Whitwell Parish Council Meeting – 11th January 2012

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.

We recommend that you read these notes in conjunction with the Whtiwell Parish Council meeting minutes when they become available from the Community Centre or on the Parish Council Website.

In Attendance

  • Cllr. Julie Burdett
  • Cllr. Scott Ellis
  • Cllr. Sandy Frow
  • Cllr. Stuart Maiden (Chair)
  • Cllr. Viv Mills
  • Cllr. Tom Munro
  • Cllr. Jeanne Raspin
  • Cllr. George Webster
  • Barry Woodcock (Clerk)
  • Cllr. Duncan Kerr
  • Cllr. Ken Stevenson
  • Mr Alastair Morley (Guest speaker)
  • PCSO Katie Lee
  • 14 members of the public

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. 15 Minute Open Forum

2.1 Alastair Morely – DCC Community Rail Officer

Alastair Morley is the Community Rail offer at Derbyshire County Council (DCC) came and explained the Community Rail Partnership.  20 years ago the Derwent Valley Community Rail Partnership was set up with work done to promote services and improve the stations.  DCC now want other parts of the county to do the same.  Mr Morley is looking at issues and trying to get more people using the railways.  He is working with Network Rail, DCC and passengers.

Of the attendees at the meeting there were six people who use the Robin Hood line and one who uses it daily.  The Robin Hood Line (RHL) re-opened in stages during the 1990s with government funding.  East Midlands Trains (EMT) run the service and are responsible for the platforms, ramps and bridge.  The non-public land is owned by Network Rail.

Of the services run from Whitwell, 31% of passengers travel to Mansfield, 23% to Nottingham and 16% to Worksop.  6% travel to Shirebrook and the rest to other stations in small numbers.  Mr Morley gets figures from East Midlands every four weeks.

In 2010/11 (the year runs April – March) there were 21000 passengers from Whitwell, up 6% since 2006/7.  Up to 10th December 2011 there was an increase in passengers and it is expected there will have been 24000 by the end of March.  DCC wants to see an increase in awareness in the local community of the service.

There is an hourly service Monday to Saturday.  The Sunday service was introduced on a trial basis in 2008 with council funding (Nottingham CC 90% and DCC 10%).  It was hoped there would be sufficient use for DETR to pick up the cost as it does for the weekday service.  However passenger figures were low and the cost was £214000 with the usage cost of £10.58 per passenger.  In contrast the bus subsidy costs £1.25 per person.  There was a consultation and a survey of passengers as well as a quality impact assessment.  A bus replacement was put but it was not used well.  As a result NCC cut their funding and trains only ran to Mansfield Woodhouse at an average cost of £50 per passenger to run to Worksop.

With regards to the station, last year the first noticeable improvements were made since it opened 15 years ago.  New shelters were installed, new signage, repainting and the scrolling timetables were replaced with real-time screens.  There are also automated announcements which should announce delays.  There are also induction loops for the hard of hearing.

The station is unstaffed and is some distance from where EMT operate from.  They send cleaners once or twice a week.

EMT want local people to get involved by becoming station adopters.  Station adopters are the “eyes and ears”.  If they notice something they can report it.  In other stations there are small teams who report issues and look after planting boxes, paintings by local groups and they have taken over embankment areas and cared for them, for example by landscaping them.

Mr Morley had forms for people who were interested in joining the scheme to complete.  Users will be able to say what problems there are including service problems.  There was a postcard campaign with local artists to get feedback on the service and DCC are looking to re-introduce it.  They are also considering putting up banners.  DCC worked with local schools for artwork and murals.  In Matlock Bath the painting the groups did was part of the Town in Bloom and got recognition for East midlands in Bloom.

Adopters can be individuals or groups.

Mr Morley noted an area of land by the station car park where the houses finish is very untidy.  It appears to be part of the railway land.  Mr Morley asked who owns it.  Cllr. Webster stated that Chapman Brothers at Chesterfield had offered it to WPC but he did not know if Terry Robinson had accepted it.  Mr Morley suggested it could be included in the plan.

Mr Morley had brought with him timetable books which DCC are producing and should be available in the library.  Mr Morley wants to put up local timetable displays in the community using bus-stop style display cases.  They include information on fares and the time to the different stations.  He wants them to be located in central points (the WPC stated “good idea”) and will put in a bid to purchase the cases.  In Whitwell Mr Morley suggested The Square by the signpost for the station; by The Co-Op (Spring Hill road sign); and the Community Centre noticeboard.  Cllr. Mills suggested Bakestone Moor outside the Friendship Hall.  Cllr. Rasping suggested the Health Centre.  Mr Morley stated they could produce smaller versions also for indoor locations.

A member of the public stated on a website may be helpful as it had taken over an hour to find the timetable.  The sign was passed around the attendees.

Mr Morley would also like to involve schools as DCC do school trips near Nottingham and Derby.  Train travel is cost effective for schools as, unlike with coach travel, only seats used are paid for.  In addition groups of 10+ get 26% discount.  Information leaflets have been produced in Matlock for schools informing them of the fares and places that the schools can visit near to the stations.  There is a lot of space on the trains during the day.

Mr Morley asked for ideas and issues from attendees.  A member of the public stated the train would be used more if the train companies had joined up time-tabling.  RHL is good but there is an hour wait in Worksop for the Sheffield train each morning.  Northern have only recently increased the service to four carriages from two overcrowded ones.  The 7:05 train arrives in Worksop at 7:08 but has to wait outside the station for the Sheffield train to leave – the train people are most likely to want to catch.  Many people drive to Kiveton to catch the train or to Halfway to use the tram.  Going the other way however you can be in London in 2.5 hours when going through Nottingham which is very good.  Mr Morley responded that some work has been done with the connections but that it does need to be looked at.

Another member of the public stated that more people go to Sheffield from Whitwell.  He uses the train a lot and did use the Sunday service but now goes to Chesterfield to get the train now.  His wife commutes daily between Whitwell and Hucknall but has to go to Worksop to get a monthly season ticket as it is not available on the train, online or at the stations.  A lot of people in the village originate in Sheffield and Rotherham and so travel there socially and for work.

Cllr. Stevenson responded regarding the Sunday service stating that with the current austerity DCC cannot pay £50 per passenger to run the service.  If the suggested project generates more passengers they could look at bringing the service back.  From a political view, Cllr. Stevenson wants to get World Heritage Status for Creswell Crags which would increase the use of Whitwell and Creswell stations.  He acknowledged it is a walk but can be done and there is always the option to bring back the service.  At the moment it can be quicker to use the bus to Creswell.  In addition, he joked, can Whitwell have their train station building back? It is currently in Butterly.

Mr Morley asked PSCO Lee if there was a crime problem around the station.  She responded that there is good CCTV with two cameras so any issues are dealt with quickly.  There have been no issues other than thefts on the line which were dealt with by the British Transport Police.

Cllr. Mills asked if Mr Morley had any influence on repairs as there have been problems in the past including getting lights replaced.  Mr Morley responded “I think I do”!  He added that he can send the problems directly to the person who deals with them.

Cllr. Mills then asked if the Adopt a Station scheme has any funds.  Mr Morley stated that the projects need to get funding.  At the moment they have no budget.  The Head of Stations has been in place for about one year and the other staff have been working with the communities.  They will “chip-in” to make things happen.  In Matlock Bath there have also been Community Days where local people got together with the Head Office in Nottingham to do a blitz on the projects.

Mr Morley is trying to get DCC to become a member of the national Rail Communities Organisation which will help to get funding.  One of Mr Morley’s jobs is to get money and resources together.

Cllr. Raspin stated this is a project which could “grow and grow” with groups applying for their own funding.  She asked if there is any training for volunteers, for example young people, which could be shown on CVs.  Mr Morley said that there is no training programme but confirmed they do have to do Health & Safety training.  He has worked with unemployed groups in the past. 

A member of the public stated that there are two platforms like bus stops but no station building.  He raised concern that the platforms would not be wide enough for planters and that they would restrict the width, risking safety.  Realistically there could only be a couple of planters installed.  Mr Morley responded that that is why he mentioned the piece of land by the station.  There are areas by the ramps which have been improved.  Access to them would need to be sorted however.  He added that at some stations there are only two planters.

Cllr. Maiden stated that it is good to hear things can be done and that there is a way to get things done through Mr Morley.  People can now be reasonably convinced that something can be done.

A member of the public said that they had raised things of interest to the police which were passed to the British Transport Police a few days later.  He added that because of the problem of copper theft between Whitwell and Creswell people are driving to Woodhouse for the train instead.  Additionally, Nottinghamshire County and City councillors get tax-free loans to purchase annual tickets through their salary.  Mr Morley suggested he could look into this for DCC.

Another member of the public asked if the information was in electronic form anywhere for use on websites to publicise it.  Mr Morley agreed to email this to him.  Cllr. Mills stated that WPC and the Community Centre have websites which could be used.  Mr Morley suggested that the WPC newsletter could be used; Cllr. Maiden agreed that this could be accommodated.

A member of the public asked if any communication had taken place in Hodthorpe who have a different parish council but also use the station.  Mr Morley stated that he had sent letters to each parish with a station and had not “picked-up” that Hodthorpe are separate.  Cllr. Munro stated it would be worth Mr Morley contacting H&BPC.

Mr Morley had brought with him a copy of the station adoption agreement which people should send back to him if they are interested.  It included his contact details.

Cllr. Maiden thanked Mr Morley on behalf of WPC stating that he hopes Mr Morley gets assistance from the parish.

Two members of the public left the meeting.

2.2 County Councillors

Cllr. Stevenson highlighted that over the Christmas period Derbyshire Fire Service were called out to two fatalities; one in Whaley Thornes and the other in Eckington where somebody had been microwaving mince pies.  Mr Stevenson wants to encourage everyone to have home fire safety checks as in the fires mentioned the alarms had not worked.  There was also an incident in the High Peak the day before the meeting.  Cllr. Maiden asked how people can get the checks.  Cllr. Stevenson responded that people should call the fire & rescue head quarters who will contact the local station, 01332 771221.

Cllr. Stevenson explained that there was a Cabinet Report prior to the council meeting about cuts including the Youth Service.  The Leader put questions to the cabinet but got nowhere.  It was raised at the Council meeting but it didn’t seem to make any difference.  Barry Lewis who is in charge of the KYA proposed that the council no longer directly deliver services for teenagers and close the youth centres and mobile services.  There was a mobile service within Whitwell to help police and there is a youth centre in Creswell which they are looking to close.  Mr Morely added that the properties are being sold off.  Cllr. Stevenson is now trying to get a petition a petition signed to present to the council.  At the debate a 19 year old girl attended and went away to come back with the idea for a petition.   Cllr. Stevenson is using this petition and stressed that we need the youth service.

A member of the public asked about the pavement by The Green which is a trip hazard.  He queried if it had been taken up with the developers.  Cllr. Stevenson stated it has been taken up with them and is with the developers to sort but he will chase the issue.

Cllr. Munro stated that at the budget meeting it was suggested that WPC set aside money to replace grit in the free bins.  He was told that WPC have to pay.  Cllr. Stevenson stated that the Snow Warden scheme, which DCC put forward and is not being taken up by BDC or WPC, allows a bin to be purchased for £250.  There is a separate agreement where an application can be made to DCC for a bin to be put in the place it is needed.  The first fill of this bin will be free and re-fills paid for by parish councils.  BDC and Creswell are doing this.  Cllr. Munro suggested that two sites would benefit – the top of Spring Hill and where Southfield Lane meets Bakestone Moor; he added that there used to be a bin there.  Cllr. Mills asked how much the bins are to fill.   Cllr. Stevenson stated it is not always worth asked DCC to fill and so would cost around £75 privately.

A member of the public asked if Whitwell is on the Olympic Torch route.  It was confirmed that it isn’t but Bolsover is.

2.3 Police

PCSO Lee provided the crime figures for December:

  • Burglary: 3
  • Violence: 6 (3 were at the same address)
  • Criminal Damage: 5
  • Theft: 2

Four of the theft and criminal damage were at the Crags.

At a previous meeting it was mentioned that Stephen Priest had been arrested for burglary.  PCSO Leestated that he has now been charged with another 10 burglaries and has been sentenced to three years.  A person in Whitwell has also been charged for intent to supply cannabis.

A member of the public complained about people parking on pavements.  There is somebody on Middlegate Field Drive who does this daily and has a plant that protrudes on to the pavement and these are becoming a danger.  PCSO Lee confirmed that if the vehicle is obstructing the pavement it is an obstruction and that the police can take action.  Cllr. Frow added that where The Dicken joins Scotland Street there is a white van that parks on the wrong side of the road about 10 feet from the junction.  This means that people cannot use the correct side of the road and has resulted in some near misses.  In addition there is now a red car in front of the van parked on the grass.  PCSO Lee stated that she has been down there but the van wasn’t there at the time.  She will try again.

Mr Morley left the meeting.

2.4 District and Parish Councillors

Cllr. Ellis asked Cllr. Webster if he took up the issue of the land at the top of New Street being untidy.  Cllr. Webster agreed he will do this again.  Cllr. Ellis added that the capping stones are also untidy; Cllr. Webster will also take this up.

A member of the public addressed Cllr. Webster regarding the footpath from Welbeck Street to the Recreation Ground.  The member of the public had been told that BDC are responsible for this.  Cllr. Webster stated that they are only responsible for the piece by the flats on Holmefield Lane.  He will check the plans and confirm with the parish clerk if WPC are responsible.

A member of the public stated that before the election there was talk about a regeneration fund for the villages.  Cllr. Munro explained that a group has been set up to seek funding and the questionnaires were sent out for villagers to state their priorities which will be used for the funding.  The council has budgeted for partnership funding.  Cllr. Frow added that to get funding there has to be a project confirmed with a proven need, hence the questionnaire.  It is a drawn out process.  Cllr. Frow added that some members of WPC have been to seminars about making applications.

Cllr. Kerr explained that BDC are changing the procedure for choosing council housing to Choice Lettings with Assigned bands.  There are four bands which depend on need.  The properties are advertised on the website and in the Clowne contact centre where people make a bid for a property in their band.  The incentive is to chase the properties and not use the list.    Cllr. Kerr suggested that WPC request a weekly email from the Clowne Contact Centre to advertise the properties in the Community Centre.  In time it will be possible to get housing association and private landlord properties in this way too.  Cllr. Webster added that people can also apply for Bassetlaw Housing and letters have been sent to those currently affected.

A member of the public stated that the agenda for the meeting on the website was dated 15/12/11 and had 19 items unlike the agenda provided in the meeting.  The councillors responded that they also have 19 items but this was because some numbers had been missed out.  The member of the public also requested that the recording of meetings is added to the agenda for the next meeting as it is now 6 months since this was last discussed.  Cllr. Maiden agreed.  The member of the public stated that in his notes of the last meeting there were 6 sides for item 1 but only a paragraph was put on the minutes giving very little information about what was discussed.

More members of the public left the meeting.

3. Resumption of Standing Orders

  • Moved

4. Matters Arising from Item 2

Cllr. Webster stated that he will see the officer about the land next to the station the day after the meeting.

Cllr. Mills asked if the Fire Safety Officer could be invited to a meeting to discuss the checks.  Cllr. Maiden agreed.

Cllr. Munro suggested that the Choice Lettings could be displayed in the Health Centre, Community Centre and library.  WPC could offer space in the Community Centre and ask BDC to request Clowne Contact Centre to provide displays.  This was agreed.

5. Approval of the Minutes of the Last Meeting

There were no amendments and Cllr. Webster moved that the minutes were a true record of the meeting.

6. Matters Arising from the Minutes of the Last Meeting

  • (2.3.1) Cllr. Munro stated that two days ago he saw the concrete roof and cannot see how it is safe or what is holding it up.  Cllr. Maiden stated that with the BDC assurances WPC has no liability in the event of an incident.  Cllr. Mills asked if there had been a letter regarding the HGVs.  The clerk confirmed there would be in Correspondence.
  • (7) Cllr. Munro asked if this was in Correspondence – yes.
  • (10) Cllr. Munro stated that he would not be available and asked if it could be deferred to the 25th.  Cllr. Maiden agreed.

7. Approval of the minutes of the Budget Meeting of the Parish Council held on 4 January 2012 and approval of the precept for 2012/13.

The Clerk apologised to the council.  The current contract has a further year to run and that it runs out in March.  Therefore in the budget agreed last week there is insufficient funds to pay for the current contract and plants anywhere else.  The value for item 5c should be £6,218 not £5,000.  The clerk asked if the WPC want to review the rest of the budget to save money elsewhere as the increase makes the precept £184,005. Cllr. Maiden asked if the council wanted to add extra to the budget or alter it.

Cllr. Frow proposed to add it on as the budget had been discussed thoroughly.

Cllr. Mills suggested that it be taken of the new projects fund however Cllr. Frow stated that there are concerns within the parish about projects and that the money can be used to apply funding.

Cllr. Munro asked how changing the budget would affect the rates.  For Band D the increase would be 80p per month or £9.60 per year.  Cllr. Munro suggested it should be absorbed as the charge is miniscule compared to what was agreed.  Cllr. Mills added that an increase anyway would not be good in the current climate.

Cllr. Munro seconded the proposal to add the extra to the budget.  Cllr. Mills proposed an amendment to take £1,000 from the New Projects budget head and avoid increasing the council tax any more than it already had been.  The amendment was defeated and the original proposal was accepted.  The precept will increase to £184,005.

Cllr. Maiden asked if there were any other changes to the minutes.  Cllr. Munro stated concern that there was no reference to the issue about setting aside £100 miscellaneous funds to fill the free grit bin.  There was no reference in the minutes that the discussion had taken place and it should be after item 3.10 even though after debate the motion was defeated.  The clerk stated that if the proposal was withdrawn there was no official decision to record.  Cllr. Munro argued that it means that he cannot discuss it in matters arising as in the meeting tonight attendees had heard that the meeting was mislead over the matter.  Cllr. Maiden requested that a paragraph be added.  Cllr. Munro stated that there should be a new 3.11 item – it was proposed for a budget head for grit at £100 to replenish bins provided at no cost by DCC.  Cllr. Mills responded that it should be “could be provided” and not “are provided”.

Cllr. Frow moved that the minutes were approved.

Cllr. Maiden stated that there was no agenda item for matters arising from these minutes.  Cllr. Munro asked that this be an agenda item at the next meeting.

8/12. Accounts for Approval and Payment

Cllrs. Webster and Munro signed the cheques.

9/13. Financial Reports

The only item likely to be up slightly is for Playscheme but this has been known for some time.

10/14. Correspondence

There were no comments about the list of correspondence.

  • The Clerk explained that an email has been received from H&BPC stating that they welcome the suggestion for a joint cemetery committee and want to discuss one item.  A date for a meeting was set with WPC and Cllr. Kerr for 1 February at 7pm.
  • A letter was received from VOSA just before Christmas.  It was agreed in a phone call that Mr David Grabbel will come out to look at the problem.  It was agreed to raise the suggestion and see if others would like to attend.  Cllr.  Munro suggested asking Mr Grabbel to be present 7am to 12pm to see the variation through the day however Cllr. Maiden responded that 7am would be too late.  Cllr. Maiden suggested a 6am start on Monday 16th January or 23rd January on the High Street by the George Inn.
  • An email had been received from BDC stating that a draft infrastructure study and delivery plan are available on the website.  Cllr. Maiden asked if views and consideration had been requested.  The clerk stated it is to review and confirm the accuracy.  Cllr. Maiden stated that everyone look at WPC and issues be referred to the clerk.

Cllr. Munro stated he will be attending the liaison meeting on Monday.

11/15. Planning Matters

Cllr. Webster declared an interest and left the room.

  • 27 Jubilee Road – extension to first floor rear. No objections.
  • DCC proposal for application for a sewage monitoring kiosk.  No objections.

Cllr. Webster returned to the meeting.

12/16. Progress Reports

Cllr. Frow has sent out letters to see who can work over Easter at the playscheme.  She will place an advert if more people are needed.  Cllr. Frow stated that they will definitely need two new people.

13/17. Date of the Next Meeting

8th February 2012.

14/18. 15 Minute Open Forum

A member of the public stated that they are not available on 16th January for the traffic visit but would like to attend.  Cllr. Munro suggested 23rd January which was agreed.

A member of the public asked if there was an update on the old Thackers site.  Cllr. Webster stated that it was in the papers this week.  It has got to go to the council before he can say anymore.  In four weeks time he should be able to give more information.

Cllr. Stevenson sated that the grit bins need to be applied for and a bid put in for next year.  Cllr. Stevenson will email the contact details to the clerk.  Cllr. Raspin asked when the money is allocated.  Cllr. Stevenson responded before winter.

A member of the public queried the budget for the website stating that if it is just for the hosting it is 3-4 times more than it needs to be.  Cllr. Maiden will investigate this further.

A member of the public stated that it has been raised before but Severn Trent has been lumped the allotment and cemetery together in item 11 of the meeting.  He has asked for them to be shown separately but they haven’t.

A member of the public asked if there would be a grit bin on Holmefield Road – No, they will be where the elderly are.

15/19. Resolution to Exclude Members of the Public

Moved

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