Whitwell Parish Council Meeting – 9th November 2011

For the sake of clarity: These are not official minutes of the Whitwell Parish Council.  These are notes taken and produced by Whitwell.info for the benefit of the community so that you may see the discussions and reasons around the decisions made, not just that a decision was made on your behalf as a resident.  Whilst we strive to make them 100% accurate, mistakes do unfortunately happen – If you spot a mistake, please let us know so that we may correct it as soon as possible.

Correction: Under item 2.2, Cllr. Mills suggested a two pronged attack on BDC not DCC and Cllr. Webster would chase it up with Sharon Gillett not Sharon George (also corrected in item 4).

In Attendance

  • Cllr. J Burdett
  • Cllr. S Ellis
  • Cllr. S Frow
  • Cllr. S Maiden (Chair)
  • Cllr. V Mills
  • Cllr. T Munro
  • Cllr. J Raspin
  • Cllr. G Webster
  • Cllr. D Kerr (District)
  • Cllr. K Stevenson (County)
  • B Woodcock (Secretary)
  • PCSO K Lee
  • Four members of the public

1. Apologies

  • Cllr. Burdett apologised for her late arrival.

2. 15 Minute Open Forum

2.1 County Councillors

  • Cllr. Stevenson noted that it had been quiet across Derbyshire County Council (DCC) in the past month, he then went on to express his thanks to everyone who had signed the petition with regards to winter maintenance by DCC.  There are currently around 4000 signatories with 7500 needed before the petition is presented to DCC on the 7th of December to trigger a full council debate on the issue.  Cllr. Stevenson said if this is not achieved he will still try and push for it to be debated.
  • Cllr. Stevenson reported that there have been other groups with mixed feelings regarding the street lighting consultation.  Cllr. Stevenson agreed that the argument for reducing the carbon footprint is fine.  However he disagreed with the argument that switching off of lights between 12am and 5am is not relevant to a lot of people.  He added that he would welcome the thoughts of Whitwell Parish Council (WPC) and stressed that it should be safety first and that the lights should help to protect people, even if they are dimmed instead of being switched off.
  • The barrier (handrail) on High Street and Worksop Road – at the last meeting requested that the barrier had been extended upwards.  Cllr. Stevenson raised this with DCC and got some dim looks as putting the barrier around the corner had been a safety factor.  BT then chipped in as under safety regulations they need to be able to open their green boxes at 90 degrees for their people to work on them.  Some of the barrier going down High Street therefore had to be cut off.  Cllr. Stevenson requested that any complaints regarding this are now put to DCC.  Cllr. Mills thanked him for getting the barrier put in.   Cllr. Maiden observed that on the Wednesday DCC put down the tactile footing but then on Thursday they took it up again to extend the barrier.

2.2 Police

  • There were 21 incidents, down from 32 the previous month:
    • 2 Theft from Vehicle
    • 7 Violence – 2 at the same address
    • 2 Attempted Burglary
    • 1 Theft of Vehicle
    • 3 Criminal Damage
    • 3 Dwelling Burglary
    • We do seem to have missed some of the numbers unfortunately – we’ll be trying to get these emailed to us next time so we don’t miss any.
  • Arrests have been made for the burglaries and criminal damage.
  • PCSO Lee is trying to get funding for schemes such as OzBox to provide youths with something to do, which has been successful in Creswell.
  • The new non-emergency Police number has now been fully launched. It is 101, for emergencies you still need to call 999.
  • A member of the public raised the issue of young people sitting on the seats outside the New Middle Club, he did not know if they were drinking or not, but thought it should be looked in to.  A discussion on youths then ensued:
    • Cllr. Maiden said that in terms of the youths gathering in the Health Centre car-park they are not from Whitwell.
    • PCSO Lee confirmed that whilst some are from Whitwell they are mainly from Barlborough, Creswell and Clowne and that although there is a dispersal order in place in Creswell the youths do not give this as a reason for congregating in Whitwell – it is that they all attend the same schools.
    • Ways of dispersing them from the Health Centre car-park are being looked at, such as barriers and “mosquito alarms”.
  • PCSO Lee thanked those who attended the litter pick that had been organised:
    • Cllr. Mills noted that whilst herself and Cllr. Webster had been on the litter-pick, the next day there was already litter by Pizza Time – Although the bin provided was full and overflowing as it is quite small.  Cllr. Mills asked if their could be a two-pronged “attack” on BDC asking for a larger bin, or for it be emptied more often.
    • It was noted that Pizza Time (and other food outlets) are responsible for litter in a specified radius around their premises.  Cllr. Webster will take this up with Sharon Gillett at Bolsover District Council (BDC).
  • PCSO Lee thanked the Parish Council for the opportunity to place an article in the recent Parish Council Newsletter as it allowed them to reach a lot more people.
  • Cllr. Maiden raised the issue of scrap metal merchants in the area as he had had many people come and ask if a cast iron bath in his driveway was for scrap, which it was not.  On the only day that he was not at home, the bath was taken along with a kettle – the concern being that someone had been watching to know what was in his yard and when he was not at home.
    • Cllr. Ellis added that he has had radiators taken from his yard as well in the past.
    • PCSO Lee stated that action is currently being taken to try and combat this issue, with scrap merchants being stopped and their documentation checked.
    • Cllr. Mills stated that since BDC started charging for collection of bulky items a lot more people are leaving such items to be collected by scrap merchants.

2.3 District and Parish Councilors

  • A member of the public asked Cllr. Kerr if he had heard anything more about the BDC offices at Bolsover.  Cllr. Kerr did not know any more, but has asked for the prices negotiated to be released via a Freedom of Information request along with Radio Sheffield.
  • A member of the public informed Cllr. Webster that the low hanging cable at Mill Lane allotments was now a problem again since being repaired last year.
  • Cllr. Frow asked Cllr. Webster if BDC could give WPC the money to employ a litter picker.  Cllr. Maiden noted that this would be covered under correspondence later.

3. Resumption of Standing Orders

  • Moved

4. Matters Arising from Item 2

  • Cllr. Munro stated that there is a responsibility for food outlets to keep areas free of litter.  He asked if WPC should write to all outlets and remind them of their responsibilities although the Clerk did note that litter collection is the responsibility of BDC.  Cllr. Webster said he would take this up with Sharon Gillett.
  • Cllr. Mills asked if WPC can write to DCC about the safety issues surrounding the turning off of street lights.  Cllr. Maiden asked if the Clerk had received anything from BDC about the previously mentioned consultation, and he had not.  Cllr. Stevenson said he will try and find out why not.

5. Approval of the Minutes of the Last Meeting

  • Cllr. Mills asked if in item 2.1.3 it should read Worksop Road, not Worksop Lane. Cllr. Maiden confirmed that it should.
  • Cllr. Mills highlighted that in item 2.3.2 that the fortnightly bin collections had not started, but they have since then.
  • The minutes were approved with the above changes.

6. Matters Arising from the Minutes of the Last Meeting

  • Item 2: Cllr. Stevenson re-iterated that he thought the issue was now fully resolved.  Cllr. Frow said that she thought the railings looked terrible, like scaffolding poles – Especially bad considering it is a conservation area.
  • Item 2.3.4: Cllr. Webster stated that the window was now boarded up, and that it was unbelievable the amount of red-tape he had to go through to get it done.
  • Item 4: Cllr. Maiden stated that WPC had asked DCC not to extend the planning period for the Alkane Energy Plc. proposal on Southfield Lane, but there has been no response so far.
  • Item 6: Cllr. Webster stated he had not done this, but there should be a letter in the correspondence, the Clerk stated there was not and Cllr. Webster will chase the contractor about it.
  • Item 12.2: Cllr. Munro investigated the funding and was told that WPC had received two amounts of £400 and that they had been used towards establishing the Whitwell Parish Council Website.  Cllr. Frow asked if all £800 had been spent on the website, Cllr. Munro confirmed that it had.  Cllr. Munro will investigate further to see if there is any more money available as he was unfortunately not able to attend the meeting as it clashed with a prior appointment, but he will be attending the next one.
  • Item 16: Cllr. Munro stated that he is still stopping HGV drivers, or attempting to do so.  He recently stopped one on Southfield Lane that was going to Lafarge or Steetly

There was some confusion at this point, as some councilors had not got the correct version of the agenda that matched to the one posted on the notice boards and made available to members of the public at the meeting.  After a brief debate, Cllr. Maiden decided that they would follow the agenda made available to the public.

7. Cemetery Fee Policy

  • The Clerk informed that there had been a written request from Cllrs. Burdett, Munro and Raspin to revisit the decision made in July on cemetery fees for residents of the Hodthorpe & Belph Parish.  The letter was read out.
  • The decision taken in July was to treat Hodthorpe as an outside parish.  Since then it has become apparent there have been precedents set by Barlborough who at no additional cost use the cemetery at the edge of Clowne.  Barlborough had no burial ground.  A Joint Burial Board was set up with an independent clerk.  There is a precept for the cost of maintenance and the clerk.  Hodthorpe has no burial ground and the people have historically been buried in Whitwell.
  • Cllr. Munro suggested  that an investigation be carried out into the plausibility of a Joint Burial Board between the councils.
  • From 2012 there will be an administration fee from WPC – Cllr. Munro suggested Hodthorpe residents be charged the same as Whitwell until the board has been investigated.  As there will be a new contractor who charges the same for whomever is interned (as for him it is the same work to be done irrespective of where they used to live).
  • Cllr. Munro accepts that there would be a bigger charge if all had their own burial ground and felt that now WPC would only levy an admin charge and not the burial charge, it should be the same for Hodthorpe while WPC consider a burial committee and get the money in from Hodthorpe.
  • Cllr. Frow stated that she thought there would not be so much of a problem once the much lower admin charges were introduced, as it would not be double the total fee, just a double admin charge.
  • Cllr. Munro stated that they he did not want to scrap anything and accepts the new contract.  The issue is that a precedent has been set in other communities for a Joint Burial Board and Hodthorpe people are traditionally buried in Whitwell.
  • Cllr. Mills questioned if this discussion should be happening now as it is not on the Agenda, as the discussion has moved on to charges and the letter is about burials.
  • Cllr. Munro stated that it is difficult because the structure has since been altered by the new contract.  Following the advice given three signatures were obtained.  He was not aware that there needed to be debate regarding the original decision.
  • The Clerk stated that as far as he was concerned the three councilors had followed the regulations as required to re-open debate on the matter.
  • Cllr. Maiden stated that he thought the question now was if WPC should form a Joint Burial Board and that at this stage there was not enough information to decide this and that it was better to wait until there was and leave things as they are until such a time that a decision is made – As it is far easier to refund over-payments made (if things are changed) than go back and ask people for more money later (if they are not changed).
  • The Clerk asked for clarification from Cllr. Munro on when he wished for any revised policy to take effect, 2011 or 2012.  Cllr. Munro stated 2012, to which the Clerk replied that there would be no need to refund unless the current decision was reversed, to which Cllr. Munro agreed.
  • Cllr. Frow asked how many requests for burials of those from outside the parish there are each year, to which the Clerk replied they could usually be counted on one hand and there had been one this year from Hodthorpe.  Cllr. Frow stated that even with a double fee it therefore brought little extra money in.
  • Cllr. Maiden stressed that the double fee was not to raise money but to act as a deterrent to those outside of the parish, so that the burial plots could be kept for those who lived within the parish, Cllr. Raspin agreed that this was the right approach.
  • Cllr. Maiden stated that is a Joint Burial Board were formed then the charges could be retrospectively applied from April 2011 and refunds given.
  • Cllr. Frow suggested that things be left as they are until the new contract starts in April 2012.
  • Cllr. Munro proposed that WPC investigates with Hodthorpe & Belph Parish Council (HBPC) the possibility of establishing a Joint Burial Board to operate with effect from April 2012 and until that date the admin charges will be as agreed in the cemetery contract.  Cllr. Raspin seconded.
  • Cllr. Mills highlighted that the new contract starts in April 2012 and that until that point there are no admin charges, only burial charges and so the proposal should be for burial charges to remain as agreed in the cemetery policy (not contract).
  • As Cllr. Raspin had quickly seconded the proposal by Cllr. Munro Cllr Maiden pointed out that Cllr. Mills’ comments would need the proposal to be amended.  Cllr. Munro agreed with the amendments, “WPC investigates with Hodthorpe Parish Council the possibility of establishing a Joint Burial Board to operate with effect from April 2012 and until that date burial charges will be as agreed within the current cemetery policy.”.  Cllr. Raspin seconded the amended proposal.
  • Cllr. Munro stressed that he had not shared his proposal/request with anyone from HBPC, but now that it was public anyone was free to comment.
  • The proposal was voted on: For = 4 (Cllrs. Burdett, Ellis, Munro and Raspin); Against = 0; Abstain = 4 (Cllrs. Frow, Maiden, Mills and Webster).
  • Cllr. Maiden asked that as the precept meeting happens in January (but is scheduled as Agenda item 9 at the current meeting) and this is when fees would traditionally be set that should the fee setting be deferred until January or or until any Joint Burial Board is in place?
  • It was agreed to obtain all information needed for the December meeting as an agenda item.
  • Cllr. Frow queried the vote and who had voted.  The Clerk said he did not note this as he was not asked to, and that the vote was only to look at taking things forward, not an agreement to make any changes.
  • The Clerk suggested a committee to meet with HBPC be formed.  Cllr. Mills suggested all those on the Cemetery Committee should take part and all were happy to do so.

8. Approval of the minutes of the Cemetery Committee held on 19th October 2011

  • Moved

9. Cemetery Contract 2012-2015 – Administration Fees

  • Deferred until the outcome of Item 7 is known

10. Accounts for Approval and Payment

  • Cllr. Maiden clarified that one of the cheques was for some one off work done by someone and they would not be doing any future work for WPC.
  • The Clerk informed that one of the cheques was a replacement for one issued in May but not cashed.  Cllr. Mills enquired if the original had been canceled, the Clerk stated that it had not due to the cost of cancelling a cheque and he did not believe there was a risk of the original being cashed.
  • Cllrs. Mills and Webster signed the cheques.

11. Financial Reports

  • Nothing to be aware of.

12. Correspondence

  • Cllr. Mills enquired why a letter dated 31st October 2011 did not need to be brought to the attention of the council.  Cllr. Maiden stated that it related to an agenda item so was already dealt with.
  • A reply from BDC was received in response to the Clerk chasing a letter sent in August with regards to WPC having money from BDC for litter picking instead of a “blitz” team that BDC send out once a week.
    • Re: Your complaint – the letter was not a complaint.
    • BDC have been unable to find the August letter, which was sent to the Chief Executive.
    • BDC state that they have met all requirements to fully discharge their duties with regards to litter picking and that most places do not get a daily service.
    • BDC do not think there is a litter problem most of the week and that there are no major problems in Whitwell.
    • Cllr. Webster stated that he spots litter most days, but does not believe there is a major problem within the village.
    • Cllr. Frow said that she is sometimes ashamed when she comes in to the village along High Street.
    • Cllr. Maiden stated that the letter did not address the concerns of WPC, as the original letter did not complain about the service, but asked for the service to be stopped and the money that would have been spent be given to WPC to arrange their own service.
    • Cllr. Mills suggested that as the BDC letter stated that other parishes supplement the BDC service themselves that it may be worth contact other councils and request the money as a group of parishes to arrange their own services.
    • Cllr. Munro was concerned that as it is BDC duty in law to provide litter collection services, which they do in Whitwell on a Friday, all the way down to Belph, that if councils pull out it could put people’s jobs at risk and that BDC already have all the facilities such as land-fill etc. in place which WPC do not.  Cllr. Munro suggested that BDC be asked to write to the local food outlets with regards to their responsibilities for litter around their premises.
    • The Clerk stated that BDC believe they have addressed the issue and feel there is no value in taking it further.  This was noted by the council.
  • A letter was received from East Midlands Trains (EMT) with regards to the railway station.
    • They have recently installed new screens for announcements and timetables as well as new CCTV.
    • They are looking for local members of the public/groups to “adopt” the station, to help inspect them and improve them.  Other areas have done this successfully.
    • Someone from EMT can be at the next WPC meeting to discuss the process.
    • Cllr. Munro asked if something could be included in the next WPC newsletter.
    • Cllr. Maiden asked why they don’t advertise it on the station itself as people who use the station regularly would be the most suitable candidates.
    • Cllr. Webster said he was not confident in the CCTV as both himself and Cllr. Mills had asked to go to Chesterfield to see the camera system and nothing ever came of it.
    • Cllr. Munro said that he had used the service whilst unable to drive and that it was a useful service.
    • Cllr. Mills suggested that a notice be placed on the parish notice board.

13. Planning Matters

Cllr. Webster declared an interest and left the room.

  • An application for retrospective planning permission for the erection of a conservatory on Southfield Lane was received.  No objections.
  • An application to erect a single story extension to the rear of a property on The Poplars, for the Nottingham Regional Society for Autistic Children and Adults.  No objections.

Cllr. Webster re-entered the room.

14. Progress Reports

  • Cllr. Munro thanked Cllr. Mills for the copies of the 2003 footpaths maps, definitions and descriptions.  He has now studied these and requested up-to-date copies from Martin Coleman who has passed the request to one of his sub-ordinates.  Cllr. Munro will report back when received.
    • Cllr. Mills highlighted that there are missing footpath signs at Doles Lane, and on the A619.  Cllr. Munro will follow it up.
    • Cllr. Mills asked what would happen if there were any further problems with footpaths, Cllr. Maiden suggested a meeting with DCC may be useful to clarify what they are responsible for.  Cllr. Mills stated that they generally do not sort anything unless pushed on the issue.
  • Cllr. Frow asked if there had been any responses to the questionnaire sent out with the WPC newsletter and if WPC should start to look at the responses and prioritise areas to look at.
    • Cllr. Maiden asked if a deadline for replies had been put on the questionnaire.  There was not.
    • Cllr. Munro thought waiting until the end of December for replies and meeting in January between the two relevant groups be held.
    • It was agreed it would be an agenda item for December to discuss and set a meeting.
  • Cllr. Webster spoke to Chris Rogers with regards to the burial ground and it was consecrated by the Bishop of Derby.

15. Date of the Next Meeting

The date of the next meeting was set for 14th December 2011.  Cllrs. Burdett and Ellis gave their apologies in advance.

16. 15 Minute Open Forum

  • A member of the public referred to the letter from BDC with regards to litter, stating that he thought Cllr. Webster represented Whitwell and should not have disagreed with the letter sent from WPC about litter being a problem in the village and that he should have defended the letter.   Cllr. Webster stated that he had spoke to the relevant person about the issue and that yes he had stated he didn’t think litter was a major problem.  The member of the public again challenged Cllr. Webster on the issue.  Cllr. Webster stated that as well as representing WPC he also has to represent BDC and stand by their code of conduct.
  • A member of the public queried if Cllr. Burdett should have declared an interest in the planning.  Cllr. Burdett stated that a member of her family in the past had worked at the property on The Poplar but no longer did so.  The member of the public thanked her for her response.
  • Cllr. Kerr stated that HBPC had looked in to the possibility of refunds with regards to cemetery fees (as they had also independently looked at a Joint Burial Board) and that refunds were not possible.
  • Cllr. Kerr stated that there are over 60 parish councils that have arrangements in place where they are responsible for litter except on arterial routes.  The parish councils received payments for this.  He also stated that the Localism Act 2011 may give the power to request this.
  • A member of the public asked if the meeting with the people from East Midlands Trains would be public or just with councilors.  Cllr. Maiden stated that it would happen at a WPC meeting, and therefore be for the public and that the notice would ask for people to get in touch.

17. Resolution to Exclude Members of the Public

The public meeting closed so that confidential matters could be discussed.

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