2016-11-24

 DRAFT MINUTES OF A MEETING OF HARLASTON PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE VILLAGE HALL ON THURSDAY 24 November 2016 AT 7.00pm

 

Present:                   Cllrs P Whitehouse (Chairman),

T Armstrong, P Timmis, S Forest, L Joyce, A Riches

 

 

In attendance:        Mr I Van Arkadie (Clerk), 7 members of the public, 2 representatives of Natural England, 2 representatives of Bromford Living   

                         

Apologies:               None received

 

Open Forum

River Mease -  Hannah Rigden and Neil Rudd from Natural England explained that a consultation was being undertaken on the River Mease. The River Mease is a Focus Area for Natural England and the organization was keen to learn about the experiences and perceptions of the river amongst local people. Those present were asked to identify good and bad points about living near the River Mease and to record these. Ms Rigden assured the meeting that, although she and her colleague might not be able to answer some of the technical queries about the Mease, they were there to listen and would ensure that all information was reported back to the revelant staff at Natural England. In the ensuing discussion the following broad themes emerged:

-          People felt the river was a key feature in the Mease Valley; that it helped contribute to the shape and attractiveness of the landscape; that it was a pleasant venue to walk along.

-          People were concerned at the flooding; farmers in particular were concerned that they were unable (or at least severely restricted) in what they were able to do to remove debris and blockages from the Mease and it was felt that this compounded the flooding problem; there was concern at a lack of general maintenance on the river; some felt that whilst nature conservation was a good thing it was being upheld to the detriment of wider community interests and even public safety.

It was agreed that Ms Rigden would supply further information about the Mease and Natural England’s plans and policies for it and that the Clerk would ensure these were distributed locally.

Bromford Living – representatives from Bromford Living  attended to discuss serious concerns about anti-social behavior associated with a Bromford tenant in Manor Lane. They outlined their procedures in managing situations such as this and assured those present that such matters are taken extremely seriously by Bromford. They described the sanctions that they were able to apply which could in extreme cases result in eviction. The Clerk reported that the County Council had intervened following an approach to the County Councillor, Alan White. The Council was due to go to court to seek a Possession Order on 29 November. If granted then bailiffs would approach the occupants of the two vehicles currently parked on Manor Lane and issue them with a deadline by which they had to move. It was agreed that the Clerk would contact the County Council to ascertain what safeguards would be put in place to ensure these vehicles didn’t simply return again at a later date. A number of residents from Manor Lane and Manor Close were in attendance. They raised their concerns about the situation and were issued with diaries by Bromford to record instances of anti-social and unacceptable behavior. The following behaviours had been observed:

-          Loud music being played;

-          Belligerent and aggressive behavior by the tenant and his friends when approached;

-          Dogs out of control that had bitten a resident on at least one occasion;

-          Dog mess on the lane and in people’s gardens with a return of human excrement being found near the Village Hall on one occasion;

-          Smells and odours suggesting drug use at the property.

They also made the point that some residents were scared to complain.

The Bromford representatives reassured the meeting that this would be taken seriously. They offered to convene a separate meeting for those affected to meet with them and stressed the importance of the diaries being completed and submitted to them to help them gather evidence.

Other points made included:

-          There was both surprise and concern at the limited interest shown by the Police in the events in Manor Lane. This was despite the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office being made aware and despite some residents meeting with the Police at the local station;

-          Parish Councillors expressed frustration that the problems in Manor Lane were not new. There were known to be records (in the Parish Council minutes) of similar problems, involving the same Bromford tenant, dating back at least as far as 2002.

 

The Open Forum ended shortly before 8.00pm. The Chair expressed his thanks to both Bromford and to Natural England for attending. The meeting was reconvened.

 

Declarations of Interest

There were none

 

Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2016 were approved, subject to a correction in the notes concerning Section 106. This was proposed by Councillor Joyce and seconded by Councillor Forrest.   

 

Matters Arising and Correspondence

Dog fouling – the Clerk had asked the local District Councillor to help find out if enforcement officers had visited the village in the summer.

Playgound Inspection – it was agreed to as the Playground Inspection Company to inspect the playground again, but to ensure that this was done at a time when the Chair was available to meet them on site. Action: Clerk

The Clerk had received some clarification from the County Council concerning the “Icebusters” initiative and potential liabilities. However, the Clerk and Councillor Joyce remained concerned that the Parish Council could be held liable. It was therefore agreed not to proceed with this. Community Defibrillator – funding was now available through the British Heart Foundation. Councilor Joyce agreed to complete and submit an application on a non-comital basis to ascertain how much funding would be available to Harlaston. Councillor Riches would ask the Parochial Church Council whether a defibrillator could be fixed to the wall of the churchyard.

Road Signs – the new village signs had been positively received. The Clerk had received some correspondence from the County Council regarding the planters, but – due to time constraints – discussion of this was deferred.

Telephone box – Councillor Joyce told the meeting that there was little progress to report as BT appeared reluctant to cede ownership to the Parish Council without a public consultation. It was pointed out that Lichfield District Council had already done this following the planning pre-application submitted by the Parish Council in the summer. It was agreed that the Clerk would copy Councillor Joyce the original correspondence from LDC to confirm that this had been done.

 

 

Neighbourhood Plans

Councillor Timmis agreed to work on updating this. Action: Councillor Timmis

 

Finance

It was noted that the current account balance stood at £14,292.96 as of 1 November. This compared with £14,844.43 for the same period in 2015. This was significant as the 2016 blance figure included the cost of the new village signs which was in excess of £2,000. The Clerk circulated some figures which summarized parish council expenditure over the past five years by category. This showed that overall expenditure had decreased over the years with substantial reductions in spending on general administration and on maintenance.

It was agreed to seek a higher precept in 2017-18 in order to secure funding to help address issues with the playground. The Clerk would look into this and report back to the next meeting. Action: Clerk

 

Planning

Details of current applications had already been circulated for comments.

 

 

District Council Matters

There was no report in the absence of the District and County Councillors. The Clerk noted the assistance of Councillor Alan White in getting action taken on the situation in Manor Lane.

 

Any Other Business

It was agreed that the Clerk would write to Cllr Tingey to ask if he wished to continue as a parish councillor.

Councillor Joyce had circulated a draft Village Newsletter which was positively received. It was agreed to circulate this.

It was agreed to use the next meeting in January to prepare a list of key objectives for the Parish Council in 2017.

Action: Clerk and Councillor Joyce.

 

Date of Next Meeting

 

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