Minutes 4th May 2021

Online Annual Meeting of Holmer and Shelwick Parish Council at 7:00PM on Tuesday 4th May 2021 via ‘Zoom’


Present: David Cooper (Vice-Chair), Tanya Walshe, Andy Coultas, Paul Stevens
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Mark Millmore (Ward Councillor), Duncan Smart (Footpaths Officer), member of the public

1. Election of a Chairman and signing the Declaration of Acceptance of Office
Marc Mohan was unanimously elected as Chairman and signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

2. Election of a Vice-Chairman
David Cooper was unanimously elected as Vice-Chairman.

3. Apologies for absence
No apologies were received.

4. Declarations of Interest
Nil declared.

5. Dispensations
Nil received.

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

6.1. Ward Councillor
Mark Millmore provided a report as follows:

Council Tax
I did not support 4.99% increase in council tax. I felt that many residents would be struggling a year into the pandemic and this increase would be another burden on their household budgets so I voted against the increase.

In my view, the administration’s political agenda has reduced its ability to be tactically agile. It has committed itself to a costly program that does little to enhance Herefordshire’s economic revival. On top of this, the pandemic has changed the game and the administration’s, lack of a strategy for future infrastructure investments will result in a shrinking tax base. They will increase taxes just to stand still.
Councillor Shaw proposed a budget amendment to increase council tax to 3.99% he explained that despite the council tax reduction scheme a number of local residents would have to economise to pay the proposed precept of 4.99%. The decrease of 1% would help local residents who were struggling to meet their council tax obligations due to the COVID pandemic.

Although I felt this was still too high, I did support the amendment as the lesser of two evils. However, the amendment was defeated and an increase of 4.99% was applied.

The other amendment I supported was a grant to fund parish councils enabling them to alleviate and prevent flooding. This was to be funded from 341k of the New Homes Bonus funding.
Councillor Shaw proposed the budget amendment and explained that parish councils and lengthsmen were often frustrated that they were unable to resolve local flooding issues. The amendment sought to provide funds to local parish and town councils to address perennial flooding problems.

The amendment was put to the recorded vote and was lost by a simple majority of 20 for to 28 against.

Hereford’s Children’s Service
It is very painful to report Hereford’s Children’s Service have received a damming judgment from the Royal Courts of Justice (the highest court in the land), which involved the death of a child in their care. I’ve attached the 74 page Approved Judgment from Mr Justice Keehan (below), which describe a catalogue of failures, lies, and cover-ups by the children’s services. You can read it for yourselves but here is an extract.

Overall Observations
220. The children have been utterly failed by this local authority. By its actions, failures and omissions over the course of the last eight years, it has compounded the emotional and psychological harm the children have suffered. The local authority has ignored, indeed, challenged the advice of a hugely experienced child psychiatrist for reasons which I do not begin to understand. It has treated with contempt the clarion call of a senior family judge for the local authority to re-evaluate its approach to these children, to the family and to the carers.

The full judgment: http://councillors.herefordshire.gov.uk/documents/s50089005/Appendix%201%20YY%20v%20Herefordshire%20Council%20Public%20Judgment.pdf

Hereford council’s letter to Hon Justice Keehan:

There have been previous cases the recommendations of which were not acted upon Hereford’s Children’s Service and there are other cases that are currently in the legal pipeline.

At the extraordinary meeting on 27th April 2021, I asked if there was the potential for criminal culpability and if so, would the council seek to prosecute those responsible?

I was told that this might come at the end of an inquiry.

At the extraordinary meeting on 27th April 2021 Councillor Phillip Howells proposed that ‘Given the lack of firm recommendations for Councillors to approve for the next steps from here following the Family Court Judgment, we would like to propose that the Leader commissions a firm and clear action plan with action ownership and timescales to be presented to an extraordinary meeting of the Children and young people scrutiny committee to be held no later than 28th May 2021 for discussion and to make recommendations to full Council’. This was passed and I voted for it

And: Councillor Paul Symonds proposed ‘That all staff resigning from Herefordshire Children’s Services are required to undertake an exit interview conducted by a children’s social care specialist outside Herefordshire Council, to understand the reasons for their resignation. This process to be implemented no later than 1st July 2021 with the outcome of all such exit interviews reported to the Children & Young People Scrutiny Committee. This could be a stand-alone arrangement with an external consultant, or a reciprocal arrangement with another authority’. This was passed and I voted for it.

Dog poo Bins
Finally, it appears that all the dog poo bins in the parish have been replaced by a standard green litter bin does anyone know why if not I’ll make some enquiries.

6.2. Footpath Officer
Duncan Smart provided an update on the Public Rights of Way network. The full report is available on the Parish Council’s website.

6.3. Public participation
A member of the public was in attendance to raise concerns regarding speeding traffic on the Roman Road (item 9.2).

The meeting resumed following the open session.

7. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 8th March 2021 and 12th April 2021
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chair.

8. Progress reports

8.1. Councillor vacancies
It was noted that there was currently one vacancy on the Parish Council and applications from parishioners were welcomed.

8.2. S106 traffic calming scheme
The Vice-Chair and Clerk had recently met with Herefordshire Council to review outstanding S106 commitments for the parish.
It was noted that the traffic calming scheme had previously been put on hold as Herefordshire Council were currently reviewing the provision of all S106 schemes. It was now thought that the funding for the traffic calming works could be released soon to enable works to progress on site.

8.3. Flooding issues, Shelwick
No update was available.

8.4. Holmer West update
No update was available.

8.5. Holmer West allotments
It was noted that the Clerk was in discussion with Bloor Homes regarding the size and number of allotment plots, it was hoped that the size of the site could be increased prior to adoption.

8.6. The Furlongs adoption update
Herefordshire Council had confirmed that progress on adoption of the roads was continuing but no timescales had been provided.

8.7. Holmer Park Aviary
The current owner of the aviary had confirmed that work to repair the roof was being progressed and that further work to restore the aviary was planned if planning permission for the adjacent development was obtained.

It was resolved to write to the Herefordshire Council conservation officer to highlight the current condition of the building.

9. Correspondence

9.1. Resident: Request to consider the reinstatement of a barrier on the access adjacent to Coldwells Road pond.
It was noted that a sign had been installed on the Parish Council’s land at the pond that states ‘private driveway’. This sign is misleading as the access is owned by the Parish Council and there is a public right of way across it. It was resolved to write to the resident to insist that the sign is removed, a suitable replacement sign advising ‘no turning’ could be installed by the Parish Council.

9.2. Resident: Vehicle speeding and highway safety concerns relating to Roman Road.
In view of concerns raised regarding excessive vehicle speeds on the Roman Road it was resolved to write to the Police to ask for the area to be reviewed.

9.3. Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government: Future of remote meetings consultation.
The above consultation was noted.

9.4. Balfour Beatty Living Places: 2021 verge cutting programme.
It was noted that there were ecological benefits to cutting the verge once a year, as long as this did not negatively affect highway safety. It was resolved to draw up a plan showing which verges could be cut once a year.

9.5. Herefordshire Council Building Control: Consultation on street naming and numbering for Holmer West.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections to the proposed street names.

9.6. Herefordshire Council: Minerals and Waste Local Plan pre-submission consultation.
The above consultation was noted.

10. Parish matters for discussion/decision

10.1. Pond, Coldwells Road: To consider future maintenance of the pond.
It was resolved to pursue additional quotes for maintaining the pond in accordance with Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s advice, in preparation for the work being undertaken during September or October 2021.

10.2. Attwood Lane: To consider issues with fly-tipping of garden waste.
It was resolved to defer discussions on this item to a future agenda.

11. Planning

11.1. P 210749: Edenfield, Canon Pyon Road, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR4 7RB. Proposed extension.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.

11.2. P 210835: 2 Hawthorne Cottages, Shelwick, Hereford, Herefordshire HR1 3AS. Proposed two storey extension.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had the following comments.

It is felt that the plans are of very poor quality and lacking dimensions. The addition of a third bedroom should necessitate an additional car parking space as specified by the Holmer & Shelwick Neighbourhood Development Plan (policy HS4b).

11.3. S106: To consider a priority list for potential future S106 contributions for the parish.
It was resolved to adopt a S106 priority list to be submitted to Herefordshire Council so that it could be considered for future developments.

12. Burial Ground

12.1. To receive an update
It was noted that one interment had taken place since the last Parish Council meeting.

12.2. Burial Ground improvements: To consider potential future works to improve the access and amenity of the burial ground.
It was noted that improvements to the burial ground had been added to the Parish Council’s S106 priority list (item 11.3).

13. Annual business as per Standing Orders

13.1. General Power of Competence
It was resolved that the Parish Council still met the criteria for the General Power of Competence.

13.2. To review the following policies and procedures

13.2.1. Balances and Reserves Policy
13.2.2. Burial Ground Memorial Safety Policy
13.2.3. Burial Ground Working Group Terms of Reference
13.2.4. Code of Conduct
13.2.5. Disciplinary Procedure
13.2.6. Equal Opportunities Policy
13.2.7. Financial Regulations
13.2.8. GDPR Data Privacy Policy
13.2.9. GDPR Data Protection Policy
13.2.10. GDPR Data Security Incident Procedure
13.2.11. Grievance Procedure
13.2.12. Retention Policy
13.2.13. Standing Orders
13.2.14. Tree Management Policy
The above policies were reviewed and it was resolved to approve them without amendment.

13.3. To review insurance, risk and assets

13.3.1. Risk Management Policy and Risk Register
The above policy was reviewed and it was resolved to add a section on Covid risk management.

13.3.2. Insurance cover
13.3.3. Inventory of Assets
The above policies were reviewed and it was resolved to approve them.

13.4. To review appointment to committees and external bodies

13.4.1. Burial Ground Working Group
It was resolved to appoint Marc Mohan, Neil Flanagan, Andy Coultas and Tanya Walshe to the Burial Ground Working Group.

13.5. To review the meeting schedule for the year ahead
It was resolved to continue to hold scheduled meetings on the second Monday of every month at 7:00PM (except where this falls on a bank holiday).

It was resolved that future meetings should be held at Holmer Parish Centre as it was a larger capacity venue that would be more suitable for social distancing at meetings.

14. Finance

14.1. 2020/21 Accounts
It was resolved to approve the 2020/21 end of year accounts.

14.2. Certificate of Exemption
It was resolved that the Parish Council had met the requirements to certify itself exempt from external audit and the exemption certificate was duly signed.

14.3. Annual Internal Audit Report
The internal auditor’s report was considered and it was noted that there were no recommendations requiring attention.

14.4. Annual Governance Statement
The Annual Governance Statement was considered and it was resolved that each statement had been achieved and it was duly signed.

14.5. Accounting Statements
The Statement of Accounts was considered and it was resolved to approve and it was duly signed.

14.6. Bank mandate
It was resolved that no changes were necessary to the bank signatory arrangements.

14.7. Invoices

14.7.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £834.55
14.7.2. HMRC (PAYE): £15.76
14.7.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £262.53
14.7.4. ICCM (membership): £95.00
14.7.5. Iain Selkirk (Internal Audit): £105.00
14.7.6. Mark Bredon (burial ground maintenance): £800.00
14.7.7. Trilloes Tree Care (burial ground): £288.00
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.

14.8. Clerks Delegation

14.8.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £803.63
14.8.2. HMRC (PAYE): £49.16
14.8.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £262.53
14.8.4. N.C. Pegler Ltd (memorial safety repairs): £1152.00
The above payments made between meetings were noted.

15. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was thought that the Smart Water signs that had been installed were too small and so the Police would be asked to review the possibility of installing larger signs (similar to those used recently at Bartestree).

It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Pond maintenance (Coldwells Road)
• Roman Road speeding concerns

16. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting would be in person and is at 7:00PM on Monday 14th June 2021.

The meeting closed at 20:54PM.

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