Minutes of Council Meeting held on 18th December 2019 at Norton Canes Community Centre at 7pm

Present: Cllrs J.Preece














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

4 members of the Public


The Chairman informed the Meeting that Agenda Item 15 stated under Confidential will be heard within the main body of the meeting.


  157/2019     Public Participation


                       Issues with odour from Poplars Landfill site  – it was reported that due to the ongoing concerns re the odours from the Poplars Landfill site and the general public response across the District, Biffa have now released a statement which gives up to date information on what action is being taken.


Flood in Norton Grange – Mr.P.Sanders raised the problems that had been experienced by some residents in Norton Grange which he described as a desperate situation.  Properties had been flooded many with raw sewerage which had caused a lot of problems and Mr.Sanders did not feel that the relevant responsible organisations had offered a good enough response and it was left to residents to deal with it.  Mr.Sanders thanked Cllr.Mrs.Z.Stretton for her help and support in trying to resolve the problem.  It appears that the blockage is occurring on the Walsall Road due to tree roots but Mr.Sanders main concern is that if this matter is not addressed and proper maintenance is undertaken, that this flooding will continue. Cllr.J.Preece said that phone calls had been made to Severn Trent and that a camera is being put down the drain to ascertain the problem. One of the main problems was getting access to the right officers at the organisations to get this sorted.  Cllr.Preece now has the contact name of the person from Amey who can deal with this. Cllr.Mrs.Z.Stretton stated that it is up to Councillors to act and get in touch with the County Council. Cllr Holder said that this was a public issue and he was surprised that there is no power to get Amey or Severn Trent to resolve the problem.


        Action:  Parish Councillors who are also District Councillors act to follow up the issue of the    flooding and ascertain what action is being taken to ensure this does not occur in the future.


        Footpath on Bridges Road  -Mr.R.Knowles raised the condition of the footpath on Bridges Road which he felt needed urgent repair/replacement.  It was agreed to raise this issue with the Highways Liaison meeting takes place in January.  Other paths in the village were mentioned and it was agreed to ask the Liaison Officer to do a walk about to look at the problems.


Action:      Clerk to add the condition of pathways to the schedule of works for discussion at the     January meeting with Highways Liaison Officer.


Flooding on Burntwood Road  – Mr.R.Knowles reported there is still an ongoing problem with blocked drains   on Burntwood Road (opposite car park).  This continually floods when there is excessive rainfall and he believes that there is a health and safety issue.


Action:      Clerk to discuss with Highways Liaison Officer.


      Railings outside Jerome School –  Mr.P.Sanders reported that following the work on the traffic calming measures, the railings have not been bolted back and are only held by a cable.


Action:     Clerk to raise with Highways Dept


                     Public Participation closed at 7.30 p.m.


 158/2019    Apologies

There were no apologies.


 159/2019    Declarations of Interest

To declare interests for this meeting:


Member                            Interest                                             Reason


Cllr.Mrs.Z.Stretton                     Planning Applications                  Member of District Council Planning Committee

Agenda item 6(a)

Cllr.Mrs.D.Todd            Planning Applications                   Member of District Council Planning Committee

Agenda item 6 (a)


 160//2019   Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 16th October 2019

The Minutes of the Council meeting held on the 16th October were agreed as a true and accurate record.


  Proposed:    Cllr.D.Bilbie

  Seconded:   Cllr.J.Bernard


  Matters Arising from the Minutes


  Page 1 –  it was reported that there has been no further communication with the Police re the loose horses in

the village.


 161/2019     Police Report


.                    There was no police report available.


    162//2019   Reports from Councillors:


Visit to Norton Aluminium – Cllr.J.Newbury informed the meeting that a meeting had taken place on the 5th December with Pollution Officers from the District Council and the Operations Manager at Norton Aluminium to discuss the issues of odours and ash debris on cars that were being experienced by residents.  Mr.Trevor Bird is now back at the Company as Operations Manager, having previously left, and was very open and honest about issues.  He acknowledged that things had ‘slipped’ in terms of communication with local residents and engagement with the District Council and that during this time there had been numerous complaints which had not been responded to.  He did apologise for this and promised that he would take steps to get things back on track.   It was noted that there was a spike in September when the ongoing issues were more prevalent.   There had been 100 complaints during the year which was a significant increase on previous years.  Upgrading of some of the buildings on the site is taking place which will help with the fall out issue.  Mr.Bird stated that the day to day business of the Company had been prioritised and that maintenance issues had been overlooked.  They are looking at implementing a roller shutter door which will avoid smells escaping but said that it was not possible to 100% deal with the issue.  Mr.Bird said that he was agreeable to come to a Parish Council meeting to enable issues to be discussed as a way forward to dealing with matters   It was still important that dates and times of when the smells occur should still be reported to the Environment Dept at the District Council.


Grove Colliery – Cllr.J.Newbury informed the meeting that the planning application for the Grove Colliery is due to be heard at the District Council Planning Committee on the 15th January and that this could be a lengthy meeting due to the number of speakers. Some discussion ensued on what the outcome of the Officers recommendations may be in the Report.  It is noted that Grove Colliery in terms of its importance is mentioned in the District Council Local Plan   Cllr.Mrs.S.Harding reported that CHAPS have raised concerns that if the application goes ahead that the mining heritage will be lost.  Despite the outcome of the application CHAPS are looking to put some mind of monument on the site.


Youth Outreach Programme – Cllr.J.Preece referred to the proposed Youth Outreach Programme which has been part funded through the Lichfield Diocese and the Parish Council.  There is a delay in the commencement of this programme due to the Worker involved resigning.  Adverts will be going out but not until February for a replacement.   The delay would mean that the Project would be being delivered during the summer holidays which is felt to be a good time.  Cllr.Preece stated that he had been in dialogue with the District Council’s Youth Rep Lyn Evans re support for this Project.


163/2019   Reports from Committee  


Summary of Planning Items from Parish Meeting on 18th December 2019

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/19/400 Unit 21a Conduit Road

Norton Canes

Installation of 2nr 3 car parking lifts and steel framed open sided enclosure No Objections
CCDC Decision
None to report



Lantern Parade – Information relating to the feedback from the Lantern Parade that took place on the 8th December was given to the meeting.  This proved a very popular event again this year with a very good turnout.  The parade worked well and no real issues were raised.  There is always something to learn each year.  It was suggested that there were comments about the event clashing with the Carol Concert but steps had been taken to ensure that there was a clear transition between the end of the parade and the commencement of the Concert. It was agreed that this should be looked at further when planning next year’s event. What did prove to work out very well was the use of the British Legion Bikers who offered support at road junctions and the feedback from Marshalls was positive.  The leaflet that was delivered to every household on the parade route to inform them of the arrangements was a good idea.

It was reported that £101.04 was collected along the parade route and together with the donations from the Community Centre Tree for Life this will be given to Acorns Childrens’ Hospice.  The Chairman  suggested that a donation be made to the British Legion Bikers and also the Raynet group who provide communication along the parade route as both these organisations provide a good service to ensure the parade runs smoothly.

It was resolved:

              To make a donation  to each organisation for their support of the lantern parade.

Cllr.J.Preece suggested that the event could be expanded further and that sponsorship should be looked at.  The planning for the next year’s parade should start early.

Cema – Cllr.J.Preece informed the meeting that the proposed upgrade of the Cema went to District Council Cabinet for approval.

Festive Window Competition – the results of the Festive Window Competition were as follows:

1st Place        –   Ann’s Café

2nd Place       –   Nevells

Joint 3rd Place –  NSD and C K Hairdressers

Audit & Governance

Cllr.J.Bernard referred to the Minutes of the Audit and Governance Meeting held on the 2nd December. Most of the discussion at the meeting was about the Precept for 2020-21 which will be discussed under the separate agenda item for this meeting.

Cllr.J Bernard referred to an item of expenditure that Councillors were asked to consider.  The roof on the Parish office has leaked due to heavy rain which has resulted in the ceiling in the toilet area coming down.  There is an urgent need to carry out maintenance to the roof due to the impending weather conditions.  A quotation from the original Roofing Company is £600 to repair the damaged roof.  Discussion ensued on as to whether the District Council have any long term plans for the building before committing to the expenditure.  Cllr.M.Holder felt that whilst the issue of whether the roof should be replaced entirely due to the structure or whether the District Council have any future plans, there was a more immediate need to respond to the current situation.  It was agreed that the expenditure should be approved to rectify the current problem but that the Projects Committee should look at the future of this building as to whether it should or could be extended to provide additional space whilst also exploring the plans for the building with the District Council.

It was resolved:

               To approve the expenditure of £600 for the repair of the roof.

164/2019   Precept 2020-21

                  A draft Precept and report was circulated to Councillors prior to the meeting for consideration (copy papers are attached to the Minute book copy).  A discussion ensued on the figures contained in the draft Precept which was based on a review of income and expenditure in 2019 -20 together with additional elements.  One of the suggestions for a new criteria within the budget was to incorporate money for the Parish Council to consider  a contract for weed spraying up to 3 times per year.  This is as a result of the cuts that the County Council are advising will be made in 2020-21 to their weed spraying programme.  The presentation of the village is important as it contributes to the Best Kept Village Competition.  Some concern expressed relating to including this element in the budget as weed spraying is the responsibility of the County Council for which residents already pay tax for.   Other budget headings were discussed.  Cllr.M.Holder referred Councillors to the Reserves Account which has the sum of £45k most of which is ringfenced together with the Community Bond in the sum of £45k, which is earmarked for the purchase of the land for new cemetery.  Election costs are protected in the Reserves should there be a bi-election.

It was reported that through the review exercise of income and expenditure it is anticipated that there will be a projected underspend of £10k and Councillors could consider using this underspend to mitigate the amount of money required for the 2020-21 Precept.   If Council approve the draft budget for 2020-21 in the sum of £91,274 then this offers the Parish Council flexibility in its budget to carry out the business of the Council.  This would also provide no increase in the Parish Precept for residents as the charge for a Band D property would remain at £39.15 as 2019-20.

It was resolved:

                 To authorise the Precept as per the draft budget in the sum of £91,274 for financial year 2020-21

165/2019   S137 Grants

                  A report prepared by the Clerk was circulated to Councillors prior to the meeting.  The report referred to the review of the S137 grant procedure.. A new application form which would provide the Parish Council with more scrutiny in processing the grant applications was circulated to the meeting.  Discussion ensued on whether there should be a two tier grant stream whereby there was  a capital element grant included which could be more robust and would be required to be dealt with by a panel of Councillors and consideration of match funding may be an option.  Cllr.Holder felt that it was not appropriate to consider adopting a new process as more information is required for example Terms of Reference as it will be a much more robust process.  It was agreed that we cannot delay this as community groups are looking to receive grants in 2020 and the forms need to be sent out to enable them to be considered at the February Council meeting. It was agreed that the Audit and Governance Meeting should discuss the whole grant process scheme in readiness for 2021.  It was also agreed that the new application form is more robust and should be used for this year’s process.

It was resolved:

                   To maintain the current level of grants at £8,000 for 2020 but that the new application form should be used.  Audit and Governance Committee to consider a new grant process for the future.                                

166/2019   New Cemetery

A decision re the planning application has still not been received.

167/2019   Neighbourhood Plan

                 A verbal report was given to the Council following the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group that was held on the 28th November.  The Consultants have provided a timeline for actions and confirm that the work of the Plan is on target to be completed within the 2 year period. Leaflets and a Banner have now been received and these will be displayed around the village at local venues.  Questionnaires re transport and youth are being developed and these will be given to local community groups and local schools to gauge responses to these topics.  Topic groups continue to work and feed into the Steering group.  There was an issue with access to the website for the PR Company to be able to update information but this has now been resolved.

168/2019   Highways             

            The Clerk reported that there had been no meeting with the Liaison Officer from Highways but that one is planned for January 2020 when the schedule of works will be reviewed and any other matters raised will be discussed.

            An issue of flooding relating to the slip road coming off the Eastern bypass onto Blakeney Way was raised. This causes problems accessing this slip road which requires motorists then go to the island turn left which is problematic.   The issue of mud and debris on the Eastern bypass was also mentioned and queried whether the Parish Council had raised concerns in the past.  Some discussion about the use of the roadsweepers for this road but there is a problem with the sweepers not being able to clear the right hand side of the road which makes the problem worse.

It was reported that an overgrowth on The Brambles needs attention.

Action:   Clerk to contact the Liaison Officer regarding the issues raised re the Eastern Bypass leading to Blakeney Way together with overgrowth on The Brambles.

 169/2019   Chairman’s Announcement

                  Incoming and Outgoing post which had previously been circulated was noted.


Councillors were asked to note the response from the Co-op regarding our request for the area in front of the store being flooded.  Following this response the Clerk has spoken to the Manager at the Store and has been advised that the property dept will be carrying out checks on the drains on a frequent basis to avoid build up of leaves which blocks the drains.  Will continue to monitor the situation.


The Chairman reported that he attended the Launch of a new car for Community First Responders on the 17th December.  The event was well attended and it was noted that the car had been purchased through donations which included the Parish Council, One Stop Shop and the Lido Working Men’s Club.


The Chairman informed the meeting that notification had been received from the Highways Dept relating to road closures across the District due to imminent work.  One of the areas highlighted was Norton Green Lane and it is hoped that this is for a resurface of this road.


 170/2019   Authorisation of Accounts 


                        A schedule of accounts for payment in December had been circulated to Councillors prior to the meeting   which were noted and authorised. An additional cheque had been drawn since the circulation of the schedule of payments for Creative Souls in the sum of £1,104 which was for PR consultancy and printing of leaflets, posters and a Banner for the Neighbourhood Plan. This additional cheque was approved.


                   Proposed:  Cllr.J.Bernard

                   Seconded: Cllr.M.Stretton


 171/2019  Date of Next Meeting –  Wednesday 15th January 2020.  at 7 p.m. at Norton Canes Community              Centre.     It was noted that the date for the January meeting on the List of Dates previously circulated was the 22nd January.  This is not the third Wednesday in the month as stated in the Standing Orders.  Clerk agreed to look into this and confirm.

 172/2019    Items for Information and Future Agenda             


The meeting closed at 8.35 p.m.


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