BROAD TOWN PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the Extra Ordinary Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on
Monday 26 June 2017
PRESENT: Councillor J E Jordan – Chairman
Councillor S Billis
Councillor S G Hartley
Councillor M A Holland
Councillor R Pearce
Councillor C J Rendell
OFFICERS: Mrs L A Roberts – Interim Parish Clerk
Four Members of the public were present.
Public Participation – No questions were raised by the public in attendance.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Joyce.
76/17 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations of interest.
The minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 12 June 2017 having previously been circulated, were signed by the Chairman, Councillor Mrs Jordan as a correct record.
78/17 NEIGHBOURHOOD AREA MODIFICATION CONSENT
No one was present from Wiltshire Council, however Victoria Burvill had made herself available on the telephone. Members discussed the item at length, formulated some questions and strongly recommended that the Parish Council’s views should be sent in writing before formally signing of the Consent Form.
Councillor Billis queried the advice offered by Wiltshire Council at a meeting which took place on 2 March 2017. At that meeting Clyffe Pypard were advised they could withdraw from the plan and work on a community plan instead of a neighbourhood plan. This advice had informed the basis of some of the questions raised by Councillor Billis and put to Wiltshire Council. Councillor Billis added that at the meeting 12 questions were presented to those in attendance and they appeared to be questions which should have been raised and answered at the very beginning of the process and not 5 years into it.
The Parish Council do not feel there has been a straight answer on what the implications are for Broad Town being the only Parish left in the New-V designated area.
There was a feeling that if Broad town are left in the New-V designation which they have been advised can just lay dormant could any liabilities which may be attached to it be resurrected. What is not within Broad Town’s control is removing themselves from the designation now every other party has left it. So how does Broad Town mitigate any risk. If there is an obligation to develop a NP because you have a NP designation and if at this stage it is not expedited could developers try and push through a planning application? Broad Town need to know exactly what, if any, liability is attached to remaining part of the New-V designated area. Indeed, under what framework and terms of reference was the New-V designation set up.
It was confirmed that Tockenham and Clyffe Pypard had now put in requests to designate their areas for a Neighbourhood Plan.
The Parish Council resolution which delegated authority to the then Parish Clerk to sign the consent form to release Clyffe Pypard and Tockenham from the New-V designation was made before the Parish Council were made aware that both parishes intended designating their own areas.
It was felt that the decision to move forward was going around in circles with no definitive answer to the concerns raised. The position Broad Town were in was becoming untenable and The Parish Council feel they should be in control of their own destiny and need to make their position clear.
Confirmation was required that the New V designation can remain dormant indefinitely and any liability that remains should be shared across the nine villages.
What would the situation be if Broad Town states it does not want to be left with the plan?
Who could release Broad Town, Wiltshire Council? As far as the Parish Council is concerned New V no longer exists and Broad Town should be able to take control back over whether or not the parish wanted/needed to create its own plan which would be for Broad Town only, as the other parishes in the original New V designation had done.
The original idea of the New-V was to prevent the encroachment of Swindon which was the fundamental reason why the whole of the New-V set up a Neighbourhood Planning process.
Before making the phone call to Victoria Burvill members agreed to hear questions from the public in attendance.
It was proposed by Councillor Pearce, seconded by Councillor Billis and
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED to close the formal part of the meeting to allow questions from the public.
Question from the floor.
Are we certain that the previous Parish council did not elect for any development other than what is stated in the Core Strategy? The community is reasonably content with the protection afforded to it in the Core Strategy, although it is known that developers have shown an interest in Broad Town. Had the previous Parish Council indicated that they were content to accept more development?
In answer to the question Councillor Billis felt that his question to Wiltshire Council regarding Broad Town being vulnerable to development had not been answered fully and there was still a concern that Wiltshire Council might believe there is a requirement or desire in Broad Town to accept development.
Further questions from the floor.
It appears there is little confidence in the advice received. Would it be possible to ask for any precedents so we know how other places have dealt with such a position?
In response as the Neighbourhood Planning concept is a new one it is believed that there are no precedents which Broad Town could investigate.
Has due process been followed? It feels highly likely that process has not been followed by the New-V area and therefore would not stand up to interrogation.
It was felt that as a new Parish Council that chapter and verse should be presented to Wiltshire Council in writing which reflects the concerns of the new Parish council
The Parish Council was advised that the Terms of Reference for the New-V Neighbourhood Pan area were not agreed by each Parish but they had been advised that this was not necessary.
The meeting was then formally opened and the following is a transcript of the telephone conversation between the Chairman Councillor Mrs Jordan and Victoria Burvill. The conversation was put onto speaker phone and heard by all members present.
Chairman Councillor Jordan. What is not understood are the circumstances where a neighbourhood designation approved for 9 parishes all of which, including Broad Town, now want to withdraw from that agreement, cannot be dissolved but has to remain with Broad Town as the only remaining parish in the broader designation.
Victoria Burvill. No parish can withdraw from a designation they must designate a new Neighbourhood area in their respective parish.
Chairman Councillor Mrs Jordan. If Broad Town is the last remaining Parish in the New-V designation, why would that be sensible since the New-V was designated on the geographical spread of the original application, so why can Broad Town not have its own designated area?
Victoria Burvill. You can do that but you would have to apply to designate Broad Town as a Neighbourhood Area, this would be the only way for parishes to extract themselves from the New-V Neighbourhood area, unfortunately this is the way the regulations are written and the process which must be followed.
If Broad Town want to make an application for a Neighbourhood Area Designation it can but it cannot remove a Neighbourhood Area Designation. If it did make its own application it would mean the dormant designation would remain with the New-V you can change the designation but not remove it and you can modify it by designating something new so in effect by modifying the name and boundary to Broad Town.
Chairman, Councillor Mrs Jordan. If Broad Town did make a new designation would the liability be any different to that of Tockenham or Clyffe Pypard? What does it mean to be the last parish in the designation, are there any additional liabilities?
Victoria Burvill. No, Tockenham and Clyffe Pypard have made their own Neighbourhood Designations and will have their own area and produce a plan on their area. Broad Town can do the same but there will be a process to follow and a period where Broad Town remains in the New-V designation but the New-V Neighbourhood Area will just apply to Broad Town and no remaining obligations for anything would remain in the New-V process. There is nothing which states that a Neighbourhood Plan process must be completed because it has started.
Broad Town ends up with New-V Area Designation it can apply to get its own Neighbourhood Plan Designation named Broad Town which can sit there, nothing further needs to happen.
Chairman, Councillor Mrs Jordan. If Broad Town modified the New V designation to Braod Town only and did not create a Neighbourhood Plan would it remain protected by the policies in the Core Strategy.
Victoria Burvill. Absolutely.
Chairman, Councillor Mrs Jordan. Is there an impression at Wiltshire that Broad Town are looking for development? The concern is that the answer given to this question previously by email was not a direct “no” Is there a value in Parish Council putting that in writing to receive a written affirmative response?
Victoria Burvill. The Core Strategy contains the policies which Wiltshire Council will used to make decisions on development. Small villages are protected in that there is no intention to accept development unless there is a local need which is evidence based. Broad Town Could do a rural housing needs study and find out future requirements for affordable housing and establish what is needed in the neighbourhood area. There is currently no indication or anything which Wiltshire Council would base any decisions for extra development on in Broad Town. Wiltshire Council is only aware of earlier policy options in relation to the Neighbourhood Planning process which was an intention to consult with the community to establish the will of community on development. So, there is no acknowledgement of any intent for any development in Broad Town. In answer to a further question from the Chairman, Councillor Mrs Jordan. Victoria Burvill confirmed that they were unaware of any pressures on potential development and no developers were in discussion with Wiltshire Council about anything as far as Victoria Burvill was aware. The Chairman, Councillor Mrs Jordan stated so nothing changes Broad Town’s definition in the Core Strategy which states Broad Town is a small village. Victoria Burvill, that is correct and further stated that unless a Neighbourhood plan is in advanced stages the policies contained within it would not be considered when making planning decisions so there are no material considerations.
Chairman, Councillor Mrs Jordan. So, is there a benefit at this stage in the Parish Council stating its position clearly in writing? So much has gone on and on that basis, there is concern about how things might be perceived and what might have occurred in previous protocols surrounding the proposed New-V Neighbourhood Plan. The Parish Council want the opportunity to clarify their position and repeat some of the questions and seek confirmation that Broad Town is a small village covered by the Core Strategy and to completely be free of the current designation to apply for their own and to further seek assurance that there will be no expectation of fast tracking a neighbourhood plan as there is currently no desire from the parish to support significant development other than infil in accord with the Core Strategy.
Victoria Burvill. Yes, that is fine.
Victoria then advised that Wiltshire would be consulting on the Housing Allocations DPD and that Broad Town could make representations through that consultation and it would be a way for Broad Town to be involved. The consultation should go live on 14 or 17 July. To confirm details Victoria advised checking the Cabinet Meetings agenda available on Wiltshire Council’s website. Victoria went on to suggest that Broad Town is mentioned in the deliberations. She advised checking with Carolyn Gibson to ensure the Parish Council’s position is properly reflected.
Victoria then asked whether Broad Town would sign the consent form to release Clyffe Pypard and Tockenham from the New-V. The Chairman, Councillor Mrs Jordan said the council would discuss this further.
End of call.
Councillor Billis advised that Broad Town does have a Parish Plan which was completed in 2012. It is still current and will need to be reviewed in 2021. As part of the process a housing survey was carried and there was a clear instruction from the community that they did not want to see expansion through a large housing development.
It was agreed that Broad Town should apply for its own designated Neighbourhood Plan Area. First it will need to be established what is needed to apply for what is in effect a renaming of the designation. It was also thought that Broad Town will sign the Consent Form to release Clyffe Pypard and Tockenham on the condition that Broad Town gets a Neighbourhood Plan designation in its own name and so signing the Consent would be conditional that the New-V disappears as a designated area altogether.
It was proposed by the Chairman, Councillor Mrs Jordan, seconded by Councillor Billis and
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the Parish Council requests that the three parishes of Clyffe Pypard, Tockenham and Broad town are re-designated at the same time, thus ensuring the New-V designation no longer exists.
79/17 REPORT OF THE INTERNAL AUDITOR
Members agreed that the report was excellent and had established a good foundation on which to move forward correctly adhering to proper practices and good governance.
It was proposed by the Chairman, Councillor Mrs Jordan, seconded by Councillor Billis and
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED to adopt the Internal Audit Report and publish the recommendations contained within it and the responses to demonstrate that issues raised had in some cases been recently identified and were being dealt with and that others were in the process of being actioned.
It was further noted that the Parish Council were pleased to have commissioned an Independent Internal Audit to establish how the council had been operating and the report had identified many useful areas to assist in the compliance of governance. The Internal Audit has given the Parish Council a clear focus and direction and the Parish Council is pleased to report it is already taking prompt action on many of the recommendations.
80/17 APPROVAL OF THE ANNUAL RETURN AND ANNUAL GOVERNANCE STATEMENT
80/17.1 It was proposed by Councillor Billis, seconded by Councillor Pearce and
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED to approve the Annual Governance Statement 2016/17 as detailed in Section 1 of the Annual Return.
80/17.2 It was proposed by Councillor Mrs Hartley, seconded by Councillor Holland and
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED to approve and sign the Annual Return and Year End Accounts for 2016/2017.
It was also agreed to attach the complete Internal Audit Report with the Annual Return with further explanations to the External Auditor as the new Council making the submission recognise that proper governance is a priority for the Parish Council.
7. Adjusted Budget for the Financial Year 2017-2018
It was proposed by Councillor Billis, seconded by Councillor Holland to approve by the adjusted draft budget and its new format, which included reporting of expenditure against the budget for 2017-2018.