Agenda and minutes
Venue: Ellel Village Hall, Main Road, Galgate, Lancaster, LA2 0LQ
Contact: Samantha Gorton
Welcome, Introductions and Apologies for Absence
Before the meeting commences proper, a presentation will be made by Harvey Hamilton-Thorpe, Project Manager for the 'Ribble Life Together'.
County Councillor Albert Atkinson welcomed all to the meeting.
Apologies for absence were noted as above.
Harvey Hamilton-Thorpe, Project Manager for Ribble Life Together was introduced and he presented the attached powerpoint to the Committee, prior to the commencement of the meeting proper.
Following a question and answer session at the end, Harvey was thanked for his presentation.
Disclosure of Pecuniary Interests
Members are asked to consider any Pecuniary Interests they may have to disclose to the meeting in relation to matters under consideration on the Agenda.
The Committee is asked to consider approving the minutes of the meeting held on 15 October 2015.
The minutes were agreed as accurate following the addition of Cllr John Browne's apologies that were not recorded previously.
David Porter, Lancaster City Council
An update was given regarding the results of the consultation on Lancashire City Council's planning document entitled 'People, Homes and Jobs' outlining potential sites for future development in the district. 800 representations were made, with a significant number of these relating to proposals affecting Dolphinholme and Bolton-le-Sands. The City Council is briefing its' members at the Planning, Policy and Liaison Group on 27 January 2016 on the next part of the plan for the Summer.
Elliott Lorimer stated that a response outlining the two significant development sites proposed that could affect the AONB had been sent, highlighting some concerns about the likely impact on the landscape.
Michael Helm had visited Dolphinholme recently with regards the recent flooding.
Networks 4 Nectar
Elliott outlined that the LEF application to support 'Wildflowers for the Meadows' a further phase of project work to support hay meadow restoration by growing specific species to enhance nectar patches and meadows had been successful and will run from April 2016 to the end of March 2017. There will be a different focus looking at community involvement on meadow sites and propagating certain species of plants which have been difficult to restore to sites using methods such as spreading green hay or seed sowing.
A match-funding issue has arisen with the Coronation Meadows project (BIFFA) and work is currently on-going to replace this funding to ensure this project can go ahead in March 2016.
Hen Harriers in the Forest of Bowland
The Hen harrier Joint Action Plan has received Government approval and was launched on 14 January 2016 with all partners signing up to it, including the RSPB following minor changes to the plan. This can now move forward at a local level following the six point plan as follows:
· Monitoring of hen harrier populations in England and UK
· Diversionary feeding
· Work with Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group to analyse monitoring information and develop intelligence picture
· Nest and winter roost protection
· Southern re-introduction
· Trialling a brood management scheme
Michael Helm queried as to whether trans-location was being looked at, and Elliott replied that it was, and was covered by the 5th action of the plan. However, the FoB (and other Protected Landscapes) had expressed a view that the conservation and protection of hen harriers in Northern England still remained the priority.
Cllr Starkie reminded the Committee about the plan to replace and refurbish AONB boundary signs with the hen harrier logo. He expressed concern about the slow progress that is being made with regards to replacing a sign near Roughlee, though he did add that Dave Padley had been trying to progress the issue with LCC Highways. Elliott also explained that an audit of the condition of the existing signs was being made and that the number of signs had now been identified for refurbishment and a local craftperson (contact supplied by ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
Elliott presented the report on the Revenue Budget for 2016/2017 and the AONB 'Project' provision and Sustainable Development Fund as attached to the agenda.
The formal grant offer from Defra had just been received and it was better than expected and will protect National AONBs and National Parks funding for the next four years and includes an annual inflationary increase. Therefore at Appendix 'A' the Defra funding for 2016/17 which was budgeted at £208,143 has increased by £3,580 to £211,723. Elliott will now look at the additional funding received and where it should be apportioned within the Partnership budget and will report back to the Committee with this information in April.
It was noted that by not cutting Defra funds, it proves that the current minister is very supportive of the good work the AONB partnerships carry out nationally. The National Association for AONBs (that FoB subscribe to) have been instrumental in negotiating this favourable grant settlement with Defra.
With regards the AONB Sustainable Development Fund the proposal is to cease the Fund at the end of this financial year. The reasoning behind this is that there are other AONB projects with greater need for match-funding support and which can also offer greater added value and benefits (eg Pendle Hill LPS, Wildflowers for the Meadows).
Resolved: that the Committee agreed to:
i) Approve the 2016/17 Revenue Budget with the increased funding of £3,580 from Defra as set out in the report
ii) Subject to the approval of (i) above, to request the funding authorities to make appropriate provision in their revenue budgets
iii) Agree the closure of the AONB Sustainable Development Fund from April 2016
An update on the progress and implications for AONB Unit staffing delivery were detailed in the attachment circulated with the agenda and Elliott spoke further to the paper.
Resolved: the Committee agreed to:
i) Note the progress report and offer comments on the development of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership
An item of Urgent Business may only be considered under this heading where, by reason of special circumstances to be recorded in the minutes, the Chairman of the meeting is of the opinion that the item should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency. Wherever possible, the Chief Executive should be given advance warning of any Members' intention to raise a matter under this heading.
Elliott gave a brief staffing update within the wider AONB team and support staff and informed the Committee that as of 31 March 2016, Tarja Wilson will leave Lancashire County Council on VR. He stated that she will be sorely missed by her colleagues and local communities that she has worked with during her time at LCC. Tarja will be saying goodbye at a "leaving do" on 23 March 2016.
A number of the Committee wished to record their best wishes to Tarja for the future and it was echoed by them that they will miss her terribly.
Cllr Browne requested that the Chair, CC Atkinson write on their behalf to Tarja detailing the lovely comments made about her. CC Charles seconded this.
Resolved: CC Atkinson, to write a letter to Tarja.
Also the National Association for AONB have a long service recognition award and Elliott has nominated both Tarja and Dave Padley for this award. Dave is going to be undertaking some of Tarja's post following her departure.
Nick Osbourne will be leaving the Authority as well at the end of March 2016.
Finally, Congratulations were expressed to Hetty Byrne who recently got engaged.
Alderman Roger Brooks brought to the table an article by the Director of External Affairs on land mass in England, Northern Ireland and Wales and that the National Trust are monitoring the effect of local planning authorities. He asked as to whether Local Planning Officers had been made aware of this and Elliott confirmed they had.
Please see attached link to the full report http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/news/protecting-englands-special-countryside.
Date of Next Meeting
The dates and locations of the meetings to be
held in 2016 are:
Thursday, 13 October 2016 in Preston District
Thursday, 21 April 2016 in Bleasdale Parish Hall, Wyre. Project visits meet at 9.45am, lunch at 1.00pm and JAC meeting at 2.00pm.