Minutes 22 February 2022

Meeting of Whittington Parish Council at 7:30PM on Tuesday 22nd February 2022 at Whittington Community Hall, Church Lane, Whittington, WR5 2RQ

Minutes 02/2022

Present: Steve Burrows (Chair), Susan MacLeod, Katie Lambeth-Mansell, Richard Boase, Steve Brooker, Adam Hooper (from 7:35PM)
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), David Chestney (Community Hall Committee), Malcolm MacLeod (Community Hall Committee), Linda Robinson (County Councillor), Rob Adams (District Councillor), members of the public

1. Apologies for absence
All members present.

2. Declarations of Interest
Richard Boase declared a disclosable interest in all items pertaining to Uffnell’s Allotments.

Richard Boase declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in all items pertaining to Whittington Community Hall.

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.

Susan MacLeod declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in item 10.1 (planning application 21/02610/RM).

3. Dispensations
A dispensation had previously been granted to Richard Boase to allow participation and voting on all items pertaining to Uffnell’s Allotments.

A dispensation had previously been granted to Richard Boase to allow participation and voting on all matters 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. Co-option
It was unanimously resolved to co-opt Adam Hooper onto the Parish Council; he signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office and joined the meeting from 7:35PM.

5. Open Session
The meeting was adjourned for the open session.

5.1. District Councillor
Rob Adams provided a report as follows:
• The next full council meeting for Wychavon District Council is on the 23rd February 2022.
• Wychavon District Council were looking to coordinate a neighbour support network.
• A rural transport policy event was planned for later this month (details TBC).
• Norton Parish Council had started on a community transport scheme and it was thought that this could potentially be expanded to cover Whittington.

5.2. County Councillor
Linda Robinson provided a report as follows:

Covid update:
The 7-day rates of confirmed cases continue to fall week on week across the County but they are still well above the infection rates recorded at the end of last summer. Worcestershire’s rates are about one quarter higher than the national average. In the last seven days there have been 3,400 confirmed cases in the County out of a population of nearly 598,000.

There is a suggestion from government that we are going to have to ‘learn to live with Covid’. From this Thursday as we seem to have passed the peak of Omicron the government are scrapping the legal duty to self-isolate in England. All remaining restrictions will also be removed including an end to routine contact testing and the need to test daily for 7 days. From the 1st April the advice will still be to stay at home if you test positive. As Omicron is a less severe strain, from today there is no need to take twice daily tests. From the 1st April there will be an end to free testing except for the most vulnerable and there will be no need for Covid virus certification. There will be continued protection including targeted vaccines and treatment to continue to protect our most vulnerable. It is highly likely that there will be spring boosters offered to over 75’s and care home residents. The message given is ‘to continue protecting ourselves and others by moving to personal responsibility without losing our liberties.’

WCC approved their draft budget last week at Full Council. The total proposed is £373.119 million with around 250m. earmarked to fund Adult & Community services and to improve the outcomes of children and young people in Worcestershire. There is an extra £25m. earmarked for adult & children’s care. Our percentage of your Council tax remains one of the lowest in the Country.

In the space of three days, we have had to deal with three high incident storms which have left considerable damage to properties. We now have the legacy of flooding from high tides on the Severn Estuary combined with heavy rainfall. Flood defences are in place in Upton and Bewdley with many road closures in our wider area.

This County Council website gives a map with floods and diversions clearly marked: https://gis.worcestershire.gov.uk/website/worcestershiretravel

5.3. Whittington C of E Primary School
A report was received as follows:
• Parking for volunteers during restricted parking times – it was accepted that it was not possible to grant a dispensation for lunchtime volunteers to allow them to park on the single yellow lines. It was noted that the small car park was already double-parked during the day, not giving the option of further cars getting in at lunchtime.
• Safety barriers along Whittington Road and Crookbarrow Way – the school appreciated the Parish Council promoting this issue with Worcestershire County Council. Further updates were awaited.
• Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – the school would be interested in joining forces with the Parish Council for a joint community event that the children could be involved in such as a sponsored litter-pick.
• Whittington Community Hall – the school was interested in booking the meeting room for team meetings.
• Parent parking on the bend (Church Lane / Narrow Walk) – the school offered to write again to parents reminding them they should not park there. It was explained that the Swan is very supportive, but every so often they ban school parking for a period in response to parents who abuse the Swan’s courtesy parking.

5.4. Whittington Church
It was noted that work on the new single storey building (planning application 20/00790/FUL) was continuing, but that progress had been hampered by the recent utility road works along Church Lane.

5.5. Brethren Church
It was noted that recent trespassing issues had been reported to the Police.

5.6. Whittington Community Hall
An update was received under item 9.

5.7. Public participation
A member of the public raised concerns regarding the South Worcestershire Development Plan and the proposals for significant new development in the area. This issue was further discussed under item 10.2.

A member of the public raised concerns regarding the quality of reinstatements following recent utility work in Church Lane. The footways were in a particularly poor state, considering that they had recently been fully resurfaced. The contractor’s behaviour on site was also considered unacceptable. Linda Robinson agreed to raise these issues with Worcestershire County Council for investigation.

Members of the public raised concerns regarding 21/02610/RM (item 10.1). A number of previous construction management plans for this application had cited nearby locations for materials storage but it was thought that necessary permissions to use the land had not been secured. The current proposals to use the site itself for deliveries was considered totally unacceptable, as the site is too small to be viable for materials storage and School Walk is too narrow for construction deliveries. The unloading of vehicles to site would create conflict with vulnerable pedestrians accessing the school.

A member of the public expressed concern regarding frequent large heavy goods vehicles using Church Lane for local deliveries.

The meeting resumed following the open session.

6. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meetings on the 25th January 2022
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chair.

7. Progress reports

7.1. Councillor vacancies
It was noted that there was one vacancy on the Parish Council and enquires from parishioners were welcomed.

7.2. Whittington Walk
It was noted that the planning application for phase 3B would be resubmitted, potentially with a reduced number of properties.

Persimmon Homes had responded that the requested notice board and dog fouling/littering bins were still under consideration.

7.3. Flooding, Church Lane
No update was available.

7.4. Wildmore adoption update
Linda Robinson had been unable to obtain an update from Worcestershire County Council regarding the adoption timescales for Wildmore.

7.5. School volunteer parking issues
An update was received under item 5.3.

7.6. Bridleway 510 surfacing issues
It was noted Worcestershire County Council had contacted Persimmon Homes regarding the poor bridleway surface. It was resolved to write to Persimmon Homes again regarding the unsuitable surface and littering issues.

7.7. Vehicular Activated Sign (VAS)
It was noted that a new sign had been ordered for Whittington (and also one for Norton) for use on the Pershore Road.

8. Correspondence

8.1. Worcestershire CALC: Latest training schedule.
The latest training opportunities were noted.

9. Community Hall Project

9.1. To receive an update
It was noted that the new hall was generating significant interest and bookings.

9.2. Additional works: To receive an update regarding approved additional work at the community hall (utilising available S106 funding).
An update was received as follows:
• The new pedestrian gate was due to be installed by the 25th February 2022
• The acoustic improvement work was planned to start 28th March 2022
• Security and CCTV installation were progressing
• The car charging upgrades and defibrillator installation had been completed
• The installation of the cycle shelter had been completed
• Window blinds had been ordered
• Quotes for the external flood lighting were being pursued

10. Planning

10.1. 21/02610/RM (amended): Land off School Walk, Whittington. Application for approval of reserved matters including access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale following outline approval 20/00173/OUT – construction of detached bungalow (Amended construction management plan).
Susan MacLeod had declared a pecuniary interest and left the room for the duration of this item.

It was resolved that the Parish Council object to the proposals.

The proposed development site is far too small to accommodate the storage of construction materials. The access road to the site via School Walk is too narrow to allow the safe delivery of construction materials and there are no footways and so vehicles are in direct conflict with vulnerable pedestrians accessing the school. Similarly, Church Lane is not a suitable drop off location for construction delivery vehicles as it is also very narrow and protected by double yellow lines and school keep clear markings.

It is believed that the planning consultation notifications to adjacent residents were delayed and did not allow sufficient time for comments to be submitted. It is believed that the planning consultation distribution list did not include Whittington C of E Primary School which is in close proximity to the site and would be affected by the proposals.

10.2. SWDP / Parkway Development: To receive an update.
Rob Adams provided an update on the current proposals from Wychavon District Council.

The SWDP Joint Parishes Committee continues to engage with Wychavon District Council regarding the proposed parkway development. Frustration was expressed at Wychavon District Council’s position that information should not be shared with the public. The SWDP Joint Parishes Committee would press Wychavon District Council to publicise the SWDP and Parkway proposals with the public and start to engage in meaningful consultation.

11. Parish matters for discussion/decision

11.1. Smart Water: To receive an update on the purchase of Smart Water kits for parishioners and to co-ordinate distribution.
It was resolved to take the Police up on their offer of pre-registering and distributing the kits. It was resolved that the rollout of kits would be done in phases as follows:
Phase 1 – St Peters and Wildmore
Phase 2 – Pershore Road and outlying areas
Phase 3 – Whittington village
Phase 4 – Whittington Walk

It was resolved to pursue a quote for additional kits to allow 100% coverage of the parish. Linda Robinson offered to investigate funding possibilities.

11.2. Pedestrian/highway safety concerns: To consider issues relating to Whittington Road and Crookbarrow Way.
Linda Robinson requested a plan showing the areas of interest and this would be passed to Worcestershire County Council Highways to review.

11.3. Litter bin provision: To consider providing additional waste bins for the parish.
There had been requests for litter and dog fouling bins in Wildmore; it was resolved to defer discussions on this until November 2022 when the 2023/24 budget would be considered.

11.4. Tree Preservation Orders: To consider applying for new TPOs on appropriate trees.
It was resolved to ask Wychavon District Council to clarify which trees within the parish had a TPO.

A plan would be prepared for consideration at the next meeting indicating specific trees that have would benefit from a new protection order.

11.5. Energy crisis support: To note national arrangements for a £150.00 rebate for homes in council tax bands A to D.
It was noted that a rebate of £150.00 was due to be applied to properties in bands A to D in support of rising energy costs. It was noted that the full details of this scheme were not yet available but Rob Adams agreed to review the arrangements.

11.6. Community events: To consider the support of future community events.
The following events were noted:
• Quiz Night – Saturday 7th May 2022
• Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations – Friday 3rd June 2022

11.7. Queen’s Jubilee: To consider possible events in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 2022.
It was noted that the Community Hall Committee were planning an event for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on Friday 3rd June and further details would be available in due course.

12. Lengthsman Scheme

12.1. To receive an update
There were no matters reported.

12.2. Work schedule: To consider any items for the Lengthsman’s work schedule.
No items were reported.

13. Allotments

13.1. To receive an update
There were no matters reported.

13.2. Monthly inspection: To consider the inspection report and any actions or proposals generated.
It was noted that ten out of fifteen allotment plots had failed the most recent inspection. Some of the tenants had responded positively to the recent enforcement letter, with work undertaken on site or proposed to be undertaken shortly. Two tenants had taken the decision not to renew in April. A number of potentially dangerous items (sharp tools, chemicals) had not been secured as requested and this would be followed up.

It was resolved to send a reminder email to those tenants who had not yet made improvements to their plots. A further inspection is scheduled for the 15th March and any tenants that have failed to address the issues raised in previous enforcement letters will not be given the opportunity to renew their tenancy from April 2022.

It was resolved to ask the Lengthsman to clear all of the pathways, to remove loose compost bins and other debris and to repair the damaged borders.

14. Finance

14.1. Bank mandate
It was resolved to remove Dan Bayliss and add Richard Boase as bank account signatories.

14.2. Budget expenditure
It was resolved to approve the budget expenditure.

14.3. Bank reconciliation
It was resolved to approve the bank reconciliation.

14.4. Invoices

14.4.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £848.31
14.4.2. HMRC (PAYE): £207.90
14.4.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £319.52
14.4.4. Society of Local Council Clerks (membership): £230.00
14.4.5. SmartWater Group (SmartWater kits): £3034.44
14.4.6. Sam Joyner (Lengthsman): £405.00
14.4.7. Kaydee Light Control Solutions Ltd (blinds): £1437.96
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.

14.5. Clerk’s Delegation

14.5.1. 31/01/22 S&P Productions (Community Hall project): £2694.38
14.5.2. 11/02/22 S&P Productions (Community Hall project): £3962.28
The above payments, made under delegated authority, were noted.

14.6. Direct Debits

14.6.1. 02/02/22 Severn Trent Water (allotments): £23.36
14.6.2. 21/02/22 HSBC (business banking charges): £12.00
The above direct debit payments were noted.

15. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
• Community Hall direction signs
• Allotments ground cover fabric arrangements
• Whittington Walk highway concerns (kerbing, lighting, white lines)
• Tree Preservation Orders

16. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 7:30PM on Tuesday 22nd March 2022.

The meeting closed at 10:35 PM.