A meeting of Eccleshall Parish Council was held on June 19th, 2019 at Offley Hay Village Hall, at 7.30pm. This meeting was followed by a meeting of the Planning Committee at 9.50pm.

87/19). Present were:-

Councillor P. Jones (Chairman);  Councillor R. Langford
Councillor R. Taylor;  Councillor E. Amos
Councillor J. Leather;  Councillor C. Marshall
Councillor J. Jones;  Councillor P. Stenning
Councillor M. Watson

Mrs S.J. Worden (Clerk)

2 members of the public

Apologies were received and accepted from Councillors Dale, Edwards, Delanchy and Borough and County Councillor Pert.

88/19). 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.

89/19). Public Participation:-

There were two members of the public present. A resident spoke in support of the agenda item on buses to be discussed in correspondence. He emphasised the urgency of working with D&G to put in place some form of concessionary pass or discounted rate for the young people to replace the discounts available with the ‘Your Staffordshire’ card, following its withdrawal in August. The resident noted D&G has a discounted rate especially for a route in Knutsford and whether a similar scheme could be applied to the Eccleshall to Stafford route.

The resident also spoke with regards to Elford Heath, to advise he is involved with 3 volunteer groups who are interested in helping with the enhancement works. The Council thanked the resident for their support and would be in contact to discuss this further once the larger scale works were underway.

90/19). To approve the minutes of the Annual Parish Council meeting held on May 15th, 2019 and to accept the Annual Public Parish meeting on the 22nd May 2019.:-

The minutes, which had been previously circulated, were agreed and signed.

91/19). Co-option of Councillors to Croxton Ward.

The candidate gave a short presentation to the meeting, answering questions from existing Councillors.

Following a vote, Mr. Stuart Mifflin of Church Cottage, Church Lane, Croxton was duly co-opted to represent the Croxton Ward.

Councillor P. Jones welcomed Mr. Mifflin to the Council. Councillor Mifflin signed a Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

92/19). Reports from Borough and County Councillors:-

There were no reports to receive.

93/19). Committee Reports:-

Traffic Management Committee:-
The minutes from the meeting held on the 5th June had been circulated prior to the meeting and were noted by the Council. Cllr. Leather provided the following update:-
• Members of the committee met with Highways officers on the 6th June to raise many ongoing areas of concern.
• Speed Indication Devices – The committee put forward the following recommendations for approval by the Council:
o To approve the recommendation to purchase 2 sets of solar powered speed indication devices and associated fixings for 9 posts, supplied by Elan City.
o To approve the recommendation for Amey to proceed with the installation of 9 fixed posts of 110mm diameter, in locations to include Croxton, Slindon and around the town centre.
o To approve the advertising for a handyman/contractor to install and rotate the signs around the sites on a monthly basis.
The Council resolved to approve all the above recommendations and to proceed with the installation.
It was noted that the locations did not include Castle Street, but Highways officers did not approve this location due to its proximity to the national speed limit. The speed watch team had been noted at the bus shelter taking readings in this area and the Clerk will contact them to ask whether they had many incidences of speeding.

• Response from Cllr. Pert regarding traffic and highways concerns raised by the Parish Council. The letter was noted by the Council, and the response indicated that funding for specific highways projects not on a County priority list would need to either be Parish Council funded or funding to be secured from elsewhere due to cuts in the County Council budget. This could include collaborative funding. It was noted that members would continue to lobby for reduction of the speed in the residential area on the Eccleshall side of the Loggerheads border.

Enhancements Committee:-
The next meeting of the Enhancements committee will be held on the 3rd July. Cllr. Marshall provided the following update:-
• Elford Pool:
o Cllr. Marshall had met with Richard Plant to review the work required to reduce the reed mace and silt accumulated in the pool. He advised it would be best to drain the water from the pool before accessing it with a digger to remove the silt. Based on this it would be best to undertake the work when the pool is at the lowest level, potentially August. A large 13 tonne digger would be needed for the pool, and a mini digger for drain clearance. A quote will be forwarded to the Parish Council for consideration.
o Cllr. Marshall also met with Amey to discuss how they could help through its community programme. Amey would be unable to provide any machinery, but volunteers could help with any manual work and materials could be supplied at cost. Amey will contact the Clerk with availability.
o The Council has received a quotation from Rob Keyzor to complete the initial works required to cut back vegetation and allow access to the pool for the other works to be completed. It was noted that the quotation was reasonable for the scale of work, and the initial survey had been undertaken free of charge. Other quotations would be expected to include survey costs and not be best value for the Council. Time is also a factor in order to complete the works to allow for pool access. The Council resolved to suspend standing orders and to accept the quotation by Rob Keyzor to undertake the work. The Clerk will ask Rob to retain any longer pieces of timber to use underneath the JCB to improve access.

Policy and Resources Committee:-
A meeting of the P&R committee took place on the 5th June, and minutes have been circulated prior to the meeting. Councillor P. Jones provided the following update:-
• CCLA Public Sector Deposit fund – An overview of the fund had been provided to all councillors to review prior to the meeting. The account will be instant access and it is hoped will generate a slightly higher rate of return for earmarked reserves that are held for a number of reasons including ongoing maintenance of assets and longer term projects. It was noted to be a stable fund, used by many Parish Councils as well as local Churches. The Council resolved to approve an initial deposit of £25,000 into the fund, and to approve the P&R committee to review performance at the next meeting in September with approval to invest up to a further £25,000 depending on parish funding levels.
• Cllr. P. Jones confirmed a satisfactory review of Deeds and insurances.
• The committee were in favour of producing a survey for residents to complete which will be used to inform the Council in the formation of a 4-year plan, ensuring that its aims and objectives were in line with the key issues of the community. The Council resolved to approve proceeding in principle with the survey. There was considerable discussion regarding a number of issues, including accessibility, survey length, clarity/ purpose of questions and timing for releasing the survey. It was resolved to form a working group to discuss and present a report and draft survey for consideration. Cllrs. Stenning, P. Jones and Taylor would arrange to meet with Cllr. Edwards to progress this.
• The committee reviewed three accounting software packages, specifically designed for Parish Councils, that will improve reporting, efficiency and reduce the opportunity for errors in the accounts. The committee recommended the purchase of the Rialtas ‘Alpha’ software package, which includes training, installation and ongoing support for an initial 3-year contract. The council resolved to approve this recommendation and for the Clerk to proceed with the purchase of the software and transfer of the accounts.
• The committee recommended the approval of granting the Freedom of the Parish recognition to individuals who had delivered exceptional service to the Parish. The Council resolved in favour of accepting this recommendation. A special meeting will be convened on July 17th to discuss and approve a list of recipients and costs for the certificates. Each Councillor was asked to submit one nomination to the Clerk for consideration at the meeting.
• The Council resolved to approve the recommendation to award a grant of £250 for the refurbishment of the portacabin changing areas for Eccleshall Rugby Club
• The Council resolved to approve the recommendation to decline the grant application from the 1st Eccleshall Guides. It was noted that the Parish Council has recently reviewed the Grant Policy and criteria which highlights the priority to supply grant funding to support groups and organisations on projects with direct benefit/links to the local parish area, rather than out of area activities for individuals. The Council noted that if the Guides have any locally based projects in progress then it would encourage them to submit a further grant application.
• The committee recommended to approve the decision not to renew the Data Protection Officer contract with the County Council and the Council resolved to approve this course of action. It was noted that there had been no contact from the County Council in the past twelve months, and as it was not a mandatory requirement, it was not felt to be necessary.
Footpaths Committee:-
No meeting has been held since the last Parish meeting. The next meeting will be held on the 3rd September.
Cllr. Taylor advised she has followed up with residents about the lack of fingerpost in Hartlands Road and supplied photos and resident details to the Clerk. Residents were in favour of installing a new post. The Council noted that due to the location being surrounded in tarmac, and at the end of a resident driveway, it would be best for the County Council Rights of Way to install the replacement. The Clerk has already submitted a replacement request and will speak directly to officers in the Rights of Way team to identify a timescale for completion.

94/19). Liaison Representatives:-

Reports were accepted by the Council, as circulated in the Clerk’s Report prior to the meeting. No further reports were provided.

Cllr. Ros Taylor was appointed as the Flood Action Group Representative.
Cllr J. Jones was appointed to the Traffic Committee.
Cllr. Mifflin was appointed to the Footpaths Committee.

95/19). To consider the refurbishments of milestones within the Parish and associated quotation.

A survey of the 15 milestones within the Parish has been conducted by the milestone society, and 14 of the stones were identified as needing refurbishment and painting at a cost of £75 per milestone. A number of the milestones were in very poor condition. Although they are not Parish owned assets, the Council may contribute to their upkeep. The Parish Council resolved to approve the quotation and proceed with the refurbishment.

96/19). To consider any New Development updates:-

Taylor Wimpey site:- A response is pending from the Borough Council following the letter sent by the Parish Council to raise safety concerns with regards to the balancing pool located at the edge of the public open space. Cllr. P. Jones will be discussing this at an upcoming meeting with Borough Council representatives.
Bovis:- The Clerk has been advised the bollards to prevent access via Badgers Croft are on order and is awaiting an installation date.
Roundabout Feature:- Cllr. Pert is chasing approval from Bovis for the alternative location, before a planning application can be submitted. Bovis are conducting a resident consultation to support its approval of the location.

97/19). To receive the Clerk’s report and correspondence:-

The Council resolved to accept the Clerk’s report.
• Resident correspondence concerning developer infrastructure payments. The Council noted the correspondence regarding developer payments, which are via section 106 payments in Staffordshire rather than CIL. Cllr. Pert has responded to the resident to advise on how these payments are allocated within the Borough.
• Resident query regarding public participation during meetings in addition to the specific agenda items. A resident requested that members of the public are allowed to comment during the meeting, where they may be able to provide feedback to an agenda item. It was noted that a meeting of the Council is a meeting conducted in public, and is not a public meeting. The agenda is issued on noticeboards and via Facebook so residents are aware of what is to be discussed and a public participation section is on the agenda so residents may speak about any of the agenda items. If they wish to have further information about the item before the meeting, they can contact the Clerk. If residents have concerns they wish to be represented in a meeting, they are welcome to contact a councillor to act on their behalf. There is often a lot of items to address in a meeting, and the meeting needs to be conducted in a business-like manner. If there is a contentious item to discuss, general participation may cause disruption and hamper the decision making process. The Council resolved to retain the current structure of public involvement to be limited to the public participation section of the meeting.
• Resident request to consider a concessionary scheme for young people to encourage bus usage. The resident spoke about his suggestions for D&G to support a concessionary scheme to bridge the gap for young people once the Your Staffordshire concessionary card was withdrawn in August. Councillors noted the importance of supporting use of the local bus service and were keen to see numbers increase on the 8am bus to make it commercially viable for the future. The Council resolved for the Clerk to contact D&G to progress ideas around a specific concessionary pass from Eccleshall to Stafford that includes the 8am route, or discounted tickets.
• Concerns about parking obstructions on Ginger Lane by Ferndale House visitors. The visitors to Ferndale House have been parking across residential garages and gateways, obstructing access. There could be up to 9 cars attending the property, which cannot be accommodated on the driveway. The Council resolved to write a letter to the authority responsible for the property to raise the issue and ask for visitors to park without causing an obstruction.

98/19). Summer Newsletter update:-

The Clerk advised that the newsletter was near completion and the size had been increased by a further 4 page insert to include all the required information. It was felt that it would not be possible to delay the printing to incorporate a survey as it may miss the summer schedule and publicity for a survey could be considered separately. Cllr. Langford requested copies be available for distribution at the Well Dressing on the 6th July. The Clerk would circulate a final copy for comment prior to printing. The Council resolved to approve print costs of £472 for 2000 copies. The Clerk will put together a delivery rota to include new members, to re-allocate routes covered by past councillors.

99/19). To receive any updates regarding the Police Station property.

There had been no meetings or further proposals submitted since the last Parish Council meeting. Cllr. Pert has applied for the property to be listed as a community asset by the Borough Council, so that if a community group is interested in purchasing it, they have a longer timescale in order to compile the bid and secure funding. It was noted that a For Sale notice has gone up.

Cllr. P. Jones requested permission to extend the meeting past 9.30pm, which was granted.

100/19). Chairman’s Report:-

The Chair will be attending the Mayor’s afternoon tea at the Upper House on the 18th July, in his capacity as Deputy Mayor. He will also be attending the Stone Town Council Civic Service on the 7th July as Parish Council Chairman.

101/19). Accounts:-

Retrospective approval was granted for payment of the following accounts:-

SPCA Good Councillor Guides – LGA 1972 s.111 40.40
SPCA – Training – LGA 1972 s.111 35.00
Creative Copy ‘n’ Colour – Walk Leaflet No. 10 – LGA 1972 s.142 63.00

Accounts for payment June 2019:-

Authorisation was sought for payment of the following accounts:-

S. Worden – Salary – LGA 1972 s. 112 1177.53
Expenses – Local Government (Financial Provisions) Act 1963 220.89
PAYE – LGA (Financial Provisions) 1963 54.00
NHI – LGA (Financial Provisions )1963 173.96
Pension LG Pensions Scheme Regs. 1995 423.55
TGM Grass and hedge cutting – Open Space Act 1906 s10 281.40
D&G Bus – Provision of No.14 morning service – GPC, Localism Act 2011 ss1-8 210.00
Lawlor Construction – GPC, Localism Act 2011 ss1-8 924.00
Wicksteed Playground Inspections – Public Health Act 1875 s.164 1039.80
SPCA – Training – LGA 1972 s.111 20.00
All were in favour and the cheques were signed.

102/19). Items / Date and Venue for next meeting:-

The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on July 17th, 2019, Broughton Parish Rooms, 7.30pm. Items for addition were requested to be sent to the Clerk.

There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 9.50pm.