Minutes 25 May 2021 – Annual Council Meeting

Annual Meeting of Whittington Parish Council at 7:30PM on Tuesday 25th May 2021 at St Philip & St James Church, Church Lane, Whittington, WR5 2RQ

Minutes 05/2021

Present: Steve Burrows (Chair), Dan Bayliss, Jenny Knights, Katie Lambeth-Mansell, Susan MacLeod, Rob Stepniewski (from 7:45PM)
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Malcolm Macleod (Chair Community Hall Management Committee), David Chestney (Community Hall Management Committee), Rob Adams (District Councillor), Linda Robinson (County Councillor), members of the public

1. Election of a Chairman and signing the Declaration of Acceptance of Office
It was unanimously resolved to elect Steve Burrows as Chairman for the 2021/22 municipal year.

2. Election of a Vice-Chairman
It was unanimously resolved to elect Steve Brooker as Vice-Chairman for the 2021/22 municipal year.

3. Apologies for absence
Apologies were noted from Steve Brooker.

Rob Stepniewski would be late to the meeting.

4. Declarations of Interest
Susan MacLeod declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in all items pertaining to Whittington Community Hall.

5. Dispensations
A dispensation had previously been granted to Susan MacLeod to allow participation and voting on all matters pertaining to Whittington Community Hall.

6. Open Session
The meeting was adjourned for the open session.

6.1. District Councillor
Rob Adams provided a report as follows:
• Robert Raphael was continuing as Chairman of Wychavon District Council.
• Wychavon District Council were hosting an online ‘Building a greener recovery’ event for Parish and Town Councils on the 30th June 2021.
• Rob Adams would be touring parts of the parish to view current issues.
• A boundaries review consultation was due to go live on the 5th July 2021.

Rob Adams welcomed Linda Robinson as the new County Councillor for the Upton Snodsbury division.

6.2. County Councillor
Linda Robinson provided a report as follows:
New County Councillor’s Report for Whittington’s Annual Parish Council. Meeting May 25th 2021
Good evening Whittington Parish Council members. It is a pleasure to be with you this evening and a shame that no residents can join us but hopefully your meetings can soon return closer to normal.
Having recently read one of my District Annual reports from last year, I am reminded yet again of what a huge effect Coronavirus has had and continues to have on our everyday lives.

The main difference between the position this time last year and now is undoubtedly the introduction of vaccines. More than half of the UK’s population have received an initial dose. Over a quarter of adults are now fully immunised having received both doses. Vaccines are now being offered to those under 30. The Midlands have the highest rate of take up in England. In Wychavon 72% of residents over16 have received the first dose with 41% having received their second. This is testament to the key role councils continue to play in promoting vaccine uptake across our local communities. Many thanks to all our volunteers and health workers involved in the rollout. The Community testing Centre next to the Civic Centre in Pershore closed last week though the drive in one at County Hall remains open. There is a mobile testing unit at Abbey stadium in Redditch. Rapid tests are however available from selected local pharmacies and home testing kits can be collected from Pershore library. Surge testing is underway in Redditch following a number of cases being found for the South African variant. Home testing kits are being provided in affected areas. I realise that this is not too far away so to visit affected postcodes log on to www.worcestershire.gov.uk/covid19variant .

As a direct consequence of these measures plus the effect of strict lockdown procedures our local infection rates are decreasing. Across Worcestershire they have fallen to levels not seen since August 2020. Wychavon’s rate last week was down to 8 cases per 100,000. This however is not replicated across the whole of the country. The Prime Minister has warned us that we need to remain vigilant as we are ‘not out of the woods just yet, as variants continue to pose a threat ‘. He states that we need to be ‘realistic’ about the prospect of a third wave of infections as lockdown measures are lifted between July and September. We are also seeing an increase in cases of the Indian Variant in certain cities to the North of us. Fortunately, it seems that our current vaccines are mainly effective against this strain. Step three of the rollout took place last week when most indoor leisure/entertainment and hospitality was re-opened while mixing between two households or groups of six will be allowed inside. We can still expect some social distancing measures to continue in public places. Hopefully we can all look forward to all legal restrictions on social contact ending on June 21st if infection levels remain low.
The advice remains to stay vigilant to stay safe.

Many of you will be aware that following the retirement of your long-standing County Councillor Rob Adams I stood for election in the recent County Council elections. I had the second highest turnout in Wychavon of 34%, beaten only by Broadway by 1% and I was delighted to receive 68.23% of the votes cast. Continuing Rob’s excellent legacy will be a challenge but I am looking forward to my new role as your County Councillor. I am so fortunate though to have had the support and guidance from Rob for the last 14 years since I first became a District Councillor for the Upton Snodsbury ward so, I have a fair idea of what my new role entails. Tonight will be a strange role reversal for us both as he remains your District Cllr. while I shall be taking on his County responsibilities.

I signed my declaration at County Hall last Monday and attended Worcestershire ‘s Annual Council meeting in person last Thursday. I have to confess that I was slightly less keen on doing the COVID mandatory lateral flow test shortly beforehand! My life is currently consisting of many Induction meetings. I have been made Vice Chairman of the County’s Planning Committee which I am looking forward to as I particularly enjoy Planning and this will be quite different to District being far more strategic.

My thanks also go to your retiring County Councillor Rob Adams for all he has done for our Communities since the inception of Worcestershire County Council back in 2005 when he first stood.

All Highways queries should now come to myself and Barry Barnes who remains your County Council Highways officer.

I am looking forward to getting to know you all better and working well together for the benefit of your Community. I would welcome any questions you may have but please forgive me if I do not know the answers just yet.

6.3. Whittington C of E Primary School
No matters were reported.

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

6.5. Brethren Church
No matters were reported.

6.6. Whittington Community Hall
An update was received under item 10.

6.7. Public participation
No questions were raised.

The meeting resumed following the open session.

7. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 27th April 2021
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chair.

8. Progress reports

8.1. SWDP / Parkway Development
No update was available.

8.2. Whittington Walk development
A meeting had been arranged with Steve Burrows, officers from Wychavon District Council, Rob Adams and representatives of Persimmon Homes. Persimmon Homes agreed the following:
• It was acknowledged that there were issues with the type of footpath construction used previously on the bridleway and it was indicated that the same type of construction would not be used in future.
• The provision of litter and dog fouling bins for the estate would be reviewed with a view to them being maintained by the interim management company.
• A new Parish Council notice board would be supplied and installed (item 8.4).
• Future communication with residents and parish would be improved.

8.3. Flooding, Church Lane
It was noted that Worcestershire County Council had, without notification or consultation with the Parish Council, attended to survey the drainage in the area but had abandoned their work on finding an obstruction.

Survey work had been undertaken by the Parish Council’s contractors and the plans would be shared with the County Council and Linda Robinson.

8.4. Noticeboard, Whittington Walk
Persimmon Homes had agreed to supply and install a Parish Council notice board.

8.5. Wildmore litter/dog fouling bins
It was noted that the open spaces had now been adopted by Wychavon District Council and that the bins would be replaced with large bins of a more suitable design and emptied three times per week.

8.6. Advertising banners, A4440 island
It was noted that an enforcement case had been raised with Wychavon District Council to review the alleged breach of planning control.

9. Correspondence

9.1. Resident: Request to consider signage at the allotments to deter unauthorised use.
It had been reported that there had been minor trespass on the allotments that may have damaged some of the planting. It was resolved to purchase and install a number of ‘Private – Allotment Holders Only’ signs.

9.2. Warndon Parish Council: Draft Neighbourhood Plan regulation 14 stage consultation.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.

9.3. Wychavon District Council: Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations DPD revised preferred options consultation.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.

10. Community Hall Project

10.1. To receive an update
It was noted that the programme had slightly slipped by one week due to the unseasonable weather and material supply delays. Applications had been received to fill the new Hall Manager position; job descriptions would be going out shortly with a view to interviewing soon. A new website was being developed with an embedded ‘Hallmasters’ booking system. There had been significant interest in the new village hall and a number of booking enquiries had already been received. An official opening event is planned for Saturday 4th September 2021.

10.2. Finance and budget expenditure: To receive an update.
An update was received regarding projected project overspend, currently £33,271.18. However, grant funding totalling £16,286.00 had already been received to cover those elements relating to the garden and landscaping.

The remaining additional expenses related to included unbudgeted items such as a pump alarm, lock suiting, CCTV drainage survey (agreed at a previous meeting), doors, fencing, cycle shed provision.

Further additional costs related to a change to the specification for the roofing finish, necessary as the original specification was unavailable. It was noted that this did have the advantage of a 20-year warranty (the original specification had no warranty).

Further additional costs relate to the foul and surface water drainage arrangements as approved by Severn Trent Water.

It was felt that these additional instructions were necessary and it was therefore resolved that they would be acceptable in principle, but it was noted that negotiations were ongoing with a view to reducing costs where possible.

The Parish Council and Community Hall Committee had made provision for such contingency costs within their budgeting.

10.3. Kitchen supply and installation: To consider additional instructions to the contractor for fitting out of the main kitchen and kitchenette.
As per item 10.2 it was anticipated that additional expenditure would be necessary in order to fit out the kitchen and kitchenette, these items were still subject to further negotiation.

10.4. Deed of Novation: To approve and sign the Deed of Novation and associated documents relating to the novation of the structural, civil, engineering and drainage design carried out by Shire Consulting.
It was resolved to sign the Deed of Novation.

11. Planning

11.1. 21/00812/FUL: Church View Barns, Pond Farm, Church Lane, Whittington. Proposed change of use to residential curtilage and repositioned accesses.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.

12. Parish matters for discussion/decision

12.1. Equipment for streaming future physical meetings: To consider purchasing equipment.
It was hoped that the new Community Hall would be wired for committee meeting technology and so it was resolved to defer the purchase of any equipment until the new hall was open.

13. Lengthsman Scheme

13.1. To receive an update
The Lengthsman had undertaken strimming at junction visibility splays and at the turning area in Old Road. It was felt that the work was progressing well although there were still delays in receiving paperwork.

13.2. Work schedule: To consider any items for the Lengthsman’s work schedule.
It was resolved to ask the Lengthsman to attend to the foliage obstructing the 30MPH signs on the entrance to the village and to clear the detritus from the double yellow lines in Old Road/Church Lane.

14. Allotments

14.1. To receive an update
It was noted that the Clerk had arranged under delegated authority for a contractor to repair both of the allotment taps; an invoice was expected shortly.

It was noted that all of the plots were now tenanted and being worked.

15. Annual business as per Standing Orders

15.1. General Power of Competence
It was resolved that the Parish Council still met the criteria for the General Power of Competence.

15.2. To review the following policies and procedures

15.2.1. Action Plan
15.2.2. Balances and Reserves Policy
15.2.3. Clerk, Parish, Councillor Protocol
15.2.4. Code of Conduct
15.2.5. Community Engagement Strategy
15.2.6. Complaints Procedure
15.2.7. Coronavirus COVID 19 Strategy
15.2.8. Councillor and Clerk Training Record
15.2.9. Disciplinary Procedure
15.2.10. Equal Opportunities Policy
15.2.11. Financial Regulations
15.2.12. FOI Act
15.2.13. FOI Guide
15.2.14. GDPR Data Privacy Policy
15.2.15. GDPR Data Protection Policy
15.2.16. GDPR Data Security Incident Procedure
15.2.17. Grant Awarding Policy
15.2.18. Grievance Procedure
15.2.19. Health and Safety Policy
15.2.20. Press and Media Policy
15.2.21. Publication Scheme
15.2.22. Retention Policy
15.2.23. Standing Orders
15.2.24. Training and Development Policy
The above policies were reviewed and it was resolved to approve them without amendment.

It was resolved to clarify if the Data Protection and Privacy Policies needed updating following the country leaving the EU.

15.3. To review insurance, risk and assets

15.3.1. Risk Management Policy and Risk Register (Covid update)
It was resolved to update the Risk Management Policy and Risk Register to include:
• Disruption to service due to loss of councillors (and unable to reach quorum).
• Reputational risks to the Parish Council.

15.3.2. Insurance cover
15.3.3. Inventory of Assets
The above policies were reviewed and it was resolved to approve them.

15.4. To review appointment to committees, working groups and external bodies
It was resolved to appoint Katie Lambeth-Mansell to lead on all matters pertaining to emergency planning.

15.4.1. Allotments
It was resolved that the Clerk would continue to manage the allotments under delegated authority, in consultation with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman as necessary.

15.4.2. Highways and Byways
It was resolved to appoint Steve Brooker to lead on matters pertaining to highways and rights of way.

It was resolved to appoint Jenny Knights to lead on all matters pertaining to the Lengthsman Scheme.

15.4.3. Whittington Village Hall
It was resolved to appoint Susan MacLeod and Steve Brooker to report on matters pertaining to Whittington Community Hall.

15.4.4. Whittington C of E Primary School
It was resolved to appoint Dan Bayliss to report on matters pertaining to Whittington C of E Primary School.

15.4.5. Whittington Church
It was resolved to appoint Jenny Knights to report on matters pertaining to Whittington Church.

15.4.6. Brethren Church
It was resolved that no appointment was necessary.

15.5. To review the meeting schedule for the year ahead
It was resolved to continue to hold scheduled meetings on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 7:30PM, with the exception of August and December where there are no scheduled meetings.

16. Finance

16.1. Annual Internal Audit Report
The internal auditor’s report was considered and it was noted that there were no recommendations requiring attention.

16.2. Annual Governance Statement
The Annual Governance Statement was considered and it was resolved that each statement had been achieved and it was duly signed.

16.3. Accounting Statements
The Statement of Accounts was considered and it was resolved to approve and it was duly signed.

16.4. Bank mandate
It was resolved that no changes were necessary to the bank signatory arrangements.

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

16.6. Bank reconciliation
It was resolved to approved the bank reconciliation.

16.7. Invoices

16.7.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £859.14
16.7.2. HMRC (PAYE): £207.90
16.7.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £319.52
16.7.4. Interclass PLC(Community Hall Project): £100,843.72
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.

17. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Boundaries review consultation
• Broadband update
• Community Hall project additional costs

18. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 7:30PM on Tuesday 22nd June 2021.

The meeting closed at 9:21PM