January 2021 Minutes

Minutes of the Council virtual meeting held on Monday 11thJanuary 2021 by Zoom.

Present: Cllrs David Harris, (Chairman) Carolyn Ovenden (Vice Chairman), David Merrett, Christine Morton, Sylvia Stevens, James Anderson, Matt Sidwell, Gareth Page.

Also in attendance:
Clerk – Mrs J Kelley
Members of the public–None
Police representatives – None

The Chairperson welcomed new councillor Gareth Page, co-opted representative for Pwllmeryic, to his first meeting. His signed Office of Declaration has been received by the Clerk.
(i) Public Comment
Clerk had received an email from the owners of Moynes Court Lane –
As below:
Forgive the formal nature of the email but I just wish to record that the drive going to Moynes Court from the public highway is private land.
The previous owner did a deal with the local council to allow them to place the 2000 memorial on the land and allow school buses to turn in the driveway in exchange for the council tarmacing the drive.
Since some years have passed since then, I think that it is best formally to record the event and the conditions placed on the use of the land particularly as no doubt the drive will require re-tarmacing at a certain point in the future and we will need to discuss that and whether the previous deal holds good.

I am however keen to allow by licence the use of the strip of land. I am probably at some stage going to put up a fence and gate ( obviously still allowing access for walkers) but it seems to me that the land would be best put to some use. Whether allowing people to grow vegetables or turning it into a wild flower area or planting trees.
Cllrs discussed this and agreed that no agreement had been made with the Community Council but possibly with Monmouthshire County Council (MCC). Clerk to respond advising that the owners that they would need to contact MCC regarding this.
ii)Report from Community Police.
“13/12/2020 – Report of a 1 vehicle RTC on the A48 towards Parkwall roundabout. The vehicle had left the road and ended up in a field. No other vehicles were involved and the male driver went to hospital with very minor injuries to be checked out.

6/1/2021 – Report of damage caused to a garage door at the garages at the end of Baileys Hay. A large dent had appeared on the door overnight.

Please remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity/crime at the time via either 101 or 999 if you deem it an emergency. If it is low level you can also report via email on contact@gwent.pnn.police.uk”
Clerk to request that Cllr G Page is added to the circulation list.

iii) Apologies
Cllr Jayne Harris
(iv) v) Declarations of Personal or Pecuniary Interest:
Cllr David Harris – planning application, Palace Farm. Item 46/20 on agenda.
Clerk to forward declaration for completion.

vi) Minutes of the previous meeting

RESOLVED to approve the minutes of the Mathern Community Council meetings held on Monday 9th November and 7th December as true and accurate records. The Chair signed the minutes. The signed document will be collected by the Clerk within 7 days.
2020 Finance – November

BACS payments (due to Covid)

Wales Audit Office £230.25 18 12 2020
Rialtas (accounts package) £206.40 11.01.2021
Eddie Paris Plaque £192.60 05.01.2020

D D Pension for December £75.71 Employee £42.06 Employer


Online Payment Salary for December 606.69 31.12.2020
HMRC 158.92 31.12.2020
Postage 19.84 15.12.2020
Telephone and internet 53.99 11.01.2021
Viking Direct, stationery
MCC – Dog waste bags 125.10 12.01.2021

Internet Payment £13.20 Stock it Ltd. License
Merlin Waste £42.50 Dog waste collection

Excel work sheets attached for the setting of the precept 2021/22 December 2020. All Councillors received a fully updated Excel sheet to check the precept setting. It was resolved that the clerk should request a precept for 2021-2022 for £22000.00 Forms to be sent to MCC before 22nd January 2021.

Following a discussion at this meeting regarding floods in all villages on 23rd December 2020, Cllrs agreed unanimously to increase the precept by £1000.00 in order to include provision for camera work which may need to be carried out to check culverts within the community.

Monthly Bank Reconciliation authorisation by Cllr J Harris.

Council further noted receipt of the 2020/21 NJC National Salary Award, effective from 1 April 2020. Clerk to calculate back pay from 1st April 2020. Spinal 22 – £13.68 per hour increased to £14.05. This was agreed and Clerk to work out the back pay and send to Cllr C Ovenden to check before processing this with January pay through the HMRC.


Responses to queries raised at previous meetings
a) Response MCC re free transport to school.

The current document had been circulated to all Cllrs.

b) Response Re signage for Mounton re Wales in Bloom.

Cllr C Ovenden was still investigating suitable signage and will progress this once she knows the size of the new planter which the Villages in Bloom committee has agreed to supply. The sign is to be mounted on this planter.

c) Update – progress personal Council email addresses.

A fee of £4.00 per Cllr has been negotiated with Stock It Ltd., a reduction of 50p per Cllr. Clerk to circulate preferred email set up and then each Cllr to email Stock It advising them of their chosen password, to be used by our administrator at Stock It should a Cllr leave.

44/20 Highways/Footpaths

  1. Mounton, adjacent to the roundabout where the volume of water has removed stone walls after breaching the banks of the brook.
  2. The drainage system from the entrance to Mathern village hall through to Mathern Well. The whole of this system was compromised and failed. Houses would have been underwater if it was not for the input if the community to help divert water.
  3. All roads and pavements through the villages need a road sweeper to clean them through in order to lift debris left from the floods. If this is not carried out ASAP the drains will be blocked again.
  4. All gullies through the villages need sucking out/jetting out.
  5. The drains/gullies on Bailey’s Hay are all blocked.
  6. All gullies drains through Mounton Village need clearing.
  7. Collapsed fence Mounton Village (already notified and in hand) further damaged and needs replacing.
  8. Potential flooding from Hill House, Pwllmeyric due to run off water from adjacent house construction.
  9. Overhanging trees and shrubs causing obstruction and danger to life on A48 footpath.

Following meeting
A48 – all drainage need sucking and jetting. Clerk to advise MCC.

Cllrs held a lengthy discussion on the issue of maintenance of the drains and culverts.

The Clerk has written to MCC to ask them to supply us with a map of the villages clearly showing surface drainage routes/water courses and, more importantly, demarcating who is responsible for their maintenance Also policing/control/monitoring of the respective systems and routes.
Following this discussion it was agreed to increase the precept by £1000.00 to ensure that, if the Community Council has to take action on this, there is money available to do so.

Cllr M Sidwell to research the cost of possible camera work to check culverts within the community.


a) OVW. – Meeting 21 01 2021 Virtual meeting – Cllr D Harris to attend.
b) Defibrillator monthly checking
Cllr D Harris will check the Millers Arms equipment. Clerk has contacted Mounton Brook Lodge who confirm the one there has also been checked.

c) County Councillors Report
County Councillor Brown advised:

On the 3rd of December 2020, the County Council considered a number of reports including the Social Care, Safeguarding and Health Annual report, Corporate Joint Committee consultation and an update on the Account Investment Strategy. Details of the reports can be found at the following link:
The concept of Corporate Joint Committees was introduced as a result of the Local Government & Election (Wales) Bill. They will be composed of Council Leaders of all of the Local Authorities in South East Wales area. It is expected that the Cardiff Capital Region Cabinet and staffing structure will transform into the SE Wales CJC. It will be set up to deal with 3 main issues on a regional basis:

  1. Strategic Development Plan
  2. Regional Transport Plan
  3. Economic Well Being function. Monmouthshire County Council Revised Local Development Plan (RLDP)
    Joint Select Committee on the 10th of December 2020
    The date of the non-statutory consultation on the growth and spatial options is now expected to be later. It has been reported first to the Joint Select Committee on the 10th of December 2020 in item 7, of the following link:
    The Easy read version is the quickest to read which indicates the MCC preference for option 5 for growth and option 2 for spatial distribution:
    The purpose of the Joint Select Committee report is to feedback/comment on the RLDP Growth and Spatial Options Paper as appropriate, prior to officers seeking Cabinet’s endorsement on 16th December 2020, to consult.

It is now proposed that a non-statutory consultation on the Growth and Spatial Options will take place for a 4-week period from 4th January to 1st February 2021.

As an update of the December 2020 report:
Monmouthshire County Council Revised Local Development Plan (RLDP)
The non-statutory consultation on the Growth and Spatial Options is taking place for a 4-week period from 4th January to midnight on the 1st February 2021.
The full details of this consultation can be found at the following link:

The consultation asks questions on your views on the preferred growth option 5 (of 12,443 more people and 7,605 more homes) and the spatial option 2 of (distribute growth proportionately across the County’s most sustainable settlements), which is summarised in the Easy read version at the following link:

Please note that it is possible to submit a response by registering online but it can take 3-4 days to do so before you can login, so advisable to do so ASAP, alternatively there are links to submit a response form by email in the first link above to avoid missing the closing date.

The Chairman has circulated a response re Growth and Spatial consultation. A few amendments to be made with areas e.g. Lydney added due to the impact of increased traffic, Beachley Barracks, and the new working in the document from Village to Rural settlements. Concern to be noted on the mention of LC 6 green wedges being removed and villages lowing their identity.

e) Accessibility Policy
Clerk has chased Stock it Ltd. The cost to ensure that the Community Council website is fully accessible will be £90.00. Councillors agreed. Clerk to contact Stock It to arrange and ensure that the section for minutes is amended to show archived minutes.

f) Code of Conduct training has been arranged with MCC Monitors office and a virtual course will take place on Monday 25th January at 7 pm. To include Shirenewton Community Council.

46/20 PLANNING MATTERS – To include any received after Agenda is circulated
a) New applications

DM/2020/01724 Retrospective planning – Construction of a farm track to give improved access to Mathern Palace Farm from St.Tewdric’s Church Lane, Mathern.
Mathern Community Council has considered the above application and notes the following:

• The Application form states that work started on the track on 1/9/20. This is incorrect. Please see this Community Council’s correspondence with MCC Enforcement: Mr. Guy Delamere visited the lower part of the track (near the farm) at our request some two years ago, when the Community Council received complaints from residents about large loads of hardcore being brought through Mathern.
• The track is not constructed or surfaced with material of appropriate quality as stated on the plans i.e. the hardcore seems to contain dangerous materials such as glass, metal and rubber from tyres.
• The entrance to the track from the road has not been suitably prepared for drainage meaning tractors are leaving copious amounts of mud on the road as they leave the track. This is dangerous to traffic and blocks nearby drains with silt, contributing to repeated serious flooding in this part of Mathern (see recent correspondence with Mr Paul Keeble).
• The track impinges on well-used footpaths leading to the Coastal Path.
• Its entrance is unsightly and within metres of St. Tewdric’s Well, an important historical site as noted by CADW and explained on information board adjacent to the Well explains.
• There has so far been no attempt to carry out planting as per Plans.

b) Decisions and appeals – None

c) Enforcement-
Application DM/2020/01516: Clerk to contact MCC re. SUDs details for this new build as neighbouring properties are being affected by rainwater run off from it.


Welsh Audit Commission new timetable of audit.

The key changes relating to the audit of accounts will be as follows:-

a) Audit Wales will be undertaking the audit using their own audit staff and the work will not be contracted out to the private sector.
b) Once every three years, Councils will be subject to a transaction- based audit based on the timetable recently sent by Audit Wales.
(Mathern will receive a full audit 2020/2021)
The transaction based audit will be similar to that which should be undertaken by our Internal Auditor. Councils will be informed in advance of a regional centre to take their accounts and supporting documents for transaction audit testing. They will be provided with a schedule of documents to bring with them for the audit.
Other than these changes, there is little more a Council needs to do other than to ensure that the accounts and supporting documents are maintained in accordance with the Practitioner’s Guide to Governance and Accountability and its financial regulations are complied with.
Welsh Audit arrangements for Community and Town Councils in Wales.
As above. Mathern C C have a full audit in 2020/2021 and then every three years.

Request from Shirenewton C C offering to share training resource with Planning Aid Wales with Mathern CC.
Shirenewton Council is signing up to the PAW Planning Start to Finish online training. It costs £150 for 12 months and up to 20 named Councillors can sign up to it and revisit the training as and when it suits them during the 12 months. Shirenewton felt it was better value for money than individual training, especially as they have 5 new Councillors (10 in all). Their Clerk wrote “We are allowed to include another Council to share the training and the costs, and wondered whether Mathern would be interested in sharing this training with up to 10 of your Councillors at a cost of £75”
Cllrs unanimously agreed to take up this offer.

Invoice Wales Audit Office – Paid 18 12 2020

Precept Claim form 2001/2022 21.12.2020 to be submitted by 22nd January 2021

See minute 42/2020

Letter of concern from member of the public re. possible requirement of Planning permission, Wye Valley Archery (on Crick to Shirenewton Road)
Forwarded to MCC Enforcement.

Update on role out of Covid vaccinations.

Email distributed

Letter 04.01.2020 – Land at rear of Cherry Trees, Mathern

A letter had been received from the owners of Cherry Trees, again asking for the CC to help with the clearance of the unkempt parcel of land adjoining their property as it continues to be a problem. The Chairman has spoken to the landowner and County Cllr Brown offered to take the matter forward with MCC if the owners would let her have photographs of the area. These had not been forthcoming, so the Clerk was asked to repeat the request and, when these are received, County Cllr. Brown will investigate.

Letters Issued by Clerk to each Cllr re Cllr Allowance – opt in or out.

Clerk asked these to be returned before the end of February 2021.

NALC Pay scale increase –

See minute 42/2020


Planned maintenance for drainage system in all three villages.
See Highways 44/20

Waste collections – drivers lack of care for plastic bins (glass and food bins)
Clerk to contact MCC Waste Management regarding some of the staffs’ disregard for the care of the boxes and damage they are causing to them. Also, in Pwllmeyric, that if possible, can they place emptied bins behind walls as they sometimes blow on to the A48 , get damaged and cause a traffic hazard.

Update on speed tapes through village. ( Mathern volunteer speed watch group)
Cllr D Harris to chase MCC re arranging for these to be fitted. Volunteer group in Mathern still awaiting guidance from Chris Guest as he is currently out of office.

Storage of articles re. Mathern School – no progress due to Covid restrictions

Staining of Benches re Risk Assessments

Accessibility Statement – See Minute 45/2020 e)

Next Meeting–Monday 8th February 2021 7 pm via Zoom.
There being no further business to discuss, the meeting closed at 9.00 pm.
Signed …………………………….. CHAIRMAN Date……………….

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