MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL MEETING OF NORTHAW & CUFFLEY PARISH COUNCIL
MEETING HELD AT 7.30pm ON TUESDAY 19th May 2015 AT NORTHAW VILLAGE HALL
Present Councillor Christine Burrows
Councillor Mike Clark
Councillor Eric Wilcox
Councillor Peter Dace
Councillor Sally Pollitt
The Clerk, Jason Grocock
6 Members of the public.
In the absence of the current Chairman, Cllr Adrian Prest, the current Vice Chairman, Cllr Christine Burrows took the Chair and opened the Meeting.
It was announced that one member of the public present wished to record the meeting and appropriate provision was made for this.
Cllr Burrows welcomed the new Member of the Council, Cllr Sally Pollitt.
80/15 Election of Chairman.
Cllr Christine Burrows proposed Cllr Bob Stubbs. This was seconded by Councillor Eric Wilcox. There were no other nominations. On a show of hands, Cllr Bob Stubbs was elected unanimously.
As Cllr Stubbs was not present he was not able to give a declaration of acceptance of office, and this would take place at the first meeting he is able to attend. With the agreement of Members present, Cllr Burrows remained in the Chair.
81/15 Election of Vice Chairman.
Cllr Dace proposed Cllr Burrows, seconded by Cllr Clark. There were no other nominations. On a show of hands Cllr Burrows was elected unanimously, and therefore able to Chair the rest of the Meeting.
82/15 Vice Chairman’s declaration of acceptance of office.
Cllr Burrows declared her acceptance of the office, and would fulfil the duties of the role of Vice Chairman to the best of her abilities.
83/15 Appointment of Committees & Working Groups, terms of reference, & delegation.
All Committees would be as per the terms of reference. All appointments were agreed by a show of hands.
Personnel & Urgency would be formed by the Chairman, the Vice Chairman and the immediate past Chairman.
Policy & Resources was agreed as Councillors Stubbs, Prest, Burrows, Clark, and Pollitt.
Planning Applications Committee was agreed as Councillors Burrows, Stubbs, Clark, and Brook, with Councillors Prest and Pollitt as reserve Members to attend as and when required and available.
Neighbourhood Planning Working Group was agreed as Councillors Stubbs, Prest, Clark, Burrows, Wilcox, and Pollitt. Under the terms of reference the Group also includes the Clerk and appropriate members who are not Councillors.
84/15 Review of Standing Orders, Financial Regulations, Land & Buildings, Insurance Cover, and other Policies and Procedures.
The Report of the Chairman under Agenda Item 6 was accepted. The Council agreed that the Standing Orders and Financial Regulations would be reviewed by the July Meeting of the Committee, which would report back to the full Council.
85/15 Appointment of Representatives of Outside Bodies.
Agreed by a show of hands:
Cuffley Hall – Cllr Dace.
Kidston Institute – Cllrs Prest and Stubbs.
Northaw Village Hall – Cllrs Wilcox and Clark.
Welwyn Hatfield Association of Local Councillors – Cllr Prest.
The Clerk is also an Officer Member.
Cuffley & Northaw Youth Centre – Cllrs Stubbs, Clark, and Dace.
Cllr Wilcox is a representative on the Welwyn Hatfield Police Community Safety Liaison Partnership, and Cllr Dace leads the Leefe Robinson Memorial Commemoration Management Committee.
86/15 The formal Annual Meeting of the Parish Council was concluded and the normal business meeting followed.
The Clerk had received apologies from Cllrs Prest, Stubbs, and Brook.
88/15 Declaration of Interests.
There were none.
89/15 Minutes of the last meeting.
The Minutes of the Council Meeting on 17th March as circulated with the Agenda were agreed and signed by the Vice Chairman. The Vice Chairman stated that she was not present at this meeting, but the Clerk reported that the minutes had been agreed by the previous Chairman.
If Minutes are circulated with a Summons and Agenda they can be taken as read, and the Clerk’s previous practice was to follow this.
Agreed: Future minutes would be circulated as soon as possible, and the Vice Chairman suggested within one week of the meeting. Minutes could also be posted on the Council’s Web Site as Clerk’s Minutes, pending their approval by the next full meeting of the Council, when they would then be replaced with the approved minutes. In this way, as the full Council meets only every two months, minutes, though not approved by Council, could be available to the public within weeks rather than months of the meeting referred to.
There were two matters arising from the minutes: 66/15 regarding a question at the meeting by Brent Cheetham suggesting that the Nursery in the Charles John Pavilion may not be permitted as it is a commercial activity, the Clerk reported that this had been referred to “Fields in Trust” as requested by Council. They had confirmed that this may be an inappropriate activity, and should be referred to the Charity Commission. Advice from the Commission is now awaited.
Re Minute 68/15 a response to the Parish Council’s letter of complaint had eventually been received from the Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, stating that it was not in the Leader’s remit to answer. The Clerk was asked to write again pointing out that this was an unacceptable response, and failing an adequate response, that the next step would be a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman. The Clerk was also asked to raise this again with our own County Councillor, Mark Mills-Bishop.
90/15 Update from the Local Police.
PCSO Sarah Legrove was present and presented a report to the Council.
91/15 Question Time.
One question had been received from the public within the deadline, from former Cllr Brent Cheetham. The Clerk had initially ruled this question inadmissible on the grounds that it related to a Borough Council Election Flyer, and was not therefore a matter for the Parish Council to answer. The Clerk had also advised the former Member that the wording in the question was not as stated on the flyer in question.
The Clerk’s response was not accepted by the questioner, who then submitted an amended question. Having taken general advice on the correct procedure from the Returning Officer, the Clerk had also ruled out the amended question.
Mr. Cheetham was present and protested at the Clerk’s decision and ask that his question be read out. The Vice Chairman reiterated the Clerk’s advice that this was a matter for the Returning Officer rather than the Parish Council, and sought comments from Members.
Cllrs Dace, Clark, and Wilcox agreed that the question should be read out. As this was the majority of Members present, Mr Cheetham was permitted to read his question, which sought the Council’s acknowledgement that the Cllr Prest’s statement that he supported the formation of SCANGB was erroneous. The Vice Chairman then ruled that the Meeting should move on.
92/15 Reports from Committees and Working Groups
Planning Applications Committee
The Vice Chairman provided a report on the work of the Committee since the last full Meeting of the Council.
Policy & Resources
There had been no meetings of the Committee since the last full Council Meeting.
Personnel & Urgency Committee
There had been no meetings of the Committee since the last full Council Meeting.
Neighbourhood Plan Working Group
Whilst there had been no meetings of the Group since the last Full Council Meeting in March, the Vice Chairman did provide an update on a Meeting with Colin Haigh, Head of Planning at the Borough Council. It was also noted that Cllr Prest had secured a further Grant of towards the costs of producing the Neighbourhood Plan, and that we are on schedule to have a working draft Plan by late 2015.
93/15 Summary Income & Expenditure Outturn, Approval of Annual Accounting Statement & Governance Statement for the financial year 2014-15.
The Clerk presented in detail a report under Agenda Item 14, confirming projections from the previous reports to P&R Committee and Council, that the total of underspends, savings and excess income for 2014-15 would be well in excess of £50K. The final figure was now expected to be over £90K.
The Clerk emphasized that all figures reported were subject to both internal and external audit. The internal audit would be carried out during June 2015.
As it was only possible to compile the expected final summary figures just before the meeting, and it had not been possible, due to the recent election of the new Council, to hold a P&R Committee to consider any more recent figures and report recommendations to Full Council, Members agreed that an additional P&R Committee would be held in June, in order that it may report back to a Full Council
Meeting later in that month, but in time for the statutory returns to be made by 30th June 2015.
94/15 Clerk’s Update Reports.
The Clerk provided his usual update reports in both spreadsheet format, with very little changed from the last report, and picture style. Almost all projects had now been completed, including a various new systems, defibrillators active, air conditioning operational, review of the PCSO SLA, and the addition of Policies to Standing Orders.
The Clerk also presented his usual update in pictures, and confirmed regarding previous concerns expressed by Cllr Wilcox that the Car Parks Warden/Handyperson had been appointed under the TUPE legislation. (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment)
Members also considered a related issue regarding the Saturday and Sunday Car Parking Charges at Soper’s Road Car Park, and resolved to increase the Saturday charge from £1= to £2=, when the new card only machine is introduced as the income to the Council would reduce to approximately 70p due to processing costs etc. This was a majority decision as Cllr Dace supported the option of moving to free parking on Saturdays and Sundays.
95/15 Outside Committee Reports
a. Cuffley Hall
The Committee had not net met.
b. The Kidston Institute.
The Committee had not met.
c. Northaw Village Hall
Cllr Clark gave a report on current activity including the replacement of chairs, accounts, & the ending of the Johnny Ramone Friday Music Nights due to the lack of support.
d. Welwyn Hatfield Association of Local Councils
The Association had not met since the last meeting of the full Council.
e. Welwyn Hatfield Community Safety Partnership Priority Setting Forum
The Community Safety Partnership had not met since the last meeting of the full Council.
f. Cuffley and Northaw Youth Centre.
The Committee had met during the previous 2 weeks but the Council had not been informed.
96/15 Other Urgent Business.
The one item of urgent business was the Soper’s Road Car weekend charges, and this had been dealt with under Agenda Item 15.
97/15 Close of Meeting.
As there were no further matters to discuss, the meeting closed
at 8-50 p.m.
Clerk to the Council: Jason Grocock ABCC (Dip) BSc (Hons) CPFA