Online meeting of Whittington Parish Council at 7:30PM on Tuesday 26th January 2021 via ‘Zoom’
Present: Steve Burrows (Chair), Jenny Knights, Dan Bayliss, Stephen Brooker, Katie Lambeth-Mansell, Susan MacLeod, Rob Stepniewski
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Rob Adams (District and County Councillor), Malcolm MacLeod (Chair Community Hall Management Committee), David Chestney (Community Hall Management Committee), members of the public
1. Apologies for absence
All members were in attendance.
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. Middle Battenhall Farm Land Action Group
A presentation was received regarding draft proposals for the land holdings at Middle Battenhall and Upper Battenhall Farms. It was hoped that a new country park could be developed in support of the South Worcestershire Development Plan; it was noted that this would necessitate some element of housing development. It was anticipated the outline planning permission might be applied for in approximately twelve months. Further details were available on the Worcester News and South Worcester Voice websites.
4.2. District Councillor
Rob Adams provided a report as follows:
• People were being encouraged to take the Covid vaccine when it was available. The number of cases across the district were slowly falling but levels were still very high.
• A district level boundary review proposed to reduce the number of councillor seats from 45 to 43.
4.3. County Councillor
Rob Adams provided a report as follows:
• There had been a call to review further 20MPH speed limits outside schools and other strategic locations.
4.4. Whittington C of E Primary School
It was noted that the school was continuing to cope well with the latest lockdown measures.
4.5. Whittington Church
The church had been closed for the duration of the latest lockdown, with all services now being conducted online.
Church faculty approval had been given for the project to remove the existing portacabin and construct a single storey building in its place (planning application 20/00790/FUL). The remaining funding was being raised to enable completion of this project.
4.6. Brethren Church
The Brethren Church were continuing to meet remotely.
4.7. Whittington Community Hall
An update was received under item 8.1.
4.8. Public participation
A member of the public commented that that any solution to the traffic / parking issues at Church Lane (item 10.1) would need to be a compromise of the needs of residents, the school and delivery drivers.
A member of the public reported that delivery drivers had received abuse when using the road network through Whittington (item 10.1).
A member of the public provided further detail on the land drainage history near to the Community Hall (item 6.5).
The meeting resumed following the open session.
5. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 22nd December 2020
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
An invite had been circulated regarding the South Worcestershire Development Plan Review; Councillors Brooker and Knights would endeavour to attend.
6.2. Whittington Walk development
No update was available.
6.3. Tree removal, Dalziel Drive
Worcestershire County Council had advised that a replacement tree would be considered when the roads and curtilage had been adopted.
6.4. Vehicular Activated Sign, B4084 Pershore Road
A funding application to the Local Policing and Community Ambassadors Fund was being prepared to allow for replacement of the Parish Council’s Vehicular Activated Sign. However, it was understood that the County Council were reviewing their policy on Vehicular Activated Signs and that solar powered signs might no longer be supported. Replacement batteries were also being researched to see if the current sign could be restored to working order.
6.5. Flooding, Church Lane
The Community Hall main contractor (Interclass PLC) would be investigating options for surface water drainage. The ditch outside the hall was no longer discharging, due to a suspected damaged land drain connection, which had resulted in the regular flooding of Church Lane. Wychavon District Council’s Land Drainage Officer had recommended utilising an existing land drain that goes across Berkley Estate, further research and approval would be required for this. Alternatively, a connection to the Severn Trent pumping station may be possible.
6.6. Noticeboard, Whittington Walk
The Clerk had made repeated contact with Persimmon Homes but had not been able to get a commitment from them regarding providing a noticeboard for Whittington Walk.
7.1. Wychavon District Council: Invite to Urban Design Planning Training, 6-8PM Monday 26th April 2021.
The above invite was noted.
7.2. Resident: Update requested regarding adoption of Wildmore estate.
Councillor Rob Adams would request an update from Worcestershire County Council.
8. Community Hall Project
8.1. To receive an update.
It was noted that the build programme was on schedule, foundation works had been completed before Christmas and the steel framework had been erected. An information sign board would be installed on site very soon with details of the build.
8.2. To receive an update on finance and budget expenditure.
To allow fibre broadband connection to the Community Hall it was necessary to install a new buried BT duct between the existing BT pole on the site boundary and the new building. No allowance had been made for this within the building contract. In view of the tight construction timescales the Clerk had exercised delegated authority to authorise the additional expenditure of £651.46 (plus VAT) to allow this work to commence on site.
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.
No planning matters.
10. Parish matters for discussion/decision
10.1. Parking/traffic issues, Old Road/Church Lane: To consider concerns raised by parishioners.
A meeting had taken place with Councillor Rob Adams, Worcestershire County Council Highways and residents to review the concerns relating to traffic and HGV usage of Church Lane and Old Road. The County Council had proposed installing a number of verge posts to protect the verges in the vicinity of ‘High Walls’. Additional parking restrictions, or a legal order to support the ‘school keep clear’ markings, were not considered viable.
It was thought that a delicate balance had been reached currently but that further opportunities for holistic solutions would be explored with the County Council where possible.
10.2. Lengthsman Scheme: To receive an update and to consider the Lengthsman’s work schedule.
The Clerk would prepare a short report for Councillors regarding the Lengthsman Scheme so that a work schedule could be prepared for approval at a future meeting.
10.3. Smart Water: To consider arrangements for the purchase and distribution of Smart Water kits to parishioners.
It was resolved to write to the Police and Crime Commissioner for clarification on whether funding for Smart Water would continue into the 2021/22 financial year and whether the Police could still fund postal distribution.
11.1. To receive an update.
A nearby resident had witnessed minor vandalism at the allotments and had reported this to the Police.
11.2. To consider any rent adjustments for the 2022/23 financial year.
It was resolved to keep the rent for the 2022/23 fiscal year at the same rate:
• Residents: £60.00
• Non-residents: £70.00
12.1. Internal Auditor
Iain Selkirk FCA had circulated his contract for the internal audit of the 2020/21 accounts. It was resolved to query the audit fee (of £105.00) in light of the Parish Council’s higher turnover this year.
12.2. Budget expenditure
It was resolved to approve the budget expenditure.
12.3. Bank reconciliation
It was resolved to approve the bank reconciliation.
12.4.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £870.15
12.4.2. HMRC (PAYE): £193.59
12.4.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £319.52
12.4.4. Interclass PLC (Community Hall Project): £129,695.02
12.4.5. Worcestershire CALC (training): £30.00
12.4.6. Worcestershire CALC (training): £30.00
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:
• Lengthsman work schedule
• Smart Water
• Internal Auditor appointment
14. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 7:30PM on Tuesday 23rd February 2021.
The meeting closed at 21:44PM.