THE LEIGH PARISH COUNCIL
: email@example.com : theleighpc.org.uk
MINUTES OF THE FULL PARISH COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 9th NOVEMBER 2022 AT 7.30PM
Present: Cllr. J. Arkell (Chair), Cllr. L. Glazebrook, Cllr. K. Morton and Cllr. R. Theyer.
In attendance: K. Tilling (Parish Clerk) and 1 member of the public.
1. Welcome and Apologies:
Everyone was welcomed to the meeting. Apologies were received from Cllr Awford and Mrs P Howse.
2. Declarations of Interest:
There were no Declarations of Interest required in relation to items on the agenda.
3. To formally accept the application for Parish Councillor following the recent vacancy advertisement.
The Parish Council have received an application for the current vacancy within the advertised deadline. The applicant, Mrs Philippa Howse fulfilled the co-option eligibility criteria and was unanimously welcomed onto the parish Council Committee in her absence. Cllr Howse will be on the committee until the elections in May 2023. The Clerk confirmed that she would ensure that the Declaration of Office was duly signed within her presence and that the Members Interest Form was completed and returned to Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Electoral Services before the next Parish Council meeting
4. To formally approve the Minutes of the last meetings:
The minutes from the previous meetings in August and October 2022 were approved. Proposed by Cllr Theyer and seconded by Cllr Glazebrook. All in favour. It was agreed that the Clerk would forward the M5 junction information onto Marcus Sparrow and Andrew Pattenden, both from GCC
5. Matters arising from the minutes.
As noted in the October minutes, the Clerk raised a formal complaint about alleged unprofessional conduct of a staff member from the Planning Team. Not surprisingly it took the Borough Solicitor 22 days to respond to the formal complaint. The Parish Council concerns were summarised into two parts. Whether the report and recommendations to the Planning Committee were unbiased and impartial given that the Planning Officer concerned had provided information and advice to the applicant since the submission of the application in May 2021 and that by permitting this development as an exception to planning policies, particularly given its Green Belt location, may create a precedent for further development in the vicinity. The response from the Borough Solicitor failed to acknowledge the excessive amount of advice provided and has passed it off as a planning officer has the responsibility to positively engage with an applicant and offer advice to make the development acceptable. She also goes on to say that each planning application should be determined on its own merits and that permission for this one application could not in itself create a precedent. The Parish Council have noted concerns about the actions of this Planning Officer whilst they were dealing with an earlier application but did not make a formal complaint at that time. All future applications being handled by this person will be closely scrutinised and any irregularities will be reported without delay. As regards setting a precedence – the Parish Council will watch and wait to see what happens to Green Belt land once it becomes known that this site has been given permission. The last Parish Council comment on the Planning Portal relating to this application has never been made available for public viewing.
Green notices were raised at the October meeting. The Clerk followed this up after the meeting and after several attempts has still not managed to get a direct answer from the planning department at TBC.
6.To discuss Planning updates.
Draft Parish Council response letters to the planning applications presented at the October meeting were approved.
The Parish Council are aware that the application for Windyridge was approved despite voicing reservations and will now monitor the situation closely.
The clerk has circulated a further copy of a useful document produced by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) on How to respond to planning applications to the Parish Councillors. This document is not exclusively for Parish Councillors. It is accessible online and available for anyone to read. It gives good examples of material planning considerations that should be applied to all applications.
7. To approve the Financial Statement and consider the precept for 2023/24.
The financial statement is to be circulated to the Parish Councillors after the meeting.
There was a brief discussion about last year’s Precept figure and thoughts about the new figure of the 2023/24 financial year. With inflation in mind and increases in Parish Council running costs, a figure of 10% increase was proposed. The RFO reminded all present that although this is a rise in the Precept figure because there are now more houses in the Parish the Precept figure is now spread over more households. In real terms it could see the figure remain the same as last year for individual households. Increase was proposed by Cllr Glazebrook and seconded by Cllr Theyer. All were unanimous.
7a. To consider CIL expenditure.
The Clerk has drafted a suggested shopping list to begin a more focused discussion about what to spend the CIL money on. There are clear guidelines on what it can be spent on. It is also noted that the developer that has paid over the CIL money can dispute any expenditure if they do not feel that it is a benefit for the whole community. It has been suggested that the main expenditure is focused on additional improvements around Coombe Hill so that this community can benefit following the recent disruptions caused whilst the houses were being built. E.g., consider installing bus shelters, bins, notice boards. Thoughts and ideas now need to be backed up by costings.
The Parish Council need to find out what has been allocated under section 106 money.
7b. To formally adopt and implement the 2022/2023 Pay Award for the Clerk.
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has been notified by the Local Government Association (LGA) that it has come to an agreement on the 2022/23 pay offer with the unions representing local government employees
The unions met on 1 November 2022 and agreed to accept the offer. The terms of that agreement include the following:
- With effect from 1 April 2022, an increase of £1,925 on all NJC pay points 1 and above.
- With effect from 1 April 2023, an increase of one day to all employees’ annual leave entitlement.
The RFO has been in contact with GAPTC to check that the Clerk is on the correct salary point and scale for the job. Parish Councillors agreed that the pay rise would be implemented and back dated immediately and that the further discussion was required about the correct pay scale for the Clerks job description. This was deferred to the December meeting.
8. Update on Highways Issues:
Creating a new access from a public Highway. Following concerns raised at the October Parish Council meeting the Parish Council contacted various departments seeking additional information to that currently found on the TBC website. A new access may or may not be part of a planning application. GCC Highways have the primary interest and having liaised with them it has been confirmed that any new access onto the Highway, regardless of the road classification requires GCC permission. GCC have a process that must be followed and several households within the Parish are now being contacted by GCC as it has become evident that permission for a new access has not been applied for nor granted.
Discussions about the Give Way Triangle at the junction with Church Lane and Blacksmith Lane are still on-going. The Road Safety team have been asked to assess the blind corner. There is a general need to reduce speed and a general safety audit within the whole parish.
8a. Coombe Hill Traffic Lights Upgrade.
It was evident from the information provided by the GCC officer that work is still on going with this project. The meeting did feel like it was rather lively at times. The Parish Council is waiting for the next amendments to be published as it was evident that there was more information needed and being worked on. The Parish Council have been asked to send in a list of concerns/suggestions around traffic management at the junction and these would be passed onto the contractor once they are appointed. It was noted that once the tender process has happened it will be too late to have any impact on the project and wondered whether the Parish Council could be involved with the selection of the tender process. The Parish Council would be willing to supply a representative as part of the tendering panel. The concerns should be part of the formal tender package. The Parish Council would like to see a copy of the tender package before it is issued. To produce a list of concerns is just saying what has been said already, numerous times to many people. The current documents show no changes in the traffic flows or widths of lanes. Difficult to spot the modifications.
9. Update on the Neighbourhood Development Plan.
The Parish Council received an email from TBC on 4th October 2022 which confirmed that “the Neighbourhood Plan was adopted at the meeting of full Council last week. We are currently preparing a decision statement which will be published on our website alongside the plan asap. Formal notifications will also be sent out when these are both available, but in the meantime please find attached a copy of the final ‘made’ (adopted) version of the plan.”
As of this meeting, there has been no update to the TBC website. The Clerk will chase for this to be actioned.
Complaints about the Bovis site. The Parish Council have been contacted by residents regarding the several issues:
Mud on the road – excessive mud on the road needs reporting to the police.
Ineffective road sweeping
Noise – plant starting up earlier than agreed hours
Discharging water into the ditch.
Meeting closed at 21.30