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Annual Parish Meetings


Avebury Parish Council

Draft minutes of an ordinary meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on 2nd December 2014 at the Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF.

In these minutes APC stands for Avebury Parish Council, ACC for Avebury Cricket Club, AHA for Aster Housing Association, ASA for Avebury Sports Field Association, AWHS for Avebury World Heritage Site, CATG for Community Area Transport Group, EA for Environment Agency, EH for English Heritage, LGA for Local Government Act, MAB for Marlborough Area Board, MADT for Marlborough Area Development Trust, MDNIA for Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area, NT for the National Trust, OFWG for Operational Flood Working Group, SSE for Scottish and Southern Electric, UKN for Upper Kennet News, WC for Wiltshire Council and WHS for World Heritage Site.

Time Start: 19:30

  1. Public question time: There were three members of the public present. No questions were asked.
  2. Present: Councillors Andrew Williamson (Chairman), Dr Mike Bedford (Vice-Chairman), Mike Daniel, Paul Dixon, Keith Howell, Antoinette Kremer and Zandria Service (part way through item 9b. onwards).
    In attendance: Miss Liz Moore (Clerk).
  3. Apologies for absence: Councillors Maggie Lewis (Vice-Chairman), Paul Ryder-Morris and Wiltshire Councillor Mrs Jemima Milton.
  4. Declarations of interest: None declared.
  5. Minutes of meeting held on 4th November 2014: Ms Service had previously requested by email and at the meeting that the first sentence of item 10a. viii. starting 'Ms Service reported that...' and ending '...traffic through Trusloe' be deleted and replaced by the words: 'Ms Service noted that the large new barn complex at the Windmill Hill turning had inevitably increased heavy lorry traffic at times through Trusloe. It was hoped tree planting on the Avebury side of the barn would help improve the visual and noise impact.' It was unanimously agreed to change the minute. Proposed by Mr Dixon and seconded by Dr Bedford.
    Members unanimously agreed to adopt the amended minutes as an accurate record. Proposed by Mr Dixon and seconded by Mr Howell.
  6. Matters arising from the minutes:
    1. Re-instatement of hedge/fence between Glebe Field and Sports Field: (Min ref. 11a.). The Chairman reported that the Orchard Group had 420 whips of native species to spare and had asked whether APC would object to the hedge/fence being re-instated free of charge. The Chairman said he understood the intended fencing would be a stock proof fence in keeping with the recently replaced section of the boundary to the north of the Pavilion. Members agreed that a meeting be arranged in the New Year with the NT, Mr and Mrs Farthing, ACC, ASA and the Orchard Group to see whether all parties were agreeable.
    2. Avenue dig in Summer 2015: (Min ref. 11k). The Chairman reported that including APC's £200.00 a grand total of £800.00 had been pledged to date.
  7. Planning applications and results: there were no planning applications to consider. The Clerk reported:
    1. Results: Work to Trees in a Conservation Area at The Rectory, High Street, Avebury ref: 14/09963/TCA and at Ashdown, High Street, Avebury ref: 14/09965/TCA. WC had agreed to the works with no objections.
  8. Flood Group:
    1. Storage / distribution of gel sacs and salt: deferred to later on in the meeting when Ms Service would be present. See item 16 i.
    2. Jetting of culvert at end of High Street: work was due to take place in early December; no further update until next meeting when Mrs Lewis would be present.
    3. Wiltshire Local Flood Risk Management Strategy: consultation: closing date end of December. See
  9. Transport Issues:
    1. Sign-off of WHS Transport Plan and Design Guide: The Chairman reported the document would be signed off shortly by Avebury's WHS Steering Committee and that Amesbury Town Council was also signing it off on behalf of Stonehenge. The Chairman said final sign-off would be by WC.
    2. Criteria for deciding priorities for action once WHS Strategy is signed off: The Chairman and Dr Bedford had put together some ideas on how APC might go about deciding its priorities for supporting transport schemes. (Email previously circulated to members). Dr Bedford stated that it would be important to start the transport projects as soon as possible and that work should be balanced across the Parish. He suggested that members should think about which schemes were most likely to be implemented and which were most desired. Dr Bedford reported he and the Chairman had come up with 11 criteria to assess priorities and that in order to achieve the biggest effect, funding would need to be leveraged from outside sources. APC could identify which projects might attract the most funding and therefore be completed first.
      The Chairman stated it would be important to:
      1. Publicise the WHS Strategy: APC could invite Wiltshire Highways to give a teach-in on the WHS Strategy at an open meeting for everyone in the Parish, partly to inform people and partly to get feedback.
        In discussion, members agreed there would be a need to match parishioners' wishes with those of Highways, and APC should ask parishioners how they wished to prioritise the projects over the four settlements in the Parish.
      2. Develop some criteria for choosing priorities
        The Chairman suggested that all schemes should be in APC's Parish Traffic Plan and the WHS Transport Strategy, unless there were very exceptional circumstances. The Chairman also read out points 1-10 from the email which suggested that APC should give priority to schemes that:
        1. benefited the greatest number of residents, businesses and local employees, as well as visitors
        2. attracted the largest amount of 'partnership funding' from others, and so gear up APC's money as much as possible
        3. were nil cost, or very low cost schemes
        4. were nil or low cost if they were pre-planned as a part of routine Highways' maintenance
        5. were, if possible, funded largely by others that had a special interest in a project (i.e. perhaps Greene King for the Red Lion forecourt area and possibly Wadworths for the extended traffic island outside the Waggon & Horses, or the NT for the pedestrian route across the High Street?)
        6. were schemes that had already been in the Parish Council's pipeline for some time, i.e. APC's application to CATG to move the 30mph signs northwards on the Swindon Road, or the scheme with Aster and Wiltshire Council for parking at Trusloe Cottages
        7. were particularly important for safety or amenity reasons
        8. ensured that each of APC's four communities benefited from one or more projects
        9. were realistic and deliverable fairly soon
        10. were based on evidence
        The Chairman suggested it might be useful to have some kind of points system on a range of 1-10 to give a better idea of priorities. Members also discussed how to attract funding and whether cycle or footpaths might be funded by cycling clubs for example.
        [Ms Service joined the meeting at this point.]
        Members agreed next actions as follows:
        1. APC to invite Sarah Simmonds (WHS Officer) and Highways to present the WHS Transport Strategy to the public in the New Year
        2. The four communities to identify their priorities
        3. The four communities to provide suggestions for funding
        4. Report to be brought back to APC for discussion at February or March 2015
        The Chairman invited comments from the public.
        Mr Rob Macaire stated he felt the sequence of events was great and that he would be very happy to join in as a member of the Transport Group and as a parishioner.
        The Chairman reported that although it had been previously suggested that APC should provide a copy of the WHS Transport Strategy to each household in the Parish printing costs were likely to be approximately £6.00 a copy. Members decided against this for the time being. Further discussion deferred to February meeting.
    3. Parking in Trusloe: the Chairman reported that he would be having a meeting in December with Mr James Cawley (WC Associate Director for Housing) to share ideas about approaching Centurion to move the Nursery Site project forward. The Chairman said he would not therefore write to Centurion until he had spoken to Mr Cawley.
    4. Resurfacing of A361 at Beckhampton from The Firs north east to the A4 at Beckhampton roundabout. The works would take place on Friday 11th February 2015 from 19:00 to 06:00. Atkins' plan tabled (see Appendix 1). The Chairman reported he was due to meet with Mr Martin Cook (WC) to discuss reducing the apparent width of the carriageway from the roundabout towards Devizes. Mr Howell asked if members were aware of the latest accident on the A361 where a lamp post had been hit and subsequently removed.
    5. Signage at Beckhampton racehorse crossing: the Chairman reported that he and Mr Martin Cook (WC) would be having a meeting with the Charltons to discuss implementing a more effective signage scheme for their horse crossing. The Chairman said there were currently two signs on each side of the crossing, making four signs in total; the proposal was to remove all four signs and replace them with a single, more effective sign in each direction, possibly with lights.
    6. Replacement 30mph signs at New Bridge: the Chairman reported WC was likely to replace the signs with new ones and remove the wooden fencing beside them.
    7. Mud on road in Beckhampton: Dr Bedford said a parishioner had reported this problem to WC and that a local farmer had been responsible for the mud which had since washed away in the recent rain.
    8. Positions of 30mph signs at Avebury junction with the Avenue: the Chairman tabled a photograph of the junction. Members considered a complaint by a Wootton Bassett resident, (email previously circulated to members) and noted an invitation to APC's meeting had been sent to the member of the public. The member of the public felt the national speed limit sign at the entrance to the Avenue was confusing and that drivers on the A4361 might assume they were leaving the 30mph speed restriction whilst travelling past the Avenue towards Beckhampton roundabout. In discussion, members agreed that it was reasonably obvious that the pair of 30mph signs related to the Avenue, that other drivers had not apparently been affected by the same problem as this complaint had never been raised before and that the Parish was aware of other highway priorities that were more important. However, members agreed the issue could be dealt with in the proposed signage audit and redesign scheme recommended in the WHS Transport Strategy. Action: Clerk to email the Chairman the minute from the meeting for reply to the member of the public.
  10. Local issues, including:
    1. Progress on electricity sub-station in Avebury: the Chairman reported the NT was in discussion with SSE to replace the sub-station. It appeared that electricity was currently being supplied by another sub-station near the river.
    2. Progress on High Speed Broadband: the Chairman reported he had attended a MAB meeting and spoken to a representative from the Wiltshire Online project. She had sent a note on progress which he read out: 'BT Openreach has been doing some preliminary work on High Speed Broadband in the Parish recently and will be undertaking survey work of the exchange area early next year. Once survey work is complete, it ordinarily takes 6-9 months to upgrade an area to fibre and therefore it is likely that fibre broadband will be up and running by late summer. The fibre connection is capable of supporting an 80 Mbps service for downloads but the speed each premise will receive will vary according to the distance the premise is from the cabinet. Upload speeds will not be 80Mbps but will be improved significantly.'
      'The first step in the installation process is BT Openreach undertaking on-the-ground surveys to ensure that their existing infrastructure is fit for purpose, for example that the ducts that currently carry the copper wires are able to accept the new fibre cable; some of the ducting has been in place for many years and may be damaged and need repair before the fibre can be installed. So although the Wiltshire Online project knows how the programme will progress, until all of the survey work is completed it is not possible to absolutely guarantee when we can get to a particular community.' (See appendix 2).
    3. Developing Parish Council policy on walks and sporting events locally: the Chairman read out a draft response for APC's general policy on charity and commercial runs and walks centred on Avebury. (See appendix 2). He reported that the NT would not be giving Discover Adventure licences in 2015 on the grounds of poor event management in 2013 and 2014. Members noted the public had been invited in the latest edition of UKN to contact the Clerk if they wished to make any points and agreed to finalise APC's policy in February.
    4. Avebury Rocks 2015: Saturday 1 August 2015. Mrs Kremer reported the first of August was a pagan festival and the two events would therefore clash. Members were surprised this had been overlooked and that the AR date had already been confirmed by the organisers. Action: the Chairman said he would speak to Mr Mike Polack (AR) and the NT as a matter of urgency.
    5. Housing Needs Survey: example hard copies for surveys of general housing and affordable housing tabled and previously circulated by email. Members discussed the pros and cons of such a survey, including (i) low return rates unless survey taken door to door (ii) surveys prone to bias (iii) but good to get analysis. Mrs Kremer asked if there was anywhere where it would be possible to build new housing as the parish was in a WHS and conservation area. The Chairman said in the last few years, 5-6 new but mainly private houses had been built and that the Nursery Site, currently being discussed by APC, was a one example of where some affordable housing could be built. Members agreed that parishioners should be consulted at a public meeting to tie in with the Transport Group meeting in the New Year and that PR in the form of flyers should be sent out with a mobile telephone reception questionnaire and that this was to be actioned by Ms Service.
    6. Community First Responders: the Clerk confirmed that a summary of the job description was in the December edition of UKN.
    7. Waggon & Horses to Silbury Hill footpath: Mr Howell reported that Mr Michael Crook (WC) had recently consulted with Sarah Simmonds (WHS Officer), Gemma Batten and Steve (WC Footpaths Warden) and as a result they had concluded the footpath was not a priority. Mr Howell said WC was focussed on resurfacing paths near Cherhill Monument. Mr Howell stressed that the WC Footpaths Warden had not considered the risks to tourists who had to take their lives in their hands walking along the A4. Action: Members agreed Mr Howell to draft a letter to Mr Crook to again request costing information and that it would be sent to the Clerk for submission to Mr Crook on behalf of APC.
    8. Concern about health risks of wi-fi: the Chairman noted that Mrs Lewis was dealing with this and the NT had yet to respond. Deferred to next meeting.
    9. Repairs to Beckhampton bus shelters: the Chairman reported neither bus shelter had been repaired yet. Action: Clerk to contact Mrs Lewis for an update.
    10. Repairs to Trusloe notice-board: the Chairman reported he had spoken to Mr Martin Rendle who had confirmed a price of £60.00 for the repairs. The Clerk said Mr John Giles had offered to do the repairs free of charge as he was local and this included his materials, that would otherwise cost about £40.00. (Email previously circulated to members). Members decided to accept Mr Giles' offer and felt it would be fair to pay him £40.00 towards cost of materials. Proposed by Mr Dixon and seconded by Dr Bedford and unanimously agreed. Action: Clerk to instruct the works.
    11. Wiltshire Council consultation on car parking: closing date 16 January 2015
    12. Poor mobile telephone reception in Bray Street: also see 10e. Ms Service to draft a questionnaire to be sent out in the New Year.
    13. Lighting at bus shelter near Rawlins Park: Mr Dixon confirmed the light had been fixed by WC.
  11. Donations to charitable organisations: the Chairman stated the need for a policy had come about due to several requests for donations during the past year. Dr Bedford had put together some guidelines for charitable donations. (See appendix 2). The Clerk, as per the last meeting, summarized a list of charities that had requested funding that year. Members distinguished three types of applicant, being general requests from organisations with few local links, requests from organisations that provided benefits for people in the Parish, and applications from local organisations or individuals for specific initiatives or events in the Parish. Members also noted that a number of applicants might be non-profit making but were not necessarily charities.
    The Chairman asked members about setting a maximum annual budget for grants at perhaps 5% or 3% of the total precept; most members were in favour of 3% and that APC should limit donations to 3-5 organisations per annum.
    Members supported the criteria for selection with the following amendments:
    • Point 1, should be expanded to include 'non-profit' organisations such as Avebury Day.
    • Point 4, the donation should benefit as many people within the parish as possible.
    • Point 5, members were undecided and felt that setting a maximum donation of £100.00 to any one charity depended on whether it was for a village project or a nationwide charity. If it was a village project, Members thought the maximum should be set higher.
    Action: Dr Bedford to update the guidelines and circulate to members.
  12. Communications: November headlines submitted to UKN and published on all notice boards.
  13. Correspondence: the Clerk reported she had received:
    1. Letter from the Chief Constable's Office: thanking APC for letter of thanks received regarding policing of Solstice at Avebury.
  14. Finance and admin:
    1. Consideration and approval of the 2015-2016 budget and precept: an updated draft costing of possible expenditure in 2015-2016 had been previously circulated to members together with a note on APC's reserve fund. (See appendix 3). The Chairman stated there were fewer households within the tax base and this meant that even if APC decided to maintain the precept at current levels, individual households' payments would increase slightly. Members discussed the budget and unanimously resolved that the precept for 2015-2016 be set at a total sum of £10,900.00. [This included £483.93 top up grant from WC and the net figure would therefore be £10,416.07.] Proposed by Mr Howell and seconded by Ms Service.
    2. Half year internal audit: The Clerk reported the half year internal audit for the 2014/2015 accounts had taken place satisfactorily and the red book was tabled for members to inspect.
    3. Adoption of Asset Register: (See appendix 4 previously circulated to members, dated 25 November 2014 and displayed at the meeting).
    4. Adoption of Risk Assessment: (See appendix 5 previously circulated to members, dated 25 November 2014 and displayed at the meeting).
      Members unanimously agreed to adopt both the current Asset Register and Risk Assessment. Proposed by Ms Service and seconded by Dr Bedford.
    5. General authority to pay mileage expenses to the Clerk and members: the Clerk confirmed HRMC figure for cars was 45 pence per mile up to 10,000 miles and 25 pence per mile thereafter. Members felt further discussion would be required on what rule APC should set. Deferred to next meeting.
    6. The Clerk's terms and conditions of service: members resolved to backdate Clerk's increase in salary to 1 September 2014. Proposed by Ms Service and seconded by Mrs Kremer.
    7. Update required to APC's Standing Orders: the Clerk had previously circulated by email a legal update from WALC. The Chairman said it was now possible for the public to record a parish council meeting by electronic means and without permission, but this did not extend to parts of the meeting when the public were asked to leave. Members resolved to rescind paragraph 36.c. of APC's Standing Orders (that stated that photographing, recording, broadcasting or transmitting the proceedings of a meeting by any means is not permitted without the Council's prior written consent). Proposed by Mr Daniel and seconded by Dr Bedford. Action: Clerk to update Standing Orders.
    8. Feedback on value of Clerk's test email summary: the Clerk said the weekly email summary would need to be tailored for each individual member and that this would take time. Members decided to dispense with the weekly email summary for the time being.
    9. Cheques for payment: It was unanimously agreed that the following cheques be paid.
      1. ACC: maintenance of the Sports Field at Avebury     £567.00 (1st June 2014 – 30th September 2014)
      2. Liz Moore: Clerk's overtime and expenses: November 2014     £167.65 including backdated payment of increased salary to 1 September 2014
      3. UKN: annual contribution for inserting Headlines in 2014     £100.00
      4. Avebury Social Centre: hire for APC meetings     £24.00 (3rd June – 2nd December 2014 inclusive)
      5. Jamie Guy: Half year internal audit for 2014/2015 accounts £75.00
      Proposed by Mrs Kremer and seconded by Mr Howell. Cheques signed by Dr Bedford and Mr Dixon.
    10. HSBC standing order: An amendment to the existing standing order was signed by the Chairman and Dr Bedford for Clerk's basic salary to be increased to £208.00 per month. Proposed by Mr Howell, seconded by Mrs Kremer and unanimously agreed.
  15. Date of next meeting:7.30pm on Tuesday 3rd February 2015.
  16. Any other business:
    1. Salt bags: Ms Service confirmed that all the salt would be delivered to Mr Victor Paradise and would be distributed from there and she would speak to Mrs Nicky Thomas and Mrs Diana Wethered to see if they could also store some bags.
    2. WC will no longer fund electronic warning signs which flash up your speed: the Clerk tabled an article from the Gazette and Herald newspaper dated Thursday, November 27, 2014. (See appendix 6). Dr Bedford to circulate to the Transport Group for comment.
  17. The meeting closed at 21:29

Appendices (included in the book of Parish Council papers):

  1. Atkins' plan depicting A361 and A4 at Beckhampton
  2. - Superfast Fibre Broadband: Quote from Wiltshire Online Project
    - Draft: General policy on charity and commercial runs and walks centred on Avebury
    - Draft: Guidelines for charitable donations
  3. Estimated budget for precept for 2015-2016 and note on reserve fund
  4. Asset Register 25 November 2014
  5. Risk Assessment 25 November 2014
  6. Article from Gazette and Herald newspaper, 27 November 2014