Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Bar Hill Parish Council Meeting 15-MAY-2012

With apologies for the delay posting an update but last Thursday Bar Hill Parish Council held its monthly meeting. The first order of business was to elect a New Chair and Vice Chair after the previous Chair, Margaret Sellars (who was at the meeting Chairing this item in the agenda) stood down.

Two nominations came forward, one for each role, which meant that there was no hustings (which went well with there being no campaign or manifestos) and each candidate was elected unanimously. With the newly elected Chair in place we then proceeded with the rest of the agenda.

I'm not proposing to re-run it here (if you're interested read the minutes once they are published) - just to comment on a few of the items.

Item 4.1 street lighting update. One slight concern (with my other hat on as a County Councillor) is that one of my fellow Parish Councillors called Balfour Beattys helpline and was told that their local County Councillor (in our case John Reynolds) had approved the removal of their street light. I wonder if he actually did! It was also revealed that three Streetlights in Foxhollow have been removed but were not down for removal on the paperwork sent to the Parish. Apparently this was an accident (not that they were removed, that they didn't appear in the paperwork). The County Council has invited us to a meeting to discuss Street lighting however it was thought, given that the work in Bar Hill is almost complete, it wasn't worth attending the meeting.

It was also revealed that, due to a slight labelling mix-up, the contractor isn't always aware of where a street light actually is in the village. Hence the light I reported on the ring road as being always on taking almost 3 weeks to fix!

Item 4.2 was a discussion on the two planning applications for Tesco. One of which had already been approved for a dry cleaners (although the Council noted that that the new Dry Cleaners won't actually be doing any dry cleaning - just a drop off/ pick up point). We then discussed making a representation on the other one, a few of us (including me) had already done so and I provided some helpful(?) advice based on training i received while on the County Councils Development Control committee. Suffice to say that while the Parish Council broadly supported the idea of the new "Click and Go" service being introduced there were some issues being raised with its location in the Car Park. I took an action to see if I could find one of Tescos older planning applications which related to spaces in the car park.

Item 4.3 Minor Highways Improvements. It was pretty clear given the comment on the list of proposed improvements I obtained via a FOI request that the Parish won't be getting the money. Hopefully the terrible state of the paths can be addressed as part of the normal maintenance process. Hopefully. The Parish is still awaiting a formal letter from the County giving the result of the process, that should have arrived prior to the next Full Council meeting.

Item 4.4 called for new projects to be suggested and I raised the issue of park benches along the spine routes. In the end we settled on budgeting £1,000 which should buy us 2 or 3 with at least one bench going next to the football pitch - assuming the County Council agrees as it owns the land.

Also under this item there was a suggestion that the Parish Council should invest some more money in play areas within the Village. It was agreed this was desirable and I'm going to bring back some proposals to the next Parish Council meeting (primary just some examples of what has worked in Kings Hedges and Orchard Park).

One item from note from Item 5 (General Correspondence) is the letter in relation to Viking Way from lawyers representing a company on the business park attempting to force the Parish Council to pay for repairs to the road.

Viking Way, Bar Hill
The history behind this is long and complicated so here is the potted version; the Parish Council is responsible for the road but lacks the resources to actually do anything about it (previously Tesco paid for the resurfacing). This issue is ongoing, the Parish Council has written back to the Company.

Item 7.3, adoption of the Tree Management Policy. This policy appeared in draft form for the last meeting and Council was asked to adopt it. Unfortunately changes were suggested and it wasn't felt that it was ready, it was sent to Environment Committee to re-draft (a committee on which I sit so if you have any comments let me know). It's worth noting that one of the things we all agreed on is that the Parish Council does not want to cut down any trees!

Under Any Other Business I raised the successful Timebanking project in Somershom and wondered if there was any interest in embarking on a similar scheme in Bar Hill. Apparently something similar had been tried previously with tokens and had not really worked - one of the comments was that after a few months a few people ended up with all the tokens! - but there was general interest in trying again. I agreed to bring something back to the next meeting.