Baldock and District Committee Minutes

Date:
Monday, 7th March, 2016
Time:
7.30pm
Place:
Baldock Community Centre, Simpson Drive, Baldock
 
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor John Harris (Chairman), Councillor Jim McNally (Vice-Chairman), Councillor S.K. Jarvis, Councillor M.R.M. Muir, Councillor Janine Paterson and Councillor M.E. Weeks.
In attendance:
Liz Green (Head of Policy and Community Services)
Stuart Izzard (Communities Manager)
Susanne Gow (Committee and Member Services Officer)
Also Present:
Chief Inspector Julie Wheatley, Hertfordshire Constabulary
Sergeant Alan Clarke, Hertfordshire Constabujlary
19 members of the public, including the speaker for Public Participation.
Item Description/Decision
PART I
36 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
There were no apologies for absence, as all Members of the Baldock and District Committee were in attendance.
37 MINUTES
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting of the Baldock and District Committee held on 7 December 2015 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chairman.
38 NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS
There was no additional business raised at this Meeting of the Baldock and District Committee.
39 CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS
(1) The Chairman welcomed everyone to the Meeting, including the representatives from Hertfordshire Constabulary, the general public, the speaker, Members of the Committee and NHDC officers;

(2) He stated that members of the public could use their devices to film/photograph, or make a sound recording of the meeting, but he asked that they raise their hand to let him know if doing so, so that all present could be informed. He asked that any flash or sound notifications were disabled before the meeting. In addition, the Chairman had arranged for the sound at this particular meeting to be recorded;

(3) The Chairman reminded Members that any declarations of interest in respect of any business set out in the agenda should be declared as either a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or Declarable Interest and they were required to notify the Chairman of the nature of any interest declared at the commencement of the relevant item on the agenda. Members declaring a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest must withdraw from the meeting for the duration of the item. Members declaring a Declarable Interest which required that they leave the room under Paragraph 7.4 of the Code of Conduct, could speak on the item, but must leave the room before the debate and vote;

(4) Members of the Committee were requested to clearly state their reason for declaring an interest and what that interest is and to say whether they will remain in the room, speak and vote and not just to declare an interest per se.
40 HERTFORDSHIRE POLICE UPDATE
Chief Inspector Wheatley introduced herself and Sergeant Alan Clarke, who was policing the Baldock area.

She explained the difference between dwelling burglary and robbery and advised the Committee that the annual number of burglary dwellings had dropped over the past year from 20 to 7. The overall increase in types of crime had come from domestic abuse, which now took in stalking, harassment and coercive abuse. There had been a slight increase of 5% across the district. There had been a low level of ASB and not much serious crime in general. Neighbourhood Watch recruitment had seen a 15% rise, a considerable success in Baldock.

The Chairman thanked Ch Insp Wheatley and Sgt Clarke for their address to the Committee.

He then opened the meeting to questions from the public resulting from the Baldock Town Talk:

(1) CCTV in Pepper Alley - this was as a result of people relieving themselves in Pepper Alley, which was a concern to both Police and the public. Sgt Clarke advised that both this and the use of drugs in the area were disquieting and this area should be highlighted to the CCTV operator. A member of the public revealed that a resident of the Baldock alms houses appeared to be involved and Sgt Clarke advised that this would be investigated and the Committee would be provided with feedback in due course;

(2) Cars parked in Anchor Road/London Road, half on the footpath - this could become extremely dangerous, as some cars parked near to the bend in the road. Ch Insp Wheatley stated that if cars are parked in a dangerous place, they should be reported to the Police who would deal with this. The comment was made that cars are also left in the vicinity of Baldock Manor. The pubic was informed that they should either ring the Police on 101 or speak to the local PCSOs.

(3) Children’s bicycles and scooters left on footpaths in Church Street and other places in Baldock Town - Cllr McNally commented that this could be dangerous if the children were unaware of elderly and vulnerable residents living nearby. It was important that local children be taught that they must be careful with their property in case elderly and vulnerable residents have an accident.

(4) Speeding in Baldock - especially in the areas of Royston Road, South Road and Weston Way cars park on both sides of the roads and there is a Nursery in this location. The worst roads were Royston Road and South Road, where 70mph had been recorded in an area with a 40mph speed limit. Chf Insp Wheatley enquired whether any speed surveys had been done and the Chairman informed her that 72mph had been recorded in North Road. A lot of evidence had been gathered, but there were not sufficient residents to hold a County Speedwatch. Sgt Clarke informed those present that the Police Traffic Officer had confirmed that he had received a fair number of reports of speeding and stressed that the roads should be safe for both Police and the general public. The Ward Member for Weston and Sandon commented that there were a few incidences of speeding in the villages. The information goes to the Parish Councillors and specialist units would be assigned to investigate.

(5) Baldock traffic lights - the query was made as to whether anything could be done regarding motorists who jump red traffic lights, and Chf Insp Wheatley confirmed that there was a solution. Sgt Clarke stated that motorists ignoring traffic signs and lights would be recorded on accident report forms, although contributing factors would be taken into consideration.

(6) Resources - The Vice-Chairman declared that he was concerned at the level of resourcing in Baldock, possibly leading to a resurgency in crime. He considered the best way of dealing with this was for the number of PCs and PCSOs in the Baldock area to be increased. Ch Insp Wheatley informed the Committee that there would be no decline in the level of staffing and that there would be no reduction in the level of front line staff.

(7) Cycling on the pavement - the question of whether cycling on the pavements was a crime was asked and the Meeting was informed that it is, the penalty being a fine of £100.

(8) Parish Cllr Robert Wornham conveyed a statement from the Parish Chairman of Sandon, explaining that there was no drive-by shooting as had been reported - the goose had died of natural causes.

The Chairman thanked Ch Insp Wheatley and Sgt Clarke for presenting to the Baldock and District Committee and they were requested to attend the Committee Meeting twice yearly to update the Committee, to which they agreed. He also thanked the general public present for the information supplied during Town Talk. He stated that if they showed an interest in local matters, the Committee would respond.
41 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
Jo Meek, a member of Young Enterprise gave a presentation using PowerPoint slides. She explained how she came to be associated with the educational charity and what they do - mentor and advise young people and students to set up and run their own businesses. They had become a nationwide charity in 170 countries.

Young Enterprise offered many volunteering opportunities to teach and to guide students. To date, almost 3,500 schools throughout the United Kingdom were involved with the scheme. Facts were given on volunteers, business advisors etc. who run 1-day workshops and short business programmes for the students.

Some companies, having worked with young people in schools or colleges, then cherry-picked the top students to work with them through apprenticeships and internships.

The Chairman asked Jo Meek whether the charity was looking for volunteers, and she confirmed this. The organization was also looking for links with local businesses. She was asked by a Member how they were funded - as they were a charity, they have a central team who do large-scale fundraising and match funding.

The children could start with Young Enterprise at Year 1 (aged 5 years) through games and similar interaction. They worked in teams of 10-15 children and the scheme was sponsored by companies and organisations such as the National Lottery, J P Morgan, Disney, Nationwide and many more.

On being asked how they interact with Youth Connexions, the Committee was informed that they complement each other, working together rather than in competition. One Member enquired about the nature of their links with Knights Templar School, Baldock and he was informed that they were working on employability and taking part in competitions. Jo Meeks was advised to contact as many Rotary Clubs as possible, as they were made up of businessmen and businesswomen who could offer their help.

The Chairman thanked Jo Meeks for her interesting presentation.

RESOLVED: That Jo Meek of Young Enterprise be thanked for her PowerPoint presentation on this educational charity, which gives business advice and guidance to young people from an early age.
42 BALDOCK TOWN PARTNERSHIP UPDATE
Fraser Valentine, Baldock Town Centre Manager, gave the Baldock and District Committee an update on the events which had been organized for the near future in Baldock.

He reminded the Baldock and District Committee that the Baldock Network Group met twice each month at The George, Church Street in Baldock Town, the next meeting being held shortly and including breakfast for a charge of £12.

The Baldock Beast Half Marathon had been held on 28 February 2016, with 400 entries pre-registered and 300 more on the day. It had been a great success and on all future occasions would start and finish in Baldock High Street, as it had better facilities for the participants - toilets, food etc.

A forthcoming major event was the Baldock Cycle Challenge on 19 June, which would be over 100km and was likely to double in size.

The Farmers’ markets and crafts markets were currently on hold due to problems with their licences and just the Charter Market every Wednesday was still running. Issues over non-profit status would be dealt with in the very near future. Fraser Valentine advised that the Wednesday markets were more difficult to run and maintain than the Saturday Farmers’ Markets and rent was between £10 and £15 per stall.

The possibility of putting on an Obstacle Race was being investigated, although it would need to have access to public footways.

The Committee discussed the update given, mentioning the problems with licences. He declared that these had to be worked out, possibly via a process that could speed up its resolution. He confirmed that as yet, no financial news was available.

The Chairman thanked Fraser Valentine for his update on the Baldock Town Partnership.
43 COMMUNITY UPDATE AND GRANT APPLICATIONS
The Communities Manager introduced the report of the Head of Policy and Community Services, and informed the Baldock and District Committee of changes implemented since it last met in December 2015.

He gave an update on previous grants awarded and listed some of the activities with which the Communities Team had been involved at para 8.3.3 of the report, as follows:

• Ashwell Parish Rooms - funding had been awarded from S106 monies for the full cost of window replacement, approximately £13,500;

• Baldock Town Centre - he checked bent sign posts and damaged bins and alerted officers within the Waste and Parking teams;

• Details of possible funding streams re playgrounds had been sent to Nightingale Group;

• Baldock Town Talk notes had been completed and sent to Members for approval, and then to all those attending;

• The Youth Council had been signposted to the Baldock Arts and Heritage Centre Group;

• Paperwork had been completed re. the potential unlocking of S106/Uniilateral Undertaking and planning contribution funding for the Community Mini Bus, Ashwell Cricket Club mower and Ashwell Parish Rooms’ window replacement;

• The Communities Officer (CO) had met with Jo Meeks of Youth Enterprise to discuss actions, links with other groups in Baldock and funding possibilities;

• The CO had also met with Baldock Community Centre re. planned works to the old youth wing;

• The CO had corresponded with the Baldock Arts and Heritage Centre, St Mary’s Church, the Baldock Community Centre among others, regarding potential future funding requirements;

• The CO had also attended an update meeting in Baldock with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Baldock and District Committee;

• The CO had met with Town Centre Managers and given advice regarding events and NHSAG.

At the Chairman’s discretion, there followed several presentations on behalf of grant applications which had been submitted:

• Kate Heath from the Rushden and Wallington Parish Council informed the Baldock and District Committee that a grant application had been submitted for funding assistance with the installation of a heart defibrillator in each of two telephone boxes in the villages, for the use of local residents. The Committee agreed that this was an ideal use for the otherwise redundant telephone boxes.

• Alison Gentle of the Baldock Arts and Heritage Centre addressed the Baldock and District Committee and explained how successful the recent Fireside Event had been. The Gallery would also be used to promote Baldock Museum and part of the funds would be used for an external banner and external signage. The Committee endorsed this grant application.

• Tracey Chapman, representing the Friends of Baldock Senior Citizens Mini Bus informed the Committee that the Mini Bus was a vital resource for Baldock, as it was for everybody’s use, not just senior citizens. Members commented that other organisations were also raising funds and/or contributing towards the purchase of a new vehicle. These included the Baldock Rotary Club, Festival Committee etc. The Friends would pay for maintenance of the vehicle.

• Phil Charlsley addressed the Committee on behalf of the Baldock Allotment and Leisure Gardeners’ Association. He explained that they had submitted a grant application to assist with laying tarmac on the track and the carpark and that kerbs and drains were required to deal with excess water in bad weather, although this would make the track slightly narrower and made it harder to turn the trailer, but would have the effect of slowing down vehicles accessing the site and nature reserve. In addition, the group wanted the application of a number of speed bumps in order to lower vehicle speeds. The sum of £500 awarded two years ago, had not yet been used and there was a possibility of utilising some Community Safety funds for this purpose, collected under the Authority’s Planning Contributions.

• Phil Charlsley presented to the Committee once more, this time representing the Friends of St Mary’s Church, Baldock. He laid out the plans to involve primary schools and the first year of Knights Templar School with fun activities in the Church, linked to Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller. Before leaving the room, Cllr Muir informed the Committee that the churchgoers at St Mary’s funded a youth worker. The Committee was advised that Baldock had existed before Roman times and this was part of a project to bring this realisation to young people and students in the community. A Member commented that the wording in the booklet was apt for Years 5, 6 and 7, but not the youngest schoolchildren.

• Anya Parry, representing the Ashwell Playgroup, explained that it had been established 40 years ago. The grant submitted to this Meeting was for funds for a play castle, den-building materials, wooden blocks and other play equipment for the children attending the Playgroup. The Playgroup itself raises £6,000 per annum to assist with its running costs.

• Robert Wornham of Sandon Parish Council gave the Committee the background to the problems at the Village Hall and explained that it is an asset that needs to be maintained, as condensation and damp was rife in the older section of the building.

• Mick Dilley of 2nd Baldock Scouts addressed the Baldock and District Committee, explaining that their box trailer, used to transport equipment, was now uneconomical to repair. They had raised £500 and had submitted a grant application for £1,000, not having applied to the Committee or several years. He declared that the trailer would also be used by other organisations and community groups. The Chairman thanked Mick Dilley for the good work done for the youth of Baldock.

• Hugh Carling from Ashwell Cricket Club informed the Committee that the Club had been founded in 1814, the same year as Lords Cricket Club, so both had celebrated 200 years. He expanded on the teams and the Club’s successes. The age of the players ranged from 6 years of age to adult. The quality of the playing surface had held back the Club’s progress, but a new grounds man had recently been employed and was doing his best to make the playing surface fit for purpose, with frankly dangerous machinery. This was the reason that a new mower for the cricket table was absolutely vital.

• With the Chairman’s permission, Richard Sell from Letchworth Rugby Club addressed the Baldock and District Committee. He explained that they had in the past been named as Hertfordshire Club of the Year and that the Club consisted of 250 children, approximately 50% of whom came from Baldock. They had held a Junior Rugby Festival and ran the Bravehearts Club, a team of children with learning difficulties. The Club’s aim was to get more children into playing sport and to link school sport and community sport. He named the local primary schools that ran after-school rugby clubs. The Committee was informed that Letchworth Rugby Club was working with the RFU in schools and the link with Highfield and Fearnhill Schools in Letchworth was via the NHDC Active Communities Officer, Jess Young. The objective was to establish two scholarships per school worth £240, to include Club membership fees, boots and kit. The scholarships would be worth a total of £3,800. It was hoped to establish the initial five schools to start with and then go on to raise sponsorship for future years. The Letchworth Rugby Club had previously applied to the Letchworth Area Committee for funding and had been advised that they could not fund ‘sponsorships’ of the manner described, but to apply to the Letchworth Civic Trust. The Chairman invited the Head of Policy and Community Services to clarify the situation and she explained that Letchworth’s decision not to offer funding had been based on the fact that the Club wished to provide equipment and membership for individuals, which is not permitted through Local Government Financial Regulations. Similarly, no decision on any grant award could be made by Members without sufficient information, such as a grant application or item on the agenda, being put before the Committee. Members requested that the Club ensures that its future application take account of this position and be considered by officers under relevant delegation, if necessary, before the next meeting of the Baldock and District Committee in June 2016.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the activities and schemes with which the Communities Manager has been involved to promote greater community capacity and well-being for the Baldock and District area, be endorsed and that he be thanked for his work on behalf of the people of Baldock and the surrounding area;

(2) That the budgetary expenditure, balances and carry forwards within the Area Committee Development Budget spreadsheet at Appendix 1, be noted;

(3) That the following grant applications be deferred for consideration to the Baldock and District Committee Meeting on 6 June 2016:

• Radwell Village Hall Trustees - £1,500;
• Rushden Village Hall Committee - sum to be confirmed;
• Letchworth Rugby Club - the “in principle” award to be confirmed, subject to consideration of a revised grant application being submitted.

REASONS FOR DECISIONS:

(1) To ensure that the Committee are kept informed of the work of the Communities Manager;

(2) This report is intended to inform Members of the financial resources available to the Committee. It draws attention to the current budgetary situation, assists in the effective financial management of the Baldock and District Committee’s budget and ensures actions are performed within the Authority’s Financial Regulations and the guidance of the Grants Policy;

(3) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and priorities of the Council;

(4) Production of this report is a requirement of the ‘Priorities for the District’ in which the Communities Manager is required to produce a formal report to the Area Committee in line with the Civic Calendar.
44 GRANT APPLICATION - RUSHDEN AND WALLINGTON PARISH COUNCIL
RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,000 be awarded to the Rushden and Wallington Parish Council, to assist with the cost of installing two heart defibrillator units in two telephone boxes. The funds were to be allocated from the Weston and Sandon Ward budget.

REASON FOR DECISION:

(1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

(2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
45 GRANT APPLICATION - BALDOCK ARTS AND HERITAGE CENTRE
RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,600 be awarded to the Baldock Arts and Heritage Centre for internal equipment to assist with facilitating a variety of events being held at the Centre. This would be funded by Baldock East and Baldock Town Wards, pro rata.

REASON FOR DECISION:

(1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

(2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
46 GRANT APPLICATION - FRIENDS OF BALDOCK SENIOR CITIZENS MINI BUS
RESOLVED: That the sum of £6,600 be awarded to the Friends of Baldock Senior Citizens Mini Bus Group to assist with the purchase of a new community minibus. After consideration this sum had been increased from the £5,000 originally requested, to the sum awarded.

REASON FOR DECISION:

(1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

(2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
47 GRANT APPLICATION - BALDOCK ALLOTMENT AND LEISURE GARDENERS ASSOCIATION
RESOLVED: That the sum of £2,350 be awarded to the Baldock Allotment Leisure Gardeners Association on condition that the leases are signed. This funding would assist with the installation of drainage at the North Road site through the use of soakaways, run-offs and two speed bumps. This would be funded by Baldock East and Baldock Town Wards, pro rata.

REASON FOR DECISION:

(1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

(2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
48 GRANT APPLICATION - FRIENDS OF ST MARY'S CHURCH
Cllr Muir declared an interest as he is a designated premises supervisor/premises licence holder for St Mary’s Church. He stated that he would speak on the item and then leave the room for the debate and vote. Cllr McNally declared an interest, as he is a member of the Church.

RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,700 be awarded to the Friends of St Mary’s Church Group, to assist with funding the production of new publicity materials on the history of St Mary’s Church. This would be funded by Baldock East and Baldock Town Wards, pro rata.

REASON FOR DECISION:

(1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

(2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
49 GRANT APPLICATION - FRIENDS OF CALDECOTE CHUJRCH
RESOLVED: That the sum of £300 be awarded to Friends of Caldecote Church to assist with annual running costs such as stationery, website fees, mailout and postage charges, grass cutting and advertisements. This would be funded by the Arbury Ward budget.

REASON FOR DECISION:

(1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

(2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
50 GRANT APPLICATION - ASHWELL PLAYGROUP
RESOLVED: That the sum of £500 be awarded to Ashwell Playgroup to help fund the provision of early years equipment such as toy resources. This would be funded by the Arbury Ward budget.

REASON FOR DECISION:

(1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

(2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
51 GRANT APPLICATION - ASHWELL VILLAGE MUSEUM
RESOLVED: That the sum of £80 be awarded to the Ashwell Village Museum, to assist with the 2016 Well dressing Event. This would be funded by the Arbury Ward budget.

REASON FOR DECISION:

(1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

(2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
52 GRANT APPLICATION - SANDON VILLAGE HALL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,680 be awarded to the Sandon Village Hall Management Committee to assist with thermal insulation improvement works to the western end of the building. These funds would be drawn from the Sandon and Weston Ward budget.

REASON FOR DECISION:

(1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

(2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
53 GRANT APPLICATION - 2ND BALDOCK SCOUT GROUP
RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,000 be awarded to the 2nd Baldock Scout Group to assist with the purchase of a new equipment trailer. This would be funded by Baldock East and Baldock Town Wards, pro rata.

REASON FOR DECISION:

(1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

(2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
54 GRANT APPLICATION - CALDECOTE AND NEWNHAM PARISH COUNCIL
RESOLVED: That the sum of £150 be awarded to Caldecote and Newnham Parish Council to assist with the cost of installing a new village noticeboard. This sum would be provided from the Arbury Ward budget.

REASON FOR DECISION:

(1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

(2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
55 GRANT APPLICATION - ASHWELL CRICKET CLUB
RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,500 be awarded to Ashwell Cricket Club, to assist with the purchase of a new mower to maintain the cricket table. The caveat is that funds be held over until matched funding is provided. The sum will be funded from the Arbury Ward budget.

REASON FOR DECISION:

(1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

(2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
Published on Monday, 11th April, 2016
10.27p.m