• Minutes of the 20 December 2017 Meeting

    January 19th, 2018 by Stan Pilling in General News ·Meeting Minutes

    RUSHEN PARISH COMMISSIONERS
    Minutes of the Monthly Board Meeting
    Held 7pm Wednesday 20th December 2017 at Ballafesson Hall.

    Present: Mr P Gunn (Chairman), Mr J Young, Mr D Radcliffe, Mr S Pilling, Mr P Vernon
    In attendance: The Clerk

    1. MINUTES: The Minutes of the Meeting held Wednesday 15th November 2017, were agreed by the Board, having been proposed by Mr Young and seconded by Mr Radcliffe.

    2. MATTERS ARISING.
    a) Street Lighting – LED maintenance costs – the Clerk explained that he had met with representatives of the Manx Utilities Authority to discuss streetlight strategy, energy saving,
    computer monitoring system CMS, LED lighting, charging policy and future networks strategy. Eleven of Rushen’s street lights are very old mercury lights which, due to imminent changes in how waste mercury can be dealt with, need to be replaced as soon as possible. The Commissioners agreed in principle to replace the old mercury lighting with new LED lights and looked forward to receiving more detailed financial information from the MUA in the new year, to assist their consideration of the matter.
    b) Dog Byelaws – the Clerk circulated a policy discussion paper and revised version of the draft dogs byelaws. After general discussion, the Board agreed to release the discussion paper, byelaws and a press release to begin public consultation on the matter. Mr Young agreed to be the lead press contact for this matter.
    c) Risk Assessment, Health and Safety. Appoint new consultant – this matter is still ongoing.
    d) Port Erin Commissioners – proposed boundary extension – the Commissioners had been made aware unofficially of a decision by Port Erin Commissioners to request a boundary extension to take in the new development on Rushen’s land at Ballakilley. Mr Vernon proposed that a press release be issued alerting ratepayers to this unwelcome move. This was seconded by Mr Pilling and approved by the Board. The Board also agreed that the Clerk should begin to prepare a case to resist this move, as well as preparing a case for a boundary extension for Rushen Parish to take back the land taken from it at Bradda about fifty years ago. It is clear that Bradda remains a rural community and it is unclear what Bradda residents have actually got out of the Port Erin take over. The Commissioners are firmly of a view that, like the proposal for the Ballakilley boundary extension, Port Erin Commissioners only seemed interested in taking money from Bradda ratepayers and very little if anything had been done to improve the Bradda community by Port Erin.
    e) Draft policy for data retention and freedom of information – the Clerk agreed to circulate to the Board relevant forms and guidance in relation to Freedom of Information, with a view to making them publicly available on the website by the beginning of 2018.
    f) Oakleigh, St Mary’s Road – this matter was ongoing.
    g) Braddan Parish Commissioners – dog bag dispenser – the Commissioners acknowledged the excellent publicity generated by the recent press article on the collaboration between Braddan and Rushen Parishes.

    3. SOUTHERN CIVIC AMENITY SITE – Mr Pilling reported that a meeting was due to take place the following evening to discuss the 2018/19 budget. The Clerk had received some financial statements and budgets in advance of a meeting of Clerks held earlier in the week to discuss next year’s budget. The Clerk agreed to circulate this to the Board. The Board agreed in principle to support a slight uplift in the budget to cover unforeseen expenditure.
    4. MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION – the Chairman reported that Mr Callister MHK had attended the Associations last meeting and gave an informative presentation.
    5. SOUTHERN SWIMMING POOL AUTHORITY – Mr Radcliffe explained that there had been no meeting since the last Rushen meeting. The Clerk had received the following email from Paul Bridson, Head of Sport and Recreation at the Department of Education, Sport and Culture:

    I am writing to seek your support and feedback regarding the proposal of a new swimming pool as part of the redevelopment of the Castle Rushen High School (CRHS). At this stage no decisions have been made on the design nor scope of a new pool, and subject to your support for a new swimming pool on the current CRHS footprint, the Department will of course consult with the Southern Pool Board when the time is appropriate to form part of a business case for the development of a new pool at the Secondary School in the South of the Island.

    After careful consideration, the Commissioners agreed that the Clerk should write offering support in principle to the proposal but withholding full support until such time as a more detailed, fully costed proposal was forthcoming.

    6. MARASHEN CRESCENT – Mr Radcliffe reported that good progress was being made in building better relations between the Board and its tenants. A letter sent on behalf of the Marashen Board to the Health Minister, protesting her recent decision to cease supporting meals on wheels. It was pointed out that the letter appeared to misunderstand the meals on wheels service as it protested the loss of warm meals, when the service only provided chilled meals.
    7. SOUTHERN HEALTHCARE COMMITTEE – Mr Pilling had been unable to attend the recent meeting.
    8. MANX NATIONAL HERITAGE – there was nothing to report.
    9. ROAD MAINTENANCE AND GRASS CUTTING – the Clerk reported that there had been limited work over the past month. The Clerk reported that the next STMLG meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday 9th January 2018 and Mr Vernon and the Clerk would endeavour to attend.

    The Commissioners were informed of a complaint from a ratepayer about mud and vegetation along the pavement from Ballakillowey roundabout east towards the Level. It was agreed to ask Jones Services to see whether a smaller sweeper could be used to get closer to the hedge in this and other ‘difficult’ areas. The Commissioners also agreed that the Clerk should ask Steve Booth to remove as much of the mud and vegetation as possible in the worst affected areas.

    The Commissioners considered the contracts of both Mr Booth and Jones Services and agreed to extend for a further twelve months the contracts of Mr Booth and Jones Services, after this was proposed by Mr Radcliffe and seconded by Mr Pilling. It was agreed that the Clerk would contact Mr Booth and Jones Services to negotiate these extensions.

    Mr Vernon explained that the railings at Ballacurry corner were badly in need of replacing. It was agreed that the Clerk would notify the Department of Infrastructure.

    10. RESPONSIBLE FINANCE OFFICER’S REPORT.
    The Clerk reported the following income had been received since the last meeting:
    A] REVENUE (inc. VAT where appropriate):
    Revenue income was noted
    The Commissioners agreed the second bin charge should be increased to £60 from 1st January 2018. To encourage prompt payment, the Commissioners also agreed that 5% should be added to bills which would then be discounted if paid by a set date.

    B] ACCOUNTS FOR PAYMENT (inc. Vat where appropriate)
    The accounts were approved for payment

    C] OTHER MATTERS
    a) Estimates – it was agreed that a separate estimates meeting would be held on Wednesday 31st January 2018 at 7pm. The Clerk would circulate some draft proposal in advance of the January Board meeting so the Commissioners would have the opportunity to request further information in advance of the estimates meeting. Mr Young suggested that some money should be made available to provide services for the youth in the Parish as well as money for the development of the Ballakilley land.
    b) A letter from Treasury Valuation Office was noted. The Rateable Value for Rushen at 1st December 2017 was £132,775.
    c) The Commissioners noted a letter from Shimmin and Wilson in which they explained that it was highly unlikely that the money owed to the Commissioners by D’s Leisure Ltd would be paid.

    11. FINANCIAL SITUATION
    The Commissioners noted the balances on last statements November/December 2017
    General ‘rates’ account 1,000.00 Liquidity Manager (rates) 110,929.66 Rent account 22,766.74
    Housing account 2,598.93

    12. CORRESPONDENCE
    a) Changing Local Government Legislation – the Clerk provided a copy of the response from the Commissioners, which forms an annex to these minutes.
    b) Action plan to improve the planning system – the consultation now closes on the 8th January 2018 and the Clerk will circulate a copy of the final submission for the Commissioners attention at their next meeting.
    c) Licencing Court – an opportunity to make submissions in relation to licenced premises in the Parish was being made available to the Commissioners. The Commissioners agreed to notify the Licencing Court that the exiting licence holders in the Parish are very responsible and the Commissioners were not aware of any problems.
    d) A letter from Public Transport asking for assistance in informing the public about the dangers of walking on railway lines in the winter was noted.
    e) It was agreed that the Chair will respond directly to an invitation from the Worshipful Mayor of Douglas in relation to a forthcoming drinks reception.
    f) A consultation on proposed changes to local government financial reporting was noted. The Clerk will respond to the consultation.

    13. PLANNING MATTERS
    A] Planning Applications: The Commissioners were content to support the following applications.
    a) 17/01240/B 3, Viking Close. Mr & Mrs Buchleitner. Replacement of existing shed with larger shed.
    b) 17/01233/B 3, Viking Close. Mr & Mrs Buchleitner. Conversion of garage into new studio and cold store.
    c) 17/01186/B Glendown Farm, Truggan Road. Mr & Mrs Cain. Increase number of shepherd’s huts from 2 to 5.

    B] Planning Approvals – the following were noted.
    a) 17/00846/B Creggan Lea, Glen Chass Road. John Hills.
Creation of a second driveway to property. Decision – Head of Development Management. Issued 23rd November 2017.
    b) 17/01034/B Croit E Caley Methodist Church. Ms Carrington
Alterations to convert former Methodist Chapel to residential dwelling. Decision –Planning Committee. Issued 1st December 2017.
    c) 17/01168/B
 Tennis Cottage Honna Road. Mr Dion Meechan.
Replacement of existing front window with bi folding doors. Decision – Head of Development Management. Issued 7th December 2017.
    d) 17/00921/B – Airedale 31 Christeens Way. Mr Keith Wilkins.
Erection of sun lounge and lean-to shed (retrospective). Decision – Head of Development Management. Issued 19th December 2017.
    e) 17/00977/B – 3 Fleshwick Close. Dandara Homes Ltd.
Erection of dwelling to include living accommodation in place of previously approved garage. Decision – Head of Development Management. Issued 27th October 2017.

    C] Planning Refusals – None

    D] Completion Certificates – the following were noted.
    a) 17/07115/DOM Plot 138, Ballakilley. Dandara Homes Ltd. Issued 8th November 2017.
    b) 16/07556/DOM 4, Bradda Grove, Ballakillowey. Hartford Homes Ltd. Issued 13th November 2017.
    c) 15/07472/DOM 1, Motorlands, Shore Road. Hartford Homes Ltd. Issued 15th November 2017.
    d) 14/07125/DEX 10, Viking Hill, Ballakillowey. Mrs Hughes. Issued 16th November 2017.
    e) 16/07517/DOM 6, Bradda Grove, Ballakillowey. Hartford Homes Ltd. Issued 21st November 2017.
    f) 17/07115/DOM Plot 134, Ballakilley. Dandara Homes Ltd. Issued 12th December 2017.
    g) 16/07563/DOM Plot 140, Ballakilley. Dandara Homes Ltd. Issued 14th December 2017.

    E] Planning appeals – None
    F] Other Planning Matters – None

    14. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
    a) Ballafesson flooding – Messrs Vernon and Young reported ongoing issues with regard to flooding in Surby and Ballafesson. It was agreed that the Clerk should invite representatives from DoI Highways and the MUA drainage team for a site visit with Clerk, and Messrs Vernon and Young.
    b) The Commissioners agreed that their phone line could be shared with Arbory until a more suitable long term solution can be found. Arbory had agreed to share the costs for the time being.
    c) Youth services – the Commissioners had received an approach from Castletown Commissioner, Jimmy Cubbon regarding the development of a strategy to deliver improved services for the young people in the south. Mr Young and the Clerk attended a meeting to discuss this at which a working group of southern commissioners had been formed. Mr Young and the Clerk would continue to attend and feed back to the Commissioners from time to time.
    d) 2018 Year of Our Island – the Commissioners noted a letter from Minister Thomas in which he explained that 2018 was to be recognised as the ‘Year of Our Island.’ The Commissioners agreed to consider organising events during the year and possibly arrange the development of Ballakilley playing fields as a legacy development for the year.
    e) The Clerk informed the Commissioners that it was likely that he would need a separate laptop on which to administer the accounts. The Clerk agreed to explore options and report back to a forthcoming meeting.
    g) Smiley SID – the Commissioners discuss a suggestion from Arbory Parish Commissioners to share the cost of a new speed warning/recording device. Mr Radcliffe proposed that this be agreed and having been seconded by Mr Pilling, the Commissioners approved this suggestion.
    h) The Commissioners noted a message from the Housing Minister that a 3.1% rent increase had been agreed for all public-sector housing. The Clerk will write to the Board’s tenants informing them of the increase.
    i) Housing reserve – the Commissioners noted the following email from DoI Housing:

    It is stated within section 1.4 how Authorities will be expected to use any surplus Housing Reserve funds. To clarify expectations in this respect:

    When year-end accounts have been audited, should an Authority find themselves with a surplus in excess of the 7.5% allowed reserve, this will be off-set against the following year’s Housing Deficiency payment (HDP), i.e: 2016/17 accounts will be audited in October 2017 and will report the Housing Reserve (including Housing Maintenance Reserve). Having determined any surplus over the 7.5% allowed reserve, the Department (DOI) will off-set against the next applicable payment. Should there have been an overpayment made in the previous quarters, an invoice will be raised accordingly.
    It was agreed that the Clerk would discuss the email with housing officers and get a more comprehensive understanding of the matter.
    j) The Commissioners noted a consultation on a proposed Order for Off Street Parking Places. This was a welcome move by the DoI and the Clerk will respond to the consultation.
    k) Mr Vernon mentioned that he had been in contact with someone who might be willing to develop Ballakilley church field for camping. It was agreed that the Clerk will follow this up.
    l) Mr Pilling expressed his concerns and frustrations at individuals not paying their outstanding rates. It was agreed that the Clerk will discuss this matter with Treasury rates collection team.

    15. DATE OF NEXT MEETING Wednesday 17th January 2018.