MINUTES OF THE NORTHAW & CUFFLEY PARISH MEETING HELD AT 7.30pm ON TUESDAY 18TH MARCH 2014 AT NORTHAW VILLAGE HALL
Present Councillor Adrian Prest (Chairman)
Councillor Christine Burrows (Vice Chairman)
Councillor Brent Cheetham
Councillor Peter Dace
Councillor Mike Clark
The Clerk Jason Grocock
County Councillor Mark Mills-Bishop.
Borough Councillor John Nichols.
10 Members of the public.
Received from Councillor Eric Wilcox.
The Chairman stated that two other familiar cases were no longer in attendance; former Vice Chairman, Linda Couch had now moved from the area, and Fraser Church had also resigned due to business commitments. There are therefore two vacancies to fill, and in order to follow the normal procedures, this would not be dealt until the next full Council Meeting.
68/13 Declaration of interest
Councillors Burrows and Clark declared their respective interests in SCANGB which was to be discussed later on the agenda.
The minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Tuesday 28th January 2014 were considered, and Councillor Dace suggested that reference ought to be included relating to the interruption and unacceptable behaviour cause by a member of the public at the last meeting. Appropriate words had been prepared by the Chairman and Members agreed that these should be added to the previous minutes, which were then approved, and would be signed by the Chairman as a true record.
70/13 Update from PCSO Mark Randall or PC Ross Freeman
PC was present to provide a short report on incidents since the last meeting of the Council, including reference to various drug related offences in the Parish, and expressed appreciation of the Clerks actions in arranging for the clearance of an area which had been used as a Drug Den. The Clerk reported that members of the public are even handing in packets used for drugs in the Council Office.
PCSO Mark Randall had been carrying our speed monitoring in various areas in the Parish, and regular school patrols to deal with continuing traffic related problems around the Cuffley School.
71/13 Question Time
There were no questions from the public.
72/13 Annual Parish Meeting
The Chairman outlined the procedure planned for the Annual Parish meeting, which this year, for the first time ever, would be repeated on a second day in order to cope with the expected large numbers because of topic including development threats to the Green Belt around Cuffley.
73/13 Reports from Committees
Councillor Christine Burrows gave her first report as Chair of the Planning Applications Committee. There have been three meetings of the Planning Applications Committee since the last meeting of the Council. There had been in increase in enquiries from the public regarding applications and a significant amount of work had been involved in dealing with applications as well as pre-planning consultations meetings requested by developers. Members of the public had also more frequently been in attendance at meetings.
The Chairman thanked councillors Burrows for the admirable way in which she had taken on the Planning role, particularly as she was a relatively new Councillor.
Personnel & Urgency
There had been two meetings since the last full Council Meeting. Firstly the Committee had met as a matter of urgency to consider an Events License Application by Brook Farm, which is actually just outside the Parish in Broxbourne Borough. The Clerk had visited the proposed venue with Councillor Dace and met the applicants, as there had been some concern expressed by residents, particularly those living in The Meadway. Representations were made and the applicants made changes to their License Application according, such that there was no need to make further objects to the Broxbourne Borough Council. The second meeting was held to deal with the introduction of a staff pension scheme as previously agreed by the Council and delegated to P&U to deal with. The Committee recommended a scheme and the relevant terms to the Policy & Resources Committee.
Policy & Resources
The Policy & Resources Committee had met once since the last meeting of the Council. The Committee agreed the recommended terms by P&U Committee for the Pension Scheme, including making the maximum employers contribution under the scheme for the financial year 2013-14 in recognition of the time taken to agree and implement the scheme. Annual grant contributions for the Northaw and Cuffley Halls were agreed for the new financial year, 2014-15.
Councillors Expenses & Allowances were considered and no change on the current arrangements was agreed, whereby a Chairman’s Allowance is paid, but no allowance for other Councillors. The current budget monitoring position was reported by the Clerk. Contractual arrangements included the current banking arrangements with the addition of the new Vice Chairman as a signatory. Finally there was a presentation by SCANGB, including the consideration of a Grant to SCANGB. (Councillors Burrows and Clark had a interest and so were not permitted to take part the decision on this matter.) It was agreed to move to Agenda Item 9, Grants to Community Organisations at this point:
74/13 Grants to Community Organisations
£1,500= was agreed as a grant along with the permitted use of the parish Council’s newly acquired projector. The Clerk confirmed that a grant to such a protest type organisation as SCANGB was possible if the grant was classified as expenditure under Section 137, with evidence that the cause in question is supported by the Community, as is the case in this instance with the number of signatures on the current petition against the proposed development by Metropolis on Green Belt Land. Resolutions of the Council were then passed, firstly to agree the grant of £1,500= to SCANGB and secondly to the effect that the grant was accepted by the Council as meeting the requirements of Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972.
(Power of the Local Authority to incur expenditure on purposes not otherwise authorised.)
75/13 Neighbourhood Planning Working Group
The Chairman reported that the work of this group had now really taken off. The main work at the last meeting of the NPWG was the preparations for the Annual Parish Meetings with the theme being the resistance of development threats to the Green Belt and the linked requirement for a Neighbourhood Plan. The Clerk confirmed that he had made the official application for acceptance of the Neighbourhood Plan Designated Area by the Borough Council and was waiting a response.
76/13 Outside Committee Reports
a Cuffley Hall
Councillor Brent Cheetham gave a short report. There had been two meetings since the last Council. A new Hall Executive Committee Chairman, Mr Peter Roberts, had been chosen following the decision of Derek Collett to stand down after several years of sterling service. Following the resignation of the long running Treasurer, Sid Pane, a replacement, Mr Bob Knight has been chosen. Grants during the last year from the County Council and the Parish Council had been crucial in keeping the Hall’s finances just in the black for another year.
b. Northaw Village Hall
The last meeting of the Northaw Village Hall Committee welcomed three new Members, including the Councillor’s new representative, Mike Clark, who was voted in as Vice Chairman.
c. Welwyn Hatfield Association of Local Councils
The Chairman that this had not met since the last Council Meeting.
d. The Kidston Institute.
The Institute is this evening holding a crisis meeting as the Chairman had resigned and the Treasure had moved away from the area. The building currently needs urgent attention, but the Church is the fall back position if there is no Chairman appointed tonight.
e. Welwyn Hatfield Community Safety Partnership Priority Setting Forum
The Chairman reported that as far as he was aware, the Forum had not met, but following the loss of Linda Couch a new Parish Council representative was required if Members could consider this.
77/13 Budget Monitoring Report.
The Clerk presented the latest budget monitoring report under Agenda Item 9 describing the position on each main service heading. A handout with details of the 11 month position had been circulated showing a very pleasing position with income above the profiles budget and expenditure well below expenditure, reflecting further savings of over £50,000 achieved. The report was accepted with thanks to the Clerk.
78/13 Review of Internal Controls and Management of Risk
The Clerk presented a report under Agenda Item 10 dealing with the review of internal controls and the management of risks faced by the Council. Some improvements in systems and procedures had been made over the previous year, such as in dealing with cash, banking, and quotations & tendering for works. The Auditor had been consulted and was happy with the revised procedures. The Clerk’s report was accepted.
79/13 Clerk’s Update
The Clerk presented his usual Update Report illustrated by pictures, and this was accepted with thanks by the Council.
80/13 Appointment of Internal Auditor
The Clerk presented his standard annual report dealing with the appointment of an Internal Auditor for the year ahead, in preparation for the forthcoming Annual Audit of Accounts. The Clerk recommended continuing with the existing audit company, IAC Ltd, and this was accepted by the Council.
81/13 Annual Meeting of the Parish Council
The Chairman reported that this would take place on Tuesday 20th May at 7-30 p.m. in Northaw Hall, and asked Members to consider in the meantime what Committees the wished to serve on for the next Council Year and advise the Clerk or Chairman accordingly in preparation for the meeting.
82/13 Council Meeting Dates
The Chairman reported that there may be a need to change some Council Meeting dates from the normal third Tuesday of alternate months during the balance of the year due to availability of the Clerk and certain Councillors. Dates would be published shortly.
As there were no further matters to discuss, the meeting closed at 9.25 p.m.
Clerk to the Council: Jason Grocock ABCC (Dip) BSc (Hons) CPFA