Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Community Space, Keynsham - Market Walk, Keynsham. View directions

Contact: Sean O'Neill  01225 395090

Items
No. Item

87.

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

88.

EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE

The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as follows:

If the continuous alarm sounds, you must evacuate the building by one of the designated exits and proceed to one of the named assembly points. The designated exits are sign-posted. Arrangements are in place for the safe evacuation of disabled people. The assembly points are: the front and rear of Riverside, Temple Street.

 

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Officer advised the meeting of the procedure.

89.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Mark Shelford, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Shoscombe PC and Trudi Gilbank, Clerk of Farmborough PC.

 

90.

URGENT BUSINESS AS AGREED BY THE CHAIR

The Chair will announce any items of urgent business accepted since the agenda was prepared

Minutes:

There was none.

91.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Minutes:

These were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

92.

UPDATE FROM THE LEADER OF BATH AND NORTH EAST SOMERSET COUNCIL

The Leader, Councillor Tim Warren, will address the meeting about

 

(a)  update on the Budget

Minutes:

Councillor Tim Warren, Leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, gave an update.

 

He said he was sure that everyone was aware of the budget challenges facing the Council as Government grant had been reduced. At present 75% of the Council’s budget was spent on Adult and Children’s Social Care. The costs of these services were rising quickly, and would soon account for 80% of the budget. These services were statutory, so any reductions had to come from the other 20% of the budget. It appeared that the budget would now have to be reduced by a further £16m on top of the cuts already planned. This would mean a total budget reduction of £90m by 2020. Tough choices would have to be made. The Council would need an even stronger vision and to invest in things that mattered most to residents. There were three objectives for the Council:

 

·  to be efficient and well run

·  to invest in the future of the area

·  to put the interests of residents first

 

The Council aimed to be financially self-sufficient by 2020, when the Council would retain all business rates and Rate Support Grant would cease. To achieve this, the Council would have to be more innovative, efficient and entrepreneurial. There would be commercial investment to generate more business rate income and create jobs. The Council had established a commercial housing company, generating income and providing more affordable homes. There were Enterprise Zones in Bath and the Somer Valley with the aim of improving broadband speeds and creating new jobs. The Council recently launched consultations on transport strategies for the Chew Valley and Somer Valley. There would be West of England/B&NES funding to improve the road link between Midsomer Norton and the A37. The West of England will also be funding highways improvements to reduce congestion.

 

New technology would be used to reduce costs and change the way that people interfaced with the Council. There would be an increasing role for parish and town councils as the Council would no longer be able to provide certain services. It was important that the Council worked in partnership with town and parish councils and appreciated their skills and local knowledge.

 

Councillor Warren concluded by thanking the parish and town councils for what they did for their local communities.

 

93.

UPDATE FROM THE CABINET MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY REGENERATION, COUNCILLOR PAUL MYERS

Councillor Myers will update the meeting on

 

(a)  the Parish Charter

(b)  the Parish Sweeper scheme

(c)  the Community Empowerment Fund

 

Minutes:

Parish Charter

 

Cllr Myers thanked everyone who had participated in the Parish Charter consultation. 43 out of the 51 towns and parishes (84%) had given feedback. The majority of parishes supported the new Charter. There had been many helpful proposed amendments and improvements. An amended draft would be circulated to towns and parishes before the new Charter went to Council for approval in March 2018. The main concerns raised during the consultation were:

 

·  communications and the lack of feedback from the Council: Cllr Myers said this had been taken on board. Concerns about failure to give feedback to parish comments on planning applications would be addressed under tonight’s Planning update.

 

·  Council staff’s awareness of the role and nature of the parishes: Cllr Myers said this was a very strong message, and evidently there was work to be done in educating Council staff about the parishes.

 

·  whether parishes have the capacity to take on more responsibilities

 

He referred to issues raised at the latest ALCA meeting which had been fed through as suggestions for tonight’s agenda. He said that he had telephoned a number of those who had raised issues to discuss them. The clarification they had provided had been very useful. However, it was not possible to run the Parish Liaison Meeting on an individual case review basis. Therefore, he would attend an hour before the start of each meeting, so that parish representatives could raise specific issues with him. In addition, the Council had locality managers:

 

Dave Dixon  The Hollies  01225 396532

Sara Dixon  The Hollies  01225 396594

 

In the first instance parishes should contact Council Connect, and if Council Connect were not able to provide the required information, the locality managers could be contacted. He had gathered from feedback that parishes would rather receive ‘no’ for an answer than receive no answer at all. If parishes felt they were getting nowhere, he would be happy for them to email him. He would follow issues through and, if necessary, take them to Cabinet or talk to officers. He recognised that two-way communication was the essential foundation for effective partnership working between parishes and the Council.

 

Parish Sweeper Scheme

 

Cllr Myers reminded delegates that this scheme had commenced in April 2003 and was now due for a review. There were 18 participating parishes. Street cleaning functions had been delegated to these parishes and funding based on an initial lengthy of highway. Additional funding had not been given to cover increases in cost, such as uprating of the Living Wage, or for additional parishes to participate. Parishes in the scheme decided how to spend the money. Most employ staff, 5 have contracted out street cleaning, and one has contracted out a twice-yearly mechanical sweep. The review would look at what has been achieved by the scheme and at employment and health and safety issues. Additionally, the fact that the most parishes were not in the scheme raised the issue of fairness. There would be a short dedicated meeting about the sweeper  ...  view the full minutes text for item 93.

94.

UPDATE FROM THE DIVISIONAL DIRECTOR - ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES

Martin Shields will update the meeting on issues in his service, including:

 

(raised by Charlcombe)

·  Ensuring potholes do not become a safety issue this winter.

·  Road safety & visibility issues on footpaths re hedges and verges

·  B&NES policy on speed restrictions through village centres & outside schools, and flashing speed signs being turned off

·  Joint Transport Strategy

 

 (raised by Batheaston)

·  Perception that services are better in Bath, specifically, grass-cutting and bin collections

 

 

Minutes:

Martin Shields, Director – Environmental Services, gave a presentation. A copy of his PowerPoint slides is attached as an appendix to these minutes.

 

After his presentation he responded to questions from delegates:

 

Leonard Sheen, Chair of High Littleton and Hallatrow PC asked the following question: the flow of traffic through High Littleton comes via the traffic lights at Marksbury and at White Cross. If the traffic from Marksbury is speeded up it arrives at High Littleton, the next bottleneck, much faster. What further work to improve traffic flow is planned after the work at Marksbury has been completed? Martin Shields replied that whenever there is a major road scheme extensive traffic modelling has to be done. This is a statutory requirement. We have to assess the impact of the scheme on the surrounding area. The issue about High Littleton will be picked up. Highways will be pleased to come to talk to the parish when the formal engagement process begins, so that your concerns are fed into the process.

 

In reply to a question about flashing speed signs, Martin said that they were not all being removed. The common type of flashing sign often only lasted for a short time. They were old technology. Where they served a purpose they were being repaired, though there was a backlog of repair work. If parishes thought that a light in a specific location was vital, they should let Highways know about it.

 

Martin invited parishes who had specific Highways queries to email him.

Parish liason presentation Oct 2017 pdf icon PDF 243 KB

95.

PLANNING UPDATE

Issues raised by Englishcombe PC and answers (in italics) provided by the Planning Service:

 

 

1. Feedback on decisions contrary to Parish Council recommendations

 

This is a difficult question to answer in general terms and we would be happy to look at particular examples and offer feedback. Generally speaking, most Parish Council comments are clearly reasoned and based upon planning grounds. There can of course however be differences in views between parties about the degree to which a proposal complies with planning policy. There is an element of judgement in planning decision making and therefore even when applying the correct policies there is scope for different conclusions to be reached on whether a scheme complies with the relevant policies. In this context it is not surprising that the views of Parish Councils and Officers do not always align. For each application an Officer report is produced which explains the rationale behind the decision taken and takes into account any contrary views. As a starting point this is a good place to look because it should be clear from the report the reasoning behind the decision. The Case Officers are always available, at any stage of the application process, to discuss cases and to provide clarification.

 

As a general point of guidance, representations will be most effective when they focus upon planning issues only and have regard to and draw reference to Development Plan and National planning policies. This is the framework guiding planning decision making by the service.

 

 

 

2. Community Infrastructure Levy. Further clarity is requested on how the strategic portion is allocated. The Infra-structure Delivery Programme (IDP)/Development Plan which would explain this is not available on the B&NES website, and the Regulation 123 list is dated Feb 2015, so appears out of date, and in any case does not provide detail.

 

  • The strategic portion of CIL must be spent on the infrastructure needed to support the District’s growth strategy as set out in the Core Strategy/Local Plan. These are funds which would previously have been secured via s.106 for items like schools, open space and transport but is now secured via CIL. The key determinant of CIL spend is the Infrastructure Delivery Plan. The opportunity to spend CIL income on more local items is provided by the local portion of CIL.

 

  • The IDP is available on the B&NES website and is regularly updated to reflect new information. The IDP is currently being reviewed. The Regulation 123 List sets out the broad categories of types of infrastructure which are eligible for CIL and is not meant to be the mechanism for agreeing CIL spend.

 

  • In the interests of transparency and clarity, B&NES Cabinet will be reviewing the CIL Spend Protocol at its meeting in November. This report will refer to the potential to further assist town & Parish Councils with managing their Local CIL spend arrangements.

 

 

 

Minutes:

Cllr Myers sent that Lisa Bartlett, Divisional Director – Development, had had to present her apologies for tonight because it was half term and he had booked holiday. She had provided answers to questions raised by Englishcombe PC, which were given under this item in the agenda. He had recently discussed them with her.

 

He said that having served on Midsomer Norton TC Planning Committee he could empathise with the concern about lack of feedback from the Planning Service on decisions contrary to parish recommendations. He had suggested to Lisa that a sentence could be added to parish planning submissions requesting an officer to contact the parish if Planning were minded to go against the parish’s recommendation. He envisaged that such a request should be made by a parish no more than two or three times a year. He asked delegates what their view of this was.

 

Alistair MacKichan, Chair of Charlcombe PC, said that parishes often did speak to officers, who often did not know how they would decide an application. Parishes only found out when they saw the delegated report. It was not possible to guess what the officer would do, even though the parish had discussed the application with them. There were not many case where the officer and the parish disagree, far less than 10%, but those were the sensitive cases. He suggested it would be simple for the officer to notify the parish when there was going to be a decision against the parish, to ensure that all issues had been taken into account. He did not think there should be a need for the parish to request feedback.

 

Cllr Myers then referred to the answer about the Community Infrastructure Levy. He said that in his experience parishes were less interested in erudite descriptions of the CIL rules that in how they could secure more funds from the scheme. He suggested that Lisa should attend the next meeting to lead an interactive workshop with a view to explaining to parishes whether they could or could not get CIL funds and how the CIL was benefitting towns and parishes. Charles Gerrish, Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency, pointed out that a paper on the CIL would be going to the next Cabinet meeting. Cllr Myers suggested that the paper should be considered at the next PLM. Rosemary Naish said that parishes were concerned when they were aware that CIL was charged on development in their area without there being any resulting investment in local infrastructure.

 

The meeting agreed that Lisa Bartlett should be invited to the next meeting to provide more information about the CIL.

 

Delegates agreed

96.

BROADBAND UPDATE

 

The following has been raised by Charlcombe PC:

 

·  An update is requested on the pilot announced on 4/9/2017. When will this begin and who will be included? Will mobile phone signals be included?

 

Duncan Kerr, Team Manager Business Growth, will update the meeting.

 

 

Minutes:

Rob Dawson, Business Engagement Officer, gave an update.

 

He said that on 4 September this year the Government had announced that B&NES and Bristol would be one of six areas selected for a £2m national pilot scheme to deliver 1 Gigabit broadband. The scheme provides broadband suppliers with a financial incentive to introduce broadband infrastructure to enable customers to upload and download at a speed of 1 Gigabit per second. Customers can be both residents and local businesses with less than 250 staff. Businesses can receive a discount of £500-£3,000 while the discount for residents is £500. Less detail is available about the residents’ scheme at the moment. The broadband suppliers are being registered on a Government web portal. For our area they are Truespeed, Gigaclear and BT at the moment. Businesses and residents need to contact these suppliers directly to see if the broadband package is achievable and affordable for them. Neighbouring businesses are encouraged to apply as a consortium. . There is no guarantee that any business or resident will be offered a 1Gb package by a supplier. The pilot will either finish when the full £2m has been allocated or the end of March 2018, whichever is the sooner. If the pilot scheme is judged a success the Government may provide further funding, as they will be launching a new round of funding in the New Year. The project is due to launch early November. The scheme relates entirely to broadband and does not include mobile phones. The Council’s main role in the project is demand stimulation. Information about the scheme is available on the Council’s website at:

 

http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/latestnews/bath-north-east-somerset-pilot-uk%E2%80%99s-fastest-broadband

 

The Council will also be promoting the scheme on social media and undertaking a business visit programme, predominantly in the industrial estates in rural areas. Westfield Industrial Estate would be the first. There would also be meetings with Chambers of Commerce and local businesses.

 

Rob requested parishes requested to pass information about the scheme to local businesses.

 

97.

DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS

Delegates are invited to agree the following dates for Parish Liaison Meetings in 2018-19:

 

28th February 2018

24 October 2018

20 February 2019

 

In addition a half-day conference for parishes is proposed for June 2018 on a date to be agreed.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting would take place on 28th February 2018.

 

Subsequent meetings are scheduled for:

 

24 October 2018

20 February 2019

98.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Minutes:

A delegate requested that an item on the General Data Protection Regulation be included on the agenda for the next meeting. The Head of Audit West, Jeff Wring, has subsequently provided the following information:

 

We ran a session on GDPR for ALCA in September and will do another one early next year. Anyone who is interested may wish to go the next session at ALCA. All B&NES Parish Councils were directly contacted about GDPR this year. We also ran six local sessions this year for Academies, Parish Councils etc this year and Timsbury, Peasedown, Chew Stoke and Keynsham all attended.