Minutes of the Sesswick Community Council meeting held on Monday 21st March 2016 at 6.30pm
Cllr John Hurst (Chairman)
Cllr John Pritchard (County Councillor)
Cllr Patricia Jones
PCSO Michael Simister (For items 15/85- 15/88)
Ian Griffiths (Clerk and responsible financial officer)
No members of the public
15/85 Apologies for absence
Cllr Heather Rowland
Cllr Christine Stead
As per section 85 of the 1972 Local Government Act, the clerk reported that Cllr Jenny Williams has ceased to be a councillor as she had not been able to attend any council meeting during the previous six months. The clerk was instructed to notify Wrexham County Borough Council’s electoral office of this vacancy, and to advertise the position in the community.
15/86 Declarations of interest
Cllr Pritchard: 15/94, 15/96 and 15/97, being county councillor sitting on the planning committee.
The council resolved to temporarily suspend standing order 70, so as to allow public participation
1 The following issues had occurred since the January 2016 meeting:
a There had been one case of anti- social behaviour between two individuals. This minor altercation was dealt with by words of advice to both parties.
b During the week commencing 14th March, there were almost daily instances of sheep loose on Bedwell road. PCSO Simister was in the process of identifying the owners to counsel them on livestock management.
c On the late- evening of 20th March, there had been reports of people either calling out or knocking on doors on properties on Holt Road requesting to use the lavatory. Some stated there had been attempts to gain entry to houses. Officers attended the area from 9.30pm- 12.30am but no suspicious activity was identified.
2 Councillors again articulated trepidation concerning speeding traffic through Cross Lanes. Motorists were largely ignoring the recently- imposed 40mph speed limit on Holt Road and there was scant regard to the 30mph restriction around the A525/ B5130 traffic lights. All concurred that, given the number of pedestrians and cyclists using Holt Road and the absence of pavements after School Farm this route was treacherous and urgent attention was required. Members urged the police to monitor speeding in the community and take action against those drivers flouting the limit. Cllr Pritchard would also discuss at county council level whether community speed volunteers could be deployed in Sesswick to assist in pinpointing repeat culprits.
15/88 Dog fouling
1 Cllr Pritchard had been approached by a resident on Holt Road whose quality of live has been blighted by canine defecation. PCSO Simister had also met the individual on 20th March.
2 In addition to some owners leaving dog faeces on the pavement next to her property, a minority had thrown the bagged- waste into her garden.
3 “No fouling” posters had been displayed prominently in the vicinity and an extensive leaflet drop across properties in Cross Lanes had taken place in recent years. The resident felt this had had little discernible effect.
4 Cllr Pritchard had assured the lady that Wrexham County Borough Council will be installing a dog- fouling bin on Holt Road as the pavement widens to the approach to Bedwell Road within the next four weeks…
5 A new agency will be responsible for canine waste enforcement within the county from 1st April. They will be operating form 6am- 11pm, and will target areas as reported to them by councils and individuals. It was agreed for them to be contacted to ensure that this area of Cross Lanes is a priority for their surveillance.
PCSO Simister left the meeting at 6.55pm
The council resolved to reinstate standing order 70
15/89 Confirmation of minutes from 18th January 2016 meeting
The minutes, as presented, were accepted as an accurate record. Proposed: Cllr Pritchard; seconded: Cllr Hurst.
15/90 Matters arising
1 15/73.1 (missing bollards on A525 footpath): these have now been replaced
2 15/75.1 (blocked pipe by former Tetra Pak): Cllr Pritchard is continuing to follow this up with Welsh Water and the county council public health department.
3 15/75.2 & 15/75.3 (uneven road surface on Nant Clwyd Park): Cllr Pritchard has reported this to the county council and will check current status after the meeting
No expressions of interest had been received for the two free positions. These vacancies will continue to be advertised.
15/92 County Councillor feedback
1 Cllr Pritchard will escalate the following comments regarding the two bus shelters on the A525, where maintenance responsibility lies with the Wrexham County Borough Council:
a both shelters are in a grimy condition, making the seating unusable and the overall user experience highly unpleasant
b the timetables displayed are just for the 146 service from Wrexham to Whitchurch. The 41 route to the Wrexham Industrial Estate is not shown
c the pot hole by the coach stop towards Marchwiel is again sinking and collating rainwater, which splashes those waiting as cars travel past.
d whether the shelter for Wrexham could be repositioned further away from the A525 and it be reversed 180 degrees so its back faced the traffic. That way, users will have more protection from vehicles and the elements.
2 In his capacity as county council planning committee member, Cllr Pritchard had received an application to remove the covenant at land adjoining 10 Bedwell Crescent. This site had reserved usage as a garden and parking. The community council was inquorate to reach an official position at the meeting, and indeed was not being officially consulted on the proposal. However, neither Cllrs Hurst nor Jones had any objections to the proposition.
3 Cllr Pritchard agreed to bring to the county council’s attention the need for wider consultation as part of its data- gathering processes. While it was most appreciated that community councils’ opinions are canvassed, it was felt that such collaboration should be extended to cover other relevant organisations which would also have comments to make based on their expertise and knowledge.
15/93 Reports from meetings
A Wrexham Town and Community Council Forum (17th March)
1 Cllr Hurst had been unable to attend and replacement representation could not be arranged in time.
2 The clerk had cascaded the meetings’ presentations to councillors:
A details on the new external audit process
B information on the local development plan process
C Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014
B Any other meetings
1 Cllr Jones had attended a Play Training meeting, highlighting the significance of play provision for youngsters and the contribution that community councils can make.
2 It was agreed that Cllr Jones contact the county council Play Development Team to see if they can offer insight in improving the extremely limited facilities in Cross Lanes at minimal cost.
3 Any results would be presented to a future community council meeting before any decisions are taken.
A To receive the planning decisions from Wrexham County Borough Council
1 P/2015/0838: extension, alteration and upgrading of existing facilities and buildings at Maelor Creamery, Pickhill Lane, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0UE
This application was granted subject to twelve conditions:
A work on the development needs to start before 31st January 2021
B the application must be carried out in strict accordance with the details on the plan.
C an appropriate Dust Management Scheme, operational during the entire construction phase, needs to be submitted and approved by the county council prior to work commencing
D an Odour Management Plan, functioning prior to first use of the development, must be submitted and approved by the county council
E the development cannot be used until a system for the treatment of trade effluent and foul water has been provided on site, is operational and is approved by the county council.
F the complex cannot be used until a noise management plan has been approved by the county council. This needs to be put into effect before the site is first used and the plan must be strictly observed.
G the site cannot be used until a system for the management of surface water run- off has been approved by the county council. This needs to be maintained in an operational condition.
H no facing or roofing materials can be used apart from those details in the application
I the vehicular parking and turning areas must be fully laid out, surfaced and drained prior to first usage of the development. These areas must be retained and kept free of any obstruction, and used purely for parking and turning of motor vehicles
J the rating level of any noise generated by the development must not exceed the pre-existing background level by more than 5dB(A) at any time.
K no more than 400,000 birds must be processed each week at the site
L the site operators must maintain at all times an up- to- date log of the number of birds processed each day, available for inspection by the county council.
2 P/2015/0882: single storey side extension. Blue Skies, Bedwell Crescent, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0TT
This submission was granted subject to two conditions
A Work at the site must commence before 10th January 2021
B The development must be carried out in strict accordance with the approved application.
B To receive notice of applications currently under consideration by Wrexham County Borough Council
1 P/2016/0054: application for approval of details reserved by conditions imposed under planning permission 2014/ 0038 at land adjoining 6 Lindfield Drive, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0TJ
2 P/2016/0142: application for approval of details reserved by conditions imposed under planning permission P/2015/0463 at land to the north and west of Maelor Gas Works, Parkey Lane, Marchwiel, Wrexham LL13 0UW
The above items, where the community council is not a consultee, were noted.
15/95 Arboreal matters
A Tree preservation orders (TPO) in the grounds of the Cross Lanes Hotel
1 The county arboricultural officer had confirmed that TPO 116 (“Cross Lanes Hotel”) was made permanent on 4th April 2007
2 The order covers the following individual trees located parallel to the access road to the front of the hotel
A Five wellingtonia
B Two pines
C Two limes
D Two oaks
3 The TPO also provides protection for the line of thirty two oaks located parallel to the boundary line between the hotel ground and Kiln Lane.
4 The officer stated he would visit the site as a precautionary measure, but felt there was no need at this time to modify or extend TPO 116.
B the saplings by the Jubilee Stone near the A525/ Industrial Estate link road
1 The county tree officer had stated there were two yew trees and a small- leaved lime tree available, gratis, to the community council to replace the decaying birch trees
2 Due to the limited time available to accept this offer, the Chairman and Vice- Chairman had consulted the other members, and it was agreed, between meetings, to accept this offer.
3 The specimens have now been planted at the site, a little further from the Jubilee Stone than previously so that the commemorative lettering would not be obscured by foliage.
15/96 Wrexham Local Development Plan 2013- 2028
1 The council was inquorate to reach a decision at this meeting.
2 It was agreed that the clerk formulate a draft response and circulate among members, so that a submission under standing order 76.3 can be made prior to the 1st April deadline.
15/97 Sale of land at Bedwell Crescent
1 The council was inquorate to make a decision at this meeting
2 All concurred that a decision be formulated between meetings, as authorised under standing order 76.3.
3 The Chairman would then inform the individual of the council’s decision.
15/98 Membership of One Voice Wales
Councillors agreed to continue membership of this local government organisation
15/99 One Voice Wales Councillor training
1 The clerk was instructed to enrol Cllr Jones on the “Module 19- Devolution of Services” session at Bangor Isycoed on Tuesday 12th April
2 The clerk will enquire if the community council is eligible for a bursary for this training.
15/100 Donations to charity
No further donations are to be made in the 2015/ 2016 financial year
15/101 Clerical matters
The clerk’s timesheet for the period 18th January 2016- 20th March 2016, totalling 24 hours, was approved and signed by the Chairman.
15/102 2014 internal audit
1 June 2015 minute 15/16.A reported back to the council that the internal audit had been completed, but the issues identified vis à vis disaster recovery and business continuity risks management had not been disclosed or addressed.
2 In terms of disaster recovery, the clerk will scan all 2015/ 2016 and future signed minutes and related documentation. These would be emailed to himself, the Chairman and Vice- Chairman so they would be readily obtainable from a variety of independent sources. These would also be stored on a separate memory stick and located off- site. The same approach would apply to the current year and future financial information.
3 The clerk will also investigate the feasibility of saving items in The Cloud, as an additional risk mitigation strategy.
4 Councillors identified the following business continuity risks
A precept being paid late by the county council: Sesswick Community Council has sufficient funding in its reserve account to act as a buffer against late deposits from Wrexham County Borough Council
B Inability to access cash: the community council uses Natwest as its bank, which is currently government- backed and deemed to be secure. The council uses cheques as its preferred payment method of payment. No cash payments are made and no petty cash is kept.
C resignation of clerk: the council has operated without an official in the past for some time without issue, councillors possessing the necessary expertise to perform these duties while a replacement is recruited. Per minute 15/102.2, the Chairman and Vice- Chairman have access to council documentation
D loss of councillors: the council has five members, where three is the quorum. It is felt the council is able to function with this number, while seeking to fill the three vacancies.
15/103 Review of Internal Controls and policies
A To receive and approve the report from Cllr Rowland gauging the effectiveness of the council’s procedures
1 Members accepted Cllr Rowland’s report (appendix A) and conclusions that the council’s controls were performing adequately.
2 No further testing was deemed necessary until Q1 2017
B To decide if a formal review of the council’s standing orders and financial regulations is required, and agree the mechanism for this if considered appropriate
The clerk was instructed to contact One Voice Wales for up- to- date advice in this area, and to present his recommendations at a future meeting during 2016/ 2017.
15/104 Annual risk assessment
The said document (appendix B), where the Chairman stated that the council faces a low level of risk, was approved
15/105 Appointment of internal auditor for the year end 31st March 2016
A To decide upon re-appointing JDH Business Services Limited as internal auditor for the2015/ 2016 Annual Return
1 The council resolved to re- appoint the above company for this function
A Neither Cllrs Hurst, Pritchard, Jones nor the clerk were aware of any potential conflicts of interest that would impact the independence of the company to audit Sesswick Community Council on an objective basis. Members or employees have no personal, familial, professional or business connections with JDH Business Services or its staff (John Henry and Sharon Jones) and the company performs no other work for the community council
B JDH Business Services Limited is a highly- respected organisation, staffed by ACA/ CIPFA qualified professionals, specialising in the internal audit of town and community councils
2 The clerk was instructed to confirm this also with those councillors not present at the meeting.
B To approve the audit plan for 2015/ 2016
The said document (appendix C) was approved. Members were satisfied the audit methodology was robust, thorough and appropriate.
A To receive notice of payments made since the January 2016 meeting
|Cheque number||Date signed||Payee||Purpose||Amount||Empowering legislation||Council pre- approval|
|1||615||29th February 2016||Wrexham County Borough Council||Clerk salary: 23rd November 2015 – 17th January 2016 (17 hours @ £10.52/ hour)||£178.84||1972 Local Government Act, section 112||Minute 15/79.C1
B To settle charges due
|Cheque number||Payee||Purpose||Amount||Empowering legislation|
|1||616||Ian Griffiths (clerk)||Expenses reimbursement paid from own pocket (£73.48 for annual council website domain renewal, £22.00 for printer ink)||£95.48||1972 Local Government Act, sections 111 & 142|
|2||617||One Voice Wales||2016/ 2017 membership (see minute 15/98)||£86.00||1972 Local Government Act, section 143|
C To settle any charges due when invoices were received after this agenda was circulated
No such items had been received
D To agree in principle to the payment of charges expected to be received before the next meeting, where settlement cannot wait until May 2016
|Payee||Purpose||Amount (estimate)||Empowering legislation|
|1||Wrexham County Borough Council||Clerk salary 18th January- 20th March 2016||£250||1972 Local Government Act, section 112|
|2||Scottish Power||Street lighting electricity costs Q1 2016||£50.00||1957 Parish Councils Act, section 3|
|3||One Voice Wales||Cllr Jones training course (see minute 15/99)||£35.00||1972 Local Government Act, section 111|
E To consider the latest budget monitoring report
The report (appendix D) was approved without comment.
F To decide whether funds need to be transferred between the current and reserve accounts
No such movements were considered necessary
15/107 Responses made between meetings as per standing order 76.3
A Local Government (Wales) Bill consultation (Welsh Assembly)
1 Concern was expressed over the methodology that would potentially be employed to centralise smaller community councils into larger areas to achieve (perceived) critical mass. The documentation does not delve into details on what considerations would be taken into account and how a viable community council would be defined.
2 Sesswick councillors believe strongly that certain areas cannot be readily fused together just because of geographical proximity and transport links
3 This council prefers for the draft report to be published from 2019 (the earlier of the alternatives), to allow greater visibility into the recommendations being made
4 Sesswick Community Council prefers that county councils play a bigger role in any amalgamation process.They are the organisations with the greatest knowledge on the communities in scope and could be held democratically accountable for the decisions taken.
5 The Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales’ work in the reorganisation of county council wards in 2011 would suggest that their primary focus was the numerical equalisation of ward electorate, without necessarily bearing in mind the distinctiveness of individual communities. In that context, this council is uneasy for the Boundary Commission to implement its own recommendations.
6 There is disquiet concerning the extra (and currently undefined) responsibilities that the consultation suggests the new community councils will be undertaking. The provision of training is in itself very much welcome. However, the burden of additional duties imposed and the threat of disciplinary action for not attending compulsory training without good reason may risk some hard- working and knowledgeable community councillors not wishing to continue in the role
7 Having the onus on the clerk (the employee) to judge the council (the employer) for any non- compliance places the officer in a potentially difficult situation. This council prefers such monitoring to continue to rest with the county council
8 Members saw no issues in extending the next community council term to six years (2017- 2023) and the new councils being elected in 2023 to serve five-year terms.
9 Cllrs Hurst, Rowland, Jones, Stead and Pritchard had approved the above response.
B Unsafely- discarded needles in the community (Wrexham County Borough Council)
1 Sesswick has no disposal facilities for such items. To Councillors’ knowledge, there have been no occurrences of discarded needles or related paraphernalia within this community.
2 Cllrs Hurst, Rowland and Jones consented to the above information being communicated
C PCSO performance during Q4 2015 (North Wales Police)
1 Members were extremely satisfied with the performance of PCSOs Ahmed and Maurice. They always attended council meetings, kept members abreast of developments and answered any questions. Action plans are agreed upon and followed through
2 PCSO Simister was assigned to Sesswick in late December, so there had not been sufficient time for councillors to work alongside him to meaningfully complete the questionnaire.
3 Cllrs Hurst, Rowland and Jones had authorised the above response.
Councillors reviewed the eighty one items that had been received since 12th January (appendix E).
1 Welsh Government Natural Resources Bulletin for March 2015 (item 77): clerk to forward to Cllr Jones
15/109 Use of community council website
The clerk had received the domain log-in details and instructions on how the update the website from the Chairman. He apologised for the delay in uploading data, but confirmed he would update the website as soon as possible.
15/110 Any Other Business
1 Members commented with satisfaction that the daffodil bulbs that Cllr Jones had planted around the Jubilee Stone in 2014 had flowered for the first this this year. 2 There had been a recent outage of the street lights from the Cross Lanes Hotel to the Cooperative Shop. The Chairman had reported this to the appropriate body and this had been quickly resolved.
15/111 Date of next meeting
Monday 23rd May 2016 (annual meeting)
The meeting ended at 8.57pm