Llanfechain Community Council
Cyngor Bro Llanfechain
An Extraordinary meeting was held on February 23rd 2016 at Llanfechain Memorial Hall
Cllr P Williams Cllr S Chaloner (Vice Chair) Cllr B Ellis Cllr J Humphreys llr C Richards County Cllr G Thomas
Members of the public 6
The Chair informed the meeting that Cllr Huw Morris had resigned; Councillors wished him all the best, and were sorry to see him leave; they thanked him for undertaking to continue to keep the Council informed about the proposed Montytrax cycle initiative.
DECLARATION OF INTEREST
Cllrs Ellis and Richards both declared a prejudicial interest in the item 2 of Matters Arising
1. LDP -
It was agreed that no significant changes had been made under the new Schedule. There was no proposition to make a response to the consultation.
2. Consideration of a planning application to erect an agricultural building at Wernyglyn, Bwlch y Ddar.
Cllrs Ellis and Richards both left the room having declared their interest
As the plans provided were vague, Councillors were uncertain of the location of the proposed development. No objections were raised as long as the building did not impede on any rights of way.
CONSTITUTION OF COUNCIL
The Chair pointed out that the Council had not handled the Planning Application for an agricultural building at the Gables very well. He stated that when objections are raised against an application, it was vital that, if necessary, an extraordinary meeting should be held to enable both the public and the applicant to have their say. This was the only way that the Council could be transparent and credible.
A prejudicial interest should always be declared and Councillors should then leave the room while debate is undertaken and a decision is made.
The applicant in this instance had approached three Councillors and lodged complaints about the negativity of the decision made at the last meeting and the fact that no official vote had been taken on the decision to object. It was considered that a serious error was made as Councillors were not in receipt of all the information available about the application.
The Clerk had been critical of one to one meetings and advised a Councillor that in the interests of transparency it would have been best practice to have either asked the applicant to put his complaint in writing for presentation to the Council or to have had another Councillor present at the meeting. The Chair emphasized the need for councillors to adhere to the rules on prejudicial interest but considered meetings with members of the public to be important; a conflict of judgement existed which required Councillors to act with caution but not the obstruction of representation.
Highways had asked for part of the hedge to be removed to aid visibility, as a result of the Community Council raising the poor visibility issue in their first response to the initial application, but had then rejected this proposal as being unjustified. When Councillors had been made aware of their error, they had endeavored to retract the objection, but had been unable to do so being constrained by Standing Orders.
County Cllr Thomas commented that the application had now passed from the planning department to the legal department to reach a decision.
Cllr Richards proposed to inform the Planning Department that the 2nd paragraph of the last letter be rescinded. The proposal was seconded by Cllr Ellis. To be put on the agenda for the next meeting.
The Chair was aware that there were concerns in the community about agricultural vehicles going through the village, as well as the annual problems with mud being left on roads and pavements and blocking drains. Cllr Williams proposed that a Council deputation approach Mr Pickstock about these issues to find a way forward. Cllr Richards seconded. To be put on the agenda for the next meeting.
Clarification on the role of Directors within the Cluster Group.
Council was informed that at this present time it is unlikely that the Clustering initiative will go ahead. Powys CC has stated that they will only provide a minimum of services but what that level will be is yet to be decided.
Request received from a student for information on how local councils engage and communicate with their electorate, principals of community leadership and the impact of gender on this and the main difference between Welsh and English legislation.
The request list for information was extremely long and it was decided that the task was too onerous. The Clerk had already directed the applicant to the website as most of the information required was already published. The Chair offered his assistance if required.
The meeting ended at 8.15pm
Date of next ordinary meeting 8th March 2016