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CHURCH EATON PARISH COUNCIL

PARISH MEETINGS

Minutes and Chairman's Reports

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Chairman’s Report 2015

 

It is my pleasure to report to you on the activities of the Council over this past year, during which time we have met on 11 occasions. As in previous years these have been concerned mainly with highway and planning issues, interspersed with other matters as and when these arise or have been raised by Parishioners at our Open Forums.

 

Sadly, the issue which seems to be of greatest concern, the state of roadways at Marston, at present remains unresolved despite our constant pressure over some four years. Meetings have been held with County Highways in Stafford, and several site meetings have taken place at Marston with Highway Officers, all to no avail. We are assured this matter will be resolved and road surfaces restored following repair to drains and culverts. However, the hamlet is considered low priority, which is of little comfort to those who live and work in the area. Highway Neighbourhood Teams continue to visit twice each year to complete small jobs as requested and this continues to work well.

 

We have regularly reported on planning applications, having regard to any comments received prior to or at our meetings. In September Bradford Estates gave a presentation on a proposal to rebuild Wood Eaton Manor and restore the grounds. Subsequently Parish councillors visited the site and were acquainted more fully with these proposals, though to date, no application has been received.

 

In July we were alerted to proposals by the Boundary Review body that the Church Eaton Ward was to be combined with Seighford Ward with two elected Borough Councillors covering the new area. We opposed this on the grounds that it would create too large an area, the residents of which would be better served by retaining the existing system of separate wards each with their own councillor. Unfortunately this proposal was adopted and will come into effect after the election. In October we agreed to support a Borough Council request to amend a clause in the National Planning Policy Framework to prevent developers appealing against planning refusals on the grounds that inadequate supplies of land were available. For us, this has particular significance with mass development in Gnosall and resultant traffic issues through Church Eaton.

 

The Village Playground continues to be well used by younger children and now requires less attention apart from regular grass cutting. During the year hawthorn whips provided by Bradford Estates were planted along the rear fence and a new cradle seat fitted to the single swing. The Council felt it prudent to ask Wickstead Leisure Ltd to conduct a risk assessment and we were pleased to learn there were no matters of concern. Play activities in this area and other matters, are covered by the Parish Council insurance, which we also reviewed during the year. As a result, we were able to achieve a saving of £377 by transferring our policy to Zurich Insurance whilst suffering no loss in cover.

 

Last May, the Footpaths Officer walked footpath 15 from Wood Eaton to the canal. Together with the Chairman and Mr David Massey he agreed to provide new stiles, a gate and signage to enable this path to be enjoyed once more. The work was scheduled to be completed in 6 months though as yet has not been commenced.  Other visits to council meetings have been made by Streetscene, and West Midland Connect who provided details of the new bus service and the Dial a Ride Scheme.  Parish Councillors have attended meetings with Amey Infrastructure concerning new road maintenance management systems and with the Police and Crime Commissioner who outlined changes made since his election together with future plans.

 

The Council entered the Best Kept Village competition again and the Village looked good during June and July with generally well attended gardens and little litter. The children’s posters displayed at the Little Onn road junction were much commented upon. Although we received favourable comments and were highly commended, our efforts were summed up by the judges who said we had got off to a poor start, as evidenced in the May inspection! The Council additionally offered prizes for the best hanging baskets, which had been independently judged.

 

During the year it was possible to offer financial support to the Village Institute building fund, the Village School, and the Pensioners Christmas lunch. Other monies spent supported purchases of plants for the flower troughs, grass cutting in the playground, insurance costs and clerk’s fees.

 

This will be my last annual report as I intend to stand down from the Parish Council this May after some 32 years! Parish Councils are much misunderstood and poorly supported throughout the country, but nevertheless fulfil a vital role at local level. Indeed this role may develop in the coming years. Meetings are open to the public and during our Open Forum, general discussion can take place on any agenda item. Indeed, I can recall many interesting discussions taking place! It has been good to have our Borough Councillor Barry Stamp at most meetings and our County Councillor Mark Winnington when he is able to attend. Finally, can I thank fellow Councillors and our Clerk for their support and wish the new Council all success in the future.

 

Trevor Houghton

(Chairman)

Chairman’s Report to the Annual Parish Meeting 2014

 

Once more I can report to you that the Council has met regularly throughout the year every month except August with the main pattern of business covering planning, highways and other local matters.   Looking back at my report for 2013, it is disappointing to discover that several issues remain unresolved despite our constant pressure on both Stafford Borough and Staffordshire County Councils.

 

Highway issues remain the constant problem, with roadways in Marston almost impassable during wet weather.   A drainage blockage in Jolt lane near Haughton has meant that flood water has covered a 30m stretch for most of the winter and only in the last 10 days has any remedial work been completed.   No timetable has been given when Marston works could be commenced and therefore no answer can be given to residents attending our meetings for news.   A letter was sent by the Chairman, personally, to the Leader of the County Council with a copy to Bill Cash MP.   This has resulted in a brief response from the Council, directing us to information already in our possession!   Mr Cash has advised he will formally reply once he has spoken with the County Council, but meanwhile has forwarded our letter to the Secretary of State.   We do however, have a good rapport with Shane Latham who manages the Neighbourhood Highways Team, who have made two visits to the Parish dealing with smaller works as requested.

 

Sadly the past year saw the resignation of 3 Councillors for differing reasons, but we have been pleased to welcome by cooption Messrs Bailey, Massie, and Moore who we are sure will blend into the team.   As a result of these ongoing changes, various projects have been delayed including a review of the Conservation Area document, and also the Council Welcome Pack, though we hope these projects are now back on track.   We have inquired whether Village Green status could be obtained for Glebelands but found this to be negated by the existing agreement between the Association and the Lichfield Diocese.   Likewise, we considered whether to register any Village assets but decided not to proceed.   Currently we are awaiting the consultation period for the Borough Council Boundary Review, which is proposing a Ward comprising Church Eaton and Seighford Parishes, and on which we wish to respond.

 

Neighbourhood Watch matters are regularly on our agenda and PC Karl Green and PCSO Lutwych attended to update us on local crime reports.   Likewise we were pleased to welcome Carla Whelton, Estate Manager at Bradford Estates who is keen to engage with local Parish Councils.   We hope this is a link which might develop over the years. 

 

The Village Playground continues to be well used and grass maintained during the summer months.   Weekly inspections are continued by Councillors and few problems are reported.   A tree survey conducted reported all trees were sound and a further survey in 3 years was recommended.   The rear fence remains problematic, but has recently been repaired and all other fences checked.   Very recently hawthorn whips, donated by Bradford Estates, have been planted to grow and eventually fill gaps in the rear hedge.

 

No major planning applications have been received during the year, though concerns by residents over proposed housing developments in Gnosall and its impact on traffic through our Village were raised with Gnosall Parish Council and also with GRID.   We have asked to be kept updated.   During the summer, traffic speed indicators were erected outside the School as part of the ‘20 is Plenty’ scheme and which were requested by us last year.   Fixed 20 mph signs now remain in position adjacent to the School.   The wooden sign posts in the Village maintained by the Council, were repainted during the Autumn.

 

Sadly, we did not enter the BKV Competition due to apparent lack of interest.   However, we continued our Hanging Basket competition and the flower troughs were colourful throughout the summer.   Two further flower troughs have been constructed by Mr Harriman and placed at either end of Marston.   It has now been agreed to enter the BKV competition in 2014 and it is hoped that Village publicity for community involvement will bring success, though for this to happen, much more attention is required in relation to the problem of dog fouling which remains a great concern to many people

 

Parish Councils remain an important part of village life and here in Church Eaton we continue to try to ensure we react to the concerns of those who live here as have successive councils since the very first in 1894!   In closing, can I thank our Clerk for her input to our work over the last 12 months and her unfailing attendance at our meetings.

 

Trevor Houghton

(Chairman)

 

MINUTES FROM THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD ON THE 9th APRIL 2013

 

PRESENT:  Mrs S. Dodd and Mrs K. Reeves, Messrs I. Glover, T. Houghton, Stafford Borough Councillor, Mr B. Stamp,
Staffordshire County Councillor, Mr M. Winnington and the Clerk, Mrs D. M. Key.

 

APOLOGIES:  These were received from Parish Councillor Ms J. Byford, Mr S. Caplan and Mr P. Harriman.

 

MINUTES: The minutes from the previous meeting were then deemed as a true record by those present and duly signed by the Chairman.

 

MATTERS ARISING:  There were no matters arising. 

 

OPEN FORUM: This was not required on this occasion.

 

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT:  The Chairman, Mr T. Houghton gave the following report to the meeting. 

Chairman's Report to the Meeting

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is my pleasure to report to you on the activities of the Parish Council over the past year. During this time we have met each month except August, working through a fairly full agenda on each occasion.

 

Looking back over the pattern of business in past years, it would seem that this year, highway issues have dominated our discussions. The exceptionally wet Autumn, followed by the extremely cold start to 2013, has caused very serious damage on all roadways in the Parish, leading to many complaints being raised with the Council. Pothole damage has become widespread and road surfaces in the Marston area have fallen well below what could be considered a reasonable standard. As early as October this Council were concerned at the absence of any progress on matters referred to County Highways for their attention.

 

Accordingly, the following month, the Chairman met with Councillor Mark Winnington and the Senior Highways Coordinator at County Buildings, in an attempt to timetable when this work might be completed. Since that time, work has been completed in the Bradley Lane and some gulleys cleared, though most remain outstanding, and one wonders whether the suggested work timetable can be met. Responding to the concerns from residents at Marston, we have written to all farmers in the Parish requesting their support in clearing excessive mud and hedge trimmings from roads and similar letters have been sent to Agricultural Contractors. We have also written to Bill Cash MP advising him that we now find the problem of large vehicles in rural lanes far worse than when he raised this issue with ourselves some 3 years ago.

 

Twice during the year, the Highways Neighbourhood Team have visited the Parish for several days, to complete a variety of small tasks, and were finally able to erect wooden safety bollards along the Playground roadside fence. Also, following a request from the Council, concerning vehicle speeds in the High Street, during the Summer Term, Vehicle Speed Indicator signs will be erected at the approaches to the School to draw attention to inherent dangers in that area.

 

During last Summer we financially supported the Village Diamond Jubilee celebrations and also purchased, installed and planted 7 wooden flower troughs to add colour during this period. We again entered the B.K.V. competition though did not achieve a place on this occasion, and sadly there seems to be little support from Villagers for the event at the present time. Together with other Parishes we requested free of charge, one of the park benches being replaced by the County Council, which following collection, was renovated by the Chairman and is now placed adjacent to the Glebelands tennis courts. In December a grant was made towards the cost of relaying the path at the side of the Village institute to assist wheelchair access.

 

The Council has been asked if they wish to review the Church Eaton Conservation document, first prepared in 1973 and at the present time this is ongoing. We have considered the implications of the new Localism Act, and are now awaiting further information from the Borough Council when this is available. The Council has also adopted the new Borough Council Code of Conduct with regard to Members’ interests.

 

As a Council we continue our endeavours to ensure Church Eaton remains a desirable place to live and try to further the various requests made to us. Currently, as already mentioned, this includes trying to improve the standard of our road network, tackling the ongoing problem of dog fouling, and investigating the costs of installing a bus shelter on the High Street. We were delighted therefore, that during the year the proposed Brineton Wind-farm project was finally rejected on appeal following the campaign by STAG and other Villagers, a proposal we had opposed from the very beginning.

 

Finally I would like to express my thanks to our Clerk, our Councillors and both Borough and County Councillors for the help they have given over the past 12 months.

 

Trevor Houghton

 

Mrs S. Dodd thanked Councillor Houghton for all of his hard work and effort made on behalf of the Parish Council.

 

The meeting closed at 7.50pm.

 

 

MINUTES FROM THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD ON THE 3rd APRIL 2012

 

PRESENT:  Mrs S. Dodd and Mrs K. Reeves, Messrs S. Caplan, T. Houghton, I. Glover, P. Harriman, Stafford Borough Councillor Mr B. Stamp, three members of the public and the Clerk.

 

APOLOGIES:  These were received from Staffs County Councillor, Mr M. Winnington.

 

MINUTES:   The Clerk read the Minutes from the previous meeting. These were deemed as a true record by those present and signed by the Chairman.

 

MATTERS ARISING: There were no matters arising – any items arising from the last Parish meeting would be dealt with during this meeting.

 

OPEN FORUM: Following Mr R. Carless’s concerns at the previous Parish meeting regarding the impact heavy traffic was having on properties along the High Street, there had been no real progress. A speed survey had been carried out and it was anticipated that the outcome of the survey would be discussed with Staffs County Council in April.

 

John Edwards updated the meeting on the parish web site, mentioning the use that overseas visitors made of the site.  Mr Edwards gave the Clerk a thank you letter for the donation made towards hosting and maintaining the web site.

 

Mr Edwards also brought to the meeting some interesting finds from the Chairman’s garden which a local metal detectorist had located.

 

Mr John Hitchens addressed the meeting over concerns he had with drainage issues at Apeton. Staffs County Council had carried out some drainage works near to the ford at Apeton.  This had resulted in a large hole being dug which was now full of water.  Mr Hitchens was concerned that due to the depth it could be dangerous if someone fell into or accidentally drove into it. The Parish Council were to chase this matter up with the Staffs County Council.

 

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT:  Chairman, Mr T. Houghton gave the following report.

 

“I can report that the Council has met regularly over the past 12 months other than in January when the scheduled date fell immediately after the New Year Bank Holiday.

 

As a result of the uncontested election on 5th May, at the first meeting, the new Council agreed to seek to co-opt a further member to bring their establishment up to the 7 Councillors required.   Following the statutory notification 3 replies were received and subsequent to interview, Mr Peter Harriman was co-opted.    Although not having sought re-election, Ms Mandy Corser advised that she was prepared to continue as Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator and report to the Council as appropriate.   Council business throughout the year has continued with routine issues relating to Planning, Highway, Playground and Financial matters, together with other issues as raised at the monthly meetings.  

 

During the year we have sought to deal with traffic issues in the High Street by obtaining a reduction in the speed limit to 20 mph.   To date we have been unsuccessful, and have been disappointed that after a traffic speed census had been conducted, no Highways Officer has been prepared to come to discuss these results with us.   We currently await a date to visit the County Highways offices to discuss the matter further.   These issues have not “gone away” and the Chairman of the School Governors has expressed his concern at traffic speeds approaching the School at peak times.   Mr Bill Cash MP is supportive of our desire to relate to the “20 is Plenty” Campaign.   Other Highway issues have been dealt with as requested and we have been pleased with the work of the Neighbourhood Teams during their time working in the Village.   We are hopeful that roadside posts will be erected along the Village Playground boundary and perhaps kerbing later as finances allow.

 

The Village Playground continues to be well supported and used.   High point of the year was the official opening of the Adult Gym Equipment at a special ceremony in September by Hugh Porter MBE.  This has been much admired and we are indebted to the efforts of the CERS for their efforts in obtaining grant monies necessary.   Ownership of the equipment will pass to the Council after 5 years.   It has been agreed to carry out work to lower the roadside fencing and repair the posts and fence at the western end of the park.

 

The Council has supported the work of STAG and been updated on their activities by their Chairman Mr Tony Lendon and also received monthly updates dates from Mr Peter Harriman who has attended their meetings.   Council members were present at the Planning appeal in February and await the Inspector’s report with interest.

 

The Council again entered the BKV Competition, sadly without any great success this year, though we are grateful to Ms Josie Byford for undertaking to co-ordinate this event in 2012.   To support this effort it has been agreed to purchase timber flower troughs to place around the Village and plant in red, white and blue for Jubilee Year.   At Christmas we purchased the Christmas tree set up outside the Village Institute.   Cheques for £150 were given to the Festival Committee towards insurance costs and £350 to the Parochial Church Council towards printing costs for the Parish Magazine.   In January we collected one of the old park benches offered to Parish Councils by the Parks Department.   Mr Trevor Houghton has renovated this and it will shortly be placed adjacent to the Glebelands Tennis Courts.   We have recently edited the Parish Council Welcome Pack and this is now available to all newcomers into the Village.

 

I have been grateful for the support of Parish Councillors over the year, together with our Clerk Mrs Diane Key and the input from our County and Borough Councillors Mark Winnington and Barry Stamp whenever they have been asked”.

 

Mrs S. Dodd concluded the meeting by thanking Mr Houghton, on behalf of the Parish Council for all his hard work throughout the last year.

 

The meeting closed at 8.10pm.

 

MINUTES FROM THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD ON THE 5th APRIL 2011

 

PRESENT:  Mrs S. Dodd, Mrs K. Reeves and Ms M. Corser, Messrs T. Houghton, I. Glover, Stafford Borough Councillor Mr B. Stamp,
two members of the public and the Clerk.

 

APOLOGIES:  These were received from Parish Councillors’ Mrs D. Jones and Mr B. Thacker.

 

MINUTES:   The Clerk read the Minutes from the previous meeting. These were deemed as a true record by those present and signed by the Chairman.

 

MATTERS ARISING: There were no matters arising – any items arising from the last Parish meeting would be dealt with during this meeting.

 

OPEN FORUM: Mr R. Carless reported his concerns over the impact heavy traffic was having on properties along the High Street especially on foundations.  Speeding traffic along the High Street and throughout the Village was further discussed. Councillor B. Stamp reported on the campaign ’20 is Plenty’ which was being instigated by the County Council outside some schools.  It was agreed that the Council would look into obtaining further information regarding this initiative.  

 

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT:  Chairman, Mr T. Houghton gave the following report.

 

“Once again I am pleased to report on the activities of Parish Council during the past year. During this time we have met on only 11 occasions, having agreed not to meet in August, due to lack of any essential business. For the rest of the year however the meetings have continued on a monthly basis, occasionally attended by residents from the Parish, who we are always most pleased to welcome along. In this respect, a standard item on our agenda is Open Forum, during which any member of the public is able to raise with the Parish Council a concern they wish to share. Usually, this request will have been discussed with our Clerk in advance of that meeting to ensure it has been added to the meeting agenda.

 

As normal, Planning and Highway issues took up much of the Council time. Early in the year I met with a County Highways engineer, County and Borough Councillors

Mark Winnington, and Barry Stamp, to highlight some 17 highway issues reported by ourselves but not yet attended to, during which we visited Apeton Ford and roadways at High Onn. Sadly, despite the assurances given, many of these matters have still not been attended to, most notably the surface of Jolt Lane, however it was particularly gratifying to see major reconstruction work was completed in Woollaston Lane. At a more basic level, many small jobs have been completed during two visits by Highway Community Teams, though sadly, they have now been transferred to 'potholing' duties until further notice.

 

Throughout the year, planning issues have been dominated by the proposed Brineton Windfarm. We have been kept abreast of developments by STAG Chairman Tony Lendon who has attended our meetings, and we have been represented at STAG meetings held at other locations. Once planning applications were submitted we wrote to oppose these and also formally asked STAG to include our views within their own Consultant's submission. We now await the outcome of this delayed planning decision. Individual householder planning applications submitted have also been considered and commented on as appropriate, taking into account any issues that have been brought to our attention.

 

After many years of expense and development the Village Playground has required little attention this year beyond grass maintenance, though following a request the pedestrian entrance has been improved to allow wheelchair access. Following an approach by CERS, it was agreed to allow some adult exercise equipment to be installed subject to their grant application being successful, and CERS gave a presentation to the Council on this project.

 

We again entered the BKV Competition and were delighted to be awarded 2nd place in the Small Village category, thanks to the efforts of village residents. We have financially supported the Village Festival, and again offered prizes for the best hanging basket displays visible from the roadways during the summer.

 

Neighbourhood Watch items have been reported to each meeting, fortunately with few related to local household thefts. More recently we have been concerned to hear of several farm thefts, including not only equipment, but also piglets from Midland Pig Producers. Appropriate awareness posters and leaflets from Staffordshire Police have been regularly placed on the notice board.

 

This evening represents the last meeting of this Council before new Parish elections take place on 5th May. Though considered by some to be insignificant, I believe the work of Parish Councils remains a vital part of our community life, and a part which in time to come will increase in its importance, if decision making continues to be decentralized. We are the ears and eyes of local residents and should be ready to take forward local issues as they arise.

 

It remains for me to thank our Clerk Diane Key for her work, together with our County and Borough Councillors for their attendance at meetings when possible. Some Parish Councillors will be standing down this time and I thank them too, and trust that the new Council which meets in May will actively pursue the tasks ahead.

 

Mrs S. Dodd thanked Councillor Houghton for all his hard work and effort made on behalf of the Parish Council.

 

The meeting closed at 8.20pm.

 

MINUTES FROM THE  ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD ON THE 6th APRIL 2010

 

(Awaited)

 

MINUTES FROM THE  ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD ON THE 7th APRIL 2009

 

PRESENT: Ms M Corser, Mrs S. Dodd, and Mrs D. Jones.  Messrs I. Glover, T. Houghton, B. Thacker, Stafford Borough Councillor, Mr B. Stamp, four members of the public and the Clerk.

 

APOLOGIES: None were received.

 

MINUTES:   The Clerk read the Minutes from the previous meeting. These were deemed as a true record by those present and signed by the Chairman.

 

MATTERS ARISING: There were no matters arising – any items arising from the last Parish Meeting would be dealt with during this meeting.

 

OPEN FORUM:  Mr Carless expressed concerns over possible dead trees and tree boughs over hanging the highway along the Lapley Road.  It was agreed that the Clerk would speak to Highways on this matter.  Mr John Edwards gave a brief talk on the recent history group that had been set up in the village.  He also reported that a short mat bowls group had been set up and that the village web site was being well used.  It was generally agreed that the web site was very useful and a great asset to the village.

 

A village map had been refurbished for the forthcoming Best Kept Village Competition and it was also reported that one of the children’s posters submitted for publicising the BKV competition would be selected to take part in the official poster judging competition.  

 

CHAIRMAN'S REPORT Mr T. Houghton, as Chairman, gave the following report.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

It is my pleasure to report to you on the Parish Council activities over the past 12 months.   During this period the Council has met each month and as in previous years conducted routine business together with other matters raised by Parishioners, covering a wide range of local issues.

 

Highways and Planning questions continue to absorb much time and in November  the Council were able to support the SBC refusal to develop at 6 Smithy Croft during a 5th Public Appeal hearing, which we were pleased the Inspector subsequently upheld.  

 

We have also been represented at Local Development Framework meetings in Stafford, together with a County Highways meeting to discuss the introduction of Community Work Gangs to help with minor local highways work.   Regretfully many road issues remain outstanding, though these are regularly reviewed at our meetings.   It was good however, that work in Woollaston Lane and outside Laurel Cottage was finally undertaken and drainage issues much improved.   Poor drainage in the Village remains a problem both in the roads and also through adjacent pastures to the brook.  

 

Following our letter to landowners and Councillors, a survey was authorised by the Foundation Governors under the Farming Floodplains scheme and a report produced.   The Council was represented at a second meeting when ways in which this matter might be progressed were discussed, so as to help both the local farmer and also disposal of excessive water flows.   More recently we have engaged in the problems associated with parking at the School at starting and finishing times, though at the present time, no easy solution to this problem is apparent.

 

Our Children’s Playground continues to be well used and enjoyed.   During the year junior goalposts were installed together with a netball hoop, while other equipment was painted as necessary.   Encouragingly, little vandalism has been reported, though currently, quotations are being obtained for re-fencing work to the rear and east end of the site.   Our grass cutting contractor must also to be congratulated for the quality of his work throughout the season.

 

Following a lengthy search for quotations, a contract to refurbish the wooden street signposts was awarded to Mr Bob Thacker which when completed will help to retain some of our village character.   Council has also supported Mr Thacker in his interest to engage the community in designing a Village Sign.   Sadly, attendance at early meetings has not continued, and progress has been slow.   By contrast we again entered the Best Kept Village competition, supported by the Festival Committee, and were delighted to become Best Small Village in the Stafford group, unfortunately failing to beat Weston to become Best Overall Winner.

 

In September we were asked to raise with Glebelands Sports Association a request to erect a Goalpost for use by local teenagers on the field boundary.   This request was refused at their AGM, but has now become an issue with considerable support in the Village.   At a subsequent Parish Council it was agreed to request Mr Barry Stamp, our Borough Councillor, to convene a public meeting jointly with Mr Malcolm Bennett, the Glebelands Chairman, to try to progress this matter.   The meeting will take place on 21st April, but will encompass the wider issues of teenage recreation, possibly taking into account the requirements of a proposed new Village Youth Club.

 

Neighbourhood Watch issues remain as a standard item on each agenda and any appropriate security information or reports of burglaries are reported.   We continue to maintain our contact with the local Community Police officers.

 

It is sometimes disappointing that so few residents attend our meetings, though this is not an issue confined to Church Eaton.   The Village is fortunate in having Parish Councillors who make every effort to attend on each occasion, and I thank them for that.   I would also like to thank both our Borough and County Councillors for their attendance at meetings whenever possible and our Clerk Mrs Diane Key for all the work she has done.   I am sure that the next year will be equally busy!

 

Trevor Houghton (Chairman)

 

The meeting closed at 8.15 p.m.

 

 

MINUTES FROM THE  ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD ON THE 6th MAY 2008

 

PRESENT: Ms M. Corser, Mrs S. Dodd, and Mrs D. Jones.  Messrs I. Glover, T. Houghton, B. Thacker, Stafford Borough Councillor, Mr B. Stamp, one member of the public, and the Clerk.

 

APOLOGIES: were received from Staffs County Councillor, Mr M. Winnington.

 

MINUTES:   The Clerk read the Minutes from the previous meeting. These were deemed as a true record by those present and signed by the Chairman.

 

MATTERS ARISING: The parish web site was discussed and it was concluded that

The site was very well used. Mr Houghton thanked Mr Edwards for his work on the site.

 

The trees that had been removed from the churchyard were discussed.  Two new trees had been planted.

 

OPEN FORUM: Mr J. Edwards thanked the Parish Council for all their efforts during the past year.

 

CHAIRMAN'S REPORT: Chairman Mr T Houghton gave the following report.

 

“Good Evening, it is my pleasure to report to you on the activities of the Parish Council over the past 12 months.

Following the uncontested election on 3rd May 2007, four new members were welcomed to the Parish Council at their meeting a week later, and that Council has continued to meet each month throughout the year. As usual the work has been largely of a routine nature, but it has been good to have the new grouping, working with enthusiasm on the issues discussed.

 

Again the Council entered the Best Kept Village competition but were only Highly Commended, perhaps in part, because our first inspection was very early in May, when we were not quite ready. Judges’ comments were fair and suggested that if these were taken into account, greater success could be achieved in 2008. It was noted that public open spaces were very tidy, private gardens were good in the main and general cleanliness was very good. Attention was drawn to the poor state of the Playground bench, which was replaced during the year, together with a second new bench installed by the telephone box, financed jointly with the Festival Committee.

The Calor Village of the Year Competition was again entered, but without success on this occasion. In conjunction with these competitions the Council again sponsored a Best Hanging Basket Competition, and many baskets were on view throughout the Village during the Summer.

Borough Council Planning Applications were reported on throughout the year as appropriate, though the 5th application for a new house in Smithy Croft drew 15 members of the public to the December meeting, to voice various concerns and these were supported by the Council. Contact has been maintained with County Highways and various works have been completed including drainage work in Bradley Lane, and substantial foundation repairs to the bridge over Apeton Brook. Following heavy rain and flooding during the Summer, a site meeting was arranged with the County Highways Area Supervisor and some drain clearance and remedial work was completed in Smithy Croft and Wood Eaton Road, but sadly, a number of reported issues remain outstanding, including the appalling road surface between Church Eaton and Haughton.

 

Our Village Playground continues to be maintained and after much difficulty, the roadside fence and gates were refurbished. No new equipment has been installed this year, but our Contractor has maintained the grass in good order and the new hedge is getting established. Litter and vandalism has not been a major problem.

 

Following Residents’ concerns, the placement of new street lights in The Oaklands was raised with ABB, resulting in their decision to only renew the lamp units, and leave poles in their original positions. Similarly concerns over the continuation of both the Rural Link and 482 Bus Services were raised and pressure has been placed to ensure their continuation and this issue continues to be monitored. The Green Bus Company confirmed their service to Telford had ceased, though this has been taken on by another Carrier.

N

eighbourhood Watch issues have been reported at each meeting, and information posted on the Council Notice Board. It is good to have Mandy Corser, our NW Coordinator on the Council, to liaise on these issues. Police have attended some meetings, including PC Clive Blakemore, who in December reported in detail on the Rural Watch System and how it operates.

 

In July, it was suggested that a Welcome Pack might be prepared to be given to any newcomers to the Village. This has taken several months to prepare, is now available as required, and contains much valuable information. The pack which contains local Business advertisements is also available to purchase if required.

 

It remains for me to thank Councillors and Clerk for their efforts during the past year, and to our Borough Councillor Mr Barry Stamp for his interventions on our behalf”.

 

Trevor Houghton

Chairman

 

The meeting closed at 8.10 p.m.

 

 

MINUTES FROM THE  ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD ON THE 3rd MAY 2007

 

PRESENT:  Mrs S. Dodd, Ms M  Corser and Mrs J. Glover.  Messrs C. Byford, I. Glover, T. Houghton, B. Sharratt, Stafford Borough Councillor, Mr B. Stamp, Staffs County Councillor, Mr M. Winnington, two members of the public, and the Clerk.

 

APOLOGIES:  None were received.

 

MINUTES:   The Clerk read the Minutes from the previous meeting. These were deemed as a true record by those present and signed by the Chairman.

 

MATTERS ARISING: These were discussed during the meeting.

 

OPEN FORUM: Concern was expressed over the scale of the house being built at 10 Malthouse Drive.  Concern was further expressed that the new house, when built, would overlook neighbouring properties.

 

It was reported that the Parish web site was being well used with some 1,220 hits since August.  It was considered a real bonus for the community.

 

The Village Festival had been very successful and because of this hard effort a great deal of funds had been made available to various organisations within the village.

 

Concern had been expressed over the trees that had been removed from the churchyard.  It was planned by the PCC to re-plant trees but concern still remained over the tree felling.

 

CHAIRMAN'S REPORT: Chairman, Mr T Houghton, gave the following report:

 

“It is my pleasure to report that the Parish Council has met each month since our last Annual Meeting in May 2006, discussing Parish matters covering a wide range of issues.

 

Probably most time and effort has been expended on items relating to the Children’s Playground which we have agreed to improve and develop over a period of years. In this respect we have received much help and support from Stafford Borough Council, culminating in a £4000 match funded grant. This has been spent on the purchase of three items of new play equipment, the erection of a new fence at the west end of the area, and replacement of roadside fencing, although this has still to be completed at the present time. We were also supported by County Councillor Mark Winnington with a Members Initiative Grant to purchase a new replacement seat for this area. Work continuing from the last financial year has seen the removal of the earth mound, and unsafe climbing frame and slide, thus giving the whole area a more open aspect and brightness. It is hoped this renewal work can continue over the next year.

 

In 2006 for the first time we entered the Calor Village of the Year competition. Together with Michael Evans and John Edwards, representing St Editha’s Church and the Village Institute, the Chairman met with the adjudicating committee, and in due course we were delighted to be awarded a joint 2nd place in Staffordshire, together with a cheque for £125. This money was allocated to new hedge planting in the Playground.

 

We also again entered the Best Kept Village Competition, though without major success this year, despite the best efforts of Ralph Howarth, and a splendid display of Children’s posters. The Parish Council funded hanging basket competition also took place during the summer, and again the Council financially supported the Village Festival Committee and contributed towards a new village seat, now on order, to be positioned adjacent to the telephone kiosk.

 

The Council has been actively involved with both Planning and Highway matters throughout the year and were pleased to see completion of the refurbished High Street footpaths during the Autumn. The Council have been consistently against a proposed development in Smithy Croft, which during the year was refused on appeal for the 4th occasion.

 

During the recent months many roadside flooding problems have been reported using the Clarence telephone service, whilst flooding of field ditches and pastures adjacent to the Village has also been noted for the first time since remedial work was completed in 2000. This will be monitored.

 

During the year we have contested the removal of the 482 Arriva bus service to the Village. With the help of both Borough Councillors and Village residents we were able to achieve the reinstallation of this service, which it is hoped will be used so as to justify its retention.

 

We have been pleased that Mandy Corser, our Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator, has been able to attend most Council meetings. Through her efforts, in excess of 150 Household Security packs have been distributed in the Parish and new signs installed at Village entrances. Mr Ash Conner, (Community Safety Officer), attended the October meeting, whilst PC Danny Lyons has attended on two other occasions. It is good that we are now able to maintain regular contact with the Police on these matters of mutual interest.

 

During the year we have been in communication with Bill Cash MP, asking him to support the Sustainable Communities Bill, and on a separate occasion to express our concern at the closure of rural Post Offices.

 

Over the past 4 years the Council has consistently endeavoured to represent views of the Church Eaton residents when asked, while at the same time working to try and ensure the Village and Parish remains both a safe and pleasant environment in which to live. In this we have been helped by our Stafford Borough Councillor Barry Stamp to whom I extend my thanks, together with all of the members of the existing Parish Council.

 

On 3rd May a new Council will be formed, who it is hoped will continue with the work in the Parish, faithfully carried out over many years”.

 

Trevor Houghton

Chairman

 

The meeting closed at 8.20 pm

 

 

MINUTES FROM THE  ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD ON THE 2ND MAY 2006

 

PRESENT:  Mrs S. Dodd and Mrs J. Glover.  Messrs C. Byford, I. Glover, T. Houghton, B. Sharratt, Stafford Borough Councillor, Mr B.Stamp, Staffs County Councillor, Mr M. Winnington, one member of the public, and the Clerk.

 

APOLOGIES:  These were received from Mr R. Howarth.

 

MINUTES:   The Clerk read the Minutes from the previous meeting. These were deemed as a true record by those present and signed by the Chairman.

 

MATTERS ARISING: There were none.

 

OPEN FORUM: Concern was expressed over some of the hedges along the High Street which had been allowed to spread over the footpath making passage difficult in some cases for push chairs etc to get by.  It was agreed that a quiet word with the hedge owners would be sufficient to remedy the problem.

Parking along the High Street was also discussed.

 

CHAIRMANS REPORT: Chairman Mr T Houghton gave the following report.

“As previously I am glad to report that the Parish Council has met regularly, in fact during every month throughout the past year, discussing a wide range of issues concerning those living in the Parish of Church Eaton.   As of necessity much of this work could be grouped under the headings of Planning, Highways, and Village Playground, though looking back over the minutes it is surprising the extent of the items covered during one meeting or another.

 

Perhaps the high spot for 2005 was gaining 3rd place in the Best Kept Village Competition (small village category) together with a special certificate to commemorate 50 years of this event.   As organiser for our entry, Mr Ralph Howarth together with the Chairman received the award during a ceremony in the County Buildings, Stafford.   Success can only be achieved by demonstrating evidence of Community effort within a village, amply so in our case, with the abundance of children’s posters, tidy gardens, hanging baskets, together with obvious preparation in hand for the Village Festival.   The Council was glad once again to be associated with the Festival, by means of a financial contribution.

 

Considerable time has been spent concerning Health and Safety issues within the Village playground, initially raised by our Insurers.   In August, following a detailed report, the Council decided to embark on a programme of refurbishment and replacement of equipment, as cash flow would allow.   This will involve complete removal of the mound, together with the slide and climbing frame, both now badly corroded, replacement of the west end fence and repair of other fencing.   We have been successful in obtaining a £3000 grant towards this work which we hope will commence shortly, following on from the tree and scrub clearance already completed.   Applications are in hand for further grant aid, which together with Parish Council funds, will enable new equipment to be purchased in due course.

 

The Council has been active in responding to all planning issues throughout the year, representing the observations made to us as far as we feel appropriate.   Likewise we have been active, together with both our Borough and County Councillors, in trying to hasten the completion of resurfacing the Gnosall road, which we now hope will take place in the current financial year, along with resurfacing of the High Street footpaths.   We have also actively responded to fly tipping issues at Little Onn, and the possible removal of telephone kiosks at Marston and Church Eaton.   During August we contacted English Heritage concerning their press release relating to preservation and renovation of sites in Staffordshire, including St Editha’s well, and asked to be kept informed of any developments.   More recently, we wrote in strong terms to both Bill Cash MP and David Kidney MP urging them to support the retention of the Staffordshire Ambulance Service in its present form.

 

At recent meetings Rural Public Transport has been considered, particularly in relation to the abrupt removal of the Arriva 482 service to Church Eaton.   Views of users of these services have been passed to the County Council and Arriva and it is hoped further discussions can be held with Rural Link to determine whether some compromise scheduling can be achieved between all parties concerned.   We have also been encouraged that Mandy Corser has agreed to take on the role of Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, and will help us in our liaison with the Staffordshire Police in matters of concern.

 

During the past year, Councillors have attended various meetings including Borough Area Forums, and most recently were proud to be represented on 31st March at the Stafford 800 celebrations and the visit of the HM The Queen.

 

Finally I would like to thank members of the Council and our Clerk for their efforts during the past year, also members of the public who have attended from time to time.   Parish Councils exist to represent local views and issues, all meetings are open and anyone wishing to attend is most welcome, though items for discussion should always be notified to the Clerk in advance for inclusion on the agenda”.

 

Trevor Houghton

Chairman

 

MINUTES FROM THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD ON 3rd  MAY 2005

 

PRESENT:  Mrs S. Dodd and Mrs J. Glover.  Messrs I. Glover, T. Houghton, B. Sharratt, two members of the public: Mrs T Houghton and Mr J. Edwards, and the Clerk.

 

APOLOGIES:  These were received from Messrs C. Byford, R. Howarth and Councillor, B. Stamp.

 

MINUTES:   The Clerk read the Minutes from the previous meeting. These were deemed as a true record by those present and signed by the Chairman.

 

MATTERS ARISING: There were none.

 

OPEN FORUM: John Edwards thanked the Parish Councillors for the work they did for the Parish.  There was a brief discussion on general issues such as planning.

 

CHAIRMAN'S REPORT: Chairman Mr T Houghton gave the following report.

 

“The Parish Council has again met regularly each month during the past year to discuss matters relating to the life of our rural community.   Inevitably much time has been expended on planning issues and highways, though various other concerns raised by Parishioners have been attended to with equal diligence, but with varying degrees of success.

 

In 2004 we again entered the Best Kept Village competition, though without success, but our thanks are extended to Mr Byford and Mr Howarth for co-ordinating this effort.   We also continued the best hanging basket competition, on this occasion sponsored by Oaklands Studios to whom we are equally indebted.   Finally in support of the Village Festival we agreed to underwrite part of the insurance cost for this very successful event, which attracted many visitors to the village, including the Mayor of Stafford who was delighted to attend.

 

After many years of pressure on the County Highways we were glad to learn that work was finally to commence on drainage and surface repairs on the Gnosall to Church Eaton road, and this was completed in late autumn between the sewerage works and Gnosall.   It is hoped that funding will be available to allow the section through to Church Eaton to be completed this year, and we have further been advised that resurfacing of the walkways along the High Street should also take place during the financial year.   Generally, we now have good liaison with the Highways Area Surveyor who has arranged for several smaller highway maintenance projects to be undertaken during the year, as a result of which the lanes are much improved on those of several years ago.

 

During the year we have successfully worked with Midland Pig Producers to overcome fly tipping at Little Onn airfield, and contested the proposed closure of the telephone kiosk at Marston, though this latter might possibly be only a ‘stay of execution’ for a few months.   We have also liased with the Police through PC Sean Smith who has attended several meetings to update us on local crime and traffic statistics and answer concerns of Council members.

 

As always our largest item of expenditure relates to the village playground.   The rota for safety checks and litter clearance continues each week though vandalism continues to be a problem.   New swings were installed in October, and our attention has now moved to the replacement of the slide, though at a cost of £5/6000, it is unlikely this can be achieved without grants from outside bodies.

 

As a Council we have tried to respond to various requests and invitations.   In July we responded to a request by Bill Cash MP for comments on his consultation on Rural Roads.   More recently Mr Houghton and Mrs Dodd attended a Stafford Borough Council seminar on the new Local Development Framework Over the next 3 years local councils throughout the UK have to draw up new planning policy documents for use within this framework, which has to be done through public consultation, and although complex, we feel it is right that our comments are heard within this process.   Accordingly, a sub committee has met on two occasions so far, passing our responses on to the Borough Planning Department, apparently one of only a few Parish Councils in the borough so to do.   Our information suggests that future planning controls will retain existing Village planning envelopes, thereby possibly encouraging development within gardens and other unsuitable areas.   It is the attention of the this council to try to ensure that all future developments are such that they blend sympathetically with their surroundings, so as to preserve the rural setting we all enjoy.

 

In conclusion can I thank fellow Councillors and our Clerk for their support and very hard work throughout the past year.

 

Trevor Houghton    (Chairman)

 

The meeting closed at 7.50 p.m.

 

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