Meeting of Longdon, Queenhill and Holdfast Parish Council at 7:30PM on Monday 6th November 2023 at Longdon Village Hall, GL20 6AZ
Present: Trish Mullins (Chair), Jim Unwin, Neil Gray, Kate Cook, Nick Radford, Phil Jones
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), two members of the public
1. Chairman’s welcome and announcements
Trish Mullins opened the meeting and welcomed attendees.
2. Apologies for absence: To receive apologies and to approve reasons for absence
Apologies were noted from Hugh Davey.
3. Declarations of personal and prejudicial interest
3.1. Register of Interests: With reference to items on the agenda councillors are reminded of their responsibility to declare interests and to update their register of interests as required.
3.2. Disclosable Pecuniary Interests: To declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests in items on the agenda and their nature.
Jim Unwin declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in item 12.5.7.
3.3. Other Disclosable Interests: To declare any Other Disclosable Interests in items on the agenda and their nature.
Trish Mullins declared a Non-Registerable Interest in item 8.4.
3.4. Dispensations: To consider any written dispensations from councillors who have declared an interest but wish to stay in the meeting during that time to aid discussion / speak / vote.
4. Open Session
The meeting was adjourned for the open session
4.1. District Councillor
It was noted that Jennie Watkins (District Councillor) had been dealing with a number of matters raised by parishioners between meetings.
4.2. County Councillor
An update was received under item 6.2.
4.3. Parish Paths Wardens
There were no matters to report.
4.4. Public participation
A landowner raised concerns regarding the clearing of scrub and hedging between the village playing field and their field (item 6.3).
The meeting resumed following the open session.
5. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 2nd October 2023
It was RESOLVED to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chair.
6. Progress reports
6.1. Community Speedwatch
It was noted that the Speedwatch volunteers were still awaiting the results of the Police vetting process.
6.2. Traffic calming gateway features and grant funding
It was noted a site visit had been conducted with the Clerk, JACS (gate supplier), Worcestershire County Council Highways and Tom Wells (County Councillor) to review the location and sizing of the gates. It was RESOLVED to approve a revised quote of £1,376.00 (plus VAT) and place an order for the gates.
It was noted that Tom Wells (County Councillor) had offered £1,000.00 towards the traffic gateways, however as these had come in under budget, it was RESOLVED to make enquiries to see if the £624.00 surplus could be utilised for other projects (such as restoration of the playing field goal posts).
6.3. Play area fencing repairs and tree felling
It was noted that the tree felling work had been completed near to Bear Lane and the fencing repair work could proceed. Thanks were extended to a number of local parishioners who helped with the work and clearing up the site.
At the further end of the site the scrub had been cleared and the hedge lowered to open up the view towards the Malvern Hills; positive feedback had been received from parishioners.
It was noted that a landowner had raised concerns regarding the clearing of scrub and hedging between the village playing field and their field and the landowner suggested that livestock might be able to get through the remaining vegetation. The Parish Council extended their sincere apologies for undertaking the work without more thoroughly consulting adjacent landowners and it was RESOLVED that permanent stock fencing would be installed along the boundary as a priority, to replace the temporary fencing already installed.
6.4. Play area inspections
It was noted that inspections of the play area were due to be undertaken and recorded.
It was RESOLVED to approve costs up to £200.00 for the provision of a suitable play area sign with telephone number to report damage; arrangements would be finalised under delegated authority.
6.5. Collaboration with AppFest organisers
It was RESOLVED to seek an update from Jennie Watkins (District Councillor).
6.6. Streetlighting removal
It was noted that an order had been placed for the removal of the lighting columns at The Badhams and Orchard Ridge.
7.1. South Worcestershire District Councils: SWDPR submitted for independent examination
The above examination of the SWDPR was noted.
7.2. Worcestershire County Council: Tree Warden Scheme
It was RESOLVED to advertise a parish Tree Warden vacancy via the Parish Council’s website and via WhatsApp.
7.3. Worcestershire County Council: Parish Winter Newsletter
The Parish Winter Newsletter was noted and it was considered that additional grit bins were not currently required.
7.4. Worcestershire County Council: Local Flood Risk Management Strategy and Surface Water Management Plan consultation
The above consultation was noted.
7.5. Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities: Community Ownership Fund
The above funding scheme was noted.
7.6. Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs: Complying with biodiversity duties
It was RESOLVED to produce a draft biodiversity policy for consideration at the next meeting.
8. Parish matters for discussion/decision
8.1. To receive an update on the Longdon United Charities and to consider the appointment of trustees
An update on the Longdon United Charities was considered and it was RESOLVED to appoint Phil Jones and Dave Mullins as trustees to the charity.
8.2. To consider obstruction of signage following the installation of the Queenhill noticeboard
It was RESOLVED to discuss repositioning the church sign and ‘no lorries’ sign with the St Nicholas Church Warden and with Bredon School.
8.3. To consider locations for a noticeboard at Holdfast
It was RESOLVED to defer discussions until a future meeting.
8.4. To consider concerns relating to unoccupied property on Marsh Lane, Longdon
Trish Mullins left the room for the duration of this item.
It was noted that concerns had been reported directly to Malvern Hills District Council for investigation and that Jennie Watkins (District Councillor) was looking to expedite a resolution. It was RESOLVED that the Parish Council would keep a watching brief and review any available updates at future meetings.
8.5. To adopt an annual ‘action plan’
It was RESOLVED to adopt a 2023-24 annual action plan with the following amendments:
• Queenhill noticeboard – delivered
• Holdfast noticeboard – target date 31/03/24
8.6. To consider an update on a leaflet for new parishioners
A draft leaflet for new parishioners was considered and revised.
8.7. To consider a date for an ‘in-house’ training session provided by the Clerk
It was RESOLVED to hold a training session at 6:30PM, immediately prior to the Parish Council meeting on the 5th February 2024.
8.8. To note the response summitted under delegated authority to MHDC’s polling district, polling place and polling station review
It was noted that a response had been submitted under delegated authority with no objections.
9. Highways and Lengthsman Scheme
9.1. To receive an update on the Lengthsman Scheme and to consider any items for the Lengthsman’s work schedule
It was RESOLVED to ask the Lengthsman to clear the gutters and gully covers near to Manor Farm.
9.2. To receive an update on highway drainage matters and to consider actions
It was noted that highway flooding issues were still being experienced at Queenhill and that further ditching and jetting work was still required. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk would collate details and photographs of the issues and liaise with Worcestershire County Council accordingly.
9.3. To approve a contract for services for regular grass cutting of amenity land and to consider quotes received
A template contract for services was considered and approved, noting that contractor public liability insurance would be required. The following areas of grass cutting would be included on the tender documents: Bear Lane/B4211 junction (including grass bank), playing field/play area, village hall site.
10. Play area
10.1. To receive and update on the refurbishment of the goal posts and to consider options for the replacement of the goal post nets
It was RESOLVED to approve powder coating costs of £250.00 plus VAT to refurbish the goal posts.
It was RESOLVED to enquire whether the County Councillor’s Divisional Fund could be utilised for this project.
11.1. To consider the following applications to be determined by Malvern Hills District Council:
11.1.1. M/23/01318/FUL: Lower Swell Farm, Longdon Marsh, Longdon, Tewkesbury, GL20 6BD. Proposed farm access.
It was RESOLVED that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.
12.1. Budget and Precept: To consider and approve the 2024/25 budget and precept
It was RESOLVED to approve the 2024/25 budget and to request a precept of £13,970.00.
12.2. Bank mandate: To receive an update on bank mandate changes and online access
It was noted that the bank mandate paperwork had been processed successfully and Neil Gray and Jim Unwin were now full power signatories with access to the online account.
12.3. Budget expenditure: To consider and approve
It was RESOLVED to approve the budget expenditure.
12.4. Bank reconciliation: To consider and approve
It was RESOLVED to approve the bank reconciliation.
12.5. Invoices: To approve the following invoices for payment:
12.5.1. David Hunter-Miller (Clerk’s salary and expenses)
12.5.2. HMRC (PAYE)
12.5.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund (Clerk’s pension)
12.5.4. P R Elgey (grass cutting): £190.00
12.5.5. Jeremy Moore (Lengthsman September): £128.00
12.5.6. Jeremy Moore (Lengthsman October): £256.00
12.5.7. B J Unwin Forestry Consultancy Ltd (playing field trees): £600.00
12.5.8. GHG House and Garden Maintenance Ltd (noticeboard): £450.00
It was RESOLVED to settle the above invoices.
12.6. Direct Debits: To note the following payments:
12.6.1. 06/10/23 Google Cloud EMEA (email hosting): £27.60
12.6.2. 20/10/23 Southern Electric (streetlighting): £110.80
The above direct debit payments were noted.
13. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was RESOLVED to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Review of earmarked reserves
• Councillor vacancies
14. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 6:30PM on Monday 8th January 2024.
The meeting closed at 9:36PM.