Ponsonby Parish Council Minutes - May 2014

  • Minutes of the meeting of the Parish Council held at 7.15pm in Calderbridge Village Hall on 13 th May 2014.

    Present: Mr R Stewart, Mr D Birks, Mr G Crayston, Mr J Stanley, Mr A Rigg, Mr R Jones, DA Polhill (Clerk)


    The meeting was preceded by the Annual Parish Meeting. No members of the public were in attendance. The Chairman of the Parish Council, Mr R Stewart, said that his annual report had been distributed to all members. He asked if anyone had any questions on the report and since there were none it was agreed that the meeting would be concluded. The Clerk said he would append the report to the minutes.


    37/14 Apologies. Mr RMunro.

    Declarations of Interest. Mr P Stanley expressed an interest in Item 40/14 b.



    38/14 Election of Chairman, Vice-chairman and other representatives as required.


    Mr Stewart, proposed by Mr Rigg, agreed to stand again as Chairman and with no other nominations he was duly elected.


    Mr Jones, proposed by Mr Stewart, agreed to stand again and with no other nominations was duly elected.


    It was also agreed that Mr Jones would continue with representing the council on the WC Site Stakeholders Group and the Cold Fell Action Group.


    39/14 Acceptance of the last meeting minutes (8 th April 2014). These were approved. (The Clerk said there had been a glitch with the transfer of minutes on to the web-site but this had now been rectified and the web-site was up to date).


    40/14 Matters arising from previous meeting .




    41/14 Parish Council Representation.


    Mr Jones said there was another meeting of the Cold Fell Action Group scheduled for 20 th June and, as he could not attend, Mr Stewart agreed to stand in.

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    Mr Birks updated the council on the latest position ref Broadband and although there had been some slippage of timescales in some areas others were on track. Due to the way data was presented by BT it was difficult to accurately monitor progress. The County Council was still maintaining that ~90% of Cumbria would be completed by Spring 2015.


    Mr Stewart said that following a letter from the HSBC Bank referring to stored documents he and The Clerk had been into the Bank and examined same. They were in fact not the property of the Parish Council but the Church, and had been mistakenly stored under the Parish Council’s name; an example of people not distinguishing the difference between PC (Parish Council) and PCC (Parochial Church Council). The Clerk had subsequently made Mrs Millard and Mr J Norman who were church wardens, aware of the documents.


    42/14 Correspondence. An invitation to nominate a representative to the LLWR Working Group of the WCSSG had been received. Mr Jones offered to serve but could not attend the next meeting on 15 th May. The Clerk would inform Mr Hitchen.

    43/14 Finance


    a) 2013-14 Annual Report. The Clerk had already circulated copies of the Annual Financial Statement, a statement of accounts, the Bank Reconciliation and the Annual Governance Statement. Accordingly the Annual Return was completed and signed appropriately. The Clerk said he was arranging with Mrs Price to complete the Internal Audit section.


    b) Payments requested:

    HMRC £19.20 (PAYE) Cheque No 100444

    DA Polhill £101.37 (Clerk’s Services) Cheque No 100447


    Balance of accounts at 20th April 2014 :- £13179.52


    The Clerk said that this amount did not include £4013.31 which had been received from Copeland BC for the Precept, Concurrent Services grant and Council Tax Support.


    It was agreed that the Chairman and Clerk would review the annual Insurance which was now due.


    44/14 Public participation – Open session for members of the public to ask questions. There were no members of the public present.


    45/14 Questions councillors wish to raise.


    Mr Jones – asked if Beckermet PC had been informed of the dangerous manhole cover at the farm entrance. The Clerk said he had.




    Mr Birks – Said that he had tried to find out details of the refusal of planning permission for the mobile phone mast at Church House Farm but records were not kept of refusals by Copeland BC.


    46/14 Date of next meeting. 10 th June 2014 CO14 - 13





    Chairman’s Annual Report 2013-2014



    Much of the year has been spent on issues referred to in last year’s annual report – namely Flooding, Highways matters, and the response to the Management of Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) Process - not all of the points of issue have yet been resolved.



    Flooding. It became clear that following the public meeting held in Gosforth that County Council Flood Team officers were confused over the position of Ponsonby parish boundaries. The Parish Council subsequently contacted County Councillor Norman Clarkson with a view to set up a meeting with the Flood Team to address the flooding issues within the parish. It transpired that the Flood Team, in assessing the causes of the flooding, had looked at areas affected but not on a parish basis. By September 2013, with no Flood Report forthcoming on Ponsonby, Mr Clarkson was again approached to intervene and obtain a copy of the report for Ponsonby/Calderbridge. It took until late December before the reports were released and after discussion with Mr Clarkson he agreed to arrange and host a meeting with the Flood Team. This took place in February 2014 together with the release of the flood reports for Calderbridge and New Mill. The remedial measures taken to date would appear to have resolved the problems experienced in Calderbridge Village Square but further investigation work was necessary at New Mill. The Flood Team confirmed they would liaise with County Highways regarding the unidentified source of the water emanating from the Fell Road which was causing damage to the Garage entrance, the Village Hall carpark and the Church. The Parish Council agreed to monitor progress and follow up on the recommendations. It is intended to follow up on progress in the Autumn.



    Highways Matters . The County Council had responded quickly to the strong vocal complaints regarding the speed of vehicles through Calderbridge. The subsequent traffic survey confirmed these concerns and a report was promised which would recommend measures to resolve the problem. Despite requesting the report many times the Parish Council were advised that it would be released following internal County Council discussion. The Parish Council, becoming frustrated at the lack of response advised Councillor Clarkson, and through him set up a meeting with Karl Melville the new Area Highways and Transport Manager. Mr Melville attended a Parish Council meeting in February 2014 and apologised for the delays, explaining that the Highways Dept had been subject to total restructuring with a consequent downsizing of personnel. The report had been delayed as a full engineering assessment of the un-trunked section of the A595 had been given priority, though he assured members that Calderbridge issues would be identified and included. The report is expected shortly.



    Management of Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS). In June 2013 the Dept for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) published a ‘Call for Evidence’ on what went wrong with, and what lessons could be learned from, the previous MRWS process which had come to a conclusion when the County Council decided in January 2014 not to proceed to Stage 4. DECC said that the information gathered would be used to frame a second round of consultation later in the year. A meeting of the joint parishes (Ponsonby & Gosforth) Nuclear Group consequently responded. DECC then produced a second consultation – ‘A Review of the Siting Process for a GDF’- which was again discussed by the Nuclear Group and after discussion with both Parish Councils was submitted to DECC on 30 th November 2013. The next stage is for DECC to analyse the responses to the consultation (741 in total) and from there it is expected to produce another White Paper ready for further consultation by Summer/Autumn 2014.


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    Wind Turbines at Church House Farm . The Parish Council was advised by a letter from Copland BC on 27 th June 2013 of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Scoping Opinion Request for the erection of two 110 metre high wind turbines on land at Church House Farm. The Parish Council were disappointed that no attempt had been made by the developers to discuss the proposal with them, despite consultations with other stakeholders over the previous 18 months. Of particular concern to the local community were references made to studies carried out over the past year. The Parish Council’s response to Copeland BC went unanswered and the request for copies of all the reports referred to in the Scoping Request ignored. Also no response was received that the project was causing local controversy and the request for Copeland BC planning officers to attend a public meeting to explain the scope of the planning application and the planning decision process was refused. Nothing more was heard until the developer hired the Village Hall to arrange an open day to view relative documents and answer any questions members of the public may have. It was revealed at this meeting that full planning permission would be sought in December 2013. With the tight deadlines to respond to any planning application (21 days) the Parish Council felt it desirable to consult with its parishioners via a questionnaire and hold a public meeting to obtain a majority view of the reaction to the application. The response from the questionnaires was an overwhelming 80% against from a response rate of >50%. The planning application was actually lodged on 17 th March 2014 and representatives of the Parish Council met Copeland BC planning officers to understand the process from thereon. The public meeting was then arranged for 2 nd April to explain to the community the process of responding to the application and the important areas to cover with particular reference to the Core and Strategy policies of Copeland BC. Feedback suggests that those objecting to the application are mainly concerned at the size of the turbines and the resultant noise and flicker from them; there will be an unacceptable impact on wildlife, the environment; and people’s ability to enjoy their surroundings and amenities both at work and play. There is also real concern over safety issues relative to the highways and safety and security of the Sellafield site.



    Other Matters. Following on from the Parish Council’s annual audit the Auditor queried the reason for the amount of reserves held in the council’s account. The council responded that it would need to spend an unspecified amount on the development of its parish/community plan and also to fund repairs to its assets, which had been acquired from Beckermet Parish Council as a result of the parish boundaries being redrawn. During the year both bus shelters have been repaired and repainted, together with 4 seats. A 5th seat, on the A595 southbound layby at Ponsonby Lane end, was beyond repair and will be replaced with one made from recycled materials.


    Numerous efforts have been made to get BT to tidy up and repaint the telephone box in the Square but with no success to date.


    Little progress has been made in regard to the roll-out of Broadband within the parish, referred to in last year’s report, but pressure (at County level) is being put on BT to provide more detailed information. This is being resisted as BT regards the information as commercially confident, although it has agreed to update and clarify the mapping data.


    Mr Jones has taken the lead in involving potentially interested local parties to assist in developing the parish/community plan and to this end a relevant training session, hosted by the County Council and run by Action for Cumbria, was held in the Village Hall in February. This was well-received and was attended by members from other parishes as well as Ponsonby.


    In order to make Parish Council business more readily available an arrangement was agreed with Gosforth Parish Council to allow Ponsonby Parish Council information to be viewed via the Gosforth Village web-site, where a specific area has been set aside. This is greatly appreciated.



    RS Stewart – Chairman

    May 2014


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