James Keith (Chairman), Carl and Glenys Watling, Margaret Barrett, Jenny Tuckwell, Dick and Sue Malt, Mike Mullins (Vice Chair), Sally Mullins, Celia Daniel, Harry and Jane Whitcher, Lynda Eaglesham, Gloria Clarke, James Sayer, Adam Flack, Roger Atterwill, Trevor Wood, Beverly Kidd and Bill Borrett.
Apologies were received from Simon Brock, John Tuckwell, Philip and Krystyna Stroulger, Philip Barrett, Suzanne Stephan, Mrs Keith, Danny and Chris Danson.
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting, this being his first meeting since his election at the AGM on 14 May 2019.
- Minutes of the Previous Meeting
The minutes of the previous meeting held on 14 May 2019 were circulated to the meeting and proposed for adoption. These minutes had not been displayed on the village website. Going forward, the Chairman was reminded that all minutes should be made available to Danny Danson to ensure this happens.
Carl Watling proposed that the minutes were a true record of the meeting, seconded by Bill Borrett. There was a unanimous show of hands to agree with the proposal. Therefore the minutes were adopted.
- Treasurer’s Report
The Treasurer circulated her report for the half year to 30 September 2019, to the meeting.
It was noted that much of the income for this period has been generated by events held at the hall; in particular the two Repair Café events. The major expense during this period was for the repairs to the roof, for which the parish had received 50:50 match funded grant from Breckland District Council.
Other points of note were that the Treasurer has switched electricity suppliers and although she has currently had to estimate use, she will monitor the situation closely to ensure the direct debit is kept as low as possible. It was also noted that the PPG will no longer be using the hall.
Finally, the Treasurer added a recent amendment to her report, that there will be a further £250 income from the use of the hall as a polling station in December.
The Chairman thanked the Treasurer for her diligent report.
- Chairman’s Report
The Chairman drew the meetings’ attention to the Breckland Council Planning website where all information could be viewed regarding current planning applications. He explained that each time there was a new planning application, he would be alerted and would subsequently forward the in formation to the Planning Sub Committees for either Hoe or Worthing, as relevant. The Planning Sub Committees are not required to have an opinion on planning issues, but are required to state whether each application meets criteria or not. It was agreed that the Planning Sub Committees have a vital role to play as local knowledge is key in such matters. For clarification, terms of reference for the planning committees are available on the website.
Roger Atterwill advised the meeting that Breckland Council now has a new system for approving planning applications, with the existence of a panel of officers that meets twice a month to determine whether an application can be signed off by the panel or whether the application should go forward to Planning Committee.
Harry Whitcher raised concern that he had noted that some comments made on the Breckland Council Planning website had been removed. Roger Atterwill explained that these comments had either been defamatory or had contravened the rules of GDPR. Comments that were not of this nature would remain on the website.
It was reported that the speed restrictions proposed for the B1146, from the outskirts of Dereham, past the residences in Hoe were going ahead. Bill Borrett added that there had been an objection since the proposal had not met criteria, but this has been overcome, albeit implementation of the speed restrictions will be delayed. The Chairman, and Bill Borrett, thanked both Trevor Wood and Carl Watling for their efforts in ensuring this successful outcome.
The Chairman advised the meeting that the Highways Department at the Council had made available match funding grants for local road improvements. Furthermore, Bill Borrett said that he would also contribute £500 to any such improvement. The Chairman thanked Bill Borrett and said that he may discuss any specific improvement if there was one.
- Charitable Donations.
Historically, the Parish Meeting has made donations to charities, including the two parish churches. At the last meeting there was a question raised on whether this was legal. Although the Chairman declared that he has no conflict of interest by his voluntary roles as Church Warden and Chairman of the Parish Meeting, in the interests of fairness, he stood down from the chair of the meeting at this point to allow the Vice Chair to discuss the matter further and gain clarity.
From investigations carried out by both the Vice Chairman and Harry Whitcher, it would seem that the matter of donating funds from the precept to a parish church is not simple. Much information could be found regarding the rules pertaining to a Parish Council, but not a Parish Meeting.
Trevor Wood, the previous Chairman, was asked to explain why he believed there had been no impediment to continuing the donations to the churches. He explained that he had made detailed investigations and enquiries over a number of years and had concluded that any legislation which seemed to prevent the Parish supporting the church, related to Parish Councils and not Parish Meetings. Specific reference was made to Section 19 of the Local Government Act 1894.
The Chairman returned to the chair and thanked Trevor Wood for his precise analysis.
Sue Malt spoke on behalf of the Hall Management Group and insisted that the question of the legality of the donations only arose as the HM Group had requested a holiday of one to two years from these donations to enable the essential maintenance to take place.
Celia Daniel thanked everyone for the information provided to clarify the matter of donations. She emphasised that although St Margaret’s in Worthing is a church, she believes that it is an asset to the community and she hoped that the meeting would continue to support it.
The Chairman proposed that we continue to make the donations from the precept. The vote was unanimous.
Roger Atterwill suggested that it may be beneficial to operate the Hall Management Group as a separate entity. The Vice Chair proposed to arrange talks with the Hall Management Group to further this idea; seconded by Beverly Kidd. Unanimous.
Sue Malt proposed to make donations to the Citizens Advice Bureau of £50 per year. This was seconded by Bill Borrett. 16 for; 4 against.
Celia Daniel set out her plans for development at Worthing Church and proposed that the Parish Meeting donate £325. This was seconded by Bill Borrett. 11 for; 3 against.
James Keith advised the meeting that Hoe Church had been fortunate this year to receive other donations and therefore proposed that the church would take a holiday and not accept any donations from the precept for this year.
Bill Borrett proposed that the precept remain at the same amount as last year. This was seconded by Mike Mullins. Unanimous.
It was noted that the Parish notice board in Gorgate Road needs to be replaced. The Chairman will investigate purchasing a new one.
- Reports from Other Groups
Sue Malt commended the Hall Management Group report to the meeting. She emphasised that the funds had been mostly depleted by the repair of the roof and the cost had also impacted the depreciation fund. She made a plea for further parishioners to join the group.
- Date of next meeting
Thursday 14th May at 6.30pm.