Minutes: Parish Council Meeting 15th February 2021 via Zoom

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Monday 15th February 2021 virtually on Zoom.


Councillor G Bell (Chairman), (GB)
Councillor P Crompton (Vice Chairman) (PC) (had internet connection issues and at times left the meeting)
Councillor R Crookes (RC)
Councillor G Derbyshire (GD)
Councillor S Hughes (SH)
Councillor J Hardman (JH)
Councillor A Power, (AP)
Councillor J Wray (Cheshire East Ward Cllr)
Mrs J Mason (Clerk)

Declaration of Interest.

Cllr JH – Loachbrook estate and Cllr GD – Loachbrook estate, Cllr R Crookes (Rhead’s Meadow – dog walking)

Public Forum

One member of the public was present. The resident, from Blackfirs Lane, had experienced extensive flooding in their rear garden. It was the only time it had been this bad in the nine years he had been living there. He had contacted the Clerk as the family felt it was related to Rhead’s Meadows as the field was adjacent to their garden. The Chairman had subsequently met with the resident to see the issues raised. There was an agreement it was a combination of following factors, the Congleton Link Road, the recent building of new homes and an issue in the far corner of the west field which also needed Bellway Homes involvement.  He felt a percolation test should have been carried out by GRAHAM and soon by Bellway.

The Chairman had emailed Mr Paul Griffiths CE Highways Officer, Bellway Homes and GRAHAM to meet up and discuss further.

The resident asked to be present at the meeting.

Cllr RC and Cllr GD wished to point out that the wet weather had never been as bad as it had this year as it had to be noted the Back Lane playing fields had never been flooded as they had this year.

15/21 Apologies


16/21 Minutes

Resolved the minutes of the meeting held on Monday 13th January 2021 having been circulated be approved and accepted as a true and accurate record.

17/21 Rhead’s Meadows

Turfing the mound and the bunds around the pathways

Resolved Equator Developments Ltd would turf the mound and the footpath bunds as previously quoted.

Trees safety Inspection

The PC insurance company had advised that a tree safety inspection report was required on site to cover the risk assessment obligations. The Clerk had retrieved three quotations to carry out the works (it was noted Cheshire Wildlife Trust were not insured to carry out this inspection).

Resolved Eden Arboriculture Ltd would be instructed to carry out the tree inspection on Rhead’s Meadow.

Meeting with Miss A Froggatt

The Chairman and the Clerk had met with AF on a zoom meeting as her contract was soon coming to an end. She was due to help us with the planting of the Woodland Trust trees and the ensure we had the 10-year plan in place. The PC would approve the noticeboards and the wooden furniture.

Owl and Kestrel boxes

The local RSPB (Macclesfield) had offered to install owl and kestrel boxes on the site and the cost was £75.00 per box and there was a requirement of two boxes – one for the male and one for the female.

Resolved the Parish Council would install two boxes and the Clerk would organise with the local RSPB.

Grass cutter Contractor

The grass cutting of the site was discussed and it was agreed it would be carried out every four to six weeks from April to late September.

Resolved the Clerk would retrieve three quotes.

Flooding at ‘Firlands’

It was noted the Chairman would organise a site visit with the relevant parties and feedback at the next meeting.

Dog fouling on site

A resident had complained about dogs being off the lead, fouling in the meadow and being intrusive to other walkers. The PC debated the issue and thought it would be impossible to police dogs on a lead and many residents had smaller gardens and needed an area to let them walk freely.

Resolved signs would be placed on the entrances to ask dog owners to act responsibly.

Resolved Cllr SH would draft a sign and circulate.

18/21Terms of Reference for Rhead’s Meadow

All members had read the draft Terms of Reference circulated by the Clerk and there were concerns about the content and the new rules which need to be followed.

It was agreed this would be deferred.

19/21 Blackfirs Nature Reserve

The lease had been circulated by the PC’s solicitor. The Clerk had requested a tree survey from the CWT, but it become apparent that the only report which was available was the report they had conducted in June last year. CWT were not insured to carry out an independent tree survey only for their own purposes.

Cllr RC proposed an independent tree safety survey was carried out prior to signing the lease, Cllr AP seconded the proposal.

Resolved the Clerk would obtain three quotes to carry out a tree safety inspection at Blackfirs Nature Reserve.

It was noted the lease would not be signed until a tree inspection had been carried out.

20/21 Loachbrook estate

There had been a meeting with Cllr GD, Cllr JH and the Clerk with the North West Director from Bovis/Vistry on Tuesday 9th February. There was still no progress on the adoption of the sewage pipes by UU and they would not give any more detailed information. The only information was that it would not be a quick fix as it was a legal dispute. They still were promising progress with the landscaping, tree planting, replacement of bollards /additional signage and the fencing but there were constant excuses with COVID-19 issues and manpower.

Both Cllrs were becoming increasingly frustrated with extraordinarily little slow progress and now the determination of Bovis to transfer the site to a Management Company on the estate.

It was agreed Cllr JH would write again to Fiona Bruce MP to express the frustrations of the residents.

Resolved Cllr JW would contact Mr D Malcolm (CE Head of Planning) in relation to calling in the S138 bond. The site was established 7 years ago and there was still no completion date in sight.

21/21 Highways

Damaged sign on Chelford Road

Still outstanding.

Sign on A54 blocked gulley outside the Spinney

This had been reported and actioned at the weekend, but it seemed it was related to a local farmer’s field and CE would write a letter to gain access.

Blocked gullies on Radnor Bank

A resident has complained about the amount of water travelling down Radnor Bank and more so with the recent freezing weather. The Chairman and Cllr SH had visited site that day and they felt most gullies were not blocked and it was due to surface water from the fields and the road needed sweeping as there were many leaves.

The Clerk had reported, and CE were due to programme the gullies to be emptied.

Chelford Road and Blackfirs Lane

The standard of the lanes especially at the edges were again deteriorating after the recent works being carried out on the CLR and the closure of Chelford Road.

The Chairman reported that he has received an assurance from Mr P Griffiths CE Highway Officer these would be repaired after the completion of the CLR.

New Street Naming proposal for CLR

The name that had been proposed was Beartown Way. The PC had objected to this name.

22/21 Cheshire East  

Environmental Weight Restriction – JW reported CE had received the enquiry regarding a weight restriction for Chelford Road, Somerford on 31st January 2021.He advised the matter had been added to the member led Area Highway Group’s (AHG) Minor Works list for consideration, referenced as item 1838. To progress the item, it needs to be prioritized for funding through the AHG. The item will remain on the list until such time funding is allocated or it is decided that the item is removed from the list. The Congleton AHG are next expected to meet on 19th March 2021.

The Clerk asked if it had been under consideration since 2019 and still no progress had been made then was there any point pursuing it, she enquired why it did not get support. Cllr JW said the last time a footpath in Holmes Chapel gained the funding. He suggested a report was written.

It was noted no support for two years was not encouraging.

Grey Stone Wall 7993981 -He reported Ian McLauchlan (CEH) was aware of the issues with the wall along Chelford Road and were looking at coordinating repairs to tie in with network and resource availability during this period of severe weather events. It was positive that CE acknowledged responsibility.

23/21 Planning Applications

  • 20/5643C Land Rear of Green Tree Farm, 2 Chelford Road, Somerford CW12 4QD – outline application with all matters reserves for proposed 3 no detached dwellings Resolved No Objection

Bellway Homes

The Clerk reported she had made contact but no reply had been forthcoming.

24/2 Accounts

To note the balance of the accounts = £10,326.88


  • Direct Debit £5.99 Office 365
  • Online payment – £14.39 Zoom
  • Online payment – £48.70 Mr G Bell (plaque for bench)
  • Online payment – £697.25 Congleton Town Council (bin emptying)
  • Online payment – £2,124.00 Woodland Trust
  • Online payment – £30.00 CHALC (Cllr JH Finance 14.01.21)
  • Online payment – £31.50 A P Matthews Ltd
  • Online payment – £300.00 Somerford Chapel of Ease (Donation)

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


  • £9,700.00 FCC Communities

Bank Reconciliation

Cllr PC had checked and signed.

25/21 Internal Auditor 2020/21

Resolved Mr G Roberts would be appointed as the Internal Auditor.

26/21 Budget 2020/21

The Clerk presented the budget review to the members for consideration. The budget was reviewed and agreed.

Resolved the revised budget was accepted by Full Council.

27/21 Clerks Report

Local Council Award

The first triage had been completed and the issues had been addressed and it had now submitted to NALC for the full examination.

28/21 Chairman and Members Report

Cllr JH reported on the Finance Course she attended with CHALC.

The Chairman recommended that the virtual meetings would be held on the Teams as opposed to Zoom.

It was noted the Community Home Bonus monies had been withdrawn from Cheshire East for 2020/21. The Chairman had written a letter of disappointment to Mr Frank Jordan CE Officer.

29/21 It was noted the next meeting was on the 15th of March 2021.

The meeting concluded business at 10.20 pm


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