MINUTES of THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
14th December 2021
PART A – PUBLIC AGENDA
1.1 Present: Councillors Read (Chair), Bold, Dobson, Tarrant, CEC Cllr K Parkinson Apologies: Councillors Carson, Flannery and Shore; PCSO
2.1 Approval of Minutes The minutes of the council meeting of 2nd November 2021 were agreed.
2.2 Matters arising 9.6 The Clerk commented that CHALC were not aware of any Cheshire parish councils who had undertaken a Community Resilience Study so far.
2.2/6 Spinks Lane Cllr Parkinson was asked whether there was any further information from CEC about the delivery of a new mobile home to the site some months ago, and the PC’s request for CEC to check who was now resident at the site. KP responded that officers had stated the new home was a replacement structure for one that was taken away. (However there has been no local evidence that this was the case). KP will copy to the Clerk the latest information from officers and will press the officers further.
6. REPORT FROM CLLR K PARKINSON This item was taken at this point to permit Cllr Parkinson to attend another meeting. The following matters were discussed:
• Frog Lane Farm A councillor commented on the considerable amount of mud on Frog Lane emanating from the farm. KP acknowledged this and reported that she was seeking to persuade officers to resurface this part of the road. Reference was made also to Hall Lane and School Lane which were also in very poor condition.
• Repainting of yellow lines – Park Lane KP has again discussed this with CEC officers, whose comment is that this could be funded by the PC. This is clearly unacceptable since CEC is the highway authority and the highways are its responsibility and she will continue to pursue the matter.
• Parking issues in the village KP reported that officers will not take responsibility for this problem. She further suggested that a representative of the PC might make a statement to Cheshire East Council at its regular Council meeting to state our concerns about problems in the parish that CEC are neglecting. Members agreed that this was a good idea and that it will be pursued. The next CEC meeting was on 24 February 2022.
• Speedboats on the lake There was a discussion about the problem of managing speedboats on the lake. It was understood that the problem was that neither CEC nor CWAC, who are the only bodies with powers to manage the terms of the landowners’ legal undertakings, appear willing to do so.
3. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST Nil
4. PUBLIC FORUM Nil
5. REPORT FROM PCSO The PCSO had emailed to say that there had been no burglaries in the village in the last month, and no thefts of or from motor vehicles. There was comment that police statistics are available on their website – this shows 3 crimes being recorded in Pickmere in October 2021 (the latest date for which data is displayed).
7.1 Current financial position The monthly financial summary was noted.
7.2 New payments The schedule of new payments was agreed, including additional late items:
• Opus Creative – PC inserts in Pickmere Press – £40.00 (no VAT)
• Fire Protection Consultants – service of fire equipment VH and Pavilion – £169.05 excl. VAT.
7.3 Budget 2022-23 This discussion took place later in the meeting but is reported here. Members first discussed the list of yet uncommitted items noted at para. 1.6 of the report. The following was agreed:
• Provision should be made in the finances for the installation of broadband at the Village Hall, and this should be proceeded with.
• An allowance should be made in the finances for the purchase of equipment to permit streaming of Council meetings, and further investigation should take place as to the detail of this project.
• Village signs/traffic calming ‘gateways’ – a provisional sum should be allowed for in the finances to allow this project, and further investigation should take place.
• Bollards at the IROS – allowance should be made and this should be proceeded with.
• Quotations should be sought for the other maintenance items referred to.
Members agreed the form of the budget for 2022-23, and as a consequence agreed that the precept required for 2022-23 should remain at £13650, which will result in a small reduction in precept per parish household. Members also resolved that the suggested allocation of reserves noted in Table 2 of the report was agreed, subject to the above-mentioned items (para. 1.6 of the report) being incorporated. Finally members agreed to include on the February 2022 Council agenda an item permitting discussion of how to move forward in relation to possible maintenance or enhancement projects at the VH and/or Pavilion.
8. PLANNING MATTERS
8.1 Planning application update The schedule was noted.
8.2 Neighbourhood Plan Update Cllr Bold reported that the notes of the last Steering Group meeting are now available on the PC website. Two NP launch events are proposed in the New Year, as noted on the website. Cllr Bold also reported that the SG will probably wish to commission consultants to carry out a study of nature conservation aspects in the New Year; one quote had already been received but at least one further quote was to be sought. Members agreed that power should be delegated to the Clerk in consultation with the Chair to authorise the commissioning of such consultancy work up to a value of £2000 (excluding VAT) and also to authorise other incidental expenses relating to the plan (in accordance with the powers previously delegated to the Clerk for such purposes).
The Chair wished to minute his thanks to the members of the NP Steering Group, both councillors and residents, for the work and time they were continuing to invest in progressing the Plan.
9. REPORTS FROM CLERK AND FROM COUNCILLORS
9.0 Extra Item – Use of Village Hall – Amended Covid Risk Assessment The Clerk reported that in view of the very recent concern about the rapid spread of the Omicron variant a revised risk assessment for the use of the Village Hall had been drafted. Members agreed the revised RA and agreed with the revised arrangements for the holding of Parish Council meetings in the hall – viz. face coverings to be worn by all throughout the meeting, and all those wishing to attend be requested to ensure a negative lateral flow test before the meeting. It was again confirmed to the meeting that Government continues to require parish council meetings to be held in person; holding of such meetings by Zoom is not permitted.
9.1 Continuation of Council Zoom account Particularly in view of the continuing pandemic and its implications it was agreed to retain the Council’s Zoom account for the foreseeable future.
9.2 Asset Maintenance Programme Cllr Dobson reported on the recent clean-up of the Village Hall grounds/exterior; he suggested installing some gutter mesh – this was agreed and he was authorised to proceed. There was discussion of the condition of the VH car park, and it was suggested that a quote be sought for the laying of a suitable (non-hard) surface material. The Clerk was asked to pursue. The Clerk reported on the situation regarding other maintenance programme items. Cllr Shore’s cost estimate for the replacement of a ventilation fan in the Village Hall with a ‘humidistat’ fan was agreed.
9.3 Possible donation to Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Knutsford After a discussion of the merits of the request it was agreed by a majority vote not to send a donation.
9.4 Cheshire Police and Crime Plan The Plan was noted.
9.5 Lakeside boardwalk – response from CWAC CWAC’s response to the PC’s communication was noted.
9.6 Fireworks at the Village Hall In view of an incident in November, the Chair proposed that since the parish is rural in nature, with fields and animals near the Council’s landholdings, the Council should not permit the use of fireworks on its land and property. This was agreed unanimously. It will be included in the Council’s room hire conditions.
9.7 Village Boundary signs and CEC Draft Speed Management Strategy Cllr Bold continues to receive unhelpful and confusing advice from CEC officers about the possibility of erecting village boundary signs, especially if incorporating 30mph limit signs. However it was agreed that she should continue to investigate the possibilities.
The CEC consultation was noted; Cllr Dobson will submit a response to it in the light of his experience with the Community Speedwatch scheme.
The meeting closed at 9.00 p.m.