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Minutes for September 2012

Draft Minutes of the Meeting of St Bees Parish

Council held on

Monday 17 September 2012 at 7.35pm in the Village Hall

PRESENT: Cllrs D Sim (in the Chair), P Argyle, N Bettinson, G Gilmour, J Haile, I Hill, K James, F Kennedy, D Millington, S Moules, C Robson and the Clerk

Also present: 7 members of the public


Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Hewetson and Strong


The Chairman reported the death of Bob Pearson who had served as Clerk to the parish council for 26 years, retiring in 2002. He had been the second longest serving clerk to the council since 1894 and during his time in the post there had been many changes in local government with new powers being given to parish councils. He had been known for his meticulous record keeping with all the minutes and correspondence being produced by typewriter. He would be remembered by many for his outstanding contribution to the parish.

Those present then stood in silence in memory of Mr Pearson.


No declarations of interest were received. Cllr Hill explained that as ward councillor he would not take part in the discussion on agenda item 10 MRWS as the same matter would be debated by CBC later in the month.

It was noted that all councillors would need to seek a dispensation to enable them to take part in discussion and voting on the precept for 2013/4.

It was RESOLVED to delegate to the Clerk the authority to approve dispensations where the majority of councillors would be affected.


Members of the public present indicated that there were several issues on which they wished to speak –the millstone (agenda item 6), the Seamill car park access area (agenda item 7) and flooding (agenda item 8). It was agreed that they would be invited to explain their points when the council discussed each agenda item.


It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 16 July be accepted as a true record and signed by the Chairman subject to amendment to min 128/12 to read as follows:-

‘The Chairman reported that a letter had been received from Mr D Scott and Mr R Napier requesting that the access area (unadopted track and verges) leading from the railway bridge to the shore at Seamill should be brought into the parish council’s ownership. He invited Mr Scott and Mr Napier to explain to councillors the background to their request.

They explained that the request stemmed from a concern that the width of the access area had been reduced by the grass verge alongside the property “Seasprays”. They expressed the view that the stones along the verge were difficult to see and made it difficult for vehicles to pass, particularly if a vehicle was parked alongside the property on the other side of the road. The relocation of the millstone on this grassed area exacerbated the position and they expressed concern about the lack of consultation before the millstone was moved. They believed that if the access area was owned by the parish council it would be protected from encroachment and they also requested that the council move the millstone to a different location. They had collected a number of signatures in support of their request which they would present to the parish council.

It was noted that there was no registered owner of the access area and it was not part of the land purchased by the parish council as a car park. The parish council had right of access to its land across this area as a result of its long use by the County Council who had previously owned the land. It was also noted that planning consent had been given for the mill-stone. Mr Turpin of Seasprays stated that he had contacted the Land Registry about registering title to the grass verge.

There was a lengthy discussion of all the issues raised by members of the public.

It was RESOLVED that:


  • · The council investigate the possibility of taking ownership of the access area (copy of plan attached to the minutes) and the potential liabilities this would involve and
  • · The council in principle look at moving the millstone and its base to a different location in consultation with residents.’


The Localism Act 2011 had introduced a new General Power of Competence which could be used by eligible parish councils. A briefing paper outlining the scope of the power and the eligibility criteria had been circulated

It was RESOLVED that the council meets the eligibility criteria to use the general power of competence as set out in the Parish Councils (General Power of Competence)(Prescribed Conditions) Order 2012 as more than two thirds of seats are filled by councillors elected at the last election and the Clerk holds the relevant qualification (CiLCA 2012 sec 7).


The Chairman presented copies of a plan showing a possible alternative site for the millstone adjacent to the bench and interpretation panel in Seamill car park. A copy had been circulated to the owners of nearby properties. Mr Scott and Mr Napier confirmed that the site seemed acceptable to them. The Clerk had contacted three firms to obtain estimates but only one price had yet been received.

The Chairman explained that no decision could be made at this stage as the Finance and Risk Advisory Group would need to consider how any work could be funded and further consultation would be carried out both with the local community and with CBC planning officers. Copies of the plan would be put on the parish noticeboards and an article would be put in the parish magazine inviting comments. The parish council would then make a decision taking into account the views received.


A petition had been received asking the parish council to take ownership of the access area. The petition was signed by 190 people of whom about 25% appeared to be residents of the parish. Legal advice had been obtained since the last meeting and extracts from the solicitor’s letter were read out which set out the criteria which had to be met in order to claim adverse possession.

The solicitor advised that a claim by the parish council for adverse possession would be unlikely to succeed as the council did not have exclusive use of the area. The solicitor had suggested that it might be possible to lodge a caution with the Land Registry to ensure that the council was notified of any applications received which related to this area. However, certain evidence would need to be produced in order to do this. The solicitor also noted that the council’s prescriptive right of access was not recorded in the Land Registry title, although it was clearly expressed in the Assignment from CCC at the time of purchase. She suggested that enquiries be made to check if a statutory declaration was made by CCC at the time and a further statutory declaration might be required from the parish council.

It was RESOLVED that:-

  • No further action be taken to claim adverse possession of the access area
  • Further clarification be sought on the evidence required to lodge a caution
  • Enquiries be made to establish whether a statutory declaration had been given by CCC and steps be taken to register the right of access at the Land Registry.


It was reported that the extremely heavy rain on 30 August had caused flooding in many parts of the parish. Several properties in High House Road had been flooded and gardens and garages had been affected in other areas.

The Chairman invited Mr Smith to explain the problems which he and his neighbours had experienced in the Seamill Lane area.

Mr Smith described the extent of the damage caused to his property, pointing out that there had been similar events over the last 12 years. He presented a plan showing the route of the flood flows during such peak rain events when the normal road drain system is inadequate and overwhelmed. This showed that a number of other properties also suffer from the impact of these same flow routes. Mr Smith had reported this to Cumbria Highways who were to pass a report to the Highways Risk Assessment Team.


Apart from the need for a solution to protect all the properties Mr Smith suggested a local solution which would significantly reduce the impact to the three properties which are the lowest lying in this flow route by removing a slight rise in the level of the public footpath leading to the railway, thereby allowing the waters to enter the gardens of the properties below the houses and minimising the potential for damage. It was agreed that the Clerk would facilitate obtaining advice from the CCC Footpath Officer and investigate what other permissions were required. The Clerk would also further investigate the ownership status of the footpath and give advice on how to deal with any public liability issues that may arise from the proposed works.

Councillors expressed the view that action was needed to solve the root cause of the flooding problems throughout the parish which were due to the inadequacy of the drainage system to cope with the present size of the village. There had been little, if any, progress in implementing improvements to the drainage system since the last major floods in 2005 and there was a lack of effective maintenance.

It was RESOLVED to arrange a public meeting to give local residents an opportunity to discuss the issues with representatives of CCC.

151/12 FINANCE

(a) Financial Report

The Clerk reported that there had been no unplanned expenditure since the last meeting.

The external audit had been completed and the auditors had given an unqualified opinion.

The Finance & Risk Advisory Group would be meeting on 9 October to review the income/expenditure position at the end of quarter 2 and project leaders were requested to provide a forecast of their anticipated full year spending by the end of September. Budget preparation would begin shortly so the budget could be approved and the precept set at the November meeting. Any suggestions for inclusion in the budget should be submitted as soon as possible.

(b) Assets & Asset Maintenance

(i) Repairs were needed to one of the swings on the play area by the village school (estimated repair cost £157+ VAT) and to the humidity sensor on the weather station where a number of different repair options were possible.

It was RESOLVED to postpone a decision on these items until they had been considered by


(ii) CBC had agreed to supply a bin for Fairladies footpath which could be used for both dog waste and general litter at a cost of £120 + VAT.

It was RESOLVED to proceed with the purchase.

(c) Payments

It was RESOLVED that the following payments be approved:

  • Cheque no 001759 St Bees Priory PCC – room hire Total £75.00
  • Cheque no 001760 St Bees Village School –photocopying Total £10.00
  • Cheque no 001761 Playsafety Ltd – annual play area inspection £66.00 + VAT Total £79.20
  • Cheque no 001762 United Utilities– allotment water Total £20.42
  • Cheque no 001763 Copeland Borough Council – play area inspection £39.91 + VAT Total £47.89
  • Cheque no 001764 Information Commissioner– data protection renewal Total £35.00
  • Cheque no 001765 J Donaldson – Clerk salary £504.30 + postage £6.74 Total £511.04

Cheques signed since last meeting to report:

  • · Chq no 001754 St Bees Priory PCC –donation to holiday club £125.00 (approved at last meeting subject to confirmation of match funding which was received)
  • · Chq no 001755 N Lawton –beach event expenses £40.00 (replaces cancelled chqs 1748,1749 & 1750 –change of payee)
  • · Chq no 001756 YNH Ltd – domain name renewal £17.00 + VAT Total £20.40 (expiry before Sept meeting)
  • · Chq no 001757 CBC – monthly play area inspection £39.91+ VAT Total £47.89
  • · Chq no 001758 J Donaldson – salary August £504.30 (contractual payment)

152/12 MRWS

Cllr Gilmour reported on the briefing event organised by CALC to discuss the final report of the MRWS Partnership. It was noted that this was a lengthy and detailed document and concerns were expressed that the


timescale was too short for district and county councillors to read and fully understand the report before a decision was made on whether to proceed to the next stage. The Chairman of CALC had written to the principal authorities asking that a decision be postponed until certain key issues had been addressed. These issues related to:-

  • · the need for credible evidence that there is sufficient prospect of finding suitable geology for a GDF to justify proceeding
  • · the need for a Strategic Environmental Assessment which fulfils all legal requirements and provides a convincing underpinning of the MRWS programme and its application to West Cumbria
  • · the need for further development of the prospective stages 4&5 Siting Process and for evidence of willingness to participate to be obtained from the potential host communities.

It was RESOLVED that CBC and CCC be asked not to make a decision on moving to the next phase of the MRWS process until all three critical issues highlighted in Cllr Hitchen’s letter dated 20 August 2012, representing the views of CALC, have been demonstrably addressed.


(a)Beach Regeneration Project

Cllr Sim reported that a number of quotations had been received for improvements to the beach play area. The officer who had been leading the project for CBC was now leaving and the Beach Committee would be discussing how best to progress the project at its meeting on 26 September.

(b) Community Events

Last year a joint Christmas event was held with the RNLI incorporating Santa’s sleigh, switch-on of the tree lights and carol concert. The RNLI would be holding their Christmas carol concert on Tues 4 December.

It was RESOLVED that the parish council join with the RNLI in providing a Christmas event on 4 December 2012.

(c) Traffic Calming

Cllr Millington reported that the new pavement on Outrigg was now complete and an application had been submitted to the Copeland Community Fund for funding for signage and a speed gun. A decision was expected in October.

(d) Tree Planting

There was no progress to report.

(e) Walks Booklets

There was no progress to report.


(a)New applications

A number of applications had been received for comment since the last meeting and in view of the deadline for comments the Clerk had submitted preliminary responses following consultation with the Planning Advisory Group. No objections had been raised to the following applications:-

  • · Ref 4/12/2358/0N1 Notice of intention for general purpose portal framed agricultural

Building- land adjacent to B5345 north of St Bees School

  • · Ref 4/12/2376/0F1 Erection of mast for transmitting and receiving aerials -Abbots

Croft, Abbey Rd, St Bees

  • · Ref 4/12/2388/0F1 Amendment to approved barn conversion - Moorleys, Egremont
  • · Ref 4/12/2406/0L1 Listed building consent for above - Moorleys, Egremont
  • · Ref 4/12/2405/0F1 Sun room to side with verandah & storage underneath Doe Hill,

Nethertown Rd, St Bees

The following comments had been submitted on the applications for tree work at Fleatham House:-

  • · Ref 4/12/2352/TPO Remove crown of oak tree & remove 2 elms
  • · Ref 4/12/2385/TPO Works to one ash and two sycamore trees

It had been requested that CBC obtain professional advice on the need for the work and that work should only be approved where this was in the interests of safety or for the health of the trees.

It was RESOLVED to ratify the comments made.

(b) Applications approved/refused


The following decisions by CBC were noted:-

  • Installation of solar panels on roof – Khandallah House,High House Rd – REFUSED
  • Outline app for new beach bungalow (holiday use), Klontarth, Coulderton –APPROVED
  • Guest House car park, land adj to Fleatham House – APPROVED
  • Change of use from residential to B&B, 5 Ellerbeck Barns, Egremont –APPROVED
  • Garage extension -2 Seacroft Drive – APPROVED
  • Conversion of canine treatment centre to holiday cottage- High Walton Cottage – APPROVED
  • Listed building consent for internal alterations & external ramp at main entrance, St Bees School –APPROVED
  • Detached garage, High Croft, Nethertown Rd- APPROVED
  • Remove part external store & erect external garden room, Quarry Bungalow, Sandwith – APPROVED
  • Notice of intention for general purpose agricultural building, farmland adj to B5345, north of St Bees School – APPROVED
  • Remove crown of oak tree & remove 2 elm trees, Fleatham House, High House Rd – PART APPROVED, PART REFUSED

(c) Neighbourhood Plan

A preliminary meeting had taken place with CBC officers on 17 July. District councils had been invited to apply for funding to help with the preparation of neighbourhood plans. It was expected that some funding would be passed on to the parish council to help with the costs of preparing the plan.


The Clerk reported on progress with outstanding actions:

  • · Highways defects – it was agreed to arrange a meeting with Highways to discuss timescales for the work identified some months ago.
  • · Abbots Way – Beach Rd footpath – the path was damaged further by the recent floods and more work is now required than originally envisaged. Carillion has offered to consider flood related projects as part of their community projects scheme so this has been put forward as a possible scheme.
  • · Village in Bloom Committee – the group has decided that they do wish to remain a committee of the council.
  • · Steps adj 9 Main Street – enquiries have been made but no owner has been identified. The state of the steps has been reported to CBC Environmental Health Dept who are investigating and have promised to report back.
  • · Lengthsman scheme – this is proving very successful. Various maintenance works have been requested and all have been done very promptly and to a good standard.
  • · Rottington Beck works – the bridge was washed away in the floods. Discussions are taking place between CBC, CCC and RSPB about replacement of the bridge. In the meantime Mr Milburn has agreed to allow access through the caravan park.
  • · Village School Association playground improvement project – a letter has been sent on behalf of the parish council supporting the VSA’s scheme to improve outdoor play facilities at the Village School in order to support their funding applications.
  • · National Grid Strategic Options Report Consultation – acknowledgement has been received of the comments submitted as part of the consultation. Also reply from CCC about their approach to the consultation.


A written report had been received from PCSO Watson. There had been 4 road accidents during Aug/Sept. Speed monitoring was still being carried out and a letter was being sent to parents about dangerous parking outside the entrances to the Village School.

It was agreed to publicise the Farm Watch Scheme in the parish magazine.


It was noted that the lights at the main beach car park were still in need of repair. Cllr Hill agreed to follow this up with officers at CBC.



There were no items to report.


(a)Final recommendations from the electoral review of Cumbria County Council had been received. If accepted by Parliament, the changes would be effective from May 2013. Noted.

(b) Consultation on the revised draft statement of licensing policy (Gambling Act 2005) had been received from CBC. Noted.

(c)Information had been received from CALC on proposals to allow councils to use electronic payment systems. Noted.

(d)Annual play area safety inspection report received from Playsafety. No high risk areas had been highlighted. Noted.

(e)Copy of correspondence between a local resident and Cllr Southward about the highways issues associated with the conversion of Eaglesfield. Noted.

(f)Three tier meeting (CCC/CBC/parish councils) would take place on Thursday 27 Sept at Haile Village Hall. Noted.

(g)The Copeland District of CALC would hold its AGM on Tues 23 Oct at 7.00pm in Drigg Village Hall. Noted.

(h)The CALC Annual General Meeting would take place on Sat 10 November at Carlisle Racecourse. Noted beginning at 10.30am.

(i)Open Spaces Society had requested a financial contribution to their fund for grants towards members’ legal costs in pursuing court action on open spaces issues. It was agreed not to make a donation on this occasion.

(j)Notification had been received from Network Rail of planned maintenance work on the bridge at Seamill scheduled for early 2013. It was likely that the track would need to be closed to vehicles for 2-3 days. Noted.

(k)Information had been received from CALC on the impact of changes to the way council tax benefit is funded. The government had now published revised proposals so that parish councils would be unaffected.

(l) Details had been received of Neighbourhood Forum dates. Next forum in our area would be 11 October. It was noted that the criteria for grants have changed and parish councils can now apply. Noted.

(m)Letter of thanks had been received from Cumbria-Rungwe Community Link for the recent donation.

(n)An email had been received from a local resident about continuing problems of parked vehicles obstructing the visibility at the Nethertown Rd/Main Street junction. A response had been sent by Clerk. The issue would be referred for further consideration by the Traffic Calming Committee and would be drawn to the attention of the Enforcement Officers.


CALC Circular September CCC Newsletter summer 2012

Cumbria Coastal Access Update – Sept Fields in Trust newsletter

Young Cumbria Newsletter Fieldwork Autumn 2012

FLAG Newsletter Aug 2012 Countryside Voice – summer 2012

Dispatches – September Cumbria Wildlife - Sept edition


(a)Cllr Gilmour outlined the information obtained at the recent consultation event on Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm. It was agreed to monitor progress with the application.

(b) Cllr Robson reported on his on-going discussions with CCC about information which could be included on signs at the entrance to the village.


It was RESOLVED that the next meeting take place on MONDAY 15 OCTOBER at 7.35pm in the Village Hall. There would be presentations by Environment Agency representatives on beach monitoring and their role in the potential development of a new nuclear power station at Moorside near Sellafield.