13/10/04 – Balsall Parish Council – Minutes of Full Council Meeting 6 September

Local News

clerk writes

Minutes of Balsall Parish Council’s Full Council Meeting held on 6 September 2004.

Cllrs: Maltman (JM) (Chairperson), Brill (AB), Mulroy (EM), Siggs (ES), Brookes (DB), Longfield (ML), Chesshire (GC), Crossley (RC), Lea (PL), and Lusty (SL)Parish Clerk L Dury (LD)
1 member of the Public, Patch Managers – Ms Joanne Williams and Mr Jim Bowkett, SMBC

1. Apologies: None

2. Declaration of Interests: None

3. Minutes of the previous meeting:
There were no amendments to the previous meeting’s Minutes. The Chairman signed the Minutes. (Proposed by DB, seconded by PL.)

4. Matters arising from the Minutes: None

5. Committee Reports

5.1 Planning – Cllr Dr Peter Lea

Planning Committee meetings have been held on 9 August and 1 September. Minutes of these meetings will be issued to all councillors and approved Minutes are available to the Public at the local library.

The main planning application discussed in this period was for a golf course in Holly Lane. The Planning Committee has recommended that a strong letter of objection be sent to SMBC. The Clerk was asked to include a request for a business plan justifying the application.

The Planning Committee had asked ML to inspect 6 Speedwell Drive to determine the Council’s response to requested tree work. ML reported that the Council should recommend that the mature oak tree should be left alone, but the oak tree in the middle of the garden may require the work. It should also be pointed out to SMBC that some tree could be covered by TPO’s.

5.2 Play Areas – Cllr D. Brookes

LD, EM, DB and RC will make an on-site visit to Chadwick End Play Area to discuss ownership of trees by Wheelers Close. LD will arrange a date.

DB will ask D. Elkington to start re-painting the play area equipment shortly. She will also find out where Mr Elkington disposes of any rubbish or fly-tipping.

LD to order an annual safety inspection of the play areas with ROSPA. (A fact not mentioned at the meeting is that ROSPA require detailed maps of the areas, so LD may need to purchase these.)

ML asked if the existing litterbin near Blacksmith’s Corner could be replaced with a dog waste bin, but the Patch Manager informed him that this could not be the case.

5.3 Cemetery – Cllr G. Chesshire

LD was asked to organise a date for a Cemetery Committee meeting just to discuss the offer from the Foundation Governors for the additional land for the cemetery. Meeting date set for 29 September at 10.00 am at The Old Hall.

Councillors approved a request by the Clerk to purchase proforma Cemetery Regulations from the ABA. (Proposed by GC and seconded by EM.) LD reported that the time she would spend trying to work out regulations would work out considerably more costly than purchasing proforma regulations.

A cheque in excess of £53,000 has been received. This is from a legacy and the money can only be spent on maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery. LD will investigate a suitable account to invest the money, as it must be earmarked for specific use as per the terms of the legacy. In addition, LD will sort out arrangements to maintain the graves specifically mentioned as part of the legacy terms and also include the additional plot, which will shortly be used for interment of ashes by the family concerned.

5.4 Footpaths, Highways and Bus Shelters – Cllr J. Maltman

Response to Solihull MBC re its “Plan for improving Public Rights of Way in Solihull”
JM reported that this was still incomplete, but he and RC would finish the report by the end of September and send their response to LD to forward it to SMBC.

JM reported that Mr Caffery had made an excellent job repainting and repairing the bus shelters and had also done emergency repair work without being asked, so saving the shelter from more vandalism. LD was asked to send a letter of thanks to Mr Caffery.

It was resolved to ask Mr Caffery for a price for regularly cleaning the bus shelters on a monthly or bi-monthly basis and repairs on an ad-hoc basis. (Proposed by EM, seconded by ML.)

LD reported that the remaining glass pane at the shelter by Blacksmith’s Corner had been broken and she is trying to organise for the pane to be removed. Councillors decided to leave the shelter open until winter, when they would review the situation.

5.5 Communications – Cllr Jonathan Maltman

JM reported that he has sent out news to all the Church newsletters and that he would send news quarterly, the next issue being November.

JM has almost completed the text for the next issue of the Parish Post and will send it to LD for completion and circulation.

JM was asked to include a short resume of all council members and their interests on the council, a short article on the Y2K Youth Club seeking members and the Jubilee Centre.

ML will send text on protecting trees for the next Parish Post issue.

5.6 Chadwick End Village Hall – Cllr E. Mulroy

No business to report.

5.7 Parish Plan – Cllr E. Siggs

The Steering Committee met during July and certain roles were allocated.

The next Steering Committee meeting will be 20 September at the Jubilee Centre.

JM will send details of a software package that needs to be ordered which will help in designing questionnaires. LD will place the order.

LD requested a copy of the Minutes from JM, as she requires official proof of requests to spend money for the Parish Plan.

DB requested a meeting ahead of 20 September with JM, ES and RC. This could be difficult to arrange due to people’s other commitments, but JM will see if it is possible.

5.8 CCTV – Cllr S. Lusty

Selection of a company to project manage the CCTV upgrade
LD reported that 3 companies had quoted to handle the project management. 2 of these had made on-site visits and had spoken to her. The companies chosen to tender had been selected from a list provided by SMBC. A letter of requirements had been sent to the companies and each company was asked to quote according to the terms of the letter. Only one company fulfilled that request and actually quoted for just the project management. The other two companies quoted for project management and installation of the upgraded equipment, which had not been requested, as the actual full equipment and system requirements had not been determined. On the basis that only one company quoted as per terms of the tender request letter, LD recommended that councillors select this company to project manage the CCTV system upgrade subject to satisfactory references.

Following the receipt of tenders for the project management of the CCTV upgrade in Balsall Common, which were discussed by the CCTV Committee, it was resolved that Cogent Solutions Limited will handle the project management of the CCTV upgrade, subject to satisfactory references, and that an order be placed with this company.
Proposed by SL, seconded by JM.

6. Representation Reports

GC reported that the Lant Trust was doing a lot of work improving the pavilion at the Sports Ground in Balsall Common.

7. Patch Manager’s Report

The new Patch Manager, Joanne Williams introduced herself and reported that she could be contacted on telephone number 0121 704 6583, email

8. Public Questions

Mr Alan Smith asked whether the parish council would consider asking that the Golf Course applicant be required to bear any costs to improve roads near the proposed course in Holly Lane. JM informed him that this could be considered if the application is not rejected at this first stage in the process.

9. Correspondence

The Patch Manager has informed the Parish Council that plans are underway to install 2 junior football pitches in Lavender Hall Park and to mark up the adult pitch. JM will provide Jo Williams with the contact details for the local football club.

The Parks Action Group will meet on 23 September at 6.30 pm in the Police Office.

LD will attend a Local Government Pension Scheme Actuarial Conference to find out if the Council’s pension contributions are likely to increase, and if so, the reasons.

The Council has received a letter thanking it for the donation it made to help refurbish the Balsall Common Village Hall.

LD will review the ODPM’s consultation paper “Review of the Regulatory Framework Governing the Political Activities of Local Government Employees” and pass her comments to councillors for discussion at the next council meeting.

LD will review the ODPM’s consultation paper “A Model Code of Conduct for Local Government Employees” and pass her comments to councillors for discussion at the next council meeting.

Councillors decided not to attend a meeting at SMBC about the Airport Master Plan Voluntary Compensation Scheme.

It was resolved to donate £100 to the Balsall Volunteer Transport Service. Proposed by RC, seconded by AB.

The Old Hall in Temple Balsall has applied for a Transfer of the Justices Licence. GC declared a personal interest. There were no comments.

WALC’s AGM will be held on 27 October at 7.30 pm at Myton School. ML is unable to attend and sought a volunteer to go in his place.

LD was asked to draft a letter of response to the Police about their reply to various points raised by local residents as part of the Parish Plan. This will be approved by JM before it is sent out.

10. Accounts

10.1 Payments made since the last Council meeting

12 Jul 04 1492 Cleanaway Limited VG 37060 £142.36
12 Jul 04 1493 Andrew C. Green 3155 Payment 4 and regular mowing flail rotary at Willow Pk £1075.12
6 Aug 04 1495 Allianz Cornhill Add new play equipment at Oakley to policy, our order 46 £36.94
6 Aug 04 1496 Balsall Common Village Hall Donation to refurbishment £5000.00
6 Aug 04 1497 David Elkinton July maintenance £300.00
6 Aug 04 1498 Elizabeth Siggs Parish Plan Expenses £22.85
6 Aug 04 1498 Elizabeth Siggs Travel expenses to meetings £6.40
6 Aug 04 1499 L. Dury Salary July £651.26
6 Aug 04 1499 L. Dury Travel expenses £8.09
6 Aug 04 1499 Post Office Postage £5.37
6 Aug 04 1499 J. Caffery Bus shelter painting £90.00
6 Aug 04 1499 J. Caffery Bus shelter repairs £73.00

10.2 Invoices to be approved for payment

16/08/04 Impact Annual support agreement renewal £55.00
06/09/04 L. Dury Salary and Expenses £673.08
01/09/04 The Letter Box Photocopying services in August £22.00
12/08/04 BT Office phone line bill £41.21
06/09/04 SMBC Planning application fee to vary permission for Office £31.90
02/08/04 Clement Keys Audit Fee 03/04 £411.25
01/08/04 Andrew Green Maintenance This invoice includes a £60 charge for clearing rubbish from Willow Park. £440.63
04/08/04 Graham Dawson Cemetery Maintenance £381.88
06/09/04 Heart of England Way Assoc Subscription £4.00
30/08/04 D. Elkington Maintenance August £300.00

10.3 Orders placed without prior reference to Council

16/07/04 Cornhill Insurance Additional premium to cover play area equipment at Oakley
01/09/04 St Peter’s Hall Room Booking 1 Sept

10.4 Orders yet to be placed

ROSPA annual inspection of Play Areas
Office Cleaning
Application to SMBC Planning Dept to vary the condition on planning approval to only let the building to Balsall PC
Repair of bus shelter at Blacksmith’s Corner

10.5 Council Approval of the Accounts

The Accounts were approved. Proposed by AB, seconded by EM.

Councillors were also provided with a breakdown of budget spend to-date.

11. Decision to share the tenancy of 285 Kenilworth Road with other parties

LD explained that Balsall Parish Council would have use of about 29% of the floor area, the other parties being the local MP and MEP staff occupying the rest.

The solicitor is currently negotiating changes required in the lease and LD will not sign this until these have been resolved and more specifically, a break-clause has been added. LD stated that the solicitor was making enquiries about the following:
Clarification on who is responsible for repairs on the outside of the building;

Confirmation of the schedule of conditions stating the current condition of the building;

The planning application variation;
A break-clause;

Responsibility for paying the insurance premium cost for the building.

ES asked for councillors to review the reasoning for continuing to remain a tenant in the building. LD stated that she had investigated current viable alternatives and they were insecure, more expensive or too far from Balsall Common. There was no current sensible alternative to consider and since the Council required somewhere to store its increasing records, she recommended that the Council remained at the Office.

ES asked for details of cost comparisons under the old arrangement and the proposed new arrangement. LD informed councillors that there would be a saving on all previous items of expenditure, with the exception of the rent. Under the old arrangement, SMBC had charged Balsall PC a peppercorn rent of £500 p.a., but this would not continue. SMBC were losing money and had a duty to ensure value to their residents. The new rent for the building would be £5,500 p.a., of which Balsall PC would pay £1600.00 p.a., and the other tenants the balance. Councillors questioned whether this increase could be challenged and they were informed that it was not that expensive compared to other commercial lettings, and indeed was cheaper than other smaller lettings in the area. LD stated that she had compared known costs from last year against estimated and known costs under the new arrangement.
Water rates last year £226.77, the estimated cost under the new arrangement would have been £68.00
Rent last year £500.00, the estimated cost under the new arrangement would be £1600.00
Business Rates last year £2619.00, the estimated cost under the new arrangement would be £868.40
The only other running cost the Parish Council incurred last year for the office was electricity, but that could not be compared this year, as under the future arrangement, the office will have gas central heating. Additional costs under the new arrangement will be for gas, cleaning, and possibly insurance. The gas would be a new charge as a gas supply was being installed, and the building would have gas central heating. LD explained that as the building would be used Monday to Friday, it would require regular cleaning, which was something that had not happened in the past, but this would make the building much more useable. The lease made mention of the fact that the parish council would be responsible for the building’s insurance costs. This was not currently the case but the solicitor had explained that this was normal commercial practice, but that he would make enquiries to confirm if this was the case, and if so, to ensure that the charge was split between the tenants. SMBC were paying for the installation of new windows and gas central heating. The MP would pay for security. LD also explained that as Balsall PC would be the head tenant, it could charge the other tenants for any of the clerk’s time and that the parish council needed to decide the basis for sharing the costs of utility and service bills. The solicitor had already given some advice on this matter. Councillors questioned whether one of the other tenants should be head tenant, but were informed that LD had been informed that they were not able to take on that role. Councillors were assured that LD would not sign the lease until a suitable break-clause had been added to the lease, either on a 3-month notice basis, or to give them the opportunity to review and terminate the lease after one year. It was not feasible to leave the building currently until the CCTV position had been resolved. Councillors decided that they could accept the arrangement under these conditions, and RC stated that he would like to see a proper smart notice board on the side of the building advertising all of the parish council’s activities.

It was resolved that the Clerk could sign the lease after examination and approval by the Council’s solicitor. Proposed by JM and seconded by EM.

12. Change to the Council’s telephone number and mailing address

The telephone number for Balsall Parish Council is now 01676 532087.

The correspondence address is 285 Kenilworth Road, Balsall Common, Coventry CV7 7EL.

13. Dates for interviewing candidates for councillor vacancies

LD will provide a list of suitable dates to all councillors and select 3 or 5 councillors who can attend 3 dates close together. She will administer the arrangements. JM and LD have worked out a suitable list of questions for the interviews. (EM, JM, SL, RC, ML and LD will handle the interviews on the 27 & 28 September.)

The new councillors will be announced at the October meeting.

JM stated that he had asked the Clerk to check whether election could be held as 5 candidates had come forward for the 2 positions. However, SMBC had advised that the new councillors must be co-opted.

14. A.O.B.

GC informed everyone that they would have to vacate the building in a few minutes.

It will be Temple Balsall’s heritage Weekend this coming weekend.

ES asked that councillors review their decision made last year to publicly display their home contact details and that each councillor decide whether their home contact details were displayed, or members of the Public could contact them through the Clerk. DB supported her motion, but JM declined to hold a vote as other councillors felt that the matter needed proper discussion as there was some feeling that councillors were obliged to provide their own contact information. LD has subsequently taken advice on this matter and it is up to individual councillors to decide what contact details they advertise for themselves and she will be altering the notices accordingly when the new councillors are appointed in October. As this is the official position, there will be no further discussion on this item and LD will speak to each councillor.

EM reported that a grave had been covered in soil. LD was asked to investigate. Subsequent to the meeting, LD has made investigations and neither a gravedigger or a grounds maintenance man has topped up the grave. The Police have been notified and asked to keep an eye on the cemetery.

ML met with SMBC staff to discuss the re-erection of the Magpie Road sign.

JM stated that time had run out and that all other items on the agenda would have to be deferred until October.

15. Next Meeting
The next meeting will be on Monday, 11 October 2004 at The Studio, Balsall Common Primary School, commencing at 7.30 p.m.

The Meeting closed at 10.15 p.m.