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MINUTES OF THE NORTHAW & CUFFLEY ANNUAL PARISH COUNCIL MEETING HELD AT 7-30 pm ON TUESDAY 21st MAY 2013 AT NORTHAW VILLAGE HALL

Present                       A. Prest (Chairman), A.L. Rust (Vice Chairman), L.R.Couch,
B. Cheetham, P. Dace, E. Wilcox.

Clerk:              Mr. Jason Grocock.

PCSO Mark Randall

5 Members of the public, 2 Borough Councillors, and 1 Member of the Press.

1/13     Election of Chairman:

There was only one nomination for the office of Chairman of the Council, Councillor Adrian Prest, who was re-elected as Chairman unanimously.

2/13     Chairman’s declaration of acceptance of office:

Councillor Prest made a declaration of acceptance of the office of Chairman.

3/13     Election of Vice Chairman of the Parish Council:

There was only one nomination for the office of Vice Chairman, Councillor Anita Rust, who was re-elected unanimously.

4/13     Vice Chairman’s declaration of acceptance of office:

Councillor Anita Rust made a declaration of acceptance of the office of Vice Chairman of the Council.

5/13     Appointment of Committees:

As noted in the Agenda, there was one proposed change to amend the terms of reference of the Personnel and Urgency Committee, to add at the end of the terms “unless the Council has delegated the power to decide in its stead.” This was proposal by the Chairman was withdrawn.

As there were no proposals for change of membership of the Committees, the existing membership of Committees will continue for the Council Year 2013-14.

6/13     Review of Standing Orders, Financial Regulations, Land Buildings & Equipment Insurance Cover, Membership of Other Organisations, Complaints Procedures, and Policy for dealing with the Press and Media.

The Clerk reported that the Insurance Cover was recently reviewed and was being adjusted for the purchase of new equipment and obsolete items written off.

It was recommended and agreed that the other items should be considered in more detail by the next Policy & Resources Committee, with a report on recommendations coming back to the full Council in due course.

7/13     Appointment of Council Representatives on Outside Bodies:

There were no proposals for change at the current time.

8/13     Chairman’s Report on the year 2012-13.

Under Agenda Item 8, the Chairman started to present his Annual Report, but had difficulty being heard due to interruptions by a member of the pubic, Mrs Golding, who shouted out questions and comments. Mrs Golding was asked to be quiet on several occasions, and warned that a resolution would be put to exclude her from the Meeting, but the interruptions from her continued. An official warning, in accordance with Standing Orders, was therefore read out by the Chairman. Interruptions and shouting still continued from Mrs Golding, and so a resolution was put to exclude Mrs Golding from the Meeting. The resolution was carried by four votes to one, with one abstention. Mrs Golding was therefore again asked to leave, but refused.

The PCSO present at the meeting, Mark Freeman, was then asked to remove Mrs Golding from the meeting. PCSO Freeman spoke to her, but Mrs Golding would still not leave the meeting.

PCSO Freeman commented that he was not able to touch Mrs Golding to remover her, thought the Clerk could. Mark was asked to call for assistance from an officer, but his comment was, “that would not help”.

The Clerk was then asked to escort Mrs Golding from the Meeting, which he attempted to do by taking her by the arm. Mrs Golding continued to resist leaving, but was eventually persuaded to leave by the Clerk.

The Chairman then concluded his report on the year.

9/13     The business of the Annual Parish Council Meeting was concluded, and the meeting moved to consider normal Parish Council Business

10/13   Apologies:

Apologies were received from Councillors Verity Hawkins and Fraser Church.

11/13   Declaration of interest:

There were none.

12/13   Minutes:

The minutes of the Council Meeting held on Tuesday 19th March 2013 were confirmed as a true record, and then approved and signed by the Chairman.

13/13   Update from PCSO Mark Randall:

PCSO Mark Randall presented a report on crime over the previous two months, including 7 road traffic incidents, 1 burglary of a dwelling, and the theft of a digger from the rear of Tesco in Cuffley. The vehicle involved in the theft had been caught on the Parish Council’s CCTV system. There was also an incident regarding an unexploded shell in Cuffley.

14/13   Question Time.

There was one question from the public, from Mr Golding, quoting the Freedom of Information Act, and asking for disclosure of how much the Chairman claimed in the last financial year as either expenses or allowances.

The Chairman answered that £1,369-77p had been claimed by him in the last financial year.

15/13   Motion proposed by the Chairman:

“That, ahead of the outcome of the Borough Council’s Emerging Core Strategy and any Local Plan which results from it, and ahead of any Neighbourhood Plan of its own, which may not be formally adopted until after the approval of such Local Plan by the Borough Council, this Council wishes to place on record its strong opposition to any significant incursion into, or reduction of, the green belt surrounding the two villages of Northaw and Cuffley, as it is considered that this would threaten the important separation between these two villages and could ultimately lead to the loss of the distinctive identity of each, which we seek to maintain.”

The motion was seconded by Councillor Wilcox, and agreed unanimously.

16/13   Reports from Committee.

Planning Applications Committee.

The Committee Chairman, Councillor Couch gave a report. The Committee had met 4 times since the last full Council Meeting, and considered some 26 planning applications. There was nothing controversial. Problems were still being experienced with the Planning IT Systems.

Policy & Resources Committee.

There had been no meetings of the Policy & Resources Committee since the last full Council Meeting.

Personnel & Urgency.

There had been one meeting of the P&U Committee since the last full Council Meeting. This was to consider an urgent item, which was a draft response to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, regarding the setting of Council Tax excessive principles for local precepting authorities, which are mainly Parish and Town Council.

A copy of the draft response is attached to the minutes. This was agreed and supported in full. Suggested additional information was added to the draft by the Committee, pointing out the example of a 2% rise in Parish Council Precept producing only a 0.04% rise in the eventual Council Tax.

Planning – Member Officer Working Group.

There had been one meeting of the Planning Member Officer Working Group since the last full Meeting of the Council, on 14th May, in order to receive a presentation from JB Planning Associates. This demonstrated the services available for the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan.

17/13   Report on the Income & Expenditure Outturn, the Approval of the Accounting Statement, & the Annual Governance Statement for 2012-13.

The Clerk presented a report under Agenda Item 8 of the Business Meeting, which had been previously circulated to all Members and was made available to the public.

The Income and Expenditure Outturn Report was attached as Appendix A to the report, and indicated a net saving compared with Budget of approximately £81,600=. This reflected additional income of almost £18,000= and underspends and savings on expenditure of almost £64,000=.

Copies of the completed “Accounting Statement for the Year” and the “Annual Governance Statement” were circulated with the report and made available to the public. The accounts and related documents were to be available to the Public at the Council Offices from 28th May to 24th June 2013.

The total expenditure for the financial year was £197,400= compared to the budget for the year of £261,900=. The total income for the year, including the precept of £184,730= was £279,460=, compared with a budget of £261,900=.

The Chairman offered thanks to the Clerk for all of  his achievements during his first full year in office, and particularly in making such significant savings in the financial year.

18/13   The Council approved unanimously the “Accounting Statement” for the financial year ended 31st March 2013.

19/13   The Council approved unanimously the “Annual Governance Statement” for the year ended 31st March 2013.

20/13   Smarten Up Cuffley.

The Clerk presented a report for information and discussion which had previously been circulated as Agenda Item 9. This dealt with works both in hand and planned to improve the appearance of Cuffley, which in some ways had deteriorated since the millennium. It was agreed that the proposals would be considered in more detail by the Policy & Resources Committee.

21/13   Outside Committee Reports

a)                   Cuffley Hall Management Committee.

Councillor Brent Cheetham gave a short report on the recent meetings of the Hall Management Committee, and described a number of urgent maintenance issues requiring attention. The Hall would be seeking further grant support from the Parish Council to assist with the funding of outstanding works. Mention was also made of requests for proper signs on the main road, and Clerk was taking this up with the Highways Authority.

b)                   Cuffley & Northaw Youth & Community Centre.

Councillor Anita Rust reported that the next meeting was planned for 5th June 2013.

c)                   Kidston Institute.

There was nothing further to report since the last meeting.

d)            Northaw Village Hall.

Councillor Wilcox reported that the last meeting took place on 25th April, bookings were good, and finances were also good.

e)              Welwyn Hatfield Association of Local Councils.

The Chairman reported on the joint meeting which had taken place with the Borough Council and commented on the 6,000 objections which had been received on the Core Strategy and Plan.  It would probably be in late 2014 to early 2015 before the next draft is issued. The Chairman also reported on the WHALC meeting held at Lemsford on 16th May, which the Clerk also attended. Items included  savings and the transfer of assets and responsibilities from  the Borough Council to Parish Councils, which had been raised by this Council. The Clerk added comments regarding a proposed Black List of Hall Users, which was not supported, and the Clerks proposal for a shared list of good contractors and service providers, which was agreed. The retirement of Judith Watson, the Chairman of the Herts Association of Local Councils on 20th July this year was also reported.

22/13   Urgent Matters.

As there were no further matters of such urgency as to require consideration, the meeting closed at 9-15 p.m.

Signed ……………………………………………

Dated……………………………