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PC meeting, July 2021

posted 30 Jun 2021, 14:24 by N Day   [ updated 28 Jul 2021, 13:59 ]

Agenda for the Parish Council meeting on August 2, 2021

click here to get a copy of the agenda in PDF form, and the Clerk's notes are available via this link. The minutes have been appended to this notice after the agenda, and are also available for download in PDF form.

From Catherine Fox, Parish Clerk:

The Next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held at 7:30 on Monday 5 July 2021 in the Reading Room with Giles Scott in the chair.

Please note: To ensure that the meeting remains compliant with the current regulations, all members of the public wishing to attend are asked to confirm with the Clerk prior to the meeting. In the event of more people wishing to attend than can safely be accommodated, the meeting will be held outside. All social distancing measures will be observed.

All members of the Council are hereby summoned to attend for the purposes of considering and resolving the business to be transacted at the meeting as set out below. 

1. Silent Prayer.

2. Apologies for absence.

3. Declarations of Interest.

(a) Councillors to declare any disclosable pecuniary interest in any items on the agenda;
(b) Councillors to declare any other interest in any items on the agenda.

4. Minutes.  Consideration of the minutes of the meeting of the Full Council on 1st June 2021 and also of the Planning Committee Meeting(s) on 1st June 2021 and 21st June 2021.

5. Open Forum for 15 minutes to enable members of the public to bring any matters to the attention of the Parish Council. 

6. Matters Arising.   

1. Neighbourhood Plan – presentation by David Prest.

2. Bench on Caxton Road.

3. Bench on the playing field.

4. Update on co-opted vacancy.


7.  Reading Room Extension. Update from Peter King.

8.  Public footpath (Gransden Woods, north of sewage works).  N Ginn.

9.  Play Equipment and MUGA Inspections – To consider reports from ROSPA.

10. Audit of the Accounts for the y/e 31st March 2021.  To consider Internal Auditor’s Report.

11. Parish Council Policies.  To consider adoption of revised/edited policies.

12. Clerk’s Financial Statement.  For June 2021 and Budget Review.

13. Cheques for Approval.

14. Highways. Any repairs or maintenance needed.

1. Advanced notification of Start/Stop signs in use on Eltisley Road (Highfields) for Gransden Show – Saturday 25th September 2021

15. Correspondence.

      1. St Neots Museum Contribution Request.

      2. Contribution Request for Bluebell-19 Benefice publication.

      3. Elderberry Tree at the Bowls Club.

16. Planning.  At the time of publication of the agenda, there were no planning applications requiring comment.

17. Review of Clerk’s working arrangements. (To be considered in closed session.)

18. Next Meeting Monday 5th August 2019 at 7:30pm.

Minutes of the meeting

Those present were:
  • Giles Scott, Chairman ;
  • Peter King, Parish Councillor ;
  • Nick Ginn, Vice Chairman ;
  • James Catmur, Parish Councillor ;
  • Catherine Fox, Clerk ;
  • Nigel Day, Parish Councillor ;
  • Michael Capps, Parish Councillor ;
  • Andrew Pett, Parish Councillor ;
...and 0 members of the public

1. The meeting was opened at 7:30 pm with a silent prayer.

2. Apologies. Apologies were received from District Councillor West.

3. Declarations of Interest. There were no declarations of interest.

4. Minutes of the previous monthly meeting held on 1st June 2021, and of the planning committee meetings held on 1st June 2021 and 21st June 2021, were approved and signed accordingly by the Chairman.

5. OPEN FORUM. There were no issues brought to the attention of the Parish Council during the open forum session.

6. Matters Arising

6.1 Neighbourhood Plan – Update from David Prest.

As Chairman of the Steering Group, David Prest attended the meeting to provide a detailed overview into the progress of the Neighbourhood Plan. The Parish Council will eventually adopt the plan and were asked for their feedback on the content, and for their support and engagement as the process moves into its next stages.

Councillor Day will circulate the full Neighbourhood Plan for Councillors to consider and offer comment by 20th July. The next key stage will be submission under Regulation 14 which it is hoped will be in August, followed by a six-week consultation period (managed by the Steering Group). The final plan will be submitted in January 2022 to HDC (Regulation 15)

6.2 Bench on Caxton Road

Councillors unanimously agreed to accept the quotation received for the repair of the bench on Caxton Road. The quotation was for replacement of the first two slats with oak at a cost of £240.00. (Proposed Councillor Pett seconded Councillor Scott)

6.3 Bench on the playing field.

Further to the risk assessments undertaken by Councillors, the bench at the entrance to Little Lane had been highlighted as being in need of attention with weakened areas and sharp edges visible on the legs.

Councillors discussed the possibility of replacing the bench with a picnic bench similar to those already in the park. It was felt that a picnic bench would be beneficial and would contribute to the community focus of the park. The ‘station’ benches are considered to be out of keeping with the rest of the seating.

Clerk to prepare a price comparison document for further consideration at August’s meeting.

6.4 Update on Co-opted Vacancy

Having been only one application for the two Parish Council vacancies, councillors unanimously agreed to co-opt Vikki Murphy onto the Parish Council. (Proposed Councillor Pett seconded Councillor Scott).

Following Ms Murphy’s co-option, there still remains one Parish Councillor Vacancy.

7. Reading Room Extension

Councillor King reported that the Reading Room Management Committee had been looking at the possibility of extending the Reading Room. Work has been undertaken to begin investigating the cost, implications and feasibility of extending the Reading Room at the rear, making the first floor accessible and providing storage for large items downstairs.

Besides the given requirement of working on a heritage property, there are other issues to consider. These include but are not limited to, making the upstairs truly accessible to all (if possible) and incorporating suitable storage space downstairs that does not eat up newly acquired extended space.

Following the obtaining and reviewing of quotations, The Reading Room Committee propose that BB&C be commissioned to undertake the feasibility study and structural survey. It was also proposed that BB&C be asked to manage the survey and the quantity surveyor work.

Councillors questioned the financial impact and planning behind the proposed works, noting the sizeable investment that could potentially be required against the additional usage, revenue and payback to the village. Councillor King stated that the committee were keen to re-establish the Reading Room as a community hub for the village with the potential to use it for community coffee mornings and such like. With the building of a substantial number of new houses, it was felt that the Reading Room needed to be brought to the forefront of village life so that it could continue to remain as a thriving village asset. Any changes would increase the capacity of the Reading Room from 60 people to around 100; in line with, and in anticipation of, additional usage generated by a growing village population.

Initial costs for the feasibility study were expected to be £5215.50 ex VAT, broken down as follows:

Architectural, Heritage and Principal Designer services: £3,187.50

Structural Engineering by JM Structural Consultants: £1,428.00

Quantity Surveyor by PM & QS Services Ltd: £ 600.00

If the project looks viable, the intention would be to raise funds to finance it but with initial costs paid for out of committee funds. As the Parish Council are Trustees of the Reading Room, the net cost will be repaid by the Reading Room Committee with the Council reclaiming the VAT.

The appointment of BB&C and the expenditure and repayment arrangement was unanimously agreed following proposal by Councillor Scott and being seconded by Councillor Pett.

8. Public Footpath (Gransden Woods- north of sewage works).

Councillor Ginn raised concerns that the footpath at the edge of Gransden Wood had been ploughed – destroying the pathway that had previously been enjoyed by many walkers. The issue had been raised with the County Council footpaths department and the District Council in a bid to get the quality of the footpaths reinstated but as yet there had been no response.

9. Play Equipment and MUGA Inspection Reports

MUGA – The Muga inspection report highlighted no issues. Signs had been reattached and it was agreed that the bin was heavy enough not to require permanent setting into the ground.

Play Equipment – The inspection report had highlighted several areas that needed attention. A working group (comprising of Councillor King, Councillor Pett, Councillor Capps and Councillor Day) would visit the playing field to identify what can be repaired/refurbished and what would need attention from external parties. Recommendations from the working group will be brought to the next full council meeting in August.

10. Audit of the Accounts Y/E 31st March 2021 – Review of Internal Auditors Report Councillors noted the internal auditors report which showed no major findings. In response to one of the points raised, it was agreed that a quote would be obtained from the existing contractor for the cemetery to include the closed graveyard. This was to ensure that the rates payable to the PCC for maintenance of the closed graveyard were providing best value for money.

11. Review of Policies. Copies of the Council’s Equal Opportunities, Safeguarding, Archiving and Health and Safety policies had been circulated together with a copy of the current Financial Regulations. The 2020 revised Standing Orders were adopted. Councillors agreed no changes were needed. Proposed Councillor Pett, seconded Councillor Scott.

12. Financial Statement for June 2021. The sheet filed as Appendix No. 1 had been circulated. The statement was unanimously approved and signed by the Chairman. Councillors also noted the budget review as at the end of June 2020.

13. Cheques for approval. The following payments were approved:

(Proposed Councillor Pett, seconded by Councillor Capps)
  • Gate Automation & Electrical Services £2292.00 (Sportsfield Gate – 1st Payment on a/c inc VAT)
  1. Clerk’s expenses for June 2021 £27.59
  2. HMRC - PAYE (period ending 5th August 21) £55.20
  3. The Mower Shed (Invoice 966) £120.00
  4. SSE (May 2021) £100.25
  5. The Mower Shed (Invoice 982) £120.00
  6. Refund of Cemetery Fees Overpayment – IR Quince £2.00
  7. LGS Internal Audit Fee £114.00
  8. Huntree Fencing (Reading Room Cottage fence) £798.00
  9. ROSPA £164.40
  10. Mr R McIntosh (Garden of Remembrance) £7.50
  11. Buchans Landscaping & Grounds Maintenance £421.76
Automated Payments payable July 2021
  1. DD BT – Broadband Reading Rooms £30.16* (11th July 2021)
  2. SO Caretaker Salary –July 2021 £653.78** (28th July 2021)
  3. SO Clerk’s Salary – July 2021 £704.25 (28th July 2021)
14. Highways

Councillors reported no new potholes but raised the following issues:

14.1 The drain cover on the corner of Fox Street and Caxton Road remains dangerous. The locking mechanism is broken, and despite numerous reports to Highways no remedial repair works have been undertaken. The drain cover becomes displaced when HGVs turn the corner creating a dangerous hole for pedestrians which the Parish Council believe will, if not rectified, result in serious injury.

14.2 Flooding in Waresley Road still remains a problem, with the drains still blocked. Again this is following repeated reports to Highways.

Councillors unanimously agreed to ask Councillor Ferguson to progress the above issues with the County Council as a matter of urgency. There have been several gaps in the fulfilment of the County Council’s duties around general maintenance, including gutters and footpaths. It is hoped that he will be able to generate the same momentum as has been seen in St Neots to help achieve a satisfactory resolution to these outstanding issues within the village.

14.3 Meadow Road Councillor King has had several meetings with Ian Winfield and the County Council Road Safety Team around the safety of Meadow Road. Unfortunately, it had been confirmed that the request to move the speed limits would not be supported. However, it would be possible to install warning signs (funded by the PC) that would be sourced and installed by Highways. Possible variations of these signs will be proposed by Ian Winfield. Estimated costings of this additional signage would be circa £600.00-£900.00. It was unanimously agreed that in order to ensure this could be finalised as quickly as possible, the Parish Council would pre-approve expenditure of up to £1000.00 for this purpose. (Proposed Councillor Scott and seconded Councillor Pett)

14.4 Councillors noted that several hedgerows and bushes had become overgrown around the village. Clerk to put a note in Roundabout to remind residents of their responsibilities around maintenance. Councillor Scott suggested that the council could investigate the possibility of entering the ‘best kept village’ competition as a drive to further enhance and consolidate community spirit. This was unanimously encouraged. Councillor Scott to look into further details.

15. Correspondence

15.1 Councillors noted the request for funding from St Neots Museum.

15.2 Councillors agreed to make a contribution to the Bluebell-19 benefice publication of £75.00.

15.3 Correspondence had been received from a resident concerned about the health and size of an Elderberry Tree on land at the Bowls Club which is owned by the Parish Council. The lease agreement has been reviewed and confirms Parish Council liability. Quotations will be obtained for professional advice and recommendations and a proposed course of action for the tree in question and also for removal of an elderberry tree on the southern boundary of the Bowls Club.

16. Planning

There were no planning applications requiring comment at this meeting.

17. Review of Clerk’s Working Arrangements

In accordance with S1(2) Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960 press and members of the public were excluded from the meeting whilst item 17 was considered. Minutes from this part of the meeting remain confidential.

18. Date of next Meeting

The Next Meeting has been arranged for Monday 2nd August 2021 at 7:30pm

This meeting closed at 9:34pm