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Minutes of a Meeting of Gotham Parish Council (13/12/13)

Present:   M.J.Sheppard, (Chairman) J.M.F.Royce,  R.Davis,    B.J.Walker,   J.P.Anderson, K. Steed, R.Muir, D.Bexon. G.Clark, E.Rodgers.  In attendance: Notts County Councillor A.Brown.

The Chairman welcomed County Councillor Andrew Brown to the meeting.

13/184: Apologies: Nil. Absent: E.Padden, C.Dabell

13/185: Acceptance of Apologies: N/a.

13/186: Declaration of Interest:

Trustees, D.Bexon, G.Clark, K.Steed, in matters relevant to the Memorial Hall/Recreation Ground.

13/187: Minutes of the previous meeting:

Resolved: That the previously circulated Minutes of the Parish Council held on the 5th November, 2013, be accepted as a true record of the business transacted.

PROPOSED: J.P.Anderson  SECONDED: R.Muir Vote: All in favour.

Progress from the Minutes: 13/175 : Remembrance Sunday 10/11/13 –Service: J.P.Anderson reported he represented Gotham Parish Council at the East Leake Service of Remembrance.The new Vicar, Tim Parker, led a very impressive service. The readings by the Scouts had been very poor. It was agreed, that the readers at next year’s Gotham Service of Remembrance should be competent, especially as the Service commemorates the anniversary of the Great War.

Wreath laying at Gotham: B.J. Walker, E.Padden and J.M.F.Royce had attended the Gotham Service of Remembrance. J.M.F.Royce and B.J.Walker complimented the Rev. Richard Coleman on his excellent delivery. J.M. R.Royce laid the wreath on behalf of the people of Gotham. Borough Councillor T.Vennett-Smith laid a wreath on behalf of the Mayor of Rushcliffe.

13/167 Traffic Lights: County Councillor A.Brown had assisted GPC in the promise that temporary traffic lights would be installed outside Gotham Primary School before the New Year. The final decision re the date was the responsibility of J.Pizzey, Highways Agency Project Manager.

13/188: Council Confidentiality (M.J.Sheppard)

The Chairman reported hearing that a discussion had taken place in a public place concerning direct Council matters debated at the November meeting. The Chairman reminded Councillors that matters discussed in Council were confidential, other than what was reported in the published minutes. He asked members to respect Council confidentiality at all times.

13/189 : Finance Monthly Payments and Receipts: (J.P.Anderson asked the Clerk to rename M.P.S.A. i.e. multi-purpose sports arena – as Sports Arena on the November monthly finance sheet).

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: K.Steed Vote: All in favour.

Report on Finance Meeting held on the 26th November, 2013

Acceptance of the recommended Environment Budget: £ 5,323.00  PROPOSED: J.M.F.Royce SECONDED: R.Muir. Vote: All in favour.

Acceptance of the recommended Revenue Budget: £30,483.00 (subject to negotiations with the Trustees of the Memorial Hall/Recreation Ground and Sports Clubs re some items on the Recreation Ground Budget)  PROPOSED: J.M.F.Royce  SECONDED: R.Davis Vote: All in favour.

J.M.F.Royce reported, a letter had been received from Alison Hall-Wright, RBC Capital and Resources Group Accountant re the Council Tax Benefit which has been replaced by a locally determined Council Tax Reduction Scheme. This resulted in a reduction to the council tax base, the impact of which was mitigated by the award of a one-off transitional grant for the affected parishes in 2013.

The arrangements for the 2014/15 Council Tax Reduction Scheme would be considered by full Council on the 12th December, 2013 with notification to Parish Councils of the agreed Council Tax Base after that date. The Council’s precept request should be submitted by the 14th February 2014. Cabinet would consider future transitional grant arrangements for parishes on the 14th January 2014. It was to be noted, that in light of the wider financial pressures facing the Council, and the cessation of specific central government funding, this could result in a reduced level of grant or this funding being withdrawn altogether which may have implications for the 2014/15 Precept.

The next GPC Finance Meeting would be held on Tuesday, 28th January, 2014.

13/190: Report by Chairman of Planning and Development Committee: (Chairman J.P.Anderson)

There had been no planning meeting held during November, 2013.

Progress on Consultation re RBC Core Strategy/Steering Group Meeting: J.P.Anderson read out a substantial report from Planning Consultant, Ken Mafham following the Aligned Core Strategy Public Inquiry. The next stage of the Consultation Process is the RBC Cabinet Meeting due on the 12th December, 2013 to approve the Core Strategy and Green Belt Review. Borough Councillor T.Vennett-Smith will lodge GPC’s objections and table questions regarding the lack of consultation, traffic issues, etc., The projected housing numbers are vulnerable to judicial review with emphasis on the severe environmental impact of large scale development. A Soubry MP is a key ally should judicial review be contemplated due to her legal background as a barrister.

The Inspector had proven weak in her untimely acceptance of the Aligned Core Strategy housing numbers prior to submission of  supporting evidence. It was noted, that there was no representation by RBC at the Public Inquiry.

13/191: Planning Decisions Received: Nil.

13/192: Planning Applications Received:                 Nil.

13/193: Environmental Matters: (C.Dabell absent)

Report on Christmas Tree in The Square/Carol Singing – 10th December 2013/Cemetery Arch.

M.J.Sheppard reported the Christmas Tree had been successfully erected with the lights due to be hung within the next few days. Thanks to A.Howick for his continued assistance and  H.Wright for his generous donation of the Christmas Tree.

Carol Singing – 10th December, 2013 – M.J.Sheppard reported arrangements in hand. A gazebo would be erected on the grass bay adjacent to the Pump in which Gotham Primary School pupils will perform the carol ‘Oh Starry Night’. A portable loudspeaker will be loaned from the School. Jack Griffin has been booked to lead the Carols. Phil Reckless Band cost £160 sponsored by The Sun and Cuckoo Bush. Mulled Wine and mince pies in St.Lawrence Church from 5 p.m. Thanks recorded to R.Davis and C.Dabell for their offer to supply under 12’s with a chocolate surprise. R.Muir complimented the Environment Committee on their organisation of this event.

Cemetery Arch: R.Davis reported a parishioner had suggested the re-building of the Cemetery Arch that had been destroyed many years ago by a road traffic accident. The Clerk was asked to obtain a photograph of the original arch from the History Society for further discussion next year.

13/194: Memorial Hall Report from GPC representatives:

K.Steed reported that the Trustees of the Memorial Hall had asked that Minutes of Meetings be sent directly to the Clerk to be circulated to Councillors.

Car park lighting to be improved behind the Bowls Club.

Election of one more representative to serve as Trustee. Deferred.

Draft Memorandum of Understanding.(J.P.Anderson): J.P.Anderson circulated the Draft Memorandum of Understanding, a document drawn up by the Focus Group to explain the  financial responsibilities of GPC and Trustees re the maintenance and running costs of the Memorial Hall and Recreation Grounds. Councillors were asked to peruse the document prior to discussion at a meeting in the Spring for acceptance by Summer, 2014.

13/195: Casual Vacancy:

The Clerk reported, that G.Hutter had expressed her intention to apply to become a member of GPC in the New Year. A letter from RBC showing her registration on the Electoral Roll was in the process of being drawn up in order for her to attain eligibility to serve on the Parish Council.   

13/196: Village De-Fibrillator:

In the absence of E.Padden who had undertaken to progress this item, M.J.Sheppard reported that the proprietor of Frydays had agreed to supply electricity to a defibrillator positioned on the outside wall of the premises. County Councillor A.Brown offered his financial support for an application for funding.

13/197: Policing Matters/Vandalism:

E.Rodgers reported two house burglaries during October. No November crime figures, to date.

13/198: Gotham News & Media:  

Editorial Team: Editorial Team: M.J.Sheppard, R.Muir, K.Steed and D.Bexon. R.Muir thanked the editorial team, especially K.Steed for her input into a successful issue of Gotham News. R.Muir would be willing to produce the February edition but informed Council that she would not be standing again in May 2014. R Muir said that she is quite happy to continue to do the parish council news letter after May 2014 but equally would not be offended if they wished to take it elsewhere for it to be done as she would now need to charge for her time to cover loss of earnings during preparation of Gotham News. R.Muir advised GPC that Steve Douglas continued to offer an excellent printing service & speedy turn around at a very competitive price and often within a tight timeline.

13/199: Gotham Countryside Trust – 2 GPC Representatives:

R.Davis volunteered to continue as a Trustee of the Countryside Trust. G.Clark expressed a wish to retire. The matter of another GPC representative to be further debated at a future meeting.

D.Logan will attend a coffee morning on the 4th December, 2013 in order to hand over a cheque towards his generous funding of the Gotham Countryside Trust.

13/200:  Church Christmas Tree Exhibition – Progress on Decorations for GPC tree:

B.J.Walker had obtained a suitable Christmas tree for the Exhibition. D.Bexon and B.J.Walker were progressing the mounting of photographs of the Village Sculpture to decorate the tree.

13/201: Chairman’s Report:         

The Chairman thanked County Councillor Andrew Brown for his continued support for Gotham both in his attendance at meetings and general interest in Gotham’s current traffic problems.

13/202: Clerk’s report:

The Clerk had received the following correspondence:

The Clerk had received a complaint from an ex Councillor re the traffic queues emanating from the temporary traffic lights at the top of Farnborough Road, Clifton during the NET2 car park building work. The complainant called for 24 hour work in order that the operation progressed at a quicker rate. The complainant felt that it was unreasonable to stop traffic during times when no work was being undertaken. E.Rodgers pointed out that 24 hour noisy construction work would not be allowed in a built up area due to night time disturbance.

The Clerk and B.J.Walker had attended the AGM of N.A.L.C. held at Epperstone Village Hall on the 13th November, 2013. Police Commissioner, Paddy Tipping had addressed the meeting.

13/203: Matters to Report:

The Clerk had reported the ‘inactive’ interactive speed sign to Kendra Hourd of NCC who had emailed that she would progress the problem and re-activate the sign.

B.J.Walker reported the deterioration of the public noticeboard. The Clerk would draw D.Howick’s attention to this matter as he had originally donated the board.

R.Muir reported the need for three new horse riding gates at the approach to Weldon Hill, at the top of Weldon Hill and at the third entrance alongside Strawberry Wood. She would contact Jane Baines of NCC for advice.

Councillors thanked the Chairman and Mrs. R. Sheppard for a very generous Christmas Reception prior to this meeting.

13/204: Items for Next Agenda. Casual Vacancy, De-Fibrillator.

13/205: Date of Next Meeting: The next meeting would be held on the 7th January, 2014 at 7.30 p.m.. Meeting concluded at  9.45 pm.

Minutes of a Meeting of Gotham Parish Council (05/11/13)

Present:   M.J.Sheppard, (Chairman) J.M.F.Royce,  R.Davis,    B.J.Walker,   J.P.Anderson, K. Steed,  C.Dabell,  R.Muir, D.Bexon.

One minute silence in memory of the War Dead.

The Council stood for one minute of silence in memory of Gotham’s War Dead.

The Chairman requested Item 7b on the Agenda, Bridging Loan, be discussed as the first item.

Finance – 7b Bridging Loan:

The Chairman announced the necessity for the Parish Council to take out a bridging loan of £10,000, for a six month period, to cover the increased cost of the Memorial Hall car park refurbishment, due to unforeseen work. Funds currently invested in a Santander Bond would be available to the Council within this timescale.

R.Muir spoke in favour of a lesser amount of money being tied in a Bond in future. She had voted against the decision to invest such a large amount of money which she had deemed unwise.

PROPOSAL: That the Parish Council arrange a bridging loan to the sum of  £10,000 for a six month period to cover the cost of extra work on the Memorial Hall Car Park.

PROPOSED: J.P.Anderson  SECONDED: R.Davis  Vote: eight in favour, one abstention.

13/160: Election of Vice-Chairman:

It was moved by M.J.Sheppard, seconded by R.Muir that Karen Steed be appointed Vice-Chairman of Gotham Parish Council.

K.Steed accepted the position of Vice-Chairman and thanked Council.

Vote: All in favour.

13/161: Apologies: G.Clark, E.Rodgers, E.Padden, Notts County Councillor A.Brown.

13/162: Acceptance of Apologies:

PROPOSED: J.P.Anderson  SECONDED: R.Muir Vote: All in favour.

13/163: Declaration of Interest:

Royal British Legion members, C.Dabell and J.M.F.Royce in Agenda item 7c Civic Wreath.

13/164: Minutes of the previous meeting:

Resolved: That the previously circulated Minutes of the Parish Council held on the 1st October, 2013, be accepted as a true record of the business transacted, with the following amendments:

13/142: Apologies: Remove ‘Chairman’.

13/148: Report by Chairman of Planning and Development Committee: (Chairman J.P.Anderson) remove heading: ‘Progress on Consultation re RBC Core Strategy.’

PROPOSED: R.Davis  SECONDED: J.P.Anderson Vote: All in favour.

Progress from the Minutes: 13/146 : Finance Monthly Payments and Receipts: The Clerk had reported to D.Power of the PCC, GPC’s intention to award a grant of £230 towards the cost of repairs to the church clock.

13/165: Casual Vacancy:

G.Hutter had attended the October meeting and was in the process of registering on the Electoral Roll in order to attain eligibility to serve on the Parish Council.

13/166 : 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.

D.Charlesworth had submitted an invoice for travelling expenses incurred during the work on the Village Sculpture.

a)  Quarterly Financial Update – The Clerk would circulate the budget sheets to members before the next meeting. Agreed to defer to the December meeting when invoices for the Village Sculpture could be included.

b) Bridging Loan – (already discussed Item 1)

c) Civic Wreath  –  PROPOSAL: To donate £100 to the Gotham and District Branch of the Royal British Legion to defray the cost of the wreath. PROPOSED: R. Muir  SECONDED: J.P.Anderson. Vote: six in favour, one against, two abstentions. (Two declarations of interest).

d) Date of Finance Meeting: The next meeting of the Finance Committee would be held on the  26th November, 2013 at 7.30 p.m.

R.Muir suggested a fourth bank signatory should be appointed. (Deferred for further consultation).

13/167: Report by Chairman of Planning and Development Committee: (Chairman J.P.Anderson)

Progress on Consultation re RBC Core Strategy: B.J.Walker had attended some sessions of the Aligned Core Strategy Public Inquiry currently being held. K.Mafham represented Gotham and surrounding villages. Unfortunately, the Inspector had quoted the housing numbers ‘objectively sound’. K.Mafham was pressing hard for more attention to building on brown field sites within the City. The lack of public consultation was criticised by A.Soubry M.P. The deadline for the RBC vote was the 12th December, 2013.

Traffic Lights: The proposed traffic lights outside Gotham School were not yet in place. County Councillor A.Brown was progressing their installation and had brought about increased street lighting during the night on the main roads. M.J.Sheppard reported on Radio Nott’m’s  live programme coverage with Cllr Andrew Brown, Head Teacher Sue Lymn-Brewin and several parents outside the school and the ongoing campaign for traffic/ pedestrian lights, which started in May. The Clerk was asked thank County Councillor A.Brown for his help.

J.P.Anderson had attended a Community Community Consultation & Community Led Planning Rushcliffe Parish Forum on the 30th October, 2013. The meeting had primarily concerned the drawing up of a Parish Plan which Gotham had already achieved. The Parish Plan would form a basis for a Neighbourhood Plan which was important to protect the village from further inappropriate development. The Gotham Village Design Statement now required updating. J.P.Anderson had brought a copy of the Cropwell Butler Neighbourhood Plan as an example.

P.Marshall had attended the GPC Planning meeting held on the 22nd October 2013. He had also suggested GPC draw up a Neighbourhood Plan which would be especially beneficial should a green belt envelope be imposed upon Gotham.

13/168: Planning Decisions Received: Nil.

13/169: Planning Applications Received: Nil.

13/170: Environmental Matters:

C.Dabell reported the Railway Walk picnic seats had been repaired and replaced by S.Watson and D.Urry.

13/171: Memorial Hall Report from GPC representatives:

J.M.F.Royce had requested and received a set of the Memorial Hall minutes.

K. Steed reported an extension to the bar was planned to improve drinks storage.

Election of one more representative to serve as Trustee. For review at the December meeting.

13/172:  Memorial Hall Car Park Refurbishment Report:

J.M.F.Royce reported the 10% financial contingency for the car park refurbishment had been exhausted by unexpected costs to the drainage system and the car park. The total cost was £36,101.20 plus VAT.

PROPOSAL: Acceptance of final cost of car park refurbishment – £36,101.20 plus VAT.

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

The Chairman expressed thanks and congratulations to the Project Group, members of the Memorial Hall Trust and the Parish Council, who together with architect, Jeff Jones, and the contractors, Colin Bowers and Son Limited, had worked  very efficiently to deliver on time and within budget – almost!

13/173: Policing Matters/Vandalism:

D.Bexon reported no crime recorded during the month of October. A handbag theft from a house on Wodehouse Avenue had recently occurred. A serious road accident on Nottingham Road had caused the road to be closed. Traffic had to make a detour of approximately ten miles to reach the centre of the village.

13/174: Gotham News & Media:  

Editorial Team: M.J.Sheppard, R.Muir, K.Steed and D.Bexon. R.Muir had produced an excellent draft copy of the November edition of Gotham News with the assistance of the editorial team. D.Bexon would pass the June crime figures to R.Muir for inclusion. R.Muir requested all Councillors carry out their Gotham News delivery.

PROPOSAL: The mugs depicting the sculpture icons would be supplied to the village pubs. (Batman and Robin icon would be excluded as written permission would be required from DC Comics.)

PROPOSED: J.P. Anderson  SECONDED: K.Steed. Vote: All in favour.

R.Muir left the meeting at 9.20 p.m.

13/175: Royal British Legion Remembrance Sunday 10/11/13 – Wreath laying at Gotham Service 10.45 a.m.)

J.M.F.Royce would attend the Gotham service and lay the wreath on behalf of the Chairman from the parishioners of Gotham. J.P.Anderson would attend the East Leake parade.

13/176: Gotham Countryside Trust – 2 GPC Representatives:

R.Davis offered to continue as a Trustee of the Countryside Trust. G.Clark had expressed a wish to retire. The matter would be further debated at the next meeting.

13/177:  Revised Code of Conduct 2013:

The Clerk reported a minor change to the Code of Conduct, forwarded from RBC, whereby subsection 6 of the new code calls on a councillor to divulge if they are a member of a Trade Union, whereas before it did not ask this in regard to divulging interests.  

13/178:  Church Christmas Tree Exhibition – Decorations for GPC tree

B.J.Walker, D.Bexon and the Clerk would decorate a Christmas tree with photographs of the village sculpture icons. D.Bexon offered to assist with a selection of photographs.

Carol Singing – 10th Dec – letter from Rev. R. Coleman:

A letter had been received from the Rev. R. Coleman supporting the Christmas Carols in The Square with an offer of refreshments in the Church. The Clerk would accept the offer but make it clear that the focus of the Carols would be in The Square. C.Dabell would supply chocolate Santa’s for the children. The Gotham Primary School children would be singing a carol. It is hoped that a  small gazebo would be situated next to the bicycle racks in which they could perform.

13/179: Chairman’s Report:         

The Chairman had received the following correspondence:

An invitation to the RBC Mayor’s reception to be held on the 22nd January, 2014. The Chairman and Clerk to attend.

13/180: Clerk’s report:

The Clerk had received the following correspondence:

RBC Winter gritting salt – The Clerk would order the five free bags of gritting salt.

The Clerk had reported the stolen ‘Gotham’ entrance sign from Nottingham Road to K.Hourd of NCC Highways.

13/181: Matters to Report:

J.P.Anderson reported, paint peeling off the Village Sculpture plaque. This was due to damage caused when the protective plastic seal was peeled back.

J.P.Anderson reported the Notts County Minerals Local Plan was available on the website.

The Clerk had received a reply from K.Hourd of NCC re speeding traffic into the village. She had offered to carry out a site visit.

B.J.Walker asked the Clerk to arrange sweeping of the leaves under the seats in front of the old Post Office.

M.J.Sheppard reported Radio Nottingham had inquired about the Village Tales for their website. They had been diverted to B.Dabell for advice.

13/182: Items for Next Agenda. Casual Vacancy, Clerk’s Salary Award, De-Fibrillator.

13/183: Date of Next Meeting: The next meeting would be held on the 3rd December, 2013. at 7 p.m. with a Christmas Reception arranged by the Chairman. Meeting concluded at  10.00 pm.