Minutes: Parish Council Meeting 16th March 2020

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Monday 16th March 2020 in the Pavilion ‘D’ at Somerford Park Farm @ 7.30 pm.

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Councillor G Bell (Chairman), (GB)

Councillor R Crookes (RC)

Councillor G Derbyshire (GD)

Councillor A Green (AG)

Councillor A Power, (AP)

Mrs J Mason (Clerk)

Declaration of Interest.

None declared

Public Forum

Nobody present

36/20 Apologies

Cllr P Crompton due to precautions related to the Coronavirus and Cllr S Hughes due to work commitments.

Cllr J Wray due to other meeting commitments.


37/20 Minutes

Resolved the minutes of the meeting held on Monday 3rd February 2020 having been circulated be approved and signed as a true and accurate record.


38/20 Business Plan 2020/25

All approved amendments had been made to the Business Plan.

Resolved the circulated Business Plan will be adopted.


39/20 RSPB/ Rhead’s Meadow

The pathways had been dug out by J Ashbrook’s Ltd and the mound completed. It was planned the pathways would complete by the end of the month and they would be off site. The first delivery of MOT from Bridestone was substandard and had been rejected and product resourced elsewhere.

The PC had been successful in obtaining funding (subject to conditions) of £20,000 from FCC Communities for planting the site.

The Chairman and the Clerk had met with Mr James Baggaley from CE in relation to the S106 monies from recent housing developments in the area. There was £11,000 available subject to conditions and the funding of the wildlife meadow was a suitable project which would fit the criteria. There had also been a meeting with Cheshire Wildlife Trust in relation to the Pollinating Cheshire initiative and, it seemed, although the soil was high in phosphate, they may be a solution of planting a large wildlife meadow area to the north of the site by soil inversion (deep ploughing).  This would need future maintenance and suitable access routes for large vehicles which would not damage the pathways. A quote had been received to make to crossing points for agricultural machinery.

There had been a few complaints that the entrance would be hard core in perpetuity, and they preferred a grass covering. The PC also considered the positioning of the gateway to gain access to the site with large machinery.

There were two pedestrian access points which need a gate, some suggestions were circulated to members with costs.

Resolved the entrance would be grassed and the access gate close to the track positioned not to allow cars to park.

Resolved the stock boundary behind the Blackfirs Lane houses in the north meadow would be planted as a priority and, funding permitting, the orchard. It was noted one resident had offered to contribute funds and his request would be considered separately. It was also agreed that some large specimen would be purchased and planted in strategic locations, again subject to funding.

Resolved the mound and the footpath bunds will be seeded as soon as possible.

Resolved two 2-way wooden gates would be supplied and fitted from Centrewire.


40/20 Blackfirs Nature Reserve

The heads of terms had been circulated.

Resolved the heads of terms were accepted and signed by the Chairman.


41/20 Loachbrook – ‘Bovis’ Estate

Cllr GD reported that there had been a survey carried out on the drainage pipes across the estate site which United Utilities were being asked to approve, but still no results had been forthcoming.

The residents had managed to arrange a meeting with the Managing Director and Customer Care Manager on site on the 1st April. The Chairman, Cllr GD and the Clerk will also attend.

It was noted the residents had attended a meeting with Fiona Bruce on 7th February and she had taken the issue back to the House of Commons again to express her concern with Bovis (now Vistry) about their lack of progress on site.

The response from Cllr Toni Fox, Head of Planning, to Cllr J Wray was acknowledged that CE would be taking no actions.



42/20 Dog waste bins across the Parish.

There was a discussion in relation to the lack of dog waste bins across the Parish, especially on the new housing estates, due to the increase in plastic bags and dog waste being left.

Resolved five dog waste bins would be purchased and fitted at a maximum of £1,000.

Resolved the Clerk would arrange for Congleton Town Council to empty the bins until management companies were set up on each site.


43/20 Highways

Blackfirs Lane / Potholes – 3380679/ 3380682

The standard of the lane was even worse than last month, and no (insufficient) actions had been undertaken by CE. The Clerk had contacted Mr R Cooper as there had been a site meeting in October with DWH and no agreement had been reached. Cllr JW had also been asked to intervene. He had reported it and there had been a site visit on 16/3/20 which was due to be fed back to the Clerk. The carriage edge was very poor and dangerous for cars.


There was a meeting planned for the 19th March. There had been complaints received in relation to the excess water being taken from site to unauthorised areas. The GRAHAM newsletter was due to be circulated this week and the Chairman and the Clerk had written a report to be included. It was noted 316 metres of sheet piling was due to be completed soon and would cause some noise for residents on Chelford Road.

Radnor Bridge

There was an emergency requirement to close Chelford Road over Radnor Bridge from 5th March through to Friday 6th March inclusive. There has been quite a severe embankment erosion over several years, and this had now got to an extent where the safety of the bridge was in question and therefore would have put the public highway at risk. CE Highways installed 54 x four tonne scour bags in the river to afford the bridge and highway intermediate protection from the actions of the River Dane.

Grey Stone Wall on Radnor Bank

Deferred as Cllr JW was absent.

Speed on A54 Sandbach Road

Cllr GD reported that the speed on the A54 was 40 mph and needed reducing to 30mph from the Loachbrook estate to the section in West Heath. There were many more children walking to schools and the closure of Sandy Lane was making the situation dangerous. She had made communication with the PCSO and was in the process of making further enquiries.

Somerford Park Farm

It was noted the Clerk had written to CE and the PC support comments had been noted.

Sandy Lane closure consultation to vehicular traffic

Resolved Objection

The Chairman would draft a response.

Resident request for a footpath along Blackfirs Lane



44/20 Cheshire East

No report due to Cllr JW being absent


45/20 Resident email to Cllr A Powers in relation to infrastructure in the Parish

A resident of Somerford had contacted Cllr AP to explain the concerns of the pressures all the new houses were having on Somerford and Congleton with no prior consideration to the infrastructure. She had written to Fiona Bruce for support to ensuring the Section 106 monies were considered carefully.


46/20 Planning Applications

  • 20/0487C 1, Chelford Road, Somerford CW12 4QD – Outline application for no detached dwelling.

Resolved Objection

APP/R0660/W/19/3238539 – 21 Chelford Road, Somerford, CW12 4QD Demolition of existing house and construction of a new residential development  

It was noted this appeal for 5 houses had been refused. 4 houses had previously been granted.


47/20 Accounts

To note the balance of the accounts = £95,244.24


  • Direct Debit £5.99 Office 364
  • Online payment – £12,446.82 J Ashbrook’s Ltd (1st payment)
  • Online Payment – £19,450.98 J Ashbrook’s Ltd (2nd payment)
  • Online Payment – £8,865.08 Filcris
  • Online Payment – £1,504.09 Viridis
  • Online Payment – £1,548.00 Bridestone
  • Online Payment – £150.00 J Douglas Fabrication
  • Online Payment – £495.12 Biora
  • Online Payment – £2,150.00 FCC Environment


 Resolved the above payments are approved and signed for as a true and accurate record.



  • £20,000 FCC Communities (subject to conditions)
  • £3,732.24  HMRC – VAT

Bank Reconciliation

Deferred due to Cllr PC absent the Clerk would ask Cllr PC to check the BR.


48/20 Delegation of Authority

Due to the current situation with the Covid -19 virus the Parish Council considered extending the delegation of Council decisions to the Clerk, in consultation with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, during any period of restricted activity declared by the Government in respect of the Covid-19 virus, including the authorisation of any revenue spend that is in the approved budget. Such delegation is to enable the Council to fulfil its responsibilities to its residents.

Resolved delegation to the Clerk was accepted with guidance from the Chairman and the Vice Chairman.


49/20 Clerks Report

Newsletter -The newsletter had been drafted and was due for delivery this week. It was noted due to the current situation the Annual Parish meeting would most likely be cancelled.


50/20 Chairman and Members Report

Cllr AP gave an update on the success of the recent litter pick on Blackfirs Park / Somerford Reach. The event gave a great community spirt and many turned out. The equipment was supplied by ANSA and the skip by DWH.



Resolved; “That in accordance with the public bodies (Admission to meetings) Act 1960 as extended by the Local Government Act 1972 section 100 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for discussion of the under mentioned item on the grounds that the publication of the matter would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted”


The Parish Council considered three quotes for the planting of the site.

Quote A – £18,977 plus VAT
Quote B – £19,807 plus VAT
Quote C – £10,300 plus VAT

Resolved Quote C would be accepted.


52/20 It was noted the next meeting was on the 27th April 2020 at 7.30 pm at the Pavilion in Somerford Park Farm. It was noted this was the Annual Parish Meeting

The meeting concluded business at 10.15 pm

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