Parish Council Chairman Sue Kirkby has relinquished the Chair because of ill-health, and a tribute to her hard work by County Councillor Chris Batters drew loud applause from a dozen members of the public at the May meeting of the Council. Sue said she thought the stress of the chairmanship may prove too much for her, and Coun Batters praised the super job she had done since she took over the Chair in 2013. Sue will continue as a councillor, and will also work on the Neighbourhood Plan for Withiel, for which she has been largely responsible.
Janet Shearer was elected Chairman, with only Councillor Harper voting against, although he offered no alternative candidate. David Cubitt was unanimously elected Vice Chairman, while Councillor Nott-Bower agreed to take over Councillor Shearer’s responsibility for footpaths. Councillor Coy, who was absent, continues as Financial Officer.
Councillor Batters said he had requested that a planning application for another wind turbine at Great Brynn Barton be put before the area Planning Committee, which meets at Liskeard on May 27th, and at which Parish Council representatives may speak. He supported the refusal of planning permission for a new wind farm at Scotland Corner, above Rosenannon, and convinced some of his fellow councillors to vote against it. However, it could go to appeal.
The council was required to consider and update its Standing Orders, Financial Regulations and Code of Conduct; Councillor Shearer said the only change to the Standing Orders would now allow anyone to record or film the proceedings, with some restrictions – a national policy change which Withiel had effectively introduced in 2013. On Financial Regulations, requirements for dealing with contracts above £5,000 were modified at the recommendation of our internal auditor. Code of Conduct regulations were readopted unchanged.
Cornwall Council has agreed to change the Parish street lights for downward pointing lights, if the Parish covers the £616.95 cost of a remote switch which allows them to be turned on and off. This was thought to be an improvement, given that they currently stay on all night, but Councillor Malone undertook to canvass opinion in the village.
The Council agreed unanimously to donate £240 to Withiel News & Views, and approved a payment of £54 to Cornwall Council for mapping services, a cost incurred for the Neighbourhood Plan. The Clerk, Robin Turner, has sought quotes for insurance which reduce our premium from
£404.63 to £256, saving £148 saved. This is future-proofed for three years. The change was unanimously approved. The Accounting Statements and Annual Governance Statement for 2014/15 were also unanimously approved.
Councillor Malone reported on the Bodmin Community Network meeting on April 8th, which was covered in the last issue of News & Views. Under planning, the Council considered and approved unanimously an application from Mr Kevin Bennett to establish an MoT station at Unit 2 Bamber House, Victoria. Another application for the construction of store, office, workshop and two dwellings on land west of Moor View, Inchs, was deferred pending the receipt of final plans.
The perennial issue of the expansion of farm buildings at Great Brynn Barton was discussed again; strangely, Cornwall Council’s planning officers say failure to comply with conditions for planning permission cannot be taken into account when considering new planning applications, and this seems to be an issue over which there is no democratic control at all. The Clerk will establish what the council’s options are, if any, before the next meeting.
The next meeting of the Parish Council will be on June 3rd, starting at 7:15pm.