Whitwell Parish Council Meeting – 14th March 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.

Please note: Some information has been omitted from these minutes as it is not appropriate for it to be in the larger public domain on the ground of security.

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
  • A Police Officer
  • 6 members of the public

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. 15 Minute Open Forum

2.1 County Councillor

Cllr. Stevenson stated that there are two big issues – alterations to elderly care and alterations to the youth service. In terms of elderly care Cllr. Stevenson is pressing the administration to find out where it is going. It is a drawn out process and will be over a couple of years. DCC are saying they want to knock down existing facilities and then build new ones. Cllr. Stevenson thinks that it should be the opposite way around to reduce trauma on the people involved as one move is bad enough let alone two or three.

Cllr. Stevenson explained that the youth service consultation ends in a fortnight. The petition is at 10,000 signatures already and so will get debated in council. There has been a change from a strong stance to DCC agreeing to look at youth services.

Regarding the Station Road re-surfacing, Cllr. Stevenson explained that before he found out that Station Road was on the agenda for the end of the financial year he had a meeting to discuss issues affecting Whitwell, for example lorries. DCC brought part of a team around and discussed the issue. What Cllr. Stevenson wanted is a one-way system for high lorries. They would go to the square but leave using Hodthorpe and then back up Southfield Lane. There are signs in Worksop and on the M1 and it is the reason for the temporary lights on Hodthorpe bridge – to reduce the risk of a lorry meeting another vehicle on the bridge. Cllr. Stevenson has said that the lights need to be permanent but there is a high cost.

There is currently a scam regarding the highways. Contractors are going around the country knocking on doors saying that they can put white/yellow lines on roads outside houses. They produce a letter on council headed paper. Cllr. Stevenson stressed that if it was DCC people would not be asked to pay. Cllr. Stevenson reported it to WPC so that they know it is a scam. If it occurs in the village, WPC should contact DCC.

With respect to Derbyshire Fire & Rescue, the Derbyshire Chief Fire Officer is pushing for sprinklers in all new properties. Cllr. Stevenson went to a demonstration in Chesterfield and saw a big difference in the properties with and without sprinklers. Nick from Crimewatch is fronting the promotion. Within 2-3 days houses could be occupied again after a fire if sprinklers are fitted. In Wales it is already a requirement. They were trying to encourage all authorities to encourage developers to put them in. This goes alongside having a fire alarm/smoke detector which Fire & Rescue will put in and householders maintain.

A member of the public queried if any progress had been made regarding the pavement at the entrance to The Green which is now breaking up. Cllr. Stevenson responded that after it had been reported last the contractor has to be given time to deal with it. Cllr. Stevenson thinks that the contractor is still in the time frame but will raise it again. After the timescale DCC can do the work.

Cllr. Mills asked if the contractors working on Station Road have contacted the utilities companies to avoid it being dug up following the resurfacing. Cllr. Stevenson stated he is not aware of this but added that they should have done.

Cllr. Maiden asked what criteria are used to decide which roads to resurface. Cllr. Stevenson did not know. Cllr. Maiden requested that he find out as High Street is worse than Station Road was. Cllr. Stevenson stated that the position with High Street is that after the meeting he was asked to give a synopsis of what is wrong. He did this over a couple of days picking up all the details. DCC stated that High Street will be put into next year’s budget. Cllr. Stevenson stated that he did not know that Station Road was in budget but acknowledged that there have been complaints especially around the bridge. There have also been complaints about Southfield Lane where they have done something. Cllr. Webster agreed that it has improved.

A member of the public stated that the speed bump on Welbeck Street is breaking up again. It didn’t look to have been constructed properly. Cllr. Stevenson stated that the one by the Co-op has been done recently. The problem is that frost gets into the cracks. The council are getting pot-holes reported. The member of the public stated that the speed bump is very thin.

2.2 Police

The PC from Creswell gave apologies for PC Taylor and PCSO Lee. The crime figures for February are:

  • 2 thefts from vehicles
  • 1 damage to vehicles
  • 5 criminal damage
  • 3 thefts (other)
  • 2 drugs offenses
  • 2 non-dwelling burglaries
  • 1 violence

The main concern has been anti-social behaviour and the PC has been called over from Creswell due to it. Last night the PC took a couple of youths home and spoke to them in front of their parents. The police have also stepped up patrols which is helping. Criminal damage incidents mentioned in the figures are tied in to this problem. Clowne and Shirebrook police are also coming down to help. There have been as many as 50-60 kids at a time. Parents have been positive as they were not aware what their kids were doing. People need to keep reporting the problems.

Cllr. Maiden asked if the calls of anti-social behaviour are not considered crimes. The PC confirmed they are not, they are reported incidents and agreed to feed back the query. Cllr. Maiden stated that he would like to know how many complaints of anti-social behaviour are being made compared to the crime figures. The kids are now moving from The Square to Butt Hill and are causing problems in people’s gardens. They are knocking on windows and looking through bedroom windows. The kids wandering around Whitwell are not all from Whitwell. The PC responded that the dispersal order in Creswell has now run out. Many of the kids are from Hodthorpe.

Cllr. Frow asked what WPC would have to do for there to be a dispersal order in Whitwell. The PC explained that it is based on the reported incidents. In Creswell they were getting 30 calls a night. Police have to provide evidence that an order is needed as criteria have to be met. He will ask Faye for further details but warned that there is a negative – dispersal orders tar the village when they are publicised.

A member of the public added that at Butt Hill fencing has been smashed around a garden.

Cllr. Mills stated that when she came to the meeting before 7PM the kids were standing together by the pizza place. The PC confirmed he saw them. He added that For Sale signs have been removed from properties. Cllr. Mills requested that the PC checks by the Co-op when leaving the meeting.

2.3 District and Parish Councillors

A member of the public highlighted that there are still no signs for The Green. Cllr. Webster stated he had had a row with the relevant people yesterday. He has been assured that it will be this week. The ones that had been prepared were not suitable for the curved wall.

Cllr. Munro stated that the week before last he had got so fed up of litter in the bushes at the corner of Bakestone Moor that he borrowed equipment from the handyman and started from new build to the corner collecting litter. Cllr. Munro went back the next morning and the District Council was there and so he went home. The day after it looked like nobody had been. Cllr. Munro is very concerned about this. He has noticed that the verges into the village are in a terrible state over the last fortnight. He requested that the BDC councillors follow up on the quality of work being done. Cllr. Webster stated that there were people out yesterday but he has not checked what they have done. Cllr. Kerr agreed to take this up. He is aware of the problem but not of any gangs being out to tidy up. He will check what was done yesterday first. Cllr. Kerr has had complaints about the road between Whitwell and Hodthorpe. Cllr. Webster acknowledged that it is a major problem particular on the clearing between Brook Mill Pond and the A619.

Cllr. Frow asked about Thacker’s Garage. She has heard different theories going around. Cllr. Webster confirmed that the Co-op have not bought the site. The site is in the receivers’ hands as the bankruptcy papers have been submitted. Nobody has bought the site yet.

A member of the public picked up on the litter issue – about two weeks ago when he went to Clowne there were two BDC people doing the west side and were doing a good job.

Cllr. Maiden highlighted that there has been fly-tipping on the green at the top of High Street. There was vegetation and other items including a Christmas tree near the bench. He asked if BDC could remove it. Cllr. Webster stated that they can but he would prefer to find out who put it there to take action against them. Cllr. Maiden stated that it was at a point with no cameras. Cllr. Mills stated that when somebody has taken the trouble to load the waste into the vehicle she does not understand why they do not take it to the tip.

Cllr. Munro stated that the grass verges on the A619 and A60 are just as bad but this is a highways issue and as the A619 is the responsibility of DCC and suggested WPC contact them. Cllr. Webster stated that they will write back stated that it is now BDC instead that is responsible.

A member of the public asked when the chippings will be spread on Bakestone Moor allotments. Cllr. Webster stated that it would be done when the soil has been taken away. The contractor there had several people telling him what to do and so left meaning that WPC need to find someone else. Cllr. Frow stated that contractors need a thick skin and to get on with the job. In Hodthorpe the allotment paths have been done and look lovely.

3. Resumption of Standing Orders

  • Moved

4. Matters Arising from Item 2

Regarding the litter, Cllr. Maiden suggested that WPC write to BDC expressing concerns about the quality of the litter picking and frequency.  Cllr. Mills requested that the letter include the state of the A619 and request that it is cleaned up.  The clerk suggested that they hold fire until the District Councillors have checked the sites.  Cllr. Maiden responded no, the district councillors can check and WPC can write.

5. Approval of the Minutes of the Last Meeting

The minutes were considered a true record.

  • Cllr. Mills highlighted that 2.3.4 should state “by an average”.
  • Cllr. Raspin highlighted that 14 should read “for use”.
  • Cllr. Munro added that 14 should read “H&BPC”.

6. Matters Arising from the Minutes of the Last Meeting

Cllr. Munro referred to 2.2 asking if there is any update on the level of problems caused by youths in terms of the Community Centre. Cllr. Frow stated it has got better as the police are making patrols. The problem has moved over the road. There are a couple still coming in but not causing damage. Cllr. Webster confirmed there have been no complaints.

Cllr. Webster stated that in terms of 2.3 a sign has been ordered for Fox Road and it should be up in the next fortnight.

Cllr. Mills asked if the Fire Safety Officer had been invited to a meeting as per item 6. The clerk-in-waiting has emailed them but there has been no reply. She will chase it up.

7. Approval and Signing of Agreement for Establishment of Joint Cemetery Committee

The clerk explained that the committee between WPC and H&BPC has been approved and the agreements now need to be signed by both councils. H&BPC have signed and returned their agreement. Cllr. Munro moved the action for Cllr. Maiden to sign the agreement for WPC.

The clerk explained that just under 12 months ago a H&BPC resident made an application for burial. At the time the fee was double that for Whitwell residents and the clerk felt that as a gesture of goodwill it would be appropriate to refund the difference. Cllr. Webster moved the gesture. Cllr. Maiden confirmed that one of the cheques is for this.

A second person has not been charged double as their application has been made recently. This action aligns the two.

8. Change of Date for Future Budget Meetings

The clerk felt that as there was not much time to get the papers ready he would like to move the meeting to the first week in February in future years. Cllr. Maiden added that when the budget is set in January there was an increase of 6.something %. That was affected by information provided by Bolsover. The figures were revised so that there are less properties to pay taking the 6.something % to 7.something %. If the information had been available in January it may have impacted on the discussions made, but the information is not available until the end of January. Cllr. Maiden warned that there is still a strict timetable to get the figures to BDC for their precept meeting. The change to the meeting was agreed.

9. Physical Protection for Staff

Cllr. Frow: at the meeting last month regarding damage by young people. In the time she has lived in Whitwell the Community Centre has got busier and there are times when staff are on their own and may not be able to see what is happening in all parts of the centre. Cllr. Frow acknowledged that the Community Centre Manager does worry for the other staff. Cllr. Frow highlighted that she has not seen a lone worker policy and asked what protection WPC are offering staff.

The clerk confirmed that there is no lone worker policy. Cllr. Munro stated that one is definitely needed. Cllr. Frow continued that last month she was helping in the kitchen and four youths came in knowing that the door was open. They did leave on request. Cllr. Frow highlighted that it could have been adults not just young people. Cllr. Munro supported Cllr. Frow in what she said especially regarding the lone worker policy stating the he did not realise there was not one. Cllr. Munro worked in health & safety and had a policy that all lone workers had to know. It should also cover the handyman as a lone worker so that there is a system in place for him to make contact and get back-up.

Cllr. Frow queried whether there was a health & safety policy or fire wardens. The clerk-in-waiting confirmed that there is a policy. The clerk suggested that two members of the WPC and the Community Centre manager get together. Cllr. Munro stated that there is plenty of information in the public domain that can be used and he would be happy to sit on the committee. He would also look at other policies if needed. Cllr. Frow would also be happy to sit on the committee. Cllr. Munro explained that it will need to cover the clerks, handyman and Community Centre workers.

Cllr. Maiden suggested they have a meeting and report back at the next WPC meeting. Cllr. Munro stated that May would be better and Cllr. Maiden agreed that it will be an agenda item for the May meeting.

10. Accommodation for Credit Union

Cllr. Munro expressed his surprise that the item was on the agenda as he thought that it had been deferred to the April meeting. He explained that he would like to invite Two Shires Credit Union to attend the April meeting to offer them accommodation at the Community Centre for one hour per week to provide the facility for Whitwell. Cllr. Munro helps out as a collector in Clowne and confirmed that the service is well used.

Cllr. Munro explained that a credit union is a not-for-profit method of banking. It is owned by the members and regulated by the FSA. Once a person is an adult member they can have a loan to repay at 1% per month. They also encourage saving habits. Cllr. Munro is to speak to the head at the school in Clowne to encourage the school to use the facility. It would be good for WPC to be involved.

The credit union will loan up to £500 in one go depending on a person’s ability to repay. The manager Eric Thompson would be able to answer more technical questions.

The clerk explained that the item is on this agenda to help keep the April one smaller for the inauguration of the new clerk.

It was agreed to invite the credit union to the meeting but Cllr. Munro gave his apologies as he will not be there.

11. DCC Youth Services Consultation

WPC will send a response to the DCC proposals for the youth service provision changes. The clerk read out the letter from DCC received in January. The changes to the youth services will mean:

  • No longer deliver front-line activities
  • DCC will continue to provide youth workers to support vulnerable and those needing specialist support
  • DCC will set up a grant scheme for voluntary groups
  • Will review youth centres to dispose of the buildings

There is a display of how to access the services as many youths have not used them. The request was to display this until the end of March.

Cllr. Webster stated that they want more service not less. He was going to suggest to Cllr. Stevenson that if any of the pubs close they could be taken over and turned in to a youth centre but that will not happen now.

Cllr. Frow stated that she would be interested in the grants. She wants something for the kids. It could be based at Bakestone Moor and it sounds like money may be available.

Cllr. Raspin stated that there is an issue on training and if parents are involved the kids won’t want to be. “Changing the way” the service is provided is a good way of saying they are stopping it.

Cllr. Frow had been told they would provide trained youth workers. This will not happen now.

Cllr. Maiden stated that no-one around the table is in support of point 1. This has rarely been provided in this area anyway. All concerned that they have not got suitably qualified staff and have got people in the village doing CRB checks which stops parents being involved in the scouts. Cllr. Munro asked if there was any reference to free CRB checks. If people are scout or guide leaders it is funded. If disbanding the service for volunteer groups, did DCC say if they will provide CRB checks and training? Voluntary groups will not take off as there are too many regulations. Cllr. Maiden stated that there are no criteria given for getting funding mentioned. Cllr. Frow stating that if DCC are cutting back there will not be money for any more youth workers.

Cllr. Munro stated that the response should also include that when there is rising youth unemployment youths turn to these services and it is disturbing that they are being taken away.

Cllr. Maiden stated that all were agreed and the clerk is to send the letter.

12. Accounts for approval and payment

Cllr. Munro queried what book had cost £58.50. The clerk explained that it is for local council administration. Cllr. Maiden explained that the new clerk needs to read it. This price was a discounted price.

There were no other questions and Cllrs. Munro and Webster signed the cheques.

13. Financial Reports

The clerk reported that everything was fine. Cllr. Webster moved the agenda item.

14. Correspondence

Cllr. Mills asked what the letters of February 24th and March 5th were regarding Anti-social behaviour responses from Derbyshire. The clerk explained that there was a reply to the letter to the divisional commander for the Bolsover area including an apology for delay. The queries were passed on to Inspector Layman. The Divisional Commander understands the concerns and sees no reason for not following procedure.

The Inspectors response stated that he/she understood that officers have been on patrol and that officers are doing ASBO discussions at school. Letters have gone to parents. Diversions are being set up, for example Ozbox. The inspector confirmed that the patrols are still happening with the local beat team and others. Cllr. Maiden highlighted that youth services are no use as DCC is taking them away.

Cllr. Maiden has received a letter from a 13 year old boy asking for a skate park in the village. The clerk wrote back informing him that it will be considered at the meeting. Cllr. Maiden would like to personally thank the boy and invite him to the next initiative group and ask him what it should look like, what needs to be included. The group can then look at costs. Cllr. Munro stated that one of the best he has seen is in Clowne. Cllr. Munro endorses inviting the teenager to the meeting. Cllr. Maiden suggested he could bring friends with him but added that the date of the next meeting is not yet known.

The clerk stated that there is a letter for item 20.

The next letter is from the local history group. They were not sure if it was a council issue, which it is. Cllr. Frow declared an interest and left the room. The group is in need of a building to store their archive and they have found a building that meets their needs. The group meets every Tuesday. With discussion with the Community Centre Manager they have earmarked land. The group needs to get permission from DCC and WPC. Cllr. Maiden asked where the planning permission is and also if other facilities will be needed such as utilities. Cllr. Webster stated that the facility is fully equipped and electricity is from a battery. The clerk stated it was proposed to be at the top of the yard. Cllr. Maiden asked if there were any objections – it is basically a free-standing metal shed. It would need to be at the group’s own risk.

Cllr. Munro suggested that if it is free-standing it would need to be anchored to prevent ill-willed people pushing it over. It should be fixed to at least one wall. Cllr. Maiden suggested fixing it to the floor. Cllr. Burdett queried if it would be too heavy to tip.

The clerk stated that if WPC give permission it would all be the responsibility of the local history group. Cllr. Maiden responded that it is the responsibility of WPC not DCC as the site lease holders. Cllr. Maiden would be happy for it as long as it is temporary.

Cllr. Webster highlighted that the ground slopes and so it would need to be built up. Cllr. Mills queried how the battery will be recharged – Cllr. Maiden stated that will be for the group to decide.

Cllr. Raspin stated that WPC need to point out the points of concern. Cllr. Munro suggested that WPC should state that they recognise the problem and would like to help. The clerk suggested that they ask for WPC to be indemnified against costs and responsibilities. Cllr. Munro stated that the letter should be sent but WPC are responsible.

15. Planning Matters

Cllr. Webster declared an interest and left the room.

A planning application was received for 5 Jubilee Place for a single story extension to the rear of the property. There were no objections.

16. Progress Reports

Cllr. Munro gave an update regarding the footpaths. The issues raised about paths 25 and 26 missing sign posts: Cllr. Munro has had correspondence and the problem has been reported. The rangers dealt with it. Cllr. Mills stated that the sign on Doles Lane has not been dealt with but she is unsure of the footpath number. Cllr. Munro will check.

Cllr. Munro continued that the other issue was path 23 (66) from Hanger Hill alongside Biggins and the top-side of the Welfare (Old Green). The contractor had temporarily blocked off the 66 part. Cllr. Munro has been in touch and the contractor has agreed to reinstate the path once 1 or 2 properties have been occupied to prevent vandalism. Cllr. Maiden queried it being opened with just one property being filled in the whole property – if the occupants were the other side of the building to the path they would not see anything. Cllr. Munro agreed. He added that it was not an alteration to the footpath. Cllr. Webster stated that BDC were told that the contractor was waiting for the parking spaces to be completed. They have been and so BDC have contacted DCC; he will check for the response.

Cllr. Munro did copy BDC in on correspondence to Mr Coleman and had the same response of 1-2 properties filled. Cllr. Webster responded that the condition was for parking spaces. Cllr. Frow stated that it makes sense to wait until the site is occupied. Cllr. Webster stated that there was a public enquiry for the path to be kept open. Cllr. Munro will continue pushing.

Cllr. Frow suggested Cllr. Raspin give the update on the Easter Activity Club. The club has been set up for 2-5 April and four out the nine people interviewed have been appointed. It is set to be a good scheme and Cllr. Raspin thinks it will be a good team. The leaders are getting the resources ready. Cllr. Frow added that there is a meeting next week to check CRBs, bank details, certificates and to carry out the induction.

Cllr. Webster gave an update on apprenticeships at Bolsover. The DVD has been completed and if WPC would to see it the can get a representative to give a talk. The DVD last about 20 minutes. Cllr. Maiden was happy for this to happen and requested it be added to the June agenda.

Cllr. Mills will be starting on the hanging baskets soon.

Last Friday Cllr. Maiden attended a presentation by Notts Sport at the Copthorne Hotel. The company provide artificial grass surfaces. The website states that there is fast funding and no grants are needed. Unfortunately it is not that simple. Cllr. Maiden asked Notts Sports, if WPC agree, for them to meet WPC to set out their service and how it is funded. It is similar to a loan situation whereby they finance and WPC pay back over time. Cllr. Maiden had checked with the clerk and it would be covered by the works loan. Notts Sports could be employed to do the whole process for WPC including the planning. The presentation was aimed towards large pitches but they also do MUGAs. Cllr. Maiden asked if they could provide information just for these. Cllr. Maiden is hoping that the company will provide suggestions before the end of March. Cllr. Maiden has emailed the clerk-in-waiting a copy of the presentation which all WPC members can see if they wish. It could be considered at the next initiative & funding group meetings.

Cllr. Webster asked if it is a plastic surface. Cllr. Maiden responded it is artificial grass. The company has been involved with top sports clubs and there are different types of surface each with different costs. There is a mobile cricket pitch which rolls up providing better bounce than current matting. It costs £3000 but is usable in all weathers. Cllr. Maiden will inform WPC of the date when Notts Sports can come and see them. Cllr. Mills asked if there would be samples. Cllr. Maiden responded that they would bring a sample of what is underneath. Cllr. Webster explained that this has been used at Chesterfield football ground and people from Wembley came up to see it after their pitch was re-laid 15 times.

17. Date of the Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on 11th April 2012. There will also be the annual Open Parish Meeting on 18th April 2012.

18. 15 Minute Open Forum

A Member of the public stated that the kerb on the memorial was fixed and has come dislodged again. He has informed Cllr. Stevenson who will ask those doing the road to look at it.

Cllr. Kerr raised the subject of multi-agency teams. These are made up of the police and youth services and are not being cut. Young people have not been mentioned but this agency has recognised the problems. Cllr. Kerr will ask them to contact WPC to discuss what they do.

Cllr. Kerr explained that John Tipton of Extreme Wheels has a regular program for Hodthorpe and would like to link up with Whitwell. There is a need for funding but it can be obtained. Extreme Wheels would provide something for the kids to do and start communication. Cllr. Kerr has a meeting on Monday morning at 11AM if any of the councillors wish to attend.

A member of the public asked if the CAN Rangers are involved with the youths. They are. Cllr. Kerr added that Extreme Wheels are also involved and suggested that the groups co-ordinate.

19. Resolution to Exclude Members of the Public

  • Moved

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