Southern Rural Committee Minutes

Date:
Thursday, 3rd March, 2016
Time:
7.30pm
Place:
Committee Room 1, Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth Garden City
 
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor Cathryn Henry (Vice-Chairman), Councillor Alan Bardett, Councillor John Bishop, Councillor Jane Gray, Councillor Steve Hemingway, Councillor Sal Jarvis, Councillor Harry Spencer-Smith and Councillor Mrs C.P.A. Strong.
In attendance:
Stuart Izzard (Communities Manager) and Hilary Dineen (Committee and Member Services Officer).
Also Present:
At the commencement of the meeting 7 members of the public.
Item Description/Decision
PART I
65 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors David Barnard (Chairman) and Faye Frost.
66 MINUTES
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 3 December 2015 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chairman.
67 NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS
There were no notifications of other business.
68 CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS
(1) The Vice-Chairman welcomed all to the final meeting of the Civic Year, particularly those giving a presentation;

(2) The Vice-Chairman reminded everyone that, in accordance with Council policy, the meeting was being audio recorded;

(3) The Vice-Chairman offered apologies from the Committee Clerk that incorrect information had been included on the Agenda Front Sheet;

(4) Members were reminded 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 are 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 requires they leave the room under Paragraph 7.4 of the Code of Conduct, can speak on the item, but must leave the room before the debate and vote.
69 HERTFORDSHIRE CONSTABULARY
Inspector Duncan Sales, Safer Neighbourhood Inspector with Hertfordshire Constabulary, thanked the Vice-Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the crime statistics and issues regarding the Southern Rural Area as follows:

• Hertfordshire Constabulary had not done as well as it could have in the recording of crime.
• As a result of the National Crime Recording Standards, Hertfordshire was now recording all crime and, as a consequence, the crime figures were higher.

CRIME STATISTICS
All Crime
Hertfordshire - 12.4 percent
North Hertfordshire - 5.3 percent increase.
Rural - 0.8 percent decrease.

Burglary - Dwelling
Hertfordshire - 3.1 percent increase.
North Hertfordshire - 20.6 percent decrease.
Rural - 32 percent decrease.

The Police undertook a lot of crime prevention work. Following a spate of burglaries in Pirton they had instigated the “after dark” work. Houses that were not lit after dark were identified, this was followed up with providing time switches (funded by the Community Safety Partnership) and advice such as ensuring that doors were double locked, which had reduced the amount of burglaries.

Burglary - Other
North Hertfordshire - 26 percent reduction.
Rural - 28 percent reduction.

A lot of work, including cross border work with Bedfordshire, had been undertaken to reduce burglaries from rural areas and farms.

Vehicle Crime
Hertfordshire - 20 percent increase.
North Hertfordshire - 4.4 percent increase.
Rural - 5 percent increase.

A spate of damage to 18 tyres last week had impacted on the figures in this area.

Domestic Abuse / Safeguarding
North Hertfordshire - 47 percent increase.
Rural - 53 percent increase.

The Police were extremely aware of domestic abuse and safeguarding, which included not only physical abuse, but also other types of abuse such as financial and psychological.

An increase in this area of crime was viewed positively as it demonstrated that victims felt able to come forward to receive the support needed.

In January a Domestic Abuse Crime Suite was launched which was staffed by an increased number of Officers.

In November 2015 a course regarding child exploitation was attended by more than90 people.

Robbery
Hertfordshire - 5 percent increase
Rural - 54 percent (10 offences) reduction.

Assault with Injury
Rural - 3 percent increase

Some of this increase was associated with the increase in reports of domestic abuse.

Theft from Persons
Rural - 50 percent reduction.

There had been a spate of thefts from older persons in village Post Offices just before Christmas. Offenders had been sitting inside Post Offices watching people using ATMs and gleaning their PIN numbers, later stealing the card.

The Police had worked with the Post Offices to move the seating which had resulted in the reduction in offences.

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
North Hertfordshire currently had 60 percent coverage (8,000 members) by Neighbourhood Watch.

This was an effective of relaying information and disseminating crime prevention information.

The Police had organised 53 street meets in rural areas.

WORK IN THE SOUTHERN RURAL AREA AND THE FUTURE
• The priorities in the Southern Rural Area included reducing burglary, burglary-other and vehicle crime;
• The Police teams in North Hertfordshire remained at full strength;
• Sergeant Oliphant was the rural sergeant who led a team of 9;
• The local teams provided advice to older people about safety and to younger people about subjects such as sexting;
• Community awareness events;
• Work closely with NHDC regarding fly-tipping;
• Special Constable visiting village to address speeding
• Had three prosecutions for poaching.

Members noted the focus on domestic abuse and asked about convictions in this area. They also queried whether there was any evidence of radicalisation in North Hertfordshire.

Inspector Sales advised that the conviction rate, currently 27 percent, had reduced. A large number of victims did not wish to go through a prosecution. If sufficient evidence was available then the prosecution will take place as a victimless crime.

There was no evidence of radicalisation in North Hertfordshire. The Police monitored this area very carefully and worked closely with Mosques, Temples and North Hertfordshire College.

In response to questions, Inspector Sales agreed to send details of surgeries in villages to the Communities Manager, for onward transmission to Members and advised that he, or a member of his team, would be happy attend the AGM of any Parish Council if invited to do so.

The Vice-Chairman thanked Inspector Sales for his presentation.
70 PRESENTATION BY RINGWAY
Mr Derek Jerrard, Ringway, thanked the Vice-Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee regarding Highways issues affecting the Southern Rural area.

Mr Jerrard informed Members that Ringway was the contractor for Hertfordshire County Council Highways and that he was the main contact.

Parish Action Plans were essentially a list of highways work that the Parish would like to see undertaken. The Plans could then be used by Ringway to identify possible work that could be undertaken whilst planned work was being done. This method enabled economies of scale, helped prioritise where the County Council budget was spent and where County Councillors could best use their Highways Budget.

His predecessor had, some time ago, supported Pirton Parish Council to draw up a Parish Action Plan and this had been referred to recently in order to identify additional work that could be undertaken whilst a road in the area was closed for another reason.

Since November 2015 he had been visiting Parish Councils in order to build a book of Parish Action Plans and had so far met with 24 Parish Councils and developed 8 Plans.

This method had proved successful as demonstrated by Preston, where he had supported the preparation of a Plan of which 8 out the 10 actions had now been completed.

Mr Jerrard informed Members that Parish Action Plans were not a method for reporting faults, but a way of managing low priority issues.

There was some discussion around specific issues that had been identified, which Mr Jerrard responded to.

In response to a question Mr Jerrard explained that issues were identified according to their urgency following which, high priority Issues were dealt with as soon as possible, whilst the medium and low issues were actioned as and when possible.

Parish Clerks were able to access Highways Together trough the Herts Together website, which gave them access to information and a variety of letters to deal with issues such as overgrown footpaths.

The Vice-Chairman thanked Mr Jerrard for his presentation.
71 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - PIRTON SUMMER FAIR
Mr Steve Smither, Pirton Summer Fair, thanked the Vice-Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant application as follows:

• Pirton Summer Fair was an annual event;
• It was run by volunteers;
• It pulled the Community together;
• Community groups were given a shop window and enable fundraising;
• Funding was being sought to increase the quality and quantity of events;
• It was planed to provide a bouncy castle, inflatable slide and funfair ride as additional activities;
• If the fair included more activities, people would enjoy more and therefore stay longer.

The Vice-Chairman thanked Mr Smither for his presentation.
72 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - CODICOTE FOOTBALL CLUB
Mr Jim Bundy, Codicote Football Club, thanked the Vice-Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant application as follows:

• The Codicote Football Club was over 100 years old;
• For the last 5 years the Club has had to play outside of the village
• Fees to play in Welwyn Garden City were costing approximately £4,000 per year;
• Before the Club can play in the village again they have to provide home and away dugouts;
• The proposed dugouts would also be used by the ladies and senior teams.

Members asked whether there were any other Football Association requirements needed.

Mr Bundy advised that they had the majority of the funding required for a 100 seat stand and floodlights but they may need to provide barriers around 3 sides of the pitch.

The Vice-Chairman thanked Mr Bundy for his presentation.
73 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - PIRTON SPORTS AND SOCIAL CLUB
Mr Stephen Smith, Pirton Sports and Social Club, thanked the Vice-Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant application as follows:

• Pirton Sports and Social Club was a very busy club providing football for all ages in the winter, cricket in the summer, table tennis, youth facilities and a firework night;
• The timber built building was donated in the 1970’s and needed a lot of maintenance;
• Fire and electrical surveys had been completed and identified essential works required, which were estimated to cost £4,000.

The Vice-Chairman thanked Mr Smith for his presentation.
74 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - CODICOTE CRICKET CLUB
Mr John Gillard, Codicote Cricket Club, thanked the Vice-Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant application as follows;

• The Cricket Club would like to increase participation;
• The current practice facility was in very poor condition;
• Improving the practice area would help with encouraging participation;
• The Cricket Club was currently fundraising;
• The total cost of improvements was £1,400 of which a grant of £600 was being requested.

In response to a question Mr Gillard advised that there were 18 active Members of the Cricket Club and 8 youth players and that they were undertaking a recruitment drive.

The Vice-Chairman thanked Mr Gillard for his presentation.
75 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - KNEBWORTH FOOTBALL CLUB
Mr Stuart Biddle, Knebworth Football Club, thanked the Vice-Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant application as follows:

• The Football Club were at Football League step 6 and were progressing to step 7;
• They were currently at the top of the League table;
• The Football Association required the Club to provide dugouts;
• Funding of £1,000 was being sought towards the costs of theses dugouts.

Members asked why the cost for the dugouts were more than those being purchased by Codicote Football Club.

Upon the agreement of the Vice-Chairman, Mr Bundy of Codicote Football Club advised that they had secured a lower price for the dugouts as they were also purchasing a stand from the same supplier.

Mr Biddle advised that Clubs below step 7 did not qualify for Football Association funding and, in response to a question, that the Club had a total of 300 members and sported 2 Saturday teams and 2 veterans’ teams.

The Vice-Chairman thanked Mr Biddle for his presentation.
76 COMMUNITY UPDATE AND GRANT APPLICATIONS
The Communities Manager presented the report of the Head of Policy and Community Services entitled Community Update and Grant Applications and drew attention to the following:

BUDGETS
The current level of unallocated funds within the Committee’ Development Budget was £8,821.

The current level of unallocated funds within the Committee’s Ward Members Budget was £4,500.

The Communities Manager advised that it was likely that the Area Committee base budgets for 2016/17 would be reduced and that, as this was the last meeting of the financial year, the Committee might consider whether any unallocated funds should in principle be assigned to a number of known grants applications due to be considered at the June meeting of the Committee.

The John Clements Sports and Social Centre would be presenting an application for £3,500 towards audio visual equipment costing a total of £7,150.

Offley Recreation Centre would be presenting an application for £600 towards the refurbishment of the lounge area costing a total of £1,200.

Lilley Village Hall would be presenting an application for £1,500 towards installation of security fencing and gates costing a total of £3,000.

Kimpton Tennis Club would be presenting an application for £1,500 towards enhancements to the pavilion costing a total of £7,000.

Members considered that funds should be allocated in principle from the 2015/16 Discretionary Budget pending receipt of the prospective grant applications as listed below:

John Clements Sports and Social Centre - £1,173 for provision of Audio Visual equipment;
Offley Recreation Centre - £600 for refurbishment of the Lounge area;
Lilley Village Hall - £1,173 for installation of security fencing & gates;
Kimpton Tennis Club - £1,173 for enhancements to the pavilion.

They emphasised that the allocation of funds was purely an administrative matter and that this did not presume that any grant application submitted would be result in funds being awarded.

HITCHWOOD, OFFA AND HOO WARD BUDGET
Councillor Strong advised that she wished to allocate £200 from the Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo Budget to Offley Parish Council for signage. An application and relevant paperwork would be presented to the next meeting of this Committee due to be held on 9 June 2016.

Councillor Strong advised that she wished to allocate £400 from the Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo Budget to Pirton Sports and Social Club. An application and relevant paperwork would be presented to the next meeting of this Committee due to be held on 9 June 2016.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the activities and schemes with which the Communities Manager has been involved with, as set out in the report, be noted;

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

(3) That the following amounts be allocated in principle from the 2015/16 Discretionary Budget to the following:

(i) John Clements Sports and Social Centre - £1,173 for provision of AV equipment;
(ii) Offley Recreation Centre - £600 for refurbishment of the Lounge area;
(iii) Lilley Village Hall - £1,173 for installation of security fencing & gates;
(iv) Kimpton Tennis Club - £1,173 for enhancements to the pavilion.

Allocations are not to be taken as granting of funds. Applications and relevant paperwork to be submitted and considered by the Committee at the next meeting due to be held on 9 June 2016.

(4) That £200 be allocated to Offley Parish Council from the 2015/16 Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo Ward Budget for signage. An application and relevant paperwork to be presented to the next meeting of this Committee due to be held on 9 June 2016.

(5) That £400 be allocated to the Pirton Sports and Social Club Budget, from the 2015/16 Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo Ward Budget. An Application and relevant paperwork to be presented to the next meeting of this Committee due to be held on 9 June 2016.

REASON FOR DECISION: To ensure that the Southern Rural Committee is kept informed of the work of the Communities Manager and to inform Members of the financial resources and current budgetary position.
77 GRANT APPLICATION - PIRTON SUMMER FAIR
Members agreed that the Pirton Summer Fair was a valuable and enjoyable event and that this Committee had awarded grant funding last year.

They considered that events should become self funding and agreed that grant funding should be awarded this year, but that the group should be asked to apply to Pirton Parish Council if funding was required for future years.

It was proposed, seconded and

RESOLVED:

(1) That grant funding of £500 be awarded from the 2015/16 Discretionary Budget to Pirton Summer Fair towards the cost of providing children’s events at the event.in 2016;

(2) That the Community Development Officer be requested to ask Pirton Summer Fair to apply to Pirton Parish Council for funding in future.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
78 GRANT APPLICATION - CODICOTE FOOTBALL CLUB
RESOLVED: That grant funding of £1,000 be awarded from the 2015/16 Discretionary Budget to Codicote Football Club towards the purchase of two mobile pitch side shelters.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
79 GRANT APPLICATION - PIRTON SPORTS AND SOCIAL CLUB
RESOLVED: That grant funding of £2,000 be awarded from the 2015/16 Discretionary Budget to Pirton Sports and Social Club towards the costs of essential electrical works.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
80 GRANT APPLICATION - CODICOTE CRICKET CLUB
RESOLVED: That grant funding of £600 be awarded to Codicote Cricket Club from the 2015/16 Discretionary Budget towards the cost of enhancements to the practice nets facility.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
81 WARD GRANT APPLICATION - ST KATHERINE'S CHURCH - ROOM FOR ALL
RESOLVED: That grant funding of £250 be awarded to St Katherine’s Church Room for All from the 2015/16 Cadwell Ward Budget towards the costs associated with raising awareness and publicity materials.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
82 WARD GRANT APPLICATION - PRESTON PARISH COUNCIL
RESOLVED: That grant funding of £400 be awarded to Preston Parish Council from the 2015/16 Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo Ward Budget towards the cost of clearance works at the Village pond.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
83 WARD GRANT APPLICATION - CODICOTE DAY CENTRE
RESOLVED: That grant funding of £200 be awarded to Codicote Day Centre from the 2015/16 Codicote Ward Budget towards the transportation costs regarding a summer outing.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
84 WARD GRANT APPLICATION - ICKLEFORD PARISH COUNCIL
RESOLVED: That grant funding of £250 be awarded to Ickleford Parish Council from the 2015/16 Cadwell Ward Budget towards the costs of installing a dog waste bin.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
85 GRANT APPLICATION - KNEBWORTH FOOTBALL CLUB
RESOLVED:

(1) That grant funding of £600 be awarded to Knebworth Football Club from the 2015/16 Knebworth Ward Budget towards the cost of purchasing two Mobile Pitch Side Shelters;

(2) That grant funding of £400 be awarded to Knebworth Football Club from the 2015/16 Discretionary Budget towards the cost of purchasing two Mobile Pitch Side Shelters

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
86 WARD GRANT APPLICATION - CODICOTE PLAYGROUND SUPPORT GROUP
RESOLVED: That grant funding of £300 be awarded to Codicote Playground Support from the 2015/16 Codicote Ward Budget towards the cost of staging a family fun day and fundraising event.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
87 WARD GRANT APPLICATION - THE KIMPTON BENCH WORKING PARTY
The Communities Manager advised that the Kimpton Bench Working Party had requested that the grant funding requested be awarded to the Dacre Rooms.

RESOLVED: That grant funding of £300 be awarded to the Dacre Rooms from the 2015/16 Kimpton Ward Budget towards the cost of refurbishment of the hall.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
88 WARD GRANT APPLICATION - KNEBWORTH TWINNING ASSOCIATION
RESOLVED: That grant funding of £300 be awarded to Knebworth Town Twinning Association from the 2015/16 Knebworth Ward Budget towards the cost of the Group’s annual premium for liability insurance.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
89 WARD GRANT APPLICATION - KNEBWORTH BOWLS CLUB
RESOLVED: That grant funding of £250 be awarded to Knebworth Bowls Club from the 2015/16 Knebworth Ward Budget towards the cost of repairs to the Green’s perimeter gully.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
90 WARD GRANT APPLICATION - LILLEY PARISH COUNCIL
RESOLVED: That grant funding of £200 be awarded to Lilley Parish Council from the 2015/16 Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo Ward Budget towards the cost of replanting of flower beds around the Village War Memorial.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
91 WARD AND OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS - MEMBERS’ REPORTS
No Ward or Outside Organisation matters were discussed.
92 COUNCILLOR ALAN BARDETT
Councillor Strong informed Members that this was Councillor Alan Bardett’s last Southern Rural Committee meeting as he would not be standing for re-election in May 2016 and asked the Committee to place on record their thanks for his work as a Councillor and their good wishes for a long and happy retirement.

The Committee unanimously supported the proposal.

RESOLVED: That the Southern Rural Committee thanks Councillor Alan Bardett for his work as a Councillor and offer their good wishes for a long and happy retirement.
Published on Monday, 18th April, 2016
9.09p.m