ECCLESHALL PARISH COUNCIL Extra Meeting Minutes – 4th December 2019

December 4th, 2019

An extra ordinary meeting of Eccleshall Parish Council was held on December 4th, 2019 at Eccleshall Community Centre, at 7.30pm.

190/19). Present were:-

Councillor P. Jones (Chairman); Councillor J. Leather
Councillor R. Langford; Councillor L. Dale
Councillor B. Delanchy; Councillor R. Taylor
Councillor M. Watson; Councillor S. Perren; Councillor J. Jones; Councillor P. Stenning
Councillor S. Mifflin; Councillor C. Wilkins
Councillor G. Dale

Mrs S.J. Worden (Clerk)
8 members of the Public

Apologies were received from Councillor Mullee

191/19). To consider Declarations of Interest and Councillor requests for dispensation relating to items on the agenda.

There were no requests to receive, and no declarations of interest were made.

192/19). To receive the email from Eccleshall CiC dated 26th November concerning the Police station bid.

The Council noted receipt of a letter from Eccleshall CiC, advising their withdrawal of the bid from the Police Post.

193/19). To consider the results of the Parish Survey relating to the Parish Council purchase proposal of the Police Station and to resolve the course of action to be followed.

Draft survey results – questions 4 and 5.

For information, the questions asked were as follows:

4. Investment in Eccleshall:
The Police Commissioner for Staffordshire has put up for sale the Police Station in the centre of Eccleshall. This will lead to the loss of parking spaces currently being used by local traders. (in addition to about 20 when the Nat West building sale is completed).
As many residents highlight parking as a major problem in Eccleshall, the Parish Council would like to preserve these parking spaces by entering into a partnership whereby it purchases the car park to provide 10 parking spaces, and a local solicitor will purchase the building, enabling it to remain in Eccleshall and expand its services to the community. Income from parking permits will provide a major source of funding, but there may be some impact on the precept in order to cover the balance.
Are you broadly in support of this project in order to prevent residential development on this land and to preserve these parking spaces in Eccleshall?
Yes No Don’t mind

5. Parish Precept
The Parish Council obtains its funding from the precept, which is the portion of the council tax that comes to the Parish Council. This stands at £27.12 (per Band D household). Compared to other councils, this is low. As an example, Gnosall currently charge £35.51 and Stone Town £50.10. These sums are per year, not monthly.
Whilst the Parish Council wishes to ensure residents are not unduly burdened, it needs to ensure that the precept generated allows it to continue to provide services, such as grass cutting, bus subsidies, watering of bloom baskets, Christmas trees and additional large item refuse collections, as well as be able to fund larger projects that will further enhance the community. Costs of providing these services increase each year, and as other local authorities continue to reduce funding for local services, this leaves a gap that needs to be filled. At present, the current precept level will not support the current level of involvement of the Parish Council or allow new areas of involvement to be considered.
The precept for 20/21 will need to be able to support the Parish Council in order to continue to provide these services and deliver new projects to the residents of Eccleshall. What level of precept increase would you be willing to accept in order to see improvements in your community?
Up to £10/year (band D, 83p a month) Up to £15/year (band D, £1.25 a month)
Don’t mind

Survey Results:

Surveys Received Q4 – In support of the Partnership to purchase car park Q5 – Precept increase amounts
Total Yes No Don’t Mind Other up to £10 up to £15 Don’t mind No incr. OTHER
Paper/Email 73 43 22 1 22 22 13 6
Online 57 17 31 3 6 24 15 7 5 4
TOTALS 130 60 53 4 6 46 37 20 11 4
Total nos. per Question 123 118

Q4 ‘Other’:
It seems a lot of money for 10 Parking spaces
Don’t know if this is value for money if it is only 10 permit spaces
What exactly is the impact to the precept and what other options are available? I would need to consider this before I can make an informed answer
Would like to see the real cost – say projected over 5 years?
Yes. But it would be better if we could keep the building as a “community hub” for Eccleshall.
Broadly yes, it should be for the community, but for the community

Q5 ‘Other’:
I would like to see the parish news leaflet indicating things councillors have done /achieved as well as the council so we can appreciate where the money is going throughout the year.

I would only be willing to pay more if we are going to get the services mentioned plus things like street sweeping and police patrols.
£5/yr (2 responses)

The Parish Council discussed the results of the survey at length. It was noted that the survey results are in favour of the police station purchase, but consideration was given as to whether the survey results give a strong representative result of the wishes of the community due to the lower numbers than hoped responded, and the narrow margin of the results. It was noted that:
• the results are required to be submitted as evidence of support for the project
• The low response rate may be due to the survey closely following a County survey conducted over the summer
• It is not yet conclusive as to whether the bid will be accepted or if the loan for the purchase will be approved on the basis of the results to be submitted
• Unless the Council progress with the loan application it will not be clear if the evidence is sufficient
• Councillors debated the ongoing need for the parking spaces

A resident who is involved in Eccleshall CiC was given permission to speak and advised that there may soon be more parking issues due to the expected loss of two private parking areas that are currently used by traders to park. As the CiC bid has now been withdrawn, they spoke strongly in favour of the Parish Council continuing with its plan to purchase the parking spaces.

A representative from Bowcock Pursaill spoke regarding the partnership proposal with the Parish Council, and the background to the proposal for the Council to purchase the car parking area for £40,000. It was clarified that the proposal would include a trader parking scheme of £1 per trader per day, equating to £20 per month per parking space, or £240 per annum. With all ten spaces occupied, the maximum income is £2,400, giving a 9% return on the investment. It was noted that the PCC are able to go with the highest bidder, whether or not it is a community bid, which may not be the Parish Council. A decision is expected in January.

A proposal was tabled and seconded to NOT continue with the purchase of the police station. The majority voted against this proposal.

A proposal was tabled to continue with the purchase of the police station, and the majority voted in favour of this action.

194/19). Meeting Close:-

There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 8.10pm.