NORTHAW & CUFFLEY PARISH COUNCIL MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING, HELD AT 7.30pm ON THURSDAY 24th November 2016 IN CUFFLEY HALL, MEETING ROOM, CUFFLEY
Present Councillor Bob Stubbs (Chairman), Christine Burrows (Vice Chairman), Councillor Eric Wilcox, Councillor Peter Dace, Councillor Jane Brook
Clerk & Proper Officer, Jason Grocock
2 Members of the Public.
Ward Councillor George Michaelides
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 Cllrs Clark, Pollitt, and Allgood.
Apologies received from Charles Walker MP; County Councillor Mark Mills-Bishop; and Ward Councillor Bernard Sarson.
61/16 Declarations of interest:
There were none.
62/16 Minutes of the Council Meeting on 20th October 2016:
Members agreed that the Clerk’s Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 20th October 2016, which had been circulated in advance of the Summons for this Meeting, were a correct record of the Meeting.
63/16 Update by the Local Police:
The Parish PCSO, Ben Arnold, was unable to attend the meeting. The Chairman gave feedback regarding Police & Warden action to deal with obstructive parking near Cuffley School.
64/16 Reports of Committees and Working Parties:
Planning Applications Committee:
Councillor Burrows reported in brief on the 22 Planning Applications dealt with at two Committee meetings since the last Meeting of the full Council. The Metropolis Application would be considered at Borough Council Planning Development Meeting on 5th January 2017.
Policy & Resources Committee:
The Chairman reported on items considered, including the Maynard Place new Flats & Pizza Take-away; potential S106 funds allocated to the Parish Council re the KGV North and the Turbo Centre Developments; Councilor’s Travel issues, which would be referred to the Clerk in the first instance; Staff Pensions; and the Northaw Phone Box use.
Personnel & Urgency Committee:
There had been no Meetings since the last full Council Meeting.
Neighbourhood Plan Working Group:
There had been no meetings of the Working Group.
Website Working Group:
The Clerk reported on the progress since the last Council Meeting, and provided a spreadsheet listing all pages & the position on each, with most completed; confirmed that no further meetings of the Working Party would be required, and thanks Members for their contributions. The site was nearing completion and Clerk expected it to be ready to go live before Christmas.
65/16 Review of the Grants to Voluntary Organisations:
The Chairman reported on the P&R Committee Meeting on 22nd November 2016, which was called specifically to review the Grants System to be applied in 2017, as three Councillors, Cllrs Brook, Pollitt, & Wilcox were arguing for changes, whilst the other five Councillors were happy with the existing system. The P&R Committee agreed that some minor changes were required, but the three Councillors were arguing for more substantial changes relating to the entitlement of organisation to be eligible for grants, and the voting system applied. The Committee are now looking to the three Councillors to put forward firm proposals for change, which must be legal& constitutional, and a paper will be brought to the next full Council Meeting in January 2017. There will most likely be two possible voting systems, and the Council will decide which is preferred.
66/16 Council Policy on Harassment and Bullying:
The Clerk presented a report previously circulated. Following debate the policy was accepted by 4 votes to 1, with Cllr Dace dissenting. The Policy would become an Appendix to the Standing Orders of the Council.
67/16 Outside Committee Reports:
Cllr. Pollitt was not present to report on Cuffley Hall, but the Clerk confirmed that the Disabled Chair Lift & related equipment was installed & working, and so the application for Grant payment of £5,000= would now be made. Cllr. Burrows (Kidston Institute) confirmed that there had been no meetings.
Cllr. Wilcox, (Northaw Hall) confirmed that there had been no meetings, and there had been no meeting of the Welwyn Hatfield Association of Local Councils since the last full Meeting of the Parish Council.
68/16 October Income & Expenditure Report:
The Clerk presented the October Income and Expenditure Monitor Report which had been previously circulated. The position was similar to the Half-year 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 Clerks Report was accepted by the Council.
69/16 The Neighbourhood Plan and the Local Plan:
The Chairman updated Members on the current position regarding the Draft Local Plan, and the Parish Council’s 3 key arguments against the plan; at the macro level, the total number are overstated; the transport network is currently over capacity; and two sites included in the Plan on Northaw Road East do not comply with the NPPF. (National Planning Policy Framework.) The consultation period ended on Monday 24th October 2016, and the Clerk on behalf of this Council had submitted a document of some 70 odd pages for their response.
Regarding the Council’s opposition to the total numbers, the Chairman proposed that we should try to join with St Albans & other Councils who also object to the total planned numbers of houses, in order to share costs, and enable St Albans to take the lead. The Clerk is trying to arrange a meeting with the Chief Planning Officer for St Albans Council to see if this proposition will be agreed. If this is not achieved then the Chairman would bring this back to full Council with the recommendation that we do not engage Council to pursue this due to the substantial cost. Members accepted the proposal.
Regarding the other elements of this Council case, the infrastructure & site, the Chairman proposed that he starts consulting suitable local legal firms who would be able to instruct a Barrister, and would not be as expensive as London firms. A firm would not be engaged, but this would be brought back to full Council before engagement. Total outline budget provision of some £50,000=, plus a contingency of the same amount will be provided.
The Neighbourhood Plan was being put on hold pending the outcome of the Draft Local Plan.
70/16 Eligibility of Members to become Chairman of the Parish Council:
The Chairman provided a brief report under agenda item 11, and proposed that if a Member of the Parish Council is elected Chairman and is also a Ward Councillor, a County Councillor, or Chair of the Residents Association, then they should resign the other role within 3 months of being elected Chairman of the Council, as holding the two roles could produce a conflict of interest at times. The Chairman accepted that there could be constitutional and legal issues if this proposed Policy is introduced and so this would be checked out if Members supported the policy in principal. Standing Orders would require a suitable clause to give effect to this proposed Council Policy.
Following discussion, the proposal was accepted by a majority of 4 votes to 1, with Cllr. Dace dissenting. The actual wording to be included in Standing Orders would be cleared with HAPTC.
71/16 Council Computer & E-mail Policy:
The Clerk presented a report under Agenda Item12. The initiative for the Policy had come from the Vice Chairman in the first instance. The Clerk had presented a report to the Policy & Resources Committee, which had recommended the policy to the full Council with some amendments as described in the Clerk’s report. Cllr. Brook suggested appropriate training should be provided, and the Clerk agreed to explore the possibility of this. The Policy was agreed by the Council with a majority of 4 votes, with Cllr. Dace abstaining.
72/16 Cuffley & Northaw Youth Centre:
The Chairman provided an update on the current position. A first meeting of Councillors & the Clerk with members of the Youth Centre Management Committee had taken place, and a second meeting in the New Year was to be agreed. The Chairman had explained the possibility of S106 money being made available to the Youth Centre.
73/16 Review of Financial Regulations:
The Policy & Resources Committee had consider proposed changes to the Financial Regulations to bring it in line with the new 2016 Model Financial Regulations. The Clerk described the 3 key changes, only one of which the P&R Committee had proposed should be made to the existing Financial Regulations. This dealt with Member who has a connection through business or family with a business receiving a payment from the Council, stating that they should not be a bank signatory for the Parish Council. The Council agreed this change to the Financial Regulations.
The Clerk also described changes required to the Financial Regulations to reflect the Policy & Resources Committee agreement to add the Deputy Clerk as an authorised signatory on the Clerk’s Imprest Account, only to be used in the absence of the Clerk. A further change was required to reflect the on-line view only bank access which was currently available to the Clerk only, but in future would be for the Deputy Clerk also. There would be no online bank access for any Members of the Council. The Council agreed all the changes proposed by the Clerk, and a new version of the Financial Regulations incorporating all the changes agreed would be circulated following signature by the Chairman and the Clerk.
74/16 Budget Strategy 2017-18:
The Clerk presented a report previously circulated as Agenda Item 15, which included the proposals recommended by the recent P&R Committee. The Committee recommended an increase for inflation on various items, including the budget for the 2017 Village Day. All of the recommendations were listed in section 4 of the report, including a budget of £25,000= for the costs of completing the Neighbourhood Plan; £50,000= for costs related to the Local Plan; and a further contingency of £50,000= for the Local Plan. The P&R Committee recommended an overall increase on 2.5% in the Precept to allow for inflation, but also the increases for the Local Plan costs should be funded from a related increase in the Precept. Any committed or proposed costs above the resultant increase in the Precept would be funded by an allocation from balances. The proposals on the Budget Strategy were agreed by the Council.
75/16 Urgent Business:
The Clerk asked Members if they wished to meet on Tuesdays in the Undercroft again in future, but this would mean that meetings would need to start at the later time of 8-15 p.m. Members confirmed that they wished to continue meeting at 7-30 p.m. on Thursdays, and this would mean Meetings in future would be in the Cuffley Hall Meeting Room.
76/16 Question Time:
1. Q. When is the annual lighting ceremony in Cuffley this year?
A. The Clerk confirmed that this would be on Friday 2nd December, starting at 4-30 p.m. and posters were displaying the detail of the event, with the guest of honour this year being Rev Rachel Phillips.
2. Q. Is anything being done about double yellow lines in Maynard Place where the Co-Op Lorries park?
A. The Chairman confirmed that this had been raised with the Head of Parking Services at the Borough Council, but they were unlikely to agree to this unless the footpath was reduced in width to allow more room for delivery Lorries to park. The Clerk confirmed that double yellow lines would not stop Lorries parking for delivery at the Co-Op.
Q. Could something be done about people who are not disabled parking in the disabled spaces in the Tesco Car Park?
A. The Chairman advised that as this was on private land, the Parish Council could not take any action regarding this. In answer to a further comment regarding the disabled parking space outside the Library, the Clerk confirmed that this was not an official
Disabled Parking space and was actually intended to aid vehicles turning into the area at the rear of the Maynard Place Flats.
77/16 Exclusion of the Press and Public:
There were no items proposed requiring the exclusion of the Press and Public.
78/16 Close of Meeting:
As there was no further business, the Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the Meeting at approximately 9-40 p.m.
Clerk to the Council: Jason Grocock ABCC (Dip) BSc (Hons) CPFA
These minutes can also be downloaded from the website: CLERKS MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING on 24th November 2016.pdf