Present Councillor Bob Stubbs (Chairman), Christine Burrows (Vice Chairman), Councillor Eric Wilcox, Councillor Peter Dace, Councillor Jane Brook, Councillor Andrea Allgood, Councillor Sally Pollitt, Councillor Mike Clark.
Clerk & Proper Officer, Jason Grocock
3 Members of the Public.
1 Member of the Press.
The Chairman asked if any Member of the public wished to record the Meeting. One person indicated that they wished to record the meeting. The member of the public was made aware of the rules for Recording or Filming Meetings, as agreed by the Council.
Apologies were accepted from Charles Walker MP; County Councillor Mark Mills-Bishop; and Ward Councillor Bernard Sarson & George Michaelides.
80/16 Declarations of interest:
There were none.
81/16 Minutes of the Council Meeting on 24th November 2016:
Members agreed the Clerk’s Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 24th November 2016, which had been circulated in advance of the Summons for this Meeting, with an amendment recording that Cllr. Stubbs had confirmed that there had been no meetings of the Welwyn Hatfield Association of Local Council since the last full Council Meeting.
82/16 Update by the Local Police:
The PCSO or a Police Officer was not present, but the Clerk gave a brief update on action being taken regarding vehicles obstructing the footpath on Hill Rise, Cuffley, and damage caused at the KGV Playing Fields by off-road Motor Bikes and Quad Bikes.
83/16 Reports of Committees and Working Parties:
Planning Applications Committee:
Councillor Burrows reported in brief on the 16 Planning Applications dealt with since the last Meeting of the full Council. The Metropolis Application considered at the Borough Council Planning Development Meeting on 5th January 2017 was not agreed, but the application for the Pipeline was accepted, but could only be effective if a future application for a Housing Development on the site was approved.
Policy & Resources Committee:
The Chairman reported on items considered, including the Maynard Place Development; the Water Tanks under Northaw Green, where the Parish Council will be erecting some small signs for vehicles; a Risk Assessment for the process transporting cash to the Bank; approval of future CCTV Works; the new Corporate E-mail System; and Borough Council charges for Green Waste Collection.
Personnel & Urgency Committee:
The Chairman reported on the recent meeting of the Committee which had agreed the Staff Annual Pay Awards; the agreement to provide backdated Employer Pension Payments for the periods when staff were employed but not provided with a pension scheme; and the entitlement of staff to make higher pension contributions from 1st April 2017 when the current limits would be removed.
Neighbourhood Plan Working Group:
There had been no meetings of the Working Group as progress was currently stalled awaiting the approval of the Draft Local Plan, which the Parish Council are preparing to challenge. (See separate Minute re Agenda Item 9.)
Website Working Group:
The Clerk reported on the progress since the last Council Meeting, including several changes made to pick up on comments made, such as providing a slide show of pictures on the top of the front page, and making it easier to find areas such as contact details for our Ward Councillors.
84/16 Review of the Grants to Voluntary Organisations:
Under Agenda Item 6, the Chairman reported on the revised Policies and Process for the application and awarding of Grants to Voluntary Organisations which was being recommended by the Policy & Resources Committee. The proposed revised Rules and Process had been circulated by the Clerk in advance of the Meeting. It was RESOLVED: that the revised Rules and Policy for the awarding of Grants to the Community was approved.
85/16 Outside Committee Reports:
Cllr. Pollitt gave a brief report on Cuffley Hall. Some new events such as a Beer & Food Festival and a Whist Night had been organised, but the Hall was currently estimated to be running at a loss of about £10,000= p.a.
Cllr. Burrows gave a brief report on the Kidston Institute, and Cllr. Wilcox gave a report on Northaw Village Hall, which was doing very well currently.
There had been no meeting of the Welwyn Hatfield Association of Local Councils.
86/16 December Income & Expenditure Monitor Report:
Under Agenda Item 8, the Clerk presented the December Income and Expenditure Monitor Report which had been previously circulated. The position was very similar to the October Budget Monitor budget report, as it again showed significant underspends as there had been no payments to date in respect of Grants, Major Projects, or the Neighbourhood Plan, and there had been no calls on the Contingency. The Chairman reported that the approval of the 2016-17 Budget which the Council had done at the January 2016 Council Meeting, had not been minuted as a resolution, and that should therefore be rectified at this Meeting. Following his proposal and a second, it was RESOLVED: that the Council had approved the Budget for the Financial Year 2016-17 at its meeting on 28th January 2016 under Minute 146/16.
The Clerks Report on the December Monitor was then accepted by the Council.
87/16 The Local Plan:
Under Agenda Item 9, the Chairman updated Members on the current position regarding the Draft Local Plan. The Council had engaged a Solicitor, who specialises in Planning & Local Plans, and the Chairman and the Clerk would be meeting him during February 2017 to discuss the process of challenging the Draft Local Plan. AECOM will be supporting the Council in challenging the Plan. There are a number of factors which work in favour of the Parish Council in challenging the Plan. The Draft Budget for 2017-18 allows for a total of £100,000= for the estimated costs of challenging the Plan.
The Neighbourhood Plan was being put on hold pending the outcome of the Draft Local Plan.
88/16 Policy for Election of Chairman:
The Chairman provided a brief report under agenda item 10. The proposed Policy had been floated by the Chairman at the last full Council Meeting, and was agreed in principle, but it was not known if it would be legal. The Chairman and Clerk had since consulted HAPTC (Herts Association of Parish & Town Councils), who had confirmed that the Council would not be able to remove a Chairman if they did not comply with the proposed Policy, but would be able to remove them from all Committees of the Council, hence severely limiting their effectiveness as a Chairman as they would not be able to take part in any policy formulation.
The Clerk, working with HAPTC, had agreed a form of words which would create a Policy which would be legal, and this had been circulated before the Meeting. If agreed by the Council, this would be appended to Standing Orders as a Policy of the Council along with all other Policies. The proposed Policy had been recommended by the Policy and Resources Committee at their recent meeting. RESOLVED:
That the proposed Policy for the Election of Chairman was agreed.
89/16 Budget and Precept for 2017-18:
The Clerk presented a report previously circulated as Agenda Item 11, along with a number of Appendices. This report and the attached appendices was very similar to the report to the Policy & Resources Committee in the previous week. All Members present with the exception of Cllr. Wilcox were present at that Meeting, when the Committee agreed to commend the Budget as set out to the full Council for approval.
The Clerk drew attention to the key items in the report and the appendices, particularly the provision of £100,000= for the estimated costs of challenging the Draft Local Plan, and the other Growth Items, Inflation, and the Savings being taken into account.
Appendix 1 set out the analysis of the Base Budget for 2016-17; Appendix 2A sets out the movements from the 2016-17 Base Budget to the draft Budget for 2017-18, with Gross Expenditure of £462,410=, and Income of £95,060=, excluding Precept Income & contributions from Balances of £113,250=. The proposed Precept is £254,100= after allowing for a 2.5% increase for Inflation and an increase of £54,900= as a contribution to the estimated costs of challenging the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Draft Local Plan.
Appendix 2B set out the Notes to Appendix 2A, and Appendix 3 set out the movement in Reserves and Balances.
90/16 Following proposal and second, it was RESOLVED:
The Council agrees the proposed budget as detailed in the report and the attached appendices, with Gross Expenditure of £462,410= and Income of £95,060= after allowing for the reduction in Council Tax Support Grant.
91/16 Following proposal and second, it was RESOLVED:
The Council agrees a Precept of £254,100= for the financial year 2017-18, and instructs the Clerk to issue this Precept on Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.
92/16 Urgent Business:
The Chairman asked the Council if they wished to commemorate in some way the 125th Anniversary of the creation of the Parish Council during the year 2019. Following discussion, Cllrs. Pollitt and Allgood volunteered to look into this and bring forward proposals to the next meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee.
93/16 Question Time:
Brent Cheetham enquired about the Cuffley Post Office in the Dry Cleaners, which had been closed since early December 2016. The Clerk would write to the Post Office to press for information regarding what action is being taken to provide Post Office Services in Cuffley again.
Cllr. Brook commented regarding the Turnpike Oak which had been severely pruned recently. The Clerk commented that the work had been organised by the Borough Council Tree Office. Cllr. Brook agreed that the contractors had done a good job.
Ken Golding enquired about the success or otherwise of the recent Over 60’s Community Party organised by the Parish Council. The Chairman commented that there were some 60 local residents attending, with particular appreciation for the Cuffley School Choir, the Singing for Fun Group, and the recorded music provided by the Clerk. The format had been changed from the previous year and it was a success. Information was also requested regarding the Parish Council’s current relationship with the Youth Centre. The Chairman confirmed that the proposal to terminate the Lease had now been withdrawn, and the Council were meeting with Centre Representatives.
94/16 Exclusion of the Press and Public:
There were no items proposed requiring the exclusion of the Press and Public.
95/16 Close of Meeting:
As there was no further business, the Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the Meeting at approximately 9-35 p.m.
Clerk to the Council: Jason Grocock ABCC (Dip) BSc (Hons) CPFA
These minutes can be downloaded in PDF format and printed by following this link: 19th Jan Full Council Minutes