Parish Council Minutes - October 2008

  • Minutes of meeting held 8th October 2008 in the Supper Room, Gosforth Public Hall - 7.00pm

    Present : Mr McKinley (Chairman), Dr Hutson, Messrs. Bailey, Gray, Jacob, Norman, Newbold, Wright; Mrs Balmer.

     1. Apologies: Mrs Pennington (Work commitments), Mr Ancell (Domestic reasons).

     2. Declarations of interest . None

     3. Chairman's opening remarks. The Chairman commented that a lot of activity had taken place behind the scene eg. Meetings to discuss Copeland BC Nuclear Policy, the forthcoming meeting with HMG regarding the DGF and, via the Finance Committee, the budget for 2009-10.

    4. Minutes of the previous meeting held on 10th September 2008. These were approved (Proposed Mr Norman, seconded Mrs Balmer). The minutes of the Finance Committee meeting of 1 st October 2008 were also approved (Proposed Mr Wright, seconded Mr McKinley).

    5. Actions arising from the minutes.

    Contact County Archivist ref storage of Parish Council documents.

    Action – The Clerk

    Action complete – The Archivist would accept and sort the documents and Mr Jacob would transfer them to Whitehaven.

    Continue consultation process on Mental Health Services.

    Action complete. Action – Messrs. Wright, Norman, Gray & Jacob.

    Respond to District Auditor ref Annual Report. Action – The Clerk

    Action ongoing – The Clerk had resolved the matter of the ‘unregistered’ Public Hall accounts but needed confirmation from Mr Jacob that the Annual Return had been completed in the format required by the Charities Commission.

     Complete Copeland BC housing questionnaire. Action – Mr Jacob

    Action ongoing.

    Arrange a meeting of the Finance Committee. Action - Mr Norman, The Clerk

    Action complete – See item 6b below.

    Formally negotiate with Copeland BC ref Playing Fields project.

    Action – The CLerk Action ongoing – Awaiting papers for signature from Copeland BC.

    Contact DEFRA to set up meeting with Dr Jackson. Action – The Clerk

    Action complete – See item 7b below.

    Respond to CCC ref P Stybelski letter on radioactive waste. Action – The Clerk

    Action complete.

    Respond to LDNPA ref planning applications for Rainors Farm and Scot Hall.

    Action complete. Action – The Clerk

    Respond to D Killick ref WEVA plaque. Action – The Clerk

    Action complete.

    Contact Copeland BC Environmental Officer ref flooding at Ellerslie Terrace. Action – The Clerk

    Action complete – Mr Clarkson was progressing matters.

     6. Financial matters

     a) Monthly financial report. This was approved (Proposed Mr Norman, seconded Mr Wright).

     b) Finance Committee report incl. Resolutions. Mr Norman (Finance Committee Chairman) commented on the Finance Committee Report. He reported that he had inspected the running accounts and the Bank Statements with The Clerk and concluded that the financial management system was performing satisfactorily.

    He described the process the group had adopted in discussing the budget for 2009-10. There were several factors, including a substantial reduction in VAT returns (via previous expenditure on the carpark resurfacing) and increased costs for water and drainage, which distorted the budget requirements. Accordingly the committee decided that the undermentioned resolutions should be put before the full council. If agreement was obtained the committee would then be in a position to present a budget to the November council meeting which would enable the precept to be set at a reasonable level. Mr Jacob said that the present CCTV system was virtually useless but he had a demonstration unit which he would fit free of charge. In response to a comment from Dr Hutson the Chairman said that when we had more information from CALC (See Correspondence item 9.20 below) the issue of the carpark could be debated.

     FC 01/10/08 That the council accepts the quotation for printing What’s On (£10 per issue). This was agreed.

     FC 02/10/08 That the council approves the transfer of funds, presently ring-fenced for the Cycleway (£2000) and CCTV (£1500) projects, to the Contingency fund. This was agreed . (Dr Hutson, while in agreement advised that any future withdrawals from the contingency fund should be closely scrutinised.)

    FC 03/10/08 That the council approves the amalgamation of the Carpark Resurfacing and Repairs into 1 budgetary requirement. This was agreed.

    At the request of Mr Norman, The Clerk described the Risk Assessment process for the council’s financial management and control systems, which the committee had undertaken. These were appended as part of the Finance Committee minutes. The Risk Assessment was formally endorsed by the council (Proposed Mr Bailey, seconded Mr Jacob).

    The Clerk said that the matter of the insurance of the War Memorial had been raised at the committee meeting and consequently he had written to The Royal British Legion for advice.

    7. Main Business

    a) Copeland BC Nuclear Policy. The Clerk said that he had, as requested, sought from the Leader of Copeland BC justification for her remarks made at the Neighbourhood Forum, that all parishes had been consulted regarding the provision of a Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility. He had received from Ms Woodburn a copy of a consultative document on Copeland BC Nuclear Policy which dated back to February 2007. Copies had been sent to all councillors. It was agreed that while this document may well contain references to waste disposal it preceeded the Government White Paper by some 18 months, and it was unacceptable that that, as a general policy document, it could be interpreted as relevant to the specific detailed processes outlined in the White Paper. The council had already raised its concerns with DEFRA regarding the White Paper (See item 7b below) and made Copeland BC aware of those concerns. To date no response had been received from CBC. It was agreed that a suitable letter stating the council’s positon should be sent to Ms Woodburn. At the suggestion of Mr Wright it was agreed that the council’s response would be appended to the minutes as part of an overall process of keeping the parishioners of Gosforth informed of the Parish Council’s position regarding the DGF.

    b) Meeting with DEFRA ref White Paper. The Chairman said that a meeting had been organised with the senior member of DEFRA responsible for overseeing the White Paper on behalf of the Government (Dr R Jackson). This would take place on 22 nd October at Galesyke. The Chairman stressed that this was an exploratory meeting based on the concerns raised with Government in response to the White Paper and no decisions would be taken. Crucial points were to ensure that the Right to Withdraw from any future discussions and participation was in the hands of Gosforth and would not be overridden by larger authorities who may have a different agenda. It was agreed that a small group Mr McKinley, Mr Wright, Dr Hutson & The Clerk should attend. The Chairman assured members that a note for the record of the meeting would be produced. To ensure that all members had the opportunity to have their views considered a special meeting would be held on Thursday 9 th October at 5.00pm in the Public Hall.

    Note: The original intention was to hold this pre-meeting on 13 th October but the absence of several councillors on this date forced the meeting to be brought forward.

    Dr Hutson drew reference to a recent consultation paper from NDA which was also relevant. The Clerk said that he had twice written to NDA (J Dalton) asking for copies but had not received a reply. Mr Wright said that via the WCSSG he had asked for copies to be sent to The Clerk.

    c) Parish Plan update. Mr Gray updated the council on progress to date and tabled sections of the draft questionnaire for all members to provide feedback. The other sections were in preparation and would be circulated when ready.

    8. Planning Matters

    a) Noted LDNPA approval for extensions at 61 & 78 Meadowfield & Low Boonwood Farm

    b) 2 nd Polytunnel at Hallsenna . Due to the timescale for comments to be returned to Copeland BC this application had been dealt with (in line with council rules) by Mr Norman and The Clerk. They decided that since this was a repeat of a previous similar application to which the council had raised no objection then this application should be treated similarly. The Clerk had conveyed this decision to Copeland BC. Since that time several members and The Clerk had been contacted by Hallsenna residents who wanted to raise objections. They were advised to make representations directly to Copeland BC planning dept. However the council were concerned about the possible discrepancies in the described purpose of the application and also the variation in dates for the return of information and the apparent date when the official notice was displayed, which was when most residents learned of the proposal. These concerns would be raised with Copeland BC.

    c) 5 Denton Park – 2 Storey extension. Agreed to raise no objections but to ask LDNPA to consider the effects of possible removal of trees at the site boundary.

    9. Correspondence.

    GONW – Regional Spatial Strategy. Noted.

     Neighbourhood Forum papers. Dr Hutson to attend.

     CALC – Note of AGM + Info 8 th Nov. Agreed -The Chairman & Clerk would attend.

     CALC – Risk Assessment course 13 th Nov. Agreed - The Chairman & Clerk would attend.

     Letters from P Wilkinson - ref Radioactive Waste. Made available to all councillors.

     CALC – Reward & Recognition. Noted.

     Note – Save Our Surgery. Agreed that the council could add nothing to what it had already done but individuals were advised to sign the pre-printed objection letters in the Surgery.

     Carers Federation info. Noted & to be put in the Library.

    Copeland Pride awards info. No recommendations.

     Charity Commission - Letter ref P/Hall accounts. This confirmed that the Commission had received the Annual Return for the year ending November 2007 and The Clerk had informed the District Auditor accordingly. Mr Jacob was asked to resubmit the accounts in the format required by the Commission.

     HMG – Consultation on Byelaws. Dealt with by Mr Wright and The Clerk.

     Cumbria Police – Annual Summary. Noted that the recorded level of violent crime had increased.

     Cumbria Highways – Letter ref street lighting.

    The letter resulted from the site visit earlier in the year and the cost for upgrading of the existing lighting was £9500 for which the County Council had no funding. Accordingly The Clerk had put this matter in the hands of Mr Clarkson to progress.

     CRUG – September newsletter. Dr Hutson.

     LDNPA – Planning intentions. The Clerk said that the offer to provide planning application papers by e-mail was unsatisfactory and he had requested hard copies. He also reported that LDNPA had decided that Parish Councils would be informed in future of all Notices of Intention applications for Forestry and Farm buildings.

     VAC – Notice of AGM. Noted.

     Cumbria Highways – Proposed 40mph speed limit on A595 at Gosforth.

    The Clerk said that this was at the proposal stage and the Highways Authority sought the views of the Parish Council. The limit would be set from North of the junction into the village to a point someway South of the Seascale X-roads. There was unanimous support for this restriction.

     LDNPA – Trees at Harecroft. In response to several requests The Clerk had received confirmation that the area had been visited and the tree cover noted. Should a planning application be made in the future action would be taken to provide appropriate protection.

     CALC – October Circular.Sent to all councillors.

     Copeland BC – Response ref. transfer of carpark. The Clerk said that he had received correspondence from Mr Parker that under the current legislation Parish Councils were not considered to be ‘Community Groups’. This left 2 options – to form a Community Group to take over and manage the carpark or for the Parish Council to negotiate a long-term (99 year) lease. The Clerk was asked to raise the matter with CALC before the council decided on the way forward.

     Police – Monthly Report The Clerk said that PCW Geer could not attend but had sent the monthly incident report. It was noted that of the 11 incidents in the month 4 were anti-social behaviour complaints, 1 was a theft from a car at the Playing Field, there was 1 RTA and 5 miscellaneous incidents, including lamping. She had also said that the Nuclear Police would like to make a presentation to the council. It was agreed that they would be invited to the November meeting.

     CALC - Guidance on adopting a new model publication scheme (ref the Freedom of Information Act). The Clerk said that he had all the relevant papers and would draft a scheme for consideration by the council. The deadline for adoption was 31 st December.

     Cumbria CCMaterials to Drigg site. The Clerk said that, following the persistent rumours, he had raised this matter with Mr Clarkson and been directed to Sue Brown (County Councillor for Seascale & Whicham). She had confirmed that material from the Millom quarry would be transported directly by rail via an on-site siding but that 423 loads of special materials from the North-East, over a 36 week period, would come by road. The reasons were contractual and the County Council had amended the Transport Plan to accommodate the change. It was agreed that the County Council and NDA should be made aware of the concerns of the council who considered this to be paying lip service to a long-standing committment to maximise rail use. It was decided that the protest would carry more weight if it came via the 5-Rivers Group and The Clerk was asked to liaise with the Group.

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

    11 Matters Councillors wish to raise.

     Mr Norman – Questioned whether, in view of the almost certain loss of Newton Manor, the council should be looking at other buildings in the parish to see if any needed the protection of ‘Listing’. It was agreed that this would be advisable and as an initial step the Clerk was asked to obtain the existing list.

    Dr Hutson – a) Asked whether action had been sought to deal with the overgrown trees along the Denton Park – Substation footpath. The Clerk said that the Copeland Estates manager had assured him this would be included in their winter programme.

    b) Asked if members wished him to arrange a post-December meeting. Agreed.

    Mr Gray – a) Asked if any money had been included in the budget towards the Burial Ground. Mr Norman assured him it had.

    b) Asked what funds were left available for the Parish Plan. The Clerk said he would e-mail the figures he had produced for the Finance Committee.

    Mr Newbold – Reported that the footpath between the 2 Bleng bridges was blocked by piles of brash, presumably to be burnt at some future time. The Clerk said he would inform the Park Warden.

    12 Representatives Reports

    The Clerk and Mr Wright reported on the recent 3-tier meeting. Main items discussed were the County council possible ‘expression of interest’ in a waste disposal facility (the impression gained was that they felt they had to keep up with Copeland BC); Locality Working – which is being ‘decided’ by officers of County and District without any Parish or Town Council representation; The Parish Charter which the parishes have yet to see any evidence of participation by County and District.

    Peel Place Quarry Liaison. The Clerk tabled the minutes of the last Liaison meeting. It was noted that the company was applying for a licence to abstract water via bore-holes, considering upgrading the crushing plant and priming the County Council for substantial future extension of the quarry.

    Mr Gray reported that he had met a member of Sustrans regarding the Greenway project which was still proceeding. He also reported that the issue of Fell View (extra dwellings) was still in progress with no decision made.

    13 In Camera. None.

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

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