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PC Agenda 9th January 2017

posted 3 Jan 2017, 08:00 by Parish Council Communications


NOTICE OF MEETING (Local Government Act 1972)


MONDAY 9th JaNUARY 2017 AT 7.00PM



1.     Apologies for Absence

2.     Declarations of Interest and Requests for Dispensations - Members are reminded of their obligation to declare any interest they may have on any Agenda item to be discussed.

3.     Open Forum - an opportunity for residents to address the Parish Council.

4.     Minutes of Parish Council Meeting held on the 12th December 2016 (approval & matters arising)

5.     Finance and personnel

·  Payments of invoices and notice of receipts

·  Scottish Widows savings account interest rate reduction

6.     Correspondence Received

7.     Planning Applications and Decisions

            16/05854/LBA 16/05853/FUL – Old Doctors House, The Hill, - Enlargement of sunken garden         area and erection of a retaining stone wall and steps (Retrospective)

      17/00010/FUL Fairclose, The Hill – Erection of freestanding greenhouse.

       8. Groundsman pay review (JH)

9. Approval of Precept 2017/18

10. Budget expenditure priorities for remainder of 2016/17

       11. PC Assets

       12. Proposed Vodafone Mast (JA)

       13. Action on dog fouling. (AO/PK)

       14. Archiving PC records (AO)

       15. Upcoming external meetings.

            ALCA, Saltford, 18th Jan – 7.30pm, AO attending.

            Bath Avon Forum AGM, Guildhall, 11th Jan – 6-7pm.

 16. Video-conferencing consultation response.

 17. Updates to include:

·       Traffic & Transport (NS)

·       Neighbourhood planning projects update (NS,MW)

·       Roads and verges

·       Trees & Footpaths (JH)

·       Street Lighting (IMR)

·       Facilities & Funding (JA)

- Rural Facilities Audit


CLERK – Ingrid Maher Roberts

36 Trowbridge Road

Bradford on Avon

BA15 1EP

Tel: 01225 863359

Communications (AO)

·       Bulletin (PK)

       18.  Confirmation of revised date for APM – Thursday 27th April 2017

19. Exchange of information

       Date of Next Meeting: 13th February 2017



Freshford Parish Council - Chairman’s Report

9th January 2017



Attached separately is a document ‘Precept requirements 2017-18 for FPC discussion’. This includes four columns:

Budget for 2016/17

Probable Year End 2016/17

Precept Requirements 2017/18

Comments – these add commentary to the figures for either the ‘Probable Year End 2016/17’ or the ‘Precept Requirements 2017/18’


Probable Year End 2016/17

This shows actual and estimated income and outgoings by the end of the current year. At present we have £1,432 as yet uncommitted. Subject to discussion at the PC I propose that we use this to keep on top of asset maintenance.

Martin’s email of October 13 identified the sanding down and cleaning of four benches at the top of the ‘to do’ list – at £500-600. We have also discussed inserting simple grass steps at the steep section of the path that crosses the Tyning diagonally and also, perhaps, over the bank near the post-box.


Precept Requirements 2017/18

We seem to face a situation where central government is expecting more and more of local authorities, without providing the necessary finance. The services provided to parishes, particularly rural ones, are likely to decline. I understand that B&NES are finalising budget proposals for a three-year period and are speaking of “significant changes”. The proposal in the Local Government Finance Settlement that parish councils should have to put precept increases over 2% to referendum has been deferred – but the threat remains.

In these circumstances my proposal to the PC is:

To maintain reserves at their current level, against ‘a rainy day’.

To ask for a precept sufficient to carry out the ongoing expenditure commitments of the PC and to keep on top of obligations to maintain, repair and where appropriate replace our assets.

The proposed budget for 2017/18 shows how it might work with a precept increase of £3,000. This is subject to PC approval.

Most of the lines show expenditure that we cannot really avoid. The items which are more discretionary are:

New lamps – in at £3,000. FPC owns 40 street lamps which we must keep in good working order. The condition of three lamps is assessed as ‘poor’. These need to be replaced in the near future so we are budgeting to deal with one each year.

Tyning field maintenance – in at £500. The Tyning is still settling in as a community facility and we have allowed a small amount for additional work.

Cemetery headstones – in at £250. Some are a bit skew and need straightening.

Cemetery tree cutting – in at £1,500. The work done this year along the Tyning boundary has been well-received and opened up the cemetery very attractively. There are large trees on the other side of the cemetery that still need dealing with.

War memorial – in at a PC contribution of £1,500. If the work required costs more than this we would hope that fundraising by others would make up the difference, without which work would not go ahead.

Misc Asset repair/maintenance – in at £2,000. This budget would be available to keep on top of asset management. If the PC decides to go for a lower precept, this is the budget that would probably have to be cut.

Memorial Hall donation – in February 2014 FPC approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hall, under which the PC would pay £2,000 per annum to cover room hire and donations.


FPC will need to decide on the precept request at the January meeting.


Pipehouse Section 106 agreement

Jo Taylor wrote to point out that a payment of £24,000 for a footpath linking the ‘Rentokil site’ with the A36 had been agreed and to wonder what had happened to the money. In response to my chasing B&NES have replied that, under the S106 agreement, they have 10 years within which to spend the contribution and that it is likely to be 2020 before any works are programmed.

PC archives

I have been in touch with Somerset Record Office in Taunton and Bath City Records to enquire how best to handle old PC paperwork.

Somerset hold records relating to the burial ground but nothing else. It seems to make sense to ask for these to be transferred to Bath and then to store any further PC records in Bath, where they would be more easily accessed by residents.

The bulk of FPC’s records are old planning applications. The advice is that there is no need to retain these because they are only duplicates of B&NES paperwork which is automatically transferred to the Bath City Records. Recent applications are, of course, easily available online.

I propose:

That we destroy old planning applications, keeping only the ones that may have continuing relevance such as Freshford Mill and the Pipehouse development.

That Ingrid and I sort out older material and transfer it, for safety as much as anything, to Bath City Records.


Agenda Item 7 – Planning – Roger Paine

Planning Application  -The Old Doctors House - Retrospective Application
No 16/05853/FUL and LBA.

The Council have already considered and supported two sets of applications in respect of The Old Doctors House (November 2014, and May 2015).  These were subsequently approved by B&NES.   Parts of the application concern a Listed building.

The  works as originally proposed included a sunken garden in an area outside the house bounded by a listed wall and some parts of the listed building.  As work has proceeded, the area of this sunken garden has increased to better utilise the space, and is now much larger than set out  in the approved application.  It will provide for level access to a larger part of the area from The Folly, a significant Listed part of the building,  and enable the outside areas to be used for leisure and gardening. Additionally, a retaining stone wall will be erected  with stone steps. The work is contained within the garden and does not affect any proposals approved for the buildings.  Since the work is partially completed a retrospective application is required.

If this larger area had been included in the original applications,  the work would have probably been supported by the Parish Council;  it is recommended that this current application is supported as well, subject to the normal constraints of the Villages Design Statement in the Neighbourhood Plan.


Agenda Item 11 – PC Assets – Martin Walker

Memorial Benches

Nothing to report

Street sign Clutter

Photographic record and survey has been completed.  Proposed de-cluttering works now need to be considered as part of the NP Gateway works

War Memorial.

Martin Walker to meet with British Legion on 6th January 2017 to discuss further work. Any proposals to be costed and approved.

Street Lighting.

MW to liaise with Martin Laker at BANES to update Parish Online locations of Street Lighting including the new Cemetery footpath lighting, the footpath lights down from the Village Hall and others in Church Hill, Station Road and adjacent the School.

Other Assets generally.

Further maintenance work for 2017 to be considered, discussed and agreed.


PC Assets - Freshford Station Sign – Nick Stevens

The PC needs to determine how best to deal with the deterioration of the Freshford rail sign following on from the advice received from Conservator Phil Parkes:




I have had a look at the images that you sent (very useful, thank you) and compared them to the during photos that I have which indicate the extent of the repairs that we carried out. From comparing the two images, this does indeed seem to be fresh damage. While it may be due to deliberate damage, I note that it is adjacent to previously damaged areas and may be due to weaknesses that started several / many years ago. The spalling is typical of the type of damage that we saw in the enamel sign prior to conservation, and is something that we are unlikely to be able to prevent in the long run.


With this in mind I think that a decision needs to be made for the long term display of the sign – is the loss accepted, regular repairs made with the end result that the sign will deteriorate and lose more and more original material, or would it be better to remove it from outdoor display and replace it with a painted sign. Even if repairs are made to the current damaged areas, the exposed position of the sign and the years of previous outdoor exposure may mean that there are weak areas where corrosion is slowly taking place beneath the currently sound-appearing enamel which will delaminate in years to come. This process can be much more greatly slowed by storage indoors. While various coatings could be applied to the surface, they are unlikely to be 100% effective due to the nature of the enamel and the damage that has already occurred.


I am sorry that I cannot be more positive than this, as I discussed at the time, we cannot prevent damage if the sign is displayed outside, only try to slow down the rate and seeing these areas of damage I think you need to address whether this is an acceptable rate or not. I am happy to discuss further with you if necessary.


Yours sincerely,


Phil Parkes


Agenda Item 13 – Dog Fouling matters

A discussion paper


As is often the case with English, the most useful, simple, clear words – usually Anglo-Saxon in origin – are deemed ‘bad language’. The alternatives are mostly highfalutin’ Latin, twee infantilisms or euphemisms. To protect those of a sensitive disposition, we’ll be using Latin and euphemisms.

The problem

Many places in our village are fouled by excrement from pets. Some people are happily unaware of this but for most people who walk around the village, including dog-walkers and those steering young children, it is all too evident. Dogs are the main perpetrators in public spaces - streets, pavements, footpaths, the Tyning, the playing field – while cats are the main problem in private gardens.


It is possible that some of the excrement is produced by foxes or badgers, though to a far lesser extent than by dogs and cats.

This creates problems in three areas:






Dogs, cats and foxes are hosts to roundworm parasites – toxocara – the eggs of which are passed in the excrement of infected animals. The eggs only become infectious after 10-21 days, so there's no immediate danger from fresh animal faeces. However, once the eggs are passed into sand or soil, they can survive for many months. Humans can become infected if contaminated soil gets into their mouth. Once the eggs are inside the human body, they move into the bowel before hatching and releasing larvae (the earliest stage of development). These larvae can travel to most parts of the body. However, as humans aren't the normal host for these larvae, they can't develop beyond this stage to produce eggs. This means that the infection can't spread between humans. Most symptoms, if experienced at all, are mild. In serious cases there is a risk of permanent vision loss. Because young children are most likely to be playing on the grass and in contact with the soil, they are most at risk. We should keep this risk in proportion – NHS Choices states that toxocariasis, even in its mild forms, is rare in the UK.



A risk faced more by older people, perhaps, is of slipping on excrement and suffering a fall. Excrement, perhaps concealed by fallen leaves, can be very slippery and, particularly on our steep streets, can lead to a nasty accident.


However, even if all pet dogs and cats were successfully wormed, so that there was no health risk, their excrement would still present a major problem – an offensive, smelly and unnecessary pollution of our environment. We do not need to dwell on our disgust at stepping in excrement and treading it into our homes and cars or – worse, particularly with children – getting it on clothes, hands and faces. We really should not have to watch our step as we stroll around our village or go out into our gardens.

The law

We do not have a problem with stray dogs in Freshford so, for every fouling incident, someone is nearby who is either the owner of, or at least responsible for, the dog. It is an offence under The Dogs (Fouling of Land Act) 1996 to allow a dog for which you are responsible to foul and not pick up the mess. Penalties are set by local authorities; in B&NES Dog Wardens are authorised to issue Fixed Penalty Notices of £50 to anyone caught failing to pick up their dog’s mess.

Not having a suitable bag is not an excuse. Even responsible owners may get caught out if, having used and disposed of one bag, they do not carry a spare in case a further need should arise. And not being aware that the dog has fouled is also not an excuse. Those in charge of dogs must stay vigilant. This applies particularly, perhaps, when dogs are exercised during the hours of darkness.

The law seems not to say anything about fouling by cats. That does not make it any the less offensive. Most cat owners, other than those who have house-trained their pets, have little idea of where their cats use as a lavatory.



Disposal bags. Obviously these need to be actually carried and used by whoever is responsible for a dog. When used, these can be disposed of in any bin around the village. FPC and B&NES arrange collection from there. What compounds the offensiveness is when bags are not disposed of properly but left decorating a hedge or fence.

DNA testing. Under these schemes, dogs’ DNA is registered so that excrement can be tested and responsible owners can prove that a particular pile of excrement is not their fault. It is expensive and doesn’t seem to solve the problem for unregistered dogs. It is being trialed in - but of course - Barking, in East London.

Cat containment systems. A cat wears a collar that delivers a mild pulse of static electricity when it crosses an electronic boundary fence e.g. around its garden. The cat soon learns not to stray. Obviously, as well as limiting where it deposits excrement, this reduces risk to the cat from being run over and reduces the amount of wildlife the cat kills.


Who is to blame?

It is not the pets that are at fault, nor is it the fault of the majority of responsible residents, who recognize that dealing with excrement is a necessary obligation when taking on a companion animal.

Perhaps there are a small proportion of owners who either don’t care or who are unaware of the offence they cause.

And perhaps there are a few people who walk other people’s dogs for them who do not regard clearing up the excrement as part of the deal. Clearing up after your own much-loved pet is one thing; clearing up after someone else’s dog may be much more distasteful.


What can be done?

It would be good to get wider engagement by residents in tackling the problem.

Claudia Towner has suggested involving the school children in designing some laminated posters, which could be put up as a temporary feature.

Roland Birchby suggests, and kindly offers to pay for, the display of "no such thing as the dog poo fairy" roundels.

Perhaps targeted signage – “This is where children play…” – at the playing field and close-mown part of The Tyning.

Roland also carries spare disposal bags, offering them to dog walkers who seem to be without.

This idea could be extended to all responsible dog walkers, so that they all might carry a supply of spares.

I understand that B&NES sometimes provides free bags via The Galleries

Or maybe the PC could encourage this by buying some in bulk

We could encourage responsible residents to contact the B&NES Dog Warden Service with as much detail as possible when they see people who allow fouling to take place.

Perhaps we can try to get a specific message through to owners who ask others to walk their dogs:

Are you confident that the walker is clearing up after your dog?

Are you making it easier for them to do so by supplying disposal bags?

Let’s have plenty more ideas, leading to community action to deal with this offensive problem.


AO 28/12/2016