Minutes 24/08/2011

A meeting of the parish council was held on Wednesday 24 August 2011 at Diddlebury Village Hall. 

Present:  Councillors Hedgley, Bellamy, Mrs Fowler, Longmore, Povall, Thomas, Shropshire Councillor Mrs Motley and three members of the public. Apologies had been received from Councillors Linton and Mrs Worthington

There were no declarations of interest.

In response to a question in the public forum the Chairman said references to Diddlebury being a hub had been withdrawn from Shropshire Council documents, although the designation would remain in historic papers. He could not give any guarantee that the idea would not be resurrected in the future, as the whole question of any future development in the parish would be considered by the Parish Plan Steering Group following a parish-wide consultation in the Autumn. The questions would be drafted by the PPSG in association with Shropshire Council. The parish council would not have an input into the questionnaire. After the PPSG had made its report it would be considered by the parish council which would then make its recommendations to SC.

The Chairman and clerk explained that Diddlebury was not a “Quality” parish. Two of the prerequisites for Quality status were that at least 80% of the seats had to be filled by councillors who had been elected, and that the clerk be appropriately qualified. The council failed both tests at present and could do little about altering the situation in the near future.

Minutes of previous meeting

1         Draft minutes of the meeting held on 27 July 2011 had already been circulated. They were approved as being correct and were signed by the Chairman.

Matters arising

2         Minutes of the meeting held on 22 June 2011 at para 2: the clerk had obtained copies of the Emergency Planning literature which were handed out to members.

3         Minutes of the meeting held on 27 July: para 2 (bridge on the B4368): the clerk had written to SC about this; para 5 (council vacancy): at least ten electors had requested an election, so there will be one within 60 working days of 22 August. SC would do all of the organising. The clerk will find out how much this will cost (AP – clerk). A notice inviting people to apply for the vacancy will appear in the September edition of the Corvedale News;  para 11(new clerk): the Chairman had been approached by one person but he did not know whether she would formally apply; para 13 (planning application for a piggery at Goosefoot): Mr Law, who lives nearby, had spoken to Councillor Longmore and the clerk about this and the lack of information from SC (see also para 13 below); para 15 (involving the AONB in planning decisions): the clerk has been in touch with SC but had not received a reply; para 17(overhanging willow tree): this had been reported to SC Highways; para 23 (Toolkit feedback): see para 4 below; para 24 (polling places): the clerk has reported to SC; (application to become a member of the council): the clerk has replied appropriately; para 28 (accident at Wheeler’s Oak): the coroner was not prepared to release a copy of his report. However, the clerk had spoken to Chris Jackson about this and he understood that SC Highways might have access to it and, if so, would consider carefully the question of visibility; para 30(Shropshire Housing and local connections of applicants for housing):  the Chairman had spoken to Shropshire Housing. One of the applicants had been able to establish local connections. The chairman had stressed that when considering applications by married ladies it was vital for SH to supply maiden names to assist the parish council in the possible identification of applicants.

Unitary Council Report

4         Mrs Motley told members that the Rural Toolkit results should be coming out this week  and there might be a report in the Corvedale News. She would be meeting the Chairman, Councillor Bellamy and Andy Mortimer of Shropshire Council about the way forward on 5 September.

5         SC Planning were keen to minimise the supply of hard copy planning applications to parishes and proposed charging for this if there were more than 10 applications in any one year (Diddlebury would fall into this category). Members were strongly opposed to this for practical reasons and felt that if it were a problem then applicants should bear the cost. She will take the message back, together with similar responses from most of the other parishes in her ward. As an aside, members commented that the plans submitted were often of poor quality and omitted items of importance.

6         Other matters mentioned were the Community Infrastructure Levy and the idea that SC  programmes would include a greater degree of input from grassroots level. There would be periodic reviews incorporating Parish Plans. Parish Charters were also under review. The Localism Bill was proposing the introduction of “Community Activists”.

7         There was also a discussion about possible membership of the Association of Local Councils and planning procedures. See paras 14 and 15 below.

Chairman’s Update

8         The Chairman had attended an interesting seminar given by Shropshire Housing. They are trying to generate money by building market housing as well as affordable housing, and are hiring out the services of Total Response. Currently they have money for around 200 houses across Shropshire.

9         He also referred to the meeting on 5 September mentioned in para 4 above.


10     The balance at the bank as at 14 August remained at £7,737.19 (adjusted figure £7,658.19)

11     Members approved reimbursement of the Chairman’s expenses in photocopying the flyer for the Corvedale News amounting to £3.10 (see minutes for the July 2011 meeting at para 9).


12     No objections were raised to a proposal to build an extension, replace the garage and erect a new summerhouse at Orchard Bungalow Corfton (11/002853/FUL).

13     Para 2 above includes a reference to procedural problems over the display of site notices and notification of local residents about proposed developments. Members considered that the present system was unsatisfactory in practice and the clerk will write to SC about the council’s concerns (AP – clerk).

Association of Local Councils

14     Mrs Motley outlined the recent history and functions of the [Shropshire] Association of Local Councils.

15     The Chairman then introduced a discussion about whether the council should join the ALC. Bearing in mind the amount and nature of work that the council would be called upon to deal with in future, and the fact that the council would soon be getting a new and possibly inexperienced clerk, he thought it would be sensible to join so as to take advantage of, inter alia, the training and advice services the Association offered.

16     Other members agreed and the clerk was instructed to take steps involved in joining the Association (AP – clerk).  It was pointed out that as the council would be joining part way through the year the subscription should be abated proportionately.

Other reports

17     Councillor Bellamy said the Parish Plan Steering Group now comprised twelve members including representatives from across the parish. They had looked at the previous Plan to see what had and had not been implemented. There would be an informal consultation at the forthcoming Corvedale Show. Funding for the forthcoming questionnaire would be requested from the parish council, Shropshire Community Council and the Local Joint Committee. It was important to maintain momentum in this matter.


18     The following correspondence has been received:

  • An email from the Marches Energy Agency about Affordable Warmth Advice. The clerk was asked to investigate further and invite the Agency to write an article for the Corvedale News (AP – Clerk).
  •  A press release about the investment of £8.2m to improve broadband provision across Shropshire
  • A letter from the Journal of Local Planning about the importance of preparing neighbourhood plans arising from provisions in the Localism Bill
  • A copy of a letter to the SC planning department from a local resident objecting to the proposed development at Goosefoot (11/03047/FUL).
  • “Fieldwork” and “Countryside Voice” from the CPRE.

Other matters

19     Councillor Thomas said that works were being carried out at Milford House. A planning consent was given a few years ago but he was not sure whether it related to what was happening now. The clerk will investigate (AP – clerk).

Next meetings

20     The next Ordinary meeting of the council would be on Wednesday 28 September 2011 at Westhope Village Hall, starting at 7 30pm.  The clerk advised members, however, that they should pencil in a meeting at Diddlebury Village Hall at the same time but a week earlier (21 September) which would be for the purpose of interviewing candidates for the post of clerk to the council.

As there was no further business the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 9 20pm