A Meeting of Dorstone Parish Council was held in Old School Hall Dorstone on Wednesday March 27th 2019 at 7-30pm Present: Councillor C Thomas Chairman, Councillor T Usher, Councillor M Hession, Councillor C Gethin, Councillor K Meredith, Councillor A Phillips, & Mr C Hendy Parish Council Clerk. Also present Councillor P Price Apologies, Councillor D Phillips, Work commitment Declaration of interest, Councillor Thomas, director of Dorstone Front Room, donation application, friend of owner Dore View, planning application No representation from public The minutes of meeting February 13th 2019, were approved as a true record and signed by the chairman. Reports Councillor P Price gave an update on the planning application Lower Crossway. February report had been circulated. Golden Valley Police, no officer present, monthly March report had been circulated. Planning Consultation Application No; 190604 Site Address: Land adjacent to The Chapel, Chapel Lane, Dorstone, Herefordshire Description; Application for variation of condition 2 and removal of conditions 4, 6 and 9 of planning permission 163056/F (Proposed two retirement cottages). To allow changes to design The application had been passed to Councillor Usher No letters of support or objection received. Councillor Usher had visited neighbours of the proposed development, they had expressed concern over removal of the conditions, and none were in support of the application. Councillors discussed the application documentation, original conditions and the decision on removal of conditions 4,6 & 9, made in 2017. Councillors resolved to object to the application, as the clerk had a personal interest in a property affected by the application, the Chairman recorded the Councillors reasons which would be submitted by the clerk. The Parish Council considered the Application for variation of condition 2 and removal of conditions 4, 6, and 9 of Planning Permission 163056/F (proposed retirement cottages) to allow changes to design at its meeting on March 27th. After examining the proposals the Council objects, in the strongest possible terms, to the proposed changes put forward by the new Developer for the following reasons: The original proposal was opposed by the Parish Council as it believed it contravened a number of policies in the Dorstone Neighbourhood Plan Housing Policies DNP H1 and Housing Design Criteria DNP H2. Neighbours to the proposed development were highly critical of the impact of the development and pointed to the Neighbourhood Plan policies as a basis for rejecting the proposal. Herefordshire Planners thought otherwise and approved the proposal but recognised the landscape issues and imposed the conditions which the current proposal seeks to remove. The original proposal was based on the concept of providing the community with two retirement cottages and the design of the houses reflected that idea. This concept seems to have been discarded and this decision calls into the question the original decision to approve the proposal. The new design merely creates two three bedroom houses. A detailed but important point is the impact on houses to the north of the proposed sites on Chapel Lane, in particular the inclusion of additional windows which overlook their properties. Overall in the Council’s view the revised plan contravenes DNP H2. Para 4 clearly states that proposals “Be of a scale and form which complements the character of the area and will not result in a loss of amenity for existing residents”. The proposed combination of render finish and cladding, particularly the latter is in contravention of DNP H2, Housing Design Criteria, which states that housing proposals should “take every opportunity through design and materials to reinforce local distinctiveness and a strong sense of place incorporating local features as set out in Appendix B. The removal of any natural stone elements and the excessive use of cladding particularly are completely at odds with that policy. The Council was particularly concerned with the original proposal in its impact on the landscape of the Village. The two houses impacted on the Open spaces in the Neighbourhood Plan and in the Council’s view hindered the view across the village designated as V1 – North West from Court Farm. The Planning Department recognised this problem and agreed with the original applicant various proposals to soften the impact including the planting of hedges and an orchard as well as a Habitat Enhancement Scheme. It should also be noted that presumably the land allocated for orchard is no longer in the same ownership as the new development. The latest application seeks to remove all these ameliorating actions. It is ironic that the proposal to protect the Village landscape was prepared by Owen Hick Architecture and it is the same firm that is now working with the new developer on proposals that contravene their original ideas incorporated in the Neighbourhood Plan. There is no doubt that the changes, if accepted, contravene DNP H1 as they have a “significant adverse impact on the important views from locations freely accessible by the general public identified in Appendix E and on Map 3.” In the Council’s view these proposed changes should be rejected and the original approval conditions maintained. Application No; 190571 Site Address: Planning Consultation 4 Dore View, Dorstone, Hereford, Herefordshire HR3 6AJ Description; Development of a single storey rear extension Application had been passed to Councillor Gethin. No letters of support or objection received. Councillor Usher chaired the discussion on this application, Councillor Gethin had visited neighbours, dimensions had been clarified. Councillors resolved to support the application. Application No; 190508 Site Address: Planning Consultation Cooks Barn, Dorstone, Hereford, Herefordshire HR3 6AT Description; Retention of lean-to storage shed Consultation period had now ended Planning application information The planning application to convert a barn, into living accommodation, at Lower Crossway Farm has been redirected to the Planning Committee Finance; Clerk’s salary £125.28 Lengthsmen account £60 Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs £91.04 Clerk for new computer purchased for the council £369.96 and for materials to relocate parish paths noticeboard £33.64. Clerk for expenses incurred, yearly expenses for stationery, postage internet etc £125-25 Hall account hire of hall £121.50, contribution to provision of public conveniences £200, electricity for street light £30 All payments authorised Donation policy Councillor Meredith advised that three applications had been received; St Faith’s Parochial Church Council contribution towards churchyard maintenance, mowing of grass and upkeep of path Clerk had received information on Financial Assistance to the Church, from the National Association of Local Councils, considered whether a parish council may provide financial assistance to the church (or other religious bodies). Legislation, this referred to the s.6 (1) (a) of the Local Government Act 1894 which transferred powers from the Vestry and Churchwardens to the newly formed parish councils “except so far relates to the affairs of the church or to ecclesiastical charities” S.8 of the 1894 Act gives parish councils further powers including the power “to execute any works (including works of maintenance or improvements) incidental to or consequential on the exercise of the powers in s6 “not being property relating to the affairs of the church or held for ecclesiastical charity” and further to contribute towards the expense of doing any of the things above mentioned”. It should be noted that the prohibition relates to the nature of the property concerned not to the use to which the funding will be put. The powers in the 1894 Act prohibit councils’ involvement in property relating to the affairs of the church, e.g. the maintenance or improvement of buildings or land or contributing towards the costs. The information looked at if the prohibition still applies or is overridden by legislation after the 1894 act. There is no current case law to resolve the question to resolve the question of whether or not the 1894 Act restrictions override the provisions in later Acts of Parliament ultimately it would be for the courts to determine the extent of any prohibition from the 1894 Act. Councils have general powers to act and spend money unless they are restricted from doing so, S.137 of the Local Government Act 1972. S137 expressly provides that expenditure cannot be incurred purposes which are subject to a statutory prohibition, restriction or limitation. Information indicated that there is no consensus on this issue, a council that considers making a payment in these circumstances needs to consider whether it is prudent to take a course of action that it cannot be certain is legally valid Having discussed the application under the donation policy, and also under S137, councillors resolved, due to the information received, they were unable to give any financial assistance to Dorstone Parochial Church Council towards churchyard maintenance Dorstone Playing Field (DPF) for contribution towards purchase of bark in children’s play area. The play area is inspected by the Royal Society Prevention of Accidents and concern was by raised by DPF without replacement bark they would not be covered by insurance Councillors considered the application, under legal powers & duties the council has power to act to provide a wide range of recreational facilities, resolved to give a contribution of £200 towards replacement bark. Dorstone Front Room for a contribution towards the cost of new pads and batteries for the defibrillator. Pads need to be changed every two years, batteries every five years to keep the defibrillator operable for the community. Councillor Usher chaired this application; Councillors considered, using the list of legal powers and duties covered by Acts of Parliament, the contribution requested. Councillors resolved the Parish Council were unable to make a contribution to costs under their legal powers and duties. Clerk had sought advice, S137 of the Local Government Act 1972 enables local councils to spend a limited amount of money for purposes which they have no other statutory expenditure. The council can spend money for the direct benefit of its area, or part of its area, or all or some of its inhabitants. These contributions may be made to charities and bodies providing a public service on a non-profit making basis. Councillors considered the application under S137, noted that Dorstone Front Room was a community interest company and the accounts indicated expenditure greater than income over the last twelve months. The defibrillator is a direct benefit within the parish council area. Councillors resolved to make contribution of £200, under S137 of the Local Government Act 1972, towards the replacement pads and batteries to be purchased during 2019. Highways, no update on the resurfacing justification document submitted. Election, Council was requested to consider issuing of poll cards to parishioners if no Ward Council election took place and there was only a parish council election. Councillors resolved to request poll cards were issued. Herefordshire Council Information circulated on Cabinet decisions and Intelligence Unit Bulletin Herefordshire Association Local Councils (HALC) Membership renewal for 2019-2020= £406.60, payment would entitle Parish Council to two free councillor training places in 2019/20. Payment authorised HALC Newsletter circulated Litter Pick, Herefordshire Council asked parish councils to consider holding a litter pick in their parish 22nd March-23rd April 2019. Councillors discussed the request, considered there was no litter problem in the parish and decided not to hold a litter pick. Calor Community Fund, information received, agreed to request circulated on Dorstone Front Room weekly newsletter. Neighbourhood Development Plan,(NDP); information circulated on changes to National Policy Framework & implications on Parish Plans, this provides guidance for those parishes producing an NDP and for those whose plans have been adopted for more than 2 years. Date confirmed next meeting Wednesday 10th 2019 No further business the chairman thanked those who had attended and closed the meeting at 09.25pm.