Category Archives: Parish Council News

Parish council: External Auditor Certificate and Opinion 2015/16

External Auditor Certificate and Opinion 2015/16

(main extracts only)

Matters Reported

Period for the exercise of public rights and late approval of the Annual Governance Statement and the Accounting Statements

Laneast Parish Council approved its Annual Governance Statement and Accounting Statements on 6 September 2016, with a commencement date for the commencement of public rights on 8th September 2016. This means that the Parish Council has not approved and published the Annual Governance Statement and Accounting Statements by June 30th 2016. Section 14(1) of the Regulations stipulates that any rights of objection, inspection and questioning of the external Auditor conferred by Sections 26 and 27 of the Act may only be exercised within a single period of 30 working days and Section 15(1)(b) stipulates that the commencement of the period for the exercise of public rights covers the first 10 working days of July of the financial year immediately following the end of the financial year to which the Statement relates. Due to the late approval of the Accounting Statements, the Parish Council has not met the requirements of the Act and the Regulations although it has allowed 30 working days for any inspection of the accounts. As the External Auditor, this year we have withheld our certification of the Annual Return until the end of the period published by the Parish Council in its Notice to ensure that public rights are not perceived to be denied due to an incorrect Notice and late approval of the accounts.

In the future, the Parish Council must ensure that it complies with the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 to ensure that the Annual Governance Statement and Accounting Statements are approved and published by 30th June and the dates for the exercise of public rights are properly calculated and published and cover a single period of 30 working days in line with statute.

In our view, the Parish Council has not complied with the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 in respect of approving and publishing the Annual Governance Statement and Accounting Statements by 30 June 2016. The correct response to Assertion 1 on Section 1 of the Annual Return in 2015/16 should be ‘No’.

The Parish Council should also consider the impact of this failure on its disclosures in the 2016/17 Annual Return. The correct response to Assertion 4 on Section 1 should be ‘No’.

 

Other matters not affecting our opinion which we wish to draw to the attention of Laneast Parish Council for the year ended 31 March 2016

Order of signing the Annual Governance Statement (Section 1) and the Accounting Statements (Section 2)

The Parish Council has considered, approved and signed the Annual Governance Statement (Section1) and the Accounting Statements (Section 2) on the same day and under the same Minute reference. The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 stipulate that the Annual Governance Statement must be considered, approved and signed before the Accounting Statements at Section 2 by Resolution of members of the Authority meeting as a whole. In future, the Parish Council should ensure that the Minute references clearly demonstrate that the Annual Governance Statement was considered, approved and signed before the Accounting Statements.

Signing the Annual Return

The Chair has signed Section 2 as the Responsible Financial Officer and Chair. We understand that this is due to last minute circumstances of the Responsible Financial Officer falling ill.

The Clerk to a Local Council is the ‘Proper Officer’ appointed under the Local Government Act 1972. The person appointed has a statutory duty to carry out all the functions of the Council, including to advise councillors, produce all the information required for making effective decisions and implement decisions. He/she is accountable to the Council for the effective management of all its resources and may also be the ‘Responsible Financial Officer’, as required by Section 151 of the Act, responsible for all financial records of the Council and the careful administration of its finances. Councillors are responsible for governance including determining council policy and monitoring and reviewing performance in delivering services and managing resources. In order to maintain the governance role separately from the management role, councillors, and in particular the Chair, should not be appointed, even on a short term basis, as either the ‘Proper Officer’ (the Clerk) or the ‘Responsible Financial Officer’.

The Parish Council has, however, identified this as exceptional circumstances. Where this happens the Council should carry out a full risk assessment, consider actions to mitigate the risks, minute this and seek to fill the post as soon as possible.

Further guidance on the role of officers and councillors can be found in ‘Governance and Accountability for Local Councils – A Practitioner’s Guide’ (England) and at Regulation 4 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015.

Grant Thornton UK LLB    dated 21/10/16

 

Parish council: Headlines from Council meeting on 15th November

We have a volunteer for co-option on to the Parish Council … Sheila Cottingham spoke at the Public Representation session to say she was willing to fill the vacant position on the Parish Council. She was keen that a person from Badgall should be present on the Council to voice concerns and opinions from Badgall. Sheila’s co-option will be an Agenda item at the February 21st meeting.

Once again financial matters took up most of the meeting, especially in view of the External Auditor’s criticisms of our accounting and our governance processes.

The Parish Precept for 2017/18 was raised by 2% to £1715pa. The hike was to offset (partially) the increase in Parish Clerk’s salary and allowances, agreed at £500pa and £100pa travelling time and mileage allowances, to met the need to recruit outside the parish. This amount (negotiable) was to be offered to the potential new Parish Clerk at interview (due 29th November).

To meet the External Auditor’s criticism of our accounting process, the Parish Council will now meet 5 times a year with the extra meeting timed for late April each year. This will expedite the end of year accounts’ early submission to our Internal Auditor, their timely return and onward submission, after our final scrutiny, to the External Auditor no later than 30th June. Also, we will separately consider our Governance Statement at the April meeting.

Under the Transparency Code, which is now mandatory, even for small Councils with a turnover of less than £25,000 pa, we are required to publish ON A WEBSITE WITH OPEN ACCESS TO THE PUBLIC, our essential documentation, including the statement of Accounts and of Governance. Laneast PC  will use the existing community website, the Badgall and Laneast Gazette, (www.blgazette.co.uk). The Parish Council agreed to provide a grant to at least cover the cost of the site’s annual licensing (currently £55pa). The Parish Council’s element of the website will be populated with the necessary documents over the next 6 months by the new Clerk.

Behind the scenes and in the absence of a Parish Clerk, Cllr Burden agreed to ensure our Bank Mandate was up-to-date and that our PAYE return was in proper order.

Under Planning Matters, the Chairman reported that the refurbishment work on the Grade II listed property, Park View, at Badgall, had been approved by Cornwall Council. He also confirmed that he had written to the Head of Enforcement regarding the continuing industrial use of Trekenner Farm Barns. STOP PRESS: THE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER HAS CLOSED THE CASE AND WE UNDERSTAND THAT ALL INDUSTRIAL USE HAS NOW CEASED AND EQUIPMENT REMOVED.

Regarding the pent-roofed garage being built at 4 Inney View, Mr Haynes has shown evidence that he sought and got planning permission in 2012, PA12/063251.

Cornwall Councillor Vivian Hall reminded those present that he has a Community Chest for grants of up to £500 for worthy local projects. Sheila Cottingham suggested improved lighting from the car parking area at Laneast Square to the Church Room.

The next Parish Council meeting will be on 21st February, 2017.  The other dates for 2017 are:- 25th April, 16th May, 5th September and 21st November

Peter Stephenson, Chairman

Tel 86383, Mobile 07790816703

New parish clerk!

We have a new Parish Clerk with effect from 1st January 2017. She is Carolyn May who lives at Nanstallon, near Bodmin. She is very well qualified having an LLB(Hons), MA and BSc. She already is Clerk to Rockbeare Parish Council … so she ‘knows the ropes’. We will be in safe hands!

Once in post, Carolyn can be contacted via our dedicated email account, laneastpc@gmail.com

Posted by Pete Stephenson, Chairman Laneast Parish Council

Laneast Parish Council – Headlines from meeting 10th Nov. 2015

The main business was two planning applications.

The first was the news that Mr & Mrs Gerry had lost their appeal against the refusal to allow them to build on land at the west end of Badgall. The Parish Council had supported their application.

The second planning application was the amended PA15/06236 retrospectively applying for change of use of an agricultural building/yard at Trekenner to industrial use comprising sandblasting and ancillary operations and/or agricultural use. Previously, at a specially convened meeting on the 8th September, the Parish Council had decided to oppose the original application. Consequently the application was amended and returned to the Parish Council for reconsideration at this, 10th November, meeting.

Following the unusual step of a prior discussion between the Parish Council Chairman and the Planning Case Officer, the Chairman was able to inform the meeting that the Planning Officers would not be explicitly defining whether this application was for a B1 Light Industrial Use licence or for a B2 General Industrial Use licence. Instead, they would consider this application uniquely as one with a close definition on the industrial usage and with close conditions on the environmental issues and on the amenity issues for the nearby residents.

In that context, and with the Parish Council wishing to:

  • not frustrate the entrepreneurial endeavours of farmers looking to best use their economic resources;
  • and best protect the amenity of residents affected by any changes,

the Parish Council withdrew its objection to the application BUT listed 11 deep concerns it had regarding the impact of the industrial operation on the amenity of the nearby residential properties.

We understand the recommendation of the Planning Officers whether to grant or refuse this application will go forward to the Planning Committee in early December.

The next meeting of the Parish Council will be on Tuesday 23rd February 2016.

Laneast Parish Council Meeting report – May 2015

Headlines

The Parish Council met on Monday 18th May, immediately after the Annual Parish Meeting. Parish Councillors John Martin, Paul Burden, Martyn Orchard and Peter Stephenson, Cornwall Councillor Vivian Hall,  Parish Clerk Lisa Standing and one member of the public attended.

Councillor Stephenson was confirmed as Chairman.

During the Public Representation Session, Mrs Vicky Rayner referred to her presentation at the Annual Parish Meeting just finished and explained that a support group, Friends of Laneast Church, had formed to support the Parochial Church Council in its fund-raising to repair the church window. She requested the PC’s support by endorsing a letter and questionnaire to all residents of the parish and by supplying a definitive address list. The council agreed to help in this matter.

A bridle way at Coombegate has been re-directed and will make horse riding from Trekenner to Laneast much safer by avoiding having to ride along the A395 some 100 meters. In a related matter and carried forward from the APM, Mrs Ann Sheldrake had requested that the permissive bridleway, agreed as a condition of the wind turbine at Lidcott, should appear on the Cornwall Council’s interactive map. Parish Clerk will write.

Mrs Vicky Rayner explained the revision of the extension and re-modelling at Menhay. This was to avoid blocking light to a neighbouring property and will result in a reduction of the footprint at the front (currently garage) of Menhay.

For information only, Mr & Mrs Groves have initiated a pre-planning application consultation with Cornwall Council’s Planning Department to explore their preferred changes to the long-standing outline planning proposal for Holywell Place. The PC should expect details to follow in due course. There appeared to be nothing in their description of these changes that was contentious from this council’s point of view.

The future meeting dates were set to be:-

TUESDAY 11TH AUGUST, AT 7PM

TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER, AT 7PM

FEBRUARY 2016, TUESDAY 23RD, AT 7PM

MAY 2016, MONDAY 16TH, AFTER APM AT 7PM

A volunteer please!

Your parish council should have 5 members. we need another one to make  us up to our full complement. Please consider volunteering for this vacancy. You would be most welcome by the rest of the team. Contact parish clerk, Lisa Standing, by email at  laneastpc@gmail.com or Peter Stephenson on 86383

 

 

Headlines from Parish Council Meeting – November 2014

The Parish Council met on 11th November with Cornwall Councillor Vivian Hall attending and 3 members of the public and Councillor Simon Ashby chairing.

The main business of the meeting was to consider and set the budget and parish precept for 2015 -16.  Recent difficulties with communicating with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs office, which requires on-line forms submissions, had led to a large charge imposition. Whilst the parish council expects re-imbursement in full, it underscored how little financial buffer it has. Therefore, after discussion, it was decided that the council’s policy thus far, to hold down the precept to an absolute minimum, should change. It now wishes to slowly build up a larger reserve. The precept was set at £1665, an increase from £1316 of  £349 which equates to about £4 extra per household per year. The parish council will seek feedback on its financing strategy at the next Annual Parish Meeting.

In the Public Representation session, Vicky Rayner gave an update on progressing the Neighbourhood Plan. Vicky and Dawn Battell are willing to take the process forward as far as a follow-up public meeting to answer the questions raised at the first one. In his report, Councillor Peter Stephenson indicated that, in the medium term, the parish council might not have sufficient resource to pursue vigorously the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan.

In response to the parish council’s request for a volunteer fill the current councillor vacancy, Paul Burden, of Barton View Laneast, confirmed his willingness to be co-opted. His co-option will be voted on at the next meeting, in February.

With great personal regret, Councillor Simon Ashby announced his resignation as chairman and as parish councillor due to pressure of work. Simon was thanked for all his hard work and congratulated on his successes as chairman. The Parish Clerk, Lisa Standing, will now formally advertise the new vacancy Simon’s resignation creates.

The next meeting will be at 7pm on Tuesday, 24th February 2015.

Headlines from Parish Council Meeting, 12th August 2014

The Parish Council met on 12th August with Cornwall Councillor Vivian Hall attending and 5 members of the public.

As it was pertinent to the meeting’s business, an extended Public Representation Session was allowed. It produced a very positive discussion regarding the planning application for a second 100kW wind turbine at Lidcott Farm. The additional turbine is essential to supply adequate eco-friendly power, when wind speeds were low, to the kiln to that dries logs for Lidcott’s firewood products. In particular, agreement was arrived at to support a permissive route for the bridleway that skirts the proposed turbine site. The altered route will be along a radius of 200 meters from the turbine, the minimum distance recommended by the British Horse Society. The permissive route is expected to remain in force, as part of the Planning Consent, so long as the turbine is operational.

Later in the meeting, the Parish Council agreed to reply to the Planning Department stating that Laneast Parish Council wished to support this local business’ development of a second turbine at Lidcott provided that the safety needs of the current and following generations of horse-riders are accommodated.

Mrs Ursula Hazel, past resident of Laneast (now living in Bodmin) and owner of the vacant plot of land called Holywell, (between Wellgate and West Barton Court) in Laneast, has applied to re-new her application to build on the site. What is proposed in the outline planning application is a single, two storey, detached dwelling house with lean-to garage.  The Parish Council has no objection to this planning re-application.  You can view the plans and other correspondence on Cornwall Council’s website (www.cornwall.gov.uk) on its on-line planning register.

Several local parishes have decided to provide Automated External Defibrillators (AED) to enhance their first responders capability to help a cardiac arrest victim within those vital first few minutes and before any ambulance can attend. It had been suggested that we, too, might consider acquiring a public access defibrillator. A few facts are to hand: the cost would be £2500 per unit and the money would need to be raised within the community; to be effective, the defibrillation electric shock must be delivered within 5 minutes of collapse of the victim (and, in a dispersed rural community, realistically that severely limits the number of households that might benefit); those parishes that have gone ahead have large concentrations of housing so the probability of an AED being needed at least once in 2 years has been judged as likely.  The suggestion will be further explored, and your thoughts are most welcome (please contact Cllr Pete Stephenson on 86383).

At the end of the meeting, for information only, mention was made of the industrial use of a barn extension that neighbours Trekenner Farm. The Parish Council had not objected at the planning application stage as its stated use was to be for agricultural use only. Very quickly it has been turned to a light industrial use, crushing glass bottles to make a fine glass powder to use, on site, for sand-blasting car bodies. Residents very close by have objected to the noise, the dust, the traffic and the industrial use. Cornwall Council has instructed the owner to apply for planning permission to change the use to industrial. Your Parish Council awaits the application and would welcome your views (please contact the Parish Clerk Lisa Standing on 880200).

Chairman Cllr Simon Ashby closed the meeting on the positive observation that it was a great pleasure to see our roads looking so attractive following the recent surface dressing.  Our thanks will be relayed to the Highway (Cormac) Department. Cornwall Councillor Vivian Hall was thanked for his help in keeping the work to its promised schedule.

The next meeting of the Parish Council is scheduled for Tuesday, 11th November at 7pm.  As we no longer print and deliver meeting notices and agendas to every household (a cost saving decision), the finalised agenda will be posted on to our community website prior to the meeting at www.blgazette.co.uk. Printed copies of the agenda will also be posted on the notice boards in Laneast and Badgall.

 

REMINDER!

Our Neighbourhood Plan

We are holding a public meeting to discuss how best to progress with our proposed Neighbourhood Plan on Thursday, 25th September, 7pm, at Tresmeer Village Hall. Light refreshments will be served.

Do come along and start the shaping of a workable plan for Laneast’s and Badgall’s developments over the next 20 years.  How do we sensibly encourage economic prosperity and protect the very rural nature of our neighbourhood? Can we develop a “win-win” approach?

For further information, contact Cllr Pete Stephenson (tel 86383; email pr.stephenson@btinternet.com) or any of your Parish Councillors Or Parish Clerk, Lisa Standing (laneastpc@gmail.com).

First steps towards a Neighbourhood Plan

At the Annual Parish Meeting, residents were asked three questions:-

Q1       What do you like about this neighbourhood?
Q2       What needs improving?
Q3       What is the one thing above all others you would wish to protect?

Answers to each question were written on post cards. Below are those answers. (Click for  larger view)

What do you like about the neighbourhood?

What do you like about the neighbourhood?

What needs improving?

What needs improving?

My priority for protection is

My priority for protection is

As you can see, the peacefulness and the rural beauty are highly prized, as is the community spirit. Roads and broadband speeds head the list for improvement. When it comes to protecting, most people want to keep the rural essence of our villages  … the peace and quiet, the surrounding green fields, the open landscape with beautiful views and dark night-time skies.

Some changes and some developments over the next 25 years will be inevitable. So, if we can choose them, what would they be? What wishes do you have? How can we encourage a wider sense of community … perhaps beyond our traditional parish boundaries? How can we repel unwanted, imposed development?

The next step will be to hold a public meeting, some time in July, dedicated to discussion of a Neighbourhood Plan and the best ways forward to build that plan, with all residents both having their say and listening to the ideas of others. The final plan must be acceptable to the majority of residents. If accepted through a local referendum, then it will be the outline planning consent against which particular applications will be judged.

 

Headlines from the Parish Council Meeting – 19th May 2014

The meeting was chaired by Cllr Simon Ashby with Cllrs John Martin, Martyn Orchard, Peter Stephenson and Parish Clerk, Lisa Standing attending and with six members of the parish present. Cornwall Councillor Vivian Hall sent his apology for absence.

Under the Public Representation agenda item, the chairman read out a letter from Mrs Ann Sheldrake of Trekenner complaining about a dust and noise nuisance from the new work in Mr Gilbard’s barn. The Clerk will reply. No other matters were raised.

Under the Highways & Footpaths agenda item, Cllr Stephenson indicated that he was in contact with Mr Oliver Jones of the Highways Department. He has requested an on site meeting to view the dangerous road edges, soft verges and difficult passing places. Cllr Orchard will investigate an issue with the footpath between Trewithen and Trevenn. Cllrs Orchard and Stephenson will confirm a verbal agreement with Mr Wickett, the landowner of Trewithen farm, to divert  surface water accumulating behind the roadside hedges near The Old Chapel, and prevent it “springing” onto the road and breaking up the road surface there.

Under Planning Applications, the Clerk reported that there had been no official notifications requiring the Parish Council’s comment. However, from the Cornwall Council website, Cllr Orchard had printed off some details of a proposal, by Mr Gerry of Moorview Bungalow, to build a dwelling at Badgall. The PC awaits formal notification.

Cllr Stephenson attended the Launceston and Bude Joint Community Network Meeting, on 6th May. He reported that the meeting was devoted to informing the community of North Cornwall (that area stretching from Newquay to Bude to Launceston to Bodmin) that it could bid for £6M of the next tranche of European funds coming into Cornwall in 2015. The projects proposed must generate local jobs, training and/or encourage sustainable local economic growth. The projects must come, “bottom-up”, from the community. A volunteer panel has also to be formed to prioritise the projects and forward their selection to Government for approval. There is the possibility that a local proposal will go forward via Mrs Ann Sheldrake and local horse-riding enthusiasts proposing better off-road provision for horse riding in the North Cornwall area. There is also the possibility that Mrs Sheldrake will accept the Parish Council’s nomination of her to serve on the volunteer panel for North Cornwall. It was also suggested that the Parish Council seriously considers proposing the provision of fibre optic cabling to remote rural areas such as our own under this scheme.

Under Correspondence, the Clerk drew attention to the DEFRA Surface Water Runoff Grant Scheme

through which landowners can apply to fund projects that prevent the flooding of neighbouring properties. Could this scheme fund the repair and prevention of future damage to our road edges? Is there a threat to property at Church Way? Cllr Stephenson to investigate and report.

The Next Meeting was set for Tuesday, 12th August. The future dates for the year were set at:

November 11th 2014

February 24th  2015

May 18th 2015

There being no other business, the meeting finished at about 9.45pm.