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Parish Council Minutes

April 2001


Mr. K. Colver, Mr. J. Quimby, Chairman of the Parish Council (in the Chair), Mr. J Lewis, Miss. S. Liff and Mr. D.H.  Saunders.

Cllr.R. Blunt, Mrs. L. Booth, Mr. Booth, Mr. J. Dunkleman, Cllr. M. Dyer, Mrs. S. Kent, Mr. G. Luker,

Mr. P. Selby, Mr. F. Steward and Mr J. Wightman.

Apologies were received from Mr. R. Bisgrove, Mrs. M. Lewis, Mrs. D. Morris, Mr. J. Mills, Rev. D. Waller and PC Simon Ward.

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.

136. Minutes

The minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 14th April, 2000 were taken as read, approved and signed.

137.  Police Report

The Clerk reported that PC Simon Ward had tendered his apologies for the meeting.  He had however asked that the meeting be informed of a new initiative for policing certain beat areas.  These beat areas, one of which includes Appleby Magna, will each receive additional services.  As from 16th April, 2001 dedicated officers will be responsible for the day to day policing of villages and will be supported by a Field Intelligence officer.  The officers will use a mobile police station which will be sited in the villages as often as possible.

138. 1999/2000 Audited Accounts of the Parish Council

The 1999/2000 audited accounts of the Parish Council were presented by the Clerk to the Parish Council.  No questions were raised.

139. 2001/2002 Parish Council Precept

The Chairman informed the meeting that the Parish Council had raised a precept of £8,000 for the 2001/2002 financial year.

140. Chairman’s Report

The Chairman reported that the Parish Council had had a busy year but also a sad one with the death of Clive Didcott BEM TD who had served on the Parish Council since 1949.  His extensive and unique insight into the village will be sorely missed.  Memorial planting has already taken place on an area of land adjacent to Didcott Way and an oak seat will also be sited there. 

He expressed his concern that there had been recent acts of vandalism where newly planted trees had been uprooted and a fence damaged.  He referred to the Hotel Metro, which was now completed and open for business and, as predicted by the Parish Council and other villagers, looks like taking a while to get established.  A decision on the planning application for an extension to the Appleby Inn was still delayed and awaiting the comments of the Highway Authority who wished to assess the impact of the recent improvements to the A444 road before forwarding its observations.  The improvements to the A444, which include a 40mph speed limit has had the effect of slowing through traffic and no accidents have occurred since those improvements were completed.  The fencing of the children’s play area on the Recreation Ground has been completed and a new bus shelter for Mawby’s Lane would be ordered as soon as permission to site it on the grass verge has been received from the Highway Authority.  He was pleased to report that the Village Design Statement has been adopted by the District Council as supplementary planning guidance and was already being quoted in planning decisions, a village Sports and Recreation Club has been established whose management committee meets 4 times each.  The problems associated with dog fouling on footways around the village had increased since many footpaths had been closed as a result of the foot and mouth epidemic.  He asked all dog owners to clear up after their pets.

He concluded by thanking all of his fellow Parish Councillors for their help and support over the past year and also Mrs. Jeffrey, the Parish Council Clerk.

141. Mr. H. Sankey BEM CC

The Chairman paid tribute the Mr. Horace Sankey BEM CC who was standing down from his post of County Councillor at the forthcoming elections.  He referred to his work for the area, particularly his achievements concerning the regeneration programme.  The meeting asked that a letter of appreciation and thanks be sent to Mr. Sankey.

 142. Report by Councillor Richard Blunt

Mr. Blunt began his report by echoing the Chairman’s tribute to Clive Didcott.  On a personal note he advised the meeting that since last year his wife had presented him with a son.

He said that, as expected, the Hotel Metro was an ugly building, with black windows and an empty car park.  He hoped that the venture would be successful to prevent any problems concerning future use of the site.  The District Council had recently dropped the enforcement action case against the motel for the removal of part of a hedgerow on Rectory Lane.  It now appears that the current legislation is only applicable for hedgerows which border agricultural land.  It was agreed to ask the District Council for reassurance that the remaining hedgerow was adequately protected under an approved landscaping scheme.  It was also agreed to enquire the outcome of negotiations with the company on the revised landscaping scheme and to request a copy of the latest agreed landscaping scheme.

Other bad news was the new political structure of the District Council which gave officers more power and elected members less.  He and other members were pushing for a review of the system.

Good news for the village included the adoption of the Village Design Statement which will enable additional valid planning arguments to be put forward for unsuitable developments in the village.  The benefits of the document will be seen for years to come.  He reported that Alan Harvey had been appointed as a full time conservation officer and would now raise the profile of this aspect of the District Council’s work.  Steve Town had been instrumental in producing the business plan for the refurbishment of the school and for pursuing grant applications.  His involvement and dedication to this project on behalf of the District Council should not be under estimated.

Finance for improved drainage for the Duck Lake area was available and consultants had been engaged to undertake design work.

He congratulated Councillor Michael Dyer on being appointed to the Planning Committee the effect of which will be that the village has at least 2 representatives on that committee with an interest in the village.

He reported that, as well as himself, there would be 3 other candidates standing for the post of County Councillor vacated by Mr. Sankey.

He concluded by thanking the meeting for inviting him to speak.

143. NWLCVS Rural Transport Initiative

Mrs. Linda Booth, the Scheme Administrator for the North West Leicestershire Council for Voluntary Service Rural Transport Initiative Scheme addressed the meeting by explaining that the NWLCVS operates 2 separate services for people who have transport difficulties.

The Social Car Scheme can provide transport for elderly or infirm people, people with disabilities, sick, injured or ill people or people with learning difficulties and the Dial a Ride scheme provides a mini bus, with a tail lift for wheelchairs, for any non profit making group, elderly, disabled etc.  A moderate charge is made for these services

144.        The School and the Community

Mr. Graham Luker, the Headteacher of the Sir John Moore Primary School, said that he was pleased to report that when the refurbishment of the school buildings had been completed it would also be a heritage centre with more potential for improved community use.  There would be excellent opportunities for local studies to be carried out at the school with the interpretive centre being a great asset for all concerned.  Many areas of the school will be modernised and the new learning spaces will reflect the nature of the building with a mixture of new and old.  Access to the grounds will be improved giving better opportunities for improved physical education and exploration.  The geography of the site and how it relates to the village will be able to be explored more easily.  There will be a constant wealth of issues for students to read and write about.  New traffic arrangements will make the site much safer..  The restoration of the coach house will enable the telecottage to be relocated with improved facilities.  As the programme for refurbishment continues it will give students more opportunities for links with the outside world and allow them to fully explore our multicultural society.

The key elements of the success of the whole programme are that the village retains its primary school with good teachers and governors enabling it to attract more children to the school.  The facilities provided must be used in a constructive way with concerted efforts to achieve a common interest.

In reply to questions he confirmed that the first stage of the refurbishment should commence at the end of the Summer term, but that although a fantastic amount of money had already been raised more public money was required.  He thanked the Parish Council for setting a lead by allocating £5,000 of it’s precept over the next 2 years to this project.  He was pleased to report that £2,000 was raised at the recent open day towards the £50,000 needed from the public appeal. 

The Chairman thanked Mr. Luker for his interesting and informative presentation.

145.  Representations by Village Organisations

a)     St. Michael’s and All Angels Church

The Church Warden, Mr. P. Selby, began his report by announcing that he was stepping down fron his duties as Church Warden and that it was essential that a successor was appointed to assist the remaining Warden, Joe Butler.  Lesley Birtwistle would be ordained in two months time and would then be able to take a greater part in church activities.  Members of the Church had helped with fundraising schemes including the Christmas and Summer fares and coffee mornings.  The Church was now working on a number of building projects including work to the electrics required under new legislation, repairs to the chancel floor, flooring under the pews, plasterwork and damp in the chancel.  Although larger building works are also necessary they will be more difficult to finance and were not being pursued at the present time.  The new inner doors have a double benefit in opening up the church and giving added security.  The Church Hall, although sound, needs attention to the roof and damp areas.  A heater has been installed in the back room and a cleaner has been appointed.

The 4 year funding programme ends this year and efforts are now being made to continue with this successful venture.  Parishioners are being invited to 2 meals to explain the programme and ways in which they can help.

In reply to a question on the availability of grants for improvements to the Church Hall Mr. Selby said that while grants may be available additional funds would also need to be raised locally and the Church was the main priority at the present time.  He confirmed that the Church Hall was self financing with regard to running costs but not for repairs or refurbishment

b)    Information Byway

Mr. F Steward reported that the Information Byway was run on a voluntary basis and, when open, was very busy.  A village web site had been built with many villagers contributing to this informative and exciting initiative.  Information Byway has been at its Top Street site for over 3 years and now requires a longer-term viable plan.  Following its success in being accepted for the UK Online scheme an award of £96,000 has been made to equip a bigger facility with 12 workstations and for technical support.  To draw down that money it was essential to secure a reliable building.  Information Byway is therefore looking to renovate the stable block at the school in parallel with school renovations.  It is hoped that the new Information Byway premises will be ready by the end of the year.

In reply to questions he confirmed that the contract for the renovation of the stable block will be separate from the main school refurbishment contract and separate tenders will be sought.

c)     Appleby Heritage and Environment Movement (AHEM)

Sonia Liff informed the meeting that the AHEM group endeavoured to defend and enhance the built environment of the village.  Given that the Hotel Metro had now been built AHEM hoped that it would be a success but that careful consideration must be given to any supplementary planning applications submitted for the continued development of the site.  Proposed large illuminated signs had been opposed and the Village Design Statement was an additional tool in combating unacceptable development.  The recent article in the Ashby Times stating that the village welcomed the motel development had been refuted and a subsequent letter of complaint was published.  The complaint had now been submitted to the Advertising Standards Agency for investigation.  AHEM had made representation regarding the review of the Structure Plan but there were very few grounds under current planning legislation to argue any real changes.  AHEM continued to be involved in the planting of verges and green areas but more younger people needed to be encouraged to be involved.

AHEM now holds its meetings at the school.  On 23rd April the Leicestershire Archaeology Service will report on the results of work on the motel site and the owners of the Motel have agreed that a site visit can be held in July.  Joan Noble will give a Halloween talk later in the year and members will take part in the Appleby Bike Ride and the Parish Walk.

d) 1st Appleby Magna with Measham Scout Group

In his absence Mr. Bisgrove had submitted the following report which was read to the meeting:-

The Group started a Venture Scout Unit for the over 15’s in August.  It is working well and they are particularly enjoying the five a side football league at Measham Leisure Centre

The total number of Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts and Venture Scouts is now about 50.  This is a significant increase over previous years and we are about to launch a leader recruitment campaign, as new youngsters come along virtually every week.

The Cub Scouts and Scouts had a great time at the rain drenched District Millennium camp at Willesley in May, with activities such as abseiling, crafts, camp fire, chariot race, cycling and sports.  A few weeks later the Beaver Scouts had glorious sunshine for their camp.

The Scouts had a great week in Cromer last August enjoying the beach, swimming in the sea, barbecues and fishing.

We are about to start a project to improve our Headquarters and grounds.  This will include heating, safety improvements, levelling the ground and adding to the trees planted in recent years.

e) Welcome Club

In his absence Mr. Jack Mills, Secretary of the Welcome Club submitted the following report which was read to the meeting.

You may recall that the Club was formed on 2nd October 1968.  The idea for the over 55’s to meet, chat, enjoy one another’s company and most importantly, afternoon tea.  We try to persuade ‘speakers’ to entertain us and thus far we have been fairly successful.  We try to maintain our traditions by meeting on the first Wednesday of every month at the Church Hall.  We have outings in May and September and our AGM is held in October when our accounts are presented and committee members elected.  Strangely this meeting is never well attended.   We organise a shopping trip in November and of course we hold a Christmas party.  We are self financing through annual fees, donations and raffles etc.  Recently we have been very fortunate to receive a generous grant from North West Leicestershire District Council.  Our membership to date is 31 but only 5 men…Without a doubt our weakest link.  Anno Domini has depleted our numbers but we shall carry on regardless thanks to the loyalty of our regular attendees and hard working committee.

f)  School Governors

Stella Kent the Chairman of the School Governors reported that the school had had a very successful year.  There were 101 pupils on the roll and a satisfactory OFSTED report had praised the school leadership.  The school was 11th overall in Leicestershire.  Strong links continue to be made with the Church.  The Dfee had agreed to make a contribution of £554,000 towards the refurbishment of the school, English Heritage £75,000 and the Heritage Lottery £600, 000.  £52,000 remained to be raised by other means.  The Governors are very grateful for the moral and financial support given by the Parish Council.

The Governors are optimistic that the school is entering the 21st Century in an improved and viable environment and are pleased with the SATS and OFSTED results.  The admissions limit of 118 pupils could be reached in the Summer term.

146.  Coalfield Communities – New grants for small groups

The meeting was informed of a new grant scheme which gives funding for community projects in designated coalfield areas.  Groups may apply for funding of up to £5,000 for various types of project.

147. Review of the Appleby Magna Conservation Area

The meeting was informed that the Parish Council would be formulating its comments on the review of the Conservation Area at its meeting to be held on 4th May.  It was considered that small isolated pockets of the village should now be included.


5th April, 2001

7.00 p.m. – 9.00 p.m.

Mrs. E. Jeffrey

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