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 Wrington Parish Council
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Local Government
Minutes of a Meeting of Wrington Parish Council held in the John Locke room on
                Wednesday, 25th November, 2009


1. Apologies:
Ms E. P. Irving, Chair
Mrs .J Gallop, Vice-Chair 
Mr F. Cowgill
Mr D. W. Glynn
Mrs P. Ledbury
Mr P. Robinson
Mrs C. Turton
Mrs D. J. Yamanaka
Mrs G. Wilson,
Mr M. Berkley
Mrs G. J. Bigg
Mrs G. Moss
Mrs C. A. Phillips

In attendance: PC K. Tacchi - part - Mr M MacGregor (Parish Liaison Officer); Mrs F Powell (Area Officer) – part -
Mr J Rubidge, Mr A Tandy, Mr S Phillips (members of the Dickensian Fair Committee) - part
2. Declaration of Members’ Interests

None on known agenda items.

3. Public Participation

Mr John Rubidge addressed the Council with regard to problems that the committee organising the annual Dickensian Fair were having in relation to lighting. He explained that as the guidelines of the Parish Council’s insurers required electrical connections to be made by a qualified electrician, the committee had sought advice from a number of qualified people. Many of these had interpreted the regulations in such a way that would result in intrusive and expensive works such as burying electrical cables below ground. The committee had felt that meeting such requirements was impossible, and that they may have no choice but to cancel the whole event. This was the reason they wished to seek the advice of the Parish Council. Within the last 24 hours, however, they had identified an electrician who may be able to provide the necessary certification without major works, and after discussion of a number of issues, it was agreed that this course of action should be pursued. There was a further issue with the cost of the work: this could be up to £600, but the committee had funds of only about £300. It was agreed that this matter would be discussed at a later stage in the meeting, to determine whether the Parish Council could meet the shortfall through a Section 137 donation.

Mr Rubidge, Mr Tandy and Mr Phillips thanked the Parish Council and left the meeting at this point.

4. The Minutes of the Meeting held on 28th October were reviewed and signed as a true record.

6. Police Report: this item was taken next, as PC Tacchi was in attendance. A report covering both September and October had been circulated prior to the meeting. It was noted that there had been a spate of thefts from vehicles in Orchard Close and Home Close over one weekend in October, and five incidents related to BIA. An individual was now awaiting trial in relation to incidents of fraud in relation to window cleaning work.

The Chairwoman thanked PC Tacchi for his report and he left the meeting at this point.

5. Correspondence

a. Wraxall & Failand Parish Council: letter suggesting that Parish Councils should set up a ‘fighting fund’ in relation to the National Grid proposals for power lines through countryside in North Somerset. It was agreed that this should be considered by the Finance Group and a recommendation made to the full Council.

b. Car Club: letter from Mr Steve Tainton of Dragonflyer to formally notify the Parish Council that the trial period for the Car Club was now over. The decision had been made not to continue with the facility, as there had been insufficient take-up to justify it. It was agreed that a letter should be sent to Mr Tainton thanking him for his efforts.

c. Mr Peter Ellis – letter of resignation from the Parish Council: this was read out by the Clerk. The Chairwoman pointed out that the Council now had four vacancies, three in the North East ward and one in the South West ward. She asked members to think about approaching people who might be able to offer their services to the Council through co-option. There was still a pressing need for someone to represent the Redhill area. It was agreed that the vacancies would be advertised on the Parish Council’s notice boards.

d. Mr Bill McKitterick – letter regarding the possibility of developing the route of the old branch railway as a multi-use path, and enquiring whether the Parish Council would be interested in being involved. A meeting is to be sought with North Somerset Council. Members felt that there could be significant obstacles to such a project, given that much of the land is now in private hands. It was agreed to ask to be kept informed of any developments.

e. Digital UK – information on the planned switchover to digital television in 2010. It was agreed to pass the information to the Friendship Club as it may be helpful to members to be aware of the assistance available with the changeover.

f. Alcohol requests – (1) Wrington Gardening Club Christmas event 17th December; (2) All Saints’ Church event on 4th December. There were no objections to either request.

g. Community Governance Review – the Clerk reported that draft recommendations on the review of parish boundaries had now been received from North Somerset Council, and copies of the relevant sections affecting Wrington Parish were circulated to members. The deadline for representations is noon on 19th January 2010.

6. Reports

Clerk’s Report: a report had been circulated previously, and this was received. Fay Powell, the new Area Officer appointed by NSC, was introduced and spoke briefly about her role, and members took the opportunity to mention issues that they felt needed attention. The Clerk said she was still awaiting news of the installation of the barrier at Old Hill, and Mark MacGregor said he would chase this up.

Finance Report: the Clerk had circulated a report prior to the meeting, together with accounts for October. The following payments were approved:

Connaught Environmental Ltd – dog bins – September £63.25
Scott Arrowsmith – village orderly – October £108.00
SEC Contracting – shields for lights £141.31
British Telecom – quarterly account £108.65
SEC Ltd – lighting survey £441.03
Aqueous – design work for Parish Plan £596.16
Clerk’s salary November – to be calculated

District Councillor’s Report

Cllr Yamanaka had circulated a report previously. She drew attention to the arrangements for circulating the consultation document in relation to Wrington Vale Medical Practice. She had asked the PCT that copies should be available on the mobile library; initially there had been some doubt about this, but she was now assured that this would be arranged.

North East Ward report

Cllr Turton had circulated a report in advance of the meeting. She drew attention to the continuing danger from speeding vehicles on Downside Road, and asked if the question of some kind of traffic calming measure could be re-considered. Cllr Glynn said that this issue had been considered in detail in the past but seemed to have lost momentum over the past couple of years. He felt that there had been an agreement previously to provide a flashing warning light to reduce speeds. It was agreed to write formally to David Turner at NSC to request this, with a copy to Colin Medus in the Highways section, and the new works transportation manager.

7. Working Groups

Cllr Irving pointed out that a convenor was needed for the Highways Group following the resignation of Peter Ellis, and it was therefore likely that no meeting could be arranged until after the Christmas break.

Environment: a meeting is now due to take place on 8th December with John Inman of NSC. Two meetings arranged recently have had to be cancelled due to Mr Inman being unavailable. It was hoped that he would have some information on funds available for flood prevention work.

Finance: Cllr Gallop reported that the Finance working group had met and had started drafting some budget figures for 2010 – 2011, but further information was needed especially in relation to possible costs of replacing street lights. A quotation of £240 - £300 had been received from Mr Dick Shepherd to fell the two trees on the Green in High Street, and it was agreed to go ahead with this work. One length of trunk from the Black Walnut would be left on the Green as a feature.

8. Avon Local Councils Association

The Clerk reported that a letter had been received from ALCA stating that fees for membership had been reduced, and the subscription due from Wrington Parish Council for the forthcoming year would be £487.51. Cllr Glynn said he felt that the Parish Council should be a member of ALCA. He acknowledged that there had been some problems with communication previously, but an assistant secretary had now been appointed and this should hopefully lead to improvements. It was agreed to consider the question at the meeting in January 2010 meeting, when a decision would be made whether to rejoin ALCA.

9. Wrington Vale Medical Practice

Cllr Robinson stated that the consultation document and feedback form compiled by the PCT are now available to members of the public. He still felt that this was rather slanted towards favouring the ‘single site’ option. The document had first been available at a meeting held in Langford on 17th November, and it was notable that residents of Langford and Churchill were generally not in favour of the Pudding Pie Lane site, particularly as it was close to the Primary School. He had also recently attended a meeting with Dr Liam Fox MP, which had been organised by the ‘Save Our Surgeries’ group. Dr Fox is now fully supportive of residents’ concern to retain two surgeries, and has stated that he will ensure no decision is rushed through at the end of the consultation period. He was also asking the Shadow Secretary of State for Health to raise the whole issue of rural surgeries in the House of Commons. Cllr Robinson said he felt there would still be difficulties in persuading the PCT to disclose information in relation to the business case for the single site or the other options being considered.

Cllr Cowgill said he felt that the consultation exercise was being conducted in a chaotic and amateurish manner, and that the Parish Council and others should continue to ask questions throughout the process.

The minute relating to the discussion on the WVMP consultation which took place at the last Parish Council meeting on 28th October was reviewed and signed as a true record.

10. Bus Shelter – Broad Street

It was agreed to defer further discussion until the next meeting.

11. Survey of Street Lighting

The Clerk reported that the long-awaited survey of the conditions of street lights with concrete columns had been received from SEC Ltd on the previous day. On an initial review, it was apparent that some fourteen lights needed urgent repair or replacement, and others that will need work in due course. There was a great deal of information to be considered, and as this will have significant financial implications for the Council it was decided to set up a meeting with Mr Andy Johns of SEC Ltd. Cllrs Cowgill, Irving, Glynn and Ledbury agreed to be involved with this.

12. Regional Spatial Strategy and Core Strategy

Cllr Yamanaka said that the consultation on this will start on 27th November and run until mid-February. Parish Councils will be sent copies of the document later in the week. It was agreed that this should be discussed at a meeting of the Planning Committee. Cllr Glynn agreed to write notes on the briefing event he had attended in October, as this would be particularly helpful for new members of the Council.

13. Parish Plan

Cllr Irving said that another copy of the proof had been supplied by Aqueous, the design and print company, and as nothing further had been heard from Cllr Bigg in relation to the project she felt that the Council could not delay any longer in finalising the document. It was therefore agreed that Cllr Glynn would retrieve from Cllr Bigg a copy of some amendments that he had produced with a view to these being incorporated in the final copy, which would then be submitted to the printers.

14. Plans for employment of new Clerk

The following proposals were agreed:

a. to appoint a Clerk to the Council on a job-share basis with a view to taking up the position following the retirement of the present Clerk in July 2010, subject to a probationary period of three months, with the Council to proceed to recruitment as soon as possible.

b. to appoint an administrative assistant to coincide with the retirement of the present Clerk, to assist the new Clerk, to work ten hours per week.

c. the total hours of employment are to be 22 per week initially (to include holiday cover), of which the Clerk will work 12 hours. This is to be the subject of review at intervals to be determined by the Council

15. Open Forum

a. Cllr Glynn pointed out that the Council’s Standing Orders state that Council meetings will be held on the third Wednesday of the month. This has now been changed to the fourth Wednesday, and the Standing Orders therefore require amendment.

b. Dickensian Fair: the question of providing finance to support the electrical work as outlined during the ‘public participation’ at the beginning of the meeting was now considered. It was agreed that, due to the urgency of the situation, with the event due to take place on 11th December, it was necessary to make a decision without prior notice. It was therefore agreed that the Parish Council would meet the costs of electrical work required up to a maximum of £300, but that the organising committee should also be encouraged to seek external funding or sponsorship in order to meet some of the shortfall.

There being no other business the meeting was declared closed at 10.45 pm.

Echo Irving