Minutes of the Sesswick Community Council meeting held at the Cross Lanes Hotel on Monday 23rd May 2016 at 6.30pm
Cllr John Hurst (Chairman)
Cllr Heather Rowland (Vice- Chairman)
Cllr John Pritchard (County Councillor): For items 16/01-16/10, 16/14- 16/15 and 16/18
Cllr Christine Stead
Cllr Patricia Jones:For items 16/06 & from 16/08
Cllr Jenny Williams
PCSO Michael Simister: For items 16/01-16/05 and 16/07
Michael Barclay (Wrexham County Borough Council Play Development Team): For item 16/15
Ian Griffiths (Clerk & responsible financial officer)
16/01 Election of Chair
Cllr Hurst was elected unopposed. Proposed: Cllr Rowland; seconded: Cllr Stead
16/02 Apologies for absence
None had been received
16/03 Declarations of interest
Cllr Pritchard: 16/13 and16/18, being county councillor sitting on the planning committee
It was also agreed to temporarily suspend standing order 70, to permit public participation
1 No crimes had been reported since the March meeting
2 Reports had been received of suspicious itinerants calling on farms in the area and asking for red diesel. In one instance, two males had been disturbed by a fuel tank at a property on Holt Road. The registration number of their vehicle had been taken and will be stopped by the police when seen.
3 While walking through Nant Clwyd Park, PCSO Simister had noted a number of garage doors left open, with desirable items in full view. He reminded those residents of the constant need to keep valuables secure and out- of-sight so as to not tempt opportunistic thefts.
4 The police officer also commented on inappropriate parking on Bedwell road by the Cooperative shop. Indeed, he had been obliged to request one driver to move their vehicle after it had been parked on the junction between Bedwell Road and Holt Road.
5 The initiative for community volunteers to perform speed checks was starting to gain some momentum. Progress was somewhat delayed as risk assessments need to be performed for each area.
16/05 Dog fouling
1 The recently- appointed private- sector litter and dog wardens have been extremely active in the county borough, not announcing beforehand where they will be patrolling and working outside office hours to provide greater coverage. Several fines have been issued over the previous six weeks.
2 A continued vigilance was requested for those areas previously discussed on Holt Road.
For business expediency, the council resolved to change the order of the agenda at this point, skipping 16//06
16/07 Car speeding
1 Speed monitoring had taken place on Holt Road earlier in May, in the 30mph zone around the Cooperative shop. Forty cars had been checked with an average speed of 27 mph. The highest speed gauged was 37 mph. This was viewed as being unrepresentative as all have witnessed vehicles travelling well in excess of such velocity. It was considered probably that drivers had seen the officers and speed gun on the approach to the area and had been cautioning other road users to de-accelerate as they approached the area.
2 Concerns had been received over excessive traffic speed on Bedwell Road with some residents there requesting the installation of a speed warning device. This route is already hazardous for pedestrians as there is no pavement and a 60mph speed limit applies after leaving Cross Lanes. Cllr Pritchard stated that, for a limited time, there is funding available for speed calming measures, but this would require a part- contribution (around £1,500) from the community council. PCSO Simister will see if it is feasible to perform speed monitoring in this zone.
3 It was commented also that some motorcyclists (and cars) were driving far too quickly on the Wrexham Industrial Estate Southern Access link road heading in the direction of Whitchurch. This also involved perilous manoeuvers including hand- brake turns and donutting at the slip road and junction with Bedwell Road. Noting that such occurrences were particularly prevalent on sunny Sunday afternoons (commencing from 1.30pm- 2pm), PCSO Simister agreed to liaise with his “Go- Safe” colleagues to have this area checked.
Cllr Jones arrived at 6.50pm
PCSO Simister left the meeting at 6.52pm
Michael Barclay arrived at 6.53pm
For Mr Barclay’s convenience, the council resolved to amend the order of the agenda, moving to 16/15
16/15 Play areas
1 The council received a presentation from the county council Play Development Team on the services the group offers.
2 The Play Development Unit consented to provide a summary of the project after the meeting
3 A decision will be taken at a future council meeting whether to proceed with this undertaking.
4 Mr Barclay was thanked for attending the meeting and responding to members’ questions.
Mr Barclay left the meeting at 8.05pm
Standing order 70 was reinstated
The order then returned to as set out on the agenda
16/06 Public Health issues around Bedwell Road
1 County Councillor Pritchard and the clerk had seen correspondence between a resident and Wrexham Council’s Enforcement Services Office regarding unacceptable behaviour near to her property. On one occasion in late- March, four large bin bags full of litter had been collected from the section of Bedwell Road leading to her house and the joining section to the link road. The refuge contained bottles of urine, used condoms and human excrement wrapped in tissue.
2 It was believed that a minority of the HGV drivers parked in the area around the former Tetra Pak were responsible for such unpleasantness. With varying degrees of severity, this had been a recurring concern for the previous 10-15 years. Equally, the matter was difficult to monitor given the absence of double yellow lines to restrict parking, the scarcity of suitable alternative overnight parking provision on the Industrial Estate and the need for someone from the county council to be present in situ to catch the perpetrators.
3 The Enforcement Office had been in contact with the resident, and Cllr Pritchard had also replied to the lady. No follow- up has been received since that exchange of communications in early April, and it agreed for the community council not to intervene unless further issues are reported to them.
16/07 Matter already discussed
16/08 Co- option
1 Jennifer Williams from Cartref, Bedwell Road, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0TS was unanimously co-opted on to the council.
2 The clerk was instructed to notify the county council electoral office of this co-option.
3 Members received Cllr Williams’ declaration of office.
4 As Cllr Williams had already served as community councillor, she already possesses the Code of Conduct, Financial Regulations, Standing Orders and the 2016/ 2017 budget.
5 Two vacancies remain, and these will continue to be advertised on the council notice boards and website.
16/09 Election of Vice- Chair
Cllr Rowland was nominated uncontestably to the said position. Proposed: Cllr Stead; seconded: Cllr Hurst.
16/10 Appointment to council working parties and nominations of representatives (and reserves if needed) to other bodies
A Dame Dorothy Jeffreys charity representative: Cllr Stead
B One Voice Wales Area Committee representative/s: Cllr Williams and the clerk
C Wrexham Town and Community Council Forum: Cllr Hurst. As Cllr Jones also expressed an interest in attending, the clerk would check if councils can have two nominees at these meetings.
D Wrexham Waste Recycling Group Community Liaison Panel: Cllrs Hurst and Rowland
E Wrexham Residents Against Power Schemes (WRAPS): Cllrs Hurst and Rowland
For reasons of business expediency, and as permitted under standing order 16, the council agreed at this point to move on to agenda item 16/18
16/18 Consultation responses
A Development Consent Order to authorise the construction, operation and maintenance of a new combined cycle gas turbine electricity generating station which will have a rated electricity output of up to 299MWe. Kingmoor Park South, to the east of Bryn Lane, Wrexham Industrial Estate
1 All members opposed this application.
2 It was agreed that the council submits its objection per standing order 76.3, so as to allow more time for all councillors to contribute points to the final submission, to be made by 31st May 2016.
B Planning application P/2016/0358: Outline planning application for the installation of an underground pipeline of up to 400mm nominal bore set at least 1.1m below ground level and extending approximately 3500m from the vicinity of the Maelor Gas Works to Wrexham Industrial Estate. The erection of an above ground installation (46m by 47m) on land immediately adjacent to the existing Maelor Gas Works, installation of surface markers and marker posts to identify the location of the gas pipeline. Use of the existing Maelor Gas Works access road including its junction with B5130. Underground gas pipeline running for approximately 3500m south from Kingsmoor Park South, Bryn Lane, Wrexham Industrial Estate to above ground installation adjacent to the Maelor Gas Works off the B5130 connecting to the gas national transmission system approximately 175m south east of the above ground installation
1 This application was not supported by any councillor.
2 All concurred that the response to this consultation could be made under standing order, as explained in minute 16/18.A2.
3 Although the details of both applications had been displayed on the council notice boards, it was felt there was little public awareness of these significant proposals. Councillors would urge residents between now and the closing date to consider making submissions to the consultation process, so the authorities were aware of local opinions.
C Wrexham Council dog control and dog fouling, proposed public space consultation order
1 As community councils will be canvassed later in 2016 in the next stage of the consultation, it was agreed that the council will not participate in this initial opinion- gathering exercise. Members had been provided with the web link to complete the on- line questionnaire if they wish to participate as individuals, and these details were also displayed on the notice boards for interested residents.
As Cllr Pritchard needed to leave the meeting, it was resolved under standing order 16 to move the agenda at this point to item 16/14
16/14 County Councillor feedback
Cllr Prichard had been contacted by residents on Bedwell Road as the street lighting there was reflecting into their homes. After a site visit, the county council had agreed to tweak the light’s filters to help avoid this unwelcome illumination.
Cllr Pritchard left at 9.11pm
The meeting then reverted back as per the agenda
16/11 Confirmation of minutes from 21st March 2016 meeting
The meetings were approved as a true record.
16/12 Matters arising
15/99- One Voice Wales training: Cllr Jones’ session had been cancelled due to insufficient numbers of other participants. The clerk confirmed this had not been invoiced to the community council.
16/13 Responses made since the March 2016 meeting as authorized under standing order 76.3
A Submission to Wrexham County Borough Council’s Local Development Plan 2013-2028 consultation
1 Sesswick Community Council welcomes that any proposed development will be focused on Wrexham and the larger towns in the county borough.
2 Minor villages such as in Sesswick do not have the infrastructure to accommodate development.
A Cross Lanes has just a shop and hotel.
B It possesses no community hub, no recreational facilities and a skeletal bus service.
C Residents are reliant on private transport for work, education and leisure.
D There is no excess capacity in local schools for any substantial increase in numbers.
E Outside of the present settlement area, most properties do not have main drainage but rely on septic tanks etc
3 In that context, this council would oppose very strongly any applications for large- scale housebuilding within Sesswick. Such development would be out of character with this rural area.
B Sale of land at Bedwell Crescent for individual parking
Following on from March 2016 minute 15/97 and after liaising with the other councillors, the Chairman had informed the individual that the community council would support an application for the lease of land for access only. This would therefore leave the green as an open space.
C Planning application P/2016/0273: outline application for residential development (24 dwellings) including means of access to the site. Land west of Bedwell Road, Cross Lanes, Wrexham
The clerk had informed the county council that Sesswick Community Council opposed this application. It contravenes many policies within the unitary development plan and would place a strain on this small rural community
1 The infrastructure around Cross Lanes is poor and could not support a development of this size
A The only facility in the village is one shop. Parking on the roads there already causes congestion
B There are no surplus places in neighbouring schools to accommodate the children who would live in this development. Extra traffic movements would be generated transporting pupils further afield.
C Public transport is very limited and bus times do not correlate to train services in Wrexham. Car ownership at the site would be essential.
D Bedwell road is a narrow country lane. It could not handle the additional vehicular flows from the planned volume of cars.
E The village already has less than the statutory amount of open space amenity. The plans make no provision for children’s play areas so the deficit would be exacerbated.
2 the development would encroach into greenfield areas outside the settlement limit
3 This area around Bedwell brook is predominantly heave clay.
A Discharge of surface water via infiltration to the brook could lead to flooding, affecting other areas and properties downstream.
B It is debatable whether a holding tank would be adequate to alleviate the speed of run- off from the development
C There are serious concerns that the brook may be polluted from the use of harmful substances at the development (eg weed killer, car washing). Precautions would need to be put in place to monitor this.
D Fifteen of the proposes houses do not have garages (essential for security in the countryside) and the front gardens are small. Three and four- bedroom houses will potentially have three of four cars per household (more than what the application puts forward). This implies the possibility of street parking if drives cannot provide sufficient room for off- road parking. This has been an issue in areas where there are large drives and front gardens
E The plans seem to refer to out- of- date environmental records and should be reviewed. It is questionable for there to be no great- crested newts recorded at the site since 2011 and no bat activity since 1994. Furthermore, an otter has very recently been seen just 100 meters from the plot.
F There are concerns over the electricity provision to the development. The nearby Nant Clwyd Park Estate experiences problems for many years until improved supply was put in place.
D Planning application P/2016/0377: Erection of 2 Bedroom detached bungalow to the rear of 2 Talwrn Cottages, Pickhill, Wrexham LL13 0UP
The clerk had notified the county planning office that, unless there were strong mitigating circumstances, this council would be unable to support this application due to it not being compliant with the preferred strategy and recommendations in the Local Development Plan
1 It lies outside the settlement limits
2 It is located within the greenbelt/ special landscape area, and classified as good agricultural land with high biodiversity value
3 The site does not meet factors regarding the availability of everyday community facilities and services
A The nearest shop is ¾ miles away
B There is a poor bus service to Wrexham
C The nearest railway station is five miles away
D There are no schools, health centres or post offices nearby
4 The site cannot be classed as infill
5 the provision of a garage would be desirable
6 there is no indication of the location of the septic tank. The foul water and sewage from the kitchen and bathroom would flow into the adjacent field, pond and brook. Drainage in that heavy- clay area is already a concern as regards water cleanliness and land contamination.
16/14 Matter already discussed
16/15 Matter already discussed
16/16 Bus shelters
This was deferred to the July meeting, to allow Cllr Pritchard to provide feedback.
16/17 Reports from meetings
A One Voice Wales Area Committee meeting 21st April
1 The clerk reported that the Chief Executive of One Voice Wales gave a presentation on the organisation’s work and the challenges facing town and community councils in light of possible reform in local government structures and responsibilities.
2 Much now depends on the political makeup of the Welsh Assembly following the 5th May 2016 elections.
B Any other meetings attended
No councillors had attended any meetings since March 2016
16/19 Annual Return for the year ended 31st March 2016
1 The clerk had emailed the proposed 2015/ 2016 accounts to members. No comments or questions were raised
2 The internal audit, to be executed by JDH Business Services Limited, will commence on 2nd June and will last one week.
3 The deadline for the council to consider the internal auditor report and to approve the annual return is 30th June 2016.
4 The external audit, performed by Grant Thornton in Cardiff on behalf of the Auditor General, will start on 4th July. No councillors were aware of any issues which would prevent or undermine this partnership from undertaking the role.
5 The public will have the right to inspect the council’s accounts from 3rd June until 1st July inclusive
6 The “notice of appointment for the exercise of Electors’ rights” notifying residents of this right was displayed on the notice boards on 17th May, and will remain until after 1st July. This has also been added to the council website
16/20 Clerk timesheet
The council approved the claim for 29 hours worked during the period 21st March- 22nd May.
16/21 Employer pensions obligation
1 The clerk confirmed that, as the salary that Sesswick Community Council pays its only employee is below the £192 per week minimum threshold, it is not legally obliged to automatically provide and contribute into a workplace pension.
2 The council must provide such a scheme should the clerk wish for one to be provided. However, as the clerk earns less than £112 per week, it is not required to make any employer contributions
3 The Chairman had written to the clerk to inform him of this option, and the clerk had replied that he did not wish the council to provide a pension scheme.
4 Once the 1st July 2016 staging date has passed, the clerk will attest to the pensions regulator that its responsibilities in this area have been met.
5 The situation will need to be reviewed on an annual basis, should the salary levels change.
16/22 Insurance renewal
1 The Chairman and clerk had checked the policy document provided by Zurich Municipal to cover the period from 1st June 2016- 31st May 2017 and did not see any issues or gaps in cover.
2 The council therefore agreed to proceed with the renewal.
A To note charges paid since the 21st March 2016 meeting, as authorised under standing order 3.C
|Cheque number||Date signed||Recipient||Purpose||Amount||Minute authorization||Empowering legislation|
|1||618||28th April||Scottish Power||Street lighting electricity costs: Q1 2016||£47.63||15/106.D2||1957 Parish Councils Act, section 3|
B To settle charges due
|Cheque number||Recipient||Purpose||Amount||Empowering legislation|
|1||619||Nightingale House Hospice||Annual donation per financial regulation 3E||£100.00||1972 Local Government Act, section 137|
|2||620||Marie Curie Cancer Care||Annual donation per financial regulation 3E||£100.00||1972 Local Government Act, section 137|
|3||621||Wrexham Citizens’ Advice Bureau||Annual donation per financial regulation 3E||£100.00||1972 Local Government Act, section 142|
|4||622||Wales Air Ambulance||Annual donation per financial regulation 3E||£50.00||1972 Local Government Act, section 137|
|5||623||Alzheimer’s Association||Annual donation per financial regulation 3E||£50.00||1972 Local Government Act, section 137|
|6||624||Zurich Municipal||Insurance 1st June 2016- 31st May 2017||£436.28||1972 Local Government Act, section 111|
Councillors were satisfied that there would be benefits accruing to Sesswick and some or all of its residents in making these donations to Nightingale House, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Wales Air Ambulance and the Alzheimer’s Association. Furthermore, the value of these benefits accruing would be proportionate to the amounts being paid out.
C To settle any charges due where invoices were received after this agenda was circulated
|Cheque number||Recipient||Purpose||Amount||Empowering legislation|
|1||625||Wrexham County Borough Council||Clerk salary 18/1/2016- 20/3/2016: 24 hours @ £10.527 (invoice 3328488)||£252.48||1972 Local Government Act, section 112|
D To receive the budget monitoring report as at 17th May 2016
The said report was approved without comment
E To receive the bank and petty cash reconciliations as at 31st March 2016
The report, showing total cash held of £7,442, was accepted.
F To decide whether funds need to be transferred between the current and reserve accounts
Members accepted the clerk’s recommendation to transfer £500 from the reserve account to the current account.
16/24 Review of the Code of Conduct, Financial Regulations and Standing Orders
A Code of Conduct
1 The clerk had emailed to councilors the revised code, which requires formal adoption by 26th July 2016
2 It was agreed to defer this to the July meeting, while the clerk obtains advice from One Voice Wales relating to the maintenance of members’ register of interest
B Financial Regulations
1 A new template had been issued by One Voice Wales, but this had been retracted as some references need to be updated for the Welsh context.
2 All agreed to defer review of the regulations until the amended file had been issued by One Voice Wales and the council had had opportunity to analyse any new requirements.
C Standing Orders
1 Following on from minute 15/103, this remains work- in- progress, dependent in part on updates to the Code of Conduct and Financial Regulations.
16/25 Website updates
1 With some assistance from the website administrators, the clerk confirmed he had successfully logged into the council’s website and updated the website with his contact details and previous minutes (as per November 2015 minute 15/66.A).
2 The clerk had been unable to upload the signed pdf files of the approved minutes; rather, the contents of the original word document had been copied over. Members consented to this approach.
3 The administrator had offered, “at reasonable cost”, to refresh the general feel of the website, given that this has not been done for over two years. The consensus was that such a facelift was not required at this point.
4 The Chairman had reviewed the website and deemed it satisfactory. He will forward details on the Dame Dorothy Jeffreys charity to the clerk for this to be included on the website.
The council noted the 109 items of correspondence that had been received between 15th March and 17th May 2015:
Meeting with new governor of HMP Berwyn (item 52): Cllr Jones had attended this forum in another capacity, and will forward details to councillors.
16/27 Meeting schedule for 2016/ 2017
1 All resolved to continue meeting on the penultimate Monday of every second month, starting at 6.30pm.
2 The schedule for 2016/ 2017 would therefore be:
A Monday 18th July 2016
B Monday 19th September 2016
C Monday 21st November 2016
D Monday 23rd January 2017
E Monday 20th March 2017
3 Extra meetings can be convened if necessary to discuss urgent matters
4 The next annual meeting (following the county and community council elections) will be held on Monday 15th May 2017
16/28 Any Other Business
No issues were raised
16/29 Date of next meeting
1 It was agreed to convene an additional meeting on Monday 27th June 2016 to:
A Receive the Internal Auditors’ report on the 2015/ 2016 accounts
B Approve the Annual Return prior to external audit
C To discuss the Play Development Team’s proposals and agree next steps
The meeting ended at 9.38pm
Minutes approved by council: 19th September 2016 (minute reference 16/69.A)