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Minutes for February 2010

Draft Minutes of the Meeting of St Bees Parish Council held on

Monday 15 February 2010 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall

PRESENT: Cllrs P Smith (in the Chair), N Bettinson, G Gilmour, J Haile, I Hill, F Kennedy,

R Mayow, I C Robson, D Sim, and the Clerk

In attendance : PCSO S Bragg (Cumbria Constabulary), Mr G Stokes (St Bees School), and Cllr D Southward (Ward Councillor)


Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs P Argyle, A King, D Millington and J Rowlands.


The Chairman reported that Cllr John Rowlands had confirmed that he and his family would be moving out of the area in the near future and that he was writing to the Clerk to resign from the council. The Chairman asked that the council’s thanks be conveyed to Cllr Rowlands for his contribution to the council’s work.


No councillor declared an interest in any item on the agenda.


No items were raised.


It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 18 January 2010 be accepted as a true record and signed by the Chairman.


The Chairman welcomed Gordon Stokes, Bursar of St Bees School, and Cllr Southward to the meeting.

The Chairman explained that the objective of the discussion was to understand the one way traffic proposal put forward by the public school and to explore traffic issues which were of concern to both the school and the local community. Mr Stokes explained that the school had already taken measures to address the safety issues around the main school entrance where a fatal collision had occurred in 2008. However, there remained a serious concern about the speed and volume of traffic passing along the B5345 near the school. Pupils regularly cross the road by Barony House and the series of tight bends and difficult right turn into Wood Lane made this section of road particularly dangerous. Mr Stokes drew attention to the results of a traffic survey conducted by Cumbria Highways which contained some apparent anomalies but which clearly showed a significant number of vehicles exceeding the speed limit through the village. This suggested that the speed humps were not proving effective and it had been observed that vehicles often moved into the lay-by by the school to avoid the humps. The one way proposal was seen as a means to reduce the volume of traffic passing the school and to discourage those using the village as a through route to Sellafield.

Cllr Southward explained that the feasibility of a one way system had been investigated some years ago but had been rejected on technical and cost grounds. The current proposal had come at the time that the 20mph zone had been abolished and a 30 mph limit re-imposed. Officers had been asked to look at the possibility of designating specific stretches of road in the village as 20mph limits. Unfortunately a planned meeting with Cumbria Highways, the School and parish council representatives had not taken place.

Councillors explained that the parish council had actively campaigned for traffic calming measures for a number of years and a referendum conducted in 2004 had clearly shown that speed reduction measures were the top priority for most respondents. The council shared many of the concerns expressed by the School and were committed to improving road safety throughout the village. However, there was concern that a one way system might increase problems elsewhere in the village and all possibilities needed to be explored.


There was agreement that any measures taken should have the support of all parties involved and that a proposal put forward with support from all sections of the community would have the best chance of securing funding from the County Council.

It was RESOLVED that a working group of the parish council be established to consider traffic calming measures, focussing initially on the area from Pow Beck bridge to the junction with Abbey Road and from Abbey Road to Station Road. The membership of the group would include representatives of the Parish Council, St Bees School, PCC, Village School and other interested groups.

It was FURTHER RESOLVED that Cllrs Sim and Millington be invited to represent the council on the working group.


It was noted that a large number of pot holes had developed since the recent bad weather. Cllr Southward explained that this was a widespread problem and it was likely that the County Council would allocate more funding for emergency repairs, although the priority would be the areas most badly affected by the recent flooding.

Cllr Southward explained that each county councillor was allocated a sum of money to be spent on a capital project in his ward and that he would be interested in hearing of possible projects in St Bees.


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

PCSO Bragg gave an update on calls for service during 2010 and provided the figures for 2009 for comparison. There had been one report of high speed driving at the beach car park but the vehicle involved had disappeared by the time an officer attended. It was suggested that the CCTV cameras might provide useful information. No significant trends were noted and the overall figures remained low. Following the discussion at the last meeting a report had been compiled comparing St Bees with other neighbouring parishes. The number of incidents was similar to other similar communities.

Councillors drew attention to the problem of agricultural vehicles leaving mud and slurry on the road and asked the police to follow this up and seek the co-operation of local farmers and contractors.


(a) Fairladies car park/footpath - The Chairman and Vice-Chairman had signed the transfer deed. Burnetts had confirmed that the area of the car park and footpath had now been released from the mortgage so the transfer could take place as soon as the deed was signed by Story Homes. The barrier was now in place and confirmation was awaited from Story Homes that the other outstanding work had been completed.

(b) Coastal signage project/public footpaths – Cllrs Sim and Mayow reported on their recent meeting with Bob Muscat of CCC. A new leaflet linking the commons with the existing public footpaths was being prepared and an estimate of £300 for printing costs had been given to CCC who were arranging the funding for the project. Repairs had been carried out to the footpath on the Head in conjunction with RSPB volunteers and it was hoped to carry out some improvements to the muddy area by the caravan park. The new permissive path from Rottington common was now almost ready and it was hoped to create a further path from Thorney Beck to Thorney Beck bridge.

St Bees was within one of the pilot areas for coastal access and new finger posts were to be provided through the Parish Paths Initiative. The National Trust was providing a sign at the beach car park encouraging visitors to explore the coastal path.

The possibility of a cycle track to Whitehaven had been discussed. The only issue to be resolved was to find a route over the land owned by St Bees School which would not pose a danger to pupils.

Cllr Sim would ask CCC to contact the Bursar to discuss the matter further.

(c) Other items from the action list :

  • Quality Coast Awards – the RNLI had carried out a risk assessment of the beach on 2 February as part of the application process. Their recommendations would be sent to CBC in due course.


  • Repairs to groynes – CBC was aware of the need for repairs and had already obtained estimates for replacement timber. Repairs would be spread over a period of time because of budget constraints.
  • Minerals & Waste Development Framework – The clerk had spoken to the relevant officer and confirmed that the plan did not refer to Bank End Quarry because no proposals had been received to extend its licence either in terms of geographic area or duration. As this was an old licence it may still have some years to run and the quarry could therefore be reopened.
  • Donation of seat – The seat had been ordered and the wording of the plaque agreed with the donor. Permission was being sought from the owner of the adjacent land to gain access to install the seat.


The Chairman reported on the CALC meeting which he and Cllr Gilmour had attended on 27 January. CALC was intending to submit its own response to the consultation based on the views of parishes.

A draft response from SBPC had been prepared following the discussion at the last meeting.

It was RESOLVED that the draft response be approved.

It was suggested that a presentation on the Energy Coast proposals might be useful to councillors. Cllr Gilmour agreed to organise this to take place at a future meeting.



There were no matters to report.


(a)New Applications

The Planning Advisory Group reported on the following new application received for comment since the last meeting:-

  • Ref 4/10/2070/0F1 Alterations & extensions to existing bungalow to form one new bedroom and replace old flat-roofed dormer, Long Meadow, Rottington

It was RESOLVED that there were no objections to this application.

(b) Proposed Abbey Road development

The Chairman reported on the site visit by CBC Planning Panel. A number of local residents had attended to show their opposition to the scheme. The application had not been considered at the February meeting of the Planning Panel as the archaeological survey was not complete. Cumbria Wildlife trust and Natural England had been asked to look at the implications for wildlife.

(c) Approvals/refusals

  • Tree work, Priory Paddock – APPROVED
  • Change of part field to hard standing, Whin Bank, Rottington - WITHDRAWN



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

  • Cheque no 001490 Browns Fencing Services – allotment fence £140.00 + VAT Total £164.50
  • Cheque no 001491 Copeland Borough Council – tree work, Priory Paddock £352.27 + VAT Total £413.92
  • Cheque no 001492 Walkers Are Welcome – annual subscription £30.00
  • Cheque no 001493 J Donaldson – salary Feb 2010 £482.11 + postage £6.84 Total £488.95

(b) Grasscutting 2010/11

The current contract was due to finish in March and arrangements for 2010/11 needed to be agreed.

It was RESOLVED to extend the present contract for a further year (subject to agreement on rates) and to review the work schedule with the contractor.


(c) Trial of free poop-a-scoop bags

The Clerk reported that the bags which were made available through the post office and beach shop had now run out.

It was RESOLVED to purchase a further supply at a cost of £80 + VAT + delivery.


(a) The spring training calendar had been received from CALC. A new course – Introduction to Open Space Protection – had been added to take place on Sat 22 May 10 -12.30 in St Bees. Cllr Mayow to attend.

(b) CALC had provided a copy of a discussion paper reviewing progress on the MRWS Partnership and expressing dissatisfaction with the way the process is working. Noted.

(c) An invitation had been received to join the Rural Services Community Network. Noted.

(d)An invitation had been received from CALC to put forward the Chairman’s name to attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

It was RESOLVED to put forward the name of Cllr J Haile as a long-serving past chairman.

(e) A letter had been received from CBC explaining changes to the concessionary travel scheme for those who reach 60 after 6 April 2010. Noted.

(f) A letter had been received from RWE explaining their decision not to maintain their current grid connection agreements for the sites in Cumbria. Noted.

(g) The agenda had been received for the Neighbourhood Forum on Tues 23 February at 6.30pm in the Falcon Club, Egremont. Noted.

(h) An e-mail had been received from CBC enclosing their draft Gender Equality Scheme. The document would be put to the full council for approval on 2 March but the document itself provides for community consultation. Noted.

(i) An e-mail had been received from Janet Blades asking the council to support an initiative to develop a stamping scheme along the Coast to Coast Walk along the lines of the schemes which operate the Camino series of long distance walks in Europe. Cllr Robson to follow up.


CALC Newsletter Feb 2010


(a) Report received of dumping of soil at Rottington. Cllr Mayow will visit the site to investigate .

(b) Cllr Robson reported that the History Project was going ahead following the agreement of the DAC. A logo was now being designed showing the Head and St Bega.

(c) Cllr Sim was to give a talk on mediaeval stones on 9 March at 7.30pm in New College Hall.

(d) The anchor from the SS Izaro had been restored and was ready to be displayed by the Wainwright sign at the main beach. Cllr Robson agreed to inform CBC of the plans.


It was RESOLVED that the next meeting take place on Monday 15 March 2010 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.