In the absence of a meeting in April and May here is a brief update on how the Parish Council has been keeping the plates spinning!
Much of the first three weeks in March were spent liaising with parishioners needing help, establishing ourselves with Talk Community and with our own Community Led Planning group to set up a system to handle calls for assistance. Thanks to Jen Jarrett, John Hayward and volunteers for their help.
Thanks also to Julia for an amazing job keeping the shop stocked, providing home deliveries and being so hardworking and cheerful throughout – we continue to support her as much as we can.
Now to specifics:
Community Hub Building
Our insurance claim has been agreed for reinstatement of the grounds around the building including relaying the patio and turfing to replace the gravel. This work will not be possible until social distancing rules are significantly relaxed and in fact may not take place until towards the end of the year.
We were successful in our application to Awards for All for a contribution to the project to automate the doors to the foyer and shop. This work will be done when it can be safely progressed.
Liaison is on-going with River Lugg Internal Drainage Board who intended to carry out a maintenance programme including removing the tree at the west end of the brook, the gravel shoal east of the A49 and look at the bed of the brook near to Bridge Farm. Unfortunately, one of the workforce contracted Covid 19 and all Board work had to be stopped. Watch this space for further news.
Now that there is no requirement on the PC to hold an Annual Parish Meeting (scheduled for April 23rd) the embryonic Flood Resilience Group has been advised that they can conduct their planned open meeting (when appropriate) without any PC involvement. We await information on what the group will expect from the PC so that if appropriate Terms of Reference can be drawn up.
We are aware that RLIDB has spoken to a resident of Wellington who has created a construction in breach of Board regulations. This matter is with RLIDB and not the PC.
There is news regarding the potential grant of up to £5,000 per household for those that were flooded; households that received flood recovery money have been notified directly. This will be a Defra run scheme and will require a survey by an independent surveyor. The Chief Executive of the Council has said that more information will be made available when it is known how the scheme can be delivered. Meanwhile we are contacting as many people as we know to have been flooded just to ensure they know about this scheme.
Regulars to PC meeting will know that we will get nothing done to improve safety on the A49 without our MPs help and we are reliant on our Ward Councillor to create the appropriate liaison. A complaint from a resident regarding gravel deposits in the gutters and a ditch on his land awaits further information before it can be pursued.
Balfour Beatty Living Places
Phil Pankhurst (Locality Steward) continues to monitor the condition (!!) of our roads and the lower half of the main street is “on the radar”. We have been unable to get response from those involved in the requested safety review of Vinery Corner, culverts at Burghope Lane, a flood marker at the Mill etc. Hopefully as things ease we may get some action. The depth marker at the Ford is confirmed as being on order.
We continue to press for Mill Lane to be resurfaced although we know it is not in the current year’s programme. It was again flagged to Herefordshire Council this week.
A resident asked at the last meeting if ‘road closed’ signs could be ‘self-erected’ in the event of flooding – a response has been sent directly to the resident but the answer is no – road closures have to be done formally taking account of alternative routes.
Section 106 Expenditure
Of serious concern is the fact that despite a high level meeting in January attended by the PC Chair and Ward Councillor, neither Herefordshire Council nor BBLP have responded with the promised answers concerning the difference in money spent to that approved by us. This may yet result in an official complaint to the Leader of the Council by the PC.
Neighbourhood Development Plan
Our current NDP has been reviewed and the policies regarding development not found to be lacking – some suggestions have been made for the next stage such as employment in the Parish, minerals extraction etc. Currently we await news on Herefordshire Council’s review of the Core Strategy in order that we have a clear idea of what is expected of us.
Our footpath officer continues to monitor our path network; notices were posted regarding care when using stiles and gates as well as asking people to dispose of litter and dog poo appropriately. We are aware that disposable gloves are being left on paths and in gates in some areas – clearly we are not in a position to clear these up and ask everyone to try to cooperate to keep paths clear and safe.
We have responded to two planning applications and our responses can be found on www.herefordshire.gov.uk under planning applications.
Ravensholt: application 194435 – qualified comment
The Swallows: application 201070 – objection (majority decision)
We continue to pay money owed during this time, with the Clerk confirming all payments to Councillors at the end of each month in the same way that she would at a meeting. Our end of year accounts are currently with Gill Bullock for internal auditing.
As we need to have an official meeting to approve the accounts, it is proposed to hold a virtual meeting using Zoom technology. Members of the public will be provided with details of how the meeting can be accessed on-line or by phone nearer the time- the meeting is likely to be held in early July.
Jenni Gowan,Chairman, Wellington PC, 26th May 2020