Minutes Annual Parish Council Meeting 14th May 2015

Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting held on Wednesday 14th May 2015 in Stoke Lacy Village Hall at 7.30pm

Present:
CouncillorNeil Walters (Outgoing Chairman); Clifford Bufton, Janet Ivison and John Westwood.
In attendance
Mrs Alma Westwood (Clerk); Ward Councillor Jonathan Lester; Mr Jeremy Haughton of Cerda Planning; 50 members of the public

1/15 ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
Councillor Ivison proposed Councillor Walters; seconded by Cllr Westwood; there being no further nominations a vote was taken. Councillor Neil Walters was duly elected Chairman unanimously.
Following the Parish Council elections held on 7th May 2015, four councillors had been elected and there was one vacancy.

2/15 DECLARATIONS OF ACCEPTANCE OF OFFICE
Councillor Walters signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office, as did all Councillors, and they all completed the Notice of Registerable Interests

3/15 To receive and accept APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
None were received.

4/15 PRE-PLANNING PRESENTATION FOR NEWLANDS, STOKE LACY
Before the presentation commenced, the Chairman requested that all questions and comments from the floor be directed through the Chair. He would ensure that everyone who wished to speak would be given an opportunity to do so.
Mr Jeremy Haughton of Cerda Planning was then invited to make his presentation, regarding possible 28 houses to be built on the grounds of Newlands, Stoke Lacy, belonging to the family of the late Mr and Mrs Smith. Cerda Planning had been in consultation with Herefordshire Council; testing for flood risk and drainage issues had been carried out. The land owners were keen to work with Stoke Lacy residents and the Parish Council to deliver a sensitive, sustainable development and would take local views. Mr Haughton said that following the original presentation held in March, a further plot of land had been identified, which could mean that some houses were moved from their current location on the original plan, which might alleviate some of the concerns of people living closest to the proposed development. The number of houses could be reduced from 28; there would be a mix of 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom houses, with 35% affordable, these being available either at a low purchase price or a low rent. An open space would be included and any trees which might have to be removed would be replaced by replanting. Mr Haughton stressed that the plans were subject to more changes and consultations. Access was currently being investigated and must be approved by Herefordshire Council and Highways before any development would be considered.

The Chairman then threw the meeting open for questions and comments, reminding everyone to direct them through the Chair.

  1. Mr Haughton confirmed that Hereford Council had agreed that the land now available to the north could be incorporated into the plan, thus raising the possibility of planned houses being moved away from areas where they were giving most concern to local residents..
  2. Mr Houghton confirmed that the land now available to the north was being looked at to increase space, not the number of houses.
  3. Ward Councillor Lester explained that the ‘red line’ which existed under Herefordshire Council’s previous plan no longer existed. Herefordshire Council now had to be more flexible as it was in a planning vacuum between policies. National Government had said that as Herefordshire as a whole had not identified land available for development over the next 5 years, applications outside the ‘village envelope’ were being agreed.
  4. Affordable housing: possible self-build? Mr Haughton said this would not be available, but houses would be built to specification, meaning they could be offered at a discount. 75% social rent, 25% reduced price, based on need in the area.
  5. Would the spare ground mean larger gardens for each house? Mr Haughton said this was a fair point and was being looked at. More discussions with Herefordshire Council were required.
  6. Energy saving plans if the development went ahead, e.g. solar panels etc? Mr Haughton said this would be worked through at the next stage of the planning application.
  7. Mr Haughton confirmed that this project was still at the pre-application stage. There was a lot to consider and it was important that Herefordshire Council be consulted and would be paid to give advice and an ‘in principle’ reply, with parameters, e.g. drainage, roads etc. The full plan, when ready, would then go to the planning committee for its decision.
  8. Development outside the main village was raised. The village had no school, no doctor, and 28 were too many houses. Other residents agreed that 28 were too many. Mr Haughton replied that Section 106 money would be paid to the Parish Council to cover costs for, e.g., school places and other items which it deemed appropriate and necessary. Several residents pointed out that this would not solve the problem of the shortage of doctors, which already existed in the area.
  9. Would the extra facilities be in place before the houses were built? Ward Councillor Lester said that sometimes the Section 106 payment was triggered by the first building, but that sometimes it might not be available until the first occupation, so may not be available to cope with the initial impact of extra people.
  10. What were the perceived benefits of this development? The Chairman said the Parish Council had no opinion. Mr Haughton was asked what he saw as the benefits; he replied that funds would be available to ease pressure on a school to enable it to extend or have a new build. A resident said one benefit would be bringing young families and new life and support into a village with an ageing population; this comment was supported by others.
  11. The question of increased traffic, possibly up to 75-80 additional cars, together with increased speeding issues, was raised; also problems around a 50% increase in houses, limited public transport links, and overloaded primary schools. Mr Haughton said speeding issues were being addressed and would be worked through in the planning process.
  12. The number of houses at which the site was viable/not viable was raised. Mr Haughton said he did not have this information to hand, but the Land Agent would inform them if the number was too low.
  13. Ward Councillor Lester said the close proximity of the development to existing houses put pressure on them and asked if this could be looked at. Mr Haughton replied that ways to alleviate this were being investigated.
  14. Mr Haughton said all houses were planned to be only 2 storeys high,
  15. In reply to a query, both Mr Haughton and Ward Councillor Lester said this ground was not in a designated ‘Green Belt’ area.
  16. Some residents felt that any development should be between the church at the south and the village hall at the north, joining the village up, rather than extending it as this proposal did. The Chairman replied that Councils could only respond to applications which had been submitted.
  17. When would residents know the definite plan? Mr Haughton said the applicants would be looking to establish outline planning only; Herefordshire Council would decide on the final layout. Cerda Planning could put broad principles in place, e.g. open space and highway access.
  18. In answer to a query, Ward Councillor Lester said it took 13 weeks for a major application to be considered. Planning officers would take note of what was said and then a recommendation would be made to go to the planning committee. The Parish Council would have a say at the committee, as would objectors and supporters, 3 minutes each, then the committee would debate; then a proposal would be made, with a seconder, and a vote.
  19. The existing bungalow would be demolished.
  20. The dangers of crossing the main road were raised; PC Meek had reported that most speeders were local.
  21. A new main road access would be made, as discussed in Mr Haughton’s presentation. Ward Councillor Lester pointed out there could be potential conflict with an existing access, and a resident said there would be three junctions all very near a bend.
  22. Speeding issues were again raised. Mr Haughton said this problem was being seriously addressed, with the probability of the 30mph limit being extended. Herefordshire Council also had the option to change the road layout etc.
  23. In answer to the question as to who would wish to live in such a development in a village with very few facilities, Mr Haughton replied that demographics had been examined, but the driving force was Herefordshire Council’s requirement to build more houses over the next 20 years.
  24. Ward Councillor Lester said a minimum of 15% new houses were required to be built in villages. A resident said it would be 60% for Stokes Cross, where this proposed development was situated, making many more houses along a busy road. Ward Councillor Lester said if planning officers proposed it for approval, the planning committee could overturn it.
    There being no further comments or questions, the Chairman concluded by saying the Parish Council would keep everyone informed of developments via the Cider Press, Parish Notice Board and the new Parish Council website which was to be set up shortly.
    Mr Haughton said he hoped to make a further presentation to the Parish Council when more definite proposals were in place.
    Ward Councillor Lester then suggested that the meeting be treated like a planning committee and asked for someone to make a proposal, to be seconded and then voted upon, to gauge the feeling of those present.
    Mr Derek Weaver made the following proposal:
    I propose that we refuse this application. Seconded by Ms Sally Horsnett.
    In favour: 33; Against: 5; Abstentions: 12.
    The motion was CARRIED.
    The Chairman thanked Mr Haughton for his presentation and answers to the queries, Ward Councillor Lester for his input, and everyone for their questions and comments. He then moved on to the rest of the Agenda.
    Mr Haughton and 47 members of the public left the meeting at 8.55pm.

5/15 OUTGOING CHAIRMAN’S REPORT FOR 2014/15
The outgoing Chairman gave a summary of the Parish Council’s work over the past year, as in the Annual Parish Meeting.
After detailed consideration, councillors had decided not to draw up a Neighbourhood Plan at the present time, but to look at it again in the future if deemed necessary.
Mrs Mary Caiger had not stood at the recent elections. She was thanked for her work on the Parish Council over some years, including 2 terms as Chairman. Jonathan Lester was welcomed back after his re-election as Ward Councillor.

6/15 To receive DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST on Agenda items
No declarations were made

7/15 TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING of the Parish Council held on 18th March 2015
The minutes were approved and signed.

8/15 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
A query was raised concerning moving of the SID socket at the north end of the village. The Clerk had asked if this could be done but had been told by Herefordshire Council that it could not. Councillor Ivison then asked the Clerk to request that speed camera vans be sited
monthly at both ends of the village

9/15 WARD COUNCILLORS’ & POLICE REPORTS
9/15 i Ward Councillor Jonathan Lester reported on parish councils he had attended and had to attend; first meeting of the newly elected Herefordshire council to be on 22nd May, with councillor numbers reduced from 58 to 53 seats. He commended the Chairman for his handling of this evening’s meeting, saying it had been a good debate.

10/15 FINANCE
Current Account balance as at 30th April 2015: £5988.01
10/15 i The draft accounts from 01.03.15 to 30.04.15 as distributed were APPROVED.
10/15 ii Appointment of Internal Auditor for 2015/16: Councillor Ivison proposed Mr Geoff Howells; seconded by Councillor Westwood; all in favour: Mr Geoff Howells was duly appointed
10/15 iii The Annual Governance Statement and Statement of Accounts for 2014/15 for external audit had been internally audited and were presented. Councillor Ivison resolved they be accepted, seconded by Councillor Walters, CARRIED and signed.
10/15 iv The following account was APPROVED for payment:

  • £265 to Broker Network Ltd (Came & Co) – Insurance Premium

10/15 v To consider the purchase of a Speed Indicator Device at £895 plus VAT: put on hold in light of recent developments.

11/15 To appoint FOOTPATHS OFFICER and PARISH COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVE TO THE VILLAGE HALL COMMITTEE
Footpaths officer: Councillor Ivison proposed Mrs Christine Walters, seconded by Councillor Westwood; all in favour. Mrs Walters was duly appointed.
Village Hall Representative: Councillor Bufton proposed Councillor Westwood; seconded by Councillor Ivison; all in favour. Councillor Westwood was duly appointed.

12/15 To discuss SETTING UP OF PARISH COUNCIL WEBSITE
The Clerk had approached Mrs Pauline Baum, who ran the Community website, and she had agreed to set up and run the Parish Council website if Councillors wished her to. After discussion, it was AGREED that the Clerk would ask Mrs Baum to set up and run the Parish Council website, with the Parish Council paying any costs incurred.

13/15 INFORMATION SHEET as already distributed
13/15 i Correspondence from Anthony Bush and HALC
13/15 ii Update on Speed Indicator Devices (SIDs), other A465 matters and BB works to minor roads.
13/15 iii. Update on Lengthsman’s work

14/15 ITEMS FOR CONSIDERATION FOR NEXT AGENDA
i Speed camera van

15/15 DATES FOR FUTURE PARISH COUNCIL MEETINGS to May 2016
All meetings to be held on Wednesdays in Stoke Lacy Village Hall at 7.30pm:
8th July; 9th September; 11th Nov; 2016: 13th Jan (set Precept); 9th March
Annual Meetings: Wednesday 11th May 2016: Parish Meeting: 7pm; Parish Council Meeting: 7.30pm

The meeting closed at 9.40pm