Minutes of Norley Parish Council Meeting April 2015


Minutes of Norley Annual Parish Meeting of 22/04/15 7pm Norley C of E School.

1. Attendance.
The meeting was attended by Councillor Stockton, Councillor Ford, Councillor Wild, Councillor Johnston and 7 parishioners

2. Approval of the minutes of Norley Annual Parish Meeting of 26/04/14
The minutes of Norley Annual Parish Meeting of 26/04/14 were approved.

3. Norley Parish Council Report Councillor O’Connor
Welcome to the 121st Annual Parish Meeting and I apologies for not being able to attend. There have been 10 Parish Council Meetings with reasonable attendance throughout the year. It is Election Day on Thursday 7th May and people wishing to become Parish Councillors in Norley had to submit their nominations to CW&C by April 9th. There have been 9 nominations for the 9 Parish Councillor roles in Norley so a vote for the Parish Council will not be necessary on 7th May. Planning issues within the village remain a major issue. There have been 31 planning applications during the last 12 months including second applications for School Bank and Delamere School, Blakemere Lane. The second application for School Bank was approved by CW&C in December and the applicants appealed against CW&C refusal of the first application, and this appeal has been upheld. The applications for Delamere School were both refused by CW&C and the applicant has appealed.

The Neighbourhood Plan has made good progress and the completed plan and supporting documents were formally submitted to CW&C on 15th March. A 6-week consultation, a formal examination by a Planning Inspector and a referendum will follow. The Parish Council thank the volunteers who have assisted with the preparation of the plan, participated on the steering group and to the parishioners who have responded to the surveys and questionnaires giving their views which assisted in formulating the plan. The Parish Council continues to support the Norley News, which keeps everyone informed of events in the village and wishes to thank the management team and volunteers who deliver this excellent and welcome newsletter.

The Parish Council is supporting the proposed Wildflower Memorial Walk and although the group’s application to ‘Grow Wild’ for funding was unfortunately not successful, a number of local businesses and individuals have agreed to provide funding for plaques. Alan Duncalf has been a Parish Councillor for the past 20 years and has now decided to ‘retire’ from the Parish Council. Alan’s local knowledge and awareness of the history of Norley has been invaluable. Many thanks to Alan for the hard work and dedication he has shown to the Parish Council and village throughout those 20 years. I also wish to thank and acknowledge Dennis Ford who became a Parish Councillor in May 1979 and holds the record for the longest standing Parish Councillor in Norley. Dennis is very experienced in Planning and Common Land issues and he utilises his experience and knowledge to benefit the understanding of the less experienced Parish Councillors and has supported new Parish Clerks. We are grateful for this. Dennis has an interest in all aspects of village life and regularly volunteers to attend site meetings with Parishioners, Council Officials, Partners and Contractors etc. no matter what the issue is. Earlier this year the Parish Council


nominated Dennis for ‘The Outstanding Service – Councillor Award, at the Local Councils Excellence Awards. Unfortunately Dennis did not win but my colleagues and I recognise and appreciate the service Dennis has given, and continues to give to the village. Norley continues to be welcoming and thriving village with many clubs, organisations, and activities. Thank you to the many volunteers who carry out, support and assist with so many tasks and roles, which make Norley such an excellent place to live.

4. Joint Norley Community Organisations Trust Report -Jane Leleu
I regret to report that the last year has been a very frustrating one for the Trust.
Despite the assurance that Scottish Power had the removal of the electricity pole on the Village Hall site on their schedule of works for the past twelve months, it remains in place. We are now informed that the scheme has been approved locally, is awaiting head office confirmation, apparently due before the end of this month, and that the work will be completed in the current financial year.  I hope to be able to report its removal next year. As I informed the Council last year our new, local, architectural practice updated the designs for the Village Hall extension and prepared a pre- application submission and outline planning application for a bungalow on the Crabmill Lane site. These proposals were considered and approved by the JNCOT Trustees at a meeting on 30th June. The pre-application submission resulted in an indication from the planning department that they were minded to approve a dwelling on the site and the applications for outline planning permission at Crabmill Lane and detailed planning permission for the Village Hall site were submitted through the Parish Council and validated on the 27th October 2014. It has been indicated that both applications will be approved subject to conditions which we are still negotiating.

In an attempt to progress matters I had a meeting recently, together with the Chair of the JNCOT Estates Committee, with CWAC’s Principal Planner and a representative of the legal department, following which it is hoped that the restrictions originally proposed for the Crabmill Lane site, which would have seriously affected its sale value, can be avoided. These will be replaced by a section 106 Agreement to be proposed in relation to the Village Hall site and a further agreement between JNCOT and 1st Norley Group Scout Committee, both of which will, hopefully, be available for consideration by the Trustees at our meeting next month.
Grant applications have been put on hold pending the obtaining of planning permission but successful fundraising has continued throughout the year by the Village Hall sub-committee, the Bowling Club and the Recreation Area sub –Committee including a very successful wine tasting, a quiz night, stalls at the garden show, book sales and the ever popular car boot sales. A Treasure Hunt is currently being planned as a joint venture by the two sub-committees.

Rental income has been maintained at an acceptable level with a further slight increase in the bowling green rent.
The Recreation Area continues to be well used and much appreciated but repairs to the wetpour are now urgently required.

I understand that the Recreation Area sub-committee have asked the Parish Council to reinstate their former annual grant of £1,000 and a decision is awaited.

Disappointingly despite meetings, promises, numerous emails and phone calls, the sum of £644,   paid to Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) almost two years


ago, intended to be “for improvements to the existing play facilities adjacent to the Village Hall in Norley” and mentioned in my report last year, has still not materialised. One bright spot has been the generosity of Cllr Ralph Oultram who has made grants from his Members’ discretionary funds to the Recreation Area sub-committee, the Bowling Club and the Village Hall subcommittee and on behalf of the Trustees and members of those sub-committees I would like to express our gratitude to him.
The JNCOT AGM is proposed for 15th July when detailed reports will be submitted by the Chairs of the various sub-committees together with the annual accounts and the Treasurers report.

5. Norley neighbourhood Plan Report – Martin Bell
Steering Group Meetings:

  • 9 Meetings have been held through 2014/5.
  • Attendance has grown from just the Management Committee to include voluntary interested residents, and all are welcome. None of the meetings were attended by representatives from Cheshire Community Action or CWAC, but that may reflect the assistance being received from Andrew Thomson, our planning consultant.
  • The Biodiversity subgroup has had 10 meetings through 2014/5, finally metamorphosing into the Norley Wildlife Group.
  • Meeting minutes are posted on the website.

Achievements / Deliverables

  • The Norley Neighborhood Plan was finally submitted to CWAC on 25 March 2015 after extensive consultations.
  • Our website has continued to inform residents and other interested parties and receives a surprisingly high number of hits every month. All documents submitted with the Plan are on the website.
  • A Housing Survey report was prepared by CCA on our behalf and adds to our understanding of housing needs initially examined in our housing needs report of August 2013.
  • We have prepared a Delivery Plan and handed it over to the Parish Council
  • We have continued to provide feedback to CWAC on their Local Plan.
  • We were substantially delayed by a slow response from CW&C in our autumn consultations with them, but since then their response has been rapid and helpful. I feel confident the care and attention given to producing the policies has provided a solid Plan which meets the needs and wishes of the community. The next steps are:
  • a formal public consultation organized by CW&C.
  • Examination by an appointed examiner
  • Consideration by CWAC following examiners report
  • Referendum
    The Plan is therefore unlikely to be “made” until the autumn.


I would like to express my thanks to the Steering Group, to Andrew Thomson of Thomson Planning, to Sarah Baron of Cheshire Community Action, and to Planning Aid for their help and support in 2014, and to DCLG, CWAC and the Parish Council for providing funding.

6. Norley C of E School report – Helen Kelly
This report was sent by Mrs Helen Kelly to be read during the meeting, in her absence. The school would like to thank the Parish Council for their continued support to school. As a small Church of England Primary School, we are very committed to working with the community and church to support events and activities. The school continues to grow in size and we currently have 96 pupils from in and around the village. This looks like it will continue in September.

Welcome to Mrs Bell, our new bursar. Sue has joined us from a background of finance (budget officer for 32 schools in Cheshire). I am confident she will keep a tight rein on our finances!! Sue has settled in and has quickly become a member of our team. We also welcome Mrs Lynham as a Midday Assistant; she has joined us as Mrs Power left us in January.

Last term we welcomed a teaching student, Laura Mortimer to join class 3. Laura was in her final year studying for a BEd at Chester University. She came to us as a ‘good’ student and left with a well-deserved ‘outstanding’. Thank you to Mrs Rugen for supporting her on her final teaching practice. Laura became part of our team and ran a very successful Science after school club. The Christmas plays were not cancelled but moved to the church. This was the perfect setting for many reasons and I would like to look at using the church again for the Christmas plays. An artist, Chris Gilbert, has worked with us to bring our new mission statement alive- ‘The love of God shines through us by the work of our hands’. He has created a beautiful mosaic with the children for the front entrance. This mission statement is one that the children have learnt and demonstrates what we are about at Norley CE Primary School. We have chosen 6 Christian Values to attach to our mission statement and to focus on throughout the year:  Compassion, endurance, friendship, forgiveness, peace and trust.

We held a parents meeting about E Safety. ICT teacher, Steve Ford from Helsby High School delivered the training. The teachers had similar training from Steve after school. This has become an annual event for parents. We had a disappointing turnout of only 2 parents this year. We have held a Mum’s Lunch this term. Again this was a huge success and gives us a chance to spoil our mums. They had a delicious home cooked school dinner and then played outside with the children.

We also have a Grandparent’s day in March and a Dad’s games/reading afternoon in May! We are a family school and want to involve everyone in the children’s education and school experience. We are taking part in community events such as singing around the Norley Christmas tree, The Nativity on the Move and we have invited two local residents to give talks on their specialist subjects, amphibians and bees. It is important that we are the centre of the community and are not seen as a separate school. Now we have our long awaited new front entrance we are slowly updating the rest of the school. Two classrooms have been completed and we have started on the early years areas. In May a team of volunteers from Barclays are


coming to paint the corridor and the music room for us, they also provided a grant to purchase the paint. Mrs Tomlinson, our retired bursar, is tending to the front garden and the PTFA are working on the pond area. They have just raised enough money to buy the children a fantastic new Pirate Ship, complete with slide, a fantastic addition to our beautiful grounds.

We have invited Bishop Keith to officially open our front entrance on Monday 8th June at 11.30am. You are invited to come along and spend some time with us as we have an open day with scones and tea. Please let us know if there is anything else we can get involved in.

7. Common land Report – Councillor Ford.
Issues still exist with the drainage of Breech Moss, Cheshire West & Chester are very conspicuous by their absence responding to this, even to the extent of denying it is their problem, although Public Rights of Way have upgraded the footpath/bridleway to an extent. We must keep pushing to get Chester West & Chester to come forward with a Common Land Policy.

8. Village Hall Report – Councillor Wild
This has been another busy year. The Village Hall remains well used. We have lost some regular users for various reasons, but have gained some others. Finances remain in reasonable health. We continue to cover our running costs through car boot sales and other events. We were the grateful recipients during the year of a grant from Cllr Oultram’s CWAC personal budget, which allowed us to further the refurbishment that started with the replacement of the windows late last year. The next priority had been identified as the toilets, particularly the gents, and I am pleased to say that work is progressing well, albeit quite slowly, as we try to get the work done as economically as we can.  Cllr Oultram’s contribution completed the fund that had begun with last summers Trek for Toilets, and a successful raffle at the Garden Show.  So far mould has been dealt with; the ceiling renewed, and white goods and toilet windows replaced. We have also been able to buy a new water Boiler for the kitchen, which awaits installation. Matters regarding the fabric of the building are never far from our minds. We hope to refresh the Board room to provide a better quality meeting room facility in Norley – a great start has been made with the help of local Geocachers, who painted it for us in exchange for use of the Hall and field for a summer party, but we still need to replace those windows and carpet. We will do this as soon as we can.

A recent set back occurred when we found we had a collapsed drain. This has been dealt with, but is an example of the kind of continuing issues there are in keeping this venerable and much loved building going. We refreshed our licensing arrangements this year, so we are able to more easily offer drink and entertainment licensing to our clients. Despite some unwarranted concerns we have had not a single complaint, and frankly expect none. We had a tremendously successful wine tasting during the year, and a Family Fun Day. We have other ideas for the year to come – from rural touring theatre, to musical events and even, if we can resource it, a boules pitch!


As always I would pay tribute to committee members who work hard for the village, and without whom there would be no hall for residents to use. I would also ask residents to please come forward and help us – there are many ways to help, from joining the committee, to lesser involvement, helping with events for example. And crucially, please use your hall. Using the hall will ensure we are able to keep this historic and  much loved Hall, one of the main centres for village life here in Norley.

9. Open Discussion
Open discussion took place concerning issues that remain unresolved from Cheshire West & Chester Council. Clerk instructed to contact highways regarding overhanging tree at School Bank. Clerk instructed to clarify the Post Office collection times in the village.

The meeting finished at 7.40pm

Signed Dated
Norley Parish Council