Parish Council Minutes - May 2014

  • Minutes of Annual Meeting of the Parish Council held 14th May 2014 in the Supper Room Gosforth Public Hall - 7.30pm


    Present : Dr Hutson; Messrs. Ancell, Gray, McKinley, Norman, Parker, Rae, Walton, Wright; Mrs Gallery-Strong.


    1. Apologies for absence . Mr Jacob,


    2. Election of Chairman . Mr McKinley had already announced that he was not standing for another term as Chairman. Mr Wright proposed Mr Norman, seconded by Dr Hutson. There were no other nominations and Mr Norman was duly elected Chairman.


    3. To receive the Chairman’s acceptance of office. This was dealt with outside the meeting by The Clerk.


    4. Election of Vice-Chairman . Mr Ancell proposed Mrs Gallery-Strong, seconded by Mr Rae. With no other nominations Mrs Gallery-Strong was duly elected Vice-chair.


    5. Appointment of committees and members with special responsibilities:


    a)Finance Committee . Mr Parker, Mr Jacob, Mr Rae, Mr Ancell. { the Chairman (Mr Norman) and Vice-Chair ( Mrs Gallery-Strong) are elected ex-officio.


    b) Mid-Copeland Group. Mr Gray, Mr }Walton

    c ) Village Care,Carpark and Toilets Messrs Gray, Norman, Wright, Ancell


    d)Highways (Liaison & Transport) Dr Hutson, Mr Jacob, Mr Norman


    e)Footpaths and Common Land Messrs Wright, Walton, Ancell


    f) School Governor (Nominations) Mrs Gallery-Strong, Mr Walton


    g) What’s On/ Website Editor Mr Gould in liaison with The Clerk


    h) Fairtrade Group Mr Jacob


    i) Nuclear Matters Group Mr McKinley, Mr Wright, Dr Hutson, The Clerk


    6. Appointment of representatives to Management Committees:


    a) Public Hall Mr Norman, Dr Hutson b) Playing Field Mr Norman, Mrs Gallery-Strong


    7. Appointment of representatives to other Committees:

    a) Sellafield SSG(WCSSG) Dr Hutson


    b)Copeland District Committee of CALC Mr Norman, Mrs Gallery-Strong, The Clerk


    c) Neighbourhood Forum Dr HUtson, Mr Walton


    d) Broadband Mr Gray, Mr Jacob.


    e)Cycleway Group Mr Gray, Mr Rae, Mr Jacob


    8. Declarations of Interest . None.


    9. To approve the minutes of the meeting of 9 th April 2014. These were approved (Proposed Mr Walton, seconded Dr Hutson)


    10. Actions arising from the minutes


    1. Check with LDNPA if PC’s are informed about planning appeals. Action – Mr McKinley.

    Action ongoing – Mr McKinley had discovered that the system for informing Parish Councils was inconsistent and he had asked for clarification.

    2. Discuss carpark land ownership issues with Copeland solicitor. Action – The Clerk. Action ongoing – The Clerk and Mr McKinley were due to meet with the solicitor on 15 th May. A relevant report would be issued.

    3. Raise enforcement issues with Copeland BC and Cumbria CC. Action – Mr Jacob, The Clerk.

    Action ongoing – As Mr Jacob had been in hospital it was not known what had been done ref Copeland BC. The Clerk had discussed the matter with Mr Clarkson and a reply was awaited.

    4. Seek legal advice on Pavilion Lease interpretation. Action – The Clerk.

    Action ongoing – Reply awaited. This matter would be included in the meeting with the solicitor Ref Action 10.2 above.

    5. Assess financial risks to PC should management involvement with the Pavilion become necessary.

    Action ongoing. Action – The Finance Committee.

    6. Send comments on Carpark Transfer Docs to Clerk by 18 th April. Action – All members.

    Action complete.

    7. Nuclear Group to consider Decc proposals for overseas nuclear fuel. Action – Nuclear Group.

    Action complete.

    8. Provide letters of objection to wind turbines at Drigg and Ponsonby. Action – The Clerk.

    Action complete.

    9. Put future of newsletter on June agenda. Action – The Clerk.

    Action complete.

    10. Get estimates for decorating toilets. Action – The Clerk.

    Action complete – replies awaited.

    11. Put ‘Future of Toilets’ on June agenda. Action – The Clerk.

    Action complete.



    11. Financial matters


    a) Monthly financial statement. The Clerk said that the total Bank balance did not include the Precept, Concurrent Services grant and Council Tax Support Grant (~ £22103) which had been deposited since production of the statement. The Statement was approved (Proposed Mrs Gallery-Strong, seconded Mr Rae).


    b) Report from Finance Committee Chair. Mrs Gallery-Strong gave a s ummary of the meeting.

    1. Finance committee audit of the internal payments - No issues arising

    2. Annual Statement - PC asked to note that surplus is healthy and all variances can be understood and articulated

    3. Outturn versus budget- PC asked to note that variances were analysed. Finance committee asked for further clarification on sundries increase.

    The council are asked to note the underspend on Village Care and what action is proposed and also to review the expenditure related to the Public Hall and consider how to address (stair lift statutory maintenance)

    Overall, taking into account increase contingency spend, the outturn was nearly equal to the budget.


    4. Preparation for the audit. The Clerk was asked to confirm matters arising from audits for the May governance review. The only issue concerned the Asset Register which required more detail. He had responded accordingly. Mr Gray suggested that the Gravel Pit should be recorded as a council asset.


    5. Risk Review - proposed the following: The committee proposed adding a comment regarding seeking legal advice on the position via the playing field.


    A new risk is proposed: Sustained Parish Council with active succession plan.


    c) 2013-14 Annual Return. The Clerk described the information which had been produced to support the Annual Return which had already been scrutinised by the Finance Committee. The accounts had been fully audited by Mr Stewart (The Parish Council’s Internal Auditor). The council then approved the Annual Financial Statement and the Statement of council Governance and the relevant sections of the Annual Return were duly signed.


    12. Main Business


    a) Purchase of Carpark progress. The Clerk updated members on the situation. Some progress had been made by the Copleand BC solicitor in getting the Land Registry to rectify the current ownership maps, however there were specific queries on the accuracy of the associated documentation which needed resolving; the Transfer document still contained sections within which Copeland BC was effectively dictating to the Parish Council how it should manage the facility after transfer – this was unacceptable; the Leaseback document (for the Recycling Area) contained conditions which had never applied before eg the provision of a water supply, and the necessity for them needed clarification. The Clerk said he had already raised these matters with the CBC solicitor by letter and would follow them up by visit if necessary. In the meantime the opportunity would be taken (Ref Action 5.10 above ) to discuss these issues with the council solicitor.

    b) Support for School project. Mr Walton informed the meeting that the School were hoping to provide a Multi-Use Games Area on the School Playing Field and were asking for the support of the Parish Council to aid funding requests. The intention was that the facility would be available for other groups and outside normal School hours. It was agreed (Proposed by Mr McKinley, seconded by Mr Rae) that the Parish Council should support the School and The Clerk and Mr Walton should provide a suitable letter.

    c) Holy Well – Letter circulated from Alan Cleaver. The letter described a proposal to improve the appearance and prominence of Holy Wells in Cumbria; funding was available. It was agreed after some discussion that The Clerk should respond to Mr Cleaver that in principle the Parish Council supported his proposals but that a decision could only be taken by the landowner and, since the Well was used as a private water supply, the users, the names of which would be forwarded.


    13. Representative's reports.

    Mr Gray – Updated the council on the Cycleway situation. A substantial amount of funding had been secured, a planning application had been lodged with Copeland BC and Mr Melville was dealing with any outstanding queries raised.


    14. Planning Matters

    a) Conservatory - Cherry Garth, Wellington. Mr Ancell had contacted neighbours and they had raised no objections. There was resistance from some members to the council responding without using the recently adopted checklist but the Chairman ruled that in this instance there was nothing to be gained by delaying the decision and the council duly voted to raise no objection.

    b) The Clerk reported that LDNPA had given approval for:

    7/2013/4074, Craemar - Construction of new dwelling;

    7/2014/4003, Middle Shop - Change of use from Commercial to Dwelling;

    (Both the above have Local Occupancy clauses attached).

    7/2014/4002, Red Admiral - Additional storage;

    7/2014/4012, Mill House Farm - Water storage tank .


    c) The Clerk said that he had received three more planning applications but had withheld these as there would be insufficient time to discuss them at this meeting. He would arrange a separate meeting for 21 st May at 7.30pm.



    15. Public Participation. Mrs Cornall said that she was involved with a local group in ongoing discussions with Cumbria CC and the Bus Service operators to try and resolve the consequences of the County Council budget decisions which would remove the rural bus subsidy,drastically reducing the level of service.



    16. Correspondence.


    a) LLWR – Invitation to join Working Group. Due to the short notice no-one could attend.


    b) Letter from T Preece ref Newsletter. To be discussed at June meeting.


    17. Questions Councillors wish to raise.


    Grass-cutting . Several members raised this matter. The Clerk again explained that as part of its cost-cutting measures Copeland BC had reduced the cutting regime for those areas for which they were responsible (in particular the Carpark surround and the entrance to Denton Park) to two cuts per year. A build-up of floodwater at Denton Park had exacerbated the situation as grass-cutting on the west side had been impossible. It also appeared that the County Council, who were responsible for maintenance of the Meadowfield estate, had also reduced the frequency of grass-cutting although this was not yet confirmed. (The Clerk was liaising with Mr Clarkson to obtain information). This contrasted with the other communal areas of the village which were maintained by the Parish Council via a contract with Copeland BC and were being cut regularly as the contract required. It was decided that the whole issue of grass-cutting should be an agenda item at which The Clerk would make available a map showing the Parish Council maintained areas and the current contract.


    Mr Gray – Gave his apologies for not being able to attend the planning meeting on 21 st May and suggested that the initial scrutiny of any applications should be done on a rota basis. It was agreed that this would be considered at the planning meeting. He also asked Mr Wright about the status of the joint Wasdale-Gosforth guide book.


    Mr Walton – Asked when the improvements/changes to the white lines were to be carried out. The Clerk said that it had been promised by Cumbria Highways that it would be done concurrently with the other work on the A595, which had just been completed. He would ask Mr Melville for clarification.


    Mr Ancell – Said that he continued to receive complaints about speeding within the village and other members drew attention to the particular problems caused by large vehicles such as farm traffic and wood lorries. Enforcement, or lack of it, continued to be a problem and The Clerk said he was awaiting feedback from Mr Clarkson on this matter. A suggestion was made that the Sellafield based police could assist. (Clerk’s Note: They will assist if available but limit their involvement to safety issues eg. dangerous parking, blockage of the highway etc.) It was emphasised again that more success is likely to be achieved if specific information such as Company Logos, Number plates, type, colour and make of vehicle, time and place of occurrence etc is noted. Further action is then possible; general complaints are not likely to have any effect.


    Mr Ancell also reported on a recent burglary at the Lion & Lamb Public House. The Police had asked him for any CCTV information which in the event turned out to be unuseable as the particular camera is old and of low quality output. This prompted discussion whether the council should upgrade the facility – a Police suggestion. It was agreed that The Clerk would raise the matter with the Police Commissioner (Mr Rhodes) as he had recently made some funding available for local projects and the opportunity would be taken to ask about the present Enforcement policy and its effectiveness in rural areas.


    Mrs Gallery- Strong – Referred to the Police Report which was circulated (roughly) on a monthly basis. She felt, as did others, that this should be an agenda item in future. The Clerk said that since the reorganisation of Community Policing and the sole use of Support Officers the Police Reports were of limited use, exacerbated by the non-attendance of Officers at Parish Council meetings, although they always said that they would try to attend if there were specific issues of concern. The Clerk said he would raise the matter of the reports with the local Police initially and if necessary refer this to Mr Rhodes. Mrs Gallery - Strong also said that she had received positive feedback from residents regarding the Parish Council’s actions in trying to resolve the flooding and grass-cutting issues at Denton Park.


    Mr Rae – Asked about the maintenance of the footpath by the School which was badly overgrown.

    The Clerk said he would find out why it had not been maintained from Mr Pratt. He also suggested that another review of the Parish Plan should be undertaken. It was agreed to put this on a future agenda.


    Dr Hutson – Gave apologies for not being able to attend the planning meeting on 21 st May.


    18. Items to be held in camera. None.







    There being no other business the meeting was closed at 9.25 pm.



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