|2. Declaration of Members’ Interests
Cllr Irving and Cllr Thorn declared an interest in the item of correspondence from All Saints' Church.
3. Public Participation
a. Flooding Issues
Mr Ian Parsons presented a report on flooding issues in Wrington, with particular reference to flooding which had caused damage to properties. Two other residents were also in attendance. Mr Parsons said that he felt there were several issues which needed to be addressed urgently, for example, the number of blocked drains, and the size of the culvert in The Glebe.
He cited maps which purport to show flood risk areas, but do not include Garstons Close, where properties have been flooded. He was of the opinion that the type of flooding which is now taking place did not happen before the development of The Glebe and the diversion of the stream into an underground culvert. There had previously been a land drain designed to take surface water, but this had been blocked when the culvert was put in. If the stream overflows, the water cannot go back uphill. There are also several springs in the area, which add to the problem.
Mr Gary Fortios of Brook Cottage, one of the other residents in attendance, said that there were also problems further upstream, as there was often flooding in Clements’ field. Mr Parsons felt that one solution would be an additional drain at the bottom of The Glebe into the culvert, as he thought there was sufficient capacity in the culvert. He did not think the culvert was getting blocked, as has been suggested by the officer at NSC.
Cllr Thorn asked whether a legal challenge to the district council had been considered, if it was felt that planning decisions had exacerbated the problem. The residents felt that there would difficulties with this, and there was also a need to define who is responsible for the current situation the district council or the Environment Agency.
There being no further comments, the Chairwoman thanked Mr Parsons for his report, and explained that the issue would now be discussed as a later agenda item. The three residents left the meeting at this point.
b. Wrington Residents’ Group
Mr John Rubidge, of WRG, explained that the group had initially been formed to obtain Rule 6 status so that they could appear at the Brook House enquiry. There is now a proposal to absorb the WRG into a revived Wrington Village Association, with himself as Chair and Andrew Tandy as Secretary. They are currently considering their constitution, and would like to work with the Parish Council, whilst still being independent.
He believes that an important part of their focus will be the ‘Shared Space’ issue, and also general community issues. He has spoken to an officer at NSC about planning matters, and in particular Brook House and Richards Garage.
Cllr Matthews commented that he felt the initiative was a good one, and Cllr Gallop asked whether residents would be members of the association and pay a subscription Mr Rubidge confirmed this. Cllr Irving said that she was pleased that the WVA was to be revived, but that there was a different role for those who had been elected (Parish Council), and those who acted on their own behalf.
Cllr Irving thanked Mr Rubidge for his contribution, and said that the Parish Council looks forward to receiving more information in due course. Mr Rubidge then left the meeting.
4. The Minutes of the Meeting held on 21st November were adopted and signed with no amendments.
- Core Strategy: It was reported that a detailed response had been sent to NSC, and Cllr Glynn was thanked for his hard work in collating comments and producing the final document.
- Public meeting re: proposed link road. Cllr Thorn felt that the revived Wrington Village Association could make a useful contribution. It was agreed that the meeting should go ahead as planned on 26th February 2008. Cllr Yamanaka asked whether Congresbury Parish Councillors and their District Councillor should be invited to attend this was agreed, and Cllr Yamanaka will now contact them. The Highways Working Group will now take forward the detailed planning of the meeting.
- Tennis Club lights. The written comments of two residents were read out. Cllr Thorn said he felt the issue was really about light ‘spillage’ and not the brightness of the lights, and that the residents concerned should be encouraged to look at the system in operation at other clubs in the district. He proposed that the Parish Council should write to the residents to the effect that a decision will be delayed, to give them the opportunity to do this. They will then be able to make further comments, and the Parish Council would make its decision at the meeting to be held on 20th February 2008. This was agreed.
The Tennis Club is to be informed of this decision. In the interim, Parish Councillors should also try to view other installations, if they have not already done so.
a. All Saints Church, Wrington: a letter was read out from Mr David Parkes, Treasurer of the Parochial Church Council. This acknowledged the grant of £500 annually which the Parish Council has made towards the upkeep of the churchyard, and provided details of the recent tree work that had been carried out at a cost of £3,000. In addition, there was the prospect of major expenditure in the future on the church tower, which was likely to require reinforcement. In the light of this, the Parish Council were requested to consider whether they could make an additional grant towards this cost.
After discussion, Cllr Matthews proposed that the normal £500 grant should be made, with the addition of a one off grant of £500 towards the cost of the tree works. This was put to a vote, and was carried by four votes to three.
b. Review of Members’ Allowances Scheme: a letter had been received from NSC inviting Parish Council’s observations. It was felt that insufficient information was available to enable any comment to be made.
c. Community Action Transport for Hospital Visiting: information has been received about this new service. It was felt there was a possible overlap between this service and the existing services available within the parish, such as the Helpline and the Wrington Minibus. Cllr Bigg agreed to contact the relevant personnel to discuss this.
d. Letter from Mrs Iris Moss: Mrs Moss described a recent fall she had suffered due to tripping on an uneven road surface. She stated that she felt the state of the roads generally in the parish was very poor and could potentially be a cause of further mishaps.
Councillors agreed that this was a matter which urgently needed attention, and Cllr Matthews commented that at a recent meeting he had attended of the NSC Roads Working Group he had gained the strong impression that action was only taken when parishes complained vociferously.
It was agreed to use the opportunity provided by ‘Parish Voice’ to ask NSC for an explanation of the current lack of action and to insist that the problem should be addressed urgently. Cllr Yamanaka said that the next South Area Meeting would be on 16th January, and it would be necessary to submit a question to the officer concerned. Cllr Matthews agreed to frame some questions and Cllr Irving will attend.
e. 6 Bakers Buildings: Cllr Irving reiterated the problem regarding the state of the Glebe Field, which had been discussed at the Planning meeting on the previous evening. After discussion, it was agreed to confirm that the position of the Parish Council remained unchanged, and that no further access would be allowed from 6 Bakers Buildings via the Glebe Field. A letter is to be sent to Mr Frank, the householder to confirm this.
a. Police Report
There was no police representative in attendance, but a written report had been provided, and this was circulated.
(Cllr Ledbury tendered her apologies and left the meeting at 9.20 pm)
b. Clerk’s Report and Finance Report
The Clerk’s Report (circulated previously) was reviewed. The Finance Report was circulated at the meeting and reviewed. There were no queries.
c. Working Groups
It was agreed that in the light of the earlier discussion regarding the state of roads in the parish, a letter should be sent to the Director of the Highways Department.
Cllr Matthews reported that Phil Parker has now produced some pictures and slides illustrating the Shared Space concept as it might be applied in Wrington, together with some costings. These will be available to be viewed at the next Parish Council meeting. The cost of applying the policy in School Road, Broad Street and Silver Street, and providing four ‘gates’ to the village would be in the region of £250,000. This could be done in several stages.
Cllr Matthews commented that he was still ‘acting’ chair of the group, and asked if any other councillor would like to take on the role. There were no immediate offers.
Cllr Matthews thanked members for their comments on his draft minutes of the meeting held on 26th November, which he will incorporate into the final version, and take any issues up with airport personnel who attended. He also noted that a planning application has now been submitted to NSC to put in a new walkway to the aircraft.
Cllr Bigg reported that it had been agreed at the last meeting to use a format which identified each issue, followed by the action required, the progress already made, and what further action needed to be taken. She has now received most of the contributions from councillors who have been working on the various points, and she will circulate all of these in about a week’s time. A date was set for a further meeting on 15th January 2008 at 7.00 pm.
Cllr Gallop reported that detailed budget planning for the 2008-09 financial year had now been completed, and copies of this were circulated. The Clerk explained how the various budget headings were made up and the rationale for the expenditure proposed. A rolling budget of £10,000 was also proposed for capital projects. This resulted in a precept of £74,850. Cllr Glynn proposed that the budget be adopted and this was agreed unanimously.
d. District Councillor’s report
This had been circulated previously. Cllr Yamanaka said that a report has now been produced recommending a change in parking density in relation to planning policy. She can make a copy of this available. This would be of relevance if there is any ‘infill’ housing built in the parish. There should be a consultation because the change in policy would lead to an amendment of the RLP. The policy would have ‘pros and cons’ - the original policy had been put in place to try to encourage greater use of public transport.
7 District Council proposed cuts in public spending
Public conveniences and Libraries: Cllr Yamanaka explained that the Executive draft budget has not been decided as yet, and there may now be a little breathing space on these issues. Cllr Irving said that she felt very strongly that these services needed to be preserved. Cllr Yamanaka said that if the Council wanted to speak at the budget meeting then it would be necessary to notify the relevant Clerk at NSC in advance.
Cllr Irving said that she was prepared to speak on the public conveniences issue, and Cllr Dunn Morua agreed to speak on libraries. Cllr Thorn felt that the use of relevant statistical information would help to make out a good case. Cllr Yamanaka said that if the issues were included in the preferred budget it would be best to speak at the full Council meeting, otherwise it would be better to approach the Environmental Services panel (public conveniences) and the Community Services panel (libraries).
It was agreed that Cllr Irving and Cllr Dunn Morua would liaise and determine the best approach.
8 Flooding Issues
Cllr Thorn suggested that it may be worth holding a public meeting on this issue, and to invite the relevant officer from NSC to attend. Cllr Yamanaka suggested awaiting the written report which is due from John Inman at NSC in the New Year, to see what actions, if any, were suggested.
Cllr Glynn said that he did not feel that either the Environment Agency or NSC take the problem of flooding in Wrington seriously. Cllr Matthews suggested writing to NSC to request a report as a matter of urgency. This should go to the highest level in the relevant department, and a copy of the report provided by Ian Parsons should be enclosed, and reference made to the Parish Council’s comments on previous flooding incidents over the past forty years. In addition, the recent Government report on flooding should be referenced. A copy of the letter should be sent to Ian Parsons.
9 Open Forum
There being no other business the meeting was declared closed at 10.20 pm.
Ms E P Irving