• Minutes of the 15 August 2018 Meeting

    October 7th, 2018 by Stan Pilling in General News ·Meeting Minutes

    RUSHEN PARISH COMMISSIONERS
    Minutes of the Monthly Board Meeting
    Held 7pm Wednesday 15th August 2018 at Ballafesson Hall

    Present: Mr D Radcliffe (Chairman), Mr S Pilling, Mr P Gunn and Mr P Vernon.
    Apology: Mr Young (Vice-Chairman)
    In attendance: The Clerk

    1. MINUTES: The Minutes of the Meeting held Wednesday 18th July 2018 were agreed having been proposed by Mr Vernon and seconded by Mr Pilling.

    2. MATTERS ARISING.
    a) Street Lighting – LED maintenance costs – the Clerk reported that he had received a letter from the MUA stating that a detailed assessment of necessary works for replacing mercury lights with LED lights would be provided in September. Mr Pilling reported on the presentation given by the consultants who have been working to install a ‘state of the art’ street lighting system in Douglas.
    b) Dog Byelaws – the Clerk will endeavour to complete this task as soon as practicable but as July Tynwald had now been missed it will be October before the bylaws will come into effect.
    c) Risk Assessment, Health and Safety – the Clerk reported that he had met with the health and safety advisor earlier in the month and had visited all the Commissioners’ sites. A full report from the advisor including his assessment of the sites would be provided in due course.
    d) Port Erin Commissioners – proposed boundary extension, library and meeting – the Clerk had written to the Clerk to Port Erin Commissioners asking whether Port Erin Commissioners had agreed their membership for the joint working group established to consider ways in which the two authorities can better work together. The Clerk expected a reply in the near future and would circulate potential dates for a meeting once he had received Port Erin’s reply.
    e) New email addresses – the Chairman and Mr Gunn were in the final stages of ensuring that their new addresses were fully operational.
    f) Litter Pick with Beach Buddies – the Commissioners were pleased with the first litter pick and agreed that a second should take place in October. The Clerk would prepare a press release reporting on the success of the first and promoting the date for the second.
    g) Ballafesson flooding – it was agreed to follow this through once the hedge was cut in September.
    h) Outstanding rates – the Commissioners considered the circulated statement of outstanding rates bills unpaid. It was agreed that the Clerk should arrange a meeting for himself and the Chairman with Rushen’s Coroner.
    i) Public Rights of Way – the Clerk reported Rushen’s PROWs marked red or amber on the DoI PROW hierarchy map had been trimmed or would be by the end of the week. The Commissioners led delivery of the service had worked well and had not been too expensive, with paths being cut in advance of complaints coming in, unlike previous years.
    j) High Trees at Radcliffe Close and DoI housing – the Clerk reported that DoI housing had agreed to remove the high trees on the boundary of Radcliffe Close. Julie Edge MHK was unable to attend this month or next month’s meeting but would be willing to attend at a future point. It was agreed that the Clerk would invite her to the October meeting.
    k) Play area on the green space within the Ballakilley estate – the Clerk had not heard any more from Dandara but would follow this up.
    l) Newsletter – the Chairman reported that he hoped to have a draft finished by the end of August ready for circulation prior to the next meeting.
    m) Multiuse recreational space – the Clerk reported that he had met Chis Greggory and discussed ideas for both the Church Field and the green space in the new Ballakilley development. Various low-cost solutions were discussed and Chris Greggory agreed through his charity to develop ideas and plans which he could discuss with the Board at the September meeting.
    n) The Commissioners also considered the youth and recreation survey produced by Jimmy Cubbon, an email from Castletown Town Commissioners about skateboard facilities in the town and an email from Minister Cregeen suggesting the establishment of a recreations and events working group. The Commissioners felt that although the survey sample size was small it still produced interesting results. The Commissioners also agreed that the Clerk should write back to Castletown Town Commissioners and Mr Cubbon saying they are not minded to provide support to the skateboard facility until the working group has been established and had a chance to consider all the different proposal being developed across the southern local authorities. The Clerk will also write to Minister Cregeen supporting his proposal, and it was agreed that Mr Young or a deputy would represent the Commissioners.
    o) Bench on the Howe – the Chairman had not had a chance to undertake the work. The Clerk had written to MNH requesting the bench on the Green at Cregneash be repaired.
    p) Complaint about high hedges – the Clerk had written to the owner of the offending hedge but had not yet had a reply.
    q) Smiley Sid – the Clerk reported that the new traffic monitoring and speed warning device had arrived.
    r) Tynwald Select Committee on Poverty – the Clerk had sent the following reply to the Committee:
    The Commissioners see their role primarily as strengthening the communities they represent and feel that they could do more to assist in both identifying areas of poverty within Rushen and helping people to get out of poverty.

    The Commissioners feel that the Acts empowering local authorities do not adequately provide a statutory role for local authorities in identifying or addressing poverty in their communities. It is also clear that central government has not got any clear strategy or policy for engaging with local authorities to address poverty.

    Opportunities exist for central government to shed some of its responsibilities to local government and third sector led community partnerships. Such partnerships have been very successfully introduced in other countries and not only help people in need better access the support they need, but also help reduce the need for more expensive health and social care interventions. Issues are dealt with at an early stage before they grow into bigger problems so saving unnecessary stress and discomfort to individuals and cost to central government.

    Relatively modest increases in rates could pay for the administration of such community partnerships and the involvement of local authority members in considering matters such as poverty and social deprivation would be invaluable in assisting officers identify areas of most need. There has been some discussion about the creation of a Southern area housing committee or board, and perhaps expanding the remit of such a committee to include poverty and social deprivation would help give a more comprehensive and meaningful purpose to such a body.

    The Rushen Parish Commissioners have a very limited role in addressing poverty as things currently stand. The authority has the power to introduce a rate rebate system which could assist in addressing poverty but has not as yet chosen to do so.

    The Commissioners own and manage four public sector houses which help people living on limited budgets. The Commissioners also have the power to provide households identified as being in poverty with a reduced household waste disposal charge but currently have no policy in place to do so or mechanism to identify households in poverty.

    Clearly there are many ways in which poverty can be defined but in essence it is the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs such as food, clothing and shelter. How such a definition can be measured is not a matter that the Commissioners have considered, but any measurement would need to cover income, family circumstances, availability of both state and third sector provided services.

    In a country with policies to eliminate poverty and with comprehensive, integrated, well managed and well-funded social support services poverty should not exist. The Commissioners suspect that if we could shift more responsibility from central government back to strengthened local communities existing resources would be better targeted and utilised in the areas of most need and poverty would be substantially reduced if not eliminated.

    I hope this assists your committee in its deliberations.
    s) Manx Telecom phone book entry – the Clerk reported that for a modest additional sum, the Commissioners could include the Clerk’s email address in their phonebook entry. This was agreed.
    t) Letter from residents of Ballakeyll regarding Leylandii on the Commissioners’ land – the Commissioners considered the high trees on land they probably own adjacent to their Carrick Bay View land and agreed that the Clerk should arrange for their removal.
    u) New dog waste bin on Shore Road – the Clerk reported the new bin had been installed.

    3. SOUTHERN CIVIC AMENITY SITE – Mr Pilling reported that there had been no significant developments since the last meeting.
    4. MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION – Mr Gunn had been away for the July meeting, and there was no meeting in August.
    5. SOUTHERN SWIMMING POOL AUTHORITY – the Chairman reported that there was no meeting in August and the 40th celebration of the Southern Swimming Pool had been a great success.
    6. MARASHEN CRESCENT – the Chairman reported that there had been no meeting to report on since the Commissioners last met.
    7. SOUTHERN HEALTHCARE COMMITTEE – Mr Pilling reported that there had been no meeting to report on since the Commissioners last met.
    8. MANX NATIONAL HERITAGE – nothing to report
    9. ROAD MAINTENANCE AND GRASS CUTTING – the Clerk reported on the sweeping and hedge trimming undertaken. Mr Vernon requested that the Clerk report the very poor state of the railings at Ballafesson and request that the DoI repair these as soon as practicable.
    10. RESPONSIBLE FINANCE OFFICER’S REPORT.
    The Clerk reported the income had been received since the last meeting.

    B] ACCOUNTS FOR PAYMENT (inc. Vat where appropriate)
    The accounts for payment were agreed having been proposed by Mr Pilling and seconded by Mr Vernon.
    C] OTHER MATTERS
    a) 2nd Supplemental list – this was noted

    11. FINANCIAL SITUATION
    Balance on last statements July/August 2018 – these were noted.
    General ‘rates’ account 1,000.00 Liquidity Manager (rates) 167,554.17 Rent account 32,978.44
    Housing account 2,599.67

    12. CORRESPONDENCE
    a) Email from PE Commissioners – A member of the public has come in & said the bins at the above place – near Tom the Dipper’s bench – are overflowing & rubbish is everywhere. He wondered whether big bins with lids could be put there to stop gulls/wind etc scattering – the Commissioners discussed this and agreed that the Clerk should look for prices for a larger bin to be installed for next summer.
    b) Copy letter from Rushen MHKs to Ballakilley residents regarding boundary extension – the Commissioners noted the letter. The Commissioners consider a letter/notice prepared by the Clerk for distribution to Rushen’s Ballakilley residents and agreed that with a few amendments it should be delivered. The document is attached as an annex to these minutes.
    c) End to End Walk Notice and Festival of Motor Sport Road Closures from DoI Highways were noted.
    d) Signed order for Ballafesson Road – DoI Highways – this was noted.
    e) Letter from the Director of Public Estates and Housing seeking views on public sector rent and allowances for the 2019-20 financial year – the Commissioners considered the letter and agreed that an increase by CPI should be suggested.
    f) Email from Malcolm Couch – ‘Working in Partnership With Our Communities’ – this was noted by the Commissioners and agreed that the Clerk should attend if he is free.
    g) Email from Nicola Igoea, Healthcare Review Manager, regarding the independent health and social care review – this was noted by the Commissioners.

    13. PLANNING MATTERS
    A] Planning Applications
    a) 18/00484/B Land adjacent to Longmead, Ballakillowey Road. Ms Skelly and Miss Renard. Erection of new dwelling – additional plans.
    The Commissioners noted the amended plans and feel the plans clearly demonstrate the previous view of the Commissioners that the development represented an overly intensive use of the site. The Commissioners strongly feel that this development proposal should not be supported.

    B] Planning Approvals – the following were noted
    a) 18/00445/B Woodlands Ballagawne Road. Mr Karl Hartmann & Mrs Jojanneke Hartmann-Struik. Decision – Planning Committee. Approved. Issued 31st July 2018.
    b) 18/00033/B Seascapes Mount Gawne Road. Mr Nick Verardi. Decision – Director of Planning. Approved. Issued 3rd August 2018.

    C] Planning Refusals – None

    D] Completion Certificates – the following were noted
    a) 08/07304/DGA Ashville, Ballakilpheric Road. Issued 16th July 2018.
    b) 17/07420/DOM Plot 129, Ballakilley. Issued 17th July 2018.
    c) 17/07507/DOM Plot 124, Ballakilley. Issued 24th July 2018.

    E] Planning appeals – None

    F] Other Planning Matters

    14. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
    a) Advertising on railings at Ballakillowey roundabout – it was agreed that the Clerk would contact the businesses now advertising at the site and ask them to cease.
    b) Replacement pole and undergrounding at Croit e Caley – the Commissioners noted the MUA’s programmed works and that this would necessitate for a new light and pole in the area.
    c) Derelict property – it was agreed that the Clerk should write to the owner of the derelict car on Qualtrough’s Lane and ask for it to be removed.
    d) Mr Vernon reported that he would be unable to attend the next meeting.

    15. DATE OF NEXT MEETING Wednesday 19th September 2018

    Annex

    Have your say on the Port Erin Commissioners boundary extension proposal

    Port Erin Village Commissioners have made an application to the Department of Infrastructure for an Order under Section 6 of the Local Government Act 1985 seeking to adjust the boundaries between Rushen and Port Erin so as to move the entire residential estate at Ballakilley into Port Erin. The Department is asking for your views on this proposal and the closing date for responses is on or before 5.00 pm on Friday 14 September 2018.

    Rushen Parish Commissioners urge you to make your views known to the Department as your comments can significantly influence the outcome!

    What does this mean to you?
    If this proposal succeeds there will be two significant changes in relation to the services you receive. You will have your bin collected every week, and your phone contact with your new commissioners’ office will be restricted to normal office hours. It is also likely that you will also be required to pay more than double the annual Rates bill on your property.

    Currently, your bin is emptied once a fortnight by Rushen Parish Commissioners. This is to encourage people to reduce the amount of waste they produce by recycling, reusing, etc. and recognises that the vast majority of rate payers struggle to fill their bin over the course of a fortnight so shouldn’t have to pay double their rates for a weekly collection.

    The Rushen Parish Commissioners’ Clerk is generally contactable from 7.30am to 8.30pm seven days a week, so allowing people to discuss matters of concern at times more convenient to themselves.

    What’s the Difference between Port Erin and Rushen Parish?
    Port Erin is a larger authority than Rushen Parish. Port Erin provides a few more services than Rushen including some parks and a library. Port Erin also keeps its beach tidy and provides occasional entertainment in the Port.

    Rushen Parish is the epitome of smaller smarter government. Rather than retain a large directly employed workforce, Rushen commissions services or provides contributions to support other service providers.

    Rushen currently has one playing field in Ballafesson and is developing exciting plans for recreational facilities in and around the new Ballakilley development. Rushen parishioners can access Douglas’ Henry Bloom Noble library free of charge thanks to an annual fee paid by the Commissioners and Rushen makes a contribution to Port Erin’s George Herdman Library, as well as the Family Library.

    Rushen has this year taken on responsibility for maintaining the rural footpaths which the DoI can no longer afford to maintain. Rushen Parish also makes a small contribution to Port Erin Commissioners to support one of their annual events.

    The main shopping area for the South West is in Port Erin, whereas the School, Doctor’s Surgery and main Residential Home are all in Rushen. Port Erin has one of the most attractive beaches on the Island, and Rushen has some of the most attractive landscapes.

    What is Rushen Parish Commissioners’ view?
    Your Commissioners will strongly resist this proposal as it appears little more than an attempt by Port Erin to snatch money from its smaller neighbour, to pay for its services.

    Rushen Parish Commissioners have already offered to discuss with Port Erin the possibility of increasing the Parish’s contribution to Port Erin for facilities provided in the Port which our parishioners enjoy but that offer has so far not been followed through. Rushen also offered to work with Port Erin in ensuring services were delivered seamlessly but again this offer has not been taken forward by Port Erin.

    It is interesting to note that Port Erin did not choose to pursue a boundary extension when the new sheltered housing development on the outskirts of Port St Mary was completed a few years ago. A remarkably similar argument to the one presented in relation to Ballakilley could have been put by Port Erin in that case but perhaps the Commissioners didn’t wish to pick a fight with their larger neighbour?

    The boundary between Port Erin and the Rushen Parish was established long before the Ballakilley Estate was constructed, and it is highly unlikely that Port Erin would be acting in this way if the land had remained as agricultural fields. The Commissioners are disappointed that Port Erin has persisted with what we consider to be a very unneighbourly action.

    Ballakilley recreational facilities
    Your commissioners continue to work with members of the Port Erin Commissioners on a number of joint boards and committees. Not least of these was Ballakilley Working Party which secured the land adjacent to your estate for playing fields and public open space.

    The development of this land (now securely owned by Rushen Parish Commissioners) will require substantial funding from Rushen’s Rates. If the boundary extension application is successful, this will represent a considerable loss in future Rates income for the Parish and limit the speed and scope with which recreational facilities for this land can be developed.

    How can you help?
    The Department of Infrastructure published a Public Notice at the beginning of this month in which interested parties and the general public are invited to submit their views for consideration at the public enquiry.

    We urge you to respond as soon as you can as your views will influence the outcome of the enquiry. The Commissioners feel that it is entirely reasonable for Rushen residents to use facilities in Port Erin in the same way that we welcome Port Erin residents to use Rushen’s facilities. Communities can thrive and collaborate regardless of municipal boundaries.

    The Public Notice can be seen on our website which is www.rushen-commissioners.com , you can find the consultation online by visiting https://consult.gov.im/infrastructure/port-erin-boundary-extension/ or contact the Local Government Unit at DoI on 685900 and ask for more details.

    The Commissioners will keep you updated on the matter as far as we can through our website and occasional letters. In the meantime, please contact the Clerk on 834501 or [email protected] for further details. We’d be interested to hear your views and the Clerk is available to provide you with any further information you need!

    Rushen Parish Commissioners 16th August 2018