MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL MEETING OF PURLEIGH PARISH COUNCIL,

HELD IN THE WELLS PAVILION, HOWE GREEN ROAD

ON FRIDAY, 12TH MAY 2017 AT 7.30 P.M.

 

Members present: Mr. N. Arthur (Chairman), Mr. C. Ash, Mr. B. Oliver, Mr. S. Potter, Mr. G. Rayner and Mr. G. Strathern. 

Also in attendance: Mrs. Jane Potter (Clerk). 

Three members of the public attended the open session prior to the start of the meeting as did Mrs. Penny Channer (County Council Ward Member). Cllr. Channer updated the meeting on the results of the recent County Council elections and reported that the Conservative party now held 56 of the 75 seats on the council. Pending ratification at the full Council meeting to be held on Tuesday, 16th May 2017, it was anticipated that John Aldridge would be confirmed Chairman and David Finch, Leader. Cllr Channer was expected to be appointed Deputy Cabinet Member for Children and Families. She also explained that purdah for the general election was now in place. 

Councillor Channer and three members of the public attended part of the meeting. 

 

1/05/17 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE 

 

Apologies were received from Mr. S. Bardwell, who was unable to attend the meeting due to a prior personal commitment and from Mr. John Archer and Miss Sue White (District Council Ward Members) who were unable to attend due to prior personal commitments.

 

2/05/17 TO ELECT A CHAIRMAN FOR 2017/2018

 

Mr. Potter proposed, and it was unanimously agreed, that Mr. Arthur be elected Chairman for 2017/2018.

 

The outgoing Chairman, Mr. Strathern, thanked Council members for all their support and hard work during his Chairmanship and the Clerk for her help. He advised the meeting that it had been a privilege to serve as Chairman of Purleigh Parish Council.

 

Mr. Arthur took the chair.

 

3/05/17 THE CHAIRMAN TO SIGN A DECLARATION OF ACCEPTANCE OF OFFICE

 

The Chairman signed a Declaration of Acceptance of Office, by which he undertook to observe the Parish Council’s Code of Conduct.

 

4/05/17 To appoint a Vice Chairman for 2017/2018

 

Mr. Potter proposed, and it was unanimously agreed, that Mr. Rayner be appointed Vice Chairman for 2017/2018.

 

5/05/17 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND APPLICATIONS FOR A DISPENSATION. EACH MEMBER TO CONFIRM THAT THEY HAVE REVIEWED THEIR ENTRY IN THE REGISTER OF MEMBERS’ INTERESTS HELD BY MALDON DISTRICT COUNCIL (Localism Act 2011)

 

Members were reminded that pursuant to s.30 of the 2011 Localism Act, a member of a parish council must notify the Monitoring Officer of any disclosable pecuniary interests, registerable pecuniary interests and registerable non-pecuniary interests they had.

It was noted that whilst the Monitoring Officer (Melissa Kelly) was on maternity leave, Wendy Morse and Saleem Chughtai had been appointed joint Deputy Monitoring Officers, and were available should Members have any queries about interests at monitoring.officer@maldon.gov.uk (a shared inbox that both Deputies could access).

To update Members’ register of interests the online form could be completed or otherwise copies could be completed and sent to Val Downes at val.downes@maldon.gov.uk.

 

There were no new declarations of interest made, nor were there any applications for dispensations from the provisions of the Localism Act 2011.

 

6/05/17 To appoint representatives to various local bodies

 

It was agreed that the Parish Council’s representatives on, or points of contact for, various local bodies for 2017/2018 be as follows:

 

Essex Association of Local Councils

Nigel Arthur

Dengie Hundred Group of Parish Councils

Steven Bardwell and Graham Rayner

Purleigh Educational Foundation

Steven Potter

Point of contact for the Purleigh Playing Field Association

Brian Oliver

Point of contact with the Highways Department in adverse weather

Gavin Strathern

Point of contact for groundsman

Steven Potter

Liaison with grass cutting contractor

Steven Potter

Passenger transport representative

Brian Oliver

 

7/05/17 TO RESOLVE THE PROCEDURE FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF PLANNING APPLICATIONS BETWEEN MEETINGS

 

The Parish Council resolved that:

 

‘The Clerk is hereby authorised to examine and investigate minor planning applications, in consultation with the Chairman, Vice Chairman and at least two other members of the Parish Council including the one living nearest the site of the planning application (or another Parish Councillor if any of these are unavailable), and make recommendations to Maldon District Council between Parish Council meetings’.

 

The Parish Council also agreed that:

 When considering potentially controversial planning applications at meetings, a Parish Councillor would be nominated to speak at District Council if invited to do so. That Councillor would then put forward the Parish Council’s view (as agreed at the Parish Council meeting) to the District Council Planning Committee.

If invited to speak on non-controversial applications, the Clerk would consult the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and the Parish Councillor living nearest to the site of the application to determine whether a Parish Council presence at the District Council committee meeting was necessary.

 

8/05/17 THE MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING held on 13th April 2017 having been circulated to all Members, were approved, and signed by the Chairman.

 

9/05/17 TO DISCUSS ANY MATTERS OF INFORMATION ARISING FROM THOSE MINUTES:

 

9.1/05/17 Clerk: The Clerk did not have any matters arising from the April 2017 meeting to report to the Parish Council.

 

9.2/05/17 Members’: Members did not have any matters arising from the April 2017 meeting to discuss.

 

10/05/17 THE MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING held on 27th April 2017 having been circulated to all Members, were approved, and signed by the Chairman.

 

11/05/17 TO DISCUSS ANY MATTERS OF INFORMATION ARISING FROM THE MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING

 

There were no matters arising from the Annual Parish Council Meeting to discuss.

 

12/05/17 PLANNING MATTERS

 

12.1/05/17 Decisions taken between meetings: Members noted that the Parish Council had not made any recommendations on planning applications between meetings.

 

12.2/05/17 Current applications: FUL/MAL/17/00408 Three bed detached bungalow with associated detached cart lodge, landscaping and demolition of the existing storage building. Land adjacent Sunnycot, Chelmsford Road, Purleigh. Mr. T. Selfe.

 

Members debated the merits of developing this site which was unattractive at present, and had historically been used for residential purposes (in a bungalow and a caravan) but was outside the area intended for development, and was therefore contrary to Policies S2 and H1 of the Maldon District Replacement Local Plan and Policies S1 and S8 of the submitted Maldon District Local Development Plan which sought to provide control over new buildings in rural areas that were beyond defined settlement boundaries and ensure that new residential developments were directed to appropriate and sustainable locations.

 

Concern was also expressed that the access shown on the plans, being on the apex of a bend, was dangerous and would therefore be detrimental to highway safety.

 

Mr. Potter proposed that, to be consistent, the Parish Council recommended refusal on the grounds that the site lay outside the area intended for development.

 

Mr. Oliver tabled an amended proposal that the Parish Council recommended APPROVAL, provided the access was moved from the apex of the bend, as the site would be much enhanced if developed and historically it had been used for residential purposes.

 

On being put to the vote Mr. Oliver’s proposal was carried, there being four votes in favour

 

HOUSE/MAL/17/00379 Change of use of approved stables (16/01061/FUL) to use as a garage, Purleigh Grange, Chelmsford Road, Purleigh. Mr. Gary Pulham.

 

The Parish Council RECOMMENDED APPROVAL, but agreed to draw the District Council’s attention once again to the fact that the plans contained inaccuracies and were therefore misleading, as there was no veterinary practice on the site.

 

OUT/MAL/17/00478 Erection of two dwelling houses. Site adjacent Sovereign House, Hackmans Lane, Purleigh. Benjamin James Ltd.

 

The Parish Council RECOMMENDED REFUSAL on the grounds that the development would result in the loss of industrial premises and employment potential in the parish on a site which did not presently harm the character and amenity of the adjacent area, nor would the development bring greater benefit to the local community if the alternative use was permitted, contrary to Policy E1 of the Maldon District Submitted Local Development Plan 2014 -2029.

 

12.3/05/17 Notification of Appeals:

 

Appeal by: Lightsource SPV 47

Site address: Corporation Farm, Hackmans Lane, Purleigh

Application reference No: FUL/MAL/15/00779

Appeal reference No: APP/X1545/W/16/3150701

Description of development: The installation and operation of a solar farm and associated infrastructure, including photovoltaic panels, mounting frames, inverters, transformers, substations, communications building, access tracks, fencing, and pole-mounted CCTV cameras.

 

Members noted that the Appeal against Maldon District Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for the above development had been ALLOWED and planning permission granted. A copy of the Inspector’s decision was placed in the circulation folder for Members’ information.

 

Appeal by: Mr. John Lawrence

Site address: Land at Rudley Oaks, Chelmsford Road, Purleigh

Enforcement reference No: ENF/16/00189/01

Appeal reference No: APP/X1545/C/16/3161468

Appeal against: Without planning permission the unauthorised change of use of the land to use as residential curtilage; the unauthorised erection of two detached outbuildings on the land; the unauthorised erection of a swimming pool on the land; the unauthorised erection of walls, gates, fences and other means of enclosure on the land.

Members noted that the Appeal had been ALLOWED and that the enforcement notice had been quashed after correction and variation. Planning permission had also been granted.

 

12.4/05/17 Maldon District Council planning decisions: Members noted that Maldon District Council had APPROVED the following planning applications:

 FUL/MAL/17/00236 Retrospective: Extension of residential curtilage, erection of outbuilding, creation of swimming pool, screening wall and access within the extended curtilage. Proposed alteration to design of outbuilding and landscaping. (Amended re-submission of 16/00633/FUL). Rudley Oaks, Chelmsford Road

 HOUSE/MAL/17/00237 Proposed single storey rear extension. 14 The Glebe.

 HOUSE/MAL/17/00259 Extension and alterations to garage and amendments to vehicular access. Meadowview, Maldon Road.

 

And had REFUSED to grant planning permission for the following development:

 COUPA/MAL/17/00232 Prior approval of change of use from agricultural to a dwelling house and associated operational development. Land Adjacent Purleigh Law, Walton Hall Lane.

 HOUSE/MAL/17/00184 Provision of a vehicle crossing onto the B1010, and both off street and covered parking, in the form of an open cart lodge and permeable paving driveway. Increase of the existing roof pitch from 25 degrees to 35 degrees, as the existing roof is leaking and needs replacing. Brights Villa, Chelmsford Road

 HOUSE/MAL/17/00185 Provision of a vehicle crossing onto the B1010, and both off street and covered parking, in the form of an open cart lodge and permeable paving driveway. Glenville, Chelmsford Road

 FUL/MAL/17/00231 Change of use from existing veterinary practice to B1 inclusive of outbuildings and parking. Former Veterinary Surgery, Chelmsford Road.

 

12.5/05/17 Other planning matters: Removal of roadside hedge and erection of a fence. Land Opposite Greenvale, Chlemsford Road: Members noted that the Planning Enforcement section at Maldon District Council had commenced an investigation into this matter.

 

Essex County Council Highways Department had also advised that the fence would be assessed in due course by a Highways Inspector, and any necessary action would be taken. Low priority issues however would not be dealt with in the foreseeable future.

 

13/05/17 HIGHWAY MATTERS

 

13.1/05/17 Pot hole, Walton Hall Lane: Members noted that the pot hole outside Walton Hall reported by the Parish Council after the April meeting (Minute 6.2/04/17) had been investigated, risk assessed and recorded in line with Essex County Council’s maintenance strategy. The County Council had concluded that it did not require immediate action but the pot hole would continue to be monitored via regular safety inspections.

 

It was agreed that the Clerk would try to download and circulate the County Council’s maintenance strategy for Members’ information.

 

13.2/05/17 Temporary road closure, Birchwood Road: Members noted that Birchwood Road would be closed between its junctions with Lodge Lane and Chimney Lane for a period of three days, commencing on Monday, 22nd May 2017.

 

13.3/05/17 Other highway matters: Cycle race: Members noted a cycle road race had passed through the parish (Hackmans Lane) on Sunday, 7th May 2017 involving 60 riders and several support vehicles.

 

14/05/17 PLAYING FIELD AND OPEN SPACES

 

14.1/05/17 Children’s Play Area: Monthly report: Mr. Ash reported that that he had carried out his weekly inspections of the Children’s Play Area which remained closed, and the play equipment outside it. There were no matters of concern about the trim tail and embankment slide to report and Mr. Ash was pleased to note that the grass in the Children’s play area had been mown. There had been a small resurgence of mole activity towards the Glebe field however.

 

It was noted that between meetings, Members had been informed that Playscene had offered to reduce the price of its quotation by £150 if the Parish Council arranged for the removal of the damaged tyre traverse and monkey ladder to ground level. The consensus of opinion had been that as this saving was minimal, given the effort required to remove the equipment, the Parish Council would proceed and accept Playscene’s original quotation as follows:

 

To breakout and dispose off site of existing equipment, take up and dispose off site of approximately 38.5 square metres of black wet pour safety surface. Supply and lay approximately 17.3 linear metres of PCC concrete edging, supply and lay approximately 5.5 square metres of top soil and turf. Import approximately 1 tonne of MOT Type 1 to adjust levels of existing base £4,065.00

 

To supply and install:

 

Log rope traverse

£1,190.00

Log weaver

£790.00

Parallel rope traverse

£620.00

Traverse wall

£1,145.00

Stepping stone

£255.00

 

Supply and lay approximately 32m2 x 40mm black wet pour safety surface, chase cut into existing wet pour:

£2,575.00

 

Site security

£250.00
   

Less new client promotion 5% discount

-£544.50
   

Subtotal

£10,345.50

VAT

£2,069.10

Total

£12,414.60

 

Members noted that Rachel Moore, (Purleigh Community Fund) had been informed.

 

14.2/05/17 To receive a report of the annual inspection of the children’s play area: Members noted that the Inspector’s report had not yet been received.

 

14.3/05/17 Repairs to the exterior of the pavilion: Members were reminded that at the January 2017 meeting Mr. Potter had reported that during a site meeting with Mr. Arthur held on 31st December 2016 they had prioritised the following repairs to the exterior of the Pavilion (Minute 7.4/01/17), having studied the quotation for further repairs provided by Mr. Russell (Nestwood Building Services):

 

To take up floorboards directly in front of the main doors to expose the floor plate which was completely rotten and showing signs of dry rot (cuboidal cracking) and replace. Reinstate floor boards

Cost labour and materials                                                                                                                                                                                 £550.00

 

Mr. Potter and Mr. Arthur had also felt that the east end gable and barge board needed re-painting as did the entrance door to the lobby and adjoining walls, and a small piece of timber needed repairing on the north wall.

 

It had been agreed that Mr. Potter and Mr. Arthur would negotiate with Mr. Russell regarding the cost of the extra work identified, with the aim of completing it all within the £1,000 allocated in the precept for exterior repairs to the pavilion in 2017/2018.

 

It was agreed that before the June 2017 Parish Council meeting the Chairman and Mr. Potter would meet with Mr. Russell to agree a proposed schedule of works for the Parish Council’s approval.

 

14.4/05/17 Other playing field and open spaces matters: Broken Water Heater in the Pavilion: It was agreed that if, after further investigation, it couldn’t be proved that the PCP board was causing the fault in the water boiler, the Parish Council would consider removing it and replacing it with either a Baby Burco water boiler or two new kettles as the cost of repairing the Marco water boiler was prohibitive given the age of the equipment and the money the Parish Council had spent on maintaining it thus far.

15/05/17 ALLOTMENT MATTERS

 

The Chairman and Mr. Strathern reported that they had spoken to all the parties involved in the recent altercation at the allotments (Minute 7.5/04/17) and to the affected neighbouring property owners. After some considerable discourse, and in the spirit of conciliation, it had been agreed that the allotment holders involved would try to avoid any more confrontation by minimising their contact and trying to move forward so that everyone at the site could enjoy their gardening without interference or intimidation.

 

The Chairman and Mr. Strathern had made it clear however to the allotment holder whom their investigations had concluded was most responsible for the conflict, that any repetition whatsoever of their behaviour would lead to serious repercussions.

 

16/05/17 TO REVIEW THE NUMBER OF COUNCILLORS ON PURLEIGH PARISH COUNCIL

 

Members were reminded that at the June 2015 Parish Council meeting (Minute 8/06/15) it had been noted that Section 21 of the Representation of the People Act 1985 provided that where an insufficient number of candidates had been validly nominated at an ordinary local council election to fill the vacancies on the council, those who had been validly nominated were automatically elected as Councillors, and provided the Council was quorate it may co-opt any person or persons to fill the vacancies if it wished to.

 

Purleigh Parish Council was entitled to have nine Councillors serving on it and at present there were seven.

 

Members noted that three parishioners had expressed an interest in becoming Parish Councillors.

 

Mr. Potter proposed, and it was agreed that Purleigh Parish Council remained with seven councillors as the current council was functioning effectively and efficiently. It was agreed however to advise the three parishioners concerned that they would be most welcome to stand for election in 2019.

 

17/05/17 TO CONDUCT THE ANNUAL RISK ASSESSMENT

 

17.1/05/17 The Risk Assessment: Members noted that the format of the Risk Assessment was the same as that carried out by the Council in May 2016 (Minute 18/05/16).

 

The Parish Council noted that the audit regime placed emphasis on local councils strengthening their own corporate governance arrangements, improving their stewardship of public funds and providing assurance to taxpayers. The Parish Council therefore carried out a thorough risk assessment which took steps to identify key risks facing the Council; evaluated the potential consequences to the Council if an event identified as a ‘risk’ took place, and decided on appropriate measures to avoid, reduce or control the risk and its consequences.

 

17.2/05/17 Matters arising from the Risk Assessment:

 

1. Financial risks:

1. The cost of elections and bye-elections: Members noted that Maldon District Council had advised that henceforth Parish Councils should set aside the sum of £1,500 in their budgets towards the cost of contested elections, bye-elections and polls. During the precept discussions in January 2017, the Parish Council had decided not to allocate any money under this heading for the forthcoming financial year (Minute 11.4/01/17).

 

2. Risks relating to liability

Cemeteries and Churchyards: Members noted that Parish Councils who were responsible for the maintenance of closed churchyards and cemeteries had been advised that they should have a written risk assessment in place to cover the entire area, not only paths, walls, trees and fences but also the management of monuments and headstones. Due to uneven surfaces and often irregular paths, third party injuries claims resulting from trips and slips were frequent. The necessary frequency for monitoring sites needed to be considered and clarified within the risk assessment and if no issue arose and no changes occurred, the assessment should be subject to an annual review.

Members noted that there was no statutory guidance on the appropriate standard to which a closed churchyard should be maintained. NALC Legal Topic Note (LTN) 65 cited the standard given in a nineteenth century guide for churchwardens as follows:

To see that the churchyard is kept in a decent and fitting manner, that is cleared of all rubbish, muck, thorns, shrubs and anything else that may annoy parishioners when they come into it’

NALC also advised that responsibility for maintenance included the maintenance of paths which crossed a churchyard up to the standard of ‘decent order’ as well as cultivated and uncultivated areas. The obligation to ‘maintain memorials’ was likely to extend to a duty to ensure that they did not topple over. Insurance companies also advocated that the inspection of headstones should include topple testing.

 

It was noted that in 2007 an interpretation in the courts of s215 (1) Local Government Act 1972, found that a Parish Council who had accepted responsibility for the maintenance of a closed churchyard had been responsible for the death of a child who was climbing on a memorial which subsequently fell on him. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) was therefore also keen to highlight the issue of memorial safety to councils.

 

As a result of advice from the HSE, in 2008 Maldon District Council had instigated a programme of inspection and repair of all the memorials in its cemeteries starting with those memorials of over 1m high, which were deemed to be the greatest risk. The District Council had employed Zurich Municipal to train Officers in inspection techniques, including carrying out the ‘topple test’ so it might be possible for Parish Councils to purchase this service from the District Council.

Members noted that the ordinary maintenance of monuments and tombstones was not the responsibility of the Parochial Church Council (PCC) or local authority but of the owners, who were usually the heirs of the persons commemorated. When the heirs or other owners could not be traced, the PCC or local authority would have to take responsibility for dealing with dangerous monuments, since safety was part of keeping a closed churchyard in ‘decent order’. The removal of monuments, whether dangerous or not usually required the consent of the Church of England (in the form of a Faculty). NALC Legal Topic Note 64 however expressed the view that a council had a duty to keep a closed churchyard in decent order and in addition councils had the over-riding legal obligation to maintain public safety. If these duties had any meaning, a council must have the right to ensure memorials were safe and to take minimum action to render safe those which proved to be dangerous. In NALC’s view these responsibilities may be exercised therefore without further consent.

Members noted that the Parish Council inspected the trees in the churchyard annually, but the last time the monuments and headstones had been inspected was on 14th August 2008 after which Mr. Ovel had put the necessary works in hand.

A draft risk assessment and safety and operational management plan for All Saints Churchyard, prepared by the Clerk, and circulated to members prior to the meeting was approved without amendment.

It was agreed that the Chairman and Mr. Potter would inspect the memorials in the churchyard before the June 2017 Parish Council meeting and that henceforth the memorials would be inspected annually at the same time as the annual tree inspection.

Allotments: Members noted that Came and Company (the Parish Council’s insurers) had advised that if the Council was responsible for the management of allotments there were various sections (within the Council’s insurance policy) that would provide protection for those involved. This included:

 The Public Liability section which would look to defend if a person was injured on the land that the Council was responsible for, and

 The Officials Indemnity section which may be of assistance if the Council was accused of errors and omission.

However, it would be expected that the Council had a written risk assessment for the land which the Council was responsible for, paying particular attention to uneven ground and the risk of personal injury. The risk assessment should be reviewed annually or if a change was made to the site. It should also determine the frequency of the inspection regime.

Members noted that the Parish Council inspected the allotments annually, but this did not take the form of a written risk assessment. The tree at the allotments was risk assessed annually however as part of the Parish Council’s tree inspection process.

A draft risk assessment for the allotments, prepared by the Clerk, and circulated to Members prior to the meeting, was approved without amendment and it was agreed that the Clerk accompanied by a Parish Councillor would conduct an annual risk assessment of the allotments at the same time as the annual inspection of the site and plots.

Councillor action: Members noted that in light of recent high profile litigious cases, Clerks had once again been asked to remind Members that all official communication (including letters and emails) with outside agencies, government departments, other councils and the public should be conducted through the clerk unless by specific resolution of the council. Councillors were respectfully reminded not to sign themselves Parish Councillor, add the description Parish Councillor beneath any other personal or professional designation, or use personal social media under this guise. The exception, unless by specific resolution of the council, being when resigning from Office, when Councillors should tender their resignation through the Chairman rather than the Clerk.

 

17.3/05/17 To review the effectiveness of the system of internal control: Members noted that the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 required audited bodies to conduct a review at least once a year of the effectiveness of their systems of internal control. The findings of the review must be considered by the council, and following the review the council must approve the Annual Governance Statement prepared in accordance with the proper practices in relation to internal control (see Minute 18.1/05/17 below).

 

It was noted that John Smith-Daye, (Lambert Chapman LLP) was the Parish Council’s independent (internal) auditor. As a member of Lambert Chapman Chartered Accountants, the Parish Council was entirely confident of Mr. Smith-Daye’s suitability for the role.

 

17.4/05/17 To review the Parish Council’s internal audit procedure: The Parish Council agreed not to make any amendments to its internal audit procedure and affirmed that pursuant to Regulation 4 of the Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2011:

 

‘The Parish Council was responsible for ensuring that the financial management of the council was adequate and effective and that the council had a sound system of internal control which facilitated the effective exercise of the Parish Council’s functions and which included arrangements for the management of risk’

 

17.5/05/17 To receive a report from the internal auditor: Members noted and approved the contents of the Chairman’s report to the Parish Council, which had been written in his capacity as the Council’s internal auditor for 2016/2017.

 

17.6/05/17 To note the powers under which income and expenditure 2016/2017 were received and spent: Members noted the legislative powers under which income and expenditure 2016/2017 had been received and spent and were satisfied that the Parish Council’s financial transactions had been carried out within the powers available to it.

17.7/05/17 To review the Parish Council’s powers and duties: Members noted the powers available to Parish Councils and the duties imposed upon them. Members were satisfied that the Parish Council’s activities had been carried out within the legal powers available to it and that it remained eligible to use the General Power of Competence (Localism Act 2011).

 

17.8/05/17 To review the Parish Council’s insurance policy: The Parish Council noted the cover and conditions associated with its Insurance Policy number 24414511 CHC with Came & Company, Parish Council Insurance (underwritten by Aviva) and that the Parish Council’s Long Term Agreement (LTA) was due to expire on 31st May 2018.

 

It was noted that Came & Company had confirmed that the renewal premium for 2017/2018 would be £1,386.69 including 12% insurance premium tax (compared with £1,324.84 in 2016/2017, an increase of £61.85) The Policy excess remained £250.00 for each and every claim except subsidence which is £1,000. An additional £5,000 cover has been included in the policy this year for defibrillators & cabinets.

 

The Parish Council confirmed it wished to renew its insurance policy with Came & Company.

 

Members also agreed to increase the level of cover for play equipment and safety surfaces as and when new pieces of play equipment and safety surface were installed on site, which would be likely to incur increased premiums.

 

17.9/05/17 To review the Parish Council’s Asset Register: Members did not suggest any amendments to its asset register which showed the Parish Council having assets to the value of £309,781.42 at close of business on 31st March 2017 compared with £311,309.88 at the close of business the previous year.

 

17.10/05/17 To review the Parish Council’s Financial Regulations: The Parish Council did not make any amendments to its Financial Regulations, which had been adopted by the Parish Council in May 2014 (Minute 15.10/05/14) and amended in May 2016 (Minute 18.10/05/16).

 

17.11/05/17 To review the duties of the Responsible Financial Officer: It was agreed not to amend the duties of the Responsible Financial Officer approved by the Parish Council at the May 2016 Parish Council meeting (Minute 18.11/05/16), apart from amending Duty 9 to include the Local Government Pension Scheme, which now read to, ‘Assume overall management of the payroll, including the Local Government Pension Scheme and the payment of tax (PAYE) and National Insurance where appropriate.’

 

17.12/05/17 To review the Parish Council’s Code of Practice for Handling Complaints and Code of Conduct Matters:

 

Members noted that in June 2012 the Parish Council had adopted Maldon District Council’s Code of Member Conduct (See Minute 7/07/12). Members had also completed, or agreed to complete, the Register of Members’ Interests produced by Maldon District Council as required by the Relevant Authorities (disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/1464) which came into force on 1st July 2012. The Parish Council had also fulfilled its obligation to publicise the adoption of the new Code of Member Conduct.

 

It was agreed not to make any changes to the Parish Council’s Code of Practice for Handling Complaints or to its Code of Conduct.

 

17.13/05/17 To review the measures taken to comply with Equality legislation: The Parish Council agreed not to make any changes to its Equality Statement and was confident that it complied with its public sector equality duty contained within the Equality Act 2010 (s149).

 

The Parish Council also continued to fulfil its specific duties under paragraph (2a) (section 5) of the Race Relations Act (Statutory Duties) Order 2001. The specific duty of employment being to monitor, by reference to the racial groups to which they belonged, the numbers of staff in post and applicants for employment, training and promotion and to publish the results of the monitoring annually.

 

To meet the specific duty the Parish Council had:

 

1. Collected the following data

2. Analysed it to detect any patterns of inequality

3. Published it at the Annual Parish Meeting held on 27st April 2017 (the Minutes of which, now approved, would be published on the website (www.purleigh.com) and in the Annual Report to parishioners.

 

Purleigh Parish Council

 

Number of Employees

1

Ethnic origin

White, British

Applicants for training

1

Ethnic origin

White, British

Employees who have received training

1

Ethnic origin

White, British

Employees promoted

Not applicable

 

No patterns of inequality had been detected in the data.

17.14/05/17 To review the Parish Council’s compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000: Members noted that the Parish Council was fully compliant with the Freedom of Information Act and had renewed its registration as a Data Controller. The Parish Council had also complied with the requirement to register each year as a local authority and had adopted and published a publication scheme.

 

17.15/05/17 To Review the Parish Council’s Publication Scheme: The Parish Council agreed not to make any changes to its publication scheme.

 

17.16/05/17 To review the Parish Council’s Document Retention Policy: It was agreed not to make any amendments to the Parish Council’s Document Retention Policy.

 

17.17/05/17 To review the Parish Council’s compliance with s17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 as amended: The Parish Council was satisfied that it complied with s17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

 

17.18/05/17 To review the Parish Council’s Community Engagement Strategy: The Parish Council agreed not to make any amendments to its Community Engagement Strategy.

 

17.19/05/17 To review the Parish Council’s Training Needs Strategy: It was agreed not to make any amendments to the Parish Council’s Training Needs Strategy.

 

Members noted that during the year the Clerk had attended training on: The Highways Practice Note (Flooded Roads); the future of local policing; promoting tourism in the Maldon District; devolution; and responding to planning applications and the parish trigger.

 

The Clerk also sat on the judging panel of grant applications to Essex County Council’s Community Initiatives Fund and was a member of the Society of Local Council Clerks.

 

It was noted that Councillors had not received any training between May 2016 and April 2017, although the sum of £200 had been allocated in the budget 2016/2017 for training course fees. The same sum had been allocated for training purposes in the 2017/2018 budget.

 

17.20/05/17 To review the Parish Council’s tree management strategy: Members noted that at the May 2014 Parish Council meeting (Minute 15.2/05/14) the Parish Council had adopted a tree management strategy and had agreed to inspect its tree stock in May each year, with a further inspection of any trees identified as needing further monitoring each October. It had also been agreed that the inspections would be carried out by a minimum of three Parish Councillors and that during the inspections photographic evidence may be collected for comparative purposes.

During the financial year ending 31st March 2017 the Parish Council had spent £460 maintaining its tree stock compared with nothing in 2015/2016 and £1,145 in 2014/2015.

 

It was agreed that all Parish Councillors who were available would carry out the annual inspection of the Parish Council’s tree stock on Monday, 5th June at 9.00 a.m. meeting at All Saints Church.

 

Members agreed not to make any changes to the Parish Council’s Tree Management Strategy.

 

17.21/05/17 To review the Parish Council’s Pavilion risk assessment: Members noted that the Parish Council was required to carry out periodic risk assessments at the Pavilion based on the guidance in the Health & Safety Executive’s Five Steps to Risk Assessment which were to:

1 Identify the hazards

2 Decide who might be harmed and how

3 Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions

4 Record findings and implement them

5 Review the risk assessment and update if necessary.

The Parish Council did not have a legal requirement to record the findings of these risk assessments however, as less than five people worked at the Pavilion, and repairs, cleaning and maintenance were done by self-employed workers who were responsible for their own health and safety.

 

The Parish Council was confident that the risks identified in the document were continuously monitored by Councillors and the Clerk who all used the Pavilion throughout the year at different times during the day and in the evening by virtue of their membership of different clubs and organisations. The Parish Council also received regular reports on the condition of the building from Mrs. Dilworth who cleaned it and from the various user groups.

 

The Parish Council did not think the Pavilion showers were likely to harbour legionella bacteria because water wasn’t stored or re-circulated as part of the system.

 

The Parish Council did not identify any matters arising from the pavilion risk assessment which required further action.

 

18/05/17 FINANCIAL MATTERS

 

18.1/05/17 To complete the Annual Governance Statement 2016/2017 - Section 1 of the Annual Return:

 

The Parish Council prepared and completed the Annual Governance Statement, which was signed by the Chairman and Clerk.

 

The Parish Council was satisfied that it had carried out a thorough review of the effectiveness of its systems of internal control and audit, as part of the annual risk assessment (see Minutes 17.3/05/17; 17.4/05/17 and 17.5/05/17 above). To fulfil its obligations the Parish Council had carefully considered the findings of the review.

 

The Chairman proposed, and it was unanimously resolved to approve the Annual Governance Statement, in advance of approving the accounting statements for the year ending 31st March 2017.

 

18.2/05/17 To approve and sign the Parish Council’s Income & Expenditure Accounts for the period 1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017: The Parish Council unanimously approved the:

 

1* Income and Expenditure Account

2* Balance Sheet and

3* Supporting Notes for the financial year ending 31st March 2017

 

The Chairman and Responsible Financial Officer signed three copies of the Balance Sheet, which showed the Parish Council to have NET ASSETS in the sum of £32,172.10 at 31st March 2017 (compared with £26,928.26 in the preceding financial year).

 

18.3/05/17 To approve the Accounting Statements 2016/2017 (section 2 of the Annual Return) for the year ended 31st March 2017: The Parish Council unanimously resolved to approve the Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2017 (section 2 of the Annual Return) dated 5th May 2017 and the Responsible Financial Officer’s explanation of the reasons for any significant variances (+/- 15% and over £150) from the last financial year to this. The Parish Council’s bank reconciliation as at the close of business on 31st March 2017 had been approved at the April meeting (Minute 9.4/04/17).

 

Members noted that the Statement of Accounts was based on the Parish Council’s Accounts 2016/2017 which had been prepared on an income and expenditure basis. Members noted that Council’s Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer had signed and dated the Statement of Accounts before they had been presented to the council.

 

Mr. Potter proposed, and it was unanimously resolved that the Parish Council approved the Accounting Statements 2016/2017 (section 2 of the Annual Return). The accounting statements were then signed by the Chairman of the meeting and dated 12th May 2017.

 

18.4/05/17 Annual Internal Audit Report (section 4 of the Annual Return): Members noted that Mr. Smith-Daye would complete this section of the Annual Return on 15th May 2017.

 

18.5/05/17 Telephone expenses: Mr. Strathern suggested that the Clerk should be reimbursed form petty cash for telephone calls made from her mobile phone for Parish Council purposes. The Clerk assured members that this would not be necessary.

 

18.6/05/17 To receive a report of receipts: Members received a report of the following receipts:

 

Maldon District Council

Pavilion hire  
  Re: County Council elections £225.00
     

Maldon District Council

Precept 2017/2018 £40,000.00
     

Purleigh Quilters

Pavilion hire £15.00
     

HM Revenue & Customs

VAT refund: Claim outstanding  

 

As at 31st March 2017 £364.90

 

  £40,604.90

 

18.7/05/17 To approve payments of accounts between meetings: Members noted and approved that the following account had been paid between meetings, adhering strictly to the procedures outlined in the Parish Council’s Financial Regulation 5.5.

 

The Information Commissioner

Data protection registration fee 2017/2018  

 

Z6664952

£35.00

 

18.8/05/17 To approve payment of accounts to hand and transfers between bank accounts: It was unanimously agreed to approve payment of the following accounts to hand:

 

Mrs. Jane Potter

Salary –April 2017 £1,226.00  
 

Less tax

£39.00  
 

National Insurance

£65.52  
 

And Pension Contributions

£71.11  

 

    £1,050.37
       

H.M. Revenue & Customs

Tax £39.00  
 

National Insurance (employees)

£65.52  
 

National insurance (employers)

£75.35  

 

    £179.87
       

 

     

 

     

Essex Pension Fund

Employee contributions    
 

(5.8% pensionable pay)

£71.11  
 

Employer contributions

   
 

(16.7% pensionable pay)

£204.74  
 

Administration charge

   
 

(8% employee contributions)

£5.69  

 

    £281.54
       

Mrs. R. Dilworth

Pavilion cleaning – April 2017    

 

20 hours @ £7.50 per hour   £150.00
       

CPRE

Subscription 2017/2018   £36.00
       

PG Groundcare Ltd Rodenating mole hills and tunnels

  £65.00  

 

VAT £13.00  

 

    £78.00

A.G. Macmorland

Grass cutting – April 2017 £620.00  

   Farming Partnership 

VAT £124.00  

 

    £744.00

Mrs. Jane Potter

 Petty Cash – Reimbursement    

 

Postage   £12.42
       

Came & Company

Insurance premium 2017 – 2018    
 

Policy No. 24414511 CHC

   
 

(LTA expiry 31st May 2018)

  £1,386.69
       

Aldermore Bank Plc

Re: Positive Print & Design    

 

Photocopying – April & May 2017 £91.67  

 

VAT £18.33  

 

    £110.00

 

    £4,028.89

Transfers: Members noted and approved the following transfer between Bank Accounts:

 

1 On 12th May 2017 the sum of £36,010.13 had been transferred from the Community Current account (40731080) to the Business Premium Account (80731099) to leave approximately £1,500 in the current account, having paid the accounts to hand at the Parish Council meeting held on 12th May 2017.

 

Bank reconciliation as at 30th April 2017: A bank reconciliation for the period 1st April 2017 to 30th April 2017 was carried out by Mr. Rayner and approved by the Parish Council as follows:

 

Statement of Accounts:

 

Receipts: 

£75,306.10 Barclays Bank Plc:  

Expenditure

£3,466.69   Current account £41,539.02
       Business Premium Account £4,823.10
   

   Historic Buildings Fund

£8,768.69
   

   Miss Pawsey’s Legacy

£16,658.60

 

________ Petty Cash £50.00

 

£71,839.41   £71,839.41

 

18.8/05/17 To approve a list of regular Direct Debits and Standing Orders:

 

Standing Orders: Members noted and approved that the Parish Council had two standing orders in place relating to the ground rent for the allotment site in Chelmsford Road and the licence fee for the pedestrian footpath in Church Hill from Pump Corner to Fairfields.

Date

Payee

Amount (£)

1st April

Greenwood South Western

5.00

24th September

Chelmsford Diocesan Glebe Management

20.00

 

Variable Direct Debits: Members noted and approved that the Parish Council had one variable Direct Debit in place to BT Group PLC for payment of the Clerk’s telephone account. This was taken quarterly.

 

19/05/17 CORRESPONDENCE

 

Local Government Pension Scheme

Consultation on Draft Investment Strategy: Members noted that the Fund’s Draft Investment Strategy had been published in March 2017 ahead of the Investment Steering Committee (ISC) Meeting held on 4th April. At that meeting the ISC had agreed that the draft be subject to stakeholder consultation ending on 31st May 2017. Further details could be found at the following web link:

http://www.essexpensionfund.co.uk/client-area/news/consultation-on-draft-investment-strategy-statement/

 

Community defibrillator

Members noted that Mr. Mellor had provided the following update about the community defibrillator:

 

Since his last report in the February 2017 edition of the Parish Magazine, Mr. Mellor confirmed that just under £2,000 had been raised largely through individual donations, a contribution from the village raffle and other financial support from the Christmas Fare at The Bell and the Parish Council. The defibrillator with its ready kit had been ordered through the NHS Trust and it was expected that it would be installed early in May.

 

Members noted that following discussion with and advice from, the Ambulance Service the equipment would be installed on an external wall of The Bell, hopefully with additional security through the provision of a CCTV camera to cover the front of the building. Mr. Mellor stressed that, in the event of a future incident, access to the equipment would only be possible through a 999 emergency call to the Ambulance Service when a four digit code would be provided for the key pad located on the security box containing the equipment.

 

Arrangements were now being made for training in the use of the equipment. Training would be provided by the ambulance service and needed initially to involve those individuals who were most closely linked to and/or had responsibility for venues in the village, such as The Bell, the village hall, the pavilion and the school, or the organisation of activities which took place in the village using these venues. It was expected that each training session would be at least two hours in length and that the training would take place at The Bell as soon as the equipment had been installed. Additional training could also be organised at a later date for other individuals who may be interested in attending a training session.

 

It was agreed to write to the clubs and organisations informing them of the training opportunities Mr. Mellor was proposing and suggesting they contact him directly if anyone form their organisation was interested.

 

EALC

Buckingham Palace Garden Party: The Parish Council agreed to nominate Gavin Strathern, to receive an invitation to attend a Garden party at Buckingham Palace.

 

Routine Playground Inspection Course: members noted that the EALC was running a certificated course on routine playground inspections on Thursday, 25th May 2017 at the Dourdan Pavilion, Great Dunmow, CM6 2AA, between 9.00 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. at a cost of £120 per delegate. Members noted that the sum of £200 had been allocated in the precept 2017/2018 for training.

 

Unfortunately Mr. Ash was not available on 25th May 2017.

 

20/05/17 POINTS OF INFORMATION

 

Fibre Infinity Broadband Update for Purleigh

Members noted that Mr. Mellor had also advised that the recent petition in relation to the future fibre infinity broadband update for Purleigh had been signed by over 200 householders in Purleigh and had been submitted to BT. It was hoped this would persuade BT to schedule the necessary work as soon as possible to improve broadband provision in Purleigh. Although it had yet to be confirmed, Mr. Mellor understood that some improvement work may be possible in some parts of the parish before the end of the current financial year ending in March 2018.

 

CRIME AND DISORDER ACT 1988 (SECTION 17)

 

Consideration was given to the crime and disorder implications of all decisions made at this meeting.

 

There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 9.18 p.m.