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Minutes for February 2009

Draft Minutes of the Meeting of St Bees Parish Council held on Monday 16 February 2009

at 7.30pm in the Village Hall

PRESENT: Cllrs P Smith (in the Chair), N Bettinson, J Haile, F Kennedy, A King, D Millington,

C Robson, J Rowlands, D Sim, V Turpin and the Clerk

Also Present: 1 member of the public and Cllr D Southward (Ward Councillor)

IN ATTENDANCE: Steven Robinson (agenda item 3), Helen Gascoyne & Stuart Burgess (agenda item 7)


Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Argyle, Gilmour and Hill.


No declarations of interest were received in respect of items on the agenda.


The Chairman welcomed Steven Robinson and invited him to explain his research project.

Mr Robinson explained that he was working as a planning officer with Allerdale Borough Council and was also working on a PhD research project at University College London. He was investigating how rural communities are changing and how this impacts on community cohesion, informal support networks etc. He would be looking at issues of affordable housing and how the planning system addresses rural housing need. Defra had expressed an interest in the research and he was hoping to circulate questionnaires in several rural communities to gather information on local issues. He was seeking the support of the parish council in involving St Bees residents in his survey.

Councillors suggested that the project should take account of other documents such as the work done to underpin the Energy Coast Masterplan and pointed out that the parish council web-site contained minutes which would highlight local issues. Mr Robinson agreed to provide a copy of the proposed questionnaire to councillors for comment before it was circulated to residents.


There were no items raised.


It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 19 January 2009 be accepted as a true record and signed by the Chairman.


It was RESOLVED to bring forward this item on the agenda.

The Chairman welcomed Helen Gascoyne, Chair of the Pre-School Group, and Stuart Burgess, Chair of Governors at the Village School, and invited them to explain the background to the project to provide a new pre-school building on the village school site.

Mrs Gascoyne explained that the pre-school group needed new premises because the present accommodation was in poor condition and did not meet OFSTED requirements. There was no room for expansion and recent housing developments had increased the demand for pre-school places.

Mrs Gascoyne stated that if new accommodation could not be found the pre-school group would have to cease to operate in the next few years.

The plan to build on the village school site was still in the early stages, although the County Council had agreed to support the project and provide design and project management services. The project would involve a close partnership with the Village School and would be a step towards an integrated foundation stage with pre-school and reception class children sharing some facilities and activities. Mr Burgess explained that the project fitted naturally into the school’s long term development plan. An integrated foundation stage would help to maintain the school’s popularity and ensure that it continued to thrive at a time when school rolls are falling. It was hoped that the


project would allow development of a new outdoor play area which could be used by both pre-school and reception children and help the school meet the recommendations of its last OFSTED inspection which highlighted the need for improved outdoor facilities. Issues such as ownership of the building, costs etc were still to be clarified but the intention was that the pre-school group would continue as a separate charitable organisation. Fund raising was already underway with a number of local companies and organisations being approached for help. The anticipated timescale was that the project would be complete by 2011.

It was agreed that there was support for the project in principle and that the Pre-school group would provide more details as the plans developed. The Council would consider the question of financial support at that stage.


(a) Rottington noticeboard– There had been no further progress in identifying the ownership of the land.

It was RESOLVED to purchase a wooden noticeboard for the site at a maximum cost of £1500 including installation.

(b) Weather Station –It was reported that the weather station was back on line after a minor problem.

It was RESOLVED that the Council assume responsibility for the future maintenance and running costs of the weather station.

(c) Beach Clean Leadership role – The co-ordinator for the Marine Conservation Society was unable to take on the role but had offered what help she could with future beach cleans. A member of the public expressed an interest in knowing more about the role and it was agreed that the Chairman would provide further information outside the meeting.

(d) Other Matters Arising from Action List

  • Moorclose easement – the legal work is complete and the easement has been registered at the Land Registry.
  • Removal of 20mph speed limit – Cllr Southward explained the outcome of the discussions at Local Committee about the proposals. County Councillors had been unhappy with the proposal to remove the 20mph zone but Highways Officers had estimated that it would cost approximately £150,000 to provide the measures required to make the zone compliant with current legislation. The Local Committee had asked for advice from the County Council solicitor before making a decision. Cllr Southward agreed to follow up the matter with the Legal Dept and to investigate the costings provided.
  • Flooding B5345– Cumbria Highways had carried out work on a drain in an adjacent field and were hopeful that this would resolve the flooding problem.
  • Dog Fouling – an article would be included in the next parish magazine and CBC had agreed to undertake some enforcement visits and review the signage. It was noted that a dog litter bin was needed at the far end of the promenade. The Clerk would request this from CBC.


Two written quotations had been received. Both offered the full scope of work and met the insurance requirement.

It was RESOLVED that the quotation of £2288 from Assured Cumbria Pest Control be accepted.


The portfolio of evidence to support the application was almost complete and an informal meeting with CALC would be organised. The Council was required to adopt a Statement of Intent on training and a draft had been circulated.

It was RESOLVED that the Statement of Intent on training be adopted.


No report had been received.



There were no issues requiring the Council’s attention.


Correspondence had been received from a local resident about the number of pot-holes appearing on the road through the village. These had been reported to Cumbria Highways but it appeared that this was becoming an increasing problem. Cllr Southward explained that the budget for highway repairs was very limited and did not allow more than temporary filling of pot-holes. Unless there was a significant increase in the budget, which was very unlikely, there was no prospect of a significant improvement in the situation.

There was also a problem with damage to the grass verge on Coach Road by the gate from the Dandy Walk. A vehicle has been seen pulling up there, causing ruts in the ground where pedestrians walk. It was agreed that as a first step a sign be put up asking drivers not to park on the verge. If this was not successful, CCC would be asked to consider other measures.



(a) New Applications:-

4/09/2037/TPO Tree Works, The Retreat, High House Road

It was RESOLVED that there were no objections to the work provided that CBC Landscape Officer approved the work.

(b) Approvals/Refusals:

The following decisions of CBC were noted:-

  • · Single storey extension – 8 Abbotts Way - APPROVED


(a) Report of the Finance and Risk Advisory Group

The notes of the meeting held on 11 February 2009 were received and noted. The Group were recommending minor changes to the wording of the terms of reference to reflect the group’s advisory status and bring the scope of work into line with guidance on accounting and risk management. The group had reviewed the arrangements in place for the prevention of fraud and the Clerk would incorporate the list of measures in the Financial Regulations for approval by the Council. CALC was offering a course on Local Council Finance and the Group suggested that a place be booked for the Chairman.

It was RESOLVED that the changes to the terms of reference be approved and course fees of £18 be approved.

(b) Financial Review 3rd quarter 2008/9

The Chairman reported on the financial position at the end of the 3rd quarter. It now seemed unlikely that the play area improvements would be complete and billed by the year end so a small underspend might be expected.

(c) Payments to be approved

It was RESOLVED that the following accounts be approved for payment:

  • · Cheque no 001385 Brockbank,Curwen,Cain & Hall– fees £701.65 + VAT Total £791.65
  • · Cheque no 001386 CPRE – annual subscription £29.00
  • · Cheque no 001387 J Donaldson – salary Feb 2009 £392.56 + postage/stationery £3.24 Total £395.80
  • · Cheque no 001388 Your Name Here – web-site name renewal £34.78 + VAT Total £40.00
  • · Cheque no 001392 P Preston – contribution to Christmas electricity £30.00

Payments authorised by Village in Bloom Committee

  • · Cheque no 001389 K Singleton – compost & plants £127.99 + VAT Total £147.19
  • · Cheque no 001390 E Todd – reimbursement for plants £25.92
  • · Cheque no 001391 D Robinson – reimbursement for plants £87.79

Cheques signed since last meeting to report:

Cheque no 001384 Motif Sign & Display – memorial plaque £131.16 + VAT Total £150.83 (approved at December meeting min no 190/08)



(a) Letter received from CBC about the new Defra classification of street cleansing zones. St Bees is categorised as ‘medium intensity use’ apart from the beach area which is regarded as an area with special circumstances. Parish Councils are invited to provide details of any local events which may require additional street cleaning resources. Noted.

(b) Letter received from Mr Wear of Solway Rise about the flooding problems on the B5345 towards Whitehaven. The Clerk has replied, detailing the response received from Highways.

(b) Formal notice received from CCC of the diversion of the footpath at Birkhams quarry. Noted.

(c) Letter received from CBC seeking information on any empty/dilapidated properties. It was agreed that ‘The Haven’ beach bungalow be included in the list.

(d) Notice of annual meeting of CBC with parish councils – Monday 9 March at 6.30pm at the Copeland Centre. It was agreed that the Clerk would attend.

(e) Letter from Copeland Citizens Advice Bureau seeking a donation to assist them in providing a service to all residents of Copeland. It was RESOLVED that no donation be made as it is the Council’s priority to support small voluntary groups in the parish.

(f) Letter received from Mencap seeking a donation towards the support they provide to people with learning disabilities and their carers. It was RESOLVED that no donation be made as it is the Council’s priority to support small voluntary groups in the parish.


Whitehaven Police Area Community Liaison Forum – notice of meeting Tuesday 17 March at Mirehouse

Reactivation of road closures – Howman to Ellergill Bridge and St Bees to Nethertown roads


(a) It was noted that Marcus Clarkson had volunteered to take down the village Christmas tree. It was agreed that a letter of thanks be sent.

(b) It was noted that some off-street areas such as hedges and fields are becoming unsightly with litter and these areas are not covered by CBC street cleaning. It was agreed that the Council investigate the possibility of paying a contractor to clear the litter. Cllr Bettinson agreed to approach the owner of the field by the Coach Road for permission to access the field.

(c) It was reported that the information boards for the station and the post office were now ready to be printed. It was agreed that they would also be available on the web-site. It was agreed that a letter be sent to Tony Pennick thanking him for his work on the project.

(d) Cllrs Mayow and Sim had prepared a plan for improvement work to create a wildlife area at Moorclose and St Bees Common. Trees would be ordered shortly and there were also plans to create a wet area at the site of the old tarn.


It was RESOLVED that the next meeting take place on Monday 16 March 2009 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.