Parish Council Meeting, March Summary
This month’s main topics include-
- disappointing turn out for the annual litter pick
- Parish Council elections in May
- bringing the cricket square back into action
- new Council website planned
In addtion, much of the meeting was taken up with agreeing the Council’s standing Financial Regulations.
The Parish Council met on Thursday 9th March 2017, this time in the Jubilee Club House.
Four members of the public attended. Councillors Harris, Pfleger, Cobb, Sharp, Montgomery and Kayani attended. Deborah Bourne attended as clerk to the Parish Council. Apologies from County Councillor Groom, Councillors Hearn and Dodge.
When and how will the Council be formulating, and publishing, its new three-year plan?
The Chairman replied that this would be done following the Parish Council Elections in May, when the new team were on board. There would be an opportunity for public engagement at the Annual Parish Meeting in May.
(A three-year plan is a document some parish councils have, which sets out their overall strategy and priorities for the forth-coming period. They can set out the development of policies that guide the services and activities of the Council within the context of a three year plan, a bit like many business).
Can the Council better publicise its meetings, and the agenda items?
Notice and the agenda had not been put onto the notice boards in the village sufficiently in advance of the meeting, it was said, and this was an issue for those members of the community who did not have internet access. In light of agenda item 10 (better communication with residents, in particular), could this be improved?
The Chairman said this was important. One of the issues is that not all of the parish notice boards are covered. This results in the papers getting soggy, and at risk of being torn or blown away. The Council will look into laminating the notices, and also into getting the handyman to put sealed notice boards in place.
Neighbourhood Planning Steering Group
There have been three meetings of steering group since last PC meeting (6, 21 Feb and 7 March). The Steering Group has been working on refining the draft neighbourhood plan document, to bring it up-to-date and to make it specific to Lydiard Millicent. The aim is to have the draft neighbourhood plan ready for an informal presentation and community engagement in May, and the group is currently on target for that.
In the meantime, Wiltshire Council have been dealing with the application for the area designation order. This process has been quite fraught, and protracted, made more complicated by Wiltshire saying they required the consent of Lydiard Tregoz to Lydiard Millicent’s withdrawal. Hopefully, thanks largely to the efforts of Deborah and Tom Pepperell, the area order should be made before expiry of the statutory time limit, on 13th March.
In summary, progress is good. However, there remains a lot of work to be done, and the Group would like to include representatives from outside the main centre of the village, and to be more diverse. New members of the group are actively sought!
Councillor Sharp gave an update in his role as Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator.
Generally, a quiet month, but there has been a spate of car break-ins in the Royal Wootton Bassett Area, and one in Forge Fields in Lydiard Millicent. In the Lydiard Millicent incident, the culprit took gloves and glasses from a car, and left a leather jacket behind. Residents are urged to keep their car doors locked, and to be vigilant.
In the main body of the meeting, the Council’s Financial Regulations were discussed, and approved. A lot of debate centred around levels of expenditure, which the clerk can authorise in the event of an emergency, and whether the Council should have a debit card.
The Cricket Square
The Clerk drew the Council’s attention to concerns she had over planning for the above, and the possible costs and risks involved. Most cricket squares don’t make money, and so ultimately work carried out could be a cost to the residents.
This was why she had included in the agenda two options for consideration, and debate. One would allow Purton Cricket Club an exclusive use agreement (with Lydiard Millicent being able to use the cricket ground when free, but Purton having first call on it). Purton Cricket Club would then take responsibility for repairing the square, which would lessen the financial risk for Lydiard. The downside is, Lydiard would also lose an element of control.
The other option is for Lydiard PC to continue to fund the repairs, in the expectation that it will be able to recoup the costs from hiring the square out.
As well as the cost of getting the square into repair, there will be on-going maintainance costs.
£2,000 has already been budgeted for repairs. The most recent estimate to get the square up and running for initial play this season is £2,400, and it was resolved to continue with this approach (the second option). If the Council does not progress, it fears the square will not be available for cricket this season.
Volunteers will help to keep the cricket square maintained. Andrew Harris is to approach Purton Cricket Club to ask them to contribute the additional £400 in funding, and the Area Board to see if they will make a contribution (Councillor Sharp suggested doing this in conjunction with Purton Cricket Club, as the Board is more likely to look favourably on requests from community groups that aren’t parish councils).
Councillor Cobb is looking into possible solutions to the fly-tipping, and installation of some sort of barrier, at the bridleway in Stone Lane. A horse-gate is one possibility, which would possibly overcome some of the safety concerns that can arise with a bollard. Councillor Cobb is seeking the views of Stephen Leonard, Wiltshire Council’s Rights of Way officer, to ensure things are done properly.
The owner of one of the adjoining fields has offered to share some of the cost, as now has the Chairman, although making the point that he considers it to be the responsibility of Wiltshire Council.
Blocked footpath at Lydiard Stud
Councillor Cobb has been trying to get the footpath reinstated for four months now.
Parish Council Elections
Parish Council elections are due to take place on 4 May 2017. Nominations need to be delivered by hand by 4 April.
There are currently 3 vacancies on the Council, which have not been filled, and the Council would like to see more people coming forward to become parish councillors.
The Clerk suggested a drop-in session, to explain what parish councillors do and to encourage people to get involved. It was agreed to hold one on Thursday, 20th March, betwen 7.30pm and 9pm in the Jubilee Club House, and to ask the writer to publicise through this website.
“Very disappointing” turn out for the Annual Litter Pick
Five councillors and six residents in total took part.
Lack of publicity was cited as one possible explanation for the diappointing turn-out, as was general apathy.
Two quotes had been received for a new website, e-Mango came in at £2,140 and Vision ICT at £1,805. The Council will pursue an agreement with e-Mango, as their sites are more user friendly and future proof.
Line and Road Markings
Councillor Cobb is still awaiting a response from Steve Hinds (Wiltshire Highways) on the verge markers and bollards, to deal with the school parking issue.
The Council is still awaiting a response from BT, so for the timebeing is unable to progress.
Date and time of the next meeting to be confirmed