Meeting of Whittington Parish Council at 7:30PM on Tuesday 22nd March 2022 at Whittington Community Hall, Church Lane, Whittington, WR5 2RQ
Present: Steve Brooker (Vice-Chair), Adam Hooper, Richard Boase, Susan MacLeod
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Rob Adams (District Councillor), Malcolm MacLeod (Community Hall Management Committee), members of the public
1. Chairman’s welcome and announcements
Steve Brooker opened the meeting and welcomed attendees.
2. Apologies for absence
Apologies were noted from Katie Lambeth-Mansell and Steve Burrows.
3. Declarations of personal and prejudicial interest
3.1. Register of Interests
3.2. Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
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.
3.3. Other Disclosable Interests
Richard Boase declared an other disclosable interest in all items pertaining to Uffnell’s Allotments.
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. Open Session
The meeting was adjourned for the open session.
4.1. Community Transport
It was hoped that a presentation could be received at the next meeting.
4.2. District Councillor
Rob Adams provided a report as follows:
• An update was provided on national arrangements for a £150.00 rebate for homes in council tax bands A to D for energy crisis support.
• Payments totalling £400,000.00 had been made under the self-isolation grant scheme.
• £700,000.00 grant funding was still available for eligible businesses for covid related loss of income.
• The County Council had suggested that the Parish Council contact the Police to review issues with the junction traffic management arrangements at Whittington Walk.
• The Here 2 Help Scheme was continuing and being expanded to cover the Ukrainian crisis.
• The Knife Angel exhibit will be at Worcester Cathedral Square from the 1st to 31st of March 2022.
• Rob Adams had responded to boundary commission review consultation, with the view that Norton and Whittington should stay in the same ward, represented by two District Councillors.
4.3. County Councillor
Linda Robinson had submitted a written report as follows:
The infection rate in our County has risen again in line with the national trend and remains above the West Midlands and England average. 35- to 59-year-olds are seeing the highest infection rates. County rates are up 22% from last week. Surprisingly Malvern Hills has the highest rate of infection at 814 per 100,000 closely followed by Wychavon at 729. This is despite a decrease in testing activity, so may well be an underestimate. As of March 18thth there were a recorded 96 cases in Worcestershire acute hospitals with one of these requiring ventilation.
There is a suggestion from government that we are going to have to’ learn to live with Covid ‘. The advice will still be to stay at home if you test positive. 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, vulnerable adults with suppressed immunity are already being offered a further booster. The message given is ‘to continue protecting ourselves and others by moving to personal responsibility without losing our liberties.’
WCC approved their annual budget last week at Full Council. The total proposed is £373 million with around £250 million earmarked to fund Adult & Community services and to improve the outcomes of children and young people in Worcestershire. There is an extra £25 million earmarked for adult & children’s care. Our percentage of your Council tax remains one of the lowest in the Country. Wychavon froze their Council tax for the fifth year running. Good news for our rural areas is that 5% extra time has been budgeted for your Lengthsman to carry out more jobs in the parish.
Last month in the space of three days, WCC had to deal with three high incident storms which left considerable damage to properties. They left a legacy of flooding from high tides on the Sever Estuary combined with heavy rainfall. Flood defences were in place in Upton and Bewdley with many road closures notably in Worcester.
Many residents are asking us how they can help people affecting by the war in Ukraine. We have set up a page on our website to try and pull the various appeals for donations going on into one place. Our Community Development team has been asked to talk to the Voluntary and Community Sector to support the efforts of our communities. The Ukrainian flag will also be flown outside the Civic Centre from next week. www.wychavon.gov.uk/support-for-Ukraine.
Give safely to help people in Ukraine
The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator have urged the public to ‘give safely’ to registered charities helping and supporting those affected by the invasion of Ukraine.
By giving to a registered, regulated charity, the public can have assurance that their funds will be accounted for in line with the charity law framework. Established charities with experience of responding to disasters are usually best placed to reach victims on the ground.
People looking to donate to causes working in Ukraine and neighbouring countries should make a few simple checks before giving:
· Check the charity’s name and registration number at www.gov.uk/checkcharity
· Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information
· Be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them
· Contact or find out more online about the charity that you’re seeking to donate to, or work with, to understand how they are spending their funds
· Look out for the Fundraising Badge on charity fundraising materials – this is the logo which shows that a charity has committed to fundraise in line with the Code of Fundraising Practice.
We encourage people who want to give to visit the Disasters Emergency Committee website: https://www.dec.org.uk/appeal/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal
Households are being offered £350 a month to host refugees from Ukraine as part of the Government’s new sponsorship scheme.
4.4. Whittington C of E Primary School
Richard Boase provided an update as follows:
Meeting held at the school with Gary Richards, Head Teacher on Friday 18th March 2022. Three staff and one pupil currently off with COVID. I updated him on the Parish Council supporting his request for safety barriers on Crookbarrow Way and Whittington Road, currently being presented to Worcestershire County Council Highways. He has visited the Community Hall and was complimentary about it and believes the meeting room may be a useful asset for school staff meetings.
Mr Richards reiterated his wish for the school to do something for the community in conjunction with the Parish Council. Previously he had suggested a litter pick. Additionally, he wondered whether his pupils could do something to contribute to the ‘Queen’s Forest’ by perhaps planting a tree or some bulbs in the church grounds and, maybe the Community Hall garden. He has not written to parents about parking on the bend and on the zig zag lines at the top of the road leading to the school as it became evident that it was residents who were parking there.
4.5. Whittington Church
A written report was received as follows:
For the church there has been good progress on the new building in the last month with most of the main structure in place and work commencing inside on the electrical installation and the plastering. Completion is still anticipated by the end of April, though it may move into the first week of May. Conditions on the road verge past the church are still very poor though the recent dry weather has made it less of a problem.
4.6. Brethren Church
It was noted that trespassing and loitering in the car park were still causing concern and this had been raised with the Police.
4.7. Whittington Community Hall
It was noted that the acoustic improvement work and security/CCTV installation was due to start Monday 28th March 2022. External fire extinguishing equipment had been fitted.
Feedback from hall users remained very positive.
4.8. Public participation
No questions were received.
The meeting resumed following the open session.
5. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meetings on the 22nd February 2022
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were duly signed by the Vice-Chair.
6. Progress reports
6.1. Councillor vacancy
It was noted that there was one vacancy on the Parish Council and one application had been received. It was resolved to add co-option to the next agenda.
6.2. Whittington Walk
No update was available.
6.3. Flooding, Church Lane
No update was available.
6.4. Bridleway 510 surfacing issues
Representations had again been made with Persimmon Homes and Worcestershire County Council but no substantive response had been received.
6.5. Vehicular Activated Sign (VAS)
No update was available.
6.6. Utility reinstatements, Church Lane and School Walk
It was noted that Worcestershire County Council had served notice on the utilities contractor to make good the poor utility reinstatements.
7.1. Resident: Request for dog fouling signage.
It was resolved to make enquiries with the school to see if the school could design a suitable sign and to identify a suitable location for the sign to be installed.
7.2. Worcestershire CALC: Latest training opportunities.
The training opportunities were noted.
It was noted that the Clerk would arrange an in-house training session for councillors when all of the vacancies had been filled.
7.3. Wychavon District Council: To note the availability of funding in support of Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
It was resolved to submit an application for the full £180.00 available to support the celebrations being planned by the Community Hall Committee.
7.4. Wychavon District Council: Wychavon Parish Games 2022.
The above invite was noted.
7.5. Wychavon District Council: To note invite to a Councillor Introduction to Civil Emergencies awareness presentation, 6:00PM 24th March 2022 via Zoom.
The above invite was noted.
8. Community Hall Project
8.1. To receive an update
An update had been received during the open session.
8.2. Direction signage
Worcestershire County Council had responded requesting further information before a signing application would be considered. It was resolved to respond to WCC with the information requested, citing that although it was a new building the community hall had been in operation at this location for decades.
8.3. Additional costs
It was resolved to approve additional costs totalling £152.38 relating to the provision of window blinds.
8.4. Additional works
An update had been received during the open session.
9.1. W/22/00559/S106: Land Rear of Hill House, Swinesherd Lane, Spetchley. Application under section 106A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to modify the requirements relating to legal agreement dated 3rd December 2016 associated with planning permission ref. 15/01514/OU.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.
9.2. SWDP / Parkway Development
The SWDP Joint Parishes Committee had agreed to hold a presentation for all of their respective parishioners to update them on the District Council’s parkway plans. It was noted that the District Council’s public consultation was due to start summer 2022.
It was resolved to hold a presentation for parishioners at the Annual Parish Meeting (item 10.1).
10. Parish matters for discussion/decision
10.1. Annual Parish Meeting and Annual Council Meeting
It was resolved to hold a presentation on the District Council’s SWDP and Parkway proposals.
It was resolved to hold the Annual Parish Meeting at 7:00PM on Tuesday 17th May 2022.
It was resolved to hold the Annual Council meeting at 7:30PM on Tuesday 24th May 2022.
10.2. Smart Water
It was noted that the Police had offered to assist with the distribution of the kits and pre-registering; approximately 380 kits had already been distributed.
It was resolved to make an application to purchase additional kits to cover the remaining properties on the Whittington Electoral register (approximately 225 kits). It was noted that Linda Robinson had provided funding assistance of £1429.00 and that an extra £120.00 (approximately) would need to be identified from reserves.
It was resolved to add an update on the Parish Council’s website and Facebook page to keep residents informed.
10.3. Tree Preservation Orders
It was resolved to make enquiries with the Spetchley Estate regarding suggested new Tree Protection Orders for a number of trees bordering footpaths WT523 and WT550.
10.4. Action Plans
It was resolved to approve the 2021/22 plan with results and the 2022/23 draft plan.
10.5. Standing Orders
It was resolved to amend Standing Orders 3F and 3G to increase provision during the public open session to 10 minutes per person and up to 40 minutes total.
11. Highways and Public Rights of Way
11.1. Whittington Road and Crookbarrow Way: To consider concerns regarding pedestrian/highway safety.
It was noted that no response had been received from Worcestershire County Council.
11.2. Whittington Walk: To consider concerns raised regarding kerbing, lighting and white lining.
It was resolved to raise this issue with the Police Traffic Management Team and Linda Robinson for further investigation.
12. Lengthsman Scheme
12.1. To receive an update
It was noted that the Lengthsman was again behind in submitting worksheets and invoices.
It was noted that Worcestershire County Council had increased the Lengthsman Scheme grant allocation to £2086.96 per annum, which equated to an additional 1.5 hours per month for the Lengthsman.
12.2. Work schedule
It was resolved to ask the Lengthsman to attend to the grass verge damage along Church Lane.
12.3. Contracts: To consider renewing the contract for services with Sam Joyner and signing the annual agreement with Worcestershire County Council for the 2022/23 period.
It was resolved to renew the Lengthsman contract for services with Sam Joyner and to sign the annual agreement with Worcestershire County Council for the 2022/23 period.
13.1. To receive an update
It was noted that the new tenancy agreements had been issued. Three tenants would not be renewing in April and the vacant plots would be assigned to those on the waiting list.
13.2. Monthly inspection: To consider the inspection report and any actions or proposals generated.
Ten plots had failed the February inspection but every plot had passed the March inspection (with caveats).
13.3. Ground cover: To consider arrangements regarding the use of ground cover fabric.
It was resolved to defer discussions until the next meeting.
13.4. Soil improvement: To consider requests to supply compost/manure for use by tenants.
It was resolved to offer a one-off supply of compost, as a gesture of goodwill, to any tenant that wanted it. The Clerk would contact all tenants accordingly.
13.5. Rent: To consider any rent adjustments for the 2023/24 financial year.
It was resolved to keep the rent for the 2023/24 fiscal year at the same rate:
14.1. Bank mandate
It was resolved to defer amending the bank mandate until a review of alternative banks could be undertaken (to allow internet banking).
14.2. Budget expenditure
It was resolved to approve the budget expenditure.
14.3. Bank reconciliation
It was resolved to approve the bank reconciliation.
14.4.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £872.23
14.4.2. HMRC (PAYE): £207.90
14.4.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £319.52
14.4.4. Eyelid Productions Ltd (website): £160.00
14.4.5. Whittington Village Hall (room hire 2022): £270.00
14.4.6. Home Farm Nurseries (Pinvin) Ltd (Community Hall project): £923.05
14.4.7. Kaydee Light Control Solutions Ltd (blinds): £152.38
14.4.8. Sam Joyner (Lengthsman): £270.00
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.
14.5. Clerk’s Delegation
14.5.1. 23/02/22 Interclass PLC (Community Hall project): £2,153.98
14.5.2. 10/03/22 S&P Productions (Community Hall project): £3,962.28
The above payments made under the Clerk’s delegated authority were noted.
14.6. Direct Debits
14.6.1. 21/03/22 HSBC (business banking charges): £15.00
The above direct debit payment was noted.
15. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Allotments ground cover fabric
• Meeting start time
• Smart Water (update)
16. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting would be at 7:30PM on Thursday 28th April 2022.
A resolution was passed to exclude members of the public due to the confidential nature of the following item.
17. Clerk’s contract: To note and approve the National Joint Council for Local Government Services (NJC) National Salary Award 2021-22.
It was resolved to approve the 2021/22 salary award (1.75% increase), backdated to 1st April 2021.
The meeting closed at 21:47PM.