IPSTONES PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 22nd February 2017 at 7p.m. in the rear extension of Ipstones Memorial Hall
PRESENT: Cllrs Philip Barks, Heather Morris, Howard Mycock, Sandy Richards, Barry Shuttleworth (in the Chair), Andrew Stevenson, Patrick Stimpson and John Williams. The Clerk, Guests Becci Bryant, Chief Fire Officer for Staffordshire and Brian Moss Lead Officer for the Northern Service Delivery Group Staffordshire Fire & Rescue, County Councillor Gill Heath and 5 members of the public.
APOLOGIES: Councillor Linda Malyon
Declaration of Interests: It was agreed to take these as they arise
Dispensations: No written requests had been received.
Councillor Shuttleworth, who was in the Chair welcomed the guests to the meeting and suspended Standing Orders to allow them to speak.
16/17. The Future of Ipstones Fire Station: Ms Bryant explained that the Staffordshire Fire Service had lost 55% of Government funding over the last 5 years. She said that the budget for the 2017/2018 financial year is 39.9 million and that the budget has been set for up until the financial year 19/20. This makes it easier for them to plan for the next few years. Ms Bryant went on to say that Ipstones has a budget for the equivalent of 12 full time Retained Fire Officers. Currently there are 8 Retained Fire Officers with a new person starting shortly. The latest recruit is employed by a local firm in Froghall who has agreed to release up to 2 x members of its staff to cover day time calls. Ms Bryant went on to say that the crew at Ipstones do a very good job for so few Officers and that they do a great job. The availability over the last year as been 88 ½ %. She did say that there are times when there are not enough staff available to keep the Engine ‘On Call’, but that this is a problem for all of the county and not just Ipstones. She said that she is grateful and proud of all the retained Fire Officers. Ms Bryant said that she is completely committed to Ipstones and getting the crew levels up, but it’s a challenge. She said that information is available for anyone who may be interested in joining the Ipstones Crew as a retained Fireperson. Unfortunately, she can only give re-assurance until March 2020 Other ways they intend to give support to Stations is to recruit ‘back office’ staff, who could then work from a rural Fire Station when on call. It was noted that the Fire Crew do work other than responding to emergencies such as ‘Fit and Well’, where they visit people’s homes, but look at other issues as well as fire safety i.e trip hazards etc. Ipstones is also has the defibrillator so can respond to suspected Heart Attacks. Cllr Shuttleworth said that the local Fire Station is thought of as part of the local community to which Brian Moss added that local Fire people know their local area & people better. Ms Bryant said that it’s an added bonus for the Fire Service to work with local communities especially young people (they do a lot of work with the Princes’ Trust). They are also proactive in helping people they visit in the community access other services such as Help the Aged. Cllr Shuttleworth asked about the Private Finance Initiative for the provision of new stations to which Ms Bryant responded that there is 7 million of Government money to guarantee for the life of the program and that after a 25 year period the Fire Stations will be returned back to the Fire Service and should be returned in the same condition as when they were built. She said that newer buildings were 30/40% cheaper to run that older buildings. Cllr Stevenson asked how often they replace the Fire Engines, Ms Bryant’s response was that the Engineers usually advise of any Engines that need replacing about 12 months in advance – to allow time for the appliance to be ordered and built. Mr Hilditch asked if parked cars cause problems for Fire engines. Mr Moss replied that there is no easy answer and that they can’t manage traffic issues, but said that vehicles parked too close to junctions are a problem as the Fire Engine may not have enough room to turn. He said that a Fire Engine usually carried large amounts of hose for use in terraced streets in case they cannot get the engine close enough to the incident and that they also use Fire Hydrants. As a last resort they do have the power to move a vehicle to the side. Cllr Barks asked about accidents at Bottomhouse to which Mr Moss responded that the County Council had communicated with them about the parish council’s concerns and that the Road Safety Dept will be aware of any blackspots. Cllr Stimpson said that he thinks that the issue at Bottomhouse is in hand. Cllr Morris asked if there is anything the parish council can do. Ms Bryant said anything that will encourage people to become a retained Fire Officer such as using Social Media or if members know of someone to put them in touch with them for more information. The Chairman gave both Ms Bryant and Mr Moss a vote of thanks for coming along to the meeting.
17/17. PLANS: The following planning application had been received: –
SMD/2017/0023 Change of use of existing agricultural unit and conversion to B2 (General Industrial) with new personnel access door at Megcroft Farm, Onecote Road, Ipstones. The Chairman suspended Standing Orders to allow the applicants to speak. The applicants explained that they are a small family company who import exotic hardwood that is despatched to Craftsmen for making musical instruments, Snooker Cues etc. They went on to say that they are one of only two such suppliers in the Country. They added that the Barn in question cannot be seen from the road and it will be used mainly to store the wood. They also said that on occasions they do use a ‘band saw’ usually no more than an hour per week and that the room it is stored in is sound proofed. They also have asked for a clause to be added that the barn be reverted back to agricultural use if they leave the property. Cllr Mycock said he has concerns about larger vehicles accessing the property. The reply was that the Planners have asked for adjustments to be made to the access.
Standing Orders were resumed.
It was proposed by Cllr Stimpson and seconded by Cllr Morris to support approval of the application. This was agreed unanimously.
On proposal by Cllr Stevenson and seconded by Cllr Richards it was moved that the Minutes for the meeting held on Wednesday 18th January 2017 as being a true record. This was agreed unanimously.
18/17. MATTERS ARISING:
- Foxt Telephone Kiosk: It was noted that the volunteer had started to paint the Kiosk but had run out of paint. It was also noted that they had not prepared the surface before commencing painting. The Clerk asked if the broken panel/ pane of glass had been replaced but it was thought that it had not. In the circumstances it was agreed to write to Mr Mann and ask if he still has the replacement panel/pane and if so he can pass it to one of the Foxt Councillors as there is someone who has volunteered to carry out the repair. It was also agreed for the Clerk to order a 5 litre tin of paint.
- Inspection of Foxt Play Equipment:
- The Hedge: – Cllr Stimpson said that the hedge has now been cut, but the Clerk said that the Lengthsman reported that it had not been cut on the Community Area side and that there was still a lot of the off-cuts lying on the Play Area side of the hedge. Cllr Stimpson said he will take a look and if the side has not been cut he will get the Contractor to come back and do it.
- Play Car – The Lengthsman had reported that the panels are loose and he thinks may be beginning to rot. It was agreed to ask the Lengthsman if he can try tightening the screws and if it does not work to let the parish council know.
- Gate Post: It was noted that the gate post needs to be moved by about 6” to 9”, so that it can be adjusted properly. It was agreed to ask the Contractor to to do this.
- Potholes near Churchside Barn, Church Lane, Ipstones: It was noted that it is sometime since this was reported and that the work has not yet been done. It was agreed to ask for this to be treated as urgent as it is dangerous to pedestrians.
County Councillor Gill Heath arrived.
- Safety Issues at the former Chip Shop in High Street: the Clerk reported that she had had a call from Planning Control who said they are in contact with the Owner and that if nothing is done to make the window safe or remove the rubbish that has been left outside they will take action. The Owner’s Secretary had also phoned to say that the Owner is planning repairs to the property with a view to letting it out again.
- Stop signs on Onecote side of Bottomhouse Cross Roads: Cllr Heath explained that she had been to visit the site with a Highways Officer and that they have agreed to move the existing sign and put another sign on the opposite site. She said that this work will be done March/April. She went on to say that additional work will be carried out in the summer by reducing the speed (Onecote side) on the approach to the junction from 60mph to 50mph and do a ‘gateway feature’.
Cllr Heath went on to say that it would be more difficult to get the speed limit on the A523 reduced from 50mph to 40mph, as there as got to be Road Traffic Incidents data and then it is quite a long process. Cllr Heath said she will keep the parish council informed.
- Horse Rider Warning Signs: County Cllr Heath explained that the signs are £400 each to purchase and install but she is going to question this and if she can get them any cheaper she will provide more signs, if not she will do the first 3 signs on the list as she has to share money between 3 parishes. She proposes that the first signs will be put at: – 1) the Toll Bar end of Park Lane and then again at the Foxt Cross Roads end of Park Lane. 2) On Church Lane on the Church corner and then again at the Junction where Belmont Road meets with the Cheddleton Road. Cllr Heath said that you have to have a sign at either end of the section where the warning signs are required. If she does manage to get the cost reduced then she will increase the number of signs accordingly.
- Flooding at Belmont Pools: Cllr Stevenson said that there is a big problem with water coming from the ‘silted up’ pool and running across the road. He said he didn’t think it would take much to stop, if a trench was dug out. Cllr Heath said that she will take this back to the Highways Dept. She said she has also looked at the kerbing in Foxt and will be looking into this.
- Charges at the Tip: Cllr Heath said that most house hold goods should still be free i.e mattresses etc and that only items that you would not normally take with you when you move house have a charge i.e. kitchen cabinets, bathroom suites etc. She said that they have not seem an increase in fly-tipping to a similar period in the previous year.
- Mrs Cooke re Flooding at Whirley low, Foxt: An e-mail had been received from Mrs Cooke which also attached a response from the Community Infrastructure Liaison Manager. The e-mails were read out and it was agreed to monitor the situation.
- Flooding on Shaw Walls Lane: It was noted that this had been reported to Cotton Parish Council and they have e-mailed advising that they have reported the matter to County Highways.
- Mr & Mrs Maslen re resurfacing work to PFP 102 (Church Lane to Belmont Road): An e-mail had been received regarding the proposed tarmacking of the Church Lane End of the bridleway/footpath. There were several queries raised. Following a short discussion it was agreed to defer this matter until the next meeting when Cllr Malyon is present as she spoke to the home owners on either side of the lane.
- Mr Beardmore re spraying of Japanese Knotweed at Noonsun Common: A letter had been received regarding spray damage to part of his field and the cost of re-seeding the damaged area. It was agreed to forward the letter to the Contractor.
- Midlands Air Ambulance Charity: A letter thanking the parish council for the recent donation had been received.
- The Pensions Regulator: A letter reminding the parish council that the deadline for submitting the ‘declaration of compliance’ is 30 June 2017, had been received.
- Rev M Evans re Remembrance Crosses: An e-mail advised that Rev Evans is happy with the proposed size of the area to be prepared for the School Children to place the Remembrance Crosses. It was agreed to ask the Lengthman if he can do the preparation of the area.
- BT re Telephone Kiosks: An e-mail advised that the Kiosk in Church Lane, Ipstones is a listed kiosk and therefore is not included in their removal programme.
- SMDC re New Website: An e-mail advised that the parish council’s comments had been forwarded to the District Council’s Website Team.
- Staffordshire County Council: Details of prospective Candidate Open Days had been received.
- Crime Commissioner: Re Consultation of ‘Safer, Fairer, United Communities Strategy 2016 – 2020: This was noted.
- SCC re the Minerals Local Plan (2015 – 2030): Re adoption statement. Noted
- Other Circulars, Newsletters, etc:
NALC – Legal Topic Note 35 – Contracts NALC – Legal Topic Note 36 – Unfair Contract Terms NALC – Legal Topic Note 42 – Occupiers Liability NALC – Legal Topic Note 68 – Negligence SPCA – Weekly Bulletins – 26/01; 02/02; 09/02 & 16/02
20/17. FUTURE OF BEDS AT MOORLANDS HOSPITAL: It was noted the North Staffs CCG is conducting a consultation on the possible closure of beds at the Leek Moorlands Hospital (and other Community Hospitals). Following a discussion it was agreed to write to the North Staffs CCG objecting to the closure of any beds in the Community Hospitals as there is insufficient Community Care cover to take on extra people and if patients who need somewhere to rehabilitate or extra recuperation time there would be nowhere for them to go if all the Community Beds are closed. This would cause ‘bed blocking’ in the main hospitals, which would then have a knock on effect for routine operations etc.
21/17. SUMMER PLANTING: The Clerk reported that she has spoken to Old Hall Nursery at Winkhill and they have given a verbal quote to say the plants and planting would be the same price as in 2016, which is £421.00. It was agreed to accept this and have similar selection of Plants as in 2016 which were mixed begonias and blue lobelia. It was also noted that Old Hall Nursery can no longer get the ‘wooden barrels’. The Cllerk thought that there are one or two barrels that may need to be replaced this year. Cllr Stimpson said that he thinks that there are some barrels at JTF at £28.00. It as agreedthat if any new barrels are required, the Clerk can go and purchase them.
22/17. UPDATE ON THE MEMORIAL HALL PROJECT: Cllr Shuttleworth informed members that the Tenders for the current plans had been vastly overpriced and therefore the Hall Committee are going back to the original plans which have now been submitted to Planning. He said that they think that the previous plan will be well within the budget. Cllr Morris asked if Villagers will be able to comment on the latest plans. Cllr Shuttleworth confirmed that the plans will go on display in the Hall.
- Shay Lane, Ipstones: It was agreed to report that there are numerous pot holes along the length of Shay Lane, Ipstones.
24/17. ANY OTHER BUSINESS DEEMED URGENT
- The Staffordshire Moorlands Hunt: Cllr Morris reported that she has received several complaints from land Owners, where the Hunt has gone onto their land without permission. It was proposed by Cllr Morris and seconded by Cllr Mycock to write to the Staffordshire Moorlands Hunt and advise them that parishioners are upset that they have gone onto their land without obtaining permission and that in future they only go onto land that they do have permission to go on. This was agreed unanimously.
- Proposed Bin for Above Church: The Clerk reported that Cllr Malyon has been asked if a ‘litter/dog bin at Above Church. It was agreed to defer this until the next meeting when Cllr Malyon is present.
- Proposed Closure of Waitrose in Leek: The Clerk advised that Cllr Malyon has asked if a letter of objection to the proposed closure can be sent to Waitrose. It was agreed that this is not a parish council matter and that it is up to individuals to write if they want to.
NEW CREMATED ASHES SECTION – this was deferred to the next meeting.
25/17. ACCOUNTS FOR PAYMENT: The following accounts were agreed for payment: –
|Lengthsman’s Payment (Net) (February)||167.58|
|Clerk’s Salary (Net) (February)||628.20|
|Clerk’s Expenses inc Ink Cartridges||40.93|
|W H Leeson Plumber – for replacing Cemetery Tap||50.00|
|Hamps Valley Ltd for trimming epicormics growth from Lime trees in Cemetery||
|D W Banks for updates to Website||35.00|
The date of the next meeting was set for Wednesday 22nd March 2017 at 7p.m. in the rear extension of the Memorial Hall. (This will commence with the Annual Parish Assembly)
It was agreed to treat the final agenda item, the Lengthsman’s Annual Contract, as Confidential