Minutes of the Meeting of Gotham Parish Council – 8th January 2013

held in the Memorial Hall Weldon Room COMMENCING AT 7.30 P.M.

Present:    R.Muir (Chairman), M.J.Sheppard, (Vice-Chairman), D.Bexon, J.M.F.Royce,  J.P.Anderson, E.Padden, R.Davis, T.Vennett-Smith, K. Steed, B.J.Walker, G.Clark.

The Chairman wished Council and attendees a very happy New Year.

13/1: Apologies:  E.Rodgers, C.Dabell.  In Attendance: P.R.Dines, J.Turner, E.Perrell, A.Vickers, A.Howick, C.Howe.

The Chairman welcomed the members of the public to the meeting.

13/2: Acceptance of Apologies:

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

13/3: Declaration of Interest:

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

13/4: Minutes of the previous meeting:

Resolved: That the previously circulated Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held on the 4th December, 2012, be accepted as a true record, with the following amendment: Pg. 1. 12/220 W.I. – donation to Over 70’s Christmas Party: Remove title ‘Borough Councillor’ before ‘T.Vennett-Smith’.

PROPOSED: J.P.Anderson SECONDED: G.Clark.  Vote: All in favour.

Progress from the Minutes:

12/224: Post Office: The Clerk confirmed she had written a letter to Ms. A.Wallace, Post Office Field Change Advisor for advice on the re-siting of the village post box.

13/5: Carol Singing Complaint from Parishioner:

The Chairman had received an official complaint from a parishioner over the episode of carol singing outside her home, following the public session held on the 18th December. The Chairman issued a written apology on behalf of GPC for any distress caused. £30 collected at the time had been awarded to the Brooke Donkey Sanctuary, the aforementioned parishioner’s choice of Charity.

Members of the Public involved in the above incident wished to add their comments so a PROPOSAL of Suspension of Standing Orders was PROPOSED by: R.Muir and SECONDED by E.Padden.

A short discussion on the Carol singing incident took place.

Re-instatement of Standing Orders PROPOSED by J.P. Anderson SECONDED: G.Clark.

13/6: Village Christmas Tree:

The Chairman read out an explanation of the successful erection of the first village Christmas Tree in The Square. Unfortunately, the Christmas lights had been displayed minus a transformer which could have proved a risk to the public. The Carol Singing session went ahead with members of the Council and Public instructed to guard the public from the perimeter of the tree. The safety risk had been reported to NCC who had removed the fuse from the lights. A.Howick kindly offered to loan a 24 volt car battery to the Council and had worked hard to achieve a new set of battery lighting. NCC were unable to inspect this method of lighting but the Environment Committee were satisfied there was no risk to the public if the lights remained switched on during the Christmas period with safety barriers protecting the public from the base container. The Chairman thanked Councillor Royce for his advice re the safety of the lighting and, although the experience was a regrettable error, which had not been picked up by the qualified electrician, NCC representatives or the lighting salesman, the Council had resolved to ‘learn from its mistake’ and make good the electricity supply for future displays. The Clerk was asked to contact NCC for exact lighting procedure advice.

PROPOSAL: Suspension of Standing Orders: PROPOSED: R.Muir, SECONDED: G.Clark.

A. Howick explained his initial concern at the lack of an RCD but was too late to act due to NCC’s removal of the fuse. He had been confident that there had been no danger to the public from the 24 volt car battery method of power. The Chairman thanked A.Vickers and A.Howick for their considerable assistance with the Christmas Tree lighting.

Re-instatement of Standing Orders PROPOSED: J.M.F.Royce SECONDED: J.P. Anderson

The Chairman thanked the members of the public for their attendance and they left the meeting at 8.40 p.m.

13/7: 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: R.Davis SECONDED: B.J.Walker   Vote: All in favour.

Budget 12/13 Rolling Balances: The Clerk had circulated budget papers for the three monthly update on rolling balances. J.M.F.Royce commented on the lack of time for preparation of the papers due to the closure of the Council during the Christmas period. The bottom line figures showed the figures were within acceptable limits at this stage of the financial year.

A paper showing the Gotham News budget showed a shortfall of approximately £1,000 due to advertising revenue due in February 2013 which should re-cover the costs of printing. GPC allowed a £600 grant towards printing costs in the event of an   advertising revenue shortfall.

2013/14 Precept: J.M.F.Royce had contacted Ms. Peacock of RBC financial dept. who had confirmed that Parishes would most likely not face capping in the year 2013/14. An increase in tax would be paid up to 2%. GPC needed to be aware that finances would face a reduction in the following year with the expectation of quite dramatic cuts in funding. The RBC Cabinet Meeting on the 15th January, would make the final decision over the tax cuts and GPC would receive confirmation by 16th January, 2013. Taxation workshops for Town and Parish Councils would be held in the Spring for clarification of the new financial circumstances.

13/8: Report by Chairman of Planning and Development Committee (J.P.Anderson).

J.P.Anderson reported the following planning items:

A453 Widening: A meeting in Barton had been held with Laing O’Rourke Construction Co. representatives in attendance. An explanation of the A453 widening plans, to include the final closure of Barton Lane for the storage of spoil and heavy construction equipment. Discussions had included the inevitable rat running Gotham would endure and procedures that could be implemented to impede extra traffic through the village. The Contractors would ensure no heavy lorries involved in the work on the A453 would pass through Gotham. J.P.Anderson had spoken to the Headmistress of Gotham School re concerns over safety to pupils on Kegworth Road due to heavy traffic. Nott’s Highways would be contacted to provide temporary traffic lighting outside school.  A village traffic count in February, prior to Barton Lane closure and then in April following the closure might help calculate the difference in traffic numbers.

RBC Core Strategy: K.Mafham continued with his study of the Core Strategy in order to present the Inspector with a meaningful defence for the Green Belt. The Core Strategy had been criticised by the Inspector for its lack of a 70% build next to the urban area as suggested by the Regional Spatial Strategy. RBC had given a good account for their housing numbers. The justification for building the City’s overspill at Clifton was taken from historical figures which were pathetically outdated. The City would produce its Core Strategy in March 2013. There had been no traffic problems evinced by RBC and no attempt to run a traffic model. K.Mafham was gaining feedback from CPRE and working on a building good relationship with the Inspector in order to present the best defence campaign to save the green belt.

Affordable Housing: J.P.Anderson confirmed good feedback from St.Gobain regarding the possibility of securing land behind the Royal British Legion for affordable housing. Regarding a site in Gotham for affordable housing, J.P.Anderson and M.J.Sheppard had met representatives of The Royal British Legion to explain the possibility of a small housing development on land behind its premises.

13/9: Planning Applications Received: Nil.

13/10: Planning Decisions Received:

12/12 (ref: 12/01127/COU) 17 Moor Lane – Conversion of garage to a dog grooming parlour. –  GRANTED

12/14 (ref:   12/01663/FUL) 309 Leake Road – Single storey rear extension; first floor front extension:                                                                                                         Demolish side extension. – GRANTED

12/15 (ref:  12/01787/FUL)  2 Pygall Ave. – Side Extension. –   WITHDRAWN

13/10: Environmental Matters: (R.Davis – Vice Chairman).

Village Sculpture Quotation: R.Muir had drawn up the full costs of the village sign to include delivery, erection and site license. The batman figure would be cancelled. The cost of the sculpture would be £17,931. There was a shortfall of £2,741 from the present funds in budget. J.M.F.Royce thought the sum would exceed this amount due to a ten per cent allowance for unforeseen costs. The question posed was to either find the extra funding or pull the plug on the scheme which would mean repayment of donated funds and payment to the architect for his work to date. R.Muir asked Council to express their individual views on the project.

T.Vennett-Smith stated he could not personally support the scheme in the light of the fall in the economy. He considered the scheme would cost the wrong amount of money at the wrong time.

A lengthy discussion of the project ensued when the following points were made:

  • The years of work that had been spent on the project would be wasted.
  • The amount of time taken, must prove the project was flawed.
  • The grant monies and other donations would be returned.
  • The sculpture would be a unique piece of work that the village could treasure. The village and its history was worthy of this piece of work.
  • The project would raise the village profile.

T.Vennett-Smith requested a recorded vote:

PROPOSAL: That GPC should continue with the project and place the order with a 40% deposit and full payment when the work had been satisfactorily delivered.

PROPOSED: B.J.Walker   SECONDED: M.J.Sheppard.

Vote In Favour: E.Padden, R.Muir, G. Clark, D.Bexon, J.P.Anderson, R.Davis.

Vote Against: T.Vennett-Smith, J.M.F.Royce, K.Steed.

In accordance with Standing Orders, the Agreement for the erection of a village sculpture would lay on the table for 28 days.

E.Padden accepted R.Muir’s invitation to join the Village Sculpture project management team.

T.Vennett-Smith declared an interest in the next item: (Village Drainage System).

Village Drainage System: T.Vennett-Smith and R.Muir had inspected the Railway Walk drainage system, adjacent to the B.T. premises, which was blocked in several areas. A quotation of £900 had been obtained for drainage clearance.

PROPOSAL: Due to recent heavy rainfall which had caused flooding, the Clerk would obtain two more quotations, as soon as possible, for work to be carried out for a final decision on the best value quotation to be made by the Environment Committee.

13/11:  Memorial Hall Report:

M.J.Sheppard reported the following items:

A good December meeting was held, including enjoyable refreshments.

Future fundraising ideas – a Soul night, Bollywood night, Fashion Show.

J.M.F.Royce left the meeting at 10.25 p.m.

Memorial Hall Focus Group – thoughts on agenda for meeting on the 26th February, 2013.

PROPOSAL: Acceptance of remit drawn up by J.P.Anderson.

PROPOSED: J.P.Anderson  SECONDED: B.J.Walker Vote: eight in favour, two abstentions (declarations of interest).

In order to gain an insight into Councillors’ concerns re GPC’s role and responsibilities to the Memorial Hall/Recreation Ground complex, J.P.Anderson offered to draw up a resume of ideas received via email. The Clerk would inform Councillors’ of the opportunity to submit their thoughts/queries to J.P.Anderson to enable him to build up a list of items for discussion with Trustee representatives.

13/12: Gotham News & Media:     (R.Muir/J.P.Anderson)

J.P.Anderson would produce a four page edition of Gotham News for village information on the A453, RBC Core Strategy, Barton Lane closure, Village Christmas Tree.

K.Steed would join the Gotham News Editorial Team. R.Muir would approach Harry Carlton School for media apprentices.

13/13: Policing Matters/Vandalism (D.Bexon)

D.Bexon reported nil crime reported in Gotham during December, 2012.

E.Padden reported the Police Priority Setting meeting dates. She offered to attend the first meeting on the 16th January. The current priority for Gotham was speeding traffic.

T.Vennett-Smith left the meeting at 10.40 p.m.

13/13: Chairman’s Report             

The Chairman had attended an excellent W.I. Christmas Party. She considered the donation of £25 from GPC was derisory.

13/14: Clerk’s report:

The Clerk had sent a letter of thanks to A.Austin for her past work in organisation of the Gotham Luncheon Club.

A telephone message of thanks for the £250 grant to the Royal British Legion had been received. (Letter to follow).

A letter of thanks was read out from A.Howick for the case of wine received from GPC/MH Trustees thanking the family for their continued hard work towards village projects.

The Chairman and Clerk would attend an RBC environmental forum on the 7th February, 2013.

13/15: Matters to Report:

B.J.Walker reported the need for village noticeboard repairs due to dampness.

B.J.Walker called for shorter reports on environmental and planning issues due to the existence of minuted meetings circulated to Council prior to the main meeting. The item – discussion with the Memorial Hall representatives should gain a higher slot on the February meeting agenda.

13/16: Items for Next Agenda: Village Sculpture. M.H. meeting

13/17: Date of Next Meeting: The next meeting would be held on the 5th February, 2013.    Meeting concluded at  10.55 pm.