Minutes Parish Assembly/Meeting held on 7 May 2024

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Minutes of the Parish Assembly held on 14 May 2024 6.30pm.  

K Fuglesang, opened the meeting. 

COUNCILLORS PRESENT 

 K Fuglesang, S Gould, P Ghillyer, M Whiting, R Lane, A Godwin, C Lindley and Ward Cllr A Morgan. 

L Sheen (arrived 7pm). 

APOLOGIES 

None. 

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION 

Residents from Hallatrow discussed concerns re an increase in traffic, speeding, lack of signage and speed checks.  Possible action included liaising with B&NES re traffic calming on Hallatrow bridge which B&NES considered to be too narrow for islands but suitable for road markings, and a request for 20mph through Hallatrow.  

A Speed Watch representative reported that the 20mph through High Littleton has not made much impact on speeding and any new sites for checks need to be authorised with Avon and Somerset Police with restrictions on when and how the checks can be carried out.  More volunteers are needed by the group. The evidence gathered by the group supported the request for a 20 mph zones in High Littleton, Evidence will be needed to support any request for 20 mph zones in Hallatrow. 

Rosewell Home and Church Farm were discussed.  The Council liaise with B&NES on issues.  Rosewell was noted as not being secure and vandalism is occurring and there are Health and Safety concerns.  The Council will endeavour to liaise with lease/free holders re the future of the building.  

MINUTES 

The minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting and Parish Assembly held on June 2023 were reviewed.  

MATTERS ARISING FROM THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING 2023 

None 

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT 

This is my last report as Chair of the Parish Council as I stand down in May after four years in the role. I will remain as a Parish Councillor and support the new Chair to continue the good work of the council. 

Reflecting on the last year, there are many ways the council has improved our community. Speeding traffic remains a key issue for many residents. We have seen a number of new schemes delivered to improve road safety, including, a new zebra crossing installed outside the school with support of B&NES council; a ‘permitted path’ introduced to provide safe walking to White Cross from Hallatrow with the kind support of the local landowner; reduced speed limits between Paulton and Hallatrow on the Paulton Road and between High Littleton and Hallatrow on Hallatrow Hill to 30 mph; a 20 mph zone in High Littleton; traffic bollards near the batch to stop vehicles mounting the pavement; and maintaining flashing Vehicle Activated Signs at strategic locations throughout the parish. We were also very grateful to see a group of volunteers continue the speed watch scheme on Hallatrow Hill on the entry to High Littleton. 

The council has continued to help local groups, such as the Scouts and the Rec Committee with financial support to maintain their buildings, and funded grass cutting and maintenance of the cemetery on behalf of the church. We’ve made regular donations to local charities and community groups, including the Mary Jones Trust, the Yarn Bombers, the Village Day and the Share & Repair group. 

The High Littleton and Hallatrow Neighbourhood Plan is now with B&NES Council to progress the next stage of the process, a formal consultation, ahead of appointing an independent examiner who will confirm that the plan meets the legislative requirements. The final stage, a residents’ referendum, will take place later this year allowing the plan to be ‘made’ and for it to influence future planning decisions. 

As well as the many successes, I am frustrated that we couldn’t make more progress on other issues. Church Farm remains a prominent eyesore in High Littleton and both the Rosewell care home, and the British Legion Hall remain vacant and a safety threat. We will keep lobbying landowners and the authorities to find long term solutions. 

This year the council agreed to set a budget that will result in an increase to the precept for the first time since the COVID pandemic. For two years, our spend has exceeded our income with the excess being funded from our reserves. This is not a sustainable position – eventually we would erode our reserves and have no headroom for unexpected and unplanned costs. Our budget allows us to maintain services in the parish but will require good management to ensure we sustain our solid financial position. 

We said goodbye to 2 councillors in the last year. I thank Peter Richards and Patrick Feltham for their hard work on the council for many years – they will both be missed. I am delighted we welcomed new members, Melissa Whiting and Alexandra Godwin, to the council and look forward to working with them in the future. 

Finally, I am delighted to hand on the Chair role to Kate Fuglesang. As a councillor, Kate has worked hard to make a difference in the community and will bring her enthusiasm to lead the council. 

S Gould. 

NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN UPDATE 

S Gould reported that the plan is with B&NES and will progress to a formal consultation and then to a referendum and public consultation.  

FINANCIAL REPORT FOR APRIL 2023 TO MARCH 2024  

The accounts are provisional and are going through the internal audit process, which will be followed by an external audit process. The accounts are prepared on a receipts and payments basis.   

BALANCE SHEET  

Bank as at 31.03.24                                                                     £97844.98  

Creditors   

Unreconciled cheques                                                                             (£1251.12)  

Debtors   

VAT refund due                                                          £2133.01  

Council net worth as at 31.03.23                                    £98726.87  

Significant Income/Expenditure  

INCOME  

CIL income received £1542.86  

EXPENDITURE  

Section 137  

Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 provides a power for a local authority, to incur expenditure which in their opinion is in the interests of, and will bring direct benefit to, their area its inhabitants, if there is no other power available.   

Dog poop bags £162  

Coronation mugs £476  

Grass cutting in cemetery £2685  

Parish Sweeping  

Contractor for 22-23 retained for 23-24 – charges for works done only.  Total cost £5500 (sweeping has been reduced to bi monthly for 2024-25)  

Parish Newsletter  

Editing – £1200  

Delivery – £900  

Printing – £2688  

Christmas Expenditure  

Trees – £412  

New sets of lights x 2 – £168  

Tree dressing, undressing and light storage – £420  

Install, removal and disposal of trees – £430  

Grants / Donations  

Recreation Committee – £6556 (insurance £608 play surface and swing seats £2960 grass cutting £2708 maintenance £262)  

Charity of Mary Jones Grant – £500  

Midsomer Norton Dial a Ride   – £200  

Yarn bomb materials – £250  

PAT Test for repair cafe – £295  

Repair Cafe Hall hire – £297 (2023) £357 (2024)  

Sweets for carol service – £25  

Maintenance  

Lychgate renovation – £4683 

The Meeting closed at 7.15pm