Meeting of Whittington Parish Council at 7:30PM on Tuesday 27th July 2021 at St Philip & St James Church, Church Lane, Whittington, WR5 2RQ
Present: Steve Burrows (Chair), Jenny Knights, Susan MacLeod, Katie Lambeth-Mansell, Steve Brooker, Rob Stepniewski (from 7:58PM)
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Rob Adams (District Councillor), Linda Robinson (County Councillor), David Chestney (Community Hall Management Committee), Malcolm MacLeod (Chair Village Hall Management Committee), three members of the public
1. Apologies for absence
Apologies were noted from Dan Bayliss.
Rob Stepniewski would be late to the meeting.
2. Declarations of Interest
Susan MacLeod declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in all items pertaining to Whittington Community Hall.
Steve Brooker declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in all items pertaining to Whittington Community Hall.
A dispensation had previously been granted to Susan MacLeod to allow participation and voting on all matters pertaining to Whittington Community Hall.
A dispensation had previously been granted to Steve Brooker to allow participation and voting on all matters pertaining to Whittington Community Hall.
4. Open Session
The meeting was adjourned for the open session.
4.1. District Councillor
Rob Adams provided a report on Wychavon District Council as follows:
• The District Council had started to return to holding physical meetings.
• The Covid recovery plan aims to assist businesses and residents in recovering from the effects of the pandemic.
• The Intelligently Green Plan aims to reduce the District Council’s carbon emissions by 75% and halve Wychavon’s carbon emissions by 2030 with a view to achieving net zero by 2050.
4.2. County Councillor
Linda Robinson provided a report as follows:
On the 15th July WCC held their last full County Council meeting before the summer break. I was pleased to vote in favour of declaring a Climate Emergency and we unanimously reaffirmed our target of reaching net carbon neutral by 2050 in line with the Government target. The authority has vowed to endorsing its ambitious ‘Net Zero Carbon Plan’ and to continue to work with our partner authorities to review and update all relevant strategies to reach that target. Our Council will also establish a Member Advisory Group to assist with the future of the plan and to report annually on actions taken. Wychavon District Council also declared a Climate Emergency in line with this at their Council meeting last week.
On Covid related issues, in the week up to July 20th there were 3,131 new cases in the County although since then there has been a slight fall in cases. Worcester however has the biggest hotspot in the County at King George’s field which has seen a rise of 88 cases, an increase of 50%. This area covers the WR3 and WR4 post codes.
Gloucestershire Royal has had to re-open a separate section in their ICU for COVID cases. Despite restrictions finally lifting the advice remains to take care and take personal responsibility for our actions to protect ourselves and others.
Meanwhile Worcs. Royal and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch are reporting their highest attendance levels in 19 months, with some patients left waiting on trolleys for 12 hours and ambulances queuing outside.
The Care Quality Commission has released figures from April last year to this March. Sadly 475 care home residents lost their lives to COVID in 92 individual care homes in the County. A 16-week grace period for care home staff in England to be fully vaccinated has begun -with the last date for first jabs set as September 16th. The Government’s own estimates predict that 7% of the work force will refuse to be vaccinated, raising growing concerns, both due to self- isolation and the worsening of existing recruitment challenges in the sector. The challenge of self-isolation for those who have been in close contact with positive cases is leading to supply difficulties in the food chain and the service sector.
The repercussions of the pandemic look set to continue for some time yet. I am sure many of you like myself are watching the Olympics in Japan though the absence of spectators and wearing of face masks does make it all rather surreal. It does however remind us that even when things are so difficult internationally, we can find ways to find some sort of normality, even if it takes a new way of thinking and working to overcome the obstacles presented to us.
I hope you all enjoy your summer break despite travel restrictions. Having just enjoyed a short stay vacation in Dorset it was good to be reminded of all our wonderful island and even our own area has to offer.
4.3. Whittington C of E Primary School
There were no matters to report.
4.4. Whittington Church
The Church are continuing to observe Covid restrictions to ensure the safety of everyone attending.
Arrangements to remove the existing portacabin and construct a single storey building in its place (planning application 20/00790/FUL) were ongoing. A further grant application had been successful and it was now anticipated that works could start on site Autumn 2021.
4.5. Brethren Church
It was noted that the Brethren Church reopened Sunday 25th July.
4.6. Whittington Community Hall
An update was received under item 8.
4.7. Public participation
No questions were received.
The meeting resumed following the open session.
5. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 22nd June 2021
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chair.
6. Progress reports
6.1. SWDP / Parkway Development
An update was received following recent meetings with Wychavon District Council regarding the proposed new Parkway Development. A virtual tour had been given of the proposed new ‘garden city’. It was confirmed that the proposals are at the concept stage with many of the details still to be worked out, so any plans and photographs that had been shared at the meeting were confidential.
The development for 22,000 new residents was being designed to support a car-free lifestyle, but councillors felt that this would ultimately be unachievable. Councillors raised concerns over traffic and rat-running, hospital oversubscription and the incorporation of an industrial estate in a primarily residential area.
It was resolved to contact other adjacent Parish Councils to resume meetings to discuss the Parkway Development now that Covid restrictions had eased.
6.2. Whittington Walk development
No update was available.
6.3. Flooding, Church Lane
It was noted that Worcestershire County Council were liaising with Severn Trent Water regarding a solution to this longstanding issue.
6.4. Wychavon District Council’s ‘Building a Greener Future’
A short update was received on the above project.
6.5. Broadband update
It was noted that City Fibre were improving broadband infrastructure in the area and would be coming to Whittington shortly, increasing the broadband choice available to parishioners. Much of the original Open Reach infrastructure will be reused.
It was noted that the Parish Council’s laptop had been sold for £54.00 and had now been removed from the asset register.
7.1. Police: Launch of Neighbourhood Matters community messaging service.
The above messaging service was noted.
7.2. Police: West Mercia Local Policing Charter and Parish Council ‘Contact Contract’.
It was resolved that the following be reported as the top three policing priorities for Whittington:
• Anti-social behaviour
• Traffic/speeding concerns
• Visible policing (with details of patrols etc.)
It was resolved to ask for regular reports to be supplied in future and to invite the Police to attend a future meeting.
7.3. Wychavon District Council: Ward boundaries consultation.
It was resolved that the Parish Council did not advocate any changes to the current ward councillor boundaries.
7.4. Worcestershire CALC: Latest training schedule.
The above training opportunities were noted.
8. Community Hall Project
8.1. To receive an update
Construction of the new hall had been completed with the keys handed over to the Community Hall Committee. Snagging works and general commissioning were ongoing and the furniture and kitchen inventory was being cleaned ready to restock the hall. It was thought that the tables and chairs would need to be replaced in future.
The Wychavon District Council Communities panel were due to tour the new building on Wednesday 28th July.
The hall is now fully insured.
8.2. Grant funding: To consider an application for potential further S106 grant funding in support of the Community Hall Project.
It was noted that a further £24,838.70 S106 funding had become available for potential allocation on ‘Community Buildings’. The Clerk, under delegated authority, had made an application for this funding to allow the new Community Hall to be fitted out to a high standard, however the bid would not be reviewed by Wychavon District Council until September 2021 at the earliest.
8.3. Finance and budget expenditure: To receive an update.
The payment of £230,620.07 to Interclass PLC (item 13.3.8) represents the last major instalment for the Community Hall project, however a number of minor works were still outstanding and invoices would be received in due course.
HMRC had been contacted regarding delayed VAT 126 claim repayments; the Clerk would follow this up with a formal complaint.
8.4. Community Hall project additional costs: To consider and approve additional costs associated with the project.
It was noted that Interclass PLC had agreed to waive the provisional £5k relating to extended contract timescales.
9.1. S106 priority list
An update was received on current S106 funding. It was resolved to add the S106 priority list to a future meeting for further consideration.
10. Parish matters for discussion/decision
10.1. Virtual meetings: To consider cancelling the subscription to ‘Zoom’.
It was resolved to cancel the subscription to Zoom.
11. Lengthsman Scheme
11.1. To receive an update
It was noted that the invoicing and worksheet arrangements were now working smoothly.
11.2. Work schedule
It was noted that some work was still outstanding in cutting the vegetation from the Parish Council’s Vehicular Activated Sign.
12.1. To receive an update
It was noted that a number of allotments had become quite untidy and the relevant tenants would be contacted to ask that they are brought in line with the terms and conditions.
For the second time allotment plant cuttings had been dumped on the open green space surrounding the site, the tenants would be reminded of the need to dispose of all arisings considerately.
13.1. Budget expenditure
It was resolved to approve the budget expenditure.
13.2. Bank reconciliation
It was resolved to approve the bank reconciliation.
13.3.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £902.95
13.3.2. HMRC (PAYE): £207.90
13.3.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £319.52
13.3.4. Sam Joyner (Lengthsman June): £135.00
13.3.5. 1st Call 24/7 Ltd. (allotments tap repair): £151.99
13.3.6. Eyelid Productions (website): £60.00
13.3.7. Stewart Associates (Midland) Limited (Community Hall Project): £582.00
13.3.8. Interclass PLC (Community Hall Project): £230,620.07
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.
13.4. Direct Debits
13.4.1. 15/07/21 Information Commissioner (registration): £35.00
13.4.2. 26/07/21 Severn Trent (allotments water supply): £20.79
The above direct debit payments were noted.
14. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• S106 priority list
15. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 7:30PM on the 28th September 2021.
If an extraordinary meeting was required this would be held at 7:30PM on the 24th August 2021.
The meeting closed at 9:15PM.