At the Annual General Meeting of Firsby Group Parish Council held at 7.00 pm on Wednesday 19 May 2021 in Irby & Bratoft Village Hall.

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

Mr R. Heane; Mr G. Holmes; Mrs S. Wilford; Mr C. Moore; Miss H. Smithson-Whitehead; Mr P. Gilbert; Mrs L. Mitchell; ELDC Cllr S. Dennis and PCSO Jayne Richardson.

1.  Election of Chairman

Mr Holmes proposed, Mrs Mitchell seconded and all agreed to re-elect Mr Kidd as Chairman for a further year.

2.  Election of Vice-Chairman

Mrs Wilford proposed, Miss Smithson Whitehead seconded and all agreed to re-elect Mr Heane as Vice-Chairman for a further year.

The Clerk was thanked for worked carried out over the past year.

3.  Minutes of the last Meeting

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

4.  Matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting

Miss Smithson-Whitehead gave a further update on the Broadband situation.  She stated that the Five Parishes were still eligible to continue to make an application, but as the County Council will not be the responsible body, it is unlikely, because of the vast costs involved, to continue with the application.

Miss Smithson Whitehead stated that Cllr Dennis has very kindly provided a computer in response to the request made at the last meeting.  However, the company who are providing the equipment said that they may be able to payback £210 in order for a laptop to be purchased.  She stated that training will be organised for a date to be confirmed in June for the people who have volunteered to use the Speed Gun.  She also stated that further equipment needs to be purchased namely: A Speed Warning Sign at £70 and 6 Reflective Jackets at £45.  Money for these purchases will be obtained from the Charitable Trust Fund.

Following feedback from Councillors, Miss Smithson Whitehead stated that the 40mph speed warning sign will only activate when a vehicle is travelling 38mph and above.

Mrs Mitchell showed the Council examples and costings for the noticeboard for Firsby.

Cllr Dennis was asked whether he had had a response to his request for a full report and costings for the works carried out so far and those to be carried out in the future on the River Steeping.  Cllr Dennis stated that he had not yet received a report. 

Following on from Cllrs Dennis' response a lengthy discussion took place regarding the River Steeping and flooding.  This issue is of great importance to the residents of the 5 Parishes and the Parish Council.  The following matters were discussed:

The flood gates at Thorpe Culvert: for the last four years or more these gates have been the subject of concern.  They were welded up and despite being assured by the County Councillor, they have not been serviced.  It has been 2 years since the last flooding and still nothing has been done. 

The clearing out of the River Steeping:  The Parish Council understand that over £1m has been spent on four surveys being carried out on the River Steeping, and still nothing substantial has been done.  Unless that River is cleared out from end to end, the Lady Wath Beck will flood again.  The residents  of Great Steeping and affected areas are constantly panicking every time it rains.  Their stress and anxiety is not being addressed, because of the failure of the Council to try to resolve the issue of flooding.  Too much money is wasted on models and nothing is spent on rectifying this problem.

Cllr Dennis replied to some points:  He stated that the difficulty is that Boston and East Lindsey both have boroughs with flooding issues.  He also stated that there are 3 containment areas, one at the beginning of the River, one in the middle and one at the end of the River that with the farmers agreement, they will flood these areas and then pump them out once the main flood has dispersed.    In reply to this, it was stated that if the flood gates were agreed to be opened with Witham Forth, this action would not be necessary.  Measures could have been put in place when the weather conditions were known about.  Witham Forth could have been asked to allow some excess water to go through the gates if they had the capacity to take it.

It was agreed that a detailed letter would be sent to the Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board, copying in Withan Forth and the Chiefs Executives.  The letter would contain a detailed summary of the historical events leading up to the last flooding.  It will also request a full breakdown of the works and costings that have been spent trying to resolve this issue, and a list of the works to be carried out in the future along with costings.

5.  Police Matters

PCSO Jayne Richardson explained there has been a change of command in the Police Force, but the PCSO, along with another officer will still cover the Five Parishes.  PCSO Richardson stated that the Five Parishes were patrolled during the Covid lockdown despite officers being deployed into Skegness.

PCSO Richardson distributed some posters about antisocial behaviour and the reporting of drug dealing which will be displayed in the Village Hall.  PCSO Richardson also stated that as events begin to resume, the PCSO's will attend if possible, this will include attending the Speed Gun training sessions that are to take place in June.

6.   County Councillor's Report

It was agreed to ask Cllr Bowkett the following questions:

Following on from a comment that was made at the last meeting.  Can Cllr Bowkett please clarify what was the problem with the original contractors who were dealing with potholes and why they were replaced?

Mrs Wilford stated that at a PAC Meeting, £10,000 was proposed for use beside the Church in Little Steeping.  This money was ring fenced, she would like to know how and when can the money be accessed.

In the recent resurfacing of Mill Lane, Little Steeping, the work was carried out up to Mill Lane Bridge, then after Mill Lane Bridge.  The Council would like to know who owns Mill Lane Bridge and why the bridge was not resurfaced?

The stretch of Road on the B1195 between Barton's Lane and Eastfield Road, Firsby is in need of total resurfacing.  The Parish Council have requested this action be taken for several years.  The work that was recently carried out, has not improved the road, in fact has made it worse.  Can the County Council pleases explain why only patches of resurfacing was done and the remainder of the road left?

The Parish Council would also like to know the justification for the County Council outsourcing its telephone answering service to a company which charges £18 to answer a call?

7.   District Councillor's Report

Cllr Dennis stated that the household recycling centre are stopping the booking system once the Covid restrictions have been lifted.

He also stated that East Lindsey and Boston now have one Chief Executive so amalgamation of areas such as refuse collection will now take place.

Cllr Dennis also stated that there has been some revamping done at Skegness Train Station and that the Towns Fund will be used, amongst other things to build colleges in the hope of keeping the youth in the area.

8.   Correspondence

a)  Newsletter and request for renewal of Lincolnshire Fieldpaths Association subscription.  It was agreed to continue this subscription. 

b)  A Certificate of Appreciation will be made up and given to the following individuals for the works they carry out in the community: Irene and Bryan Davies and Christine Cope.

9.   Plans

Mr Gilbert declared an interest in this application.  Application No S/051/00893/21 by Mr P Gilbert for Planning Permission - Erection of a calf shed at Barn View, Wainfleet Road, Firsby.  It was agreed to support this application.

Full Planning Permission has been granted on conditions - Planning Permission - Change of use of land for the siting of 40no. static caravans, excavation of land to form a lake and construction of internal access roads, change of 4 existing touring pitches to static pitches and provision of one additional static pitch on existing caravan site at Virley House Tourer Park, Virley House, High Lane, Croft.

Full Planning Permission has been granted on conditions - Extension and alterations to the existing dwelling to provide a porch and enlarged kitchen, dining room and lounge on the site of part of the existing dwelling to be demolished at Ten Acres, Monksthorpe Lane, Great Steeping. 

10.   Highways

It was agreed to report the following matter:

The Firsby Village sign has been knocked down, a replacement is required.

The Bratoft Village sign on Brambleberry Lane was reported several years ago and still has not been replaced.

The road along Oxlands Lane, Irby is in a bad state of repair.

A request for information when the road sweeping on Ings Lane, Little Steeping will take place.

11.   Accounts

It was agreed to pass the following accounts for payment: 

Irby & Bratoft Village Hall for use of room £20

Insurance Renewal £177.49

Lincolnshire Field Paths Association £5