Meeting of Whittington Parish Council at 7:30PM on Tuesday 26th November 2019 at Whittington Village Hall
Present: Steve Burrows (Chair), Steve Brooker, Rob Stepniewski, Susan MacLeod, Jenny Knights
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Malcolm MacLeod (Chair Village Hall Committee), David Chestney (Village Hall Committee), Estelle Stock (Police), Rob Adams (District and County Councillor), members of the public
1. Apologies for absence
Apologies were approved from Dan Bayliss.
2. Declarations of Interest
Steve Brooker declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in items pertaining to Whittington Village Hall (item 9).
Susan MacLeod declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in items pertaining to Whittington Village Hall (item 9).
A dispensation had previously been granted to Steve Brooker to allow participation and voting on all matters pertaining to Whittington Village Hall.
A dispensation had previously been granted to Susan MacLeod to allow participation and voting on all matters pertaining to Whittington Village Hall.
It was noted that one application had been received from Elizabeth Potter to fill the Parish Council’s vacancy and it was resolved to co-opt her onto the council. The declaration of acceptance of office would be signed before the next meeting.
5. Open session
The meeting was adjourned for the open session.
A presentation and question and answer session was received on the Police ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ initiative. The initiative was designed to reduce instances of acquisitive crime via use of ‘Smartwater’ kits. The kits include stickers for use on windows and doors to act as a deterrent to potential thieves. The initiative offers a 25% discount on all kits purchased and free road signage where uptake is 70% or greater.
It was clarified that additional applications would be considered in future as new housing developments in Whittington were completed. It was thought that the developers might also contribute to additional kits where required.
A suggestion was made to explore grants currently being offered by Community First as it was thought that they might be suitable.
2. District Councillor
Rob Adams provided a report. The ‘protect your business, protect your staff’ event would be held on Thursday 28th November 2019 at Sixways Stadium.
3. County Councillor
There were no matters to report.
4. Whittington Village Hall
An update was received on the village hall project.
A tender list had been compiled for the construction contract for the new village hall. Four contractors had come forward based on the tender specification provided by the architect. Full responses to the tender should be available by the end of January 2020.
Site survey work had been completed and this had identified a number of issues with the site that would need to be resolved. A report was circulated detailing the recent design decisions.
It was noted that the current projected costs from the project manager totalled £687,500.00 (plus VAT) but this was queried as the projected costs should total no more than £600,000.00 (plus VAT) at this stage.
5. Whittington C of E Primary School
No report was available.
6. Whittington Church
A report had been circulated showing the proposed plans for a permanent structure to replace the current portable cabin.
7. Brethren Church
No matters to report.
8. Public participation
A member of the public raised a concern with the flooding on Church Lane by the village hall, this was restricting pedestrian access into the village. It was noted that this had been reported to Worcestershire County Council for further investigation (reference number 796947); Rob Adams agreed to try and expedite the matter. A footpath adjacent to the road could be utilised but was currently overgrown, it was resolved to report this to Worcestershire County Council.
The meeting resumed following the open session.
6. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 22nd October 2019
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were signed by the Chair.
7. Progress reports
It was noted that Worcestershire County Council had still not arranged a further training session for Lengthsman.
2. Traffic/noise issues on Swinesherd Way, Crookbarrow Way and Pershore Road
The Police had confirmed that they were investigating the concerns. It was resolved to write a response asking for a report on actions taken.
3. Traffic Regulation Order, Old Road, Whittington
It was noted that the legal implementation date for these parking restrictions would be the 30th January 2020, which would afford Spetchley Estates opportunity to resolve the parking issues for 1 and 2 Crookbarrow Cottages. It was noted that up to 14 parking signs/posts would be installed as part of this scheme.
1. Broadwas and Cotheridge Parish Council: Objection to proposed revision of South Worcestershire Development Plan (categorisation of villages).
A number of other Parish Councils had raised concern regarding proposed changes to the SWDP; in particular the requirement that ‘Category 2’ settlements must include a shop as one of its key services. This would result in ten villages, including Whittington, being reclassified from ‘Category 3’ to ‘Category 2’ and this could lead to further development within the village.
It was resolved to write to Broadwas and Cotheridge to support their objections as it was felt that the presence of a shop should be a requirement for sustainable development.
2. South Worcestershire Development Plan: Preferred Options Paper public consultation and a revised version of the Local Development Framework.
It was noted that the Parish Council had been invited to attend a SWDP ‘Neighbouring Parish Council Meet Up’ at 7:30PM on Tuesday 10th December 2019 at Stoulton Village Hall; Councillors would endeavour to attend. It was resolved that objections would be submitted regarding the details contained in these proposals, subject to further discussion at the above meeting.
3. Resident: Suggestion to advertise vacant allotments.
It was resolved to advertise the allotments in a parish newsletter/leaflet early 2020; the newsletter would include additional items such as budget/precept expenditure and the village hall project. This would be discussed further at the next meeting.
4. Whittington Church: Request to consider a donation towards church burial ground maintenance.
It was noted that National Association of Local Councils had advised that Parish Councils could not legally donate towards the upkeep of burial grounds.
It was resolved that the Parish Council would use the church meeting room (during the construction of the new village hall) and the room hire fees would be settled in advance (totalling £150.00).
9. Village Hall Project
The VAT advice from The Parkinson Partnership LLP was circulated and it was noted that the Parish Council, acting as Custodian Trustee for the village hall, could reclaim all VAT on expenditure that it has directly incurred. The village hall committee’s reserves would need to be kept separate and would not be eligible for a VAT refund, however.
2. Legal issues
No update was available regarding amending the existing covenant(s) with Berkeley Estates to facilitate the proposed building works and updating the Land Registry plans in accordance with recent topographical surveys.
3. Design Details
Design details for the new hall were consider and noted.
4. Tender arrangements
A tender list for the construction contract for the new village hall was circulated. It was noted that four contractors had come forward based on the tender specification provided by the architect and responses to the tender should be available by the end of January 2020. It was resolved to approve the tender specification, tender list and timescales.
11. Parish matters for discussion/decision
1. Whittington Walk
An update was received regarding the new Whittington Walk development.
• The new footbridge had been constructed and was due to open December 2019.
• The first few residents had moved in to the estate.
• Some of the footpaths from the site were still flooding and this had been brought to the attention of the developer.
2. Local Council Award Scheme
An update was received on the requirements for meeting the standards for ‘Quality Status’.
1. Councillor profiles
The Councillor profiles on the Parish Council’s website were now almost complete.
2. Staff appraisal
A staff appraisal had been conducted by the Chairman and would be held on file; there were no matters requiring attention.
3. S106 contributions
An update was received regarding available S106 funding. An additional £15,011.00 had been identified for ‘off site public open space’ that could be utilised for a community garden at the village hall provided that is was publicly accessible and disabled friendly.
It was resolved to query if any S106 funding from the Whittington Walk development might be available for use on the village hall project, or for other future projects in the parish.
4. Smart Water
The Police’s ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ initiative was considered and it was noted that this would cost the parish approximately £2500.00 – £4000.00, depending on how many kits were required. It was resolved to support this and to discuss with Persimmon Homes to see if they would make a contribution (for kits supplied to residents of Whittington Walk); once this was established an order could be placed with the Police.
12. Committee and Working Group reports
It was noted that the Lengthsman had finished treating the allotment fencing. There were no other matters to report.
2. Highways and Byways
It was noted that the Vehicular Activated Sign was not currently operational, it was thought that the batteries might be at fault; this would be investigated further.
1. Budget expenditure
It was resolved to approve the budget expenditure.
2. Bank reconciliation
It was resolved to approve the bank reconciliation.
The 2020/21 budget was considered and approved and it was resolved to request a precept of £23,200.00. The increase is needed in order to obtain a public works loan for the village hall project and, to a lesser extent, for the costs associated with Smart Water provision.
It was noted that this represented a 95% increase in the precept from 2019/20; for a Band D property the parish precept element of the council tax would rise from £25.00 to approximately £49.00. It was noted that this was still substantially below the national average of £67.00, but it was resolved to publicise the increase (and the reasons for it) in a leaflet/newsletter early 2020.
1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £522.92
2. HMRC (PAYE): £123.20
3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £216.49
4. Sam Joyner (allotments): £440.00
5. Steve Burrows (padlock): £8.00
6. National Association of Local Councils (quality award registration): £60.00
7. Shire Consulting (civil and structural design fee): £3024.00
8. Steward Associates (Midlands) Limited (M&E fee): £900.00
9. Jhai Limited (building control): £720.00
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.
14. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Smart Water
• Flooding, Church Lane
• SWDP update
• VAS maintenance issues
15. Date of Next Meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 7:30PM on Tuesday 28th January 2020.
The meeting closed at 22:49PM.