Minera Community Council Meeting held on Wednesday 21st April 2021
Commencing at 7.15 pm and conducted by Zoom Videoconference
Present: Cllrs: J Edwards (Chair), H Field (Vice-Chair), W Blaze, D Kelly, A Roberts, A Fisher, J Belton, W Ollerhead, T Grundy, J Marsh
Clerk: Mr D Hinchliffe
Apologies: Cllr H Eustace
Before proceedings commenced the Chair asked all present to stand and observe a minute’s silence to mark the passing of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, noting also that the day of the meeting was the 95th birthday of HM the Queen.
The Chair then formally welcomed Councillors A Fisher and T Grundy to their first meeting of Minera Community Council since their recent co-option.
1/21 Declarations of interest
1/21.1 There were no declarations of interest.
2/21 Ratification of the minutes of the previous meeting
2.1/21 The minutes of the meeting held on 17 March 2021 were proposed as a correct record by Cllr J Belton and seconded by Cllr W Blaze.
3/21 Matters arising
3.1/20 Cllr W Blaze advised the meeting that he had recently received confirmation from Go Safe that an officer had been appointed to look at finding a site for a mobile speed camera on the Old Road. A static test had revealed average speeds of 43.7mph and 15% of traffic travelling at 52mph or higher. The Chair thanked Cllr Blaze for his efforts in getting the installation of official speed monitoring on the Old Road, an issue which had been of concern to MCC for a considerable time.
3.2/21 The Clerk advised the meeting that no response had yet been achieved from efforts to engage a salvage hunter to consider buying the horse’s head. Cllr D Kelly offered a second potential buyer, who the Clerk would now also approach. Cllr H Field proposed and Cllr W blaze seconded that the Clerk also place the item for sale on Ebay, seeking at least to recoup the purchase price of £260.
3.3/21 The Clerk was in the process of chasing up the larger litter bin which WCBC had agreed to install at the end of Maesyffynnon Road. The Chair had alerted the Clerk to the existing bin being over-full recently.
3.4/21 The Clerk was also awaiting a return call from Scottish Power to arrange a meeting at the culvert near Minera School to discuss flooding concerns. Details would be circulated once arranged.
3.5/21 The Clerk had now included the PCSOs on the circulation of meeting details, although apologies had been received on this occasion. The police operations map, requested at the previous meeting, had not yet been received as was being pursued.
3.6/21 The Clerk had obtained a second quotation for the ecological survey of Berwig Quarry. This would be detailed later in the meeting.
3.7/21 The Clerk had also made contact with WCBC relating to potential applications for the reserve balance of youth project monies. A response was now awaited from WCBC, expected imminently, once project files had been reviewed by WCBC staff. Cllr W Blaze noted that Brymbo had restarted youth outreach activities outdoors, and added that Bwlchgwyn Village Hall hoped to reopen for up to 15 people at a time on 17 May.
3.8/21 Cllr T Grundy, with contributions from the Clerk, advised the meeting of developments relating to the website since assuming the role of Webmaster. An upgrade was expected to be put through soon by the host, and release of the old domain from 123.reg was also being chased up. The site had been augmented appropriately during the period of national mourning, and links were being established and maintained to relevant local pages and announcements.
The Chair thanked Cllr Grundy for his diligence and thoroughness in the work to date to establish the new website.
4/21 Co-option of Councillors
4.1/21 The Clerk advised the meeting that, following the resignation of Cllr I Messiter and no request having been made from residents to hold an election, a co-option process to fill the vacancy was now in flight. Expressions of interest could be received up to 11 May, and thus far one resident had come forward.
5/21 Police report
5.1/21 As previously noted, the Clerk advised the meeting that no PCSO was available to attend the meeting on this occasion. PCSO Lydia Edwards had asked for any items of concern to be fed back, however, and the Chair asked that his recent frustrations at trying to telephone the PCSOs be passed on.
5.2/21 The Clerk also advised the meeting that feedback from the Community Agent suggested that a modest level of demand for the Target Hardening hardware from North Wales Police was evident from residents, but that it would not absorb an investment of £500 as suggested by the PCSO. The Clerk would therefore seek to procure a smaller value package of materials.
6/21 Minera Community Council Chair’s report
The Chair had circulated his report, and raised a number of points from it for further discussion:
6.1/21 A conversation had been had with Emma Heart, who was working to renovate Minera Hall. She in turn had been in touch with the Clerk. Plans were being pursued to bring the building and grounds back into use as a community facility. Both the Chair and Clerk had been careful to stress that the project could involve the active involvement of Minera Community Council. Following a short discussion, Cllr H Field suggested calling into one of the work parties at the hall, either individually or as a collective of Council representatives, to discuss progress and understand the longer term plan.
6.2/21 Sheep had been straying continually into Gwynfryn village from a local farm, posing a potential hazard to traffic and residents. The Chair had finally made contact with a PCSO to discuss the matter, who would now work towards a resolution of the problem
6.3/21 One of the benches maintained by Minera Community Council had been painted white through a gesture of individual goodwill by a resident. Unfortunately a passing cyclist had sat on the wet paint. The Clerk had sought to contact the cyclist to explain the situation, and would deal with the matter appropriately as an when a response was received.
6.4/21 There were numerous issues with potholes in the roads around the community. Some work has been carried out by WCBC, but other issues remain outstanding. The Chair asked the Clerk to notify WCBC about a particularly hazardous example at the junction of Ffordd Newydd and the Old Road.
6.5/21 A conversation with a resident about a footpath above Ty Brith lane had failed to establish conclusively whether the path was permissive, definitive or unclassified. The Clerk would consult the definitive map for guidance.
6.6/21 Four wheeled drive vehicles had been taking a short cut over grass verges adjacent to Vicarage Hill during resurfacing works on Minera Hall Road. The issue had been notified to WCBC, but seemed to have resolved itself following completion of the works.
6.7/21 It was pleasing to note that a resident of Gwynfryn wished to install a bench in the play area in gratitude for support received from the village around Christmas.
7/21 School Governor’s report
7.1/21 Cllr W Ollerhead had nothing to add to his report of the previous month, but would be happy to discuss any issues raised in it with Councillors at their convenience.
7.2/21 Cllr D Kelly advised the meeting that he would not be seeking to remain a Governor of Minera School beyond his current term. He could nominate a successor to his role as Local Authority Governor, and would be happy so to nominate Cllr W Ollerhead if he himself had no objection. In the event of other nominations, WCBC would decide who to appoint, but without other nominees this process would enable Minera Community Council to have a second Governor by dint of being solely able to appoint an individual to the role of Minor Authority Governor.
Cllr W Ollerhead commented that he was content to be so nominated, provided that it did not result in becoming Chair or Vice-chair of Governors due to current work commitments.
Subject to the reservations stated, Cllr J Marsh proposed and Cllr H Field seconded that Cllr W Ollerhead receive Cllr D Kelly’s nomination as Local Authority Governor at the appropriate time.
Susanne Allcroft now joined the meeting
8/21 Community Agent’s report
Susanne’s report was taken as read, with emphasis added to a few points:
8.1/21 Requests for help were flowing in steadily. Recent support had included securing of finance for a new boiler for a resident in receipt of a heating grant.
8.2/21 Discussions were being held with Community Catalyst to organise suitable help with transport for the community.
8.3/21 The Tyn y Capel was anticipating being able to resume the Tuesday morning sessions again soon, which would be very welcome. The foodbank at the Tyn was still not receiving requests for help, however, and the publicity for the facility via the school’s newsletter had been delayed due to an administrative oversight at the school. Liaison with Coedpoeth had also not produced any requests for assistance. All the food currently held was long-dated, so would not be wated as efforts to kindle interest continued.
8.4/21 The Digital Communities initiative was having a very positive effect, and the donation from Cllr W Ollerhead’s company was much appreciated. Some ‘fear factor’ was evident among individuals unsure of the technology, but those who had received an iPad had been greatly appreciative of the freedoms they provided. Susanne asked all Councillors to let her know as soon as possible of any resident they may be aware of who would benefit from support from this initiative.
8.5/21 A benefits awareness course would be undertaken in the near future.
The Chair thanked Susanne once more for her continued and much valued efforts, and the positive impact her role was having and she then left the meeting.
9/21 County Borough Councillor’s report
Cllr D Kelly briefly commented:
9.1/21 Fly tipping was a growing problem around the Borough, and had blighted the Minera ward in recent weeks, with dumping of builders’ waste at the old Tomlinson’s site and tyres on the Roman road. The app being used by WCBC to enable reporting of such problems was providing unsatisfactorily brief and misleading responses, and work was being done to resolve this. Covert cameras were being considered by WCBC for fly tipping hotspots.
9.2/21 Liaison was being maintained with Denbighshire CC as the deadline for the closure and dismantling of the unofficial travellers’ site on the Llandegla road approached.
9.3/21 Following appointment by WCBC of a Litter Liaison Officer, all Borough Councillors had received a supply of hardware and consumables for collecting litter. Cllr D Kelly would be happy to issue his supply to interested parties in the Ward, and Cllrs W Ollerhead, J Belton and A Fisher asked for a supply for their respective parts of the community. The offer of equipment would also be placed on the website.
9.4/21 A number of concerns had been raised by residents concerning the development underway at 2, Nantlais. The work was proceeding in accordance with the permission granted for an independent living facility, and no variation to permission had been sought nor assumed by the developers.
The Clerk had circulated summaries of correspondence throughout the month. The following points were briefly discussed in further detail
10.1/21 A second insurer had sought permission to tender for the upcoming year’s business. In the interests of competition and best value, this would be taken up.
10.2/21 A joint OVW/SLCC event dealing with current legislation and key issues would be held on 13 May. The Clerk intended to participate.
11/21 Grants and donations
11.1/21 No requests for assistance had been received since the previous Council meeting. There was therefore no business to consider under this heading.
12/21 Financial matters
12.1/21 Following a brief recital by the Clerk of the financial activities since the previous Council meeting, the financial report was proposed for approval by Cllr J Belton and seconded by Cllr W Blaze. The schedule of payments, listed below, was proposed for approval by Cllr J Marsh and seconded by Cllr A Foster.
12.2/21 The Clerk had received a contract for the year 2021/22 from WCBC relating to the funding provision for the Community Agent. The annual funding was once more confirmed at £10,000, albeit with the surplus of 2020/21 funding on hand of £2,746.18 being taken into account on WCBC’s behalf, resulting in net grant aid for the current year of £7,253.82.
Cllr J Belton proposed and Cllr W Blaze seconded that the Chair be authorised to sign the contract on behalf of Minera Community Council to enable grant funding to be received.
12.3.21 The Clerk advised the meeting that the internal audit had been completed, with only minor issues being raised by the auditor. Chief among these was a requirement to adjust the financial procedures to ensure that payments made by bank transfer acquired the same level of evidenced sign-off before payment as cheques. This would be dealt with ahead of the AGM, where updated procedures would be provided for consideration and, if deemed acceptable, approval.
The Chair thanked the Clerk for the good work done to ensure that the internal audit was completed so quickly and smoothly.
12.4/21 The Clerk, having procured two quotations for the ecological survey of Berwig Quarry, suggested that a Projects Meeting should be convened as soon as practicable to consider the quotations, and the status of the Berwig Quarry project as a whole. The Chair agreed and asked the Clerk to establish and publicise a suitable date.
Cllr W Blaze enquired as to the status of quotations for the renovation of Gwynfryn play area. This task having been initially deferred until after the lockdown in force at the time of the last Projects Meeting, the Chair asked for the topic to be included in the agenda for the next such meeting.
Cllr J Belton asked that, since insurances were close to being renewed, the cost of Public Liability cover for the play areas be added to the insurance schedule as a possible alternative cover to that currently provided through the Service Level Agreement with WCBC.
13/21 Planning matters – to consider items received from Chief Planning Officer
13.1/21 No planning correspondence had been received since the date of the previous full Council meeting, and no other planning issues currently required to be discussed.
Meeting adjourned 2120 hrs.