A meeting of Eccleshall Parish Council was held on October 16th, 2019 at Offley Hay Village Hall, at 7.30pm. This meeting was followed by a meeting of the Planning Committee at 9.50pm.

151/19). Present were:-

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

Mrs S.J. Worden (Clerk)
2 members of the public

Apologies were received and accepted from Councillors Leather, Amos, and County Cllr. Pert.

152/19). 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.

153/19). Public Participation:-

There were two members of the public present. A resident spoke in regarding the need for speed mitigation measures on the Stone Road. County Cllr. Pert has recently commissioned a feasibility study to consider a build out for a chicane to slow traffic down. The proposal has been approved but there is no funding available to complete the work at this time. The resident requested that the Parish Council lends its support to the project to help bring the works forward, as the resident had been advised the earliest opportunity would be 2021.

154/19). To approve the minutes of the Parish Council meetings held on September 18th and September 25th, 2019:

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

155/19). Reports from Borough and County Councillors:-

There were no reports.

156/19). Committee Reports:-

Traffic Management Committee:-
Cllr. Dale provided the following update:-
• The two Speed Indication Devices are now up and running.
• The meeting notes from the meeting with highways held on 15th October had been circulated to all. Cllr. Dale provided an update of some responses from highways:
o Arn Hill gullies – There are 4 gullies in question, 1 is running and the other 3 are blocked. Works have been raised requested to be scheduled asap. The date to be advised to the Clerk.
o Johnson Hall/Newport Road area gullies – there are a number of gullies along Newport Road and Green Lane with blocked gullies or where lids are jammed. All are on the system to be addressed. Highways will look to prioritise areas where there is flooding.
o Pedestrian Access from Overton Manor onto St. Chads Road – The Council has been advised that any chicane measures would need to be paid for by the Parish Council in full. An initial feasibility study would need to be commissioned at a cost of approximately £1,500. Any proposal would need to consider access for buggies and mobility scooters. Highways will advise an estimated total cost for such a scheme.
o Bridleway off Ginger Lane – additional signage is to be considered by highways in order to highlight it is unsuitable for motor vehicles as the current bridleway sign is not obvious.
o Additional signage for turning into Meadow Lane (Mill Meece). After consideration, it was advised that there are no further measures that can be put in place in addition to what is already there.
o Newport Road markings – highways will look into the feasibility of additional traffic calming markings such as sharks teeth.
o Provision of electric charging points. It was confirmed that although this is being looked into, there is no policy in place to cover provision. It was resolved to write to the leader of the County Council to request an update on its plans due to concerns that any government funding opportunities are being missed.
o Lit poles at the zebra crossing – it was advised that provision of lit pole zebra crossings are not provided in Staffordshire as it was against policy and not of an approved specification.
o Newport Road pavement – the request for hand sweeping to remove excess debris is still being progressed by highways.
o Hilcote Hall – it has been approved to add SLOWS to the road adjacent to junction warning signs. Highways will progress this to obtain a date.
o Small Lane is due for annual inspection in December 2019. Jobs are in place to fill the potholes, but any additional concerns can be added via the online reporting system.

Enhancements Committee:-
Cllr. Dale provided the following update:-
• Elford Pool
o Keyzors are have completed the first stage of the tree works, which has involved the coppicing of the trees along the front of the pool area. A letter has been printed to update residents local to the area of the work completed to date and the next stage of the pool works. Cllr. Stenning agreed to distribute the letters to those who live near to Elford.
o Two quotes have been received for the removal of the silt from the pool. The Clerk had approached 3 contractors but was unable to obtain a third quote. After consideration of the quotations, it was resolved to accept the quotation from Mr. Arblaster at a cost of £3050 plus VAT and proceed with the works between November and January in line with recommendations by the Wildlife Trust.
• Croxton Play area:- Additional pruning will be undertaken to remove overhanging branches from the play area. Croxton Councillors will be looking at the woodland area to see if there is a requirement to thin out some of the trees due to close proximity of planting.
• Bishops Court Ash Tree – concerns have been raised about the condition of the pavement around the tree due to the root system. An external tree survey to assess the condition will cost up to £200. It was resolved to request if the Borough Council will provide an initial assessment of the tree. The Clerk will report the uneven pavement to highways.
• VE Day celebrations – A working group consisting of Cllrs. Taylor, Dale and Amos met to discuss initial ideas for the commemorative celebrations in May 2020. The method of funding the activities was discussed and the Clerk advised the best procedure would be for the P&R committee to consider a request to allocate a budget for the activities.
• Christmas tree quotations – Permission was requested to suspend the Standing Orders requesting 3 quotes, in order to proceed with placing an order with Wood’s Christmas Tree Farm at Solihull for supply of Christmas trees, as they are our preferred suppliers and can meet our requirements. It was resolved to accept the quotation from Woods Trees to supply 68 small trees plus 2 larger trees by the church and Stone Road. The total cost is £1406 plus VAT and delivery, which includes the tree which the Ecclian Society have agreed to pay for.

Policy and Resources Committee:-
• There are 8 defibrillators that are the responsibility of Eccleshall First Responders, mostly located in the town centre. All defibs require regular maintenance to replace pads and batteries as required. It was resolved to approve an annual contribution of £50 to ‘adopt’ a defibrillator and support these additional maintenance costs. Cllr. Watson will advise which defibs are available for sponsoring.
Footpaths Committee:-
It was resolved to accept a quotation of £60 by Mr. Sheard in order to replace a missing fingerpost located on footpath 16, on Hartlands Road. The Clerk will request a fingerpost to be supplied by the County Council Rights of Way team.

157/19). To consider and approve additional councillors for committee membership:-
It was resolved for Cllr. Perren to join the Traffic management committee, Cllr. Watson to join the Policy and Resources committee and Cllr. Mullee to join the footpaths and enhancements committees.

158/19). Liaison Representatives:-

Reports were accepted by the Council, as circulated in the Clerk’s Report prior to the meeting.
It was resolved for Cllr. Perren to take up the role of allotments liaison, and for Cllr. L. Dale to take up the role of Children and Young people’s liaison.

159/19). Use of Bishops Court Open Space:-

Bishops Court was noted as being a valuable informal open space that is used by residents of all ages. It was queried whether there are any improvements that the community may like such as the addition of a bench or a flower bed to the side of the main area. It was resolved to refer this to the enhancements committee for consideration and to report back.

160/19). To consider any New Development updates:-

Taylor Wimpey site:- The council are awaiting a response to its letter requesting fencing at the back of the play area and around the balancing pond.
Bovis:- It was noted that the new play area has finally been opened
Eagle sculpture:- The plans have been validated and are out for consultation. The Clerk has arranged to meet a crime prevention officer on the 17th Oct to look at ensuring that due consideration has been made with regards to potential theft and safety issues.

161/19). Winter Newsletter update:-

The Chairman is putting together this edition of the winter newsletter, and it will feature a number of reports including new members, speed devices, Elford Heath, speed watch, the survey, the library and upcoming Christmas events as well as useful contact information. It will also include an article on the recent volunteering day by a geocaching group, who completed litter picking and clearance of key footpaths around the town.
It was resolved to approve the print quotation for 2200 copies, at £504.00. It was also resolved for Cllr. P. Jones to enquire if the scouts would deliver the newsletter in the town centre, and an indicative cost of up to £200 was approved. Croxton copies would be delivered alongside the Church newsletter. Volunteers would still be needed to distribute copies around Elford/Copmere and Slindon. The Clerk will add a PDF version of the newsletter to the website.

162/19). To consider how the Parish Council can support action against climate change:-

The issue was discussed by members and Cllr. Langford will distribute a 7-point plan which includes some areas that are relevant to Parish Councils. A resident suggested looking at Terracycle who install a collection point for crisp packets and will pay a small return per 850 packets. The Clerk will look into this, and whether it may be possible to ask the Co-Op to support the idea. It was resolved to refer the discussion to the Enhancements committee with a view to producing a long-term plan to address the issue of climate change and what actions the Parish Council can take to help. It was noted that Norbury is the location for a research project run by the University of Birmingham, to look into the effects of increasing carbon dioxide levels on woodlands. The project offers guided group tours, which the Council may be interested in attending.

163/19). To consider paperless ways of working as a Parish Council:-

It was felt that the volume of papers circulated for meetings resulted in excessive use of paper and this could be reduced by the use of a projector to display papers during meetings rather than papers being printed out by each member. However, it was noted that it can be beneficial to print certain documents in order to make notes. The Clerk will look into the cost of a portable projector and accessories for consideration at the next meeting.
It was agreed that the Clerk can use lower grade recycled paper for day to day printing.

164/19). Updates regarding proposal for Police Station property and finance considerations.

The Clerk advised that an expression of interest had been submitted to the relevant body and a response was pending regarding acceptance. It was advised that the Council consider how it wishes to fund the purchase of the police station car parking, in terms of the split between the amount of reserves to be used and the amount it wishes to borrow via a Public Works Loan. This is to ensure that the Clerk is able to proceed with the necessary applications when required and reflect the figures accordingly in the draft budget for 2020/21. It was noted that proceeding is still dependent on the proposal being supported by residents, via the survey responses.
It was resolved that no more than £20,000 will be used from reserves towards the purchase cost. Members will consider the financial information supplied by the Clerk to consider the various repayment options and approve the final loan amount at the meeting in November.

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

165/19). Update on public survey:-

The public survey is now live and is available electronically via the website and via Facebook link. Paper copies are in a number of locations including the library, The Artisan, Co-op, Community Centre and Doctors. Completed forms can also be handed in at the library or The Artisan. Responses have already been received.

166/19). To receive the Clerk’s report and correspondence:-

The Council resolved to accept the Clerk’s report.

• Correspondence from Cllr. Pert regarding the Police Post proposal. The Council received the correspondence from Cllr. Pert, which was circulated prior to the meeting.

167/19). Chairman’s Report:-

The Chair will be attending the Stone Trafalgar Dinner on the 18th October.

168/19). Accounts:-

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

Creative Colour n Copy – No. 11 Walk Leaflets x 400 –  £63.00
Support Staffordshire Subscription – £25.00
Eccleshall Guide Entry –  £145.00

Accounts for payment October 2019:-

Authorisation was sought for payment of the following accounts:-

S. Worden – Salary- £1517.09
S. Worden – Expenses – £184.72
HMRC – PAYE/NI – £467.23
Staffs Pension Fund – Pension –  £586.47
TGM – Grass and hedge cutting –  £637.80
D&G Bus – Provision of No.14 morning service –  £210.00
Barnett Radcliffe Partnership – production of revised plans –  £288.00
Rob Keyzor Tree Surgeons – Tree works at Elford Heath  – £2250.00

All were in favour and the cheques were signed.

• It was resolved to accept the financial summary and bank reconciliation up to 30th September 2019.
• It was resolved to approve the purchase of the updated Clerks Manual at a cost of £47.50.
• It was resolved to set up a direct debit for the annual ICO (Information Commissioners Office) data protection fee, which reduces the annual fee to £35 from £40.
• It was resolved to appoint Cllr. Mifflin to conduct the internal audit of Parish accounts
• It was resolved to appoint Cllr. Watson as a new signatory for the Parish bank accounts, to replace Cllr. Marshall.

169/19). Items / Date and Venue for next meeting:-

The next full meeting of the Parish Council will be held on November 20th, 2019, Eccleshall Community Centre, 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.