Minutes of the Sesswick Community Council meeting held at the Cross Lanes Hotel on Monday 27th June 2016 at 6.30pm
Cllr John Hurst (Chairman)
Cllr S. Heather Rowland (Vice- Chairman)
Cllr John Pritchard (County Councillor)
Cllr Christine Stead
Cllr Patricia Jones
Cllr Elizabeth Griffiths
Ian Griffiths (Clerk/ responsible financial officer)
Two members of the public
16/30 Apologies for absence
None had been received
16/31 Declarations of interest
1 Cllr Jones: 16/34: being an employee of Wrexham County Borough Council with professional contact with the Youth & Play Service
2 Cllr Pritchard: 16/35, being county councillor sitting on the planning committee
1 An expression of interest had been received from Elizabeth Pauline Griffiths of School Farm, Holt Road, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0TU
2 It was unanimously agreed to co-opt Mrs Griffiths as councillor to Sesswick Community Council. Proposed: Cllr Rowland; seconded: Cllr Hurst
3 The clerk was instructed to inform the county electoral office of this co-option.
4 Members received Cllr Griffiths’ Declaration of Office.
5 It was agreed to temporarily suspend standing order 81, so the clerk can furnish the new councillor with copies of the council’s financial regulations, standing orders, Code of Conduct and 2016/ 2017 budget immediately after this meeting
6 One vacancy on the council therefore remains unfilled. This will continue to be advertised on the two council notice boards and on its website.
It was resolved to temporarily suspend standing order 70, to allow public participation
16/33 Land on Bedwell Crescent for residential parking
1 The council welcomed to the meeting a resident of a property on Bedwell Road. He had submitted a proposal to the county council to gain vehicular access to his residence over the public open space in Bedwell Crescent.
2 After discussing the proposition with the individual, it was agreed that Sesswick Community Council raise no objections to the plans as laid out by Wrexham County Borough Council:
A The strip of land to gain access will be 3 meters wide
B At the resident’s expense, the area will be surfaced in environmentally friendly “Grasscrete”
C The strip will remain effectively as public open space
D No vehicles can be parked on this space; its sole purpose is for the resident to gain access to, and egress from his property
E A bollard will be placed at the north-west edge of the strip to prevent other vehicles taking a short- cut over the main grassed area
F Any abuse of this agreement would result in the licence being revoked
G The proposal is subject to the resident obtaining all the necessary consents for its use
H The licence is personal to the named resident and is to serve one dwelling only.
I The access land is aligned so that it gives the lamp post adjacent to the hammerhead on Bedwell Crescent 400mm clearance
J The county council’s aboriculutral officer had inspected the site and confirmed that the proposals should not encroach on the root system of the nearby oak tree. However, he would be recommending a temporary fenced protection zone
Standing order 70 was reinstated
16/34 Sesswick Play Sufficiency assessment
A To receive the proposal from the county council Youth and Play Service
Members noted the comments made in the proposal document.
1 The project aim is “to actively involve community stakeholders (including children, teenagers and their parents) in analysing current conditions for playing within the Sesswick community”
2 The project outcome involves Sesswick Community Council being “presented with a detailed play audit of their community and a brief report summarising the findings of the localised play sufficiency assessment.”
3 The project objectives are:
A “identify examples of play sufficiency and the conditions that support this”
B “identify examples of insufficiency and the reasons for this”
C “highlight factors to maintain/ protect and priorities to address”
4 The methodology is
A internal desktop audit (3 days)- liaison with the county council to identify the ownership of different spaces in the community and current/ future initiatives that may impact upon children’s time and space for play
B detailed community audit (3 days)- walking the majority of routes in the community to obtain evidence of features that support or constrain children’s access to space and young people’s use of these areas
C research with children in schools (1 day)- workshops in Isycoed, Marchwiel and Bangor Isycoed primary schools and the Maelor School Penley to gain children’s feedback on playing in the community
D Research with children in their community (1 day)– chance for young people to show where they play and whether any features of the environment support of hinder these opportunities
E End- of- project play event (1 day)- share findings from the research to community stakeholders and parents
F Final report and next steps (2 days)- the report’s recommendations will be presented to a community council meeting
5 The cost for the project is £1,117.80, but this excludes expenses for resources and refreshments for the end- of- project play event
6 The involvement and support of local community members in the project is crucial for its success
B To discuss funding options should the project proceed
1 The clerk had been in contact with the Cooperative, but they were not currently accepting applications for grant funding
2 The clerk had also tried to liaise with HMP Berwyn’s Landlease project and Wrexham County Borough Council’s partner office for sponsorship, but no reply had been received
3 The more economically- deprived communities in the county borough have access to funding streams available via the “families first” project. However, Sesswick would not be eligible under this scheme.
C To decide whether to proceed with the assessment
1 With three members voting in favour, one voting against, one declaring an interest and one abstention, the council agreed to accept the proposal as presented and to proceed with the project
A Play sufficiency is now a statutory obligation imposed on local authorities by the Welsh Assembly. Wrexham County Borough Council does not have the monetary means to carry this out, so it arguably now falls to town and community council to undertake this responsibility
B The community council had been petitioned in the past by youngsters in Cross Lanes to improve recreational facilities in the area. This assessment is considered a means of responding to these sentiments
C The county Youth and Play Service is well- qualified to undertake an objective and inclusive consultation exercise, taking into account the views and concerns of all demographics of the community.
D Having a formal report of this nature will add weight to the council’s long- held demands for far better play provision. This will possess further clout should there be further housing development in Cross Lanes in the future
E Equating to a cost- per- household of £3.56, it was felt this was a beneficial and cost-effective venture to help protect children’s safety
2 Cllr Rowland requested that her objections to the project proceeding be recorded:
A recalling previous instances of youth anti- social behaviour in parts of Cross Lanes, some residents were trepidatious that this scheme may result in a re-emergence of such unpleasantness
B The envisaged consultation exercise could raise participants’ expectations to unachievable levels. This may engender feelings of disappointment and frustration towards the community council should there be scant tangible improvements to play provision as a result of the project.
C The £1,177+ project cost signifies 41% of the annual precept. It is well- established that Cross Lanes has a deficit of open spaces and it is difficult to see how any conclusions from this report would circumnavigate these shortcomings
D Given the not insignificant outlays involved, preliminary investigations should first be carried out to determine how many children live in the area and whether there is genuine support from the electorate in Sesswick for this scheme to proceed
E Since grants from the local authority for such projects are only available for certain communities and Cross Lanes does not fall into this category, grants from other bodies should be sought before proceeding. Having reviewed the issue of play areas within the community on numerous occasions in the past, the lack of open spaces suitable for play areas still remains the same. Until this changes, it seems futile to spend such a large amount of the community’s finances on a consultation of this kind.
F Some of this work could be done by community councillors, save paying external consultants
G The council has limited finances. Choosing this proposal would result in other meritorious projects being shelved
Appointment and remit of council working party
3 Cllrs Jones, Hurst Stead and Pritchard volunteered to serve on the working party, responsible for the project’s operational management and liaison with the Youth and Play team. This group’s remit will be dictated by the full council.
4 They would also enquire as to alternative funding sources
5 The working party will report back to the full council at each meetings to provide status updates
6 Any decisions of a financial nature would remain the preserve of the full council
7 The clerk was instructed to contact the Youth and Play Service to confirm the council’s resolution to proceed with this initiative.
8 Members agreed to leave the scheduling of the project to the Service’s discretion
any funding allocation from community council reserves
9 The consensus was that it would be desirable for this project to be funded from external sources rather than from internal reserves.
10 However, it was not ruled out for the council to finance this stage of the initiative should this be required. This is permitted under section 111 of the 1972 Local Government Act
The two members of the public left the meeting at 7.55pm
16/35 Planning Applications
Description: Erection of two broiler chicken rearing buildings (each measuring 101.09m x 22.365m) housing up to 40,000 chickens each, to be served by 4 feed bins and a wood chip bin, erection of associated control rooms, feed weighing rooms and mess facilities, constriction of an agricultural storage building and temporary siting of mobile living accommodation in connection with operation of the development
Location:land north of Cross Lanes roundabout between Sesswick Way and Bedwell Road, Cross Lanes, Wrexham LL13 0PA
1 As the documentation had yet to be received from the county planning department, the clerk was instructed to request an extension to this consultation. The initial 4th July deadline would be impossible to meet.
2 It was members’ preference for a response to be finalised at the 18th July 2016 council meeting, rather than deploying standing order 76.3.
16/36 Annual Return for the year ended 31st March 2016
A To receive the responsible financial officer’s certification of the accounts
The RFO gave his certification to the council
B To receive the Internal Auditor Report, and to agree responses to the recommendations made
The council received the internal auditor’s Report. In JDH Business Services Limited’s view “the council’s system of internal controls is in place, adequate for the purpose intended and effective, subject to [two] issues…”
1 Issue: “Carried forward reserves are 352% of annual expenditure. No earmarked reserves are identified in the supporting note to the accounts. Sector guidance notes that general reserves should be between 3 months and 12 months annual expenditure”
Recommendation: “Council should review the level of reserves and where elements relates to sums set aside for community improvements schemes, earmarked reserves should be established. The remaining general reserves should then be reviewed for reasonableness with reference to the sector guidance”
Council response: issue noted and recommendation accepted.
A The council’s budget and precept had been based assuming a clerk being employed for the full year. As the position had been vacant up to September 2015, actual expenditure was B Councillors will identify possible spending projects to consume part of these excess reserves, to be considered further in future meetings in the 2016 /2017 financial year. Examples included:
1 Potentially funding the Play Assessment scheme (above), if grants are not obtained
2 Part- funding in the purchase of a speed warning sign for either Bedwell Road or Holt Road. Cllr Pritchard will confirm with the county council if this financing is still available
3 Improvements to the bus shelters, particularly the one on Bangor Road towards Wrexham
4 Ameliorations to the area around the Jubilee Stone, to possibly include:
A removing the vegetation around the stone and having a landscaped zone
B hiring a contractor to maintain this section as it has increasingly overgrown and was an unsightly entrance to Cross Lanes.
Cllr Pritchard will investigate this point further as it was his understanding that the responsibility for maintaining the green areas by the new link road to the Wrexham Industrial Estate still lies with the route contractor.
5 Landscaped area to the entrance of Nant Clwyd Park
2 Issue: “Issue 1 from the 2014/ 2015 audit (disaster recovery and business continuity risks are not identified in the annual risk assessment along with identifying mitigating action such as regular offsite secure storage) was not reported to the council. Although we could identify documented procedures for data back-up and document storage in the Review of Internal Financial Controls in 2015/ 2016, the disaster recovery and business continuity risk assessment raised in 2014/ 2015 was not reported to the council”
Recommendation: “The internal audit report is addressed to the council and should be presented to the council in full, even if there are no matters arising in a particular financial year”
Council response: issue noted and recommendation accepted.
A The conclusion to the 2014/ 2015 audit was reported back to the council at its May 2015 meeting, while the issues and recommendations were only highlighted to members in March 2016.
B Going forward, all aspects of the Internal Audit report will be disclosed to the full council prior to members approving the Annual return
C To approve the 2015/ 2016 Annual Return and accompanying papers
1 The council approved the accounting statements, Annual Governance Reports (parts 1 and 2) and associated supporting papers (bank reconciliation and explanations of significant variances for the year end 31st March 2016.
2 In doing so, members were satisfied there were no litigation, liabilities or commitments, events or transactions that had occurred during or after year end which would have a financial impact on the council and which would need to be included in the accounting statements.
A To settle charges due
The following was approved for payment, so signed by the Chairman and Cllr Jones:
|Cheque number||Recipient||Invoice date||Invoice number||Purpose||Value||Empowering legislation|
|1||626||JDH Business Services Limited||10th June 2016||2877||2015/ 2016 internal audit||£126.00||Section 7, Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2014|
B Any other fees payable where invoices were received after the agenda was set
No other items had been presented
16/38 Any Other Business
1 The council noted with sadness that the Cross Lanes Hotel was closing on Monday 18th July. Members were extremely appreciative of the hospitality that the management and staff had showed as council meetings were held on their premises.
The clerk was instructed to obtain prices for neighbouring facilities so an alternative venue could be determined.
2 Cllr Pritchard explained to members the current county council policy vis à vis grass cutting
A verges are cut twice a year, for 1 metre from the pavement.
B Internal green spaces, such as those on Bedwell Crescent and Nant Clwyd Park, are cut six times per annum.
16/39 Date of next meeting
Monday 18th July 2016
Venue to be confirmed by the clerk
The meeting ended at 8.46pm