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Parish Council Minutes - March 2004

Minutes of the Meeting of the Helmdon Parish Council held on
Wednesday, 24th March 2004
in the Reading Room, Helmdon at 7:30 p.m.

Present: Councillors Burns, Brookhouse, Moody, Smith, Bearman, Gittens, Spendlove, Earl and Parish Clerk, Sarah Smith

There were 3 members of the public present

1. Apologies:

Apologies had been received from Councillor England. Councillor Burns took the opportunity to introduce the new Parish Clerk to the councillors.

2. Minutes:

The minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 28th January 2004 had been circulated and a change was made to item 12. It will now read 'The new clerk' to write and request that this is carried out, in place of 'The council'. This was agreed unanimously and the minutes were duly adopted as a true record.

3. Matters Arising:

i) Councillor Spendlove asked if a letter had been sent relating to item 6a of the previous minutes. The chairman explained that this had not yet been sent due to the absence of a Parish Clerk. It was agreed that Councillor Bearman should write to the highways department, in his capacity of Road Safety Councillor, to ask for a solution to both the erosion matters on the embankment on Wappenham Road and the pavement at the bottom of Shortlands Close.

ii) Councillor Moody enquired as to the reponse from NALC with respect to the employment of the new Parish Clerk. The chairman, Councillor Burns explained that the post could not be self employed but had to be employed by the Parish Council.

4. Open Forum:

i) Mrs A Forgham raised the matter of the metal sign frame which has been left on the side of the road near the bridge.

ii) Mrs A Forgham also mentioned the brambles which were now becoming overgrown.

iii) Mrs A Forgham asked who would be looking after the Summer planting/maintenance this year. Councillor Burns informed the committee that Sue Lidgley is happy to continue her good work into the Summer period.

iv) The water problem at the bottom of Grange Lane was raised. This matter had already been raised by Mr Phil King of Grange Farm and it was suggested to him, that he should write to NCC. The question of ownership came up and it was agreed that this should be looked into.

v) Judy Cairns asked about the apparent late delivery of Talkabout. It was noted that, due to a recent family bereavement, certain areas of the village had not yet received their copies, however, this is in hand and delivery should take place shortly.

vi) Judy Cairns mentioned that Mary Turnham has asked about the layby on Welsh Lane and its current state of repair. It was briefly discussed and agreed that this could not be covered by the Parish council.

vii) Mr B Short raised the matter of water lying on the surface of Station Road. It was pointed out that work had been carried out recently and this was no longer an issue.

viii) Mr B Short asked whether the salt bin on the corner of Church Street could be moved nearer to the church. Councillor Burns informed the committee that he has recently been informed that the salt bins, once empty, are due to be taken away, and, although this did not help the current situation, could not be avoided.

ix) Mr B Short expressed his concern over the rise in this years' Parish Precept and its increase being above the current rate of inflation. The chairman pointed out that although any increases were regrettable, the committee had been careful to allow for costs over the entire year so as not to leave the account short. Councillor Spendlove asked if we had compared our increase to those of similar size villages and it was noted that Helmdon was about average.

5. Finance:

Balance as at 23rd March 2004
Current Account £ 1,327.58
Savings Account £ 10,693.60

This does not reflect the payment made to Parish Plan for £1,009.75 from the current account - so bringing the current total to £317.83. Councillor Brookhouse proposed that £2,500 be transferred from the savings account and was seconded by Councillor Earl. All present agreed.

i) Accounts Payable

Cheque No. Item
    Sue Lidgley (Plants)
    Northants ACRE
    Helmdon Parish Plan
    Richard Bearman
    Brackley Cottage Hospital
    Total Expenses

The chairman thanked councillor Bearman for providing his labour freely. It was proposed that these accounts be paid and all present were in favour.

ii) Assets register - Councillor Burns asked where the Assets register was and Councillor Gittens informed him that this is held with the Parish Clerk.

iii) Talkabout - The Chairman, Councillor Burns, read a letter from Wilf Forgham, which suggested that a separate account should be held under the Parish Council accounts solely for the Talkabout magazine. This suggestion has come since the most recent issue is set to make a profit, which they would like to plough back into future issues, as and when required. This was discussed and it was agreed that although a separate account was not necessary, the monies would be identified within the normal accounts and would be made available when required. Now that Talkabout could be self funding, where does that leave the onus if they get into debt. It was suggested that a reply should be sent to Wilf to request further discussions on this matter. For the time being, £400 is at their disposal, £250 profit and £150 already in budget. It was also proposed that a letter be sent to both Richard Wray and Wilf for their excellent issue.

iv) Nottingham Bond - Councillor Burns proposed that we renew this andwas seconded by councillor Brookhouse, and all present were in favour. It was then agreed that we should renew the bond for a further 4/5 years at 3.75%. Councillor Burns will send off the relevant paperwork this week.

v) Quotation for grass cutting - The chairman had received a quotation for grass cutting at £696.00, £21.00 increase on last year. Councillor Spendlove asked which grass was covered in the tender and Councillor Burns will contact them for clarification. It was agreed that based on this current quotation, we would go ahead with the work if Councillor Burns found the tender acceptable.

vi) Councillor Smith bought up the tender for cutting back bushes/trees etc around the play area by gravel path. The committee agreed that the quotation received for £220.00 should be accepted and all present were in favour. Parish Clerk to write to proceed. The matter of an extra gate was also discussed. Councillor Moody suggested a public meeting should be held regarding the footpaths. However, Councillor Burns suggested that we could first have a meeting to establish facts and figures along with any grants or benefits that may be available.

vii) The date for the next finance meeting has been set for Wednesday 31st March 2004 at 10.00am to be held at Peters Farm.

6. Northamptonshire CC matters & highways:

Councillor Gittens asked that the letters be sent for the allotment payments due. Parish Clerk to issue letters as soon as possible.

7. South Northamptonshire DC matters:

Councillor Spendlove asked whether anyone was aware of who was putting up the SNC poop scoop notices. It is felt that these could be extremely misleading and also create ill feeling. Councillor Gittens agreed and will contact SNC to enquire further.

8. Playground Committee:

i) Councillor Smith mentioned the continuation of the lease. It was felt that we should await the result of the Parish Plan survey to make this decision. Councillor Moody informed the committee that these results would not be available until the next meeting. Councillor Moody stated that he thought the school would like to see more use of the play area. However, this would appear difficult as the play area can currently only be used out of school hours. Councillor Brookhouse to contact the head teacher to discuss future meetings to establish new ground rules.

9. Report on Helmdon Plan by Councillor Moody:

Councillor Moody issued a report as follows:

The parish plan questionnaire was distributed throughout the parish in January and the data has now been collected and entered into a database for analysis.

266 households took part, which represents 76% of the parish. In total, 500 residents over 11 years of age and 70 under 11 responded.

The Parish Plan steering group met last week to begin the data analysis and topic groups will be meeting over the next 3-4 weeks. It is hoped to have a public feedback meeting in May and our target is to submit a completed plan to the parish council for adoption at the meeting of this council on 28th July 2004.

Financially, the group are operating within budget and have received a further 25%, £1,009.75, of their allocated grant from the Countryside Agency. Projected final expenditure is well within budget.

10. Annual Parish Meeting:

Councillor Moody asked if wine and nibbles would be made available at the AGM. This was discussed briefly and was agreed that, as they were unlikely to increase the attendance to the meeting, wine and nibbles would not be made available. The question of teas and coffees was bought up by Councillor Spendlove but was also voted against with two abstensions.

Councillor Moody suggested that the CEO of Cherwell Vale PCT should be invited to speak, however Councillor Brookhouse suggested that he would be able to speak about Brackley Cottage Hospital instead.

11. Correspondence:

Electoral Register updates
Notice of Planning Appeal to Deputy PM - 4 Wrightons Hill
Animal Welfare quarterly report
Diversion of footpath AP11 - Sawmills
Local Strategic Partnership booklet

Northants CC
Planning out crime planning guidance booklet
Deposit draft Northants minerals local plan
Notice of structure plan report
Use of drop kerbs fund
Footpath A28 - Jenners Piece
Supplementary document on planning guidance
Northants ACRE
South Northants Rural Transport Partnership
Calor Village of the Year competition
The Playing Field
Village viewpoint

Playground safety
Inland revenue decision on Clerks status
Appointment of Rose Gibbins as training support co-ordinator
Protection and acquisition of ownerless land

Standards board consultation document regarding misconduct allegations
Grafton Hunt complaint - Irene Inness
EMEB request to confirm inventory for new unmetered supplies certificate
The Countryside Agency - vital villages update
John Hicks and Associates - Playground inspectors
Various playground literature
Church of England table of parochial fees

Councillor Spendlove asked that the map for footpath across Jenners Piece be corrected as it was currently impossible to walk where this showed the footpath to be. B-C is not representative of the true route. Councillor Gittens will make contact to correct this and agree the route.

Councillor Moody asked if the Village of the Year application had been completed. As this matter had not yet been agreed, the application form had not yet been filled in. All present agreed that this should be completed and returned to allow Helmdon entry.

12. Any other business:

i) Jemma Simpkins is moving

ii) A planning appeal has been made against refusal of consent to development of land in Church Street.

iii) A Planning application - use of the land for 3 Lukes Close has been raised on the basis that they have mowed the grass for 10 years. This is not a planning application and all that can be verified is that the occupants have lived at the address for 10 years. No further information can be given from the Parish Council

iv) A request has been made for weed killer to be used in Church Street and also for the bench to receive linseed treatment.

v) Broadband - thanks to the continued efforts from Jane Keys, local broadband co-ordinator, the target of 250 registrations for broadband has been met. Letter to be sent to thank her for her for her input.

vi) Councillor Spendlove notified the Council that a house to house Christian Aid collection will take place between 9th and 15th of May.

vii) A complaint has been made about the lamp number 20 in Station road, which is still in need of repair. The Chairman will write to speed up its repair.

13. Date of Annual Parish Meeting:

28th April 2004 - 7.30pm

14. Date of next Parish Council Meeting

28th July 2004 - 7.30pm

Meeting closed at 9.37pm

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