Draft Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting 13th January 2022

Minutes of the Meeting of Milton Ernest Parish Council held in the Village Hall on Thursday 13th January 2022 at 8pm to consider the following items of business.

Present: Cllrs S Dilley, R Winter, D Newman, D Snowball, P Cain, H Snowball, S Humm, the Clerk (Mrs S Bottoms) and 4 members of the public.

1. Apologies for Absence: Borough Cllr D McMurdo.

2. Declarations of interest in items on the agenda:
i) To receive any written or other requests for a dispensation: None.

3. To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 11th November 2021: These were signed as a true record of the meeting. The Clerk noted that the payment Bacs 9 was actually for £100.19 and not £79.95.

4. Public Open Session (15 mins):

i) Ward Boundary Change: Concern was expressed about the current and future representation to Bedford Borough Council on behalf of the residents of Milton Ernest. Cllr Dilley said that Borough Cllr D McMurdo has always and continues to provide excellent support to the Parish Council and the residents of Milton Ernest and will continue to do so until the boundary change comes into force at the next election. At some point ahead of the boundary change there will be a meeting with the new ward councillor and the Parish Council remains confident of excellent support from that person.

ii) Riverside Meadow: The resident who had sent in an e-mail listed under 11(i) attended to discuss it. He was critical of the maintenance and improvement plan which the Parish Council had embarked on. He argued that the Parish Council had no mandate to carry out the work given that the proposal document of April 2013 contained a number of ideas which were rejected at the time. He was concerned about the damaging impact on the wildlife and the local ecosystem from the work that has been done removing trees and bushes from the river. The Parish Council should rethink its current approach. He also criticised the flail used to cut the hedge and that in his opinion it was cut at the wrong time. In the Management Plan of 2013, it was stated that it should be cut mid-February.
Cllr Humm said in response that the Maintenance Plan of 2013 states that the area is to be maintained as an amenity open space. The Bedford Borough Council Conservation Officer at that time, amongst his recommendations were that the river bank be cleared of nettles in two or three places to the edge of the river so it would become more attractive to visitors and to maintaining the area as a public open space for the benefit of the public at large. The area is being maintained as both a public amenity area and a wildlife habitat. The Parish Council has engaged with an ecologist who will be undertaking a survey in early Spring but may visit earlier. Photographs and aerial shots have been forwarded to him. A phone call with the Environment Agency had made it clear it was the Parish Council responsibility as owners and managers of the meadow to clear the fallen trees from the river. At the moment the area looks quite stark but will soften as Spring approaches and will look very different in a year’s time.
With regards the cutting of the hedge Cllr Dilley said that discussion had taken place with the contractor about the use of the flail. The Parish Council were satisfied that the cut had taken place in accordance with previous practice and had been taken down to the required level in accordance with the plan.
Cllr Dilley thanked the resident for attending and expressing his views.

5. Planning:

New Applications:
i) 21/02807/FUL Erection of detached dwelling house together with garage and ancillary works. Land At Village Farm 47 Radwell Road. The Parish Council agreed to object to this on the grounds that this application should be subjected to the policy conditions contained in the Milton Ernest NDP one of which, policy ME H2, is in respect of impact of new development in that it must reflect best practice design principles as established in the National Design Guide. In Milton Ernest, the design of new development must be appropriate to the location and the character of the area as described in the Character Assessment, taking into account:
• The appropriate housing density.
• The historical context.
• Good compatibility with local character and natural surroundings.
It is also in contradiction with the Borough Council’s Planning Policy as it is so close to a Grade II listed building. In addition, the building is not in keeping with the surrounding area and will be clearly visible. The Clerk will submit a response to the Borough Council. Action: the Clerk.

ii) 21/03305/FUL Change of Use from Agricultural Building to B8 Storage Use and external alteration Milton Parc Bedford Road MK44 1YU: Whilst the Parish Council did not object, it asked for reassurance from the Planning Department that adequate consideration had been given to the potential increase in traffic flow into and from the site and the impact on the already busy A6. Action: the Clerk.

Decided by Bedford Borough Council:
21/02841/FUL 12 Arkwright Road, MK44 1SE. Single storey front porch extension. Permitted.
21/02145/LBC Queen’s Head, 1 Rushden Road, MK44 1RU. Minor internal works to provide new wall panelling, fixed seating, display cabinet, new uppercase to backfitting and some new hard flooring. Granted consent.
21/02448/EIASCR Land at Thurleigh Road. Request for a screening option in respect of a proposed development for a battery storage system at Thurleigh Road Energy Storage. EIA not required.
21/00857/FULWM Land at Building 2 Twinwoods Business Park. Waste transfer station. Permitted.

6. To receive a report by the Borough Councillor: Borough Cllr McMurdo was absent.

7. Village Welfare:

i) Update on the Management of Riverside Meadow: Cllr H Snowball reported that on the 4th December there had been a very successful and well attended working party of volunteers and parish councillors. There had been generally good feedback from the village regarding the work undertaken. The river certainly flowed much better afterwards and the work should help stop erosion on the opposite bank. There is another working party to take place on the 22nd January at 10 am (weather permitting). Similar work to what was done in December will be undertaken on that date and it will be taking place close to the lifebelt stand on the frontage of the river.
ii) To agree action re: the missing village gate: The Clerk had circulated designs from Glasdon. The parish councillors would inform the Clerk as to the style of gate preferred and working for the sign itself. The Clerk would then get a quotation from Glasdon. A contractor would be needed to undertake installation who were qualified and with appropriate insurance cover to work on the highway. The Clerk will ask Warners or Chris Horne if they would be able to install the gate. If not then the Borough Council could be approached. The Clerk would check with Glasdon that the gates are of appropriate standard for installation the highway. The Borough Council would need to be informed and approval sought. Action: the parish councillors and the Clerk.

8. New Village Welfare Issues:

i) To consider developing a plan for the playing field and equipment: Cllr Cain said that he will chase up the zip wire contractor as to when it will be attending. In the Spring, a working party will be put together to paint the equipment in the appropriate safety paint. Inspection of the path had taken place, Cllrs H and D Snowball had scraped back the edge and a working party would be gathered to undertake work in the Spring. Action: Cllr Cain.

ii) To consider a village event in June 2022 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Monarch’s reign: Following discussion, it was agreed that Cllr D Snowball would initially approach the local groups, the Church, school, village hall etc. about any plans. Perhaps the Village Fete could be held at that time. The Parish Council could encourage and support any plans. Action: Cllr D Snowball.

9. Finance:
i) Decision: to accept the monthly reconciliation presentation: It was agreed to accept this.

ii) Decision: to agree payments to be made: It was agreed to accept these.

BACS 10 Clerk Salary (Nov) £219.86
BACS 11 N Hazlett Litter picking (Nov) £53.45
BACS 12 L Salhotra Play inspection £50.00
DD Ionos E-mail £2.40
BACS 13 Warners Hedge and Damaged Field £996.00
BACS 14 All Saints Grant £1150.00
BACS 15 Pam Anthony Payroll £81.00
BACS 16 L Salhotra Play inspection £50.00
BACS 17 N Hazlett Litter picking (Dec) £53.45
BACS 18 Clerk Salary (Dec) £219.86
BACS 19 HMRC PAYE £164.40
BACS 20 Village Hall Rent £39.00
BACS 21 Glasdon Lifebelt Stand £417.26
BACS 22 S Bottoms Expenses £104.83

iii) Decision: To consider the quote from Warners for Milton Ernest Village Grass Cutting 2022-2025: Following discussion, it was agreed to accept the quotation. The Parish Council approved Warners to annually cut the hedge to the playing field hedge, trim inside and top of rear section behind the play equipment/mound/bench from one side of the field to the other. The Clerk would question the cost for the hedge on Riverside Meadow. Action: the Clerk.

iv) Decision: To consider and agree the budget for 2022-23: The Finance Advisory Group had met and a proposed budget had been circulated for consideration. It was acknowledged that this would need a slight alteration to allow for the new quote from Warners as well as the level of precept to be decided below. Following discussion, the budget was agreed. The Clerk will put a copy on the website. Action: the Clerk.

v) Decision: To agree the precept for 2022-23: Following discussion, it was agreed to keep the Band D charge the same as for 21-22 which will result in a small increase in the precept amount. The Clerk will submit a request to Bedford Borough Council for £16,457. Action: the Clerk.

10. Reports by Representatives:-
i) To note the outcome of BBC Executive ‘making’ the ME Neighbourhood Plan:
It was noted that the Neighbourhood Plan had now been adopted by the Borough Council. When the Local Plan 2040 is in place, the MENDP will need to be reviewed.

ii) Decision: to accept the Neighbourhood Plan Implementation Working Party Terms of Reference and Implementation Strategy – leading on to the seeking of volunteers from the community: It was agreed to accept the Terms of Reference and the Implementation Strategy. The Clerk would put these on the website. Cllr Dilley will produce some publicity regarding the next steps in the recruitment of volunteers to join the Working Party which will go out on social media, the website and noticeboards etc. Action: the Clerk and Cllr Dilley.

11. Correspondence:

i) E-mail from resident re: riverside meadow: (discussed under 4 (ii) above.
ii) E-mail on Yarl’s Wood – Official Vehicles Disregarding The Home Office Instruction not to use Thurleigh Road through Milton Ernest: The resident will keep the Parish Council updated.

12. Review of Actions Summary from Last Meeting: this was reviewed.

13. Date of the Next Meeting: Thursday 10th February 2022 at 8pm in the Village Hall.

……………………………………………………………………………………. Chairman 10th February 2022