Minutes 14th October 2021

Meeting of Holmer and Shelwick Parish Council at 7:00PM on Thursday 14th October 2021 at Holmer Parish Centre, HR4 9RG


Present: Marc Mohan (Chair), Andy Coultas, Tanya Walshe, Neil Duggan, David Cooper
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Duncan Smart (Footpaths Officer), member of the public

1. Apologies for absence
Apologies were noted from John Phipps and Paul Stevens.

2. Declarations of Interest
Nil declared.

3. Dispensations
Nil received.

4. Open Session
The meeting was adjourned for the open session.

4.1. Ward Councillor
Mark Millmore (Ward Councillor) had provided a report as follows:

106 Money

There have been delays in officers replying to my emails and telephone messages. However, I did get a response, see below:

With regards to highway contributions the council are reviewing how we deliver these schemes to ensure best value for money, for which work is still ongoing. We are continuing to review what framework would be appropriate to deliver these schemes i.e. BBLP, Lengthsman, local contractor, national contractor to see how we can procure and commission these projects. This is following the principle that we need to ensure best value for money in delivering highway improvements. Whilst initial scoping and design had commenced with BBLP on the Holmer projects this has been put on hold pending the review.

With regards to play monies, I am waiting to hear whether Holmer and Shelwick would like to asset transfer the play area with the play monies. They had previously advised that they were not interested but were recently reviewing with their S106 officer.

With regards to the extension to the burial ground, I have now written to the Hereford Perpetual Trust on three occasions to strike up a conversation with them over the extension of the burial ground onto their land. I have had no response so will have to consider another way of making contact.

Tackling Phosphate Pollution in The River Wye

There is a problem of phosphate pollution in the river Wye, which is damaging its ecology and has caused prohibitions on building and planning developments. Our local MPs have written to the Rt Hon Simon Clarke MP Chief Secretary to the Treasury about this matter, see below:

Dear Chief Secretary

We are writing as MPs for Herefordshire, Brecon and Radnorshire, and the Forest of Dean. Together with our colleague David Davies, the MP for Monmouth, who shares our concern, we cover the length of the River Wye.

As you will be aware, there is a very serious issue of phosphate pollution in the Wye, which is having grievous environmental consequences for marine and plantlife in the river, threatening the wider ecosystem, undermining tourism and recreation, and leading to the imposition of bans on building and other development which are damaging the local economy.

Over the past eighteen months we have formed the Wye Phosphates Working Group. Its purpose has been to focus attention on the issue and bring the key agencies, Natural Resources Wales, the Environment Agency and Natural England, and the Nutrient
Management Board, local councils, the water companies and other stakeholders together.

What we need is a clearly designated, coordinated and responsible cross-border and cross-agency taskforce with accountable individual leadership tasked with tackling phosphate pollution in the River Wye, according to an agreed and properly funded strategy. Unfortunately, it is now quite clear that this is not going to happen without realleadership and support from HM Government, in conjunction with the Welsh Government.

Good progress has been made by DEFRA and MHCLG (now DLUHC) ministers, but we need to give more priority and urgency to this work. The need for urgency was specifically recognised by the Deputy Prime Minister in recent Oral Questions, when he said “the Government understand, and my right hon. Friend champions eloquently, the importance of the River Wye. We will do everything we can to support him with preserving it for future generations.”

We are therefore making a request, and a recommendation.

The request is that you agree a three-year integrated spending package with DEFRA and DLUHC in the forthcoming Spending Review, specifically focused on cleaning up the Wye. The outline cost of this is likely to be in the range £10-£15M, but it should be scaled to
the need. Please regard this as a formal spending bid.

An effective long-term approach will require considerable amounts of water- and soil-testing and enforcement, among other things, and these in particular will inevitably bear a cost. But that cost is extremely small compared to the critical current impacts, let alone a potential full-
scale crisis. If these issues are not addressed it is also quite possible, some would say likely, that the wider Wye Valley catchment area will be subject to further restrictions on economic development, which would seriously affect human wellbeing, local economic growth and
levelling up.

Moreover, as you will know, Southern Water was recently sentenced to pay a record-breaking £90m fine after pleading guilty in court to nearly 7,000 unpermitted pollution discharges. This investigation was the biggest that the Environment Agency has ever conducted. Earlier this year, Thames Water was also fined £4 million and £2.3 million for separate pollution incidents. In addition to these fines, four water companies still require improvements, and no single company achieved all the environmental expectations set out for 2015–2020.

So, our recommendation is that you consider using some of these fines to fund the clean-up of at-risk rivers, and in particular the Wye. This would be a highly appropriate use of the funds received, and it would send a wider signal that polluters should and will be made to pay for damage to the environment.

Finally, we would be grateful for the opportunity to meet with you to discuss these concerns as soon as Parliament reconvenes.

With all good wishes,
Jesse Norman MP, Bill Wiggin MP, Fay Jones MP, Mark Harper MP

4.2. Footpath Officer
Duncan Smart provided an update on the public rights of way network. A full report is available on the Parish Council’s website.

4.3. Public participation
A member of the public was in attendance to enquire if progress had been made regarding the speeding concerns for Roman Road as previously raised; the Clerk would ask the Police for an update.

The meeting resumed following the open session.

5. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 9th September 2021
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chair.

6. Progress reports

6.1. S106 traffic calming scheme
Councillors were dismayed to read Herefordshire Council’s latest update regarding S106 projects as it was understood that a review had now been pushed back to November 2021.

6.2. S106 footpath maintenance/improvement works
Councillors were dismayed to read Herefordshire Council’s latest update regarding S106 projects as it was understood that a review had now been pushed back to November 2021.

It was resolved to write to Herefordshire Council officers and Councillors to express extreme dissatisfaction and frustration at the lack of progress made on S106 funded projects and to request an immediate proactive update.

6.3. Allotments, Holmer West
Bloor Homes had confirmed that a substantive update on the proposed allotment site should be available January 2022.

6.4. Pond, Coldwells Road
The pond had been partially dredged and the tree coppicing works had been completed. It was resolved to approve further work to undertake additional dredging of the pond at £180.00 (excl. VAT) per load, plus the cost of a contractor with a long reach excavator.

6.5. Sewerage leak, Munstone Road
It had not been possible to identify the source of the leak at this time, but the area would be monitored.

6.6. Holmer Park Aviary/Summer House
No update was available.

6.7. Litter bin, A49
Highways England had confirmed that waste bins on the A49 were the responsibility of Herefordshire Council and regrettably Herefordshire Council were not looking to provide additional bins at this time.

6.8. Footway siding out, A49
No response had been received from Highways England, including the formal complaint that had been submitted.

7. Correspondence

7.1. Police: Surplus Smart Water kits.
A very small number of surplus Smart Water kits were available, if any parishioner has not received a kit, they should contact the Clerk.

7.2. HALC: Latest training schedule.
The above training schedule was noted.

7.3. Herefordshire Council: Community Climate and Nature Grant Scheme.
The above grant scheme was noted. It was resolved to forward details of the grant scheme to the Holmer Parish Church Centre as the grants might be suitable for carbon reduction projects (such as LED lighting).

7.4. Herefordshire Council: Pest control contract renewal invitation.
It was resolved to renew the annual contract at £357.00 (excl. VAT).

8. Parish matters for discussion/decision

8.1. Notice board: To note the damage to the parish notice board at Shelwick and to consider options for repair or replacement.
It was resolved to approve expenditure up to £50.00 to cover the materials costs for repair.

It was resolved to relocate the notice board on the Furlongs to increase conspicuity.

9. Planning

9.1. P213404/FH: Cedar Villa, Orchard Close, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR4 9QY. Proposed insertion of ground floor window to South elevation, first floor window to North elevation, Juliet balcony to North and East elevations and 3No roof windows to South elevation.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.

10. Burial Ground

10.1. To receive an update
It was noted that the grounds maintenance contractor had completed the work at the burial ground and had submitted an invoice (to be settled at the next meeting).

11. Finance

11.1. Budget expenditure
It was resolved to approve the budget expenditure.

11.2. Bank reconciliation
It was resolved to approve the bank reconciliation.

11.3. Invoices

11.3.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £826.67
11.3.2. HMRC (PAYE): £32.56
11.3.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £262.53
11.3.4. TW Jones (pond maintenance): £648.00
It was resolved to approve the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.

12. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was noted that the condition of College Road up to the junction with Roman Road was poor and the white lining at the junction was very faded; this would be reported to Herefordshire Council.

It was noted that the ditch to the north side of Munstone Crossroads off Coldwells Road had still not been repaired following the damage caused by the Gigaclear broadband installation; this would again be raised with Herefordshire Council.

It was noted that there was a water leak on Coldwells Road near the properties Lenmar and Balmaha. Welsh Water had stated that this was not their leak and so it was resolved to raise the matter with Herefordshire Council.

It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Speeding, Roman Road
• Water leak, Coldwells Road
• Ditch repair, Munstone Crossroads

13. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 7:00PM on Thursday 11th November 2021.

A resolution was passed to exclude members of the public due to the confidential nature of the following items.

14. Clerk’s contract: To review the Clerk’s working from home allowance in accordance with the latest HMRC guidance.
It was resolved to approve an increase in the Clerk’s working from home allowance to £26.00 per month with immediate effect.

The meeting closed at 19:57PM.

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