Minutes April 2017

Minutes of the meeting of Michaelstow Council Meeting held in the Treveighan Methodist Chapel on Thursday April 6th 2017

Present: Cllr. J. Marshall (chair), Cllr. R. East, Cllr. R. Whitby, Cllr. A. Button, Cllr. A ffrench Blake, Simon Mitchell (Parish clerk), Cllr. Dominic Fairman, (Cornwall Councillor for St Teath and St Breward wards).

Michaelstow Annual Parish Meeting opened at 7.30pm

Chair’s Report: The purpose of the APM is to explain what the parish council has been doing over the previous year and what their plans might be for the oncoming year. This meeting provides an opportunity for electors to have their say on anything that they consider is important and ask questions of the parish council. In April 2016 we were looking at issues concerning the migrant workers at Michaelstow Manor, we received our first payment from Mr Pluess for Michaelstow Community Fund and set up a constitution, our illegal wood carving traders had just set up camp and the clerk was discovering about the new Transparency Code, through which the parish council got a projector, computer, and screen. Next year’s audit is to be replaced by the Transparency Code, which means that steady upgrade to making all parish council information public on the parish website is underway.

We had a Queen’s Birthday celebration and we hired out our clerk as a locum to St Tudy, for whom he is now clerk. On almost every minutes appears the stream running down the road that pools outside Tregawn Farm, still to be resolved. Our new local ward councillor, Dominic Fairman has appeared at many of our meetings and been extremely helpful.

The clerk has provided a new book of governance in line with instructions from the auditor to review standing orders and financial regulations. Michaelstow Parish passed the audit with one small problem, that the fixed assets were not properly listed. Our last annual parish meeting was in October where Phil Eaton talked about gypsies and travellers in Cornwall, unfortunately we could not find a speaker this year and hope to invite one earlier for the annual parish meeting next March.

A new planning protocol has come into action this year, along with a trend to pass many more planning applications to meet annual targets set for new dwellings. There have been several plans discussed by the parish council, including one for Michaelstow Manor, which would have seen a large increase in the population of Michaelstow. The best attended planning application was the building of a new cottage in Treveighan. Residents thought that, like so many small, rural dwelling places, cars were taking over and the infrastructure was not made for so many vehicles in use.

Financial Report: Michaelstow parish accounts finished last year with £2200 in the account and fixed assets worth £2679 (not including the laptop and projector). Initial calculations show an income of £6538.81 during the year, £1500 of which is a donation to Michaelstow Community Fund from Mr. Pluess’ wind turbine via the ‘Farm Energy Group’. Expenses during the year are (initial figures) £5102.73 of which £3339.61 is the clerk’s salary, about £52 on stationery, £200 on insurance, £123 on audit and salary admin, £275 on chapel hire and caretaker, £925 on footpaths and village green maintenance plus a £43 employer’s contribution to NI for the clerk’s locum work, paid forward by St Tudy Parish Council.

This leaves around £2136 (not including Farm Energy donation) to take forward to the 2017 financial year, slightly less than 2016.

The precept for 2017 shows a 70% increase to £7,500 (from £4,500) due mainly to the projected cost of a contested election which CALC recommended to include and slowly increasing footpath-cutting and clerking costs. The PC is recommended to keep 25% of turnover in the bank at all times as a safety measure and 2016 figures show it was nearer 40%.

Introduction of speaker: Andrew Langdon had been invited to speak on Cornish Celtic Crosses but his diary was full at such short notice. However Cllr. Dominic Fairman advised the parish council that a parliamentary boundary review was upcoming. In order to reduce the number of MPs in parliament from 650 to 600 there was to be a review in 2018 which would reduce the number of wards, merging several parishes. Michaelstow, as it is so small, might be selected as one of these. The parish councillors thought that in merging Michaelstow with a bigger parish, it’s interests would be lost, similarly to the church’s situation, which was now bundled in with St Tudy.

Questions from electors: There were no electors present.

The Chair closed the Annual Parish Meeting

Parish Council Meeting

  1. Public Session: There were no members of the public
  2. Members declaration of interest: There were no interests declared
  3. Apologies for non-attendance: There were no apologies offered
  4. Approve the minutes: The minutes of the March meeting were approved and signed
  5. Matters arising from the above minutes:
  • ongoing situation with illegal trader resident at top of Dry Lane. One caravan had moved and the traders seemed to be winding down their activity.
  • bank account setup for Parish Community Fund and Friends of Church. Councillor Whitby took the identity documents from the clerk and said that the bank accounts should be open within the next month.
  • financial risk assessment & assets. The clerk passed around a modified financial risk assessment that was needed for audit purposes and this was adopted by the council and signed by the chairman.
  • bench repairs. The chairman thought that the benches were repairable and had found a carpenter who offered to fix the one on the road by Treveighan
  • Cormac re road drainage outside Tregawn Farm. Cllr Fairman offered to chase up Cormac over the stream on the road.
  • invitation to Andrew Langdon for April 6th. The clerk was asked to book Mr Langdon in for next year’s annual parish meeting.
  1. Planning: Applications.

PA17/02324 erection of a dwelling on land opposite the school house, Ms Sybil Griffiths. The councillors discussed the history of this site. They had viewed the plans for the new proposal online and Councillor ffrench Blake had provided purchase covenants from 1936 and 1981. These tied any purchases of the land to certain restrictions which included not building anything that wasn’t a toilet or an educational facility. The clerk had scanned these covenants and supplied them to the parish councillors. Because there had been some illegal building, a mobile home, a garden chalet and other sheds, the applicant was claiming that this was a brownfield site in order to push the plans through. People who had purchased the buildings opposite believed they were protected from development of this site by these covenants. There were also listed buildings nearby, the church being grade 1 and the school house opposite the site being a grade 2 listed building. There also seemed to be unresolved issues with regards to the drainage from the school house being pumped uphill into the area of the application. The parish Council decided to object to this plan on the basis of the above and Councillor ffrench Blake volunteered to speak to the planning committee on behalf of the parish council. A response was not required until May 22 and the clerk agreed to circulate a response to the councillors before posting it to planning.

  1. Accounts & Financial Matters
  2. Bank Balance: all payments cleared to: £3671.08
  3. Invoices & Payments: clerks salary of £269 paid by standing order on 1st of month.

The clerk asked for a letter of authority to be signed to the bank to change his salary amount from £269 per month to £274.56.

Cheques were written and signed for SJ Sanders for cutting last October £119, CALC invoice for training October 2016 £24

  1. LMP: The clerk confirmed that the LMP contribution towards footpath cutting had been confirmed. Councillor Whitby had been approached by a parishioner who was concerned a about a wooden stile being taken out on the Trenewth footpath. The clerk gave him a copy of the footpaths of Michaelstow to check. Cllr. Fairman would investigate.
  2. Community Network: There was nothing discussed regarding this issue
  3. Parish Matters:
  • Audit underway online. The clerk said that the internal audit was due to be looked at in the following month and that he would email councillors with a link so they could view the whole process online (http://www.michaelstow.org.uk/2017audit).
  • Parish profile. Councillor Button had updated the parish profile provided by the clerk with further details and provided it to the church, in preparation for the new vicar. He said he would email it on to the clerk for use on the parish website.
  • Damage of bus shelter. An estimate of damage needed for police report. Councillor Button reported that although the bus shelter had been damaged, it only needed screwing together and was basically safe. He would ask someone to do this.
  • Planning. Councillor Button reported that he had a planning application underway for a conditioning store for his potatoes. He hoped this would be coming to the council in the next month or so.
  1. Date of next Meeting:

Dates for year’s meetings 2017 were agreed provisionally as:

04.05 local elections 11.05 01.06
06.07 03.08 07.09 05.10 02.11 14.12
  1. To Close the meeting: Cllr Marshall closed the meeting at 20.30