Minutes 21/5/2018

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Minutes of the 2018 Annual Meeting of Sesswick Community Council, which took place at 6.30pm on Monday 21st May 2018 in Marchwiel Village Hall

 

Present

    Position/ organisation Attendance
1 Cllr J. F. Hurst Chair All items
2 Cllr S. H. Rowland Vice- Chair All items
3 Cllr C. A. Stead   All items
4 Cllr E. P. Griffiths   All items bar 18/16 and 18/17
5 Cllr R. J. Jones   All items
6 Cllr F. A. Williams   From 18/12
7 Cllr J. D. Pritchard County councillor All items
8 Cllr D. Williams   All items
9 Mr I. M. Griffiths Clerk and responsible financial officer All items
10 One Police Community Support Officer whose remit covers Sesswick North Wales Police 18/01- 18/03
11 Cooperative Store Manager Cooperative Bedwell Road store 18/01-18/04
12 Cooperative Store Community Pioneer Cooperative Bedwell Road store 18/01-18/04

No other members of the public

For reasons of confidentiality, only the names of councillors and council employees are listed above.

 

18/01   Election of Chair

1          Cllr Hurst was elected unopposed as Chairman for the 2018/ 2019 year. Proposed: Cllr Rowland; seconded: Cllr Griffiths

2          Members received the Chairman’s declaration of office, signed in the presence of the clerk

 

18/AA  Declarations of interest

  Member Agenda item Nature of interest Explanation
1 Cllr J. D. Pritchard 18/12 Personal Member is a county councillor sitting on the local planning authority
2 Cllr J. D. Pritchard 18/13 Personal Member is a county councillor sitting on the local planning authority
3 Cllr E. P. Griffiths 18/16 Personal and prejudicial Member has a close association with the clerk
4 Cllr E. P. Griffiths 18/17 Personal and prejudicial Member has a close association with the clerk

 

18/02   Apologies of absence

Cllr F. A. Williams                   Arriving late due to work obligations

 

So as to allow public participation, it was agreed that standing order 70 be temporarily suspended.

 

18/03   Police update

1          The following incidents had occurred since the 19th March 2018 meeting

A         A burglary in the vicinity of Cock Bank, where tools and shower equipment had been taken from a property undergoing renovation. With no on- site CCTV and no additional details for CSI (Crime Scene Investigation), there were currently no further lines of enquiry available

B          A drink- driver (not local to the area) was arrested on Kiln Lane while passing through Cross Lanes

C          Complaints of youths playing football close to some properties on Nant Clwyd Park.

D         A suspicious white van driving slowly through Nant Clwyd Park. Its registration number had been noted but no further local sightings had been reported.

E          A HMRC scam, which has also impacted several other parts of Wrexham and beyond.

F          Continuing instances of fly- tipping in the community, especially in Pickhill Lane and                 Bedwell Road where mattresses and garden waste have been dumped.

2          With pleasant weather approaching, the local police officer was requested to monitor the areas around the southern access link road to the Wrexham Industrial Estate, particularly on Sunday afternoons. Past years have witnessed motorcyclists and other road users driving at excessive speed through Cross Lanes.

 

The police officer left the meeting at 6.37pm

 

18/04   Corporate community involvement

A         To welcome the manager of a local business to the meeting and to discuss ways of improving the local area

1          The two representatives from the Bedwell Road branch of the Cooperative Store stated they may be able to support a local litter- pick by providing staff when the shop is closed for a two- week refurbishment. This has been provisionally scheduled for July and August 2018

2          There is also funding available for community projects. The latest window for applications has closed and these are being currently assessed, but the next wave of funding grants should be open later in 2018.

B          To agree any follow up points for the community council to take

1          The Cooperative manager agreed to contact the clerk once dates and availability have been confirmed. The clerk will then liaise with “Keep Wales Tidy” to help facilitate the litter- pick.

2          Public support for this venture will also be elicited, and a number of volunteers have already expressed an interest in participating

 

The two represents from the Cooperative store left the meeting at 7pm

Standing order 70 was reinstated

 

18/05   Election of Vice- Chair

With no other nominations, Cllr Rowland was re-elected as Vice- Chair for the next twelve months. Proposed: Cllr Stead; seconded: Cllr Jones

 

18/06   Appointment to council working parties and nominations of representatives (and reserves if needed) to other bodies

A         Dame Dorothy Jeffreys charity trustee

Cllr Stead re-appointed

B          One Voice Wales Wrexham and Flintshire Area Committee representative/s (up to two are permitted)

The clerk was re-appointed, but the invitation will be opened to all members should the clerk be unable to attend

C          Wrexham Town and Community Council Forum (a maximum of three)

Cllr Hurst was re-appointed, with the agenda being made available to all councillors should others wish to participate.

D         Wrexham Waste Recycling Group Community Liaison Panel

Cllrs Hurst and Rowland re-appointed

E          Personnel sub- committee

Cllrs Hurst, Rowland and Jones re-appointed

F          Play working party

Cllr Stead and the two members of the public re-appointed

G         Jubilee Stone improvements working party

Cllrs Rowland, Griffiths, Jones and D. Williams re-appointed

H         Community agent forum representative

Cllr Jones

 

18/07   Confirmation of minutes from 19th March 2018 (enclosed)

1          The minutes were approved as an accurate record of proceedings, subject to the following two modifications

A         17/144.A was changed from “the claim for 10 hours was approved for payment” to “the claim for 18 hours was approved for payment”

B          17/147.2A was amended from “removal of point 5.2 (The RFO shall prepare a schedule of payments requiring authorisation, forming part of the Agenda for the Meeting and, together with the relevant invoices, present the schedule to Council. The Council shall review the schedule for compliance and, having satisfied itself shall authorise payment by a resolution of the Council. The approved schedule shall be ruled off and initialled by the Chairman of the Meeting. A detailed list of all payments shall be disclosed within or as an attachment to the minutes of the meeting at which payment was authorised. Personal payments (including salaries, wages, expenses and any payment made in relation to the termination of a contract of employment) may be summarised to remove public access to any personal information.) to “removal of part of 5.2 (“the approved schedule shall be ruled off and initialled by the Chairman of the meeting”)

 

18/08   Matters arising

1          17/134.BA5 (sewage system by Bedwell Brook): Cllr D. Williams reported that human effluent was leaking from the grid, contaminating nearby land. He had been in contact with Wrexham County Borough Council’s Environmental Health department, Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales to rectify the matter as a priority

2          17/135 (community agents programme): the clerk was instructed to invite a representative from the Rainbow Centre to the July 2018 meeting, so members can learn more about the initiative

 

18/09   Play equipment

1          The council approved the recommendations from the play working party at its 26th April 2018 meeting:

A         An event be organised from 10am to 12pm on Tuesday 24th July 2018 on one of the greens on Nant Clwyd Park (though not the same open space that was used in 2017).

The clerk is to invite Cllr Pritchard (as county councillor) and representatives from the Robinwood Activity Centre to the function.

B          The following equipment and services be purchased from the £2,000 reserved for this purpose:

1          One pop- up gazebo (c. £50). Details to be sent by Cllr Stead to the clerk for purchasing prior to 24th July.

2          One box for carrying equipment (c. £50). Details to be sent by one of the working party volunteers to the clerk for purchasing

3          Hiring of two members of staff from Wrexham County Borough Council’s Youth and Play team for the morning (c. £150). Contact to be made direct by the working party.

4          Design, printing and distribution of fliers and posters advertising the event and the availability of the equipment for loan (gratis) to local households. This will be coordinated by the working party. A copy will be placed on the community council notice boards

5          Light refreshments for the play day.

C          Information on the equipment will be included in the next edition of the “Essentially Yours” community magazine, to be provided and sent direct by the working party.

D         Attendees at the play event will be able to suggest ideas of items they would like to see available, which would be taken into account in the next wave of purchases.

 

18/10   Improvements to the area around the Jubilee Stone

As a short- term measure to tidy the immediate environment, members consented that the community council fund the cutting of the grass surrounding the Jubilee Stone. This would be performed by a local contractor at an approximate cost of £15 per cut, required every three weeks during the summer peak.

 

18/11   Environmental improvements in the community

1          Following a number of discussions and site meetings, the North Wales Wildlife Trust had offered (with volunteer support) to plant Welsh daffodils and blue bells on the outer three metres of the A525 roundabout to the Wrexham Industrial Estate. However, given current county council constraints in clearing vegetation from highway verges and roundabouts, it was agreed that anything that presented an obstacle to this work (eg waiting for all flowers to die off) should be best avoided

2          Negotiations remain ongoing for the supply of bird boxes and the possible amelioration of the pond area by the pond off Sesswick Way.

 

Cllr F. A. Williams arrived at 7.55pm

 

18/12   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. Former Cross Lanes Hotel, Bangor Road, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0TF

1          To receive the planning authority’s decision

Approval had been granted by Wrexham County Borough Council

B          P/2018/0227. Outline Application For The Installation Of An Underground Gas Pipeline Of Up To 400Mm Nominal Bore Set At Least 1.1M Below Ground Level To Allow The Partial Re-Routing Of An Underground Gas Pipeline Previously Granted Under Planning Permission P/2016/0358. Land North Of Wales And West Utilities, Access Roads To Maelor Gasworks, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0UW

1          To note the community council’s comments made under standing order 76.3.

Sesswick Community Council raised no objections to this proposal. However, any conditions laid down by the planning authority wold need to be carefully monitored by them to ensure compliance

C          P/2018/0295: Application For Prior Notification Of Agricultural Building – Proposed Agricultural Hay Barn. Royton Farm, Eyton, Wrexham LL13 0SL

1          To note the community council’s comments made under standing order 76.3

No objections were made, on the understanding that the application adheres to the recommendations in the unitary development plan and planning regulations

2          To receive the planning authority’s decision

Wrexham County Borough Council declared that no prior approval was required in this instance

D         P/2018/0322: Application For Consent To Display 2 No. Internally Illuminated Fascia Signs, 2 No. Internally Illuminated Logos And 6 No. Non-Illuminated Wall Mounted Flat Panels. Cooperative Retail Services Limited, Bedwell Road, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0TR

1          To note the community council’s comments, submitted per standing order 76.3.

Sesswick Community Council had no objections to the proposals. However, it would be preferable for the signage to state “Cross Lanes Coop” rather than “Bedwell Road”, to denote the village in which the shop is located and to be a more meaningful reference point.

2          To note the planning authority’s initial response, and to decide if any further action is needed.

A         Wrexham County Borough Council had advised that they have no control over the content of the signage so cannot influence the applicant on this matter. The signage’s form is the planning consideration.

B          Members agreed not to pursue the matter further.

E          P/ 2018/ 0327: Application For Consent To Display two Signage Boards Located At The Entrance To The Activity Centre. Former Cross Lanes Hotel, Bangor Road, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0TF

1          To note the community council’s comments, submitted per standing order 76.3

No objections were lodged, provided the proposals comply with all relevant legislation

F          P/2018/0380: new extension in rear yard to form a new bakery enclosure, installation of two new AC units in new plant area, one new compressor and one compressor in garden area, two new compressors in external yard area, two new steel frame walkways with polycarbonate roofs from warehouse to chilled and freezer areas and decoration of shopfront frames. Cooperative retail store, Bedwell Road, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0TR

1          To confirm the council’s comments will be submitted to the local planning authority under standing order 76.3

This approach was agreed by members

 

18/13   Local Development Plan Public Consultation

With little discernible impact on Sesswick, it was resolved that no submission be made to this consultation

 

18/14   County Councillor feedback

1          Cllr Prichard had been continuing to demand that the pot holes in Cross Lanes be repaired as soon as possible. One example on the Paddock and the specimens at the entrance to Nant Clwyd Park were particularly large and needed urgent attention. Due to monetary constraints, the county council was having to prioritise the most critical items.

2          The bus shelters on the A525 road would be cleaned shortly. Cllr Pritchard had enquired if these could be reversed, so as to give users more protection from the elements, but this was not deemed possible.

3          A number of complaints had been received regarding the overgrown state of the verges and greens in the locality. With limited finance, this should occur biannually (June and September/ October) but the county council cannot trim back areas until all flowers there have died off.

4          The traffic light on the A525 road facing Marchwiel is sinking into the ditch, preventing drainage and causing stagnant water to accumulate in the area. Due to its nature and location, any repair would require a temporary road closure.

5          Cllr Pritchard had been alerted to a development in Cross Lanes which it was believed was not complying to agreements made in 2016. Cllr Pritchard had informed the relevant county council department who were in the process of checking.

 

18/15   Reports from meetings

A         Wrexham Town and Community Council forum 22nd March 2018 (Cllr Hurst)

A         The following matters had been discussed and covered

1          the (currently non- mandatory) aim for community councils to produce bilingual agendas, minutes and public communications

2          a presentation on the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the visitor resources and volunteering opportunities available.

3          a presentation on the “Silent Soldier” initiative with the Royal British Legion. Bodies are invited to purchase (at £75) a silhouette of soldier to commemorate the end of World War One in 1918

4          Information on the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales Annual Report for 2018 (discussed below)

B          One Voice Wales Area Committee meeting 27th March (clerk)   

This session focussed on the General Data Protection Regulations and its impact on town and community councils (discussed below)

C          Any other meetings attended

No additional reports were submitted

 

Cllr Griffiths temporarily left the meeting

 

18/16   Review of clerk’s contract and pensions

A         To approve the following changes to the clerk’s contract

1          Point 2: 2% salary increase, from £10.73 per hour to £10.953 per hour, effective 1st April 2018 (as per The National Joint Council for Local Government Services)

This amendment was approved

2          Amend point 4 from “the council has agreed that the number of hours paid shall be three hours per week” to “the council will pay for the number of hours the clerk has worked based on the production of itemised monthly timesheets approved at a council meeting and reviewed beforehand by the Chairman. This will not exceed an average of 3 hours per week during the month. Payment will be made on a quarterly basis, in arrears, effective for hours worked from 1st June 2018”

This modification was also approved

B          To confirm that the clerk’s automatic pensions enrolment declaration has been submitted

1          The clerk confirmed the necessary declarations had been made to the Pensions Regulator.

2          The officer’s salary remains at a level where compulsory pensions payroll deductions are optional. The clerk’s opt-out remains valid.

 

18/17   Clerk timesheets

A         To approve the clerk’s salary claim for the following periods:

1          19th March- 31st March

The claim for seven hours was approved

2          1st April- 30th April

The claim for eight and a half hours was approved

 

Cllr Griffiths returned to the meeting

 

18/18   Charitable donations

Members decided to defer making a decision on how to utilise its £400 charitable budget until later in the financial year

 

18/19   Insurance renewal

A         To review the quotes received and approve the new provider

1          Three companies had been approached. The council agreed to accept a three- year deal with Zurich Municipal, representing the lowest cost. The first annual charge, effective from 1st June 2018, would be for £314.05.

2          The Chairman and clerk had reviewed the policy prior to the meeting, and both concurred that it met the council’s insurance needs

 

18/20   Adherence to the General Data Protection Regulation, enforceable from 25th May 2018

A         To note the results of the data audit (enclosed)

Members approved the document as presented, and agreed it be re-examined in 2019 as part of the internal controls assessment.

B          To approve the general privacy notice (enclosed)

The document was noted and approved. The clerk would publish this on the community council website

C          To approve the privacy notice for staff, councillors and role holders (enclosed)

The notice was approved. This would also be published on the community council website

D         To approve the proposed data retention policies for the community council (enclosed)

The policies, to be reviewed at a minimum on an annual basis, were approved by councillors. The document will be loaded to the community council website

E          To decide whether to appoint a Data Protection Officer and (if so), the person to be charged with that responsibility

It was resolved not to appoint a data protection officer, the National Association of Local Councils advising from recent changes in proposed government legislation that such an appointment would now be discretionary.

 

18/21   Training policy

A         So as to rationalise the current modus operandi and to facilitate enrolment before courses are fully booked, the following protocol was approved:

1          The clerk to issue training programmes as received

2          Members to contact the clerk should they wish to participate in any sessions

3          Subject to there being sufficient funds available in the training budget and with the prior agreement of the Chair, then the member/s can be enrolled on the relevant course without full council approval.

4          Course participation and payment can then be detailed at the next meeting.

 

18/22   Community council website

1          The clerk confirmed the website had been updated by the administrator.

2          Some of the photographs on the main page were now obsolete. It was agreed that these be replaced by one of the Dovecote and one of the entrance to Nant Clwyd Park,

 

18/23   Independent Review Panel for Wales 2018 Annual Report

A         To decide the council’s response to the following recommendations

1          “To make available a payment to each member of £150 per year for costs incurred in respect of telephone usage, information technology, consumables etc” (determination 45)

A         It was resolved not to take advantage of this option.

B          Any such payments can still be made to members up to £150 a year, subject to receipts being provided and it being demonstrated that such expenses were incurred on council business.

2          “To permit an annual payment of up to £500 each to up to five members in recognition of specific responsibilities. This is in addition to the £150 payments for costs and expenses if that is claimed (determination 47)

Members agreed not to take up this option

3          “To permit a Civic Head payment to the Chair up to a maximum of £1,500 to undertake the functions of that office. This is in addition to the £150 payment for costs and expenses and the £500 senior salary if these are claimed (determination 52)

Councillors voted not to make such a payment

4          “To permit a Civic Head payment to the Deputy- Chair up to a maximum of £500 to undertake the functions of that office. This is in addition to the £150 payment for costs and expenses and the £500 senior salary if these are claimed (determination 52)

It was agreed for the community council not to follow this recommendation.

 

18/24   Finance

A         To note the items paid since the last council meeting on 19th March 2018

  Cheque number Date Recipient Purpose Amount Prior council authorisation Empowering legislation
1 000684 20/3/2018 Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham (AVOW) Clerk salary 24/7/2017- 21/1/2018 & payroll admin costs £961.78 17/79.D1,

17/79.D2,

17/105.D1, 17/124.C1

Section 112, 1972 Local Government Act
2 000685 9/4/2018 Marchwiel Village Hall 19/3/2018 meeting room hire £24.00 17/149.D4 Section 133, 1972 Local Government Act
3 000686 16/4/2018 Scottish Power Q1 2018 street lighting electricity £47.12 17/149.D2 Section 3, 1957 Parish Councils Act
4 000687 14/5/2018 Scottish Power Street lighting electricity: 31/3/2018- 30/4/2018 £15.75 Financial regulations 5.5 and 5.6 Section 3, 1957 Parish Councils Act

 

B          To settle charge due

  Cheque Recipient Purpose Amount Empowering legislation
1 000688 Zurich Municipal Insurance for the period 1/6/2018- 31/5/2018 (as per 18/19) £314.05 Section 111, 1972 Local Government Act

As per 18/18, no charitable donations were made at this meeting

 

C          To settle charges due where billing was presented after the agenda was issued

No invoices had been received

D         To approve the payment of charges anticipated before the next meeting

The following items were authorised for settlement, should billing be presented before the next meeting

  Recipient Nature Amount
1 AVOW Clerk salary 19/3/2018- 30/4/2018 £250.00
2 AVOW Clerk payroll admin charges 22/1/2018- 30/4/2018 £25.00
3 Marchwiel Village Hall 21/5/2018 meeting room hire £24.00

 

E          To approve the 2017/ 2018 budget monitoring report as at 14th May 2018 (enclosed)

The item was approved without comment

F          To approve the bank and petty cash reconciliations as at 29th March 2018 (enclosed)

The reconciliations, showing a total balance of £6,212.90 (of which £2,000.00 is restricted for the purchase of play equipment) was approved by council and independently reviewed by Cllr D. Williams

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

It was agreed no transfers be made at this time

H         To approve the 2017/ 2018 “Payments to Members” report prior to submission to the Welsh Government (enclosed)

1          The report was approved as presented.

2          The clerk will now forward a copy to the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales and display the reports on the community council notice boards and website.

 

18/25   Annual Return for the year ended 31st March 2018

A         To receive an update from the RFO on progress to date and to take any questions from members

1          The internal audit, to be conducted by JDH Business Services Limited, will commence on 24th May 2018 and will last one week.

2          The “notice of audit” needs to be displayed publicly by 1st June 2018 and until 13th July 2018

3          The council must approve the accounts, annual return and supporting analyses by 30th June 2018. A meeting will need to be convened for this purpose.

4          The external auditors are to receive the required documentation by 16th July 2018.

B          To confirm the appointment of Grant Thornton as external auditor

The above appointment was confirmed, neither members nor officials being aware of any issues or conflicts of interests preventing this.

 

18/26   Consultation documents

A         Review of town and community councils

The clerk was instructed to forward the following responses to the Independent Review Panel’s four- point consultation:

1          What should town and community councils be responsible for?

Currently, this tier of local government encompasses organisations of many sizes and competencies. Some cover urban, densely- populated areas with large precepts while others represent rural villages, with much smaller electorates and limited financial resources at their disposal. With such variation in constitution, it is extremely difficult and indeed highly undesirable to define uniform responsibilities applicable to all councils. What matters should be what works for each area, as defined by those living in that locality.

2          How should they operate?

Those authorities with the desire to take on additional services from county level should be permitted to do so, some may wish to consider working alongside other councils on joint- projects while others content with the modus operandi should be allowed to continue functioning as before

A bottom-up approach, where the impetus comes from the town and community councils themselves rather than being dictated from above should be the preferred approach.

3          What’s standing in their way to deliver for the local community?

There is much uncertainty being communicated by the Welsh Government on this issue. The impression being given is that town and community councils will be obliged to merge, to achieve a subjective notion of critical mass to facilitate the devolution of services from cash- strapped county councils. The overriding emphasis seems to be on town and community councils just being tools for service delivery rather than considering the representational and lobbying role that the lowest tier of local democracy provides. This debate is exceptionally demoralising and distracting for small rural councils who are being made to feel antiquated and unviable, when in fact they are active, feasible and serve their communities well under the current model

It is unreasonable to expect town and community councils to deliver new services where they frequently have neither the expertise or finances to do so. It makes more sense for county councils to be better financed so they continue providing these services. Such funding decisions are a matter for Cardiff Bay and Westminster and it is unfair for town and community councils to be dragged into this discussion.

Moreover, the perceived need for local government rationalisation is at odds with the declared necessity to increase the size of the Welsh Government.

The last two years have seen a disproportionate increase in workload from relating to the external audit, with more onerous reporting requirements. While acknowledging the importance of safeguarding public money, one feels the level and cost of this degree of bureaucracy can exceed the benefits obtained.

4          How do councils ensure they best represent their local community?

All good councils will communicate regularly with residents via newsletters, website and notice boards. Agendas will be advertised and meetings are open to the public for residents to observe discussions and the decisions being taken on their behalf. One of the benefits of community councils is that members are well- known and can be easily contacted when issues arise. Living in the areas they serve, councillors have an acute appreciation of the topics which are important to their constituents and make sure their views are articulated.

 

18/27   Correspondence

A         To note the completion of the Welsh Audit Office questionnaire into relationships with the county council and public service board, services and amenities delivered and community and asset transfers

The clerk confirmed the above had been completed. The response reiterated previous consultation responses in that this community council is small in nature with limited funding and has no funds or appetite to take on additional assets or services.

 

18/28   Date of next meeting

Friday 22nd June 2018

 

The meeting ended at 9.30pm

 

Approved at council: 20th July 2018 (minute 18/37,A)

 

 

 

 

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