MINUTES OF THE EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL
2ND August 2022
Present Councillors Read (Chair), Bold, Carson, Dobson, Flannery, Shore, Tarrant
Apologies Cllr K Parkinson (CEC), Sgt Brickhill, Insp. Baker (Police), J Steel (Clerk)
Public 12 members of the public present
MINUTES taken by Cllr Tarrant
The Chair opened the meeting at 0730 and thanked Councillors and members of the Public for attending. He explained that he intended to deal with agenda items 4.1 and 6 firstly and to then progress to the main Agenda item 5.
2 Declarations of Interest There were no Declarations of Interest from any of the Councillors and the Chair acknowledged it was not necessary, nor appropriate for any Declarations of Interest to be made in respect of Item 5 as all Councillors were also residents and had no pecuniary interest in the item.
4.1 New Payments It was unanimously agreed to make the payment in the sum of £540.00 incl VAT for continued support of our web-hosting/email system. Prop:AB, Second:SF
6 Receipt of GDPR Subject Access Request The Chair explained to Councillors that the Clerk was dealing with a recent subject access request.
3 Public Forum A member of the public asked the Council what it could do to prevent barbeques being lit on our land. The Chair replied that signage was frequently ignored and that this was a difficult aspect to police.
5 Recent events and issues arising from visitors to the lake The Chair opened the discussion of the Extraordinary Meeting with a statement explaining that we all live in and love our village and that we are all aware of the issues arising from large numbers of visitors to the lake.
He explained that he did not want to revisit the problems which are all well known and that he wanted a discussion of the situation that would result in the Council being able to make a decision and to vote to enact it.
By way of introduction The Chair explained he had had lengthy conversations with Inspector Baker (Cheshire Constabulary) and the Clerk neither of whom were present at this meeting.
He informed the Council and members of the public present that some proposals are outside the powers of the Parish Council and that a multi-agency approach facilitated by the Police and involving key officers at Cheshire East Council was an intended way forward.
The Chair also explained he had listened to many residents and visitors and had attended meetings with residents in the past two weeks. He assured them that every point made will be given to both Police and CEC as a demonstration of the depth of feeling and as a reference point to address the many issues raised.
The Chair also explained the Police opinion that ticketing cars causing an obstruction is not effective and not a deterrent as the fines are modest and there are finite amounts of tickets to be issued. Similarly CEC Civil Enforcement Officers are more regularly targeted at more “profitable” locations than Pickmere. The preferred Police approach is to tackle the attendant Anti-Social Behaviour where Police powers are more appropriate and the sanctions more severe for offenders.
The Chair said he would e-mail the outcome of the Council’s decision(s) to Inspector Baker immediately to start working on this remit as soon as possible.
The Chair then asked Cllr Tarrant to read a summary of the many points raised by a group of concerned residents that they had both attended at The Farm Club on 22nd July. It was made clear this was a list of all the points raised with no decisions having been made, but just a record of the scale, breadth and extent of the ideas suggested to help inform other Councillors of the feelings and suggestions of residents.
The Chair then added to this report by stating the IROS field was both our greatest asset but also our greatest problem. He further explained that should the Council be minded to consider additional parking, toilet provision and free access then the problems could well become worse and there were many other implications to do with management, insurance and public liability.
Cllr Flannery asked for clarification about the Police approach to Anti-Social Behaviour and expressed an opinion that this might suit the Police objectives better than our own. The Chair said imminent discussions with the Police would clarify this.
The Chair then invited each Councillor in turn to express their view and to make a proposal that was within the gift of the Council and which would help to make a difference as soon as practicable.
There was broad acceptance that continued reliance on Police and CEC to enforce bad parking was unlikely to make a significant difference and that there was no immediate prospect of a local landowner offering land for car parking. There was an understanding that all PPC could quickly and effectively do was to restrict access to its land which is privately owned and primarily for its residents (whilst acknowledging the public footpath needs to be kept open). There was some concern expressed about the undesirability of fencing and a reluctance that this may be necessary to prevent access to visitors during peak summer holidays. Likewise there was concern that it should be durable and complementary to neighbouring landowners. Correspondingly it was agreed we had to consider the safety of our own residents and their need for emergency attention, should it arise. There was also a recognition that additional signage informing visitors the land was private was necessary.
There was further discussion about whether fencing should be temporary or permanent and some suggestions about necessary explanatory signage.
The Chair asked the Council at the conclusion of this comprehensive discussion to vote on the question, “Are we in favour of fencing the IROS land, yes or no”
The vote was CARRIED – 5 in favour of fencing the IROS land and 2 abstentions
It was further AGREED that the Clerk should be asked to obtain competitive and comparative quotes for the provision of both temporary and permanent fencing as soon as possible.
It was further AGREED that Cllr Flannery made an application to Cheshire Police Community Fund for fencing and that it was minuted that there had been no response to date from the letter sent to Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner on 18th July asking him to attend a meeting with us.
The Council agreed it would meet again at the earliest opportunity to agree the funding and best way forward with fencing once the quotations and lead times were known.
It was AGREED to keep The Millennium Gate open. Current Police advice agreed with this and leaving it open gives access to the parking bays as well as the binmen who continue to provide an excellent service.
The Chair concluded the meeting by thanking everyone for attending and recognising those who strive to keep the village tidy. He appealed to everyone to walk away from any confrontation at busy times, to think sensibly and avoid taking any risk.
Meeting ended at 2045.