Minutes of the Additional Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 13th December 2023 at 7.30 pm

Minutes Uploaded on April 18, 2024


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Present:  Cllr. J. Arkell (Chair), Cllr A. Bowness, Cllr K. Morton and Cllr. R. Theyer.

In attendance:  K. Tilling (Parish Clerk).

1. Welcome and Apologies:

Councillors and parishioners were welcomed to the meeting. Apologies were received from Cllr Glazebrook.

2. Declarations of Interest:

There were no Declarations of Interest required in relation to the items on the agenda.

3. Matters arising.

There were no matter arising not already covered by agenda items.

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

23/00978/FUL: Becketts Farm, Pancake Lane, The Leigh. Retrospective application for change of use for the siting of one shepherds hut and associated works. The Parish Councillors have looked at the comments on the planning portal and note that Environmental Health have recommended a noise management plan.  It was also noted that there are no obvious protected species within the site are and there is to be no removal of trees or hedges. They have suggested some small ecology actions. The site location plan shows a minimal area for change of use.  It is not visible from the main road, although the access road (Pancake Lane) is rather narrow but with low traffic movements.  Farm diversification is a positive thing if carried out in the correct way.  The Leigh NDP supports small scale tourism.  It was felt that this was sited in a sustainable location, with a bus stop situated at the top of the lane.  Just a pity that this is a retrospective application which the Parish Council are not able to condone.

5. Biodiversity Action deadline and Biodiversity Policy.

Full details of this agenda item were circulated prior to the meeting.

Under the 2021 Environment Act, public authorities (including town and parish councils) operating in England must consider what they can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity.

Government guidance published on 17 May 2023 clarifies that, as a public authority, town and parish councils must:

  • consider what they can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity.
  • agree policies and specific objectives based on their consideration.
  • act to deliver their policies and achieve their objectives.

Town and parish councils, unlike other authorities, are not obliged to publish a report on their actions, but the Government guidance requires all public authorities to complete their first consideration of what action to take for biodiversity by 1 January 2024. They must agree their policies and objectives as soon as possible after this and must reconsider the selected actions within five years of completing their previous consideration, or more frequently if they choose.

To comply with the guidance, town and parish councils could as a minimum:

  • have biodiversity as an agenda item for a meeting before the end of 2023.
  • note what action they are already taking to conserve and enhance biodiversity.
  • agree what further steps they should take to conserve and enhance biodiversity.

Whatever action is agreed, as a minimum local councils could ensure they address biodiversity concerns when commenting on planning applications.

The Clerk will draft a policy and bring it back to the Parish Council at a Full Council Meeting.

Proposed by Cllr Morton and seconded by Cllr Theyer. All in favour.

6. To approve and implement the 2023/2024 Pay Award

The 2022/23 Local Government Services Pay Agreement has finally been agreed.  It covers from 1st April 2023 to 31st March 2024. In real terms this means the Clerks salary will increase by £1.00 per hour. Cllr Arkell proposed to adopt the new circulated rates, seconded by Cllr Theyer. All in favour.  The RFO will ensure that the back pay and new monthly amount are implemented.

7. To approve the GAPTC subscription.

GAPTC have circulated their subscription rates for the year ahead. Both NALC and GAPTC have increased their rates by 3%.  The Parish Council find that GAPTC provide a valuable background service, circulating legislation, supporting the Clerk with information, and providing various training courses for the Clerk and Parish Councillors. They also provide access to a worthwhile insurance company.  Proposed to pay this subscription by Cllr Theyer and seconded by Cllr Bowness.  Unanimous.

 8. To discuss and approve CIL spending.

a) Approve items of expenditure

Sign installation has been approved and paid – £414

Netwise fee is due to be paid -£396

£1419.54 plus VAT (£1703.45) approved for Signshed.

Items proposed to by paid by Cllr Theyer and seconded by Cllr Bowness. All unanimous.

Looking at future items for expenditure:

Prices for noticeboards – Open one for the Church Porch £515.13.  Will need permission from the Church to install it. Glazed one for the village and somewhere in Coombe Hill, in oak are £764.62 each. Agreed to order the village and Church one for now and then wait to see where the Coombe Hill can be sited. Agreed to order 2 noticeboards. All unanimous.

Grit bins – due to the topography of the parish at least 6 locations have been identified to install yellow grit bins.  Cllr Theyer has come across a special deal for 11 grit bins at £1257. Cllr Arkell proposed the purchase of the grit bins, seconded by Cllr Bowness.

Bus Shelters – initially 5 locations have been identified, although 3 of them are potentially affected by the proposed traffic light upgrade at Coombe Hill. These are the bus stop on the A38 outside the new Bovis site, the larger bus pull in on the A4019 at the side of the Bovis site and the pull in next to Evington Villa on the A38 Gloucester side of the traffic lights. The other two locations – A39 outside Villards Close and the A38 by Church Lane can proceed.  The councillors are looking at long lasting wooden ones and where space permits, will have enclosed sides. The plan is to ensure that each shelter has a rubbish bin and small notice board. Proposed by Cllr Morton and seconded by Cllr Theyer.

The Parish Council have received CIL money from the local development happening at Coombe Hill, but it is also noted that the Borough Council have also benefited from CIL money.  Parish Councillors would like to see what the Borough Council are going to spend their portion of the CIL money on within the Parish.  It was felt that there is a need for the Borough Councillor to attend the Parish Council meetings so that this can be discussed with them in more detail.

b) Feedback from CIL spending community event.

The Clerk has collated the feedback from the community event and circulated the results to all Parish Councillors. There were several random suggestions that the Parish Council felt that with only a small outlay would encourage community involvement.  A chess tournament in 2024, sponsored by the Parish Council.  A summer pig roast at the Swan pub in the spring.

A further discussion about speed indicators – their cost and their actual value in bringing speeds down. Could this initiative be provided by another source?

It has been established that the CIL money can now be used for some Church improvements – community funding is available.  There has been a recent change in legislation which means that the Parish Council with the CIL money will now consider piping the ditch opposite the Church and repairing/resurfacing the existing carpark.  There is a need to obtain 3 written quotes for the work to ensure that the payment will also comply with the financial policy.

Other viable suggestions included traffic mirrors on the corner of Church Lane.

Purchase and installation of Swift boxes – where to buy the boxes and how much, or maybe other types of bird box.

9. Any other business.

Cllr Morton confirmed that she still has 16 Coronation coins still available. The plan is to hand these out to parish families that have a new-born.

Parishioners have requested the installation of deer signs

Newsletter – the current editors are stepping down in the new year so there is now a vacancy for a new newsletter editor.

Cllr Bowness has suggested that the Parish Council organise a spring event for walking the footpaths and putting the new footpath signs

Rubbish bin the lay-by – could this be emptied weekly, or a second bin installed?

Meeting closed at 21.30 pm