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Minutes of Churcham Parish council

Meeting of Tuesday 23 November 1999

1. PRESENT. Cllrs Baber (chairman) Ingram (vice chairman), Woolacott, Haines, Price, Dixon Dist Cllr Hall, with clerk in attendance and 2 members of the public. NB Cllr Ingram chaired the meeting with the exception of item 11

2. Apologies. Apologies were received from Co Cllr Boait and Cllr Tucker.

3. Minutes. The minutes of the meeting held on 26 October 1999 were accepted as a true record subject to the name of Cllr Dixon being added to the list of apologies.

4. Matters arising

· It was noted that no action had yet been taken to re-position the fence at Stone End and, within a reasonable time, the clerk should contact the Highways Agency notifying them of this

· Cllr Ingram reported that the recent Consumer Conference which he attended had been mainly about the trading standards new web site although the warning about action on unscrupulous door to door traders had been useful

· The roadworks outside School were still not lit adequately after dark and the clerk was asked to arrange an urgent meeting with WSP. It was also reported that the owners of Lobstock were planning a new entrance and approach road and the clerk was asked to ensure that the relevant authorities knew of this before any road improvements started near the site.

· The clerk report that the Audit report would not now be available until January and concern was expressed at the likely level of charges for it. If necessary a joint complaint, with neighbouring councils, will be made to the local MP, should they prove excessive.

5 Web Site. Those councillors who had managed to log on to it found it satisfactory and the clerk is to circulate a copy of the consultant's letter, which gives instructions on how to access it. Dist Cllr Hall's name will be added to the councillors details online.

6 Roads. Cllr Ingram report that his recent meeting concerning the Local Transport Plan - Development of South Forest Strategy had been useful and that the various delegates' comments would be, when summarised, circulated for consultation with member councils.

7 Sunnyside. A series of incidents was reported including a resident enticing a neighbour's dog across the A40 with consequent accident risk, three residents scaling the boundary fence and jumping onto the footway and increasing noise levels from the Home. Cllr Baber undertook to bring these to the attention of the owner. When the former's health permitted him to arrange a meeting

8 Planning

8.1 Applications

8.1.1 H W Smart - Erection of additional chicken houses at Beauchamp. Councillors asked for the clerk to arrange a site visit before commenting further on this application. [NB subsequently arranged for Sunday 28 November]

8.1.2 Blossomfield, Main Road - alterations and extension. There were no objections in principle to this but councillors requested that the foundations of any extension should be strong enough to withstand encroachment by neighbouring trees.

There were no planning decisions to report nor any other planning matters.

9 Village Appraisal - Cllr. Ingram reported that a draft report as being circulated to committee members who were due to meet on 24 November with their comments. He expressed thanks to Miss Spinks for her help on the Appraisal.

10 Notice Board. The five quotations and specifications received were examined and it was decided to award the contract to build the new notice board to Mr Pryke of Hewelsfield at a price of £ 379.72 ex works, plus £15.00 for sealer with any posts, screws and bolts charged at cost subject to his confirmation that the main structure would be built of seasoned oak. It was agreed to ask Mr Quilt if he would carve the lettering as on the current board.

11 Precept - to decide on amount of precept for 2000/2001. As the major single item of council expenditure is the clerk's salary the levels of it were considered with this item. The clerk report a current combined bank balance of some £3505 with an estimated year end figure of some £2600 when all usual payments have been made. A proposal by Cllr Woolacott, seconded by Cllr that the 2000/2001 precept should be maintained at this year's level of £2000 was carried by 4 votes to 2. An amendment by Cllr Baber, seconded by Cllr Ingram, that the precept be reduced by £100 was lost 2 to 4. Historically the clerk has been underpaid at Churcham, according to national pay scales and previously the council has agreed to a policy of `catching up to avoid dramatic increases in the precept. For 2000/2001 it was agreed that this salary should be increased from £900 p.a. to £1172, calculated as follows:

Current salary 900.00

Add COL of 2.5% 22.50

Increment 150.00

Catching up 100.00

New salary £1172.00

This latest sum compares with a National Association of Local Councils (NALC) figure of some £1350 based on an average of 18 hours worked per month

12 New Council structure for FODDC - Dist Cllr Hall briefed councillors on the rationale behind the FODDC moves to introduce a cabinet system of management. Central government advice is for change to come about in Local Government and this is one of the options available. Under it there would be between 4 and 8 councillors who could be paid and full time with responsibility resting with the council leader, although the existing planning control system would be largely unchanged and there would of course still be the same number of elected members. Parish councillors expressed their concern both at an increased cost layer and also the loss of local democracy and `openness' I t was decided to invite the FODDC chief executive and/or the council leader to the APM to answer questions on this matter. Cllr Hall stressed that the matter was only at the discussion stage and he agreed to provide copies of all relevant correspondence for councillors.

13 Correspondence. Correspondence received included Forest Link, and requests for donation from the Forest Hospice and Age Concern-, neither of which were granted.

14 Any other business. Several items were raised under this item

· Date of APM. It was decided to move the date of the APM to April 18 as previously a March date meant that the annual accounts provided did not represent a complete financial year. This would mean that only one set of figures need be prepared for both the APM and the District Audit.

· Millennium. Various ideas were put forward for marking the Millennium in the village including a party on the school playing field and the council sponsoring the annual village show. These were all deferred until the next meeting when local opinion will be canvassed for other ideas/

· Bus shelters. The clerk is to arrange for a street light to be provided near the bus shelter near the school. The possibility of installing safety glass in the bus shelter at Solomon's Tump is to be explored

· 50 mph speed limit. WSP/Highways Agency are to be asked about the implications of a 50-mph speed limit from the (school back to Highnam roundabout.

Date of next meeting. The date of the next meeting is January 25 starting at 7.30 in the school.

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