Online Annual Parish Meeting held at 7:00PM on Wednesday 28th April 2021 via ‘Zoom’
Present: Clive Brazier (Parish Council Chair), David Hunter-Miller (Parish Clerk), two members of the public
1. Introduction and welcome
Clive Brazier opened the meeting and welcomed residents.
No apologies were received.
3. To approve the minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on Wednesday 20th May 2020
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chair.
4. Matters arising from those minutes (if any)
There were no matters arising.
5. To receive a report from the Ward Councillor
Three suspicious fires on Bringsty Common, being treated as arson. One on the new bus shelter and one on an area of common land across from Live and Let Live public house and a more recent occurance below Hillside on a more isolated part of the common. Tenders from Tenbury, Worcester and Malvern, a water tender from Evesham and a drone from Kidderminster attended the latter. A police video appeal to identify the culprits has been made and I have met with PC John Meek, Watch Commander Darren Handy, HC Land Agent Helen Beale and the Bringsty Common Manorial Court vice-chair Tom Fisher to agree next steps. Fire Brigade are now responding to any call on the common with a minimum two tenders and police are including the area in their patrols.
I have made good the damage to the bus shelter at a cost of £220-88 (Cedar shingles £68; copper mails £11-60; timber batterns £15.54 and Fire suppression treatment £125-68). In addition, Ian from the Live and Let Live Public House, whilst clearing an old builders merchants, very kindly donated a further pack of cedar shingles which were required as well as some replacement Perspex sheeting, yet to be fitted.
A successful prosecution for fly-tipping on Bromyard Downs (which occurred in October 2019) was completed by the HC enforcement team. The fines imposed (£520) and costs and victim surcharge (£552) do not of course cover the council’s expenses in dealing with this kind of activity. The additional costs of dealing with flytipping fall on the council tax payer, and reduce resource that can be spent elsewhere.
I have been in communication with officers in respect of the made request for 85th percentile speed recording on the A44. Officers are waiting for BBLP to confirm capacity to perform these tests. I have asked for a further meeting with the Councils road safety engineer to consider what next steps may be and the Cabinet member has suggested a zoom meeting for interested parties. I appreciate the comments made by the Caravan Club from their site to be discussed at 7.5 on the agenda.
Other comments have been made to me about the continuing issue of the stopped up layby below Brockhampton School. I have taken the opportunity to raise the issue again with the Cabinet member.
Elsewhere in the Ward
The Bromyard Centre (Halo) and library. Further updates received from Scott Rolfe, Halo MD indicate that the delay caused by the necessity to renew the fire alarm system will mean that the opening isn’t anticipated before July.
Highway marking for the residents parking scheme at Tower Hill has been completed and street signage has been installed. This is the first residents parking scheme in Bromyard.
I spoke at Planning Committee on 17th March in favour of the refusal of backyard development at 15 Linton Lane for reasons additional to phosphate issues. Committee unanimously agreed to oppose development with the addition of the specific reasons that were given. My thanks to Cllr. Gill Churchill for speaking on behalf of the Town Council and Mr M. Darwood for submitting a written statement on behalf of the many local objectors.
Herefordshire Ward Councillor
6. To receive a report from Bromyard Downs Common Association
No matters were reported.
7. To receive a report from Bringsty Common Manorial Court
Bringsty Common Manorial Court has continued to strive for physical and mental well-being for residents and visitors to Bringsty’s peaceful and beautiful landscape, to communicate and represent residents, enhance the sense of community, honour our heritage, increase bio-diversity and contribute to CO2 reduction.
To this end, we now have a bus shelter, making use of public transport more accessible and attractive. Despite two arson attacks within days of each other, one on the bus shelter and one on the common itself, residents and councillors hard work and determination has meant that the bus shelter is now back to more than its former glory and trees and wild flowers have already been planted to replace those lost in the fire.
We have also made significant strides in putting forward the arguments from residents and visitors for a reduction of the speed limit to 40 mph through Bringsty. Concerns have included:
• Several recent serious accidents, including one fatality and two motor-cycle accidents one of which could easily have resulted in a fatality.
• General agreement that better enforcement is needed, and that community enforcement is one option. This is not permitted with a 50-mph speed limit
• 17 access points serving 50 households of which 12 are within a few yards of the road and include households with young children and vulnerable adults who could easily walk into the road
• The risk to animals grazing. Many commoners have the right to graze animals on the common which could reduce the scrub and bracken, and potentially attract funding for conservation. A significant barrier to grazing is speed of traffic.
• The risks to high number of visitors using the common to walk, exercise dogs, horse-ride, bike ride etc. A public footpath crosses the road. The football pitch has been improved and is now being more widely used by Bringsty football team and others. Most of these visitors arrive by car.
• The risk to animals – a number of loose dogs and horses have been rescued from the road.
• Z bends on hills add to the danger of the road – poor visibility and control at speed.
Brockhampton Group Parish Council supported our request early on and Whitbourne Parish Council were subsequently persuaded to support a survey to look into this further.
Following the return of the football team to Bringsty last year the pitch is now improved to a standard where it can, and is being used more widely for a range of activities.
A smaller scale project is to obtain a defibrillator, which is well under way.
For the future, we will soon be deciding when we will be cutting the tracks – an early cut is seen by some as safer in terms of reducing the risk of fires, whilst other argue that a later cut is safer as dry debris is not lying around and there are also considerable benefits to wildlife of cutting later.
Funding for conservation work on the grasslands was provided last year from Butterfly Conservation and Morgan Motors and we hope to achieve the same for the forthcoming year. For the future the cutting of any tracks and conservation work is at risk as our funds start to reduce and a bigger question is whether we can obtain larger scale funding for woodland and common management and/or whether we should look to new ownership of the common where we can ensure funding and conservation.
We are grateful for the support of Brockhampton Group Parish Council and welcome any suggestions for fund raising/conservation grants and promotion of the opportunities to contribute to voluntary conservation work on the common. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Chair, Bringsty Common Manorial Court
8. To receive a report from the Footpaths Officer
No report was available.
9. To receive a report from the Police
No report was available.
10. To receive the Annual Report of the Parish Council by the Chairman
It has been a year unlike any other for the Parish Council, with Councillors rising to the challenge of online meetings.
• Following substantial storm damage, a replacement bus shelter has been installed at Linton and a claim made on the Parish Council’s insurance.
• Via the good offices of Ward Councillor Nigel Shaw, a refurbished bus shelter has been installed at Bringsty.
• Work has been done to close a layby at Bringsty to improve highway safety.
• The Neighbourhood Development Plan has progressed through to the consultation at ‘Regulation 14’ stage, but unfortunately had to be put on hold due Herefordshire Council’s decision to restrict development in the River Lugg catchment area.
The sincere thanks of the Parish Council are extended to Ward Councillor Nigel Shaw for his hard work, not just in Brockhampton Group but also in his wider ward.
Thanks are also extended to all Parish Councillors for their work on the council during difficult circumstances. However, it is very clear that additional Councillors are desperately needed and this will be a priority for the year ahead.
Chair, Brockhampton Group Parish Council
11. To receive a report on the Parish Council’s finances
The Clerk confirmed that the Parish Council’s 2020/21 accounts and audit paperwork would be published online shortly. A summary of the figures is as follows:
Opening balance 01/04/20: £ 7233.86
Receipts for period 01/04/20 to 31/03/21: £19,256.11
Payments for period 01/04/20 to 31/03/21: £16,725.86
Closing balance 31/03/21: £9764.11
VAT recoverable 01/04/20 to 31/03/21: £723.60
12. To invite the public to raise any matters of interest
No matters were reported.
The meeting closed at 7:28PM.