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

Monday 20 January 2014 at 7.00pm in the Village Hall

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

In attendance: Cllr H Wormstrup (CCC ward councillor), Karl Melville, Area Manager Cumbria Highways

Also present: 1 member of the public



Apologies for absence were received from Cllr J Haile.



Cllr Strong declared a pecuniary interest in agenda item 5 Flooding as the owner of property in the area.

It was RESOLVED that a dispensation be granted to Cllr Strong to allow him to participate in the discussion of this item as it was deemed to be in the interests of residents of the area.



No matters were raised other than flooding which would be discussed under agenda item 5.



It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting on 16 December 2013 be approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman. 



The Chairman welcomed Karl Melville of Cumbria Highways and invited him to explain progress with flood prevention measures, particularly in the area of High House Rd.

Mr Melville explained that a report was being prepared on the flooding issues in this area, including the results of camera surveys. The report would be available at the public meeting which CCC was organising in St Bees on 3 March. The report would look at all aspects of the problem including the adequacy of the drainage system and the run-off on to the highway from private land. In many cases flooding was due to the speed and volume of water travelling down the road which prevented it from draining into the gulleys.

It was pointed out that investigations had been done in 2012 and some measures had been proposed including a new soakaway into agricultural land but this had not yet been completed. Mr Melville explained that discussions were still taking place between CCC and the landowner but he hoped that matters could be satisfactorily concluded in the relatively near future.

The Chairman read an email from Mr I Wrigley which explained his family’s position as owners of the land in question. Mr Wrigley pointed out that there had been no alterations to field entrances which could have caused a worsening of the flooding and that they were actively engaged in discussions with CCC to agree the arrangements for a soakaway into their land to ease the flow of water travelling down High House Rd.

Ms Taylor, speaking on behalf of residents affected by flooding, explained that excellent help had been received from CBC and Highways staff over the Christmas period but residents remained very concerned about the risks of further flooding until some definite measures were put in place. The Environment Agency had been asked for advice on flood barriers at the entrance to properties and a response was awaited.

It was agreed that the parish council would write to the Environment Agency to emphasise the need for urgent advice and would also make every effort to ensure all residents were aware of the meeting on Monday 3 March.

Councillors also drew attention to other flood related issues including the recurrent damage to the road surface outside Station car park, the state of the Linethwaite road and the problem of blocked



gulleys. Mr Melville explained that budget constraints meant that routine gulley emptying only took place once per year although certain gullies might be done more frequently.



Cllr Millington reported that he and the Clerk had attended the Highways Open Day on 19 December when Mr Melville had explained the Better Highways scheme. Parishes had been asked to undertake a survey of highways defects but as St Bees had completed a full survey in 2012 it had been agreed that this would be used as a starting point. Named members of staff would act as the point of liaison with each parish and there would be regular feedback.  Mr Melville stressed that the budget for highways work in Copeland was so limited that repairs had to be prioritised and parishes could not expect to see all defects dealt with in the short term but parishes would be kept informed of progress.

The Chairman thanked Mr Melville for his attendance and Mr Melville then left the meeting.


Cllr Millington reported that work on the construction of the island near the entrance to Fairladies was due to start on 27 January, funded by the parish council and the grant from Cllr Southward.

Although the CCC budget consultation was now closed, it was suggested that representations should be made to CCC about the inadequacy of the funding for highways in Copeland.

It was RESOLVED that a letter be sent to CCC asking for more funds to be allocated to highways.

Cllr Wormstrup then left the meeting.



(a)Finance report

The notes of the meeting of the Finance & Risk Advisory Group were received together with the summary of accounts at quarter 3 (copy attached to the minutes). It was noted that most of the  funds carried over at the end of last year for specific projects had been spent and the bank balance at the end of the quarter included £8000 earmarked for the play area project which was likely to be spent in quarter 4. Expenditure at qtr 3 was broadly in line with expectations.


(b) Budget 2014/15

Cllr Strong presented a draft budget for 2014/15. He and the Clerk had attended a briefing session with CBC at which the calculation of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme grant had been explained.  The grant for the parish in 2014/15 would be only £97.97, a significant reduction from the figure of £1065 in the current year. The draft budget was based on an inflation-level increase of 2% on routine expenditure with a 1% increase to cover additional costs associated with the new services the council was now providing. However a further increase would be required to compensate for the reduction in grant income, bringing the Band D precept to £50.49 per annum. Whilst this represented a rise of 6% on the current figure it was pointed out that the parish precept was still less than £1 per week for a Band D property.

It was RESOLVED that the draft budget be approved and the precept for 2014/15 be set at £35086.03.


(c) Donation Request

A request had been received from 1st St Bees Brownies for a donation towards the costs of attending a celebration of their centenary in York.

It was RESOLVED that a donation of £50.00 be made and information on other funding sources be passed on to the Guiders.



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

  • Cheque 001905 CBC – NNDR Beach toilets 4th instalment Total £85.00
  • Cheque 001906 P Preston –electricity for Christmas lights  Total  £30.00
  • Cheque 001907 CBC–emptying of Fairladies bin qtr 4 Total £24.70


  • Cheque 001908 CBC – play area inspections qtr 4 £123.30 + VAT Total £147.96
  • Cheque 001909 CPRE – annual subscription Total £29.00
  • Cheque 001910 J Donaldson – reimbursement for postage £11.40, printer cartridges £32.98 +VAT, anti-virus renewal £32.84 + VAT and Broadband allowance £50.00 Total £140.72
  • Cheque 001911 J Donaldson – Clerk salary Jan 2014 nett £445.11
  • Cheque 001912 CBC – recharge for electricity - beach toilets £71.98 + VAT Total £75.58
  • Standing Order -Thomas Milburn (Property) Ltd – beach toilet service Jan £583.33 + £116.67 VAT Total £700.00



The Chairman reported that there had been significant damage caused by the recent winds and high tides at both Seamill and the main Seacote beach. The hole which had appeared at the north end of the prom had not become any larger and the area was now fenced off. CBC had already placed a contract for further remedial work on Rottington Beck. A group of residents from the caravan park had done an excellent job in clearing vast amounts of stones and rubbish thrown up by the tides.

It was RESOLVED that a sum of £100 be made available for the purchase of litter picking equipment in consultation with the group.


There had been some erosion of the cliffs at the south end of the beach and the path by the golf course had been closed temporarily following a site meeting with CCC footpaths officer. The parish council would liaise with St Bees School and Mr Milburn over the re-routing of the permissive path.

Seamill car park had been closed because of damage to the surface. One quotation had been received for levelling the ground and a second was awaited. There had also been damage to the gabions and it was suggested that the parish council should press CBC and Network Rail to carry out work to strengthen the coastal defences at Seamill. The recent damage offered an opportunity to tidy up the boat park and the Chairman was contacting owners of boats and equipment stored there.

It was RESOLVED that repair work to the car park be carried out at a sum not exceeding £700+VAT



Following the last meeting the link to the record of the House of Lords Committee hearing had been circulated.

It was RESOLVED that a letter be sent to the peers involved explaining the parish council’s recent public consultation exercise and the conclusions which could be drawn from it.



(a)Beach Regeneration

(i) Play Area

A decision on the planning application was expected at the meeting of the Planning Panel on 22 January. The lease had been signed by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman and had been returned for sealing by CBC. As the council would be assuming responsibility for the play area from 1 February the Clerk had contacted the insurers to confirm that public liability cover would be provided under the existing policy.  There would be a small charge for property insurance of the swing units which

were to be retained in the new design.

It was RESOLVED that arrangements be made to insure the swing units against damage with effect from 1 February.  


(ii)Coast to Coast Banner

An estimate was still awaited for repairing and re-fixing the banner.





(iii)Landscaping Brief

Cllr Hill reported that an initial meeting had taken place with Groundwork. The landscape architect had visited the site and would be talking to other stakeholders before preparing a preliminary design for consideration at a meeting on 3 February.


(b) Traffic Calming

Cllr Moules explained that he was trying to find a volunteer to prepare the rota and act as custodian of the speed gun as he had limited daytime availability but hoped that the scheme would be underway shortly.


(c) Walks Booklets

The reprints of the leaflets were now in stock. Cllr Robson reported that he had received an estimate of £295 for production of a large map for the beach shelter which was within the sum originally budgeted. The walls of the shelter would need to be repainted before the map was put in place and Cllr Argyle volunteered to assist with this.


(d) Community Events

The Chairman had made contact with various local organisations to seek views on a co-ordinated approach to commemorating the centenary of WW1. A number of interesting ideas had been put forward and it was agreed that any suggestions could be sent to Cllr Kennedy. It was noted that the wall by the war memorial had been damaged and the Chairman would inspect the damage so that appropriate arrangements could be made for repair.


(e) Office Improvements

Cllr Sim reported that work had started to clear the office at the Village Hall. No expenditure had been incurred to date but there would be some costs associated with repairing the window and roof.


(f) Tree Planting

Cllr Bettinson reported that he was in discussion with the Bursar at St Bees School about the possibility of planting trees on land owned by the school. It was unlikely that the whole budget would be spent by the end of the financial year.



One written expression of interest had been received in the vacancy for a parish councillor.

It was RESOLVED that Ms Maxine Riley be co-opted as a parish councillor to serve until the next election in May 2015.



Network Rail had confirmed that the lease would be transferred to the parish council with effect from 8 February. A meeting was being arranged with Network Rail and CBC representatives to formalise arrangements. The terms of the lease would be as considered at the meeting in June 2013.

It was RESOLVED that the Chairman and Vice Chairman sign the lease on behalf of the parish council.



The Clerk reported on the following matters:-

  • The meeting with St Bees School would take place on Mon 27 January 2014 at 7.00pm in the Whitelaw Building.
  • There had been problems with someone putting domestic rubbish in the bin on Fairladies footpath. A note had been put in parish magazine for February and a message had been put out by the Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator.




  • Some quarry waste had been delivered to fill a large pothole in Priory Paddock. The lengthsman had done an excellent job at very short notice in helping to move the stone and fill the pot-holes. It was RESOLVED to send a letter of thanks to the lengthsman scheme.
  • Cllr Wormstrup had provided copies of two briefing papers from the Industrial Communities Alliance. Copies were available from the Clerk.
  •  A training session on apple tree pruning was being organised on Sat 15 February at Egremont Community Orchard. There were places for 25 volunteers from across the West Copeland Partnership area.
  • The Chairman reported on discussions with Bob Muscat of CCC about plans to improve the footpath between Abbots Way and Beach Rd. Although funding had been secured in the CCC budget, there had been no progress with setting a date for the work due to the workload at CCC. As it was now sometime since the meeting took place with residents’ representatives and the path surface was deteriorating, it was agreed to write to CCC to offer help from the parish council in getting the work underway.
  • A report had been received of an obstruction to the footpath from Fleatham to Loughrigg. This had been passed to CCC for investigation.
  • The Clerk was in discussions with the Community Payback Scheme about regular beach cleans/litter picking around the play area.



(a) New Applications

The Planning Advisory Group reported on the following applications received for comment:


  • Ref 4/13/2510/TPO  Felling of two trees within the conservation area

                                               Croft House, St Bees

          It was noted that this application had now been approved by CBC


  • Ref 4/14/2011/0L1  Listed building consent for replacement windows

                                             Foundation Building, St Bees School                                 

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


 (b) Applications approved/refused

The following decisions by CBC were noted:

  • 24.6m high wind turbine (tip height 34.2m) to replace permission 4/12/2199 for 18m high turbine – Land at Green Lonning, St Bees APPROVED (subject to a sec 106 agreement)
  • Variation of condition 2 of approval 4/01/0665 to allow use of static caravans all year round – St Bees Caravan Park  APPROVED with conditions
  • Listed building consent for new laser transmitter & receiver – Bega House, Lonsdale Terrace St Bees APPROVED
  • Listed building consent for partial reroofing, renewal of chimney back gutter and introduction of roof insulation and raking ceiling linings – Cross Hill House, Cross Hill, St Bees APPROVED

It was also noted that the Order authorising the stopping up of part of the highway verge at Beach Rd had been approved by the Dept for Transport.



PCSO Kane had provided a written report. There were no significant items to report in the last month.



The notes of the meeting of the West Copeland Partnership on 14 January had been received.

The Chairman reported on The Copeland Partnership Growth Conference on Wed 15 January which three members of the parish council had attended. The Chairman had joined the discussions on


tourism which it was hoped would lead to better liaison between the various groups involved in tourism promotion. The next Copeland Partnership meeting would be in 3 months time.



(a) A copy of letter from D Brownrigg & R Stout to the Governors of St Bees School was received for information, concerning the covenant on the land at Abbey Rd. Noted.

(b) A letter had been received from Mr G Wren, an old Millhillian, recalling his fond memories of St Bees and explaining that he had requested that his ashes be scattered on Tomlin. The Clerk had written to acknowledge the letter.

(c) An invitation had been received from Northern Gas Networks to attend a workshop on tackling fuel poverty and improving carbon monoxide awareness on 27 January in Newcastle. Noted.

(d) Correspondence had been received from CALC inviting nominations for the PC Chairmen to attend a Royal Garden Party. It was RESOLVED that Cllr Sim be nominated.

(e) Details had been received of the Neighbourhood Care Independence Programme, which is funded by CCC to provide a range of help and advice to adults who need help to remain independent including those returning home from a spell in hospital. The Clerk would ensure that a copy was available at the public library.

(f) Correspondence had been received from United Utilities about the launch of consultation on their drought plan which particularly affects West Cumbria. It was RESOLVED to respond that in the council’s view the possibility of water shortages would discourage new industrial developments in West Cumbria and that other options should be considered to maintain an adequate water supply for West Cumbria.

(g) An invitation had been received for representatives from the West Copeland Partnership to attend the licensing of Revd Cpt Simon Cake as Team Vicar in Egremont - Mon 24 February at 7.30pm in St Mary and st Michael’s Parish Church, Egremont. Noted.

(h) Letters of thanks had been received from The Friends of the Priory and St Bees PCC for the recent donations. Noted.



Cumbrian Wildlife January 2014

Open Spaces Society News  Christmas 2013

North Cumbria University hospitals – GP Update Dec 13



(a) There would be a talk by Charm Robson about Art and the Killer Diseases on Wed 22 January in the Whitelaw Building, St Bees School.

(b) On 11 February Tom Rice would be giving a talk entitled Edmund Grindal and the Struggle for England’s Soul in the Whitelaw Building at 7.30pm



It was RESOLVED that the next monthly meeting take place on Monday 17 February 2014 at 7.00pm in the Village Hall.