MINUTES OF THE NORTHAW & CUFFLEY PARISH MEETING HELD AT 7.30pm ON TUESDAY 19TH NOVEMBER 2013 AT NORTHAW VILLAGE HALL
Present Councillor Adrian Prest (Chairman)
Councillor Linda Couch (Vice-Chairman)
Councillor Brent Cheetham
Councillor Peter Dace
Councillor Christine Burrows
Councillor Mike Clark
Councillor Eric Wilcox
The Clerk Jason Grocock
8 members of the public
Apologies were received from Councillor Fraser Church and Co-Optee Member Barry Knichel. Apologies were also received from County Councillor Mark Mills-Bishop, P.C. Ross Freeman, and PCSO Mark Randall.
46/13 Declaration of interest
There were none.
The minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Tuesday 17th September 2013 were approved and signed by the Chairman as a true record.
48/13 Update from PCSO Mark Randall
PCSO Mark Randall had sent apologies and was not able to be presented because of a current major exercise. A report had been provided in advance and circulated, and the Chairman quoted from the report. There had been an increase in the theft of and from motor vehicles in the area, and 4 thefts in the village. Due to the recent priorities set in conjunction with the local partners, high visibility visits to the local schools had been carried out to assist with parking as ASB issues involving parents, and cones had been placed in affected areas to prevent parents parking in dangerous positions. Regular speed checks and enforcement/high visibility burglary patrols had also been carried out in various locations in Cuffley. There had also been reports of thefts from letter boxes, connected with persons setting up fraudulent credit card accounts, and then seeking to collect the cards.
49/13 Question Time
There was a question from Mr Golding regarding the posting of Agenda, Summons, Minutes, & Meeting dates etc. for Committee and Council Meetings, and also asking if the purpose of the Council Website was solely for the purpose gaining Parish Council Quality Status. The Chairman commented that he had explained at the previous Council Meeting the difficulties encountered due to power cuts, staff holidays, etc. Requests for any information available to the public, but not yet posted on the Website could be E-mailed to the Clerk. A suggestion was also made to look at other Council’s Websites for comparison. The Chairman also commented that the Council’s web site whilst important was not the Clerk’s highest priority.
There was also a question from Mrs Golding regarding the posting of the Register of Members Interests on the Council Website, pointing out that other Council sites include details of Members beneficial interests in land, and also commenting that Councillor Eric Wilcox fails to disclose any employment, whilst it was known that he was working full time. The main question in summary was “why do our Parish Councillors feel that they have no obligation to be open with residents?” The Chairman stated that the Council was looking into the requirements for publishing the Register of Members Interests, and in the meantime this information had been taken off the Website.
50/13 Reports from Committees
Councillor Linda Couch reported that there had been three Planning Applications Committee Meetings held since the last full Council Meeting. There was nothing contentious to report. Residents were reminded that, if they see anything being built which does not look right, then they should report it the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Planning Department.
Policy & Resources
The Chairman reported that all of the items considered at the last meeting of P&R Committee were included on the Agenda for this Meeting.
Personnel & Urgency
There had been no meetings since the last full Council Meeting.
Planning Working Group
There had been no meetings since the last full Council Meeting but the Working Group would be meeting shortly.
51/13 Outside Committee Reports
a Cuffley Hall
Councillor Brent Cheetham gave a short report. There had been just one meeting of the Management Committee since the last full Council Meeting. The recent power cut had been something of a disaster for the Hall as an organised event with substantial ticket sales had to be cancelled, literally at the last minute. The Hall was trying to claim reimbursement from the electricity company for the lost bar takings etc. It was also reported that the Treasurer, Sid Paine would be retiring, so a replacement would be required shortly.
b Kidston Institute
The Chairman reported that he had attended the planned AGM of the Institute, but to say that this was a shambles was an understatement!
The Chairman of the Management Committee had forgotten about the meeting, there was no room booked, there was no format to the meeting, and the various discussions which took place were totally uncoordinated. This was a complete contrast with the previous excellent management over many years by the previous Chairman, Ray Islott. It was reported that the treasurer would be moving away from the area. The Clerk was asked to look for a copy of the constitution of the Institute.
c Northaw Village Hall
Councillor Eric Wilcox reported that there had been no meeting of the Committee since the last full Council Meeting. The Hall was continuing to be well managed and the financial position was good, with additional funds raised from a recently open house event.
d Welwyn Hatfield Association of Local Councils
The Chairman, Councillor Adrian Prest, reported that there had been no meetings since the last Council Meeting, but a Planning Training Course had been provided, which went on until after 10-00 p.m. this was very interesting with a large amount of useful information. An important point learned was that when we comment on Planning Applications we need evidence for what we say – we must be able to prove it, or we could be challenged and landed with substantial compensation costs.
f Welwyn Hatfield Community Safety Partnership Priority Setting Forum
The Chairman, who attends as a Borough Councillors, commented regarding how the Safer Neighbourhood Team links with the Welwyn Hatfield Safety Partnership. 8 or 9 Councillors attended the first meeting of the Forum, and the key priorities considered included speeding, anti-social behaviour, and parking issues. A web site was being set up.
52/13 Complaints Procedure
Under Agenda Item 8 a Complaints Procedure as recommended by the November Meeting of the P&R Committee was considered. The Chairman proposed the approval of the procedure recommended; this was seconded by the Vice Chairman, Councillor Linda Couch, and agreed by the full Council.
53/13 Policy for dealing with the Press, Media and Public
Under Agenda Item 9 a succinct Policy for dealing with the Press, Media and Public as recommended by the P&R Committee was considered. The Chairman proposed the approval of the Policy as recommended; this was seconded by Councillor Christine Burrows, and agreed by the full Council.
54/13 Draft Budget and Precept for 2014-15
The Clerk presented a 6 page report which provided the Council with an opportunity to discuss and agree the policy and strategy to enable the Clerk to prepare the draft detailed budget and proposed Precept for the next financial year, to be considered by the Policy and Resources Committee, and then recommended to the full Council Meeting in January 2014. The Council resolved that consideration should be given to comparing the terms and contribution rates etc. of the Local Government Pension Scheme and the new NEST pension scheme, and that a recommendation is made to the next full Council meeting. The Council also resolved that the Clerk should prepare a detailed budget for 2014-15 which allowed for the increases included in his report, subject to the net increase and resultant Precept increase being no more than 2%. This was proposed by the Chairman, seconded by Councillor Christine Burrows, and agreed unanimously.
55/13 Clerks Update.
The Clerk presented his usual Update Report illustrated by pictures, and this was accepted with thanks by the Council.
As there were no further matters to discuss, the meeting closed at 8.45 p.m.