S.P.C. Minutes – Feb 2021

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Serving Little Aston, Shenstone, Stonnall, Shenstone Wood End, Lynn, Parish Council Office 25C Main Street Shenstone WS14 OLZ
Tel: 01543 481 947
e-mail: <admin@shenstone-staffs.gov.uk >
web: www.shenstone-staffs.gov.uk

Approved Minutes from virtual meeting of Full Council held on 9th Feb 2021 via Zoom at 7:15pm

Meeting held under regulations made in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

113 Register of members in attendance:

Cllrs David Salter; Sheila Beilby; John Branch; Nicola Macdonald; Gail Nicholls; Neil Perry; David Thompson; Stuart Jones; Mick Cox; Kelly Harrison ,Lesley Edgley, Nick Smith & Rita Hancocks. County Cllr David Smith. District Cllr Joseph Powell. Clerk: Shirley O’Mara.

114 Acceptance of apologies.

Cllrs Val Neale & Nicki Gobran. District Cllr Elizabeth Hassell & District Cllr Brian Yeates

115 Public Participation.


116 Declarations of interest.

Members should consider whether they should partake in any discussion or vote on matters on the agenda unless they have a dispensation:

117 To accept and confirm minutes of the last Full Council meeting on Tuesday 12th Jan 2020:

Signed and approved.

118 Clerk’s update on outstanding issues from last meeting.


119 To receive reports from District and County Councillors.

County Cllr Smith reported that the issue of the right of way across a field in Stonnall has been investigated & there is no action.
Continued issues with flooding, high demand for assistance but very little staff due to the impact of Covid.
Some concern about the potential for the number of vehicles coming out of the proposed development of 50 houses off Lynn Lane.

Cllr Smith suggested it would be useful for himself & Councillors from District to brief Council on what responsibilities lie where.

Cllr Salter pulled item 127 forward for Cllr Smith’s input.

Cllr Nick Smith reported a large increase in 36/46 ton waste lorry’s to the water treatment plant at Forge Lane which has resulted in the road destruction & deep crevices that become ice hazards as well as flooding. It has been raised before and was re surfaced but badly, with tarmac dumped & not levelled. Cllr Smith questioned whether it was fly tipping but Cllr Nick Smith said it was definitely an official vehicle. Cllr Smith was unaware of this issue and said it was a good example of why the responsibility training he had just proposed would be useful to explain complaints procedure.

Cllr Salter suggested that a new complaint be raised with photographs. Cllr Nick Smith reiterated the complaint was raised, it was dealt with & the job done badly. Cllr Joe Powell said he did not believe it was LDC but would double check nonetheless.

Cllr Branch asked for an update on speed enforcement on the A5127 which has been pending for some time. Cllr Smith said that he is pressing for it to be done as soon as possible but with pressures he is struggling with issues which are not urgent.
Cllr Branch described the number of accidents recently as well as the fact that this issue has been repeatedly delayed over many months. Cllr Smith said flooding will be prioritised over moving speed signs as speeding is a police issue.
Cllr Branch did not accept the delays, stressed that Parish Council must do as much as possible to avoid serious accidents or fatalities & that Cllr Smith was speaking a load of nonsense.
Cllr Smith said he would do the best he can & Cllr Salter asked to see designs before the work takes place.

Cllr Powell informed Council that the C.E.O, of LDC, Diane Tilley is leaving shortly.

Land is being tested for the new Lichfield swimming pool.

Item 128 was then pulled forward as Cllr Powell has been involved. A resident of Stonnall has concerns about trees on unadopted land which overhang his property.
These trees have been investigated & found to be decayed & dangerous. The resident is willing to contribute £250 towards the £450 cost of removal.
Cllr Nicholls was concerned that if Council start attending to trees on unadopted land we could be opening up to liability on many others. Also this issue has been ongoing for some time with the resident concerned unhappy that the trees block light whilst other residents actually want the trees to stay.
Cllr Beilby asked if the trees are unsafe because the trees have been trimmed back completely on the resident’s side so they are now lopsided. The Clerk read the report from the tree surgeon

“The health of the trees are in decline and heavily weighted over the public highway. The included unions and decay pockets make for a risk of failure, potentially causing damage to the public or property. Therefore I would advise that the trees were to be removed to a ground level”

Cllr Edgley asked what the view of the Tree Officer at LDC was. Cllr Powell said he has had several conversations establishing the trees are not under TPO but neither are they under LDC authority otherwise they would have been dealt with. They are spindly, weak trees & need something doing.
Cllr Salter suggested we ask the LDC Tree Officer for confirmation of the tree condition.
Cllr Nicholls said she would like to consult the residents of Thornes Close if removal is proposed.
Cllr David Smith proposed purchasing new trees but Cllr Nicholls said this raises the issue of care going forward.

Cllr Thompson wished to comment before District & County Cllrs left the meeting that he was really disappointed that there was no mention of the Lichfield District Council Local Plan 2040 as there has been great concern. Cllr Salter said he had been intending to raise it imminently & that the subject was at District that evening.
Cllr Powell agreed that actions will take place as soon as the feedback from Cabinet is known.

120 Update from Stonnall Youth & Community Centre (SY&CC) Working Group.

Cllr Thompson read through the minutes from Feb 1st & Feb 5th Working Party minutes which had already been shared with Council.
The Working Party had ultimately made the following recommendations to put to Stonnall residents as proposals re the future of SY&CC.
Staffordshire County Council (SCC) has offered Shenstone Parish Council ownership of the Stonnall Youth and Community Centre (SYCC) land and building at no cost. Currently the Parish Council has a lease on the land which runs to 2030. The SYCC has a Management Committee that undertakes repairs.

A professional building appraisal of the SYCC has identified £75k of repair works are required within the next 5 years. The SYCC, pre Covid has been underused and following the repairs the site would remain constrained. The Village Hall has capacity to accommodate most if not all of the existing SYCC users with some give and take. The Village Hall can be extended to accommodate future needs at an estimated cost of between £134k and £276k.

The onsite replacement of the existing SYCC building has been estimated to cost between £338k and £555k. The existing site constraints would remain, the underuse would need to be addressed and the Village Hall would also continue with underused capacity.

The Village Hall Trustees do not wish to undertake the work involved with extending the Village Hall but they are willing to stand aside to allow others to do so.
After careful consideration the SYCC Working Group has concluded that both a repaired SYCC and a rebuilt SYCC building do not represent value for money and propose that the Parish Council consult on the following three options.

Option A. Stonnall residents, community groups, school and the medical practice is asked if they wish to own and redevelop the land and building for the benefit of the Stonnall community. Following an expression of committed and viable interest the Parish Council will take ownership of the land from the SCC on the basis that it will be then transferred to the committed and viable interest for the benefit of the Stonnall Community. Over a one to two year period existing SYCC users will be accommodated in the Village Hall.

Option B. Over a one to two year period the status of the Village Hall Trustees is amended to allow the Parish Council to support investment in the Village Hall to accommodate the current and future needs of Stonnall. Over the same time period and under the existing lease the existing SYCC users are offered accommodation within the Village Hall, the SYCC building is then demolished by the Parish Council and the land handed back to SCC. The Village Hall has Trustees who do not wish to undertake the work involved with extending the Village Hall but they are willing to stand aside to allow others to do so.

Option C.  Under the existing lease and over a one to two year period the existing SYCC users are offered accommodation within the Village Hall. Following this the SYCC building is demolished by the Parish Council and the land handed back to SCC.

There then followed very lengthy discussions with regard to the various options, the interpretation of the lease & the previous licence, the legal provision of car park spaces for any new build or extended build, how it would work if a community group wished to take over the lease, potential difficulties with fund raising & the importance of the legacy that Council will be leaving for future Councillors.
Cllr Edgley asked for confirmation that the SY&CC Management Committee were aware that the Working Party meetings were happening & the Clerk confirmed they were. She also stressed the importance of making it clear that we will not lease the land to anyone- that if we buy the land, we may sell it on but not lease it.
Cllr Salter said there may well be a caveat that states we cannot sell on at all.

Cllr Nicholls reminded the Council of the utilisation figures of the SY&CC & stated that it is simply not viable & there is room at the Village Hall to accommodate the existing users even without extension. She reminded Council that a Councillor had last week stated “ There is plenty of evidence of our Council being sloppy with its management of property and agreeing to finance things which have left us with an enduring liability” – a sentiment she agreed with fully.
Cllr Perry stated that a decision needs to be made avoiding further legal avenues as lawyers are likely to offer contradictory advice and it could result in expensive court costs, appeals etc. with good money being thrown after bad. It should be dealt with now in good faith.

Cllr Thompson said that Parish hopes to resolve this matter with County amicably.
Cllr Macdonald queried cost of demolishing the building & making the land good.
Cllr Thompson stated circa £15Kplus.

Cllr Thompson proposed that the communication is drafted to go to residents detailing the three options. This was seconded by Cllr Nicholls. The vote was then taken with 9 in favour, 4 abstains. RESOLUTION: Proposal carried.

121 Finance.

Financial transactions for approval were shared with an update of the latest financial position as at 8th Feb 2021. Link to spreadsheet.
The invoice has finally been received from South Staffs Legal Services totalling £2280.00. Still waiting in the Grenkeleasing refund re photocopier upgrade £1096.10.
Nat West Current Account £905.00
Nat West Business Reserve £53,311.55

Nat West Liquidity Account (ring fenced funds for Stonnall Community Facility,
Revised Neighbourhood Plans, professional fees) £162,220.61 Unity Account £63,891.79.

Community Grant Applications were then discussed (full details attached).

122 Planning.

Approve planning applications received in last month and update on any objections/ developments. Link to applications register
Cllr Thompson has spoken to Mr Mercer of Shenstone Wood End who has put in a new application which Cllr Powell will be calling in.
There has been another approach by “Lone Star” Property Developers re Little Aston. Cllr Thompson has responded with acknowledgement & will look carefully at any proposed “Development Zone” on Green Belt policy.
Cllr Thompson also stressed the importance of all Wards refreshing their neighbourhood plans once the LDC Local Plan is adopted.

A TPO has been approved for the reduction of a tree in St John’s Churchyard.

123 Lammas Land dangerous trees.

Cllr Salter clarified that the quote received for the work on the trees overhanging the Lammas Land is £1000 for the trees on the Council side & £1500 on the opposite site. The resident has existing financial difficulties so Council are prepared to pay for the work as long as the resident reimburses Council over a set period of time. Cllr Edgley suggested that the resident pay £20.00 per month until the full debt repaid.
Cllr Salter said this could cost more than the debt itself to draft an agreement & manage.
There was some discussion as to whether the work really needs doing & if the trees will eventually have to be cut back again in the future & perhaps should be felled completely. Cllr Jones said this would quadruple the cost.
Cllr Smith was concerned about setting a precedent but it was felt that Council are only acting on the grounds of health & safety & will make efforts to recover the debt. Cllr Edgley suggested that the resident also receive details of all three quotes so she has all the facts & Cllr Perry suggested the work does not take place until the repayments start.
Proposal: Council agree the work to take place with £500 repayable over two years.
Proposed Cllr Salter. Seconded Cllr Jones. Majority approved.

124 Update on A5127 speeding enforcement and hard standing for speed camera

Cllr Salter still researching costs. Funding may be available from the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner.

125 Councillors Surgeries- Cllr Perry.

Post Covid, Councillor surgeries are suggested by Cllr Perry to improve & encourage community engagement. Advertising suggestions passed to the Clerk.
Cllr Thompson said extensive consultation will be needed re neighbourhood plans.
Cllr Salter commented that face to face Full Council meetings are potentially likely to resume under social distancing conditions from May. The Annual meetings should be held before then via Zoom as should standing orders & policy reviews.

126 Repairs to St John’s Church Wall- update on quotes received and next steps.

Cllr Salter has shared with Council photographs of the wall in question as well as the quote of £25,600 plus £5760.00 for fencing. He is meeting with the Friends of Shenstone Tower Architect on Monday

127 Forge Lane, Little Aston- road damage. Dealt with under 119.

128 Overhanging trees 12A St Peters Close, Stonall. Dealt with under 119.

129 Date of next virtual meeting: Tues 9th March 2021