Minutes of a Council Meeting held via electronic media on Tuesday 30th March 2021 at 7.30pm.
Public participation. Mr Sam Ridge (Warden of Brecon Beacon National Park Authority (BBNPA)). He spoke about the Pentwyn Paths, an ongoing dispute between the owners of the land and regular walkers of the paths. The paths are subject to an application to the Authority to put them on the definitive map. He recommended that the process be allowed to continue and that queries about the process of deciding the dispute be referred to the Rights of Way Officer at BBNPA. A Councillor added that the Open Spaces Society gives a good account of the application process: The Community Council is not a person and therefore cannot make an application nor can it be called upon to be a witness (also persons only). Therefore, there is no way for the Community Council to support the application, which must take it's course and we must wait for the outcome. With this in mind, the decision the Community Council took to remain neutral and to try to facilitate a solution was deamed correct. In other cases Council can and does take action to keep footpaths (already on the definitive map) open. For example, the recent £3500 expenditure on tree surgery for the riverpath.
The Warden also commented on 2 rights of way concerns raised by a resident: One was concerning Pen-isha-coed which is a permissive path and as such can be closed at any time. The other concerned the Yscubor Camlais path, who's route is not recorded correctly on the definitive map, nor on the OS map and there is no easy solution. Queries about this path should go the BBNPA.
Mr Ridge also commented on an ongoing BBNPA access improvement plan.
BBNPA is ditching with Powys County Council (PCC) on Llangynidr Mountain, with Garnlydan and Blaina Gwent to deter off-roading and working with 3 Police forces.
The bridge above Pyrgad is to be replaced and some of the riverside path (downstream of Llangynidr bridge) has been attended to, although some benching is left to do. Projects have to be carefully selected as wardens have to comply with covid 19 restrictions. Culverts and ditches have been cleaned on Beaufort Road.
Present: Mr Mark Brian (Chair), Mrs Margaret Price, Mr David Mantle, Mr David Williams, Mrs Elizabeth Gibbs, Mr Alan James, Mr David Filsell and Mr Paul Lindoewood (Mr D Filsell had difficulties with the electronic media Zoom).
In attendance: S.Dale (Clerk). 2 members of the public, one who is a councillor's helper.
2.Declaration of interest in items of business listed below: None
3.Signing of the minutes;
23rd February 2021: Approved, proposed AJ and seconded DM.
23rd March 2021, Human Resources Committee: Approved, proposed AJ and seconded MP.
4.Correspondence: Powys Teaching Health Board - covid update. On circulation and website.
Key provisions of the Local Government and Elections Act 2021 – annual training plan, annual report, general power of competence (eligibility criteria).
Brecon Beacon National Park Authority Management Plan – response to be discussed in April's meeting, circulated.
Independent Remuneration Panel Report – the requirement must be put on the website by 30th September 2021, Councillors must be allowed to make their own decision whether or not to claim allowances, if they choose not to claim, they must write to the clerk.
Clerk wrote to CADW about the wash lanes on the Nant Glaisfer. No response yet.
NHS sent a thank you to the Council for permission to use the riverbank for training.
Two Freedom of Information requests have been completed (Pentwyn as it appears in the minutes) and the second concerning a letter about the Pentwyn paths.
A third information request has been received: A resident has requested the audited accounts for the last 2 years . He is surprised at the level of precept from the community council this year. Ongoing.
A resident has 3 issues concerned with Rights of Way. These have been passed on to the Chairman of the Rights of Way Committee: Pen-isha-coed is a permissive path and can be closed by the landowner at any time. The status of the path at Yscubor Camlais is complex (see Public Participation). The Canal and River Trust picnic hedge area near the canal boat business has been strimmed, cutting back trees planted by the WI. The resident is looking into this incident.
A meeting with the Built Heritage Officer of BBNPA with a view to protecting the wash lanes for the future has been arranged. A councillor pointed out that the matter may be of interest to the Enforcement Officer as well. MB will contact them, due process is in train.
6.Statement of accounts and bank reconciliation for March 2021. It was noted that the cheque for the tree work (£3500) will appear in the system in April. Approved.
a)Cheques to be approved in March 2021.
Cleaning the car park (Mar) £40.00
Clerk’s wages and stationery allowance (Mar so) £471.00
Cleaning the public conveniences (Mar) £280.00
Viking supplies for the public toilets £54.55
One Voice Wales renewal (item 16) £102.00
S Dale Society of Local Council Clerks (item 17) £83.00
b)Cheques approved in February 2021.
Cleaning the car park (Feb) £40.00
Clerk’s wages and stationery allowance (Feb so) £471.00
Cleaning the public conveniences (Feb) £280.00
Car park gate fix £245.00
S Dale (electricity for the public toilets) £16.73
Planning Aid Wales (training) £30.00
Unblocking inspect chamber at public toilets £80.00
7.Report from the County Councillor. The Powys County Council budget has been settled, £190m base and up to £500 billion with grants. The increase in council tax is 2.9%, 75p/wk per band D property. The policy and funding for independent advice for residents has changed. Powys Citizens Advice Bureau only will be funded, supplying a Powys wide service. School transformation mainly affects the north of the county. But one local school, Llanbedr, is undergoing consultation. Also PCC has taken over the finances of Clyro school. Grant support for businesses continues, efforts are being made to ensure businesses receive their entitlement. Public toilets did not receive any grants this time, but there may be a small amount of money for public toilets in the near future.
The blocked culvert in Glaisfer Road has been successfully dealt with.
Referring to the planned meeting between the Community Council and the Village Hall Committee (VHC), RH stated that she would be happy to chair a face-to-face meeting when appropriate. SD to put on the agenda for the April meeting. The Chairman and Secretary of the VHC are stepping down.
There is a house in Groesffordd that PCC feel is occupied contrary to the views of nearby residents.
Highways and EG queried recent work on Cyffredin Lane; that it did not properly address the problem. RH will talk to them.
8.Planning Applications: 21/19709/FUL, Berwyn, 2 storey side extension. The primary aspect is currently suggested as red brick and render, council feels that stone and red brick would be more in keeping with the original house and it's neighbour.
- 21/19630/FUL, The Halt, chimney removal. No objections.
- 21/19751/FUL, Wesley Cottage, 2 storey extension. The finish on the proposed new extension is not in keeping with the immediate neighbours (wavy edged wood and red brick), stone was preferred.
9.A resident has written to the Community Council complaining about the signage on the bridge and the drainage on the Bwlch side of the bridge. To be discussed and action agreed. Another resident has written to underline the drainage problem, although this appears to be okay for the moment. The present lights system seems to be out of kilter between the Bwlch side and the Llangynidr side at times. It was the result of some observations about traffic on the bridge. No system will be better than curtesy. That said Council should complain to our MP about the traffic on the bridge. Clerk to write to the MP. SD
10.Melin Homes have asked the Community Council if they can site a welfare unit in the carpark for a time? Approved but clerk to ask for a donation. SD
11.The public toilets need repainting and urgently, to have the benching in the first drain cover done. The cost for the re-painting will be labour only. The benching will require some materials in addition to the labour. Clerk to secure a quote.SD
12.To choose a date for a litter pick. Saturday 17th April, 10.45am. Refreshments to be provided. Clerk to advertise. SD
13.Persondy Field walls and boundary trees have been assessed. To be discussed and action agreed. The walls need repointing in parts, there is severe crumbling on the inside of the midfield wall. The height of the hedge adjoining a neighbour may be causing problems. Overall the Community Council has a costly year coming up and will delay major work until next year when it can factored into the budget. Any emergency work to be done as soon as possible. SD
14.Persondy field is available for grazing for 364 days. Tenders to be considered and action agreed. There was only 1 tender, this was approved. Clerk to inform the tenderer. SD
15.The grass cutting contract has been advertised. Tenders to be considered and action agreed. There was only 1 tender, this was approved. Clerk to inform the tenderer. SD
16.The status of the old footpath between Buckland Hill and the Old Workhouses has been queried. To be discussed and action agreed.
The footbridge was said to have belonged to Sir Roy Fedden who owned land on both sides of the river Usk where he was known to fish. The bridge and footpath were never a right of way.
17.One Voice Wales membership is due for renewal £102.00 approved.
18.Society of Local Council Clerks is due for renewal £166.00/2=£83.
19.The Human Resources Committee met to discuss the clerk's job description and will advise the council to add the following into the Clerk's Job Description: “ The Clerk will be expected to keep themselves up to date with technology and working practices as required by the Council, in the completion of his/her work, tasks and roles to make use of available technology such as an accounts package, a utility suite (open office word processor, spreadsheet, power-point type programme), rti (HMRC programmes), website software, meeting software (Zoom) and a mobile phone for photographs. The Clerk should advise the council on what training and or resources are needed to carry out these roles and responsibilities.” This amendment adds to the general responsibility of the job. The current clerk owns the technology the council uses (except for ½ a printer). The clerk is instructed to acquire a standalone disk that can be updated every month. SD
20.The contract for ownership of the telephone kiosk in the Dyffryn Crawnon has been circulated, can the document be signed? Approved, the Chairman to sign. Clerk to check the public liability insurance for the kiosk. MB, SD.
21.A resident has raised the quality of the Community Council’s information about the paths at Pentwyn. To be discussed and action agreed. Clerk to draft a response from Public Participation about the matter. SD
22.The Broadband improvement project is coming to a close. However there is an apparently unresolved matter; existing contracts may not run out before the new contract needs to come into force, leaving residents with the residual contract to pay for. To be discussed and action agreed.
The Rural Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is to be extended. Some clarification of the scheme and changing contracts has been forthcoming from the PCC Officer: Those members of the community who have come to the end of their contract could still be connected by Beacons Telecom using the voucher scheme.
23.The Community Council raised £2000 on the precept to help pay for a match funded project (the public toilets), unfortunately PCC decided not to fund the project. This leaves the extra requested £2000 to be managed; council could put it in the capital reserve or go ahead with the refurbishment, on a more modest scale this year, or some other solution.
The money is to be put in the Capital Reserve until a decision on the future of the public toilets can be made – with due regard to the possibility of a disabled toilet being incorporated. SD
24.Reports from meetings attended: At the Primary School 106 children are enrolled (some 130 including the nursery). A Deputy Head is being sought. All staff have been in for the whole of lockdown. Generally the children have made good or very good progress from pre-recorded lessons.
EG attended a Planning Aid Wales Course and was very pleased, she will report directly to councillors.
Any agenda items for the next meeting? VHC have asked for help reconditioning the very popular tennis courts. Arrangements for a meeting between VHC and the Community Council, to be chaired by the County Councillor.
There being no further business to discuss, the Chairman closed the meeting at 9.45pm.
Date of next meeting: Tuesday, 27th April 2021