NORTHAW & CUFFLEY PARISH COUNCIL MINUTES OF COUNCIL MEETING,

HELD AT 7.30pm ON THURSDAY 15th MARCH 2018,

IN THE CUFFLEY HALL MEETING ROOM.

Present       Councillor Sally Pollitt – Chairman
Councillor Mike Clark
Councillor Jane Brook
Councillor Peter Dace.
Councillor Andrea Allgood.
Councillor Eric Wilcox.

Clerk & Proper Officer, Jason Grocock
Deputy Clerk – Carol Branigan

5 Members of the Public

Borough Councillors George Michaelides & Bernard Sarson

140/17      Apologies:
County Councillor Stephen Boulton.

141/17      Declaration of Interests:

A declaration of none-pecuniary interest was made by the Chairman, Cllr. Pollitt as a Trustee of Cuffley Hall, and Cllr. Wilcox as a Member of the Management Committee of Northaw Hall.

142/17      Minutes of the Council Meeting on 18th January 2018, and of the Extraordinary Council Meeting on 19th January 2018:

The Council accepted as an accurate record the Minutes of the Council Meetings on 18th and 19th January 2018.

143/17      Matters arising from the Minutes:

Regarding Committee Meeting times, Minute 111/17 on 18th January, it had been decided to delay any change until after the two new Councillors had been Co-opted.

Regarding Minute 112/17, payment of Councillors Allowances, Borough Cllr. Bernard Sarson had advised that there had already been an agreement by the Borough for the payment of an annual allowance of £250= for the Chairman.

The Chairman also commented on the reduction in the Precept for 2018-19 agreed at the 18th January Meeting, and householder would have now seen the actual reduction shown in their Council Tax Leaflets.

144/17      Update from our PCSO:

The PCSO was not present, and sent apologies, but had provided a report detailing crime statistics in the Parish, which was read by the Deputy Clerk. The Chairman requested comparative crime statistics for Brookmans Park for the next Meeting.

145/17      Agreement for Scope of Internal Audit – Report of the Clerk:

The Clerk provided a brief report on the recommended scope. The Council agreed that the scope of the Internal Audit for the current year should include Salaries & Pensions; the Asset Register; Financial Risk Assessments; and Procurement, and the Auditor had been made aware of the items.

146/17      Report on Public Benches in the Parish:

Cllr Allgood gave a brief report. All 44 Benches had been surveyed by Cllr. Allgood, accompanied by the Parish Footpath Warden. The Council agreed that, subject to checking with the Borough Council, the Clerk should have removed all unsafe benches, and the Parish Council should take responsibility for all Benches in the Parish.

147/17      Responsibility for Northaw Hall – Report of the Chairman:

Cllr. Wilcox, as a Member of the Management Committee of the Hall, reported on the background and was seeking similar support and undertakings by the Parish Council for Northaw Hall as those provided by the Council for Cuffley Hall. The Chairman explained the key difference, mainly that the ownership of Cuffley Hall is vested in the Parish Council, and held in trust on behalf of the Residents of the Parish, whilst Northaw Hall is not in the ownership of the Parish. The Clerk reported that the ownership of Northaw Hall is not currently Registered. The Council agreed that a Working Group should be set up to look into this issue.

148/17      Adoption of the Complaints Procedure – Report of the Chairman:

The Clerk had circulated a proposed Complaints Procedure and further copies were available at the meeting. The Council agreed to add a paragraph dealing with complements, and rename the document “Complements and Complaints Procedure”.

149/17      Appointment of Representatives for Kidston Institute – Report of the Clerk:

The Clerk reported that there are now vacancies for two Parish Council representatives for the Kidston Institute Management Committee. The Chairman agreed to attend the next Meeting in April.

The Council agreed to delay the appointment of representatives until the Annual Council Meeting in May, when the two new Councillors will have been co-opted.

150/17      Approval of Terms for the Invitation of Tenders for the replacement KGV Playground – Report of Cllr. Brook:

Cllr. Brook had met with the Clerk for advice on the content of the specification, and it was proposed that six specialist suppliers and contractors were to be invited to tender for the first phase of the project, which is for the younger aged children. Phase two will be for older children or teenagers, and will be for equipment outside the Playground in other parts of the Playing Fields. A budget of £50,000= had been agreed for phase one of the project and £25,000= for phase two.

151/17      The Council resolved that Standing Orders requiring the open advertising of invitation to tender would not apply in this instance, on the basis that specialist contractors were required.

152/17      The Council resolved that £10,000= of the original budget for phase two of the project should be moved to phase one to enable a roundabout suitable for disabled children to be included.

153/17      The budget for phase one would therefore increase to be £60,000= and phase two reduce to £15,000=.

151/17      Village Day 2018, Sunday July 8th – Report of the Chairman:

The Council agreed the rates for stalls at the Village Day, which would be very much as last year, with no charge for “not for profit organisations”; £100= for commercial Food Stalls, including VAT; for ordinary commercial stalls, £50= including VAT; local residents with a small stall, £25= including VAT; a full page advert in the programme will be £100= plus VAT; half page £50= plus VAT; quarter page £25= plus VAT; and for those bringing Vintage Cars, a stall for selling items will be only £15= including VAT. The last item is new for this year, following requests. Entry for the day will be £1= per person, and children under 16 free, with entry fees going to various Charities.

152/17      Review of Standing Orders – Report of the Chairman:

There will be certain areas, such as staff matters, will be changing this year. Some areas also do not match with Financial Regulations, and these will also need amending. The new version of Standing Orders will be agreed at the Annual Meeting in May. Members are invited to look through the draft which was circulated to see if they can identify the need for any further changes.

153/17      Review of Financial Regulations – Report of the Clerk:

The Clerk reported that, as with Standing Orders, there will be a number of changes to Financial Regulations this year, such as updated Public Contract Regulations 2015, and the EU Utilities General Contract Regulations, to be referred to and again these will be circulated before the Annual Meeting in May when they will be formally agreed by the Council. The Internal Auditor had recommended that the contract figure of £15,000= should be increased to £25,000= as used in General Contract Regulations.

154/17      Review of Internal Controls & Management of Risks – Report of the Clerk:

The Clerk had circulated a paper in advance of the Meeting, detailing the types of controls and management of risks employed. The Clerk had also circulated the Interim Audit Report for the current Financial Year, and explained how the items picked up were being dealt with.

155/17      The Council agreed the report and the actions set out in the Report, but Chairman reminded Members that it had been agreed to delay any decision regarding the use of Cloud Backup until after the Council Review had been completed. Regarding the second resolution it was noted that not all of the areas planned had been covered and those not covered in the Interim Audit would be covered in the final Audit in May.

Resolved:

156/17      That the report on the review of internal controls and for the management of risks is accepted by the Council.

157/17      That the completion of the Interim Audit and the observations made by the Internal Auditor are noted and the actions taken confirmed.

158/17      Vacancy for two Councillors – Report of the Clerk:

The Clerk reported that there had been insufficient demand for an election, and that the Council were therefore now able to Co-opt to fill the two vacancies. The Clerk would therefore be advertising the vacancies for Co-option and inviting any local electors to ask for

further information and make an application, including a résumé, to be considered for the vacancies. A meeting would be organised for Members to meet the applicants and make a decision. The meeting will be open to the public and the decision made by a simple vote,

with each Member having two votes, one for each vacancy. The proposed date for the Meeting is 26th April 2018.

Reports from Committees & Working Parties:

157/17      Planning Applications Committee:

Cllr. Brook commented briefly on the meetings since the last Full Council Meeting, and reported on two objection which had been made.

158/17      Policy & Resources Committee:

The Chairman reported on the main items dealt with by the Meeting on 6th March which had not been covered elsewhere on the Agenda. This included the progress on, Parish Council Review, the Annual Parish Meeting, the Health & Safety Policy, and Data Protection. The quotations for assisting the Council in meeting the new Data Protection Legislation, GDPR, were considered from 3 companies as options 1, 2, and 3. Resolved: that the Council agrees Option 3, and will enter into contract with this Company.

159/17      Personnel & Urgency Committee:

There had been no meetings since the last Council Meeting.

160/17      The Health & Safety Group:

Cllr. Allgood reported that documentation had been submitted to the Review Consultant, and his comments are awaited.

161/17      125 Year Commemoration Group:

Cllr. Allgood reported that it is intended to try to bring forward the production of the Maps, which will go to each household in the Parish, to coincide with the Hertfordshire Year of Health which is being launched ready for the summer this year.

162/17      Neighbourhood Plan and Local Plan:

The Chairman reported that the Local Plan Stage 4 would be from the 18th to 25th of June 2018, and something will be posted on the WelHat Website after Easter in terms of what the Inspector will be looking at. The Clerk reported on a letter from Colin Hague to the Inspector, Melvin Middleton, referring to a Green Belt report which would deal amongst other things with “washed over villages”, and land adjoining villages, and this will include the Green Belt sites on Northaw Road East, which the Parish Council is objecting to. If opportunities now don’t exist for delivering 20,000 dwellings, then they will look further afield in Welwyn. This is connected with the Green Belt review report, which the Borough currently has out to Tender. The programme has therefore now slipped by well over 2 years, and our representative is not now likely to be able to appear until September this year. In view of the degree of slippage in the adoption of the Local Plan, and the time which has elapsed since we produced our Neighbourhood Plan, it would be appropriate to review our Plan to identify any changes now required. A Meeting of the Working Group would therefore be scheduled for June – July.

Outside Committee Reports:

163/17      The Cuffley Hall Management Committee:

The Chairman reported that the Clerk had progressed the new Lease for the Hall, and this was now with the Management Committee Chairman and Treasurer for comments.

164/17      The Kidston Institute:

Nothing further to report.

165/17      Northaw Village Hall:

There was nothing further to report.

166/17      Welwyn Hatfield Association of Local Councils:

The Clerk reported that he believed that the Meeting planned for 28th March 2018 was now being cancelled, and he would look into this.

167/17      Urgent business accepted by the Clerk:

There was none requested from Members

168/17      Question Time:

A Member of the Public asked if the Council was required to have a Vice Chairman, and the answer was no.

The Chairman reported in answer to written question, that the Council would be reviewing the website re such issues as ease of use, and the retention of too much information.

169/17      Exclusion of the Press and Public:

The standard resolution was passed to exclude the Public from the remainder of the Meeting on the grounds of the confidential nature of the business to be discussed.

170/17      Council Land in Maynard Place, Cuffley:

The Clerk reported that several witness statements had been collected by the Council’s Solicitor. The next stage should be a meeting between the parties, and the Clerk would be discussing the latest evidence with the Council’s Solicitor.

171/17      Approval of Contract for the restoration of Northaw War Memorial:

The Clerk had been advised by various companies, who had been invited to provide quotes for the restoration of the Memorial, that they were unable to quote for the work and a specialist company was required. The Clerk provided for Members examples of the work of a

very specialist stonework company, Kim Meredew Stone Ltd, and the quotation they had provided. Cllr. Allgood suggested that the Council should see example of the stone which will be used. The Clerk confirmed that the contractor had taken samples of stone which had broken off from the Memorial and analysed them to identify the exact type of stone required for the renovation.

172/17      Resolved: that subject to the receipt of samples of the stone to be used, the Council accepts the quotation from Kim Meredew Stone Ltd, for the renovation of the Northaw War Memorial.

173/17      Other Urgent Business:

There was no other urgent business.

174/17      Close of Meeting:

As there was no further business, the Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 9-50 p.m.

The full document can be downloaded here:  Minutes of Full Council Meeting 15th March 2018