Parish Council Minutes - June 2013

  • Minutes of meeting held 12th June 2013 in the Supper Room Gosforth Public Hall - 7.30pm

     

    Present : Dr Hutson; Messrs. Ancell, Gray, Jacob, Norman, Parker, Rae, Walton, Wright.

    Due to the absence of Mr McKinley, Mr Norman (Vice-chairman) chaired the meeting.

     

    1. Apologies: Mr McKinley, Mrs Gallery-Strong.

     

     2. Declarations of interest . None

     

    3. Chairman's opening remarks. The Chairman introduced PC’s Stuart Burgess and Helen Whelan who gave a short presentationfrom Cumbria Police regarding Sellafield security operations. The new unit was based on the Sellafield site, was operational 24 hours/day and was used to deal with any local issues including traffic. It worked in tandem with the Community Police Officer. The public could contact either the unit (e-mail stuart.burgess@cumbria.police.uk) or Ben Rogerson (e-mail Ben.Rogerson@cumbria.police.uk, Tel 0845 3300 247) or the non-emergency Police Tel No. 101 at any time for assistance or advice. The Clerk was asked to include this information in What’s On and the web-site.

    The Chairman said that as Mrs Mason was present he would bring Item 9a forward.

    9a) 81A Meadowfield, 2-storey extension. Mrs Mason gave a short presentation on the reasons for the development and the attempts made to reduce the consequential effects on the neighbours. The council then reconsidered the application. It had originally considered this application on 8th May and raised objections in support of the adjacent neighbours. Although the council recognised the domestic needs of the applicant and welcomed some of the changes as a potential improvement, particularly in regard to off-street parking, it did not feel that the changes were sufficient to over-rule its comments submitted earlier and consequently still supported the neighbours in their objections.

     

    4. Minutes of the previous meeting held on 8th May 2013. These were apporoved (Proposed Mr Wright, seconded Mr Walton).

     

    5. Actions arising from the minutes.

    1.   Produce list of local businesses. Action ongoing. Action – Dr Hutson, Mr Norman, Mr Ancell.

    2 Discuss with the Carpark Group the provision of a new Tourism Board. Action ongoing. Action - Mr Wright.

    3. Discuss carpark land ownership issues with Mrs Unsworth. Action ongoing. Action – Mr Norman.

    4. Draft ideas for public communication. Action – Mr Walton. Action ongoing.

    5. Produce discussion paper on Unitary Authority governance. Action ongoing. Action – Mr McKinley, The Clerk.

    6. Deal with Insurers ref 2013 premium. Action – The Clerk. Action complete.

    7. Send Annual Return to auditors. Action – The Clerk. Action complete.

    8. Write to Cumbria CC ref Flooding report. Action – The Clerk. Action complete – As no reply had been forthcoming The Clerk had contacted Mr Clarkson who had spoken to the officers concerned. A reply is still awaited.

    9. Contact solicitor ref Carpark. Action – The Clerk. Action complete – the advice given is being followed up under Action 5.3 above.

    10. Send out minutes of CALC County Executive meeting. Action – The Clerk. Action complete.

    11. Respond to LDNPA ref planning applications for 79 and 81A Meadowfield. Action complete. Action – The Clerk.

    12. Respond to CRHT with information on land ownership. Action – The Clerk. Action complete.

    13. Ask Mr Davies ref grass-cutting at Denton Park. Action – The Clerk. Action complete – the response was as was stated previously; the grass which is owned by Copeland BC will be cut twice per year in June and October.

    14. Produce list of advertising non-payers. Action – The Clerk. Action complete – awaiting a decision from the Chairman.

     

    6. Financial Matters. The Clerk explained that theamount recorded for VAT refund had been received but was not included in the total balance. This would be corrected when the next Bank Statement was issued. The statement was approved (Proposed Mr Walton, seconded Mr Wright).

     

    7. Main Business

    a) Broadband Conference Rheged. Mr Gray said that it was common knowledge that the green light had been given to enact the roll-out process. It was anticipated that detailed information on this would be revealed and would be subsequently broadcast by the Hub Co-ordinator Mr Kennish.

    b) South Egremont Water supplies. The drop-in session/ consultation event to take place in Egremont Market hall on 21 st June (9.00am–7.00pm) had been publicised.

    c) Response to DECC ‘Call for Evidence’. This had been completed and submitted; all members had been sent a copy and The Clerk would put a copy in the Library and on the web-site.

    d) Village Grass-cutting. Dealt with under Action 5.13 above. Dr Hutson suggested that consideration should be given to including this area within the council contract for grass-cutting next year. In the meantime an explanatory note should be included in What’s On. This was agreed. Mr Rae complained that the footpath that links the Santon Bridge and Wasdale roads was almost impassable. The Clerk replied that this was not strictly a public right of way although it had been used as such for many years. It was agreed that The Clerk would contact the County Education Dept with a view to establishing ownership and responsibility for maintenance.

     

    8. Representatives Reports.

    Mr Walton – Reported that as part of the review of the Bleng Forest project it has been possible to include the Picnic Area and the Viewpoint within the current work programme.

    Mr Gray – Said that the Cycleway Group would be meeting shortly to review progress including a recent deputation to Sellafield.

     

    9. Planning Matters.

    b) 7/2013/4029, 76 Meadowfield Creation of new dwelling. (Mr Gray declared an interest).

    Prior to the meeting a member of the council had consulted with neighbours. Specific issues which arose were:

    The new driveway (to No 76) is too close to the corner.

    Any additional building will add to the already existing parking problems in this area.

    Due to the narrowness of the new plot only single line parking is an option if more than one vehicle is owned; this inevitably will lead to on-street parking.  

    The additional dwelling will cause a substantial reduction in light, privacy and loss of amenity for several residents, but in particular those of No 77.  

    It is considered that the site is too small to accommodate another dwelling and as such constitutes over-development.

    The design and positioning (end-on, small front garden (none at the back), and forward of the existing building line)is out of keeping with the character of the adjacent properties and the estate in general.

    The above comments would be forwarded to LDNPA.

     

    c) 7/2013/4031, Row Head, Extension. No objection.

     

    d) 7/2013/4033, Bolton Head Farm, Changes to roof lights. No objection.

     

    e) 7/2013/4035, Bolton Head Park, New access. No objection.

     

    f) CH/4/13/2195/OF1 , Charolais, New farm building. No objection.

     

    Some members felt that the means by which planning applications were discussed was inconsistent. It was agreed to put ‘Protocol for planning’ on the next agenda.

     

    10. Correspondence.

    a) The Clerk said he had been contacted by Mrs Jackson who asked if she could count on the support of the council when applying for a funding grant towards a potential increase in accommodation capacity at the Nursery. It was agreed in principle to support the venture.

    b) Notice of the 3-tier meeting at Lampugh on 18 th June.

    c) The Clerk said he had been contacted by a post-graduate student from Manchester University who wished to gather information on the MRWS process, in particular the Voluntary aspects. Arrangements would be made via members of the Nuclear Group.

    d) A letter from the Police Commissioner, the CALC Newsletter and the Guide to the new Copeland BC web-site had all been forwarded by e-mail.

     

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

     

    12 Questions Councillors wish to raise.

    Mr Wright – Asked how much the Honesty Box wasattracting in contributions. The Clerk said he collected £22.49 when he emptied it on 18 th March and he would check at the weekend.

    Mr Gray – Asked whether there was an issue with members distributing the Newsletter. This was not perceived as a problem. He then asked that if the difference between the advertising donations and the production costs was of the order of £600/year would that level of expenditure be acceptable to the members. This was not perceived as excessive. It was agreed that the Newsletter should be discussed at the next meeting.

    Mr Ancell –

    a) Asked what progress was being made on refurbishing the yellow lines within the village. The Clerk said he had been reassured by Mr Cosgrove that this would be done as part of the 20mph speed limit installation. However he would raise the matter again.

    b) Said that there were occasions when people were using the Playing Field for exercising their dogs and when challenged said that they had not seen the relevant notices. The Clerk said that he had some spare notices and would put them up.

    c) Said that it had been reported to him that when a representative of The Brownies had asked permission from Sellafield to take a small party pond dipping at Newton Manor she had been asked for a fee. This was considered ridiculous and The Clerk was asked to investigate. Mr Gray said that he would also speak to the Land Agent.

     

    13 In Camera. None.

     

    There being no other business the meeting was closed at 9.42pm.


    Response form

    Please use this form to respond to this call for evidence on Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: Review of the Siting Process for a Geological Disposal Facility.

    The closing date for the submission of responses is 10 June 2013.

    Responses can be returned by email (preferable) or post.

    Email address: radioactivewaste@decc.gsi.gov.uk

    Or by post to: The Managing Radioactive Waste Safely team

    Department of Energy and Climate Change

    Room M07

    55 Whitehall

    London

    SW1A 2EY

    Name

    DA Polhill      

    Organisation / Company

    Gosforth and Ponsonby Parish Councils      

    Organisation Size (no. of employees)

    1      

    Organisation Type

    3rd Tier of Local Government

    Job Title

    Clerk/RFO      

    Department

         

    Address

    Combe End

    Drigg

    Holmrook

    Cumbria

    CA19 1XG

    Email

    d.polhill@btinternet.com      

    Telephone

    019467 24327

    Fax

         

     

    Would you like to be kept informed of developments with the MRWS programme?

    Yes

    Would you like your response to be kept confidential? If yes please give a reason

    No

     

     

    The Government is interested in your views on the geological disposal facility site selection process outlined in the 2008 Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) White Paper. To assist us you may wish to consider the following issues in your response:

    • What aspects of the site selection process in the MRWS White Paper do you think could be improved and how?
    • What do you think could be done to attract communities into the MRWS site selection process?
    • What information do you think would help communities engage with the MRWS site selection process?

     

    1. Improvements.

    In general terms the issue of trust is the aspect of the site selection process most in need of improvement.

    There evolved during the previous process a profound mistrust between some of the participants themselves within the MRWS Partnership (most notably with CALC), and a complete absence of trust between the MRWS Partnership and a large section of the general public, particularly Town and Parish Councils.

    This evolution occurred initially because:- there had been no mention in the White Paper of June 2008 of any such body as the MRWS Partnership; the precipitate action of Copeland BC in making an Expression of Interest with out any consultation; because its ‘lead’ participants were the somewhat less than disinterested bodies such as DMB’s and the NDA; and later, because of the dubious insistence of the MRWS Partnership that more geological surveys were required to give a greater understanding of the geology of West Cumbria - this despite NDA having at its disposal the results of the extensive work carried out by NIREX in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, the results of the NIREX Inquiry of 1996, and access to copious studies and investigations by academics and oil, gas, and water interests over a number of years.

     

    More specifically the following factors contributed extensively to an absence of trust:

     

    • The failure of the MRWS Partnership to comply with both UK and EU legislation in relation to a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

    The insistence of the Partnership that this assessment could be carried out after the beginning of Stage 4 (over halfway through the process) was remarkably odd and presumably illegal.

     

    • The failure of HM Government to put the geology and hence fundamental safety, at the top of its requirements.

    The principle of Voluntarism is very desirable, but geological considerations and safety were, and are, of paramount importance. Voluntarism should not come into play until a number of potential areas have been identified which are intrinsically safe.

     

    • The failure of HM Government to ensure that the requirements of the voluntarism process as set out in its own White Paper were adhered to by the MRWS Partnership.

    The voluntarism process was hijacked by the DMB’s for their own ends and under the noses of DECC representatives. Host Communities (clearly defined in the White Paper) were effectively sidelined and given virtually no recognition in the MRWS Partnership final report.

     

    • The so-called legal requirement that the decision whether or not to proceed to Stage 4 could only be taken by the respective Cabinets/ Executives of the DMB’s and not their full democratically elected membership.

    This led to the decision being taken in the two Borough Councils by small cabals representing very restricted geographical areas, all of which had been ruled out as ‘unsuitable’ by the BGS desktop survey.

     

    • The importance attached to the IPSOS/Mori poll results.

    Analysis of the results showed that some 80% of those interviewed knew little or nothing about the radioactive waste issues, and in the absence of any mention of the proposed locality of a GDF it would have been difficult for respondents to give a meaningful response to the questions posed.

     

    • The inability of HM Government to ensure that the MRWS Partnership was led by an independent panel, thus ignoring best international practice, and allowing a process to develop which progressively departed from that outlined in the White Paper.

     

    • The CALC experience, whereby throughout the proceedings it had great difficulty in getting the Partnership to recognise that Parish Councils (representatives of the potential Host Communities) had a crucial role to play in the siting process.

     

     

    • The failure of the MRWS Partnership to properly address the geological concerns regarding the integrity of the host rock of West Cumbria and its suitability for siting a GDF raised by Professors Smythe and Haszeldine.

    Instead of taking this as an opportunity to engage in a proper debate the Partnership chose to try and belittle the individuals and the information they were presenting.

     

     

    Attract Communities.

    The short answer to the question of attracting communities is for HM Government to display a far greater degree of transparency, honesty and integrity than hitherto shown. We note already in ‘The Call for Evidence’ an absence of these qualities.

    For example:

    • In Point 5 of the introduction it is stated that an approach based on Voluntarism and Partnership Working can work by quoting examples from Canada, Sweden, France and Finland.

    What is not pointed out is the very different approach taken by at least 3 of the 4 countries. Leaving aside the Canada example (huge country, small population and very different from UK) we do know that before the Voluntarism and Partnership Working approach was utilised in Sweden, France and Finland a geological survey of each country (Presumably in compliance with EU regulations relating to an SEA) was carried out, and all but a handful of areas ruled out as unsuitable for deep geological disposal. From those areas not ruled out, volunteer communities were sought.

    This was putting geology (and hence safety) first and Voluntarism and Partnership Working second, a complete contrast to the previous process adopted for the UK and which HM Government seem to wish to continue.

    It does not auger well for the future that this difference in approach is not highlighted.

     

    • In Point 6 of the introduction the fact is mentioned that two local authorities in West Cumbria voted in favour of moving to Stage 4, thus demonstrating that those “communities recognise the substantial benefits that are associated with hosting such a facility”. Yet what is completely ignored is the fact that Cumbria County Council, the senior local authority, voted against continuing because of doubts surrounding geology and safety.

    Also ignored is the fact that the ten member County Council Cabinet had a far greater geographical and population coverage than do the seven member executives of the two Borough Councils which are drawn respectively from wards in Whitehaven and Workington and the immediate surrounding hinterlands, all areas of which were ruled as unsuitable for a GDF by the BGS Survey.

     

    • It has been reported that following the termination of the site selection process in West Cumbria, meetings have been held between the Leaders of the two Borough Councils, the local MP and HM Government. Quite why these meetings were held and what the substance of them was, is largely unknown.

    Such meetings only engender suspicion and are far removed from the transparency required to attract and encourage communities to the site selection process.

     

     

    Information

     

    • First and foremost the length of time for which higher activity wastes remain harmful needs to be made clear.

    Statements that such wastes can be “potentially harmful for hundreds of thousands of years” while alarming in the extreme need a greater degree of certainty attached to them. How potentially harmful? How many hundreds of thousands of years?

    If there is no certainty to these questions then it should be stated.

     

    • What also needs clarification is how long an underground man-made disposal facility and the various secondary engineered barrier systems are expected to last.

     

    • There is serious concern about the ability of West Cumbria’s infrastructure to deal with the present situation, let alone handle any additional large engineering project.

    A potential GDF, a potential new-build nuclear power plant, major Grid upgrading, and the continuing requirement for the Sellafield site to operate, indicate a definite need for both a modern road and rail infrastructure.

    Will this be forthcoming and will it be provided before work starts on any of these large projects?

     

    • There should be a clear and unequivocal statement that there will be no ‘above-ground works’ both in, and within the setting of, the National Park.

    Specifically, all areas of Eskdale and Ennerdale granite within the National Park must be ruled ‘out of bounds’ to any activity relating to deep geological disposal.

    The highest level of protection possible is afforded by legislation to National Parks and that level of protection should in no way be compromised.

     

    • It should be made clear that groundwater flows, hydraulic gradients, as well as rainfall are important considerations in relation to siting a GDF.

     

    • It would be helpful if a clearer definition of ‘community’ than appears in the White Paper could be made.

    The use of the term ‘community’ has shown no bounds in elastic interpretation. This was highlighted many times during the previous process as the DMB’s sought to imply that they had support for proceeding as they wished, or even misrepresented facts to their own advantage eg. Defining themselves as Host Communities.

    Time and time again the ‘Community of West Cumbria’ was referred to by the MRWS Partnership and repeated by the media – there is no such thing. West Cumbria is a collection of communities, many of them in dispersed rural areas.

     

    • Point 6 of the introduction to this document illustrates the blurring between local authorities and communities.

    The two local authorities (actually the 7 member executives for each council) certainly voted in favour of proceeding to Stage 4; all of the communities which make up each local authority area had that decision thrust upon them. This did not prevent the leader of Copeland Borough Council claiming she had a mandate for the ‘community of West Cumbria’ – as stated above, there is no such thing.

     

    • Despite the assurances given in regard to the Right of Withdrawal, in reality because this was not legally binding, any Decision to Participate was in fact a final decision.

    The DMB’s appeared not to recognise this situation but in any future process it should be clarified at the outset.

     

     

     

     

     

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