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|MINUTES OF THE HEMPSTEAD PARISH COUNCIL|
Thursday 27 July 2017 in the Village Hall
Members of the Public:
The meeting started at 8.03 pm
FUTURE MEETINGS - There will be no August meeting The September meeting will be on TUESDAY September 5 at 8.15pm, Other dates: Thursday October 5th and Thursday November 2nd both at 8pm
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
District Councillor Simon Howell
REPORTS OR CONTRIBUTIONS FROM DISTRICT AND COUNTY COUNCILLORS
There were none.
MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING HELD THURSDAY MAY 18, 2017
These were agreed to be an accurate account of the meeting and signed
Not covered elsewhere. There were none.
Flooding - The meeting was addressed by Ms Ludlow who explained the plan to create a definitive map and accompanying information on the state of the waterways all over the county. The rivers were the responsibility of the Environment agency but information concerning the lesser water courses was patchy.
Using volunteers, backed up by the Essex Flood Team, it was intended to produce a map with information on trouble spots, photos, possible invasive species and details of riparian responsibility. The Flood Team would provide maps and training in both the task involved and health and safety.
The councillors were interested to know how identified problem areas and enforcement would operate. Ms Ludlow said initially flood engineers would produce remediation plans if necessary. The Parish Council could approach landowners inviting co-operation, this would be followed by letters from the county Council if improvement was not forthcoming. Work could be carried out and charged to the owner if there was still no responsibility taken for the problems.
The Council agreed that this would be a useful approach that would extend the useful work done by Mr Sladen and yield the possibility of dealing with current and future problems. Mr McCarthjy would write an item for the imminent newsletter asking for volunteers. Mrs Mc Neill agreed to liaise with Ms Ludlow.
It was anticipated that there would be training of a small number of lead volunteers followed by a ‘Day of Work’ in the Autumn.
Highway Signs - Although most of the 30mph signs had been cleared the bend sign at Thatch Cottage was still obscured and it was agreed that the Clerk should write to the occupants asking them ensure that it was clearly visible.
Hedges - Several councillors remarked on the hedges at Hill Farm and how good they looked after a recent cutting programme. It was agreed that the Clerk should write pass on these sentiments to the Haylocks.
Base of Fountain - Mr Weedon had sought advice from Essex Heritage concerning the re-laying of the bricks at the base of the fountain. They agreed with the plans as previously discussed.
The grant, mentioned by Councillor Howell at the last meeting as a possibility, was now a reality and would be about £650. It was agreed that this should be used towards the project.
The next step would be to obtain quotes. Mrs Scott agreed to contact Mick Simmonds and Mr McCarthy would contact Mark Halls.
Pollards Cross - Uttlesford Planning had closed this case as after submission of evidence to show no breach had occurred.
HIGHWAYS AND PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY
Highways Report - Mr Drane told the meeting that an accident had caused damage to the railings at The Wash and there was a gap that could be dangerous. He had sent photos to Councillor Walsh to raise awareness of the hazard. He also mentioned the fact that there was a stretch of road that had been missed in the re-surfacing between the Wash and Smiths Green. The other issue he raised was that the automatic speed indicator signs were no longer working.
Road Safety Schemes - Mr Welbourn reported that despite assurances that the schemes put forward by the Parish Council were still under consideration they did not appear on the Local Highways Panel meeting agenda. Mr Welbourn agreed to once again take up the matter wirh County Councillor Simon Walsh.
New Audit Regime - The clerk explained that the present audit was the last under the existing rules. From next year it would no longer be a requirement to submit financial details to an external auditor. However, we will have to adhere to the transparency regulations regarding the publication of this information. We have done this particularly in respect of publishing all our expenditure in the minutes and annually. We will have to keep to the timings a little more accurately but this will be easier if we are not waiting for replies from the external auditor.
Our new internal auditor has helpfully pointed out that we never formally voted whether to participate in the collective arrangements, set up by National Association of Local Councils and others, to supply an external auditor to act as ombudsman or mediator on occasion of dispute public challenge to the council’s financial publications. Parish councils were given the opportunity to opt out but no Essex parishes had done so as the service is free. The Parish Council voted unanimously not to opt out of this potentially supportive arrangement.
Prior Agreement of Payments - It was agreed that all regular payments could be put on the bank website for authorisation then ratified at the next council meeting as long as there was no substantial increase.
There were: Section 137 Donations to Stop Stansted Expansion, Essex Heritage Trust, British Legion Wreath. Speed Gun Calibration and Maintenance, Christmas Tree purchase, Green Waste Skip contribution. Membership fees to EALC/NALC, Rural Community Council of Essex and Council for the Preservation of Rural England.
All other donations, grants and expenditure should be agreed before authorisation. The only exception, as previously agreed, being for emergency work up to £1000 ie. dangerous trees etc.
This should still be agreed by an email consensus.
Payments Already Made
Mr Julian Basham cuts 6 & 7 £330
Rural Community Council of Essex membership £52.80. These were duly ratified.
The Clerk reminded Councillors that their Register of Interest statements, that appeared on Uttlesford Website, and by a link on the village website, should be checked and updated if necessary from time to time.
Mr Long reported that the Horse Show had again been a successful fundraiser for the Play Area making more than last year’s £1100. Thanks to all those involved.
He also confirmed that he had attended a safety inspection course to enable him to do the monthly inspections of the play equipment. Mr Sladen had looked into the issue of the indemnity insurance and informed the meeting that Mr Long would be covered in this role as he was a village Hall trustee.
Sadly the planning permission had suffered a delay due to additional information being required by the planning department at Uttlesford.
STANSTED AIRPORT EXPANSION PLANS
The Council were concerned about the proposed increase in the number of flights form Stansted Airport. The increase in noise would be most unwelcome but even more disturbing was the effect on the already stretched infrastructure of the area. The increase in employment would put even greater pressure on the already stretched housing supply and allocation of school places. The extra road and rail traffic would also make the travel conditions even worse than currently are.
The deadline for comments was now very short but Me Welbourn agreed to try put forward the Council’s views.
SCHOOL PLACES AND TRANSPORT COSTS
Correspondence with Essex regarding the difficulties of access to secondary school place in the Uttlesford area had yielded nothing in the way of reassurance. The lack of places at Saffron Walden High School would mean longer journey times and the possibility of siblings at different schools. This coupled with the increasing cost of travel for pupils would make the village less attractive to parents with children and could have negative effect on the demographic balance of the village.
The meeting ended at 9.40pm