Meeting of Whittington Parish Council at 7:30PM on Tuesday 25th February 2020 at ‘Active 8+’, Pond Farm, Whittington, WR5 2RQ
Present: Steve Burrows (Chair), Susan MacLeod, Steve Brooker, Dan Bayliss, Jenny Knights, Rob Stepniewski
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Malcolm MacLeod (Chair Whittington Community Hall Management Committee), members of the public
1. Apologies for absence
Apologies were approved from Liz Potter.
2. Declarations of Interest
Susan MacLeod declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in item 9.1 (planning permission 20/00173/OUT).
Susan MacLeod declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in items pertaining to Whittington Community Hall (item 8).
Steve Brooker declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in items pertaining to Whittington Community Hall (item 8).
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
No report was available.
4.2. County Councillor
No report was available.
The following report was noted:
We have 4 reportable incidents for the last month all of which have occurred within the last 10 days.
• On 13/02 a report of a workshop being broken into on Church Lane overnight.
• A residential burglary was reported on the 15/02 which it is believed had occurred the previous evening. Offenders broke in through a rear door and stole items of jewellery from a property on Walkers Lane.
• A garage at a residential property on Pershore Road was broken into overnight on the 19/20th, a number of power tools and other items were stolen.
• Yesterday we received a report that the workshops on Church Lane had once again been targeted and a whacker plate and compressor had been stolen, believed to have occurred overnight Friday into Saturday 21/22nd.
We would appeal to residents to review their security immediately and to report any suspicious persons or vehicles in the area via 101 or 999 in an emergency. Patrols in the area have already been increased.
4.4. Whittington Community Hall
A report on the new Community Hall Project was received (discussed further under item 8).
4.5. Whittington C of E Primary School
It was noted that the school had achieved a ‘good’ rating following the recent Ofsted inspection.
4.6. Whittington Church
No report available.
4.7. Brethren Church
No matters reported.
4.8. Public participation
A member of the public spoke in respect of item 9.1 (planning permission 20/00173/OUT) and raised various concerns with the proposals. It was stated that access was already very difficult as it is particularly narrow and would potentially conflict with vulnerable pedestrians accessing the school. Access for refuse vehicles and emergency vehicles was similarly restricted. Further concern was raised that the plot was very small and does not take into account the footways that border the site. It was asserted that the proposed parking area would not be wide enough to park two vehicles and permit these vehicles to turn. It was suggested that the proposed new property would increase the housing density in this small area by an unacceptable amount and would potentially overshadow adjacent properties, to the detriment of amenity for nearby residents. Clarification was sought on whether the site was included in the conservation area.
A member of the public raised a concern regarding the ongoing flooding of Church Lane by the village hall.
The editor of South Worcester Voice was in attendance and provided an overview of the publication. It was noted that circulation and coverage of the magazine would be increased to cover Whittington parish. It was noted that this was a business enterprise and revenue was generated through advertising.
The meeting resumed following the open session.
5.1. South Worcester Voice: To consider increased coverage and circulation of this magazine to include Whittington.
It was noted that circulation and coverage of the publication was being increased to cover Whittington parish. Possible content for the parish was considered.
5.2. Parishioner: Request to provide a dog fouling bin and/or litter bin at Grandison Gardens.
As the budget had already been set for 2020/21 and as funds were limited due to the Community Hall Project, it was resolved to consider adding this into the budget for 2021/22 (reviewed November 2020). The Clerk would contact the resident accordingly.
5.3. Wychavon District Council: To note invite to the South Worcestershire Development Plan Review Briefing for Parish and Town Councils on Tuesday 31st March 2020 at the Guildhall, Worcester.
It was resolved that Steve Brooker would endeavour to attend the meeting.
5.4. Wychavon District Council: To note completion of the bridleway diversion order pertaining to bridleway numbers 507, 508 and 510.
It was noted that the above order had been completed.
It was felt that the surface condition of the bridleway was still very poor, with potholes and inadequate drainage. It was felt that until these issues were fully resolved it would not be used by commuting cyclists and pedestrians. It was noted that Wychavon District Council had approved the specification and so it was resolved to write to highlight the above concerns.
5.5. Worcestershire County Council: Pollinator Strategy consultation.
It was resolved to query if there were any plans to encourage pollinators at Whittington in view of the increasing urbanisation of the parish.
5.6. Worcestershire County Council: To note invite to the spring Parish Conference on Wednesday 18th March 2020 in the Council Chamber, County Hall.
It was resolved that Rob Stepniewski and Jenny Knights would endeavour to attend the event.
5.7. Worcestershire CALC: To note the 2020 training schedule.
The 2020 training schedule was noted. It was resolved that:
• The Clerk would attend the Clerks Gathering on Tuesday 10th March.
• Jenny Knights would attend the 5Ps training (Saturday 25th April) and the 3Ms training (Saturday 2nd May).
• Steve Burrows would attend the Councillors’ Gathering on Thursday 30th April.
• Liz Potter would attend the ‘Whistle Stop Tour’ training on Saturday 28th March.
6. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meetings on Tuesday 28th January 2020 and Thursday 13th February 2020
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were signed by the Chair.
7. Progress reports
No update was available.
7.2. Smart Water
A response from Persimmon Homes was still awaited and the Clerk was following this up.
7.3. SWDP/Parkway Development
It was noted that the new parkway station was now open and operational. It was felt that pedestrian links to the station could be improved.
An update was received on recent South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) meetings. It was thought that the new SWDP would be adopted November 2021.
7.4. Local Council Awards Scheme
It was noted that the Clerk had submitted the relevant paperwork to apply for ‘Quality Parish Council’ status and was awaiting feedback from Worcestershire CALC.
8. Community Hall Project
Concern was raised over the proposed drainage plans for the new Community Hall, especially in light of the ongoing drainage issues at Church Lane. It was resolved to raise this with Worcestershire County Council Highways department for further investigation.
It was noted that the revised tenders had not yet been received; it was noted that there was the potential for the bids to increase or decrease. It was hoped that the revised tenders would be available in the next two weeks.
An update was received on budget expenditure. It was noted that £15,524.00 (+VAT) had so far been spent by the Parish Council on the Community Hall Project.
8.3. Public Works Loan
Revised figures arising from the latest forecast expenditure were noted. Based on an estimated £420,000.00 Public Works Loan an additional £14,144.00 would be required on the 2021/22 precept (a 61% increase).
It was noted that the possibility of applying for a grant under the Severn Trent Community Fund scheme was still under review.
It had been confirmed that £15,011.00 S106 funding for ‘open space improvements’ would potentially be available for a Community Garden at the new Community Hall.
9.1. 20/00173/OUT: Land off School Walk, Whittington. Outline application with all matters reserved for construction of detached bungalow.
Susan MacLeod left the room for the duration of discussions on this item.
It was resolved to object to the proposals.
The access road that would serve the proposed new property is far too narrow to support any additional development. This narrow access is very difficult to negotiate and because there are no footways vehicles are in direct conflict with vulnerable pedestrians accessing the school. Access for refuse vehicles and emergency vehicles is similarly restricted.
This part of Whittington already has a very high housing density; the proposed new property would be over-development of this area, reducing green space and potentially overshadowing adjacent properties. This would be detrimental to the character of adjacent listed buildings and would negatively impact the amenity of the area.
10. Parish matters for discussion/decision
10.1. Whittington Walk
It was noted that there were currently 28 occupied properties. No responses to the Parish Council’s enquiries had been received from Persimmon Homes and consequently no further update was available.
Arrangements for delivery of the Parish Council newsletter were considered.
10.3. Disciplinary procedure
It was resolved to adopt an updated policy.
10.4. Grievance procedure
It was resolved to adopt an updated policy.
11. Highways and Byways
11.1. Vehicular Activated Sign
Possible battery replacement for the VAS was still under review.
11.2. Parking Restrictions, Old Road
A response had been received from Worcestershire County Council regarding the restriction on Sunday parking. The restrictions had been made to apply seven days a week as there was concern that by leaving Sunday unrestricted it would open up a large window of opportunity for ‘outside parking’ which would have been possible from Midday on Saturday until 11am on Monday.
Feedback from parishioners had generally been quote positive. Additional enforcement action from Wychavon District Council had been requested.
11.3. Traffic/noise issues (Swinesherd Way, Crookbarrow Way and Pershore Road)
A response had been received from Worcestershire County Council; there are currently no plans to reduce the speed limit on Swinsherd Way, however, this will continue to be reviewed in conjunction with further development adjacent to this road.
11.4. Overnight HGV Parking
A response had been received from Worcestershire County Council, who would be reluctant to restrict the use of these parking areas unless there was a genuine road safety reason.
It was resolved to keep the allotment rent at the same level (£60.00 per annum) for the 2021/22 financial year. It was resolved that if there were any vacant plots following the issuing of new tenancy agreements then these would be offered at half price (£30.00 per annum) to existing tenants for the first year only.
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): £621.71
13.3.2. HMRC (PAYE): £159.13
13.3.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £255.86
13.3.4. Plan Copy& Print Services Ltd (newsletter): £60.00
13.3.5. Stewart Associates (M&E design services): £600.00
13.3.6. Whittington PCC (room hire): £185.00
It was resolved to approve the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.
13.4. Clerk’s delegation
13.4.1. 2nd City Gas (allotments emergency tap repair) 28/01/20: £192.00
The above payment was noted.
14. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Drainage issues (Church Lane)
• Local Council Award Scheme (update)
• SWDP/Parkway Development (update)
• Vehicular Activated Sign (VAS) batteries
15. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 7:30PM on Tuesday 31st March 2020.
A resolution was passed to exclude members of the public due to the confidential nature of the following item.
It was resolved to renew the Clerk’s professional membership with the Society of Local Council Clerks at a cost of £55.00 per annum.
The meeting closed at 21:34PM.