Stanhoe Parish Council
Minutes of Parish Council Meeting
Held on Thursday, 12th November 2015 at 7.00pm
in the village Reading Room
Clerk to the Council – , tel 01485 518409
Mr. T. Austin (TA)
Mr. D. Bridge (DB)
Miss R. Brown (RB)
Mr. D. Lord (DL)
Mrs. J. Lord (JL)
Mr. M. Roche (MR)
Mr. A. Upton (AU)
Three members of the public were present.
1. To consider apologies for absence
2. To consider approval of Minutes from the Parish Council meeting of 10th September 2015 and Planning meeting of 30th October 2015
These were all passed and signed by the chairman.
3. To record declarations of interest from members in any item to be discussed
No declarations made.
4. To adjourn meeting to allow public participation
The matter of overgrown hedges was raised therefore it was agreed to proceed straight to Item 8 d) ‘Update on trees & hedges’.
A member of the public circulated copies of a hand-written note, signed by a number of residents in Station Road, in which was expressed their dissatisfaction with the state of certain hedges on the West side of Station Road and stating that it was the legal responsibility of residents to ensure that hedges on their properties did not obstruct footpaths or highways.
The matter of hedges has been discussed at many parish council meetings in recent years and details can be found in Minutes published on the village website. Also, in recent years, notices have been placed by the Parish Council in the Saints Alive newsletter reminding residents to keep their hedges clear of footpaths and highways.
5. SNAP Report
The chairman had attended a meeting of the Safer Neighbourhood Area Panel (SNAP) on 15th September. Stanhoe falls within the Hunstanton and Burnham Neighbourhood so most of the discussions centre on the more heavily populated areas which have correspondingly more problems of crime and anti-social behaviour. The proposed closure of Docking Recycling Centre was discussed due to the potential for illegal dumping of rubbish.
As a footnote to this item, the Chairman mentioned that, during a recent Speedwatch session in the village, one of the roadside warning signs was stolen. Since the police will not allow the team to operate without warning signs to motorists, no Speedwatch sessions will take place until a new sign is delivered in early December.
6. Proposed closure of Docking Recycling Centre
Public opinion was very much against this proposal. The clerk and a councillor had attended a Docking Parish Council meeting in October when a representative of the County Council had put forward the reasons for the proposed closure as being a savings of £70k per year. The alternative recycling centres at Hempton, near Fakenham, and Heacham were much further afield which would be both costly and time consuming to use. To add to the inconvenience, Heacham site was changing from a 7 days a week facility to part-time of only 3 or 4 days per week while still being expected by the County Council to cope with increased volume. It was also noted by Councillors that the closure would be a further erosion of services to those in rural areas despite residents paying council tax based on the same calculation as those residents in towns where many more services existed. Councillors asked the clerk to write on their behalf to the County Council and the local M.P. stressing their opposition to the closure.
7. Transparency Code
A new ‘Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities’ came into force in April 2015 resulting in the need for all Parish Council papers to be available on a website. In Stanhoe, the Parish Council was fortunate to have a section of the main village website to use. Agenda and Minutes of Parish Council meetings were already published there but the quantity of information would undoubtedly increase in future. It may be that the Parish Council will have to set up its own website in future and also purchase its own computer and printer/scanner. At present the clerk supplies her personal computer and printer for council business. A grant towards the purchase of any new equipment required would be available but may need to be topped up with Parish Council funds.
8. Updates on the following items:
a) Repairs to the shed adjacent to the village hall; this was the responsibility of the MEHM Trust and would be done in due course but other more urgent repairs had taken priority.
b) Geese on the pond; two of the geese were going to be re-homed this year but this had been postponed until January 2016. No problems recently reported.
c) War Memorial & Village Sign; maintenance and clearing weeds around both items were now included in the duties carried out by Mr. Punter. Mr. Punter had stated that he did not want payment for any work he did on the War Memorial so he would donate his payment for that work to the British Legion.
d) Trees & Hedges; it was reported that the area at the rear of the village pond needed attention and dead trees possibly removed. The clerk was asked to obtain a price for doing the necessary work. A resident had reported a problem with overgrowing hedge near the palisade fence opposite the pond. Councillors agreed to look into this and also carry out their usual assessment of hedges during their annual village inspection next year. See also Item 4 above.
9. Update on Planning matters:
a) An Appeal made by the residents at Stanhoe Hall, for the installation of solar panels on their land, had been upheld and permission given with the condition that the owners must submit a planting scheme for approval to the Borough Council. This would cover both planting around the panels and roadside hedgerow.
b) RES, the developers of Jack’s Lane wind farm had submitted an application for the development of a solar farm at Hyde Park crossroads on the B1454 near Barmer. There was a mixed response to the proposed development but no formal response was required from the Parish Council as the site fell outside Parish boundaries, however, it was agreed that a notice should be placed in Saints Alive reminding residents of the deadline for comments to the Borough Council. All residents should have received a letter from RES detailing their proposal.
10. Financial Reports and Approval of Payments
Up to date income & expenditure accounts, budget report and bank statements were circulated by the clerk. No queries were raised. Approval was sought for the payment of the following:
- invoices for the maintenance of areas around the War Memorial, village sign, children’s play area, village cross and Cross Lane pond
- invoice for the purchase of replacement links for some items of the play equipment
- the clerk’s salary for the months of September and October.
Approval of payment was proposed by DB, second by DL and unanimously agreed.
Members of the public left the meeting at this point – approximately 9.00pm.
11. Code of Conduct
A councillor distributed copies of the Code of Conduct and asked for confirmation that this version was still current. Confirmation was given. The existing Code of Conduct for Councillors dates from 2012 but is reviewed annually and formally adopted. The Chairman stated that comments and allegations had been made about council members and the clerk, which were wholly inappropriate and totally unfounded. This was extremely regrettable but he hoped that the situation which had caused the unpleasantness had been resolved and that everyone would now move forward and work together for the benefit of the village.
12. To receive items for the next Agenda for the meeting on 14th January 2016
Updates on Item 8 a) and b) were suggested and also the proposed poultry farm at Sedgeford.
The clerk reminded councillors that she could accept items for the Agenda up to one week prior to the meeting date.
No other items were discussed and the meeting closed at 9.20pm.