Parish Council News January 2021

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The Parish Council met on 7 December and will meet again on 11 January via Zoom to agree the budget for 2021-22 and set the precept which is added to Council Tax bills.

All are very welcome to attend and details of the meeting will be available on the Parish Council website by 6 January.

At the December meeting the Parish Council discussed Parish Maintenance. Hesket Lonning is to be patched and then surface dressed in Summer 2021, along with The Street and Upton to The Street. The patching date is yet to be confirmed (probably March 2021). The County Council will notify the ParishCouncil/send letters to residents before the work begins. There were reports of bicycle and car tyre punctures as a result of hedge clippings. The Parish Council noted that hedge trimming helped maintain visibility on the narrow lanes and most modern hedge cutters had blowers to try and keep the cuttings off the roads. The Clerk would, however, keep a record of any instances reported. Tim Cartmell, Chairman, reported on the Caldbeck Autumn tidy undertaken on 23 November and thanked those who had taken part. Highways had confirmed the arrangements for gritting between Hesket Newmarket and Millhouse. One vehicle grits from Caldbeck to Howbeck and a second vehicle grits from the B5305 to Howbeck via Millhouse. The Clerk has reported the damage to the historic road sign at Hesket Bridge and been in touch with Castle Sowerby Parish Council as the sign is in that Parish.

The Parish Council considered proposals sent be a parishioner for increasing biodiversity on Caldbeck Green. There was a concern that the proposals were far reaching and would lead to major change to the appearance of the Green. Changes in grass cutting arrangements (once a year cut and grass removal) were likely to require much heavier machinery which was more expensive and might result in significant rutting. Some areas would be difficult to get to with larger machinery. The Parish Council agreed that it would form a Working Group to scope a pilot project. That group would talk to experts, see what other parish councils have done, and identify a well defined area on the Green where a different approach to its management and grass cutting might be taken to encourage greater biodiversity. The group would need to explain in detail how that area would be managed and discuss the operational implications and costs with the Parish Council’s contractor. It would be for the Parish Council to say whether a pilot project should go ahead.

Tim Cartmell reported on progress regarding the National Park land disposals and car parking on common land. An anonymous £10,000 donation had now been received covering the purchase price of the land. The Parish Council would need to cover legal costs, drawing on its earmarked reserves. The Parish Council agreed to appoint a solicitor, re-instruct the land agent for final advice, and instruct a barrister on common land issues. After much effort it now seemed that the purchase would proceed.

Parish Lengthsman and grass cutting arrangements for 2021 to 2023 – the Parish Council agreed that it should continue funding the Lengthsman service. Given the recent tendering exercise for the Lengthsman’s contract and the competitive prices quoted for grass cutting, the Parish Council agreed that the existing contracts should be extended, subject to confirmation of prices, to be approved at January’s budget meeting. Any changes to contract specification and impact on costs from any biodiversity pilot project would be dealt with through an amendment to the contract.

The Parish Council considered a number of Planning Applications.

Land East of Mill Row, Friars Row, Caldbeck Change of use of land to allow the siting of tents and a temporary shower/toilet block. The Parish Council agreed to support the planning applications, highlighting the additional local spend for businesses. It would request that approval should be subject to conditions: that the campsite would be tied to the owners of Millview; that a maximum number of 45 individual campers per night should be set; and that camper vans and caravans should not be permitted.

Evening Hill, Hesket Newmarket, CA7 8JG Proposed conversion of garage / ancillary accommodation to local occupancy dwelling. The Parish Council had no objection to the planning application but requested the National Park to consider placing a restriction which would ensure that the new residential accommodation would remain tied to Evening Hill.

Howbeck Cottage, Howbeck, Hesket Newmarket, CA7 8JG Internal and external modifications and works to boundary wall to allow the widening of the parking area. The Parish Council had no objection to the application in relation to improvements to the external fittings and internal layout. It expressed concern regarding the extension of the parking area which sits in a dip in the road and where traffic approaching Howbeck from Millhouse may be confronted by a car either reversing into the parking area or reversing onto the road from the parking area. The Parish Council asked that the National Park would seek responses from Highways for an expert opinion regarding traffic risks.

Community Led Affordable Housing – the Parish Council’s working group had met Eden and Mitre Housing Associations and Stuart Woodall, the Parish Council’s architect/consultant. They considered that a detailed scheme could now be developed which would provide for 8 houses, all classed as affordable, a mix of 2 and 3 bedroom houses, and a flexible range of rented/shared ownership houses.

The Parish Council has invited people to express interest on two fronts: those who would like to become involved in forming a Community Led Group to provide community leadership and help access grants; and those who would be interested in potentially owning/renting affordable housing. The scheme would take at least a year in planning and perhaps two years before the first residents would move in. There would be a local occupancy clause but people who had a past connection with Caldbeck Parish may be able to express interest, giving opportunity to families to move back to Caldbeck. The Parish Council agreed that more should be done to publicise the project now the updated website was live and that links should be made with Caldbeck Being Sociable.

Tim Cartmell reported that Caldbeck Post Office would not re-open and that a post office service would continue to be provided on Wednesday mornings. Hesket Newmarket Post Office provided facilities.

For further information, please contact Simon Smith: