Present       Councillor Adrian Prest (Chairman)
Councillor Christine Burrows (Vice Chairman)
Councillor Brent Cheetham
Councillor Mike Clark
Councillor Eric Wilcox
Councillor Peter Dace
Councillor Bob Stubbs
Councillor Jane Brook

The Clerk, Jason Grocock

6 Members of the public.

46/15        Apologies.

There were no apologies.

47/15        Declarations of interest.

                   There were none.

48/15        Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting on 25th November 2014.

The minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 25th November 2014 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

49/15        Update from local PC or PCSO

No representative attended and no report had been provided.

50/15        Question Time

There were no questions from the public.

51/15        Annual Parish Meeting

Council agreed the date of Friday 24th April 2015. Agreed topics to include the Local Plan; the Metropolis Planning Application; the Neighbourhood Plan; and a report on not only the last year of the Parish Council, but also the whole of the Council’s Term of 4 years which is coming to an end.

Members agreed that there was enough on the Agenda without inviting the Police Commissioner to speak on this occasion. The Orchard Group would also be invited to give a short presentation.

52/15        Reports from Committees and Working Groups

Planning Applications Committee

Councillor Christine Burrows gave her report as Chair of the Planning Applications Committee. The Clerk reported that there had been a rush of Planning Applications before Christmas but very few so far in the New Year.

Personnel & Urgency Committee

The Chairman reported that the Committee met on 18th December 2014 and recommended to the P&R Committee that agreement should be given to Mr Bubbles Car Wash, to lease 4 parking spaces in Sopers Road Car Park. The Committee also agreed the annual staff salary increase for inflation, and received the Clerks report on progress on renewal of leases at KGV Playing Fields.

Neighbourhood Plan Working Group

The Chairman reported that the Working Group met on 20th January 2015, and received a progress report on phase 2 proposals from the Project Manager, Councillor Bob Stubbs. It was also reported that a grant of £7,000= had been received, which had fully funded phase 1 of the project. Cllr Stubbs provided an update on the latest position, including planned workshops, and also advised that it would probably be May 2015 before the Group were able to start progressing phase 3 of the Project.

Policy & Resources

The Policy & Resources Committee met on 13th January and all items are on the Agenda, with exception of the agreement to lease 4 parking spaces in the Sopers Road Car Park to Mr Bubbles Car Wash, subject to the granting of Planning Permission by the Borough Council.

53/15        Outside Committee Reports

a.Cuffley Hall

Councillor Brent Cheetham gave a short report on recent meetings of the Hall Management Committee. Former Chairman of the Committee, Derek Collett would be resigning as publicity manager due to health problems.

b. The Kidston Institute.

The Chairman confirmed that he and Councillor Bob Stubbs were now the 2 representatives of the Parish Council on the Management Committee. The Committee had not met since the last full Council Meeting.

c. Northaw Village Hall

Councillors Eric Wilcox and Mike Clark are the current representatives. Cllr Clark gave a brief update on the current work planned at the Hall.

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 Chairman reported that the Council was putting a letter together regarding issues at the Centre, but there was nothing to report at the moment. Councillor Brent Cheetham as the Council’s representative had attended the recent AGM of the Centre. The finances of the Centre were currently very healthy.

54/15        Budget and Precept for 2015-16

The Clerk presented a detailed report on the Budget and Precept for 2015-16 as recommended by the P&R Committee at their meeting on 13th January 2015. The major growth item is a sum of £100,000= for funding the work on the Neighbourhood Plan, split between a £50,000= revenue budget provision and a contingency of a similar amount specifically for the Plan if required.

In order to keep the Precept increase to no more than 2% a substantial allocation from balances (£137,830=) was required to support the budget. The recommended precept becomes £190,520=.

The increase in precept works out at less than 3p per week for a Band D property in the Parish

The current year revenue budget monitor was indicating a saving for the year to date of approximately £22,000=.

The Council Resolved:

i.That the budget for 2015-16 as set out in the appendices to the report is agreed.

ii. That the sum of £137, 830= is withdrawn from general balances to support the budget.

iii.That the proposed Precept of £190,520= is approved and the Clerk is authorised to issue an appropriate demand on the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council for this sum.

The Clerk was complemented on the detail of his report.

55/15        Northaw Playing Fields Project.

This item related mainly to the need to deal with the derelict Tennis Court at the Playing Fields. A reasonable tender to renovate the Court and to introduce a new MUGA (Multi-use Games Area) was now available. P&R Committee had considered this at length but the Committee was tied on the decision to accept the tender of not, and the Chairman had used his casting vote to bring it to Council for a decision. The Chairman presented a report with six options including prices for the Council to consider, including proposals for a footpath from entrance to entrance and across the field to the Tennis Court with a seat provided on route.

Councillor Stubbs described an option of having a court which could be used for Tennis or as a MUGA, as was the case at Newgate Street.

His main concern was regarding the lack of a business case and evidence of demand, and more research was need before anything could be agreed.

The Chairman proposed firstly that a proper survey on the six main options should be carried out, and secondly that a pathway from the bottom entrance to the top entrance be but installed, and the Council agreed this proposal.

56/15        Sopers Road Car Park Ticket Prices.

The weekday parking prices had remained at £4= for several years, and P&R Committee had recommended that this rate should now be increased, particularly as it is normally quite full and the Station Car Park Standard Daily Charge was now significantly higher, with many spaces available.  The Chairman proposed an increase to £4-50 for the daily charge as soon as this could be implemented. The Council agreed the proposed increase to £4-50 per day. The Saturday charge would remain at £1= per day, and Sunday free all day.

57/15        Northaw and Cuffley Village Day Event.

The Clerk presented a report proposing that the previous year Sports Day Event should be repeated but extended to include other activities and say stalls and displays as many of the people attending the previous event had suggested. Saturday the 4th of July was the proposed day. The cost to the Council would not be major and could be easily accommodated within the Community Events Budget.

Members agreed to support the event and give time.

58/15        Clerks Update.

The Clerk presented the new format colour coded report on current and outstanding jobs & projects. The report was received with thanks.

The Clerks traditional report in pictures was also presented.

59/15        Exclusion of Press and Public.

The formal resolution to exclude the Press and Public was passed in view of urgent and confidential business to be discussed.

60/15        Urgent business.

Following a verbal report by Cllr Stubbs, the Council agreed that, for the purposes of assisting with the Council’s Neighbourhood Plan, Land Improvements Group Ltd (LIG) should prepare a development brief for the Parish Council relating to their proposed development at Greenfields. The Council also agreed that if LIG provided additional land and funding for facilities at KGV in the future, then this should be owned and managed by the Parish Council, as with the rest of the KGV site.

 61/15       Close of Meeting.

As there were no further matters to discuss, the meeting closed

at 9-50 p.m.



























Clerk to the Council: Jason Grocock ABCC (Dip) BSc (Hons) CPFA

Email: northawcuffleyclerk@btconnect.com