Minutes October 2014

Meeting Monday 13th October 2014

Councillors Dave Merrett
Carolyn Ovenden
Christine Morton
Martin McHugh
Jayne Harris
Carole Oakes
David Harris
Frank Sainsbury

County Councillor Down
Clerk Mrs Jane Kelley

Public- None

41/14 (i) Public Comment


II) Police Report
Mathern, Pwllmeyric and Mounton incidents between 9th September and 12th October 2014.
01/10 – Suspected thief from the area, thought to be in St Pierre, booking accommodation. Police attended and a male was arrested in connection with thefts at St Pierre and similar offences in other force areas.
29/09 – Female was spoken to by 2 males in a white van, whilst she was running through the village. She was unable to hear what they said to her and she ran off toward her house. Caller just wanted this logged for information. Noted by ward officer.
26/09 – Report of 2 school children throwing berries at the gardener, at a house in Pwllmeyric. The youths ran off in the direction of the school in Pwllmeyric.
22/09 – Alarm going off at a farm in Pwllmeyric. Police attended to find everything in order and that it was a personal attack alarm, activated accidently.
19/09 – Report of 4 males on Vespa motorcycles on the A48. Caller thought one was carrying a gun. No specific area of direction for police to attend so observations were passed.
16/09 – Report of dangerous driving at the junction of Chepstow Garden Centre on the A48. Driver traced and given words of advice.
15/09 – A white sports bag containing an empty X-Box package, was found in a hedge in Chapel Lane. No burglaries had been reported but bag is being held in the police station at the moment, in case any reports are forthcoming.
11/09 – Camper van broken down on the A48. Recovery arranged by driver.
10/09 – Report of 2 young males kicking and screaming at the entrance of St Pierre. The youths were being returned to their school by teachers after skipping lessons.

The new Chief Inspector for Chepstow introduced himself. He is Giles Rowland and has been in office since May. However he is now being transferred and a new inspector, D Morgan, has been promoted to look after Chepstow. A short discussion concerning local crime took place.

County Councillor Down asked if a quarterly report of crime could be produced within our community. This was agreed and will be forwarded on an ad hoc basis.

iii) Apologies

Councillor N Bailey

iv) Declaration of Interests:

LDP: Councillors Sainsbury and McHugh.

v) Minutes of Previous Meeting

The Minutes of the meeting held on 10th September 2014 were circulated with the agenda. These were agreed as true and accurate.

42/14 County Councillors Report

The planning application for a photovoltaic park on land belonging to Rhewll Farm has been refused by the MCC Planning Committee. This is against Planning Officers advice. The application will now go back to committee for their final decision.

The 2015 County Council Budget reduction is now set at 4.3%, mainly due to Welsh Government provision for improvements in NHS services. The Education budget is ring- fenced. A number of public consultation events are being held within the area and there has been mixed attendance figures to those events which have already taken place.

County Councillor Down to chase signage improvements to Mathern Athletic Club as once again an ambulance was unable to find its location.

43/14 Progress report on actions from last meeting

1)Sewage pipes, Mounton.
Investigation still ongoing. To be discussed at the next Flood Forum meeting which is to be held in late November.

2) Willow Trees – entrance to Mathern

Trees have been cut back and made safe. Councillors to keep on eye on this, as they still consider them to be unsafe.

3) Possible annual “What’s on” leaflet as mentioned in County Councillor’s Report in September.

Councillors feel that this would be a good way of advertising the clubs and events within the Villages.
Annual cost considered to be £600.00 for printing/design.
Clerk and CC Down to investigate other local councils who produce a booklet. Suggested a small sub committee is then formed to work on items for inclusion and a dedicated person to obtain advertising material to offset again printing costs.

4) Response re. the Williams Report and Dr Del Williams’ response on behalf of One Voice Wales.

Response sent from Mathern CC, copy attached. Clerk to email One Voice Wales to thank Dr. Williams for hisr comprehensive and appreciated response to the report.

5) Hedge – Rear of War Memorial

Work now completed by Mr Kibby.

44/14 Highways

Councillor Merrett had an on site meeting with an MCC Highways representative to discuss the state of the road surface in Barn Lane. It was agreed that MCC would put scalpings down as a temporary fix and review this road in the New Year.

• Clerk was asked to clarify how often road sweepers were used within the community.

45/14 Councillors’ reports –

a)One Voice Wales – Meeting 16th October 2014
Meeting has been cancelled. No new date available.

b)GAVO – Best Kept Village – Results attached
Mathern won Best Kept War Memorial category.

All other village results were disappointing. Clerk to contact GAVO to ask if judging could be later in June when the planting has been completed.

Clerk was given the War Memorial winners plaque to be passed on to the Village Hall committee for them to display inside the hall.

Clerk asked if alternative maps could be produced before next years competition as GAVO always comment negatively on the maps which we give them. It was suggested that the Clerk investigate using the maps produced with the LDP.

c) Footpaths

A new Volunteer, Neil Grant from Hayesgate, has come forward. The Clerk has given his details to MCC Countryside so that they can give him information about the role and the training required.

46/14 Planning

a)New Submissions

DC/2014/00877 Amended Plans, 7 Chapel Close – Removal of boundary conifer hedge and installation of retaining wall and fence.

COMMENTS – No details of the amendments have been received. Clerk to ask Planning for full details.

DC/2014/001020 Planning Permissions – 20mw gas fuelled capacity mechanism embedded generation plant to support the National Grid – Caerwent Lane, Mathern –
Refused. Screening would be needed to reduce visible impact on entrance into Wales. When approaching Chepstow from the Second Severn Crossing, drivers and their passengers would be looking directly down on to the proposed development which makes screening difficult.
In addition, there are no details of overhead transmission cables. Are any proposed or will all services be underground? A visual impact assessment should be completed.
DC/2014/001173 Planning permission Demolition of existing conservatory. To be replaced with a garden room with lantern roof. Laburnum Cottage – Approved

b)Decisions and Appeals


b) Enforcement – Site near motorway bridge, Crick. DC/2012/00978

Councillors asked the Clerk to contact MCC Planning re. the above application. This was for in-fill and a return to agricultural use of the land. However, a sign is now in place advertising waste management works. Councillors would therefore like this to be investigated to check that original planning conditions are being kept. Large numbers of lorries are entering the site and there are no wheel-wash facilities. This means that the road is sometimes dangerously muddy.

47/14 Financial Matters

Receipts and payments for September/October

Receipts –


Receipt £30.00 Wales Audit Office 17/09/2014
101448 24.49 Best Kept Village Prizes/engraving
101449 45.93 3 months internet use
101450 17.55 Postage
101451 246.00 External Audit
101452 514.78 J Kelley – salary
101453 128.75 PAYE
101454 180.00 John Reece (Hedge trimming Mathern Road/Chapel Lane)
101455 54.00 Stock it Ltd -Dropbox

Drop Box installed.

External Audit completed.

48/14 Correspondence and Forthcoming Meetings

• Wales in Bloom Results

Mathern won their category in the Wales in Bloom competition. Councillors wish to thank all involved as this is an amazing result. Well done, All!!

• Clerk distributed an “ Adopted Local Development Plan” leaflet to all councillors. This is a summary of the Plan adopted in February 2014

The full LDP can be viewed on the Council website www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/planning
Also at One Stop Shops in Abergavenny/Caldicot/Chesptow/Monmouth
To purchase a paper copy pf the LDP please contact the MCC Development Plans Team.

49/14 Other Matters for discussion

• Our annual Service of Remembrance will be held at the War Memorial on Sunday, 9th November 2014 at 10.15am.

• Also Service of Remembrance at St Tewdrics Church, Mathern at 6 pm on Sunday November 9th

• Presentation from Martyn James re. possible future development of wind turbines in Mathern will be arranged for the next meeting. Mr. James will attend with his architect. Chairman D Merrett to contact.

• Councillor Harris to contact Millers Arms concerning our annual Christmas meal .Preferred date – Sunday 7th December, for lunch.

• Street lights under the motorway bridge still not working. Clerk to contact One Stop Shop.

50/13 Date of Next Meeting: 10th November 2014 at 7 pm.

Minutes September 2014

Meeting Monday 8th September 2014

Councillors Dave Merrett
Carolyn Ovenden
Christine Morton
Martin McHugh
Jayne Harris
Carole Oakes
Nina Bailey

County Councillor Down
Clerk Mrs Jane Kelley

Public- None

Chairman welcomed Mrs. Carole Oakes to her first meeting as Councillor for Pwllmeyric Ward.

31/14 (i) Public Comment


II) Police Report

Mathern, Pwllmeyric and Mounton incidents between 14th July and 8th September 2014.
16/07 – report of a van parked in Bishops Mead, Mathern since 11/07. The vehicle keeper was not local, but it was not causing any offences and was secure.
20/07 – report of a dog shut in a car in the Chepstow Garden Centre, car park, and it was very hot. Several calls were put out by staff at the garden centre but no-one came to the car. The window was eventually smashed (by me) and the dog was taken to the Police Station to await the owner. They arrived some time later and were given strong words of advice.
28/07 – report of a fail to stop collision in St Pierre’s car park. It was witnessed and details of the offending vehicle were passed to police.
02/08 – a handbag was stolen from St Pierre, at a wedding. Enquiries were made and a possible offender identified.
03/08 – theft of a wallet from the changing room at St Pierre.
07/08 – break in to the Chepstow Garden Centre in the early hours – the alarm was activated – a small safe was stolen.
16/08 – a vehicle was parked, at night, under the motorway bridge in Mathern and the passenger door was left open. The vehicle was checked and the owner was relatively local – it is believed that the occupants were out lamping.
25/08 – report of a rowdy wedding at St Pierre where staff requested Police presence in the area.
29/08 – report of suspected drug taking going on in Hayesgate, St Pierre end. Although no-one has been seen, items have been left behind.
Clerk was given leaflets to be displayed on noticeboards in the community regarding leaving valuables on display in cars.
Police are going to organise a litter pick with Tidy Wales. Areas to be included: New Inn – St Pierre, behind St Tewdrics Church Mathern and New Inn – St. Pierre Wood.
iii) Apologies

Councillors D Harris and F Sainsbury

iv) Declaration of Interests:


v) Minutes of Previous Meeting

The Minutes of the meeting held on 14th July 2014 were circulated with the agenda. These were agreed as true and accurate.

32/14 County Councillors Report

Monmouth and Newport Council Funding for Rural Business Development are holding a drop-in session on Wednesday, September 10th between 6 and 8.30 pm.

The County Council budget for next year was due to be reduced by ½%. This will
be raised to a 1½% reduction over the next few years, year on year. This is an early warning that some services will be dramatically reduced in the future.

Car Park charges are to be increased. This is the first increase in 7 years. Car parks will be categorised as short stay and long stay and charges for each will differ. Disabled drivers will also be charged to park. More details of categories to follow.

A leaflet was produced for the 50 year Mathern fete – County Councillor Down thought it could be used as a basis to produce an annual leaflet which would provide information of forthcoming events, clubs and facilities within the village.

Clerk to Agenda for next meeting

33/14 Progress report on actions from last meeting

1) Response – MCC suggestion of speed markers on A48 Pwllmeyric Hill

MCC still considering all options.

2) Sewage pipes, Mounton.

Still being monitored by Welsh Water.

3) History Plaque War Memorial

Plaque now in place.

4) Willow Trees – entrance to Mathern

Some minor work has been carried out. Clerk to chase to see if trees now considered safe.

5)Feedback – Open meeting in August re. solar farm at Rhewl Farm Shirenewton.

25 – 30 people attended the open meeting which was in exhibition format.
Councillors are concerned that this land may be partially within the Wye Valley AONB They wondered if this organization had been notified of the application. The general concensus was that the proposed development is in open, unspoilt countryside which should not be industrialized.
Councillors remarked that the developer did not advertise the open meeting well enough and did not give sufficient prior notice of it. It was held in an out-of-the-way location (Earlswood Village Hall) at a time which was inconvenient to many interested members of the public.Hence, publicity for the proposed development has been poor.

6) Response re the Williams Report on proposed changes to local government area boundaries – document circulated prior to meeting for all councillors to read.

Councils need to respond to this report by 28th September. The Clerk and County Councillor Down to work together on a letter outlining the benefits of altering some services whilst not merging Monmouthshire County and Newport City Councils. They will also explain that this Community Council feels there can be no advantage in merging local Community Councils to save money. It was given as an example that a reduced number of Clerks would need to work longer hours, thus increasing salaries and costing more.

Councillors to email Clerk with any points they wish to be included in this.

7)Feedback – reduction in street lighting time (pilot).

None received.

34/14 Highways

• Barn Lane – verges breaking up in a number of places. Now very dangerous
• Lane to Lady Mill, Mounton – verge on brook side very overgrown. Hard to see where verge ends and brook starts. Dangerous

35/14 Councillors’ reports –

a)One Voice Wales – AGM 4th October

Clerk to send apologies for the AGM as no councillors are able to attend.

b)GAVO – Best Kept Village

Representatives required from the three villages for Presentation Evening, Friday 12th September. See below – correspondence.

Clerk to agenda for October when Mrs. C Morton will present a report of the judge’s comments for Best Kept Garden (as seen from the road) competition.

Clerk to keep the Vaughan Hughes Cup in safe keeping.

b) Footpaths

• Footpath to rear of Village Hall overgrown with nettles.
• Thorn Apple weed to be reported to Environmental Health for them to investigate and eliminate.

36/14 Planning

a)New Submissions

Tree Officers recommendation for removal of trees at Little Innage, Mathern – Councillors noted and agreed with this recommendation.

DC/2014/00877 Planning Permission, 7 Chapel Close – Removal of boundary
conifer hedge and installation of retaining wall and fence. – REFUSAL –
COMMENTS Height will restrict visibility, out of keeping with surrounding properties, will be removing an historic dry stone wall.

DC/2014/00939 Planning Permissions – Rhewl Farm Shirenewton – Provision
of photovoltaic Solar Park and ancillary infrastructure. – REFUSAL
• COMMENTS – The solar farm is an intrusion into open unspoilt countryside ( against Policy EP1). Such development should be resisted as it could set a precedent for further industrialisation in a rural location. It will destroy a wide, spectacular vista across many miles of Monmouthshire farmland.
• The site directly abuts St. Pierre Great Wood and the Wye Valley AONB. It will be highly visible from the Crick road to Shirenewton and several dwellings in this vicinity. This detrimental impact is contrary to Policy DES1.
• The size of the solar farm covers a bigger than expected acreage (at least 40 acres apparently) with 42,000 solar panels. This huge industrialisation is unacceptable in a green belt area.
• The company making the application has not, as yet, given any assurance that all equipment will be removed and the ground restored to its original condition at the end of the lifespan of the project. “Farmland” beneath the panels in likely to become unkempt and scrubby because tractor access beneath the panels (necessary for pasture maintenance) would not be possible.
• It appears that land designated as green belt will become as brown belt with the potential for further industrialisation. This too is unacceptable in such a location.

DC/2014/00797/00790 – Planning permission – Woodside, Crick. Proposed part two storey side extension and part first floor rear extension with canopy porch roof and entrance forecourt. – APPROVED.

DC/2014/00939 – Planning Permission – Cliffwood Usk Road – continuation of use by planning consent DC/2010/01147 for the storage and processing of inert landfill materials – APPROVED

. b)Decisions and Appeals


b) Enforcement

Land at Crick: Response received –“ Having spoken to a colleague of mine regarding this site, it has been noted that permission was granted for the tipping of top soil & subsoil in 1998. This permission has been renewed several times since then, most recently in 2012.
If the tipping is in line with the conditions granted (link attached) then there is no enforcement action that can be taken.”


27/14 Financial Matters

Receipts and payments for August/September

Receipts – Precept £5760.00


101436 Wasted
101437 56.25 Village Hall Rent
101438 590.16 Memorial Plague
101439 105.69 M J Trading – shredder
101440 41.63 Telephone Invoice
101441 388.35 J Kelley
101442 97.11 PAYE
101443 37.50 Grass Cutting,Mounton
101444 150.00 Clerks working from home office Fee
101445 100.00 GAVO
101446 500.00 MMPVB
101447 25.00 Severn Tunnel Band

Review of Budget spending to date:

• GAVO (Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations) has requested donations towards the running of the Best Kept Village competition. Councillors agreed a one-off donation of £100.00 and asked the Clerk to suggest that an entrance fee for the competition is made in future years.
• £500 Grant was made to MMPVB (Mathern, Mounton & Pwllmeyric Villages in Bloom)
• £25.00 grant was made to Severn Tunnel Band in thanks to the bugler who played at the War Memorial service to commemorate the start of World War 1 on 4th August.

Clerk to transfer £415.00 from Insurance category to Grants category as a saving has been made on insurance this year.
The detailed receipts and payments by budget were signed by the Chairman to form part of the minutes for audit purpose.

External audit has been completed. Chairman and RFO signed annual return prior to submitting it to external auditors (Mazars). These have now completed their review and found that, in their opinion, the information contained in the annual return is in accordance with the proper practices. No matters included in it give any cause for concern that relevant legislation and regulatory requirements have not been met.

Back-up of our computer records away from home. Two options available are:
1. An automatic online backup based on the amount of data. Cost from £20 per month for 5 Gigs
2. A “ dropbox” can be set up for a one-off fee of £60. This however is not an automatic backup! But it’s great for people starting off backing up online
Councillors all agreed that the Clerk should contact our IT specialist and ask for the dropbox to be ordered.

38/14 Correspondence and Forthcoming Meetings

• Request for donation to Gwent Best Kept Village Competition 2014 to cover its overall cost. See above.

• Invitation from GAVO for presentation of Best Kept village competition prizes – Friday, 19th September at Chepstow Garden Centre.
6pm for Buffet. 7pm for Presentation.
2 representatives from each village to attend.

Councillor Morton to attend
Clerk to ask Robin Lewis, Greg Howell, Chris Wheeler
Councillor Mc Hugh to ask Mr and Mrs Sweeting.

• One Voice Wales Charter agreement Meeting, 11th September at 6pm, Council Chambers Usk.
Clerk and Councillor Ovenden to attend.

39/14 Other Matters for discussion

• Chief Inspector, Gwent Police will now attend our October meeting as, due to a prior engagement, he was unable to come to this one.

• Hedge at the rear of the War Memorial very overgrown – Councillor Merrett to contact Mr Kibby to ask him to cut it back.

40/13 Date of Next Meeting: 13th October 2014 at 7 pm.

July 2014 Minutes

Meeting Monday 14th July 2014


Councillors Carolyn Ovenden
Christine Morton
Martin McHugh
David Harris
Frank Sainsbury

County Councillor Down
Clerk Mrs Jane Kelley

Public- None
Police- None

21/14 (i) Public Comment

A member had previously asked that the new refuse bin situated on the green at The Crescent be moved to the village hall side of the road. This would enable waste from the park and play area to be placed in it and collected fortnightly, as happened with the previous bin.

This refuse bin is owned by Wales in Bloom, so the Clerk will advise the member of the public that the Village Hall Committee should contact Wales in Bloom to see if they are happy for it be re-sited. If this is the case, the Clerk will then contact the County Council to ask them to commence emptying the bin again.

A member also stated that he was very annoyed that his hedge had been cut by the Wales in Bloom Committee without his permission. He felt strongly that hedges should not be cut without prior notification of the owner.

II) Police Report

13/07 – 3 males shooting birds in a field near St Tewdrics Church. Police attended but area search was negative.
11/07 – A vehicle hit the callers parked car at the St Pierre entrance, and drove off without leaving details. Staff at St Pierre saw the incident and managed to obtain details.
27/06 – A suspicious call was received by someone purporting to be a Community Police Liaison Officer. The caller spoke in an aggressive manner. No personal details were relayed to the caller and the call was found not to be a genuine one.
21/06 – Reports were received about a driver driving erratically on the A48 near Mathern. An index number was taken by the caller but was incorrect, so we were unable to trace the vehicle.
09/07 – Car heading up towards Chepstow veered off to the right and hit an oncoming lorry. Slight wrist injury sustained. No major damage to either vehicle, breath tests negative.

Councillors were concerned that cars that were parking on pavements throughout the village.
Also that people seemed to be parking under the motorway bridge and climbing up the embankment to the motorway to get pre-arranged lifts from drivers already on the M48.

iii) Apologies

Councillors D Merrett, N Bailey and J Harris

iv) Declaration of Interests:


v) Minutes of Previous Meeting

The Minutes of the meeting held on 9th June 2014 were circulated with the agenda. These were agreed as true and accurate.

22/14 County Councillors Report

The local Flood Forum meeting has taken place and the Environmental Agency has asked that, should any discharge been seen in the Mounton Brook area, they are notified immediately.

The Welsh Government has made its proposals in response to the Williams Report (Re-drawing of local Council boundaries). The report has been distributed to all Councillors who are asked to read it before the next meeting so that a draft response can be made by 1st October 2014 to the principle of merging many Community Councils.

The Police support the proposals by MCC Highways for changes to the line markings on Pwllmeyric Hill. However, as we as a Community Council are not happy with this. Highways are re-examining the idea. One Councillor suggested that the One Way system on Chapel Lane be reversed, as he felt that this would make its junction with the A48 safer. At present, its exit on to the A48 has extremely limited vision of traffic coming down Pwllmeyric Hill.

23/14 Progress report on actions from last meeting

1)Vacancy – Pwllmeyric Ward

Mrs Carole Oakes from Pwllmeyric has written to express her interest in becoming a co-Opted Councillor for the Pwllmeyric Ward. Councillors were delighted that she wished to fill the position and a vote was taken. All were in favour of her co-option.
Clerk to write to Mrs. Oakes confirming acceptance and giving details of Standing Orders and Meetings timetables.

2) Response to M C C suggestion of speed markers only, A48 Pwllmeyric Hill

See County Councillor’s report

3) Sewage pipes, Mounton.

See County Councillor’s report

4) War Memorial – returfing/chippings

Work now completed and contractor has been paid.

5) History Plaque War Memorial

The Draft artwork was distributed and all were happy with the inscription to be ordered.

Once received, Councillors will decide who is to erect the plaque..

The Centenary of the start of WW1 is the 4th August 2014. Vice Chairman to contact Rev J White to see if he can conduct a short Service of Remembrance at 6.30 pm at the War Memorial on that day. Clerk to invite a representative from the 1st Rifles at Beachley Barracks to attend.

6) Willow Trees – entrance to Mathern

MCC Highways Ground Works team has been asked to remove fallen branches. Also to check and remove any dead branches from trees and those liable to fall.

24/14 Highways

• Clerk to complain about the quality of work carried out in recent hedge cutting at Baileys Hay – Buftons Lane.
• Trees overhanging main road before motorway bridge and at the junction of Mathern Road (Barn Lane). Need trimming.

25/14 Councillors’ reports –

a)One Voice Wales –

Meeting – 10th July 2014 at Llanderry. 7pm – Apologies sent.

b) GAVO – Best Kept Village

Judging arranged for 16th July. Councillors to advise Councillor Morton of suitable gardens for judging before this date.

As Most Improved category is not being run this year, the Vaughan Hughes cup will be placed with the Clerk for safe keeping.

Councillors recognised the hard work put in by all villagers prior to the Wales in Bloom judging later in the week. They noted that The Crescent, Athletic Club, Pub and War Memorial looked particularly splendid.

c) Footpaths

Path from Trelleny to Garden Centre – banks very overgrown and steps dangerous at Trelenny end.

Councillors noted that C Jones has cut a walkway along the footpath in the maize field heading towards the fishing lakes.

d) Risk assessments

A new Control page to be created in the front of the Risk Assessment file. This will lists all items which are being risk assessed and will note the last date that this was done. Also details of assets not covered by insurance and reason for this or if covered for public liability only.


a)New Submissions

DC/201400600 – The Old Tractor Barn, High Beech – Provision of new patio doors. – Approved

DC/2014/00665 Cliff House, Mounton – Erection of a lightweight timber structure for agricultural purposes. – Approved

DC/2014/00696 –Sweet Briars, Mathern – - Change of flat roof over kitchen and garage to a 30 degree pitched tiled roof. – Approved

. b)Decisions and Appeals


b) Enforcement

Land at Crick: Planning Enforcement to write once ownership of the land has been established..

27/14 Financial Matters
Receipts and payments for June/July/August 2014

Receipts – None


101426 35.00 Information Commissionor
101427 1045.00(see below) ** War Memorial/stone planters
101428 234.00 CrownHill (Golden Flint War Memorial)
101429 45.93 Internet
101430 451.56 J Kelley – July
101431 112.94 Inland Revenue Only
101432 300.00 Internal Audit
101433 18.05 Postage
101434 406.40 J Kelley – August
101435 101.65 Inland Revenue Only

Last year’s accounts have been submitted to external Auditor. (Annual Return). Approved by Responsible Financial Officer (RFO –Clerk) and Chairman prior to submission.

Clerk advised of the following recommendations made by the internal auditor.

Recommendations Summary

The accounts and record keeping are to a very good standard – The following recommendations will assist the council in meeting its obligations in budget maintenance and risk assessment.

Budget Maintenance
The Financial Regulations state that the RFO should provide receipts and payment reports that compare actual to budgeted spend. The software will do this, but it is not clear form the minutes what reports are distributed during the year for the council to discuss. A copy of any financial report that is discussed should be attached to the approved minutes and the report signed as approved at the same time as the minutes are approved.
The Financial regulations state that expenditure on the revenue account can be incurred up to the budgeted amount, but it does not make clear what actions should be taken if there is an overspend or need for an overspend. At present there does not appear to be a monthly running of a report that compares actual to budget expenditure. A monthly run of this report should be made to check that there is no overspend. The RFO and the person who approves the cheques can monitor the situation on a monthly basis, and if necessary, approval can be sought promptly at the meeting.

The budget report used for the annual Finance meeting in December in which the budget for the following year is set, needs to be tidied up. The software should be updated at the end of each financial year with regard to final budget figures, to ensure that the comparatives as discussed at the meeting reflect the prior year budget and the prior year accounts. Once the meeting has decided on the budget for the next year, the budget report should be updated for these figures and a final report circulated to all councillors. Where specific items are discussed rather than a general provision for a category, a list should be provided in the minutes with a note as to which expenses category it is allocated to.
The final budget report should form part of the minutes of the financial meeting and should be approved as noted above.

Where there has been a larger than normal budget provision, for example IT/office equipment, the budget does not appear to have been adjusted back to normal levels. The reporting has a feature in the budget expenditure which can be carried over to the following year if unspent, so that it can be kept a track of, without affecting the total precept requirement calculation. This should be used if applicable. The final agreed budget should reflect as much as possible the intended spend. If the council prefers to ask for a similar amount each year, then a larger contingency category should be provided otherwise money could potentially be allocated to a category that is unlikely to be used in the year. E.g. IT/equipment.

It is recommended that the Clerk has training on the use of the budget function within the software as it should provide an invaluable tool for providing the council with better financial reporting and control over spending.

Risk assessment

Again it is recommended that a control page is used at the front of the risk assessment file which lists all the items that are being risk assessed and which notes the last date that this was done. This should enable matching of assets on asset list for the annual return, and items that are being insured. Where an asset is not covered by insurance, then the reason why should be noted on the risk assessment file. Also the risks of assets not being insured must be considered eg the entrance to Mathern feature.
At the moment these are items that are not on each list.

It is not obvious from the risk assessment file whether there are contact names and telephone numbers for someone to take over the Clerk’s role if she is incapacitated. There are notes as to what to do but nothing in the file as to whom to contact and who will do the contacting. An older note mentions that a council member has some kind of basic training. Also that the Clerk for Tintern could deputise until a replacement is found if this is necessary, but there is no information as to who is trained or whether the Clerk for Tintern is still in post and able to deputise.

Clerk to attend a training course with Software provider later in the year.

28/14 Correspondence and Forthcoming Meetings

• Consultation Meeting Earlswood Village Hall Tuesday 15th July 2014 between 8 – 10pm for proposed Solar Farm in Shirenewton and Mathern Community – Rhewl Farm – Councillors D Harris and F Sainsbury to attend.

• New Chief inspector Chepstow to attend next C Meeting 8th September 2014.

• Judging, Wales in Bloom – Wednesday 16th July.

29/14 Other Matters for discussion

• Councillors agreed that they would like the poppy wreaths removed from the War Memorial at the end of January each year.

Clerk to notify Mr and Mrs Wheeler.

• A letter has been received from M C C regarding turning off street lighting in Mathern at midnight. This does not include the main road through he village.

Clerk to write to advise that Councillors were not in agreement with this and felt it could result in an increase of crime levels. Also accidents involving pedestrians late at night. Clerk to also advise that the lights within the traffic calming feature do not and have never worked.

• Councillor Harris has been approached re a future planning application by M James for wind turbines on land at the bottom of Mathern village. Councillors agreed that a presentation could be made to Councillors at 7.30 on 8th September. This is by no means a public consultation with regard to any future planning application.

30/13 Date of Next Meeting:

No Meeting in August

Next meeting: Monday 8th September 2014 at 7pm

Meeting ended at 8.45 pm.

June 2014

Meeting Monday 9th June 2014


Councillors Dave Merrett
Christine Morton
Martin McHugh
David Harris
Frank Sainsbury
Jayne Harris
Nina Bailey
County Councillor Down
Clerk Mrs Jane Kelley

Public- None
Police- None

11/14 (i) Public Comment


II) Police Report

08/06 – Logs fallen off back of a lorry along the A48 just before St Pierre. Logs were removed.
04/06 – Bulls have got out of a field onto the road in Mathern. Bulls returned to field and contained.
24/05 – Tree down, completely blocking the lane between Linnets Farm and Barnetts.
24/05 – A caller cleared a drain on the A48 at Mathern, and found a number plate stuck down it. Council attended to clear.
23/05 – A male was reported cutting the hedge on the wrong side of the road, from St Pierre to the Garden Centre. The driver of the tractor was spoken to but no offences were committed.
19/05 – Attempt garage break in Baileys Hay, between 17/05 and 19/05. No entry was gained.
17/05 – Approximately 12 youths were drinking alcohol in a field in Pwllmeyric. There were calves and cows in the field and the caller was concerned they may charge the youths. Police attended and words of advice were given.
16/05 – -2 vans drove on to a farm site in Hayesgate Lane, whilst no one was around. Index numbers were taken and observations were passed to local officers.

iii) Apologies

Councillor Ovenden

iv) Declaration of Interests:


v) Minutes of Previous Meeting

The Minutes of the meeting held on 12th May 2014 were circulated with the agenda. These were agreed as true and accurate.

12/14 County Councillors Report

MCC and the police have met regarding the speed on A48 in Pwllmeyric and it is unlikely that a speed restriction of 30 mph will be made through Pwllmeyric. However MCC Highways have proposed a narrowing of the carriageways by using a centre hatching from the entrance of Pwllmeyric at Mounton House entrance to the vicinity of the New Inn. They also suggest three yellow speed warning strips just before the hatching starts.

After a lengthy discussion, Councillors feel that the visual impact of this would be unsightly and so wish to propose that the warning speed strips be trialled initially and then this reviewed in 12 months time. Councillors still feel that the majority of the accidents are in the evening when speed and inexperienced drivers are the main cause. Councillors also feel that a stationary speed camera would be a better solution that the central hatchings proposed.

The Dell School has received its ESTEN report which is very disappointing. The school has been graded as “adequate” which is the lowest grade available.
A Mathern Community Councillor is due to be placed on the Board of Governors in the autumn of 2015 so consideration should be given to what area of expertise the school is lacking when the Community Council nominates its representative governor.

County Councillor Down was unaware of the proposed verbal information expected to be received at this meeting for plans to install a large wind turbine at the bottom of Mathern village. No planning application has been made to MCC. However the applicants could be seeking verbal advice before an application is made.

3/14 Progress report on actions from last meeting

1)Vacancy – Pwllmeyric Ward

No applicants have come forward. Clerk to re-advertise.

2) Response – P Keeble (MCC Highways) re traffic speed on A48, Pwllmeyric.

See County Councillors Report. This proposal is due to the Community Council’s concern about speeding and accidents on the A48 at Pwllmeyric.

3) Response – Gwent Police, Freedom of Information request accidents A48.

Report received with gaps when some accidents happened. Accidents are only reported if persons are injured so this information not totally comprehensive re. numbers of accidents taking place.

4) Response – reflective rings on electric cables, Mathern lakes.

County Councillor Down has written to Western Power Distribution and no response has been received.

5) Sewerage Pipes – Mounton

County Councillor Down advised that this is to be discussed at the next S Mon Flood liaison Group meeting on the 16th June.
He confirmed that MCC had not taken legal action again Welsh Water regarding this matter, However Councillors felt strongly that action should be taken with the regulatory body as work promised last October to take place within 6 – 8 weeks has not been undertaken.

Agenda for next meeting.

6) War Memorial – re turfing/chippings.

A quote from Stewart Hodges has been received.
This is to rotivate existing grass/soil and level out/remove undulations within the War Memorial garden without adding soil. Also to supply and lay medium grade turf and to supply and lay two new paving slabs at the entrance to blend in with existing kerb ending – cost £525.00

This quote was accepted and work to start immediately.

7) History plaque – War Memorial

The following wording was agreed for the plaque:




Councillor Ovenden to arrange for the plaque to be ordered.

8) Representative – Dell School Governors

Ann Holloway, Chair of the Board of Governors for the Dell School, has confirmed that Paul Rutter, representing Chepstow Town Council, began his 4 years as School Governor on 26/10/2011. In line with the 4-yearly rotation of this post between Shirenewton CC, Chepstow TC and Mathern CC, we are due to have a representative on the Board from the autumn term 2015 for 4 years.

The governing body is made up of 4 parent teacher governors/2 teachers/the Head Teacher/4 LEA governors/3 community members/ 1 minor Authority

9) Stone Entrance Planters

Planters are near completion. All Councillors pleased with the work carried out.

The Builders advertising board to be removed within one month.

14/14 Highways

• Top layer of bricks on the wall at Baileys Hay is falling away and dangerous.
• Chapel Lane hedges need cutting back – dangerous for walkers.
• Hedge at the bottom of Barn Lane overhanging into road.
• Hedge reducing visibility at Newhall into road to Trelleny.
• For Sale sign on A48 bottom of Mathern obscuring visibility.
• Hedges overhanging A48 from High Beech Barns to Wyelands entrance.

15/14 Councillors’ reports –

a)One Voice Wales –

Next meeting – 10th July 2014 at Llanderry. 7pm

b) GAVO – Best Kept Village

Judging arranged for 16th July. Councillors to advise Councillor Morton of suitable gardens for judging before this date.

c) Risk Assessments

All completed.


a)New Submissions

DC/2014/00547 – Mathern Palace, Mathern – change of use from private hospitality /conference facility to single residential dwelling.


. b)Decisions and Appeals


b) Enforcement

17/14 Financial Matters
Receipts and payments for May/June 2014

Receipts – None


101421 424.47 Salary
101422 106.16 PAYE
101423 103.00 M J Trading – HP Ink
101424 358.79 Zurich Municipal
101425 42.37 3 Months telephone Bill
101426 35.00 Renewal Information Commissioners

Accounts have been sent to the internal auditor for her scrutiny and they are due to be forwarded to External Auditor by 30th June 2014.

18/14 Correspondence and Forthcoming Meetings

• Second Quote for work at War Memorial

Accepted – see 13/6

• M C C response Bus Shelter Mathern

Councillors checked this bus shelter and felt that, although the wood is rotting and needs painting, it is now MCC’S responsibility as ownership of all the bus shelters was transferred to them in 2013. Therefore no further action is required as MCC are aware of its condition.

19/14 Other Matters for discussion

Councillor Morton was concerned about grass cutting on The Crescent and Village Green. Both these areas are currently cut by MCC. County Councillor Down to investigate the impact of the CC taking over responsibility for this task themselves. This also to include the area by St. Tewdrics Well and verges to the War Memorial.

Councilor Morton was also concerned about the condition of the willow trees on the approach to Mathern. Clerk to contact Jim Keech to investigate.

Wind Turbine application – no Planning Application yet submitted and no representative attending this meeting to give further advice. No further details available.

20/13 Date of Next Meeting:

Next meeting: Monday 14thJuly 2014 at 7pm

Meeting ended at 8.45 pm.