Annual Whittington Parish Meeting
Tuesday 29th May 2018 at 7:00PM at Whittington Village Hall
The Chair opened the meeting.
4) Minutes of Parish Meeting Held 25th April 2017
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and these were signed by the Chair.
5) Matters arising from the Meeting held on Tuesday 25th April 2017
No matters arising.
6) Whittington Parish Council – Chairman’s Report
Welcome everyone, thank you for coming.
The Parish Council has had a few changes this year. At the Annual Parish meeting just over a year ago we had a whole different Council. We were joined by Richard Boase and, for a short while, Christine Watts who both live in the new Wildmore area of Whittington Parish. In January Ross Pierce moved out of the area and also Andrew Guy stepped down after many years of service on the Council.
Thanks to Cllr Boase, three new Councillors living in the Wildmore estate have recently been co-opted on the Parish Council – Kate Wolseley Charles, Dan Bayliss and Tracey Peters. We are also pleased to welcome back to the council Steve Brooker, who lives within the village. Recently Fraser Richards also decided that as he is now living outside the Parish, he would step down.
We therefore currently have six Parish Councillors and have one vacancy, so if you are interested to join the Council please speak to the Clerk and she can give you an application form. If you would like more information, speak to any of the Councillors here tonight at the end of the meeting.
On our Wildmore estate we now have 14 allotments. It has taken a lot of correspondence and to-ing and fro-ing with solicitors to reach the point when the allotments could be released for those who had applied to rent one. Finally the allotment holders have moved on site and have been able to start digging and planting. We have one spare allotment at present for someone who lives within the Parish. Please contact the Clerk if you are interested to take up the opportunity.
We feel it is important to encourage the community to communicate and the Parish Council has been working towards installing a notice board on our Wildmore estate. We have had prices and funding for one similar to the one opposite the Swan pub. However we are now researching the possibility of having a double sided notice board so that residents can also put their own local notices up. It is just taking a bit of extra time to get prices because of the extra installation work that will be required.
You will all be aware of the advertised housing estate that will be built on the Southside of Swinsherd way, that the developers Persimmon homes have called Whittington Walk. Thanks to Cllr Guy, Tree Preservation Orders were secured for many of the ancient trees across those fields. The Council has also voted for a footbridge to be installed across Swinsherd way before the new houses are started. This is so that residents will have some access out of the estate without being reliant on having a vehicle.
We continue to work on behalf of residents to try to overcome traffic problems. Several meetings have been had over the past year to discuss issues. Thank you to Councillor Rob Adams for his involvement. One fantastic step forward has been the resurfacing of the road at the Swinsherd way roundabout. It is a huge improvement. Thanks to Rob and the County Council for taking action to help prevent accidents by slowing traffic down before this dangerous road crossing.
The Parish Council continues to be interested in the potential Village Hall re-development and has attended meetings with Wychavon District Council regarding funding and also other meetings in support of the Village Hall Management Committee. We look forward to hearing more in the weeks and months to come. We often have an update about the Village Hall at our Parish Council meetings so that is a good way to hear about what’s happening, by attending one of our meetings that are held on the second Tuesday of every second month. If you can’t get to a meeting our minutes are posted on our website, on our Whittington Parish Council facebook page and on the notice boards.
Thank you to our Clerk Carol Chambers for all her support over the last year and for her wonderful seasonal displays at the Village gates! The flower troughs are a lot of hard work to maintain, so if anyone can volunteer some time to help, it would be appreciated!
Finally I would like to acknowledge the many years of service to Whittington that Roger Philips, who sadly passed away recently, gave to the Parish Council and Village Hall.
7) Police Report
The last 12 months has continued to be busy throughout our ever increasing local policing area which extends from Whittington, Upton Snodsbury and Dormston in the north to Bredon and Beckford in the south. With targeted patrols, attendance at village surgeries and numerous parish events, messaging via Twitter and the Community Messaging Service (CMS) the team have continued to be actively involved in the community. The whole team remain committed to tackling all levels of crime throughout the area including rural crime and poaching and providing security advice and support to victims and vulnerable residents.
This report is based using the recorded crime figures between 24/05/2017 and 24/05/2018 the comparison is relating to the corresponding dates in 2016/17.
Overall the police recorded 744 incidents that were reported by members of the public this is compared to 748 incidents reported the previous year.
Of the 744 incidents the Parish had 38 recordable crimes (incidents where a specific offence has occurred) this was in comparison to 52 recordable crimes the previous year.
The breakdown of offences is as follows:
Burglary Residential 0 6
(includes garages and sheds)
Theft from vehicle 2 0
Theft of Vehicle 1 1
Theft other 2 2
Criminal damage 7(4) 4
Fraud/deception 1 0
Motor vehicle interference 0 1
Road Related Offence 1 0
Other Offences 24(16) 38(25)
(Includes mostly concerns for welfare or domestic related incidents and assaults)
The figures in red are the recordable crimes for the village itself. The other figures relate to crimes around the motorway area.
The burglaries in 2016/17 were mainly on the new Wildmoor Estate and were related to external doors being left unlocked. This issue was addressed with housing developers and affected residents and the team leaflet dropped the whole estate with security information. The team also conducted targeted patrols in the area on a regular basis. This has obviously had a positive effect as there has been no further burglaries in the last 12 months.
One of the other main contributing factors of all house burglaries throughout the year is that the properties are left without lights during the hours of darkness (evenings). The campaign ‘Leave a Light on’ is applicable throughout the year and we would strongly advise residents to use a lamp/s on a timer switch to give the impression that someone is present inside the property and review their security in general.
The ‘other offences’ incidents are increasing throughout the West Mercia area as police are dealing more often with vulnerable/emotional people. This could be put down to increased social and economic pressures. We work alongside a number of other agencies and often refer these persons for help and assistance. In Whittington these numbers have also gone down for this year.
Overall the figures still show that Whittington and the surrounding area is a safe place to both live and work, however we all have a responsibility to ensure we maintain this.
On behalf of the team and myself I should like to offer my thanks to the Parish Council for all its help over the last 12 months. I would also like to say thank you to the Parish as a whole for its continued support of the local policing team and for the numerous calls we have received relating to suspicious activity, all we ask is that you continue to do this.
Pershore Rural North and South Local Policing Team
8) Presentation of Village Charities Accounts
As I have reported in previous years, these two village charities have been dormant for quite some time. The Elizabeth Stephens Charity dates back to 1668 and was a legacy of £50.00 with which three cottages were built in Swinesherd. These were liquidated in 1880 and the interest used to provide grocery parcels for the poor and needy of the parish.
The Fanny Clifton Charity was founded by Miss Clifton’s will in 1888. Her legacy of £900.00 was to be used to provide coal at Christmas for the poor of the parish.
9) Whittington Village Hall
Having taken over the from the previous Village Hall Management Committee in late October of last year, it quickly became apparent that there were numerous issues to address. Safety, especially when one considers that the hall was being utilised by children, was the overriding priority and for what was a relatively short period, we found it necessary to close the Hall whilst specific issues were addressed.
Following this, finances, insurances, H&S inspections, meetings with the District Council and the groundwork required to find a builder who could offer a realistic way forward for the Hall, were all prioritised. Since December, we have spoken again with the District Council and these discussions allowed us to understand a potential future budget and to move forward with getting realistic quotations from developers.
At this stage, I would offer that, from the outset, the aim of the VHMC has been to get to a place where we are able to offer the residents of Whittington Parish, a Village Hall that they could be proud of, that will be future proof (green, modern, an ability to expand in the future) and which will offer them a facility that will continue to provide the historic community link the village has craved.
That said, we must all realise that funding is not without boundaries and so all of the above have to tempered by the fact that it has always been our aim to offer a facility that came without debt. So, following numerous investigations and quotes (many of which exceeded the budget), we recently met with Mr. Dick Jeavons-Fellows, a developer based in Abberley. Following significant work, Mr.JF believes that he can offer us a way forward and as such, we recently agreed for the production of a set of plans and the requisite report from a Quantity Surveyor. The aim being that, once produced, the plans and budget will offer us the facility to speak with the Parish Council and the local community before we make a final decision.
From a personal perspective, I believe that the current VHMC could not have arrived at its current position without the significant contributions of its members and the support of the Parish Council and I commend them to you. As for the plans, having something tangible, something we can view, something we can comment on and which, by their very nature, will be tactile and real, potentially puts us in a fantastic position for the future and I thank you all for your time and consideration this evening.
10) Whittington School Report
Whittington Church of England Primary School draws its children from the village of Whittington and the immediate area. A lot of the new housing developments in the local area fall within our catchment so it will be interesting to see how this effects the profile of the pupils who join our school. As a Church of England school we have close links with the Church of St. Philip and St. James, located in the village. This is a very positive relationship and we base much of our work in school around our ‘Core Christian Values’ which are: friendship, courage, forgiveness, thankfulness, responsibility and respect. Our aim is to instil in our pupils the importance of developing positive values which will inform their conduct throughout their lives.
Our school continues to strive for academic excellence in all areas of the curriculum. In November 2017 the school received an Ofsted inspection in which we were disappointed to receive the ‘Requires Improvement’ judgement. The Ofsted team felt that the children needed to be more challenged in English and maths in order to achieve better outcomes in the SAT tests at Year 6. The staff at the school have worked very hard since our inspection and the level of challenge for all pupils is both stronger and more consistent. In order to continue to make improvements, the school governors have decided to begin the process of converting the school to an academy. This process removes the school from Local Authority control. We are hoping to join an existing Multi Academy Trust (MAT), which we believe will offer the school appropriate challenge and support. The MAT we have chosen is the Perry Hall Multi Academy Trust which is based in Wolverhampton. Our intention is to create a Worcester hub with a number of Worcester schools joining the MAT and working collaboratively. If anyone would like to find out more about this process please contact the school, we would be happy to answer any questions.
The Ofsted inspection team were very happy with our broader curriculum which encourages all of our pupils to be successful in a range of subjects. Wherever possible we provide opportunities for our pupils to actively participate in learning activities. In the last year we have fielded a boys’ football team, a girls’ football team and a girls’ netball team. As well as this, children have competed in sporting fixtures as varied as tag rugby, golf, swimming and cross country. Music is a real strength at the school and from the age of seven all pupils learn a musical instrument. In Year 3 all the pupils are given a recorder by the school and learn this instrument. In Year 4 all the children learn to play the violin and in Year 5 they learn a brass instrument. We also have a school choir who perform in a variety of regional events. French is taught across Key Stage Two and our teaching has been described as exemplary. Drama is also a strength, with two full scale performances each academic year. Other subjects, such as history, are brought to life with trips, and visits from expert speakers. The highlight in history this year was a trip to the theatre, where the children watched ‘Horrible Histories’. This was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.
My staff, governors and I are very proud of Whittington Church of England Primary School and we work very hard to make it the best school possible. Children enjoy attending the school and we deliver a challenging, engaging and varied curriculum where all pupils are apply themselves and persevere in order to achieve their best.
11) Whittington Church St Philip & St James
12) County & District Councillor’s Reports
Rob Adams provided a report on the Wychvon District Council and Worcestershire County Council.
13) Any Other Business
14) Date of Next Annual Parish Meeting-Will be advised in early 2019