Meeting of Dent Parish Council - 02 March 2015

 

Agenda Item

Present:

Councillors Graham Dalton, Chris Evans, Rita Corpe, Tom Stafford, Geoffrey Woof and

Jenny Pilgrim.

 

District Councillor Evelyn Westwood.

 

The meeting opened at 7.31pm.

1.

 

Apologies:

Councillor Elaine Lewis.

County & District Councillor Nick Cotton and District Councillor Kevin Lancaster.

 

2.

Minutes:

Minutes of the meeting of Monday 02 February 2015 were presented and signed as a true and accurate record with the addition, at the conclusion of the final sentence of agenda item 8.3, ‘for a trial period until June 2015’.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest:

Councillor Jenny Pilgrim in respect of agenda item 18.1, planning application reference S/01/49G – Cowgill Barn.

 

4.

Clerk’s Report:

4.1 The Clerk’s report was presented and accepted.

Further information was given on:-

4.2. (Item 9) Following a report of a fallen tree blocking one of the flood archways in the River Dee at Church Bridge the matter had been reported to Cumbria County Council (CCC) Highways as the responsible Authority. On Thursday 12 February 2015, CCC Highways attended and removed the tree representing a prompt response and resolution to the problem.

4.3 (Item 11) South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) had nominated Dent Parish Council as its ‘Council of the Month’ for March 2015. The Clerk had supplied SLDC with a feature article on Dentdale. The article can be viewed on SLDC’s Explore South Lakeland website.

4.4 (Item 15) The Government had announced that it is making additional funding available to local authorities over the next 6 years for the maintenance of highways. Cumbria’s share amounts to nearly £141.5m and further funding could be available through applications to two special funds. Information on how this money will be used will be available in due course through the County Council’s local committees.

4.5 (Item 16) The ‘Better Care Together Team’ had issued an update to its strategy for hospitals in the Morecambe Bay Area. They include 4 key proposals:

i)  The focus of the Team over the next 2 years will be to improve hospital services.

ii) There are no plans to privatise local hospitals. iii) Retention of A&E services at Furness General and Royal Lancaster Infirmary with midwifery-led maternity service at the Westmorland General Hospital. iv) A belief that the consolidation of surgical services onto fewer sites will drive up standards and quality of care to patients, as well as reducing costs. It was resolved that the Council would monitor the maintenance of service provision at Westmorland General Hospital.

4.6 (Item 21) A meeting concerning the development of the dentdale.com website would take place on Wednesday 04 March 2015, at the Library, Dent, commencing at 7pm. Anyone within the community interested in this project would be welcome to attend.

Information received since the publication of the Clerk’s report included:

4.7 Electricity North West (ENW) is currently updating its ‘at risk’ register. ENW maintain a priority services register of households where there is someone who would be at risk in the event of an unplanned power failure. In the event of a failure ENW would endeavor to give priority to restoring power to those at risk, or, if restoration cannot be achieved quickly, give alternative support. Households can be added to the ENW ‘at risk’ register by contacting its website: electricitynorthwest.co.uk/priority.

4.8 The street light at Deepdale Road the junction with Ghyllside is currently inoperative. Action is being taken to have the light repaired.

 

5.

Chair and Member Announcements:

None.

 

6.

County and District Councillor Announcements:

District Councillor Evelyn Westwood informed the meeting that there had been some concern in Garsdale about the inspection of private water supplies and the costs involved to residents with a private supply. South Lakeland District Council is legally required to carry out risk assessments on private water supplies in the district to make sure that they meet Drinking Water Inspectorate standards. This exercise is carried out every five years.   

 

7.

Public Forum:

A statement of concern was made regarding the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) being unsupportive of fracking within the national park. It was observed by the speaker that this may cost the area much needed employment opportunities. Additionally, the restrictive planning rules within the YDNP inevitably meant that a lot of people were being denied the opportunity of living and working in the area.   

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8.

Local Area Partnership (LAP):

8.1 A report on the LAP meeting of Monday 23 February 2015 was provided by Councillor Graham Dalton.

8.2 There was extensive dissatisfaction with the performance of Cumbria County Council Highways (CCCH). A delegate from Upper Kent believed the ‘Hotline’ system was self-defeating and purely reactive to highway issues. Upper Kent had submitted 6 main highway ‘weak spots’ for attention and suggested that each parish should provide a similar list on an annual basis. Currently there appeared to be no system for organised improvement and the lack of drainage maintenance accelerated the deterioration in the condition of roads. It was accepted that there was a need for a ‘Hotline’ reporting system for issues arising, however; this should be in addition to an organised plan of annual maintenance.

8.3 County and District Councillor Nick Cotton had agreed to direct concerns expressed within the meeting to CCCH.

9.

Parish Lengthsman Scheme:

9.1 It was reported that there was still a sum of £680 within the Local Area Partnership (LAP) budget for Dent Parish Council to allocate to issues which could be resolved through the Parish Lengthsman Scheme.

9.2 Members expressed concern about the number of areas within the Parish road network which were flooding during inclement weather due to blocked or poorly serviced drains. It was thought that Casterton Parish Council had recently allocated its share of LAP funding for the maintenance of drains.

9.3 It was resolved that the Clerk would make enquiries with Casterton Parish Council for further information on its drain maintenance programme with a view to implementing a similar scheme of work in Dentdale subject to costs.

 

10.

YDNPA Parish Forums:

10.1. A proposal from the YDNPA was received concerning the setting up of two Parish Forums, one for parishes in the north of the National Park, and, one for parishes in the south.

The proposal included:

Each Forum would meet twice a year,

Each Parish Council/Meeting could send up to two representatives, and,

The issues discussed at each meeting would come from the Parish Councils and the Authority.

The purpose of the Forums would be an opportunity for a two-way discussion about any and all National Park issues that are relevant to Parish Councils.

10.2 Members considered the proposal and had difficulty in seeing what the Forums would produce and what they were aiming to achieve. A large number of Parish Councils and Meetings within one Forum would have difficulty in dealing with specific Parish issues and lead to generalisation. Additionally, there would be time and travelling commitments placed upon members with the probability of little outcome.

10.3 It was resolved not to support the proposal, however; the Council was in favour of less formal communication links with the Authority which could deal with issues specific to individual Parish Councils/Meetings.  

 

 

11.

Emergency Planning:

11.1 Following a presentation by John Sibley at the Parish Council meeting on Monday 02 February, members considered whether or not to support the development of Emergency Planning arrangements in Dentdale.

11.2 It was resolved to agree the initiative, in principle, but delay any further decision until the lessons learned from the on-going work in West Cumbria were received and considered. 

 

 

12.

Beech Hill Project:

12.1 A position statement was received on the Beech Hill Resurfacing Project.

12.2 The project was now complete and at project closure except for a query from HM Land Registry. The Land Registry documentation had been returned to the Council highlighting an issue with the signatory method used by Cumbria County Council in the execution of the deed of transfer. Additionally, an address issue had been raised for register entry purposes in respect of the Parish Council. The matter had been referred to the Cumbria County Council Legal Team for comment and action as appropriate.

12.3 Members thanked the Clerk for his work in managing the project and agreed that the area had seen a significant improvement.

 

13.

Car Park:

13.1 Lease:

A draft five year lease proposal for Dentdale Car Park had been received by the Council from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority on the day of the Parish Council meeting, Monday 02 March 2015. As a consequence, there had been no time to negotiate a final version of the lease agreement for members to consider and decide upon at the meeting. It was resolved that the lease agreement would be considered at the next Parish Council meeting on Monday 13 April 2015.

13.2 Maintenance:

13.2.1 It had been highlighted that deterioration to a section of tarmacadam at the entrance to the Car Park was evident. The poor condition of the surface was immediately adjacent to the kerb adjoining the highway and was in need of immediate repair to ensure health and safety standards were maintained. The cost of repair had been quoted at £180. It was resolved that the damaged surface should be repaired forthwith.

13.2.2 It was reported that the YDNPA Ranger Service had attended the Car Park and undertaken work to trim the lower branches of trees within the site. Residents had been invited to collect larger cuttings for their own use, however; a large amount of brushwood remained. Costs had been obtained for the brushwood to be removed using a ‘chipping’ machine. The most competitive quotation was £100 for the machine including labour. It was resolved to accept the quotation of £100 for the removal of the brushwood. 

13.2.3 It was reported that over the years the car parking area had been reduced by grass growth covering the concrete sets which formed the car park surface. An area of approximately 4 metres for three-quarters of the width of the car park was effectively lost due to the growth. It was resolved that arrangements should be made to have the area scraped and the car park restored to its full working capacity.

13.2.4 Members were made aware of the deteriorating state of the paintwork and rendering at the public conveniences. South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) had made a pre-application indication that it may be able to help towards the cost of repairs and painting of the building from its Environmental Partnership Fund. It was resolved that quotations for the work should be obtained and an application made to the SLDC Environmental Partnership Fund for financial assistance.

 

 

14.

Street Lighting:

14.1 At the last Parish Council meeting it had been reported that the quarterly street lighting account supplied by E.on had risen from around £31.00 a quarter to £179.26 for quarter 3, 2014/15.

14.2 The Clerk had made repeated enquiries with the supplier and Electricity North West (ENW) to have the unmetered supplies account re-checked. As a result of these enquiries ENW had admitted a billing mistake and had reduced the bill to £94.19.

Further enquiries had been made with ENW and the formula for calculating the account had been requested and supplied. Within the formula it had been noted by the Council that an assumption had been made that each street light was fitted with a 58w bulb and calculated on dusk until dawn basis. Due to the street lights being fitted with energy saving bulbs of 11w and 15w a further re-calculation had been requested. This submission resulted in a new unmetered supplies certificate being issued by ENW to reflect the lower power output and the supplier had further reduced the quarter 3 account to £35.07.

14.3 It was resolved that the Council should now pay the quarter 3 account of £35.07.

14.4 The Council had made additional enquiries with the supplier for an estimate of quarterly costs should all 19 street lights be re-fitted with 7w LED bulbs. E.on, the supplier, had estimated that the quarterly cost of street lighting would be reduced to around £17.62 if the 7w LED bulb option was taken.

14.5 It was resolved that three street lights should be fitted with 7w LED bulbs as a suitability test of the light generated from the bulbs. Once an assessment of suitability was complete the Council would then decide whether or not to proceed with a full re-fit of all 19 street lights within the village.

    

 

15

Internal Audit:

15.1 It was reported that the Council’s previous internal auditor had now retired from the role and a decision on alternative audit arrangements for the financial year 2014/15 was required.

15.2 An expression of interest had been received by Colin Robertshaw in undertaking the internal audit. His experience in the financial services industry and a former parish clerk complimented the required skills to provide a robust internal audit on behalf of the Council. 

15.3 It was resolved that Colin Robertshaw should be appointed to conduct the internal audit for the financial year 2014/15.

 

 

16.

Annual Parish Meeting – Annual Report:

16.1.1 Consideration was given to the format for the Annual Parish Meeting on Monday 13 April 2015.

16.1.2 It was agreed that the main subject area for this year’s meeting would be the provision of broadband in Dentdale and representatives of Fibre Garden should be invited to give a presentation of their ongoing work within the dale.   

16.2 Production of the Annual report was agreed together with the submission to the Clerk of relevant material for the report by 01 April 2015.

 

 

17.

Finance:

17.1 Dent Initiative:

17.1.1 It was reported that agreement had been reached with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) in March 2013 that the remaining £2,471.54 of Dent Initiative grant funding would be allocated as follows:

Planting- £30, replacement picnic bench - £250, and, £2,191.54 on the refurbishment of Beech Hill.

The grant for planting and the refurbishment of Beech Hill had been fulfilled which left £250 available for a replacement bench.

 

17.1.2 It was resolved that the remaining funds for a replacement bench should be allocated towards the purchase of two picnic benches for the green area of the Car Park site.

17.2 Council Banking:

17.2.1 Due to the impending resignation of Councillor Elaine Lewis on 31 March 2015 the position of Administrator to the Council Bank accounts would become vacant and alternative arrangements from 01 April 2015 were required.

17.2.2 It was resolved that the Clerk as the Financial Responsible Officer to the Council should take on the role of Administrator following the resignation of Councillor Elaine Lewis. Additionally, Councillors Tom Stafford and Graham Dalton should be allocated ‘view only’ access to the accounts as a control measure for the purpose of proper risk assessment practice. The Risk Assessment Register to be updated to reflect the change.

 

17.3 Payments Authorised:

Steven Hurst Tarmacing (cobbles and re-surfacing - Beech Hill)

£5010.00

E.on (street lighting – Quarter 3 2014/15)

£35.07

E.on (car park electricity February 2015)

£11.66

A. Stephenson (Clerk’s expenses – February 2015)

£31.00

United Utilities (water & wastewater car park – February 2015)

£27.90

Dent Stores (public convenience – consumables)

£24.30

Dent Reading Room (Parish Council room hire 2014)

£38.34

Graham Bradley (siting of parking signs, Beech Hill) 

£38.00

Philip Middleton (replacement of street light bulbs)

£25.50

 

 

 

18.

Planning:

18.1 Applications

S/01/49G – Cowgill Barn, Cowgill. Application for erection of workshop and   store for garden machinery, tractor etc and retrospective application for change of use of field to garden – Support.

 

18.2 Decisions

 None.

   

19.

19.1 Close of Meeting:

The meeting closed at 9.35pm.

19.2 Next Meeting:

Annual Parish Meeting, Monday 13 April 2015, 7.30pm, in the Memorial Hall.