Minutes – Joint Annual Parish Meeting – 22 May 2017


Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council: Mr H Salwey (Chairman); Mr T Harral; Mr A Hall;
Mr C Giles; Mr D Ayres; and Mr A Wright.

Richards Castle (Herefordshire) Parish Council: Cllr. P Owen (Vice Chairman).

IN ATTENDANCE: Herefordshire Ward Cllr. S Bowen, and Mr R Hewitt, Clerk. There were three members of the public present.

1. Apologies – Cllrs. S Broom, S Greetham, R Alden and A Davies (Herefordshire). Cllrs. B Allwright and A Cowell (Shropshire). Shropshire Cllr. V Parry.

2. Approval of minutes from the Joint Annual Parish Meeting held on 24 May 2016 – The minutes were agreed and signed as a true record.

3. Annual Report from the Chairman of Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council – Mr H Salwey, Chairman, provided a report for the past year. There is a new Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council following the uncontested election on 4 May 2017. The new website is up and running. The URL ‘richardscastleparishes.org.uk’ is shared with Herefordshire.

The progress of the draft Neighbourhood Development Plan by Herefordshire has been watched with interest, and the work that has gone into preparing the document is admirable. The parish council has participated in the public consultations, and commented that footpaths and children’s play areas should be considered as part of future developments.

The parish council is concerned that the work to improve the passing points on Park Lane has not been done by Shropshire Council. Shropshire Cllr. Parry has been very supportive in trying to get an answer from highways on this.

There are still significant areas of the parish without access to fast broadband. The parish council understands there is a new round of investment funding to extend access to more dwellings, and an update on what this will mean for Richards Castle is expected soon.

Residents and businesses located in both parishes of Richards Castle are invited to Hanway Common on 11 November 2018 to participate in the nationwide WWI Beacons of Light event to mark 100 years since the armistice which ended the First World War.

4. Annual Report from the Chairman of Richards Castle (Herefordshire) Parish Council – Cllr. P Owen, Vice Chairman, provided a report for the past year, which is available with the minutes.

5. Report from the Shropshire Councillor – There was no report.

6. Report from the Bircher Ward Councillor, Herefordshire – Herefordshire Cllr. S Bowen reported on a wide range of matters. Additional funding for the roads is expected using compensation provided as a result of a legal ruling in favour of Herefordshire Council. It could provide as much as £8 million. Government has provided an extra £4 million for roads in the county.

Herefordshire Council’s finances are just about breaking even. The largest single cost is for provision of adult and children’s social care. Funding from government has been cut by half and will be negligible by 2020 when councils will be expected to rely on business rates. Most schools in the county are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ and exam results are generally in line with the performance of the schools.

A problem with run-off into the rivers Lugg and Wye has been identified by the Minerals and Waste plan. The NFU and other organisations are working to review ploughing and other farming techniques, and water companies are involved as well to help improve the situation.

The referendum on the neighbourhood development plan is set for July 2018. A ‘Yes’ vote will give it full teeth and weight in the planning process. A company is to be appointed to bring fast broadband to the remaining 10 percent of households and businesses in the county. Highways England is to undertake road improvements on the A49 by the Salwey Arms.

The use of the 490 bus service is increasing, especially by the caravan park near Ludlow. Support by the parish councils is making a real difference. Ludlow Town Council is to provide financial support this year as well.

Ward Cllr. Bowen thanked the local councillors for their hard work and support over the past year.

7. Items from Members of the Public – A member of the public asked that more attention is given to communicating with residents via Castle News. Mr Salwey and Mr Wright said the parish council has a website and agendas are placed online and on noticeboards in advance of each meeting. Draft minutes are available on the parish council website before each meeting.

The meeting closed at 8.45pm.