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Parish Council Meeting – January 2022

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Minutes for the meeting of Belstone Parish Council held on 11th January 2022 in the Meeting Room, Belstone Village Hall at 7.30 pm

Councillors Present:

Michael Ash (Joint Chairman), Peter Cooper, Susan Norrish, Jon Pike, Theresa Weaver.
Also present: Sally Fullwood (Clerk), Robert Bennetts

2021/22-102 Disclosures of Interests

Cllr Ash declared an interest in 2021/22-117 Church Mobile Coverage Progress.

2021/22-103 Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of the Council held on the 30th November 2021 were signed as a correct record.

2021/22-104 Apologies for Absence

Cllr Ann Norman – accepted
Cllr Paul Boyce – accepted
Cllr Lynn Daniel (WDBC)

2021/22-105 Borough Councillor Statement

Cllr Daniel’s reports for December and January were discussed.

2021/22-106 Chairman’s Announcements – none

2021/22-107 Clerk’s Contract

Cllr Pike had produced a new contract for the clerk based on the NALC template, and this had been discussed with Cllr Norman and the Clerk, and circulated for approval by the members. The Clerk’s hours will increase to 3.5 hours a week from April 2022, there is now provision for holiday to be taken, payment will be quarterly and all other employment rights are specified. In addition, the members agreed to pay the Clerk a one-off bonus of £120 in view of the extra hours that she has worked, and the fact that she has saved the council £120 annually by taking the payroll in-house.
Proposal to agree the new contract.
Proposer: Cllr Pike, Seconder: Cllr Weaver, all agreed.
The contracts were signed.
Proposal to confirm the clerk’s position following satisfactory probation period.
Proposer: Cllr Pike, Seconder: Cllr Norrish, all agreed.

2021/22-108 Finance

A. Draft Budget and Precept 2022/23

Cllr Cooper had obtained a quote from the stonemasons at £633.60, which was in line with the estimate. It was agreed to keep the Jubilee expenditure in the budget at half the expected amount in the hope that grants and donations could be obtained to cover the remainder. The budget was accepted as presented, but the precept figure was increased; it was agreed that minor changes to the figures would not affect the need for a raise in precept. It was decided to raise the precept to £3,408 to cover the increase to the Clerk’s hours and the one-off Jubilee costs. This represents an increase of 35% on the previous year, and an increase of just over £7 to £27.87 per annum for each Band D property. This will still necessitate using nearly £500 of Council reserves, bringing them to a level lower than the NALC recommended amount of 6-12 months’ worth of precept. The Belstone Parish precept for 2020/21 was considerably lower than for equivalent size parishes in West Devon.
Action: Clerk and all members to investigate methods of raising the money for the Jubilee expenditure.
Proposal to accept the budget and apply for a precept of £3,408.
Proposer: Cllr Pike, Seconder: Cllr Weaver, all agreed.

B. Change of Bank Accounts (Resolution 2021/22-45B)

Cllr Pike reported Lloyds Bank are still not opening accounts for existing Parish Councils.

C. Grant Request from Citizens Advice

Proposal to give a grant of £25 to Okehampton Citizens Advice under section 137.
Proposer: Sue Norrish, Seconder: Jon Pike, all agreed.
Action: Clerk

D. Recent Transactions

DALC AGM Attendance and Training £86.
Clerk’s wages and tax (July to December) £787.39 have been paid but not come through on statement. After that has gone out the Current Account balance will be £1,891.23.
Business Reserve balance £1,642.86

2021/22-109 Clerk’s Report

The Clerk detailed Council actions in the last six weeks.
The Clerk informed the Council that it was recommended by NALC that they should have a Health and Safety policy. It was agreed that this was not necessary for Belstone Parish Council.
Cllr Norman had previously questioned whether the employment policies needed to be reviewed in February 2022, as noted on the policies. It was agreed to review them in February, but in future to put at least two years between reviews.
It was agreed to review the Standing Orders and Financial Regulations at the next meeting.
The Clerk had informed two potential planning applicants of the Council’s policy not to comment on applications before their official notification.

2021/22-110 Car Park Actions

A. Removal of Grass (Resolution 2021/22-47B)

The Clerk had replied to Marion Walpole and received no response.

B. Removal of Tree Guards (Resolution 2021/22-34E)

Cllr Ash reported this had not been done. Cllr Cooper has obtained the timber for the noticeboard to be put up so it can be done as soon as possible.
Action: Cllr Ash, Cllr Cooper, Cllr Boyce, Cllr Pike

2021/22-111 Planning Rew Meadow (Resolution 2021/22-67)

Peter Grubb had advised that the garage might contravene Schedule 2, Part 1, Class A. The Clerk had emailed Nick Savin to asking for the landowner to apply for a certificate of lawfulness. Nick Savin replied that that that reference did not apply as it was an outbuilding.
The members were concerned that the landowner continues to act without planning permission and has built on a meadow.
Proposal to ask Peter Grubb’s opinion on the DNPA response.
Proposer: Cllr Pike, Seconder: Cllr Cooper, all agreed.
Action: Clerk

2021/22-112 Queen’s Jubilee (Resolution 2021/22-56)

The Clerk has received a response from Michael Reddaway via Jenny Gibbons, asking for clarification.
Action: Clerk to reply to Mr Reddaway regarding the tree.
The memorial engraving quote had been received at £633.60.
Proposal to convene a Parish Meeting to appoint an independent committee to arrange a Jubilee social event.
Proposer: Cllr Cooper, Seconder: Cllr Weaver, all agreed.
The chairman pointed out that a Parish Meeting requires 14 days’ notice. It was agreed to call the Parish Meeting on Tuesday February 15th at 7.30 pm.
Action: Clerk to advertise the meeting using website and posters.

2021/22-113 Village Light (Resolution 2021/22-73)

The reported fault logged on 1st October is still outstanding with a status of work in progress. The Clerk has chased this with the Highways Department and they just logged it again.
Action: Cllr Norrish will ask the member of the public who reported this whether there has been any progress.

2021/22-114 Parish Council Logo (Resolution 2021/22-51B)

Sophia had not adapted the drawing, but Cllr Pike had created a new version with the position of the writing changed.
Proposal to accept the latest version of the logo as Belstone Parish Council’s official logo.
Proposer: Cllr Pike, Seconder: Cllr Weaver, all agreed.
Action: Clerk to use the logo on correspondence and website, and it was agreed that she could darken the colours.

2021/22-115 Dog Poo Signs (Resolution 2021/22-57)

Cllr Weaver reported that Sophia Clyst has been unable to find time to produce new signs, but is hoping to have some ready for the next meeting. The Chairman pointed out that the last design had been approved by the Belstone Commoners Association.

2021/22-116 Mobile Booster Scheme (Resolution 2021/22-51B)

Action: Cllr Weaver apologised that she has not had time to investigate this; but will prepare information for the next meeting.

2021/22-117 Church Mobile Coverage Progress

Proposal to wait for the West Devon Borough Council Digital Enhancement Officer to give advice on improving the mobile network in the village.
Proposer: Cllr Pike, Seconder: Cllr Cooper, all agreed.
Action: Clerk to reply to the PCC.

2021/22-118 Memorial Bench and Public Seating Policy

Cllr Cooper had found some information on the Council’s previous discussions. The Clerk had found the policy from 2006, typed it up and presented it to the Council. It was agreed that the condition found in a 2006 letter to provide a full-length concrete base, was not necessary. The Council will delegate a member to meet with any donor for a site visit, the donor will then be responsible for all design, production and installation. The design of the bench does not need to be approved by the council if it meets the policy and conditions.
Proposal to agree Council Public Seating Policy with a 5-year review period.
Proposer: Cllr Cooper, Seconder: Cllr Weaver, all agreed.
Proposal to agree conditions and application form
Proposer: Cllr Cooper, Seconder: Cllr Weaver, all agreed.

2021/22-119 Assets Register (Resolution 2021/22-99)

Cllr Cooper had looked at some of the seats. The list was discussed.
The Assets register has been amended, and seats list appended. There are currently 15 seats, and four vacant sites. Three of the seats are maintained by the Council.
Proposal to confirm the Assets Register for 2021/22 and for the chairman to sign.
Proposer: Cllr Cooper, Seconder: Cllr Norrish, all agreed.

2021/22-120 Risk Assessment

Proposal to confirm the Risks Register for 2021/22 and for the chairman to sign. To be reviewed every year.
Proposer: Cllr Pike, Seconder: Cllr Weaver, all agreed.

Cllr Weaver had attended West Devon Super Links meeting on Tuesday 7th December. She will circulate her notes from the meeting. Meetings will be six monthly, one regional, one ‘super’ for all of West Devon.

2021/22-122 Community Risk Management Plan

Two points were raised regarding the fire risks:
1) Does the Fire Service have a vehicle small enough to access all the narrow lanes?
2) Are fire hydrants being regularly tested?
Proposal for the Clerk to respond to the Community Risk Management Plan consultation by the Devon and Somerset Fire Service.
Proposer: Cllr Pike, Seconder: Cllr Cooper, all agreed.
Action; Clerk to respond.

2021/22-123 Dates of Meetings

The next meetings were originally scheduled for 15th February, 29th March, 26th April and 24th May.
Proposal to change meetings to 22nd February, 12th April, 24th May
Proposer: Cllr Norrish, Seconder: Cllr Cooper, all agreed.
Action: Clerk to prepare dates for full year.

The meeting closed at 21:20 pm.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday February 22nd 2022 in the Meeting Room of Belstone Village Hall at 7.30 pm.