NORTHAW & CUFFLEY PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD
AT 7.30pm ON TUESDAY 24th November 2015
AT ST ANDREWS CHURCH UNDERCROFT, CUFFLEY
Present Councillor Bob Stubbs (Chairman)
Christine Burrows (Vice Chairman)
Councillor Mike Clark
Councillor Eric Wilcox
Councillor Peter Dace
Councillor Sally Pollitt
Councillor Jane Brook
Clerk & Proper Officer, Jason Grocock
11 Members of the Public, & Sgt Preece representing the Local Police.
The Chairman asked if any Member of the public wished to record the Meeting, and one person indicated that they wished to record the meeting. The members of the public were made aware of the rules for Recording or Filming Meetings, as agreed by the Council.
Under Agenda Item 13, 10 minutes is allowed for questions from the public, with each questioner being allowed up to 3 minutes. The questioner is not entitled to an immediate response.
There were no apologies.
126/15 Declarations of interest:
There were none.
127/15 Co-option of new Councillor.
A vacancy for one Councillor had been created by the sad loss of Cllr Adrian Prest. The Clerk had previously circulated details of the procedure for the Co-option of a new Councillor. Each Councillor was entitled to cast one vote for the candidate of their choice.
The three candidates who had come forward; Andrea Allgood, Brent Cheetham, and Phillip Lambert, gave a presentation in turn, and then answered questions from Members of the Council. A vote was taken, and on a show of hands for each candidate in alphabetic order. Andrea Allgood received 4 votes, Brent Cheetham no votes, and Phillip Lambert 3 votes, and Andrea Allgood was therefore selected for Co-option to the Council.
128/15 New Councillor – Declaration of Acceptance of Office, & Declaration of Interests:
Andrea Allgood made a Declaration of Acceptance of Office before the Clerk, and therefore became a Councillor for the Parish with immediate effect. Cllr Allgood then confirmed that she had no interest to declare regarding the items on the Agenda.
129/15 Minutes of the Council Meeting on 6th October 2015:
Members agreed that the Clerk’s Minutes of the Council Meeting on 6th October 2015, which had been circulated in advance of the Summons for this Meeting, were a correct record of the Meeting.
130/15 Update by the Local Police:
Sgt Lee Preece presented a verbal report and answered questions from Members of the Council.
131/15 Reports of Committees and Working Parties:
Planning Applications Committee:
Cllr Burrows presented a verbal reported; twelve applications had been dealt with since the last meeting of the full Council 6th October.
Policy & Resources Committee:
The Chairman gave a full report on the items dealt with at the Meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee on 3rd November 2015, as listed on the Agenda, including the recommended Policy, Procedures, & Conditions, for Grants to Local Organisations; the Council accepted the new procedures as recommended by the P&R Committee.
The Clerk reported on progress on the KGV Grounds Treatment; the Clerk had made a Grant Application, with the assistance of the Football Club, for £43,000=. The Council would need to consider the level of their contribution to the cost of the works.
The Chairman outline plans for the Council’s Website, where quotes were now being considered; the Council’s level of involvement in the Future of Cuffley Library; and the failure by one person to observe the “One Minute Silence in memory of Cllr Adrian Prest” at the last Meeting of the Council, and Members agreed that no further action would be taken.
The Risk Management of Trees appears as a separate item on the Agenda (See below).
The P&R Committee had recommended the ending of the Processing of Council Tax Cheques by Parish Council staff, and this was agreed by the Council. Processing would cease at the end of December 2015, and staff would offer assist Residents in changing to payment by Direct Debit.
Following a report to P&R Committee, the Clerk was authorised to register buildings and other assets within the Parish as “Community Assets”. A list of Assets had been agreed by P&R Committee, and Councillors and Members of the Public were invited to suggest any further Assets to be registered as Community Assets to the Clerk.
The Clerk reported that there had been no response from the Agents to the Parish Council’s offer to purchase an area of Woodland advertised for sale, which was a part of Home Wood.
The Chairman summaries a report which had been considered by the P&R Committee, dealing with a number of concerns that the Council had with the Trustees who are responsible for the operation and management of the Cuffley & Northaw Youth Centre (C&NYC). The Parish Council sub-lets the premises to the Trustees of the C&NYC who are a Registered Charity. The Chairman, Vice Chairman and Clerk had met with the Trustees in early September, and the Clerk had then written to confirm the concerns raised, ask a number of questions, and seek clarification on various issues. There had still been no response to date. The P&R Committee had recommended that, failing a satisfactory response by the end of the current calendar year, the Parish Council should foreclose on the sub-lease; notify the Charities Commission regarding various breaches of the organisation’s constitution; and take over the operation of the Youth Centre on a temporary basis. The Council accepted the report; supported the proposed actions; and agreed to delegate to the Clerk and Chairman the authority to take action as described.
Cllr Sally Pollitt reported on the progress on preparations for the 2016 Village Day, and Cllr Peter Dace reported on the plans for the Leefe Robinson Commemoration, which would be combined with the Village Day Event.
Personnel & Urgency Committee:
The Chairman reported on the items considered by the P&U Committee Meeting on 19th November 2015, including firstly the difficulties in reaching agreement on the terms for new Leases for the Tennis and Bowles Clubs. Representatives of the Bowls Club had attended for this item, and were invited to speak. Members supported the logic of including break clauses to allow for the potential need for development of the KGV site. Discussions would be held with both Clubs to agree appropriate words for the relevant clause in the Leases.
The Meeting also discussed the issues regarding the Northaw & Cuffley Youth Centre, and a review of the letting of a CCTV contract, where it was agreed that this was not in breach of Financial Regulations. The committee had also accepted reports on Staff Overtime, Staff Appraisal, and a Grant Application by the Clerk re KGV.
Neighbourhood Plan Working Group:
The Chairman reported on progress to date with the creation of the Neighbourhood Plan, and the next stages. The first version of the complete Neighbourhood Plan should ready for discussion with WHBC in January 2016. The report was accepted by the Council.
132/15 Risk Management of Trees:
The Clerk reported that he had now received a professional survey of all Council owned trees which identified those where there were identified risks, categorised in three levels of priority for work to ameliorate the risks. The Clerk now needed to invite tenders for priority one work, and where cost effective, include also priority two works. The work could be phased over three years, but it was important to start priority one work as soon as possible, so that much of the works could be completed before the start of the bird nesting season. The work would be divided into separate lots relating to location. As total cost would exceed £25,000=, which in the current financial year could be met from identified savings, Council approval was now sought. The Council agreed that the Clerk could proceed with works as reported.
133/15 Approval of the report of the External Auditors:
The Clerk presented a report previously considered by the Policy & Resources Committee, which had recommended to full Council approval of the External Auditors Report. The Clerk was pleased to report that the extensive audit had identified no issue which needed action, and all legislative and regulatory requirements had been met.
The Council approved the report.
134/15 Outside Committee Reports:
Verbal reports were received from Cllr Dace (Cuffley Hall), Cllr Stubbs (Kidston Institute), Cllr Wilcox (Northaw Hall), and there had been no meeting of the Welwyn Hatfield Association of Local Councils.
135/15 Urgent Business:
There was none.
136/15 Questions from the Public:
The Chairman invited questions from the public, and three Member so the Public present spoke, with questions relating to the changes in the regime for on street parking; parking problems near Cuffley School; delays in fixing street lights when not working; and the need for disabled access to the Stations Platform. The Chairman responded to all questions.
137/15 Close of Meeting:
The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the Meeting at 8-55 p.m.
Clerk to the Council: Jason Grocock ABCC (Dip) BSc (Hons) CPFA