Minutes July 2020

Minutes of the Council meeting held on Monday 13th July 2020 at Mathern Village Hall.
Owing to COVID 19 restrictions, the meeting was held in the main village hall so that social distancing could be strictly observed.

Present: Cllr David Harris, Cllr Carolyn Ovenden, Cllr Sylvia Steven, Cllr J Anderson, Cllr C Morton, Cllr J Harris, Cllr D Merrett

Also in attendance:
Clerk – Mrs J Kelley
Members of the public – none
No Police representatives

The Chairperson welcomed Councillors to the meeting and thanked them for attending.
(i) Public Comment
i) Report from Community Police.
“Here is the report for the Mathern area for between the above dates:

20/6/2020 – Report of a ride-on mower taken from a field in Mathern. Enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances as details are a bit vague.

23/6/2020 – Report of a 2 vehicle RTC outside the entrance to St Pierre on the A48. One male had to be cut from his vehicle. All persons were taken to hospital . The road was closed for quite a while which caused traffic issues in the surrounding area while the incident was dealt with.

26/6/2020 – report of fly tipping in Hayesgate Lane. Bags of plant matter and soil etc. had been dumped. The caller believed it was the remnants of a cannabis plant growth. He was advised to report it to the council to be removed.

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 ask for more details re. the road traffic accident last Sunday when a gentleman was knocked over.
iii) Apologies
County Cllr Louise Brown.

(iv) v) Declarations of Personal or Pecuniary Interest:
Cllr S Stevens – Volunteer for CAB – item 02/20 Grants
vi) Minutes of the previous meeting
Minutes of the meeting held on 10th March 2020 were agreed as a true record.
There were no matters arising.

02/2020 Finance – March – Date of Meeting
Vat Reclaim submitted £621.96 16.04.2020
Precept MCC £6999.00 30.04.2020
RSPB Grant £1100.80 23.04.2020
Smart Pension £107.02 06.04.2020
Merlin Waste £37.50 06.04.2020
Stock It Ltd £13.20 06.04.2020
J Kelley – half Working from home fee £175.00 14 04 2020
Telephone and Internet £47.09 14.04.2020
HMRC £154.88 30.04.2020
J Kelley Salary £598.28 30.04.2020
Reconciled 12th May
Balance in Community Account £11429.97 30.04.2020
Unpresented cheque for £120.00 Cllr G Down

Stock It Ltd £13.20 06.05.2020
Merlin Waste (Dog Bin Collections) £39.00 06.05.2020
Stock it -Annual Norton software £40.00 12.05.2020
Telephone Internet £47.09 12.05.2020
C Wheeler (Bunting/Wreath VE day) £105.99 19.05.2020
Amazon (paper/mouse mat) £25.98 19.05.2020
Smart Pension £115.86 13.05.2020
J Kelley Salary £512.92 29.05.2020
Paye £126.20 29.05.2020
Rhewl Solar Benefit Receipt £1205.63 27.05.2020

Reconciled 5th June JK
Unpresented cheque G Down Balance in community Account £11607.36 31st May 2020
June 2020
Ico (data protections Act 2018) £40.00 25.06.2020 DD
Zurich Insurance £444.36 01.06.2020
Postage Stamps £23.72 05.06.2020
Stock It Ltd £13.20 06.06.2020
Merlin Waste £39.00 06.06.2020
Telephone/internet £47.09 09.06.2020
Smart Pension £98.62 11.06.2020
D M Moore (telephone box) £20.50 19.06.2020
Ico (data protections Act 2018) £35.00 25.06.2020
Salary £631.71 29.06.2020
Paye.NI £191.99 29.06.2020
Albert Goodman (Pension) £296.40 30.06.2020


Mrs A D Fry (Internal Audit) £410.00 01.07.2020
J Kelley (internet and Telephone) £47.09 07.07.2020
Stock It Ltd £13.20 06.07.2020
Merlin Waste £39.00 06.07.2020
Smart Pension £123.53 10.07.2020

102063 Mr T Bryant – grass cutting Mounton £112.50.
102064 St Pierre Church – graveyard maintenance £150.00
102065 Mounton Church – “ £200.00
102066 Mathern Church – “ £400.00
102067 Citizens Advice (Grant) £250.00
102068 SARA (Grant) £200.00

COVID – 19 Having regard to the COVID 19 crisis and the inability of the council to formally meet due to Government restrictions, the Council indicated by their email replies that the Clerk was to be granted delegated powers in liaison with Cllr D Harris and Cllr C Ovenden to deal with emergency matters requiring immediate attention.

Payments. All payments to the Clerk made by the council under these delegated powers were paid via internet banking, due to the unavailability of appropriate banking signatures.

At this meeting, councillors were asked :

a) to consider approval of payments as per below;
b) to approve appointment of Internal Auditor for 2020/2021 accounts;
c) to approve advertising of grant availability from 2020/2021 budget.
d) to adopt the Annual Governance Statement Part 1 and 2.

All approved and accepted.

We acknowledge, as members of the Council, our responsibility for ensuring that there are effective accounting records, management of risk and systems of internal control. Standing Orders and Financial Regulations are in place and reviewed according to current guidelines. Financial records and Council procedures are subject to both internal and external audit annually, with the external audit report being made available to the public via the Council website, www.matherncc.co.uk. We believe the insurance cover to be adequate and sufficient. We confirm as accurate, to the best of our knowledge and belief, the Council’s accounting statement for the year ending 31st March 2020.

To receive the financial report (March 20 – July 2020), adopt the Statement of Accounts for 2019/2020, receive the Internal Audit Report and approve the Annual Return to external auditors:

Council reviewed and approved the budget report and noted that the reserves had reduced during the year. The Clerk confirmed that the current bank mandate required two signatories, either Cllr C Ovenden, Cllr D Merrett or the Clerk .
Council resolved to adopt the Statement of Accounts for 2019/2020 as presented by the Clerk.

The Internal Audit Report for 2019/2020 was received and approved, the report’s recommendations to be carried out.
Sections I and 2 of the Annual Return for external audit were approved and the form countersigned by the Chair. Council noted that a copy of the council’s audit action plan for 2018/19 was to also be forwarded with the report, together with a copy and reasons for any variances.

Clerk had produced accounts and arranged internal audit within permitted time-frame.
Fully completed Internal Audit report attached.

Chairman to sign the Wales Audit Annual Return for year ended 2020.
Internal Audit Report. (Attached)

All recommendations to be adopted.

Item G, Salaries to Employees: Councillors noted the Internal Audit comments and resolved that the Clerk’s salary was increased within the two spinal amounts in January 2020 to £13.41 from £13.15.

The Chairman, Vice Chairman and Clerk to work on revising the financial regulations. This to be completed before the end of the financial year March 2021. Once this has been done, Clerk to send to One Voice Wales for their approval.

Monthly Bank Reconciliation authorisation for March to June 2020 carried out by Cllr Jayne Harris.

Grant Applications; – Attached
Severn Area Rescue Association. (SARA), Awarded £200.00
Citizens Advice Awarded £250.00

An application had been received from Village Hall as the village fete has been cancelled this year:
Cllrs agreed to donate the Community Benefit monies to Mathern Athletic Club and Village Hall. This sum of £1200.00 to be split equally, so £600.00 will be paid to each. Chairman to contact the two Chairmen before grants are awarded to see how these payments should be made.

Community Council Insurance renewal (Zurich Municipal) – £444.36 plus insurance premium tax
Clerk advised on quotation received by P Blatchley, Monumental Masons, re. rebuild cost of the war memorial. (Email 01.06.2020). Blatchleys advised that insurance cover for this should be increased to £20,000.00 This would be result in an increase of premium by £68.18 per year.(Email 6.06.20)
Cllrs requested the Clerk to increase this cover as above.

A discussion followed concerning internal audit comments regarding the Welcome to Mathern wall and it was resolved that the Clerk should obtain a quote to include this on the councils insurance policy. Also that a quote to include St Tewdrics Well should be obtained despite uncertainty as to its ownership.
These two items to be discussed at the next meeting.

The Health & Safety aspects of the Well were discussed. As a result, it was resolved that another lock should be placed on the Well gate, despite the theft of two placed previously. A quote for a small hazard warning sign to be discussed at the next meeting.

Spending to budget review. (attached).

Councillors discussed the review. Clerk had contacted Chepstow Town Council (TC) for a cost of using their maintenance workers for village upkeep. However this service is no longer available. Chepstow TC suggest that we contact MCC. However, due to backlog of maintenance work due to Covid – 19, they were unable to assist at this time.
Councillors had all received an up-to-date spending to budget spread sheets and these were reviewed. Cllrs were satisfied that the community council was on track with this and the spread sheets were signed as part of the minutes.

Rhewl Solar Farm Community Benefit

Council noted that the annual invoice for £1000 Community Benefit for 2019/20 had been sent to the current owners, Low Carbon Ltd, London. Response received from them advised that the RPI index should have been applied to previous invoices – invoice updated on 11.5.20 to £1100.72 plus £104.91 backdated payment = total of £1205.63.


i) Installation of TV Monitor – Village Hall/Plaque St Tewdrics Well

John Lewis will install the monitor once Covid 19 restrictions are lifted.
St Tewdrics Well plaque – Chairman and Cllr J Harris to install this when convenient to both.

ii) Coffee Morning postponement.
It was suggested that it may be possible to hold a coffee morning in October but Covid virus restrictions may prohibit this. Alternatively, it may take place in March 2021.

iii) Update County Cllr Brown re traffic Management.
Awaiting full response from MCC Highways to the suggestion to reduce the speed limit through Mathern to 20 mph. This is a MCC matter however the Community Council would like the community to be consulted fully on this.

04/20 Highways
• Street furniture turned sideways near Wyelands View.
• Poor work carried out to pot holes – Mounton village and Barn Lane.
• Hedges at Barn Lane need cutting and a tree needs to be inspected – waste land to the left entering Barn Lane, Mathern end.
• Verges encroaching on pavement – A48 entering Mathern to brook.
• Poor condition of footpath reported (376/1 Coastal path – 18/19 Mathern).

A large section of a willow tree fell on to the main road entering Mathern during recent high winds. The road was blocked but then reopened after the main sections of the tree were removed by Monmouthshire County Council. MCC have advised that the remaining parts of the tree will be left for natural habitat.

a) One Voice Wales –No notice of forthcoming meetings received due to Covid 19
b) Defibrillator- Monthly Checking
Monthly check on the Millers Arms defibrillator carried out by the landlord from March to date. Fully functioning. The pads expiry date at the Millers Arms is 20th August 2022. Cllr C Morton will commence checking this once more.
.Mounton Brook Lodge defibrillator also checked and in full working order.
Clerk still awaiting information on pad expiry date from Mounton Brook Lodge.
c)Risk assessments – Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeyric – Circulated late due to Covid – 19 restriction.
Forms distributed: Mounton Completed. Awaiting Mathern and Pwllmeyric.

Cllr C Morton advised that the Best Kept Garden competition had been cancelled this year due to Covid 19. The judge, Stella Cause, is happy to judge this next year.

County Councillor’s Monthly Report
Report emailed prior to meeting.
County Councillor Brown advised:
Waste Collection
The County Council has resumed garden waste collection, the week commencing the 25th of May for those with permits. The Household waste site at Five Lanes re-opened on the 26th of May. Restricted currently, for those residents with hazardous waste and based on a booking system. Full details of this can be found on the MCC website including site rules to maintain social distancing:
County Council meeting 4th of June 2020
The County Council will hold a virtual meeting on the 4th of June. The agenda items include a Welsh Government loan to refit MCC buildings to save long term energy bills and reduce carbon. Also included is an update of the Licensing Policy and the annual report of the Chief Education Officer. The Annual Education report on the February 2020 Estyn report for Monmouthshire CC was was overall good and in terms of improvement made the following recommendation:
• R1- Improve outcomes for pupils eligible for free school meals:
• R2-Further strengthen the focus on increasing the number of pupils achieving excellent standards;
• R3- Articulate a clear strategy for SEN provision;
• R4-Strengthen the use of information gathered for self-evaluation to better inform improvement planning.
Full details of the agenda items for the County Council meeting can be found at the following link:
County Councillor Brown advised:
Garden Waste Collection
It is now possible for new customers to purchase garden waste bag permits at £18.00 a bag and for existing customers to purchase additional bags. The situation, at the start of July is the same as the June report with regard to the booking system for residents with hazardous waste only at the Household Recycling centres. Any updates can be found on the Monmouthshire County Council website.
Garden Waste information:
Household Waste Recycling Information:
There is a FAQs section on recycling and waste at the following link, including where recycling bags can be obtained:
A new click and collect booking system for books is being provided, as well as residents being able to access a digital library. Details can be found in the following link:
National Resources Wales (NRW) has opened up some of the closed car parks to allow residents to exercise outdoors on a local basis, updates can be found on their website;
Monmouthshire County Council Revised Local Development Plan
The public consultation on the revised LDP was postponed due to the Covid-19 virus and no decision has been made yet on when there will be a revised closing date.
However, as indicated in the report to Cabinet on the 17th of June 2020, the intention is to keep the vision, objectives and strategy exactly the same despite the likely economic downturn and job losses as a result of Covid-19.
For example, no amendments are being proposed to any of the issues, which are all seen to be still relevant:
Caldicot Leisure Centre
There is currently an online survey on the changes being proposed to the Caldicot Leisure Centre. Concern has been expressed locally about the removal of the Squash courts:
Impact of Covid-19
Adults Select Committee
The test and trace and the impact on Care homes of Covid-19 is reported in the Adults Select Committee report of the 2 July:
The changing strategic aims of the council due to the impact of Covid-19 has been covered in the Cabinet report of the 1st of July including the efforts to remodel the town centres to encourage people to shop safely and shop locally:
Virtual meetings- Monmouthshire County Council is currently covering its meetings virtually.

a) New submissions: –

DM/2020/00703 Pwllmeyric House – Construction of new 3 bedroom house

Comment – confirmation that highways have carried out the necessary survey on this access.

DM/2020/00839 Great Barn, Eastwood House – New pitched roof over existing structure.

No Comment from Mathern C C

DM/2020/00737 1 Mounton House Cottages – Installation of a pod point solo smart charger (a single vehicle charger unit)

No Comment from Mathern C C

b) Decisions and appeals – None
Chairman to speak to MCC re the installation of electric gates at Bridge House. Cllrs very worried on the access issues this will cause on a very busy part of the A48.

c) Enforcement- Clerk was asked to contact MCC as residents had contacted her regarding the new road being built to the side of St Tewdrics Well.
Border Waste agents – correspondence received.
Chairman updated Cllrs on further correspondence received and advised that our position as per minutes (90/19) (f) from 10th March 2020 had not changed.

Local Democracy and Boundary review Monmouthshire.
Monmouthshire County Council will not change their decision to go ahead with the enforcing new community boundaries they have designated. This is despite excluding Community and Town Council (CCs and TCs) views owing to MCC’s own procedural errors. One Voice Wales continues to make a case for CCs and TCs and has taken the matter forward to the Welsh Government minister. Her decision is expected in August and TCs and CCs have been asked to re-submit their views by the end of September.

Dog waste bin emptying – the cost for this service is to increase to £3.90 per bin. Cllrs noted the increase.

Highways Matters

Barn Lane/Willow Trees/Monmouthshire housing trees the Crescent.
Worked carried out. Cllrs noted that Crescent was owned by Monmouthshire Housing, not the County Council.

Clerk awaiting training. Hoped to be remote in next few weeks.

Offer of gift of noticeboards – P Osley.
Cllrs would like to have accepted this gift. However with no storage facilities,
they reluctantly declined the offer.

Village Telephone box
Door now fixed and book exchange being used regularly – Chairman to thank D Moore for his assistance with this project.

Copy Email David Davies MP re traffic speed, Mathern.
Discussed under update 03/20 (iii)

Antisocial behaviour in Pwllmeyric Meadows.
Police have been dealing with this and carrying out more routine drive bys.

Farm Waste dumping in Chapel Lane
Waste now removed and issue resolved.

Signage Moynes Court
As this is a private lane MCC would not install signage.
Cllrs agreed that if a footpath sign was erected more people would use the lane. Matter closed.

Cooption of Community Councillor for Mathern – MCC have confirmed that this co-option can now be advertised – Clerk to place on Website with closing date to be 31st August 2020.

Eddie Parry Plaque – Ivy Cottage Pwllmeyric.
Clerk awaiting further contact details of the new owners to try and speak to them directly.
No meeting in August. Next Meeting 14th September 2020 7pm Mathern Village Hall
There being no further business to discuss, the meeting closed at 9.35 pm.
Signed …………………………….. CHAIRMAN Date……………….