Meeting Minutes

Meeting details

  • Date: 5th October 2021
  • Duration: 19:30 - 21:35
  • Location: Clanfield Memorial Hall


Meeting minutes:

127/21APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies were received from Cllr Laurent Coffre. Apologies were also noted from District Cllr Agate.

128/21DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were none declared.

129/21APPROVAL OF MINUTES

It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 7th September 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.

130/21OPEN FORUM

A resident asked a question relating to the Council’s financial support of the operators of the Clanfield Centre, Community First. He enquired whether the Council monitored its investment. Cllr Peter Hurst, Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee, confirmed that quarterly meetings are to be held with Community First. The first meeting would be held that week.

The resident reported that the barrier at South Lane Meadow had not been padlocked in its open position for a number of months, despite reporting the matter to the Parish Council. The problem was due to overgrown vegetation behind the barrier. The Clerk understood it had been reported to the Council’s grounds maintenance contractors on a number of occasions and confirmed she would report it again personally.

131/21CLERKS REPORT

The Clerk reported:

  • The office was in the process of obtaining quotations to upgrade the office IT which included upgrading the existing lap-tops, moving to a cloud based back up, anti-virus protection and remote IT support. The estimated costs would be reported to the November Council meeting.
  • Members were advised that an action from the Council meeting held in July was for the Clerk to clarifiy whether meetings of the newly-formed Staffing and Remuneration Committee, which would consider confidential employment matters, could be closed to members of the public. The Clerk had advised that meetings of a sub-committee appointed by a Committee may be convened without public notice being given and the public had no statutory right to attend a sub committee. Therefore, the Clerk had recommended that the Staffing and Remuneration should be a Sub-Committee of Finance & General Purposes Committee as had been initially suggested and it had met on that basis to consider matters that required attention on 28th September. Members expressed their approval.
  • The Parish Council would be represented at the Remembrance Services at both Clanfield and Chalton this year.

132/21TO RECEIVE REPORTS FROM THE COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS

District Councillor Moon’s report had been circulated to Councillors prior to the meeting and covered the following topics:

The new bin calendars that run from October 2021 to the end of March 2022 are now available. Normal calendars include waste, recycling and glass collections, with separate calendars for the garden waste service. It was noted that there were current delays with the frequency of the green waste collection. The service has a current back log of between 7 – 10 days.

East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) will continue to gather evidence on sites suitable for development and will lobby the government for fairer housing targets.

At EHDC’s Full Council meeting, on Thursday 23 September, Councillors agreed to continue assessing potential development sites set out in a document called the Spatial Strategy.

In an open letter to Michael Gove MP, the new Minister for Local Government, EHDC had said:

The Government expects East Hampshire to build 600 homes a year for the lifetime of its Local Plan. But with 57 per cent of East Hampshire inside the South Downs National Park, almost all that development must be located in the remaining 43 per cent of the district. Part of the letter reads: “It is extremely important that the flaws associated with the standard method for calculating local housing need are remedied now”.

Entrepreneurs and people with a business idea can sign up now for a free course to help build and evolve their business with the Rebel Business School, supported by East Hampshire District Council (EHDC). The free, five-day online course will run via Zoom from Monday 18 October to Friday 22 October 2021 and is broken down into two sessions per day (10am–12.30pm and 1.30pm–3pm). The course is being funded by EHDC, along with
Havant Borough Council, New Forest District Council and Waverley Borough Council and delivered through a Hampshire-based enterprise called The Rebel Business School. A village hall in Whitehill & Bordon will be converted into homes for the homeless in a scheme that is thought to be a first in the UK. East Hampshire District Council plans to construct individual studios inside Pinewood Village Hall, on Rydal Close.The temporary structures, called pods, would provide much-needed accommodation for the district’s homeless. Ten dwellings are planned overall, with seven contained in the existing building and three more in the garden.

County Councillor Mocatta reported Hampshire County Council is lifting the one visit per week limit for residents taking waste to one of the county’s 24 household waste recycling centres (HWRCs), although the requirement to book visits online will remain in place for the time being.

Residents are however asked to make the most of each visit and separate out items for reuse and recycling to help reduce the amount of waste that has to be disposed of.

Greater efficiency in recycling will ensure that the service is more cost effective.The new arrangement will be effective from Monday 4 October. While there will be no limit on the number of bookings per week, the County Council requests any bookings made which later are not required, are cancelled so that they can be available to others.

Hampshire County Council has committed to extend its additional, Covid related support for community transport services – committing to a further six months (1 October 2021 – 31 March 2022) while the country continues its economic recovery from the pandemic.

This means that the Authority will continue the policy of paying 100% contract and concessionary fares payments to Community Transport operators. The move will assist those operators in the recovery and operation of their services, covering them for any loss of service user income which they may continue to experience due to COVID-19 over the winter and into early spring.

Hampshire County Council has begun important financial planning - with feedback from residents to be considered - on options to help the Authority address an anticipated two-year shortfall in its budget of at least £80 million by April 2023. This is necessary if the County Council is to deliver a balanced budget, which is required by law. Councils across England are facing similar budgetary pressures. The proposals will include Children’s Services which aim to achieve savings of £21.3 million over the next two financial years (2022/2023 and 2023/2024). Maintaining good quality education and ensuring safe and effective social care services that are targeted to vulnerable children, young people and their families, are the priorities underpinning these savings proposals. The resulting proposals from all County Council departments will be considered by the County Council’s Cabinet and full Council at their respective meetings on12 October and 4 November 2021.

133/21DOWN FARM BARN

At the Council meeting on 20th July 2021 (Minute 101/21), Members had resolved to defer a decision on granting an extension to the remit of the Down Farm Barn Working Group until this meeting. At the July meeting, Members had also discussed the importance of preparing a business plan.

Members had received a report entitled ‘Review of Down Farm Barn Restoration Project’ together with supplementary costings.

The Chairman opened the item by requesting the meeting to be fully respectful of all the views that individual Members would express.

Cllr Clarke was invited to present the report which had been prepared by the Down Farm Barn Working Group. Cllr Clarke informed Members that two new leads on a potential use of the Barn had been received and pursued. Cllr Clarke read the report to the meeting.

The Chairman asked Members to speak one by one on the matter before the meeting which was to consider a business plan (the report which Cllr Clarke had presented) and to consider the Working Group’s request for an extension of time (12 months) on its remit.

Cllrs comments covered the following points and questions:

  • The report was not considered to be an adequate business plan.
  • The report did not identify how the shortfall in funding of £325,000 would be raised.
  • There would be significant competition for grants
  • Would an extension allow time for funding opportunities to be explored?
  • Whilst considerable sums would be required to complete the project, it would benefit the community.
  • The monthly cost of a loan to the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) against the current cost of the Licence on the Parish Office at The Clanfield Centre made sense.
  • In the event the remit of the Working Group were extended, specific timescales for action need to be agreed. Currently the arts seem to be the focus. Can other revenue streams be explored?
  • Currently its condition is poor and considerable sums of money are required to complete the project. Its location is prominent and it will benefit the community.
  • To extend the remit of the working group with specific timescales and to explore alternative options for the use of the barn.
  • A concern about the Council taking on a loan from the PWLB.

Speaking last, the Chairman said that he honestly did not believe that the Council had sufficient information on which to make a fully informed decision. He felt that, in the absence of a lot more work to convince him otherwise, he did not think that the Council should proceed with the project as proposed on the grounds of cost and adding to the Council’s risk profile. He thought that, in both respects, the situation now is very different from when the project began 6 years or so ago. Other issues which would need to be overcome were how the progress of the project would be organised and managed and how the long-term sustainability of the end product could be ensured. On the other hand, he was mindful that, currently, the Council does not have a secure home for the Parish Office beyond May 2022 when the present Licence at The Clanfield Centre expires and providing a Parish Office has always been a key objective of the Barn project.

The Chairman felt that far wider issues than the Barn project alone needed to be considered and, at the end of his speech, he tabled an amendment to the proposal which was before the meeting, the amendment being

a) Not to extend the remit of the Down Farm Barn Working Group, its work would cease;

and

b) To set up a Task Group of the Council with a brief to report back to the December
meeting on the following:

ii) A full financial profile, including a cashflow analysis, of undertaking the Barn project and on such alternative options as may be potentially available;

ii) How the Council can secure the long term sustainability of the facilities that it already has and what financial implications may be involved both in terms of revenue and capital investment.

The amendment was seconded by Cllr Harris. When put to the vote, 6 Cllrs voted in favour of the amendment; 2 Cllrs voted against and 1 Cllr abstained.

The amendment was, therefore, carried and, when put to the meeting as the substantive motion, it was duly RESOLVED with 6 votes for, 2 against and 1 abstention.

It was further agreed that the membership of the Task Group would comprise the Chairman of Council, the Vice-Chairman of Council, the Chairman of Finance and General Purposes Committee and the Chairman of Property Management Committee. Cllr Clarke was invited to join the Task Group.

134/21FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES

a) Members received and approved the Income and Expenditure report as at 27th September 2021.

b) Members received the Bank Reconciliation report for all accounts as at 27th September 2021.

c) Members received the Orders for Payment. The Clerk advised further changes had been made as a number of payments had been inadvertently listed twice. Therefore payments issued since the last meeting up to 30th September totalled £9,193.46. Payments of £5,947.47 were presented for approval. It was RESOLVED that the orders for payment as reported at the meeting be duly approved.

d) Members noted the completion of audit for the year ended 31 March 2021 and the External Auditor’s comments reported in section 2.

e) Members RESOLVED to approve the estimated cost of £270 plus VAT for updating the Council’s land and property ownership plans on its website. Cllr Williams asked if enquiries could be made as to whether there would be a cost saving if this work should be delayed so that the trees on Council land, that are currently being plotted, could be added at the same time.

135/21PLANNING

Members received the minutes of the Planning Committee held on Tuesday 31st August 2021. The next meeting of the Committee would be held on 26th October.

136/21COMMUNITY WORKING GROUP

a) Members received the notes of the Working Group’s meeting held 13th September 2021.

b) Members resolved to approve the text of the proposed “Green Audit Survey” as prepared by Carbon Footprint and supported by the Community Working Group.

c) Members had previously approved (Minute143/21c) the cost of £195 for the printing of the CWG leaflet informing residents of current activities.

d) The Chairman advised that the terms of reference for the Clanfield Awards state the meeting to vote on the winners of the Clanfield Awards would be held in private. Therefore it was proposed and RESOLVED to hold a ‘Selection Panel’ meeting as opposed to an Extraordinary Council Meeting on Monday 22nd November.

e) Members approved the date of the Clanfield Awards Ceremony as Tuesday 14th December 2021 between 7pm-9pm at Clanfield Memorial Hall.

137/21PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

a) Members received the minutes of the Property Management Committee held on 15th September 2021.

b) Members RESOLVED to approve the terms of a new Licence Agreement with Active Academy Limited for the Endal Way tennis courts for the period from 2nd October 2021 until 31st March 2022.

c) Members RESOLVED to approve a Council Policy for the control of weeds on Council land, subject to changing the word “weed” to “unwanted vegetation”.

All meeting minutes