Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 20th February 2024

Parish Council Meeting Minutes Uploaded on February 28, 2024




Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 20th February 2024 at 7.00pm at The School Room, Holy Trinity Church, Drybrook


Parish Councillors:     John Print (Chairman) (JP), Richard Moore (RM), Dave Middlemiss (DM), Michael Garland (MG), and Pat Weaver (PW), Jacky Johnston (JJ)

Also present:              County Councillor Terry Hale (TH), District Councillor Jackie Fraser (JF)


  1. Apologies for absence


April Seabrook (Clerk), Pam Caton, Malcolm Jones, Roy Bardo; District Councillor Trevor Roach


  1. Members of the public issues (15 minutes Standing Orders suspended)


No members of public in attendance


  1. County & District Councillor Reports


County Councillor Terry Hale reported the following:


News from the Drybrook Quarry they will be replacing the Calvert date to be agreed.


Budget meeting on 21st February agreed budget will send to Clerk.


Yellow lines outside the Drybrook club (waiting report back from Highways).


Morse Road put on the agenda of the Road Safety Group (meeting on Wednesday 28th February at 2pm Coleford Fire Station).


Received request for bollards in Puddlebrook , lorries cutting up verges.

Request for larger 30 mph signs are small repeater and cannot be changed.


Attended Gloucestershire Rural Community Council (GRCC) healthy community event at Ruardean Memorial Hall (MH).


District Councillor Jackie Fraser reported the following:


The District Council draft Budget for 2024/25 will be presented at the Full Council meeting this Thursday, 22 February 2024. Following public consultation with residents, the car-parking fees have been reviewed and the following proposal is now being put forward.


Up to 1 hour – Free. Up to 2 hours £1, Up to 3 hours £2, Up to 4 hours £3, more than 4 hours £4.

Permits – weekly £10, monthly £30, 3 months £65, 6 monthly £100, 12 months £190.


The Council Tax proposed increase is a raise of 12p a week based on band D.


Following the persistent wet weather, I have received some very helpful information from a resident regarding the blockages at the quarry entrance, the soak away grid being blocked with debris etc, which I have passed on to the drainage officer.


I have produced a leaflet about the plot of land at the end of the carpark, asking for suggestions as to what residents would like to see there, and if they agree with the idea of an herb garden, I have left leaflets in the Pharmacy & the co-op.


Following on from my work with the eco school project, we have launched a new environmental pilot project for young people. The Forest of Dean Youth Environmental Award aims to educate more young people about the natural world and the challenges it faces. This is a joint working project with Forestry England (FE) to support our 5 pilot groups through the programme, each group will explore the key topics of climate change, global citizenship, wildlife and biodiversity, respecting where you live, healthy living, and our shared forest.  First to sign up – Coleford army cadets, 1st Ruardean scouts, and youth groups representing Blakeney, Coleford and Ruardean, and we all had a wet but very enjoyable time at Greathough Beaver Enclosure with a guided tour from FE followed by a dam building activity.


  1. Declarations of Interests

Pat Weaver and Richard Moore have declared a personal interest in the cleaning of bus shelters, – item 13.


  1. Requests for Dispensations



  1. Minutes of the Meeting held on 16thJanuary 2024

It was resolved to accept the minutes of the meeting, which was held on 16th January, as an accurate record of the meetings, and were signed by the Chairman.


  1. Planning matters
  2. P0095/24/FUL – 2 Park House, Hazel Road, Drybrook – Erection of a replacement single storey side extension – Decision – No objections
  3. P0171/24/PIP – Land at The Newlands, Forest Road, Ruardean Woodside – Planning in principle for the erection of one dwelling – Natural England has objected, Decision – it is the PC intention to Object also.
  4. P0117/24/FUL – Land adjoining Hundred Acre Wood, Whitehill Lane, Drybrook – Erection of 2 no. dwellings, 1 detached garage and associated hard and soft landscaping works – Decision – to Object.


The latest planning decision from the District Council are as follows:


P1313/23/FUL – The Cottage, Newham Bottom, Ruardean Woodside.

Single Storey Garden Room

APPROVED 11/1/24


P1331/23/FUL – Beulah, Quabbs Rd, Drybrook

Loft Extension over Garage

APPROVED 25/1/24


P1213/23/FUL – Winkleigh Hse, Oaklands Rd, Harrow Hill

2 Storey Side Extension



P1633/23/FUL – Longacre Bakers Piece Rd, Ruardean Woodside

Erection of Holiday Let

REFUSED 6/2/24



Living Conditions adversely affected

No Holiday Let viability

Not considered a ‘Conversion’

Adverse harm to character and appearance

Insufficient information to negate impact on protected species

Insufficient information to negate Flood risk.


  1. Anti-Harassment and Bullying Policy

            The Chair explained the rationale behind the Anti-Harassment and Bullying Policy, it was agreed to adopt this policy. All in favour.


  1. Litter Picking Contract

The Chair read out the Street Cleaning proposal as follows:


The current litter picking arrangement with the contractor is informal and unwritten and is therefore not clear and has no expiry or date for review.


It is my intention to formalise the street cleaning contract in writing and before I do we need to decide how we want the street cleaning to be done.  We have limited funds for street cleaning and therefore we need to consider carefully how best to spend those funds in a way that is inclusive for the entire Parish.


We have around 50 roads within the Parish.

District Council give us a Service Level agreement (SLA) payment of £2,724 per year

We have budgeted for £3,000 for 2024/25

This equates to £57.53 per week or around £247 per month. Or approximately 4 hours of work per week at £15 per hour.


Assuming it takes an average of 2 hours to clear a road, this equates to two roads per week, 8 per month or 104 per year. If we were to include all roads within the Parish, they would each get cleared around twice per year.



  1. We have the contractor clean each road within the parish in turn throughout the year and they all get cleared approximately twice per year, unless we instruct otherwise due to an area being particularly bad.


  1. We have a set group of ten roads that get cleaned on a rota basis, unless we instruct otherwise due to an area or road being particularly bad.


Roads to be considered

  1. Drybrook Road
  2. The High Street
  3. Morse Road
  4. Trinity Road
  5. Brierly High Street
  6. Highview Road
  7. Hawthorns Road
  8. West Avenue
  9. Hazel Road
  10. Forest Road


The contract will clearly state what is expected of the contractor, including a monthly report to be included with the invoice stating which areas were cleared and when.


Decision – draw up a street cleaning contract in line with option 2, all in favour – Action JP.


  1. Drybrook Public Toilets



  • The lease on the public toilets in Drybrook Road expired on the 28 August 2016.


  • District Council offered us new Heads of Terms to renew the lease on the 26 October 2018 but, for whatever reason, this was never brought before the Parish Council for a decision.


  • I have spoken to the estates officer at District Council who has informed me that we currently occupy the toilet building on a continuing ‘Implied tenancy’ (or Tenancy at will) whereby we continue with the terms of the original lease indefinitely, regardless of the term specified within that document.


  • The public toilets are located in the heart of the village, we have no idea how well they are used or by whom. However, it is unlikely that they are used by the vast majority of parishioners as they are from other parts of the parish and do not frequent the village centre.


  • All parishioners who pay precept, are contributing towards the upkeep of these toilets regardless as to whether they use them or not.




Upkeep of the public toilets are currently budgeted at £7,493 per year (13% of the 2024/25 precept).  The toilets are well overdue for redecoration in line with the terms of the lease and are in need of modernisation (which is our responsibility under the terms of the lease), we have budgeted £1,453 in order to do this in 2024/25 but I do not believe this is sufficient funds in order to carry out necessary repairs to the roof and the modernisation that is needed.



Option 1 – We continue as we are with the implied tenancy. Use the budget we have, propped up with reserves or grants where we can find them, to redecorate, repair and update the facilities.


Option 2 – We renegotiate a new longer term lease. Use the budget we have, propped up with reserves or grants where we can find them, to redecorate, repair and update the facilities.

(For both option 1 & 2, I would suggest that we try and get some funding from the District Council to either help refurbish or to continue running the public toilets with an SLA payment).


Option 3 – We purchase the toilets from the District council. The estates officer at District Council informed me that it was very likely that the District Council would sell us the toilets at no cost apart from around £500 legal fees.


If this was the case, we could consider redeveloping the site, utilising grants, to include modern inclusive toilets, perhaps an office/community space and or Parish Council storage area.


Option 4 – We hand the keys and responsibility back to the District Council. If we do this, it is very likely that the toilets will remain closed as local authorities are facing significant cuts, and they are unlikely to have any budget set for maintaining extra public toilets. However, we would gain £7,493 within our budget to do good elsewhere within the parish.


Decision – to await responses from the public via the newsletter.  JF agreed to speak to District regarding their thoughts. Action JF


  1. Grass Cutting

Two quotes have been received for the grass cutting contract, after discussion it was agreed to offer a contract to quote no 1.  All agreed.


  1. Donation Request from Ruardean Hill Recreation Ground

No request was received.


  1. Cleaning Bus Shelters

Councillors who have declared an interest left the meeting room.    The chair read out the following proposal:


The current arrangements for the cleaning of the bus stops is informal, unwritten, not within correct policy regarding the spending of public money and is unlikely to pass scrutiny by the auditors or anyone else who may choose to challenge us.


We currently spend a total of £1500 per year in annual payments to a number of individuals to keep the bus stops clean throughout the year.

I propose that we engage a single contractor with a proper written contract to clean the bus stops, giving us a single point of contact for any issues and proper accountability with reference to spending of public funds, as well as a financial saving.


The contract would be for each bus stop to be cleaned thoroughly every quarter, offered at a cost of £30 per clean.  This equates to £300 per quarter or  £1200 per year (a saving of £300).


Decision – to engage a single contractor to carry out the bus shelter cleaning – all agreed.


  1. Parish Notice Boards

DM read out the following proposal:

The current Parish Notice boards in Drybrook and Ruardean Hill are made of wood and require regular maintenance, the back board in the Drybrook one is water damaged and is difficult to pin into, a recent temporary repair has made it easier to pin into however it is not expected to last.


It is understood that the Ruardean Hill Notice Board was repaired last year and is currently in reasonable repair however its back board makes it difficult to insert pins.  Other key areas within our Parish don’t currently have a notice board – Briery as an example.


The Parish notice boards in use are too small and don’t allow sufficient room to pin Parish notices and meeting minutes.


It is proposed that the Parish review the current Parish Notice Boards provision, location, size and purpose.  The cost to replace the current notice boards would be dependent on size, type and location; these can vary from £300 up to £3000 depending on type.  Below is a list of website that produce a range of Parish Notice Boards:


JP suggested we could approach the local ‘Men’s Shed’ to fabricate. Action DM to propose type and size for approval at the next meeting.  Action DM


  1. Councillor Action Updates



  1. Councillor Reports

PW explained that the playground at Ruardean Woodside refurbishment has started with clearing of the vegetation.


JJ explained that the locals are not happy about kids’ rugby as the parents are parking outside their houses in Brierley, it’s an issue that would need to be addressed if the PC adopted the land.


  1. Clerk’s Report

No clerks report.


  1. Accounts/Finance


Payments made since last meeting.

Payee Details Method Amount Power Budget
Big Box, Little Box Rent for storage unit SO (29/01/24) £130.00 LGA 1972 s111 Repairs/Maint/Misc
April Seabrook Salary BACS (31/01/24) £660.30 LGA 1972 s112(2) Staff Costs
EE Mobile phone DD (03/02/24) £26.40 LG(FP)A 1963 s5 Repairs/Maint/Misc
Print 365 Printing newsletter BACS (14/02/24 £199.99 LGA 1972 s142 (1A) Repairs/Maint/Misc
TOTAL £1016.69


Payments to be agreed at meeting.

Payee Details Method Amount Power Budget
N Baker Cleaning public toilets

September – December

BACS (21/02/23) £720.00 LGA 1972 s111 Toilets
Drybrook Primary School Donation BACS (21/02/24) £500.00 LGA 1972 s137 Grants
N Sargent Litter collection BACS (21/02/24) £230.00 LGA 1972 s111 Repairs/ Maint/Misc
TOTAL £1,450.00



09/01/24 Interest                                             £33.49


  1. Council approved the petty cash figures for January 2024
  2. Council received the bank reconciliation for January 2024
  3. Cllr Blake carried out the monthly financial checks of the Council’s accounts on 20th February 2024.


There being no further business, the meeting closed at 9:00pm