Minutes 20 May 2020

Online Annual Meeting of Brockhampton Group Parish Council at 7:45PM on Wednesday 20th May 2020 via ‘Zoom’


Present: Clive Brazier (Chair), Karen Rock, Helen Allan, David Boddington, Shaun Simpson
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Nigel Shaw (Ward Councillor), Cathy Fuller (Chair Bringsty Common Manorial Court), three members of the public

1. Election of a Chairman and signing the Declaration of Acceptance of Office
It was unanimously resolved to elect Clive Brazier as Chairman for the 2020/21 municipal year.

2. Election of a Vice-Chairman
It was unanimously resolved to elect David Boddington as Vice-Chairman for the 2020/21 municipal year.

3. Apologies for absence
Apologies were approved from Lindsey Vernalls.

It was noted that Dave Cave had not been able to attend the Parish Council’s virtual meetings; the Clerk would make contact to discuss the options with him.

4. Declarations of interest
Nil declared.

5. Dispensations
Nil received.

6. Open Session
The meeting was adjourned for the open session.

6.1. Ward Councillor
Nigel Shaw provided a report as follows:

Prior to the Lockdown on 24th March considerable work had already been done across the country on preparing for the emergency. A National Plan – Project Shield identifies the most vulnerable in each community with an intention to protect and ensure support is available to them as well as the rest of the community. Early on it was important to establish local lead contacts who could coordinate volunteers and help in identifying vulnerable residents who came forward from the 80,000 letters from Herefordshire Council and Parish correspondence.

Each Herefordshire Council ward is allocated an officer and assistant who reports to the council, who are the identified lead authority for our area reporting to Govt. This then gives a line of communication in both directions feeding information, concerns and ensuring support to vulnerable and branded as Talk Community in our county. Those who are identified as most vulnerable, approximately 5,000, are receiving a phone call from officers to double check. A management Board of officers headed by the Chief Executive Alistair Neil oversees the project.

Herefordshire has to date received over £11 million from the Government in two instalments to meet initial extra costs of the virus. It is early days to know the financial implications but I expect more funding will follow. Herefordshire Council has redeployed 200 members of staff, with home working for all staff apart from front line – no staff have been furloughed. Liaison with Wye Valley Trust (Hereford Hospital) and residential care sector is important as the council is also the commissioner of social care. The County Hospital released capacity with many other services e.g. cancer care transferred to the Nuffield. The Council has and is procuring additional care provision for hospital discharges by entering into agreements with local hotel chains.

Locally to date figures of infections and mortalities have been much lower than our neighbouring authorities apart from Powys. The concern now must be to maintain vigilance by ALL the public to prevent an increase in outbreaks in our county now and when the unlock begins.

The Council Talk Community scheme has been running the backbone of community support to the Covid-19 crisis.

The provision of personal protection equipment (PPE) has been a major problem particularly sourcing products of the correct standard of protection. There is a currently an international demand with the production in the recent past of all these products chiefly manufactured in the far east. While the focus has always been on the NHS frontline the home care and residential care sector have always been lagging behind. The demands are huge with the Herefordshire (non NHS) care requirements going from no use six weeks ago to over 18,000 per day. The Council has identified various sources of supply and is using its procurement team to help supply our front line staff, care homes and domiciliary care workers.

In other departments vigilance is required for vulnerable adults and children in certain domestic settings; 62 of our 92 schools are in some way open being attend by many but numbers should be higher, some attendees include children in local authority care or protection. Enforcement teams are working with police on lockdown issues and fly tipping.

An additional £62 million has been allocated to Herefordshire from the Government to support local business with various rate relief grants including hospitality and leisure grants. Currently £45.5 million has been paid out to just under 4,000 Herefordshire companies. There has been a good take up but can I urge any businesses in the ward that pay business rates please to ensure they get and apply for the grant they are entitled to – more details on smallbusinessgrants@herefordshire.gov.uk

Just over £11m has been paid to Herefordshire Council directly to help pay for the increased costs incurred by the Council in shielding vulnerable members of our community and additional services and changed ways of working. Another factor affecting Council budgets is the loss of revenue from car parking, licensing income and other sources. Fortunately reserves were healthy when the new administration took over.

Of the staff of the council that have been redeployed to support the community response to Covid-19 (around 200) a number will return to their primary duties next week.

Local information on services and advice:

National information:

Herefordshire Council – Other

I have Chaired a virtual public meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee where we discussed and approved the coming years internal audit program plan and internal audit charter, examined a NMiTE (new college) update report and made recommendations on the remuneration of Independent Persons for Standards. The meeting was live streamed on the Councils U tube feed. This and the virtual Cabinet meeting the week before mark an important point in the resumption of “normal” Council business and provide a much wider opportunity for scrutiny by the public of official council meetings, which has to be a good thing. I hope that it will continue in some form after the lock down ends.

The Conservative Group brought up the issue of the opening of the household waste recycling centres during the Cabinet meeting, noting that a government minister had urged their re-opening and that neighbouring counties were about to do so. The administration were not willing to make any decision, but the point has been made that a protocol for the reopening needs to be established to prevent traffic queues and to protect site workers. Gemma Davis, the Cabinet member responsible stated that fly-tipping had not increased so this should not be seen as pressure for sites to re-open. Subsequently the sites at Hereford and Leominster (the most highly trafficked sites) were opened on Saturday 9th May. No indication as yet at when Linton may be re-opened.

Brockhampton Group Specific

Gigaclear continue with works by Central Utilities, currently working on Bringsty. It is hoped to complete 9km of cabling by June (approx. 30% of the area). The development in the ward will be served by two cabinets, one at Bromyard Downs and one at Meadow Green. The current intention is to make the Bromyard Downs cabinet live in June and to subsequently begin connecting households to that cabinet. The Meadow Green cabinet will follow. The nature of communication during this lock down has demonstrated the necessity of modern communication and I look forward to being connected to fast broadband myself. More information will be found on the Fastershire website or by contacting the Gigaclear manager, Ben Stone at ben.stone@gigaclear.com .

Once we have specific dates for cabinets going live I hope to arrange a virtual meeting for households to hear information. Possibly this could be done as a presentation to the parish council? Households affected are:-
Bromyard Downs: Brockhampton Group 350; Whitbourne 79; Stanford Bishop 2
Meadow Green: Whitbourne 280; Tedstone Delamere 61

The Works Engineering Manager at Polytec Car Styling has emailed me and agreed to review the storage yard lighting.

Note an Application for certificate of lawful use of land used at a caravan site at Saltmarshe. P201203/U refers. Members of the public are welcome to submit their views through the planning portal in the normal way. Consultation ends on Saturday 23rd May.

6.2. Bromyard Downs Common Association
The BDCA had not met since February due to the Coronavirus lockdown and consequently no report was available.

6.3. Bringsty Common Manorial Court
Cathy Fuller provided a report as follows:

The priorities of Bringsty Common Manorial Court (BCMC) have been revised since August 2019 in light of withdrawal of Natural England funding and the Covid-19 outbreak.

Expenditure priorities for the forthcoming year will be the cutting of rides firebreaks and grassland areas. Removal of cuttings from grassland areas will no longer occur due to limited funds. Cutting of the football pitch will occur every other month. BCMC is very grateful for the contribution from the parish council towards the latter.

A conservation group for the common has been established to provide advice to the BCMC and organise conservation activities with a focus upon increasing bio-diversity and carbon reduction along with more general priorities for the common of developing the community, health and safety, heritage, mental and physical well-being and funding. (See list of draft priorities attached). Piloting of the planting of wildflowers is underway. Information on pondlife and protection of toads has been updated. A moss walk has occurred and Butterfly Conservation are planning a visit the near future.

To promote staying at home, protecting NHS and saving lives carparks were closed during the first phase of the Covid-19 lockdown. Residents were supported by the creation of a community hub helping with shopping and medicines. Existing communications and support of the quarterly publication of “The Commoner” and noticeboards were enhanced by the creation of the a Bringsty Common Facebook site, email and telephone contacts.

Subject to Covid-19 regulations, future BCMC meetings will be held at Whitbourne Village Hall at 7.30pm on:

• 8th September
• 10th October – AGM speaker and refreshments.
• 11th November

6.4. Public participation
The owner of Clater Park provided an update regarding ongoing drainage matters that had been previously raised with the Parish Council. It was understood that a number of options were being discussed with the adjacent landowner to try and resolve these long-standing issues. Members requested additional detail and for a masterplan for the Clater Park site; it was hoped that something might be available for review at a future Parish Council meeting. Members requested clarification on the foul water arrangements for Clater Park and these were clarified by the owner.

The meeting resumed following the open session.

7. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 22nd April 2020
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and these would be duly signed by the Chair.

8. Progress reports

8.1. Councillor vacancies
It was noted that there were currently three vacancies on the Parish Council and applications from parishioners were welcomed.

8.2. Light pollution, Bromyard Downs
A response had been received and the company concerned had agreed to review the lighting.

9. Correspondence

9.1. Herefordshire Council: Guidance note on the review of Neighbourhood Plans.
The above-mentioned guidance was noted.

10. Planning

10.1. P201182/L: The Clock House Brockhampton Mews Bringsty Worcester Herefordshire WR6 5TB, Replacement of existing single glazed timber windows with new slimline double glazed timber windows.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.

10.2. P201203/U: Saltmarshe Castle Caravan Park Tedstone Wafre Bromyard Herefordshire HR7 4PN, Certificate of Lawfulness for use of land as a caravan site.
It was considered that the Parish Council did not have sufficient evidence to allow comment on the lawfulness of the application.

11. Neighbourhood Development Plan
DJN Planning Limited had now substantially completed the first draft Neighbourhood Development Plan and it was hoped that this would be completed and circulated to councillors in the next two weeks, for consideration at the next Parish Council meeting. The draft NDP would also need to go to Herefordshire Council for its environmental assessment.

11.1. Grant funding
It was noted that a successful application had been made for £7,000.00 grant funding from Locality UK to cover the remaining costs of the Neighbourhood Development Plan (including the 2019/20 overspend).

12. Parish matters for discussion/decision

12.1. Bus shelter (A44)
If was resolved to accept a quote of £766.00 (+VAT) from MAS Bromyard Ltd for the installation of the gifted bus shelter.

12.2. Bus Shelter (Linton)
It was noted that the insurance claim for the damaged bus shelter was still awaiting settlement and it was resolved to defer discussion on a replacement shelter/bench until payment had been received.

12.3. Website accessibility compliance
It was noted that the deadline for public sector organisations to meet the requirements of the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 is the 23rd September 2020.

Eyelid Productions could make the required upgrades for £50.00 and it was resolved to approve this expenditure.

13. Annual business as per Standing Orders

13.1. To review the following policies and procedures

13.1.1. Balances and Reserves Policy
13.1.2. Burial Fund Policy
13.1.3. Clerk, Parish, Councillor Protocol
13.1.4. Code of Conduct
13.1.5. Complaints Procedure
13.1.6. Disciplinary Procedure
13.1.7. Equal Opportunities Policy
13.1.8. Financial Regulations
13.1.9. GDPR Data Privacy Policy
13.1.10. GDPR Data Protection Policy
13.1.11. GDPR Data Security Incident Procedure
13.1.12. Grievance Procedure
13.1.13. Retention Policy
13.1.14. Standing Orders
The above policies were reviewed and it was resolved to add a review date to each document.

Additionally, the introduction to the Complaints Procedure would be removed and the Equal Opportunities Policy would be amended to clarify that it ‘is an overarching equality policy which sets out the council’s commitment to equality in all of its activities’.

13.2. To review insurance, risk and assets

13.2.1. Risk Management Policy and Risk Register
13.2.2. Insurance cover
13.2.3. Inventory of Assets
The above policies were reviewed and approved.

It was resolved to renew the Parish Council’s Insurance via Came and Company.

13.3. To review the meeting schedule for the year ahead
It was resolved to continue to hold scheduled meetings on the third Wednesday of every month, except for the months of August and December where there will be no scheduled meetings.

14. Finance

14.1. Certificate of Exemption
It was resolved that the Parish Council had met the requirements to certify itself exempt from external audit and the certificate was duly signed.

14.2. Annual Internal Audit Report
The internal auditor’s report was considered and it was noted that there were no recommendations requiring attention.

14.3. Annual Governance Statement
The Annual Governance Statement was considered and it was resolved that each statement had been achieved and it was duly signed.

14.4. Accounting Statements
The Statement of Accounts was considered and it was resolved to approve and it was duly signed.

14.5. Budget expenditure
It was resolved to approve the budget expenditure.

14.6. Bank reconciliation
It was resolved to approve the bank reconciliation.

14.7. Bank mandate
The bank mandate arrangements were reviewed and it was resolved that no changes were required.

14.8. Invoices

14.8.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £418.89
14.8.2. HMRC (PAYE): £100.80
14.8.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £147.58
14.8.4. Bromyard & Winslow Town Council (room hire): £32.40
14.8.5. Came & Company (insurance): £356.53
14.8.6. Iain Selkirk (internal audit): £100.00
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques would be duly signed.

15. Councillors’ reports and Items for the next agenda
It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Update on Clater Park (if available)

16. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 7:30PM on Wednesday 17th June 2020.

The meeting closed at 8:50PM.