NORTON CANES PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of Council Meeting held on 17th June 2020 at Virtual meeting held via Zoom
Present: Cllrs J.Preece
Also In Attendance: Mrs.L.Florence (Clerk)
3 members of the Public
Cllr.J.McMahon – County Councillor for part of meeting (left after Public Participation)
The Chairman wished to extend the thanks of the Parish Council to everyone for the support and volunteering in this unprecedented situation.
District Council New Cemetery – Mrs.J.Bullock informed the meeting was informed that work on the District Council new cemetery had started and the contractors were on site which may raise complaints re the traffic on the road.
Norton Hall Meadow – Mr.R.Knowles raised concerns re the Persimmon housing development due to the fact that the remains of the medieval manor house site was completely gone. Mr.Knowles said on checking Historic England or County Council this site does not appear on any of their records. Also he noted that on checking the sites it does not appear that the Kiln on Washbrook Lane is registered and he knows that this should be on there as he had previously requested it to be listed. His concern is that Staffordshire Archives are removing data from their records.
Persimmon had arranged form the site on Norton Hall Meadow to be investigated and were supposed to provide a copy of that report to the County Council. Mr Knowles was also concerned that at the Public Meeting sometime ago he had requested that Persimmon provide a copy of the Archaeological report to the Parish Council but nothing has been received. Cllr Preece said the report would be between 6 to 8 weeks. He had requested a visit to the site which had been refused.
In recognition of this medieval site Mr Knowles suggested that Persimmon be asked to provide a sign to give details the history of this site so that this site is not lost.
Bridges Road – Mr.R.Knowles asked whether any action had been taken with regards to a previously reported issue relating to the poor condition on Bridges Road. This was raised at the February meeting and due to ‘lockdown’ the regular highways liaison meetings have not taken place. County Cllr J McMahon said that he would raise this matter with Mark Keeling at the County Council.
Hedges on the Cema – Mr.R.Knowles raised the problem of nettles along the hedgerow on the Cema. It was agreed to ask the Lengthsman to look into this.
Action: Clerk to ask the Lengthsman to look at the problem of nettles on the hedgerow on the
Access to Chasewater– A complaint has been received from local resident regarding the lack or disabled access to Chasewater from Norton Canes. A discussion ensued on this matter and County Councillor J.McMahon agreed to write to the Cabinet Member responsible for Chasewater to raise this matter.
Action: County Councillor J.McMahon to raise matter of disabled access to Chasewater with
Public Participation closed 7.15 p.m.
Apologies were received from Cllr J Beddows and R.Wilkinson
206/2020 Declarations of Interest
The following Councillors declared an interest as follows:
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)
Cllr. M.Holder Agenda item 10 Governor at Jerome School
Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 19th February 2020
The Minutes of the Council meeting on the 19th February 2020 were agreed as a true and accurate record.
Seconded: Cllr. J.Bernard
Matters Arising from the Minutes
Page 1 – S106 Funds – question raised as to whether we had received the information relating to any S106 funds from previous developments in the village.
Action: Clerk to chase up the information requested.
Page 2 – Flooding on Burntwood Road/Stag Crescent – Cllr.Preece said that he had visited the site of the brook and despite the amount of rainfall, the brook was running quite clearly. There are concerns that there are ongoing problems in this area and some discussion ensued about how this can be avoided in the future and the need to ensure that those that are responsible for the maintenance of this area carry out their role. It was reported that the parish Lengthsman does undertake regular checks at the brook to make sure there is no rubbish in the brook that would cause problems re the flow of the water. Cllr.Mrs.A.Bernard said that she was aware that the High School were supposed to clear the brook under the bridge. Cllr.K.Fereday commented that he understood that Severn Trent have accepted responsibility for the drainage, It was felt important that we have a map of Norton Canes to show where the high risk areas for flooding are.
Action: Clerk to contact the County Council to request a map of Norton Canes showing the high risk flood areas.
Page 3 – Railing outside Jerome School – it was reported that the bolts on the railings outside Jerome School had now been attended to.
Page 3 – Community Centre – Cllr.Mrs.D.Todd informed the meeting that the Community Centre are looking to repaint the yellow lines.
Page 4 – Police – Cllr.J.Bernard asked if there had been any response from the Police Commander re issues raised. The Clerk confirmed that no response had been received. The Chairman suggested that an approach be made to Becky Hines and refer matters to her.
Action: Clerk to contact Rebecca Hines at the Police raising concerns about local policing and
engagement with Parish Council.
Page 4 – BKV – The Clerk reported that due to the pandemic the BKV competition had been cancelled. The work that was planned for BKV has continued with summer plants, cleaning of bus shelters and general maintenance around the village.
Page 4 – S137 grants – The Clerk reported that the S1137 grants were due to be presented to local groups at the Annual Parish Assembly in April. Due to the pandemic this meeting had been cancelled. Grants have now been distributed to groups via direct bank payment. There are just a few groups who have still to supply their bank details. There are 2 groups that have not had their grants and that is the Friday Tea Dance who were going to hold a 75th VE Day event which was cancelled and are waiting to see whether restrictions are lifted so that they may plan a VJ Day event in August. The other group is the Library Painting group. This is a new group that has been set up but who do not have a bank account for their group. Financial Regulations state that grants cannot be paid to individual bank accounts. The Clerk reported that there will be a small underspend on the grant allocation due to these two groups not having their grants.
Page 6 – Authorisation of Accounts – Cllr.Bilbie raised the error in the person authorising the accounts as the Minutes state it was Councillor M.Stretton but he was not at that meeting. The person authorising the accounts was Cllr.Mrs.Z.Stretton which requires amending.
207/2020 Police Report
No Police report was available. The Clerk reported that PCSO Karen Willis had been in contact during the lockdown period to ask if there were any issues that the Police should know about.
208/2020 Annual Governance Statement
The Chairman referred Councillors to the Annual Governance Statement which was required to be completed. Cllr.Bernard made Councillors aware of their responsibility to consider each statement contained in the Governance Statement to ensure that the Parish Council are compliant and have adequate systems in place in terms of the business of the Council. Each statement was considered and agreed that all areas were covered.
It was resolved:
To approve that the Annual Governance Statement for 2019/20.
209/2020 Annual Return
(i) Internal Auditor’s report – a copy of the internal auditor’s report for 2019/20 was circulated to Councillors prior to the meeting. Councillors considered the contents of the report which covered all areas of finance. There was one area which required to be updated and that referred to the Policies of the Council. The Clerk informed the meeting that the Policies had been updated but due to Council not meeting during the pandemic period these had not been approved.
It was resolved:
To accept the Internal Auditor’s report.
(ii) The Annual Return for 2019/20 together with accompanying documents explaining the figures contained ontthe bank reconciliation for the year end was also enclosed. Councillors considered the contents of the Report and were asked if there were any questions. The Clerk referred to box 7 and 8 which had been entered incorrectly. Box 8 should state the same figure as box 7 and this was not to do with calculations but a typing error on entering the figures. The Clerk confirmed that both boxes 7 and 8 should state the figure of £72,630. This will be amended before submission to the External Auditor.
It was resolved:
To accept the amended figures contained in the Annual Return.
It was resolved:
To accept and approve the Annual Return for 2019-20
210/2020 Reports from Councillors:
72nd Birthday of NHS– Cllr.Mrs.S.Harding informed the meeting that the District Council had contacted local Parish and Town councils to take part in displays on parks to recognise this event on the 5th July. Whilst there was a short time frame to organise this local community groups, Knit and Natter, Jean Hill of Crafty Sew and Sews had come together to arrange items to be included on the displays which Cllr.Harding was co-ordinating. Displays will be at the Park on the Cema and on the railings at the Community Centre for the park on Brownhills Road.
Complaint from resident on Legion Close – Cllr.Mrs.S.Harding reported that she had been contacted by a resident on Legion Close who was unhappy with the height of the fence installed by Cameron Homes who were the developers for Deer’s Leap re the new homes being built. Agreement had been reached with Cameron Home prior to planning permission being granted that to protect the privacy of the residents in Legion Close, they would build bungalows that backs on the properties in Legion Close. It now transpires that the bungalows were built on a raised platform which meant that the height of the fence installed was now not high enough. Cllr.Harding said that this matter had been dealt with quickly by the site manager from Cameron Homes to the satisfaction of the residents.
Community First Responders – Cllr.J.Bernard reported on the issues relating of the restrictions by the Ambulance Service on how Community First Responders operate. It was agreed that we should add our support to the mas rs raised by sending an email to the Parish Council’s Association for them to respond on behalf of all Parish Councils.
Action: Clerk to send email to SPCA in support of Community First Responders against the restrictions being imposed by the Ambulance Service.
211/2020 Reports from Committee
A summary of the planning applications received were circulated prior the meeting and were noted.
The Chairman reported that a further application had been received CH/20/198 for a change of use of land for residential site for 4 gypsy caravans. This application was a change to a previous application that had received planning permission for stables and a manage. Following that permission caravans and a mobile home had been located on site which was against the planning permission. The District Council have served a Breach of Notice a week before ‘lockdown’. Due to this the County Council felt that they would be unable to enforce the Notice as it would have meant moving people around has been delayed to the Coronavirus which was against Government guidelines. The new application has now complicated this situation which regards to the enforcement as it is not clear whether the new application will be heard before the Notice is enforced.
Discussion ensued on this application and it was noted that there is public perception relating to the first any had in its response for the first application made it clear that whilst we had no objection regarding the stables we would strongly object to any form of residential site and this is a condition of the planning permission. If this new application was granted, then it could be seen as a mockery by the general public who follow the law.
It was agreed that a robust objection should be made against this application and that planning advice should be sought to assist us in this response. Cllr.Z.Stretton stated we already have one gypsy site in Norton Canes which we could argue in our objection. Cllr.Holder action re enforcement until application is heard. If the applicant is not successful he may Appeal which would then be determined by an Inspector.
Cllr.J.Bernard informed the meeting that Heath Hayes Parish Council have also made comment as this site sits within the borders of both Heath Hayes and Norton Canes. Heath Hayes have submitted their objection to the application based on the site being in green belt which initially would not have prevented the previous application for a stables on the site but does become an issue if it is a residential site. They have also commented that the applicant has flaunted the law.
Action: Clerk to contact John Heminsley, Planning Consultant for advice re a robust response to an objection to the planning application for a residential site.
There had been no meeting of the Projects Committee but ongoing agreed projects were being taken forward. The Clerk reported that there is a problem with the location of the new welcome sign which was suggested to be installed on Walsall Road by the M6 toll bridge coming into the village from Turf island. The piece of land in question belongs to the Highways Agency and there has been some delay in them responding to our request permission. They have now had a site visit and have advised that due to the visibility spatial they cannot grant permission at this location. We now have to find a new location. A discussion ensued on this and it was agreed that the Chairman and Clerk look for an alternative site. The sign has been ordered and is ready for delivery.
Action: That the Chairman and Clerk look for an alternative site for the new welcome sign and arrange for permission and installation.
The Clerk reported that the hanging basket poles were now ready for delivery to be installed at the junction of Burntwood Road and Norton East Road. Whilst this is not in time for the summer hanging baskets it will be in place for next year.
Audit & Governance
- There were no financial issues to report. The Delegated Powers document has worked well during the lockdown period to ensure that there is continuation of Council business.
- Councillors were informed that the Parish Council had received the sum of £54,362 as CIL money. Discussion ensued on plans for this money and whether it should be invested. This was a significant amount of money and the Chairman stated that his view was that it spends non village enhancement type projects should be avoided and that it should be spent on infrastructure in the village.
Cllr.Mrs.Z.Stretton said that she felt that as the village was growing the Parish Office is not going to be big enough for our needs and some consideration should be given to this.
Cllr.Mrs.A.Bernard said that her view was that perhaps the linking up of the trim trails from the Cema Project which had previously been discussed but was never taken forward due to funding issues. This she felt would contribute to the health and well being of the people who live in the village.
The Clerk spoke about the investment of the money which would attract a higher interest that is currently available on the Reserves account. If no plans are in place, then perhaps this money could be invested for say 12 or 24 months. Discussion ensued on possible investment and that the only disadvantage of the money being invested is that it would not be accessible should we be asked for example to contribute to other Projects coming forward in the village from other organisations.
Cllr.M.Holder said that in his opinion there are no plans about how this money should be spent and that time needs to be taken to look into options. There is no immediate rush to invest the money until plans have been discussed. It was suggested that this be put before the Audit and Governance to discuss further and report back to full Council.
It was resolved:
That the matter of investment of funds be considered by the Audit and Governance Committee and report back to a future Council meeting.
212/2020 New Cemetery
The meeting was informed that the Planning application for the new cemetery was approved on the 4th March. We are now working on a Faculty application with Lichfield Diocese. We have now received an approach from the Landowner to purchase the land and start the legal process with Solicitors. The new cemetery working group met recently to discuss next steps and way forward. It was agreed that the Faculty application was required before we should purchase the land. It is acknowledged that this project has been an elongated one but that communication could be commenced with the landlord with a way forward. The working group agreed that we should now engage with a Solicitor to pursue a mutual accepted agreement with respect to the purchase of the land.
It was resolved:
That the Clerk engage with a Solicitor with regard to advice re purchase of the new cemetery land that satisfies the Landowner and the Parish Council as a way forward.
213/2020 Neighbourhood Plan
It was reported that due to the ‘lockdown’ it has been impossible to carry out face to face consultations and most of the work on the Neighbourhood Plan has been suspended. The last steering group was on the 27th February. Marilyn Calvert from the Steering Group was able to undertake some work with local schools which can be analysed but there is still more work to be done. The work of Creative Souls has been suspended until a time that they can continue with their work with community groups, schools re the children’s competition and also the updating of the website as there is currently nothing to report. Some work re the analysing of the transport questionnaire and the digitised map re businesses could be two pieces of work that could be progressed.
214/2020 Chairman’s Announcement
Incoming and Outgoing post which had previously been circulated was noted.
The Chairman made a suggestion to Councillors as to whether, given the fact the due to the ‘lockdown’ Council meetings had been suspended, that consideration of not having a Summer Recess be given. All Councillors agreed that Parish Council meetings should continue throughout the Summer.
It was resolved:
That there would be no Summer Recess.
Cllr.M.Holder raised a concern of not all Councillors being able to take part in Zoom meetings by virtue of not having IT equipment. There is no requirement to state that a Councillor has to have either IT or mobile phones to become a Councillor so feel that we should be mindful that we are disenfranchising Cllr.J.Beddow and maybe other Councillors by not being able to take part in Council meetings. We should be looking to see how we can enable them to take part. Discussion ensued on how we can take this forward and whilst the Zoom meeting has been a positive one it may be that we should be looking to venues where we can have meetings but also self-distancing and following Government guidelines at the same.
Action: Clerk to explore options before the next meeting.
215/2020 Authorisation of Accounts
A schedule of accounts for payment in June had been circulated to Councillors prior to the meeting which
were noted and authorised.
216/2020 Date of Next Meeting – Wednesday 15th July 2020 at 7 p.m. via Virtual Zoom meeting.
217/2020 Items for Information and Future Agenda
The meeting closed at 8.33 p.m.