Minutes 23 February 2021

Online meeting of Whittington Parish Council at 7:30PM on Tuesday 23rd February 2021 via ‘Zoom’

Minutes 02/2021

Present: Steve Burrows (Chair), Steve Brooker, Jenny Knights, Susan MacLeod, Katie Lambeth-Mansell
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Malcolm MacLeod (Chair Community Hall Management Committee), David Chestney (Community Hall Management Committee), Rob Adams (District and County Councillor), members of the public

1. Apologies for absence
Apologies were noted from Dan Bayliss and Rob Stepniewski.

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.

3. Dispensations
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 an update on proposed Council tax changes for 2021 as follows:
• Wychavon District Council – no change
• Worcestershire County Council – 2.5%
• Police – 6.66%
• Fire Authority – 1.99%

4.2. County Councillor
Rob Adams provided an update as follows:
• County Council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections would be going ahead in May. The Clerk would contact the elections office to confirm that Whittington Community Hall would not be available for voting.
• There was increased funding in footway maintenance across the county. It was hoped that some funding might go towards improving the Rights of Way on the Whittington Walk estate.
• There is a British Legion campaign to support commonwealth veterans seeking citizenship.
• Rob Adams had authorised £113.20 of his members divisional fund to go towards the replacement VAS batteries (item 12.4.4).
• Rob Adams had authorised £2000.00 of his members divisional fund to go to the Community Hall Committee for new tables and chairs for the new Community Hall.

4.3. Whittington C of E Primary School
No update was available.

4.4. Whittington Church
The Church is still closed but services were continuing on Zoom. It was hoped that the Church might be able to open on the 14th March for Mothering Sunday.

Arrangements to remove the existing portacabin and construct a single storey building in its place (planning application 20/00790/FUL) were ongoing.

4.5. Brethren Church
The Brethren Church were continuing to meet remotely.

4.6. Whittington Community Hall
An update was received under item 8.1.

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 26th January 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
No update was available.

6.2. Whittington Walk development
It was noted that there were continuing problems with the new surface installed to the Rights of Way on the Whittington Walk estate. During wet weather the surface becomes very muddy and difficult to navigate, with pedestrians choosing to use the grass verges instead. Additionally, the kissing gate should be removed to allow better access for the disabled and those with pushchairs. It was resolved that the Clerk would contact Wychavon District Council regarding these issues. Councillor Rob Adams would also make enquiries.

6.3. Vehicular Activated Sign, B4084 Pershore Road
Replacement batteries had been sourced (item 12.4.4) in order to restore the sign to full working order.

6.4. Flooding, Church Lane
It was thought that the ditches near to the Community Hall should discharge via a field drain but that this may have become severed, possibly when the Severn Trent pumping station was installed.

It was resolved to raise the matter again with Worcestershire County Council highways in the hope that they could pursue Severn Trent Water for a repair. Enquiries would be made with Worcestershire County Council to see if remaining Lengthsman Scheme funding could be utilised to commission a full survey of the drainage system, this would then inform who is responsible for the repair.

6.5. Noticeboard, Whittington Walk
No update was available.

6.6. Pollution, Wildmore Brook
It was noted that The Environment Agency had started to investigate the issue and are working with Severn Trent water to find a solution. It was suspected that the issue is due to a fault at a nearby pumping station.

7. Correspondence

7.1. Parishioner: Concerns raised regarding dog fouling, Whittington Walk.
Complaints had been received regarding the volume of dog fouling bags being disposed of around the Whittington Walk development. It was thought that additional bins could be investigated when the estate was completed.

7.2. Worcestershire County Council: Invitation to the Natural Networks Event, 6:00PM on Wednesday 17th March 2021.
The above invite was noted.

7.3. Wychavon District Council: Clarification requested on street naming arrangements for Whittington Walk.
It was noted that due to a change in road layout an additional road name was required, it was therefore resolved that ‘Fox Close’ be used as this had been previously suggested by the Parish Council.

7.4. Wychavon District Council: Housing needs survey.
It was resolved that the survey would be completed to indicate that Whittington had no need for additional housing at this time.

8. Community Hall Project

8.1. To receive an update.
The building works were currently on schedule, with the steel frame now fully erected and the blockwork substantially completed on site. Regular photo updates are available on the Parish Council’s website and Facebook page.

Booking enquiries were now being taken via whittingtonvhc@gmail.com

A number of volunteers have come forward to help with the project and with future management of the hall.

8.2. To receive an update on finance and budget expenditure.
The Clerk had submitted the first VAT claim for the Community Hall build totalling £14,613.78 and had written to HMRC to update them on the reasons for the extraordinary VAT claims and to give notice of further similar claims over the next year.

It was anticipated that the first instalment of the Community Legacy Grant would be applied for April 2021.

8.3. Landscaping: To consider additional instructions to the contractor for landscaping, planting and maintenance works.
Following the approval of £15,011.00 S106 funding for a Community Garden, it was resolved to add the following items back into the contract:
• Hard landscaping at £2,500.00
• Soft landscaping at £4,330.73
• 12 months maintenance at £2,276.74
• Interclass’s 4.4% management fee of £290.73

Totalling £9,398.20 (excluding VAT). Remaining funding could be diverted towards public art element, for which an additional £1,275.00 had already been secured.

9. Planning

9.1. Nil.
No planning matters.

10. Parish matters for discussion/decision

10.1. Lengthsman Scheme: To consider the Lengthsman’s work schedule and contract arrangements.
It was resolved that Councillor Knights be appointed as the lead on this scheme and would liaise directly with the Lengthsman and Clerk regarding work schedules. It was hoped that some work could be undertaken before the new financial year to use up some of the surplus funding.

10.2. Smart Water: To consider arrangements for the purchase and distribution of Smart Water kits to parishioners.
It was noted that funding for this scheme would continue into 2021/22 and it was therefore resolved to defer the purchase of kits until the new Community Hall has been completed.

10.3. Meeting recordings: To review meeting recording arrangements.
It was resolved to remove the meeting recordings from Facebook as soon as the draft minutes for that meeting had been adopted.

10.4. Clerk’s delegation: To review the Clerk’s delegation arrangements and authorisation limit.
In recognition of the increased expenditure levels due to the Community Hall Project it was resolved to temporarily raise the Clerks authorisation limit for emergency payments to £5,000.00 in any one calendar month with a limit of £20,000.00 per annum, until August 2021 (the end of the project).

11. Allotments

11.1. To receive an update.
It was resolved to contact current allotment holders and those on the waiting list to see if they were still interested in renting a plot 2021/22. A decision would be taken at the next meeting to consider if the £30.00 offer on a second plot would be extended for another year.

12. Finance

12.1. Internal Auditor: To consider the appointment of an Internal Auditor to review the 2020/21 accounts.
It was resolved to appoint Iain Selkirk FCA for the internal audit of the 2020/21 accounts, noting that the fee will be £150.00.

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

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

12.4. Invoices

12.4.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £870.96
12.4.2. HMRC (PAYE): £193.59
12.4.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £319.52
12.4.4. City Electrical Factors Ltd (VAS batteries): £150.24
12.4.5. Interclass PLC (Community Hall Project): £68,802.12
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.

13. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda.
• Allotments contract renewal

14. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 7:30PM on Tuesday 23rd March 2021.

The meeting closed at 9:33PM.