Minutes of a Meeting of Trimdon Foundry Parish Council held on Tuesday 14th July 2020 by Zoom
Councillors Carole Bell (Chairman), Gail Elliott, Mike Gilvin
Councillor Gary Elliott (accepted) County Councillor Lucy Hovvels (accepted)
It was RESOLVED to grant a dispensation to Cllr Ferguson until he can be provided with functioning Parish hardware with which to join online meetings.
It was RESOLVED that Cllr Bell would contact Cllr Loverance to establish what further assistance she might need to join online meetings.
It was RESOLVED that the Clerk should ask PCSO Foreman to attend virtual meeting(s) if possible.
003/20 In Attendance
Parish Clerk Kate Holmes No members of the public.
004/20 Notice of Motion
The notice of motion to call the meeting was proposed by Cllr C Bell and seconded by Cllr Mike Gilvin. This was carried.
005/20 Declaration of Interest
006/20 Dispensations for Declared Interests
007/20 Exclusion of the Press and Public
It was RESOLVED that as no members of the public were present, no exclusion would be necessary.
008/20 Open Session
008a/20 Police and Wardens’ Report
Members had noted the report from PCSO Foreman circulated previously, but were of the opinion that the numbers of incidents recorded were lower than the number perceived to be occurring. It was suggested that incidents go unreported because residents fear reprisal. Police presence around the parish has also reduced since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
There are particular issues with vehicle arson, and with speeding cars/quadbikes. It was noted that reporting via the 101 police phone line does not result in a response quick enough to catch the perpetrators in the act, and yet reporters are unwilling to dial 999 as there is no immediate threat of harm or to property.
It was noted that Cllr Hovvels was due to meet with the new Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary, so it was RESOLVED that Cllr Bell would write to her to request feedback about the meeting, and to express members’ concern that the reported statistics do not reflect the number of cases of which residents are aware.
It was also noted that Police and Communities Together (PACT) meetings are currently being held online. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk should obtain and circulate details of these meetings, so that residents can be encouraged to participate.
008b/20 County Councillor’s Report
Cllr Hovvels not present, so no report.
008c/20 Public Participation
It was RESOLVED to accept the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 10th March 2020 as a true record.
It was RESOLVED to accept all automatic and due payments shown in an on-screen report by the Clerk, and to be evidenced later by initialling by the Chairman.
It was further RESOLVED that the invoices due from Pearts Fencing for the repair of the memorial garden fence, from SE Landscaping for July’s routine maintenance, from Thinford Nurseries for provision of floral displays, watering, and provision of additional pencil cherry trees for the nursery, and from DCC reclaiming business grant awarded in error should be paid as soon as they are received and validated, rather than their having to wait for approval at the next Full Council meeting on September 8th.
It was further RESOLVED that if needed, a paid subscription to Zoom online meeting software should be purchased to overcome the time and participant number limitations of the free version.
It was noted that bank statements and finance system reconciliation statements up to the end of March 2020 had been signed off by the Chairman, and the more recent ones would be approved at the next convenient opportunity.
It was RESOLVED that the Clerk should submit her draft application to the AAP for funding for the cemetery water feature without further approval from Members.
No grant applications had been received.
011/20 COVID-19 Response
It was RESOLVED to keep the parish playgrounds closed with the current notices in place for now, as the Council is unable to supply adequate risk mitigation. It was noted that the parish still offers significant open space for play, picnics, etc. where social distancing can be maintained easily.
It was further RESOLVED to follow the advice received from CDALC which matched members’ preference, to postpone any face to face meeting for the time being. This decision was helped by the success of online meetings.
012/20 Lighting of Samaritan Tree and Christmas Tree(s)
The Clerk reported that she had not managed to get any response from Barry Kirtley. It was RESOLVED that, in addition to continuing to seek contact with him via any DCC route, the Clerk should contact Northern Powergrid directly to establish the status of the request.
It was agreed to postpone the search for a permanent Christmas tree until Cllr Gary Elliott is able to take lead on this. If it is impossible to obtain a suitable tree in time, with mains electricity installed, lighting the existing trees on Malvern Crescent green will do instead. It was noted that Covid-19 restrictions may still be in place at lighting up time, so it may be necessary to perform an online ceremony instead.
013/20 VE Day 7th Commemorations
It was RESOLVED that the postponed ceremony could not take place in September as originally hoped, so should be provisionally planned for November, to run in tandem with but not instead of the usual Parish service at the Memorial Garden. The Clerk undertook to inform Annabel Terry of this change of plan.
014/20 Policy Review
The draft Co-option Policy and Procedure was approved. In association with this, the Clerk undertook to remove the late Cllr Lenehan-Ferguson from the list of Councillors on the parish website, and also to promote the councillor vacancy further with an acknowledgement of the contribution Cllr Lenehan-Ferguson made over several years.
No planning applications of interest to the Parish Council had been notified to the Clerk.
The failure of the Planning Department to respond to the Clerk’s communications about the siting of caravans in the parish was condemned by Members. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk should continue to push for feedback about what has been done since she first reported the issue in October 2019.
016/20 Cemetery Proposal: Plots for Cremated Remains
It was RESOLVED to accept the proposal previously circulated by the Clerk to establish plots for cremated remains in the verge along the southern boundary of Deaf Hill Cemetery. The plots will start at the south-eastern end, alongside the first bench, and run westward in a single row, except where interrupted by existing trees/bushes. Plots will be allocated strictly in order, starting with the one already requested by a resident. Once the first row is complete, a second row will be accommodated between the first row and the path.
It was RESOLVED to charge £150 to parish residents for exclusive rights of burial in one of these plots, or £300 for non-residents. This will permit interment of up to two sets of created remains, and installation of one full-size headstone per plot.
It was noted that it had previously been resolved by the Parish Council not to allocate specific areas of current or future vacant cemetery space to specific faith groups.
017/20 Chairman’s Report
Mostly covered under separate agenda items.
The Chairman reiterated the concerns raised earlier about speeding and vehicle arson in the parish.
She noted that a small swarm of bees that had been found on the stile into the recreation ground had been removed promptly on request to a local beekeeper. She undertook to supply contact details to the Clerk, in case of future need.
The new flowers in hanging baskets and troughs have been damaged by recent weather, especially the wind. It also appeared that in the hot weather, flowers at the edges of metal troughs had been burned off, so it was RESOLVED to choose a different material for any future troughs.
018/20 Clerk’s Report
The Clerk presented a verbal report, as follows:
- The three queries raised by the internal auditor about apparent discrepancies between invoices and the sums recorded on the finance system had been investigated and satisfactorily resolved.
- The AGAR return had been completed, submitted and acknowledged.
- Ahead of the approval of the co-option policy, necessary steps had been taken to enable the new Councillor to be chosen at the next meeting of Full Council on September 8th.Since the decision to seek a single supplier of domain name registry, e-mail service and website hosting, she had not progressed any further with her investigations but would do so as a priority in time for the next meeting.
- The electronic scans of the legacy cemetery registers and the new database system are making management of the cemetery far quicker and easier. Back data entry appears to be complete, and the promised ‘snagging list’ of data quality issues that the supplier could not resolve in house is awaited.
019/20 Councillors’ Reports
A possible switch from outsourced to directly employed environmental maintenance was raised, with arguments for and against. This will be discussed formally at a future meeting.
The arrangements for collection of 2020-21 allotment rents will be agreed at September’s Full Council meeting.
‘Good Councillor’ training delivered virtually was more effective than the face to face version; the session attended had 59 participants and is currently free.
The improvements to the Parish website functioning achieved by DCC were noted.
020/20 Future Agenda Items
Samaritan Tree and Christmas tree lighting
Funding for cemetery water feature
Co-option of new Councillor
021/20 Exclusion of Press and Public
022/20 Close of Meeting
The business of the meeting was concluded at 8.05pm.
These minutes were agreed as a true record at the meeting of Council held on 8th September 2020
Page added 3rd December 2020