Minutes of the Annual Meeting of Sesswick Community Council, held at Marchwiel Village Hall on Monday 15th May 2017 at 6.30pm
|Name and position||Capacity||Attendance at meeting|
|1||Cllr John Hurst||Chairman||All items except 17/07.B|
|2||Cllr S. Heather Rowland||Vice- Chairman||All items|
|3||Cllr Christine Stead||All items|
|4||Cllr Elizabeth Griffiths||All items bar 17/09.E and 17/16|
|5||Cllr Raymond Jones||All items|
|6||Cllr Fern Williams||17/01-17/07.A as a member of the public; 17/07.B until the end as a councillor|
|7||PCSO Lynn Maurice||North Wales Police||17/01- 17/05.A|
|8||Ian Griffiths||Clerk and responsible financial officer (RFO)||All items|
|9 & 10||Two members of the public||17/01- 17/06|
17/01 Election of Chair
1 Cllr Hurst was re- elected unopposed as Chairman. Proposed: Cllr Rowland; seconded; Cllr Stead.
2 Cllr Hurst signed his “Declaration of Office- Chairman” form before members.
17/XX Declarations of interest
|Member||Agenda item||Nature of interest||Explanation|
|1||Cllr Hurst||17/07.B||Personal & prejudicial||Member has a close association with the co-option candidate|
|2||Cllr Griffiths||17.09.E||Personal & prejudicial||Councillor has a close association with the clerk|
|3||Cllr Griffiths||17/16||Personal & prejudicial||Councillor has a close association with the clerk|
17/02 Apologies of absence
County Councillor Pritchard prior meeting
17/03 Declarations of acceptance of office
A To receive confirmation from the clerk that all elected councillors have signed their declarations prior to this meeting
1 The clerk confirmed that the five elected members’ declarations had been duly completed
B To resolve to accept the declarations of any councillor not present at this meeting before the next meeting.
1 This motion no longer applies, given that there are no outstanding declarations to be received.
The council agreed to suspend temporarily standing order 70, to allow public participation
17/04 Police update
1 PCSO Maurice advised that the following cases had occurred since the 20th March 2017 meeting:
A One report of a common assault near the Cooperative store. Investigations remain ongoing.
B One non- stop road- traffic collision. A resident’s vehicle, which had been parked outside their house overnight, had been damaged. With no CCTV or witnesses available, there were no further lines of enquiry available to proceed with this case.
C One road- traffic collision, where a heavy- goods- vehicle had clipped a cyclist while overtaking him. The biker suffered bruising to his arm, but did not require any medical attention. This matter cannot be taken further as the registration number of the HGV was not obtained and there was no CCTV coverage in that area.
D Reports of suspicious vehicular activity at a solar panel farm, triggering motion cameras at the site. No sightings were made when officers arrived.
2 There had been reports of horse tack being stolen from properties in the Malpas area. Alerts have been posted on Facebook and Horsewatch to warn those owning such equipment to take precautions.
3 Area patrols have continued to take place around Cross Lanes and the surrounding hamlets, where no issues have arisen.
4a One member of the public present voiced concerns that there were instances of overt drug- taking happening in Cross Lanes, in full view of children passing by one specific property. He stated that the problem of drugs in general has been present in Sesswick for a number of years. This had been raised with the police in the past, but no action had been taken.
4b PCSO Maurice was not aware of such instances and nothing had been brought to her attention by residents. The member of the public gave the officer his contact details so this conversation can continue afterwards.
5a One member of the public reported that he had heard incessant barking at unsociable hours (typically between 6.30am- 4.30pm), and was concerned over the condition of the dogs.
5b Not falling under police responsibilities, PCSO Maurice advised that the resident contact Wrexham County Borough Council or the RSPCA.
6a One member of the public relayed recent comments posted on social media relating to nearby HMP Berwyn. The alleged incident, he stated, had material repercussions on the local community, and felt strongly that residents need to be kept abreast of what had occurred.
6b PCSO Maurice was unaware of this alleged incident, the prison not being in the area she covers. She suggested that the resident contact the police 101 service who would be able to provide more information.
17/05 Environmental issues
A To note the increased instances of dog fouling in certain parts of Cross Lanes (especially on the Holt Road pavement between the Cooperative Store and the A525/ B5130 traffic lights), and determine how this can be addressed
1 The clerk was instructed to contact the third- party organisation with whom Wrexham County Borough Council has engaged to monitor and target instances of canine excrement, to request that they frequent Cross Lanes and pay particular attention to the following hot- spot areas:
A the pavement on Holt Road between Bedwell Road and the A525/ B5130 junction
B the green at the entrance to Nant Clwyd Park by the post box
C the greens towards the bottom of Nant Clwyd Park
2 It was agreed that the enforcement officers need to come to Cross Lanes outside of office hours, especially between 7am and 9am and 5pm- 7pm during the working week. The
consensus was that is when the problem is most prevalent among the small proportion of dog- owners who fail to pick up after their pets
PCSO Maurice left the meeting at 6.55pm
B To re-visit the issue of litter along the lanes in Sesswick, and evaluate what measures can be taken to address such instances
1 The recent trimming of the verge on the A525 highway between Cross Lanes and Marchwiel had uncovered a constant trail of rubbish along the side of the road.
2 The clerk was instructed to escalate these concerns to the county council, to see if such detritus can be collected and removed.
3 Members noted that County Councillor Pritchard was also aware of this matter, and was discussing with the relevant departments.
4 The clerk was instructed to bring to the county council’s attention the increased prevalence of loose rubbish being left after the bins have been emptied by the refuse team, especially on Nant Clwyd Park. The observation made was that rubbish escaping from the receptacles as the contents were being tipped into the bin lorry was being left. While members spoke appreciatively of the overall quality of collectors’ work, the feeling was that more time should be built into operators’ schedules to allow them to make sure all the waste material gets into the refuse truck.
The Chairman granted one member of the public’s request to address the meeting
5a One resident stated that he had witnessed the county council bin lorries parking on the pavements on Nant Clwyd Park during breaks. The weight from these vehicles crush the gas, electricity, internet and telephone wirings laying underneath, causing damage. He had asked them to park elsewhere, but they merely move a little further on the pavement.
5b Members instructed the clerk to escalate these concerns to the county council.
17/06 Play Sufficiency Assessment Project
A To decide whether to continue with the venture (dependent on there being an adequate level of interest from residents to act as volunteers to administer the scheme), or whether the £650 grant is to be returned to Wrexham County Borough Council
1 As per 10th April 2017 minute 16/162.5, the clerk had carried out a letter- drop to 123 households on Nant Clwyd Park, The Paddock, Bedwell Crescent and nearby properties on Holt Road. This communication explained to residents that the community council had secured a grant to improve play opportunities in Cross Lanes and was now seeking volunteers to take the lead in seeing the project to a fruition, save the project being deemed unviable and the funding being returned
2 As a result of this announcement, two residents had come forward to assist. One was present at the meeting, the other was unable to attend and sent her apologies.
A member of the public asked that he be allowed to address the meeting. The Chairman permitted this request.
3 A member of the public articulated his opposition to the community council providing play equipment for young people in Cross Lanes:
A he has had many instances of youths playing football against the wall of his property. His fence has been damaged as people (without permission) climb over to collect balls that have been kicked into his garden. His windows have also been broken due to miskicked footballs. Increasing the provision of these play- items will exacerbate
this predicament. Should the community council wish to proceed with this project, then members must guarantee that the council’s insurance policy will cover the claims from damages to residents’ properties.
B The traffic on Nant Clwyd Park is at a speed which is not safe for children to play. The limit needs to be reduced to 20mph before this project should be considered.
C This venture will do nothing whatsoever to foster an increased community spirit. A better use of resources would be to arrange an event to bring together all ages from all parts of Cross Lanes. At the moment, residents on Nant Clwyd are frequently not acquainted even with their neighbours in the adjacent closes. This project will not remedy that disconnect.
D there is no grassroots desire for this project to continue if only 2% of residents contacted have expressed an interest in participating in the scheme
4 Councillors made the following responses:
A there is an acknowledged and irrefutable deficit of play opportunities within Cross Lanes. This project is an attempt to address these inadequacies, and to encourage children from different parts of the village to socialise together
B The funding for the play equipment is not coming from council funds, but from an externally- sourced grant to be employed exclusively for this purpose
C the council sympathises with the resident’s issues regarding damage to property and hopes that these do not reoccur going forward. Such instances are independent of the play sufficiency project and may happen in future, regardless of the scheme
D The choice of items to be acquired will take into account the resident’s comments. Footballs and similar ball games would not be purchased.
B To agree the project’s next steps, including the creation of a working party (comprising residents and councillors) to bring the venture to fruition
1 It was decided that a working party be formed, consisting of the two volunteer residents and Cllr Stead (acting as intermediary between the group and the council).
2 The trio were charged with articulating a vision for how the project will operate. This includes:
A compiling a list of items to purchase
B detailing a process for how play equipment will be loaned out and properly returned
C ensuring the requirements underpinning the grant application are met within the set timeframe
D contacting the Wrexham County Borough Council youth and play team for further support
3 The clerk was instructed to:
A contact the council’s insurer to determine whether any additional insurance would be necessary, especially in terms of public liability cover
B liaise with the Society of Local Council Clerks to enquire if the council needs to take any further matters into account
4 The working party and the clerk will present their findings to members at the next meeting. At that point, the full council will vote on whether to proceed with the project as set out, or if the funds are to be returned to Wrexham County Borough Council.
One member of the public left the meeting at 8.05pm
The second member of the public left the meeting at 8.15pm
Standing order 70 was reinstated
17/07 Co-option of new community councillors
A To receive a report from the clerk on the co-option process following the uncontested 4th May 2017 elections
1 Five individuals had submitted nominations for the eight places on the community council for the election. Their election was therefore uncontested.
2 This therefore leaves three vacancies which need to be filled by 23rd June 2017 (i.e. within 35 working days of the election date).
3 Notice of co-option had been advertised on the community council website and notice boards, appealing for those interested to put forward their candidature.
Cllr Hurst left the meeting.
It was agreed that Cllr Rowland chair the meeting for this item
B To co-opt any suitable candidates for the three vacant positions
1 One expression of interest had been received.
2 Fern Williams of Oaklea, 1 Maes- Y- Nant Cottages, Kiln Lanes, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0TH (BAA301 in the 1st December 2016 electoral register) was duly co-opted to Sesswick Community Council
3 Members received Cllr Williams’ declaration of office.
4 The clerk furnished Cllr Williams with the following:
A Code of Conduct
B Financial Regulations
C Standing orders
D 2017/ 2018 approved budget
5 The clerk was instructed to inform the county council electoral office of this co-option.
6 The notices for the now two unfilled posts will be displayed on the council notice boards and website
Cllr Hurst returned and resumed the chairmanship of the meeting.
17/08 Election of Vice- Chair
Cllr Rowland was elected to serve as Vice- Chair without a contest.
17/09 Appointment to council working parties and nominations of representatives (and reserves if needed) to other bodies
A Dame Dorothy Jeffreys charity trustee
B One Voice Wales Area Committee representative/s (up to two are permitted)
The clerk volunteered to act in this capacity, attending meetings should it be believed there be matters of relevance to Sesswick Community Council on the agenda.
C Wrexham Town and Community Council Forum (a maximum of three)
D Wrexham Waste Recycling Group Community Liaison Panel
Cllrs Hurst and Rowland, with Cllr Jones as reserve
Cllr Griffiths left the meeting
E Personnel sub- committee
1 The Chairman, Vice- Chair and Cllr Jones
2 This newly- appointed group is charged with employee matters, and will meet with the clerk on an annual basis (at a minimum) to discuss any points of concern from both members and the officer.
Cllr Griffiths returned to the meeting
17/10 Confirmation of minutes from previous meetings
A 20th March 2017
The minutes, as presented, were taken as a true record.
B 10th April 2017
The minutes, without modification, were accepted as an accurate representation of proceedings.
17/11 Matters arising
1 16/141.2 (146 bus service). The clerk had followed up with his equivalent in Marchwiel Community Council in the week prior to this week, and was awaiting a response.
2 16/144.B (finance training). The clerk confirmed having listened to the recorded “Financial Management and Governance in Community Councils” session, the contents of which will be taken into account.
3 16/146 (non- residential courses for local children at Robinwood activity centre). The new centre manager will meet with the local primary schools’ headteachers around June 2017 to discuss the activity days that could be offered, most likely in May 2018.
4 16/147.C (appointment of county council as 2017/ 2018 payroll administrators). The current payroll manager will be leaving the authority on 30th June, and it is currently unclear whether the community council payroll contracts will continue after that date. More information will be supplied nearer the time once a decision by her successor has been taken. Until that juncture, the county council will continue in that role
5 16/157.A1 (payment of clerk salary). The invoice for the period 21/11/2016- 22/1/2014 had been £6.00 underpaid (£281.01 rather than £287.01 as billed per invoice inv3375389). This shortfall will be settled with a future invoice to Wrexham County Borough Council
17/12 Planning applications
A P/ 2017/ 0275: Erection of storage building in association with Maelor Abattoir and all associated works. Land Opposite Maelor Abattoir, Bedwell Road, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0TS
1 To note the community council’s objections to the proposal, submitted under standing order 7 6.3
Sesswick Community Council was unable to support the above application for the following reasons
A No meaningful information has been supplied to show what the proposed building will be used for. Given the large dimensions of the structure and its connection to an abattoir, councillors would need to know the nature of the items that would be stored there.
B It is not clear if there would be extra vehicular movements to and from the site relating to this development. Bedwell road is a narrow country lane and not suitable for HGV traffic
C There is no indication of how foul sewage, water, surface drainage and wash-downs are to be disposed of.
1 historically, there has always been very poor drainage on this site. In the past when it operated as an incineration site for diseased cadavers, there had been many occasions when blockages and foul overspill on to the highway had occurred. This was an ongoing problem for many years
2 Although this part of Cross Lanes is not prone to flood up, the poor drainage in this heavy- clay area results in water logging in the winter. Soakaways do not function adequately. Any natural drainage finds its way into nearby Bedwell brook and field ditches
3 The underground drainage system is also linked to the abattoir on the opposite side of Bedwell Road. This poses a health and safety risk through cross contamination. Such a hazard applies at surface level too, due to the free movement of workers between both sides
D There are doubts regarding existing contamination at the proposed development. It was used for many years as an incineration site, carcasses being burned on open fires with rubber tyres. It has also been deployed to store rotting remains for weeks at a time.
E There were grave concerns during this period relating to the proximity of diseased carcasses so close to an abattoir serving the human food industry. It is understood that presently part of this site is operating as an intermediate location for the collection and onward movement of cadavers collected from farms nationwide. This must pose a health and safety risk to the human food chain.
2 To receive the county council planning decision
A Wrexham County Borough Council had refused permission, the development being contrary to policy GDP1 (d) of the Wrexham Unitary Development Plan
1 Visibility at the site access is substandard and additional use of the access in connection with the development would adversely impact upon highway safety
2 The proposals do not make any provision for the loading/ unloading and turning of vehicles. This would result in large vehicles loading/ unloading or reversing out onto the highway via substandard access, which would adversely impact upon highway safety.
B P/2017/0204: application of approval of details reserved by conditions imposed under planning permissions P/2014/0781 and P/2015/0838. Maelor Creamery Pickhill Lane, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0UE
1 To receive confirmation that approval has been granted by Wrexham County Borough Council
A Members noted approval of the following
1 submission of an appropriate dust management scheme
2 submission of a scheme of reasonable assurance measures in respect of great crested newts
3 submission of an odour management scheme
4 submission of a noise management scheme
C P/2017/0165: extensions and upgrading of facilities and buildings including: 1) roof alteration on extension despatch storage; 2) store and crate storage extensions to lairage; 3) building new despatch bay; 4) installation of additional plant (chemical scrubber, gas tank, three water tanks, two storage tanks). Maelor Poultry, Pickhill Lane, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0UE
1 To note the community council’s comments on the application, made under standing order 76.3
A The following concerns had been submitted to the planning authority
1 The plans show there will be a considerable increase in the size of the buildings. This suggests an augmentation in productivity and output. This will involve a greater volume of vehicular movements (in and out), which will have an impact on neighbouring homes and on the junction with the A525 road. This is already a potentially hazardous spot for several reasons:
A HGV traffic leaving Pickhill lane have to occupy both lanes of the A525
B traffic from the Wrexham direction on the A525 have a restricted view of the junction due to a bend in the road
C traffic from Bangor On Dee on the A525 also have a restricted view and many would not expect a vehicle to be on their side of the road
D The lane on the opposite side of the road from Plas Fron complicates this junction, as four new properties use this exit to the A525
E The 40mph speed limit in force is very often not observed by motorists
2 To note the county council’s granting of permission to the proposal
A The planning authority granted permission subject to twelve conditions:
1 The development to commence before 24th April 2022
2 The development to be carried out in strict accordance with the details shown on the approved drawings and documents
3 The development to be carried out in strict accordance with the approved dust management scheme
4 The development to be operated at all times in strict accordance with the ADAS pre- operational odour management plan V4.0
5 the proposal cannot start functioning until a system for the treatment of trade effluent and foul water has been provided on site and made operational, as approved by the local planning authority. This system must then be retained and maintained in an operational condition
6 the proposal cannot start operating until a system for the management of surface water run- off from the site has been implemented, in accordance with that approved by the local planning authority. Once in place, these mechanisms need to be retained and maintained in an operational condition
7 No part of the development can be brought into use until recommendations vis a vis noise mitigation measures have been implemented in full. Such measures then need to be permanently retained
8 The development shall be operated at all times in strict accordance with the set noise mitigation plan
9 No facing or roofing materials can be used other than those as per the application
10 The rating level of any noise generated from this development shall not exceed the pre-existing background level by more than 5dB(A) at any time. (readings to be taken from nearby noise-sensitive premises)
11 No more than 400,000 birds shall be processed each week at the site subject to this permission
12 The site operators shall at all times maintain an up- to- date log of the number of birds processed each day. This log is to be made available for inspection to the local planning authority
D P/ 2016/ 0533/ H6955/A/17/3167412. Erection of two broiler chicken rearing buildings (each measuring 101.019m x 23.365m) and housing up to 40,000 chickens each, to be served by 4 feed bins and a wood chip bin, erection of associated control rooms, feed- weighing rooms and mess facilities, construction of an agricultural storage building and temporary siting of mobile living accommodation in connection with operation of the development. Land North of Cross Lanes roundabout, between Sesswick Way and Bedwell Road, Cross Lanes, Wrexham
1 To receive an update from the clerk on the planning hearing to be held at the Memorial Hall in Wrexham on 23rd May 2017
A The hearing will start at 10am, and is expected to last the whole day. This will end with the Inspector conducting a site visit.
B Previous written representations made will be disclosed to the parties at the appeal, and are likely to be read out thereat.
C Notice of the hearing had been added to the community council notice boards and website for residents’ information.
2 To nominate a speaker to represent the community at the hearing, and to formulate the presentation to be delivered
A It was now understood that the council need not appointment a speaker for the hearing. Rather, at the Inspector’s discretion, sections of the meeting may be opened up for public participation
17/13 Responses to planning application
It was agreed to defer this matter until the July 2017 meeting, when there would be more time available for discussion.
17/14 County Councillor feedback
1 Due to other commitments, Cllr Pritchard had sent his apologies for not being able to attend this meeting
2 Members expressed their congratulations and good wishes to Cllr Pritchard on being re-elected as Wrexham County Borough’s Mayor for the forthcoming year.
17/15 Reports from meetings
As no-one had represented the council on any external forums since the 20th March 2017 council meeting, there were no reports to be received
Cllr Griffiths left the meeting
17/16 Clerk timesheet
1 The clerk’s claim for 27 hours was approved and consequently signed by the Chairman
2 This covers the eight- week period from Monday 20th March- Sunday 14th May 2017 at the contracted three- hours per week, with an additional three hours in relation to the 10th April meeting and the community letter- drop for the community play project.
Cllr Griffiths returned to the meeting
17/17 Charitable donations
It was agreed to defer deciding a policy for allocating the budgeted £400 in this financial year to the July 2017 meeting.
17/18 Insurance renewal
Having read through the documentation received from Zurich Municipal, the Chairman and clerk counselled members that no amendments were required. The council therefore agreed to accept the policy as presented.
17/19 Community agents scheme
1 The £100.00 that was donated to the Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham
(AVOW) at the March 2017 meeting for the set- up of the community agents scheme had been returned unbanked. AVOW is coordinating the project on behalf of Wrexham County Borough Council, so they cannot accept any donations
2 As an alternative, AVOW suggested that the community council could use this £100 to employ a community agent once the scheme is operational, maybe clubbing together with a neighbouring council to make this proposal more viable.
3 A representative from AVOW also volunteered to attend a future council meeting to present more information on the scheme for members’ consideration
4 It was resolved not to continue further with this scheme, and to treat the £100 (paid out in the 2016/ 2017 financial year) as a returned cheque (income) in 2017/ 2018
17/20 Obligations under the Data Protection Act
1 The clerk informed members the council was not adhering to its obligations under the above legislation. Sesswick Community Council had not registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) or fulfilled all the necessary statutory requirements
2 As a first step, the clerk had completed the council’s mandatory enrolment with the ICO. He had paid the £35.00 annual fee from his own pocket, and will seek reimbursement from the council later in 2017.
3 The clerk was instructed to ascertain what the council’s obligations are under the Data Protection Act, and to provide a report for a future meeting to show how deficiencies will be remediated.
A To note the items paid since the last council meeting on 20th March 2017
The following items had been signed for payment by the Chair and Vice- Chair, as permitted by the council.
|Cheque number||Date signed||Recipient||Purpose||Amount||Empowering legislation||Prior council authorisation|
|Marchwiel Village Hall||Meeting room hire for 10/3/2017 (1.25 hours) and 20/3/2017 meetings (2.5 hours) @ £7 per hour||£26.25||1972 Local Government Act, section 133||16/136.A1 and 16/157.D3|
|Scottish Power||Street lighting electricity costs: 31/12/2016- 31/3/2017||£47.12||1957 Parish Councils Act, section 3||16/157.D1|
|Wrexham County Borough Council||Clerk salary costs 23/1/2017- 19/3/2017 (29 hours @ £10.63 per hour||£308.27||1972 Local Government Act, section 112||16/157.D2|
4 Cheque 000650 was signed at the 10th April 2017 meeting (minute 16/164.A1)
B To settle charge due
The following item was paid at the meeting
|Cheque number||Recipient||Purpose||Amount||Empowering legislation|
|1||000653||Zurich Municipal||Council insurance 1/6/2017- 31/5/2018||£453.31||1972 Local Government Act, section 111|
2 No donations were paid at this meeting (agenda item 17/21.B1). As per 17/17, this was deferred to the July meeting
3 The £650 grant was not returned to Wrexham County Borough Council (agenda item 17/21.B2). As resolved under 17/06.B4, this matter will be discussed at the next meeting.
C To settle charges due where billing was presented after the agenda was issued
No further charges had been received
D To approve the payment of charges anticipated before the next meeting
It was agreed that the following items be settled, should billing be presented before the next meeting
|1||Wrexham County Borough Council||Clerk salary 20/3/2017- 14/5/2017||£300.00|
|2||Marchwiel Village Hall||15/5/2017 meeting room costs||£24.00|
|3||Wrexham County Borough Council||4/5/2017 uncontested community council election costs||£250.00|
E To approve the 2017/ 2018 budget monitoring report as at 8th May 2017
1 The report was approved with the following observations:
A the multi- year backlog of street lighting maintenance charges has still to be billed by Wrexham County Borough Council, so has been rolled over into the 2017/ 2018 cost projection (estimated now at £750). The clerk was instructed to contact the county finance office to clarify when this is expected to be invoiced so the account can be brought up to date
B the £60.00 2016/ 2017 payroll administration fee has not been billed by the county council, so has also been carried over into this year’s rolling budget figures. The clerk was instructed to contact again the Payroll manager at the local authority, as she had stated that this cost was billed at the start of the year.
C As the budget envisaged a contested election that subsequently did not occur, this will release £1,450.00 for potential use. This could either be employed, fully or partially, for future projects, or retained to bolster council’s reserves. Any re-designation of these funds would first require a council resolution to that effect at a future meeting.
F To approve the bank and petty cash reconciliations as at 31st March 2017
1 The reconciliations, showing a total position of £5,051.40, was presented to the council and independently reviewed by Cllr Jones.
G To decide whether any funds need to be transferred between the current and reserve accounts
1 The council accepted the RFO’s recommendation that £500.00 be transferred from the reserve account to the current account, to ensure sufficient liquidity to settle upcoming obligations.
H To approve the 2016/ 2017 “Payments to Members” report prior to submission to the Welsh Government
1 The above report, showing just a £10.00 payment to Cllr Rowland for printing costs, was approved.
2 As required under section 151 of the 2011 Local Government Measure, the clerk was instructed to:
A forward the signed form to Welsh Government
B display the report on the community council notice boards and website
17/22 Bank mandate form
1 It was agreed to remove former councillor P. M. Jones as a cheque signatory. The necessary forms were completed to expedite this change.
2 The review of current cheque signatories was deferred to the July 2017 meeting, where more time will be available to discuss
17/23 Annual Return for the year ended 31st March 2017
1 The RFO advised that the internal audit will commence on 1st June and will last for one week.
2 The proposed accounts and related support had been prepared and emailed to members, and no follow- up questions were posed.
3 A meeting of the council will need to be arranged once the internal audit has concluded and before the 30th June statutory deadline, for members to receive the internal audit report and then to approve the annual return.
17/24 Internal control review update
1 Cllr Rowland confirmed that all the outstanding points raised in the March 2017 meeting had been satisfactorily addressed:
A The council website has been updated with the code of conduct, members’ register of interest and meeting minutes
B Backups have been taken of the council’s signed minutes and financial records. These had been scanned electronically and stored offsite, uploaded to OneDrive and emailed to the Chairman and Vice- Chairman
A To receive the list of items received between 14th March and 7th May and decide any resulting actions if needed
1 to consider whether to sign up to the Tree Charter
It was agreed that the council become a local council charter branch, a free- to- join organisation offering advice on arboreal matters and regular gratis newsletters.
2 to discuss any other items
A PCSO workshops on 16th March– the invitation from the county council had been forwarded to members, but no- one was available to attend
B Welsh Language policy– One Voice Wales had confirmed that community councils are not currently obliged to adopt such a policy, unless they are specifically required to do so.
C Survey on One Voice Wales performance– the clerk had completed the questionnaire, confirming members’ satisfaction with the groups advice and representational services
D Model policy on vexatious complaints and requests– members noted the document issued from One Voice Wales, deciding that no further action be taken at this time on this matter.
E North Wales Councils Regional Emergency Planning Service questionnaire– the clerk had completed the on- line survey, making the following comments
1 this council does not have an emergency plan
2 Sesswick Community Council feels this is more the responsibility of the county council. This council is a small rural parish with minimal funds, so therefore would not have the money or expertise to unilaterally prepare for such crises
F Good councillor guide– copy emailed to members
G Social media policy template– members noted the contents of this document circulated by One Voice Wales, which will be taken into account should the council decide to have a presence on facebook and twitter
H Nightingale House supporter events occurring during June– details were sent to members, but no one was available to attend
I Invitation to attend the Annual Meeting of the county council: this had been forwarded to councillors, but no one was free to attend on 23rd May.
B To receive confirmation of the responses made to the following items, as authorised at the March 2017 meeting under standing order 76.3
1 Welsh Government survey on the services provided and the assets managed by the community council
A The clerk confirmed he had completed this questionnaire, gauging the councils’ involvement in the delivery of services and management of assets
B As part of the consultation, the clerk stated that Sesswick Community Council has no plans to take on any additional responsibilities.
2 Welsh Government’s “Reforming Local Government” white paper
A The clerk advised that the following response had been submitted, concentrating solely on the section applicable to community councils and how resilience and renewal in this sector can be built in the short to medium term
1 Community councillors are volunteers, serving the best interests of the areas they represent. They very often combine this role with full- time work and other commitments, so time is limited. Imposing conditions such as training might act as a deterrent to potential candidates. They have unrivalled knowledge of their parishes, feel passionately towards their local areas and are determined to make sure their electorates’ views are represented. These pre- requisites should suffice in themselves
2 This council is concerned by the inference that community councils will need to take on new services and assets. Larger bodies with appropriate resources and expertise may well feel able to accommodate such devolution of services. This would not be feasible for many smaller bodies with limited specialist experience and finances. The proposed toolkit may help with the former deficiency but would not assist with the latter. The preference would be for such services and assets to remain at county- council level, unless transfer is specifically requested by the community council. Just because there may be limited funding in local government (an allocation decision from Westminster and Cardiff Bay) should not mean that all community councils have to take the hit and raise their precept or seek alternative monetary means as a consequence
3 The proposed clustering of community councils is also disconcerting. It is not clear how such joint arrangements would function and how any potential disagreements would be adjudicated. The fear would be that the needs and voices of smaller councils will be swamped by their larger neighbours and that this signals the start to forced amalgamation.
4 This trend towards greater bureaucracy will ultimately kill the small community councils. This will be a travesty for transparent local democracy as decision- making will be centralised to more distant and professionalised councillors who lack the intimate knowledge of the parish
5 The suggestion for a platform to share best practice and bring together county and community councillors is commendable. This council suggests that a number of geographically- spread conferences be held (such as one for Wrexham and Flintshire) rather than just the one as put forward after the May 2017 elections, so as to facilitate attendance.
3 Boundary Commission for Wales’ 2018 review of the Welsh Westminster Constituencies consultation
The clerk offered his profuse apologies for again missing the deadline for this latest stage of the consultation.
1 The clerk was instructed to enrol Cllr Williams in the “New Councillor Induction” session in Coedpoeth on 30th May 2017
2 At the same time, the clerk will enquire if there are any bursaries available in this financial year for these training forums
17/27 Venue and schedule for future meetings
1 Due to a lack to time, it was agreed to defer this matter until the July 2017 meeting
2 Until a decision to the contrary is taken, meetings will continue to be held on the penultimate Monday of every second- month at Marchwiel Village Hall, starting at 6.30pm
17/28 Date of next meeting
1 A meeting will be convened on Monday 19th June 2017 to:
A receive the internal audit report and approve the 2016/ 2017 Annual Return
B decide whether to advance with the Play Sufficiency project
2 The next ordinary meeting will be held on Monday 24th July 2017.
The meeting ended at 9.05pm