Minutes of the Annual Meeting of Parish Council – 28 May 2014


At Wrea Green Institute on 28 May 2014 at 19.00 Hours.

There were 18 people in attendance.

Cllr. Mrs. Janet Wardell, Chairman of the Parish Council, welcomed the gathering and thanked them for their attendance.

There were apologies received from Arthur Naylor, Chrissy Wheatman and PCSO Trevor Sterling.

The Minutes, which had previously been circulated to all councillors and had been displayed on the Parish Council and Wrea Green Institute notice boards, were approved and signed by the Chairman, Cllr. Mrs. Janet Wardell.

There were no matters arising.

Cllr. Mrs. Janet Wardell reported that her third year in office and again been very full, varied and interesting.
• Field Day saw the crowning of the Queen,
• Civic Sunday, when councillors and guests joined the congregation of St Nicholas Church for a special service.
• The Senior Villagers’ Party run by the WI saw over 70 people enjoying a meal with entertainment in the school.
• Our own village Best Garden Competition showed the dedication and hard work done by local residents.
• Bonfire night which saw the best display of fireworks ever. The Parish Council’s thanks go to Any and the staff at the “Tute”, the Walton family for the use of their field, the Institute committee for their support in the bucket collection, and Andy Wallace and his team who set up the pyrotechnics.
• Remembrance Sunday service was attended by more people than ever before.
• The Christmas tree lights switch on was joined by the children of our Primary School and the Guardian brass band who braved the elements. Thanks there to the staff of The Grapes for their help, especially with the mulled wine..
None of these regular events would take place without the sterling work done by the various committees and groups in our village, and the Chairman thanked them all.

Over the year, on the Parish’s behalf the chairman has attended numerous events.
Amongst the most enjoyable has been Carr Hill school’s regular musical performances, receiving the Silver gilt award at North West in Bloom and the runners up award in the Lancashire’s Best Kept Village Competition. Another highlight was the 10 year Twinning celebration when our friends from St. Bris brought 2 vines and joined us in a concert by the St. Nicholas singers and a meal. In addition the various civic occasions which allowed for “posh” frocks and hats to be worn.

Planning matters were never far away with mixed results. Unsustainable planning applications were defended vigorously but appeals by “greedy” developers looking only for profit and central planning “policy” resulted in unwanted building developments being approved. The Chairman gave her thanks to CAPOW which alongside the Parish Council worked tirelessly to preserve our village for generations to come.

The future holds lots to keep the Council busy with fracking, further housing development, crime, but hopefully also plenty of pleasurable events. The Chairman stated her faith in her fellow councillors who gave up so much of their time to ensure Ribby with Wrea was such wonderful place to live. Cllr. Mrs. Wardell also thanked her Clerk, Hadyn Gigg, for his support.

The Clerk reported that the Council has continued to monitor expenditure very closely to ensure that the residents were getting “best value for money” at all times. Costs were maintained within approved budgets which included designated moneys carried over from previous years. Also income had exceeded anticipated budget levels. The Clerk then went through the accounts line by line.

The Council levied a lower precept of £46613 down by 3.3% on last year which equates to approximately £75 per household per annum or 20.5p per day based on 625 houses in the parish. The reduced Precept was covered by a payment for Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) of £1587, a reducing central government payment which unlike many district councils was passed on by Fylde Borough Council. There will be small increase of Precept in 2014/15 to cover the reduction of CTRS moneys – only £946. Nevertheless this will still represent a 1.3% reduction in band D payment.

The main income generated other than the precept, was for fishing permits £2320
(£2395 - 2013), the bonfire night bucket collection £1400 (£1024 2013), allotment rent £980 (£1003 2014), garages and hut rental £1464 (£682 2013), donations only £30 (£45 2013), Tub sponsorship at £614 (£345 2013) although this included a one off £100 donation from James Hall & Sons (Spar). Bank Interest £116 (£5 2013),Westby with Plumptons Parish Council pay 40% towards the upkeep of the War Memorial but which is received 12 months in arrears -this year £284 (£2617 2013 as it covered the contribution to last year’s capital outlay).

Salaries Relate to two part time staff and a modest decrease on last year representing a 1% rise for the Clerk and 50p an hour increase for the public convenience operative.
Mileage – down on 2013 for travel to meetings to represent the Council..
The Greens expenditure relates to the cost of maintaining the three village greens, including assistance towards the maintenance of the cricket square and the electricity supply. Total expenditure £10331 (£7288 – 2013). The increase is attributed mainly to the ongoing drain improvement programme which cost £2500 and inclement weather conditions in 2013 which prevented certain work being carried out. The cricket grant of £1000 is also included in this figure.
Open Spaces £2314 (£3032 – 2013) covers the cost of maintaining the six housing open spaces areas within the village. Decrease as there was no additional work required other than normal maintenance..
Playground £28771 (£10334 2013) includes the cost of grass cutting and the maintenance/safety issues/risk assessment reviews relating to the play area at Wray Crescent. The increased on 2013 is due to the second tranche payment of £8810 for equipment and £18344 for another piece of play equipment which was installed in April/May 2013. £30000 of the total cost of new equipment £35964 was met from section 106 moneys for open spaces expenditure contributed by Redrow Homes as part of the old Wareing site development.
The War Memorial £417 (£368 2013) cost relates to the lawn mower maintenance and incidentals. Jack Dobson grows and supplies all the plants without charge. There is an additional cost of £40 for the bugler and wreath at Remembrance Sunday included below in the section 137 expenditure.
North West in Bloom/Village Landscape Enhancement Committee £4337 (£3573 2013) represents the cost of maintaining and watering the tubs and hanging basket floral displays and any additional projects agreed by the now defunct VLEC group.
Allotments £604 (£708 2013) All major expenditure has now been undertaken. Normal yearly expenditure will now be meet from rental income received.
Garages – £4040 (£7780 2013) The Council took over the ownership of the Wray Crescent land in December 2011 and this expenditure includes the cost of the second phase of tarmacking £3600.
Station Road Toilets - £1375 (£5496 2013) The cost of maintaining the toilets, excluding salary £2722, All phases of capital improvement have now been undertaken and future costs should for the next 3/4 years only relate to ongoing maintenance and repairs.
General Administration £1695 (£1798 2013) costs are frugally controlled wherever possible and this represents the lowest expenditure in 5 years..
Capital Purchases – No capital expenditure this year other than improvements to assets specified separately.
Training/Seminars cost £295 (£255 2013) This covers training workshops, seminars and conferences for the councillors and staff.
Insurance £995 (£1017 2013) Includes employee liability, fidelity insurance and cover of the Council’s assets where considered appropriate. The Council is in a new three year contract to ensure the best terms are evident at no extra cost. As a result of entering longer contracts costs have been kept at similar levels for the last five years.
Subscriptions £922 ((£624 2013) relate to the annual membership to Lancashire Association of Local Councils (LALC), CPRE, Society of Local Clerk’s, Lancashire Playing Fields Association, and Zurich Municipal covering Local Authority health and safety issues. Also the cost of Data Protection is included in this category and this year, the cost of the financial software.
Audit Fee – The reduced external audit fee £300 (£400 2013) and the internal audit fee £75.
Conservation Area - £785 (Nil 2013) – The cost of painting the galvanised railings at the school roundabout. The Wain Homes housing development off Richmond Avenue will generate circa £30000 which as public Realm s 106 moneys will be spent improving the conservation area. The Parish council is also committed, if necessary, to making a sizeable contribution to any enhancement programme.
Village Plan nil (£81 2013) – no cost this year as the Neighbourhood Plan has been on hold pending progress with the Fylde Borough Local Plan. There will be an appreciable cost this year as a village referendum has to take place and the printing of the final document. Hopefully most of the latter costs will be covered by grants.
Twinning – Biennial visit from St. Bris when a modest grant of £250 is made. Next visit May 2014.
Community Grants £1100 (£1255 2013) relate to £300 St. Nicholas Church towards the upkeep of the church gardens, £300 Wrea Green Institute in lieu of rent, and £500 Fylde Rural Splash (Kirkham Baths). £1000 towards the upkeep of the square, included in Greens expenditure, and other grants are included in section 137 below.
Community Activities £2523 (£24712013) covers the cost of the Bonfire Night excluding insurance £1220 (£1022 2013) and Christmas activities £1303 (£1449 2013). The cost of bonfire night fireworks was covered by the bucket collection. Both events were a credit to the village.
Section 137 £639 (£438 2013) payments are those made where there is not a specific Council empowerment but where there is a benefit to residents of the parish. Included in this figure are the costs of the Village Best Kept Garden Competition, Remembrance Sunday wreath and bugler, Lancashire Best Kept Village Competition entry fee, and community grants of £350 to Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue and the Village Senior Citizens, Dinner..
The National Association of Local Councils’ recommended Reserves Policy is one years’ expenditure, but at the very least 6 months. With this in mind it is intended, if possible, to achieve this level over the forthcoming years. However, in the current changing world the Council has to be aware that outside factors may determine alternative measures Non allocated (free) Overall Reserves increased to circa £32483 from £26711.

During the year the Council assets increased from £83481 to £119806 with the addition of the two pieces of play area equipment, but are grossly undervalued on the prescribed audit basis e.g. The Green value extended at £1.

Proposed Projects for 2014/15
Village Plan renamed Neighbourhood Plan. – It is hoped that this will be brought to fruition by the end of 2014. The cost will be in excess of the Council’s allocated budget of £3275 but it is expected that any shortfall will be covered by grants.
Conservation Area – The Council’s specific budget is only £6215 but the Wain Homes housing development should generate in the region of £30000 additional Public Realm funding.
Play Area
If further Open Space funding is generated these moneys will be spent on further improvement to the Wray crescent Play Area.

In the absence of a police officer the Chairman gave a report on information furnished by PCSO Sterling.
• 54 recorded crimes for Wrea Green including Ribby Hall Leisure Village/The Villa against 60 in same period the previous year. Comprising theft 13, burglary 12, criminal damage 12, possession of controlled drug 2, other crime 2, going equipped 1, and interference with a motor vehicle 1.
• 22 crimes detected by positive outcome or offenders charges.
• PACT meetings will now be the first Monday each month (except bank holidays then the second Monday) at Wrea Green Institute.
• PCSO Sterling and the Community Beat Manager, PC McDonald thanked the Wrea Green Community Volunteers, Neighbourhood Watch members, councillors and residents for their vigilance over the last 12 months. This was highlighted by a call from a resident of St. Nicholas Grove reporting suspicious males in the area which resulted in arrest of known criminals and obviated additional crimes being committed in the village. This also resulted in the Chief Constable sending a letter for outstanding service.
• Now that the Kirkham Neighbourhood team’s speed gun has been mended, the current PACT priority is the continuance of the Community Speed Watch sessions.

Cty. Cllr. Paul Rigby reported that :-
• The Conservatives no longer had the balance of power at Lancashire County Council.
• £300 million of savings to be made over the next 4 years.
• The Conservative lobby is against the loss of the school traffic wardens, which would adversely affect Wrea Green..
• A stretch of Ribby Road is to be resurfaced, hopefully, in the first quarter of this financial year.
• Cty. Cllr. Rigby thanked the Parish Council for the good relationship that was evident.
Cllr. Mrs. Wardell thanked Cllr. Rigby for his support to the Parish Council and residents of the parish over the last year.
The large potholes on Station Road bridge, albeit not in the parish, were raised and Cllr. Rigby responded that he had already raised this issue with Highways and was fully aware of this problem.

Cllr. Andrews advised that:-
• He had fought the 4 planning appeals but unfortunately 2 were agreed by the Planning Inspectorate.
• A new planning application for 100 homes off Willow Drive needed to be strongly opposed as it was not sustainable.
• A stretch of Westby Road was undulating dangerously and he was pressing for action to be taken at LCC.
• The Referendum has changed the governance system from cabinet to full council committees. Cllr. Andrews felt that this was a retrograde step as it was more cumbersome and slowed up decisions making.
• FBC could do little on fracking as it was not a decision maker. It was, however, important that that the income generated did come to the Borough Council.
• The CEO of FBC ‘s recent tour of the village had been successful and all suggested actions have been followed up by Allan Oldfield.

John Rowson, the Chairman, advised that:-
• A small group met with Fiona Riley and Mark Evans at FBC on 1 August 2013 to review progress. At that time it was agreed that cosmetic changes could be made to bring the documentation more in line with the evolving Fylde Local Plan.
• Further action has been deliberately delayed to gauge the situation against the draft Local Plan with which in line with the Localism Act 2012 it has to gel.
• Additionally, matters were deferred to take account of result of the 4 planning appeals which have now been concluded.
• Now advised by one of the contact groups that production of the NP was not reliant on the production of the Borough Local Plan. This has also now been confirmed by FBC.
• FBC has had a copy of the draft NP since 2011 which has been given some weight by the planning officers albeit little by the examining Planning Inspector.
• It is now proposed, after being given wrong advice by FBC, that the steering group will be reduced to the original number of 15.
• The finalisation of the NP should be completed this year but the pressure of the work needed to defend against the 100 Willow Drive property development will slow up the NP fructifying.

John Rowson, Chairman, reported that:-
• CAPOW was a “phoenix group” set up in the middle of November 2013 out of the ashes of SWAG which ended at the end of May.
• During the hiatus John did continue to assist residents on planning matters.
• John agreed to chair CAPOW for 6 months or at least until the end of the three appeals that became 4. However, he is committed to continue to support his neighbours until the Willow Drive application comes to fruition
• CAPOW is now well established and John is satisfied that there is no reason why it cannot continue after he resigns as he is looking to move away from Wrea Green and the Fylde.
• John is concerned that whilst the local Planning Committee agreed to refuse all 4 planning applications, a non local, who appeared to be erroneous with some of his data, can merely ignored some key information and overturn decisions. As this flies in the face of localism he saw two options available but then took both:-
i) Seek comment from the SOS via our MP, who has already been very supportive.
ii) Seek a freedom of information request to view the Planning Inspector’s files.
• CAPOW introduced an e-mail only newsletter in February circulated to requesting recipients, which has had good feedback.
• Fracking has been added to updates of the bnewsletter.
• CAPOW has formally objected to the Willow Drive and 83 Ribby Road planning applications.
• The Planning Guidance document on the village website originally set up and then removed by SWAG has been recreated under the CAPOW banner.
• Other documents prepared by John Rowson for SWAG have also been recreated under the CAPOW banner.
• CAPOW continues to monitor The Villa and Richmond Avenue extension developments on behalf of local residents in view of regular planning conditions contravention.
• CAPOW has re-established links with other Fylde planning groups as it is felt that it gives a stronger front.

John Bagot raised the issue of land owners and even those believed to be the land owner receiving abuse from other residents which was generally considered unacceptable behaviour.

The meeting closed at 20.16 Hours

Cllr. Mrs. J.L. Wardell May 2015