At the Meeting of Firsby Group Parish Council held at 7.00 pm on Wednesday 15 March 2023 in Bratoft Church Room.

Present: Mr R. Kidd, who took the Chair;

Mr R. Heane; Mrs S. Wilford; Miss H. Smithson Whitehead; Mr C. Moore; Mrs L. Mitchell and ELDC Cllr Sid Dennis.

Apologies were received from Mr G. Holmes; Mr R. Harman; LCC Cllr Mrs W. Bowkett and PCSO Jayne Richardson.

1.  Minutes of the last Meeting

It was agreed that these be signed as a correct record of the proceedings.

2.  Matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting

Miss Smithson Whitehead stated that a box that had been put up opposite Redwood House to monitor traffic speeds was broken so another one will be installed at a later date.

The Chairman stated that the issue of requesting funds from the Firsby Group Charitable Trust to pay for the printing of the 5 Parishes Newsletter was discussed at a meeting of the Trustees the evening before.  It was decided that it would not be appropriate to use the Charitable Trust money, so the payment will be taken from the precept money received by the Parish Council.

3.   Police Matters

It was agreed to send PCSO Jayne Richardson a photograph and vehicle registration number of a flatbed truck that Is going round the villages, entering properties and taking items without the permission of the owners.

4.   District Councillor’s Report

Cllr Dennis stated that he has written a letter to his ward to canvas people to ask what they want or need.  He urges all to respond to him.  He also stated that there was a migrant problem in all areas and that it was a legal requirement under the Geneva Convention to look after these people whilst in the Country.

The matter of potential flooding and the Steeping River was discussed in detail.  Mr Heane stated that in previous years when it was raining heavy a little bit of water would be allowed to go through the pumping station gates, and then they would be shut again.  This worked well until the gates were welded up.  If the Steeping River were to flood again it would cost a phenomenal amount of money to put things right.  The situation needs to be sorted out once and for all.  Allowing some water to be dispersed through the tunnels, without flooding areas further down would be a more economical way to control the flooding. There is a duty of care to protect the people who live in fear of being flooded again. 

Cllr Dennis stated that the Drainage Board was going to work with the Environment Agency to clear the Steeping River; the cost of modelling this was £850,000.  Now it has changed again and they are not going to clear the River.  Mr Heane stated that money was wasted when the EA sent men to clear out the Lady Wath Beck, the men did know what they were doing, they had no keys to gain access and their machinery broke down.   

Cllr Dennis asked Mr Heane if he would be prepared to speak a meeting about the Steeping River and the flooding issues if he were to arrange one with the head of the consortium.  Mr Heane, who has extensive knowledge and experience on the subject agreed that he would speak at a meeting.

Cllr Dennis will write again to Lindsey Marsh and Witham Fourth Drainage Boards and the Environment Agency for an update on what is being down to prevent further flooding.  It was also agreed that the Parish Council would write a letter asking for an update on the progress being made before the flooding happens again.

5.   Correspondence

a)  Email received from Colin Hinchcliffe, Treasurer Little Steeping PCC, requesting a grant for Little Steeping Churchyard Maintenance.  It was agreed to pay a grant of £250.

b)  Email received from Simon Hart of the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership giving results of speed monitoring through Firsby.

c)  Email received from Marian Woolhouse giving details of the advertisers for the next year and requesting payment for the next edition of the 5 Parishes Newsletter.

d)  Email received From Mary Burdett requesting an update on the Little Steeping telephone box.  The matter was discussed in detail. It was agreed to write to Mrs Burdett giving details of the temporary location of the telephone box and its current state.

e)  Miss Smithson Whitehead asked whether the installers of the Solar Park at Manor Farm, Irby are going to make a payment.  The Chairman stated that he had already taken this matter up with the appropriate company.

6.   Plans

Application No S/051/00195/23 by Mr & Mrs A Leiserach for Planning Permission – Change of use of land for the siting of 6no. glamping units with associated decking, access and parking at Mill Lane Farmhouse, Mill Lane, Irby in the Marsh.  It was agreed to support this application.

Application No S/091/00700/22 by Mrs B Simpson for Planning Permission – Extension to bungalow for a single storey extension to the bungalow and the existing access is widened to provide additional parking.  The Parish Council have no objections to this application as long as the issue of the surface water drainage is addressed.

Application No S/051/00315/23 by Mr D Biggadike for Planning Permission – Erection of a calf shed at Barn View, Wainfleet Road, Firsby.  It was agreed to support this application.

Tree Preservation Order No EZY/0018/23/TPA by Mr Kevin Hopkins for T22 – Sycamore – 1. Clean out basal suckers, ivy, dead wood and abrading branches. 2. Reduce the crown height by approx. 8m, from a current height of 22m, finishing at appropriate lateral branches. 3. Reduce the lateral crown spread by 4-5m in branch length around entire canopy, ensuring the lower epicormic branches are reduced to match.  Current spread in metres, N9, S8, E9 and W7.  4.  Reshape all retained growths to suitable secondary tertiary shoots or growth points to retain an acceptable appearance at The firs, Main Road, Little Steeping.  It was agreed to support this application.

7.   Highways

Notification has been received of a temporary traffic restriction – Little Steeping Level Crossing (Near the Old Station House) from 6/4/23 – 7/4/23.  Diversion routes and vehicular or pedestrian access arrangements will be signposted.

It was agreed to report the following matters to be dealt with:

The handrail on the footpath at the back of the Old Church in Great Steeping needs repairing/replacing because it moves and a resident had a fall whilst using it.

It was agreed to re-report the numerous potholes from the Kennels to Great Steeping School.

There is a large pothole/dip near the Old Wheelwrights in Firsby that needs repairing.

The drain outside Greenacres, Mill Lane, Little Steeping, is flooded and needs pumping out.  There is also a large pothole opposite Delanies which needs repairing.

8.   Accounts

It was agreed to pass the following accounts for payment: 

Bratoft PCC for use of room £14

Little Steeping PCC for Churchyard Maintenance £250

Bolingbroke Deanery for printing of the April/May Newsletter £120

Clerk’s Honorarium £625.