Parish Council Minutes - May 2013

  • Minutes of the Annual Meeting of The Parish Council held 8th May 2013 in the Supper Room Gosforth Public Hall - 7.30pm


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

    4 Members of the public were also present specifically to comment on Item 14c below.


    1. Apologies for absence . Mr Gray.

    2. Election of Chairman . Dr Hutson proposed, seconded by Mr Wright that Mr McKinley be re-elected as Chairman. In response Mr McKinley said that due to his duties on LDNPA he was having great difficulty in devoting the time necessary for the Parish Council, including attendance at some meetings. He pointed out the age profile of the members and suggested that the best arrangements for the future would require one of the younger members to ‘take over’. At Dr Hutson’s suggestion he agreed to continue as Chairman for the coming year during which the council could consider the best way of electing a successor.

    3. To receive the Chairman’s acceptance of office . Completed outside the meeting.

    4. Election of Vice-Chairman . Mr Wright proposed, seconded by Mr Jacob that Mr Norman be elected Vice-chairman and with no other proposals this was agreed unanimously.

    The Chairman said that as members of the public were present he would bring forward Item 14c for discussion. This concerned a planning application for an extension to No 81A Meadowfield. He invited those present to offer their observations and objections to this development. The main objections stemmed from ambiguity in what plans were actually being presented for comment (there was more than one set); the sheer size of the proposal and its obvious dominance of the surrounding area and properties; the consequential loss of amenity, privacy and exclusion of light. The Parish Council supported the neighbours’ objections and would write accordingly to LDNPA.


    5. The following were appointed to committees and as members with special responsibilities :

    a) Finance Committee. Messrs Norman, Jacob, Rae; Mrs Gallery-Strong. Mr McKinley (ex-officio).

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

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

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

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

    f) School Governor. Mrs Gallery-Strong.

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

    h) Fairtrade Group. Mr Jacob.

    i) CCTV. Not required as Mr Ancell supervised the system.

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


    6. The following were appointed as representatives to Management Committees:


    7. To appoint representatives to other Committees:


    Sellafield SSG(WCSSG). Dr Hutson.

    Copeland District Committee of CALC. Mr McKinley, The Clerk.

    Neighbourhood Forum. Dr Hutson , Mr Walton

    Hartley’s and Hearse House Charities Trustees. Not required.

    St Mary’s Burial Ground Committee. Not required.

     Council Communications Group. Dr Hutson, Mr Gray, Mr Parker, Mr Ancell.

     Broadband. Mr Jacob, Mr Gray.

    Cycleway Group. Mr Gray, Mr Rae, Mr Jacob.


    8. Declarations of Interest . None


    9. To approve the minutes of the meeting of 10 th April 2013 . These were approved (Proposed Mr Jacob, seconded Mr Norman).


    10. Actions arising from the minutes

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

    Action ongoing.

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

    3. Produce Jubilee Committee Accounts. Action – Mrs Gallery-Strong

    Action complete – Sent out to all members.

    4. Discuss carpark land ownership issues with Mrs Unsworth. Action complete – See Item 12c below. Action – Mr Norman

    5. Draft ideas for public communication. Action – Mr Walton

    Action ongoing.

    6. Advertise in What’s On for assistance with the Newsletter. Action complete. Action – The Clerk

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

    8. Put Library Open Day attendance on May agenda. Action – The Clerk

    Action complete – See Item 12a below.

    9. Clarify Land Allocation issues with LDNPA. Action – Mr McKinley

    Action complete.


    11. Financial matters.


    a) Monthly financial statement. Mrs Gallery-Strong pointed out a typographical/arithmetic error in the Income table total(£450 not £850). With this amendment the statement was approved (Proposed Mr Wright, seconded Mrs Gallery-Strong).

    b) Report from Finance Committee Chairman following internal audit. Mr Norman said that he had carried out an examination and assessment of the financial procedures and that he was satisfied that the system and its operation was satisfactory for the financial protection of the council. He drew attention to the Spending v Budget paper provided by The Clerk and commented that with the exception of the newsletter the forecasts had been remarkably accurate. He also said that he had reviewed the council insurance with The Clerk. The renewal premium was slightly less than the previous year and a further reduction had been negotiated by removing the laptop computer (provided by CALC) from the schedule. He recommended that the council accept the offered premium of £2338.64. This was agreed.

    c) 2012-13 Annual Return. The Clerk presented the 2012-13 Annual Return. This was approved (Proposed Mrs Gallery-Strong, seconded Mr Wright) as was the associated statement on council governance (Proposed Mr Norman, seconded Mr Jacob). The completed forms would now be passed on to the District Auditor.


    12. Main Business

    a) Library Open Day. Dr Hutson said that this would be on 22 nd May and times would be displayed at the Library.

    NOTE: Since the meeting the time has been confirmed as 3.00 – 6.30pm.

    b) Flooding report. This followed the public meeting on 24th April when Cumbria County Council officers were to report the outcome of their investigations into the widespread flooding in August 2012. Dr Hutson said that in the event the County Council had produced a draft report which it presented as a sort of consultation as it had many errors of fact. The occasion was used as an opportunity to correct these and gain more information. The report did not deal with Gosforth as a parish but with communities within the village and not all flooding instances were recorded. It was agreed that Cumbria CC should be contacted and asked to produce a final report which clearly defined the areas of concern, identified the responsible bodies for those areas, made specific recommendations for work which was necessary to prevent or mitigate future flooding, and a comprehensive emergency action plan should future flooding take place.

    c) Purchase of Carpark progress. Mr Norman brought the council up to date with events. As previously reported it had been discovered that the Land Registry had part of the carpark registered to the owner of Meadow View (confusingly referred to in documents variously as Denton Rise; Denton Rise Bungalow; Meadowcroft). The owner, Mrs Unsworth, was unaware of this. The Copeland BC solicitor had suggested a possible way forward but this did carry some financial risks. It was agreed that Mr Norman should discuss the proposal with Mrs Unsworth and The Clerk would seek the advice of Mrs Thomas (Solicitor) before proceeding.


    13. Representative's reports .

    a) LDNPA Parish Forum (The Chairman & Clerk). The Chairman said this was one of the worst meetings he had ever attended and the least said the better. Most of the meeting was taken up with discussion about the LDNPA Partnership Plan, and in particular its ‘top-down’ approach, the lack of consultation with the parishes, and the presence of many bodies who clearly did not contribute anything to the plan. It was also significant that there was little if anything in the plan which addressed any of the issues concerning those parishes in the western side of the National Park.

    b) Bleng Forest (Mr Walton). Mr Walton said that following the decision of the working group to curtail the project and accordingly informing the funding bodies CWMET have offered us a way to still access their funding. We can potentially use the value of the bridges supplied by LDNPA as match funding to access the £6k from CWMET. Discussions are under way with the partners to see if at least part of the project can be resurrected.

    c) CALC County Executive (The Clerk). The Clerk said to avoid extending the meeting unnecessarily he would copy the report of the meeting to all members.

    d) Mid-Copeland Group. Mr Walton said that the next group meeting would be held in conjunction with South Copeland Group and would be dedicated to Emergency Planning.


    14. Planning Matters

    a) Westlakes Hotel (Amendment). Dealt with by Mr Norman & The Clerk. The Clerk said that the amendment was to partly alter the originally proposed emergency exit arrangements on the ground floor and there were consequently no objections.

    b) Extension 79 Meadowfield. ( Mr Walton declared an interest and left the room while this item was discussed). There were no objections.

    c) Extension 81A Meadowfield. See Item 4 above.


    15. Public Participation . There were no members of the public present at this time.

    16. Correspondence.

    a) Cumbria Rural Housing Trust – Request for information on Trust-owned and Local Group owned properties. The Clerk would respond.

    b) C Boyce ( Copeland BC Solicitor). Letter ref transfer of carpark.

    Referred to in Item 12c above.


    17. Questions Councillors wish to raise.

    On behalf of D Gray – The Clerk said that rather than repair the Notice Board Mr Moore had made a new one, free of charge. The Clerk had written a letter of thanks on behalf of the council.

    Dr Hutson – Asked why the grass at the entrance to Denton Park had not been cut unlike other areas of the village which had. The Clerk said that this was probably a consequence of recent decisions made to save money by Copeland BC to only cut grassed areas owned by itself twice per year. Copeland BC owned said areas. In the case of the other grassed areas of the village the Parish Council had a running contract (with Copeland BC) to maintain these at a predetermined frequency – 14 times per year. However he would check with Mr Davies that this was the reason.

    Mrs Gallery-Strong – Raised the matter of the newsletter and the shortfall in advertising revenue which was having a substantial effect on the council finances. Referring to a summary paper provided by The Clerk she said it was unacceptable to maintain the present process and the latest meeting of the Communication Group produced no councillor willing to take on responsibility for the future production. The Chairman said that he agreed with her regarding the failure to collect advertising donations and suggested that The Clerk should produce a list of non-payers which individual councillors could then use to try and recover the shortfall. He also said that although the May issue of What’s On deadline had been missed the advertisement for support in desktop publishing was on the web-site and time should be given to allow for possible volunteers. In the meantime Mr Gray had advised the council that he would produce the October edition and that gave the council some time to resolve the issue. It was agreed that the newsletter should be a Main Business item for June and July agendas.


    18. Items to be held in camera. None.


    There being no other business the meeting was closed at 10.07pm.

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