Shirenewton Community Council
Minutes of the Council Meeting of Shirenewton Community Council held on Sept 7th 2009 at Earlswood
Mrs E McCombe
Mrs S Saysell
Mrs B Leaf
Mrs S Squires
Ms B Moore
County Councillor Graham Down
Mrs C Jones Clerk
2 members of the public
The report had previously been circulated to all Cllrs.
Shirenewton and Earlswood Incidents 31st July to 5th September
3/8 Tree down B4235 near Shirenewton
4/8 Discarded number plate found in Shirenewton
7/8 Welfare check required on elderly lady
9/8 Reports of shots being fired near Mynyddbach
11/8 Ivor Williams Trailer stolen from near Shirenewton School
15/8Tree down near B4235
15/8 reports of shots being fired at Wentwood
17/8 Welfare check Shirenewton
17/8 House alarm at Shirenewton - fault
21/8 report of a calf in the road near Shirenewton Village hall
22/8 Report of a motorbike in Wentwood
23/8 Sheep on the B4235 near Shirenewton
23/8Off road bikes in Wentwood
25/8 Concern for elderly lady in Shirenewton
27/8Welfare check in Shirenewton
29/8 several motorbikes in Wentwood
2/9 Welfare check requested Shirenewton
3/9 Concern for elderly lady in Shirenewton
The Clerk reported that in view of the fact that the welfare of an elderly lady has been mentioned several
times in the police reports of the last two months she had asked PC Cowburn via e mail if it would be
helpful for the Community Council to know the identity and if the Community could help in any way.and is
awaiting his response.
Minute 2371 To disclose personal and pecuniary interests in any item of listed business.
Minute 2372 To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on August 3rd 2009
The Minutes of the meeting were agreed as a true record
Minute 2373 Planning
1. Blethyn Close, Land adjacent to Oak Cottages, Mynyddbach
Amendment Sewerage into public sewer
The use of a private sewerage system was one of the concerns previously raised by residents in discussions
on the original application . It was agreed that the amendment to connect sewerage pipes to public sewer
could be approved but would not alter the original recommendation of refusal of the application to build two
units of ‘affordable housing’
Recommend approval of the amendment with the following comments
The conditions of Dwr Cymru (letter dated 24th August) should be applied
2. Land at Mynyddbach between Weyloed Lane and Dancing Hill
(Discussed at meeting on August 3rd but it was felt that insufficient information was provided. Further
information was provided at a later date. Previously e mailed to all Cllrs)
3. Pant y Cosyn House, Usk Road, Shirenewton
Change of use of existing building to holiday let
Recommend approval by majority vote with the following conditions comments
There should be careful examination of the previous application M4811 which was approved on
20th July 2000 to determine any conditions placed on the erection of the existing building
(garage/cart shed) and also to determine the extent of the land covered for change of use to
Cllrs would not envisage any further development would be made at this site or that a new garage
would be built to replace the existing one.
4. Maelor, Weyloed Lane, Mynyddbach
Enforcement - closed case
Alleged breach of conditions. Planning application for amendments approved
Items of local concern
Minute 2374 To discuss future joint communication and planning meeting
This was one of the thirteen motions put forward and voted on from the Community Council Forum held on
Tuesday July 15th 2008. Of these ten were agreed (see below for progress list)
1. Annual newsletter COMPLETED AND DISTRUBTED FOR 2009.
2. Public meeting and social event PROPOSED FOR SUMMER 2010
3. Make better use of elected MCC Cllr ONGOING
4. Reports from attendees of meetings ONGOING
5. Plan three key objectives for the year COMPLETED
6. Amendments to Agenda order COMPLETED
7. Meeting with MCC Planning Authority COMPLETED
8. Develop Community Action Plan ONGOING
9. SCC Table at Fete COMPLETED
10. Joint communication and planning meeting with other organisations PROPOSED FOR NOVEMBER
It was resolved that the Clerk would agree a date with Cllrs for a meeting in November at the
Recreation Hall. Once agreed she will contact all local organisations advising them of the three key
objectives of the Council for this year and inviting a representative from each group to the meeting to
discuss possible ways forward. C/FWD
Minute 2375 To discuss social event
It was suggested that the best time to hold this would be during the Summer months
It was agreed that this would be carried forward to Summer 2010 C/FWD
Minute 2376 To consider future training for Cllrs/Clerk
One Voice Wales has agreed that Module 2 of the Cllr Training which is ‘the Councillor’ will be given free
of charge to those Cllrs who attended Module 1 because of the poor quality of that session. The Cllrs who
attended Module 1 were Cllrs Leaf and McCombe. The Clerk also attended. The date of Module 2 is 19th
November at the Sessions House in Usk. Cllr Squires and Cllr Saysell have expressed a wish to attend. The
session would normally cost £25.
However the Clerk gave details of a bursary from the Welsh Assembly. OVW made a successful bid to them
to assist in the funding of Cllr training. . The maximum allowed is 50% of the training fee up to £50 which
must be claimed by March 2010. The Society of Local Council Clerks also provides a bursary - again 50% of
the cost is paid but up to a maximum of £100.
Module 3 ‘the Council as an employer’ will be held in Usk on 4th March 2010. Cllr Harvey and the Clerk
expressed a wish to attend this module.
No dates were yet available for the remaining three modules
It was resolved that the Clerk, Cllrs Leaf and McCombe would attend Module 2 in November 2009
free of charge
Cllrs Saysell and Squires would attend Module 2 in November 2009 at the subsidised cost of £12.50
Cllr Harvey and the Clerk would attend Module 3 in March 2010at the subsidised cost of £12.50 each
Minute 2377 To consider BT ‘s Adopt/Sponsor a Kiosk Scheme
The basis of this scheme is that BT is providing local councils with two alternatives.
1. Adopt a Kiosk. The cost is £1 each. However it would mean that BT would remove the telephone service
completely and ownership of the kiosk structure would be transferred to the Community Council. BT advise
that we can use the kiosk for our own purposes and in whatever way we feel would be of most benefit to the
2. Sponsor a Kiosk. The cost is £300 plus VAT payable annually for each kiosk. BT will still provide a
telephone service but will covert it to a cashless system.
There are three telephone kiosks offered in the scheme:-
Shirenewton Village - BT claim there is full Mobile network coverage
Earlswood - BT claim there is coverage for Vodafone UK, T-Mobile UK, O2 - UK
Newchurch (Gaerllwyd crossroads) - BT claim that there is full mobile network coverage
There was some discussion about BT’s previous attempts in 2008 to remove telephone services at Earlswood
and Newchurch. Shirenewton Community Council vigorously opposed this at the time and the proposal was
not taken up. The reasons for the objections still stand today.
BT requested that decisions be notified to them by 8th September. The Clerk has spoken to Phil Thomas at
MCC Planning and he said that while he was aware that there had been discussion between MCC and BT
there were no firm arrangements in place.
Under the consultation process as laid out by Ofcom, any responses should be channelled via the Chief
Planning Officer at MCC who will make representations on behalf of the Community.
It was resolved that the Clerk would convey the objections of the Members to the Chief Planning
Minute 2378 Items of local concern - information only
The Members were very sorry to hear of the death of Mrs Thelma Moore, Cllr Beverly Moore’s Mother and
asked that the Clerk convey their condolences by way of letter.
Copy of e mail to MCC Planning Dept from Mr D Adams regarding planning application at Red Barn Farm
(previously e mailed to Cllrs)
Concerns had been raised in a previou meeting about the removal of head stones, the demolition of the stone
boundary wall and also the fact that the gate to the field with a right of way was locked.
Cllr McCombe has spoken to Louise Ferguson of the Baptist Union. From the archived file concerning the
Chapel she said that there were no restrictive covenants put on the land or the building itself when they were
Cllr McCombe felt that the removal of the cemetery wall was presumably to enable the building to be
restored without using new materials. It appears that the Chapel is being restored with sensitivity. However
on the planning application it was stated that the existing boundary walls were to remain.
Recently a section of the hedgerow has been uprooted and a vehicle entry is being made to a parking area.
The access has been altered from that shown on the planning application DC/2000/00674. Currently the
whole length of the boundary with the lane is missing but this may be temporary whilst the car parking area
Cllr McCombe has checked the gate and it is not locked.
Highways - lighting
It has been reported by several residents that some of the lighting in Blethyn Close and Tan House Court has
been replaced by fierce white lights in place of the more acceptable amber glow. The Clerk has been told by
Roger Joy at MCC that the lanterns have been changed to a more energy efficient lamp which requires less
energy to operate. He agrees that the glow illuminating the lamps is rather glary at first due to being a white
light source. However after a while the glare will not be quite so intense. He says that in his experience
residents do get used to them and even prefer them to the old style of lamp. If he is informed that there is a
problem with back light shining into properties he will black out the rear of the shade
Contacting MCC out of office hours
This has now changed from the Forest of Dean call centre (01594 836833) to Cardiff City Council (02920
Minute 2379 Short reports from meetings attended
Shirenewton School Governors
Cllr Mitchell stated that as much of the meetings he attends contain confidential information he has little to
report. He suggested that he will send to the Clerk the School newsletter for distribution to all Cllrs.
One Voice Wales
Cllr McCombe and Cllr Harvey attended the AGM. John Harvey stood down as Chair. Trevor Phillips was
elected unanimously as Chair. John Harvey was elected as Vice Chair. The Chair was proposed and elected
unanimously to sit on the National Executive for OVW.
Minute 2380 To consider Financial Matters
a) Bills presented for payment
Clerk’s salary less pension deduction (in line with SCP 18) 431.00
Clerk’s pension (council & Clerk contribution) 98.13
Stationery and Expenses 33.06
It was resolved to make all payments
b) To sign new Bank Mandate
All Cllrs present signed the new mandate. The Clerk will contact all absent Cllrs at a later date. The mandate
provides for the same authorities to sign cheque i.e any two named persons required to sign all cheques and
Minute 2381 Clerks report on update of items from previous meetings
Written report previously e mailed to all Cllrs
1. Allotments /Affordable Housing.
As requested by Members I have written to the temporary Head of Paid Management and received a reply.
Both letters are attached
2. Update on planning applications (to 24th August 2009)
Ref: Address SCC recommendation MCC decision
DC/2009/00636 The Grange, Usk Road, Shirenewton Approval Approved 5th Augus
DC/2008/01311 Oslo, Mynyddbach
At the Planning Committee meeting at MCC on 25th August it was decided to approve this application.(not
yet showing on website) The vote was 3 for refusal, 4 for approval and 7 abstentions. I understand that The
Planning Committee felt that if approval was granted a condition should be imposed to restrict the height of
the dwellings to that of the current garage height and also to ensure that the semis were a maximum of 1 ½
storeys high. The Committee insisted that the detailed planning must be brought back to them for
3 .Other planning matters
Area at Peniel Chapel. Appeal against enforcement. Letter sent to Planning Inspectorate in support of
The Special Landscape Area in which this site lies has been designated in Monmouthshire County
Council’s adopted UDP as having priority given to landscape conservation. It is of particularly high
intrinsic value, requiring special protection for its own sake as part of the county’s landscape resource.
Any development within the SLA should be assessed to minimise its impact (UDP Policy C3)
Any change from agricultural to domestic use, enabling storage of waste products and other domestic
paraphernalia is directly contrary to policies C3, DES1 and the Monmouthshire UDP
The land and stables have been used for domestic purposes for the past two or three years. Lack of
proper land management has meant that it now little more than rubbish littered scrubland, totally at
odds with the Special Landscape Area in which it lies. Drains built to serve the single track lane that
runs alongside the land are repeatedly blocked, leading to increased wear and tear on the road surface
and hedgerows and diminishing the amenity of the land.
The development is high on the hillside, visible from the other side of the valley, and has maximum
impact on the overall landscape characteristics, contradicting UDP Policy C3 Para 11.4.2. Storage of
oil drums, pallets and other waste and non-agricultural items will increase the impact upon the
landscape and countryside and is unacceptable.
There is a right of way across this land. Members of the public feel intimidated by the dogs which are
still kept in the buildings. When out walking and approaching the entrance to the right of way on the
land, a gate has to be opened. As soon as the latch gate is touched the dogs start barking. This has
made the right of way virtually unusable and is in direct contravention of DES1(a), UDP, which states
that: all development will be required to ensure a safe, secure, pleasant and convenient environment
that is accessible to all members of the community.
These proposals contradict DES1(h), UDP. They will not integrate into their surroundings, taking into
account the appearance of the existing landscape and its intrinsic character. Special Landscape Areas
are designated as such because they require protection from just this type of development which
denigrates the whole area
4. Best Kept Village
I have received notification that Shirenewton has won an award in the Gwent Best Kept Village Competition
2009. As in previous years, no indication is given as to which category has won. This will be disclosed at a
Presentation Evening at County Hall, Cwmbran on Friday 18th September at 6.30 pm. Only two people from
each winning category invited to attend the presentation evening
It was suggested that the Clerk and Cllr Moore should attend on behalf of the Community Council
5. Village shop
The Committee report that the application was submitted by the deadline and contact has since been made
by the BIG Lottery for supplementary questions to be answered. Answers have been provided so it is a
matter of just waiting. In the meantime, possibilities for temporary shop facilities are being examined.
6. Tree Protection Orders (TPO’s)
I was asked to look into placing TPO’s on the two Yew trees at Peniel Chapel. Apparently MCC placed
TPO’s on one of the trees in May 2003. I am told that there were originally three yew trees. One was allowed
to be felled because it was considered a danger to a neighbour’s livestock. Of the two remaining only one
was considered worthy of a TPO. The criteria for a TPO is that a tree should be healthy, have a good shape
and make a contribution to the local landscape.
As far as notifying the local Council when trees are going to be felled, this would be done automatically.
However if permission was given for trimming of trees Councils may not be notified.
In the case of Peniel Chapel, Llangwm Community Council was notified about the TPO
1. Mayor of Chepstow. Invitation for Chair and Guest to attend the Civic Service and Civic Reception on
Sunday 27th September 2009. (Cllr and Mrs Eede have confirmed that they will attend)
2. Gwent NHS Reform Briefing Number 6 (August 2009) (previously e mailed to Cllrs)
3. MCC. Consultation on Statement of Licensing Policy -Gambling Act 2005 Consultation . Replies by 19th
October (previously e mailed to Cllrs)
4. WAG Update on the development of Welsh language and legislation and policy. (previously e mailed to
5. GAVO. Invitation to Presentation Evening for Best Kept Village Competition 2009. Friday 18th
September at 6.30pm.
6. Wye valley AONB Joint Advisory Committee. Various leaflets - In Touch, Conserving Heritage, Wye So
Special, Picturesque and 2010 calendar.
7. WAG. Local Government Partnership Scheme Annual Report 2008-2009
Minute 2378To confirm the date of the next meeting
The next meeting was confirmed as being October 5th 2009 at Earlswood Hall
SHIRENEWTON COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Chairman: J Eede Clerk: Mrs C A Jones
Telephone 01291 641791
August 18th 2009
Ms Moyna Wilkinson
Acting Head of Paid Services
Monmouthshire County Council
Dear Ms Wilkinson
Re: Amenity Open Space at Blethyn Close, Mynyddbach, Shirenewton, Nr. Chepstow Monmouthshire
Grid ref: 4812 9408
Planning Application DC/2009/00617
Firstly, may I say that this Community Council recognises that your are in post on a temporary basis. Our
Local Member, County Cllr Down has suggested that we wait until the new CEO is in place as it may be
unfair to ask you to look into this matter in the short time you have available to you. However it is felt that if
we have to wait until November it may be too late to obtain answers for the local community.
Members of this Community Council are thoroughly unhappy with many aspects of the way this case has
been dealt with by some members of Monmouthshire County Council. It is felt that the complete absence of
transparency has only been matched by the lack of
co-operation, consultation and communication by certain members of Monmouthshire County Council.
In 2006 the Community Council requested that a piece of land be made available in Mynyddbach for
allotments as approaches had been made by more than six residents. We have continued to pursue this over
the last three and a half years.
The piece of land in question (0.24 acres) and the adjacent field (approx 4 acres) are owned by
Monmouthshire County Council. It was earmarked as housing land until 2006 when the whole area was
designated as Open Amenity Land in MCC’s Adopted Unitary Development Plan 2006. From 1970 until
1990 the smaller area was used as temporary allotments. The only possible access to the smaller area of land
is across the adjacent four acre field.
Because this is such an involved issue, I will attempt to give you some background information as briefly as
possible and raise some questions afterwards.
February 2006. Shirenewton Community Council requested land for allotments (0.24 acres) as more
than eight residents had applied.
MCC Estates Dept advise Community Council that an adjacent resident had applied to purchase the land
but that a report will be written by Head of Estates for Cabinet decision on land.
Indication from Head of Asset Management that the report would be shown to Community Council but
this did not happen.
July 2007. After many e mails and phone calls to MCC report finally written containing numerous
inaccuracies. No consultation with Community Council allowed. Consultation with Local Member
County Cllr Down, who agreed with sale contrary to wishes of Community Council.
July 2007. Single Cabinet Member decision by Cllr Greenland to sell land to highest bidder by tender.
August 2007. Request for review made by Community Council refuting and correcting many points in
report by Head of Asset Management.
December 2007. Review carried out by same Cabinet members and appeal denied.
October 2008. Land advertised for sale by tender in Local newspaper and tenders received by MCC.
N.B. Sales details include the following restrictive covenants:-
The land is to be used for the purposes of garden land, amenity or allotment use only
No permanent buildings can be erected on the land.
Pedestrian access only will be permitted over the Council’s adjacent amenity land.
October 2008. Advised MCC that they had not followed correct procedure for disposal of land within
LGA guidelines for Open Amenity Land (i.e advertising for two consecutive weeks their intention to
dispose of the land and asking for any objections).
November 2008. Land Registry accept a caution on the land at first registration from Shirenewton
December 2008. MCC advertise its intention to dispose of the land as per LGA guidelines.
December 2008. MCC receive objections from Community Council and residents of Mynyddbach.
January 2009 - April 2009 unable to obtain information.
April 6th 2009 E mail from Cllr Greenland stating that he could not give indication of how long it
would take before a decision would be reached but assuring that the Community Council’s interest in
this particular piece of land would not be overlooked.
April 25th 2009. Applied to MCC for all information held (under Freedom of Information Act).
May 11th 2009. During meeting between SAMFAL (Shirenewton and Mynyddbach Fields Association)
and the Estates department regarding a lease on the larger portion of the land (approximately four acres) ,
the Head of Asset Management stated that the smaller area of land will be used for Affordable Housing
and SAMFAL would be contacted by the Housing Dept.
May 19th 2009. Reminder sent for request under FOI.
May 27th 2009. Second reminder sent under FOI with suggestion that if either information or
satisfactory response as to why additional time was required was not received by May 29th, I would
contact the Information Commissioner.
June 1st 2009. At the monthly Community Council meeting Cllr Down stated that he had had a
meeting with the Head of Asset Management and the idea of housing on the land was no more than a
June 2nd 2009. Community Council sent complaint to Information Commissioner.
June 8th 2009. Batch of information sent by MCC advising that there was more to come (36 days since
June 16th 2009. Second batch of information sent - information still incomplete.
July 7th 2009. Requested via e-mail a written report from Cllr Down on the up to date situation. No
response (County Cllr Down did not attend July 6th monthly Community Council meeting).
July 23rd 2009. Planning application received from MCC for 2 units of affordable housing on the land
July 25th 2009. Reminder e mail to County Cllr Down - no response.
August 3rd 2009. Monthly Community Council meeting attended by and many residents objecting to
the planning application.
County Cllr Down, who was also present at the meeting on August 3rd, advised the meeting that his
monmouthshire.org.uk e mail address had been out of action for two months and so he could not reply to
any e mails that had been sent. He also informed the meeting that he had agreed several years ago to
assist the resident who wished to buy the former allotment land (as had his predecessor he said).
This is a very brief outline of the situation and does not give any idea of the constant battle and resultant
frustrations involved in obtaining any information from the Estates Department over the past three and a half
The questions that the Community Council wish to raise are:
1. One person in the local community wanted the land sold (to himself). At least eight residents PLUS the
Community Council wished the land to revert to allotments.
Why was the decision to sell the land in December 2008 reached without reference to the wishes of the
2. How can the original decision to sell the land with the site constraints be overturned without any
apparent recorded discussion?
3. How was the decision made and who made it?
4. The planning application for affordable houses, dated 18th June 2009, was made by a company called Ateb
Lleol Ltd. The Design, Access and Planning Policy Statement was apparently received by MCC on 24th June
and implies that Ateb Lleol is a company with experience in the field of affordable housing. This appears to
be endorsed by Shirley Wiggam of MCC. Ateb Lleol was not registered at Companies House until 22nd July
Was MCC’s endorsement of Ateb Lleol correct?
5. The only known activity of Ateb Lleol has been to submit several planning applications in
What is the bone fide status of Ateb Lleol?
6. On July 30th, Radio Wales held a ’phone in on Allotments. During this time a Mynyddbach resident
telephoned to give her view. She was told by the interviewer that MCC had issued a statement that the land
at Blethyn Close was not its concern as Shirenewton Community Council owned the land! Later when I
checked with MCC I was told that the statement read ‘Shirenewton Community Council manage the plots’
Does MCC really believe that Shirenewton Community Council owns the land or manages the plots
and if not why was this inaccurate and misleading public statement made?
7. In an e mail dated 27th July 2009 to SAMFAL, the Head of Asset management states that the issue of a
lease on the larger area of the land has been complicated by the fact that Shirenewton Community Council
has registered with the former allotment land in its name, with Land Registry.
Why did she say this when it is untrue?
8. In a response dated August 3rd 2009 to a letter from Mohammad Asghar AC/AM, the Assistant Planning
Applications Manager states that ‘the application has not been advertised as a departure as it would be
considered in the context of housing policy H10’. She quotes policy H10 in relation to ‘affordable housing’
sites being given favourable consideration when certain conditions are met as follows:-
a) meeting genuine local need evidenced by a properly conducted survey.
The Housing Need Statement confirms that no survey has been carried out to determine whether there is a
genuine local need
Why has this not happened?
c) developments are located within easy reach of public transport facilities and additional transport can be
accommodated on the existing road network without unacceptable consequences.
Blethyn Close is sited off a very narrow lane without pavements and extra traffic on this lane could be
hazardous. The bus service to Mynyddbach is very infrequent and there are no shops in the village.
Where is the evidence to support these statements that MCC actions conform to Policy H10 made, as
stated by the Assistant Planning Applications Manager?
9. This planning application has been submitted under the guise of ‘affordable housing’ I am told by the
MCC Planning Officer that it should be termed ‘cheaper housing’ and WAG’s policy on occupation of
affordable housing will not be followed.
Is this affordable housing in true sense of the term or not and if not, why is this term being used?
I apologise that there are unavoidably some planning issues intermingled with process issues but it is hoped
that you can provide some answers as to why the MCC Estates department has been so unhelpful and
secretive to the point of being obstructive in dealing with Shirenewton Community Council.
Ideally it would be helpful to have a meeting with you but I fully appreciate the constraints that you have
upon your time.
I look forward to hearing from you
Mohammad Asghar AM
Nick Ramsey AM
David Davies MP
E mail response from Moyna Wilkinson received 20th August
Dear Ms Jones
I acknowledge receipt of your e mail of 18th August. My period of Acting up as Head of Paid Services ends
today and the new Chief Executive Mr Paul Matthews takes up his position on 1st September.
I will not be able to do justice to the questions you have asked in the time available to me but I have put the
process in motion for those issues to be addressed.
As I am sure that Mr Matthews will have a full in tray, I am happy to progress your responses once I am
back in the office myself from 7th September
Acting Head of Paid Services