Minutes of meeting held 13th July 2011in the Supper Room Gosforth Public Hall - 7.00pm
Present : Messrs. Ancell, Gray, Jacob, McKinley (Chairman), Norman, Rae, Wright; Mrs Jackson.
Also present were 8 members of the public.
1. Apologies: Dr Hutson; Mrs Gallery-Strong
2. Declarations of interest . None
3. Chairman's opening remarks. The Chairman welcomed Mr Rae and Mr Ancell who had both been co-opted as members of the Parish Council at the last meeting. He also said that congratulations of the council to Mrs Gallery-Strong on the birth of her daughter should be formally recorded – it being the first time in living memory that a serving councillor had had a baby. He then said that as most members of the public had come to discuss the planning application for Roundstone he would take that item first. For the benefit of the public he outlined those matters which were material planning considerations and explained his role within the LDNPA Development and Control Committee. It was his opinion that Planning Officers might be ‘minded’ to approve the application but if the Parish Council objected it had to be referred to the D&C Committee where LDNPA members would take any decision.
Item 9b. Roundstone - Construction of 3 Cottages in grounds. (Note: Mr Jacob declared an interest). Having listened to the points made by the members of the public the Parish Council discussed the matter further and decided to object on the following grounds:
The proposed development does not form part of the Parish Plan; neither does it figure as part of the policy for the Allocation of Land plans recently proposed by LDNPA. As outlined on the Land Allocations plans the Parish Council wished to see the village develop by an infill process based around the main areas of present development. Ample land exists for that purpose. The proposed development is 1 mile from the village centre. This raises issues of sustainability with the nearest Shops, Public Hall, Library and the majority of Gosforth’s 6 Pubs and other eating places, all being located in the village centre. There are also issues of pedestrian safety as there is no continuous footpath over the whole route to the village centre.
The council has serious reservations regarding the area set aside for parking which appears to be limited to space for 1 vehicle per property. The development is for 2/3 bedroom dwellings which are more than likely to result in more than 1 vehicle per household particularly bearing in mind the paucity of public transport to the village in general and to this part, none at all. It is inevitable that cars would be parked on the road as there is no other space, adding unnecessary risk to other road users on a narrow road with poor visibility, very close to a junction and a sharp bend at the foot of Leagate Hill – the entrance to the village from Wasdale.
Despite the assertions of the applicant regarding flood risk this area has been subject to flooding in living memory. There have been for some time, and continue to be, problems in this area with back-up of sewage in periods of heavy rainfall. This is largely due to past development which did not provide for separation of foul and run-off water with the result that the sewer is often overloaded. The main threat of flooding comes not immediately from the River Bleng (on the opposite side of the road, although the threat does exist) but from the Mill Stream which runs along the front of this and adjoining properties.
The proposed development is alien to the existing character of this part of the village which consists of well-spaced large detached dwellings (some listed), set well away from the road, and surrounded by (mainly) wooded gardens. Cottages that do exist along the roadside are early Victorian in style and stone construction.
The area including the land proposed for development is home to Red Squirrels. This area around Roundstone appears to be one of the last remaining refuges of this protected species. There are also a significant number of bats in the area but it is not certain whether they rely on the dwellings or the trees for their roosts. It is suggested that an appropriate survey should be carried out.
It is also noted that large trees which were blown down in a gale some 3-4 years ago have not been replaced which it was understood was required. It is also questioned whether this proposed development would require the removal of even more trees to accommodate the garden areas. We would welcome a visit from the Tree Preservation Officer to advise on the status of the trees.
As previously stated in its original correspondence to Mr Fawcett the proposed development is partly on land which is subject to a covenant which restricts any development without mutual consent of all those covered by the covenant. The advice from the officer concerned was that this was not relevant to any decision made by the planning authority. While this may be true from a strictly legal aspect the Parish Council feels that it should be borne in mind as, if planning permission is given, the outcome in terms of the burden of legal challenge would fall heavily on the remaining covenanters. Furthermore the Council feels that although the actual dwellings are not within the covenanted area, the gardens areas are. The gardens are as much part of the development as the dwellings and to all intent and purposes this should be the determining factor.
There is no ‘Need Statement’ attached to the documents and with some 10 properties for sale in the village at present the council questions whether there is in fact any local need at this time.
4. Minutes of the previous meeting held on 8th June 2010. These were approved (Proposed Mr Jacob, seconded Mr Gray)
5. Actions arising from the minutes.
1. Council Communications. Action – The Clerk
Action ongoing – held over until the council is up to full complement.
2. Follow up costs with Mr Garner for alternative scheme for Carpark lighting. Action – The Clerk
Action ongoing – The Clerk explained that the original scheme had to be dropped due to the problems with tree roots.
3. Reconvene meeting of Footpath Group. Action – Mr Wright
Action ongoing - held over until the council is up to full complement.
4. Define options for future PAYE and NI contributions.
Action – Messrs Norman, McKinley, Wright and The Clerk
Action complete – Ref paper (attached to these minutes) from meeting of 6 th July and action taken to set up arrangement with local Accountant.
5. Co-option of Messrs D Ancell & I Rae. Action – The Clerk
6. Co-option for final council member. Action – Mr McKinley
7. Forward details of Parish Tours. Action – Mr McKinley
8. Draft letter/invitation ref Queen’s Jubilee. Action – The Clerk
Forward names of organisations to be included. Action – All members
Action ongoing – to be put on August agenda for further discussion on the way forward. The Clerk would circulate the draft letter.
9. Draft response ref Libraries future. Action – The Clerk
10. Consult solicitor ref Playing Field access. Action – The Clerk
Action complete – See Item 8d below.
11. Get costings for fence and gate on Playing Field. Action – Mr Norman
12. Arrange for plinth for Honesty Box. Action – Mr Norman
13. Respond to LDNPA ref 2 Cross Lanes. Action – The Clerk
6. Financial Matters.
Monthly Financial Statement (Mr Gray & Mr Norman expressed an interest).
In response to questions The Clerk said that those items or services paid for by the Parish Council for the Open Day would be reimbursed when the grant money for the Play Equipment was released. The statement was then approved (Proposed Mr Jacob, seconded Mr Wright).
Annual Audit. The Clerk said that he had now received the Annual Return back from the District Auditor. There were no outstanding issues.
7. Main Business.
a) Bradbury House, Blengdale (Daycare) Centre (Mr McKinley). The Chairman said that he had received a letter from the Abbeyfield manager asking for support from the Parish Council towards an upgrade of the Daycare Centre; approximately £10K-£12K was required for new equipment, upgrading and refurbishment. He had since met the manager (Nicola Hallett) together with Mr Clarkson ( County Councillor), who said that he could provide some funding from his County allocation. Several members spoke of their experience of having elderly relatives visiting the Centre and the valuable service and benefits which it provided. There was general agreement that the Parish Council should support the Centre but there had to be a cautious approach as the Parish Council’s resources were fully stretched at the present time. This led to the Chairman outlining what he considered should be one of the main aims of the Parish Council – ‘to make a difference’ and inherent in this phrase was the implicit assumption that this difference would be positive and for the benefit of the community. He gave the Playing Field and Nursery projects as examples of how this had recently been achieved. Suggestions for promoting, facilitating or encouraging village organisations to generate funding towards the project were put forward eg. Extending the request for support to the whole catchment area (Ravenglass – Beckermet); using the Village Firework Night function as a fund raising event, and the possibility of involving the Rotary Club. The Chairman stated that if there was agreement in general from councillors for the ‘make a difference’ aim/philosophy, and in particular for working together with the Blengdale Centre, he would like members to give some thought to the sort of arrangement that could be established to take the project forward, and asked that the matter be brought back to the next meeting. In the meantime he would maintain contact with Mrs Hallett.
b) Forests Info from G Browning sent to members). This was in fact another consultation on behalf of HMG into the future of the nation’s forests, the previous one having produced a national outcry. Members were asked to read the consultation document and bring suggestions/responses to the next meeting when it would be an agenda item.
c) Bleng Crossings project (Info from G Browning sent to members). The Clerk said that there was a site meeting planned for 27 th July which he and Mr Wright would be attending and at which it was hoped to firm up the project details and also positively identify funding streams. Rachel Graham from the Community Fund Management Team would also be attending.
d) Support for Leiston cum-Sizewell PC. (Info sent to members). The Chairman read out a letter from the PC which was faced with responding to a planning application which amounted to some 1000 pages in length. The PC asked for support in seeking changes to planning guidance such that, IF THE PARISH COUNCIL WISHED, major developers (in this case Tesco):
1) Would attend the council meeting to answer questions about their application and
2) Provide resources to enable the council to properly assess their application, including a professional critique of the evidence.
The Chairman said that in his opinion this proposal was one which all Parish Councils should support, a view with which members concurred.
e) Broadband progress. (Info from CALC sent to members). The Clerk updated the meeting on progress to date, the project now being driven by CALC. The situation was that co-ordinators had been identified for the 6 Cumbria Districts and ‘Champions’from each parish (not necessarily Parish Council members) were sought who would feed back the required information to the co-ordinators.Several suggestions were made and these would be followed up by Mr Norman and The Clerk.
f) Council Appointments. This item was left over until the remaining council position was filled.
8. Representative's reports
a) Mrs Gallery-Strong – Open Day. As Mrs Gallery-Strong was absent the Chairman said that the day had been very successful with a large number of people attending. He thanked all those who had helped to both organise and help on the day.
b) Mr Gray – Cycleway. Mr Gray said thatthe Steering Group was to meet on the following day. NDA had expressed full support for the project and had changed their Land Agents. Mr Rae had joined the group as a cycling representative and would assist with the project.
c) The Clerk - A595 Bypass meeting. The Clerk said that the County Council had put forward 2 options for consideration; the first was to use the Ponsonby Church Lane with a minor diversion of Seascale Hall Farm and link up with the Seascale –Calder access road. This would be single track only and would require continuous traffic management eg by radio communication between the 2 ends. The second option was to provide a second carriageway between the Ponsonby Church Lane end and Gosforth Hill, adjoining and parallel to the existing A595. It was pointed out with some vigour that any scheme which did not include the section from Calderbridge Village to Ponsonby Church Lane end was unacceptable as this stretch of road was where most of the blockages occurred.
This led to a sugestion that use could be made of the existing bridge over the R Calder (which gives access to Pelham House and Pelham Drive) and by some undefined route join up with Ponsonby Church Lane. It was pointed out that this bridge was seriously restricted in both weight-carrying capacity and also width. While it was accepted by Parish Council representatives at the meeting that a route to Seascale via Church Lane might suffice as a short-term temporary measure the only acceptable longer-term solution would be a substantial improvement to the A595 which included Calderbridge Village. Attendees were asked to feed back the responses of their individual Parish Councils to the proposals.
d) Mr Norman, The Clerk – Meeting with solicitor ref Playing Field access.
The Clerk said that they had been advised that the starting point should be the Land Registration documents which should now be available. The solicitor said that if they did not appear on the Land Registry record in the next 2 weeks he would contact the HSBC Solicitors. He was given authority on behalf of the Parish Council to also ask for copies of any associated documents which may be in HSBC possession.
e) Nuclear Group - Geology Seminar. This meeting had been arranged by the MRWS Partnership ostensibly to improve its members understanding of some of the geological issues relating to the construction of a GDF. It was noted that few members of the Partnership (other than CALC) were present. The main area of discussion revolved round a paper from Prof D Smythe who had said that the whole of West Cumbria was geologically unsuitable for siting a GDF. Unfortunately he also said in his conclusions that if a GDF was to be sited in West Cumbria, the Longlands site was the least unsuitable. 2 eminent presenters challenged the view of Prof Smythe although not in any material way ie. It was shades of opinion rather than direct contradiction.
9. Planning Matters
a) Spout House – Concrete Garage. Objection on grounds that the design, construction and materials were completely out of character with the existing building.Dealt with by Mr McKinley, Mr Norman & The Clerk.
b) Roundstone – Construction of 3 Cottages in grounds. Initial request made to LDNPA to provide more information, and to allow for more time to reply. See Item 3 above.
c) 9 Meadowfield – Extension. No objection.
Cumbria Police – End of Community Forums. Noted.
CORWM – e-bulletin July 2011. Circulated to all members.
CRUG newsletter. Circulated to all members.
United Utilities – Ownership of sewers. The Utility were now responsible for shared sewers due to a recent change in the Law.The Clerk said he would pass the information on to Mr Gould for inclusion in What’s On.
CBC – Asbestos management request. An asbestos survey of the toilet block had been carried out some 2 years previously and no action was required.
CALC – Circular. Circulated to all members.
Lord Lieuenant of Cumbria – Info on Beacons for Queen’s Jubilee. Noted.
11 Public Participation. Mr Hosfield complimented the council in getting the brambles cut along the edge of the carpark and then asked whether there had been any progress on his suggestion for a footpath from the Red Admiral to Steelfield Hall. The Chairman replied that there was general council support for the idea, the way forward had been discussed, and the landowner(s) would be contacted as a first step. Mr Hosfield also asked why there was no 20mph speed limit through the village when they were commonplace elsewhere. The Chairman said that the council had spent a lot of time trying to get road improvements through the village including a 20mph limit but had met with resistance from County Highways. This matter would be resurrected for further discussion.
12 Questions Councillors wish to raise.
Mr Ancell – Asked if the yellow lines outside the shop could be re-painted. This would be reported to County Highways.
Mrs Jackson – Reported that the Nursery staff would be moving into the new premises on 14t July.
13 In Camera. None.
There being no other business the meeting was closed at 9.40pm.