Minutes of Council Meeting

held on 16th December 2020

Virtual meeting held via Zoom at 7 p.m.


   Present:  Cllrs J.Preece

J Bernard

Mrs.A. Bernard











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

County Councillor J.McMahon (for public participation part only)

3 members of the Public


   Public Participation:


Cllr J.McMahon gave a presentation to the meeting regarding Covid in relation to current position within Staffordshire and the actions that the County are taking.   The meeting was told that within Staffordshire the numbers are very high and above the national average.  An update relating to hospitals was given and it was highlighted that University Hospital in Stoke is now at level 4 which means there are implications for emergency incidents for example road traffic accidents with patients being taken to either Manchester or Birmingham for treatment. The situation with other hospitals in the County in terms of how they are coping is not good. Cllr McMahon gave an update on the testing of cases and gave a brief overview of how this was working and which groups were being identified as a priority.  Lateral flow testing is being introduced in high prevalence areas.


Cllr.McMahon detailed how the County was co-ordinating a multi agency approach to the pandemic with a Control Board that meets consisting of himself, Cllr.Mrs.C.Mitchell from Cannock Chase DC, Managing Director of CCDC, Environmental Health and Commissioning teams. At those meetings each ward area is discussed and looks at the data relating to covid cases. Cllr.McMahon gave information relating to the vaccine and said this was a new technology that professionals are now dealing with.  It is hoped early in the new year there will be a much broader scale of people being vaccinated and gave details of the priority groups that are being looked.  Staffordshire have started early with the testing of 6th form students and also inviting large businesses with over 200 employees to be involved.  Cllr.McMahon highlighted that the government arrangements over the Christmas period may be a problem in containing the virus but there is some thought that this may be mitigated by schools not being open.  It is important that everyone looks at their own circumstances and think about the risks involved.


Cllr.J.Newbury raised the question about how the data is used in the determining of tiers. He stated that CCDC had written to Government questioning that only the figures of Royal Stoke hospital had been used and questioned whether other figures relating to other hospitals and areas were going to be considered.  Cllr McMahon responded to this and outlined the reasons for not including other hospitals in the data.  Cllr.Newbury said that the information given was a useful indication as to where we are at in terms of the Tiers.


Cllr.M.Holder asked what the trigger was for opening the Nightingale Hospitals which are currently not being used.  Cllr.J.McMahon responded by acknowledging that they were introduced at a huge expense but the problem is the staffing of these hospitals.  It was reported that 61% of staff who are currently off are due to Covid reasons and this has been a particular problem at Stoke hospital. Cllr.Holder said that he would have thought that the issue of staff sickness levels due to Covid would have been foreseeable when planning the Nightingale Hospitals.


Cllr.McMahon was thanked for his presentation.


‘A’Boards on junction of Walsall Road/Norton Green Lane – Mrs.J.Woodman raised the issue of the number of ‘A’boards that are located in this area many of which are broken and just lying around.  She felt this was an eyesore.   The meeting was informed that the Parish Council are aware of the situation and have been looking at what can be done to enhance that part of the village which would deal with the issues of ‘A’ Boards.  Discussion ensued and ideas outlined of proposals which may include some kind of Totem Board outlining Zone areas for the business park. We are currently liaising with the Highways Dept at the County Council to ascertain if we could locate some sort of feature on the green triangular grass verge and ideas have been discussed.   Cllr Preece said the this will be ongoing work and will be taken forward by the Projects Committee.


Action:            The Projects Committee to consider options for the potential change to the presentation of this area.


Planning Application for Agricultural Building Washbrook Lane –  Mrs.J.Bullock reported that she was aware that this application for prior approval had now been refused.  It appears that there may be a change in possible change in the location for this building which will be via another planning application.  The Parish Council were asked to be aware of this and monitor this.


Incidents on Stokes Lane – Mrs.J.Bullock made Councillors aware of a couple of incidents that have occurred with the Gypsy/Travellers located on Stokes Lane.  One refers to a stolen lamb and dog.  The lamb was recovered by the owner but wanted to alert the Council to the number of incidents now occurring here.   The Police have been asked to monitor the area regularly but agreed that the Clerk will make the Police aware again and request more of a presence.


Action:            Clerk to ask the Police to monitor the area of Stokes Lane on a regular basis.


Foothpath on Brownhills Road leading to Chasewater–  Mr.P.Sanders raised the poor condition of the footpath leading to Chasewater and said that it was virtually impassable.    It was noted that the Ranger Service is responsible for this area and are aware of the issues  Cllr.Preece said that one of the areas in the Neighbourhood Plan is around access to Chasewater from the village and it is hoped that this would seek improvements.


Road surface over M6 toll –  Mr.R.Knowles raised the condition of the road surface over the M6 toll. This has been reported to Highways and they are awaiting a response from Highways England who are responsible for this stretch of road to look at traffic management to enable the road to be repaired.  Mr.Knowles felt that more and more HGV’s are using this road and with the new warehouse buildings this will only get worse. Mr.Knowles would like to raise the question with Highways about how the money is apportioned on a County wide level with regard to the maintenance of potholes.


Action:            Clerk to liaise with Highways Dept re this work and to request information relating to data about apportioned money re the repair of potholes across the County.


Lectern Board re Old Manor House – the meeting was told that the lectern has been ordered and awaiting installation.  It was suggested that when this read for installation that some kind of ceremony could take place.  This would depend on government restrictions re Covid at the time.


Public Participation closed at:  19.50 pm


296/2020          Apologies

                          No apologies were received.


297/2020          Declarations of Interest were receive from:

Member Interest Reason
Cllr Mrs.Z.Streon Planning  applications

Agenda Item

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

Agenda Item

Member of District Council Planning Committee
Cllr Mrs.S.Harding Miner’s Plaque

Agenda item

Member of CHAPS


       298/2020          Minutes of Meeting held on 18th November 2020

                                  The Minutes of the Council meeting on the 18th November 2020 were agreed as a true and accurate record to include the following amendment:


Page 3 –  Christmas Lights – Cllr.Preece said that the wording for this should be design of Christmas lights not decorations.


                 Proposed:   Cllr. M.Holder

                  Seconded:   Cllr.  Mrs.S.Harding


                  Matters Arising from the Minutes


Page 3  Dementia Alliance  –  Cllr.Mrs.S.Harding said that she was awaiting quotes for posters but said that no window stickers are available.


299/2020          Police  Report

                             A written report from the PCSO Ashton was circulated to Councillors prior to the  meeting.(copy attached to minute book)  The report gave details of the current incidents that have been happening in the village.  As the report mentions the Orbital, some discussion ensued on the boundary line of the village and clarification was given regarding this.


The report was well received and felt to be very information which was helpful.


300/2020          Precept 2021-22

A draft budget for 2021-22 was circulated to Councillors prior to the meeting.  Draft minutes of the Audit and Governance meeting held in December which gave details referring to the proposed budget was also circulated to Councillors.  Discussion ensued on the figures contained in the proposed Budget.  Cllr.M.Holder told the meeting the proposed draft budget had been scrutinised at the Committee meeting and the Clerk had been questioned relating to how the figures had been arrived at.  Each line of the budget had been reviewed to ensure it was fit for purpose to achieve the business of the Council for financial year 2021-22.  The budget whilst allowing flexibility to take forward future projects enabled the Council to reach the same figure as 2020/21 so no increase to residents.   Cllr.Holder referred to the projected carry forward underspend for 2020-21 and proposed that £3,800 could be considered to be used to mitigate the required amount of the Precept figure of £96,063.  The Committee had felt that this was important given the current covid pandemic which has left some families experiencing financial difficulties.  Details of the Council’s Reserves were also discussed which included the £45k for the purchase of cemetery land and £54k and it was noted that the Projects Committee will meet in January to look at what projects can be taken forward which the money in the Reserves could be utilised.   Cil funding. Cllr.J.Newbury commented that he felt the proposed budget was a good way forward and thanked the Audit and Governance for their work in producing the budget.


It was resolved:          

   To accept the Budget proposed and demand a Precept of £96.063 for financial year 2021/22.


Cllr.J.Beddows referred to an area of land adjacent to the new Norton Hall Meadow estate which backs on to properties on Norton Green Lane.  He felt that this area lended itself to some form of open space development.  Discussion ensued on development of open spaces in the village and the play area on Betty’s Lane was highlighted as one area that requires attention.  Cllr Preece stated that these areas are still work in progress.


         301/2020            Cema Upgrade

The Consultation process has commenced and ends on the 11th January.  Cllr.Preece      reported that so far 67 online surveys had been completed and several hard copies have been handed into the Parish Office which is good news that people are getting involved.

     302/2020             Grove Colliery

                                    There is nothing to report. It is noted that this remains an agenda item for all                   Council meetings in the future.


303/2020            Reports from Councillors

Miner’s Memorial Fund – Cllr.Mrs.S.Harding reported that Little Wyrley Estates have agreed to make a donation to this fund.


Woodland area- Washbrook Lane –  Cllr.D.Bilbie raised the issue of dog mess located on the woodland area by APC Overnight at the bottom of Washbrook Lane.  It was not clear who owned this piece of land to enable us to report it.  Agreed that the Clerk would look into this matter.


Action:       Clerk to make enquiries about the ownership of the land and report the     problems re dog mess.


     304/2020         Reports from Committees



  • Summary of Planning
No of Planning Application Address of proposed application


Proposal Comments by Parish
Planning Committee
CH/20/398 Lime Lane Kennels

Lime Lane



Demolition of existing kennel buildings and erection of 3 detached bungalows and associated works.  The application is a departure from the Green Belt. Object to application on grounds of departure from Green Belt. Not accept justification for removal of redundant buildings.
CH/20/414 92A Brownhills Road

Norton Canes

Change of Use of Part of residential property into a hair dressing salon. Internal design only no external work required Not yet considered by Planning Committee.
Ch/20/330 151 Walsall Road

Norton Canes

Partial demolition of existing retail unit and construction of 4 new dwelling houses with private drives Permission granted
CH/20/347 252 Norton East Road

Norton Canes

Two storey side extension and single storey rear extension Permission granted


Discussion ensued on the planning application CH/29/398 relating to the Lime Lane Kennels.There was an issue relating to the address quoted on the application which refers this to be in Pelsall when it is clearly in the Norton Canes border.  Need to investigate and see if this can be changed.


Further discussion ensued on the comments put forward by the Planning Committee in determining the justification relating to green belt.


There has been no meeting of the Projects Committee. Cllr.Mrs.A.Bernard reported that the Christmas trees and lights were now displayed.  The summer plants had now been ordered.  A meeting will be scheduled in January to look at ideas going forward for 2021-22.    A site visit with Highways Dept re locations for the new welcome signs is being arranged but this is being delayed somewhat by Covid restrictions.


(c)  Audit and Governance

There were no financial matters to consider.


303/2020     Neighbourhood Plan

The meeting was informed that the work on the Plan continues to progress.  The Clerk   suggested that the Consultants be asked to a future Council meeting so that Councillors can receive information of the Plan and an opportunity to ask any questions.


  Action:          Clerk to invite the Consultants to a Council meeting early in 2021.


  304/2020      Highways

     There has been no  Liaison meeting to report on but issues relating to highways continue to be monitored and reported. Cllr.J.Newbury reported that he had sent an email relating to ongoing issues with Washbrook Lane some 3/4 weeks ago and had not received a reply.  He will continue to chase this up with the Liaison Officer.


An issue of a van parking on the small island on Breeze Avenue which causes problems for other residents but also churns up the grassed area making it very muddy.  This will be reported.


Cllr.Preece referred to the issue of water on Washbrook Lane/Church Road. This has been an ongoing problem and the meeting was told that this goes back to the time when the bungalows were first built and the foundations. It was suggested that at the time the contractors were not monitored and the issues now being faced probably relate to this.


  305/2020      New Cemetery

A template report (copy attached to minute book) was circulated prior to the meeting.  The  report was split into categories of the project which enabled Councillors to focus minds on what work is ongoing and the decisions that are required to be made. Cllr.M.Holder said that we were at the crucial stage where before we commit any further expenditure we need to know if we will be approved for a loan for the new cemetery. At a previous Council meeting it had been approved to appoint planning consultants to act as our agents in applying the a loan from the Public Loans Board which is a rigorous exercise.  This would be for a loan in principle and that should the project not progress for any reason there would be no obligation for the Parish Council to proceed with this. Information has been submitted to the Consultants and we are awaiting their response.


The meeting was informed that the process for the loan would require a robust resolution from Council giving authority to apply for the loan.   Discussion ensued on this and concluded that it was always known that to take the project forward it would be necessary to obtain a loan for the project.  It was reported that whilst we have some indication of some of the costs involved it does not include the design layout for the cemetery, the small building that is required and also associated maintenance costs, all of which have not been fully costed out.


   It was resolved:

That Norton Canes Parish Council authorise the Clerk to seek approval of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to apply for a Public Loans Board loan of an amount not exceeding, in the first instance, £250,000 over the borrowing term not exceeding 50 years for the construction of a civil cemetery on land adjacent to Saint James the Great Church, Norton Canes.


  306/2020   Chairman’s Announcements & Correspondence

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


Bench Plaque in Remembrance of Brenda Rose – the Chairman put forward an idea that it may be fitting for a consideration to be given to providing a bench plaque in remembrance of Brenda Rose and her work in the community over many years.  Some discussion took place, Cllr.Mrs.Z.Stretton made suggestion some rose trees being planted.  It was agreed that this would be considered by the Projects Committee.


Action:         Item for remembrance of Brenda Rose be considered by the Projects Committee and ideas put back before full Council.


Christmas displays –  the Chairman informed the meeting that he had looked into this and some information had been received relating to costs in the region of £800..Will continue to follow this up for the lights in 2021.


  307/2020   Authorisation of Accounts

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


Proposed:    Cllr D.Bilbie

Seconded:    Cllr. J.Bernard


        308/2020  Date of next meeting: Wednesday 20th January 2021 at 7 p.m.   Meeting will be held via Zoom.  


        309/2020   Items for Information and Future Agenda            


         The meeting closed at 9.15 p.m.


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