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Parish Council Minutes - January 2004

Minutes of the Meeting of the Helmdon Parish Council held on
Wednesday, 28th January 2004
in the Reading Room, Helmdon at 7:30 p.m.

Present:- Councillors Burns, Bearman, Spendlove, Gittens, England, Earl and Smith.

There were two members of the public also in attendance.

1. Apologies:

Apologies had been received from Cllr Brookhouse and Cllr Moody.

2. Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 26th November 2003 had been circulated to all councillors.

Councillor Spendlove reported that item 12/1 of the minutes, clause 51 of the standing orders, had been amended incorrectly, after a brief discussion it was proposed by Cllr Earl seconded by Cllr Smith that the minutes be adopted with the following amendment. Clause 51 of Helmdon Parish Council Standing Orders should read:

"Any Council Member shall, unless the Council orders otherwise, be notified of the meeting and shall be entitled to be present at meetings of any committee of which they are not a member, but shall not vote."

All Councillors present, agreed to this and the minutes were duly adopted as a true record.

3. Matters Arising:

There were no matters arising from the minutes.

4. Open Forum:

No issues raised under open forum.

5. Finance:

a. Bills for Payment:

Cheque No. Item
  489 HLB AV Audit plc
  490 Bernie Wadeson
  491 ABB
  492 NCC
  493 Texprep
    Total Expenses

It was proposed by Cllr England and Seconded by Cllr Earl that these bills are paid, all Cllr’s agreed to this.

b. Budget:

Following a Finance Committee meeting, all councillors had been issued with the proposed budget.

Cllr Smith congratulated the finance committee on the format of the document as it appeared much easier to understand. Cllr Smith then enquired as to why the council donated £1000,00 to the Brackley Cottage Hospital. The Chairman explained that as many of Helmdon’s residents past and present benefit from the Cottage Hospital, the parish council felt a donation each year was appropriate. Cllr Smith then asked how and when the money in the deposit account would be used. Cllr Gittens circulated a breakdown of the accounts and then gave an explanation on how the funds are allocated.

Cllr Spendlove asked what did General Expenses cover in Parks and Open Spaces. The Chairman explained that it could be for any small unforeseen expenditure such as grass seed or fertilizer.

The Chairman Cllr Burns then informed the council that since the proposed budget had been produced, he had received a request from the church for an additional £50.00 towards the burial ground. Cllr Spendlove declared an interest in this matter and a short debate followed. Cllr Gittens then proposed that the council should increase the burial ground donation by £50.00 to £250.00, Cllr Bearman seconded this. All councillors agreed, except Cllr Spendlove who abstained from the vote.

c. Parish Precept:

Cllr Spendlove proposed that with the one amendment to the burial ground donation, the council should accept the proposed precept, Cllr England seconded this. All councillors in favour, the precept for 04/05 will be £9450.

The Chairman then informed the council that the audit was back and had been signed off, he suggested that with the councils agreement, Cllr Brookhouse and the Chairman would continue to complete all necessary paperwork. The council agreed to this.

The Chairman stated that he had been approached by the Parish Plan Steering committee to apply for a further £1605 of funding. The council agreed to this and the Chairman will apply for the funding.

6. Northamptonshire C.C. matters and highways:

Cllr Spendlove remarked that the work outside the school was looking very impressive, and felt that a letter of thanks should be sent to all party's involved, this the council agreed to. It was also decided that a letter should be sent to Mr Terry Glassett for identifying the area from which the funding would come from. The Chairman agreed to do this.

a. Paving in Shortlands Close:

Cllr Spendlove informed the council that the pavement at the bottom of Shortlands close has become extremely damaged, this is apparently due to large vehicles turning at this point and mounting the footpath. The council agreed to send a letter requesting suitable strengthening and repairs.

Cllr Smith then informed the council that the embankment adjacent to 83 Wappenham Rd has become very eroded, Cllr Smith asked if some form of pavement or curbing could be installed. After a short debate it was decided to write to the highways department and ask for a solution to this matter.

7. South Northants D.C. Matters:

Cllr Spendlove reported that when the parking improvements had been carried out in Hinton's close, there had been concern about the large drop to the road surface. When highways had been contacted, they felt that this drop posed no danger to the public. However during carol singing at Christmas, Cllr Spendlove unfortunately fell off the bank landing on the road below, causing an injury to her knee. With this in mind Cllr Spendlove asked if the council felt that this is an area that needs to be looked at again. The Council agreed that they should write to highways and explain the situation.

8. Parish Clerk:

The Chairman reported that there had been only one resident of Helmdon that had shown any interest in the position of Clerk. Unfortunately this person would be unable to attend meetings on Wednesdays. The Chairman enquired if the council would be prepared to change the days of council meetings, therefore giving greater flexibility to the Clerk. The council had no objections to having meetings on different days.

The Chairman reported that Cllr Moody had asked if the Clerk was a paid member of staff and, if so, did the 1998 minimum wage act apply. The Chairman explained that he had contacted NALC over this matter and had also asked that if the payment were an honorarium, would this still come under the 1998 minimum wage act. Cllr Spendlove asked that if the Clerk was awarded a fee not a salary, would this be an answer to the problem. The Chairman would contact NALC to inquire.

9. Playground Committee:

The minutes of the Playground Committee meeting had been circulated to all councillors. Cllr Smith referred to the minutes of the meeting and suggested waiting for the village plan survey results, before, making any decision on the play area and school field. The Council agreed it would be sensible to defer this issue to the next Council meeting. Cllr Smith then inquired about funding, unfortunately the council had discussed finance, so this matter will have to be included at the next council meeting.

10. Annual Parish Meeting:

The Annual Parish Meeting will be held on April 28th, however, the chairman asked did the council wish to purchase wine and nibbles as in previous years, or, not, in an attempt to keep the precept as low as possible. Cllr England felt that wine and nibbles helped with the numbers of residents attending the meeting. Cllr Spendlove felt that there had been a good attendance to the meetings before, wine had been provided. Following a short debate the Chairman felt that this issue should be discussed at the next council meeting, therefore, giving all councillors time to decide.

11. Correspondence:

Request for precept.
Allowance payments.
Update of electoral register.
Concessionary travel tokens.

Update Publication.
Election of Chairman.
Calendar year of Clerk.
County Training Partnership for A.Q.A. Certificate.
2 copies of village viewpoint.
Training Support Co-Coordinator.

Structure plan abandoned.

DEFRA / Equine issues.
Alzheimer’s Newsletter.
T he Countryside Agency / Local Heritage Initiative.
The Countryside Agency / Parish Transport Grants.
The Local Channel / Website.

12. Matters raised by councillors:

Cllr Earl ask what is the correct procedure for reporting persistent pavement parking. The Chairman recommended contacting Northants County Council / Highways.

Cllr Spendlove reported that there are several overhanging hedges that will need trimming before spring,. The council to write and request that this is carried out.

Cllr Bearman reported that Gravel Path is in a very poor state. Cllr Bearman agreed to write and request some form of cleaning and repair work.

13. Any other business:

No other business.

14. Date of next meeting:

Next meeting Wednesday March 24th.

Meeting closed at 8.25pm.

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