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Editor's note : as part of its Freedom of Information initiative, copies of the Parish Council's minutes will be placed on this web site after council approval at the following meeting, but are for information only. The printed edition is the only authoritative version.


Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 3rd January 2017 at 7-30pm in the Parish Rooms.

  Present R Holt – Chairman
S Pardoe
H Bayley
C Fifield
R Forbes
J Oliver
Clr H Tonge CW&C
Clr P Williams CW&C

  Apologies D Hall

There were no members of the public present.

1 Public Matters

Clr Williams raised the subject of the work on the swing bridge over the River Weaver and the lane closure of the A49. He gave details of the actions that had been taken at Weaverham Parish Council, the general dissatisfaction at the lack of consultation and a letter that has been sent to CW&C.

He pointed out that there has been no discussion of the problems, possible alternative working schedules or temporary bridging as had been done at Sutton Weaver.

The Chairman thanked Clr Williams for the copy of the letter that had been forwarded to our Clerk. He went on to say that following the point raised by Clr Fifield on the closure of the swing bridge and the increased traffic on the Village roads he has sent an email to Mr Jamie Barron requesting action to improve safety. This email also re-iterated the on-going issues and the earlier actions on speeding with CW&C (See Matters Arising September 2016 below). Action Clr Holt - Completed
The Chairman said he had received a telephone call from Mr S Bentley of CW&C and he has promised to do work to clear the narrow pavement along Hill Top Road, between Pepper Street and Cliff Road, where the dangerous bends are.

Clr Fifield said he has also spoken to Mr J Barron. The three CW&C Councillors said that they would combine their efforts and raise the issues with CW&C. The anticipated duration of the work is six months.

Clr Pardoe also pointed out that there are road works forecast on the M6 and that any works or delays on the M6 always results in the A49 taking up the added load.

Approval of Minutes
Minutes of the December 2016 meeting
The minutes were agreed and signed.

3 Matters arising
December 2016 Meeting
1 Public Matters
a) Further to the item raised by Mr & Mrs Thiemicke, residents of Hill Top Road, of a near miss incident on Hill Top Road and the action on the Chairman to speak to the PCSO regarding the Villagers concerns, the Chairman reported that he is having trouble contacting the PCSO. He has emailed both the PCSO who have attended Acton Bridge in the past and the Sergeant for the Northwich Rural region but none have made contact to date. He will continue to try and establish which officer is appointed to Acton Bridge.
Post Meeting Note
Contact has been made and PCSO Diana Wiggins is temporarily assigned to Acton Bridge. A surgery was arranged for 14th Jan at 12 -15pm. Dates and times of the following surgeries are to be supplied and published in the Newsletter. Action Clr Holt - Completed

Item 6 Financial Matters
b) Council Tax - Special Expenses and Council Tax Reduction Scheme
Arising from correspondence from CW&C, both the above topics were discussed.
1. Special Expenses for Acton Bridge, this item relates to the funding for payment of the upkeep, maintenance and insurance of the playing field at Chapel Lane and the payment for the PCSO. Currently the cost is related to a charge in the Council Tax for Acton Bridge residents.

CW&C made three proposals for the playing field, one to split the costs for all similar playing fields across the whole of CW&C, second to split the costs across the whole of CW&C but excluding the areas that pay for the large 'strategic playing fields' and third to keep payments as at present. After discussion the Parish Council decided to request to keep payments as present with the aim to give the Parish Council some control of future use and management of the playing field. This has been done. Action Clerk - Completed

2. Council Tax Reduction Scheme - This scheme which makes up for shortfall in receipts for residents not paying Council Tax is to be phased out. The sums that would have been paid to Acton Bridge amount to £90 before the scheme stops. This sum can be claimed as one lump sum. The Parish Council agreed to claim the lump sum. This has been done. Action Clerk - Completed

Item 7 CWAC Ward Councillors The subject of car park charging and the current consultation exercise being carried out by CW&C was raised. There is an aim to achieve consistency across the Borough and have at least similar charging arrangement throughout the Borough. It was agreed to respond and request that at least the first two hours should be free in all car parks and if shopping in a store the cost should be refundable. Action Clerk - Completed

November 2016 Meeting
Public Matters
a) Reference Mr Gidley's request to install a notice board near the Parish Rooms, to display the Petal Walk and associated footpaths, ABCA is to be asked to consider a site where the board could be installed. Action Clr Holt (next ABCA meeting)

b) Further to the issue raised by Mr T Brocklebank on the subject of broadband speed, there was no new information and Clr Fifield said he would make enquiries. Action Clr Fifield - ongoing

October 2016 meeting
a) Meeting with Town Farm Quarry Operators.
It was reported that a meeting has been arranged for 17th January 2017.

b) Mirror installed at Station Hill / Milton Rough
The Chairman gave an update of the situation and reported that Mr Mark Jones is still trying to get the matter resolved. Copy of a recent email from Mark Jones to Mr Hemsley asks for the mirror to be removed.

c) Item 11 A.O.B
a) Parish Council Vacancy - CW&C have informed the Clerk that there has not been any requests for an election and that the Parish Council can co-opt to fill the vacancy. The notification and request for applications to fill the Vacancy will be advertised in the next Village Newsletter. Action Clerk Completed

September 2016 meeting
a) Public Matters
Further to the on-going speeding issues and the items raised during the discussions with residents in the September meeting Public Matters, the following items were reported.
i) The speed camera signs have been installed. There has not been a noticeable change in driver attitude. It was agreed that CW&C be requested to carry out a further data collection exercise.
ii) The Chairman had sent an email to Mr Mark Jones to ask about the installation of 'dragons teeth' as a speed limit alert / warning and that the speed limit signs be moved back, further away from the houses, to give more deceleration time, but there has been negative response.
iii) Clr Fifield said that the problems of speeding and dangers to residents caused by the poor pavements would be made worse by the increased traffic that would use Acton Bridge roads when the swing bridge on the A49 was restricted by the work starting in January. He suggested that the issues be raised with Mr J Barron at CW&C. This was agreed. Note - Action covered by email re Dec 16 meeting.

The meeting discussed the lack of positive progress on the control of speeding. CW&C has given costs for the supply, installation and maintenance of the inter-active signs. Two figures £5,638 and £6,220 depending on design and message displayed. Clr Forbes suggested that the Parish Council should consider funding the purchase. There could be some funding by CW&C. It was agreed to consider the costs under Item 6 Financial Matters.

The Parish Council discussed the speeding issues and agreed that a further meeting should be requested with CW&C Highways and to push for action on the matters raised nearly a year ago. Action Clr Holt

b) Damaged road signs
The meeting discussed the lack of action to repair the sign for Acton Bridge Station and the 30mph sign at Milton Rough that had been destroyed by a vehicle. The Clerk has phoned and been given job numbers but will chase again. Action Clerk - ongoing

4 Planning Applications
a) 40 Cliff Road - Reduction in height of tree covered by TPO - no objections.
b) Communication Tower in Wetton Lane - addition of equipment - no objections.
c) Acton Hall Farm - amendments to entrance, increase in size of garage and addition of WC in the stable block. The Parish Council discussed the changes and noted in addition that there are various changes now shown to the approved plans. It was agreed to object to the increased size of the garage and to raise the issues such as change in height, new windows and added ancillary buildings with the Planning Department.
d) Change of use for barn on Station Road. It was noted that this item had only been added on the web site on the day that consultation was due to expire. This issue has been raised with CW&C by Clr Tonge.

Clr Tonge also reported that it is believed that all planning matters have not been satisfied and earlier stages in the procedure had not been followed. It is understodd that CW&C are discussing the matters with the applicant.

The Parish Council are greatly concerned that any landowner could install a barn on their land and then after a while apply for a change of use to domestic property. If this is so it makes nonsense of green belt policies.

Further investigations are being made with Planning Department. The Parish Council has sent in objections to the proposed change.

5 Planning Decisions
Installation of Menage - Chapel Lane - Approved.

6 Financial Matters
Parish Precept 2017 to 2018
Information had been circulated of expenditure and balances for this current year together with the Trends over past years and Forecasts for the next three years. The Parish Council considered the expenditure for this year, particularly the amount of £3,004 paid to ABCA for external decoration of the Parish Rooms and the need to build up the fund again for decoration.

There was a discussion on the possibility of building up a fund to purchase an inter-active 30mph sign and the degree of cost that could be afforded by the Parish. It was agreed that the Parish Council should make a start. It is known from the regular contact with residents that speeding vehicles is raised by residents as a problem more than any other and has been discussed over many years. It is believed that there would be support by residents for an increase for this purpose. It was agree that an increase for a speeding sign should be levied and possible support with costs from other areas should be investigated.

The Parish Council considered the amount of balance in the accounts that is to be carried forward, the anticipated expenses and the level of increase that will be assigned to the purchase of the sign. Two levels were considered, £500 and £1,000 and the increase per household that would be needed to generate the sum. There are equivalent of 313 Band D properties in the Village which calculates as an increase of either £1.59 for £500 or £3.19 for £1,000 per household for the year.

A vote was taken on the two levels of increase and by four votes to two the decision was to raise £1,000 for the speeding sign. This will be added to the precept level of £3,000 used as the basis for previous years to give a total precept of £4,000. This relates to a Band D property Council Tax of £12.78 for 2017-18 compared with £9.33 last year. A total difference of £3.45 of which £3.19 is attributed to the speeding sign.

7 CWAC Ward Councillors
a) The Councillors mentioned that there is a proposal to increase the size of the primary school at Cuddington by 100 places. Cuddington householders are being consulted and asked for their opinions.

b) There is an intention to carry out a review of the size of the Wards in CW&C and to equalise the representation for residents across the Borough. The Boundary Commission has said that it does not believe a review is required.

c) Clr Fifield mentioned that there is a sum of money available in the 'Members Budgets' for Acton Bridge that has to be claimed before the end of January. It was decided to leave the matter with ABCA.

8 Reports from other meetings

9 Correspondence
CW&C - letter re parking spaces to be provided at new properties (minimum of two) and surface to absorb water.

10 Village Matters
a) The topic of the upkeep and maintenance of the three planters at the entrances to the Village was raised and agreed that the people as last year will carry on with the work this year.
b) The marks assigned to Acton Bridge in the Community Pride completion had been circulated. It was commented that low marks had been given in items that the Village was not responsible for.

11 A.O.B.

Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be on Monday 6th February 2017, starting at 7-30pm.

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