Minutes of Whitestone Parish Council meeting held at Whitestone Parish Hall at 7.30pm on
Thursday, 10th July 2014
Attendance: Chairman − Councillor Mrs B Bramhall
Councillors Mrs M Belt, Mrs P Fisher, L Hickman, D Munro, P Nierop, R Phillips, M Quinn, A Reed.
County Councillor J Brook (arrived at 8.25pm and left after giving his report)
Mrs P Vaughan, Clerk to the Council
Ms T Fox, Mrs B Netherway, Mrs S Greenfield. Mr C Hodges,
Apologies: Councillor S Heathcote, District Councillor P Bromell
The July Draw for the 100 Club in support of the Parish Hall Development Fund was conducted. The lucky number was 57 belonging to Sue Harding.
47. The Chairman opened the meeting. The minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 12th June 2014 having been circulated were taken as read and signed as a true copy by the Chairman with the following comments being made:-
47.1 Cllr Belt reported a typing error at minute 41.3 which should have read Ham Farm and not Hall Farm.
47.2 Cllr Nierop pointed out that in minute 42.4 the latter part of his proposal, i.e. to employ an Accountant to audit the Working Group figures, had not been included in the draft minutes. The Clerk and the Chairman both confirmed that they had not heard the latter part of Cllr Nierop’s proposal and therefore it did not stand. No other member of the Council spoke up to support Cllr Nierop. Further the Chairman stated that had she heard that part of Cllr Nierop’s proposal she would not have voted in favour because to spend precept payers’ money checking the working group figures would be of no benefit to the parish. The Chairman then spoke of the need to discuss issues fully before proposals were put forward.
Cllr Nierop declared an interest in the application for Hillcrest as it is his property
The Council examined the following applications and Ms Fox was allowed to answer queries in support of the application for Trelake Farm, Tedburn Road. The following are the Council’s decisions:-
48.1 14/01698/FUL Replacement of roof light at Hillcrest, Whitestone. No objections.
48.2 14/01738/FUL Repositioning of existing access to improve visibility and erection of gates and gates piers at Trelake Farm, Tedburn Road. Councillors were in agreement that the repositioning of access would be an improvement and there were no objections
Notice of Approval of Reserved Matters
48.3 14/01355/REM Approval of details for a dwelling for a rural worker (approval sought for access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale) at Bickhams Farm Livery
49. MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
49.1 School Houses
A proposal was placed before the meeting for the commissioning of independent professional services to produce commercially based financial statements in accordance with the Chairman’s letter which had been sent to all Councillors prior to the meeting. After discussion it was unanimously agreed that the commissioning of financial statements should be authorised and the quote for £540 + Vat to undertake the work was accepted.
Report from Teignbridge District Council on housing inspection
49.2 The report had been forwarded to all Councillors well in advance of the meeting and following the meeting will be made available on the Whitestone website.
49.3 Cllr Bramhall reported that Cllr Reed and herself had accompanied Mr Davison from Teignbridge District Council on his inspection of 1 and 2 School Houses and he had advised that the properties were in a generally good condition due to the significant amount of renovation works in recent years. From what he had seen the Inspector commented on the Parish Council as being a caring landlord shown by the quality of the remedial work undertaken to date. The Chairman thanked the longstanding Asset Team for all their hard work. The financial outlay required for the Category 1 and 2 work outlined in the inspection report was significantly less than the financial outlay portrayed in the survey report presented at the Public Meeting. Teignbridge District Council had agreed to waive the charge for carrying out their inspection.
Asset Group Report
49.4 Cllr Reed proceeded to go through the Report from Teignbridge and itemised the work which had been raised as needing attention. It was noted that some of the items had already been included in the budget for this year and he estimated that the work needed to deal with loft insulation and fire doors to gain access would total £1,350 for both properties. The question of the possibility of woodworm being in the roof timbers was discussed and it was resolved that if it was necessary for spraying to take place the decision to be taken by the Asset Group. Cllr Hickman raised the issue of the possibility of timbers having to be replaced should there be serious infestation and a Council meeting would be called in August should a decision be necessary on this point in view of the financial involvement. During this discussion Cllr Hickman left the meeting momentarily.
49.5 Cllr Quinn raised the question of the unsightly weeds outside School Houses and asked that their removal could be brought to the attention of the tenants.
49.6 Cllr Bramhall indicated that although information had been received from Teignbridge regarding grant schemes it did not seem that the Council would be eligible to apply for these but she will be making further enquiries regarding the possibility of other grants available.
49.7 Cllr Bramhall is to arrange a meeting with the Managing Agent of School Houses regarding various issues.
50. ASSET GROUP MEMBERSHIP
Cllr Bramhall then asked for a member from those Councillors not at the June meeting to join the Asset Group and Cllr Belt was appointed.
51. REPORT BY COUNTY COUNCILLOR
County Councillor Brook gave a report on the closure of Care Homes through the County. He also said that pothole repairs will be ongoing. After giving his report he gave apologies for leaving early.
52. MATTERS RAISED BY THE CHAIRMAN
52.1 Cllr Bramhall reported receiving a letter from Moretonhampstead Parish Council asking that we support a motion which they had put forward to Teignbridge District Council regarding a motion to review leisure services throughout the district. After discussion it was resolved that a letter of support be sent to Teignbridge District Council on this issue.
52.2 Cllr Bramhall reported attending the ceremony of raising the flag to mark Armed Forces Week at Forde House on 23rd June. She felt it was of special significance to her as her husband had been a serving member of the forces. Her one disappointment had been that she had not been able to wear the Chairman’s Badge of Office as this had not yet been handed over to her as Cllr Neirop was having his name engraved on it. Once the engraving is complete Cllr Nierop will hand over the Chairman’s Badge of Office to the Clerk.
52.3 Cllr Bramhall reported attending a Chairmanship Course at the Devon Association of Local Councils which had been very interesting. and given her insight into her role as Chairman. This evening’s meeting was her second in chairing a full Council meeting.
52.4 Cllr Bramhal reported receiving information from the Clerk regarding the Teignbridge Association of Local Councils meetings which were normally held bi-monthly and said that she and Cllr Hickman will be attending the next meeting to be held on 31st July 2014.
52.5 Cllr Bramhall suggested the setting of a procedure by which proposals are brought to the Council before being resolved. Following some discussion it was agreed that this item should be placed on the agenda for the September meeting with a view to clarification of the procedure being an addition to the Standing Orders.
53.1 Completion of Annual Audit
The Clerk reported on the successful conclusion of the Annual Audit by the Audit Commission for the year ended 31st March 2014 with no matters giving cause for concern that relevant legislation and regulatory requirements have not been met. Copies of the audit report can be obtained on application to the Parish Council Clerk and notices to this effect have been posted on notice boards within the Parish. The account for £240 was submitted for approval in the expenditure section.
53.2 Nat West Bank Statement as at 30th June 2014
Business Reserve A/c
Business Reserve A/c
This balance includes £100.64 P3 Grant Money
53.3 School Houses rents for July £1,425 − Letting Agency fees £136.80 (including £22.80 VAT) = £1,288.20
The following expenditure was proposed and seconded for payment. All in favour.
53.4 Whitestone Parish Hall Management Committee (July) £125
53.5 Clerk’s quarterly salary and expenses £238.20
53.6 Grant Thornton £240 (including £40 VAT)
53.7 Devon Association of Local Councils − Chairmanship Course £30 (including £5 VAT)
53.8 Cllr Quinn requested that future expenditure accounts presented to the Council include commitments authorised to date.
54.1 Teignbridge District Council − Notification that the project application for £1,100 to Rural Aid for internal insulation was partially granted at their meeting on the 8th July for the sum of £900. The Clerk has informed Mr Fisher and when the work has been carried out the necessary grant claim form will be completed.
54.2 A letter of thanks for the £1,800 sent from the June meeting was received from Whitestone Parish Hall Committee of Management. Information was given regarding the defribrillator which will be based at the Parish Hall
54.3 Teignbridge Electoral Services will be carrying out a review of administrative polling arrangements and electors are requested to make comments by the 15th August. In addition to this changes are being made to the annual canvass of electors and all residents will be notified of this by post.
55.1 Cllr Belt noted with regret that the Rural Aid Fund had been unable to grant the full amount requested but they had received a total of £78,000 in requests at the July meeting and therefore all grants had been cut back accordingly in order that everyone could benefit.
55.2 Councillors noted road repairs needing to be reported at Halsfordwood Lane, Hill Lane, Church Lane, Church Cross to Trowbridge, and it was reported that in Heath Lane a plough had fallen off a tractor and damaged the road.
55.3 Cllr Munro noted problems with poor mobile phone reception in the Parish.
55.4 Cllr Fisher requested that the Clerk investigate when the Play Area inspection is due.
Mr Hodges asked some questions regarding the proposal for commissioning independent professional accounts and it was explained that full information would be provided from the financial records for the Parish Council in order for this to be carried out.
Mrs Greenfield requested that the report on the Public Meeting which was circulated to Councillors at the June meeting be made available to all on the website which would ensure openness for parishioners. She also felt that the Chairman’s comments made at the June meeting should have been reported more fully in the minutes although this was no criticism of the Clerk in this regard as she was aware that minutes were not intended to be a verbatim report. She hoped there would be an opportunity in the future for the Chairman to elaborate more fully on some of the comments she had been made, perhaps with a question and answer sheet. She felt there should be clarification of the wording from the June minutes to show that Cllr Nierop had sought advice after the Public Meeting held on 21st May regarding the financial calculations of income/expenditure that had been included in his report.
Mrs Greenfield gave the following update on the progress of the Parish Plan Steering Group:- “Web enabling matters relating to the questionnaire are ongoing”
A question was asked of Mrs Greenfield if she could give a date when this might be completed but she was unable to commit to any specific timetable.
Ms Fox thanked the Council for their support for the planning application for Trelake Farm.
The meeting closed at 9.20pm