Gerrans Parish Council
MINUTES of the Meeting of Gerrans Parish Council
held on Tuesday 5th January 2016
in the Memorial Hall Annexe
NEXT MEETING – Tuesday 2nd February 2016 at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall Annexe
Cllrs Case, Edwards, German, Greenslade, Hetherington, Iddison, Meek, Morse, Neal, Taffinder ( Chairman); CC J German, S Skull (Clerk)
3 members of the public attended.
The Chairman read out a statement in respect of the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 reminding those in attendance and participating in the meeting that they were liable to be filmed, recorded, photographed or otherwise recorded.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS IN ITEMS ON THE AGENDA
Mr Steve Hooper, speaking on behalf of CAD Architects, spoke of his concern at the way the adopted Roseland Neighbourhood Development Plan (RNDP) was being interpreted by the RNDP’s Planning Assessment Group (PAG) in its comments to Planning Officers. He said the PAG was an unelected body whose outlook appeared to be that any substantial development will have an adverse impact on village character and be detrimental to the surrounding area. He said this was unjustified, and that the policies of the RNDP could be read in a more positive way and should be applied in a progressive approach to meet all residents’ aspirations. He asked that the Parish Council (PC), in considering planning applications, take note of the PAG’s comments but also view the applications in the light of Councillors’ own local knowledge, and taking into account all other relevant legislation and policies both local and national.
CC Julian German announced that there would be a 10% rise in Cornwall Council’s annual contribution to the footpath maintenance carried out by the PC as from the financial year 2016 / 2017.
He also said that the Roseland Surgeries Patients’ Group was keen to receive feedback on the “out of hours” service currently offered.
MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING
The Council accepted the draft minutes of the meeting held on 1st December 2015 as being a true record. The Chairman signed the minutes.
REVIEW OF MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING – MATTERS ARISING
The clerk reported that, pursuant to the attendance at December’s meeting of St Mawes Fire Service Station Manager John Andrew and PCSO Jim Eagles, a site meeting was held on 9th December outside the Plume of Feathers pub attended by Mr Andrew and Watch Manager Shay Richardson, of St Mawes Fire Service, officials from Cormac and Cornwall Council, Cllr Taffinder and the clerk to view the critical area of traffic obstruction and discuss available options. Mr Jeremy Edwards, of Cornwall Council, said at the meeting that he would consult his design team and come back to the clerk with their suggestions.
Cllr Meek said that he had researched further the legal definition of what constituted the offence of obstructing the highway and had communicated his findings to PCSO Eagles but as yet had received no response.
CC Julian German said he had requested warden visits in evening hours, the expense of which would fall not on the PC but on Cornwall Council because of the safety issue.
The clerk further reported:
– he was awaiting permission from the National Trust (NT) for the drainage works required on NT land below New Road car park,
– Cllr Taffinder had provided, and Cllr Neal had decorated, a Christmas tree on behalf of the PC as part of the Christmas Tree festival in Gerrans Church. Appreciation to both was expressed by Councillors,
– the detritus left by the hedge-cutting on Gerrans Hill had now been removed, and
– he was still awaiting precise locations from Councillors for tree surgery required in the Parish, and he was investigating ownership of the relevant trees along Eshcol Lane,
Cllr Hetherington referred to Cornwall Council’s recently announced Local Devolution Fund, under which £70,000 in total would be made available across the 20 parishes of Truro and the Roseland to assist with the ongoing devolution initiative. He said ideas would be welcomed for local projects which might qualify for funding. Cllr Meek suggested that the Fishermen’s Shelter might be refurbished and heating added so more use could be made of it. Cllrs Iddison, Neal and German said they would liaise with the Harbour Master to investigate the possibilities.
- Letter from the Head Teacher and Chair of Governors of Gerrans CP School
The PC had received a letter complaining that incorrect and misleading information regarding a proposed Multi-Academy Trust was provided to the PC at the meeting held on 3rd November 2015. The full text of the letter may be seen at Appendix 1 to these minutes. The letter had been previously circulated to Councillors.
After discussion, the clerk was asked to respond to the letter stating that:
– all the matters listed in the letter’s first point were formally noted,
– it was not possible to amend the minutes of the November meeting as these had already been confirmed as a true record, and
– the view of the PC was that any Councillor is entitled to report his or her personal impression of an event they have attended provided there is no malicious intent or any other breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct.
The clerk was further asked to explain the concept of the “Community Asset” as requested in the letter, and to outline the process for making a formal complaint against the PC should the correspondents not be satisfied with the PC’s response to their letter – again, as requested. Action clerk
There was no further correspondence which would not be addressed in other items on the agenda.
|PA15/11135||External cladding and alteration works at Quay House, Portscatho||Majority support:
8:support, 1: object
|PA15/11168||Shed for lambing and storage at Tatey Basin Barn, Portscatho||Majority object on grounds of visual impact – proposed structure considered too high.
2: abstain – Cllr Neal and 1 other
|PA15/11825||Replacement of conservatory with garden room and en-suite extension at 9 Parc An Dillon||Unanimous support|
|PA15/11932||Replacement of conservatory with new enlarged garden room at 7 The Lugger, Portscatho||Unanimous support|
Councillors considered a pre-application enquiry from CAD Architects in respect of the proposed conversion of a partly refurbished outbuilding into a full time residential dwelling at 40, Churchtown Road.The Roseland Plan Planning Assessment Group (PAG) had commented that the proposal was generally in conformity with the Plan but drew attention to the stipulation in Policy HO3 (“Re-use of redundant buildings”) that “Proposals ….will be supported provided that the building, or part of the building, will be used as affordable housing”
After discussion, the view of the PC was that it had no objection to the proposal from a planning point of view, but was concerned over the practicalities of enforcement of the affordability issue in the long term. It was agreed that the legal position remained unclear, and that guidance would eventually be needed from Cornwall Council’s legal department.
|Application||GPC comment||CC Decision|
|PA15/09972 – Towan Cottage, St Anthony||Support||Approved|
Nothing to report
Community Assets Listing
The clerk reported that he had suspended work on the application to list the school pending the outcome of the correspondence reported in agenda item 7 above.
COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVE REPORTS
Cllr German reported that the Parish charities had approved and made a donation to a parishioner in particular need.
CHURCH CLOSE OPEN SPACE LAND
The clerk reported that in the matter of the proposed lease of the small parcel of land at the bottom corner of the field, the local search results were clear, and the PC’s solicitors reported no matters of concern arising from their enquiries of the Landlord. Accordingly the Chairman and clerk had signed the lease on behalf of the PC and delivered it back to the solicitor.
The clerk also reported he had received a quote for the ongoing grass management at the site which he would forward to the Church Close Committee.
PORTSCATHO PUBLIC CONVENIENCES
The clerk said he had now sent back to Cornwall Council the lease, together with the PC’s solicitor’s final comments, so that a final engrossed version for signature could be produced.
He also reported that four days before Christmas he had received information from the PC’s tenant, Mr Simon Stallard that some ridge tiles had slipped and were supported only by the plastic guttering on the corner by the entrance to the toilets. In view of the bad weather forecast and the impending influx of visitors for Christmas and New Year, he and the Chairman had judged this to be an emergency, and had found a contractor willing to make the repair at short notice and authorised the bill of £418, as permitted by the PC’s Financial Regulations. The cheque for this bill was included in “accounts for payment” under agenda item 15.
The PC considered a suggestion made earlier in the month by Cllr Hatwood, in response to a parishioner’s expressed concern, that the PC might provide some sort of lighting on the footpath between Churchtown Road and California Gardens. After discussion and various suggestions, Cllr Iddison said he would investigate the practical possibilities.
CHANGES TO PRECEDENT
The clerk said that if the Financial Regulation 2.3 and Standing Order 12.2 could be amended so that the latest date for the PC to review the budget for the forthcoming financial year was 7th February, rather than the end of January, as currently stated, that would give an extra month to enable a more accurate forecast to be made, as later information would be available. Cllr German proposed (seconded by Cllr Iddison) that the Standing Orders and Financial Regulations be so amended. Agreed unanimously. Action clerk
The clerk reported that all payments submitted for approval, except for the emergency payment referred to in minute ref 011612 above, were materially within budget or within forecast and agreed contingency levels where actual figures were unknown at the time of setting the budget.
ACCOUNTS FOR PAYMENT
It was resolved that the outstanding invoices totalling £3,115.80 (including VAT of £117.90) be paid. A schedule of these payments is available from the clerk.
The reconciled bank balance as at 25th December was £50,823.24
REVIEW OF BUDGET FOR 2016 / 2017
Cllr Taffinder proposed (seconded by Cllr Greenslade) that the final budget for the year ending 31st March 2017 be reviewed at the next regular PC meeting on Tuesday 2nd February. This was agreed unanimously.
OTHER PARISH MATTERS
- Any urgent business
- Matters to be included on the next agenda
– None other than as minuted previously.
- Minor items for report
– Cllr Iddison said he had received reports of a street light being continuously on at California Gardens. CC Julian German said he would investigate within Cornwall Council.
– Cllr Taffinder said she had been advised that progress had been made in the ordering of the proposed Jubilee memorial seating.
The meeting closed at 9.10 pm
(APPENDIX 1 follows below)
Gerrans Parish Council
MINUTES of the Meeting of Gerrans Parish Council held on Tuesday 5th January 2016
Full text of letter of complaint from Gerrans CP School 15th December 2015
Dear Gerrans Parish Council
It has been bought to our attention that incorrect and misleading information was provided to the Council at the Parish Council Meeting held on Tuesday 3rd November 2015.
In the minutes it is reported that: Proposed Multi-Academy trust
Cllr German said he had attended a recent consultation meeting and gained the impression that the proposed scheme was inevitably going to happen, and that Gerrans Primary School, being the smallest involved, would probably be the first to close. He also said only four parents had attended, possibly because of the inconvenient timing of the meeting.
Cllr Meek suggested the school should be the subject of the next application for listing as a Community Asset. There was agreement and the clerk was asked to proceed. Action clerk
Firstly, we wish the following points to be formally noted by the Council:
- The school’s governing body is required by section 5 of the Academies Act 2010 to consult with such persons as they think appropriate on the question of whether the school should be converted into an academy. The consultation may take place before or after an Academy Order has been made in respect of the school.
With regard to parents, the school has undertaken the following consultation process:
- Information was sent out to all parents on 2nd October 2015 with
details of the proposal and details of who to contact at the
school if any parents wished to raise any questions or concerns.
- A consultation meeting was held with parents on 15th October
2015 at 3.30pm.
Approximately 7 of 31 parents attended the meeting. This was despite this meeting coming immediately after the harvest festival which was attended by approximately 17 of 31 parents. This meeting lasted over an hour.
- At this meeting, a parent suggested that the proposed time of
the second planned consultation meeting, which was due to take
place on llth November 2015 at 9am, be changed to an evening
to allow working parents to attend.
- This meeting took place on llth November 2015 at 6pm. 2 of 32
parents attended. The meeting lasted approximately an hour and
- To date, the school has received one written feedback from
parents about the school’s proposal.
- It was made clear to attendees of the parent consultation meetings
what the academy consultation process was. At the first consultation
meeting, it was explained that the school’s academy application had yet
to be submitted (it has since been so) and that this would have to be
approved by the Department for Education by the issuing of an
Academy Order. The Academy Order is simply permission from the
Secretary of State for the school to proceed with the process. It was
further explained that a significant amount of work would then take
- Discuss the details of the proposal with the other schools,
including governance and schemes of delegation;
- Undertake the legal and financial due diligence on each school as
part of the risk assessment process; and
- Complete the consultation process.
The school’s governing body would meet again to discuss the outcomes of the above and decide whether or not to proceed to the signing of the funding agreement, resulting in the school becoming an academy. To suggest that conversion is “inevitable” at this stage is a clear misunderstanding of this process.
- It was further made clear to attendees of the parent consultation
meetings that the academy process was not a panacea to unviable
schools, and that simply converting to academy status was no guarantee
that a school would remain open. However, there is no suggestion that Gerrans School is unviable and no suggestion that the school is likely to close, whether or not it converts to academy status.
Secondly, and in view of the above, we wish to formally request that the minutes of the meeting on 3rd November 2015 are amended and/or that our objections to the recording of the consultation meeting are noted in full in the forthcoming meeting minutes of the Council.
Thirdly, we wish to raise our concern about the way the outcome of the consultation meeting on 15th October 2015 was reported by Cllr German to the Council, bespite this meeting lasting over an hour, Cllr German appears from the minutes to have summed up the meeting in two sentences! He also appears from the minutes to have focused only on perceived negative aspects which, as set out above, are based on an incorrect understanding of the circumstances.
Fourthly, we note from the meeting minutes that it was suggested that the school should be the subject of the next application for listing as a ‘Community Asset’. We would be grateful if you would explain what this means and the likely implications for the school of such an application.
Finally, we have been asked by our legal team to request a copy of the Gerrans Parish Council formal complaints process so that action can be taken if the above matters are not resolved to our satisfaction. We would be grateful if a copy could be forwarded to the school without delay.
If we can assist the Council with more information about the consultation process, or the academy conversion process more generally, then please do not hesitate to contact us.