MINUTES OF JOINT ANNUAL PARISH MEETING OF RICHARDS CASTLE (HEREFORDSHIRE) AND RICHARDS CASTLE (SHROPSHIRE) PARISHES HELD AT THE VILLAGE HALL AT 7.00 PM ON TUESDAY 24 MAY 2016
Richards Castle (Herefordshire) Parish Council: Cllr. S Broom (Chairman); Cllr. R Thomas; Cllr. A Davies; Cllr. W Hall and Cllr. P Owen.
Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council: Cllr. H Salwey; Cllr. T Harral; Cllr. C Giles; Cllr. D Ayres; Cllr. A Cowell; and Cllr. A Wright.
IN ATTENDANCE: Shropshire Cllr. V Parry; Herefordshire Ward Cllr. S Bowen; R Hewitt, Clerk; and Mr D English and Mr M Saunders, Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, Orleton and Richards Castle. There was one member of the public present.
1. Apologies – Cllr. T Evans (Herefordshire) and Cllr. B Allwright (Shropshire).
2. Approval of minutes from the Joint Annual Parish Meeting held on 18 May 2015 – The minutes were agreed and signed as a true record.
3. To receive the Annual Report from the Chairman of Richards Castle (Herefordshire) Parish Council
Cllr. S Broom, Chairman, provided a report for the past year, which is attached to the minutes.
4. To receive the Annual Report from the Chairman of Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council
Cllr. H Salwey, Chairman, provided a report for the past year. Members were thanked for their commitment to the activities of the parish council. The parish council has commented on planning applications, however the planning authority has not always agreed, most notably in respect of the caravan park. Informal passing places along Park Lane have been agreed with highways. Support has been provided for grass cutting at the old church, a local event in June to mark the 90th Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen, the Lunch Club; and 490 bus service. The restoration of the memorial, which is supported by the War Memorials Trust, has been completed and looks fantastic.
The parish council is committed to working jointly with Richards Castle Herefordshire, for example on a shared website. The current website hosted by Shropshire Council is due to close shortly and will be replaced by a joint shared URL.
5. Report from the Bircher Ward Councillor, Herefordshire, and Shropshire Councillor Cllr Mrs V Parry
Herefordshire Cllr. S Bowen reported reported on a wide range of matters. Neighbourhood development plans once they are at Regulation 16 give parishes a real say in planning. A new yard manager at the Kingsland depot has a very positive approach. For example, potholes should be repaired more effectively, and consideration given to patching stretches of highway where there are multiple potholes. Orchard Rise and Castle Road need repairing but are not currently on the programme. Ward Cllr. Bowen said he has proposed that Herefordshire Council use reserves or take a loan to address the back log of defects on the county roads.
The extended 490 bus service to Ludlow will now continue thanks to the support of parish councils. The route will include a new stop at the caravan park, and new ticketing equipment means there will be data on how the bus service has been used. It is a key service for a significant group of local people.
Hereford library is closed due to the discovery of asbestos. A temporary library service has been set up at the Town Hall. The Hartlebury incinerator should be on-stream by the end of the year and is expected to generate 20MW of electricity. Herefordshire Council will be assisting Syrian refugees, with funding provided by the government for the first two years.
Budgets remain tight. Future funding of local government is focused on business rates, however, small businesses are exempt from paying business rates, which is likely to present a challenge. A government announcement on this is expected shortly.
Ward Cllr. Bowen thanked the local councillors for their support.
Shropshire Cllr. V Parry reported on a wide range of matters. Shropshire Council is asking Ludlow Town Council to take responsibility for the provision of additional local services including the library, two local museums, resource centre and Assembly Rooms. However, this has not been included in the town council’s precept. Funding will be tight. There is a parishes meeting on 30 June at Craven Arms Parish Hall to look at the transfer of services, and what services parishes and town councils might take on.
Ludlow in Bloom is being supported by Tesco which has provided £12,000 for small gardens, and work is going on to prepare for the visit of the judges on 7 July. Ash from the incinerator is being used on the roads, cardboard collections are being made from recycling centres.
The 490 bus service is to be supported by the caravan park, however Ludlow Town Council has decided not to support the service in this financial year in light of other new funding commitments.
Services at Ludlow Hospital are under pressure. Beds are likely to be cut. There is no money for planned care units. An A&E unit is due to go, and presently this looks likely to be at Shrewsbury.
6. Regulation 14 public consultation on the draft neighbourhood development plan for Orleton
and Richards Castle
Mr Saunders, Orleton and Richards Castle Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, provided a report on the Regulation 14 consultation which will conclude on 20 June 2017. The steering group anticipates that the referendum on the plan will be in Spring 2017.
7. Items from Members of the Public – There were no matters raised.
The meeting closed at 7.54 pm.