ham and stone parish council - Stroud District Community Websites


ham and stone parish council - Stroud District Community Websites
Minutes of the ANNUAL PARISH MEETING held in Stone Village Hall
On Monday 17th March 2015 at 8pm
Councillor& District Councillor P Wride
Councillor E Stokes
Councillor G Langdon
Councillor P Case
Councillor C Miller
County Councillor J Cordwell
Clerk: Mrs J Nichols
Mr Andrew Slaney, Chief Operations Officer for SGS
Six members of the public
1. Apologies for absence – Councillor D Clark due to ill health
2. Adoption of Minutes of previous meeting held on March 17th 2014 - these were accepted and signed by
the Chairman as a true and accurate record of events.
3. Parish Council Chairman’s Report:
Thank you all for coming tonight. This is your meeting and for us as Councillors to tell you what we have
been doing for the Parish.
At long last work has started on the Berkeley Vale Hotel site and the Guinness Trust will be taking over the
main building for social housing and the first tenants are expected to move in shortly.
The school site which also had planning permission for social housing has been recently purchased and we
await new planning applications.
Gareth Thomas has left the village and we are grateful that the Litter Busters have a new coordinator in
Naomi Sargent.
The “Stalkingham News” is now being collated by Ann Leaney. It is fitting, that on behalf of Ham & Stone,
we acknowledge the passing of Derek Burgess who did this so well and we are extremely lucky that Ann, who
has not been well herself, has taken the task on. We wish her well.
I must also place on record that Basil Booth, who died last year, will be missed by us all and his advice and
wisdom in all things related to the Parish will also be missed.
The Village Design Statement is still not “off the ground” and I have said that it must not be led by me as I
have done three Village Appraisals and Updates.
Community events: the Play Area has received much support and funds have been raised by last year’s
Midsummer Madness Supper, which was a very enjoyable event. Gareth Langdon must be thanked for
organizing the Summer Fair and Evening Barbecue, which again raised funds.
Residents may think that the Parish Council have a magic pot of money that can be tapped into to repair and
update the Play Area but unfortunately all the monies raised is by the action of fund-raising efforts.
Highways issues have dominated our meetings and although some progress has been made the state of the
roads, in the parish, are in a very poor condition. Without a local Highways Officer it is difficult to get
someone to come and inspect them.
Finally, thank you to Jenny our Clerk, who tries to keep us on the right path, and my fellow Councillors for
their help and support.
Penny Wride
4. District Councillors Report:
The Council is run by a rainbow coalition and the Conservatives are in the opporsition.
Mark Rees is Chairman of the Council and Tom Williams, Vice-Chairman – although he doesn’t sit on the top
table or wear a chain of office.
The Council at Ebley Mill has been trying to get the Draft Local Plan approved and the Inspector asked the
Council to review the housing numbers. This gave the council the chance to increase the numbers of houses
required and make some other changes, namely including the Green Energy College on the old Berkeley
Centre site. I will not say anymore on that save to say I think it is the best thing to happen in the district.
Ham and Stone are so lucky to be hosting it, but more from Andy Slaney later tonight.
The large solar farm at Lower Wick was called in and refused and a smaller solar farm was permitted subject
to many conditions.
I have also represented the District Council at Stroud CAB, recipients of the largest grant from SDC funds.
They do work for the most vulnerable and those who do not know where to get help, a group, mainly staffed
by volunteers, works right across the district.
I am also on the Community Service Committee which has in its portfolio properties as diverse as the
Subscription Rooms in Stroud and the Dursley Pool, which is to be renovated and upgraded.
SDC have started to build more Council houses. The funding is coming from the “right to buy” money and
loans of £98m which is to be used to improve the housing stock and is expected to be repaid over 50 years. If
the Council had been able to transfer to a social housing agency, as originally planned, the Council would not
have this burden of loan.
I also now sit on the Audit and Scrutiny Committee. This committee gives a good opportunity to question the
financing and the benefits and effectiveness of new proposals. Some things have been proposed many times
before and are still not thrown out, ie building a hydroelectric scheme at the Mill!
The Boundary Commission are reviewing ward boundaries and because of increased housing at Coopers
Edge, the Councillor had too many electors, so it caused the review.
The proposal has meant that the commission now wants Vale Ward to be from Bevington to Slimbridge, a
distance of some 10 miles apart and for 3 Councillors to represent 6 parishes. I personally feel that this is
going to place an undue burden on the Councillors. No other 3 member Ward represents 6 parishes and it
could mean 50 – 60 Parish Council meetings a year and with District Councillors being on at least 2
committees, and representing SDC on outside bodies like Road Safety and Community Safety Partnerships,
this could add up to a total of 100 meetings a year. I think that would be considered an unsuitable work-load
for anyone!
SC are changing the provider of rubbish collection services. It will be provided by a company/partnership
of Cotswold, Forest of Dean, Cheltenham and Gloucester City Councils.
SDC have had to but a disposal site and costs will be incurred in providing extra bin vehicles and changes to
the routes but it is hoped to provide a better service. Maybe we will still be able to use Thornbury? It was
suggested by the Head of Service that perhaps South Gloucestershire Council would enter into negotiations to
allow all residents of Ham & Stone parish to use their facility.
Javelin Park SDC have raised objections to the design of the incinerator and although others object to having
an incinerator the only basis for the SDC objection is on the style of building.
Penny Wride
5. County Councillors Report:
This of course can only be a very brief summary of what has been happening at the County
County Council Membership
An Independent member of the council died a few months ago and the by-election
was won by a Conservative.
The county is still run by a minority Conservative administration. The political
composition is:
24 Conservative; 14 Liberal Democrat; 9 Labour; 3 UKIP; 1 Green; I PAB; 1
At approaching 34 years I am now the longest-serving county councillor in the
history of the present Gloucestershire County Council.
My roles on the County Council
In addition to the roles I detailed in last year’s report, a Highways Contract Advisory
Group has been set up, on which I am a lead member. Its current job is to have “oversight and
input into setting the outcomes of the LED street lighting contract procurement.” The contract
will be awarded on 6th April. We have also been critical of the performance of the Amey
County Budget 2015/16
On 18th February the council agreed a budget for 2015/16 of £420.03M, a decrease
in cash terms of £8.075M. However the council has suffered a £17.5M reduction in central
government formula grant funding, offset by increases in the council tax base and surplus
of £5.4M. Public Heath funding to the council has increased by £3.1M but this is because of
the transfer of responsibilities to the council for 0 to 5-year-olds.
The total to be precepted (council tax requirement) is £231.116M. For the fifth
year running, council tax has been frozen at £1090.50 at Band D.
Such cuts limited the scope for amendments to be made to the budget.
However, it took on board nearly the full slate of budget proposals put forward by the
Liberal Democrats which included:
Last September, Liberal Democrats asked for the County Council to carry out a
study to identify routes that cyclists found problematic, and used the results to successfully
propose that £100k was put in the budget to do the advanced design work needed to allow
schemes identified by the study to be delivered in the future.
Around £100k is to be invested to provide free Wi-Fi in every county and
community library.
With concern over the state of trees near highways, each councillor is to be
allocated £2500 next year that can be used on tree maintenance or tree planting. This is on
top of the £20k annual “Highways Local” allocation to each councillor.
and a further £100k – worth of proposals.
Most suggestions put forward by Labour were rejected as they had not
calculated the cost of them! The exceptions were implementation of the living wage
increase for staff at £36k and a useful £100k to invest in maintaining rural bus services. The
Green Party were successful in a £30k bid for a rural sustainable drainage pilot scheme in
the Frome catchment area.
Active Together Grant
Arising from last year’s budget each county councillor was allocated a once-off £40k to
be used to support the prioritisation and delivery of sport and physical activity within their
electoral divisions. I have now recommended grants to six projects in my division from this
fund, fully spending the £40k. This included a teenage play area for Ham & Stone.
Another £100k was allocated jointly to the ten county councillors within the Stroud
district area to fund healthy projects and healthy living campaigns in disadvantaged
communities. We met last month to discuss how this should be spent, having previously
agreed the priorities should be on stopping smoking and reducing obesity. Nine projects have
been agreed in whole or in part.
In addition an annual Children’s Activity Fund of £5k per councillor was set up. Two
projects were submitted and received funding. A third now received means that it is also fully
subscribed. I understand this will be available again in the coming financial year.
County Residual Waste Disposal Project – Javelin Park
Early in 2013 the County Council’s Cabinet, despite many objections, pressed ahead
with its plans for waste disposal using an incinerator, to be located at Javelin Park, close to
junction 12 of the M5. Against advice from its Environment and Communities Scrutiny
Committee the council signed a contract with Urbaser-Balfour Beatty (UBB) before UBB’s
planning application was considered by the county’s planning committee on 21st March
2013. It was unanimously refused by the 18 members of the planning committee, of which I
was one.
The grounds for refusal were based on environmental considerations, essentially
that the harm to the landscape outweighed the benefits, that it introduced a prominent
building into a rural area overlooked by the AONB and the Cotswold Way, and that it would
have an overbearing effect on nearby residential properties. The council was not able to
object to the proposed technology.
UBB appealed against the decision and a public inquiry was held. The Secretary
of State “recovered” the appeal, which meant that the planning inspector did not determine
it himself but submitted a report with his recommendations to the Secretary of State.
Originally Mr Eric Pickles was supposed to announce his decision in May 2014. After
several further missed deadlines, in January this year he announced he had decided to
allow the appeal.
At an emergency meeting of the county council last month, called by the Labour
group, a vote was taken to call on the county’s cabinet to cancel the contract for this (really
a censure against the Cabinet since it was clear they would not agree). It was narrowly lost
when UKIP members joined the Conservatives in voting against it.
My group had initially tabled an amendment asking for an independent inquiry into
the procurement process used (including the matter of the contract being signed before the
Planning Committee had determined the application) and to establish the cancellation
costs, reputed to be close to £100M, but it turned out the full information would not be
revealed even in strictest confidence to councillors.
It seems most likely now that it will go ahead, although Stroud District Council
have called for a judicial review of the planning decision.
New Highways Contract
Amey were awarded the contract, which started in April 2014. There have since been
considerable concerns raised by county councillors and the public over work not being done
when promised and over its quality. In addition some requests seem to get lost in the system
– several of mine for dealing with light outages and potholes marked for repair which then fell
off the computer due to human error. Renewing double yellow lining and white lining,
particularly at junctions, is still outstanding. A former county council officer has been brought
out of retirement to help sort things out and I had a long discussion with him. (He is being
paid by Amey.)
Once again £20k was allocated to each county councillor in 2014/15 to
spend on highway issues within their divisions. I put forward a list many months ago, some
of which are now instead being done from the general highways budget. I have just been
advised, in common with many other councillors, that none of my £20k-worth of schemes is
currently programmed and they will now have to be rolled over into the next financial year:
Amey has not been able to progress them. Unfortunately in this part of the county we were
also missing our local Gloucestershire County Council highways manager for part of the
year through illness, and shortly through taking another job.
Drive for Life
In February I attended this full day of talks and practical demonstrations for Y12 and
Y13 students at KLB School as Chair of the County Council’s Stroud Area Road Safety
Liaison Group. The event was well received by the students, a number of whom have
already passed their driving test. All the emergency services attended together with the
Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership. I hope that other schools and colleges in the
county will have the same opportunity.
I have been involved in a number of issues including:
- measures to remind drivers of the speed limit between Berkeley and Ham;
- public right of way obstructions;
- safe crossing of the A38.
- chasing Amey over blocked gullies etc.
John Cordwell
6. Matters raised by residents:
Mr Wride asked Councillor Cordwell about the objections to the Javelin Park site. Mr Cordwell pointed out
that objections had been made because of the locality of the site to nearby homes, the volume of traffic it
would generate and the negative environmental issues. He did feel however that it would most likely go
ahead after the intervention of the Secretary of State.
Mrs Bryant, who lives next door to the Berkeley Vale site which is now in full swing, asked why developers
were allowed to flaunt the rules after getting Planning Permission. She reported that the times of working had
been disregarded and that machinery could be active from as early as 7am when in fact the planning
conditions state 8am. Workmen are also busy on Saturday afternoons and Sunday’s, again contravening the
rules. She is concerned that the new dwellers, of the flats, will have nowhere to park while the rest of the site
is completed and the volume of traffic will be a safety hazard. With more developments close to this site it is
extremely likely to cause major problems and she is concerned for the safety of her family and herself.
Since moving into Spahaven she and her husband have adopted the piece of grass verge outside their gate and
have kept it cut and neat, this is now in jeopardy as there are workmen’s vehicles that need a space to park.
She requested that bollards be erected to protect this area.
The Council accepted her concerns and having heard them will proceed to let Highways and Planning know
Mrs LeRiche pointed out that the road-sweeper now has to sweep over vegetation growing at the roadside.
She felt this was a waste of resources and it would be better for the vegetation to be removed first. As it is
now Council policy not to use chemicals to kill the weeds it is not certain that anything can be done but it will
be followed up.
Mr Andrew Slaney gave a presentation about the proposed University Technical College of Digital
Technologies and Advance Manufacturing planned for the old Berkeley Nuclear Site:
The Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park, Berkeley Green
GFirst the Local Enterprise Partnership in Gloucestershire and SGS College are working in
partnership to develop a new and exciting Science and Technology Park campus at Berkeley.
The project has been identified as an important element of the Gloucestershire Strategic
Economic Plan and will open in September 2016.
South Gloucestershire & Stroud College (SGS) is a large Further Education college working
predominantly in Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire and Bristol.
Recently recognised by OFSTED for their outstanding leadership and management, SGS
provides a wide curriculum which includes Construction, Mechanical Engineering and
Electrical Engineering.
Great Partnership
GFirst the Local Enterprise Partnership in Gloucestershire and SGS College are working in
partnership to develop a new and exciting Science and Technology Park campus at Berkeley.
The project has been identified as an important element of the Gloucestershire Strategic
Economic Plan and will open in September 2016.
STEAM - building on the concept of STEM
SGS Berkeley Green will be introducing many arts- based activities into their science,
technology, engineering and maths elements to reflect the innovative, dynamic and
design solution focussed provision at the campus.
As the site of a former nuclear research facility, the Gloucestershire Science and Technology
Park at Berkeley Green is entirely capable of accommodating an inspiring and unique
development called the Gloucestershire Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear
(GREEN) Skills Centre which will be used for the development of the Science, Technology,
Engineering, Art and Maths (STEAM) skills needed to deliver future economic growth
within Gloucestershire and to help maximise the return to the UK economy from major
infrastructure projects.
The STEAM concept builds on the better known acronym of STEM, and recognised the need
to design and innovation to sit alongside engineering, science and technology. Currently, the
Berkeley centre provides a home for the Corporate Departments of Magnox Limited and a
nationally important instrument calibration facility operated by Cavendish Nuclear. The site
offers extensive car parking and a restaurant for site occupiers. The SGS Berkeley GREEN
Skills Centre will see around 400 leaners and staff arriving at the site in September 2016. It is
also hoped that a UTC (University Technical College) and a Cyber Security Training and
Conference Centre will also be open at this time.
In the medium to long-term incubation units and a small science park will be provided on the
site. We also anticipate an uptake of space by commercial operators delivering major
infrastructure projects within the region.
The GREEN Skills Project
The GREEN Skills Project will aim to achieve the following economic objectives:•
Return a greater value of investment from 'new nuclear' to the UK supply chain
(Oxford Economics, 2013)
Provide a greater number of STEAM jobs demanded in Gloucestershire (NEF, 2014)
Encourage greater social mobility; potentially backfilling the skills drain from major
infrastructure projects
Encourage innovation, entrepreneurship and new business start-ups. Gloucestershire
has above average success for new businesses (NEF, 2014)
Address the skills needs and economic opportunities offered by low carbon and
construction sectors
Provide potential to react to demands, whilst growing and adapting to provide new
technology skills as required
Unlocking Gloucestershire's potential
The investment in the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park will enable
Gloucestershire to build a long-term sustainable skills system providing growth opportunities
for Science, Technology, and Low carbon and Engineering businesses in Gloucestershire.
Already employers are seeing the growth opportunities and this is evidenced by EDF who
have committed to creating 500 apprenticeship jobs in groundworks and initial construction,
a number greater than the total apprenticeship output in these trades UK wide per year.
SGS Berkeley Green UTC
Schools Minister, Lord Nash has announced that SGS Berkeley Green University Technical
College (UTC) has been approved. The UTC, specialising in Digital Technologies and
Advanced Manufacturing, will open in September 2016. With SGS as sponsors, working in
close partnership with the University of Gloucestershire, the aim is to provide students with
the best possible preparation for working life or further study.
The projected growth in the south-west’s digital engineering and manufacturing sectors has
led employers to call for more students to be trained in digital engineering and
manufacturing, leading to the backing of the UTC to address this shortfall in skills.
The UTC will train up to 660 14- to 19-year-olds in digital technologies, cyber security and
advanced manufacturing, giving students the opportunity to gain valuable technical
qualifications (hands on learning while studying core academic GCSEs and A levels, such as
English and Maths).
A number of local firms will work with the UTC, including engineering company Versarien,
fire and security systems experts Allcooper, and Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, a world-leading
supplier of aircraft landing gear and braking systems.
Further details can be found on the college website: http://berkeleygreen.sgscol.co.uk/
Mrs Wride thanked everyone for coming and thanked Mr Slaney for his presentation.
The meeting ended 9.40pm
Refreshments were available and some people stayed to discuss their feelings.