Minutes 19/3/2018

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Minutes of the Sesswick Community Council meeting held on Monday 19th March 2018 at Marchwiel Village Hall

 

Present

  Name Capacity/ organisation Presence
1 Cllr John Hurst Chairman All items
2 Cllr S. Heather Rowland Vice- Chair All items
3 Cllr Christine Stead All items
4 Cllr Raymond Jones All items
5 Cllr John Pritchard County Councillor From 17/137
6 Cllr David Williams All items bar 17/134.B1
7 P.C.S.O. Michael Simister North Wales Police 17/126-17/128
8 Ian Griffiths Clerk and responsible financial officer All items

No members of the public

 

17/126 Apologies for absence

  Member Reasons/ comments
1 Cllr Elizabeth Griffiths Prior commitments
2 Cllr Fern Williams Work obligations
3 Cllr John Pritchard Arriving later due to county council meeting

 

17/127 Declarations of interest

Member Item Nature Explanation
1 Cllr D. Williams 17/134/B1 Personal and prejudicial Councillor owns land adjacent to the proposed development

 

17/128 Police report

1          P.C.S.O. Simister reported the following incidences occurring since 22nd January 2018:

A         the theft of copper piping from a building development on Bangor Road. With no witnesses and the on- site CCTV not covering the areas concerned, there are currently no further lines of enquiry available at this time. A security night watchman will be stationed at the complex going forward to defer future offences.

B          the theft of a laptop from a vehicle. This was later found in a farm building, possibly left there to be picked up later. The undamaged computer has since been returned to its owner, but there are no lines of investigation open for this case.

C          the left of a mobile phone from an unsecured vehicle at a complex on Pickhill Lane. With no witnesses and CCTV available, there are no avenues to pursue by the police.

D         a road- traffic collision on the A525 near Pickhill. The driver, who fled the scene, was chased and apprehended by a member of the public. The driver has since been arrested and charged with drink- driving.

E          a non- stop road- traffic collision at the Cooperative Store on 19th March, where a vehicle reversed into another car and drove off. The culprit’s registration number has been taken and this will be pursued further.

F          A male turned up unannounced at a property in Cross Lanes, holding a sign stating he was deaf and asking for money. Similar calls had been received in neighbouring villages. Trading Standards have been made aware of these incidences and P.C.S.O’s have been monitoring their local areas, but no further sighting of the male has been reported.

 

G         A case in an adjacent community of thieves breaking into a property to obtain a set of car keys to steal the vehicle.

2          A speed survey had been conducted in December 2017 on Holt Road, showing an average speed of 29.7mph and an 85th percentile speed of 35.5 mph. Such statistics result in the area not meeting North Wales Police’s criteria for GoSafe enforcement. Councillors questioned this data, recalling personal experience of vehicles entering Cross Lanes on the B5130 road in excess of the speed limit and requested that future surveys take place closer to the area around School House Farm and Freshfields. However, speed surveys have to take place in areas of highest population density to justify their purpose, so such a request would unlikely be considered by the authorities.

3          Members commented that a number of HGV’s were still using Holt Road and Isycoed to access the Wrexham Industrial Estate rather than using the new Southern Access link road, a point P.C.S.O. Simister agreed to raise with the Vehicles Operators and Services Agency

4          The number of larger vehicles using Pickhill Lane as a thoroughfare between the B5130 and A525 routes was noted, in particularly reference to the state of the verges being cut up. However, being a public highway, there is unfortunately no remit for public intervention

5          All reported on the continuing prevalence of litter on all road verges in the community, an issue which sadly plagues all areas.

 

P.C.S.O. Simister left the meeting at 6.50pm

 

17/129 Confirmation of minutes from 22nd January 2018 meeting (enclosed)

The minutes were taken, as presented as a true record.

 

17/130 Matters arising

No matters were raised

 

17/131 Environmental improvements

A site meeting had been held with a representative of the North Wales Wildlife Trust on 12th February. A further site meeting will be arranged for 21st March, to discuss in more detail the initial suggestions put forward.

 

17/132 Re-scaping the area around the Jubilee Stone

The working party had not met to articulate in more detail a possible plan for the site. Such a design will be developed for consideration at the May 2018 council meeting.

 

17/133 Play equipment donation

Cllr Stead had not been able to convene a meeting of the play working party, to propose ways to spend the £2,000.00 received. A session will be organised shortly so a short- list of items to be purchased can be assessed at the Annual Meeting.

 

17/134 Planning applications

A         P/2018/0075 Application for approval of details reserved by conditions imposed under planning permission P/2016/0953. Cross Lanes Hotel, Bangor Road, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0TF. Condition 4 (method statement, outlining the proposed timetable, advertising and contact details, explaining how meeting room (s) will be made available to the local community Condition 6 (a plan of the site showing the proposed lighting locations, direction, heights and specification and a second plan showing the assessed illumination levels

1          To receive the response made to the planning authority made under standing order 76.3

A         Sesswick Community Council is agreeable to the proposals to offer sections of the site, free of charge, to local residents on Friday evenings during term- time. This includes the use of rooms for club meetings and gatherings and the possible use of the facilities for children living in the community, gratis

B          Members are concerned by that other facilities could also be made available for hire at weekends, subject to demand. Clarification is needed to determine if this applies solely as a means to provide a facility for those living in Cross Lanes. It would be contrary to the initial plan and far less acceptable if the site became over time a venue available to the wider population throughout the year.

C          Until the complex is open, it cannot be known what the development’s impact will be on those living nearby. If some residents experience negative consequences from the site vis a via noise, traffic levels and parking, and this becomes an increasingly seven- day- a- week operation open to all, then individuals’ quality of life will suffer as a result. To avoid such an occurrence, this council would call for adherence to the original plan where the site would not be functioning during school holidays and weekends, apart from the very occasional event. Otherwise, more consultation with the community would be a pre-requisite before a decision on any changes be made. In the event of any modifications, planning conditions would need to be imposed limiting the number of times the complex can open over weekends and holiday times, so as to protect neighbourhood amenity.

D         The Community Council still seeks to come to some arrangement whereby residents in this community can acquire access to a place on the site for specific community use at any time

2          To receive the county council’s response to the community council’s comments

The planning authority’s feedback were noted.

3          To agree on any further submission

A         The clerk was instructed to state to the planning authority that Sesswick Community Council has no further observations to make. Members are reassured that the facility’s out- of- hours use will be limited and the community facility element would be ancillary to its main use as a children’s activity centre operating during term time. Any deviation from this could be considered as a breach of planning conditions.

 

Due to his personal and prejudicial interest in the following item, Cllr D. Williams temporarily left the meeting

 

B          P/2018/0138 Erection of five detached dwellings, including means of access and associated works Land at Bedwell Road, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0TR

A         The clerk was instructed to convey the following objections to the planning authority

1          The statement that the proposed site for development is not within an area at risk of flooding and that “surface water collected from hard- surfaced areas… will be discharged by means of private soakaways” is questionable. The land on plots four and five in particular are underlain by heavy clay which is a hindrance to drainage. Soakaway tends to create drainage problems and excessive run-off. Building on this site, which currently acts as natural land drain, may cause this water to flow into Bedwell Brook and end up flooding Bedwell Road and nearby land. Pollution entering Bedwell Brook will ultimately find its way to the rivers Dee and Clwydog, causing wider contamination.

2          Plots four and five appear to lie outside the settlement limit with encroachment into greenfield areas, which would be contrary to the recommendations of the unitary development plan.

3          Comments that there are no trees or hedges on or adjacent to the proposed development site that could influence the development requires scrutiny. There are a number of well- established specimens on its boundary with Bedwell Road. These would need to be removed to execute the plans submitted, having a detrimental impact on the local environment.

 

4          Cross Lanes does not have good public transport links, its bus service having been reduced to just four buses a day (Monday- Saturday daytime only with no evening schedule) and with the risk of further cuts. Access to private transport for these proposed developments is essential, hardly a sustainable solution.

5          The application states that “foul water discharges will be discharged to the public sewer which crosses the applicant’s retained land to the west”. It is members’ understanding that this sewage system is already at maximum capacity. Any new development would need to devise an independent solution to handling its effluent.

6          The construction of plots four and five will necessitate the removal of the only access to the fields between Bedwell Road and the A525 highway, so an alternative means of entrance/ exit to this land would be required. Any movement further down Bedwell road could well block the existing public right of way path.

7          The addition of five four-bedroom houses in the community could result in more children needing to find school places in the area, where there is little spare capacity in the system.

8          Cross Lanes is a small village with scant amenities and facilities. This is therefore an inappropriate location for housing development.

9          Recent studies have demonstrated that Cross Lanes already have a deficiency of play opportunities for children and young people. Such development will only exacerbate this predicament.

10        It is probable that the occupants of these proposed developments will be at work/ at school during the working day, leaving properties unoccupied. In that context, it is unclear how these five houses will “improve the safety of the community by increasing the natural surveillance provided by new occupants”

11        There is no proposed footpath to the two- dwelling development. Bedwell Lane is a narrow route with poor pedestrian visibility, so it is unsafe for the site to be accessed in this manner.

 

Cllr D. Williams returned to the meeting

 

C          Wrexham Power Limited- revised gas connection route

1          To receive the community council’s submission to the pre- application consultation, made under standing order 76.3

A         The clerk advised he had communicated to the agent that the council had no comments to make at this stage

 

17/135 Community Agents programme

A         To receive an update from the clerk on current status

1          A contract has been drawn up between Overton Community Council and the Rainbow Centre.

A         The former will act as the lead for the eight members of the consortium (Overton, Maelor South, Bronington, Hanmer, Bangor Isycoed, Marchwiel, Sesswick and Erbistock & Eyton community councils) and will draw down the funding for the venture from the county council. This will be used to settle all associated charges.

B          The latter will be responsible for the recruitment and management of the three permanent positions and two temporary posts, offered initially as a one- year contract. The centre will offer training and provide office space and administration support. Once up- and- running, quarterly progress reports will be issued to the community councils

2          Recruitment for the agents is currently under way. It is hoped appointments will be made by April, subject to the DBS checks being completed.

 

 

B          To nominate a representative to sit on the consortium’s panel meetings

It was agreed that notice of such meetings be communicated to all members once they commence. Attendance could be arranged on a rota basis for those interested in participated.

 

17/136 Reports from other meetings

A         Wrexham Town and Community Council Forum on 1st February (Cllr Hurst)

1          The following matters had been discussed

A         Virgin Media expanding its presence in Wrexham.

B          The future of the Communities First programme

C          Dog fouling

D         Treatment of food scraps and use of caddies.

E          Planning consultations with community councils,

F          Discarded needles and sharps in certain parts of Wrexham

 

B          Wrexham Business Environment Network on 9th February (Cllr D. Williams)

This session, primarily involving organisations from the Wrexham Industrial Estate, looked at ways to improve local habitat and the role in which companies can assist.

 

C          Planning workshop for community and town councils on 14th February (Cllr D. Williams)

As part of proposed reforms to the planning process, the Welsh Government had arranged a number of these sessions across the country to obtain delegates’ feedback on the modus operandi.

 

D         “My Community My Council” event organised by the Independent Review Panel on Community and Town Councils on 7th March (Cllr D. Williams)

The panel sought participants’ opinions on reforming this sector of local government, before publishing their recommendations next year.

 

E          Any other meetings attended

No additional meetings had been attended

 

Cllr Pritchard arrived at the meeting at 8.20pm

 

17/137 Street lighting

A         To review the 2018/ 2019 maintenance service level agreement with Wrexham County Borough Council, and to decide whether to accept

It was agreed to accept the SLA as presented.

B          To discuss the continuing viability of the four street lights owned by the community council

Members concurred that the community council would continue to own its current stock. However, the precept would need to be increased in future years to finance repairs and replacements.

 

17/138 Charitable donations

Due to monetary pressures, councillors took the view that no further donations be made in this financial year.

 

17/139 Membership of One Voice Wales

The council resolved to renew its subscription to this organisation for 2018/ 2019

 

17/140 Annual inspection of fixed assets

The clerk’s report was noted.

 

17/141 2018/ 2019 Annual Investment strategy

The strategy was approved without comment

 

17/142 Annual risk assessment

The document, concluding that the community council faced a low level of risk, was approved without discussion.

 

17/143 Annual internal controls review

The Vice- Chairman’s report and recommendations were approved

 

17/144 Clerical matters

A         To approve the clerk’s timesheet for the period 22nd January- 18th March 2018

The claim for 18 hours was approved for payment.

B          To review the clerk’s contract and job description and determine if any amendments are needed

This was deferred until the revised salary rates for the period from 1st April 2018 have been published by the National Association of Local Councils

 

17/145 General Data Protection Regulation

The clerk informed members on the status of preparations to be compliant with the regulation, effective from 25th May 2018. Members were also advised of their responsibilities to handle data securely and to destroy obsolete information in an appropriately careful manner.

 

17/146 Community council website

1          It was agreed to accept the administrator’s recommendations and to proceed with the website upgrade for £149.00, the current version becoming increasingly unstable and may not be maintained in the future.

2          The clerk will settle this sum and will seek reimbursement at a future meeting

 

17/147 Review of standing orders and financial regulations

  1. No amendments were put forward to the standing orders, but the clerk was instructed to obtain the latest template from One Voice Wales with a view to adoption in 2018.
  2. The council resolved to make the following changes to the financial regulations
    1. Removal of part of point 5.2 (…..“The approved schedule shall be ruled off and initialled by the Chairman of the Meeting”…..) As payments are detailed in the agenda, fully disclosed in the minutes and each cheque signed off by two members, it is felt the additional control of a schedule of payments is not required

 

17/148 County Councillor report

1   Cllr Pritchard acknowledged the large number of pot holes on the local highways and was pushing for them to be filled in as soon as possible. A temporary filling has been applied in the hole at the A525/B5130 cross roads

2          Responding to reports of dirty pavements along the A525, Cllr Pritchard has been trying to obtain a mini- sweeper to visit the area

3   Similarly, Cllr Pritchard will request for a road sweeper tidy the B5130 road from Nant Clwyd Park towards Isycoed

4          Complaints had been received concerning water accumulating on the A525 as one enters Cross Lanes. This has always been an issue historically but exacerbated in recent weeks by high levels of precipitation and construction in the area. The matter was being looked into by the highways department.

5   A large tree is partially obscuring the “HMP Berwyn” jail sign on the A525 approaching Cross Lanes. Cllr Pritchard will request this be checked and trimmed back if required

6          Cllr Pritchard will follow up on reports of the footpath between Bedwell Brook and the Wrexham Industrial Estate Link Road being overgrown.

 

17/149 Finance

A         To receive confirmation of the following settlements made since the 22nd January 2018, as authorised by the council

  Cheque Date signed Recipient Purpose Amount Prior council authorisation Empowering legislation
1 680 9/2/2018 Wrexham County Borough Council Q4 2017 street lighting maintenance £33.47 Minute 17/105.D4 Section 3, 1957 Parish Councils Act
2 681 9/2/2018 Marchwiel Village Hall 22/1/2018 meeting room hire £20.00 Minute 17/124.C2 Section 133, 1972 Local Government Act

 

B          To settle items due

The following were approved for payment

  Cheque Recipient Purpose Amount Empowering legislation
1 682 Ian Griffiths (clerk) Reimbursement for council website annual fee £95.49 Section 142, 1972 Local Government Act
2 683 One Voice Wales 2018/ 2019 membership fee £96.00 Section 143, 1972 Local Government Act

As per point 17/138, it was decided no payments be made to charity at this meeting

 

C          To pay any invoices received after this agenda was issued

No further charges had been received

 

D         To agree settlement of items anticipated before the next meeting

It was agreed to pay the following items should billing be presented before the next meeting and payment cannot be delayed until then

Recipient Purpose Estimated cost
1 AVOW Clerk salary costs 22/1/18- 18/3/18 £270.00
2 Scottish Power Q1 2018 street lighting electricity £50.00
3 Wrexham County Borough Council Q1 2018 street lighting maintenance £35.00
4 Marchwiel Village Hall 19/3/2018 meeting room hire £24.00

 

E          To receive the latest budget monitoring report

The report was noted without comment

 

F          To decide whether funds need to be transferred between the current and reserve accounts

No money was transferred at this time

 

17/150 Internal audit

A         To confirm the reappointment of JDH Business Services Ltd as internal auditor for the year ended 31st March 2018

1          It was agreed to re-appoint the said organisation to the aforementioned role. The firm employs competent and suitably- qualified staff and specialises in the internal audit of community councils

B          To reiterate that there are no conflicts of interest that would impinge on the said company acting as auditor

1          Neither the clerk nor any member was aware of any reasons preventing the re-appointment of JDH Business Services as auditors. There are no personal, familial or professional relations between the council (councillors and official) and the company or staff, nor are there any potential conflicts of interest which would prevent the firm conducting the audit in an objective manner.

C          To consider the appropriateness of the internal audit plan

All agreed that the proposed audit plan was appropriate and sufficiently rigorous to test the council’s internal controls and procedures

 

17/151 Date of next meeting

Monday 21st May 2018 (annual meeting)

 

The meeting ended at 9.30pm

 

Approved by council:   21st May 2018

 

 

Minute reference: 18/07