Minutes of Meeting Thursday 20th November 2019




Cllr. J. Forrester (Chair)

Cllr. M. Russell (Vice-Chair)

Cllr M. Winnington

Gayle Whelan

19/42 Apologies

BC Ray Sutherland

19/43 Declarations of interest in the following agenda:


19/44 Previous minutes:

Minutes of 23 October 2019 were agreed as a true record.

19/ 45 Co-option of David Batchelor to the paish council. Cllr Forrester proposed Mr Batchelor as parish councillor. Russell seconded. Councillors voted unanimously for the co-option of David Batchelor.

Action: There is still an outstanding vacancy for a parish councillor. The vacancy will be publicised locally and previously interested parties will be encouraged to express their interest.

18/46 Questions from the public

Two members of the public were in attendance.

Churchyard trees - 1894 act. S137 LGA Act 1972 permits a local authority to contribute towards maintenance, repair of church based on the interest of inhabitants of the area. However, there is much confusion and contradiction with earlier acts.

The SPCA has been contacted for a clear statement as to the parish's position. The NA and SPCA take the position that councils cannot support the church in any form. It was agreed that the church cannot be helped, however Cllr Winnington expressed a need to support the churchyard as a public amenity. There are parish councils who have used other acts to enable them to make contribution to maintenance of the church premises. Cllr Forrester suggested that a donation to the church to maintain some part of the establishment, however, there has to be a formal proposal and vote on the matter. Cllr Winnington expressed an interest in preparing a supporting statement.

Cllr Winnington had previously asked for costs to be provided with two quotes for the required tree works.

Cllr Forrester summed up that maintenance does lie with the church and the parish council has been advised that the PC should not support this. However, donations are possible.

Cllr Winnington proposed that Ranton Parish Council continues to support the church by funding tree maintenance work. The parish council has since 1999 funded mowing of the churchyard, flood lights and an annual Christmas tree etc. The churchyard is considered an amenity for the parish council and the village, and as such, the parish council will continue with grass cutting and minor maintenance. Two quotations of £225 inclusive (Ellenhall Tree Services) and £500 plus VAT for tree works to be carried out.

Cllr Russell seconded the motion. Cllr Batchelor voted against, expressing concern over legalities of funding tree maintenance of the churchyard. Cllr Forrester abstained from voting.

Further issues were reported regarding church electrics, which may potentially affect the use of Christmas tree lights. The church lights are on the same circuit as its floodlights, which have been turned off and fuse removed. There has been an electrical inspection of the church carried out, which reported that the floodlights were damaged and exposed cables were evident. The church will look to replace these with LED lights, but will need wiring in and waterproof connectors. However, councillors were told this may not be completed in time for the Christmas tree erection in December.

19/47 Finance matters

The address for the parish council's bank account will need to be updated as the parish clerk has recently moved address.

Precept amounts: agreed to add to next months' meeting in January 2020.

19/48 Accounts to date:

The latest statement date for August 2019 showed:

Reserve account balance £978.15

Current account balance £10,929.98

Actions: Account balance inclusive of mower fund to be detailed. Statements to be shown as they are received, usually on a quarterly basis.

19/49 Reports:

Mowing: Mowing was carried out last month. Request an invoice for mowing for the forthcoming year.

Action: Chair to speak to Mick Bailey (SBC).

Highways: Flooding issues and dirt were reported at the junction of Brook Lane. By Butt Lane, half of the road has washed away. Issues need logging with the county council, however, flooding needs to subside before any work could be carried out. Overgrown hedges were reported by the Vicarage bordering onto the road, along with trees in Bourne Avenue, which spreads onto the footpath.

Footpaths: Nothing further to report.

Gulleys and weeding: There have been no recent developments regarding this.

19/50 Clerk's report

Nothing to report.

19/51 Planning updates

19/31343/OUT Land adjacent to Dog Lane, Ranton.

Comments: Councillors held no objections to the planning application.

19/52 Chairman's questions/items for information/next agenda

Christmas trees - A 20ft tree will arrive on 29 November 2019 (costing £280). Christmas tree lights may be an issue as one set has broken. Cllr Forrester will look into potential replacement costs.

The next parish council meeting will be on held on Thursday, 16 January 2020.

Signed.................................................. Date...........................

Gayle Whelan, Ranton Parish Council Clerk