MINUTES OF COUNCIL MEETING, HELD AT 7.30pm ON THURSDAY 18th JANUARY 2018,
IN THE CUFFLEY HALL MEETING ROOM.
Present: Councillor Sally Pollitt – Chairman
Councillor Bob Stubbs – Vice Chairman
Councillor Christine Burrows
Councillor Mike Clark
Councillor Jane Brook
Councillor Peter Dace.
Councillor Andrea Allgood.
Councillor Eric Wilcox.
Clerk & Proper Officer, Jason Grocock
Deputy Clerk – Carol Branigan
Borough Councillor Bernard Sarson
Two Members of the Public.
Borough Councillor George Michaelides.
106/17 Declaration of Interests:
A declaration of none-pecuniary interest was made by Cllr. Allgood as Chairman of the Residents Association in respect of Agenda Item 6 –Members Conduct; and from the Chairman, Cllr. Pollitt, as a Trustee of Cuffley Hall.
107/17 Minutes of the Council Meeting on 23rd November 2017:
The Council accepted the Minutes of the Council Meeting on 23rd November 2017, which had been circulated before the summons for the current meeting, as a correct record. There were no matters arising from the Minutes raised.
108/17 Update from the Local Police:
The PCSO was not present and no report was available.
109/17 Member Conduct – Report of the Vice Chairman:
On a vote, it was decided not to discuss item 6 on the Agenda at that point in the Meeting. On a further vote it was decided not to discuss the item after exclusion of the Public.
On a point of order called by Cllr. Stubbs, the Clerk confirmed that the Extraordinary Council Meeting Summoned for 19th January 2018 must still go ahead as it had been legally summoned, and could not be cancelled or rescinded by any resolution at this meeting.
On a vote to decide if the item should be deferred, the votes were tied, and the Chairman decided that it was not appropriate to use a casting vote, as the item related to the Chairman. The Chairman moved to the next item on the Agenda.
110/17 Parish Council Review – Proposed Resolution, “that CPA is engaged to start the Review at the earliest opportunity”:
The Chairman stated that, following P&R discussions and work by the Clerk, we had moved from a full review, honing down to a review which would deal only with HR and Health & Safety issues. The additions to the paper circulated were a half day training on H&S & a further half day on HR procedures.
Cllr. Stubbs asked the Chairman to explain what the deliverable were in the review which was now proposed. The outcome would include a workable HR Policy; Staff trained to do Risk Assessments; with existing policies redrafted to give compliant policies. The Chairman and Cllr. Allgood agreed to meet the Consultant again in order to obtain greater clarity on the finished document, which would including the deliverables, so that the outcomes are clear.
The Clerk advised that a vote on a revised paper could not be taken by E-mail. The Chairman therefore proposed that a revised paper from CPA including details of the deliverables would be circulated to all Councillors for comment, and then taken to P&U Committee for a decision. Resolved: That the Council agreed the proposal that clarification of the deliverables would be sent out to all Members for comment, and then taken to P&U Committee for a decision.
111/17 Committee Meeting Times – Report of Cllr. Brook:
Cllr. Brook proposed that it would be beneficial for both Members who work and the Public to move Committee Meeting times from daytime to early evening. Cllr. Stubbs spoke in supported the proposal.
By a majority vote, it was Resolved: That the Council agreed to move Committee Meetings to a 6-00 p.m. start with effect from May following the Annual Meeting of the Council.
112/17 Payment of Councillors expenses, and an Annual Allowance – Report of Cllr. Brook:
The Clerk had circulated relevant documentation in advance of the meeting, and confirmed that Councillors were already entitled to claim expenses of office, such as travel costs for attending Meetings to represent the Council, but in terms of the payment of an Annual Allowance to Councillors, this was not entirely the decision of this Council, as such a proposal should be referred to the independent Remuneration Panel of the Borough Council for a decision regarding the amount of Annual Allowance. Any decision must apply to all Councillors, but individual Councillors could decide not to claim the allowance if they wished. The amount of the allowance was usually expressed as a percentage of the allowance given to Borough Councillors. A decision could also be made solely in respect of an Annual Allowance for the Chairman of the Council. Borough Councillor Sarson commented on the operation of the Remuneration Panel and the level of allowances agreed by the Borough Council, and also offered to provide to the Clerk, further information on the allowances & expenses paid. On a vote it was decided by a majority that Councillors should not be entitled to claim and Annual Allowance. On a further vote, by a majority, it was Resolved: That the Chairman should be entitled to an Annual Allowance.
Cllr. Sarson would provide further information to the Clerk regarding taking this forward.
Reports from Committees & Working Parties:
113/17 Planning Applications Committee:
Cllrs Stubbs commented briefly on the meetings since the last Full Council Meeting, and there had been 19 applications dealt with.
114/17 Policy & Resources Committee:
The Chairman reported on the main items dealt with by the Meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee held on Tuesday 9th January 2018. The Committee had recommended that Council Grants should continue on the same basis as in the current year, and should be published in the next edition of Update. This was agreed. Other items reported included land for a Mobile Phone Ariel, where views of the public should be considered; the future production of Update, including an improved Council Logo image; the KGV Playground renovation project; outstanding works & projects; Financial Risk Assessments; Data Protection support, where the Clerk is looking for three quotations to provide the Data Protection Officer Role; and sings for Northaw Green, where the Council agreed that the decision on acceptability should now rest with the Northaw Councillors.
The numbers of objections to the no-return within the day rule, and the £10= charge for more than 4 hours for Maynard Place Car Park was discussed. The Council Resolved: agreed that the no-return rule should be changed to within 2 hours; the £10= charge should apply after 6 hours rather than 4; that the charge for over 4 hours and up to 6 should be £2=; and that a “Short Stay Car Park” sign should be erected at Maynard Place Car Park; and a “Long Stay Car Park” sign should be erected at the entrance to Sopers Road Car Park.
115/17 Personnel & Urgency Committee:
There had been no meetings of the Committee since the last Full Council Meeting. Cllr. Burrows asked why there had been no minutes circulated for the P&U Committee Meeting on 12th October 2017. The Clerk confirmed that after 2 revisions to the Minutes, they had not been agreed by the Chairman, but the third version could now be circulated to all Members. The Chairman confirmed that the outcomes of the meeting had been circulated to all Members on 15th October 2017, but the minutes would not be signed until the next Meeting of the Committee, and the Meeting would decide if the Minutes were a clear record of the Meeting. Cllr. Burrows also asked about Minutes of the Playground Working Group. The Clerk advised that when the Group was set up there was no requirement to issue Minutes. The Chairman advised that the outcomes of the Group Meetings had been reported to P&R Committee by the Chairman of the Group, Cllr. Brook however. Cllr. Brook confirmed that she did have notes of the Meetings and could prepare Minutes for circulation.
116/17 There had been no meetings of the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group.
117/17 Health & Safety Group:
Cllr. Allgood confirmed that the Group had agreed a draft Health & Safety Policy, and the Clerk had prepared H&S Risk Assessments for all recent Council Events. The Risk Assessments and the draft Policy would be available for the external consultant. Cllr. Wilcox was asked to complete a Risk Assessment for the Home Wood Working Group.
118/17 The 125 years Commemoration Group:
Cllr. Allgood reported that she had held a very useful Meeting with the Clerk and the Chairman earlier in the week and agreed the production of a Parish Footpath Map with photographs later in 2018. The Local Authors, Mike Clark & Pat Kline had agreed that photographs from their publications could be used. The Clerk confirmed that 3,000 copies of the Footpaths Publication would be produced.
119/17 Budget and Precept 2018-19 – Report of the Clerk:
The Clerk presented a report in some detail, which had been previously circulated with 3 Appendices attached. The proposed budget included all items recommended by the meeting of the P&R Committee earlier in the month, and the Clerk explained all of the Growth and Savings items as set out in the relevant papers attached.
The Precept for the current year is £254,100= with £462,410= of Expenditure, and £95,060= of Income, with £113,250= of contribution from Balances. The proposed budget for 2018-19 is £485,540= of Expenditure, and £84,420= of Income, with £202,020= contribution from Reserves, in order to produce a Precept figure of £199,100= which is in line with the Budget Strategy agreed by the November Full Council Meeting. This was in order to deliver a £55,000= reduction in Precept, which was the same figure for the previous year Precept increases relating to the Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan, and this amount the Council had agreed at the time, should be returned to Council Tax Payers in the following year.
Cllr. Dace complemented the Clerk on an excellent report and proposed supported the proposed resolutions in respect of the Budget and the Precept for 2018-19. As there were no questions, the Council then voted on the Proposed Resolutions.
120/17 Resolved: The Council agrees a budget for 2018-19 with reductions & growth as described in the report, and net expenditure of £401,120=, with a required contribution from balances of £202,020=.
121/17 Resolved: The Council approves a Precept of £199,100= for the Clerk to issue on the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.
122/17 KGV Playground Working Group:
Cllr. Brook provided an update on the progress made by the Playground Working Group, which had now held 3 Meetings.
Four Companies had been contacted, and the next stage would be meeting with the Clerk to draw the specification. The next report would be to the P&R Committee in March.
123/17 Neighbourhood Plan & Local Plan–Report of the Vice Chairman:
Cllr. Stubbs gave an update on the current position on the Local Plan, and the Clerk circulated a paper with two options for the Consultants to prepare a report to support the presentation to the Inspector for Stage 4 of the Plan Inspection. The Council agreed Option B, at a cost of £1,600=, to include the site visit and photographs for the report. There was no movement on the Neighbourhood Plan.
Outside Committee Reports:
124/17 The Cuffley Hall Management Committee:
The Chairman reported on the Cuffley Hall Management Committee, which was in a better position regarding bookings than in the previous year.
125/17 The Kidston Institute:
There had been no Meetings.
126/17 Northaw Village Hall:
The Hall now had an acting Chairman, Dr Brook.
127/17 Welwyn Hatfield Association of Local Councils:
The Clerk confirmed that there had been no meetings. The Clerk had however been invited to a Meeting of Clerks & Chairmen of Parish Councils with the Leader of the Borough Council, and Senior Officers in March. Topics for the Meeting were being invited. Cllr. Stubbs raised the difficulties of seeing the display screen at Planning Meetings, and this was reiterated by Cllrs Allgood, and Brook. Cllr. Sarson commented on the technical difficulties experienced. The Clerk confirmed that the Meeting was scheduled for the evening of 28th March 2018.
128/17 Urgent business accepted by the Clerk:
There was none from Members. The Clerk commented on the invitation for quotes for the next four editions of Update, the work to produce an improved image for the Logo, and the deadline for the pre-Easter Edition
129/17 Question Time:
A question had been raised by Brent Cheetham relating to his approach to Borough Councillor Irene Dean regarding the disruption for occupants of the Station Road Flats caused by the building development in Maynard Place, particularly regarding parking. The response from Cllr. Dean was that it was the Parish Councils problem and they should help to arrange for parking spaces for Residents. Cllr. Stubbs commented that the Parish Council had objected to the lack of parking spaces for the development of the new Flats, and the Developer had then allocated spaces in front of existing garages which would reduce the parking spaces for existing residents. The Borough Council however thought that was acceptable. Flat owners would therefore now find that the value of their property is reduced as there are no parking spaces available. It is therefore certainly not a matter for the Parish Council. WelHat Planners are only concerned with parking provision for the new Flats, although they would know that the loss of parking for existing residents would be the result. The Parish Council cannot therefore help on this occasion.
Local resident Brian Warren commented on options for flat owners regarding purchasing the freehold, Hertsmere Borough Councillors, Free Parking in Potters Bar, the inability for the Public to speak during the Meeting, and not being welcomed to the meeting. The Chairman responded and said that the points made would be noted.
130/17 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.
131/17 Council Land in Maynard Place, Cuffley:
The Vice Chairman provided an update on the current position regarding the encroachment on the Council’s Land in Maynard Place.
132/17 Other Urgent Business:
There was no other urgent business.
133/17 Close of Meeting:
As there was no further business, the Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the Meeting at approximately 10-07 p.m
You can download a copy of these minutes here: Revised Minutes of Full Council Meeting 18th January 2018