94/21APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies were received from Cllrs Dave Harris (Vice Chairman) and Laurent Coffre.
95/21DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The Chairman declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 7b of the agenda (minute ref 101/21b) as he is a church warden of a church in the same benefice as the grant applicant. He would withdraw from the meeting prior to the agenda item being discussed and Cllr Hurst would take the Chair.
96/21MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 1ST JUNE 2021.
It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 1st June 2021 were an accurate record of the meeting and were signed by the Chairman. The minutes would be published on the website and on the Parish Council noticeboard at the Memorial Hall as soon as practicable.
A resident highlighted a blocked ditch on Hambledon Road that caused water to accumulate across South Lane. The Clerk confirmed that it had been previously reported to Hampshire Highways.
Cllr Foster reported that residents had reported concerns about grass cutting and that communication with East Hants District Council on this matter had been a challenge. The Chairman advised that several similar enquiries had been received by the Parish Office. Many concerned the cutting of verges and areas within the Windmill Estate and around the Clanfield Centre that are still under the management of the developer. In respect of the cutting of verges alongside adopted highways, the Parish Office had been advised that the number of cuts has been reduced to help encourage biodiversity.
A resident queried whether verges could be looked after by a group of residents and might include sewing wildflowers. Cllr Mocatta highlighted a pilot in Petersfield and Alton where verges were being identified as ‘wild verges’ and removed from the routine cutting schedule. Appropriate signage would be used to explain the benefits and residents would be able to view a verge map of their Parish online. Parish Councils would be asked to take the lead on identifying suitable verges.
98/21TO RECEIVE REPORTS FROM THE COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS
Cllr Mocatta had previously shared plans of proposed traffic signage to help prevent HGV’s diverting off the A3 ending up on the Windmill View estate. Councillors feedback suggested changes to the proposed signage at the junction of London Road with Drift Road.
Cllr Agate reported that Petersfield Hospital was now an Urgent Care Centre. Butser Ancient Farm are organising training for young people. Cllr Agate gave an overview of the activities he had supported with his District Councillor grant pot.
Cllr Moon recorded his gratitude to Councillors for their support over recent months and to Diane Duffy for all her hard work in the Parish and wished her a happy retirement. Cllr Moon commented that he was concerned about the level of anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the area and had raised it in EHDC Cabinet. The Deputy Leader of EHDC is in consultation with the Police & Crime Commissioner and the MP and they are looking at a joint initiative to tackle ASB. Cllr Moon enquired whether the Parish Council would consider organising youth activities again as it had done previously. The Chairman advised that Lisa Clements (EHDC Community Officer) was in dialogue with Community First about the possibility of organising activities for young people at The Clanfield Centre. Cllrs Moon and Agate commented that they would be willing to support youth activities with a grant.
99/21TRAFFIC REGULATION ORDER (TRO)
Members considered a proposal for a Traffic Regulation Order for Little Hyden Lane, East Meon Road and Columbine Way. It was RESOLVED that Councillors had no objection to the proposals.
In the context of Columbine Way, Members discussed the recent incident where a contractor removed a wooden bollard to gain access to the football pitches despite prior agreement for them to use the designated access point. Cllr Agate enquired whether there were plans to increase the size of the car park adjacent to the Bowling Club. The Chairman advised it had already been enlarged by the Parish Council and he felt that it might be difficult to secure planning permission for a further increase at the present time.
a) Members considered a grant application of up to £645, from Life Education Wessex that deliver Health, Wellbeing and Drug Education. They visited Clanfield Junior School in June. Councillors were concerned that the application was retrospective. The Clerk confirmed that half of the Council’s precepted grant allocation for 2021/22 had been spent. It was RESOLVED not to support the grant application from Life Education Wessex. Councillors commented that as it was the first time the organisation had approached the Parish Council and their programme would be annual, the applicant should be encouraged to apply next year well in advance of their visit to Clanfield Junior School. Councillors also considered that it would look to increase the grants budget for 2022/23.
7.45pm The Chairman left the meeting.
b) Cllr Hurst chaired the item. Members considered a grant application from St Michaels Church, Chalton, Parochial Church Council (PCC) for £1,000 for tree safety works within the churchyard. Pauline Smith was in attendance representing the PCC to answer questions. It was explained The Staunton Way footpath runs through the churchyard and was popular with both locals and walkers. The Red Lion pub in Chalton is a “destination” pub. Many people use a visit to the pub to coincide with a walk to and from the village through the churchyard. The PCC had been advised that some of the mature trees need their canopies reduced and there is also dead wood which needs to be removed. Pauline Smith confirmed that three quotes had been obtained and EHDC’s arboricultural Officer had agreed the works were necessary. The Brewery had also been approached for funding. Cllr D’Este Hoare proposed a contribution of £250. which was supported by all. It was RESOLVED to award a grant of £250 towards the tree works in the churchyard of St Michaels Church, Chalton.
7.50pm The Chairman returned to the meeting.
101/21DOWN FARM BARN
Cllr Clarke presented the report, circulated with the meeting papers, summarising matters discussed at a recent meeting of the Down Farm Barn Working Group. These included:
- The need for emergency repairs to sections of the boundary fence at a cost of £1,080.
- Repairs to one or two sections of the roof covering (quotations are expected).
- Clearing of overgrown vegetation
- Extending the remit of the Down Farm Barn Working Group for a further year.
The Chairman had prepared a paper which had also been circulated with the meeting papers. He corrected a footnote to his paper to clarify when the overage deed would be triggered should any residential use be proposed for the building or the site. The Chairman’s paper posed a series of questions and scenarios regarding the scope of the review. It also suggested that owing to the importance of the matter and to give adequate time for Members to reflect on the range of issues, the decision on the Group’s request for an extension to its remit might be deferred to the next meeting on 7th September.
Cllr Clarke asked Council to consider extending the remit of the working group for a further 12 months due to the challenges presented by the pandemic. Members discussed the implications for the Council of the shift towards funding bodies requiring matched funding. The Council could be required to financially back the project. The current costs for repairs were reviewed. Members discussed in detail the importance of preparing a fully costed business plan. Further Members discussed the extent to which a project might occupy the Council’s timetable of meetings, officer and councillor time and its finances.
Members moved to consider the recommendations. It was RESOLVED that;
- The cost of the repairs to the boundary fence of £1,080 be approved.
- The cost of the repairs to the roof be approved subject to a limit of £1,000. These costs will be met by the precept allocation to the Down Farm Barn project
- That the decision regarding the requested extension of the Group’s remit be deferred to the October Council meeting.
102/21FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSE
a) To receive and approve
(i) The July Financial Statement
The July financial statement having been previously circulated showed a balance of £290,093.56 at the end of July. The statement was duly approved.
(ii) The Orders for Payment.
The orders for payment had been circulated to members. Payments issued since the last meeting totalled £15,188.15 and payments of £7,960.67 were presented for approval. It was RESOLVED that the orders for payment be duly approved. It was also RESOLVED that any payments due before the next meeting, which could not be held until 7th September, could be duly issued.
b) Minutes from the Finance & General Purposes Committee Meeting held on 14th July 2021.
Members received the minutes of the Finance & General Purposes Committee.
c) Members RESOLVED the following changes to the authorised signatories for the Council’s bank accounts and for other financial, legal and operational matters.
- To add Katie Knowles, Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer as an authorised signatory
- To add Cllr Peter Hurst, Chairman of Finance and General Purposes Committee as an authorised signatory
- To add Cllr David Harris, Vice Chairman, as an authorised signatory.
- To remove Diane Duffy, retiring Clerk.
- To remove Terence Collins, former Cllr.
- Current signatories Cllr Bannell, Chairman, Cllr White and Cllr Foster remain unchanged.
d) Members RESOLVED to approve the final remuneration arrangements of the retiring Clerk.
e) Member RESOLVED to establish a Staffing and Remuneration Committee that will report to Council. It was also RESOLVED that the membership of the Committee would be the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Council, and the Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee. Draft terms of reference were circulated having been previously considered by the Finance and General Purposes Committee. Subject to clarification by the Clerk as to whether the meetings could be closed to members of the public, it was RESOLVED to adopt the Terms of Reference.
f) Members considered amending the Standing Orders to include provision for delegated powers to enable Council business to continue during any future National or Local emergency. Subject to adding provision for alternative arrangement being implemented for meetings to resume (subject to legislation) and removing the comment under 1.2, it was RESOLVED to approve the Emergency Scheme of Delegation.
103/21 PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
a) Members received the minutes of the Committee held on 7th July 2021. Cllr Williams reported that a follow up letter would be sent to the resident who had cultivated land owned the Parish Council. The Allotment Association had agreed to paint the sheds if the Parish Council provided the materials. The MUGA continues to be damaged by inappropriate use and vandalism with further bars being removed. Appropriate warning signs are being sourced. Cllr Williams reported that the relevant parties had mistakenly considered that the problems with the control panel in the Plant Room of The Clanfield Centre had been resolved. A solution is now being investigated.
The Committee had received information about a Community Payback scheme. Hampshire Rehabilitation Company provide probation services delivering sentences of the court for low and medium risk offenders across Portsmouth, Southampton, Basingstoke and the Isle of Wight. The project coordinator recently launched a litter picking scheme, removing single use plastics from the environment and is looking to expand the scheme into new areas. This was being looked into for possible supplemental works to the Council’s grounds maintenance programme.
b) Members of the Property Management Committee previously considered and approved a proposed Bench Seat Policy that was recommended for adoption. It was proposed the paragraph prescribing the size of a memorial plate be removed. Subject to this amendment it was RESOLVED to adopt the Bench Seat Policy. The Chairman confirmed the Council does not have a budget for benches. Applicants are required to meet the purchase and installation costs.
104/21DOWN FARM PARK
a) Members received a verbal report on weed control on the top field. The Chairman reported that 15 volunteers met on 5th July to hand pull Ragwort and Thistle from the Wildflower project area. Ragwort also needs to be controlled on the rest of the field. The intention had been to burn the weeds on site on the same day, but it had not been possible due to the amount and their “green” nature and the task had been further hampered by the weather. Enquiries had been made to remove the Ragwort from site but this had not proved possible. Accordingly, it would be burnt on the field when weather conditions permit. The Chairman asked Council to consider and agree a policy to manage the control of Ragwort - either to pull by hand, with the assistance of volunteers and burn on site OR to apply herbicide and seal the area off to the public (the dead weeds would still need to be pulled and burned). Council RESOLVED its policy for managing Ragwort and Thistle would be to hand pull it and burn it on site.
b) Members received a written report on a site meeting held on 13th July regarding the proposed football pitches (not yet transferred). The reason for the removal of the Heras fencing by the developer was unknown. The Council had an action to arrange the installation of permanent fencing in consultation with the developer’s contractor Kestrel. However this was still subject to the correct plans of the pitches and the area to be fenced being supplied by the developer. The watering of the pitches (after seeding) was discussed at the site meeting but not resolved and the preparation of the legal documentation to transfer the pitches to the Council has not commenced.
Members received the minutes of the Planning Committee held on 6th July 2021. Cllr White reported she had attended a virtual meeting about the former car park next to the Red Lion in Chalton. The South Downs National Park had confirmed it would not fund car parks where East Hants District Council had withdrawn funding.
106/21COMMUNITY WORKING GROUP:
a) The notes of the Working Group’s meeting held on 28th June 2021 were received and noted.
b) The Chairman updated Members on the Wildflower Meadow project at Down Farm Park (top field) now that all the funding was in place and weeding had commenced. Members agreed that estimates from Brian Cull for the agricultural contractor’s work and from Flower Farms for the supply of the seed could now be accepted.
c) Members received a detailed proposal and costing for tree planting at Whiteland Way during the Autumn / Winter of this year. The project would be known as Whiteland Copse. There would no longer be a requirement to scrap the turf. It is proposed that a tractor mounted auger will drill the planting holes for the trees and that once planted, each tree would be surrounded by half a sq. metre of mulch. District Cllr Moon and Agate had confirmed they would support the costs from their grant allocations.
107/21STAGE 4 LIFTING OF COVID RESTRICTIONS
Following the lifting of some restrictions on 19th July, Members RESOLVED to continue to apply the Covid measures for meetings, the Council Office and the use of Peel Park Pavilion. This would include a request to wear face coverings, observing social distancing as far as is practicable, fresh air ventilation and regular cleaning of surfaces and high touch points.
108/21RETIREMENT OF PARISH COUNCIL CLERK
Members paid tribute to Diane Duffy’s outstanding service to the Council and the village community and wished her all the very best for a long, happy and healthy retirement. Leading the tribute, the Chairman said that Diane has earned a place in the history of Clanfield. She has guided the Council through significant changes and considerably increased responsibilities, especially in recent years. There are many people who will wish to thank her for all she has done. The Chairman presented Diane with a gift on behalf of the Parish Council.