Parish Council Minutes - February 2014

  • Minutes of meeting held 12th February 2014 in the Supper Room Gosforth Public Hall - 7.30pm

    Present : Dr Hutson; Messrs. Ancell, Jacob, McKinley (Chairman), Norman, Rae, Wright; Mrs Gallery-Strong.

    6 members of the public who wished to speak on Item 9 d.

    2 Members of the public who wished to speak on Item 9 a.


    1. Apologies: Mr Gray, Mr Walton. 

    2. Declarations of interest . None

    3. Chairman's opening remarks. The Chairman said that as members of the public were present who wished to pass comments on Item 9 d) below (Development of store at the Red Admiral; 7/2014/4002) he would take that item first and asked the residents to state their concerns. It was questioned whether the original building had actually been approved for commercial storage. Questions were also raised about the accuracy of some of the statements made in the submission eg. the number of LGV’s presently using the site and the visibility of the development from the adjacent roads.

    Comments were specifically made about:

    * the adequacy of the access for large vehicles (reference was made to recent traffic accidents)

    * the potential increase in the number of vehicles

    * the hours of operation of the site and the attendant noise disruption

    * the impact of such a large building on the amenity of residents of Boonwood Lane, as trees which had been previously planted as a screen were to be removed.

    The Chairman advised the residents that any matters relevant to eg. traffic, safety of access, road adequacy, etc. would be referred (by LDNPA) to the County Highways Dept. for a decision. He also advised them that copied letters and petitions were not an effective means of objection and it would be in their interests to write to LDNPA as individuals to raise any concerns or objections they may have.

    The council, in considering the application, felt that it should support a local business whenever possible. However it did feel that some of the points raised by the neighbours had merit and that before a decision was taken further discussion should take place to try and resolve the issues. The council would therefore respond to LDNPA appropriately; copies of the letter would be sent to the residents and the applicant.

    Item 9a. Craemar. The Chairman said that when the planning application for development of a new dwelling at Craemar (7/2013/4074) had been considered at the January meeting, the Parish Council had asked LDNPA to carry out a site visit to try and resolve objections made verbally by neighbours. The LDNPA planning officer had suggested that it would be preferable for the developers to explain the details of the development to the council and, as they were present, the Chairman introduced Tim & Helen Elvin and asked them to speak. They explained that the site already had approved planning permission for a development and what was proposed was no larger than, on the same footprint as, and no higher than the original, although the position had been skewed to allow better use of the site. The material changes were in the construction which originally had been for block/brick, the proposal being a sectional ‘log-cabin style’ with a slate roof, based on green principles. In response to questions it was confirmed that a crane would be required for off-loading which would have to take place from the access lane. Following discussion the council decided not to object to this proposal but to seek assurance from the LDNPA that Local Occupancy Conditions would apply, the height of the roof-line would be no higher than previously approved, and that during construction, appropriate arrangements would be made to ensure lane access to the Sewage Farm was maintained.


    4. Minutes of the previous meeting held on 8th January 2014. Mrs Gallery-Strong said that she had made specific comment about The Clerk’s informative response to the Cumbria County Council budget consultation and that this had not been included. With this amendment the minutes were approved (Proposed Mr Wright, seconded Mr Jacob).


    5. Actions arising from the minutes.

    1. Discuss carpark land ownership issues with Copeland solicitor. Action – The Clerk

    Action ongoing - The Chairman, Vice-chairman and The Clerk would discuss the way forward.

    Note: Since the meeting, information has been received from Copeland BC solicitor that he has made representations to the Land Registry to try and resolve the impass.

    2. Check list of properties with Local Occupancy conditions attached from both Planning Authorities.

    Action completeDistributed. Action – The Clerk.

    3. Obtain more information on use of social media for council communications. Action – Mr Walton.

    Check for guidance on use of social media with CALC. Action – The Clerk.

    Action ongoing – Guidance had been obtained and passed to Mr Walton.

    4. Send copies of SO’s to all members. Action – The Clerk.

    Action complete.

    5. Copy Cumbria Highways contact information to all members. Action complete. Action – The Clerk.

    6. Pass on storm damage issues to Mr Walton. Action – All members.

    Action complete.

    7. Resend planning checklist to all members. Action – The Clerk.

    Action complete – See Item 9c below.

    8. Check notice ref. Community Police. Action – Mr Norman, The Clerk.

    Action complete – The notices have been modified.

    9. Copy information ref. Hitachi reactor to all members. Action complete. Action – The Clerk.

    10. Check out suitability of oak tree for replacement. Action ongoing. Action – Mr Gray, Mr Jacob.

    11. Contact Copeland BC ref. tree roots on carpark. Action – The Clerk.

    Action complete – The Clerk said he had met Mr Strong from Copeland BC who had agreed that the tree roots were causing damage and he would refer this back to consider further action.

    12. Draft Flow-chart for consultation protocol. Action – Mr Rae.

    Action complete – Sent to all members.


     6.Financial matters.

    a) Monthly financial report.(Mrs Gallery-Strong declared an interest). This was approved, (Proposed Mr Norman, seconded Dr Hutson)

    b) 2014-15 Council Budget.

    The Chair of the Finance Committee gave an overview of the budget proposal. A previous council meeting had set out the principles on which the budget was to be drawn up :

    Providing that the above principles were adhered to, the council had agreed that a precept increase would be considered if necessary. Additionally, the council noted that due to the substantial reduction in grants from Copeland District Council,(Removal of the grant towards maintenance of the toilets; a reduction in Concurrent Services Grant; a reduction in Council Tax Support Grant) an increase in the precept would be required as a minimum just to hold to previous budgets. All of the parish councillors had previously been asked to locally canvass residents for views on increases versus maintenance of the parish and feedback had been supportive of continuing the current standards.

    The Finance Committee meeting had met in January to discuss the budget in detail and noted that there were increases required to grass-cutting and some legal or statutory obligations (e.g. insurance). A sum of money had also been proposed to carry out remedial and care works on a village asset (the toilet block). These proposed increases, combined with the reduction in income, has resulted in a precept rise of approximately 12%. The committee had carried out some modelling and analysis on the impact of reducing the precept and concluded that this could only be done if the principles were not adhered to - eg. using reserves to fund the budget or reducing grass-cutting requirements.

    The proposed increase in the precept, although appearing to be substantial in % terms, actually translates into an additional average of ~9p per week per household. The council voted to support the proposed increase (A precept of £21454), approved the proposed budget, and thanked the Finance Committee for the detailed interrogation of the figures and the implications analysis. A copy of the approved budget is attached to these minutes.


    7. Main Business.

    a) Council communications – Ref WH News correspondence forwarded to all members. Following contact from the WH News for parish information The Clerk said that he had told them that the council minutes were on the council section of the Village web-site and they could access those for items of interest. Should they require further information or material for a specific topic he could be contacted. There were some concerns that some things may be reported before the minutes were ratified ie. Some 4 weeks after the event, and The Clerk was asked to clarify the legal position with CALC.

    b) Conduct at Parish Council meetings. The Chairman said that although he had not attended the last meeting he had received negative feedback about the conduct of some members. Particular reference was made to members not preparing for the meeting by not reading or not bringing relevant papers, members not sticking to the item on the agenda, and to interruption while others were speaking. He said that the Standing Orders made clear the rules of debate and asked members to show more respect for their peers.


    8. Representative's reports.

    Mr Jacob – Reported that a reassessment of the causes of damp in the Public Hall had revealed that comparatively minor work would be necessary to effect improvements, and at a substantially reduced cost to that previously estimated.

    Mr McKinley – Said that he had attended, by invitation on behalf of the Parish Council, a presentation for the licensing of the new Vicar.


    9. Planning Matters.

    a) Development at Craemar (7/2013/4074. Dealt with in 3) above.

    b) Approval of No.50 Meadowfield, extensions (7/2013/4080).

    c) Planning protocol – Paper sent out with agenda.

    d) Development at the Red Admiral (7/2014/4002). Dealt with in 3) above.

    e) Middle Shop, Gosforth – Change of use (7/2014/4003).


    Items 9b) and 9c) above were carried over to the next meeting. Item 9e) would be taken at a council meeting which would be arranged as soon as convenient. (Note: Now confirmed as 20 th February at 7.30 pm.)


    10 Correspondence. All previously dealt with.


    11 Public Participation. There were no members of the public present at this point.


    12 Questions Councillors wish to raise.

    Mr Ancell – Noted that the Honesty Box had been damaged again by a vehicle. The Clerk said that he had seen this and asked Mr Hayes to dismantle and re-erect it further back away from the kerb to reduce the risk of future damage.

    Mrs Gallery-Strong – Requested approval to attend the Good Councillor training course run by CALC in May. This was approved. The Clerk would make the arrangements.


    13 In Camera. None.


    There being no other business the meeting was closed at 9.45pm.


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