WYKEHAM PARISH COUNCIL
Approved Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at 6.30pm on
Tuesday 29 January 2013 in the Estate Office, Wykeham.
Cllrs. Lady Downe (Chairman), J P Terry (Vice Chairman), R A H Sword, G Barnett, L S Day and Mr C H Holmes (Clerk).
1 Apologies for absence
All Members were present.
2 Public Question Time
No members of the Public were present.
3 Declaration of interests
In accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct, it was AGREED to grant dispensation to all Members to allow them to contribute to the discussion of all agenda items. This decision is in the interests of the inhabitants of the Parish and will facilitate effective consideration of the business. Voting dispensations will be considered as and when they become necessary.
Lady Downe and Cllr. Sword declared an interest in the York Potash Ltd. planning application (listed in correspondence) and it was AGREED that they would not take part in any decision.
It was AGREED to change the order of the agenda and bring forward the item on Finance.
The Clerk had attended a presentation by Scarborough Borough Council on the implications and effects of the Localisation of Council Tax Support. He had prepared two briefing papers for Members which had been circulated with the agenda.
The Clerk confirmed that the Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) has reduced the local tax base by taking income from Council Tax Benefit Relief away from Town and Parish Councils. This means that the Parish Council has to rely on the Borough Council to pass on a share of the Government’s Council Tax Support Grant to supplement its income.
The practical effect of these changes means that if the Wykeham Parish electorate were asked to contribute the same amount in Council Tax for Parish services in 2013/14, the sum raised would be reduced to £1,810 compared with £2,000 in 2012/13. The Borough Council has offered a grant of £190 to make up the shortfall. This grant is a “one off” and there is no guarantee that it will be made available in future years.
The Parish Council has also been advised that the Government could, in future years, cap the amount a Parish Council can increase a Precept by and that any higher amount would trigger the need for a Referendum. Even a 5% increase in a £2,000 Precept would only raise an extra £100 and the cost of a Referendum, which would have to be borne by the Parish, would be prohibitive.
Members considered the changes made by Government and examined a Report by the Clerk which sets out the Key Income and Expenditure figures for the period 2012 to 2014. These include a Model Agreement grant from the Borough Council of £2,482 for 2013/14 which is a 2.5% rise on 2012/13. The Report anticipates that there will be uncommitted balances of £1,710 in the Community (Current) Account at the end of the present financial year and £2,220 at the end of March 2014.
Members were mindful that there is no guarantee that a grant will be available from the Borough Council in 2014/15 to support the Parish Precept and that it is essential that a minimum of £2,000 be raised to provide Parish services at their current level. It was, therefore, AGREED to:
- Accept the Borough Council’s grant of £190 in 2013/14.
- Raise a Parish Precept of £2,010 in 2013/14.
- Operate a budget based on the Clerk’s Key Figures Report for 2013/14 (with income raised by £200).
- Accept the Borough Council’s Model Agreement grant of £2,482 for 2013/14.
- Write to Mr Robert Goodwill MP asking him to urge the Department of Communities and Local Government to put in place arrangements for 2014/15, and beyond, to ensure that smaller Parish Councils are adequately funded by Government and the principal authorities (i.e. Scarborough Borough Council). Furthermore, smaller Councils should be allowed to agree a reasonable level of Precept that is unconstrained by an onerously low level of capping.
ACTION – THE CLERK TO DRAFT A LETTER TO MR GOODWILL MP AS AGREED ABOVE AND GET THIS AGREED AND SIGNED BY LADY DOWNE AND CLLR. TERRY.
The above decisions will result in an increase of £2.16 a year for the typical Band D taxpayer for local services in 2013/14 but will ensure that contributions at that level in 2014/15 would generate about £2,000 even if a grant from the Borough Council is not forthcoming.
5 Minutes of the Meeting held on 12 November 2012 and Matters Arising.
The Minutes were AGREED to be a true record and Cllr. Terry signed a copy.
The Clerk reported that a site meeting has been held to finalise plans for the new road signs for Ruston. This was attended by Cllrs. Day and Barnett along with Ms Aitchison from NYCC Highways and Mr Henderson from Wilf Nobles. Ms Aitchison is happy with the locations at either end of the Village and will now complete the necessary safety assessments. Cllr. Day and Mr Henderson have examined the piece of stone that was formerly used for a road sign in Wykeham and have agreed that it would be practical to use this at the site at the east end of Ruston as an alternative to a dressed stone structure. The Clerk said that he is still waiting for a decision from the Planners at Scarborough Borough Council regarding the need to obtain planning consent for the signs.
Cllr. Barnett has spoken to BATA and Hardwick Agricultural Engineers about sponsorship for the WRNM News and is hopeful that some financial support will be offered. Cllr. Barnett will also speak to Mrs Shamel to discuss the possibility of attracting similar support from occupiers of the Business Centre. Cllr. Sword was pessimistic about the likelihood of any contributions from stall holders at the weekly Market.
ACTION – CLLR. BARNETT TO CONTINUE TO EXPLORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR FUNDING THE WRNM NEWS.
Cllrs. Day and Terry described an encouraging meeting to discuss the Village Show which was attended by 15 people. This year’s Show will be held on Sunday 21 July.
Cllr. Day provided an update on the Millennium Walk and Ruston Village Amenity Area project, in particular, the work carried out by the National Park team. Gates, fencing and groundworks will be followed by seating, signage and drainage work. Residents will be involved in progressing the scheme once the National Park team has finished. Cllr. Sword commended what he said had been a superb effort by all concerned. A letter of thanks will be sent to the National Park in due course and consideration will be given to organising an “opening ceremony”.
Members discussed the need to maintain the Amenity Area, and its link to the Millennium Walk, at a high standard and it was AGREED that the Clerk should write to Mrs Risker explaining the controls that should be exercised when she is using the area for her business activities.
ACTION – THE CLERK TO WRITE TO MRS RISKER ABOUT HER USE OF THE AMENITY AREA AND ADJOINING LAND.
Cllr. Day reported that he has spoken to Mr Pearson about the need to renovate some of the Council’s benches and it was AGREED that these, together with the bus shelters, will be surveyed in the Spring when the need for renovation will be established.
Concern was expressed about the state of roads in the Parish, particularly the large number of potholes and the Clerk was asked to contact the Highways Area Office.
ACTION – THE CLERK TO CONTACT THE HIGHWAYS AREA OFFICE ABOUT THE STATE OF ROADS IN THE PARISH.
Cllr. Day asked questions about responsibility for cleaning the bus shelters and pavements and also maintenance of the planter opposite the bus shelter in Wykeham. He also referred to the tipped rubbish adjacent to the North Moor Railway Bridge which has still not been cleared. Cllr. Barnett raised the need for further clearance of the Beck in Ruston downstream of the ford as far as the telephone kiosk at Town End.
ACTION – THE CLERK TO INVESTIGATE WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR FOOTPATH AND BUS SHELTER CLEANING.
ACTION – CLLR. SWORD TO CONFIRM WHO IS GOING TO MAINTAIN THE ABOVE PLANTER AND ALSO CONSIDER ARRANGEMENTS FOR FURTHER MAINTENANCE OF RUSTON BECK.
6 Derwent Valley BRIDGE (formerly Ayton Library)
Cllr. Sword reported that the project is going well and there are numerous volunteers providing services within the building and also with tasks such as gardening and cleaning. It was always going to be difficult to be certain about income and expenditure in the first year of the project and whilst grants have been received to upgrade doors and windows and concessions have been made on business rates, income from fines has been less than expected.
Parish Councils in the BRIDGE’s catchment area are being approached to see if they can help financially in the coming year and Members discussed the extent to which people in Wykeham, Ruston and North Moor use the facilities. In this regard, it was suggested that the BRIDGE’s management team should be asked to monitor use of the facilities to determine where users come from.
It was AGREED to contribute £100.00 from the general budget to the running costs of the BRIDGE in 2013/14.
ACTION – THE CLERK TO INFORM MRS CASSEDY OF THE ABOVE DECISION AND ASK HER TO ARRANGE FOR MONITORING OF USAGE OF THE BRIDGE BY RESIDENTS WITHIN THE CATCHMENT AREA.
7 Grasscutting 2013 Season.
Quotations had been received from J J Harrison Ltd and Advanced Trees and Grounds. North Yorkshire County Council has confirmed that it will grant £724.95 towards the overall cost.
It was AGREED to award the contract to J J Harrison and the Clerk was asked, when writing to the Company, to compliment the workforce on their efforts in 2012.
ACTION – THE CLERK TO INFORM NYCC THAT THE PARISH COUNCIL WILL CONTINUE TO ACT AS ITS AGENT FOR THE SPECIFIED AREAS OF GRASSCUTTING AND TO INFORM J J HARRISON (AND ADVANCED TREES AND GROUNDS) OF THE ABOVE DECISIONS.
8 General correspondence
Members received and considered the list of general correspondence that is attached as Appendix 2. As a result, the following ACTIONS were AGREED:
Cllr. Day to contact Scarborough Borough Council to organise a further supply of sandbags. The Clerk to assess whether there is anything in Scarborough Borough Council’s Revised Contaminated Land Strategy that affects Wykeham Parish. The Clerk to inform the National Park Planning Authority that the Parish Council supports, in principle, the planning application by York Potash Ltd for the winning and working of minerals (Lady Downe and Cllr. Sword did not vote).
9 Date and time of next Meeting
Monday 18 March 2013 at 6.30pm. Venue to be confirmed.
Chairman – Signed by Lady Downe on 18 March 2013.