DRYBROOK PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 17th October 2023 at 7.00pm at The School Room, Holy Trinity Church, Drybrook
Parish Councillors: John Print (Chairman), Malcolm Jones, Pat Weaver, Richard Moore, Pam Caton, Jacky Johnston, Dave Middlemiss, Michael Garland, Cathy Blake, John Print and Roy Bardo
Also present: County Councillor Terry Hale
District Councillor Jackie Fraser
District Councillor Trevor Roach
April Seabrook (Locum Clerk)
4 members of the public
- Apologies for absence
District Councillors Shaun Stammers
- Members of the public issues (15 minutes Standing Orders suspended)
- County & District Councillor Reports
County councillor Terry Hale reported that all the tasks had been completed, that Cllr Blake had requested, when writing to the County Council’s Area Highways Manager. |He also stated that as there had been a delay in cutting the grass verges this will take some time for the Highways Department to catch up with this task, and that he will look at the broken sign when he meets with the Area Highways Manager tomorrow.
Cllr Hale also informed the Council that he had done all he could about the complaints regarding the closure of Hawthorne Road.
District Councillor Jackie Fraser stated that the Forward Plan Strategy is being looked at again as the District Council now have a new administration. The Government have reduced the number of houses that need to be built in the Forest of Dean area by 1,000, however another 3000 new houses still need to be built, the majority of which will be built in Newent, Lydney and Beachley and the rest will be dispersed among the larger villages.
Cllr Fraser also informed Council about the Ecoschools Scheme run by Keep Britain tidy, to take part in the scheme it cost each school £250 and there was enough funding for 10. All this funding has now been taken up and once the schools have met all the criteria of the Ecoshools Scheme they are awarded a green flag.
Cllr Trevor Roach stated that Drybrook surgery was a very important part of the community and it would be to the village’s best interest for it to be run as a rural surgery. A decision regarding who will run the surgery will be made this week.
- Declarations of Interests
- Requests for Dispensations
- Minutes of the Meeting held on 19th September 2023
It was resolved to accept the minutes of the meeting, which was held on 19th September, as an accurate record of the meetings, and were signed by the Cllr Middlemiss as he was the Chairman of this meeting.
- Planning matters
- a) P1213/23/FUL – Winkleigh House, Oakland Road, Harrow Hill, Drybrook – Erection of a 2 storey side extension, front porch and garage with associated works.Demolition of outbuildings.
Decision: No objections on the understanding that natural England will be dealing with the issue of the bats on the site.
- b) P1212/23/OUT – Winkleigh House, Oakland Road, Harrow Hill, Drybrook – Outline permission for the erection of 2 x semi-detached dwellings.
Decision: no objections in principle.
- Petty Cash
Council agreed to having a petty cash float £150. Action: Clerk
- Code of Conduct
Council agreed to adopt the Code of Conduct. Action Clerk
- Planning Committee
Council elect Cllr Blake as Chairman, and Cllrs Johnston, Middlemiss and Print on the Planning Committee. The Terms of Reference for the Committee was also agreed by Council.
- Location of Future Parish Council Meetings
Council agreed that future Parish Council’s Meeting would take place on the third Tuesday of the month, including August and December and that they would be held at The School Room, Holy Trinity Church, Drybrook.
- Donation to D-Day 80th Anniversary Event
Council agreed, by a majority vote, to make a donation of £500 to the D-Day 80th Anniversary Event that is being held in Mitcheldean on Sunday 9th June 2024. Action: Clerk
- Paper Copies of Planning Applications
Council agreed that now a Planning Committee had been elected they should decide if paper copies of the planning applications are still required. Action: Planning Committee
- Health and Safety Policy
Council agreed to adopt the draft Health and Safety Policy. Action: Clerk
- Speed Cameras and Road Safety
Cllr Bardo informed Council that none of the speed cameras are working at the moment, although one of the cameras has recently been repaired. It was agreed that the two cameras that can run on solar power will have the panels fitted as the rechargeable batteries stop working in less than a year.
Council agreed, by a majority vote to have speed surveys carried out on the main roads in the Parish before erecting any further speed cameras and that there would be a Road Safety Working Group consisting of Cllrs Bardo as Chairman, and Cllrs Caton, Johnston, Print and Weaver.
- Internet Banking Policy
Council agreed to adopt the draft Internet Banking Policy. Action: Clerk
- Conclusion of External Audit
Council noted the conclusion of the external audit, who forwarded the following comments:
- The smaller authority failed to approve the AGAR in time to publish it before 1 July 2023, the date required by the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015, and did not disclose this by answering ‘No’ to Section 1, Box 1.
- Section 2, Box 9 for both years has been left blank but as reported in the prior year Section 2, Box 9, should have been restated and we would expect the current year Box 9 to include a value.
- The smaller authority has disclosed that it made proper provision during the year 2022/23 for the exercise of public rights by answering ‘Yes’ to Section 1, Assertion 4.However, as was reported last year, we are aware that it failed to do so and therefore should have answered ‘No’ to this Assertion. It has also disclosed that it took appropriate action on all matters raised in reports from internal and external audit, by answering ‘Yes’ to Section 1, Assertion 7, which on the basis of the above is not correct.
- The smaller authority has confirmed that it has not complied with the governance in Section 1, Box 7, but it has not provided the appointed auditor with an adequate explanation for non-compliance and details of the actions necessary to address weakness identified and we have seen no evidence of explanations published with the AGAR.
- The date for Section 1 has been incorrectly recorded on the AGAR.The minutes of the meeting at which the AGAR was approved have been reviewed and demonstrate that Sections 1 and 2 have been approved in the correct order. The smaller authority should ensure that the correct dates are recorded on the AGAR in future.
- We note that the smaller authority did not comply with Regulation 15 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 as it failed to make proper provision during the year 2023/24 for the exercise of public rights, since the approval date was after the period for the exercise of public rights.As a result, the smaller authority must answer ‘No’ to Assertion 4 of the Annual Governance Statement for 2023/24 and ensure that it makes proper provision for the exercise of the public rights during 2024/25.
- In the completion of the detailed report, the internal auditor has drawn attention to a weakness in relation to VAT reclaims.The smaller authority must ensure that action is taken to address these areas of weakness in a timely manner.
The smaller authority has not provided:
- An adequate explanation for the variance between the prior and current year values in Box 3 and 6 of Section 2
- An explanation as to why the carried forward reserves (Section 2, Box 7) are greater than twice the precept (Section2, Box2)
- Upgrading Noticeboards
Council agreed that a Parish noticeboard was required at Brierley and that the noticeboard in the Drybrook needs to be bigger. Action: Cllrs Blake, Middlemiss and Weaver
- Snow Warden
Council agreed that Cllr Print would take over the role as Snow Warden. Action: Cllrs Garland & Print
- Parish Newsletter
Cllr Middlemiss showed the Council an example of a Parish Newsletter that he would like to produce quarterly and would be distributed in public places e.g., the doctor’s surgery, shops etc, as well as being posted on the Council’s Facebook page and website. At the moment it would be an A4 page printed on both sides, but he is hoping that in the future it will be an A5 booklet. Council agreed a quarterly budget of £350 for this project. Action: Cllr Middlemiss
- Community Policing
PCSO Tarin reported to Council that anti-social behaviour had increased in the village especially on the Mannings Farm estate, there had also been malicious crimes online and complaints about youths gathering outside the Co-op, as well as drug dealing being carried out at Harrow Hill. She also stated that she had attend Drybrook Primary School to talk to the children about drugs and how to stay safe online.
- Asset Register
Cllr Print informed Council that an Assest Register to needed to be produced by the Council for the audit, insurance and to help with budget setting, and he asked the Council if they could check the draft Register and let him know of any items that had not been listed. Action: Cllr Print
- Brierley Playing Field Fencing
Council agreed, by a majority vote, to accept the quote for £3,960 to repair all the fencing around the field including some of the concrete post, with pig wire and painting the kissing gate black.
- Adoption of The Squirrels Play Area
Council agreed to differ this item until further information had been received from the District Council. Action: Cllr Blake
- Councillor Reports
Cllr Bardo informed Council that he was now a Trustee of CANDI Youth Space.
- Clerk’s Report
The Clerk reported that:
A new laptop has been purchased.
Cllr Bardo had been booked onto the ‘Being a Better Councillor’ course, part 1 & 2 taking place in November.
- Council agreed the following payments and receipts:
Payments made since last meeting
|LGA 1972 s137
|Luke Cole Electrical
|Supply/install new wiring for Xmas lights
|LGA 1972 s137