Meeting of Abbots Morton Parish Council at 8:00PM on Thursday 25th November 2021 in Abbots Morton Village Hall
Present: Martin Willingale, Richard Whitlow, Nick Humphries, Martyn Walton (from 8:04PM)
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), two members of the public
1. Apologies for absence
Apologies were noted from Karen Brighton and Alan Shepherd.
Audrey Steel (District Councillor) had sent apologies.
2. Declarations of Interest
It was unanimously resolved to co-opt Martyn Walton to the Parish Council, the Declaration of Acceptance of Office was signed and he joined the meeting from 8:04PM.
5. Open Session
The meeting was adjourned for the open session.
5.1. District Councillors
No report was available.
5.2. County Councillor
No report was available.
5.3. Village Hall Committee
An update was received as follows:
• Bookings remain strong following the easing of lockdown restrictions with new bookings including children’s parties and wedding receptions.
• A new storage shed had been installed at the rear of the hall which would free up room inside the hall.
• The broadband internet had been upgraded for faster speeds.
The following report was noted:
The team have been conducting mobile patrols of the area and thankfully there have been minimal reports of incidents in the local area. In the absence of any update we will continue to work on the priorities you’ve previously raised.
5.5. Public participation
A member of the public queried how the electrical running costs of the Christmas tree lights would be funded (item 7.2).
The meeting resumed following the open session.
6. To consider and adopt the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 23rd September 2021
It was resolved to adopt the minutes as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chair.
7. Progress reports
7.1. Councillor vacancies
It was noted that there was one vacancy on the Parish Council and enquiries and applications from parishioners were welcomed.
7.2. Christmas tree, village green
The Parish Council extended their sincere thanks to everyone involved in installing the Christmas tree. It was felt that it had been a huge success and would be a focal point for the village over the festive season. It was resolved to ask for a note of thanks to be included in the next edition of the Arch Messenger magazine.
It was resolved to reimburse individuals for the purchase costs of the tree, lights and fittings; invoices and receipts would be forwarded to the Clerk accordingly.
It was resolved to fund the electrical costs associated with running the lights and the Church would invoice the Parish Council accordingly.
It was suggested that a locking cabinet be fitted to the outdoor sockets to deter misuse or vandalism.
7.3. Footpaths Officer vacancy
It was noted that the Footpath Officer vacancy had been advertised on the Parish Council’s website and in the Arch Messenger magazine.
8.1. Wychavon District Council: Disbursement of Chairman’s Diamond Jubilee Awards Scheme.
It was resolved to donate Abbots Morton Parish Council’s previous £50.00 contribution made under the Diamond Jubilee Community Recognition Awards to the new Community Recognition Awards scheme.
8.2. Resident: Concerns regarding condition of steps on footpath AM-527 (St Peter’s Church).
The Parochial Church Council provided an update, although ownership and maintenance responsibility for the steps is unclear as the steps form part of a public right of way.
In the immediate term, the steps have been cleaned with Jeyes fluid and appropriately-sized laminated signs have been pinned to the woodwork at the top and bottom of the steps.
An order has been placed to apply anti-slip paint to the steps and this should be completed 26/11/21 and it is hoped that this will provide a long-lasting solution. The PCC is also engaging a tree surgeon to trim back some of the trees overhanging the steps.
Longer terms plans are under consideration to completely replace the stones giving a wider tread to help users negotiate them more easily and safely, but the high cost of the work makes it prohibitive.
9. Public Rights of Way
9.1. Maintenance and obstruction issues
An update was received on the following public rights of way:
• 525 – a new footpath stile appeared which is quite high and double railed. It was noted that the landowner was looking to install a cross step.
• 512/513 – several trees had fallen down during the winds at the end of the summer, some clearance work has been undertaken but a large tree trunk still remains and is partially blocking the path. A member of the Parish Council would attend to clear the obstruction.
• 500/501 – new stiles are considered quite high and lack cross steps, one has since been removed as the fence has also been taken down and the field has been ploughed. The remaining stile is still quite difficult to negotiate and does not meet design standards, however WCC do not consider it a priority.
• 540/541 – the footpath stile is rotten and needs replacing, leading into a coppice which is blocked with fallen trees and brambles. It was resolved to identify which stile needed attention and report the issue to the landowner. The obstructions would be reported to WCC.
• 555 – reported obstructions to bridleway from recently planted laurel hedge. It was noted that the matter had been referred to WCC and so County Councillor Laura Gretton would be asked to provide an update for future meetings.
10.1. 21/02395/LB: Tudor Cottage, Abbots Morton Road, Abbots Morton, Worcester, WR7 4NA. Boiler replacement and external flue.
It was resolved that the Parish Council were in support of the application.
11. Parish matters for discussion/decision
11.1. Flooding: To consider issues relating to highway drainage on the Abbots Morton Road.
The flooding of the village road had been reported to Worcestershire County Council but no response had been received. It was resolved to try to arrange a meeting with WCC Officers to review the issue and hopefully identify a solution.
11.2. Village entrance signing: To consider applying for additional village name signs.
It was resolved to make initial enquiries with Wychavon District Council and Worcestershire County Council to see if village name signs could be installed for Morton Spirt and Gooms Hill. As Gooms Hill straddles the parish boundary the views of Rous Lench Parish Council would also be sought.
11.3. Parish letter drop/newsletter: To consider arrangements for a parish letter drop or newsletter.
It was resolved to advertise the Parish Council’s email newsletter facility via the Arch Messenger and on the Parish Council notice board.
11.4. Queen’s Jubilee: To consider possible events for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 2022.
It was resolved that the Parish Council would support a community led event to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
12.1. Budget and Precept
It was resolved to approve the 2022/23 budget and to request a precept of £4,500.00.
12.2. Budget expenditure
It was resolved to approve the budget expenditure.
12.3. Bank reconciliation
It was resolved to approve the bank reconciliation.
12.4. Cancelled payments
12.4.1. Cheque 548 – Luke Farnsworth (Lengthsman): £270.00
It was resolved to cancel the above cheque.
12.5.1. David Hunter-Miller (salary and expenses): £447.57
12.5.2. HMRC (PAYE): £99.20
12.5.3. Luke Farnsworth (Lengthsman): £350.00
12.5.4. Graham Hobbs (planter maintenance): £51.72
12.5.5. Eyelid Productions Ltd (website): £170.00
It was resolved to settle the above invoices and cheques were duly signed.
12.6. Direct Debits
12.6.1. 01/10/21 – Information Commissioner (registration): £35.00
The above direct debit payment was noted.
13. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was reported that near to the Abbots Morton sign at the eastern end of the village a tree was narrowing the road, it was resolved to ask the Lengthsman to attend to this.
It was reported that the junction visibility at the Abbots Morton Road (eastern end) / C2010 junction was very poor due to the adjacent hedge; it was resolved to raise this with the landowner.
It was resolved to add the following items to the next agenda:
• Flooding, Abbots Morton Road
• Village entrance signs, Morton Spirt and Gooms Hill
14. Date of the next meeting
The next scheduled meeting is at 8:00PM on Thursday 27th January 2022.
The meeting closed at 9:50PM