Parish Council Minutes - February 2011

  • Minutes of meeting held 9th February 2011 in the Supper Room Gosforth Public Hall - 7.00pm

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

    Apologies: Mr Ancell, Mr Davies; Mrs Gallery-Strong, Mrs Balmer(All work commitments).

    2. Declarations of interest . None

    3. Chairman's opening remarks. The Chairman introduced Mr Eddie Martin – Leader of Cumbria CC who outlined the issues facing the County Council and the way in which they had been dealt. The County Council budgeting process had not been a random or an across-the-board cutting exercise but had been used as a means of, where possible, streamlining the internal organisation to provide better services; particular examples of which were in the area of Road Maintenance and Child/Adult Care. He acknowledged that as The County Council had to cut some £44M from its total budget of £860M, of which some £350M was dedicated to Education, there would inevitably be some areas of service which would see reduced funding but he was anxious to work with local communities to enable the effects to be minimised. Despite the reduction in available spending the County Council would not be increasing its share of the Council Tax for 2012. Mr Martin expressed his general support for nuclear development in West Cumbria but emphasised that this support was conditional on the provision of proper infrastructure improvements before any large project was started. (This view coincided exactly with that of the Parish Council which has made the same point in any response to HMG in consultation on nuclear matters). Mr Martin also felt strongly that the proposals to sell off some of the nation’s forests had been ill-considered, although the process was now subject to consultation, and he had made his feelings known directly to HMG. He encouraged the Parish Council to do likewise. During discussion the Parish Council made clear its disenchantment with the workings of the MRWS Partnership, in particular its divergence from the requirements of the HMG White Paper on Geological Disposal, and its almost obsession in failing to recognise the importance and rights of Parish Councils as representatives of potential Host Communities. It was agreed that the Parish Council would communicate directly to Mr Martin in more detail. In response to a question regarding the adoption of Unitary Authority status for Cumbria Mr Martin said that for the foreseeable future he did not anticipate that HMG would revisit this process, however in the longer term he considered it almost inevitable that some form of Unitary Authority would be introduced. The Chairman thanked Mr Martin for his attendance and presentation and he then left the meeting.

    4. Minutes of the previous meeting held on 12th January 2011. Item 7b should have recorded the paper no. as 75 and not 79. With that amendment the minutes were approved (Proposed Mr Gray, seconded Dr Hutson). Also approved were the minutes of the Finance Committee meeting held on 25 th January 2011 (Proposed Mr McKinley, seconded Mr Bailey).

    5. Actions arising from the minutes.

    1. Progress estimates for Carpark lighting. Action – The Clerk

    Action ongoing – Information was still awaited from Copeland BC.

    2. Progress Carpark transfer with Copeland BC. Action – The Clerk

    Action ongoing – The Clerk said that he had been informed that Copeland BC had agreed to extend the lease (to be renegotiated) to 99 years. The council did not consider this to be an asset transfer it was merely an extension of the status quo. It was decided to take the matter up directly with the relevant Director.

    3. Arrange assessment of Toilet electrics. Action – Mr Norman

    Action ongoing.

    4. Convene meeting of Footpath Group. Action – Mr Wright

    Action ongoing.

    5. Arrange for High School charity funds to be handed over to the Nursery.

    Action – The Clerk Action ongoing – The Clerk said that he had been verbally informed by the Bank that the funds had been transferred and he was awaiting written confirmation.

    6. Check Public Hall deeds ref ownership of land by Library. Action – The Clerk

    Action complete – The Clerk said that the deeds showed that the land was part of an old access track (long gone) which was not part of the Hall estate, but who had an obligation to keep it clear. The Clerk was asked to investigate further with the longer term aim of getting the land registered to the Hall.

    7. Arrange Finance Committee meeting. Action – The Clerk

    Action complete – See Item 6b below.

    8. Return MRWS questionnaire to the Partnership. Action – The Clerk

    Action complete.

    9. Complete Parish Newsletter and obtain printing costs. Action - Mr Ancell

    Action ongoing – Mr Ancell had told The Clerk that he would e-mail the details at the week-end.

    10. Investigate provision of bus shelter with CCC and CBC. Action – The Clerk

    Action complete – Funding had been agreed from Cumbria CC via Mr Clarkson. The Chairman said he would check with LDNPA what siting and design conditions applied.

    11. Arrange Cycleway meeting. Action – Mr Gray

    Action ongoing.

    12. Progress excess water charges with United Utilities. Action – The Clerk

    Action ongoing – UU had accepted there was a problem and were investigating the cause.

    13. Advise LDNPA ref Hallcroft planning application. Action – The Clerk

    Action complete.

    14. Pass British Legion material to Mr Steel. Action – The Clerk

    Action ongoing.

    15. Contact Mr Melville ref pothole repairs. Action – The Clerk

    Action complete – A substantial amount of repairs had since been carried out.

    16. Thanking all who assisted with gritting etc. Action – The Clerk

    Action complete – Item put in What’s On.


    6. Financial matters

    a) Monthly Financial Statement. This was approved (Proposed Dr Hutson, seconded Mr Bailey).

    Mr Gray commented on the £97 which had been collected for the new Play Area via a box in the Lakeland Habit and The Clerk was asked to write a letter of thanks to Mr Ancell, his staff and all contributors, for display in the shop.


    b) Finance Committee (2011-12 budget) (Minutes and 2 Papers sent to all members)

    Recommendation FC 25/01/01That the council endorses the review of the internal financial controls and is satisfied that the current system is effective to ensure honesty and probity.

    This was agreed unanimously.

    Recommendation FC 25/01/02That the council make a decision on the amount of the precept based on 1 of the 2 proposals tabled.

    After discussion and a show of hands it was agreed to accept the budget with a 2 1/ 2 % increase in the precept which would be £19310 for 2011-12 .


    c) Cumbria CC offer ref. Electricity charges. The Clerk said that all Parish Councils had received an offer from the County Council to be included within its generic energy supply contracts, which should lead to substantial savings in electricity costs. Details on the management process were sketchy but it appeared that inclusion required a minimum of extra effort once the initial consumption figures and present contract details were provided. It was agreed that because of a deadline for the acceptance of returns The Clerk should proceed keeping the Chairman and Mr Norman informed.


    Main Business

     Threat to Blengdale Forest (Dr Hutson). This issue had been raised during discussions with Mr Martin (Item 3 above). Dr Hutson said that although the situation had changed somewhat in that there was now an open consultation, he was concerned that attention was being concentrated on the large forests and smaller areas of woodland such as The Bleng, Mitredale and Giggle Alley which were so important to local people could be lost by default. It was agreed that an appropriate response should be made to the consultation with copies going to the Cumbria MP’s as well as Mr Martin, Mr Clarkson and LDNPA.

     Update on Nuclear Matters. The Chairman gave a resume of recent events including the meeting the previous evening with F Barker (NULEAF)whose paper on GDF Site selection had given the council’s Nuclear Group serious concern. There were now serious discussions taking place between the CALC representatives on the MRWS Partnership and the Nuclear Group on how to get the MRWS Partnership more closely aligned with the requirements of the White Paper. Non-formal discussions with other Parish Council chairmen were being arranged.

    Parish Newsletter. See Item 5.9 above.


    8. Representative's reports

    a) CALC (Copeland) Executive meeting (3 rd Feb). The Clerk would copy the minutes to all members.

    b) Burial Ground meeting. Dr Hutson & Mr Jacob reported on the meeting with the Archaeologist. It was his opinion that although a survey was necessary it would not preclude the use of the field as a burial ground. The matter had to be referred to the PCC who would then report back via the Burial Committee.

    c) Neighbourhood Forum. Mr Jacob reported that the Forum had agreed to donate the remaining funds equally between the New Play Area (Gosforth) and Beckermet Reading Room. Each would receive £697.

    Web-site. The Clerk said that he had asked Mr Gould to create a Parish Council Notice Board as part of the web-site. This was now ready and the information on the new Social Housing Registration Scheme had been put on as a first step. Mr Gray asked if some estimate could be made of the number of contacts with the web-site.

    Mr Norman. Reported on a meeting he had attended at Seascale which outlined the programme for the forthcoming Inquest into the victims of 2 nd June 2010. The proceedings were to be held at the Energus Centre at Lillyhall in approximately 5-6 weeks time. The intention was to deal with the cases on an area basis. Further publicity information would be sent out from Copeland BC.


    9. Planning Matters. LDNPA – Bolton Head Park - Notice of Non-material amendment.

    Noted – not of significance.


    10 Correspondence.

    WMRT Proposals for new premises. Noted, The Clerk would write expressing the council’s support.

     2011 Census. Noted to take place on Sunday, March 27th.

     CALC newsletter Sent to all councillors.

     NW Air ambulance – Rrequest for funding support. It was agreed ( Proposed Dr Hutson, seconded Mr Norman) to donate £50.

     WC MRWS e-bulletin No 8. Sent to all councillors.

     LDNPA – Ambleside Campus. Noted.

     Irwin-Mitchell – Charity Commission Order ref Playing Field Trusteeship. To be progressed by The Clerk.


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


    12 Questions Councillors wish to raise.

    Mr Norman – Suggested that consideration should be given at a future meeting to the expansion of Community Centred projects. This was agreed.

    Dr Hutson – Drew attention to the potential safety concerns caused by parking around Petton Place. At times traffic is backed up to the A595 and also blocks the mini-roundabout. It was decided that before asking for any enforcement action from either the Police or the Borough Council a suitable letter should be sent to all residents in the area which advised them of the restrictions in place and the problems which were being caused.


    13 In Camera. None.


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

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