Minutes of Norton Canes Parish Council

Held on 19th January 2022 at 7 p.m.

At Trinity Methodist Church, Poplar Street, Norton Canes

 

Present:          Cllrs. J.Preece

Mrs A Bernard

J Bernard

D.Bilbie

K Fereday

J Newbury

Mrs S Harding

R Wilkinson

Also in attendance:   County Councillor J.McMahon – Portfolio Leader for Health

                                        Mrs.L.Florence – Clerk

                                        2 members of the Public

A two minute silence was held in memory of John Beddows who had been a Parish councillor for many years and very involved in the local community and a passion for the village.

Resignations:  The Chairman reported that Councillors Mrs Zaphne and Michael Stretton in December.  Both had been active members of the Parish Council over many years and it was sad to see them leave.  They have both also been involved actively in the local community.

Presentation by County Councillor Johnny McMahon, Cabinet Support Member for Public Health and Integrated Care

Cllr McMahon gave an update on the Covid/Omicron virus in Staffordshire.  The meeting was told that they are cautiously optimistic re the virus but there is some concern about those that are not vaccinated.   Cllr McMahon said that the vaccinations are really important and asked the Parish council to try and promote this where possible.  Currently 3.5 million have the virus in Staffordshire.  There has been a high uptake of the booster in the area of 90% but this dropped to 65% during Christmas period.  Most of those who are at high risk have received their boosters but there is concern about pregnant women and the vaccination.  The response to delivering the vaccinations has been impressive and referred to the Nucare Pharmacy in Norton Canes.  The Fire and Rescue service has done an outstanding job re supporting the vaccines.

Cllr McMahon spoke about the need to move to a more enduring campaign re the virus as the NHS could not continue providing the resources re the virus and one suggestion is that it moves to a more Pharmacy led approach which would then enable the NHS to get back to providing mainstream services.  There are 6 million currently on the waiting list awaiting surgery or hospital treatments.   Cllr.Mrs.A.Bernard asked question as to when we can expect to get back to some normality particularly referring the access to GP appointments.  Cllr. McMahon referred to the opinion that primary care was broken before Covid and that this has just been impacted further.  It is about seeing the right professionals for medical problems rather than just  gp’s.  There is a working group at the County Council looking at a model for primary care services.   Some discussion took place with regard to how the data is communicated and whether it was always covid related. Questions were raised re GPs which Cllr.McMahon responded to.

 

One point that was raised was the impact of new housing developments that affected the health infrastructure.  NHS are reluctant to engage with developers and it was confirmed that Health is not a statutory consultee for planning applications.  Cllr.McMahon said he had been fighting for them to become a consultee as he felt that this was important.

Cllr McMahon was thanked for attending the meeting and providing the update on the virus situation in Staffordshire.

Public Participation:

APC Kingswood Lakeside Business Park – it was reported that the ironwork on the road surface by Washbrook Lane was in very poor condition and needed to be reported

Burntwood Road – the pothole at the top Burntwood Road by the speed cushion was very dangerous.  The meeting was told that this had been inspected and has been escalated for repair within 7 days.

Norton Hall Meadows Play area –  question raised as to whether the play area on Norton Hall Meadows had now been handed over to the District Council.  The chairman said that shielding had not yet been put up between Church Road and Norton Hall Meadow so until some of the outstanding issues have been addressed then the handover would not take place.

No 3 Bus Route – it was reported that the County Council have now put the bus route out to tender.  Cllr.Mrs.Harding asked if the bus timetable could be put on the website.  The timetable is the information of the bus company and not the Parish Council.

Public Participation:

01/2022          Apologies: 

Apologies were accepted from Cllr. Mrs.D.Todd, M.Holder, District councillor M.Hoare and County Councillor Mrs.S.Thompson.

02/2022          Declaration of Interest

Cllr.J.Preece – Member of the PCC – agenda item 10.

03/2022          Minutes of Council and Matters Arising from meeting held on 22nd December 2021

The Minutes of the meeting held on the 22nd December 2021 were taken as true and accurate record apart from the following amendment:

Page 1 –  In attendance – an amendment was required as Mrs.G.Turner was not in attendance

Matters Arising from the Minutes

Page 2 – Norton East Road – parking outside One Stop Shop.  County Councillor Mrs.S.Thompson is looking into this issue.

04/2022          Police Report

There was not Police report available.

05/2022          Reports from Councillors

Local Plan  – Cllr.J Newbury informed the meeting that he had been at a meeting at the District Council where a small group had been looking at all the land that had been put forward for housing and business.  Cllr.Newbury gave feedback to the meeting on the discussions that had taken place. There is one site that is in the Plan that relates to an area on Hednesford Road going out towards Heath Haye.  There were 10 potential sites that may be considered to enable the District to have ‘wriggle room’ for additional houses.

Cllr Newbury told the meeting that he had strongly objected to more houses being considered in the village until the infrastructure issues relating to the current developments have been resolved then we should not be adding additional houses to make the issues worse.  There is already major concerns with lack of school places which has been taken up with the County Council.  Cllr Newbury said he had tried to put as much local context into his objections as to why we should not have any more houses.  It was pointed out to the District that we very limited to taking additional developments in the next phase of the Plan. The working group at the District are now going away to look at the evidence to come up with a review.

06/2022          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/21/0470

 

Partsworld

The Orbital

Cannock

Construction of additional car parking. No objections
CH/21/0469

 

10 Songthrush Way

Norton Canes

Ground floor side and rear extension.

 

 

Some concern re space due to close proximity to other houses and only one parking space. Asked for site visit to look at issues
Decisions by CCDC
CH/21/0445 47 Railway Street

Norton Canes

Change of use of outbuilding to a hair salon (operating 3 days per week) Permission granted

 

It was noted that the summary contained an error as the comments shown were against the wrong application number.  The Clerk confirmed that the correct comments had been submitted to the District Council.

           (b)    Projects

The Chairman of Projects gave an overview on the current ongoing projects and referred to the following 2 items.

  • Triangular piece of land between Hednesford Road/Brownhills Road

A copy of the email sent by Cllr.Mrs.A.Bernard to Walsall Council and their reply was circulated with Councillors papers.  This relates to the ongoing discussion at previous Council meetings re the ownership of the land in question.  Discussion ensued and it was noted that despite numerous ways of trying to ascertain the ownership of this land there was no evidence found.

Cllr.Mrs.Bernard said that she had taken the step to contact Walsall Council as historically Norton Canes had been part of Brownhills Council prior to transferring to Cannock Chase and by following this action felt that we had explored all avenues to ascertain ownership and if questioned in the future we do have an audit trail of responses from organisations that they  confirmed theyhave no knowledge,  The previous Clerk at the council going back over 20 years was asked if she had recollection re the land and it was evident that even 20 years ago the ownership issue was still ongoing.

Discussion ensued on how we can now take this item forward as we would like to take over this land to enhance the presentation of the village by planting a rose garden in memory of Brenda Rose.

  • Events

At the December Council meeting Councillors discussed the opportunity to apply for additional funding from the Welcome Back Fund but the deadline date for submission was the 31st December and taking the Christmas holidays into account it was felt short notice to put forward suggestions.   It was agreed to try and put something together for a fun day to see if funds could be accessed.

Quotations were obtained for a bouncy castle, children’s characters, face painting, children’s entertainers and hire of the Community Centre all of which have been agreed so plans now need to be made for the day.  The date agreed for the event in conjunction with the Community Centre is Saturday 19th March between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The plans discussed relate to this being split into 3 sessions to allow 50 children at each session to enjoy the activities.  Posters will be put up around the village and details included in the March newsletter.

An events working group met to look at this event but also discussed other events that are happening this year which are the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Commonwealth Games.  Discussion ensued on this event and it is recognised that as a number of community groups have already asked about the plans that the events working groups needs to include those groups to ensure we are aware of all the plans being proposed and to work together so that there is no duplication.

A budget of £6k has been agreed for ad hoc events this year which include the Jubilee and Commonwealth Games.                   

(c)        Audit and Governance

(i)         Precept for 2022-23 . Cllrs noted the email to the District Council demanding a Precept of £102,180 for the financial year 2022-23.

           

(ii)        Consideration of donation for John Beddows and Bob Todd

Following the sad death of Parish Councillor John Beddows a donation in his memory was discussed. It was agreed that the sum of £50 should be sent from the Parish Council.

Councillors were also aware of the passing of Bob Todd who is the husband of Parish Councillor Mrs.D.Todd.  Some dialogue was entered into in terms of how the Parish Council makes donations and it was agreed that if Councillors as individuals wished to donate then they should do so.  Flowers and a card have been sent to Cllr.Mrs.Todd in sympathy of her husband’s loss.

It was resolved:          

             To send a donation of £50 in remembrance of Cllr.John Beddows.

  • Expenditure for Replacement Defibrillator

A report was circulated to Councillors prior to the meeting which referred to a replacement defibrillator at the One Stop Shop on Norton East Road.  The First Responders have provided a loan defibrillator pending authorisation of Council for the cost of a replacement.

Councillors noted the contents of the email and it was agreed to authorise the expenditure for a new defibrillator.

 

It was resolved:

To authorise the expenditure of £895      for the cost of a new defibrillator for One Stop Shop on Norton East Road.

(iv)    Bank Accounts

Cllr J.Bernard referred to the report that had been circulated prior to the meeting.  Following a resolution of full Council the Parish Council main business account was transferred to Unity Trust Bank as of the 1st December 2021.  It was also agreed that the money held in Reserves account at HSBC in the sum of £163,075 would also be transferred.

The clerk informed the meeting that before the closure of the HSBC account Councillors were reminded of their responsibility to ensure the security of Parish money.  The report contained information to the investment principles dealing with the security of public money.  The Reserves account currently has a significant high amount of funds which takes us over the £85k threshold for security, Councillors are asked to consider the following:

  • Retaining the current Reserves account held at HSBC which will include the Cil money of £59,118 the  Election contingency of £7,940 and the sum of £2,000 relating to the Legal fees for the Gypsy Traveller site on Stokes Lane.   This in total amounts to £69,058.  There are currently no plans for the use of these funds so there would be no requirement to access them urgently.

 

  • That the remainder of the Reserves be transferred to the Unity Trust Bank Reserves account to include £45k for the purchase of the new cemetery land, £37.000 new cemetery contingency funds, £10,000 Small Business Grant and the unallocated reserves of £1,618 plus the £400 for youth activities making a total of £94,018.  Whilst this takes us over the £85k threshold we will be transferring some of these funds to the Business account at Unity to cover the Youth Outreach Worker contract together with any Solicitors fees for the new cemetery.

 

    It was resolved:

To authorise retaining HSBC Account in the sum of £69,058 as per report and that the remainder of the Reserves be transferred to a Reserves account at Unity Trust to ensure the security of Parish Council funds

 

(v) Memorial Plaque in Remembrance of John Beddows

 

Councillors were referred to the report asking for consideration to be given in suggestions for how the Parish Council could remember John Beddows who has sadly passed away but had been a long serving Parish Councillor and involved in the community.

 

The family have asked if they can purchase a bench in memory of him which they would like to put on one of the garden areas in the village.

 

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that perhaps a plaque in remembrance could be located  at the Health Centre as he was very involved with the building of the new centre, was on the  Drs PGG  and had previously commissioned a collage which is displayed there.

 

 Action:                       Clerk to contact the Property Management responsible for the Health Centre and ask whether a plaque could be installed at the Health Centre.

 

(vi) Cil Report

The Cil Report for the year ended 31st December 2021 which was submitted to the District Council was noted.

 

Cllr J.Bernard referred Councillors to the draft Minutes of the Audit and Governance Committee which were circulated at the December meeting when reference was made to the retirement of the clerk in 2022 and the need for the Committee to meet to look at the staffing structure required to take the Council forward in terms of its business and ongoing projects.  Cllr.J.Bernard suggested to Councillors for that a staffing personnel working group be set up to look at this and put forward some proposals to full Council to plan for the future staffing structure of the Parish Office.

 

It was resolved:

To set up a Staffing/Personnel working group be agreed to look at the staffing model required for the future. This group would consist of the members of the Audit and Governance Committee and the Chairman of the Council          

            

07/2022     Review of Lantern Parade 2021

It was agreed that this item should be deferred to the Projects Committee to review when           considering the plans for the 2022 event.

08/2022    Achieving Goalz and Dreams

A proposal had been received, which had been circulated prior to the meeting, from Achieving Goalz and Dreams for funding to provide some youth activities to try and channel the behaviour of young people in the village.    The Chairman explained the details of the proposal which did not overlap with the youth outreach programme that is currently taking place through the Bloxwich Community Partnership and felt that the two groups could work together.  A discussion ensued on the proposal and the benefits that this would bring to the youth of the village whilst also addressing any issues of anti-social behaviour    It was agreed that the Council would fund this activity for 3 months for 2 coaches at a cost o £1,380. The Clerk informed the meeting that there was a sum of money available from the £10,000 Small Business Grant received from the District Council.    It was emphasised that this is not a permanent arrangement and that external funding should be looked into by the group themselves to continue the work.

It was resolved:

To approve the expenditure of £1,380 for 2 coaches for a period of 3 months to provide youth outreach activities.

09/2022    School Placements

Discussion ensued on the response received from the County Council re our letter regarding lack of school places in the village.   Before any response to the letter is considered it was felt that we would need to speak to the schools directly to obtain their view on what they feel is needed.  Cllr.Newbury said that any increase in places has implications for school budgets in terms of additional teachers.   Councillors M.Holder and J.Bernard are on the Board of Governors for the two primary schools in the village and information should be obtained from that source to enable the Council to fully respond to the County Council letter.

10/2022    New Cemetery

It was reported that a meeting is being arranged with Father Hibbins and the Surveyor who produced the Charities Act Report.  This is to explain our concerns face to face as to the issues we have with the termination clause contained in the Licence which leaves the Council in a vulnerable position moving forward with the project.  The Diocese Solicitors and the author do not feel that the terms of the breach are that onerous that would require the Notice period to be implemented.    The Parish Council view is that the document is very one sided and does not contain any arbitration clause that could give some protection to the project.

11/2022     Highways

The Highways Liaison group have not met since the last Council meeting.  Ongoing highways issues continue to be reported via the Liaison Officer and County Councillor Mrs Samantha Thompson.

12/2022    Cema Upgrade

Following a projects working group meeting of the Cema the meeting was told that the Project is now coming to a conclusion with a launch date of February 3rd.  ROSPA will be undertaking the inspection and if approval is given the playground will be open on Monday 17th January.  Details of the outstanding work to be completed was provided to the meeting.

13/2022     Neighbourhood Plan

                   To be deferred to February meeting.

14/2022     Grove Colliery

To be deferred to February meeting

 

15/2022      Chairman’s Announcements and Correspondence

The internal and external post which had been circulated prior to the meeting was noted.

16/2022      Authorisation of Accounts

A schedule of payments for February had been circulated prior to the meeting which was authorised.

Proposed: Cllr.J.Bernard

                               Seconded: Cllr. Mrs.S.Harding

17/2022      Date of Next Meeting:  The date of the next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 16th

February 2022 at 7 p.m.  Venue to be confirmed.