Minutes of Council Meeting held on 19th August 2020 Virtual meeting held via Zoom

   Present:                 Cllrs J.Preece

J.Bernard

Mrs.A.Bernard

D.Bilbie

J.Beddows

K.Fereday

M.Holder

J.Newbury

Mrs.Z.Stretton

M.Stretton

Mrs.S.Harding

Mrs.D.Todd

 

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

3 members of the Public

 

Public Participation

              ‘A’ Boards on Walsall Road/Norton Green Lane – Mr.P.Sanders reported that the ‘A’ boards located on these roads is getting worse and rubbish is being left all around them.

 

Action:                Clerk to look at ways of clearing this area up.

 

              Railings outside Jerome School –  Mr.Sanders stated that whilst the bolts on the railings had been dealt with by the Highways Dept, it appears that they are the wrong bolts that have been used.

 

Action:                Clerk to contact Liaison Officer and request that this be looked into   

                                           and the bolts be replaced.

 

              Flooding on Walsall Road – Mr.Sanders referred to the flooding on Walsall Road/Norton Grange and went over the background leading up to these problems.  He reported that the Highways Dept are sending out a team to clean the gullies. The problem previously with the sewerage has been resolved but the water is still a problem. Severn Trent have confirmed that the main line is clear so he is not sure how this can be dealt with. Discussion ensued on who is responsible for the issues being experienced by residents and some of the complications may be due to the agencies involved as there is a difference  between the Highways Agency who are only responsible for the trunk roads and the Highways Authority for drains,roads and paths.  The District Council and the Environment Agency also have responsibility for drainage.

 

Action:                Clerk to liaise with the Highways Dept to ascertain if some sand bags

              could be provided to residents in Norton Grange in the short term until this matter is resolved by the agencies involved. Parish Council to continue to raise the matter with Highways Dept at County Council.

 

   Public Participation closed at 7.23 p.m.    

 

   231/2020              Apologies

                                             Apologies were received from Cllr.R.Wilkinson

 

  232/2020                Declarations of Interest

                                    

Cllr Mrs.Z.Stretton Planning Applications Agenda item 7(a) On District Council Planning Committee
Cllr.Mrs.D.Todd Planning Applications Agenda item  7(a) On District Council Planning Committee

 

234/2020  Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 15th July 2020

The Minutes of the Council meeting on the 15th July 2020 were agreed as a true and accurate record.

 

                 Proposed:    Cllr. M.Holder

     Seconded:   Cllr.  K.Fereday

 

   Matters Arising from the Minutes

                            Page 2 Bridges Road – the meeting was informed that the Highways Inspector has been to look at Bridges Road but commented that nothing required urgent attention to meet their intervention levels.  This will continue to be monitored by structural engineers but if deemed to be in need of work it will be for the whole path and not just repairing small sections. Residents should still continue to log any ongoing concerns in the future.

 

Page 2 Lime Lane – this has been reported to the Highways Dept as the path from the Turf island is virtually becoming unpassable due to the overgrowth. Highways Dept have stated that they will be arranging for this work to be done.

 

235/2020               Police Report

No report was available.  Clerk reported that Becky Hines had been contacted for  comments about neighbourhood policing and attendance at Parish Council meetings.  This had been passed to Sgt Burslem to look into and respond.  The Chairman stated that he was aware that PCSO Karen Willis has been off sick so this may be the reason for no report.

Cllr.Mrs.Harding said that she had been approached about bogus callers operating in the village and targeting the elderly.  Discussion ensued as this has been an ongoing problem for many years and it was agreed that  the Parish Council could look at what we can do  to try and help with this situation.  It was agreed that mention be made in the September edition of the Village newsletter to raise awareness. We could look into sourcing some signs that could be put in residents doors with and aide memoir on the back  to prompt them what to do in cases of bogus callers.

 

Action:            Include article in Newsletter to raise awareness.

Clerk to look into sourcing some of the notices re bogus callers.

 

Cllr.Preece referred to motorised bicycles on the park on Brownhills Road.  Did try to log this via 101 but said the best way to report would be via a direct message on facebook which seems a better way to get a response.

 

236/2020             Proposed Payphone Removal – Norton East Road

It was reported that the notification from the District Council had been received stating that BT Telecommunications were consulting on the removal of the payphone located on Norton East Road (outside the One Stop Shop).   Discussion ensued on whether the Parish Council felt that this payphone should be removed. It was noted that we had objected a while ago when the removal was suggested and as part of that consultation then the payphone was not removed.  Cllr.Preece referred to some anti-social behaviour being reported with the payphone box.

 

It was felt that the circumstances in terms of the need for a payphone at that location have not changed in that there is an elderly population that reside there and also the kiosk is in the same location as a defibrillator.  It was agreed that more information regarding the number of calls made form this payphone should be available before a decision could be made.

 

Action:            Clerk to obtain details of the calls made from this payphone and to circulate to Councillors for a response.

 

237/2020             Councillors Reports

Planning Decision Gypsy/Traveller site on Stokes Lane. – Cllr J.Newbury referred to the recent planning application which had been passed for approval relating to a Gypsy/Traveller site on Stokes Lane.   This has been a very contentious application which had raised public opinion as it was felt this application had been got through via the ‘back door’ and that this group of people had already ignored planning conditions from the previous application relating to a Stables on this site.  The Councillors who spoke at the Planning Committee were disappointed that this application had been dealt with it in the way it was and had some concern about the role that the Planning Officer took at the meeting. There was concern about how the application had been determined relying on the fact that there would  be 11 children on this residential site and that they needed to access an education.  Cllr Mrs.A.Bernard felt that it is a known fact that this group of children do not always attend education so to base the permission on this status is difficult to understand.   The concern of  Councillors was that this application seemed to be approved on a ‘personal circumstances’ and that this has never been known to happen previously,  Questions were asked as to why this occurred and that whilst we cannot appeal, we should be challenging the information provided on the day which led to the issue of the number of children being included. We should raise our concerns at this level due to the concern about the conduct at the meeting and the outcome.  Previously the Parish Council had requested additional information about families to be located on this site but had been told by the Planning Officer that this information was not required to enable a decision to be made and indeed if it went to an Inspector to be determined that information would not be requested.

The Report prepared by the Planning Officer made no reference to what would happen if this group  of people left the site and question raised as  if this site would be put back to its original use and how this would be monitored.

It was agreed that we should put in writing to the Managing Director at the District Council, our concerns about the performance of the Planning Officer and how this application was determined.  It should also state that this decision sets a precedent for any other Gypsy/Traveller group to follow this in any area of the District Council.  The issue of the conditions attached to the permission appear to be unworkable and this should also be noted in our response.  There is a failing on the part of the District Council as there is no provision for Gypsy/Travelling sites due to the Local Plan not being adopted.  This allows for speculative applications to be more successful. Public opinion will be that they as residents  are required to follow planning laws but the applicants flaunt the law and appear to get away with this.  There was opinion when the first application was submitted that this would become a residential site.

Whilst it is acknowledged that the District Council have got to provide 25 sites across the District, Norton Canes already has its fair share of sites within the village and this should be taken into account.  This matter will be addressed when compiling the Neighbourhood Plan.

 

Action:            Clerk to put a draft letter to the Managing Director at CCDC for the Planning Committee of the Parish Council to approve highlighting our concerns about how this particular application has been dealt with.

                                                   

238/2020               Reports from Committees

                               Planning

A summary of planning applications was circulated prior to the meeting.

 

No of Planning Application Address of proposed application

 

Proposal Comments by Parish
Planning Committee
CH/20/247 Land North East of A5 (Turf Island) Watling Street Retention of gates and fence See attached email to District Council re objections raised. Response email from District
CCDC Decision      
No decisions received      
       

 

With reference to the application in  the Summary CH/20/247 there was some doubt about the trust relating to the plans for this site.  Cllr.Holder said that it depends a lot of what the Highways Agency say due to its location in close proximity of the highway which may stand a chance of getting rejected.

 

Cllrs.Mrs.Z.Stretton and Mrs.D.Todd agreed to make sure that photos are taken of this site and the issue with access and close proximity to highway. Cllr Mrs.Z.Stretton also commented that she was concerned about the height of the fence which avoids anyone being able to see what is going on.

Cllr.Preece referred to the Government announcing a White Paperre changes to planning matters with some suggestions about looking at unitary authority which will be either Staffs or South Staffs and not sure how this will affect Parish Councils in the future or if there will be an implications for our Neighbourhood Plan.    Cllr.Newbury said that in his view it would not affect Parish Councils directly and that it is something that we need to be aware of but it may be that more services will be pushed on to Councils.  Cllr.Mrs.S.Harding referred to some recent training that she had attended when it was mentioned that it is seen that more services may be pushed to Parish Councils as they are not capped and able to increase their budget to be able to deliver those services.  The Government are consulting on this at the end of the year.

 

Projects

Cllr. Mrs.A.Bernard reported that there was a Zoom meeting being arranged for the projects committee and feedback will be available for the September meeting.  It was noted that the flowers in the garden areas and the hanging baskets have been very good this year and a lot of positive comments have been received from members of the community.

 

Audit and Governance

Th draft minutes of the Audit and Governance Committee held on the 3rd August were circulated which were noted.

 

From that meeting Councillors were asked to note the suggestion of an Honorarium being paid to the Planning Consultant for the Neighbourhood Plan in recognition of the significant amount of work that had been undertaken and also continues to be done to take us to competition of the Plan. The Consultants have also provided advice to the Parish Council on other areas of planning and the new cemetery which has been extremely helpful   The amount suggested was £1,500.

 

The Audit and Governance Committee had also put forward a suggestion that in order to receive a better rate of interest that the Cil money in the sum of £54,365 should be invested in a 1 year bond with the Mid-Counties Co-op pending further discussion re future projects.

 

It was resolved:

 

  • That an Honoria in the sum of £1,500 be paid to the Planning Consultant in recognition of the significant work undertaken with the Neighbourhood Plan and of other advice and support received.
  • That the Cil money in the sum of £54,365 be invested in a 1 year Mid-Counties Bond.

 

239/2020               Neighbourhood Plan

The meeting was informed that there has been a delay in the progress of the Neighbourhood Plan during the Covid-19 lockdown.   A meeting of the contact group has been arranged for the 20th August to look at the current position relating to the work of the Plan and also the next steps to enable this  work to be kickstarted.

 

 

240/2020             Highways

 

A Zoom meeting is being arranged with the Liaison Officer for early September to discuss all outstanding highways issues.

 

Cllr.D.Bilbie referred to the pothole on the M6 toll leading to the A5.  Clerk confirmed that this was already on the schedule of woks so will be reviewed at the meeting.

 

241/2020             New Cemetery

The meeting was informed that Solicitors are now working in respect of securing a Deed of Easement regarding the access pathway to the new cemetery site.   Until this Deed is completed no further progress can be made.

 

242/2020             Chairman’s Announcements & Correspondence

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

 

The Chairman referred to the letter from the new Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire recognising the voluntary groups/people who have supported local communities during the Covid-19 pandemic and wished his message to be relayed to those people either via email, notice boards etc.  However, he also wished to send a card to those individuals and organisations whose contributions are extra special.  We have been asked to identify anyone who you may feel is deserving of this and if so could you please let the Clerk know so these names can be put forward.

 

Action:            Councillors to let the Clerk know of anyone who they feel have made extra special contribution during the Covid-19-pandemic.

 

 243/2020            Authorisation of Accounts

A schedule of payments for August was circulated to Councillors prior to the meeting.

The Clerk referred to an additional invoice that had arrived since circulation of papers relating to the 2 new hanging basket poles in the sum of £601.   In addition expenditure may be required for the Gardener to undertake additional duties in the watering of the plants as the lengthsman is on annual leave for two weeks.  This would be monitored by the Clerk and only used depending on the weather conditions.

 

Proposed:       Cllr J.Bernard

Seconded:      Cllr. M.Holder

 

244/2020             Date of next meeting: Wednesday 16th September 2020 a 7 p.m. Arrangements for Venue or Zoom to be confirmed.

 

        245/2020              Items for Information and Future Agenda     

        

                                       The meeting closed at 8.25 p.m.

 

 SIGNED……………………………………………………….………  DATED……………………………………….…………………..……