Minutes of  Annual Meeting of the Council

held on 18th May 2021

Norton Canes Community Centre at 7pm


Present:   Cllrs J.Preece













Also In Attendance:      Mrs.L.Florence (Clerk)

4 members of the Public

Cllr.M.Hoare, District Councillor

Cllr.Mrs.S.Thompson, County Councillor


Cllr J.Preece, outgoing Chairman suggested that as this was the first face to face meeting of Council since the Covid pandemic that it would be fitting to hold a minute silence for those people who have passed away in the village due to the virus. Cllr Preece made special mention to Richard Davies who had sadly passed away due to Covid and who  had been a member of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.   Richard’s vision and enthusiasm would be greatly missed.  Richard had also been a volunteer of the CCSN group during the initial lockdown period.


068/2021   Election of Chairman

The meeting was asked for nominations for Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.


Cllr.J Preece was proposed by Cllr.J.Bernard and seconded by  Cllr.M.Holder.


It was resolved:

All in favour that Cllr.J.Preece should be elected Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.


Declaration of Acceptance

Cllr J.Preece thanked Councillors for the nomination and signed the Declaration of Acceptance


069/2021   Election of Vice Chairman

The meeting was asked for nominations for Vice Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.


There were two nominations:


Cllr.J.Bernard proposed by Cllr.Mrs.A.Bernard and Seconded by Cllr.Mrs.S.Harding

Cllr.J.Beddows proposed by Cllr.J.Preece and Seconded by Cllr.K.Fereday


A vote was taken by a show of hands which resulted in each nomination receiving the same number of votes. The Chairman had the casting vote. The Chairman said after much consideration announced that Cllr.J.Bernard would be the Vice Chairman for the ensuing year.


  It was resolved:

  That Cllr. J.Bernard be elected as Vice Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.


  Declaration of Acceptance

Cllr.J.Bernard accepted the nomination and thanked Councillors for their support. Cllr.J.Bernard signed the  Declaration of Acceptance.


070/2021      Committees of the Council


       The Committee structure of the Council was reviewed for the ensuing year.  A discussion ensued as to whether any Councillor required any changes to the Committees they were on.   Cllr.M.Stretton asked that he be removed from planning and suggested that Cllr.Mrs.Z.Stretton now become a member of that group.


Cllr.J.Newbury asked if he could become a member of Highways Committee.  Cllr.J.Beddows said that due to his mobility issues he feels that he would like to come off any Committees that he is a member of.


The Clerk informed the meeting that she had contacted the Community Partnership to ascertain the status of   this organisation and whether meetings are still taking place.  At the time of the meeting no response had been received.  It was suggested that the membership for this body still remain and that the Parish representative should continue to be Mrs.D.Todd.


The meeting was informed that as Dr.Singh had now retired from the Doctors practice and Dr.Chandra was now the named GP. The group will still continue to meet and the Parish representative will be Cllr.Mrs.S.Harding.


A recent meeting of the Projects Committee had to be cancelled at short notice due to the government guidelines re holding of remote meetings.  A suitable venue was not able to be found for the meeting to ensure social distancing could take place. It was suggested that some meetings may be able to meet remotely if they were deemed to be working groups rather that Committees.  Discussion ensued on this and Cllr.Holder stated that the agenda for each Committee is a summons and also should be open to members of the public.  The Committee does not have the power to make decisions and therefore the restrictions relating to convening of meetings should only affect working groups and also the Neighbourhood Plan groups who  also continue to legally meet remotely.


Action:             A list of the new Committee structure would be circulated to Councillors and displayed on the website and notice boards.


071/2021   Public Participation: 


Blakeney Way –  the issue of the significant potholes on Blakeney Way which are very bad with some trenches  across the road which causes suspension problems with cars.  Question raised as to why this has not been dealt with as a priority.  The meeting was informed that the potholes along this stretch of road have been inspected and scheduled to be repaired in May.  Cllr.Holder said that the filling in of the potholes already is criticised due to the standard of the work not being good and also there have been issues with this road since it was built. One of the problems is that services have been put in after the road was built. The Chairman also stated that the impact of the new housing development and the volume of traffic on Kingswood Lakeside has been under estimated.


Flooding outside co-op by letterbox – it was reported that when there is a downpour of rain   that some flooding appears on the area by the postbox which makes it difficult to access the postbox without getting wet.   In the past this area was slabbed and there was a larger area of flooding that occurred.  The Parish Council did liaise with the Co-op to try and get this area maintained and this did happen with the area being tarmaced. There is a dip in the area from the front door of the store going down towards the large tree.   We have also contacted the Royal Mail to ascertain if the postbox could be moved away from the area in question but this was not followed up by them we think due to the cost involved.


Drains blocked on Chapel Street  – it was reported that drains are blocked outside no 45 and 79 Chapel Street which causes flooding problems when downpours occur.

The meeting was told that flooding issues and blocked drains are on the schedule of works list that is discussed with the Highways Liaison Officer.  The County Councillor agreed to take forward the issues relating to highways matters and report back.  A meeting of the Highways Liaison Committee will be held after the 7th June.


The Chairman stated that he had put in a Freedom of Information request regarding the drains in Norton Canes.  The response is part of a big technical job to do.


Cema – following the installation of the new tarmac path on the Cema, question raised as to why a pile of soil had been left on the grassed area and why it wasn’t taken away.  It was felt that this work was ongoing re the development of the new play area and that this soil may be required.


‘A’ Boards on A5 –   the Chairman said that this matter had been raised with the Planning Officer but is not a priority at present.


Public participation closed at 19.25 p.m.


072/2021   Apologies

              There were no apologies.


073/2021    Declarations of Interest

                      There were no declarations of interest received.


     074/2021    Minutes of Meeting on 8th April 2021

      The minutes of the meeting held on the 8th April 2021 were agreed as a true and accurate



      Proposed: Cllr.D.Bilbie

      Seconded: Cllr.Mrs.Z.Stretton


      Matters Arising from the Minutes

                    There were no matters arising from the Minutes


075/2021    Police  Report

The Clerk reported that no Police report had been received.  It was agreed to chase up the report and if one was received then this would be circulated to Councillors.


Action:            Clerk to chase up Police report and circulate if it is received.


     076/2021   Cema Upgrade 

                          An update was given with regard to the Cema project.  Tenders have now been received from 3 companies and the County Council are now going through the evaluations to award the contract to the preferred company.  The tarmac path around the perimeter of the field is being installed and we are told that the timescale for completion is early summer end July/August.


077/2021   Grove Colliery

.         The Chairman informed the meeting that Little Wyrley Estates and the District Council were to  close to an agreement for the terms relating to Grove Colliery.


078/2021   Reports from Councillors

Parking on District Council Car Park– Cllr.Mrs.S.Harding referred to the difficulties regarding parking on the District Council car park at the rear of the Co-op particularly when using the disabled spaces available and misuse of these spaces.   This has been compounded by a lot of people now using the car park as they are visiting the vaccination centre and are unsure where to park.  There are volunteers available on vaccination days to direct people.


Cema – Cllr.Mrs Harding reported that there had been an incident of anti-social behaviour in the wooded area on the Cema which involved the Police.   They moved the children on but appears that these type of issues are occurring in other areas of the village.


  079/2021    Reports from Committees


  • Planning

Comments forwarded to Cannock Chase Council by the Parish Council’s Planning Committee

No of Planning Application Address of proposed application


Proposal Comments by Parish
Planning Committee
CH/21/0128 149 Burntwood Road

Norton Canes

Detached annexe Planning Committee considered that this was a tandem garden development with no vehicular access.  If approved it was felt to set a precedent for other applications in the future.
Decisions by CCDC  


CH/21/0086 1 Willow Road

Norton Canes

Single storey rear extension Permission granted.
CH/21/0050 Partsworld Group

Orbital Way

Construction of portal framed warehouse extension to the rear and side of the existing warehouse premises including associated external works Permission granted.



The summary of planning applications were circulated prior to the meeting.   The Chairman reported that he had heard that the Go Kart Track applicant was intending to re-apply.  There were 9 reasons for refusal of the last application which are still an issue some of which relating to the canal.  It is understood that the developer is working with Natural England regarding these matters.


(b) Projects

The recent scheduled meeting of this Committee had to be aborted due to not being able to  adhere to Covid regulations from the 6th May.   It is intended to reschedule the meeting as   soon as practical to take forward any outstanding matters.   The meeting was told that whilst the Committee have not met the projects that have previously been agreed are being taken forward.


The Clerk reported that one of the projects that needs further discussion is the welcome signs and there is some difficulty in installation at the locations chosen.


  • Audit and Governance


Cllr.J.Bernard told the meeting that there were no financial matters to report,.  An Audit  and Governance meeting is due to be arranged within the next 2 weeks to receive end of year reports and consider the Annual Return for 2020/21.


080/2021    Neighbourhood Plan

The topic groups continue to meet and the Consultants have worked hard in producing reports together with  advice to these groups.  A soft Launch of Plan is planned as of the 17th May but there are still a number of areas such as the digitised map to be resolved before it can be uploaded on to the website.  Banners promoting the Launch have been displayed in prominent areas of the village.


A steering group will be scheduled in the early part of June to oversee the Plan as this group has not met for sometime.


  081/2021   Highways

                        Some highways issues have already been raised under the public participation of this meeting     which will be taken forward.   The Clerk reported that we are awaiting to schedule a Highways Liaison meeting after the 7th June with the Liaison Officer and the newly elected County Councillor.


  082/2021   New Cemetery

The legal process for the Deed of Easement is ongoing but the Clerk reported that she has now    communicated with Company undertaking the survey relating to advice re the Charities Act which the Diocese have requested and that this now seems to be being dealt with.


The Consultants have put forward the loan application documents to Staffordshire Parish Councils’ Association as they have to give support to submitting the application for the new cemetery.


083/2021   Cannock in Bloom


A report was circulated prior to the meeting giving details of the Cannock in Blook initiative.


Cllr.Mrs.A Bernard referred Councillors to the Report and said that she and the Clerk had attended a recent meeting with other Parish and Town Councils together with representatives from Hednesford in Partnership who were promoting this project.


The project has come from a suggestion by Hednesford in Partnership linking into something that they are doing in Hednesford which they felt would be a good idea to expand out to Town and Parish councils across Cannock Chase as the BKV competition this year was in a different format.   It was envisaged to be a friendly competition with a simpler criteria than BKV.  They have engaged some Judges who have previously judged BKV and the District Council have agreed to donate a trophy for the competition.  It is very much a project that involves volunteers from the local community and cannot be carried out by a contractor or employee.   There is no cost to entering the competition. The organisers acknowledged that the notice for this was very short in terms of time as entry details need to be submitted by the 24th May but hoped Councils would get involved. Cllr.Mrs.Bernard told the meeting that whilst there appeared to be a positive feeling from other Parishes/town Councils, we did feel after that at Norton Canes we may struggle to find an area that required improvement and the main issue would be the enlisting of volunteers.    Cllr. Mrs.S.Harding suggested that maybe we could look at one of the areas of open spaces that has been included in a recent survey undertaken for the Neighbourhood Plan.  The Chairman also stated that he had been in discussion with Little Wyrley estates about improving an open space at the rear of St.James Place where the old Church Hall was but again there is no agreement in place as this is ongoing dialogue.


Cllr Mr.Bernard said she was proud of what we have achieved in Norton Canes and part of that achievement is that we have already identified areas that are in need of improvement and have developed them.  Discussion ensued on whether we could enter the competition within the short time given and what areas could be considered.   There are two areas of land that we are currently looking to develop which would have met the criteria but we are still in negotiation as to whether we can get permission to take over these areas.  Cllr.Holder referred to one of the pieces of land at the junction of Brownhills Road and Hednesford Road (known locally as the big tree) that we had put in a Freedom of Information request regarding ownership due to this not been known previously.


Cllr.Mrs.A.Bernard said the Projects Committee had been looking at this area for sometime but had drawn a complete blank as to who owns this land Historically it has been said that it belonged to a family in the village who had many years ago given it to the District Council but it does appear there is no audit trail to confirm this.   It is noted that the District Council currently maintain the area in terms of grass cutting.   The question has been posed as to whether the Parish Council should adopt the land as we are just trying to make the area look nice.  Cllr.Holder stated that legally all land belongs to someone and if not claimed then belongs to the queen. The Chairman closed the meeting to allow a member of the public to speak as they had knowledge of the legal process re occupying land. Discussion ensued on what action could be taken.


The Chairman suspended Standing Orders to enable a member of the public to speak who had information relating to this matter.   The meeting was informed that in order to make a claim on any land it has to be occupied for 12 years without any challenge.  We do have to be careful as if the land in question was fenced/boarded off to claim ownership in the future, this could be challenged by the District Council who then may decide not to maintain the area which would become an eyesore.


Cllr Newbury stated that whilst it was a good idea to explore the detail relating to this area of land and that this should be brought back to the Projects Committee for further discussion, her also felt that District Councillors could have a formal discussion with the District to make them aware what the Parish Council are planning.


84/2021      Chairman’s Announcements & Correspondence

                   To note the correspondence that was circulated prior to the meeting.


Proposal for Support Roles

The Chairman told the meeting that he would like to put forward a proposal to employ a Volunteer Co-ordinator possibly over a 5 year period.  This refers to his vision to help and support local initiatives in the village for the benefit of residents which could help tackle national objectives such as loneliness and consideration re youth outreach projects that could be considered reach that target group that currently have no support.  There is also missed conservation   Part of the role could funded initially through Cil money but would also be responsible for sourcing funding bids to continue these roles in the future.   He felt that we should be looking to invest in services for the village rather than just improving and maintaining the presentation of the village. It is acknowledged that there does need to be plans considered for the expenditure of Cil money in the future.


Cllr.J.Bernard suggested that as a way forward a report should be prepared for discussion at the next Council meeting in June highlighting what the roles would be and what benefit it would bring to the village.


Council Meetings

The meeting was told that following recent Government guidelines that remote meetings of local government bodies should cease as of the 6th May plans needed to be put in place to ensure that Covid restrictions were still adhered to.


The Clerk had circulated a report to Councillors for consideration.  The contents of the report was discussed and Cllr.M.Holder referred to the legislation in relation to the status of Annual Parish Assembly meetings that is required to be called by the Chairman of the Council,or 2 Councillors or 6 electors.  If this does happen then there is no requirement of the Council to hold an Assembly.  Cllr.Holder pointed out that it would benefit the Chairman if  Councillors could support the Chairman’s action not to hold an Assembly.


It was suggested that perhaps the Chairman could put an article in the newsletter that could be in the same format as his Chairman’s speech at the Assembly which would enable the Council to make the electors aware of the actions and business of the Council during the last year and that it is planned to hold an Assembly in 2022.


 085/2021    Authorisation of Accounts

                           A schedule of payments for May had been circulated prior to the meeting.  Cllr.J.Bernard asked if there had been any additional payments since the circulation.  The Clerk told the meeting that there was an item of petty cash of £100 which was required by the lengthsman for the purchase of garden items/materials for the planting of the gardens and planters.


Proposed:       Cllr.J.Bernard

             Seconded:       Cllr. D.Bilbie


     086/2021   Date of next meeting 16th June 2021 dependant on appropriate venue. Clerk to be given authority to source a suitable venue.


      087/2021   Items for Information and Future Agenda   

Cllrs.Mrs.Z.Stretton and M.Stretton gave their apologies for the June meeting.


                           The meeting closed at 8.40 p.m.


SIGNED: ………………………………………………………………………   Dated : …………………………………………………..