Minutes 25 January 2022

Meeting of Whittington Parish Council at 7:30PM on Tuesday 25th January 2022 at Whittington Community Hall, Church Lane, Whittington, WR5 2RQ

Minutes 01/2022

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

1. Apologies for absence
It was noted that Jenny Knights had resigned from the Parish Council and the relevant vacancy notice had been posted.

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

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
It was resolved to grant a dispensation for a period of four years to Richard Boase to allow participation and voting on all items pertaining to Uffnell’s Allotments.

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:
• An update was provided on the current Boundaries Commission review (further detail under item 7.3).
• Round four of Wychavon District Council’s Community Legacy Grant scheme had commenced.
• A peer review of the planning system in Wychavon was being conducted.
• Green Party candidate Hannah Robson had been successful at The Littletons by-election.

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

There have been more encouraging signs that Covid cases are falling throughout Worcestershire. Latest data from Public Health England shows much of the County is seeing numbers now matching or below those of a few weeks ago. However WCC has said that covid cases in schools are on the rise despite overall numbers falling. The latest County Council data shows that Worcestershire schools have recorded 1,021 cases per 100,000 population, with the national average for England being 971 per 100,000. WCC said it has been working with 41 schools for covid related support. Many of our schools are planning to encourage students to wear masks indoors to give more time to see if local rates are falling. The move comes as schools are reporting severe staff shortages with some primary schools asking parents to conduct lateral flow tests on their children before coming to school.

The government advice to wear masks will end on 27th January along with other Plan B measures.
From this Monday the Government has reduced the mandatory numbers for self-isolation from seven to five days. However, this is conditional that there needs to be a negative test undertaken on day 5 and day six and no evidence of a raised temperature. Age 16 to 17 year olds can now book their booster online.

Fortunately, the Omicron variant is proving to give milder symptoms but we still have 75 patients in our Acute Hospitals with 7 in intensive care. There were 7 deaths due to Covid since Xmas. The NHS is widely reported to be under significant pressure due to a combination of more covid 19 patients, usual winter workload and staff absences. Care homes across Worcestershire are reporting having lost ‘hundreds of staff since the mandatory vaccine came into effect. The advice remains to stay alert and take precautions to stay safe and encourage further take up of vaccines.

Both County & District Councils are busy preparing their draft budget proposals for 2022/2023 having finally received their local government Settlement. WCC are proposing an increase of 3.94% to their share of Council tax, which will equate to £1 per week for a band D property. Three quarters of the increase is to be ring fenced for adult social care Services.

A query was raised regarding the adoption timescales for the Wildmore estate and Linda Robinson agreed to look into this.

4.3. Whittington C of E Primary School
A report was received as follows:
• There had been a recent Zoom meeting with the headmaster with further monthly meetings planned.
• The catchment area extends from Weogoran Park (Worcester City) to Grasshopper Drive, St Peters. It is the only primary school in the Nunnery Wood feeder cluster to be full.
• COVID update – 5 children (out of 210) and 1 member of staff (out of 30) are currently isolating.

Two issues have been raised seeking Parish Council assistance:
• The parking restrictions on Old Road (11AM to 12PM) were causing issues for the lunchtime volunteers. A change to the restriction hours was requested, or ‘blue badge-type’ notices that could be used by the school volunteers to avoid being ticketed. It was resolved to ask Rob Adams to make tentative enquiries with Wychavon District Council to verify if a parking badge scheme was viable, although there was concern that this would set a precedent and could create further parking problems in future.
• Safety barriers were requested along Whittington Road and Crookbarrow Way. The school is trying to encouraging walking to school, however parents have explained that they do not feel safe walking along Whittington Road (40mph) or Crookbarrow Way (60mph) without safety barriers. It was resolved that Linda Robinson would ask Worcestershire County Council to consider providing highway safety barriers, widening the footways and lowering the speed limit on the Whittington Road and Crookbarrow Way.

4.4. Whittington Church
No report was available.

4.5. Brethren Church
The Brethren Church were waiting for the current Covid restrictions to be lifted before reopening fully.

4.6. Whittington Community Hall
A report was received under item 8.

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 meetings on the 23rd November 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. Councillor vacancies
It was noted that there were two vacancies on the Parish Council and enquiries from parishioners were welcomed.

6.2. Whittington Walk
It was noted that the deterioration of the bridleway surface had worsened further and was now causing significant problems for users. It was resolved to write again to Persimmon Homes asking for the surface to be replaced and to ask that all future footpath construction on the estate does not use the same materials. A copy of the complaint would be sent to the relevant officers at Wychavon District Council and Worcestershire County Council.

It was resolved to raise this issue with the press if no positive response was received.

6.3. Flooding, Church Lane
It was noted that Worcestershire County Council had made no progress on this issue unfortunately.

7. Correspondence

7.1. Wychavon District Council: Invite to Civic Service on Sunday 20th March 2022 at All Saints Church, Evesham.
The above invite was noted.

7.2. Association of Democratic Services Officers: Petition for Councils in England to have the choice to meet remotely.
It was resolved that the Parish Council were in support of the petition.

7.3. The Local Government Boundary Commission: Consultation on draft recommendations for ward boundaries in Wychavon.
It was noted that the consultation presented the following options relevant to Whittington:
• Norton and Whittington remaining together with one District Councillor is not an option due to growth in electorate.
• The option recommended by the Boundary Commission is to divide the ward with a District Councillor each, with Whittington combining with Upton Snodsbury. It is not clear which ward Rob Adams would represent in this scenario.
• A further possibility would be having two District Councillors to represent the current Whittington / Norton ward.

It was resolved that the Parish Council wished to stay in the same ward with Norton parish, with representation from two District Councillors. It was felt that many of the issues facing Whittington parish were also facing Norton parish and the democratic process would be strengthened by keeping these similar parishes in the same ward. Upton Snodsbury, by contrast, is a far more rural ward facing very different local priorities.

A copy of the consultation response would be sent to Rob Adams and the Chairman of Norton Parish Council.

7.4. Worcestershire County Council: Invite to draft budget consultation at 5:30PM on Wednesday 26th January 2022.
The above invite was noted.

7.5. Worcestershire County Council: Notice of road closure for U47607 Church Lane, Whittington, commencing 2nd February 2022 (anticipated duration 20 days).
The above closure was noted.

7.6. Whittington Church: Request to consider a donation towards church burial ground maintenance.
Regrettably it was noted that the Parish Council were not legally able to make donations towards the upkeep of church property.

7.7. Nextdoor: Request to sign up to the ‘Nextdoor’ community networking facility.
It was resolved that the Parish Council would not sign up to this facility.

7.8. Parishioner: Enquiry regarding extent of public highway at Brewers Lane.
The extent of the adopted public highway was clarified for this location.

8. Community Hall Project

8.1. To receive an update
An update was received as follows:
• Richard Holroyd was welcomed as the new Chair of the Community Hall Management Committee.
• A recent fire assessment had been carried out and the recommendations were being actioned.
• Further grant funding was available for Covid support and this was being applied for.
• The application to draw down £24,838.70 S106 funding had been successful.

8.2. Additional works: To receive an update regarding approved additional work at the community hall (utilising available S106 funding).
The following update was received regarding the proposed additional works at the Community Hall (utilising £24,838.70 S106 funding):
• Acoustics – arrangements have been agreed for a contract with Walnut Acoustics to work in conjunction with Blue Frog Acoustics to design and execute the acoustic treatment to the hall. The cost of the acoustic work has increased to £14,968.80 due to supply difficulties. The installation has been programmed to start 28th March 2022.
• Security – “Stop that Thief” will commence installation as soon as a suitable date can be found to fit in with hall bookings.
• Exterior floodlighting – a quotation is being sought from Interclass.
• Upgrading car charging point – work has been ordered through Interclass and will be done as soon as the equipment is received.
• Defibrillator – the defibrillator was installed in good time for the demonstration/training session.
• Pedestrian gate – arrangements have been made to modify the gate at a cost of £769.20 (ex VAT) in the next two weeks.
• Blinds – the installation of blinds in the hall and meeting room will be carried out as soon as the colour of the blinds has been agreed by the Hall Management Committee.
• Landscaping contract – most of this had been completed. The cycle shelter has been erected but further remedial work is in hand.

It was resolved to approve the additional expenditure on acoustic treatment (£733.80); it was believed that the costs could be offset by savings on the landscaping contract.

It was resolved to temporarily increase the Clerk’s delegated authority to make payments up to £15,000.00 until 31st March 2022 to allow invoices for the acoustic treatment to be settled on time.

9. Planning

9.1. 21/02934/FUL: Whittington C Of E First School, School Walk, Whittington, WR5 2QZ. Proposed single storey extension.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.

9.2. W/22/00058/HP: 4 Deane Drive, Whittington, Worcester, WR5 2SR. Side facing dormer of roof slope to loft conversion. Rooflight to side elevation and rear window. Single storey rear extension.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.

9.3. SWDP / Parkway Development
Following recent meetings of the South Worcester Development Plan Local Parishes Committee a request had been made to the District Council to allow the sharing of information with the public.

10. Parish matters for discussion/decision

10.1. Smart Water: To receive an update on the purchase of Smart Water kits for parishioners and to co-ordinate distribution.
It was resolved to hold a short pre-meeting at 7:00PM, ahead of the next Parish Council meeting, to further review the distribution of Smart Water kits.

10.2. Vehicular Activated Sign (VAS): To receive an update on the repair/replacement of the faulty sign.
Linda Robinson had offered to fund a replacement sign for Whittington Parish Council for use on the Pershore Road (and also one for neighbouring Norton parish). It was resolved to accept the generous offer and the details would be discussed with Norton Parish Council and Worcestershire County Council.

10.3. Mud on road, Church Lane: To consider reported issues.
It was noted that there had been significant mud on the carriageway along Church Lane and this had been reported to Wychavon District Council planning enforcement. It was understood that arrangements had been made for a road sweeper to visit the site but that further work was needed to remove the remaining mud and rebuild the verges.

11. Lengthsman Scheme

11.1. To receive an update
There were no matters to report.

11.2. Lengthsman Co-ordinator
It was resolved that Jenny Knights would still act as co-ordinator for the Lengthsman under a volunteer capacity, in liaison with the Clerk and Katie Lambeth-Mansell.

11.3. Work schedule
It was resolved to ask the Lengthsman to clear the leaves on Old Road that were obscuring the double yellow lines and to attend to overhanging trees/branches near to The Elms on Walkers Lane.

12. Allotments

12.1. Monthly inspection: To receive an update and to consider the monthly inspection report and any actions/proposals generated.
A report on the condition of the allotment plots was considered and approved.

It was resolved to write to allotment holders that had significantly breached the terms and conditions to give notice to end the tenancy (before the tenancy agreements are renewed in April).

It was resolved to give retrospective permission for a number of structures that had been placed on allotment plots (bench, tables, storage containers) where such items are considered in the spirit of the allotment site and are in a good state of repair.

It was resolved that between March and October the monthly survey would be undertaken by the allotments lead and one additional councillor (on rotation).

12.2. Terms and Conditions: To consider and approve an updated ‘Terms and Conditions for Keeping Allotments’.
It was resolved to adopt an updated Terms and Conditions for the allotments, to be enforced in accordance with site inspections and at the Parish Council’s discretion.

13. Finance

13.1. Budget and Precept
It was resolved to approve the 2022/23 budget and to request a precept of £39,500.00.

13.2. Internal Auditor
It was resolved to appoint Iain Selkirk FCA to provide the internal audit of the Parish Council’s 2021/22 accounts.

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. Invoices

13.5.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £839.89
13.5.2. HMRC (PAYE): £207.90
13.5.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £319.52
13.5.4. Home Farm Nurseries (Pinvin) Ltd (Community Hall project): £1,140.00
13.5.5. Home Farm Nurseries (Pinvin) Ltd (Community Hall project): £4,510.46
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.

13.6. Direct Debits

13.6.1. 21/01/22 HSBC (business banking charges): £11.00
The above direct debit payment was noted. It was confirmed that the charges were as a result of the increased turnover due to the Community Hall Project.

14. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Smart Water distribution (at 7:00PM)
• Co-option
• Wildmore adoption (update)
• School volunteer parking issues
• Whittington Road and Crookbarrow Way highway safety concerns
• Bridleway surfacing issues (Whittington Walk)
• Vehicular Activated Sign (Pershore Road)
• Support of future community events
• Litter bin provision
• Creation of new Tree Preservation Orders
• Bank signatory review

15. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 7:30PM on Tuesday 22nd February 2022. A short pre-meeting at 7:00PM is scheduled to review Smart Water distribution.

The meeting closed at 10:11PM.