MELBOURN PARISH COUNCIL
Draft Minutes subject to formal ratification at the next Parish Council Meeting.
Minutes of a Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 22nd November 2010 at All Saints’ Community Hall at 7.15pm.
Present: Cllrs. D. Mowatt (Chairman), V. Barrett, A. Brett, R. Gatward,
J. Hales, M. Linnette, A. Mulcock, M. Townsend and M. Sherwen.
In attendance: The Clerk, C. Cllr. van de Ven, 3 members of the Standards Committee – Michael Farrar (Parish Council Member, Stapleford PC,) Raith Overhill (Independent Member), Kathy English (Chairman and Independent Member) and Gary Duthie (Senior Lawyer, SCDC)
One minute’s silence was held in memory of Janice Guest.
514/10 Apologies for absence: Cllrs. Bloomfield, Simmonett and Wakerley
515/10 Declarations of Interest: Cllr. Barrett declared a Personal Interest in Item 519/10 as she is a member of the Planning Committee at SCDC. Cllr. Hales declared a Personal and Prejudicial Interest in Item 521/10 as he has family in Heydon.
516/10 Minutes of the meeting held on 25th October 2010:
With the following amendments: to Item 454/10 Change of use has “not” been granted; Item 450/10 addition of the word “as” before “a catchment area”; Item 456/10 change of date from 1st of December to 4th of December, it was proposed by Cllr. Barrett and seconded by Cllr. Townsend that the minutes of 25th October be signed as a true record.
517/10 Matters arising:
Item 443/10 – Heydon Grange Wind Farm is to be removed from the agenda in future.
518/10 To receive the Minutes of the Planning Committee meetings held on 1st and 15th November 2010:
1st: There were no matters arising.
15th: The date on the minutes is to be changed from 18th to the 15th.
Cllr. Barrett reported that is it hoped that a Planning officer will visit White House Farm on 23rd November. She will give a report back on this matter for the next planning meeting.
519/20 Planning Applications:
(a) Land at and including, 9 The Lawns. Dwelling. S/1963/10
No recommendation prior to a tree survey by SCDC, as per the similar situation on the adjacent plot.
520/10 Posting of unapproved minutes on the notice board:
It was agreed that the Clerk would in future only post approved minutes on the Parish Council Notice Board.
[Cllr Hales having declared a Personal and Prejudicial interest in the next item left the meeting at this point]
521/10 Heydon Grange Wind Farm:
Report from Jeannie Seers appointed liaison for Melbourn Village:
‘Promises’ event held on Sunday 14th November led by the Action Group to raise funds for professional support in the event of a planning application. It is believed that £7000 was raised.
A public meeting is being held by the Action Group on 24th November at 8pm at Heydon village church to discuss the latest position and future plans.
[Cllr. Hales returned to the meeting]
522/10 Purchase of Old Recreation Ground:
The committee passed a resolution that the papers could be signed outside of the meeting providing the contract is looked at by Cllr. Brett and he has no further comments to make. It is to be signed by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman and be witnessed by the Clerk.
[As the time was approaching 8.00pm the Chairman suspended Standing Orders to allow for public participation.]
[The Chairman resumed Standing Orders at 8.20pm]
523/10 Relocation of the Parish Office:
The e-mail from Amanda Sapsford was discussed and The Clerk explained what had been arranged so far with regard to the move.
The office at MVC will be vacant from 17th of December and the move will take place on the 20th December.
524/10 To consider the purchase of a Christmas Tree and erection of such:
Cllr. Gatward is to go with Justin Willmott to choose the tree and it is hoped to erect it around the 8th of December. The Clerk was asked to write to Leeches requesting the use of their electricity as in previous years.
The Clerk is to put the verbal quote received from Winter Comfort for the supply of food for the Chairman’s reception on the agenda of the Finance and General Purpose committee.
525/10 Financial Report as at 31st October: Noted
526/10 Cheques to be signed: Click on icon
It was proposed by Cllr. Townsend that the cheques be approved and signed, seconded by Cllr. Hales and Carried.
(a) E-mail from Mike Cooper – Drainage ditches.
The clerk is to write to the owners of New Farm and ask if the ditches by the hedge on Royston Road were their responsibility, and if so could they please be reinstated.
The need to resolve the flooding problem on the bend opposite Bury Lane was discussed. Cllrs were to check if there was any form of highway drainage at this point as it was thought that the water came off the road rather than from the bordering field.
(b) E-mail from Amanda Sapsford, Business Manager/Bursar MVC – rental of the Community Education Office. Dealt with under Item 523/10.
(c) E-mail from Anne Field – permission to erect a banner + directional sign for Melbourn United Reformed Church.
It was proposed by Cllr. Barrett that THE UNITED REFORMED CHURCH BE ALLOWED TO PLACE A BANNER ON THE CROSS FROM THE 27TH NOVEMBER TO THE 5TH OF DECEMBER TO ADVERTISE ITS CHRISMAS BAZAAR TO BE HELD ON 4th DECEMBER. Seconded by Cllr Townsend and CARRIED.
The Clerk has also been asked for advice with regard to directional signs to the church. The Clerk had replied saying that David Lines of CCC was the person to speak to with regards to road signs.
Cllr. Mulcock said that he would talk to a member of the Baptist Church with regard to getting its directional sign replaced as its condition had deteriorated.
(d) Quote for relocation of the Parish Office.
This is to be made an agenda item at the Finance and General Purpose meeting on 29th November.
(e) No further correspondence was received.
528/10 Report from C. Cllr V. de Ven.
1. Flint Cross: After several weeks and much prodding, I had a reply to the query as to why the 50PMH signs have been spray painted out:
The legal order to enforce the speed limit is being completed as part of a larger speed limit review on the A505 and other A and B roads in South Cambs. In order to minimise costs all the speed limit modifications are being advertised together so that objections can be considered by the South Cambs Area Joint Committee in January. Unfortunately, it was not possible within the resources available to complete this process ahead of the Flint Cross improvement. Rather than delay the engineering works until the speed limit process was complete, it was felt better to complete the substantive work and follow on with the speed limit when the legal process is completed. Costs were saved by erecting the signs (which also highlight Flint Cross as an area of activity and should contribute to improving drivers’ awareness of the junctions) whilst labour was on site. However, as the speed limit is not yet enforceable it was decided after discussion with the police that they should be temporarily covered. The spray is especially made for this purpose and will be removed as soon as the speed limit order is confirmed.
2. Royston and District Community Transport would be happy to help with transport arrangements for children from neighbouring villages attending Melbourn Youth Club. This can be provided via a range of different vehicles to meet varying needs. There is a small charge depending on the type of vehicle used. Hopefully, if Melbourn Youth Club continues, this service can be used to augment the take-up of the club by children from neighbouring villages.
3. I’ve already circulated to parish councillors an FAQ list produced by CCC about arrangements for use of the Addenbrooke’s Access Road. In summary, no arrangements have been made by Addenbrooke’s to facilitate drop offs and collections of patients by volunteer drivers (or indeed by friends or family). The portion of the road around the hospital site is restricted for access to the hospital and a number plate recognition system generates letters to drivers passing through within a set period of time. This has already generated concern by volunteer car schemes. Separate information has been published by the County Council and Addenbrooke’s and there have been some inconsistencies.
4. Following on from difficulties in getting parish council questions to the County Council answered in a sensible time frame, I’m proposing a motion to change the rules around public question time at formal council meetings, which at present require the questioner to appear in person. These questions, posed in a formal public setting, do receive timely responses and can help to expedite important local issues.
529/10 Cemetery & Churchyard Inspection Report:
It was Cllr. Sherwen’s turn to do the inspection and at the present time he had not done so. The book had not be filled in .
530/10 New Road Cemetery:
Cllr. Sherwen reported that he had placed a metal plate on the bottom of the gate which led from Victoria Way so that the gate would open without catching on the ground.
Cllr. Sherwen was still waiting to receive a quotation from Morley Manufacturing for a metal cage to support the soil store.
The Clerk was asked to instruct the Ranger to empty the bin and take away any rubbish from the soil store.
531/10 Village Car Park:
Cllr. Sherwen has the design proposal and was taking suggestions for change or comments from Councillors. It was hoped that this design proposal would be re-presented at the meeting of the 13th December.
The Clerk is to contact Jenny Clark with regard to the Council Tax on the car park.
532/10 BMX Trails:
Cllr. Barrett reported that she was waiting for the gates to be put up, the hedging put in and the fence repaired.
There had been a meeting held with the youth and Cllrs. Barrett, Hales and Mowatt on the subject of forming a committee. The main item discussed was the insurance issue and the fact that young children had to be accompanied by their parents. There is to be another meeting held on 12th December.
533/10 Anti-Social behaviour of motor vehicles in The Moor:
In future this item is to be removed from the agenda.
534/10 Village Plan:
Cllr. Brett reported that a first draft of the plan had been produced by the report-writing sub-group, based upon an analysis of the Questionnaire replies. This was now being refined and updated with further details (just received from the analysis company) of individual comments included in the Questionnaire returns. A meeting is being held on 4th of December to thank the volunteers for their efforts in the distribution and collection of the questionnaires and to further inform them of the next stages of the village plan now the results are becoming available.
535/10 Neighbourhood Panel:
There is to be a meeting in February and Cllr. Townsend will bring any items to the notice of the meeting if given to her beforehand.
536/10 Committee Reports:
(a) Highways and Rural footpaths – Item 483/10 Drainage problems at Kay’s Close is to be made an agenda item on the Planning agenda.
The Clerk is to contact Mike Cooper and ask for a progress report on Kay’s Close.
(b) Play Areas, Recreation and Youth – Cllr. Hales enquired if the Clerk had heard back from Meldreth Council with regard to the Japanese Knotweed growing on the bend in Station Road. The Clerk said she had not heard back as yet. C. Cllr van de Ven was asked to talk to Meldreth Council with regard to this matter.
(c) Urgent reports from Committee Chairmen: There were no further reports.
537/10 Future Meetings.
(a) 6th December – Planning + Cemetery
(b) 13th December – Parish Council
(c) 20th December – no meeting due to move to new office at MVC
(d) 21st December – Chairman’s Reception
(e) 27th December – Bank Holiday.
(a) 10th January – Planning
(b) 17th January – Finance and General Purpose
(c) 24th January – Parish Council
(d) 31st January – Planning and Conservation
538/10 Urgent Matters:
Cllr. Mowatt was concerned with the state of the British Legion in Melbourn due to officials having to resign due to health problems. There did not seem to be any people coming up the ranks to take over the position of the officers. He felt that this matter needed some support. It was decided that it be brought up at the meeting on 4th December.
The Clerk reported that re-thatching of Millside Cottage was to take place and this would involve occasional parking on double lines on Station Road, whilst material was being taken from site. The owner is to inform the police of this matter.
The Chairman closed the meeting at 9.55pm
Addendum to Parish Council meeting of 22nd November 2010
Gary Duthie, a senior Lawyer from SCDC, addressed the meeting. He told the meeting that it was his job to support the Monitoring Officer if there was an issue.
The Standards Committee reaches out to support Parish Councils. He felt it was important that Councils had in place Standing Orders covering contractual matters. He spoke on the fact that Councillors are summoned to discharge formally council business. He was very pleased to see that Melbourn Parish Council had in place a facility to allow for public participation and the display of minutes and agenda of meetings on the notice board and website to keep the public informed.
The matter of consultation times on planning applications was discussed and he suggested that thought should be given to dealing with applications within the 21 days time span as there were expectations that a decision would be made in this time.
Councillors must abide by the code of conduct and it was a key issue that they keep themselves refreshed and up to date with the code. Councillors must be aware that they fit into a bigger picture. Teamwork between Councillors and Clerk makes for a happy ship. The role of Councillors was a responsible one but it should also be an enjoyable task. The Standards Committee can give general advice to steer councils in the right direction.
Kathy English, Chairman and Independent Member, addressed the meeting and said there were 19 people on the Standards Committee which was there to promote and maintain standards of conduct. 7 are SCDC members, 4 Parish Council representatives and 8 are independent members who cannot be either District or Parish Council members. Kathy explained that the latest bulletin from Standards for England stated its belief that the ‘Standards Board regime’ would not be abolished before the end of 2011, and therefore it was likely that the Standards Committee would continue in its present form at least for the next year. She then went on to explain how complaints were dealt with. They first go to the committee where they are looked at and if thought necessary they are passed to the Assessment Committee. This committee looks at the paperwork to see if the code of conduct had been broken. Half of the complaints are thrown out by the committee. If a breach is found then there has to be hearing. 25% of cases are thrown out at this stage.
The Standards Committee wants to encourage and support Councillors, who are urged to keep an eye on Government proposals.
The Chairman thanked Gary Duthie and members of the committee for their comments and attendance at the meeting.