Minutes 28/09/2011

A meeting of the parish council was held on Wednesday 28 September 2011 at Westhope Village Hall.

Present:  Councillors Hedgley, Bellamy, Mrs Fowler, Linton, Longmore, Povall, Thomas, Mrs Worthington, Shropshire Councillor Mrs Motley and ten members of the public.

There were no declarations of interest.

In the public forum Mr Norman Pearce asked the council to support a proposal for two of the seven laptops currently not in use and stored at Diddlebury Village Hall could be relocated to an additional BroadPlace at the Sun Inn. Members decided that before making a decision on this they would like to hear the views of the Village Hall Committee.  The VHC will not meet again until 7 November so this matter will be an agenda item for that month’s  meeting of the council (23 November).

Ms Amie Smout stated that on the previous Sunday there had been cycle race and a notice had been placed on the footpath alongside the B4368 at Bache Mill.  It had been held in place with large stones. Not only did this obstruct the pavement but the stones were left after the event was concluded. Councillor Longmore said he would make enquiries at the cycle shop in Ludlow.

Minutes of the previous meeting

1         Draft minutes of the previous meeting had already been circulated. In para 20

“21 October” should read “21 September”. Subject to this amendment they were approved as being correct and were signed by the Chairman.

Matters arising

2         Para 3 (Bridge over the B4368):  an acknowledgement had been received; (Bye-election): this would take place on Thursday 13 October. There were two candidates: Ms A Smout and Mr T O’Boyle. In view of the very short notice given by Shropshire Council for nominations a notice had gone in the “Shropshire Star” at a cost of £75.

SC would run the election; however, it would only claim reimbursement up to a limit of £2 per elector. The cost to the parish would, therefore, be a little under £1,100; (Involving the AONB in planning decisions):  SC had replied and suggested that parish councils should contact the AONB directly when they had especial concerns. Members were happy with this but asked the clerk to invite a representative of the AONB to talk to the council. He was also asked to find out whether the AONB automatically received notification of planning applications within their area (APs – clerk); Para 13 (planning procedures): the clerk had written to SC but had not yet received a response; Para 16 (Association of Local Councils): see para 12 below; Para 18 (Marches Energy Trust): the clerk had written to this body about an article in the Corvedale News; Para 19 (Milford House): the clerk had contacted SC. The enforcement officer had visited the site and suggested that the owners obtain professional advice and they might be required to apply for retrospective planning permission.


Unitary Council Report

3         Mrs Motley had recently attended a meeting with the [Shropshire] Association of Local Councils. The Charter was to be revisited as many parish councils found the existing document to be too prescriptive.

4         She was still having discussions about the proposal that parish councils be charged for hard copies of planning applications. The ALC supported the view that this cost should be borne by the applicant.

5         Theft of metals such as copper wires is on the increase and the Police Bronze Task Force would be reporting to the LJC.

6         Councillor Linton had started to read the extremely lengthy and detailed public consultation document on the National Planning Policy Framework. When a similarly dense consultation document on the levels of council tax and precepts had appeared two years ago SC had sent a copy of its response to parish councils. This enabled parish councils to respond in turn without the need to go through the original document line by line. He asked if SC would respond to the NPPF consultation and, if so, whether a copy could be sent to parish councils. Mrs Motley said that SC would be responding and that parish councils should get a copy of the response.

Councillor Linton suggested that it would be a good idea if Shropshire Council encouraged all parish Councils to respond individually supporting the ethos that firmly developed parish  plans should not be able to be overturned at planning appeals.

The clerk referred to the publicity being given to the proposals and the opposition from, inter alia, the CPRE and the National Trust. A specimen letter of protest was available on the CPRE website.

Chairman’s update

7         The Chairman and vice Chair had had a discussion with Mrs Jacqueline Watts from Culmington who was prepared to take over as clerk when the present clerk left. The details remained to be sorted out but in principle the handover would take place at the end of October.

8         On 5 September the Chairman, Councillor Bellamy and Mrs Motley had had a useful discussion with SC officers who now understood the position at Diddlebury vis-à-vis the Parish Plan. There would be a public meeting in Diddlebury Village Hall on 29 October to give feedback from the Rural Toolkit meeting which took place in June. The Parish Plan questionnaire would not be coming out until after Christmas and final conclusions should be in place by Summer 2012.

9         The Chairman said he had responded to numerous emails about various planning matters from local residents.



10     The balance at the bank as at 14 September was £7,705.09 (adjusted balance £7,655.09).

11     The clerk reported that the accounts for 2010/2011 had been signed off by the external auditor without qualification.

12     Members approved payment of the subscription to the ALC for the remaining part of the year amounting to £139.06 and an invoice from Diddlebury Village Hall for the extraordinary meeting held on 8 June (£12.00).


13     No objections were raised to an application for consent to erect a cattle shed/store at Redbrick Barn, Corfton (part retrospective) (11/03526/FUL).

14     The clerk had received two copies of the Shropshire Council Local Development Framework document.

Other Reports

15     Councillor Bellamy gave a progress report from the Parish Plan Steering Group. The PPSG were receiving a lot of help from SC. The revised Parish Plan would cost in the region of £10,000 of which around 70% would be in the form of match funding ie voluntary labour.

16     The Group had been asked to publish their minutes on line in Corvedale.com, and had decided so to do. He would, however, continue to give monthly reports to the parish council.

17     The PPSG had had a stall at the Corvedale Show, which was held at the beginning of September. This had been advertised in the Corvedale News. The prime purpose of the exhibition was to find out what people were interested in and to this end had specifically invited comments from visitors on the basis that outsiders can bring a fresh perspective on things. Similar soundings would be taken at forthcoming public events eg the Harvest Supper.

18     He reiterated what the Chairman had already said about the timescale for revision of the Parish Plan. This was longer than originally envisaged to allow ample time for consultation. Even in this extended form, though, the work would still be done in considerably less time than most parishes take.


19     The following correspondence has been received:

  • An email from Mr David Mason dated 9 September 2011 about what he perceived  to be a culture of secrecy in the parish: specifically (a) a lack of information about a meeting the Chairman had attended which had been sponsored by Shropshire Housing (b) that there was still a considerable delay in publishing the minutes’ summaries in the Corvedale News (c) that meetings of the PPSG were held in secret and (d) that there had been no publicity for the PPSG stand at the Corvedale Show which might result in a biased survey (e) that the council should nominate a member to  be responsible for communication.

After a discussion it was agreed that the clerk should reply to Mr Mason pointing out that (a) this had in fact been reported at the last meeting and the notes of the minutes were published on line on 8 September (b) the council had agreed that the notes of the meetings should go on line as soon as possible but not that similar summaries should also appear in the Corvedale News. Members felt that there was a difference in that any errors in publications on line could be quickly and easily remedied after the following meeting whereas anything in hard copy could not be so altered (c) See para16 above: also, the Chairman of the PPSG makes monthly reports to the parish council which are minuted (d) see para 17 above (e) it was felt that the council had moved a long way on openness and this was unnecessary. The clerk will respond accordingly (AP – clerk).

  • A letter from the Society of Local Council Clerks about the advantages of membership etc
  •  A letter from the Boundary Commission for England about the amendment of local constituencies. It was suggested, inter alia, that the existing Ludlow constituency should lose the northern part around Bridgnorth but gain Leominster and the Golden Valley.

Members generally thought this was a bad idea as the constituency would be split between Herefordshire and Shropshire and it would also straddle Local and Health Authority boundaries.  The clerk was instructed to write to the Commission opposing this change and invite it to supply staff or information for the forthcoming Toolkit meeting (see para 8 above)(AP – clerk).

  • An email about the installation of solar panels on public buildings in Shropshire
  • A letter from Mr Tom O’Boyle about the Craven Arms Place Plan, which had been published in July. This contained a lot of items relating to Diddlebury which were lifted straight from the 2004 Parish Plan. He wanted the council to discuss this.

Mr O’Boyle was present and there ensued a discussion about this matter. It was pointed out that SC was now fully aware that the Parish Plan would be revised next year. The Place Plan was not fixed and would be subject to periodic revision. In the circumstances there was little point in discussing anything until the PPSG had reported.

  • A publication from the NALC/CPRE entitled How to respond to planning applications.
  • An email from SC Trading Standards about the Trader Register Scheme for small home improvement traders. The clerk will suggest that SC draft an article for the Corvedale News (AP – clerk).
  • “Clerks and Councils Direct”
  • “Countryside Voice” from the CPRE

Other matters

20     The Chairman remarked that the notice boards at Bouldon, Peaton and Sutton were in a poor condition. The clerk will investigate suppliers of new ones (AP – clerk).

21     Members also commented on the display case on the front of Diddlebury Village Hall. This was locked and no-one appeared to know where the key was. The clerk will investigate this also (AP – clerk).

22     The Chairman reminded members that although there is a requirement in Wales for all septic tanks and small sewage works to be registered there is no similar requirement in England. However, matters may change next year.

23     Councillor Mrs Fowler said that there was now money to improve the fence and gate on the west side of Corvedale School. There would be consultations with the Diocese and SC.

24     Councillor Longmore said he would be contacting PC Morgan about Rural Watch.

25     Councillor Thomas asked about the trees which had been cut down recently beside the brook in Mill Lane Diddlebury. The clerk explained that they had been blown down across the road and SC had cut them up, cleared everything up and restored the site within a matter of a few hours. Having consulted with the Chairman he had sent an email of congratulation to SC Highways for dealing with the matter so quickly.

Next meeting

26     The next Ordinary meeting of the council will be held on Wednesday 26 October 2011 at Diddlebury Village Hall. The Public Forum will be at 7 30pm and will be followed by the formal meeting.

As there was no further business the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 9 45pm.