GRINDLEFORD PARISH COUNCIL – MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 9 July at 7.30pm.
This meeting was held remotely by Zoom.
Present: Robert Wilson, Chair; Elizabeth Coe, Andrew Battarbee, Hilary Hart, John Mottershaw, Peter O’Brien, Rob Tamlyn, John Morton, Ray Whiteley. Sarah Battarbee, Clerk. Cllr Judith Twigg.
Apologies: PC Anthony Boswell.
1. County Councillor’s report. Cllr Twigg reported that there had been a great deal of activity with parking fine ticketing, and she herself had sent photographs to the police. The issue remained that it was a new set of people each time so the effectiveness was limited.
2. District Councillor’s report. PO’B said that DDDC staff were fully occupied with the allocation of £31m in business grants. The Council was also looking into the number of councillors representing it, with a possible reduction in numbers. Two new senior managers are being recruited.
3. Police report. PC Anthony Boswell sent an email highlighting the Derbyshire Alert messages/social media posts relating to endless tickets being issued at Padley Gorge. Officers from Roads Policing have been assisting SNT to enforce the location. PC Boswell echoed the difficulty that this is not a long term solution because it is different people who are parking at the location each time. Even with the education of signage plus media information, people still decide to park there. This has been brought up with DDC Highways and PC Boswell will update the Council with any developments. PC Boswell was not aware of any other issues in the village at present.
4. Minutesof the last meeting had been circulated to all members before the meeting. They were pro RT and sec JSM as being a true record approved and signed.
5. Matters arising:
Parish Council website. There was lively discussion. Cllrs agreed to:
Our leader, Robert Wilson, agreed to write an introductory piece about the Parish Council, and the clerk would set out the basic operation of the Council such as how to attend a meeting, where to find agendas and minutes, and so on. It was agreed that the focus should always be on Parish Council business as the village Facebook page, website and newsletter did such a good job of covering other issues.
DALC climate workshop. HH and the Clerk had attended this initial meeting of parish councils interested in working together to combat climate change. It was held on line. HH reported that it could be a very useful forum but would be better in smaller groups (there were nearly forty attendees). Grindleford Parish Council was able to tell a good story about initiatives in the Hope Valley.
Reopening of public toilets. With the reopening of pubs and restaurants, the opening hours had been extended with extra cleaning. Council toilets will now open at 10.30 am and close at 5.30 pm.
6. Highway Matters
Pinfold. Clerk to contact Wayne Sheldon about clearing the pinfold and area around. Clerk to ask Dave Miller to check it over and make sure the stone was safe.
War Memorial. RW reported that he had taken over some of the maintenance work previously done by Lee Waterall. The Council thanked him. There was an issue with weeds within the paving stones which was related to the item below on weedkilling. It was agreed that an informal working party be gathered together to provide some general maintenance.
Speeding. HH raised the issues of very noisy sports cars and motorbikes behaving without consideration through the village. Clerk to raise this with PC Anthony Boswell. Subsequently PC Boswell has written to offer online training for village Speedwatch.
7. Planning Matters: NP/DDD/0620/0506 Derwent House Main Road. To alter a percentage of commercial area to residential area. Change of use from A1 to C3. All strongly in favour.
8. Insurance. It was agreed to accept Zurich International’s quote of £545.71. Pro AB sec JSM.
9. Accounts. It was agreed that the following cheques be put forward for signing. Pro JRM sec APB that they be approved.
|Potting Shed Ladies
|Jubilee Gardens April
|Potting Shed Ladies
|Jubilee Gardens May and June
10. Audit. Annual audit of accounts was presented for approval. The Internal Auditor found no matters to be raised. Sarah Battarbee, Clerk, gave a report. Council noted that the rules and timings for audit were different this year because of Covid. It was pro EC sec RWilson that the Chairman and Clerk sign off the returns to certify that they represented fairly the financial position of the Council and its income and expenditure for the year ending 31 March 2020. Cllrs have also agreed that the period for the common period for the exercise of rights should be 1 August to 31 August 2020. Pro EC sec RWilson that the Accounting Statements should be approved and signed, with the proviso that clerk email Cllrs with further clarification of the explanation of variances.
There was further discussion about last year’s (2019/20) underspend, largely driven by an underspend on the election budget (due to there being the same number of applicants as there were places on the Council, so no need to have a residents’ vote) and the clerk’s decision not to take a pension. The internal auditor did not raise it as an issue but warned that the external auditor had commented on underspends with other councils nationally. It was agreed that the clerk would circulate a paper before the next meeting setting out the underspend and the applications for funding which had been made.
The Grindleford precept was also discussed. It was low compared to other Hope Valley councils of similar size. It would be possible to ask for a higher precept for 2021/22 bur any raise would be reflected in council tax. This was a discussion for later in the year when the budget was being set.
Virtual supermarket. There had been a request for support for a Hope Valley-wide virtual supermarket from Paul Downing, chair of Bradwell Parish Council. The majority of Cllrs agreed to the proposal in principle but were interested to see an explanatory presentation business plan and further details. These would be provided for the next meeting.
DALC consultation on Cllrs Code of Conduct. There were no comments.
Litter. This continues to be a major problem. Natural England has updated the Countryside Code and produced some posters. Residents are picking up litter left by visitors on a daily basis, although some visitors are picking up others’ litter too. It was agreed the clerk would speak to the National Trust who land Padley Gorge is. Photos of the litter to show the NT would be helpful.
Traffic calming. DALC reported discussion among Derbyshire parish council chairs about the need for traffic calming measures in many communities, including reducing speed limits, cameras, speed bumps, reduced idling outside schools etc. It was noted that a) DCC are unwilling to engage and b) it is hard to get any measures enforced. However, there is a new Community Speedwatch Co-ordinator at Derbyshire Constabulary – Neil Carter. DALC to contact him and ask if he would attend one of the DALC meetings to discuss how communities could take forward some of these initiatives.
Residents’ parking on Main Road. Clerk received an email from Howard Molyneux about residents’ parking between the old post office and the junction with the Hathersage Road. Advice on the DCC website suggests the issue is with paying for it, and also that it only cures parking by visitors and shoppers and not other residents. The problem is really just too many residents’ cars in the village. Clerk to reply to Howard Molyneux. There was discussion about residents parking too close to the B6001 junction although some Cllrs thought this slowed the traffic down. Clerk agreed to mention it to PC Boswell.
Weedkilling on verges. DCC are responsible for weedkilling but subcontract to DDDC who in turn subcontract to a private company. There were representations from several Cllrs that DDDC spraying weeds with glyphosate was unacceptable and dangerous. Cllrs wished to press for alternatives to be sought even if they were more labour intensive. Glyphosate is banned in the EU because of its effect on biodiversity and the danger to pets and people, but not in the UK. Clerk to write to the DDDC to ask them to find alternatives quickly and to consider the subcontract they are signed up to for three years. Cllr Twigg had also raised this issue in her report. AB noted that when banning glyphosate was discussed at DCC the vote went along party lines when this should perhaps be a matter of conscience. Clerk to write to Cllr Twigg.
Works at the station. While the Buckingham group had stuck to their assurances when carrying out remodelling works, Network Rail are now using the area behind the station while they rerail the tunnel and are not being so considerate. Despite initially stating that work would take place on Saturday nights for four months, there is regular noise, light, loud conversation and swearing most nights, and a generator running. Network Rail are not responding to petitions to reduce the noise and impact and cannot be held to account. Clerk to write to Sarah Dines about it, and something should be posted on the new website. There was a view that pressure should be put on Network Rail because this is not the first time this has happened.
12. There being no further business the chair closed the meeting at 9.15 pm.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING– Thursday 13 August 2020 by Zoom.
Clerk to the Council