Online meeting of Abbots Morton Parish Council at 8:00PM on Thursday 25th March 2021 via ‘Zoom’
Present: Martin Willingale (Chair), Nick Humphries, Richard Whitlow, Alan Shepherd, Karen Brighton
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Audrey Steel (District Councillor), Anthony Hopkins (County Councillor)
1. Apologies for absence
All members were in attendance.
2. Declarations of Interest
Nick Humphries declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in item 8.1.
Richard Whitlow declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in item 8.2.
4. Open Session
The meeting was adjourned for the open session.
4.1. District Councillors
Audrey Steel provided a report on Wychavon District Council.
4.2. County Councillor
Anthony Hopkins provided a report as follows:
• Worcestershire County Council were increasing council tax by 2.5% (1.5% for adult and social care, 1% for general fund). Funding had been stretched even further this year due to Covid.
• There had been a review of the whole length of the A422 due to the high number of vehicle accidents, including a number of fatalities.
• Anthony Hopkins had transferred £350.00 from his County Councillor Divisional Fund to the Parish Council as a contribution towards a Christmas tree for December 2021.
• There were currently 64 Covid cases per 100,000 across Worcestershire, slightly higher than the national average.
4.3. Village Hall Committee
It was noted that the hall was currently still closed due to Covid restrictions, a number of enquiries had been received for bookings and events later in the year. The hall had been able to secure Covid related grant funding.
4.4. Public participation
No questions were received.
The meeting resumed following the open session.
5. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 28th January 2021
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chair.
6. Progress reports
6.1. Councillor vacancies
It was noted that there were still two vacancies on the Parish Council and enquiries from parishioners were welcomed.
7.1. Worcestershire CALC: Latest councillor training schedule.
The above training schedule was noted.
7.2. Wychavon District Council: South Worcestershire Development Plan Review Preferred Options Further Regulation 18 (III) Sustainability Appraisal Consultation.
The above consultation was noted.
8.1. 21/00197/HP associated ref. 20/00198/LB: Butts Cottage, Abbots Morton Road, Abbots Morton, Worcester, WR7 4NA. Erection of a two-storey extension incorporating a first floor extension.
Nick Humphries left the meeting for the duration of discussions on this item.
It was resolved that the Parish Council were in support of the proposals.
The proposed extension has minimal visual detrimental impact to the conservation area and would provide much needed space for family living. Sensitive development of existing properties to meet modern needs allows the community to retain younger families and broaden the demographic.
8.2. 21/00268/FUL: High House Farm, Abbots Morton Road, Abbots Morton, Worcester, WR7 4NA. Agricultural building for machinery/equipment storage, hay and straw.
Richard Whitlow left the meeting for the duration of discussions on this item.
It was resolved that the Parish Council had no objections or concerns.
9. Parish matters for discussion/decision
9.1. Public Rights of Way: To consider maintenance and obstruction issues.
A number of replacement footpath stiles had been installed but it was thought that these were quite high and difficult to use.
Rights of way clearance work is planned for later in the year when lockdown restrictions have eased.
9.2. Christmas tree: To consider arrangements for siting a Christmas tree on the village green.
The Parish Council’s insurers and Wychavon District Council (who own the village green) had been approached to identify any issues or restrictions on installing a Christmas tree. Further information regarding the proposed tree was required and this would be collated before the next meeting.
9.3. Flower bulb planting: To consider making a donation to a parishioner following the planting of flower bulbs around the parish.
It was resolved to make a donation of £100.00 to a parishioner as a contribution towards the installation of a large quantity of flower bulbs through the village.
It was resolved to contact Wychavon District Council to see if they were able to supply bulbs in future as it was thought that this might offer cost savings.
9.4. Annual Parish Meeting and Annual Council Meeting
It was unknown if the regulations would be extended to allow virtual Parish Council meetings to continue beyond 7th May 2021. A decision on the annual meetings could not be made until the arrangements for future virtual meetings had been clarified.
9.5. Lengthsman Scheme
It was resolved to renew the contract for services with Luke Farnsworth and to sign the annual agreement with Worcestershire County Council for the 2021/22 period.
It was resolved to advertise the Lengthsman position in future, to see if any other contractors wished to bid for the contract starting April 2022.
10.1. Budget expenditure
It was resolved to approve the budget expenditure.
10.2. Bank reconciliation
It was resolved to approve the bank reconciliation.
10.3.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £423.95
10.3.2. HMRC (PAYE): £99.40
10.3.3. Luke Farnsworth (Lengthsman): £200.00
10.3.4. Wychavon District Council: (litter bin emptying): £90.97
10.3.5. D Burns (Lenches Directory): £35.00
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.
11. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
Anthony Hopkins confirmed that he would be standing down at the next election. The Parish Council extended their sincere thanks for his hard work and support of the Parish Council during his time in office.
It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Christmas tree
• Lengthsman advert
• Public Rights of Way update
12. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 8:00PM on Thursday 27th May 2021 (subject to change).
A resolution was passed to exclude members of the public due to the confidential nature of the following items.
13. Clerk’s Contract
It was resolved to adopt an updated contract of employment for the Clerk.
The meeting closed at 9:02PM.