THE LEIGH PARISH COUNCIL
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MINUTES OF THE REMOTE ANNUAL PARISH COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 4TH MAY 2021 via Zoom
Present: Cllr. J. Arkell (Chair), Cllr. M. Chandler, Cllr Glazebrook, Cllr. Hooton and Cllr Morton.
In attendance: K. Tilling (Parish Clerk) and 3 members of the public.
1. Welcome and Apologies:
Cllr Arkell gave a warm welcome to everyone and there were no apologies. Cllr Arkell then delivered a summary of the last 12 months of Parish Council accomplishments starting with having to embrace the use of zoom meetings in May 2020 as a direct result of the pandemic. The zoom meetings end on 7th May 2021 as the legislation was only for a year. There are natural reservations about face to face meetings but these are set to return with the necessary safety precautions put into place. Looking back over the 12 months, the Parish Council has seen a large rise in planning applications including retrospective and appeals. The Parish Council have paid for and had installed two dog waste bins which will hopefully help to keep the Leigh Village cleaner and tidier. This also ties in with a very recent litter pick organised by Sarah Rudge and supported by a large turnout of village residents. There are a band of volunteers that ensure that this was not a one off event. Thanks go to the clerk that receives a large volume of emails and paperwork and disseminates it quietly and quickly. Grateful thanks must go to Cllr Phil Hooton who has decided that it is time to retire from Parish Council life. Phil has been involved in a lot of work over the years and has been the Parish Council’s main contact with all things Highways related and the main contact for GCC highways personnel. His presence 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 Co-option process. There is another 12 months before the statutory parish council elections of May 2022. Thanks also go to Cllrs. Chandler, Glazebrook and Morton for their work during the past 12 months. A big thank you goes to Colin Withers for his work on the NDP, supported by Dawn Shopland and the clerk. The Leigh NDP has now reached a critical stage and Colin will update those present with the next stage of its journey. There have been acts of kindness and support in the Parish during this last 12 months and the Parish Council wishes to thank all those that have done their bit. Members present also thanked Cllr Arkell for all the work that he does on behalf of the Parish, as much of the work goes on behind the scenes.
2. Election of Officers for 2021/2022:
Officer Role: Proposed by: Seconded by:
Chair – John Arkell M. Chandler L. Glazebrook
Vice Chair – Leigh Glazebrook M. Chandler K. Morton
Responsible Finance Officer-
Karen Morton M. Chandler J. Arkell
Leigh Poor Charities Trustees –
John Arkell M. Chandler K. Morton
Highways Rep – Leigh Glazebrook M. Chandler J. Arkell
It was confirmed that the signatories on the PC Bank Account are John Arkell, Mary Chandler and Karen Morton. No further amendment was needed. Any two of three to sign. On-line payments have now replaced cheque payments. The signatories on the land trustee’s account need to be altered to reflect changes.
Following the resignation of Cllr Hooton at this meeting the Parish Council will now follow the appropriate guidance issued by TBC relating to the co-option of a 5th Parish Councillor.
3. Minutes from the last Annual Parish Meeting:
The minutes from the last Annual Parish Council Meeting held in May 2019 were approved. The meeting in May 2020 was suspended due to Covid-19. Proposed by Cllr Morton and seconded by Cllr Chandler
4. To approve The Annual Accounts for 2020/2021 including the Annual Governance Statement:
All the necessary paperwork, including The Annual Governance Statement is currently in draft form. The draft copies were circulated to all Parish Councillors before the meeting tonight. They are ready to be audited. They will be submitted to the authorities before the deadline of 30th June 2021. It was agreed to continue with the internal audit system, which is permitted due to the low financial turnover. The money in the deposit account remains untouched although there are few funds left in the bank account at the end of the financial year. Figures have come in on budget and whilst expenditure has been reduced in some areas (like meeting venue costs) other areas have seen an increase – the NDP. It is hoped that the next NDP grant application will recover most of the outstanding costs. The precept for 2021/2022 is due to arrive sometime in May 2021. The RFO requested permission to apply for a Certificate of Exemption due to the low monetary turn over and also requested that she contact Brian Bramley to conduct the audit. There is little financial paperwork for the year so it is hoped that the task will not be difficult. This was proposed by Cllr Arkell and seconded by Cllr Chandler, all in agreement.
The Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Annual Governance & Accountability Return for an exempt authority for accounts for the year ended 31st March 2021 will be displayed on the website and notice board once the accounts have been approved.
The Accounting Statement will be put forward at the next meeting in June to publically approve and sign off.
Full Parish Council Meeting then followed:
5. Declarations of interest:
There were no declarations of interest for this meeting.
6. Minutes of the last remote meeting:
The minutes from the last remote meeting in April 2021were approved. Proposed by Cllr Glazebrook, seconded by Cllr Morton. All unanimous.
7. To discuss and approve the next stage of the Leigh Neighbourhood Development Plan:
Colin Withers gave detailed feedback on the current progress of the Leigh NDP. He and Andrea Pellegram, the professional consultant, have collated all the responses from the recent Regulation 14 consultation and used them to formalise the report ready for the Regulation 15 stage. The responses from the consultation were excellent and they will be summarised and included as an appendix in the report. There was a useful response from the extended mailing list; a copy of the documentation was sent to numerous statutory consultees and planning agents. Their responses have also been very detailed. A few minor alterations have been made to the NDP Plan as a result of these comments received at the Regulation 14 Consultation stage. A draft of the final document has been circulated. Attention was drawn to the Consultation Statement and especially the section that highlighted the comments fed back from the parishioners, so that it reflects much of the local opinion.
The draft document was presented for approval at tonight’s meeting so that this final version can be submitted for approval. GCC have already confirmed that they do not need a Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) or Habitat regulations Assessment (HRA). TBC have been given until middle of May to respond to this query. The latest developments at Coombe Hill have not been included in this latest version. If it becomes a significant alteration which then affects the building/housing allocation this will be addressed in a review of the plan at a later date. The plan will continue in its current form. It is easier to modify a section that needs changing once the full document is signed off. Andrea Pellegram has requested a copy of the minutes that record the official approval of the document in its Regulation 15 format. Looking at the finances for this work, Colin will incorporate any missed costings into the next grant application to cover the known expenditure.
Cllr Arkell thanked Colin and all those that have contributed to the work on the plan at various stages. It was proposed by Cllr Chandler that this document be approved to be submitted for the Regulation 15 stage. This was seconded by Cllr Glazebrook. All were unanimous.
8. To receive planning updates on all applications that have not received a decision notice.
The clerk has circulated a list of all planning applications, appeals and enforcements that are currently not showing a decision notice on the planning portal. Against each application is an update of the latest or last known submission. The parish website has also been updated with this information. A discussion followed about the length of time that TBC take to make decisions on planning applications. It has been said that they are under staffed but it is evident that they are not serving the public well. It is of no surprise that applicants are turning to the planning inspectorate for non-determinations. The Parish Council have also noted that they are very lapse in dealing with suspected breaches of planning even when they are handed all the information. It encourages people to build first and then use retrospective planning regulations if they get caught.
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 2021/2022. It is a simple budget that reflects minor price rises and the reintroduction of parish council meetings. The precept figure for 2021/2022 from TBC has been paid.
10. Update on Highways Issues.
Cllr Hooton reported that the potholes have been filled down Wharf Lane, bar one. As regards the drains at Coombe Hill, the junction 10 crew under took a huge survey. Initial findings have said that they are not big enough and not maintained properly. They are 100+ years old. It is hoped that the work on the Vineyards will not create problems with this drainage system but improve it. It will need to be monitored for a period of time. It is also thought that the drainage issue outside The Croft has been resolved. The Parish Council wished to thank Phil for all his hard work on the many highways issued. Phil has promised to hand over the contact details and any other relevant information to Leigh. The primary contact with Glos Highways is Ray Waters.
11.To approve Full Council Meeting dates for 2021/22