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Stanhoe Parish Council Minutes

Stanhoe Parish Council Minutes - 4 January 2023

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Stanhoe Parish Council

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting

Held on Thursday, 10th November 2022 at 6.00pm
in the village Reading Room

Clerk to the Council – , tel 01485 518570


Present:

Mr D. Lord (DL)                     Chairman
Miss R. Brown (RBR)
Mr M. Wilson (MW)
Mrs R. Birkin (RB)
Mr B. Gorton (BG)
Mr T. Fitzjohn (TF)
Dr S. Shaw (SS)

Mr W Leighton                      Clerk

Apologies:

None

In attendance:

3 members of the public

1. To consider apologies for absence: All Councillors were present.

2. To consider approval of the minutes of the last meeting held on 28th September 2022: No queries were raised and the minutes were passed and signed by the Chairman.

3. To record declarations of interest in any item to be discussed: TF registered a declaration of interest in the planning application for Beulah House, a neighbouring property to his own. (See Item 17). SS felt strongly that he did not need to register a declaration of interest regarding the willow tree on Cross Lane pond (See Item 9) as he had reported the issue on behalf of a resident, not as a personal issue. The Chairman however, felt there could be a ‘perceived’ conflict of interest due to the proximity of SS’s property to the willow tree. For the avoidance of doubt, it has not been suggested that the Pond or its land is the property of the 3 houses behind it.

4. To adjourn meeting to allow public participation:  One member of the public reported that the village street furniture was particularly dirty and in some cases speed limit signs were unreadable. The Clerk explained that the Borough Council Streetscene Inspectors were asked to clean all street furniture on each occasion that they visited Stanhoe, but he would follow up the issue with the Highways Department. The member also advised Council that in conjunction with Norfolk Police there would be increased Speedwatch activity during the week 14th to 20th November – the Stanhoe Speedwatch Team would be in operation for 1 hour on 5 of those 7 days.

Two members of public raised the issue of the willow tree on Cross Lane pond and asked what actions the Parish Council were intending to take. The Chairman explained that the issue would be discussed in detail at Item 9 and he would invite further comment then, but that the main issue was trying to establish ownership, if any, of the pond and the tree. The members of the public offered to provide to Council what information they held regarding ‘property boundaries’ in that vicinity, for which the Council were appreciative.

5. Format of Parish Council Meetings: This topic expanded into one of ‘general internal management’ and the Chairman requested that it be deferred until after the departure of the public to facilitate a meeting ‘in camera(e)’.

Matters covered included ‘public participation’ and seating, flexibility of future meeting dates, the delay of the last meeting due to the Queen’s mourning period, quoracy and council confidentiality.

It was agreed to endeavour to ‘relax’ meeting procedures so the public may be permitted to speak at other times on agenda items in which they had specific knowledge or experience. It was also agreed to try and reduce the seating distance between the Council and the public. Re meeting dates and flexibility, the suggested dates for 2023 were discussed and are in Section 7 below. The discussion also considered the fairly specific rules of attendance requirements and reason for absence as specified in the ‘Good Councillors Guide’ there being a strict necessity of an adequate reason for non-attendance. The delayed meeting in September was a direct consequence of the London Bridge Protocol and NALC advice on the demise of the Queen. Re confidentiality, confidential council issues such as Councillor availability is not to be openly discussed in public prior to a meeting and Quoracy, in the case of Stanhoe PC, is deemed to be achieved when 4 or more councillors, including the Chairman are in attendance.

6. Appointment of a Deputy Chairman: MW proposed that the appointment of a Deputy (Vice) Chairman would enable continuity of leadership when the Chairman was away. This would apply to both routine Parish Council business and also be incorporated within the drafting of any Parish Emergency Plan (See Item 11). After a short discussion Councillors were in agreement to defer the appointment of a Deputy Chairman until after the elections in May 2023 and that should the need arise before then, the Chairman would nominate a Deputy Chairman pro tem.

7. Parish Council Meeting Dates 2023: Council discussed the following dates for Parish Council meetings for 2023:

4th January - Agreed
8th March - Provisional
10th May - Provisional
12th July - Provisional
13th September - Provisional
8th November - Provisional

Annual Parish Meeting – TBC

A further discussion would be held at the January 2023 meeting to confirm/amend the provisional dates.

8. Stanhoe Playing Field: The Chairman advised Council that the proposed contract from CGM Ltd, the grounds maintenance contractor for the playing field and children’s play area, would result in a significant increase in the cost to the Parish Council. Currently there are 18 cuts per year costing £58.13 plus VAT per month. The new contact would cost £105.00 plus VAT per cut. The Clerk had approached 3 other companies to obtain quotations – 2 of those companies did not wish to tender, the 3rd, verbally, said each cut would cost between £300 and £400. Following discussion, Council agreed to renew the contract with CGM Ltd on the basis of 10 cuts per year – 1 in April, 2 in May, June and July and 1 in August, September and October. The Clerk would make the necessary arrangements with CGM Ltd.

9. Willow Tree on Cross Lane Pond:  Whilst ownership status of the Cross Lane Pond and willow tree had yet to be established, the Clerk had contacted the Highways Department who confirmed that it was not owned by Highways and was more likely held privately or was on common land. The Highways Department would request further information from the Boundaries Team but this could take up to 6 months and may not result in any further information. In addition, the Clerk had contacted a local Arboricultural specialist and requested a report on the willow tree. The specialist advised:

“The overall health of the tree appears to be good. At present there is no urgent requirement for any tree safety works. However, bearing in mind the proximity to the road I would make the following suggestions for consideration:

Ivy should be severed at the base of the tree.

The crown should be lifted in order to provide at least 5 m clearance above the road.

The crown should be reduced by up to 30% in order to reduce the end weight of the limbs and branches in order to minimise risk of wind damage.

Cost £575.00 plus VAT to include the removal of arisings.”

BG suggested that the cost of the maintenance be met by the immediate neighbouring properties, who would be reimbursed by the council if it transpired that it was liable.

Councillors agreed to defer a decision to undertake any remedial work on the tree pending further investigation/confirmation of ownership by the next (January ’23) meeting.

10. Stanhoe Website: The Stanhoe Website Administrator had contacted the Parish Council and asked whether there was anyone in the village who could assist with some website maintenance. In addition, he advised that the website was about to run out of disk space – the Parish Clerk mailbox was taking up approximately one third of the total capacity. MW said that his wife would welcome a discussion with the Website Administrator to understand what was required and what support she may be able to offer. The Clerk would contact the Website Administrator and ask if MW’s wife could make direct contact.

11. Parish Emergency Plan: An open meeting had been arranged for 16th November at 7.00pm, in the Reading Room, to discuss updating the Stanhoe Emergency Plan. Notices had been placed in Saints Alive and on the Stanhoe website.

12. SAM 2 Update: The fastest recorded speeds within the 30mph limit for October 2022 had been:

Date Time Speed Sign Position
17th October 07.50 55mph Pond facing Docking

During October 22,600 vehicles passed the speed sign at an ‘average’ speed of 27 mph.

MW commented there had been another accident at the Bircham crossroads on the evening of 29th October which the Council was aware of.

13. Scam Awareness and Prevention Presentation: This had now been arranged for 11.30am on 15th November, in conjunction with the Tuesday coffee morning, in the Reading Room. Notices had been placed in Saints Alive and on the Stanhoe website.

14. War Memorial: The Clerk had obtained details of an individual who may be able to give advice and an estimate for renovating the war Memorial. The Clerk would make contact and arrange for a report/quotation.

15. Parish Update Session on Planning – 12 October 2022: MW had attended the subject session. MW reported there had been 5 presentations covering Local Plans, CIL payments, street naming, planning and enforcement. The only highlight of note was that where comments by Councillors on planning applications are made outside of a meeting (i.e. via email) then this method of obtaining comments should be reflected in Standing Orders. The Chairman explained that he was currently reviewing Stanhoe Parish Council Standing Orders and he would ensure that this method was incorporated.

16. New Builds Literature: RBR presented to Council, for their information, a special edition of the Kings Lynn Magazine focussing on ‘New Build’ properties. RBR thought the information may be useful when councillors are making comment on any future planning applications received.

17. Planning Applications and Information: The following planning applications had been received or decided upon since the last meeting:

Application Number Proposal Decision
21/01646/F

Proposed oak frame front extension.

Whitestrands
Docking Road

Application supported by Parish Council
22/01909/F

Proposed Rear Extension to Provide Open Plan Kitchen/Dining and Living Space, Loft Conversion to Provide Home Office Space, Internal alterations.

Beulah House
Bircham Road

Application supported by Parish Council

18. Financial Report and approval of payments:

The Chairman advised Council that the LGA had reached agreement on the new pay scales for 2022-23, backdated to 1 April 2022, and recommended that the pay award be implemented for the Clerk. Council agreed unanimously to the Chairman’s recommendation.

Up to date income & expenditure accounts, budget report and bank statements had been circulated to Councillors, via email, by the Clerk. No queries were raised.

Approval was sought and agreed for the following payments:

Chq No Payee Reason £
100874 J. Faulks Village Maintenance 245.00
100875 W. Leighton Salary September & October 2022 332.20
100876 HMRC PAYE September & October 2022 83.00

MW advised that he would be attending the virtual meeting on Norfolk County Council Budget Proposals for 2023 on 22 November 2022 at 19:00.

21. Resident’s Concerns/Issues Raised after the Agenda was published:

The MEHM Trust had proposed a joint ‘get together’ with the Parish Council to be held on 13th or 20th January 2023. The Trust felt it would be a good way of bringing the community together whilst showing the faces of the MEHM Trust and the Parish Council to all those attending. The evening would include a presentation on the use of the defibrillator and be a general meet and greet. Of the 2 dates offered, Councillors elected for 13th January. The Chairman would advise the MEHM Trust. Further details would appear in Saints Alive and on the Stanhoe website.

The Canon of Kings Lynn Minister had kindly invited the Parish Council to attend a presentation on the Kings Lynn to Walsingham Way Pilgrimage Project on 30th November 2022. Unfortunately, no Councillor was free to attend.

22. Items for the Next Agenda – Meeting of 4th January 2023:

TBC                

No other items were discussed and the meeting closed at 8.15pm.