February Minutes 2019


Minutes of the Council meeting held on Monday 11th February 2019
at Mathern Village Hall.
Present: Councillors – C Ovenden (Chair), D Harris, C Morton, D Merrett,
G Down. J Harris, F Sainsbury.
Also in attendance: County Councillor L Brown
Clerk – Mrs J Kelley
2 members of the Public
2 Police representatives

The Chairperson welcomed all to the meeting and thanked them for their attendance.

(i) Public Comment
A member of the public came to express his concern about the low value of the fine given to the owner of Border Waste when he was found guilty at a recent court hearing.

The member was also very concerned that the rest of the stone on the site was going to be removed shortly by the owners and wanted to know if the owner had authority to do this. He would be contacting County Councillor Peter Fox, Leader of Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) about the matter.

The member of the public is very concerned for the safety of M48 road users as he is of the opinion that a pile of stone on the site and adjacent to the carriageway could collapse on to it. This is despite the fact that the Welsh Highways Agency has assured MCC that this poses no threat to vehicles on the M48.

A second member of the public came with historical information on John Edward (Eddie) Parris 1911 – 1971 who lived within our community. He played football for Wales in 1931 and was the first black player ever to be in the national team. Community Councillors felt it would be a fitting tribute to have a plaque erected at his family home in Pwllmeyric.
Matter to be agenda-ed for next meeting.

ii)Report from Community Police

Here is the report for between the above dates:

21/1/19 – Report of a residential burglary at a farm on Broadwell Lane. It is believed that the offenders were a male and female who entered the property by pushing in the front door and taking items from inside. The offenders left in a hurry when the occupant woke and shouted. They left in a vehicle that was parked further down the lane. Enquiries are ongoing.

27/1/19 – Report of two vehicles parked in Church Lane in Mathern village. Officers attended and stop searched 3 male youths with a negative result. Advice was given to leave the area which they did. We will continue to patrol the area whenever possible.

29/1/19 – Report of a 1 vehicle accident at the bottom of Pwllmeyric Hill near the turning to Mathern village . The vehicle had left the road, hit a road sign and a nearby bus shelter, damaging it badly and ending up in the ditch. The male driver was taken to hospital with extensive injuries. The Council was informed regarding the damage and the road was closed while the incident was dealt with. Enquiries are ongoing.

31/1/19 – Report of a vehicle pulled over by officers on Pwllmeyric Hill and the male inside arrested at the scene for driving offences.

6/2 and 7/2 /19 – Report of 2 drive offs without paying for fuel from Pwllmeyric petrol station .

Please remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity/crime via either 101 or 999 if you deem it an emergency.

iii) Apologies
Councillors N Bailey and M McHugh.

(iv) Declarations of Personal or Pecuniary Interest:
There were none.

(v) Minutes of the previous meeting
Minutes of the meeting held on 14th January 2019 were read and agreed as true record. There were no matters arising.

Speaker: Judith Langdon, MCC Community and Partnership Development Lead
Councillors were asked if Mathern Community Council wished to be included in a Cluster type forum for community-sharing of information, with common interests and facilities. She asked if Mathern C C felt that there would be would any value in having a collective Place Plan. Chepstow Town Council have agreed to fund training and a date will be circulated shortly. It is hoped that a Place Plan for Chepstow would include appendices for the surrounding villages: Mathern, Shirenewton, Caerwent, and St Arvans.
This would be discussed further at the area Cluster Meeting on Wednesday 13th February at 6.30pm. Councillor G Down to attend.

Councillors thanked Judith for attending and confirmed that they are definitely interested in moving forward with this.

Report as below
County Councillor Brown advised the following:

The Stage 1 Candidate Sites for housing development in Monmouthshire had been published, with consultation likely to be held at the end of the year. Candidate sites can be viewed at the following link https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/planning-policy/candidate-sites.The sites are purely speculative and have been put in by anyone. They have not been assessed by the Planning Department in any way at this stage and there is a further call for sites later in the year. There are expected to be consultations on this later in the year. The timetable can be found in the following document: https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/app/uploads/2018/05/Monmouthshire-LDP-Revision-Delivery-Agreement-May-2018.pdf

The Economy and Development committee are due to discuss the revised LDP Draft vision on the 14 February 2019 at 10am at Usk County Hall:

The Lower Wye Committee’s meeting on the 23 January 2019 discussed the LDP revision, the catchment review, the draft road safety strategy and the budget. Also discussed was the road study covering both Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire which is in connection with proposals for a bypass for Chepstow and a potential M48 junction in the Hayesgate area. This is at stage 1 but to progress further needs a further £1 million. The draft minutes can be found at the following link:
The next meeting is at 10am on the 6 March 2019 at the Chepstow Leisure Centre and the public are welcome to attend.


i) Sewage Pollution – Mounton Brook
County Councillor Brown has arranged a meeting with Welsh Water and MCC Environmental Health on the 26 February to discuss this issue. She will request that it also includes a representative from each of the local community councils.
ii)Personal accident claim.
The final invoice has been submitted to our Insurance Company.
Councillors unanimously agreed to pay the shortfall in the claim.
If was agreed that any future case would be considered individually and this does not set a president.
iii) Response from Planning Aid Wales re bespoke Place Plan training with Chepstow Town Council.
Chepstow Town Council would like to undertake this training later in the year and wish to open it up to the local cluster group of Community Councils. Chepstow Town Council is in liaison with MCC regarding this proposal.
A date to be arranged shortly. Clerk to chase before next meeting if no date given.
• Poor quality white lines throughout villages and local roads.
• Gullies need emptying bottom of Mathern/Barn Lane.
• Fly tipping – Barn Lane, at the top.
• Large pot holes Mounton village and Barn Lane.
• Boardwalk footpath behind Bishops Mead rotting again.

a) One Voice Wales – Representative to be selected
Next meetings 4th April 2019, 18th July 2019.
Cllrs to try to rotate attendance at these the meetings. Clerk to agenda for next meeting.

b) Defibrillator- Monthly Checking
Monthly check on the defibrillator carried out by Cllr D Harris in January 2019.
Fully functioning.

c) Update: County Councillor Down – Lower Wye Valley Committee.
See County Cllr Report

Councillor Sainsbury left the meeting.

a) New submissions:

DC/2018/02022 Land at Bridge House, Pwllmeyric
Variation of approved plans of planning consent DC/21016/01308
Position and design alternations of all buildings

Mathern Community Council has considered the information presented under the above application for Modification/Removal of Condition.
This Council believes that the changes presented in the information submitted does not constitute Modification or Removal of a Condition but fundamentally changes the scheme approved for this site.
The variations to the approved scheme we have observed are:-
•The two houses in the new application are 4 bedroom houses. The approved plans are for two three bedroom houses. On the new plans the bedrooms are labelled:-
◦Bedroom 1
◦Bedroom 2
◦Bedroom 3
◦Bedroom 3
•The houses on site have been built in different locations to that approved and closer to the neighbouring boundaries/properties. The garages are also located closer to the A48 road.
•The approved external materials for the buildings were facing brickwork and reconstructed stone. The new elevations are completely different and are just painted render. This represents a significant down grading in quality of the elevations.
•The orientation of the houses has changed through 90 degrees and the gable features to the front elevation removed. This again leaves very plain and ordinary buildings out of keeping with the local vernacular.
•The physical footprint of each individual dwelling is smaller than that approved.
This council believes the proposals are unacceptable and represent an over development of the site. The proposed buildings are plain and un-interesting to the eye and constructed of low quality materials (certainly when compared to the current approved plans). The roof scape has been turned through 90 degrees and had the gables removed. The roof scape is uninteresting which together with the change to the buildings adds significant massing to the buildings, particularly when viewed from Pwllmeyric Hill. The application is now for two 4 bedroom houses.
This application should not be processed as a Modification or Removal of Condition of the existing Planning Consent as the changes are material and fundamental and should be considered under a new and separate Planning application.
We would also note that the way the information is presented on the planning portal is not acceptable. To establish the above changes/differences we have had to go back into the past approval and overlay the two schemes. The information presented for this modification should directly note the divergences from the original so that the proposal can be fully considered by the layman in that respect and the differences explicitly referenced.

In summary this Council believes that the proposals should be considered as a new Planning Application due to the fundamental nature of the changes proposed. The Community Council would recommend refusal of the application.

b) Decisions and appeals – None.

c) Enforcement
Border Waste, Crick – a member of the public attended to raise an issue. County Councillor Brown has emailed to follow up and Cllr Peter Fox is in touch with the member of the public on this issue.

Cheque Number Details Amount

101878 OVW (Training) 120.00
101879 Merlin Waste 37.50
101880 cancelled
101881 S L C C (book) Arnold Baker 108.79
101882 Internet and phone 41.49
101883 Stationery 9.30
101884 Treasury tags 10.98
101885 NALC – Book:Local Councils Explained 19.99
101886 OVW (Training) 40.00
101887 MMPWB (Grant) 500.00

D D Pension For January 135.40
Online Payment Salary for January 702.10
PAYE – NI 214.61
Internet Payment £13.20 Stock it Ltd. License
First Stationery Internet payment £100.94

Monthly Bank Reconciliation for December – authorisation by Cllr J Harris

Spending to Budget review undertaken – Item carried forward to next meeting

Grant Applications considered. Two had been received – Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeyric villages in Bloom (MMPVB) and The Dell School
The application from The Dell was declined. Although Councillors fully supported the intended use, they felt that a caravan was not a suitable facility.
The application for MMWPB was awarded £500.00

Clerk’s CILCA Training level 3. Community Councillors agreed to pay the £380.00 Candidate Fee when the Clerk registers for the Course. This is in addition to the £408.00 paid for Course entry last month. The Clerk then has 12 months to complete the assessments. Currently only 20 Welsh Council Clerks have completed this training. Community Councillors agreed it would not be possible to pay the Clerk for the 400 hours study needed to complete the course but would pay her for the 4 days training, including travelling costs. Up-to-date reading matter for her will also be purchased by the Council.
As per the Learning Agreement, Councillors will support her throughout her studies, note updates on achievements and progress and, whenever possible, give additional time to her to complete her portfolio of evidence. Also monitor her workload and ensure new projects are limited as much as possible during the study process. The importance of the CILCA qualification and its benefit to the council will be recognised by councillors.


NALC – Employers Briefing E02 – 18. National Salary Award – Clerk currently at Spinal Point 27. Document was handed to the Chairman to update councillors of the Clerk’s new 2019 spinal hourly rate of pay at the next meeting.

Certificate of Local Council Administration. Clerk’s training course. – As required, the Learning Agreement was signed by the Chairman and will be returned to the trainer at the Clerk’s next training session.

Coffee Morning. Date changed to Saturday 13th April 2019 – 10.30 Mathern Village Hall.

Smart Pensions have notified us that, as from April 2019, the employer’s statutory minimum contribution to the Clerk’s pension is 4%. The Council currently contributes 5% and voted unanimously to maintain this unchanged. Clerk’s contribution is 9%.

Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales – Review of Community arrangements in the County of Monmouthshire Volume 1 and 2. Report and Recommendations. Detailed maps were circulated to all Councillors.
After a lengthy discussion, Councillor Ovenden agreed to draft a response to be sent by 14th March 2019.

MCC Senior Planning Officer Candidate Sites circulated – The consultation on sites will not be until the end of the year. Matter carried over to the next meeting

Place Plan Training – Next Steps – Matter Carried over to next meeting

Councillors Taxable allowance of £150.00 to be paid at the Meeting in March.
Clerk will need Councillors NI numbers to enable this to be put through the PAYE system. Forms attached. Councillors were reminded to let the Clerk have completed forms before the next meeting.

The Clerk has received an invoice for hedge cutting from John Reece. This is believed to be an invoice for MMPVB, not the Community Council, as it states cutting for Wales in Bloom. Clerk to return the invoice to John Reece with MMPVB Treasurers details.


Shelving – Telephone Box.
Bench in Bus shelter – centre of Mathern
Nomination for work within the community.

The next meeting Monday 11th March 2019 at 7pm in the small room of the Village Hall.There being no further business to discuss, the meeting closed at 10.10 pm.

Signed …………………………….. CHAIRMAN Date……………….