village on the A6 was a long way away from the camera; the clerk was asked contact the Highways Dept and ask for consideration be given to getting a sign much closer to the camera.

Action: Clerk to contact the Highways Dept over the “Average Speed” camera sign.

            6.2 – Report on progress with allotment provision. (08/07/6h)

The clerk reported that further contact with Majesticare had resulted in a promise by the owner to meet with representatives of the Council to discuss their needs.

Action: Clerk to progress communication with Majesticare.


7.         BBC 2013-14 Highway Capital Structural Maintenance Scheme.

Councillors proposed resurfacing work in Church Close, River Lane/London End and on all footpaths throughout the village. Assuming this work is to be part of the 5-year rolling programme, the clerk was asked to establish whereabouts on the plan previously requested project lay and also the status of small scale projects agreed a few months ago.

Action: Clerk to advise the BBC of the work required and ask about the status of previous projects.

8.         BBC Sexual Entertainment Premises Consultation

It was decided not to make a response to the consultation.


9.         Finance

            9.1 – Acceptance of Monthly Reconciliation.

Financial Situation @ 28th February  2013
 Bank Balances @ 31st January 2012    
 HSBC Community A/C  £  20,270.67  
 HSBC BMM  £          27.16  
 Total in bank accounts  £  20,297.83  £     20,297.83
 Receipts since last reconciliation    
 Ward Fund for “Gates”  £    1,100.00  
 Book sales  £          10.00  
 Total  £    1,110.00  £       1,110.00
 Total    £     21,407.83
 Payments since last reconciliation    
 Wildman Transport  £          59.40  
 Clerk’s Expenses  £          30.00  
 Total  £          89.40  £             89.40
 Calculated Balance @ 28th February  2013    £     21,318.43
 c/w Actual Bank Balances @ 28th February  2013  
 HSBC Community A/C  £  21,291.27  
 HSBC BMM  £          27.16  
 Total in bank accounts  £  21,318.43  £     21,318.43
 Receipts yet to be credited    
 None  £                -    
 Total  £                -    £                    -  
 Cheques not presented    
 Village Hall rent  £          90.75  
 Total  £          90.75  £             90.75
 Payments to be made    
 Clerk’s Expenses  £          30.00  
 Clerk’s Salary  £       535.50  
 Ben Combe Litter picking  £          30.00  
 Wildman Transport  £          59.40  
 Villager Minibus  £       150.00  
 Total  £       804.90  £           804.90
 Total Committed Expenditure    £           895.65
 Latest position    £     20,422.78
 Ring-fenced Funds    £       5,692.60
 Position at month-end exc. ring-fenced funds    £     14,730.18


Decision:- It was resolved to approve the reconciliation.

            9.2 – Payments to be made.

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

Action:- Clerk to make agreed payments.

            9.3 – On donation to All Saints Church and the sponsorship of an edition of “The Villager”.

Cllr Newman proposed a donation of £900 for church maintenance work; this was seconded by Cllr Sharman and unanimously agreed. Cllr Newman proposed a donation of £250 to sponsor an edition of “The Villager”; this was seconded by Cllr Snowball and unanimously agreed.

Decision: It was resolved to make a donation of £900 for church maintenance and £250 to sponsor an edition of “The Villager”.

Action:- Clerk to make payment to All Saints Church.

            9.4 – On contributing to an appeal for a memorial to the Bedfordshire Regiment.

Following discussion, Cllr Quince proposed making a donation of £50; this was seconded by Cllr Snowball and agreed by a majority of 4 to 2.

Decision:- It was resolved to make a donation of £50 the The Bedfordshire Regiment Memorial Appeal.

Action:- Clerk to make payment to The Bedfordshire Regiment Memorial Appeal.

            9.5 – Review of Clerk’s Salary.

For this item the clerk left the room and minutes were recorded by Cllr Williams.

Councillors considered the documentation provided by the clerk regarding a model contract of employment and recommended national pay scales for parish clerks. It was agreed that a contract of employment was required. Cllr Williams will amend the model contract to suit MEPC and circulate in advance of the next meeting so it can be approved and a decision taken on the pay grade for the Clerk at that meeting.

Action:- Cllr Williams to review the clerk’s Contract of Employment for discussion at the next meeting.


10.       Village Welfare

            10.1 – 64 Radwell Road – Report on the insurance situation of the adjacent trees.

Cllr Atkinson reported that she had received an e-mail from the Council insurer’s loss adjuster asking whether the Council had carried out any reduction/trimming on the trees as, in the event that the Council’s application to the Land Registry for title to the land is successful, the Council would be responsible for maintaining the trees. The Council agreed to ask the clerk to get quotations for such work.

Action:- Clerk to get quotations to cut back trees near 64 Radwell Road.

            10.2 – Riverside Meadow.

Cllr Atkinson noted the meeting with Mr Burnett, the BBC Countryside Officer, and raised further points relating to the ideal requirements for wild-life. Cllr Newman outlined his ‘Maintenance and Enhancement Plan’ for Riverside Meadow. These proposals include clearing a 40m stretch of trees from the riverbank to create an ‘embankment’ along the river to allow better access, addition of two benches in this area, the clearance of nettles from the riverbank, encouragement of wild flowers and nettles elsewhere on the meadow, cutting the established hedge to a height of 1.5m and a mowing schedule for the existing network of paths. He further noted that the fishing rights did not currently seem to be owned by anyone. The merits and de-merits of the scheme were debated and Cllr Newman will now refine it in line with the comments for further consideration of the Council. Cllr Sharman suggested that river bank erosion needed to be looked at. Relating specifically to the hedge, it was suggested that another possibility was to cut it back from the driveways immediately and then encourage further growth on the meadow side and cut it to a height of 1.5m in front of residents’ windows but allow further growth in between. This could be tried for this year and then reviewed and refined if necessary for the next.

Actions:- Cllr Newman to refine his Riverside Meadow plan.

                Cllr Atkinson to evolve a maintenance schedule for immediate action on the hedge.

            10.3 – Installation of Village “gates” – Report on status of the project.

The clerk reported that all utility enquiries were complete and that the Borough Council would issue a license for the work to be undertaken when a date has been agreed with our contractor; 20th March has been proposed but has yet to be confirmed.

Action:- Clerk to progress work on the installation of “gates”.

            10.4 – Cultivation of the “Brandon Strip” – Report on the status of the project.

The clerk reported that, in line with the discussion at the last Council meeting, he had written to the owner of 36 Radwell Road seeking assurance that any work carried out on the Brandon Strip would not, without good cause, be disturbed.

Action:- Clerk to progress the Brandon Strip project.

            10.5 – Biogen Fertiliser Spreading – Response by Council.

It was noted that Bedfordia had issued notification about its fertilizer spreading operations and had asked for help in promulgating this information; the clerk has already put the notification on the Council web-site and was asked to put a notice in “The Villager”; further he was asked to establish if Bedfordia has an operations schedule and if they still had an event notification system.

Action:- Clerk to put a “fertilizer” notice in ”The Villager” and seek information from Bedfordia.

            10.6 – Neighbourhood Development Plan for the village – Discussion of the way forward.

It was agreed that the Council should prepare a Neighbourhood Development Plan for the village itself.

Action:- Cllr Atkinson to undertake the initial work in preparing a Neighbourhood Development Plan.

            10.7 – Membership of CPRE.

Postponed until the Annual Meeting.

            10.8 – New Village Welfare raised by Councillors.

  1. It was noted that the bottom of River Lane was still rather overgrown and that sewage was contaminating the area, despite the best efforts of a resident to alert Anglia Water to the problem.

Actions:- Clerk to seek advice from BBC Environmental Health on sewage.

                Clerk to invite Grangers to re-address the overgrowth problem.

  1. It was noted that there is a broken man-hole cover (there are actually two) outside 25 Radwell Road.

Action:- Clerk to investigate and remedy broken man-hole cover.

  1. Residents noted deep ruts in the playing field following hedge cutting operations and fly-tipping.

Action:- Cllr Newman to investigate the deep ruts and fly-tipping in the playing field.


11.       Correspondence – for information only; documents in the circulation file.

  1. From BBC press release advising of a freeze in the average council tax bill. Put on web-site.
  2. From BBC announcing a youth/innovation Zone Learning Summit on 20th February.
  3. From BBC press release advising of more action to reduce climate change impact.
  4. From BBC press release advising of the prosecution of fly-tippers. Put on web-site.
  5. From BBC notification of the progress of its M&W Local Plan.
  6. From BBC press release advising of the Mayors progress in introducing more speed limits. Put on web-site.
  7. From the local Neighbourhood Watch advising that the Council Dog Watch scheme is to be announced in “The Villager”.
  8. From BBC Environmental Health concerning waste collection arrangements.
  9. From BBC offering Warm Home audits. Put on web-site.
  10. To Samantha Orcheston-Findlay, Community Engagement Officer, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, advising of delegates to the Commissioner’s meeting.
  11. From BBC press release advising of a seed-sharing day. Put on web-site.
  12. From P & TC Network. Action Note from meeting on 31st January 2013.
  13. From BATPC, “Bedfordshire Bugle”.
  14. To NRSWA Team, BBC re. “gates”.
  15. From BBC Planning Dept briefing on the Allocations & Designations Plan and further consultation 2nd April to 15th May.
  16. From Bedfordshire & Luton Local Resilience Forum (BLLRF) – Business Continuity Awareness Week 18th-22nd March 2013.
  17. From BBC press release highlighting re-use scheme at Barkers Lane. Put on web-site.
  18. From Environmental Services Dept, BBC concerning waste collection.
  19. To Miss Anderson/Mr Goodland re the “Brandon Strip”.
  20. From BATPC advising of survey on Quality Parish & Town Council Scheme.


12.       Reports by Representatives

            10.1 – Neighbourhood Development Plan 

            Cllr Atkinson reported on the BATPC sponsored Planning Skills workshop on 21st February 2013. She had been accompanied by Cllr Snowball.

            10.2 – Village Hall committee

No report.

            10.3 – Playing Field Association Committee

A meeting held on 4th March at which litter bins and flty-tipping had been addressed; a clean-up operation was planned for the next weekend. Wicksteed Leisure will be carrying out an inspection in April.

            10.4 – P3 Sub-committee

There was no report but it was anticipated that further work would be undertaken in the near future.

            10.5 – Village Fête Committee

A meeting was held on 25th February; £800 worth of advertising had been promised for the programme. The theme of the Fête is “Summer and Winter Holidays”. There will be three stalls dedicated to village welfare issues. The committee asked if the Council would agree to its cup, usually given for floral entries (of which there are few) in the competitions, being given in future to arts and crafts entries since there are many more of these; the Council readily acceded to this request.

            10.6 – Neighbourhood Watch

There was a stall at the last coffee morning to raise its profile and PCSOs will be invited to a future event; Cllr Snowball and his wife, in her capacity as Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for the village, will be attending a meeting in Harrold to hear from the new Police and Crime Commissioner.



13.       Review of Actions Summary from the last meeting

Item in Feb 2013 minutes Who Action Refer/


3.4 Clerk To circulate “Waiting for the Sun” objection letter. Complete
5.1 Clerk To circulate APNR survey results. Complete
5.3 GA To pursue further information to support the Council’s land claim. See item 5.3 above
6.1 Clerk To circulate average speed camera results. Complete
6.1 DMcM To check on action against offenders. On-going
6.2 DMcM To re-arrange meeting with Bedfordia. On-going
6.2 Clerk To re-contact Majesticare. See item 6.2 above
7.2 Clerk To make payments. Complete
7.3 Clerk To make payment to the Villager Minibus. See item 9.2 above
8.2 RA To persist with arranging a visit by Countryside Officer. Complete
8.3 Clerk To offer the post of litter-picker to Ben Combe and take him through the necessary administrative procedures. Complete
8.4 Clerk To proceed with arranging the installation of “gates”. See item 10.3 above
8.5 Clerk To write to both parties over the “Brandon Strip” seeking clarification. See item 10.4 above
8.6 Clerk To advise BBC of concerns over waste collection (copy to DMcM). Complete
On-going DMcM To review charges for playing field bin emptying with BBC Environmental Health Dept. On-going
On-going DMcM To pursue “postcode” issue via Economic Development Dept. On-going


14.       Members Calendar

DS 21-26/3; JW 4-11/4.


15.       Date of next meeting

The next meeting will be on 4th April 2013 at 8.00pm at The Village Hall, Milton Ernest and will be preceded by the Annual Parish Assembly at 7.30pm.

The Chair offered her thanks to all attendees and the meeting closed at 10.30pm.

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

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

                  Mrs R Atkinson, Chair