MINUTES OF THE SILTON PARISH MEETING HELD IN THE VILLAGE HALL ON TUESDAY 15TH MAY AT 6 P.M.
Col. Chris Woodhouse (Chairman)
Mrs Lynda Woodhouse
Mrs Diana Masters
Mr David Masters
Mrs Mary Anderson
Mr Hugh Honnywill
Mrs Marian Honnywill
Mrs Liz Marriott
District Councillor Peter Williams
- APOLOGIES: Mr Keith Harris, Mrs Sue Harris, Mr. Tom Trouton, Mrs Jill Marsden, Mrs Sylvia Smart, Mr. David Desborough, Mrs Sandra Menzies, Mr. Charles Peel, Mrs Jenny Peel, Mr Michael Metcalf, Mrs Michela Metcalf, Mrs Rita Showering Canon Bede Cooper.
- ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN: It was proposed by Mr. David Masters, seconded by Mrs Mary Anderson and unanimously agreed that Col. Chris Woodhouse be re-elected Chairman, with grateful thanks for all his hard work over the previous year.
- MINUTES of the Meeting held on 21st November 2017 had been circulated and it was proposed by Mr. David Masters and unanimously agreed that they be signed as a true record.
- The Annual Governance Statement and the Accounting Statement were explained. They had been considered and approved by Mr. Rob Dyer in his capacity as Responsible Financial Officer and an internal audit had been carried out by Colonel. John Houchin.
- Copies of the accounts had been circulated and were explained. The year ended with an excess of income over expenditure of £983.53.
- It was proposed by Mrs Marian Honnywill and seconded by Mr. David Masters to approve the Annual Governance Statement in Section 1 of the return and the external auditor’s recommendations be accepted. This was unanimously agreed.
- It was proposed by Mrs Liz Marriott and seconded by Mr. Hugh Honnywill to approve the Accounting Statement in Section 2 of the Return. This was unanimously agreed.
- ELECTION OF RESPONSIBLE FINANCIAL OFFICER: It was proposed by Mr. David Masters, seconded by Mrs Liz Marriott and unanimously agreed that Mr. Rob Dyer be re-elected Responsible Financial Officer.
- RISK ASSESSMENT: This had been updated by Mr. Keith Harris, Mr. Tom Trouton and the Chairman on 24th March 2018 and copies had been circulated. Its approval was proposed by Mr. Hugh Honnywill, seconded by Mrs Mary Anderson and unanimously approved.
- ASSETS REGISTER: Copies had been circulated and it was pointed out that it now included both the shelter in the recreation field and the telephone box. The Chairman reported that theft of old telephone boxes was on the increase as they were now quite valuable, despite the fact that the one outside the Village Hall had been purchased for only £1.
- PRECEPT: This stands at £2,600 annually and £1,300 is received every six months. The last increase of £200 per year was approved at the AGM in 2016. Regular outgoings are £1,000 to the Village Hall, £700 to the PCC towards the upkeep of the Churchyard and around £300 for insurance, leaving approximately £600. Mrs Diana Masters enquired as to whether there would be any expenses incurred at the 100th Anniversary of the end of WW1 event to be held in November. The Chairman explained that this would be self-funding. It was proposed by Mrs Liz Marriott, seconded by Mrs Marian Honnywill and unanimously agreed that the amount given towards the upkeep of the churchyard should be increased to £800 in view of ongoing clearance work and this was unanimously approved. It was proposed by Mr. David Masters, seconded by Mrs Marian Honnywill and unanimously agreed that no increase in the precept should be made.
- PLANNING APPLICATIONS AND CORRESPONDENCE: The application to build an acoustic fence between the A303 and Cards Farm House, Old Barn Cottage and Silton Mill had been approved on 22nd September 2017. Work has been completed at Old Barn Cottage and in under way at Cards Farm House.
- HIGHWAY MATTERS: The Chairman reported that since the last meeting he had met Mr. Roger Bell, Highways Officer and Ms Vicky Biggs, Community Police Officer, to discuss the various Highways matters that had been raised at that meeting. Actions agreed at that meeting included:
- Additional “SLOW” signs would be painted on the road coming from Bourton; this is in hand.
- The bend in the road adjacent to Lower Silton and Silton Lodge will be treated to make it less slippery; this work has been completed.
- The possibility of siting Speed Indicator Devices (SIDs) along the “main “road (Silton Straight) will be escalated within DCC for a decision; this is still awaited.
- Additional bollards will be installed outside Foxford Cottage to help protect the verge and the house; this work has been completed.
- Only National speed restrictions apply on Church Road; the speed limit along this road therefore is 60mph even though this is clearly impractical. An alteration to this speed limit will need a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) and the Chairman has now submitted an application. An inspection has been made by Highways and the decision is awaited.
- “SLOW” signs will be painted on the road at the junction of Church Road and Dunns Lane: this is in hand.
- The Chairman explained that SIDs are not appropriate along Church Road because currently there is no restrictive speed limit. Mrs Liz Marriott wondered if yellow arrows would help; this will be investigated.
- The Chairman is in frequent touch with Mr. Roger Bell and he would be passing on all these suggestions. Mr Masters hoped that should the TRO along Church Road be successful it might also help towards getting a lower speed limit on the “main” road also.
- ALLOTMENTS: The Chairman reported that the annual allotment meeting was held on 10th March with 15-20 people attending. There are 44 plots, all of which are rented out at £10 each per year. Nearly £200 was taken in rental fees last year and so far this year the figure is £330 with some tenants still to pay. The Annual Inspection will take place on 29th July 2018. At the meeting on 10th March Mr. John Bilby and Mr. Kevin Lane were appointed Communications Officers and Mr. Kevin Lane has already issued the first of many newsletters to the allotment holders. There is now a committee of 4 running the allotments. The Chairman commented that there is a terrific atmosphere and a thriving community at the allotments and the previous Sunday about 40 people attended a BBQ there.
- VILLAGE HALL FIELD: The Chairman reported that the SW Region Medical Detection Dogs Organisation had settled on an alternative venue and that he had no further information as yet concerning using the field for dog walkers who wanted exclusive use of the field for a short period of time. However the Stalbridge Cub Scout pack intended to book the field for 3 nights in July.
- PARISH COUNCIL ROUND TABLE: The Chairman reported that he and Mrs Woodhouse had attended a very informative meeting on 2nd February this year in Blandford to listen to Mr Simon Hoare, our local MP, brief Parish Chairmen and Clerks on matters of interest to ourselves in North Dorset. This had been followed by a Q&A session at which Mr Hoare spoke most knowledgably about a wide variety of subjects. When a transcript was available he would distribute it.
- DATA PROTECTION OFFICER: The General Data Protection Regulation which the EU Parliament had been debating for some 4 years comes into effect on 25th May and does apply to Parish Meetings. Non-compliance with the new regulations could lead to heavy fines. However, he had just been informed that the Government has recently tabled an amendment to the Bill to exempt Parish Councils and Meetings from the need to appoint a Data Protection Officer and that it had been passed by the Commons and is now with the Lords. However, until the situation is clarified, compliance with the rest of the GDPR requirements was necessary. In the absence of any volunteers the Chairman had appointed himself as the Parish Data Protection Officer with the help of Mr. David Masters in the event that any legal issues were to arise. He had sent out a request to all those parishioners he held data on, such as email addresses, telephone numbers, etc to confirm that they are happy that he could continue to hold this detail, and some had been received back already.
- PARISH FOOTPATHS:
- The Chairman reported that following Cllr. Andrew Cattaway’s suggestion that the DCC might reimburse the cost of materials incurred in repairing the footpath railings and steps adjacent to the Doctors Surgery an application had been made. As the accounts show the Parish has been reimbursed in full, £278.16.
- Mrs Mary Anderson had complained at the previous meeting that Footpath N70/10 which joins Church Road between Anstey and 1 Taylor Hayes was blocked because the gate between the footpath and the road had been padlocked. The current footpath map which shows that the path stopped part way through the field is incorrect and when the Definitive Map Modification Order is completed it will show the footpath correctly reaching the road. Resolution of where the stile/gate will be situated is still outstanding but is most likely to be where the present 5 bar gate is. At present the gate is no longer padlocked.
- The Chairman also reported that he had been informed that the kissing gate on the footpath adjacent to Silton Mill has broken down completely and that he had reported it on the Dorsetforyou website. The landowner is aware and will replace it.
- Mrs Marian Honnywill brought up the matter of the bridge at the ford on Dunns Lane as it is too narrow for wheel chairs and prams. The Chairman reported that he had raised this issue already with DCC and that it would be widened to its original width when it was next repaired.
- MILESTONE ON THE GILLINGHAM/WINCANTON ROAD: The Chairman reported that this matter was still on hold as his contact in Bourton was unable to deal with it at present.
- HIMALAYAN BALSAM: The Chairman reported that Mr. Mike Burrows had agreed to take over as the coordinator for future attacks on this pernicious weed and that he would doubtless be calling for volunteers in the near future.
- COMMONWEALTH FLAG DAY 12TH MARCH 2018: About 30 parishioners had attended and, in common with all the other celebrants across the Commonwealth, the flag had been raised at 10.00am on the church tower. With the permission of the PCC and Canon Bede they then retired into the church, out of the wind, and celebrated with a glass of bubbles and coffee. It was agreed by the Meeting that the Parish should celebrate Commonwealth Day again next year.
- The Chairman reported that he had spoken to Dorset CC superfast broadband team on 4th April and 10th May concerning the slow broadband speeds in parts of the village. He had been informed that Silton is not currently in any contracted plan and that funding for an alternative solution has now been lodged with DEFRA and they are awaiting a response. This has already been escalated to Mr. Simon Hoare MP as DEFRA seem to be dragging their feet, but a delay of 12-18 months was mentioned even if funding is approved.
- He had also been informed about the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which provides funding for qualifying businesses and homes in Dorset. Businesses can claim up to £3,000 against the cost of a gigabit–capable internet connection either individually or as part of a group. Residents can also benefit from the scheme if they are part of a group project that includes businesses and can claim up to £500.
- Taylor Hayes and Silton House area are in a “black hole”. Cllr Peter Williams wondered if Manor Farm, which is connected by Wessex Internet, could act as a hub to provide connectivity to those parts of the village still without adequate access.
- BT Openreach has laid an FTTP cable part way down Waterloo Lane which should provide superfast broadband to the residents in the Lane. However, Mrs Mary Anderson reported that she cannot get BT to provide her with any sort of realistic estimate of the cost of connecting to it and in consequence she has reverted to her previous connection.
- The Chairman suggested a meeting with Cllr Peter Williams, Mr Keith Harris, Mr. Rob Dyer and himself to try to resolve the broadband problems in the village.
- LOCAL GOVERNMENT REORGANISATION:
- The Chairman reported that in late February the SoS announced that from April 2019 the current 9 District Councils in Dorset will be replaced by a singe Unitary Authority representing Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch and another representing the rest of Dorset. He understood that Christchurch was seeking ways to challenge this decision. Peter Williams reported on this and stated that in his opinion the decision of the SoS would not be overturned.
- There is to be a public consultation in July and August to determine how the current 7 Councillors representing Gillingham and its environs will be reduced from 7 to only 4 or even 3. He will keep the Meeting informed as to the details
- CLINICAL COMMISSIONING GROUP CONSULTATION: The Chairman reported that the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group had changed its mind last September and recommended that the 15 beds at the Shaftesbury Memorial Hospital remain in being largely as a result of the pressure they came under during the public consultation period. However, the future of the buildings themselves could not be guaranteed indefinitely as more than one person has declared that they are approaching their sell by date and their long term future is doubtful. The Chair of the Shaftesbury Hospital Working Group has stated that there is a need to focus on the long term sustainability of beds in Shaftesbury to ensure we retain an NHS-run community hospital in the rural area. It was pointed out that the Hospital had been gifted to Shaftesbury and selling the site might not benefit the NHS financially. It was generally agreed that a nursing home facility was needed to prevent bed-blocking in acute hospitals. Further information will be made available as the situation evolves.
- PARISH WEBSITE: The Chairman reported that the website was up and running and that it was going to prove very useful in the future. Mrs Diana Masters reported that she had downloaded the agenda for this meeting from it. Many congratulations were expressed to Mr Mike Metcalf and Miss Natasha Metcalf for doing “a cracking good job in setting it up”. Mr Mike Metcalf is the web master and all requests for changes to the Parish website must go through him. At present the website committee includes the Chairman, Mr. Mike Metcalf, Mr David Masters, Mr Keith Harris, Mr Tom Trouton and Mr Rob Dyer.
- ANY OTHER BUSINESS:
- 100th ANNIVERSARY OF ARMISTICE DAY:
- The Chairman reported on arrangements for this celebration which will take place on 11th November 2018. The Last Post will be played just before 7.00pm followed by the lighting of the beacon at 7.00pm that evening together with at least 1,000 other participants country-wide. Milton on Stour has been invited to join the village in this celebration.
- Mrs Diana Masters reported that she had put in a request to Mr Henry Spencer to see if he would be willing and able to play the Last Post, but this of course will depend on what other work he has on at the time.
- Mr and Mrs Keith Harris have kindly agreed to hold the event at Manor Farm using their barn and hard standing for parking which would be much more suitable than the Village Hall in November. The beacon would be sited on the other side of the road.
- The event will be similar to the one held for the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations with a BBQ and bar. The aim this year is to break even financially so there will be a small charge for the food as well as for the drinks.
- The Committee consists of the Chairman, Mr. Keith Harris, Mr. Tom Trouton, Mr. David Masters, Mr. Geoff Hacker, Mr. Mike Burroughs and Mr. Rob Dyer and representing Milton on Stour, Mr. Richard Jenkins.
- The litter problem at the lay-by on the “Silton Straight” was discussed and the possibility of siting a litter bin there similar to the one outside the Village Hall was discussed. Currently, no one knew who was responsible for emptying the bin outside the Village Hall and the Chairman agreed to make enquiries.
- Mrs Liz Marriott asked about cleaning the road signs in the village and was told that this is a village responsibility. She volunteered to undertake the work.
- Many thanks were expressed to the Chairman for all his hard work.
- There being no other business, the meeting ended at 7.23 p.m.