March 2020 Update

Dear East Hardwick Community

UPDATES IN LIEU OF CANCELLED PC MEETING

Unsurprisingly, our Parish Council Meeting, planned for 26 March 2020, was cancelled on the advice of the National Association of Local Councils, due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

However, all Parish Councillors have been in constant touch and we can now report news and other items of interest to residents, since our meeting in January.

VE CELEBRATIONS – sadly these plans have fallen victim to the coronavirus epidemic and the reluctant decision made to postpone celebrations until later in the year. But what marvellous ‘when the war is over’ celebrations they will be!

ALLOTMENTS & GARAGES – new tenancy policies have all been agreed and signed by respective tenants and rents collected. Advice about the use of allotments during the isolation period has been issued to tenants to avoid virus spreading.

PLANNING – a decision was made by WMDC Highways & Planning Committee on 16 Jan 2020 to REFUSE  ‘in principle’ the application to build 4 dwellings on land known as the Paddock, betwixt 33 & 43 Darrington Rd..

On 20 February 2020, members of the same committee reversed that decision, after a second site visit & perusal of further documentation from Planning Officers, so APPROVING the application by Gareth Morgan of Fortis Developments.

The explanation subsequently provided by WMDC Planning Services was that any reasons for refusal had to satisfy three tests re. clarity, relevancy and reasonableness (S8  Planning Code of Conduct). Planning Officers did not consider the two reasons put forward by Members constituted grounds for refusal, pointing out that under S8.3 of the Code of Conduct, planning officers should not be asked to invent or find reasons to support the decision made by members.

The approval, however, did have a codicil stating:

  • this was subject to the original conditions and reasons set out in the 16 January report (see online WMDC Mins)
  • an additional condition be imposed to secure a management plan relating to the area of land in the middle of the site, to ensure it remained open and free from development
  • referral of the application to the Secretary of State under S77(1) Town & Country Planning Act 1990

On 30 March, the Secretary of State informed the Parish Council that he felt the application was such that it should be decided upon at local level ie. a matter for Wakefield District Council.

Therefore the Planning Application remains ‘approved’. The PC is not aware of any further appeals that can be made by objectors, at this stage.

UNTIDY LAND AT THE FORMER VILLAGE SCHOOL

The owner has now kindly cleared overhanging branches and cut down bracken and foliage, immediately improving the street scene, for which the PC extends its thanks on behalf of the village.

POTHOLES & WORN ROAD MARKINGS

These have now been addressed by WMDC Highways, after road marking and await final implementation.

Discussions re traffic speed control are ongoing with WMDC.

FINANCE – awaiting final statements from bank. C/f to next meeting.

BOLLARDS 

Two bollards appeared mysteriously, near the entrance to PC allotment site. Enquiries revealed that WDH, the land owner, had erected these in response to complaints by garage tenants who believed that unauthorised parking was taking place on a non designated plot. WDH subsequently sent a letter of apology to the PC  explaining that, by an oversight, the views of the PC and their allotment tenants had not been sought prior to the implementation. The matter is ongoing, after complaints regarding difficulty of access now caused for allotment tenants.

SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE

After a trial period on Facebook, the Parish Council now has its own website group page with some 50 members! Residents, friends and relatives are able to view items of relevance and interest and post comments, photos and advice themselves. In this difficult period of isolation, the page has proved a valuable means of communicating crime info, neighbourhood offers of help, puzzles, humorous stories and generally helping members feel they are part of a strong village community, hopefully!

Please join if you’re interested…join Facebook first, then search in Groups for ‘East Hardwick Parish Council’, then request to join…simple as that.

OUR NEXT MEETING : Thursday 28 May 2020

We hope to arrange a video-conference meeting, as it is the PC AGM, but this will be subject to prior discussion and agreement.

I do hope you have found this helpful. Please feel free to ask any further questions or raise matters that you feel appropriate for our discussion, via the Contact Form on the PC website.

May you all keep safe and well in the meantime.

Kind regards

Sheila Radford

Chair

On behalf of East Hardwick Parish Council