Minutes 9th March 2020

Meeting of Holmer and Shelwick Parish Council at 7:00PM on Monday 9th March 2020 at Holmer Park Spa, Cleeve Orchard, Hereford, HR1 1LL


Present: Marc Mohan (Chair), Neil Duggan, John Phipps, Neil Flanagan, Andy Coultas, David Cooper, Mark Millmore until 7:11PM (Parish Councillor and Ward Councillor)
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Duncan Smart (Footpaths Officer), members of the public

1. Apologies for absence
Apologies were approved from Gitta Ferguson.

Mark Millmore resigned as a Parish Councillor with immediate effect but confirmed that he would continue as Ward Councillor for Holmer.

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 provided a report as follows:

The Roman Road in Hereford is deteriorating
I’ve been complaining about the state of the Roman Road for over a year and have been thoroughly ignored. There are pot holes, deep cracks and areas of dangerously uneven surfaces; a Hazard to cyclists and pedestrians. The Volume of traffic is increasing, which is making matters worse and now there are lose bits of tarmac flying about as HGVs pass by. I will be make new representations to Councillor Harrington who is the cabinet Member for infrastructure and transport.

Flooding at Ayles Brook
Last year I contacted Bloor because they had failed to maintain Ayles Brook I made some videos on the subject and got them, after much effort and warnings about the potential for flooding, to carry out some maintenance of the Brook.

However, it appears their work did not achieve the desired result because three properties suffered some flooding during the recent storms. This appears to have been caused by derbies from the site, which blocked the gullies and culverts and from site rubbish still in the brook.

I was contacted by the residents who copied me in on Bloor’s response:
“Whilst we are sympathetic to the flooding that has occurred, Bloor Homes must emphasis do not accept any liability for the flooding caused to you and your neighbour’s property. If you wish to pursue this claim we would suggest you contact your house insurance and we will put them in touch with our insurers.

In the interim we are however prepared to remove any wood chipping that has occurred to you and your neighbour’s property. This will be undertaken on Monday 24th February at 3.00pm. Please ensure access is available at the properties otherwise will only be able to collect what is reasonably visible from the front of the properties.

As for any remedial works on the development we will be removing any obstructions within the watercourse as a result of the storm as a matter of urgency.

We can confirm a road sweeper has been to site to clean the debris off the highway including a section of the highway fronting our development where flooding has occurred. In addition to this we have instructed for all the gullies in the affected area to be cleaned to ensure they are working efficiently. This should be completed by the end of the week.

Please be assured that the attenuation system is working efficiently and has been constructed to meet current design standards. However our engineers are reviewing this to see if any improvements can be made.”

I have a number of phrases and words which come to mind but ‘closing the stable door after the horse has bolted’ is the most courteous I could come up with.

Dear Councillor Millmore, further to my e-mail to you of 22 February, Bloor have now offered a payment towards the flood damage but there is still the long term issue about their balancing pond and discharge system not working properly.

Full council meeting 14th February 2020
The council voted for a total council tax increase of 3.9%. This is above inflation and I voted against the increase. I did vote for Amendment one which would have resulted in a smaller increase. Some members felt that this amendment offered the opportunity to reduce the financial burden of the precept on those local residents least able to afford it without affecting the overall budget. However we failed to get our amendment through and were disappointment that the 3.9% increase was the only model considered in the budget.

It was claimed that the climate emergency and congestion in Hereford were the reasons for the increase. However, this council has turned down £180 Million of investment in Hereford’s infrastructure and I questioned the wisdom of their thinking and the way they arrived at their numbers.

Nevertheless we did manage to get Amendment three through successfully. Councillor Nigel Shaw explained that some minor roads never received investment or repairs. The proposal involved an adjustment of the Hereford Transport Plan to allow more roads to be repaired and drainage issues addressed. £2m has now been released from the HTP to be used to repair and maintain our U and C roads.

The first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Herefordshire
Karen Wright, Director of Public Health for Herefordshire Council, said: “I’d like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low and the local authority is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Herefordshire are protected. Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and if you cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.”

Mark Millmore left the meeting at 7:11PM.

4.2. Footpath Officer
Duncan Smart provided a report. The Herefordshire Local Access Forum Accessibility Working Group had been in contact to discuss possible improvements to the right of way network to increase accessibility for the disabled.

A full report would be made available on the Parish Council’s website.

4.3. Public participation
A member of the public raised concerns regarding access to the Parish Council’s burial ground, as services undertaken at the Holmer Parish Church necessitated crossing the busy A49 and the tarmac footway alongside the A49 is very narrow and overgrown. Additionally the grass paths in the burial ground itself are difficult for disabled users.

A member of the public raised concerns regarding blockage of the ditch near to number 7 Munstone Road; it was confirmed that this had been raised with Balfour Beatty Living Places. It was noted that a blocked gully at Munstone Road crossroads had been reported.

A member of the public requested that the pedestrian crossings on College Road and Roman Road used push button controls; a request would be made with Herefordshire Council.

The meeting resumed following the open session.

5. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on Monday 10th February 2020
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chair.

6. Progress reports

6.1. Councillor vacancy
It was noted that there were now two vacancies on the Parish Council and applications from parishioners to fill the vacancies were welcomed.

6.2. S106 traffic calming scheme
No update was available from Herefordshire Council.

6.3. Pond maintenance, Coldwells Road
It was noted that partial dredging of the pond had been undertaken successfully (invoice received totalling £160.00 + VAT). It was resolved to instruct the contractor to remove a further load from the pond (a further £160.00 +VAT).

6.4. Bund, Hereford Point
Issues were reported with the levels on the Holmer West site (Bloor Homes) near to Dale Drive. It was believed that the site levels had been raised considerably and were now at a much higher level than had been approved. It was thus resolved to make enquiries with Herefordshire Council to obtain the topographical survey and proposed floor levels and to confirm that the ground elevations for the green corridor are not going to remain raised when the bund is removed.

7. Correspondence

7.1. Herefordshire Council: Core Strategy settlement hierarchy; review of rural facilities
The above survey was completed by the Parish Council.

7.2. Herefordshire Council: County Plan
The four year county plan was noted.

7.3. Herefordshire Council: Lengthsman Scheme 2020/21
It was resolved to complete and return the contract paperwork; it was, however, noted that this scheme was no longer being funded by Herefordshire Council.

7.4. Herefordshire Council: Invite to the Parish Council Summit, 6:45PM Thursday 2nd April 2020 at the Shire Hall, Hereford
The above invite was noted; Marc Mohan would endeavour to attend.

8. Parish matters for discussion/decision

8.1. S106
Herefordshire Council had sent an update regarding available S106 funding but it was felt that there were a number of omissions and errors; these would be reviewed for the next meeting.

8.2. Smart Water
The following dates for the roll out of Smart Water kits had been agreed (to be held at Holmer Park Spa):
• Tuesday 24th March 10:30AM to 1:00PM – Marc Mohan, Graeme Adkin, Andy Coultas
• Thursday 26th March 1:30PM to 4:00PM – Gitta Ferguson, David Cooper
• Monday 30th March 7:00PM to 9:00PM – Neil Flanagan, David Cooper, John Phipps

It was resolved to enquire with the Police to see if the events should be postponed in light of Corona Virus.

8.3. Website accessibility compliance
It was noted that Mark Millmore was reviewing the Parish Council’s website with regard to accessibility compliance.

9. Burial Ground

9.1. Management and Compliance
The Clerk circulated a report following training given by the Institute of Cemetery & Crematorium Management.

It was resolved to establish a Burial Ground Committee and it was resolved that Marc Mohan, Andy Coultas and Neil Flanagan be appointed to said committee. The Clerk would prepare a Terms of Reference for the next meeting.

9.2. ICCM
It was resolved to apply for corporate membership of the Institute of Cemetery & Crematorium Management at £95.00 per annum.

9.3. Memorial Safety Survey
It was resolved that the Clerk would undertake a memorial safety sruvey in liaison with the Burial Ground Committee.

9.4. Access
A response was awaited from Crest Nicholson regarding a possible additional access to the Burial Ground.

It was resolved to make enquiries with Herefordshire Council to see if S106 funding might be available for access improvements and with Highways England to request siding out of the existing footway alongside the A49.

10. Planning

10.1. P200462/J: Works to trees covered by TPO. 32 Cleeve Orchard Holmer HR1 1LF, T1: Sycamore & Oak – cut back branches that are currently touching property either side of public right of way H08. Near Roman Road. Job ref 41206091.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.

10.2. 200372/A: South Hereford Garages, Centurion Way, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR1 1LQ. 1 no. illuminated double sided single pole sign.
It was resolved that the Parish Council object to the proposals.

The adjacent roads and junction have suffered from a number of vehicle collisions and are considered locally to be an accident blackspot. It is asserted that the proposed new sign would be a distraction to drivers, to the detriment of highway safety at this critical location.

This area is on the edge of a rural community and the proposed sign would create unnecessary artificial light pollution. The Parish Council endorses the ‘Dark Skies’ initiative and supports measures to reduce carbon emissions, accordingly it is requested that, if the application was approved, the sign should be turned off over the late night/early morning period.

10.3. 194297/F: Land off Church Way, Holmer, Hereford. Application for variation of condition 2 of planning permission 151600/F (Proposed erection of 10 no dwellings along with associated vehicular and pedestrian access, internal access roads, car parking, landscaping including realignment of existing hedgerow, drainage and other associated works) – To erect single garage (plot 4) double garage (plot 5).
It was resolved that the Parish Council object to the proposals.

The Parish Council would reinforce their previous objections and maintain that plot 4 has been sold and so ‘Certificate B’ should have been completed. It is recommended that the application is withdrawn, corrected and then resubmitted.

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. Internal Auditor
It was resolved to appoint Iain Selkirk FCA to audit the 2019/20 accounts.

11.4. Bank mandate
It was noted that the bank mandate changes had been successfully amended and Gitta Ferguson was now a signatory.

11.5. Schedule of payments
It was resolved to approve the schedule of payments and cheques were duly signed.

12. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
Flooding at Shelwick had been reported by residents and enquiries were being made with Balfour Beatty Living Places.

It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Flooding, Shelwick
• Flooding, Coldwells Road (by the pond)
• Posters on dog fouling bins
• Gigaclear Broadband update
• Bund / floor levels – Holmer West / Bloor Homes
• Burial ground access
• S106 update
• Smart Water roll out

13. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 7:30PM on Monday 20th April 2020.

14. SLCC: To consider renewing the Clerk’s professional membership with the Society of Local Council Clerks
It was resolved to defer discussion of this until a future meeting.

The meeting closed at 9:00PM.

Payments for authorisation
Payee Details Net VAT Total
David Hunter-Miller Salary and expenses 708.65 0.00 708.65
HM Revenue & Customs PAYE 0.00 0.00 0.00
Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund Local Government Pension Scheme 236.17 0.00 236.17
Worcestershire CALC Cemetery training 100.00 20.00 120.00
SmartWater Technology Limited SmartWater kits 4477.80 895.56 5373.36
Total 5522.62 915.56 6438.18

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