Minutes: Parish Council Meeting 20th February 2020

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Minutes of a Parish Council meeting held on Thursday 20th February 2020 @ 7.30pm at ‘Westlow’ Mere Fisheries meeting room.

Part 1 Public and Press present


Councillor P Amies, PA
Councillor Tony Richardson TR (Vice-Chairman), chaired this meeting.
Councillor John Spence JS
Cllr J Wray (ward councillor)
K Marsh – Clerk

Public Forum

Six members of the public were present. One resident reported that, as requested, Bloors Homes had organised the cutting of the boundary hedges and the work had been done very well. A resident reported their surprise at the lack of public comments made to Planning about the Land off Viking Way proposal. Another resident from Giantswood Lane spoke about the bramble hedge that had been down the length of their property.  They had returned one day to find the hedge had gone.  There was concern that the hedge had been a haven for wildlife and that their property was now less secure.  The resident had spoken with the Bloors Home contractor who said they were going to put wild grass seed down in place of the hedge.  The resident was hoping that before the roots of the hedge were pulled there may be a chance to stop the grass seed being put down and letting the hedge grow back.  Cllr JS had received communication that the land would be taken over by the management company and trees would be planted.  Cheshire East Council have abdicated this to the management company.  It was generally felt it would be a case of waiting for the management company to take over and liaise with them about any such issues.  The resident complained that there was a considerable amount of dog poo on the path now.

A resident had raised an issue about broadband at the January meeting.  They have since been in touch with Open Reach and they are going to be replacing the cable all the way down Giantswood Lane and then in a years’ time they will replace it again.

One resident queried where the Parish Council are up to with the water on Smithy Lane.  The resident asked whether he could be kept in touch with the proposed work.

17/20 Apologies for absence

Cllr V Brown due to holidays, Cllr M Wakerly due to work commitments.

18/20 Declarations of Interest


19/20 Minutes

Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 16th January 2020 be approved and signed as a true and accurate record.

20/20 Rural Lane Improvement Plan

At the meeting on the 16th January 2020 the Clerk had been asked to query as to why quote number one was significantly higher for the installation of passing places on Smithy Lane. The contractor had sent further detail of the quote. The Clerk had also been asked to research whether the passing places should be constructed with tarmac.  The Clerk had received an email from a resident regarding whether one of the entrances on Smithy Lane could be adopted by Cheshire East Highways. It was felt that we didn’t have the option to look at tarmac due to the cost.  The water running down the lane needs to be sorted out before considering anything further.

21/20 Annual Meeting Speaker

Resolved that the clerk would ask Cllr Suzie Akers Smith whether she would speak at the annual meeting on 23rd April.

22/20 Newsletter

Cllr VB had drafted a number of articles for the newsletter which will be circulated to all councillors.

Resolved that Cllr MW would add a note from the chairman and Cllr JS to draft a piece regarding an update on speed cameras. The Clerk would organise the printing and distributing of the newsletter by the end of March.

23/20 Bloor Homes

Cllr JS reported back from the Bloor Homes meeting on the 23rd January 2020.  This meeting was the last update meeting prior to Bloor Homes vacating the site later in the year.

24/20 Business Plan.

This will be deferred to the next agenda.

25/20 Highways.

Congleton Link Road. Cllr PA provided an update following the meeting on the 23rd January 2020.

Water on Smithy Lane.  The Clerk had spoken to a number of contractors who felt that installing drains on either side of the carriageway would be more cost effective than trying to locate the drain.  Cllr TR agreed to try to liaise with the land owner once more.

26/20 Internal Audit.

Resolved to appoint JDH Business Services to carry out the internal audit for 2019/20.

27/20 GDPR. The clerk distributed the slides from an online training course that had been completed.

28/20 Cheshire East. A full council meeting of Cheshire East was held on the 20th February.  Cllr Sarah Pochin had been appointed as the new mayor.  The deputy mayor is Cllr David Marren.  The 2020/21 budget was approved.

29/20 Planning

  • 20/0518C Land Off, Giantswood Lane, Congleton – to retain temporary agricultural worker’s dwelling for an additional 3-year period.

Resolved No objection.

30/20 Accounts

To note the balance of accounts = £17,212.78   

Payments for approval

  • Online payment – £366.81 Clerk expenses. This includes purchase of a laptop, The Clerk’s Manual, GDPR online training and mileage.
  • Online payment – £245.74 Clerk salary.
  • Online payment – £75.00 ChALC Internal Audit Training attended by the Clerk.
  • Online payment – £75.00 ChALC Cllr VB Being A Good Councillor, The Next Steps Training. This has previously been approved for payment but the cheque was not received by ChALC.

Resolved the above payments be approved and signed for as a true and accurate record.


  • Nil

Resolved that the bank reconciliation was signed and approved.

31/20 Clerks Report

The Clerk had attended the ChALC internal audit training. The Clerk spoke of the points of note. A discussion was held as to whether the parish council were with the right bank as other high street banks offer additional user authorisation for payments.  This was a key point raised at the training. The Clerk to set in motion changing bank accounts to Barclays or NatWest.

The Council had been issued a new bank mandate to add the new Clerk details.  This was filled in by the relevant parties and will be sent onto the Chairman to sign and return to the bank.

Resolved that the Clerk would action this with the Chairman and the bank.

Resolved when the bank mandate has been actioned the Clerk will start the process of changing to a different bank.

32/20 Member Report.  Cllr JS reported seeing an article about the Richborough Estates proposal causing problems with drainage.  A resident had picked up that the fisheries were concerned about water levels in the Mere.  A resident queried whether there should be a hydrological survey on the area.  The decision on planning is due on Wednesday 26th February 2020.  As a parish council, it was decided to make a statement that some of our residents have concerns about the water table and the issue needed dealing with.  We feel that the concerns of our parishioners are well founded and as a parish council we would like to support the need for a hydrological survey.

Resolved that the clerk would submit this comment to the planning officer.

Cllr PA has handed her notice to the Chairman.  After many years serving on the Council she will be missed. She feels with her upcoming knee operation it is time to retire from the Parish Council.

Resolved that the clerk will start proceedings to fill the vacancy.

The next meeting would be the on 19th March 2020 @ 7.30pm at ‘Westlow Mere’ fisheries.

Meeting closed at 9pm.


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