Parish Council Meeting, December Summary
The Parish Council met on Thursday, 1st December 2016. The planned official switching on of the Christmas tree and carol singing failed to materialise. The lights had already been switched on.
Five members of the public attended. Councillors Harris, Dodge, Baggs, Sharp and Hearn attended. Councillors Montgomery, Cobb, Pfleger and Kayani sent apologies. Deborah Bourne attended as clerk to the Parish Council.
There were no questions from members of the public.
There were no reports from the Working Groups, or County Councillor. Councillor Sharp gave his Neighbourhood Watch update.
Draft budget for 2017/2018
Councillors discussed the draft budget for next year (April 2017-March 2018). The clerk explained that the Parish Council receives no funding from Wiltshire Council or Central Government. All expenditure must be raised from the Parish (through the Precept, or Reserves). The money raised is spent purely in the parish.
Councillors discussed first the base budget (what is needed to stand still, i.e. to continue to provide services the Parish Council currently provide, such as grass verge-cutting and cleaning of the Jubilee Club House). The current year figures show a surplus of £10,157. (Expenditure of £31,117 and income of £41,274).
Once councillors agreed this, they went on to discuss any additional items of projected expenditure. These comprised; £5,000 towards parking restrictions, £10,000 for the Neighbourhood Plan, and £1,350 should the Parish Council agree to buy-in additional resource for tasks the parish steward cannot undertake.
Nothing contentious. The Parish Council noted that Taylor Wimpey had withdrawn its application to build in Lydiard Park.
The planning working group had no objections to the application to vary a condition which related to the external appearance of the key worker’s dwelling at Lydiard Field Stud. However, the Chairman raised the point of whether the meeting should be referring to the property as Lydiard Field Stud, since it was the Parish Council’s view that the property was still an agricultural unit, as there had been no official change of use.
Parish Council Elections
The draft budget made no provision for election costs. The Parish Council elections are due to take place in May, and Wiltshire Council should be bearing the cost of these.
There had been changes to the nominations process, with the need apparently for papers now to be delivered by hand to Chippenham.
The deadline for nominations is 4 April 2017.
Only 30% of parish council elections are contested, and the Chairman wondered whether other parishes encountered the same difficulties and issues in recruiting parish councillors. Councillor Sharp reflected that he thought the situation in Lydiard Millicent was quite typical.
Councillor Dodge reported on progress. The steering group had met twice since the last Parish Council meeting, and another meeting was planned for 20th December. The group is currently rewriting and reformatting the information that was contained in the Lydiard Millicent chapter of the New V Neighbourhood Plan.
Fly-tipping and drug taking
There had been reports of drug taking in the lay-by in Green Hill, with paraphernalia and bottles of Vodka (empty) being left at the site. The community police are to be informed. There had also been fly-tipping on the bridleway between Washpool and Stone Lane. Wiltshire Council had been informed, but were disputing responsibility for clearing it up.
White, yellow lines and parking restrictions
No update on the progress with the parking restrictions around the school, nor the school’s protean travel plan.
It was felt that the parish could expect little help from Wiltshire Council, and so would have to fund any improvements itself.
The Parish Council had previously discussed the line/lane markings between Tewksbury Way and Washpool. These were felt to be a safety hazard, and many villagers used that road every day. The Clerk is to investigate the cost of the parish updating the faded line markings. Councillor Sharp mentioned the need to liaise with Wiltshire Council to ensure the Parish did not spend money on new lines only to have Wiltshire then resurface the road.
Parish Steward and extra work around the parish
The Clerk reported there had been some miscommunication with the Parish Steward. There are also jobs he cannot do. These include clearing leaves. He can’t clear leaves because, apparently, this isn’t a Wiltshire Council responsibility. He can clear drains, and has visited the Butts.
Th Chairman said it was a concern of parishioners that these types of jobs weren’t being done, and the idea of employing a part-time handyman or contracting out on an ad hoc basis was discussed again. Councillors agree to include a provisional sum in the draft budget, but made no definite agreement on the way forward.
Provisionally, nothing was included in the budget to cover the development of the Community Field. This year, the field generated £100 of income from grazing rights, and is likely to do so in the next year too.
The Church has asked for the return of its donation until the car parking project is progressed.
The next Parish Council meeting will take place at 7.30pm, on 5th January 2017 in the Parish Hall.