Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 23rd September 2021 in the Upstairs Room of the Wheel Public House, Leek Road, Longsdon at 7.00pm.

Contents

Meeting Details

Present:

Councillor J. Sargeant (Chair).
Councillors T. Beastall, J. Bode, S. Dickinson, C. Hawthorne, R. Lovell & K. Shaw.

 

In Attendance:

Two Members of the Public.
John Bourne, Clerk to the Council

 
 

41 / 21. Apologies for Absence.

Apologies for absence were received from District Councillor N. Hawkins.

42 / 21. Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest at this point.

43 / 21. Chairman’s Address.

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting including the two newly co-opted Councillors.

44 / 21. Public Comments.

One member of the public asked for information on the proposed School signage. She was informed that the matter would be discussed later in the meeting.

45 / 21. Approval of Minutes of Last Meeting.

The minutes of the meeting held on 5th August 2021 had been circulated and it was agreed that they be signed as a true and correct record.

46 / 21. Matters Arising.

Councillors Jacquetta Bode & Simon Dickinson had duly signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

(a) Remembrance Sunday Poppy Locations.

The following locations were agreed as sites for the display of the poppies:

 On “Longsdon” Signs (2), near the Memorial Hall (2), on the wooden Bus Shelters (2), Denford Road (1) & Outside St. Chad’s Church (1).

The purchase of a Remembrance Day wreath was also mentioned but due to last year’s donation to the British Legion not being accepted, and in the light of the displaying of the Council’s poppies, it was agreed not to purchase a wreath this year.

(b) Longsdon Memorial Hall (1).

A request had been received from the Memorial Hall Management Committee to ask if a programme of its events could be displayed n the Council’s notice boards. This was agreed.

  Longsdon Memorial Hall (2).

Councillor Hawthorne, the Council’s representative on the Longsdon Memorial Hall Management Committee gave an extensive report of the last meeting of the Committee.

She gave further details of the use of the hall by the school which apparently had no formal contract and neighbours objecting to the noise etc. etc. She also reported that all the pupils at the school were brought in individually by private transport and deposited directly into the Memorial Hall building.

She stated that most of the Management Committee had resigned leaving just two persons looking after the running of the Hall, its bookings and finances etc.

She reported that District Councillor Hawkins was in discussions with Staffs. Moorlands District Council about various issues with the situation. In the light of this it was agreed to leave these matters to her for the moment.

At this point Councillor Hawthorne stated that she had resigned as the Parish Council’s representative on the Committee. In view of the forgoing information it was agreed not to appoint another representative at the moment.
The Chairman expressed sorrow that her experiences in the post had led to her decision.

  Longsdon Memorial Hall (3).

Contact had been made with County Councillor Heath regarding the requests for “School” signage on the main A53 road. In a belated reply involving determining proof of ownership of the school, she had asked what signage the Parish Council wanted and would take it up on her DHP next year. However, after the foregoing discussion it was decided to try and determine the cost of any necessary signage but leave the matter in abeyance for the moment.

(c) Bus Shelter Painting.

An estimate for the painting of the two wooden bus shelters with two coats of green Cuprinol had been obtained from the Council’s lengthsman in the sum of £180.00. It was agreed to accept this estimate.
He had apologised for the delay in the painting of the benches in the parish.

(d) Post Box in Micklea Lane.

A letter had been sent to the manager of the Royal Mail local sorting office regarding the sealing of the postal box in Micklea Lane. A reply stated that this action had been taken due to a road closure in the area. The box was now in normal usage again.


(e) Publication of Dates of the Council’s Meetings.

A request had been received that the dates of the next Parish Council meeting be posted on the notice boards. While the Chairman pointed out that the relevant dates were always published on the Council’s website, it was agreed that the dates should be displayed on the notice boards.

47 / 21. Other Business.

There was no business under this item.

48 / 21. Correspondence.

The following correspondence had already been distributed to Councillors:-

  • Get in Touch with Staffs. Commissioner’s Office.
  • Update from Dougie Mac.
  • W.A.R. Fly Tipping Campaign – SMDC.
  • Manchester Airport Project.
  • Staffsordshire Moorlands Climate Action Group.


Clerks & Councillors Direct Magazine.

49 / 21. Planning.

The following planning applications were discussed and it was agreed to forward no objections, subject to normal planning guidelines, to:

  • SMD/2021/0576 Proposed Free Standing Orangery / Garden Room at Stonelowe Hall, Leek Road.
    •  
  • SMD/2021/0577 Listed Building Consent for Proposed Free Standing Orangery / Garden Room at
    • Stonelowe Hall, Leek Road, Longsdon.

50 / 21. Finance Matters.


(a) The Certificate of Registration had been received from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

(b) A refund of £513.13 from last year’s V. A. T. payments had been received. This was slightly less than had been claimed.

(c) Orders for Payment.

It was agreed that the following items be paid:

 Recipient Amount  Reason
 John Sargeant (Chair).   £5.99  Paid to Ionos for Website – One Monthly Charge.
 J. A. Gibson.  £140.00  Agency Work. 
 Parish Online    £45.00  Online Mapping Fee.
 The Wheel. £25.00  Room Hire.

 

51 / 21. Public Comments.


A member of the public reported that the pavement on the North East side of School Lane had become obstructed, in various places, by overgrowth of hedges and vegetation. This matter to be reported to Staffs. County Council.

52 / 21. Items for Inclusion in the Agenda for the Next Meeting.


There was no business under this item.

53 / 21. Date of Next Meeting.

The date of the next meeting was arranged for Thursday 4th November 2021 at 7.00pm in the upstairs room of the Wheel Public House, Leek Road, Longsdon.

Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 5th August 2021 in the Upstairs Room of the Wheel Public House, Leek Road, Longsdon at 7.00pm.

Contents

Meeting Details

Present:

Councillor J. Sargeant (Chair).
Councillors T. Beastall, C. Hawthorne, R. Lovell & K. Shaw.

 

In Attendance:

One Member of the Public.
John Bourne, Clerk to the Council

 
 

28 / 21. Apologies for Absence.

Apologies for absence were received from District Councillor N. Hawkins.

29 / 21. Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest at this point.

30 / 21. Chairman’s Address.

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked Councillor Hawthorne for her attendance at the last meeting of the Longsdon Memorial Hall Management Committee.

31 / 21. Public Comments.

There was no business under this item.

32 / 21. Approval of Minutes of Last Meeting.

The minutes of the meeting held on 17th June 2021 had been circulated and it was agreed that they be signed as a true and correct record.

33 / 21. Matters Arising.

(a) Vacancies.

Four applications for the vacancies had been received from electors.
After one ballot Simon Dickinson & Jacquetta Bode were duly co-opted onto the Council

(b) Bus Shelter.

Contact had been made, again, with the suppliers of the new bus shelter regarding the delayed missing parts. These had now arrived and the contractor had fitted them and the shelter was now in use.

(c) Details of Remembrance Sunday Items.

The sheets of the red polypropylene had been purchased for the poppies. The Chairman had managed to obtain a template and produced an example for the meeting. This was accepted and the Chairman was thanked for his efforts.

(d) Longsdon Memorial Hall.

Councillor Hawthorne, the Council’s representative on the Longsdon Memorial Hall Management Committee gave an extensive report on the meeting of the Committee held on 3rd August 2021.

She gave details of the use of the hall for the school which was held in a secure situation, the Charity status of the hall, the daily usage of the facility and also a complaint from a neighbour of the school. The Committee had been reformed and would be holding monthly meetings in the future. An advertisement for more members would be published. There would also be more public consultation on matters in the future. The school was circulating an explanatory letter to all residents of the village.

It was agreed to continue with the requests for “School” signage on the main A53 road with County Councillor Heath and also to contact the school which it appeared would have to pay for any signs.

The Chairman thanked Councillor Hawthorne for her comprehensive report.

(e) Dog Waste / Litter Bin.

The Clerk reported on contact he had made with the Staffordshire Moorlands District Councillor with the Environmental Portfolio regarding a replacement litter bin on the canal towpath near Horse Bridge. After much discussion he was instructed to submit a litter bin request form to the Moorlands Council which was duly done. A telephoned reply, later confirmed in writing, gave various reasons why a bin could not be provided due to there being no agreement between the Moorlands Council and the Canals & River Trust etc. etc. It was agreed that no further action could be taken at present.

(f) Refurbishment of Parish Benches.

The Council’s lengthsman had been instructed to paint the public seats in accordance with his estimate. It was reported that the lengthsman had provided the additional flower tub next to the public seat in Denford Road and had also replanted all the village tubs.

(g) Late Highway Reports.

The Chairman gave details of a very belated acknowledgement of highway complaints that he had made some time ago. One of the faults had still not been completed successfully.

34 / 21. Other Business.

(a) The Chairman reported that he had been contacted by a member of the Leek Show Committee who had informed him that it was proposed to hold Leek Show 2022 in fields within the Parish.

(b) ) A report was given that the postal box In Micklea Lane had been sealed over to prevent its use. Royal Mail would be contacted for an explanation.

35 / 21. Correspondence.


Staffordshire Moorlands Climate Action Newsletter.    ) Already Distributed
Micklea Lane Road Closure Notice.                            ) to Councillors.
 

Letter had been received from the Chair of Endon Parish Council asking for support for the provision of seats on the Caldon Canal from the City Boundary to Froghall. As this part of the canal did not pass through the parish and the Council has already provided seats on the Leek Arm of the canal no action would be taken.

36 / 21. Planning.

 

The following planning applications have been distributed to Councillors due to the time scale and no objections were received to:

  • SMD/2021/0387 Replacement Single Storey Side Extension & Detached Single Garage at
    • Greendale, Denford Road, Longsdon.
    •  
  • SMD/2021/0433 Conversion of Existing Outbuilding to Form Single Holiday Unit at Lapwing Farm,
    • Devils Lane, Longsdon.
  • For this application it was agreed that a rider should be added that the Holiday Unit should not be used as a permanent residence.
  •  
  • SMD/2021/0449 Application for Variation of Conditions1 & 6 following Grant of SMD.2018/0698 on
    • Land adjacent to Whitehaven, Leek Road, Longsdon.
    •  
  • SMD/2021/0455 Erection of Twin Span Polytunnel at Proctors Nursery, Leek Road, Endon.

37 / 21. Finance Matters.


(a) The Exemption Certificate for an External Audit had been submitted and the Annual Accounts information had been posted on the Council’s Website.

(b) The Clerk had written to the Chief Executive Officer of the Moorlands Council to ask for an explanation regarding the late payment of the half yearly Lengthsman invoices. A lengthy reply with apologies had now been received and the £400.00 due had been paid into the Council’s bank account. The purchase order for the current year had also been received.

(c) A quarterly Finance Statement was distributed to Councillors.

(d) Orders for Payment.

It was agreed that the following items be paid:

 Recipient Amount  Reason
 John Sargeant (Chair).   £11.98  Paid to Ionos for Website – Two Monthly Charges.
 J. A. Gibson.  £140.00  Agency Work. 
 J. A. Gibson.    £120.00  Supply New Planter, Compost & Renew All Plants.
 John Bourne.   £369.95  Clerk’s Salary & Expenses (nett).
 H. M. Customs & Excise. £75.00  P.A.Y.E.
 The Wheel. £25.00  Room Hire.

 

38 / 21. Public Comments.


The member of the public suggested that the two wooden bus shelters should be painted green to match the new metal shelters. It was agreed that this matter be investigated and an estimate obtained for the work.

39 / 21. Items for Inclusion in the Agenda for the Next Meeting.


Determination of positions for the display of the Remembrance Poppies.

40 / 21. Date of Next Meeting.

The date of the next meeting was arranged for Thursday 23rd September 2021 at 7.00pm in the upstairs room of the Wheel Public House, Leek Road, Longsdon.

Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 6th May 2021 Remotely via Zoom.

Contents

Meeting Details

Present:

Councillor J. Sargeant (Chair).
Councillors C. Hawthorne, R. Lovell.

 

In Attendance:

One Member of the Public.
John Bourne, Clerk to the Council

 
 

1/21 Apologies for Absence.

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors T. Beastall and K. Shaw & District Councillor N. Hawkins.

2/21 Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest at this point.

3/21 Chairman’s Address.

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.

4/21 Public Comments.

There was no business under this item.

5/21 Approval of Minutes of Last Meeting.

The minutes of the virtual meeting held on 11th March 2021 had been circulated and it was now agreed that they be signed as a true and correct record.

6/21 Resignations.

Notice of Resignation, due to family issues, had been received from Councillor Beverley Bromley. Earlier at the Annual General Meeting Notice of Resignation, due to issues with her employment, had been received from Councillor Daral Sargeant. The resignations were reluctantly accepted and the Electoral Officer would be informed.
It was agreed to write letters of thanks to both Councillors for their service on the Council.
Mention was made of the informal manner which other Councillors had been informed of Councillor Bromley’s resignation but the informal approach was made due to the fact that the Council had not officially accepted the resignation.

7/21 Matters Arising.

(a) Bus Shelter.

As previously reported the new bus shelter had been ordered and paid for. Delivery had been promised for the last week in April but there had been delays in its manufacture. Delivery had now been promised for the coming week.

(b) Tree in Sutherland Road.

An email on the matter had been sent to Chief Executive of the Moorlands Council to complain of the discourtesy and unprofessionalism of the Tree Officer involved by not replying since November 2020 but no initial reply had been received from that source. District Councillor was asked for assistance with the matter and apparently the email had “gone astray”

A lengthy apologetic reply had now been received from the Tree Officer of Staffs. Moorlands District Council but as the tree had already been trimmed privately the matter was considered closed.

(c) Highway Complaints.

Further communication had been sent to the Community Infrastructure Manager of Staffs. County Council regarding the long wait for replies to highway complaints. She had now stated that the Highways Team have offered their apologies for the delays in responding to reported highway issues.

(d) Details of Remembrance Sunday Items.

Information had been obtained about the manufacture of the large poppies etc for roadside display. It appeared that the poppies in Endon were made by a local volunteer. The cost of the material used had been obtained and it was agreed to contact the volunteer to obtain further information. 6 poppies were considered sufficient.

It was reported that the cheque for £20.00 sent as a donation to the local branch of the British Legion in November had still not been cashed. Enquiries had been made and illness and Covid restrictions were sited but the cheque would be presented.

(e) St. Chad’s Church Clock.

The Church Administrator had now reported that the extensive repairs which were needed to the mechanism of the clock would now cost in the region of £14,000.00 and an appeal is being launched.

It was agreed to contact her again and ask:-

When will the appeal be officially launched?

Are the Church Authorities liable to contribute, bearing in mind the recent sale of the vicarage etc etc,?

Is it possible to operate the clock electrically rather than the expensive replacement of the current mechanism?

(f) Planting of the Village Tubs.

Enquiries had be made regarding the cost of having name plates made with the Parish Council’s name on which would be attached to the new bus shelters and the village tubs to show that they had been provided by the Parish Council. The cost appeared to be approximately £25.00 each.

It was agreed that the Council’s lengthsman be asked to re-plant the village flower tubs during June or July provided that the price was not significantly greater than that of the early spring planting.8/21 Other Business.

 

8/21 Other Business.

(a) Pedestrian Crossing.
It was reported that the white lines of the pedestrian on Leek Road had been re-painted, the Belisha Beacon globes had been cleaned and a ”Slow” sign had been painted on the road on the approach from Leek.

(b) Parish Council’s Responsibilities.
This matter was discussed but it was felt that there would need to be a detailed examination of these and it was agreed that the matter be left in abeyance for the moment.

(c) Venue for Future Meetings.
As today’s meeting was the last that could officially be held virtually, a venue for future meetings would need to be established. The Chair and the Clerk would investigate.

(d) Refurbishment of the Parish Benches.
It was agreed to obtain a price from the Council’s lengthsman for the refurbishment of all the Parish benches.

(e) New Gateway off Gratton Lane.
It was reported that a new entrance gateway and installation of a possible drive had taken place in Gratton Lane. This had been inspected and District Councillor Norma Hawkins had taken up the matter with Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.

9/21 Correspondence.

Telephone Reading Friends – Staffs Libraries.                                   ) Already Distributed
Information of Churnet Sound Radio.                                              )
Keep Britain Tidy Campaign.                                                          )
Peat Free Campaign – Moorlands Climate Action Newsletter.             )
Virtual Councils’ Meetings – K. Bradley M.P.                                     ) to Councillors.

An invitation to join Staffs. Parish Councils’ Association had been received – no action.

10/21 Planning.

For Report.

The following plans had been distributed to Councillors for comments and no objections were forwarded:

  • SMD/2021/0092 Variation of Condition 2 relating to SMD/2014/0748 on Land at Wyn Dene, Leek
    • Road, Longsdon.
  • SMD/2021/0087 Proposed Single Storey Side & Rear Extension at Waterside, Denford Road,
    • Longsdon.
  • SMD/2021/0206 Erection of Replacement Garage at Woodroyd, Denford Road, Longsdon.
  • SMD/2021/0232 Variation of Condition 12 in relation to SMD/2017/0674 at Wyndene, Leek Road.
  • SMD/2021/0259 Proposed Extension to Form Kitchen / Living Area at Marcliff, Limes Avenue.

A Notice of Appeal had also been received – Written Reps – App Ref SMD/2020/0211 on Land to the Side of Ridgeway House, Leek Road, Longsdon. The original application was approved but this was to appeal against some of the conditions imposed.

11/21 Finance Matters.

(a) For Report.

Recent cheque payments had been made on the bank account with no problem so it is appeared that the mandate was now in order but it would need to be amended again with the resignations of the two Councillors.

(b) Another half yearly Lengthsman invoice had been submitted to Staffs. Moorlands District Council together with a statement also showing the unpaid previous invoice.

(c) Due to the unavailability of last year’s internal auditor, Chris Neufeld had offered his services with a quoted price of £70.00 as against £60.00 last year. This appointment was agreed.

(d) A draft copy of the Annual Accounts had been distributed to each Councillor.

(e) As the Council’s turnover was less than £25,000.00 the Council could apply for an Exemption Certificate for an External Audit. It was agreed that this be submitted.

(f) Zurich Municipal had quoted a slightly increased cost for the Council’s insurance premium in the sum of £355.72. The company were then informed of the removal of a wooden bus shelter and the provision of a new metal shelter but they took on the amendments at no extra cost.

A further quotation had been obtained from BHIB Insurance in the sum of £493.77. It was agreed to continue to use Zurich Municipal.

(g) Orders for Payment.

It was agreed that the following items be paid:

 Recipient Amount  Reason
 John Sargeant (Chair).   £11.98  Paid to Ionos for Website – Two Monthly Charges.
  £14.38  Paid to Zoom – Monthly Charge.
 J. A. Gibson.    £160.00  Agency Work.
 John Bourne.   £294.99  Clerk’s Salary & Expenses (nett).
 H.M. Revenue & Customs. £70.00  P.A.Y.E

 

12/21 Public Comments.

The member of the public questioned whether the bulbs etc in the flower tubs could be salvaged and stored but the Chairman pointed out the problem of insurance for any volunteers. It was agreed to leave any action to the Council’s contractor as agreed earlier.

13/21 Items for Inclusion in the Agenda for the Next Meeting.

There was no business under this item.

14/21 Date of Next Meeting.

The date of the next meeting was arranged for Thursday 17th June 2021 at 7.00pm at a venue to be arranged..

Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 17th June 2021 in the Upstairs Room of the Wheel Public House, Leek Road, Longsdon at 7.00pm.

Contents

Meeting Details

Present:

Councillor J. Sargeant (Chair).
Councillors T. Beastall, C. Hawthorne, R. Lovell & K. Shaw.

 

In Attendance:

Two Members of the Public.
John Bourne, Clerk to the Council

 
 

15/21 Apologies for Absence.

Apologies for absence were received from District Councillor N. Hawkins.

16/21 Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest at this point.

17/21 Chairman’s Address.

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.

18/21 Public Comments.

There was no business under this item.

19/21 Approval of Minutes of Last Meeting.

The minutes of the virtual meeting held on 6th. May 2021 had been circulated and it was now agreed that they be signed as a true and correct record.

20/21 Matters Arising.

(a) Resignations.

The Electoral Officer had been informed of the two Councillor resignations and had issued the normal statutory notice which had been published. As this had attracted no responses the Officer had informed the Parish Council that it was now at liberty to co-opt any electors to fill the vacancies. It was agreed that these vacancies be advertised on the notice boards and the Council’s website with applications for the vacancies to be discussed at the next meeting.

(b) Bus Shelter.

The delivery of the new bus shelter had again been delayed but has eventually arrived and had been erected but there were numerous parts missing but delivery of these had been promised. The contractor had agreed to fit these on arrival at no extra cost.

(c) Details of Remembrance Sunday Items.

Information had been obtained about the manufacture of the large poppies from the local volunteer who had agreed to provide a template. It was agreed to purchase four sheets of the material required at an approx cost of £4.50 per sheet.
It was reported that the cheque for £20.00 sent as a donation to the local branch of the British Legion in November had still not been cashed. The cheque could no longer be presented.

(d) St. Chad’s Church Clock.

The Church Administrator had again been contacted and had now reported that the appeal had been officially launched, the Church of England will not pay for any repairs or maintenance to St. Chads and for the clock to be operated electrically there would be a need to seek out a faculty from the DAC office which was likely to be refused as St. Chads is listed.

(e) Planting of the Village Tubs.

It was reported that the Council’s lengthsman had already re-planted the village flower tubs. It was agreed to ask him to provide and plant an additional flower tub next to the public seat in Denford Road.

(f) New Gateway off Gratton Lane.

It was re-iterated that this matter was now being investigated by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.

(g) Refurbishment of Parish Benches.

An estimate had been received from the Council’s lengthsman in the sum of £175.00 to paint the seats woodwork with wood stain and Hammerite to the metal parts. It was agreed that this estimate be accepted.

21/21 Other Business.

(a) Fly Tipping at the old New Inn Site.

District Councillor Hawkins had sent a report that the hoarding at the old New Inn site had been broken into and some fly tipping had taken place. This had been reported to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and the hoarding had now been reinstated.

(b) School in Longsdon Memorial Hall.

A resident had contacted the Council asking for information regarding an alleged school being held in Longsdon Memorial Hall. A reply had been forward to say that the Parish Council had no input into this matter and suggested contacting the Memorial Hall Committee.
However an approach had been received from a member of the Memorial Hall Committee asking if the Parish Council could help to get “School” signs erected on the main road. It was agreed that as this was a matter for the County Council, County Councillor Gill Heath be approached.

(c) Dog Waste / Litter Bin.

A request had been received for a Dog Waste / Litter Bin to be sited near to Horse Bridge in Sutherland Road, Longsdon. The Chairman gave the history on this matter when Staffordshire Moorlands District Council refused to replace one which it had removed in error despite the Parish Council offering to purchase a replacement but the Moorlands Council wanted £300.00 per year to service the said bin.
It was agreed to contact the Moorlands Council again stating that there was now more footfall and health hazards due to the Covid emergency.

22/21 Correspondence.


Live & Local Indoor & Outdoor Performances.     ) Already
Staffordshire Moorlands Climate Change News.  ) Distributed
Hug Green Arts Festival – 26th. June 2021.       ) to Councillors.

Information had been received that the Dougie Mac & the Donna Louise Trust Charities were now united.

23/21 Planning.

 

Councillors discussed the following planning application and agreed to forward no objections, subject to normal planning guidelines, to:

  • SMD/2021/0538 Proposed Replacement Conservatory with Orangery & Link Section to Garage at Churnet Croft,
    • Wood Lane, Longsdon

24/21 Finance Matters.


(a) Half yearly Lengthsman invoices together with a statement had been submitted to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council but no re-imbursement had been received. It was agreed to contact the Chief Executive Officer of the Moorlands Council to ask for an explanation.

(b) The Clerk confirmed that the Council’s insurance had been renewed with Zurich Municipal.

(c) The Council’s internal auditor, Chris Neufeld, had completed the Annual Internal Audit Report 2020 / 2021 without any adverse comments.
Copies of the necessary documents connected with the following three minute items had already been distributed to Councillors.

(d) As the Council’s turnover was less than £25,000.00 it was agreed that the Exemption Certificate for an External Audit be signed and submitted.

(e) It was agreed that the Annual Governance Statement 2020 / 2021 be approved and signed.

(f) It was agreed that the Accounting Statement 2020 / 2021 be approved and signed.

(g) Orders for Payment.

It was agreed that the following items be paid:

 Recipient Amount  Reason
 John Sargeant (Chair).   £5.99  Paid to Ionos for Website – Monthly Charge.
  £14.38  Paid to Zoom – Final Monthly Charge.
 J. A. Gibson.    £120.00  Agency Work.
 Neufeld Accountancy Services.   £70.00  Internal Audit Fee
E. W. H. Construction. £755.00  Erection of Bus Shelter.

 

25/21 Public Comments.

There was no business under this item.

26/21 Items for Inclusion in the Agenda for the Next Meeting.

There was no business under this item.

27/21 Date of Next Meeting.

The date of the next meeting was arranged for Thursday 5th August 2021 at 7.00pm in the upstairs room of the Wheel Public House, Leek Road, Longsdon.

Minutes of the Longsdon Parish Meeting held on Thursday 6th. May 2021 Remotely via Zoom.

Contents

Meeting Details

Present:

Chair J. Sargeant. (Chair of the Parish Council).

In Attendance:

Four Electors.
John Bourne, Clerk to the Council

 
 

1. Apologies for Absence.

Apologies for absence were received from Parish Councillors T. Beastall and K. Shaw & District Councillor N. Hawkins.

2. Approval of Minutes of Last Parish Meeting.

The minutes of the last Parish meeting held on 9th. May 2019 had been circulated and it was now agreed that they be signed as a true and correct record.

3. Matters Arising.

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.
He reported that since the last Parish Meeting the Covid-19 Virus has changed life in an unprecedented manner. It sadly took the life of our colleague and friend Parish Councillor Richard Weston who served the Parish for decades. His passing was an event which brought the severity of the pandemic to our door.

Now that the incredibly successful British mass vaccination programme is allowing a partial return to what we took for granted as normality, it seems that this is the last day that we are able to shield ourselves with a virtual meeting. The legislation removing the need for local authorities to hold physical meetings expires today.

He had been very impressed by the way that Parish Councillors and the Clerk all embraced video conferencing technology at the drop of a hat and thanked them for being patient and courteous to others during the meetings. He thanked Parish Councillor Daral Sargeant for helping him trial the Zoom platform in a multi-user environment set up at home and verify its suitability for Parish Council meetings. It’s not easy to test a multi-user application on your own.

He offered special thanks to Parish Councillor Richard Lovell for all his support as Vice Chair and in particular during the period prior to virtual meetings where we still needed to keep the Council’s wheels turning.

He also thanked Councillor Keith Shaw for representing the Parish Council at the Parish Assembly meetings and former Councillor Beverley Bromley for her great work in bringing the Parish Council and the Longsdon Memorial Hall Committee a bit closer together.

He said that he was not reflecting on the Council’s activities or achievements here because thankfully Clerk to the Council John Bourne had prepared and circulated a draft report regarding that, specifically for this meeting.

He went on to say that, as ever, the Clerk meticulously maintained the Council’s accounts as Responsible Financial Officer with the Auditor again commenting on their high standard. The Council simply says “We should write to..” and the Clerk encapsulates our wishes in an email or a letter addressed to the appropriate person without further ado. He rightly takes great pride in his meeting minutes which are always professional, concise and comprehensive. Ultimately they are what the public see of the Council and we can be proud of them. He organises and schedules contractors to carry out the physical tasks demanded by the Council, monitors them to their conclusion all while keeping the Chair of the Council informed of progress. Excellent work, thanks John.

Lastly, he said that he couldn’t help but despair over the state of the New Inn site after years of badgering the local authorities and more recently the local M.P. in a vain attempt to get the tragic eyesore suitably dealt with. He fervently hoped that we continue to apply what pressure we can and see acceptable progress in the near future.

4. To Receive a Report for the Years 2019 / 2020 / 2021.

Due to the Covid epidemic restrictions no Annual General Meeting took place in 2020 and there was a break in the normal meeting schedule. Subsequent meetings were held remotely via Zoom after an account was set up.
Consequently the officers elected at the AGM held in 2019 continued in office viz:

Councillor John Sargeant as Chairman with Councillor Richard Lovell as Vice Chairman. Councillors J. Sargeant and K. Shaw as representatives on the Staffs, Moorlands Parish Assembly.
Councillor B. Bromley as the Council’s representative on the Longsdon Memorial Hall Management Committee.
John Bourne, Clerk to the Council, as the Responsible Financial Officer.

In August 2020 the Council paid tribute to Councillor Richard Weston, a long serving Parish Councillor, who had sadly passed away. The vacancy was duly advertised through the normal procedure and eventually four applications were received for co-option. Carole Hawthorne was duly co-opted onto the Council.

Estimates for both of the financial years were prepared. Councillors agreed that the precept requirement for the year 2020/2021 would be £5,000.00, an increase on the previous year, which would result in the Band D property parish rate being £17.73, a rise on last year of 9.92%. In the following year the precept requirement for the year 2021/2022 remained unchanged at £5,000.00.

It was agreed that the Clerk’s salary be increased by £100.00 in the new financial year.

The annual accounts of the Council for the first year were audited by the usual internal auditor. He commented that the accounts had been kept to a high standard and were in good order. There were no adverse comments. A new internal auditor was employed for the following year after his retirement and she also gave a favourable report on similar lines.
As the Council had a turnover of less that £25,000 it was deemed exempt from an external audit. This option was pursued and the necessary forms were certified, signed and forwarded to the external auditor in both years.

A new battery and new pads were purchased for the defibrillator machine on the front of the Memorial Hall. This machine is now registered on a National database.
It was suggested that another machine be purchased for the lower end of the village but before this could be arranged the owners of the business property involved purchased one themselves.

A grant of £100.00 was forwarded to the Douglas Macmillan Hospice in the second year after a request was received.

A question was asked as to why the Parish Council was paying the maintenance costs on St. Chad’s Church Clock when it was not working. The Church Administrator was approached and she reported that extensive repairs costing around £4,000.00 were needed but a further inspection was planned.

A wreath was again purchased for the Remembrance Day service in the first year but due to Covid restrictions a donation of £20.00 was forwarded to the Leek branch of the British Legion last year in lieu of wreath laying.

The Council appointed a replacement contractor employed under the lengthsman scheme of Staffs. Moorlands District Council.

The village tubs were again planted for the summer period in both years but as the planting was not up to the usual standard in the second year the Council’s lengthsman was approached and he took on the work with an early planting in 2021.

The Chairman ensured that the Council’s website was compliant with the Accessibility Regulations and the Council registered, each year, with the Information Commissioner in the sum of £40 – 00.

The Council contacted Staffs. Moorlands District Council on numerous occasions regarding the dangerous state of the old New Inn site building but after numerous excuses no action was taken.The dilapidated hoarding around the building started to cause a traffic hazard and the hoardings were eventually replaced.

A new Hatton Anti Vandal Bus Shelter was installed in the wall of the Memorial Hall, with the permission of the Trustees, in the total sum of £3,192.00 excl. V. A. T.
Staffs. Moorlands District Council was again approached about the dangerous state of the wooden bus shelter opposite the old New Inn but originally no action was taken. A quotation for repairs to the shelter had been received from a local contractor. However, after further initial pressure, the Moorlands Council actually demolished the shelter and cleared the site without notice.
The Parish Council decided to install another Hatton Bus Shelter on the site. This has been purchased and will be erected on the site at a total cost of £2,855.00 exc. V. A.T.

Numerous complaints about various matters were received regarding the dangerous use of the pedestrian crossing on the A53 at the junctions of Sutherland Road and School Lane. Staffs. County Council’s Highways Department were approached about the matter in November 2019 but no action was taken, apart from a small trimming of bushes on the approach from Leek.
A complaint was also received of a parked car near to the crossing which was causing visibility problems for traffic emerging from Sutherland Road. This matter was reported but no action was taken.
The matter was raised again by a member of the public at the November 2020 virtual meeting who pointed out a dangerous personal experience at the crossing. It was agreed that County Councillor Heath and Karen Bradley M.P. be contacted about the problem. Since then the white lines of the crossing have been re-painted and the Belisha Beacon globes are to be cleaned.

Due to the practice of having virtual Council meetings all planning applications were forwarded to Councillors by email and comments returned. All the details were recorded in the minutes of the meetings.

Most comments provided no objections but one or two applications were recommended for refusal.
Two complaints remain outstanding:

to Staffs. County Council regarding the lengthy delays in acknowledging highway complaints.

to Staffs. Moorlands District Council regarding the absence of replies to questions asked.

5. Any Other Business.

There was no business under this item.