Minutes of the Meeting of Gotham Parish Council 4th September 2012



Weldon Room, COMMENCING AT 7.30 P.M.

Present:    R.Muir (Chairman), M.J.Sheppard, (Vice-Chairman),

J.M.F.Royce, B.J.Walker, G.Clark, J.P.Anderson, E.Padden, R.Davis, T.Vennett-Smith.

12/159: Apologies: E.Rodgers, D.Bexon, C.Dabell.

12/160: Acceptance of Apologies:

PROPOSED: R. Davis SECONDED: M.J.Sheppard.  Vote: All in favour.

12/161: Declaration of Interest:

Trustees, M.J.Sheppard, E.Padden and G.Clark in matters relevant to the Memorial Hall/Recreation Ground.

12/162: Minutes of the previous meeting:

RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council, held on the 3RD July, 2012 as circulated, be signed as a true record of the business transacted.

Progress from the Minutes: Nil to report.

In the absence of Councillor J.M.F.Royce, the Chairman asked that item 6 (Planning Report) be discussed as the next Agenda item.

12/163: Report by Chairman of Planning and Development Committee (J.P.Anderson).

J.P.Anderson reported that no meetings had been held during June and July 2012. The response to the RBC Core Strategy was in the process of being uploaded. A Public Enquiry was likely and would be probably held in February, 2013. The traffic model response had proven that, development on Clifton Pastures would inevitably result in rat running through Gotham.

12/164:            Planning Decisions Received:

(ref 12/00905/FUL) 19 The Rushes – GRANTED

12/165:            Planning Applications Received: Nil.

J.M.F.Royce arrived at the meeting at 7.35 p.m. He apologised for his late arrival.

12/166: Finance Monthly Payments and Receipts:

Receipts and Payments: RESOLVED: That the receipts, since the last meeting, are noted and the Accounts in Appendix F1 be confirmed and authorised for payment.

PROPOSED: J.M.F.Royce SECONDED: J.P.Anderson Vote: All in favour.

T.Vennett-Smith advised Council, that the printers had charged VAT on the production of leaflets and booklets which were not liable for VAT. The Clerk would return the invoices to the printer for alteration. Cheque no. 303279 for £674.40 was therefore withdrawn.

Bank Signatory (one extra): E.Padden suggested the need for an extra bank signatory should be debated at the next Annual General Meeting, especially if the current bank signatories were likely to be unavailable for a specific period of time in the year.

Decision on One Year Bond Investment: The Santander Bond would mature on the 1st October, 2012. The Clerk had received an offer of 3.20% per annum from Santander. J.M.F.Royce had researched offers from Close Brothers (2.9%) and The Cambridge Investment Bank (1.75%). B.J.Walker was unhappy to continue to invest with Santander, due to the current banking crisis in Spain which might ultimately affect the bank. Investment funds were currently underwritten by the FSCS scheme up to the sum of £85,000 so would not be in danger. M.J.Sheppard would speak to Glen Harris, retired banking director, and the Clerk would seek advice from RBC, re future Bond investment.

GNR start up loan of £4,500 (query from Treasurer, D.Power). The Clerk had circulated an email from D.Power, Treasurer of Gotham Nature Reserve, querying the status of the £4,500 ‘start up fund’ currently held in the GPC budget. He sought advice from the Council on whether the loan could be considered a ‘grant’ for GNR costs. It was agreed that the decision would depend on the success of future GNR grant applications

Finance Meeting: Next meeting of the Finance Committee would take place on Tuesday, 30th October, 2012 at 7.30 p.m.

12/167: Environmental Matters:

Village Sculpture Quotation: R.Muir had received a quotation of £11,895 for manufacture of the Village Sculpture from F.Lunn. This sum would cover production of the sign but not landscaping or erection. A further meeting would take place with F.Lunn, D.Charlesworth and NCC for discussion on all matters concerning the sculpture costs. Costs for landscaping, extra figures and the architect estimated to approximately £4,500.

PROPOSAL:  Acceptance of the quotation of £11,895 for the manufacture of a village sculpture.

PROPOSED: B.J.Walker SECONDED: E.Padden A recorded vote was requested by J.M.F.Royce.

Vote: In favour: B.J.Walker, E.Padden, J.P.Anderson, M.J.Sheppard, G.Clark, R.Muir, R.Davis.

Against: J.M.F.Royce. Abstention: T.Vennett-Smith.

The Clerk would write to F.Lunn, a letter of acceptance of the quotation. A firm order would not yet be placed until the outcome of the meeting with the manufacturers had taken place and a satisfactory cost for erection of the sculpture, landscaping, etc. had been agreed.

The next meeting of the Environment Committee would take place on the 18th September, 2012 at 7.30 p.m.

12/168: Memorial Hall Report from GPC reps. (M.J.Sheppard)

M.J.Sheppard reported, no July minutes available.

A Cabaret evening would take place on the 24th November, 2012. Tickets £18.

Improvements underway to include stage extension, lighting, sound system.

A complaint re driveway flooding had been received from a neighbour during a heavy thunderstorm. Temporary drainage improvements had been investigated until future car park resurfacing could be undertaken. B.J.Walker was in favour of a car park upgrade, in line with the hall improvements, together with low level lighting.

An application, by the Trustees,  had been submitted to the Football Association for free football pitch floodlighting.

12/169: Meeting with MH representatives re Recreation Ground responsibilities:

R.Muir would arrange a meeting with Trustees and GPC Focus Group members. Notes taken by E.Rodgers at the GPC Focus Group meeting on the 10th July, 2012. would be debated. The 17th September, 2012 was a possible date and would be confirmed by members’ of the Focus Group.

12/170:            Casual Vacancy:

The Clerk had notified the Electoral Officer of a Casual Vacancy on Gotham Parish Council resulting from the resignation of Councillor Gary Lowe. She had posted a notice of the Casual Vacancy on the noticeboard on the 22nd July, 2012. No applications had been received to date. The Chairman apologised for lack of notification to Council of Councillor Lowe’s resignation, prior to an article in Gotham News. This was due to the imminent copy date and her intent to publish the Casual Vacancy in the July edition.

12/171: Code of Conduct 2011/Declaration of Interest (Comparison with former document).

The Draft Code of Conduct had been accepted by Council at the July, 2012 meeting. The definitive document was now available but the Clerk had encountered difficulty with downloading from the NALC website. She had sought the advice of Hilary Gibbons of NALC who would assist with the download of the document. On receipt of the Code of Conduct, the Clerk would circulate it to Council.

12/172: Policing Matters/Vandalism (E.Rodgers and D.Bexon)

July crime figures circulated. E. Padden explained, the Police Priority Setting procedure whereby Councils emailed the crimes they wished the Police to prioritise and which was re-assessed on a three monthly basis. Car crime was the priority in Gotham at the present time.

12/173:            Gotham News & Media        (R.Muir/J.P.Anderson)        

The July edition of Gotham News had been very well received with excellent photographs of the Jubilee celebrations. Thanks recorded to the editorial team for their hard work. The next edition was due out in November with an end of October deadline for copy.

A small amount of advertising revenue was outstanding.

12/174:  Chairman’s Report:

The Chairman had received the following correspondence:

RBC Super Broadband Campaign.

Post Office Counters – A letter of confirmation re the closure of Gotham Post Office on the 10th September, 2012 with the intention of the continuation of a village service, as soon as possible.

RBC offer of five bags of winter gritting salt. Clerk would submit an application with directions for delivery to Councillor J.M.F.Royce for storage.

12/175:            Clerk’s Report:

The Clerk would attend the Town and Parish Forum on the 13th September, 2012 at the Civic Centre. The subject was ‘Affordable Housing and Housing Needs’.

The Clerk had contacted P.McManus re the Pilot Lengthsman Scheme. More details would be forthcoming of the job criteria. A parishioner had expressed an interest in the pilot scheme.

The Clerk had submitted an application to RBC for a free standing Christmas Tree in The Square. The cost of Blachere illuminations decoration of the existing fir tree in the churchyard would be £2,000.

Appointment of External Auditor, for five years from 2012/13, would be Messrs. Grant Thornton UK LLP.

12/176:  Matters to Report:

The Clerk would contact C.North, Secretary of the Environment Trust, inviting her co-operation in arranging meetings on an alternative weekday, other than a Tuesday, which was becoming overbooked. Councillors who served on sub-committees found they were double booked on a Tuesday evening on numerous occasions.

J.M.F.Royce had strimmed around the seat at the entrance to the Ridgeway.

British Telecom and British Gas, in negotiation over finalisation over pavement improvements at the North side of The Square.

E.Padden reported the Bus Depot was not due for closure for the forseeable future.

B.J.Walker had received a complaint re the reduced street lighting on Kegworth Road.

T.Vennett-Smith had received a complaint re the closure of Gotham Post Office. He had explained that the Parish Council had no control over the closure.

12/177: Items for Next Agenda: Civic Wreath.

12/178: Date and Time of Next Meeting:

The next meeting would be held on Tuesday, 2nd October, 2012 at 7.30 p.m. in the Weldon Room of the Memorial Hall

Meeting closed at 10.00 p.m.

Minutes of the Meeting of Gotham Parish Council 3rd July 2012



Weldon Room, COMMENCING AT 7.30 P.M.

Present:    R.Muir (Chairman), M.J.Sheppard, (Vice-Chairman),

J.M.F.Royce, B.J.Walker, G.Clark, E.Rodgers, J.P.Anderson, D.Bexon. C.Dabell. E.Padden.

12/140: Apologies: R.Davis, T.Vennett-Smith, G.Lowe. In attendance: Mr. and Mrs. J.Birtles.

12/141: Acceptance of Apologies:

PROPOSED: G.Clark  SECONDED: M.J.Sheppard.  Vote: All in favour.

12/142: Declaration of Interest:

Trustees, M.J.Sheppard, D.Bexon, E.Padden and G.Clark in matters relative to the Memorial Hall/Recreation Ground.

12/143: Future of Gotham Post Office (.J.Birtles)

The Chairman welcomed Mr. and Mrs. Birtles to the meeting.

PROPOSAL: Suspension of Standing Orders.

PROPOSED: E.Rodgers  SECONDED: J.P.Anderson.  Vote: All in favour.

Mr.Birtles advised Council, that only e-mail communication had taken place with the Post Office. The closing date of Gotham Post Office was the 12th September, 2012. Should the business be taken over by A.Towle and J.Samson of the Spar shop, the usual police checks would be run. If it proved a viable proposition for them to run, the Post Office might continue but would probably take six months’ for re-instatement. The Spar shop had been granted planning permission for an extension which might allow space for the Post Office counter, although it would not contain a sorting office which would most likely be re-located to Clifton. Should the Clifton sorting office prove too small, both Clifton and Gotham mail sorting might be moved to Beeston. A Post Office representative was due to visit the Spar premises and Mr. and Mrs Birtles during mid July. The Clerk would contact RBC and Notts Rural Community Council for advice and help re retention of the Post Office service in the village.

The Chairman thanked Mr. and Mrs. Birtles and they left the meeting at 7.47 p.m.

PROPOSAL: Re-instatement of Standing Orders.

PROPOSED: E.Rodgers  SECONDED: J.P.Anderson.  Vote: All in favour.

12/144: Minutes of the previous meeting:

RESOLVED: That the Minutes Meeting of the Parish Council, held on the 12th June, 2012 as circulated, be signed as a true record of the business transacted, with the following alteration: Pg. 1. Core strategy –(last sentence replace ‘public’ with ‘barrister’).

12/135: Staffing Issue: (R.Muir). Re-write sixth sentence down to end of paragraph, as follows:

‘J.P.Anderson apologised for inadvertently adding his signature to a blank cheque in the cheque book. The Chairman asked several times for Councillor Royce to issue an apology to the Clerk and, after discussion, he eventually proffered an apology. He added that he thought he had apologised at the time of the incident. The Chairman then concluded the matter, asking Councillor Royce for his assurance that such an incident would not occur in the future which he was unable to promise. As a result of this issue, re the blank cheque, GPC would review the payment and signatories’ procedure in line with financial regulations’.

Progress from the Minutes:

B.J.Walker commented, that during her Chairmanship, GPC had almost come to the point of a Quality Parish Council. She considered it was now becoming dragged into the mire. It was the Chairman’s duty to uphold standards.

M.J.Sheppard and R.Muir had attended an RBC Forum on the 2nd July and had taken advice from the Monitoring Officer, re the recent staffing issue.

12/145: Finance Monthly Payments and Receipts:

Receipts and Payments: RESOLVED: That the receipts, since the last meeting, are noted and the Accounts in Appendix F1 be confirmed and authorised for payment.

PROPOSED: J.P.Anderson  SECONDED: J.M.F.Royce  Vote: All in favour.

The Chairman suggested a fifth bank signatory should be appointed. (September agenda item).

12/146: Report by Chairman of Planning and Development Committee (J.P.Anderson).

Green Belt: J.P.Anderson read out a breakdown of expenses incurred in the fight to save the green belt. Costs would be shared by Barton and Thrumpton with Gotham and Barton sharing a fifty-fifty split, as they were more affected by the development on Clifton Pastures than Thrumpton. It had been agreed that Thrumpton would contribute a nominal amount, as follows:

Gotham: £1,500  Barton: £1,500 Thrumpton: £618.39 (£117 to Gotham and £501.39 to Barton).

PROPOSAL: Acceptance of breakdown of costs pertaining to the fight to save the green belt.

PROPOSED: E.Rodgers  SECONDED: J.M.F.Royce. Vote: All in favour.

More costs were expected from K.Mafham for his work on the response to the Nottingham Core Strategy. C.Raynor assisting with details of housing numbers. P.Randle of RBC,  had warned of a delay in the Examination in Public due to a query over the housing numbers required in Nottinghamshire, which might return to the earlier forecast of fifteen thousand.

J.P.Anderson had been unable to contact Wendy Le-las who was away from her office. He would keep Council informed of any progress in discussions with her.

Affordable Housing: J.P.Anderson had spoken to the Housing Officer re affordable housing in the village and the Gotham bus depot would be added to a list of suitable sites. There was concern, that the land behind the British Legion, might be contaminated and on different levels and therefore unsuitable for building. J.P.Anderson would seek further information from A.Gorringe of British Gypsum.

12/147:  Planning Decisions Received:

12/00583/FUL- 12/8:  – 37 Leake Rd – Extensions to form attached double garage & home office  – GRANTED

12/00671/FUL –12/9: –   2 Wallace St. – Demolition of Garage and erection of a two storey side extension. – GRANTED       

12/148:  Planning Applications Received: Nil.

12/149: Environmental Matters:

Village Sculpture Quotation: R.Muir reported that F.Lunn had reported a useful meeting had taken place with a manufacturer. He was keen to draw up a meeting with GPC,  Notts Highways, D.Charlesworth and the manufacturer for a discussion on detail. He would then be in a position to provide a quotation for the sculpture. The meeting would be arranged for mid-July.

Environment Trust: A successful meeting was held on the 14th June, 2012 with formal appointment of T.Jones as Chairman, M.Howard, Vice Chairman, P.R.Dines, Treasurer and C.North, Secretary. R.Davis, G.Clark and D.Bexon would represent GPC. Six other parishioners were appointed Trustees. The Clerk had kept D.Logan informed of progress, to date. The next meeting of the Environment Trust would be held on the 24th July, 2012. G.Clark would suggest another weekday, other than a Tuesday, for regular meetings due to a conflict of Tuesday bookings with GPC meetings.

Gotham Nature Reserve: Lease awaited from solicitor, S.Kassell.

Christmas tree: A site meeting had taken place in The Square re the suggestion for a free standing Christmas tree, next to the Village Pump, planted into a suitable cylinder. The Clerk had contacted Notts Highways for a site meeting re permission. Up to date, this had not taken place. Another suggestion was the lighting of the conifer in the Churchyard, adjacent to the front entrance to the Church. The Clerk would contact Blachere Christmas Lighting Company re a quote for dropping lights over the conifer. The problem of the Church electricity supply might negate the conifer’s use as a Christmas tree. A faculty from Southwell Diocese might be required to use the tree.

12/150: Memorial Hall Report from GPC reps. (M.J.Sheppard)

M.J.Sheppard reported, due to a conflict of dates with the GPC main meeting, there had been no GPC representative at the last meeting of the Memorial Hall Trustees. Reading from the minutes, he reported the following items:

CCTV not receiving clear pictures due to a new part being required. Cost £1,000.

New heater for the Cheeserollers’ would be fitted by C.Anstey.

R.Wilkinson researching new sound system for the stage.

Glen Harris, ex retail banker of Barton, had been approached to join the Trustees.

12/151: Meeting with MH representatives re Recreation Ground responsibilities:

E.Rodgers would take notes during an interim  meeting for a discussion re a list of objectives for discussion with Memorial Hall representatives. The meeting would take place on the 10th July, 2012 at 7.30 p.m. in the Cheeserollers’ Room. The Focus Group would consist of B.J.Walker, J.P.Anderson, E.Rodgers, R.Davis, M.J.Sheppard and G.Clark.

12/152:  Policing Matters/Vandalism (E.Rodgers and D.Bexon)

Crime figures circulated. Three incidents of break-ins and petty vandalism to vehicles occurred in June.

12/153:  Gotham News & Media    (R.Muir/J.P.Anderson)    

R.Muir reported a lengthy issue was due out in July.

12/154:  Chairman’s Report:

The Chairman reported the following matters:

Appraisal with the Clerk. New working conditions were circulated to Councillors. A Sage accountancy package would be priced.

Town and Parish Conference:The Chairman and Vice-Chairman had attended the Town and Parish Conference re the Localism Act 2011. This Act was concerned with Parish involvement with a host of jobs formerly undertaken by the Borough Council. Gotham already undertook a good deal of jobs such as ground maintenance, litter collection, etc. The precept might need to be raised to cover the costs of extra parish involvement with routine jobs. There was a large budget available for the start up and running costs of community shops which could be housed within community halls. West Bridgford Police Station had a new Contact Centre. L.Ogilvie of NALC gave a talk on the General Power of Competence.

Correspondence: The Chairman had received a formal complaint from an elector against a member of the Council.

A letter had been received from a parishioner re the appalling parking habits of some parents of children at Gotham Primary School. The Clerk had explained to the complainant that this was a Police matter and had already been discussed at an earlier meeting when P.C. Kelly Warwick had attended. The Chairman agreed the parking was dangerous, especially in the vicinity of the bus lay-by. An article re this matter would be contained in Gotham News.

A letter of thanks had been received from Mr. and Mrs. Bradley for the gift of a hydrangea from GPC to mark their recent  Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

12/155:  Clerk’s Report:

The Clerk had received notice from NALC that the last Code of Conduct had ended on the 30th June, 2012. The new, simplified, Draft Code of Conduct 2012, circulated to Councillors, was to be formerly adopted by the 1st July or as soon as possible after that date.

PROPOSAL: Adoption of the new Draft Code of Conduct 2012 with appropriate changes suitable for GPC, i.e. name, etc.

PROPOSED: J.P.Anderson  SECONDED: E.Rodgers  Vote: nine in favour, one against.

September agenda (Comparison of documents new with old).

The Clerk had circulated the newly formatted declaration of interest forms for completion by Councillors. She would submit the completed forms to D.Swaine, RBC Monitoring Officer. Absent members had been posted a form with return envelope.

12/156:  Matters to Report:

J.M.F.Royce had attended the Armed Forces Flag Raising Ceremony on Monday, 23rd June, 2012. The ceremony was followed by tea at St.Gile’s Church Hall.

Nottingham Road Verges: Negotiations still underway with Notts Highways South re improvements.

British Telecom and British Gas in negotiation over finalisation over pavement improvements at the North side of The Square.

Temporary bollards were in place, opposite the entrance to Manor Farm, for protection of the pavement during current house building.

D.Bexon had been approached by a parishioner complaining about cars parked on Cheese Hill with suspected drug takers and dealing in the local public houses. She would report the matter to the Police.

J.P.Anderson had received final documents re plans for the widening of the A453.

C.Dabell reported recent storm damage to trees along the Railway Walk. S.Watson had removed a fallen tree from the pathway.

NALC booking form re The Localism Act 2011 at Trowell Village Hall on 23rd July, 2012. B.J.Walker and E.Padden to attend. Cost £60 per head.

12/157: Items for Next Agenda: Code of Conduct (Check variance between old and new).

12/158: Date and Time of Next Meeting: Cancellation of August meeting for Holiday. 

Agreed: Cancellation of the August meeting for the holiday period. J.M.F.Royce suggested a meeting could be held on the 31st July, 2012 should there prove adequate business for discussion and to alleviate a lengthy September agenda. To be agreed by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman by the 20th July. E.Rodgers and D.Bexon would be unavailable to attend on the 31st July. M.J.Sheppard would collect GPC mail from the Post Office during the Clerk’s holiday.

September Meeting would be held on the 4th September, 2012 at 7.30 p.m. in the Weldon Room of the Memorial Hall.  (E.Rodgers tendered her apologies).

Meeting closed at 9.40 p.m.