A meeting of Eccleshall Parish Council was held on February 20th, 2019 at Eccleshall Community Centre, at 7.30pm. This meeting was followed by a meeting of the Planning Committee at 9.15pm.

16/19). Present were:-

Councillor G. Garner (Chairman) Councillor P. Jones Councillor J. Jones Councillor P. Alcock
Councillor B. Delanchy Councillor P. Mullee Councillor R. Langford Councillor L. Dale Councillor J. Leather Councillor T. Price
Councillor P. Baskerville Councillor P. Edwards
Mrs S.J. Worden (Clerk)
Borough and County Councillor Pert.
One member of the public

Apologies were received and accepted from Councillors Marshall and Amos. Councillors Jacques was absent.

17/19). 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.

18/19). Public Participation:-

There were no members of the public who wished to speak.

19/19). Update on local policing arrangements from Sergeant Dan Ferguson, with PCSO Luke Peckett.

Sergeant Ferguson provided an update on current police presence in Eccleshall, and assured members that the closure of the police station would not affect this. The aim is to become more community focussed, being more visible in the community and holding local surgeries. PC Jane Gabriel has recently been assigned to Eccleshall. It was acknowledged that staff shortages had impacted on local police presence to date. Concerns were raised regarding the lack of policing support in rural areas leading to delays in attending and resolving incidents that require immediate police presence.
Officers were invited to attend the Croxton Well Dressing on July 6th, and the date was noted.
The police were invited to attend any Parish Council meetings If they wished. A copy of all Council agendas would be sent to Sergeant Ferguson for information, and if invited to a specific meeting to discuss an issue, the Council would provide an early slot so that attendance would not be required at the whole meeting.

20/19). To confirm the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on January 16th, 2019:-

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

21/19). Reports from Borough and County Councillors:-

Cllr. J. Pert provided a report on the following:
• A reminder was provided for the Community Conversation event on Thursday 21st February at Yarnfield Conference Centre, and all members were welcome to attend.
• It was noted that additional provision for HS2 was being made in Parliament which may have some transport impact on minor road modifications.
• The County Council have signed off its budget in line with the proposed £35 million cuts. This includes a reduction in the grant fund provided to County Councillors.
• Progression of the Eagle project is pending a meeting with senior county officials, and Cllr. Pert noted his frustration at the lack of feedback.

Cllr. P.Jones had provided a report for inclusion in the Clerk’s Report. It was noted that over 100 local people would be attending the mayor’s parlour events over the next two weeks. The Council expressed its thanks at arranging the events.

22/19). Committee Reports:-

Traffic Management Committee:-
The next meeting of the committee will be on the 6th March. Cllr. Leather will be chair, and amongst the items discussed will be progression of the speed indications devices (SIDs). To date there has been a lack of support from the County Council to progress the project and this will be addressed at a meeting with Richard Rayson on Monday 25th February.

Enhancements Committee:-
Cllr. P. Baskerville provided the following update:-
• Acceptance of quote for siting of benches at Copmere picnic site. Stafford Borough Council are providing two benches free of charge, to replace the benches currently at the picnic site. One needs refurbishment and the other is new. The Council resolved to accept the quotation by Rod Sheard to remove the old benches, refurbish one bench and fix both in the ground. The cost will be £195. Slabs were noted as not required. Cllr. Mullee has struggled to contact SBC to arrange collection and the Clerk will provide an alternative contact.

• Acceptance of Grass Cutting Tenders 2019-2021
The Council resolved to approve the allocation of the work as follows:
Jacksons of Eccleshall:
• Elford Heath, Triangle, Kerry Lane – x 10
• Offley Hay Village Hall – x 8
• Rose Bay Willow Herb (cutting back) – x 3
Trent Grounds Maintenance:
• Washpits, Eyeswells footpath mowing, Croxton Play area, Bishops Court – fortnightly
• Picnic Site, Pump Site, Eyeswells strimming/hedge, verge opposite Croxton play area – monthly.
• Eyeswells and Bishops Court Hedge – annual cuts
• Footpath 13, Hartlands Rd alley – x 3
• Church St and Castle St. Verges – x 4
• Refurbishment of benches highlighted in asset survey. The council resolved to approve refurbishment of thirteen benches as detailed in the asset survey for 2018/19. Work would be completed over the next few months. Estimated cost per bench is around £65, depending on the condition.
• Croxton Play area – preliminary research has not indicated any obvious cheaper surface solutions at present, so the approved repairs of the wet pour will continue and be scheduled for April/early May, with ongoing research into alternatives for the future.
• Update on Elford Pool. Based on the report provided by Keyzors, there are 4 main areas of work. The council resolved to approve for Cllr. Baskerville to put together a proposal for addressing the work in chunks, on a rolling maintenance programme. The completed proposal will be considered at the meeting in March with a view to approving and starting to obtain quotations.

Policy and Resources Committee:-
The next meeting of the committee will be on the 6th March. It was noted that precept details agreed in January had been duly submitted to the Borough Council.

Footpaths Committee:-
Cllr. P. Mullee provided the following update:-
• Request for contribution from the PCC towards gravelling an access drive shared by footpath 13. The committee discussed this at length. It was noted that the work had already been completed, and that usually the Council would require 3 quotations for any work to be approved. The cost was a large proportion of the allocated budget for footpaths maintenance. It is not within the usual scope of work that is completed by the Parish Council and there is no statutory duty on the Council to do this type of work. The committee recommended that it would not be within the scope of the work of the footpaths committee to fund the resurfacing. The Parish Council resolved to approve the recommendation and felt that it would not be an appropriate course of action to fund the re-gravelling of the area that incorporated footpath 13.
• Cllr. Mullee is looking into reports of electric fences without access along footpaths 120 and 103 and will liaise with the Clerk on the outcome.

23/19). Liaison Representatives:-

Reports were accepted by the Council, as circulated in the Clerk’s Report prior to the meeting.
It was noted that a meeting will be arranged with the chair of the allotments committee and Cllr. Garner/the Clerk to progress the replacement water meter.

Feedback provided from the Stone Area Parish Liaison Meeting on 30th Jan, attended by Cllr. Langford was noted.

24/19). To receive feedback from County Councillor Pert regarding the closure of the Police Station.

The estate was controlled by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), and it was noted that 9/10 of the surplus police buildings recently closed are on the market. Eccleshall station is not yet for sale as the PCC is aware it is a valuable resource as a car park for traders.
The PCC is providing an opportunity to consider any potential community use that would provide the PCC with a commercial income, either by purchasing or leasing the site. Cllr. Pert proposed that a meeting be convened with members of the PC and local stakeholders to consider any possible proposals. It was noted that:
• There doesn’t appear to be any restrictions on how it can be used in the future.
• There may soon be a loss of a further 16 places due to the sale of the Nat West building.
• 15 traders currently use the police station car park and one of the most pressing current issues for residents is parking.
• Is there any scope for a paid monthly permit scheme and would this generate sufficient income?
• The Parish Council were in favour of a meeting being held to discuss options and were keen to be involved in the discussions. Cllr. Pert would contact the Clerk with potential dates and a draft of an attendee list.

25/19). To provide feedback to Holy Trinity PCC regarding Parish Council stance on contributions to cover the cost of tree felling and increased churchyard maintenance costs.

It was noted that the Parish Council had to ensure that funds were appropriately spent where there was a power to act in legislation, and care needed to be taken when considering allocations to the church. There were no statutory duties imposed on the Parish Council and care must be taken not to set a precedent for spending with one church when there are a number of institutions within the parish to consider. The Parish Council resolved that costs such as tree felling would not fall within the remit of the Parish Council to fund.

26/19). To accept and sign the contract for provision of an 08:00 bus service from Eccleshall to Stafford.

A contract between the Parish Council and D&G has been drawn up and reviewed by Cllr. Pert, the Clerk and Cllr. Garner. A final version was circulated to all members prior to the meeting. The Council resolved to accept the contract, and two copies were duly signed by the Chair. D&G will produce a flyer to circulate to households in Eccleshall to promote the service. The cost of the flyers will be covered by local business sponsors – London House Restaurant, Perrys the butchers, eFest, iTech, London House Curry House and What’s on in Eccleshall. The Council resolved that councillors to distribute the leaflets using the newsletter route information. Cllr. Pert will also help. Publicity will be arranged with a press release and local newspaper articles. The Stone and Eccleshall Gazette was also suggested.

27/19). To note the CiLCA qualification of the Clerk:

• Approve the qualification linked pay increment. The Council resolved to approve the incremental pay increase linked to the CiLCA qualification, effective from the 1st March. The Council extended its congratulations to the Clerk and applauded.
• To consider upgraded SLCC membership. The Council resolved to approve the upgraded membership to Principal level and noted that the fee would be decreased in real terms as a £20 voucher will be supplied for use against training events. The membership supports the professional development of the Clerk and indicates that the Council is operating with a qualified Clerk.

28/19). To consider any New Development updates:-

Taylor Wimpey site:- The new noticeboard has now been delivered and is waiting installation.
Bovis:- It was noted that some areas of footpath have now been replaced by grass areas. Frustrations are ongoing regarding the play area and when it will be opened. It was noted that the area would not be the responsibility of the Parish Council to maintain.
With regards to the drainage issues, the County Council have completed its investigations into the drains and have washed them out. Results will be seen after the next significant amount of rainfall.
Concerns have been noted about antisocial behaviour on the estate, which will be brought to the attention of the Council at the next meeting.
Roundabout Feature:- Cllr. Pert provided an update earlier.
Cross Butts:- Nothing to report – it was noted that all houses appear to have been sold.

29/19). To receive the Clerk’s report and correspondence:-

The Council resolved to accept the Clerk’s report.

Correspondence for discussion:

• The Parish Council noted the successful bid by the Rotary Club of Eccleshall Mercia to take over management of Eccleshall Library. It was also noted in response to their correspondence that they expect to be able to access the funding held by the Parish Council in the summer.
• The Parish Council noted the minutes of the Flood Action Group and the good work they were doing on behalf of the community.

30/19). Chairman’s Report:-

The Chair attended the following:
• The funeral of Henry Butter before Christmas
• The allotments dinner held at the Kings Arms at the end of January.

31/19). Accounts:-

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

S. J. Worden – purchase of laptop and accessories- LGA 1972 s.111 963.36
S. J. Worden – purchase of laptop case- LGA 1972 s.111 16.99
SPCA – New Councillor Training Course – LGA 1972 s.111 20.00
1st Eccleshall Scout Group – Grant – LGA1972 s.137 500.00

Authorisation was requested for payment of the following:-

S. Worden – Salary – LGA 1972  s. 112 1093.83
Expenses – Local Government (Financial Provisions) Act 1963 130.47
PAYE – LGA (Financial Provisions) 1963 43.80
NHI – LGA (Financial Provisions )1963 149.51
Pension LG Pensions Scheme Regs. 1995 374.20
Holy Trinity – Churchyard maintenance – LGA 1972 s.214 195.00
Holy Trinity  – Floodlighting Contribution – Concurrent Allowance 150.00
Broughton C of E –  Churchyard maintenance – LGA 1972 s.214 135.00
Croxton C of E – Churchyard maintenance – LGA 1972 s.214 135.00
Croxton Methodist – Churchyard maintenance – LGA 1972 s.214 85.00
Slindon PCC – Churchyard maintenance – LGA 1972 s.214 135.00
Eccleshall Methodist – Churchyard maintenance – LGA1972 s.214 85.00
Broughton Parish Rooms – Grounds maintenance – Section 137 55.00
Eccleshall Community Centre – Hall Hire – LGA 1972 s.134 750.00
Offley Hay Village Hall – Hall Hire – LGA 1972 s.134 125.00
Broughton Parish Rooms – Hire – LGA Act 1972 s.134 125.00
D. Jacques – storage of footpath materials – Concurrent allowance 5.00
Japhlin PC and software upgrade – LGA 1972 s.111 360.96
Lewis Howdle Limited – Section 137 270.00
D. Smith – Footpaths Maintenance – Highways Act 1980 s.s. 43 78.30
Japhlin LaserJet printer and cartridge – LGA 1972 s.111 382.80
Visit Stafford annual membership – LGA 1972 s.144 30.00


• The Council resolved to approve attendance at April’s SLCC regional training event for Clerk.
• The Council resolved to approve the Clerk to complete online amendment of the Standing Order to Japhlin to £46.14/month, to incorporate the software licence provision from 1st April onwards.
• The Council resolved to approve the addition of two additional signatories for current account payment authorisation. Cllrs. Price and Mullee volunteered, and the Clerk would complete the relevant documentation ready for signing at the next meeting.
• Due to the replacement of the LaserJet printer, the Council now had surplus laser jet cartridges. The Council resolved for the Clerk to try and sell the cartridges to obtain some return on the outlay.
• In order to promote the upcoming elections, the Council resolved to approve print costs of £75 for 1300 A5 Elections flyers, to distribute along with the bus flyer.

32/19). Items / Date and Venue for next meeting:-

The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held on March 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 9.15pm.