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Monday, 30 January 2017

Milverton Parish Council Report
January 2017

Milverton Parish Council met on 9th January to discuss a varied agenda. Unfortunately four Councillors offered apologies due to sickness. The meeting was held at the earlier time of 7pm which most Councillors felt was an improvement. They therefore voted to change Standing Orders to start their future meetings at this earlier time.

Under planning Councillors approved changes to the plans for an extension to a house in Butts Way and supported an application to demolish a cottage in Spring Grove and replace it with a larger property.

The Clerk reported that he had received queries from two residents about TDBC's newly adopted Strategic Allocation Plan. Whilst noting the points made Councillors felt that the questions should be directed to TDBC directly.

The main business was the setting of the Precept for 2017/18. Currently at £14000 (approx £25 for a Band D property) Councillors considered whether an increase would be necessary and if so by how much. They were pleased that the Government had acknowledged the role of Parishes in taking on devolved responsibilities and had decided not to cap Precepts for the coming year.
The Clerk had provided a Work Plan and Estimates which showed that the Council was likely to spend £17500 in the coming year so without an increase would be running a deficit. Whilst much of the increased cost was due to the cost of running of the Fore Street toilets there was also a concern that inflation would start to increase general costs. The Clerk reported that there were also several impending maintenance issues in the Jubilee Gardens and at the allotments as well as a couple of projects that were unfunded. Councillors also noted that several village organisations depended on grant aid and that traditional sources may reduce or cease payments. Under those circumstances it was felt that the Parish Council ought to be in a position to help.
After some debate Councillors reluctantly concluded that a Precept that simply covered known costs would be unwise and therefore unanimously agreed to increase it to £20000. Whilst this represents a 43% increase it is only an extra £10 a year for a D band householder.

Mr Hendy reported that after a meeting in the Jubilee Gardens he had a proposal to sort out the drainage issue and would present a detailed plans and quote for the work to the February meeting.

Mr Hendy reported that the new bench had been installed at the Viewing Area and a generous resident had paid for it as a memorial to his wife.

Mrs Pine reported that SCC was reluctant to accept responsibility for the dead elms in North Street. It was agreed to ask the local Highways Manager for a visit to discuss this and also safety issues at England's Corner where there had been several near misses.

Councillor Wren set out his plans for a meeting of village organisations. As various groups are struggling to recruit new members and committees the purpose is to bring them together to see if they all share common problems and whether they can come up with shared solutions. The meeting will also include presentations on the proposed Community Benefit Society and the Village Emergency Plan. With public services increasingly stretched he hoped that this would be the start of a process to encourage and develop more participation in village life.

Councillors briefly discussed the proposal for a new District Council. The Vice Chairman and Clerk will be attending a briefing at TDBC on 25th January and the Council will have a detailed discussion at its next meeting on 6th February.

The Council is hoping to complete the acquisition of the Fore St toilets by the end of the month. It will be engaging a new contractor to maintain them from 1st February.

The Clerk reported that he had only received one tender for the tree felling and cutting works in the Jubilee Gardens. However it was a reasonable price and Councillors were happy to accept it. The Clerk will now talk to the successful tenderer, Aboricare, and try to schedule the work on a non school day.

The Clerk reported that he had placed a notice about avian flu on the Allotments noticeboard.

Finally Mrs Lumby reported that local BT engineers had traced a fault in the Milverton Exchange which had the potential to disrupt calls for 100 customers. All being well this had been fixed and a warning system set up to signal any further problems.

In December the Council spent £2650 on salaries and PAYE (£780), Grants to the Recreation Ground and PCC (£1600), subscriptions (£90) and room hire (£180).

Gwilym Wren
Clerk to Milverton Parish Council
10th January 2017

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

9th January 2017
7.00pm in the Victoria Rooms Fore Street
Questions from the Public.
Members of the public are welcome to attend and address the Parish Council to provide information and raise matters of concern.
1.    Apologies
Members will be expected to provide reasons for absence. Members are reminded that absence for 6 consecutive meetings without approval could lead to disqualification.
2. Declarations of Interest
The Code of Conduct requires that Members disclose interests of a personal, prejudicial and pecuniary nature that may be pertinent to tonight's business. A prejudicial or pecuniary interest will require the member to leave the room during the discussion of the relevant item. In cases of uncertainty members are recommended to consult the Clerk.   
3. Minutes and Matters Arising from minutes
The Minutes of the meeting held on 5th December 2016 have been circulated. Members will be asked to consider them for accuracy and if satisfied pass a resolution of approval that they be signed by the Chairman as a true and accurate record.
The Actions from the last meeting will be considered unless elsewhere on the agenda.
4. Planning        
4.1 For Parish Council Decision
4.1.1 23/16/0043 Erection of Single Storey Extension with Garage to Front and Alterations to the Access at the Old Police Station Butts Way Milverton (Amended Scheme)
4.2 For Parish Council Comment
4.2,.1 23/16/0039 Replacement of Dwelling Garage and Mobile Home with erection of 1no Dwelling and Detached Garage with Annexe Over at Wilscombe Wood Cottage Milverton
4.3 Other Planning Matters
The Clerk will report on local queries in relation to the TDBC Site Allocations Plan.
The Clerk will propose 4th February 2017 as the date for the next planning meeting.
5.  Precept 2017/18
Councillors will discuss the Council's financial position and set the Precept for next year..
6. Finance Monthly Report
The Council will consider the monthly report and approve payments for Room Hire, Salaries and PAYE.
7. Matters to Report
8. Consultation on Creation of New District Council
Madam Chairman will lead a discussion on how the Parish Council will respond.

9. Public Toilets
The Clerk will report on the current position.
10. Roads and Footpaths
10.1 Footpath Monthly Report
10.2 Roads Monthly Report
11. Jubilee Gardens Contract
The Clerk will report on the tenders received and make a recommendation
12. Milverton Surgery
Madam Chairman will report on the meeting held on 14th December.
13. Creedwell
The Vice Chairman will provide a report if the Appeal decision is known.
14. Crime
Members will receive and comment on the monthly crime report.
15. Revision of Standing Orders
Councillors will consider whether to amend the and the 7:30pm start time as set out in Standing Orders
16. Review of Financial Regulations
The Council's Financial Regulations were adopted in 2013 and are due for a review..
17. Allotments
18. Milverton Telephone Exchange Problems
Mrs Lumby will report on the latest position
19. Correspondence
A list will be circulated during the meeting and members may request copies from the Clerk.
Milverton Parish Council Report
December 2016

Milverton Parish Council met on 5th December to discuss an extensive agenda.

The meeting started with a presentation by Julian Hosking on behalf of the Alive in Milverton group about Community Benefit Societies (CBS) and how one could work in Milverton and the surrounding area. Essentially a CBS operates as a flexible legal entity which can act as an umbrella for a wide range of activities or functions. The scope of its functions is dictated by the Rules it operates under but for example as well as covering people based activities it could also hold and manage assets under an asset lock which effectively prevents their sale or disposal.
CBSs are membership organisations which are managed on a day to day basis by elected Directors and whilst the Directors hold overall responsibility the activities covered activities under its auspices would be managed by members and volunteers. It was suggested that membership be through ownership of shares which should be available for a one off payment at say £15 each but with the proviso that each member was only entitled to one vote regardless of the number of shares owned. One key point that Mr Hosking pointed out was that a CBS would need to pay a fee to set up and this, with other expenses, was likely to be in the region of £1000.

Councillors then discussed the presentation. There were questions about what role a CBS would play in relation to village organisations and the Parish Council. As long as the activities were within the Rules the CBS would be able to offer support to clubs and societies or even take over ownership of assets to coordinate management and fund-raising. Councillors felt that this had potential for widening participation in village affairs and was timely particularly as some village organisations were struggling to find Trustees and committee members. As for the relationship with the Parish Council The Chairman encouraged Councillors to consider the matter over Christmas with a view to having a detailed discussion at the next meeting on 9th January. It was also agreed to put a detailed piece in the Parish Magazine. TDBC Councillor Gwil Wren said that he had promised to set up a meeting of village clubs and organisations to discuss issues around membership and recruitment and had booked the Victoria Rooms on 9th February. He proposed that a CBS presentation be included on the agenda and Councillors thought this was an excellent idea.

Under planning Councillors approved a shed in front of the building line at Siskins in Bartletts Lane and supported the felling of a cherry tree in North Street and some amended plans for a property in Silver Street.

Under roads the Clerk reported that following speed monitoring in Wood Street SCC was prepared to install a pole for the Speed Indicator Device to be deployed on a regular basis. Councillors were happy about this a site visit will agree the location.

Under toilets the Clerk reported that he had managed to get a lower quote than that offered by TDBC's new contractors. Councillors therefore reconsidered their decision not to acquire the Fore Street toilets and hope to complete the transfer before the end of January.

The Crime report highlighted that thefts from sheds and outbuildings increased during the winter months and reminded people to be vigilant and lock up their property.

Cllr Mrs Lumby reported that problems with the telephone land lines through the Milverton exchange had arisen again. The problem was identical to the previous one in that calls dropped out or one participant could be heard but the other could not. This was all the more frustrating because the problem was intermittent and if a BT engineer was called and found there was no fault at that time the homeowner would be charged £130. Mrs Lumby reminded the Council that on the previous occasion the fault had been traced to a 'card' in the exchange which carried a random group of numbers, it was therefore easy and cheap to fix but it was proving very difficult to persuade BT to do the work in the exchange and not visit (and charge) householders. One potentially serious issue associated with this was that Piper Alarm systems were dependent on land lines so there was a risk that elderly and vulnerable residents would be unable to call for help if they had this problem on their line. Councillors were sympathetic but felt that those affected just had to keep on complaining and refusing to allow an engineer to call. Hopefully this should yield results.

The Clerk reported a successful allotment meeting on 21st November which had been attended by 12 plot holders. A variety of issues were raised including burning and dogs using the site. Worryingly there were reports that a youth had been seen with an air rifle on site. It was agreed that the air rifle incident would be reported to the Police and the Council would put in a gate to deter casual access.

Councillor Wren reported that BT was proposing to close the phone boxes at Houndsmoor and Courtfield because they had made a combined total of one call over the previous 12 months. Councillors raised no objection to this.

Given that recent Parish Council meetings had gone on for 3 hours it was proposed to move the start time forward to 7pm. Whilst this can be done on a one off basis a permanent change would require an amendment of the Standing Orders. Although Councillors were receptive to this it was felt that the problem lay with the amount of business rather than the start time. It was agreed that the Chairman and Clerk would have a formal agenda setting meeting to try and streamline the business. It was also agreed that the January meeting would start at 7pm.

In November the Council spent £4176 on toilets (£2246), grasscutting (£1093) and salaries (£610). There were also payments for electrical costs relating to the Vodaphone booster at the Recreation Ground, the Memorial Wreath, gardening and TDBC Planning Officer attendance at meetings.

In matters to report the Council's attention was drawn to two untidy sites and a dangerous structure in the Parish which the Clerk will report to TDBC.

The meeting closed at 10:10pm.