PARISH COUNCIL MEETING

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These are draft minutes and as such may be subject to amendment before approval as a true record of the meeting
Due to constraints on space full reports and supporting documents have not been included in the minutes.  These can be found on the Parish Council website under Meetings, April 2022 Meeting Pack.  Paper copies are available from the Clerk.

Present:

Mr I Lamont, Chairman.  
Ms I Mitchell, Ms L Falconer, Mr T Sheppard, Mr R Macro, Mr P Thompson
Mr R Lindsay, Suffolk County Councillor.  Mr C Arthey, Babergh District Councillor

1 member of the public.

Public Forum

No requests to speak

Police Matters  
Go to https://www.suffolk.police.uk/sites/suffolk/files/2022-04/CEO%20Constables%20County%20March%202022.pdf for the March 2022 copy of the Suffolk Constabulary newsletter, Constable’s County.  

Update of the summary of crimes reported within the parish of Lavenham for January 2022:
2 x Violence & Sexual Offences, 1 x Criminal Damage/Arson.
For February 2022: 1 x Anti-Social Behaviour, 2 x Public Order offences, 1x Vehicle Crime,
5 x Violence & Sexual Offences, 2 x Criminal Damage/Arson.

County Councillor’s Report, Mr R Lindsay (Mr Lindsay’s report had been circulated to Parish Councillors and follows these minutes)
20 mph limit, started to get estimates from Kier.  Design likely to be in region of £7,000 to £9,000. Design needs to be in place in order to apply for the TRO.

Verge parking in Bridge Street Road, information sent to Dr Posner.  If Parish Council wished to plant any trees on the verge the fee could be waived by the County Council.

As reported the £3bn Government offer had been severely cut until only about £1bn had been allocated.  Norfolk had received a grant, as had Oxford, who had a pre-existing plan to buy 62 electric buses.

District Councillors’ Report, Mr C Arthey

Apologies for the lack of a written report but there was little to report.

A new pavement route to the new development at Cockfield would provide a safe walking route to Cockfield school.

Housing stock has been reduced over previous years due to Right to Buy and numbers continue to go down.  However by building or buying Babergh’s stock had increased by 82 for 2021/22 overall.  This included three new Council bungalows in Cockfield.

The Council Tax rebate scheme has been approved for Bands A to D.  A discretionary element (quite small) could help people responsible for energy bills who are not Council Tax payers.

The final CIL payments due for 2021/22, including the amount from Marden Homes, are coming through in early April.

There will be a new campaign to recycle glass properly.  A bin analysis shows that glass is present in both the blue and black bins, the campaign to ‘do the right thing’ will encourage disposal via the recycling locations.  However a new Government strategy will present further challenges when glass and food waste may have to be collected separately.

The Lavenham Press plans have not yet gone to Committee, still awaiting marketing/ viability evidence, proof that the site cannot be used for commercial purposes.  Highways are concerned about parking, there are still issues around flooding and heritage issues are not fully resolved.

There were no further questions for Mr Arthey.

The Minutes

It was prop. by Ms Mitchell,  sec. by Ms Flaconer, that the minutes of the meeting held on 3rd March 2022 are approved. Carried.  

Declarations of Interest

none

Apologies for absence   

Mrs Morrey, Dr Posner, Mr Chick and Mrs Maybury
 
Matters Arising

all covered by agenda headings.

9. Project Updates
Papers to update and support Agenda item 9 a - h can be found in the April 2022 Meeting Pack on the Lavenham Parish Council website.

a)    Lavenham Neighbourhood Development Plan Review
No written report for this meeting.  The Parish Council will receive a briefing on 11th May.

b)    Gas Works Site
The electricity meter has been installed but the lighting cannot be commissioned until all the gear connected to the gas holder repairs has been removed.
The final cost of the car park works had come out £18,000 below the CIL bid.
    
Ms Mitchell offered congratulations to previous Councillors for having the foresight to develop the Neighbourhood Plan, this influences the level of Neighbourhood CIL received by the Parish.  Congratulations to them, especially Mr Reeve.

Ms Mitchell is working on parking regulations and will soon have draft to review and comment on.  This could be an interesting debate as there are many opinions on how the site could be operated.  We also need to take a decision on the name of the car park.

c)    Prentice Street car park/toilets

It was agreed that a formal letter of complaint to TotalEnergies must be drafted by the middle of next week. This would include a timetable of conversations/email exchanges which had taken place and which showed that TotalEnergies had received the disconnection notice, agreed a refund of overcharged invoices etc. but had to date not acted on any of this information.  The letter would include a requirement for compensation for costs such as the hiring of temporary facilities

d)    Operations Working Groups – Facilities
The report of the remote meeting of the group had been circulated. It had been agreed that a new register would be compiled of parish assets and each inspected to assess whether they required refreshing, repairs or removal.

Ms Mitchell had submitted a report on the Church Street toilets, bringing attention to the various problems which have occurred since opening.  Her report gave the background to the scheme and the CIL bid, the preparations, design features, costs, problems and a way proposed to put things right.  This would include a review of additional costs since opening, seeking suggestions for a remedy from those involved in the rebuild, involving appropriate companies to review the toilets and offer solutions, identification of funding to implement alternative solutions.

Prop. Ms Mitchell, sec. Ms Falconer, that the suggested ‘Putting Things Right’ approach is approved.  Carried.

e)    Operations Working Groups – Open Spaces
Due to illness among the group meetings had been cancelled.

f)    Traffic Working Party
The Working Party has not met since the last Parish Council meeting, no update.

g)    Queen’s Jubilee Working Group

The Quiz Night at the Angel had been a great success and raised £550 for the Jubilee fund.  A great deal of effort had gone into the organisation and Ms Falconer felt this had been a great opportunity for the village to come together.  However she had been disappointed that no other members of the Parish Council, except herself and

Mr Thompson, had been there.

Volunteers would be delivering leaflets to all households in the parish this month.  These would invite bookings for the tables set up on Sunday 5th June for the Big Lunch.

Initially this would be 6 per household, residents only, although an extras list would be set up.

Tables and chairs (numbers up to 500) have been booked. There had been some debate over whether to hire or purchase a small marquee to put on tarmac to shelter the band.  Purchase was cheaper than hire and the marquee could be stored in the Chapel for future use.

Ms Falconer had submitted a request for additional funding and it was proposed by

Ms Mitchell, seconded by Mr Macro, that an additional £1,000 should be made available.  This would bring the total allocation from the Street Fair Committee fund to £2,000.  Agreed.

It was also agreed that additional temporary toilets would be hired for the weekend.

Ms Falconer, Mr Thompson, and their volunteer group were thanked for the hard work they had put in so far to making the Jubilee events a success.

h)    Communications Working Group
Awaiting report from Mr Chick.

Planning

Planning Applications Received:
DC/22/01419  Ponders, Barn Street, Lavenham

Application for Works to Trees in a Conservation Area - Fell 3no Leylandii (T1, T3 and T4) and 1no Silver Birch (T5), and lightly trim 1no Yew (T2)  - Recommend approval.
APPLICATION FOR PLANNING PERMISSION WITHOUT COMPLIANCE OF CONDITION(S)

DC/21/06906 Land Off, Norman Way, Lavenham
Proposal: Application under Section 73 of The Town and Country Planning Act for DC/18/03615 variation of Condition 1 (Approved plans and documents)

To amend Plot 19 and submit details of the "Gateway" at the entrance of the estate only.
Reason(s) for re-consultation: Revised drawing for south and east elevations received 29.03.22 - changes to fenestration and smaller garage

No updated plans, however the changes are described a reduction in size,  and a clarification of the site entrance gateway design – Recommend approval
DC/22/01764  1 Granary Cottages , Prentice Street, Lavenham

Householder Application - Erection of single storey extension (following part demolition of existing conservatory). – recommend approval.

The Planning Group recommendations were endorsed by the Parish Council, proposed by
Mr Macro, seconded by Ms Mitchell. Carried.  

Planning Decisions Received:
DC/22/00527 1 The Maltings, Barn Street, Lavenham – No objections to Works to Trees in a Conservation Area: Fell 1no Holm Oak in rear garden,

DC/22/00515  Robin Hill , Park Road, Lavenham – Planning Permission for Erection of Cart Lodge

DC/22/00729  Land Off , Clay Hill Lane, Lavenham – Application to determine if prior approval is required for a proposed: Erection, Extension or Alteration of a Building for Agricultural or Forestry use Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) - Schedule 2, Part 6, Class A/B/E - Erection of a wooden barn for animal feed.

Conclusion, that formal approval of the details of the proposed development is not required

DC/21/06797   Land Adjacent 45 High Street, Lavenham – Planning Permission for Erection of 1no dwelling, ancillary outbuilding and vehicular access

DC/21/04517  81 Church Street, Lavenham – Discharge of Conditions, Condition 3 (External Door), Condition 4 (Staircase), Condition 5 (Internal Doors), Condition 6 (Internal Partition) and Condition 7 (Structural Removals)

Finance and Strategy
 

It was reported that all CIL claims in respect of the Gas Works site had been submitted before the 17th March deadline and subsequently paid by Babergh.

a) Invoices paid between meetings (to 31/03/22):  
Durman Stearn, final invoice Gas Works car park  £25,665.34:  BME Ltd, electrical works Gas Works site  £16,606.13:  Sweco Ltd, staged completion Gas Works site  £3,744.00:   Anglia Car Charging, Gas Works EV points  £8,100.00.
(the above paid to comply with CIL claim end date of 17/03/22)
L Batchelor Wylam, 50% fee NP2 design guide  £1,000.00:  Lavenham C C, village hall meeting room hire for NP review group  £97.00:  Modicum Planning, support/advice NP review  £3502.60:  Out Design, NP review Design Guide £5,000.00.
(the above paid to comply with period of spending limit on Groundworks grant to NP review)
Zoom, monthly fee £14.39: Luxstone, memorial repair £458.33:  Suffolk C C, annual street lighting energy & maintenance  £4,418.69.
25/03/2022 Direct Debit, BT mobile  £6.00:  26/03/2022 Direct Debit, Go Cardless pay points  £43.08.
(the above paid and included in financial year ending 31/03/2022)

Transfer of £40,000 between accounts to cover invoices.

Payments direct to Bank: 07/03/22 Interest £5.75: 08/03/22 HMRC, VAT refund  £11,234.32:  11/04/22  Groundwork UK, grant to NP review  £9,660.00:  14/03/22 Babergh District Council, CIL Claim 5 Water Street car park  £17,892.78:  14/03/22 Babergh District Council,
Q4 Cleansing Grant  £2,432.43:  21/03/22 CIL Claim 6 Water Street car park  £33,576.56; CIL Claim 7 Water Street car park  £7,744; Locality Awards (Margaret Maybury) for Jubilee tree plaques  £405.00:  22/03/22 Hollibels Ltd, sponsor Jubilee tree  £50.00:  24/03/22 JPB Landscapes, memorial repairs  £375.00:  25/03/22 HMRC, VAT refund  £19,311.63:  28/03/22 Babergh District Council, final CIL bid Prentice Street EV chargers  £17,000.00:  28/03/22  Lavenham Street Fair Committee, transfer of remaining funds for community events  £7,000.00.

Invoices received/for payment :
JPB Landscapes March grounds maintenance (includes one grass mowing all areas) & street cleaning  £2,618.50:  Karzees Ltd. hire/cleaning of temporary toilets Prentice Street  £468.00: Kinex, phone a/c March  £59.17: British Gas, Church Street toilets electricity  £19.74:  Lavenham C C, Village Hall meeting room hire  £55.50:  Command Pest Control Ltd, public toilet hygiene services 10/03/22 to 10/06/22  £174.00:  Suffolk Assn of Local Councils, membership subscription for 2022/23  £668.07:  Pear Technology, Mapper technical support & updates to 31/03/2023  £168.00:  ICS, Church Street toilet cleaning & consumables (April) £570.03:  Zoom, monthly remote meeting fee  £14.39:  Payroll  £743.28:  Cartridge People, replacement inkjet printer  £218.87.
 
Transfer of £5,000.00 between accounts to cover invoices.

Prop. by Mr Sheppard, sec. by Mr Macro, that the financial transactions are approved. Carried.

Notice from Babergh District Council in respect of Business Rates for 2022/23, as the Parish Council qualifies for Small Business Rate Relief in respect of the Cemetery no payment is required.

c)    Staff Pay Review update
Following confirmation of the agreed 1.75% pay increase, proposed by Mr Thompson, seconded by Mr Macro that this increase should be applied to the Clerk’s salary backdated to December 2021 as had been the normal course of action previously. Carried.

Currently the Finance Group is looking at the staff appraisal and review process, pay rates as well.  A proposal will be brought to the next meeting.  The Finance Group will take responsibility for the process.

d)    Councillor Training
Six online sessions have been booked with SALC and will commence with the first module on Wednesday 13th April at 7 pm.  Each session will be recorded for later viewing by anybody unable to attend.

e)    Update on recruitment for financial assistant
In acknowledgement of the increase in the hours worked by the Clerk it had been concluded that help beyond the financial work should be sought.  The proposal is that we should look to recruit an Assistant Clerk who would be able to share tasks under supervision and provide cover in the Clerk’s absence.  This is still in the concept stage and a proposal should be brought to the Council at the next meeting.

Before moving on to consider the School’s request for  a contribution towards Forest School sessions some details of the Annual Revenue Income/Expenditure 2021/22 were raised.
Car parking donations were considerably down on pre-Covid times and, considering the country’s present financial situation, it was doubtful whether these would ever return to previous levels.  Donation points are being monitored but it seems likely that other ways of raising income will need to be considered if we are to keep up the level of services and the budget for 2022/23 may have to be reviewed to meet the new needs for the coming year.
Ms Mitchell thanked the Clerk for maintaining the financial records.

b)  Lavenham C P School request for funding to support Forest School sessions

The Parish Council had contributed £750 in both March 2019 and March 2021, feeling that this would support the pupils in enabling an extra class to join in sessions, and in 2021 to take advantage of outdoor activities after months in lockdown.  
It was agreed that the Parish Council would again contribute £750 to support an extra class in taking part in Forest School sessions but it would be pointed out that it may not be possible to continue to make contributions into the future and they may need to be thinking about alternative ways of raising funds for this purpose.  Prop. Ms Mitchell, sec. Mr Macro. Carried.

Correspondence received from:

Resident of Bears Lane, who was thanked for trimming back the overgrown verge.  However problems with the volume of traffic using this narrow lane continue.  Unfortunately the Parish Council has been unable to get Bears Lane included within the proposed 20 mph limit.  The Traffic Working Party had also been made aware of the dangers of the road there and hoped to come back with some views on low cost traffic calming.

Police & Crime Commissioner notice of Forum, Monday 11 April, 7 pm. Online.

Hastoe Group, advertising Shared Ownership property available on Peek Close.

BaberghMidSuffolk, Notice of Community Governance Review Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 Local Government (Parish and Parish Councils) Regulations 2008.  Community Governance Review commenced.  Deadline for responding to first phase of consultation is Friday 27th May 2022.

Lavenham Gardening Club offering to donate funds for a bench to be positioned in the village.

Email from a resident of the village congratulating SCC, SCC Adult Social Care and Babergh District Council for keeping any increase in their part of the Council Tax as low as possible, the same it was observed cannot be said for the Parish Council and P&CC.
Also disturbed by the letter from National Grid explaining that after the gasholder renovations it will be handed over to the Parish Council, no doubt with all sorts of costs which will force more tax rises on the residents.

Date of next meeting:  The next meeting will be the Annual Parish Council Meeting and will be held on Thursday 5th May 2022.
The Annual Parish Meeting (public meeting) will be held on Wednesday 25th May, 7.30 pm in the Village Hall.
The regular monthly Parish Council meeting on Thursday 2nd June has been cancelled due to the Platinum Jubilee weekend events and has been re-scheduled for Thursday 9th June.

The meeting closed at  10.20 pm.