Minutes from the Annual Parish Council Meeting – 11th May 2022

Minutes Uploaded on October 12, 2022


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Present:  Cllr. J. Arkell (Chair), Cllr Glazebrook, Cllr Morton and Cllr. Theyer.

In attendance:  K. Tilling (Parish Clerk) and 4 members of the public.

1. Welcome and Apologies:

Cllr Arkell gave a warm welcome to everyone. Apologies from were received from Cllr Chandler and Cllr McLain. Cllr Arkell then delivered a summary of the last 12 months of Parish Council accomplishments starting with the slow recovery from the Global pandemic. Looking back over the 12 months, the Parish Council has seen a large rise in planning applications including retrospectives and appeals.  The development on the old Vineyards is almost complete and has not been without a few hiccups.  The larger development on the opposite side of the road is still yet to be determined but it is only a matter of time.  A big thank you goes to Colin Withers for his work on the NDP.  The Leigh NDP has now reached a critical stage. The Parish Council are awaiting news of the referendum. Grateful thanks must go to Cllr Mary Chandler who has decided that it is time to retire from Parish Council life.  Mary has been involved with the Parish Council and a trustee of the Leigh Poor Charities for longer than is deemed respectful to mention. She has put in a lot of work over these years and has seen so many changes within the Parish.  Her presence and knowledge on the Council will be missed.  This now means that there is a vacancy on the Parish Council and the Parish Council will begin the process to fill the post. There is another 12 months before the statutory parish council elections of May 2022.  Several Parish Councillors and a growing band of Parishioners have all volunteered to help plan the celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The Parish Council is financially better off than ever before, primarily as a direct result of the house building at Coombe Hill and the CIL money that comes with it.  Councillors are working on a list of approved expenditure ensuring that this money is spent in the most appropriate way to benefit all the community but most importantly, all those living at Coombe Hill.

2. Election of Officers for 2022/2023:

Officer Role:                                 Proposed by:                      Seconded by:

Chair – John Arkell                         L. Glazebrook                      R. Theyer

Vice Chair – Leigh Glazebrook     J. Arkell                               K. Morton

Responsible Finance Officer-

Karen Morton                                  J. Arkell                               R. Theyer

Leigh Poor Charities Trustees –

Leigh Glazebrook

John Arkell                                      R. Theyer                             K. Morton

Highways Rep – Leigh Glazebrook K. Morton                             J. Arkell

Cllr Chandler has formally tendered her resignation and it has been reluctantly accepted by the Chair.  Cllr Arkell took this opportunity to again, thank her for her time and commitment whilst serving on the Parish Council. She has done lots for the parish and is a great source of information.

It was confirmed that the signatories on the PC Bank Account are John Arkell and Karen Morton. Cllr Chandler will need to be taken off as a signatory and maybe consider adding a third person. On-line payments have now fully replaced cheque payments. The signatories on the land trustee’s account need to be altered to reflect changes.

3. Minutes from the last Annual Parish Meeting:

The minutes from the last Annual Parish Council Meeting held in May 2021 were approved. This was the very last meeting held using zoom before the regulations reverted to face-to-face meetings. Proposed by Cllr Morton and seconded by Cllr Chandler

4. To approve The Annual Accounts for 2021/2022 including the Annual Governance Statement:

All the necessary paperwork, including The Annual Governance Statement has been completed and will be handed over to the auditor. As is customary, the various sections of the paperwork were signed by the Chair, RFO and Clerk. These minutes are a formal record of their official acceptance. They will be submitted to the authorities before the deadline of 30th June 2022.   The money in the deposit account remains untouched. Figures have come in on budget. Staff costs have increase due to extra hours and a national pay award. The increase of other costs was only 1% and the Parish Council have kept costs to the minimum.  Income from grants has covered the neighbourhood development project and the purchase of a community bench.  Due to the increase in house numbers the actual cost of the precept per house has fallen slightly.  The arrival of the new houses also means additional funding in the form of CIL money. This in turn means that the accounts will now fall into a larger income category (Income over £25k) and will need more of an audit.   This signing of the documents was proposed by Cllr Glazebrook and seconded by Cllr Theyer, all in agreement.

Full Parish Council Meeting then followed:

5. Declarations of interest:

There were no declarations of interest for this meeting.

6. Minutes of the last meetings to be approved (February/March/April):

The minutes from the last meetings in February, March and April 2021were approved. Proposed by Cllr Morton, seconded by Cllr Glazebrook. All unanimous.

7. To discuss planning applications and consider responses for the following:

The primary concern from many parishioners has been the various and confusing documents added to the planning portal recently. A number of documents were printed off and taken to the meeting so people could study various aspects side by side.

There is little on paper that shows obvious support of the TBC’s Climate Change agenda – solar panels and water harvesting. It is noted that all private households have a charging point but that is because there is a government directive, and therefore not an option for the developer. The social housing does not show a charging point for each house. There is insufficient parking within the site for any visitors and even some houses in places. The play area is situated at the junction of 2 major trunk roads. Concerns were expressed about traffic fumes as well as the increased risk of a vehicle accident (as shown by the vehicle accident In March of this year when a car left the road and went through the wooden fence of the Approved Car Buying Centre). There is also the possibility of children’s toys being kicked/thrown into the road. It was suggested that this LEAP area should be moved to a quieter/cleaner area of the site that does not flood.

Drainage continues to be a huge issue. It is noted that Severn Trent are not happy about the current proposals. Its surface water and foul water. It’s about how it’s going to be stored and treated and not just about the brook at the bottom of the site that floods several times a year.  The pump house has been positioned in the lower half of the site but it is not clear if this will be sufficient to work unaffected in times of high water levels.

The whole site is just a complete urbanisation of a rural site which goes against TBC and LDNP policies. The housing designs are poor – poor urban designs for a rural setting. They just take the same designs from one urban sprawl to the next – there is no originality to this site. At least the development on the other side of the road has given thought to its layout. Houses have not been squeezed in. It is also noted that several of the houses in the lowest part of the site have the potential for having their driveways/access flooded. Roads and hard standings should be constructed of permeable materials. Looking at the A38 street scene the houses appear very close to each other – almost two rows of terraces. Certainly not a reflection of the houses already built in the area. There is only one bungalow on this site – this is not enough.  Some of the houses that front the main roads have balconies. While this allows for individuals to have a small space for air it is already anticipated that this highly visible areas will become merely spaces to store rubbish.

The gradient for the access to the site is very excessive. This has also been noted by Highways and in some areas the developer will be unable to meet the disabled access requirements because of this topography.

It is also noted that during the recent temporary construction works for the lower field entrance, workers blocked the road during rush hour. They also closed the bus stop and move it without Highways permission. They then used the closed bus stop as a private parking area. The footpath was also blocked leaving elderly parishioners to walk in the busy road for a weekend when there was no work on site. The clerk will check the validity of closing off the bus stop. (It took GCC 5 days to confirm that they did not have permission to close off the bus stop).

8. District and County Councillors’ reports.

A report from Cllr McLain was received in advance and circulated to councillors. It also contained attachments with information about the Members update and the State of the Borough presentation.

From Cllr Awford: Craig Freeman from Glos. Highways is leaving at the end of the month, possibly to join the Junction 10 Project team.  There is an interim consultation report for Junction 10.  When works start at the Coombe Hill junction the back lanes will become dangerous rat runs if insufficient planning is not done.

Norton School has benefited from S106/CIL monies.  Discussions around the Regional Flooding Report, Environment Bill due in September 2022 and discharging into watercourses.  Cllr Awford also mentioned the Borough Council report.

9. To approve the Financial Statement.

Following on from the financial information presented for the Annual Return (see above), Karen also prepared a budget for 2022/2023. It is a simple budget that reflects minor price rises. The precept figure for 2022/2023 from TBC has been paid, along with a large CIL payment.  Parish Councillors approved that £20,000 to be transferred from the current account to the deposit account. To move all the money into the deposit account that is not the precept figure. The CIL money is not to be used for day to day actions.  There is still a further £9,000 to be paid.  The RFO confirmed that the additional NDP Grant money has now been repaid. The RFO will look to transfer signatures over.

10. To formally accept the Inspectors report for Leigh NDP.

.A copy of the Inspectors report has been circulated to the councillors.  It is necessary to amend certain items within the report to comply with the Inspectors recommendations.  Colin Withers, the Co-ordinator of this project feels that by removing some of the ‘local’ aspects of the plan it waters it down.  It was felt that it was better to have an imperfect plan, than no plan. An adopted plan will mean there is more CIL money available, as it is not capped. Sections can be revised to incorporate policy changes and omissions.  Whatever policies in in the document they must conform to NPPF, GCC Plans, TBC Strategy plan and the JCS.

It is hoped that the referendum will take place in June/July.  The Parish Council wish to thank Colin Withers for co-ordinating this project. The Parish Council formally accept the Inspectors report and amendments and look forward to hearing from TBC about a referendum date soon.

11. Update on the Platinum Jubilee celebrations

The planning committee has been hard at work.  Every house within the parish has been given a form to order tickets for one or both events.  The inflatables will have a separate insurance. A further meeting is planned on 18th May.

 12. To approve Council Meeting dates for 2022/2023

Additional June   8th
Additional July 13th
Full August 10th
Additional September 14th
Additional October 12th
Full November   9th
Additional December 14th
Additional January 11th 2023
Full February   8th
Additional March   8th
Additional April 12th
AGM May 10th*
*may change due to local elections.

Proposed by Cllr Arkell and seconded by Cllr Morton.

13. Items for a future agenda.

Trees – Clerk to find emails/minutes from 2014 which might help explain how the trees were planted. The request to plant the new trees needs to be handled in the same way.

Canal Gateways – it has been observed that the gateway has been narrowed on the left side of the car park down the Wharf. There is a question of whether this prevents easy access to the Parish Field.

CIL Money – Parish Council needs to create a simple process for parishioners to apply for CIL money to fund a community project. A simple grant form.

CIL money is to be used to produce a welcome pack for a newcomer which includes useful phone numbers/websites etc.

Newsletter – there are many small businesses that operate within the parish. Produce a newsletter that promotes local businesses. Possible to combine a business directory with a directory of services.

Meeting closed at 9.30 pm