MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL POLICY & RESOURCES COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD AT 4-00 p.m. ON TUESDAY 5th SEPTEMBER AT THE COUNCIL OFFICES, MAYNARD PLACE CUFFLEY
Present Councillor Sally Pollitt (Chairman); Councillors Bob Stubbs (Vice Chairman);
Councillors Christine Burrows; & Mike Clark. Councillor Andrea Allgood in attendance.
Jason Grocock (Clerk & Proper Officer).
One Members of the Public.
The Chairman asked if the Member of the public present wished to record the Meeting, and he did. Rules have been agreed by the Council regarding the Recording or Filming Meetings and these were made known to the person recording the meeting.
PR/36/17 Apologies: Accepted from Committee Member Councillor Jane Brook
PR/37/17 Declarations of interest: The Chairman, as a Trustee of Cuffley Hall, declared an interest in any items related to the Hall.
PR/38/17 Minutes of the last meeting:
The Clerk’s Minutes of the meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee held on 11th July 2017 had been circulated in advance of the meeting, and were agreed as a correct record of that meeting. There were no matters arising from the Minutes.
PR/39/17 Review of the PCSO Service:
The Chairman reported that it had been agreed at the last full Council Meeting to continue with another year of the PCSO Service. We would now have a Priority Setting Meeting with the Police every 3 months. Another Member was required to attend the meetings, and a volunteer was therefore required. It would also be necessary for Members to agree the priorities to be put forward in advance of the quarterly meeting.
PR/40/17 Health & Safety Group Report:
Councillor Allgood reported that the Group had now been set up and held the first meeting. The main aim was to achieve compliance with Health and Safety, and encourage a Health and Safety Culture. It was noted that there would be set up costs, and on-going costs, so a Budget for these would be required.
PR/41/17 Works and Projects:
The Clerk presented a report on the current position of all projects currently in the programme which had not been completed, and displayed the report via the OHP.
The Youth & Community Centre could probably come off the list now. A date would be agreed for another joint Annual Parish Meeting. Members asked for a number of projects to be added to the programme:
The Millennium Gardens Rear Wall re H&S Issues – Members agreed that the Clerk should employ a Structural Engineer to examine the wall and provide a detailed report on its condition, risks, and recommended solutions should works be required.
It was noted that some plants may need to be removed.
The Northaw Best Kept Village Sign – The Clerk described the options for repair or renovation, and agreed to have a quoted cost for Members before the next meeting.
Sings to prevent parking on Northaw Green – The quote which the Clerk obtained for making purpose designed signs as previously agreed was most excessive. It was suggested that an off the shelf standard sign should be sought from say a street furniture company. The Clerk to progress.
The Northaw Memorial Replacement of Damaged and Unmatching Stones – The Clerk had finally found someone who could undertake the work, and would provide a high standard workmanship. The outline cost is some £20,000=, and the Clerk will send detail to all Members for information and comment.
Replacement Wings in the original style for the William Leefe Robinson Memorial – There was concern that if these were brass in particular, then they may be stolen, as the original ones were, or damaged in an attempt to remove them. The Clerk provided options for the replacement and was asked to report the quoted cost for replacement as soon as this could be obtained.
Responsibility for private footpaths in Cuffley – two examples were know where these were not being maintained because no-one would accept responsibility, from Sutherland Avenue, and the one near the Catholic Church to the Scout Hut. As much of the growth came from adjoining gardens, it was agreed that the neighbouring residents should be asked to deal with overhanging vegetation from their gardens and clear the path, and it should not be a question of the Parish Council taking responsibility for the passageways, just getting someone local to take responsibility.
1950’s style road sign for Northaw Green – Cllr. Clark made the request for this to be provided. It was noted that it would not be legal for the Parish Council to just put up a road sign, but permission of Highways was required, and they may have appropriate very old signs in their depots which could be used. Cllr. Clerk to draft an example, and the Clerk to then progress.
White Lines and new signs for the Cuffley Car Parks – The Clerk reported that these were already ordered as part of a joint project with WelHat. This had been delayed by the Borough several times for various reason. The Clerk was asked to write to the leader of the Borough Council to and copy the Ward Councillors, seeking action to progress the works for signs and white lines.
Also agreed that the Pot Holes in Bowls Club Car Park should to be filled.
PR/42/17 Budget Strategy & Longer Term Planning:
The Clerk provided a handout and slide to prompt discussion on the Budget Strategy for 2018-19 and for longer term planning. Areas considered included inflation, unavoidable commitments, potential savings, one-off budgets, the level of balances, and potential longer term projects like the 3G pitch, and a new pavilion at KGV.
One of the strategies agreed in the previous year was the reduction of Precept by the amount of the increase for the current year for the challenge to the Local Plan. The Vice Chairman advised that some £50K would be required for the completion of the Neighbourhood Plan in 2018-19.
It was noted that the Parks and Open Spaces normally underspends by up to £20K, and it was agreed that the Precept for 2018-19 should be reduced by a substantial amount.
PR/43/17 July 2017 Budget Monitor Report:
The Clerk presented the latest Budget Monitor Report for the year to 31st July 2017.
There was little change from the first full quarter monitor. There was a shortfall in Car Park Income, but nearly all Expenditure Heads were still significantly underspent for the year to date. For the next Monitor Report the Clerk would include the previous year actuals, and also build in a forecast outturn for the year.
PR/44/17 Use of Shared Calendars:
The Chairman spoke briefly about the advantages of Members and Staff using electronic shared calendars, and agreed to start the ball rolling by sharing her own calendar. As previously advised by the Clerk, shared calendars could be made available via the private area on the Council’s Website.
PR/45/17 Aged Debtor Report:
The Clerk also presented the Aged Debt Report as at the previous evening, the 4th September 2017, hence providing a more current report than the precious reports up to the end of the last full month. There was just one debt of £60= which had been outstanding for more than 3 months. The position was an improvement on the previous report to the Committee.
PR/46/17 Commemoration of 125 Years of the Parish Council:
Cllr. Allgood reported that the small group was now due to meet, but there was a need to look at what budget may be required.
PR/47/17 Refurbishment of KGV Playground or Playpark:
The Clerk reported on the current position, and the names of the four relevant parent residents suggested to join the group were accepted. Cllr. Brook and the Chairman were also on the Working Group, and Cllr. Brook would be arranging the first Meeting of the Group.
PR/48/17 Local Plan Update:
The Clerk provided feedback from a meeting he attended earlier in the afternoon, with Colin Haigh, the Chief Planning Officer for the Borough Council.
Cllr. Stubbs reported that the Council is now as prepared as it could be for appearing before the Inspection at the examination of the Local Plan. The Clerk confirmed that the third and final set of air quality monitoring tubes had been sent off to the laboratory for analysis, and the report should be available in good time for the second and more relevant stage of the Local Plan Examination. The Clerk also advised that he had spoken to the Programme Officer for the Local Plan Inspection to complain about the delay in announcing the key dates for stage two which starts in October. The dates had still not been settled but should be announced in about 2 weeks, though the Programme Officer will not give any promises. When finally announced they would be posted on our Website.
PR/49/17 Questions from the Press & Public:
There were none.
PR/50/17 Exclusion of the Press & Public:
The required resolution was passed and the Member of the Public left the room.
PR/51/17 Maynard Place Land:
The Vice Chairman confirmed that the Council’s Solicitors had advised that the Council had a case for damages. Court Papers had been issued by the Council’s Solicitors during the previous week.
PR/52/17 Clerk’s Imprest Payments to Suppliers, Contractors & Staff:
The Clerk displayed all Imprest Payments for the first three months of the current financial year. One member considered it was not necessary to present such details at Committee Meetings. The Clerk advised that he was aware that some Members did not want to see the details, but they could be circulated to those who did have an interest in such great detail, but individual pay details could not be E-mailed as they could not be stored electronically by Councillors under the data protection regulations. Members agreed that the Clerk should obtain costs of using a bureaux for monthly salary payments. The Vice Chairman stated that these were administrative matters and should not be brought for discussion at Committee Meetings, and the Clerk agreed.
PR/53/17 Parish Council Review:
The Chairman reported briefly on progress regarding the Council Review, and had discussed with Cllr. Allgood forming a list of areas or questions so that it was more clear to the Contractor what work was required. The Chairman offered to circulated this so that a discussion could be held at the forthcoming Council Meeting, and then depending on views, proposals could be drawn up to be presented at the next Council Meeting for a decision on how the Council Review, or Health Check should be taken forward. The Vice Chairman commented that, if
a new system for approving overtime was to be considered, then this could be part of the Parish Review, but planning overtime in advance could be very difficult, and most of existing overtime relates to the Deputy Clerk’s pattern of working. Proposals to increase the Deputy Clerk’s basic hours had been tried in the past, but was not acceptable to the member of staff.
PR/54/17 Audit queries re inspection of Accounts by the Public 2016-17:
The Clerk had prepared a briefing note to circulate to save time. The query related to notifying to the External Auditor a date for the viewing of the Statements and Accounts in the previous year, which was in the event a few days before they had been agreed by the Council, and this in turn was because the actual date for the meeting to approve the Annual Return had to be put back from the planed date due ensure a quorum for the Council Meeting. As this had already been reported in the previous year’s Auditor’s Report, it was not clear why it was being raised again. The Clerk had written to BDO to question this, but no reply had been received to date.
PR/55/17 Items accepted as urgent by the Clerk:
There were none.
PR/56/17 Close of Meeting:
As there was no other business, the Committee Meeting Closed at 6-40 p.m.
The clerk’s minutes from this meeting can be downloaded from here: Clerks Minutes of PR Committee on 5th September 2017.pdf