Parish Council Meeting, October Summary
The Parish Council met on Thursday, 6th October 2016. Highlights included the possibility of cricket returning to the village and why school parking looks set to be a continuing problem.
Councillors Harris, Baggs, Cobb, Sharp, Dodge, Hearn, Montgomery and Kayani attended. Apologies received from Councillor Pfleger and County Councillor Groom.
Councillor Harris was the chairman, Deborah Bourne the clerk.
Before public questions and the main body of the meeting, the Clerk explained how the Parish Steward scheme works.
Basically, the Parish Council submits requests for works to the Parish Steward. However, this does not mean all jobs will get done. The Parish Council may prioritise up to three. However, the parish only has a limited amount of the steward’s time; one day a month. It is down to the steward to allocate his time to certain jobs. Jobs not completed, however, are carried forward.
The clerk agreed to send councillors a list of outstanding jobs.
It was embarrassing when parishioners were raising the same points as jobs had not been done, the Chairman said. One option would be for the parish in the future to employ someone itself.
Leaves in the Butts
This was an item carried forward from the parish steward’s list and last meeting. Leaves still need to be cleared.
Cleaning of the bus shelters
This fell to the parish council to do. Councillor Blackmore used to clean the one in the village. In the absence of a new volunteer coming forward, the cost of doing this would have to be added to the precept.
The resident appreciated Councillor Pfleger was not there. However, he wondered how many of the trained Speed Watch volunteers were still active.
Councillor Cobb said he thought about 6-8. Councillor Sharp said there were 11 names on the email circulation list.
Councillors considered whether they should be re-advertising for volunteers. It was agreed it would be a good idea to “spread the word” and to seek new volunteers, to help spread the load.
State of the road in The Beeches
The bad state of the road was mentioned. It had not been resurfaced since the drainage was put in. It was agreed the state of the road was very poor, but it was a no-through road and there was felt to be more chance of residents winning the lottery than Wiltshire Council treating it as a priority for a proper resurface. But Councillor Cobb said he would try, by raising it as an issue and it would help if residents could do so too with Wiltshire Council.
The Neighbourhood Plan
Tom Pepperell said he was surprised this was not on the agenda as an item. However, Councillor Dodge said he was hoping to hold a meeting of the steering group next week. No volunteers had come forward and it was felt the village was suffering from mass apathy.
The clerk confirmed that she had submitted the neighbourhood designation order application, and was awaiting to hear back from Wiltshire Council on it.
Councillor Sharp gave his update. It had been a quiet month. The new local police team working arrangements were being introduced on 17th October, and he was attending a meeting about this on Wednesday.
County Councillor Report
County Councillor Groom sent her apologies. There was no report, and the Chairman said this should be raised with Councillor Groom as many county council matters affected the parish.
Attendance at other meetings and events
The Chairman had attended Harvest Festival at the Church. The Parish Council had purchased a wreath for Remembrance Sunday and Councillor Sharp would be attending.
Wiltshire Council Budget Meeting
Councillor Sharp and the Clerk had attended. The main issue arising was the Government’s consultation on the Local Government Finance Settlement and the proposed referendum principle on precept increases.
The latter, if passed, would require a referendum on precept increases above 2%. In its current form, it would not affect Lydiard Millicent as the prospective cap would apply only to larger authorities. However, the Parish Council were opposed to it in principle since, if rolled out to smaller authorities, it would affect its ability to raise the precept for the provision of services and was “not workable” for Lydiard Millicent.
The Clerk’s Report
This was a new agenda item.
The Clerk reminded residents she was available at the Jubilee Club House on Tuesdays 10-12 and Thursdays 2-4.
The Clerk is meeting with the parish steward and also attending the Local Government Clerks’ Conference. She reported on Finance Meeting, Jubilee Club House cleaners, discussions over the cricket ground and submission of the application for the designation order for the neighbourhood plan.
There were still two casual vacancies for new councillors.
Nothing controversial. Notice was received too late for a change of use application at Bagbury Business Park. The Clerk is to ask Wiltshire Council for an extension so that the Parish Council can respond.
Jubilee Club House Grounds and Purton Cricket Club
The Parish Council is in discussions with Purton Cricket Club over use of the sports ground/recreation field. Councillor Cobb gave the update in Councillor Pfleger’s absence.
The potential quality of the wicket at Lydiard Millicent is very good, and would be suitable for club play if brought back into condition. Purton are looking to share their expertise, and hire the ground, if a deal can be reached. (Lydiard Millicent would help with any grant application, and maintain the pitch, which would probably involve training volunteers). Women and girls’ cricket in North Wiltshire could potentially be developed at the site, as well as club play and the possibility of a local team being set up.
The working group were keen to progress discussions and the Chairman described this as “a very exciting opportunity.” It was unanimously agreed to continue discussions and research.
School Parking and update on the road markings
Councillor Cobb talked about his battle to get the road markings from the Butts to the Beeches progressed.
Basically, the request is now with Wiltshire Council. However, despite Councillor Cobb pushing for this to be resolved finally, progress is slow. The school are apparently not happy with the proposals. It was reported that they thought the imposition of lines would pose a safety hazard for children. This was disputed, and the general feeling was that any safety hazard came from the crazy antics and bad parking of a minority of parents.
The School had prepared a draft travel plan, but this needed to be sent to parents and consulted upon. Wiltshire are waiting on this.
Other reasons why progress was slow; Wiltshire Council says there is little or no money available for line marking and signage, even if broken. Wiltshire would also need to consult on the line marking proposals, and include in an order which covers other schemes and works, all of which add to the delay.
The Council would keep pushing Wiltshire, and asked residents to keep the pressure up. Any pictures of irresponsible parking or the problems caused around the Butts should be sent to the Parish Council.
Lines may not be the complete solution to the traffic problem, but it was felt they would be a good first step. The proposed restriction would be 8.30-9.30 and 2.30- 3.30. The local PCSO at Royal Wootton Bassett was amenable to come over on an ad hoc basis to ensure compliance.
The Parish Council agreed something needed to be done and would push Wiltshire Council on this one.
Other highway issues
The issue of signage in Greatfield has now been closed by Wiltshire. Since the speed restriction road signs are visible, they do not think there is a problem.
The issue of the Beeches bus stop being made disabled friendly has also been closed as there is not enough room to alter the stop apparently, and there is disabled access on the other side of the road (their logic, not mine).
The County’s Freight Management Scheme had been discussed. Councillor Cobb expressed surprise at Wiltshire Council’s view that the Lydiards area did not have a problem.