Online meeting of Whittington Parish Council at 7:30PM on Tuesday 22nd September 2020 via ‘Zoom’
Present: Steve Burrows (Chairman), Steve Brooker, Dan Bayliss, Jenny Knights, Susan MacLeod, Rob Stepniewski
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Rob Adams (District and County Councillor), Malcolm MacLeod (Chair Village Hall Management Committee), David Chestney (Village Hall Management Committee), members of the public
1. Apologies for absence
It was resolved to approve apologies from Liz Potter.
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 as follows:
• It was anticipated that further lockdown measures would be announced this evening.
• The Fire Authority had undertaken preparations to provide support to other authorities during the Coronavirus pandemic.
• Additional bus services were being explored to help rural communities across the district.
4.2. County Councillor
Rob Adams provided a report as follows:
• A Coronavirus test centre has been set up at County Hall.
• A meeting was being arranged with officers from the Highway Authority to review various issues in the parish.
No report was available.
4.4. Whittington C of E Primary School
A short update was provided; children had returned to the school and the Coronavirus measures that had been implemented were working well.
4.5. Whittington Church
Planning application 20/00790/FUL (St Philip and St James Church, to remove existing portacabin and construct a single storey building in its place) had been approved by Wychavon District Council. The scheme was now going through the Church’s faculty approval process and further funding was being sought to enable the scheme to progress. Whittington Church was now connected to broadband.
4.6. Brethren Church
The Brethren Church had been affected by the Coronavirus ‘rule of six’, but measures had been put in place to continue meetings online. A new book about the Brethren Church was now available, further details can be found on their website.
4.7. Whittington Community Hall.
An update on the Community Hall Project was provided (item 8).
4.8. Public participation
No questions or comments were received.
The meeting resumed following the open session.
5. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 11th August 2020
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chair.
6. Progress reports
It was noted that the Parish Council’s appointed Lengthsman had attended Worcestershire County Council’s Training session but, due to technological difficulties, had been unable to complete the course. Enquires would be made to see if he could start work, or if another training session was required.
6.2. SWDP/Parkway Development
It was noted that a briefing session had been arranged (item 7.2).
7.1. Wychavon District Council: Invite to Parish and Town Council Event, Thursday 8th October from 6:00-8:00PM.
The above invite was noted and Councillors would endeavour to attend.
7.2. Wychavon District Council: Invite to South Worcestershire Development Plan Review Briefing, Wednesday 7th October from 6:00-7:30PM.
The above invite was noted and Councillors Brooker and Knights would endeavour to attend.
7.3. Wychavon District Council: Briefing note on the planning reforms consultations.
The above proposed planning reforms were noted.
7.4. Worcestershire County Council: Proposed prohibition of waiting on access road off B4084 Pershore Road, Whittington.
The above proposed waiting restrictions (double yellow lines) were noted.
7.5. Worcestershire County Council: Update on the ‘Crowdfund Worcestershire’ initiative.
The above initiative was noted.
7.6. Worcestershire County Council: Parish winter newsletter.
The above newsletter was noted.
7.7. Worcestershire County Council: Invite to official launch event for the Public-Sector Energy Efficiency Programme (PEEP) Wednesday 1st October from 12:00-1:00PM.
The above invite was noted.
7.8. Resident: Highway signage and rubbish left at junction of Walkers Lane / Swinseherd Way.
The County Council had been contacted about a number of excavations (with associated signs/cones) that had not been reinstated. It was understood that these were trial holes undertaken by a developer. Worcestershire County Council had been contacted to request that the excavations be reinstated and the site tidied up.
7.9. Resident: Concerns regarding tree removal from Dalziel Drive (Wildmore).
It was reported that a tree had been removed from the grass verge outside 56, 58, 60 and 62 Dalziel Drive. Enquiries had been made with Worcestershire County Council who had confirmed that this was the responsibility of Bloor Homes; it was resolved to pursue the matter accordingly.
7.10. Resident: Concerns regarding pollution of Wildmore Brook.
A resident had reported pollution in Wildmore Brook and this had been reported to the Environment Agency for investigation.
7.11. Resident: Advanced notification of proposed listed building consent for The Mews House.
The above correspondence was noted.
7.12. Resident: B4084 Pershore Road speeding concerns.
It was resolved to contact the Police and Crime Commissioner to see if funding might be available under the Safer Roads Fund to pursue traffic calming measures (such as a replacement Vehicular Activated Sign).
7.13. Worcestershire CALC: To note the latest training schedule.
The above training schedule was noted and Councillors were encouraged to attend relevant courses.
8. Community Hall Project
8.1. Consultation comments: To consider a report on the comments received as part of the recent Community Hall public consultation.
It was resolved to use the consultation feedback as the basis for a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ update to residents.
8.2. PWLB application: To receive an update on the application for a Public Works Loan.
A response from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government was awaited; it was resolved to press for an update.
8.3. Tendering: To receive an update on the construction tender process.
The value engineering process was continuing and the final details of the build were being discussed. It was hoped that this process could be completed within the next couple of weeks, at which point the contract could be formally reviewed and agreed by the Parish Council. It was resolved to hold an extraordinary meeting, if required, to progress this.
8.4. Newsletter: To consider a newsletter to residents to provide an update on the project.
It was resolved to defer discussion on this until a future meeting (when the result of the Public Works Loan application was known).
9.1. 20/01511/OUT: Catnaps, Swinesherd Lane, Spetchley, Worcester, WR5 1RU. Outline application with all matters reserved for development of 2 number part single and part 1 1/2 storey high dwellings to form courtyard development.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.
9.2. 20/03115/STRETR: Application for street trading consent.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.
10. Parish matters for discussion/decision
10.1. Accessibility Regulations: To note amendment of the Parish Council’s online accessibility statement with respect to PDF documents.
Scanned PDF documents are required as part of the audit process, but they do not comply with the Accessibility Regulations 2018. As such the Parish Council’s Accessibility Statement has been updated to confirm that such documents can be provided in an alternative format on request.
10.2. Live streaming: To consider the live streaming of future (face-to-face) Parish Council meetings.
It was resolved to defer discussions on this until physical meetings had resumed.
10.3. Insurance: To review insurance cover.
The insurance cover was reviewed and it was resolved to approve the renewal quote provided by Came & Company.
It was resolved to clarify whether the Parish Council’s insurance covered the trees on the Village Hall site, or whether this was covered by the Village Hall Committee’s policy.
10.4. Whittington Walk: To receive an update.
It was noted that works on site were progressing. It was noted that the bridleway was beginning to deteriorate and weeds were encroaching onto the surface. It was resolved to ask Wychavon District Council to consider removing the gate on the bridleway as it makes it difficult to navigate with pushchairs, wheelchairs and bicycles.
11. Highways and Byways
11.1. Flooding: To consider reported flooding issues on Church Lane (near the Community Hall).
It was noted that Rob Adams was liaising with WCC Highways over this issue.
11.2. No through road signs: To receive an update on requested additional no through road signs for Old Road.
The County Council had investigated the issue but had concluded that the existing ‘no through road’ sign was in the correct location and that additional signs further into the road would be unnecessary.
11.3. Whittington Tump: To consider issues around permissive public access.
It was resolved to contact Spetchley Estate for an update on this request.
12. Allotments: To receive an update.
It was noted that one of the tenants had breached a number of the Allotment Terms and Conditions and so notice had been served to vacate the plot. The plot has now been rented out to a new tenant who had already made a start on cultivating it. All of the allotment plots were now tenanted.
13.1. External Audit
It was noted that the External Audit had concluded and the auditor’s comments are as follows:
In our opinion the information in Sections 1 and 2 of the AGAR is in accordance with Proper Practices and no other matters have come to our attention giving cause for concern that relevant legislation and regulatory requirements have not been met.
An update on specific earmarked and general reserves was provided. These would be reviewed alongside the 2021/22 budget later this year.
13.3. Budget expenditure
It was resolved to approve the budget expenditure.
13.4. Bank reconciliation
It was resolved to approve the bank reconciliation.
13.5.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £692.98
13.5.2. HMRC (PAYE): £77.13
13.5.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £237.36
13.5.4. Came & Company (insurance): £344.12
13.5.5. Royal Mail Group Ltd (freepost address): £76.36
It was resolved to approve the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.
14. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Tree removal, Dalziel Drive (update)
• Pollution, Wildmore Brook (update)
• Speeding concerns, B4084 Pershore Road (update)
• Community Hall Project consultation comments (FAQ)
• Community Hall Project newsletter
15. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 7:30PM on Tuesday 27th October 2020; an extraordinary meeting may be required ahead of this to progress the Community Hall Project.
A resolution was passed to exclude members of the public due to the confidential nature of the following items.
16. Clerk’s overtime: To approve additional hours spent on the Community Hall Project.
It was resolved to approve 6 hours overtime for the Clerk for work undertaken on the Community Hall Project.
17. Clerk’s contract: To consider and approve the NJC National Salary Award 2020-21.
It was resolved to approve the 2020/21 salary award (2.75% increase), backdated to 1st April 2020.
The meeting closed at 9:25PM.