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MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF SPARKFORD PARISH COUNCIL
HELD ON MONDAY 3rd DECEMBER  2012 AT 8.00 PM
IN SPARKFORD PARISH HALL

Present:
Mr J Crawford – Chairman
Mr T Tuck – Vice Chairman
Mr D Braithwaite
Mrs C Goodland
Mr A Bourke
Mr L Piper
Mr K Davis
Mr R Little – County Councillor – Castle Cary Division
Mr M Lewis – District Councillor – Camelot Ward
Also present:
2 members of the public
In attendance: Mrs K Bourke – Clerk

After a short opportunity for members of the public to address the Council, the Chairman opened the meeting at 8.00 pm.

1 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE   None were received

2 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST   There were none.

3 APPROVAL OF LAST MONTH’S MINUTES
The Minutes were approved and signed by the Chairman as a true and accurate record of last month’s meeting.

4 CRIME/NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
Mr Westcott reported a quiet month and that he was looking forward to seeing everyone at the NHW Christmas get together on Friday. The Western Gazette will be in attendance as they are doing a report on Sparkford Neighbourhood Watch.

The Clerk read out a report sent by PCSO Thelma Mead:
There had been 8 crimes reported and dealt with in the last month and 12 calls to the force service centre. She reported she would be attending the December meeting of the Evergreen Club. The Community Speed Watch will resume in the New Year when they have managed to find other locations to stand in the High Street. A meeting has been arranged between the Community Speed Watch and PCSO Mead for 14th December and Stuart Hunter has also been invited.

There was an incident at the Cricket Pavilion during October which is yet to be reported to the Police. She has sent an email to the Chairman but is still awaiting a reply.
It was reported that youths have been collecting at the bottom of Brains Lane.
Mr Crawford said we now have a Police Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstephens, who was an independent candidate. The Clerk had circulated an email from her reporting on her first week in the job.

5 COUNTY/DISTRICT COUNCILLOR
Mr Little reported that the Local Choices event in Yeovil had been a success with over 100 people attending. We would be able to see the situation with the Safety Scheme on the website. He would report on the Health & Wellbeing Fund later in the meeting.
Mr Tuck asked Mr Little how he had got on with finding out about the Advanced Warning sign opposite Haynes. Mr Little said he hadn’t done anything about it yet.

Mr Lewis said the LDF is being address at the full Council meeting in January. Developers are challenging the District Council on number of dwellings. Regarding business rates, the District and County Councils will be pooling their resources in April next year. This is likely to be agreed.

6 HIGHWAYS
The Clerk reported that the SID installation last month had not been successful due to the failure of the battery but had been informed we will have another installation this month to make up for the problem.Mr Tuck reported that the bridge had now been repaired and the footpath had been reopened.

7 LOCAL PLAN/AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Mr Piper said Mr Harcourt had complained that the hedgerow in Cherry Pie Lane had been pulled out by the developers. Also he didn’t receive a letter regarding the proposed air source heat pumps. Mr Crawford has asked the Planning Officer about this and is awaiting a reply. Mr Piper asked a question about the decibel level of the units and Mr Bourke confirmed it goes up by 2 decibels per unit. He said in the report from the Environment Officer it would be 43 decibels at the window of the nearest house which is fairly insignificant.

8 PLANNING DECISIONS
a) 12/03430/FUL
– Erection of an extension to existing workshop building Garrett Commercials Ltd, land off A359 and A303 slip road. GRANTED

9 PLANNING APPLICATIONS
None had been received.

10 MATTERS ARISING
a) Report from the Neighbourhood Plan meeting
Mr Bourke and the Clerk had attended this meeting and the Clerk circulated information given out at the meeting. Mr Bourke said this is a follow on from the Parish Plan scheme in regards the devolution/localism strategy. It is a legal document but applies only to development plans. The amount of work, effort and finances to take this forward are huge. Queen Camel was fortunate to get an extremely large amount of man hours and funding as front runners.

The whole plan takes approximately 2 years to complete and has to go before an independent examiner to be passed. If it isn’t successful the parish then have to go back to square one and start the process again. All the plans have to fit in with the District Plan which should be finalised in the middle of next year. There are proposals to replace the S106 agreements with CIL’s (Community Infrastructure Levy). Mr Lewis said this will mean communities will know sooner rather than later where the money is going. It is expected that 5% would go to the parish/community and 95% for infrastructure. If a planning application currently has a S106 assigned to it and then the developer resubmits the application the CIL will overtake the S106 agreement. Development areas are swept aside but development will be according to the District Plan and the Parish Council will have quite a bit of input into what happens.

The Clerk pointed out that if we go ahead we would be awarded an initial sum of 5,000 but would only receive the bulk of the funding, 25,000, at the end and only if it has been passed by the independent examiner. If it is not passed no additional money would be paid which would leave the parish seriously in debt. Queen Camel had approximately 6 committees with about 12 members on each, all working towards their plan. It also has to be ratified by 52% of the parishioners.

b) Report from the Local Choice Event
Mr Piper and Mr Davis had attended this meeting. They both attended the talk on the Warden Scheme. It is proposed that 3,000 would be split between four parishes as a one off payment. This would cover a person doing work in the parish which would be approximately 100 per day or 1,200 per year. It would also have to cover the cost of training. Once this funding has been spent the parishes would have to take on the expense through the precept.
Mr Lewis said that Brympton is keen to join with other parishes, Queen and West Camel will join as would Marston Magna..

Mr Little said within Camelot ward five parishes attended the meeting and we need to look for reasons and benefits to take this on. Mr Bourke asked if the areas of work that are being offered to parishes to take on are statutory duties. Mr Little said this would not be the case as the County Council cannot give up their statutory duties.

Mr Piper said he hadn’t got a problem in helping cleaning up the highway but he did have a problem with liability. Would he be covered if something happened? The Clerk was asked to contact our insurers to question if volunteers would be covered if they carried out work.

Mr Crawford summarised by saying there were two options; we can do the whole thing on our own but would be ineligible for funding or we could join with three other parishes and get the initial funding and then share the warden. The Clerk was asked to contact neighbouring parishes to see what they are doing. Mr Braithwaite asked if this is necessary. Mr Piper said it would make our parish a little bit nicer.

c) Funding/purchase of a defibrillator
The Clerk had circulated information received from the British Heart Foundation and also an article provided by Mr Westcott. After some discussion the Clerk was asked to contact both the BHF and ambulance service to see that their opinion would be if we decided to go ahead. She was also asked to contact our GP practice in Queen Camel for their views.

d) McDonalds
Mrs Goodland said she thought they had added a piece of fence on top of the original fencing.

11 PAYMENT OF ACCOUNTS
a) Clerk’s Salary & Expenses
The Clerk’s salary of 199.46 and expenses of 7.50 were approved.

b) Precept
1) Delegation to grant dispensations
Mr Crawford said that under the previous standards regime, the statutory Code of Conduct gave an automatic exemption to Councillors from having a prejudicial interest when setting the precept. This provision is unfortunately not replicated in the current legislation more through oversight than a deliberate act but does leave a technical legal issue that needs to be resolved to avoid the risk of any complaints being made to the Police. Accordingly, to avoid any problems Councillors will need to be granted a dispensation to discuss budgets and precepts in the future. There are two options: Councillors either sign a dispensation form which would need to be sent to the District Council or they could delegate the granting of dispensation to the Clerk, in which case Councillors just have to sign one form on the night of the meeting.
Mr Tuck proposed that the Clerk be delegated to grant the dispensation, Mr Braithwaite seconded the proposal and all Councillors agreed.

2) Sign the dispensation form
All Councillors signed the dispensation form.

3) Discuss the various calls on the precept and requests received
The Clerk had circulated a list of all donations and funding that we currently grant various bodies. She also read out a list of organisations that had been in contact requesting funding.

Mr Bourke said the Playing Field Association would be coming to the Parish Council asking for an increase in the grant in 2013. The reason is that all safety inspections of the Playing Field now have to be paid for. This is the first year it has happened and they no longer get any funding from outside bodies. There is also a lack of funding from the breakfasts which has to be made up by the PFA event in September. He said they would probably ask for another 100 on top of what they already receive.

Mr Tuck said the Village Hall Committee have had to increase rents to all users of the village hall to cover weekly maintenance costs. The main cause for concern is maintenance, cleaning and material costs. He thought they would require 360 overall.
Mr Bourke asked what the precept was at the moment and what funds did we have in the bank. The Clerk reported the current precept was 4,650 and the current bank balance stood at 9,812.55.

4) Set the precept
Mr Braithwaite proposed setting the precept at 5,000, Mr Bourke seconded the proposal and all Councillors were in agreement.
Mr Lewis suggested checking if there was a cap of 3% on the precept and it was agreed the Clerk would enquire and if there is she had authority to set the precept up to the capped amount or set it at 5,000 if there were no caps.

12 CORRESPONDENCE
a) Western Gazette Campaign to dual the A303
The Clerk had circulated a letter from the Western Gazette who had started a campaign to dual the A303. Up until now they had been asking individuals to register their support for the campaign. They are now asking all town and parish councillors if they wish to add the names of their respective authorities to their bid.
Mr Braithwaite said surely we had a duty of care to our parishioners to register the Parish Council’s support to this campaign. All Councillors agreed and the Clerk will contact the Western Gazette to confirm our support.

13 ANY OTHER BUSINESS   There was none.

14 QUESTIONS/COMMENTS FROM COUNCILLORS
Mr Crawford reported that he had met with a Streetscenes representative who had agreed to install two new bins on the central island at the Little Weston lay-by and they would also move the McDonalds litter bin. These should no longer be a problem for Mr King Brain’s cattle.

Mr Lewis reported that Hilary Presnail had contacted him regarding the blocked drains opposite her house (Westacre on the Barrow Road). Due to them being blocked her house was flooded. Mr Lewis had contacted Scott Davies of Highways but hadn’t received any response. It was agreed the Clerk follow this up.

15 ITEMS FOR FUTURE AGENDA    There were none.

16 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Monday, 7th January 2013.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.35 pm

KB/04.12.12

 

 

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