Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting and Full Parish Council Meeting on Tuesday 25th July 2023

Minutes Uploaded on December 5, 2023


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

In attendance:  K. Tilling (Parish Clerk).

1.Welcome and apologies:

Cllr Arkell gave a warm welcome to everyone. Apologies from were received from Cllrs P and H Cllr McLain and one parishioner. A warm welcome was extended to the new member of the Parish Council – Cllr Bowness

2. Election of Officers for 2023/2024:

Officer Role:                                 Proposed by:                      Seconded by:

Chair – John Arkell                         R. Theyer                             L. Glazebrook

Vice Chair – Leigh Glazebrook      K. Morton                             J. Arkell

Responsible Finance Officer-

Karen Morton                                    J. Arkell                               R. Theyer

Leigh Poor Charities Trustees –

Leigh Glazebrook

John Arkell                                        R. Theyer                             K. Morton

Highways Rep –  R. Theyer             J. Arkell                                L. Glazebrook

PROW Rep – A. Bowness              L. Glazebrook                       R. Theyer

It was confirmed that the signatories on the PC Bank Account are John Arkell and Karen Morton. It was agreed to add a third signature although cheques are rarely issued to pay bills after setting up the online banking system. Cllr Glazebrook will be added.

3.To approve the Minutes from the last Annual Parish Meeting (May 2022):

The minutes from the last Annual Parish Council Meeting held in May 2022 were approved. This was proposed by Cllr Theyer and seconded by Cllr Morton and all in agreement.

4. To provide any necessary update on The Annual Accounts for 2022/2023 including the Annual Governance Statement:

All the necessary paperwork, including The Annual Governance Statement has been completed and has been submitted to the relevant auditors. The various sections of the paperwork were signed by the Chair, RFO and Clerk at the last meeting in May and minuted accordingly. These minutes are a formal record of their official acceptance. Copies of the draft paperwork can be viewed on the Parish website.

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 (January/February/April/May):

The minutes from the last meetings in February, March and April 2023 were approved. Proposed by Cllr Morton, seconded by Cllr Theyer. All unanimous.

7. To approve and adopt the revised Leigh Parish Council Code of Conduct:

A draft document has been revised and circulated to all Parish Councillors. All were in favour of adopting the new Code and it will be updated and published on the website shortly. Proposed by Cllr Glazebrook, seconded by Cllr Morton and all in favour.

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

Before discussing the individual planning applications, the Chair reminded all that the Parish Council is a Statutory Consultee and that it has a legal right to pass comment on any plans submitted to planning.  The final decision with the actual application lies solely with the Planning Department at Tewkesbury Borough Council.

23/00410/FUL – The Bellows, Tewkesbury Road, Coombe Hill. Section 73 Application for the Variation of Conditions 2 (Approved Plans) for Planning Permission 21/01458/FUL. The approved plans for this site were for 4 dwellings. It has been necessary to revise the layout of this small development due to the overhead power cables which affected plot 4.  The applicant was hoping to move or alter the cables but discussions with the statutory provider have failed.  The revised scheme considers the amended access from the public highway. New house types have been created for each unit, same design frame but with increased floor space. Original approval was granted in July 2022.  After studying the supporting paperwork, it was noted that these units are very big 5 bed dwellings ranging from 2500 to 2700 square feet.  It was felt that the gardens are not big enough for the properties, with plot 4 being much bigger than the others.It was also noted that the design and materials proposed for this site are considered to be too contemporary for such a rural location The Construction and Management plan submitted to support this application is not relevant to this site and should be removed from the planning portal and replaced with a correct one.  There is a concern on the access as there is no obvious provision for a refuse lorry to enter the site, turn and empty the bins safely.

23/00477/FUL – Land to the south of Blacksmith Lane and East of Cyder Press Farmhouse, The Leigh. Erection of a one storey, one-bedroom, oak framed dwelling. This application replaces the withdrawn application 22/00880/FUL where the original Parish Council comments can be found in relation to this site (24 November 2022). This new dwelling is approx. 10.6 x 8 m and 5.81 m tall at its highest point, The planning portal is currently showing 3 objections and 5 in support.  Reading the submitted responses from other Consultees, it is noted that it is not recommended for approval by the Conservation Officer and Highways have suggested that it be refused on the grounds of access safety and sustainability. The Parish Council have taken the time to read through the various documents and comments on the planning portal.  The Parish Council are sympathetic to the building materials proposed for this new dwelling but agree that the design is not right for this location and must agree with the Conservation Officers comments:

“This proposal is a speculative infill development to construct what is described as a one bedroom, one storey dwelling. However, the plans appear to show a first floor with bedroom and washroom (but no detail of stairs). Clearly this is not a one storey dwelling as described. There are several aspects of this proposal that are contentious: The building is in the form of a traditional timber weather-boarded building but with a flat roofed extension down one side. The main body of the building is generally acceptable albeit a bit tall however the flat roofed side addition is incongruous. The location of the building is at a diagonal angle across the orchard. This configuration has no design relationship to the setting of the Listed Building as a farmstead and appears discordant. The building should align in sympathy with the Existing buildings and move closer towards them to act as a unit and preserve a green buffer around the buildings so that the new building appears plausible as an outbuilding to the farmhouse. The configuration of the driveway spur and parking area crosses the centre of the orchard and encroaches on the green space when it could alternatively be confined to the edge of the plot.

The principle of a modest building within the orchard is acceptable on heritage grounds but the current design, scale and layout is prominent and dominant and does not assimilate sympathetically with the existing buildings.”

The Parish Council felt that the comment from Highways seems very harsh as the site is only a lane and not a major highway.

Any flooding in the lane should be alleviated by the village Flood Defence Scheme.  The Leigh Neighbourhood Development Plan supports some infill development within the village. The Parish Council believe that more can be done to make this an acceptable proposal and suggest that the applicant works closely with the Conservation Officer to achieve a successful outcome.

23/00578/FUL – Unit 6, Knightsbridge Business Centre, Tewkesbury Road, Coombe Hill. Change of Use from B8 storage and distribution to B2 Light Industrial Use to form commercial production kitchen. This application is for a change of use for a unit on the Knightsbridge Industrial Estate for Tilly’s of Tewkesbury. The Parish Council offers no objections to this change of use and welcomes new business to the area.

9. To approve the Financial Statement.

The Parish Council id very healthy with approx. £168 thousand in the combined bank accounts. £146 thousand of this has come from CIL money and has restricted spending as some suggestions put forward are not permitted under the current scheme. There is £22 thousand in the direct Parish Council funds of which it is suggested that £5,000 is used for a specific project. The spending of the CIL money is a Parish Council priority. If it is not spent within the set time limit it is taken back by TBC.

10. To discuss various Highways issues including:

Overgrown hedges and footpaths – The Parish Council have received several different emails about overgrown hedges within the parish. None have been replied to as the Parish Councillors have only taken up office this evening. Response emails will now follow shortly. In the meantime, Parish Councillors have been out to look at various hedges and footpaths within the Parish.  Officially all hedges can be cut as from 1st August, before this hedges are cut with caution due to wildlife nesting in them. One hedge has been cut back whilst there are number that still need to be done at Coombe Hill, corner of Church Lane etc.  It was agreed that something would be put in the newsletter to remind all people of their responsibilities for keeping hedges cut. The Parish Council will review the situation in a few weeks’ time, and any found still need cutting will be reported to Highways. The Parish Council will not get involved with individual disputes.

Overgrown and blocked PROWS – several overgrown and blocked Public Rights of Way (PROW) have been reported to the PROW officer at Shire Hall.  It is possible that they have written to the individual landowners. The introduction of a PROW representative may help with reporting the various parish issues.  The clerk will provide a copy of the PROW map.  This can also be viewed online on the GCC website.  Landowners are to be reminded of their responsibilities for ensuring that paths are not blocked, the markers are not removed or altered and that paths are not to be diverted without the proper permissions in place. It is possible to report incidents online.

Environmental Health and EA issues – there are several issues within the parish.  There are one or two package treatment plants that do not seem to be working properly. When the ‘cleaned’ water leaves the plant it is not clean, and it is polluting ditches before ending up in the village pond. This has been reported to the TBC Environmental Health Team but needs to be followed up for a third time. There is also an issue with people buying older properties with outdated septic tanks and not upgrading them to treatment plants to comply with the new regulations for treated water. The Parish Council understands that this is a legal requirement but will investigate further and report back at a future meeting. The Parish Council has also received two complaints about soil and builders rubbish being dumped in a field in the flood plain near the canal.  It is being monitored and it will be reported to the Environment Agency if necessary.

Wharf landslide, current ‘tree’ situation and funding request to help with re-vegetation of the mud wall. The Parish Council have received a request from a resident of the Wharf to fund the purchase of some wildflower seed or small shrubs/trees to re-establish vegetation on the mud slope following the landslide earlier this year. It is now a very bare slope and unattractive entry to the Wharf (and to the detriment of biodiversity and increased surface water pouring down the hill to the properties at the bottom).  The current situation for a proper repair is unknown. The large concrete interlocking blocks were installed as a temporary measure to help stabilise the bank.  The Parish Council will contact the relevant Highways engineers to ask about the current thinking on repairs.  The Parish Council are happy to fund the regeneration of vegetation when the time is right to do so, after the repairs are complete and when the full cause of the landslide has been investigated. The Clerk was asked to contact the Highways Officer in charge of this area.

The lane was blocked again recently when a tree came down and was suspended on the main overhead telephone line. The tree has now been removed and the lane is open again.

Traffic Light upgrade.

The Parish Council have received an update from the team that are working on the junction upgrade. The works were programmed to start in the Autumn and planning permission has been given.  The surveys that were completed last March have required some re-designs and additional work with the utility’s companies. There is also ongoing work with landowners to fully resolve necessary land purchase for the scheme. This has pushed the start of the works into Winter and the Team were very conscious of all the comments they had from the businesses around disturbance at Christmas time. The start is being pushed back to early 2024, and where possible they will look to start works off carriageway and set up the construction compound before then.

Their consultants are working on the construction programme and the Parish Council will be updated as soon as there is more information. They are also offering to attend a future Parish Council meeting to provide details of the scheme ahead of construction.

Cllr Theyer has been researching the white entrance gates that seem to slow speeding traffic down. These would be installed using CIL money at various positions around the Leigh and Coombe Hill. It would be helpful if the Highways could provide maps of the verges showing where any utilities run.  The white gates will need holes dug for the posts, so it would be helpful to know where these are.

It has also been noted that the land/lay-by at the top of Church Lane, nearest the main road has deep and potentially dangerous holes.  In consultation with Highways, Cllr Theyer will investigate what can be done to put this area back to its original state.

11. To discuss funding request for the Wharf Flood Defence Scheme pump repairs.

The Parish Council have received a request from a resident of the Wharf to fund the Wharf Flood Defence scheme pump. The Management Company have recently found that the flood defences put in after the 2007 floods have not been installed/maintained correctly and need a complete overhaul to function effectively (which was uncovered following a recent flood event and subsequent visit by a professional). The Management Company have received a quote for circa £6-7k for works to put the system right and ensure the properties are protected from future flooding. Whilst funds may not be available to ‘pay for this’ entirely they ask if there could be some form of contribution?

A similar request was received from the Leigh Flood Defence Scheme in the Autumn of 2020. The Parish Council helped to organise and find funding for the initial set up of both schemes. These were then handed over to the two Management Companies that were set up to look after the schemes post construction. The Parish Clerk spent time looking into various avenues for additional funding. It is hoped that after establishing contacts within the Environment Agency and GCC in 2021, this information can also be used by the Wharf Management Committee. It will mean that any funding from the EA will be direct to the Management Company.  The Clerk will contact the Wharf Management company and share the contact names and details.

12. District and County Councillors’ Reports

Following the sudden death of Cllr Awford there was a County Council Election in May.  The new Councillor for this parish is Councillor Paul Mclain. The Clerk has made contact and provided the dates for future meetings. There were apologies from both the County and Borough Councillors for this evening as they were in meetings elsewhere.  Cllr P Mclain very kindly sent an email with updates on various issues that has been circulated to the Parish Councillors ahead of the meeting this evening.  The Parish Council hope that they will both be able to make some of the future meetings.

 13.To approve Council Meeting dates for 2023/2024

Additional August   9th
Additional September 13th
Additional October 11th
Full November   8th
Additional December 13th
Additional January 10th 2024
Full February 14th
Additional March 13th
Additional April 10th
APM May   8th

14. To consider a response to TBC’s Draft Street Trading Licensing Policy Consultation and Draft Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Policy Consultation.

The Parish Council decided that it did not wish to send responses to either consultation

15. Items for a future agenda.

Various topics have been put forward:

CIL spending – approval of items e.g., bus shelters, noticeboards, mobile phone

Adoption of the Civility and Respect Pledge

Revision of the Parish Council Standing Orders

New Parish Council Emails for each Parish Councillor

The distribution of the Coronation Crown coins for the young people of the community – lack of response from people with young children so another entry in the newsletter is suggested.

The creation and adoption of a Communication Policy.

Meeting closed at 10.30 pm