Minutes 28 April 2020

Online meeting of Whittington Parish Council at 7:30PM on Tuesday 28th April 2020 via ‘Zoom’

Minutes 04/20

Present: Steve Burrows (Chair), Susan MacLeod, Liz Potter, Dan Bayliss, Jenny Knights, Steve Brooker, Rob Stepniewski
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Rob Adams (District and County Councillor), Malcolm MacLeod (Chair Village Hall Committee), David Chestney (Village Hall Committee), members of the public

1. Apologies for absence
No apologies were received.

2. Declarations of Interest
Susan MacLeod declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in items pertaining to Whittington Community Hall (item 9).

Steve Brooker declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in items pertaining to Whittington Community Hall (item 9).

Liz Potter declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in items pertaining to Whittington Community Hall (item 9).

3. Dispensations
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.

A dispensation had previously been granted to Liz Potter 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 on Wychavon District Council. The focus had been on Coronavirus and it was felt that many of the measures that had been introduced were proving successful. District and County Offices were closed to the public and issues should be reported online or via telephone.

4.2. County Councillor
Rob Adams provided a report on Worcestershire County Council. The Here 2 Help scheme aims to encourage communities to come together to tackle Coronavirus. To find out more and to get involved go to http://worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help or phone 01905 768053.

4.3. Police
The Police were not circulating reports currently but a member of the public had reported that a property on Church Road had been broken into on Saturday 11th April and a large touring caravan had been stolen.

It was resolved to ask the Police for clarity on any additional steps being taken as there had been an observed increase in burglaries of outbuildings/sheds in the area.

4.4. Whittington Community Hall
The latest asbestos testing had been completed and this was likely to be the final test to be carried out prior to demolition, the results were anticipated shortly.

The construction quotes had been revised by a process of value engineering and the latest, most competitive quote was now £788k. It was hoped that a further report on ground contamination might highlight potential savings on the groundworks required.

A bid was being put together to support an application to utilise the available £15k S106 funding for a community garden at the hall.

4.5. Whittington C of E Primary School
A full report would be available at the Annual Parish Meeting (26th May 2020).

4.6. Whittington Church
Plans were progressing to remove the existing portacabin and construct a single storey replacement building (with meeting room and toilet). Estimated costs for the works had proved higher than anticipated; the design had been revised to bring costs in line with available funding. Planning Permission has been applied for and consultation should commence shortly.

The Church is currently closed for the duration of the Coronavirus lockdown. The St. Philip & St. James Parish Church newsletter was being circulated digitally and a copy is available on the parish council’s website.

4.7. Brethren Church
The Brethren Church had cancelled all physical meetings for the duration of the Coronavirus lockdown and have instead been meeting via Zoom.

4.8. Public participation
No questions were received.

The meeting resumed following the open session.

5. Correspondence

5.1. Resident: Hedgehog awareness and conservation.
A parishioner had contacted the Parish Council to increase awareness of hedgehog conservation and to enlist the Parish Council’s support in protecting them. It was resolved to publicise this, and other wildlife conservation issues, via the parish council’s website, Facebook page and directly to allotment holders. The Community Hall Committee would consider how hedgehog conservation could be promoted in the new Community Hall build. It was also hoped that the Whittington C of E School might wish to be involved and leaflets would be circulated accordingly.

5.2. Worcestershire County Council: Initial consultation for Proposed Prohibition of Waiting “At any time” for access road off B4084 Pershore Road.
It was resolved to write in support of the proposals. It was thought that they would go some way to alleviating the fly-tipping, littering and obstruction issues at this location.

5.3. Wychavon District Council: Consultation on Proposed Diversion of Public Bridleway WT-510 at Land East of A4440, Swinesherd Way.
It was noted that these proposals were to facilitate a proposed additional 58 dwellings on the Whittington Walk site (in line with planning permission 19/02542/FUL, to which the parish council had already objected).

It was resolved to object to the proposed bridleway diversion. It was felt that this would lead to an unacceptable loss of green open space and would remove a much needed green corridor that would negatively impact the amenity afforded to adjacent residents.

The planning objections to application 19/02542/FUL would also be restated as follows:

The development is isolated from local facilities, such as shops and sustainable public transport services. There is no easy and safe route for pedestrians to reach their nearest shop (Budgens service station); a suitable pedestrian crossing on the A44 (at the A4440 traffic island) would go some way to increasing connectivity with local services and improving the quality of life for future residents. The plans now show properties in unacceptably close proximity to the M5 motorway; a larger gap should be maintained to improve the amenity of the properties for future occupants. The site is served by a single access only and this could be problematic for the emergency services. Consideration should be given to an additional site access, for emergency vehicles. The bridleway servicing the rear of the proposed estate should be resurfaced to a suitable standard so as to allow safe passage for pedestrians, disabled users and cyclists. In its current state of repair it is very difficult to navigate.

5.4. Resident: Traffic and vehicle speeding concerns on Pershore Road.
It was noted that previous speed surveys at this location had indicated an issue with speeding but the Police had stated that the area was a not a priority for speed enforcement due to the limited frontage development. It was resolved to ask the Police and Crime Commissioner to arrange for a new speed survey to be undertaken and to reiterate previous requests for speed enforcement.

It was noted that there was a potentially misleading advance parking sign at the end of one of the bus stop laybys; it was resolved to ask Worcestershire County Council to relocate the sign.

6. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on Tuesday 25th February 2020
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they would be duly signed by the Chair.

7. Progress reports

7.1. Lengthsman
It was noted that the parish council’s contract for services with Sam Joyner and the annual agreement with Worcestershire Council for the 2020/21 period had been renewed.

7.2. Smart Water
It was resolved to contact the Police to see if funding would be available later in the year, as the parish council were unable to progress during the Coronavirus lockdown.

7.3. Local Council Awards Scheme
It was noted that the Parish Council had been successfully accredited as a Quality Parish Council under the Local Council Award Scheme. The Quality Award recognises that Whittington Parish Council is at the cutting edge of the sector, exhibiting good governance, effective community engagement and continuous council improvement.

The Worcestershire Association of Local Councils commented that ‘all the people who reviewed the document thought that the submission was excellent and pointed to how well the Council was run and managed and what great work has been done by the Clerk. The Clerk and the Council should be proud”.

7.4. Worcestershire Pollinator Strategy
Worcestershire County Council had confirmed that no specific pollinator schemes had been implemented within Whittington parish, but there were a number of county schemes that aim to implement measures to benefit pollinators, for example wild flower sowing on verges disturbed during works and changes to the mowing regimes for the whole road network.

7.5. SWDP/Parkway Development
A number of meetings had been cancelled but councillors were still receiving email updates.

8. Clerk’s Delegation
It was noted that the following matters had been attended to between scheduled meetings:

8.1. Coronavirus Strategy
It was noted that a new policy had been adopted and implemented. Wychavon District Council was promoting the ‘Good Neighbour Network’ and details would be circulated on the parish council’s website and Facebook page.

8.2. Church Lane
It was noted that a number of highway issues relating to Church Lane had been reported:
• Potholes in layby opposite Whittington Church – short term repairs undertaken and added to schedule for full repair.
• Footway reconstruction works by Church Terrace – postponed due to Coronavirus.
• Flooding by Whittington Village hall – further investigation being undertaken; Rob Adams would discuss with highways.
• Double yellow lines obscured – reported to both Worcestershire County Council and Wychavon District Council.
• Flytipping at Brewers Lane junction with Church Lane – this had been removed by a landowner.

8.3. Lengthsman
It was noted that the parish council’s contract for services with Sam Joyner and the annual agreement with Worcestershire Council for the 2020/21 period had been renewed.

8.4. Communications
It was noted that a Pro Zoom account and a (used) smartphone had been purchased to enable virtual communication and meetings.

9. Community Hall Project
This item was covered during the open session (item 4.4).

10. Planning

10.1. 19/01803/RM: Land North of Taylors Lane and South of Broomhall Way (A4440). Application for the approval of Reserved Matters (appearance, landscaping, layout and scale) pursuant to planning permission ref. 13/01617/OUT for Phase H1 of the proposed residential development comprising 36 dwellings, public open space (including LEAP), allotments, landscaping and associated infrastructure.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.

11. Parish matters for discussion/decision

11.1. Coronavirus
It was considered that the support mechanisms already in place were proving effective and no further action was considered necessary at this time. Parishioners experiencing any difficulties or issues are encouraged to contact the Parish Council who would endeavour to assist or point them in the direction of the appropriate agency or organisation.

11.2. Annual Meetings
It was resolved to hold the Annual Parish Meeting at 7:00PM on Tuesday 26th May 2020 and the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council at 8:00PM, or immediately following the conclusion of the Annual Parish Meeting, on Tuesday 26th May 2020.

11.3. Whittington Walk
It was noted that construction work had started to resume on site.

12. Highways and Byways

12.1. Vehicular Activated Sign
The availability and cost of replacement batteries was currently being investigated.

Rob Adams offered to part fund a replacement sign, this could possibly be solar powered or mains powered to reduce ongoing maintenance costs. The Police and Crime commissioner would also be approached for funding.

The options would be investigated for possible inclusion in the parish council’s 2021/22 budget, which would be considered November 2020.

12.2. Church Lane
This item was covered under item 8.2.

13. Allotments
It was noted that one of the allotment taps had sprung a leak and the Clerk had arranged an emergency repair between meetings.

14. Finance

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

14.2. Bank reconciliation
It was resolved to approve the bank reconciliation.

14.3. 2019/20 Accounts
It was resolved to approve the 2019/20 end of year accounts.

14.4. Invoices

14.4.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £748.98
14.4.2. HMRC (PAYE): £76.93
14.4.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £255.86
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.

14.5. Clerk’s delegation

14.5.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £626.48
14.5.2. HMRC (PAYE): £158.93
14.5.3. Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund: £255.86
14.5.4. Eyelid productions (website): £150.00
14.5.5. M J Paige (planter maintenance): £35.91
The above payments, made between scheduled meetings, were noted.

15. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda.
It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Brewers Lane – highway maintenance issues and clarification of highway extent
• Banking arrangements
• Cyclist route issues and signing – Pershore Road to Worcester
• Pershore Road – Traffic and vehicle speeding concerns
• Smartwater (update)

16. Date of the next meeting
The Annual Parish Meeting will be held at 7:00PM on Tuesday 26th May 2020.

The Annual Meeting of the Parish Council will be held at 8:00PM, or immediately following the conclusion of the Annual Parish Meeting, on Tuesday 26th May 2020.

The meeting closed at 9:30PM.