Minutes 28 May 2020

Online Annual Meeting of Abbots Morton Parish Council at 8:34PM on Thursday 28th May 2020 via ‘Zoom’


Present: Martin Willingale (Chairman), Nick Humpries (outgoing Chairman), Richard Whitlow, Karen Brighton, Alan Shepherd
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), Anthony Hopkins (County Councillor), one member of the public

1. Election of a Chairman and signing the Declaration of Acceptance of Office
It was resolved to elect Martin Willingale as Chairman for the 2020/21 municipal year.

2. Election of a Vice-Chairman
It was resolved to elect Richard Whitlow as Vice-Chairman for the 2020/21 municipal year.

3. Apologies for absence
Apologies had been sent by David Wilkinson (District Councillor) and Audrey Steel (District Councillor).

4. Declarations of interest
Nil declared.

5. Dispensations
Nil received.

6. Open Session
The meeting was adjourned for the open session.

6.1 District Councillors
David Wilkinson had forwarded a report as follows:

I would normally be advising the Parish of annual progress with the day-to-day business of the District Council, including its financial situation, council tax, and performance in core activities including refuse collection/recycling, grass cutting, etc.

But this year’s activities have of course been hugely overshadowed by one issue – Coronavirus/Covid-19.

The Council has been able to maintain vital activities such as refuse collection, but a large part of its resources have inevitably been concentrated on the response to the pandemic.

This response includes our response to rough sleepers during Covid-19 and the work of the Covid-19 Homeless Taskforce.

As of 28 May, 2,347 grants have been made to businesses in Wychavon totalling £27.4m. We continue to try and locate those businesses that are eligible but have still yet to apply.

Many Council staff are working from home and Council meetings are being held by video link just as this meeting is. Site visits for planning and enforcement purposes have largely been suspended except for urgent cases.

Data released on 28 May showed there were 250 confirmed cases of coronavirus recorded in Wychavon; as of 15 May there have been 93 deaths in Wychavon from Covid-19 of which 44 were in care homes.

As always, if any Parish member has any issues or problems, particularly at this difficult time, I will be pleased to help where possible.

6.2 County Councillor
Anthony Hopkins provided a report as follows:

Prior to the start of 2020 the WCC agenda was largely dominated by the more usual issues of funding for adult social care, trying to improve Childrens Services, and Highways matters. All of these represent significant challenges for WCC, especially as the costs of social care continue to increase. During the winter, the weather and associated flooding caused significant damage around the County. Whilst the Harvington Division was -not hit as hard as some, there was some damage to property, and inconvenience to road users trying to get to and from Abbotts Morton, not least with the flooding across the road at Radford and in other parts of the Lenches.

Then came C19. It’s hard to summarize the impact of this yet. Whilst essential parts of the WCC service provision have been maintained very well, much non-essential work has been postponed, and it will take some time to catch-up or recover. There will also be an economic cost, but WCC is working with partner organizations to plan for the recovery. As services hopefully return to normal, there will doubtless be problems, but I would like to thank the many people I know have looked after their neighbours and others.

6.3 Police
It was noted that no incidents had been reported to the Police within the last two months.

6.4 Village Hall Committee
An annual report had been given at the Annual Parish Meeting.

6.5 Public participation
A member of the public raised concern regarding external lighting on private properties being left on at night; it was resolved to review this and add to the next meeting agenda for further discussion.

The meeting resumed following the open session.

7. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 23rd January 2020
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and these would be duly signed by the Chair.

8. Progress reports

8.1 Defibrillator maintenance
It was noted that the pads had been changed and the battery recharged; the new expiry date for these items was 01/02/2022.

8.2 Councillor vacancies
It was noted that there were still two vacancies on the Parish Council and applications from parishioners were welcomed.

8.3 Councillor Register of Interests forms
Councillors were reminded to check that their Register of Interests forms had been uploaded onto Wychavon District Council’s website and that they were up to date.

9. Clerk’s Delegation

9.1 Lengthsman: To note renewal of our contract for services with Luke Farnsworth and renewal of the annual agreement with Worcestershire Council for the 2020/21 period.
It was noted that the above had been attended to between scheduled meetings. It was resolved to claim additional hours from Worcestershire County Council’s Lengthsman grant to cover the Clerk’s administration time and expenses.

9.2 Coronavirus: To note that the Parish Council’s Risk Register was amended to make provision for Lengthsman activities during the coronavirus epidemic.
It was noted that the above matter had been attended to between scheduled meetings.

9.3 Colin Turner resignation: To note that the relevant vacancy paperwork and legal notices had been completed and it was now possible to co-opt into the vacancy created.
It was noted that the above matter had been attended to between scheduled meetings.

10. Correspondence

10.1 St Peter’s Parochial Church Council: Update on drainage / footpaths works and request to consider a donation towards maintenance of the churchyard public footpath.
It was resolved to offer £250.00 grant funding to go towards the maintenance of public footpath AM-527.

10.2 Wychavon District Council: South Worcestershire Development Plan Review briefing.
The above briefing was noted.

11. Planning

11.1 20/00768/CU: Garage Block at Lower Barn Farm Cottages, Alcester Road, Abbots Morton. Change of use of redundant 4 bay garage block to 2 x 1 bed holiday lets.
It was resolved that the Parish Council were in support of the proposals. It was felt that the proposals would enhance the visual aspect of the area.

12. Parish matters for discussion/decision

12.1 Public Rights of Way
It was noted that the collapsed footbridge off footpath AM- 534 had not yet been repaired and it was resolved to ask Worcestershire County Council for an update on this.

12.2 Morton Wood Lane
The potholed road surface had been reported to Worcestershire County Council for repair; it was noted that some short term repairs had been undertaken.

12.3 Website accessibility compliance
It was noted that the deadline for public sector organisations to meet the requirements of the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 is the 23rd September 2020.

Eyelid Productions could make the required upgrades for £50.00 and it was resolved to approve this expenditure. Eyelid Productions would also be asked to pursue SSL certification for the website to make it HTTPS compliant.

13. Annual business as per Standing Orders

13.1 To review the following policies and procedures

13.1.1 Balances and Reserves Policy
13.1.2 Clerk, Parish, Councillor Protocol
13.1.3 Code of Conduct
13.1.4 Complaints Procedure
13.1.5 Disciplinary Procedure
13.1.6 Equal Opportunities Policy
13.1.7 Financial Regulations
13.1.8 FOI Act
13.1.9 FOI Guide
13.1.10 GDPR Data Privacy Policy
13.1.11 GDPR Data Protection Policy
13.1.12 GDPR Data Security Incident Procedure
13.1.13 Grievance Procedure
13.1.14 Press and Media Policy
13.1.15 Protocol for Planning Site Visits
13.1.16 Publication Scheme
13.1.17 Retention Policy
13.1.18 Standing Orders
13.1.19 Training and Development Policy
The above policies were reviewed and it was resolved to add a review date to each document.

Additionally, the introduction to the Complaints Procedure would be removed and the Equal Opportunities Policy would be amended to clarify that it ‘is an overarching equality policy which sets out the council’s commitment to equality in all of its activities’.

13.2 To review insurance, risk and assets

13.2.1 Risk Management Policy and Risk Register
13.2.2 Insurance cover
13.2.3 Inventory of Assets
The above documents were reviewed and updated and it was resolved to approve them.

13.3 To review appointment to committees, working groups and external bodies

13.3.1 Village Hall Committee
It was resolved that Martin Willingale would continue with this role.

13.4 To review the meeting schedule for the year ahead
It was resolved to continue to hold scheduled meetings at 8:00PM on the fourth Thursday of alternate months.

14. Finance

14.1 2019/20 Accounts
It was resolved to approve the 2019/20 end of year accounts.

14.2 Certificate of Exemption
It was resolved that the Parish Council had met the requirements to certify itself exempt from external audit and the certificate was duly signed.

14.3 Annual Internal Audit Report
The internal auditor’s report was considered and it was noted that there were no recommendations requiring attention.

14.4 Annual Governance Statement
The Annual Governance Statement was considered and it was resolved that each statement had been achieved and it was duly signed.

14.5 Accounting Statements
The Statement of Accounts was considered and it was resolved to approve it and it was duly signed.

14.6 Bank mandate
It was resolved that no changes to the bank signatory arrangements were required.

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

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

14.9 Invoices

14.9.1 David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £390.37
14.9.2 HMRC (PAYE): £91.20
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques would be duly signed.

14.9.3 Luke Farnsworth (Lengthsman): £200.00
It was resolved that payment to the Lengthsman would be deferred as no work had been undertaken during the Coronavirus Lockdown.

14.9.4 Came & Company (insurance): £218.00
14.9.5 Iain Selkirk (internal audit): £100.00
14.9.6 G. Hobbs (planters): £72.51
14.9.7 Worcestershire CALC (subscription): £104.10
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques would be duly signed.

14.10 Clerks Delegation

14.10.1 David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £415.14
14.10.2 HMRC (PAYE): £91.40
14.10.3 Luke Farnsworth (Lengthsman): £200.00
14.10.4 Wychavon District Council (dog fouling bin): £90.97
14.10.5 D. Burns (Lenches Directory): £35.00
The above payments, made between scheduled meetings, were noted.

15. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was resolved to send a thank you note to Graham Hobbs for his work on the village planters.

It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Light pollution issues
• Footpath AM-527 maintenance grant
• Footpath AM- 534 footbridge repair (update)

16. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 8:00PM on Thursday 23rd July 2020.

It was resolved to hold an extraordinary meeting at 8:00PM on Thursday 25th June 2020 to discuss planning matters that had been received between scheduled meetings.

The meeting closed at 9:30PM.