Minutes of the Sarratt Parish Council meeting held remotely at 7.30pm on
Tuesday 9 March 2021
Present: Councillor S Dobson - Chair
Councillor C Bloom
Councillor J Gell
Councillor N Mortimer
Councillor D Rees
Councillor J Rugg
Councillor A Soothill
Councillor P Thorp
Councillor S Diggins
In attendance: 5 members of the public
54/21 APOLOGIES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS.
Apologies were received from Caroline Owen. Best wishes for her continued recovery were expressed by all.
As this was Cllr Bloom’s last meeting as Councillor, the Chair expressed Council’s thanks for her great contribution and hard work, particularly on the environment and sustainability agendas over the last couple of years.
Cllrs Soothill and Rees’ last Council meeting will be the April meeting. Cllr Rees kindly offered to continue on the Days Charity Committee until a replacement could be found. This offer was gratefully accepted. It was also noted new representatives would be needed for the KGV and Village Hall Committees. Cllr Mortimer has said he would be happy to take on the KGV Committee role until a replacement could be found. Cllr Gell expressed his interest in taking on the Village Hall role. The positions would be formally appointed at the April meeting.
The Chair advised the three vacancies had been duly advertised on the TRDC website and no candidates were forthcoming. SPC is now free to co-opt new members onto Council. A co-option notice would be placed on the SPC noticeboard, in the Village Shop, the Village Facebook group and in Spotlight if it continues. The deadline for applications will be 10 April 2021.
55/21 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The minutes of the Council Meeting held on 9 February 2021 were approved.
Proposer - Cllr Mortimer; Seconder - Cllr Diggins
57/21 TO RECEIVE REPORTS FROM REPRESENTATIVES WHO HAVE ATTENDED MEETINGS ON BEHALF OF THE COUNCIL
Village Hall AGM (Cllr Soothill)
Cllr Soothill reported the following:
• The Village Hall generated a surplus in the last financial year due to successful bids for Covid-19 grants off-setting the loss of hire income, but this is likely to reverse this year as it is unclear whether further grants will be available yet lockdown has continued.
• Roger Dudley was elected as the new Chair.
• The next AGM will be held on 10 January 2022.
KGV Trustees (Cllr Rugg)
• KGV were late in submitting the lottery fund application for the new pavilion windows that Cllr Rugg led the drafting of, and a new application process is now in place so KGV will have to submit a new application.
• The Trustees agreed the skatepark project should proceed and that it will be managed by the community with Cllr Thorpe as project manager working with a representative team from the village including two KGV trustees. The team will work with the appointed specialist supplier from Heronsgate to arrive at a final design and funding.
• Concern was expressed regarding the football club seeking a further £10K to improve the field – particularly as a similar sum had been provided last year mainly funded by Herts FA.
• A discussion was held on income streams which have been impacted by the reduced usage of the Sunrise and Sunset Club when the schools were closed during lockdown.
• Cleaning the pavilion remains an issue under COVID restrictions as visiting teams cannot share changing rooms with the home team and have to use the main hall which therefore gets very muddy.
Three Rivers Environment Forum (TREF) (Cllr Bloom)
Cllr Bloom attended the TREF on 3 March 2021. The minutes of the meeting can be found via the following link. https://www.threerivers.gov.uk/egcl-page/environmental-forum-minutes
Key points arising were:
• A presentation on Three Rivers Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy Consultation. The main documents can be viewed via the following link: https://www.threerivers.gov.uk/meeting/policy-and- resources-committee-8-march-2021
• Rewilding Strategy: TRDC intends to run 5 pilot projects in the Spring, essentially reducing cutting of its meadows, green spaces etc to once a year at the end of the summer flowering season.
• Tree Strategy: (See below under Environment)
• Baselining: The point was made that ‘baselining’ should not be based on our current degraded environmental state but needs to better reflect a ‘status quo ante’.
• The significant and damaging impact on footpaths, bridleways and the countryside generally by increased footfall during Covid 19: While increased usage was welcome, there would need to be education and perhaps better direction and guidance to visitors to minimise damage going forward.
• Recycling: TRDC is one of the best Districts in the Country for recycling.
• The Colne Valley was recently featured on Countryfile, but the original location for the feature had to be changed due to the pollution of the River Colne.
Local Area Forum (LAF) (Cllr Dobson)
Cllrs Dobson and Soothill attended from SPC. Other attendees included the Chair and Clerk of Chorleywood; District Councillor, Phil Williams; and a number of representatives from TRDC.
A brief presentation was given by PSCO Steve Jacobs on crime statistics in the last year. Total crimes in Sarratt and Chorleywood North, including burglary, theft and anti-social behaviour, had fallen from 260 to 239 (9% reduction). Reduction due possibly to people being at home during lockdown. The detail behind these numbers was requested.
The majority of the meeting was on a detailed presentation on HS2 from Align (part of the HS2 consortium at Maple Cross). Key information shared was:
• Work on the 16-mile tunnel under the Chilterns will start in Summer 2021. The tunneling machines are now on site and being prepared to start boring.
• Work on the viaduct over the Denham lakes starts Spring 2022.
• All work is due to be completed by late 2024, and site cleared by 2025. The works sites will be made good.
• The main concerns from the meeting attendees were the disruption to the roadways around the site due to construction traffic, and how effective restoring the environment really would be. An online exhibition is scheduled for March 23rd and 25th, but info on how to sign up is still awaited.
The Chorleywood Chair provided an update on COVID issues in their Parish, and also shared details of their Community Champions programme (similar to Sarratt’s Local Heroes), and their Community Front Gardens competition.
The SPC update was given by Cllr Dobson on highlights since the last LAF in October 2020. Cllr Dobson also raised the issue of delayed visits to sites in the Parish by the Enforcement Team, especially where some of these visits could be conducted from the roadside.
Thames Water Initiative (Cllr Diggins)
• Thames Water has identified the River Chess as one of five rivers in its catchment area where a holistic approach - integrating water management, the environment generally, and leisure activities, could be fruitful. An initial meeting took place in February and a report is due out in early March, setting-out a 10-year plan. The first, and most welcome, step will be to improve water and waste management from the Chesham works: some £3.3m has been allocated for this.
• Cllr Dobson also noted an email had recently been received from the River Chess Association advising Thames Water would be starting work immediately to address 10 groundwater ingress points, that contribute to the overflow of the Chesham sewage tanks into the River Chess.
58/21 LEAD COUNCILLORS REPORT (Cllr Mortimer)
• New Duckhouse for Sarratt Pond – now ordered and expected in the next few weeks. A huge ‘Thank You’ to Moira Rugg and RSPB friends for making this possible.
• Hedgerow on the corner of Deadman’s Ash/Dimmock’s Lane – contact with the landowner made, and permission will be given to SPC to cut back the hedgerow, but only after ‘sign off’ from UK Power re: sub-station. Work cannot start now until 1 September due to nesting birds etc.
• Oak Tree 666 is now down and the main trunk has been turned into a 3-tier seating bench. Thanks to Cllrs Rugg and Bloom for getting the ball rolling on this.
• Fly tipping in Bottom Lane – reported to TRDC (also see Parish Warden’s Report below).
• Tree inspection of oaks in Deadman’s Ash Lane – work required to address the over-hanging branches is too big for SPC to handle and has been reported to HCC Highways by Cllr Diggins.
• Ironworks exposed on edge of The Green opposite service road – HCC Highways issue and has been reported by Cllr Diggins.
• Horses damaging ancient woodland at Rosehall – meeting scheduled for 10am Thursday 11 March with TRDC.
• Motorbike fire at kissing gate in Bucks Hill – scene visited and new gate ordered. Section of damaged fencing also to be replaced by SPC.
• KGV – child stuck in new play equipment – Cllr Mortimer has taken pictures and will email the manufacturer.
Parish Warden Report
• Litter picked along Bottom Lane, Plough Lane and round the Plough pub up through to The Green. I have also found a fly tip of household rubbish thrown in the hedge along Bottom lane footpath going to Bucks Hill. I have noticed the rubbish along Bottom Lane has increased since last month.
• Andrew and I replaced the old damaged walk-posts in Commonwood, Bucks Hill, Dawes woods, as well refurbing and updating the horse signs.
• Two dangerous hung-up trees in Commonwood down the bottom near Red Lion Lane, have been cleared, making the footpath safe to the public.
• I haven’t seen anything dangerous or that needs doing down at the River Chess. I have cut back a couple of hedges along the footpaths. We could do with some signs to tell people it’s not safe to go into the river.
• I have been cleaning any kissing gates and benches which the pubic have touched or used to help keep the risk of COVID in the village lower.
• I have also noticed a lot of rubbish that has been on Sarratt Road included dirt which has been fly tipped at the top of Solesbridge Lane. I have raked these out.
Warden’s Proposed Plan of Works.
• To give both shelters in the village an update - a couple of pieces of weatherboarding will need to be replaced including being re stained or varnished.
• The poles round the pond could do with a good sand down as well as a paint including the pump on the green.
• Footpath Repair in Commonwood. One of the footpaths at the bottom of Commonwood is quite dangerous, due to the ground decaying, making the footpath hard to get down. I have cut the hedges back so you can get through safety without falling into the hedges.
59/21 WOODLAND MANAGEMENT PLAN
• Woodland Plan - We finally have the numbers of people to initiate the Zoom meeting replacing the woodland walk to discuss initially the 10-year tree management plans and the specific requirements to obtain a Forestry Commission Grant – possibly to be funded in future under ELMS (Environmental Land Management Scheme) rather than EU CAP funds that have been temporarily extended by HM Treasury following Brexit.
• Tree whips – Cllr Bloom advised these have now been distributed.
• TRDC Tree Strategy - TRDC are seeking input to a consultation survey on their new 5-year Tree Strategy Plan for woods on land where TRDC are the registered owners. The intent is not only to encourage more tree coverage but also to ensure that new trees are nurtured and maintained. The initial briefing document, 'Tree Strategy 2022-2027', is now available and sets out the broad process and timescale for producing the new Strategy. It also highlights the points when stakeholders will be consulted and invited to comment on the emerging strategy, which should occur late summer/early autumn. The link to the Strategy is here: https://www.threerivers.gov.uk/egcl-page/consultations
Our proposal is they should extend the scope and consider links to interface with other woodland owners within the District to include private landowners, councils, trusts and charities, particularly, as all the large and small woodlands in Sarratt and apparently elsewhere in the District, are both designated wildlife sites within the TRDC Planning Framework and many are used by the public for recreational activities. The review will seek to address such issues as: how trees are managed; linkages to local planning review; how to encourage landowners to plant and manage their trees; and ensuring builders keep their promises on replanting. Initially, TRDC aim to set out a time frame for stakeholders with an interest to contribute to the strategy over a suggested 1-month period. This initial report will be circulated and comments invited, including targets and costings. They are proposing funds for trees, and their maintenance.
60/21 RIVER CHESS POLLUTION UPDATE
See above under 57/21.
POLICY & RESOURCES
61/21 Lead Councillor’s Report (Cllr Thorp)
The Clerk has a back to work date of 22 March and will undertake a phased return, dealing with a number of projects that will enable her to work flexibly as she builds up to full hours. Cllr Dobson and Thorp will continue to staff the office and deal with email and phone calls for the time being.
There are two pots of grant funding available, one from Watford & 3 Rivers Trust for up to £1,500 for trees, and one from the police for local road safety measures. Details have been passed to the leads for Environment and Highways to apply.
Payments totaling £5,746.82 were approved.
Proposed - Cllr Mortimer; Seconded - Cllr Bloom
63/21 Review of SPC Policies for Adoption
The following policies were approved and adopted:
• GDPR, Subject Access Request, SPC Privacy Notice, Data Breach, IT & Information Security, and Freedom of Information & publication schedule.
Proposed - Cllr Rugg; Seconded - Cllr Gell.
• SPCs policy on Lone Working and the Lone Worker Risk Assessment were also reviewed and adopted.
Proposed - Cllr Soothill; Seconded - Cllr Thorp.
These will now be added to the SPC website.
64/21 ANNUAL PARISH MEETING (27 April)
This is scheduled for 27 April. It was agreed that rather than postponing, this would be held by Zoom. Recipients of a grant for 21/22 would be invited to attend as well as other members of the public. Payments would be made by a posted cheque or bank transfer. Lead Councillors were requested to submit their reports for the 20/21 year by the end of March to enable compilation of the Annual Report in time for the meeting.
Cllr Dobson also advised she would be bringing the meeting schedule for 21/22 to the next Council meeting for approval.
65/21 LEAD COUNCILLORS REPORT (Cllr Soothill)
66/21 TRDC LOCAL PLAN
Nothing further to report. The new Local Plan consultation is still expected in May/June this year and scheduled to be implemented in Summer 2023.
67/21 NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN – POLICIES UPDATE
Cllr Soothill reminded Councillors that the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group had decided to push ahead with Neighbourhood Plan, ideally with adoption in early 2022, despite the delays to the TRDC Local Plan. If needs be adjustments could be made at a later date.
Cllr Soothill provided a summary of the Neighbourhood Plan policies which were circulated prior to the meeting. It was noted the Design Codes laid out in the Neighbourhood Plan are not dissimilar to the approach SPC already takes when reviewing planning applications. As such there was no reason why SPC could not adopt these with immediate effect.
Proposed - Cllr Rugg; Seconded - Cllr Thorp and adopted.
Cllr Soothill advised the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group were planning to hold the public consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan policies as soon as COVID restrictions allowed face-to-face meetings to take place. A date will be set at the Working Group meeting in April. The aim of the consultation meetings will be to gather what people like / don’t like and any ‘missings’.
The Neighbourhood Plan has cost the Parish Council £3k to date. Although the total cost is considerably more, this has to date been subsidized by external grants. Total cost to SPC is likely to be in the region of £10K.
68/21 TO COMMENT ON PLANNING APPLICATIONS
Sarum, Templepan Lane, Chandlers Cross, WD3 4NH. Application No: 21/0232/FUL
Demolition of existing garage and existing annexe and construction of replacement garage and annexe buildings.
Comments: No objection.
2 Sarratt Bottom Cottage, Moor Lane, Sarratt, WD3 6DB. Application No: 21/0276/FUL
Extension to existing garage and conversion into habitable accommodation.
Comments: No objection provided a condition is that this building remains ancillary to the dwelling and that Permitted Development rights are removed.
Land Known As The Puffing Field, Adjoining Brackenhurst, Windmill Hill, WD4 9DG. Application No: 21/0282/FUL
Demolition of existing structures and construction of two storey detached self-build residential dwelling with associated curtilage.
Comments: Objection. Sarratt Parish Council strongly objects to this application. This application represents the building of a substantial new dwelling in the Green Belt without any special circumstances having been demonstrated, and as such is considered inappropriate development in the Green Belt. Further, we contend that: i) The argument in the application that this is infill is invalid as this would require a gap in an existing highway and Windmill Hill as a private road is not a highway; ii) There are no existing permanent structures on site to demolish; iii) There are currently no vehicular access rights to the site. If the officer is minded to approve, it is respectfully requested that it is called into Committee.
Cherry Tree Cottage, Finches Avenue, Redheath, WD3 4LN. Application No: 21/0400/FUL
Removal of Condition 2 of planning permission 01/01452/FUL to remove agricultural occupancy restriction.
Comments: Objection on the basis that the removal of the agricultural tie would reward the previous illegal occupancy prior to 20/2376/CLED by allowing an unfettered new dwelling in the Green Belt.
Afton Redhall Lane, Chandlers Cross, WD3 4LX. Application No: 21/0179/FUL
Demolition of existing conservatories and erection of new side and rear conservatories.
Comments: No objection.
York House School, Sarratt Road, Croxley Green, WD3 4LW. Application No: 21/0421/FUL.
Variation of Conditions 2 (Approved Plans) and 3 (Acoustic Levels) pursuant to planning permission 20/1625/FUL Demolition of 2 no. existing sheds and proposed extension to existing barn, part conversion of barn in) to vary the layout and elevation details and vary the permitted external noise levels.
Comments: No objection.
The Hollies, Commonwood, WD4 9BA. Application No: 21/0197/CLPD
Conversion of existing integrated garage to habitable room.
Land Adjoining Blenheim Cottage, Bucks Hill. Application No: 21/0173/FUL
Change of use of land to use for equestrian use including erection of stable block and hay store, provison of hardstanding, construction of driveway and menage.
Comments: No objection.
Callipers Hall, Bucks Hill, WD4 9BP. Application No: 21/0250/CLPD
Construction of a detached outbuilding over existing outdoor swimming pool.
Comments: No objection.
Holly Hedges Farm, Olleberrie Lane, Belsize, WD3 4NU. Application No: 21/0301/PDT
Enlargement of the dwellinghouse by the construction of one additional storey (3.2m in height) and raising of ridge to result in an overall height of 8.4m (Class AA).
13 Deadmans Ash Lane, Sarratt, WD3 6AL. Application No: 21/0372/CLPD
Single storey side extension and loft conversion including hip to gable enlargement and rear dormer with Juliet balcony and alterations to fenestration in existing rear projection.
Land South Of Junction 20 Of M25 And West Of A41, Hunton Bridge. Application No: 19/0646/OUT
Outline Application: Construction of new Motorway Service Area (MSA) to comprise: amenity building, 80 bedroom lodge, drive-thru coffee unit, fuel filling station with retail shop, together with associated car, coach, motorcycle, caravan, HGV and abnormal load parking, alterations to the A41 including construction of a new roundabout and vehicular access, works to the local highway network and at Junction 20 of the M25 motorway. Provision of landscaping, signage, infrastructure and ancillary works.
Comments: Resubmit previous response given in April 2019, specifically: “Whilst the application in not in the Sarratt area the Parish Council object strongly to this application due to the increase in traffic on the already busy road network. The proposed new roundabout on the A41 would cause further congestion and delays on an already busy road.”
69/21 TO NOTE PLANNING DECISIONS
The Old Cattle Shed, Red Lion Lane, Sarratt, WD3 6BN. Application No: 20/2802/FUL
Erection of a multi-purpose agricultural barn.
TRDC decision: REFUSED
Nasus, Dunny Lane, Belsize, WD4 9DE. Application No: No: 20/2458/FUL
Two storey front and rear extensions, loft conversion including increase in ridge height, roof extension over existing garage, front, side and rear dormer windows and side rooflights, front porch and front steps and alterations to patio to rear.
SPC: No objection
TRDC decision: REFUSED
Cllr Dobson advised she had emailed Matthew Roberts at TRDC Enforcement team with SPC’s concerns over the lack of progress on a number of long-standing enforcements due to COVID, particularly when some of these could be assessed from the roadside. District Cllr Butler also offered to raise the matter with TRDC.
71/21 LEAD COUNCILLORS REPORT (Cllr Diggins)
There is a significant number of road works within the Parish over the next few months, reflecting the end of winter and slight easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
72/21 WHEATSHEAF ACCESS ROAD
Cllr Diggins will, with residents, now obtain quotes for:
• Repair of the road (Residents’ responsibility)
• Repair of the Green (SPC responsibility)
73/21 QUIET LANES
Cllr Diggins advised there was nothing further to report. Action is planned by HCC Highways in the new financial year commencing April 2021.
Cllr Dobson advised delivery of the 4 replacement fingerposts that have been ordered is expected towards the end of April. Subject to the quality of this first batch of fingerposts an order will be placed with the same supplier for the 3 remaining fingerposts to be funded from the 21/22 budget.
75/21 KGV HALF PIPE
The Sarratt skatepark project has been approved by KGV and a preferred supplier selected. Cllr Thorp is managing the project and is putting together a management group representing SCCF, KGV, SPC and three young members of the community who represent the end users. A kick-off meeting is scheduled on Saturday 13 March for the project team.
76/21 VE DAY AND VJ DAY COMMEMORATION
Cllr Diggins advised contact has been established with Sarratt School and all other plans are dependent on the easing of lockdown. Cllr Butler suggested that the weekend of the Sarratt Flower Festival (25-27 June) might be suitable.
• A provisional booking has been made for the May Fair for the first weekend in May. The organisers have asked SPC if this can go ahead in the light of the government roadmap for England. Cllr Dobson agreed to check if the guidance on theme parks opening up from 12 April would also apply to fun-fairs. If yes, then assurance from the Fair organisers would be required on how they would ensure appropriate levels of cleaning and sanitization were in place and social distancing maintained.
• A resident has requested use of the Green for a charity called the Bike Project which collects and refurbishes old bikes and distributes them to refugees. Permission was granted for after 12 April (assuming the next stage of the government ‘roadmap’ happens on time) with the proviso that strict social distancing and hand sanitising will be adhered to. Cllr Thorp would communicate this to the resident concerned.
78/21 PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
District Cllr Butler advised a Friends of Holy Cross ‘open garden‘ was scheduled for 25 May.
79/21 COUNCILLORS QUESTIONS & COMMENTS
Councillor Rees noted HCC Highways were conducting the usual end of the financial year ‘panic’ to spend their budget with multiple roadworks taking place in the Parish and wider District.
80/21 DATE OF NEXT MEETING AND ITEMS REQUESTED TO BE PUT ON NEXT AGENDA
The date of the next meeting will be Tuesday 13 April 2021, to be held via Zoom.
Chair, Sarratt Parish Council