MINUTES OF A MEETING OF HARLASTON PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE VILLAGE HALL ON THURSDAY 26 April 2012 AT 7.30pm
Present: Cllrs P Timmis (Chairman), P Whitehouse, A Tingey, A Armstrong,
Mrs V Turner, V E Tiso (Vice Chair), C Morris
In attendance: Mr I Van Arkadie (Clerk), Members of the public.
Apologies: None Received
Minutes of the Meeting held on 22 March 2012, previously circulated, were approved. It was proposed by Cllr Whitehouse and seconded by Cllr Tingey that they be signed.
Declarations of Interest
There were none
Football Pitch – it was reported that the Clerk had contacted Edingale Parish Council who had passed on the concerns about litter in the area of the football pitch. Concern was expressed that litter was still a problem. Agreed that the Clerk would contact the Trustee of the football pitch direct. The possibility of raising the matter with the local football authorities was mooted, but it was agreed not to do that at this time.
Bridge – it was noted that the coping stone on the bridge had been repaired.
The Clerk reported that two invoices had been received for the grass cutting. The total value was £375. It was agreed that these would be paid.
Cllr Turner reported on her discussions with Nat West Bank over the Parish Council’s account and the process for updating the mandate and the signatories on the account. As the forms previously circulating were no longer in use, a new form was circulated and signed by those councillors who were to be signatories and by the clerk in the meeting. A print out of activity on the account since November had been obtained. The Clerk would check his records and advise of any gaps in this. Once the forms had been submitted to the bank then statements would be sent to the Clerk. This would mean that the current mandate would continue as amended.
Cllr Whitehouse and Cllr Tingey proposed and seconded this as an appropriate course of action.
It was noted that a separate fund existed for the Play Area with Coventry Building Society and that a similar exercise could be required for this fund. The Clerk to check his records and confirm the details of this account and then liaise with Cllr Turner.
It was pointed out that the annual financial reconciliation would shortly be due and that this would require an internal audit. The Chair advised that Keith Johnson had previously done this. It was agreed that the Clerk would meet with the Chair to discuss this next week.
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
The Clerk reported that the Jubilee Medals had been ordered at a cost of approximately £244. There was a possibility that some of the cost could be recouped through the Jubilee monies available through Matthew Ellis, though this could not be guaranteed. Cllr Tiso queried the length of time taken to order the medals; the Clerk explained that – as noted at the previous meeting – they had proved difficult to track down (similar difficulties had been experienced by Edingale Parish Council).
Cllr Armstrong reported on the plans for a Jubilee picnic and barbecue on the Village Green over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Again it might be possible to use Jubilee monies to offset some of the cost. Cllr Whitehouse agreed to forward the Clerk the cost of hiring a marquee.
The Chair updated the meeting on the situation with Prowind. The Clerk had circulated an e-mail from the District Council which confirmed that a planning application had been received, but was – as yet – not validated. This was because the District Council required more information from the applicant before the application could be progressed and a consultation initiated.
There was discussion over the proposal (reported at the meeting on 22nd March) to engage a planning consultant and how this would be paid for. One idea had been to organize a public appeal. However, the Clerk had received advice from the Staffordshire Parish Councils Association that Parish Councils were prohibited from raising funds in this way. This raised questions over how such an appeal would be managed and the need to ensure that any monies raised were refundable if the need arose. Should this go ahead, then the management of it would need to be completely separate from the Parish Council.
The idea of a public meeting to raise these issues, along with the wider one of the actual proposal itself, was mooted and felt to be a good idea. It was agreed that the Clerk would contact SPCA to ensure that the Parish Council was able to engage a consultant.
The Chair reported that the likely cost of the planning consultant would be approximately £2,500 to appraise and report on the application (which was known to run to over 400 pages). Concern was expressed that this figure did not include the cost of representation which could be substantial. The Chair agreed to ascertain the possible costs of representation.
It was noted that wind turbines appeared to be less well-regarded than in the past. It was agreed that the Clerk would write to Tamworth MP, Christopher Pincher, thanking him for his help in this matter. It was further agreed that the Chair would contact David Tonks in Clifton Campville for advice on the matter.
Parking and Road Safety
The Chair reported that PCSO Karpi had approached the residents of Two Hoots and Rectory Gates to advise them on the parking issue. Since that visit the problem had actually become worse. It was agreed that the Clerk would write to the local police inspector to request decisive action to resolve the matter. PCSO Karpi had been invited to attend the meeting, but had indicated that this might not be possible due to police commitments on the evening.
The desirability of a community speed watch was discussed and it was noted that these had been successful in other areas. The Clerk would write to Tony Herring to invite him to help establish such a scheme in the village.
It was noted that Clifton were using temporary advisory speed signs. It was agreed that the Chair would discuss the issue with David Tonks and determine the viability of such a scheme in Harlaston
Localism and the Village Plan
Noted that a training session was planned for 15 May with Sue Arnold. A further training session was due to be held on 22 May at the District Council. Each Parish Council was entitled to two places. Agreed that the Clerk would reserve spaces for Cllrs Timmis and Turner.
It was noted that the March newsletter was late due to Cllr Morris being away on holiday. The meeting reiterated its thanks to Cllr Morris for his work on this. Cllr Tiso expressed concern at the content of the Newsletter and the fact that it was dominated by the Parish Council minutes. It was agreed that the Clerk would produce the minutes within a week of the meeting and that councillors would contact Cllr Morris direct with any items they had for possible inclusion.
It was agreed to submit an application for funding under the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge Fund for up to £25,000. This was proposed by Cllr Whitehouse and seconded by Cllr Morris. Cllr Whitehouse would lead on the application and would ask Sutcliffes, the firm who had quoted for the refurbishment of the playground, to complete the relevant parts of the application.
Best Kept Village
Cllr Tingey reported that Harlaston had entered the competition. He planned to organize a general “tidy-up” of the village (including the football pitch) on Sunday morning. Posters promoting the village and photographs were sought. It was agreed to purchase vouchers to use as prizes for the best children’s poster. Cllr Turner proposed this and it was seconded by Cllr Armstrong.
Flag and Flagpole
The flagpole had been damaged and needed to be replaced. It was agreed to order a new one of 60mm diameter as proposed by Cllr Tingey and seconded by Cllr Morris. The cost would be in the region of £200. However, it was further agreed that – due to the relatively short period of time since the pole was purchased – enquiries would be made to see if a refund could be obtained or some kind of exchange agreed. Cllrs Tiso and Whitehouse to look into this.
Any Other Business
Cllr Turner reported on concerns amongst some residents over the size of the conifers at County House. There was uncertainty over what powers – if any - local authorities had in these matters so the Clerk agreed to contact the District Council for guidance.
It was noted that the next meeting would be the Annual General Meeting and would need to be advertised in the local press. It was further noted that the financial audit would need to be completed by the end of June. The Clerk would action these.
Date of Next Meeting31 May 2012 in the Village Hall starting at the earlier time of 7.00 pm. This would include the Annual General Meeting.
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