Llanfechain Community Council


A meeting was held on March 8th2016 at Llanfechain Memorial Hall


PRESENT

Cllr S Chaloner (Chair)     Cllr J Humphreys (Vice Chair)      Cllr B Ellis      County Cllr G Thomas     Cllr C Richards      

Members of the public 8


Due to the resignation of the Chairman, P Williams, an election of Chairperson was required.


ELECTION OF CHAIR

Cllr Humphreys nominated Cllr Chaloner as Chair, seconded by Cllr Ellis. There were no objections, Cllr Chaloner accepted the position.


ELECTION VICE CHAIR

Cllr Ellis nominated Cllr Richards as Vice Chair, Cllr Chaloner nominated Cllr Humphreys. A secret ballot took place with County Cllr Thomas acting as the adjudicator. Cllr Humphreys was duly elected.


MINUTES FROM PREVIOUS MEETING

The minutes of the ordinary February meeting were accepted as correct.

Although Cllr Humphreys considered that the content of the minutes of the extraordinary meeting on February 23rd 2016 were correct, she noted an omission had been made concerning a confidential email that Cllrs had received that day. She asked that her own personal statement be stated and recorded in the March minutes.


“In the Feb extraordinary meeting, the Chairman, Cllr Phil Williams had asked Councillors if they were all in agreement to the confidential email that he had sent out at that morning.  I asked what the email was about as I had not received it. The meeting then proceeded and Cllr Williams highlighted what the email entailed about my conduct, this was done without my having sight of the email so I could not address what was said and highlighted in front of the Community and discussed.  Both I and the community were made aware of these criticisms at the same time; no one had spoken to me from the Council to ask me my feelings or to establish as to whether the comments Mr Pickstock had relayed were True.


As soon as the Chair knew that I hadn’t received the email, I believe the discussion should have been stopped, which it didn’t.


I am now highlighting via this Community Council meeting that I am objecting to this omission in the minutes of the Extraordinary meeting.  I would also  like to relay my concerns that in certain circumstances, future meetings of  a one to one nature with the public should be stopped, and the website be updated  to  address this  practice, and to relay  to Councillors that they  should not leave themselves  wide open  to intimidation as highlighted at the meeting  by Cllr Sue Chaloner, or the possibility of reporting statements of an incriminating nature.


Cllr Chaloner stated that the concerns raised about meetings with the public would be discussed at a separate meeting, as the public should not be discouraged from approaching Councillors to raise areas of concern.


So clearly, in the interests of transparency and to protect both the public and Community Councillors, this is the point that I would like to highlight to the Council members and to the community.


I did not influence other Community council members, Cllr Chaloner had read out Cllr Morris’s note, as he was not in for that meeting, but had relayed, in regards to the well, that he was disappointed about the well having been cemented over and considered it was disrespectful, to which I had agreed. Other residents had also approached me and highlighted their concerns.  In the email after Mr.Pickstock’s visit to Cllr Williams, he has stated that I had voted, which I did not Mr. Pickstock also relayed that I had spoken angrily which I didn’t, if I had I’m sure the community of Llanfechain would have said, or in fact the Vice Chair Cllr Chaloner, would have stopped the meeting and concerns would have been made in regards to my conduct. I’m sure If Mr. Pickstock was unhappy about it, he could have come to me in regards of this, however, he contacted Cllrs Richards, Ellis, Morris and Williams at home, which highlights again the worry that I have.

It had implied in the email that he had explained and in fact spoken at the meeting about the reason for the levelling of the ground, in the meeting which he attended, he had in fact not spoken, and I am glad that Cllr Williams noted his own objection to this.


I also noted that I was not in agreement that a meeting should have been made, this is only one person from the community, what about the other residents that have complained in the past about the noise, the mud and the street lighting. Have we made arrangements to see them?  No we haven’t, if we start to do this it needs to be a policy for all throughout the Llanfechain community and any member of the community who makes a complaint.”


Cllr Richards reminded the meeting that the only reason that Mr Pickstock had asked to see him, Cllrs Ellis and Morris was because the Council had made a decision which was based on incomplete information. Because of this there was an urgent need to take action. At the last meeting we had agreed that we had made a mistake and agreed to take steps to rectify it.


DECLARATION OF INTEREST

Cllr Humphreys declared a prejudicial interest in the item under Planning


MATTERS ARISING

1. The Clerk had written to the Portfolio Holder about applying for a Community Asset Transfer of the Recreation Field. A reply had yet to be received; County Cllr Thomas offered his assistance to obtain a decision from Powys CC.

2. The School Governors had discussed the location of the proposed Play area and equipment. A report will be sent to the Playground Project Committee

3. At the last meeting, a proposal to inform the Planning Department that the 2nd paragraph of the last response about the Gables application be retracted was put forward. Despite the application being approved, Cllr Ellis proposed that the statement should still be retracted, and included in the Planning Department’s file on the application. The Vice Chair seconded. There were no objections

4. Cllr Richards proposed that despite the resignation of Mr. Williams, a deputation should still approach Mr. Pickstock about issues concerning agricultural activity in the community. No one seconded the motion, so the proposal was rejected at this time.


REPORT TO THE COUNCIL FROM THE PLAYGROUND PROJECT.

An expression of thanks was passed on to the Council and the Community for the donation of £5,000 that had been offered.

Designs from 3 companies have now been shortlisted, which will eventually be put on display for comments from the Council and Community.


REPORT FROM POWYS COUNTY COUNCIL

County Councillor Gwynfor Thomas reported that Powys CC had finalised a budget, but it did mean that Council Tax would rise by 4.25%. He had objected on the grounds that a rise in tax was not fair or justified when so many cuts in public spending were taking place, causing a decline in services.


REPORT FROM THE CLERK TO THE COUNCIL

Recreation Field

Inspection reports for February and March had yet to be received. The Clerk suggested that this might be a responsibility that could be passed on to the Playground Committee. Cllrs agreed for the Clerk to approach them.

It was agreed that a ROSPA inspection on the play equipment was unnecessary as it will all eventually be replaced.

The Clerk had obtained 2 quotes for cutting the grass this year. It was agreed to continue using the same contractor as last year, who has agreed to keep his price the same as last year.


PLANNING

Cllr Humphreys left the meeting room before any discussions on The Gables.

Information about how to “call- in” a planning application had been received from the Planning Dept.

A reply had been received from Environmental Health in response to the observations made in respect of complaints received about excessive noise from the agricultural building at the Gables. As no individual complaints on noise from the existing shed had been received by that department, they considered that placing conditions of working times on the new development were unjustified.

Powys CC has decided to go paperless as much as possible; hard copy planning applications will no longer be sent out to Community/Town Councils.

No objections were raised about the planning application for replacing doors and windows in the listed building Pentre, Llanfechain.

LCC had written to the planning department in July 2015, about the dangers of large vehicles reversing down the lane by Soar Chapel. The response stated that there had always been a lane as far as the railway line, which could be legally used by agricultural vehicles. As the lower lane had been established and used since 2010 that too had now become legal. The lane can be maintained but cannot be upgraded.


Members of the public voiced their concerns about the erosion of the lane and the surrounding entrance in front of the Chapel. As this does not form part of the public highway, Council felt that there was nothing they could do. Recommendations were made to the complainants that a private objection be raised with the planning dept., highways and if need be environmental health.


CLUSTERING

Communications from Llanfyllin Town Council had made it clear that the cluster group had failed to make progress with Powys CC over Community Delivery of services and recommended that Councils accept option 1: a minimal service to be provided for 2016/17 by Powys CC. It was agreed to ask Llanfyllin TC to push for a definitive answer on what minimal level of service is proposed

SUBSCRIPTION REQUEST

Cllr Richards proposed taking up an annual membership of One Voice Wales at a cost of £72, Cllr Ellis seconded, all were agreed. It was considered that membership may be useful for future training, advice and information.


HIGHWAYS

Replies had been received from both the Police & Crime Commissioner and John Brunt Portfolio Holder of Powys CC, in response to a letter sent about the annual problem of mud on roads and blocked gullies as a result of agricultural activity.

As it is illegal to deposit mud on a public highway, both letters advised that any problems should always be reported to the police, who in turn will request Powys CC to clean up the area at the expense of the offender.

County Cllr Thomas had submitted a strong report to Highways Services about the state of the road between Llansantffraid and Llanfyllin. He had pointed out the state of the road surface, the large number of potholes, the blocked gullies after harvesting and the debris lying on the pavements and in gutters.

He had received a reply that was encouraging, in that some funding should be available to repair the road at least, but that pavements and gullies would have to wait their turn.



ROW

A reply had been received in response to the issues on the Circular Trail that had been highlighted by the Council. It was considered that the deep ruts in some of the fields were a temporary problem; the re-instatement of footpaths through fields that have already been sown will not be pursued until the crop is too high to walk through. They have assured the Council that a replacement bridge behind Brongain will be installed this summer, and the intimidating sign on the Circular Trail is being dealt with.


REPORTS FROM ANY MEETINGS ATTENDED/GUIDANCE FOR FUTURE MEETINGS.

Cllr Richards volunteered to attend the AGM of the Memorial Hall Committee


FINANCE

Cllr Ellis proposed that Financial Risk Assessment be approved, Cllr Richards seconded. All agreed.


CORRESPONDENCE RECEIVED

Russell George – newsletter

Go Safe – newsletter

Montytrax– information about financing a feasibility study

Memorial Hall – minutes of AGM 2015

Montytrax– minutes of last meeting (electronic version only)

PAVO – list of training opportunities (electronic version only)

The Farmer and the Highway – information on farmer’s obligations (electronic version only)

Phil Williams – letter outlining points that Cllrs may wish to consider for the future

Welsh Government – Revised Code of Conduct

Welsh Government – Guidance for the Well Being of Future Generations Act

Consumer Council for Water – notice of meeting in Welshpool

Powys Health Board – Joint Commissioning Strategy for Older People

Russell George – update on Newtown Bypass



FINANCE

A. Payment of £72 for membership to One Voice Wales proposed by Cllr Richards, seconded by Cllr Ellis


AOB

Cllr Richards proposed that the new Chairperson write a letter to Phil Williams to thank him for his many years of service and his unstinting contribution to the Council

Cllr Humphreys asked Councillors to consider  providing opportunities for the public to speak to Council members by holding occasional open surgeries.


CONFIDENTIAL SESSION – AWARDS

An annual session held to give Councillors a chance to consider putting forward an individual or a group from the community.

The meeting ended at 8.50pm

Date of next ordinary meeting 5th April2016