May 2018



Minutes of the Council meeting held on Monday 14th May  2018

at Mathern Village Hall.


Councillors  – C Ovenden(Chair), D Merrett, , D Harris, J Harris, F. Sainsbury, M McHugh, G Down.

Also in attendance:

Clerk – Mrs J Kelley

County Councillor L Brown

No members of the Public

No  Police representatives


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



  1. A) Election of Chairman

Councillor D Harris nominated Councillor Ovenden and this was seconded by Councillor M McHugh.  Councillor Ovenden accepted the position of Chairman for one more year.

  1. B) Election of Vice Chairman

Councillor G Down nominated Councillor D Harris and this was seconded by Councillor F Sainsbury.  Councillor Harris accepted the position.

  1. C) To fix the dates and times of ordinary meetings of the Council for the ensuing year:

Dates were agreed as the second Monday in the month with a date for August meeting being arranged in July.


(i) Public Comment


(ii)Report from Community Police

No report available

iii) Apologies

Councillors C Morton and N Bailey.


(iv)  Declarations of Personal or Pecuniary Interest:



(v)  Minutes of the previous meeting

Minutes of the meeting held on 9TH April  2018 were read and agreed as true records.

There were no matters arising.



County Councillor Brown advised:

  • The Community Council boundary review for Monmouthshire was   approved by Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) on the 10 May 2018 and will be sent to the Boundary Commission. Locally, the review for Shirenewton and Mathern Wards is based on the previous report. The Boundary Commission intend to have a future consultation on existing community council boundaries, prior to implementing any changes. Further comments can be submitted to them at this stage.
  • At the Lower Wye Committee meeting, attendance was higher than at the previous meeting

Among items discussed was an MCC Highways report on the joint commissioning by MCC and the Forest of Dean/Gloucestershire Council to investigate road infrastructure in the general area. This is due to pressure on the roads and air quality concerns for Chepstow.

Next meeting: 10am, 18 July 2018 at Chepstow Leisure Centre.

  • An Education consultation is currently in progress. It concerns SEBD (social, emotional and behavioural difficulties) and ALN (additional learning needs) pupils in Monmouthshire and ends on May 27th.  

Various local consultation events will take place, including one at 5.30pm   on May 24th at Chepstow School. See for details.

Mounton Special School, Pwllmeyric is involved. It currently has some 33     SEBD boys at key stage 3 and 4. It is now proposed to have 16 primary and 16 secondary ASD (autism spectrum disorder)/SEBD pupils of both sexes. The school will also house a Pupil Reviewal Unit for south-east Wales, with about 14 places.

The capacity of the school is 58. Currently it has about 33 boy pupils, 25 of whom come from outside the area. More local pupils are planned, to include girls, who currently have to travel outside the area for SEBD needs.

  • On May, 10th the council agreed an assets strategy with an Investment Committee. It is planned to borrow £50 million for property/land acquisition on the basis of 2% interest and to obtain a higher return on the investments.
  • The Pwllmeyric Speed Watch group would like to hear from anyone interested in joining. They are asked to contact County Councillor Brown  via . The first stage of joining involves a vetting process so it is best to wait until a number of people have come forward.
  • CCllr  Brown collected a photocopy of the village green map from the Land Charges section of MCC for both Mathern and Shirenewton Community Council. See (03/18 (vi) )





  1. i) Ancient slipway and ownership of St Tewdric’s Well.

Councillor Morton not present. Agenda for the next meeting.


ii)Update Actions Mathern War Memorial Maintenance

Blatchly’s have been asked to start the refurbishment. Their final quote was for

£3489.30. This is to clean the memorial and repoint where necessary.  Also repaint existing inscriptions in black enamel paint.


The Clerk had requested 3 quotes for repainting the railings.  Only one 1 was received.

Councillors accepted this quote (for £400.00).


iii) Board Walk, Bishops Mead

Response from MCC – a temporary repair is in place and MCC will replace the rotting boards at a later date.  In their view, this temporary fix is safe.


  1. iv) Maintenance, Mounton Village

General verge and roundabout maintenance has been carried out.

Clerk to chase C Jones re the noticeboard refurbishments.


  1. v) GDPR (General Data Protection Policy)

      Statutory Requirement

A Draft policy was circulated.  Clerk and Chairman to carry out minor amendments and then the policy to be adopted and placed on the Website by May 25th 2018, as per Government guidelines.


  1. vi) Village Green

County Councillor Brown has been to MCC’s Land Charge department.

(See County Councillor’s Report)

They have confirmed that the Green by the Church has been owned by Parish of Mathern since 22 February 1974 but not registered as a Village Green.  Councillors feel that there is no benefit to register this as a village green as the only apparent advantage in doing so is to prevent the land being built on- an unlikely occurrence, bearing in mind its shape, location and small size.

Clerk to contact Land Charge Department to obtain some official documents confirming that the Green land is owned by The Parish of Mathern.



Gullies under the motorway bridge and towards the Church need clearing.

Road breaking up –  Parkwall

For information: Hayesgate Lane – MCC Highways are installing “tractor turning” signs at this junction as it is very dangerous for tractors joining the A48 at the national speed limit.



  • One Voice Wales        Councillors unable to attend.


    1. Meeting Thursday 19th April 2018 – update
    2. Governorship,  Dell School –
    3. Governors  happy for this to pass to St Arvans CC in July 18.
  •  Risk assessments – Mathern Mounton and Pwllmeyric


Risk assessments for Mathern still outstanding.


  •  Councillor Morton – Best Kept Garden (as seen from the road) competition and  GAVO Best Kept Village Competition.


Clerk has completed the application forms and Councillors McHugh and Ovenden kindly reviewed these.  The Clerk submitted the applications on the 3rd May to GAVO (Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations).

Closing date for entries was 4pm Friday 18th May 2018

Councillor Morton to set up the Best Kept Garden competition and advertise accordingly.

  1. Defibrillator Monthly Checking

Councillor N Bailey carried out the monthly check on the defibrillator in April.


  1. Office equipment for the Clerk – Lockable Cabinet and Chair.

Cabinets and chair purchased.


06/18  Planning

  1. New submissions:


DC/2018/00397 12 Mounton House Park

Small summer house outbuilding, octagonal in shape.

It was noted that this application has been approved by MCC.

Clerk to write to planning as we were advised of this case on 17th April and the case was agreed on 8th May i.e. before the 21 days consultation was up.


DC/2018/00771 – The Barnetts, Mounton

Amended plans re car port.

Councillors understand that this has already been constructed.  Delegated planning authority was given to two Councillors comments to be agreed by them.


In 2016, plans for a car port on this site were submitted to MCC and the application (DC/2016/00381) approved. Mathern Community Council had no objection. The building to which this 2018 (retrospective) application refers is considerably larger in all dimensions. In 2016, floor space was to measure 5600 x 5600. Now, it is 6150  x 6650. Similarly, height has now been increased from 4070 to 4550.

DM/2018/00771 also states the pitch of the roof is 30degs. The Community Council queries this, as it appears steeper.

The overall appearance of the car port dwarfs not only the adjacent property (Valley Cottage) but the applicants own dwelling (The Barnetts). It’s overwhelming size, in this small valley, is regrettable.


Had these dimensions been submitted in the 2016 application, with appropriate scale drawings showing its relationship  to surrounding properties (not  submitted in this application either), it is likely that Mathern Community Council would have objected to such a large building.”


  1. Decisions and appeals – None
  1. c) Enforcement –

Update-  Border Waste

The planning enforcement proceedings are due back in court at the end of June and in the meantime it is expected that the agent owners agent will be  ensuring work is undertaken to comply with the notice.




  1. a) to consider approval of payments as per attached schedule;

All agreed

  1. b) to approve appointment of Internal Auditor for 2017/2018 accounts;

Andrea Fry appointed by unanimous agreement.

  1. c) to approve advertising of grant availability from 2018/19 budget.
  2. d) Adoption of Annual Governance Statement Part 1 and 2.

Councillor Ovenden and Clerk signed and dated this.


Cheque Number                  Details                                               Amount

101812                                   Office Equipment                               13.98

101813                                   Merlin Waste                                     37.50

101814                                   Internet and Phone                               38.99

101815                                   Home office Fee Clerk                       150.00

101816           Maintenance  Mounton Churchyard                     200.00

101817              “      “           Mathern Churchyard                        400.00

101818              “        “           St Pierre Churchyard                         150.00

101819                                   Zurich – Insurance                             383.63

101820                                   Planning Wales Training                     35.00

101821                                   Mounton Village Upkeep                       75.00

101822                                   Mounton Village Upkeep                       75.00

101823                                   M M P V B – Grant                             350.00


D D  Pension for April                                 £ 105.51

Online Payment Salary for April                   £ 572.38

PAYE – NI                                                       £107.02

Internet Payment                                          £13.20 Stock it Ltd. (Licence)

Internet Payment  Chair                          £306.00

Internet Payment Cabinets                        £204.58


Monthly Bank Reconciliation for April – authorisation by Cllr Jayne Harris


Grant Applications

  Home-start Monmouthshire – Not approved as felt not applicable for our community.

MMPVB – Grant of £350.00 approved


End of financial Year 31.03.2018

Clerk to produce accounts and arrange for internal audit.

Chairman to sign the Wales Audit Annual Return for year ended 2018, and

send to external auditor once internal audit completed.


Renewal of  Insurance – Zurich Municipal – £383.63 plus vat. 1st June 2018 – 31st May 2019.


NALC (National Association of Local Council Clerks) National Salary Award spinal pay point 27 – to £12.81 per hour. Increase from April 2018

Clerk’s April pay to be adjusted in May with increase.



Clerk was experiencing a delay in obtaining the Green Waste labels for recycling bags from MCC. They have now agreed that these will be collected from 6 The Crescent until such time as the labels have been issued.





Sewage Problem Mounton Brook. –

MCC Environmental Health Officer has reported that Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water)  is expected to undertake some work on this problem sewage pipe in the summer ( June/July).  National Resources Wales (NRW) are monitoring the situation and keeping a watching brief but have stated that the impact on the water course is minimal.


Footpath 33/34 blocked. MCC advised reference number 13656.


Wedding Venue Traffic – St Tewdrics House

Concern had been mentioned by public members re the advertising and use of the village of Mathern for vehicular access to the above wedding venue.

Councillor Merrett to speak to the owners and explain the concerns.  On the original Planning application for the venue (not available at the meeting), councillors thought that it had been stated that access would be via Mathern Road, Bulwark, not thought the village.  Councillors unsure who is putting the signs up in the village – venue or customers.


Unauthorised advertising signs at the top of Pwllmeyric.

Clerk to ask MCC Highways if permission is in place for these signs.


A pop up day for Independent Review Panel has been advertised by the Welsh Government. 

A resource pack has been requested but not arrived yet.

In view of low numbers of attendees at the last coffee morning, Councillors felt that this event would not be well attended by the public and agreed that they would not arrange an event for Thursday 24th May, as suggested.


  • Councillor Ovenden reported that news of a possible diversion of footpaths by MCC across the A466, Wye Valley Link road had been received via County Councillor Brown.  Councillors discussed this and would like to comment on it when officially asked.


  • Councillor Ovenden reported that the proposed woodland parking area on the Usk road, for which planning permission had been requested in 2017, has been refused by MCC Planners. Changes had already been made to the area, which must now be reinstated.


  • Councillor Mc Hugh advised that residents of Bishops Mead are concerned that cars owned by Nursery staff are being parked there. However, as the cars are parked legally no action can be taken.


  • Councillor Mc Hugh advised that the Planning Aid Wales training he attended was informative.   He said it would be of great benefit to the Community Council to produce a Community Led plan.   Clerk to contact OVW to see if they have any training courses on this or template documents.


  • Clerk to place village phone box on the Agenda for the next meeting as Councillor’s would like to use this for a community exchange.


  • Councillor Merrett reported that  Police Commissioners for both England and Wales are investigating who is responsible to attend emergency situations on the old Severn Bridge, as neither Forces seem to accept responsibility at present






Next Meeting 11th June 2018  7 pm in small room of the Village Hall


There being no further business to discuss, the meeting closed at  9.30 pm.


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