Minutes of a Meeting of Milton Ernest Parish Council held on Thursday 29th September 2016 at 8.00pm in the Village Hall

Present: Cllrs Dilley (Chairman), Williams, Winter, Reddington, Newman, Snowball and the Clerk (Sue Bottoms), and 5 members of the public.

  1. Apologies for Absence: Borough Councillor McMurdo
  2. Declarations of interest in items on the agenda:
    1. i.            To receive written requests for a dispensation: none.
    2. ii.            To consider any requests for a dispensation: none.
  3. To approve the minutes of the meeting held on the 28th July 2016: These were signed as a true record of the meeting.  The meeting then closed for item 4.
  4. Public Open Session (15 mins):

i)        Closure of the Milton Ernest Garden Society: Gill Jackson attended to inform the parish council of this and that it had a sum of monies including £350 which had been a grant from the parish council.  One possibility was to plant a new Christmas tree to replace the existing one.  The view of the parish council was that the existing tree remain but that a new one could be placed in a suitable adjacent location.  The electricity supply could be extended.  One problem was lack of soil in the location which explained the limited growth of the existing tree.  It was agreed that Gill Jackson would come back to the parish council and then further consideration would be given.

ii)      Thurleigh Road: Whether the litter picker actually picked up litter on this road was questioned as the resident said that he frequently collected litter and had never seen a litter picker.  The parish council said that collection in this area was part of the remit of the litter picker. He also questioned the need to close the road for the recent demonstrations at Yarls Wood.  Cllr Dilley said it was up to the police to decide what action to take under such circumstances to ensure public safety.

iii)    Hazardous Waste/Thurleigh Road: A resident raised concerns about the number of goods vehicles containing such waste using Thurleigh Road to access Twinwoods.  He said that the head teacher at the Lower School was concerned given the close proximity to the school.  It was agreed that contact should be made with B & W Recycling to ask for deliverers to obey the restriction signage and not use Thurleigh Road, where they breach highway regulations. Cllr Dilley said that there had been a plan to send a letter to all businesses on the business park asking that deliverers to all premises obey the restrictions on the Thurleigh Road. Cllr McMurdo is in conversation with Marcol, the site owners, where it is hoped they will support our position.  Cllr McMurdo was expected to make contact with Cllr Dilley next week.

  1. Planning:
    1. Applications Received:

16/02488/FUL Milton Ernest Lower School, Thurleigh Road, MK44 1RF. Provision of a single storey, 1 classroom building to existing school site. The hard copy had been made available at the meeting should anyone wish to see them.  Comments needed to be in by tomorrow.

  1. b. Applications Approved:

i)        16/01397/FUL The Old Maltings, Bedford Road, MK44 1RJ.  Demolition of existing building and erection of 6 residential units.  Permitted.  This application had gone to the Planning Committee at Bedford Borough Council.  There was concern that it had been reported by an attendee that despite two members declaring a personal interest, in that they were friends of the applicant, they were permitted to take part in discussions and voting.  Cllr Dilley had raised this with Cllr McMurdo.  It was agreed that a letter of concern should be sent to the Borough Council, seeking clarity as to the facts and questioning if transparency in local government had been followed.  At the very least it was important that all conditions imposed on the application should be implemented.

  1. c. To receive any update re: proposed new developments around Milton Ernest: Cllr Dilley said that Cllr McMurdo was seeking to establish if any decision had been made with regards the feasibility of any of the proposed new large settlements.  Cllr McMurdo would communicate any findings to the parish council.
  2. d. To receive any update following the letter from Marcol dated 9th July and agree action: Cllr McMurdo would update the parish council once he has had a response.
  3. e. To receive any update re: the letter from St Modwen Developments and agree action:  as per d. above.

6. Village Welfare: To consider and agree action regarding the following:

i)        To receive an update re: Thurleigh Road: Cllr McMurdo was in discussion with Brian Hayward at the Borough Council with regards returning the camera to Thurleigh Road.

ii)      To receive an update re: the proposed village path inspection: Cllr Reddington said that her contact at the Borough Council was currently away but back at work next week.  According to the agreed schedule and action all that was outstanding was the reinstatement of black and white reflective markers along Bedford Road. In terms of completing the works in River Lane, Andy Prigmore had said there was no monies available but he hoped to piggy back the work onto other works being undertaken in September.  Cllr Reddington would establish what had happened to that plan. With regards the cycle path outside the entrance to Milton Ernest Nursing Home, she had been told by Andrew Prigmore that the cost would be between £5k and £8k.  There were no monies available in the current financial year but a bid for funding could be made for 2017-18.  What was needed was for the parish council to put together a case for funding identifying the recent safety problems experienced by cyclists.  She would try to arrange another inspection of the village early in the new year.  Cllr Reddington was thanked for her work.  Action: Cllr Reddington.

iii)    To consider the future provision of a website facility for the parish council: Cllr Newman made the case for establishing a free website via project involve at Bedford Borough Council specifically for parish council information.  It was agreed that the Clerk start actioning this with the aim of launching it at the beginning of January 2017. Cllr Newman would have the responsibility of ensuring it is maintained and up to date.  Action: Clerk and Cllr Newman.

iv)    To receive an update re: land purchase in Huntsmans Way: Cllr Dilley said that he had heard from Geoff Atkinson that we were waiting for the land to be registered.  As soon as possible the parish council would apply for release of the rural funding secured from the Borough Council.  This needed to happen before February 2017.

v)      To receive an update from the Beds Police Parish Council Forum, 10th September: Cllr Dilley attended and reported back.  There had been talk of learning from past mistakes.  Inspector Tracy Day had been put in charge of rural areas. The problem remained that of resources, with a reliance on specials in the north of the area.  Some positives included the bobby van and it was agreed that this should be published more widely.  It provided advice regarding home security.  Discussions were taking place regarding the police and fire services sharing accommodation e.g. at Harold Fire Station.  Cllr Dilley was thanked for his report.  A new sergeant Tau Chamboko, had been appointed who would be responsible for day-to-day rural matters and is keen to get involved with local farmers and businesses.

vi)    To note action re: complaint concerning overgrown vegetation and vermin R/O 3 Radwell Road: Two quotes had been obtained and it had been agreed to accept the one from Tree Specific for £330.

vii)   To note response re: overgrown vegetation affecting path from the Nursing home to the Queens Head: the Clerk had contacted the resident in Parkside and made arrangements for the vegetation to be cut back.

viii) To consider the future management of the playing fields: Cllr Williams updated the parish council on the Playing Fields Committee meeting which had been held before this meeting.  Cllr Williams said that when the Committee was originally set up it was intended to consist of both parish councillors and members of the public.  To date no members of the public had shown a willingness to join.  Following the resignation of Charlie Sharman, there were now too few members to continue as a Committee.  It was agreed that the Committee be disbanded and that the management of the playing fields come under the remit of the full parish council and appear on the agenda.  Cllr Williams would continue to carry out and record the monthly checks.  Action: the Clerk.

ix)     To receive any update re:  litter picker vacancy: There had been no response.  The Clerk would re-advertise on the boards, the website and in the Villager.   Cllr Newman would collect the litter picking equipment.  Action: the Clerk and Cllr Newman.

x)      To receive any update re: parish councillor vacancy: There had been no response.  The Clerk would re-advertise on the boards, the website and in the Villager.  Action: the Clerk.

  1. New Village Welfare Issues:

i)        To consider action re: trees to the rear of 64 Radwell Road: Cllr Dilley said that whilst at this time the land was still not registered to the Parish Council the trees in question may fall into the category of causing a legal nuisance.  He would submit a proposal for the works needed for the parish council to then seek quotes.  He was undertaking a survey of all trees on land the parish council were in the process of acquiring and a programme of any works needed could then be put into future budget plans.  Action: Cllr Dilley.

ii)      To consider a draft Data Protection Policy and agree actionIt was agreed to adopt with plans to amend as required.  The Clerk would register the parish council with the Information Commissioner.  Action: the Clerk.

iii)    To consider a draft Freedom of Information Policy and agree action: It was agreed to adopt the policy.  Action: the Clerk.

8.  Finance:

i)        Decision: to accept the monthly reconciliation presentation: This was agreed.

ii)      Decision: to agree payments to be made: These were agreed (see below).

iii)    To note the completion of the external audit for 2015-16:  This was noted with no issues.

iv)    Decision: to agree notification with Information Commissioner and pay £35: The Clerk would register first.  Action: the Clerk.

Cheque No Who Amount (£)
DD BBC Salaries – Aug 293.33
DD BBC Salaries – Sept 293.33
531 Warners Grass Cut 22/7, 28/7, 5/8, 11/8 576.00
532 S Bottoms – Expenses 30.10
533 Poppy Appeal – Wreath 15.00
534 BBC Payroll Charges 14-15, 15-16, 16-17 900.00
535 BDO External Audit 240.00
536 Tree Management – Work near Radwell Rd 330.00
537 Wicksteed – parts 30.54
538 Warners of Bedford 17/8,25/8,8/9,15/9 576.00

9. To receive E-mailed questions from members of the public and to agree action:

i)        Footpath from Church Green:  Concern was raised about the footpath which runs through the paddock and into a horses field.  The section through the paddock is overgrown with stinging nettles.  Cllr Dilley to investigate.  Action: Cllr Dilley.

ii)      Cutting of the hedge on Riverside Meadow: Cllr Dilley would send an e-mail to the Clerk identifying what was required.  She would forward to Warners as this requirement was included in the current grass cutting contract.  She would also ask for a quote from Morgan-Pell to cut the meadow.  If in line with last year’s she would go ahead.  Action: the Clerk.

10.  Reports by Representatives:-

i.  NDP Steering Group: Cllr Dilley reported that the group had met twice, once with the new consultants.  They had agreed the plan of proposed works which would use up all the grant monies.  The aim will be for a draft plan to be prepared by Spring 2017.

ii. Playing Field Committee: Cllr Williams reported on the latest Wicksteed Report.  She would speak to the Borough Council about undertaking some of the identified repairs.  The quote for painting equipment would be chased up and further quotes for surfacing sought.  Safety concerns were raised regarding the goal nets and it considered that the best option was for them to be removed.  Cllr Williams was thanked for her report.

iii. Traffic Management Working Group: Cllr Dilley said that the group were formed to consider emerging issues and would meet as and when necessary. A further meeting would be called.  Action: Cllr Dilley.

11. Review of Actions Summary from Last Meeting: these were reviewed.

i)        Village Gates/Radwell Road:  Clerk to get a quote from Chris Horne for re-painting. Action: the Clerk.

ii)      Overgrowth at end of River Lane:  Cllr Dilley to review.  Action: Cllr Dilley.

12.  Date of the Next Meeting: Thursday 27th October 2016 at 8.00pm in the Village Hall.    Cllr Snowball gave his apologies in advance.

…………………………………………………………………………………….  Chairman 27th October 2016