Minutes of the Meeting of Eccleshall Parish Council held on Sept 23rd, 2020

 DRAFT MINUTES – TO BE APPROVED

A meeting of Eccleshall Parish Council was held online via Zoom videoconferencing on Sept 23rd, 2020, at 7.30pm. This meeting was followed by a meeting of the Planning Committee at 8.40pm.

The meeting opened with prayers

97/20).  Present were:-

Councillor P. Jones (Chairman)            Councillor L. Dale

Councillor R. Taylor                              Councillor R. Langford

Councillor B. Delanchy                         Councillor S. Mifflin

Councillor J. Jones                              Councillor P. Stenning

Councillor E. Amos                              Councillor G. Dale

Councillor S. Perren                             Councillor C. Wilkins

Councillor S. Kean

Mrs S.J. Worden (Clerk)

3 members of the public

Apologies were noted from Cllrs. Watson, Leather and Borough and County Councillor Pert.

98/20).    To consider Declarations of Interest and Councillor requests for dispensation relating to  items on the agenda.

There were no requests to receive, and no declarations of interest were made.

99/20).    Public Participation:-

There were 3 members of the public present, who did not speak.

100/20).    To approve the minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on July 15th, 2020:-

The minutes, which had been previously circulated were agreed, and will be signed at the earliest opportunity.

101/20).    Co-option of Councillor to Horsley Ward vacancy:-

The candidate gave a short presentation to the meeting.

Following a ballot Mr. Steve Kean of Countryside, Cash Lane was duly co-opted to represent the Horsley Ward.

Councillor P. Jones welcomed Mr. Kean to the Council. Councillor Kean signed a Declaration of Acceptance of Office, and further documentation would be provided by the Clerk at a convenient date after the meeting.

102/20).    To receive any reports from Borough and County Councillors:-

Cllr. P. Jones advised the Borough Council is also meeting via Zoom. The Borough Council currently has a shortfall in income and is looking at potential savings without the need to reduce service provision.

103/20).    Committee Updates:

Traffic Management:

It was resolved to write to Cllr. Pert with regards to the following:

  • To support the request lit pole lighting at the Stafford St. zebra crossing, to improve visibility. It was noted that a programme of LED upgrades to street lighting is in progress and it would be in line with other lighting upgrades to consider the zebra crossing.
  • In light of the recent grants awarded for installation of public electric car charging point in Stone and Stafford, to request support in ensuring Eccleshall is considered in the next funding opportunity.

Footpaths:

Cllr. Taylor circulated a report providing an update on the maintenance works, which were progressing well. Footpaths Marshals are walking their allocated paths and reporting issues that are considered for rectification by our footpaths operative. Cllr. Taylor was thanked for her hard work in getting the scheme up and running.

It was resolved to co-opt Mr. Cole onto the footpaths committee

It was resolved to send formal thanks to Mr. Smith for his work and for continuing to support the footpaths works in an advisory capacity

Enhancements:

 It was resolved to approve the cost of £225 for the assembly and installation of two large picnic benches at Elford Heath. The higher cost is due to the benches being installed in concrete rather than fastening clips, to ensure they stay in the correct positions.

104/20).    To consider the request from the Allotments Association regarding the water supply pressure.

The Allotments Association are experiencing issues with low water pressure, exacerbated when more than one tap is in use at the same time. Severn Trent have investigated the pressure and advised that they are meeting their service requirements of a 6 bar average. ST has suggested that a bigger supply pipe or a pump might improve matters. The Council agreed it could not agree to any works unless the costs were clearly outlined for consideration.

It was resolved for Cllr. Perren to meet with the Allotments Chairman to pay a site visit and find out more about the issues and what is being proposed. Councillors noted that installation of a water butt on the storage shed might be beneficial.

105/20).    To consider and approve the purchase of a replacement toddler swing seat for Croxton Play area.

Quotes were received from Wicksteed and Stafford Borough Council (Streetscene) for the replacement of the swing seat as the casing has started to crack. It was resolved to approve the quotation of £120 plus VAT for the supply and installation of the seat by Streetscene, using the existing chains.

106//20).    Litter Picking update

  • It was resolved to approve the allocation of up to £350 to cover the costs of additional litter picking equipment, to be purchased by the Clerk as required.
  • It was resolved to approve the purchase of a litter bin at a cost of £276 (£230 ex VAT) for positioning at the entrance to Fletchers. Fletchers have agreed they will empty it. It was resolved to write and thank Rupert Fletcher for their support.

Cllr. Taylor provided an update on the litter picking project. Almost ¾ of the area in or around the town is now covered. More volunteers are required, and posters will be distributed in order to encourage further help. All volunteers are provided with the necessary equipment to undertake this role.

Members discussed the current provision for litter within Eccleshall and the lack of mixed recycling bins in the town in order to facilitate recycling. It was noted there are some recycling bins located at the rear of the Co-Op but they are not clearly visible or along the main walking route so may not be as widely used.

The public litter bins are emptied by Streetscene. It was resolved for the Clerk to approach Streetscene to establish its litter policy and whether the collected waste is separated out into recyclable materials. This will inform the Council to consider if there is potential to work with Streetscene to provide recycling bins.

Cllr. Stenning advised he will be working on a litter proposal for consideration by the Council.

107/20).   To consider and approve the Christmas tree plans for 2020

As in previous years, the plan is to purchase two large Christmas trees and 68 smaller trees for the town centre festive decorations. It was resolved to approve the quotation from Woods farm of £1916. Woods farm are the approved suppliers as other suppliers are unable to provide the crane and to erect the trees. The Clerk advised further costs to be confirmed will bring the total cost of the trees up to approximately £3000, with the cost of installation/removal of lights and hire of cherry pickers. The Council were in favour of proceeding with the costs of the planned installation as detailed.

108/20).    To consider Parish Council nominations for the SBC Community Awards:

There are a number of categories within this years awards, and members were encouraged to think about potential nominees for each category.

The categories are: Sport and Leisure; Community Action; Environmental Improvement; Social Wellbeing; Local Hero.

The application deadline is the 23rd October 2020.

It was resolved to nominate Eccleshall Cares for an award. The Clerk requested members to send any information they wish to be added to the nomination form so that the supporting statement can be as strong as possible.

109/20).    To consider formally writing to Bovis regarding the poor condition of the footpath from Sancerre Grange to Badgers Croft.

     Recent storms had washed away the loose surface of the path, making it unsuitable for use. Since it was reported, some rectification work had been completed, but it is not ideal and the problem is likely to recur. It was resolved to write to Bovis to request suitable resurfacing of the path, ideally tarmac.

110/20).   To request items for the next Parish Newsletter

                 Members were requested to send items to the Clerk for inclusion. Cllr. P. Jones is putting together a draft of the publication. It was suggested that the availability of recycling facilities at the Co-op could be highlighted.

111/20).   To discuss the current methods of electronic communication with the council and councillors and whether they are fit for purpose.

It was noted that the introduction of a new policy would clarify the requirements and legal considerations regarding the methods by which the Council undertakes its communications. The Council resolved in favour of the resolution that the Clerk of the Council, in consultation with Councillor Stenning, be invited to take the lead in preparing a draft broad-based Communications Policy for the Council, to be put before the Council for its consideration for adoption.

112/20).    To provide an update on the Parish Council website and conformance to new accessibility regulations.

It is a requirement from the 23rd September 2020 that public authority websites comply with a set of prescribed conditions for website accessibility, in order to ensure that websites are as accessible for users that may use additional software to navigate and read the website content. Whilst it is acknowledged that all websites may not be completely accessible by this date, an accessibility statement must be in place that clearly states what areas are accessible, which parts are exempt from the regulations and what areas are not accessible, together with a plan of action for improvements. There have been significant delays to this project due to the unforeseen unavailability of the web designer, but the Clerk has been working on the areas that she can update and the draft statement is with the web designer to add in the technical elements.

113/20).    To receive the Clerks Report, containing liaison representative updates.

  The Clerks report was received by the Council. Thanks were expressed to the Ecclians for their weeding of the town centre.

 Correspondence:-

The Council noted that an offer has been accepted on the Police Post, subject to contract. No further details of the purchaser are available at this point in time, due to the ongoing contractual discussions. Once the sale is completed, the PCC’s office has advised they will issue further information.

Members enquired how this would affect the precept for next year, as the expenditure on the police post will not be required. The Clerk explained that the budget for 2021/22 will be put together to show the predicted expenditure of the Council, and this budget, taking into consideration the current balance at the time, will then identify the shortfall in funds and what is required from the precept to deliver the planned activities.

114/20).     Chairman’s Report:-

Cllr P. Jones recently attended the SPCA Chairmanship course.

115/20).       Accounts:-

To accept the Financial report to end August 2020: It was resolved to accept the financial summary, which includes the bank reconciliation up to the 31st August 2020.

To approve accounts for payment September 2020:-

Retrospective approval was granted for payment of the following accounts:-

Eccleshall Amateur Dramatics Group – Grant award 500.00
A.G. Jones – movement of speed devices 100.00
Japhlin – Computer maintenance (monthly direct debit) 46.14
Staffing Costs 1880.63
Office Expenses (cheque) 34.49
Parton Agri-Plant Ltd – hedge cutting 312.00
TGM – Grounds Maintenance 396.30
W.R. Arblaster – Elford Heath works 5703.86
A.G. Jones – movement of speed devices 100.00
SLCC – Meeting Website Accessibility Guidelines Webinar 9 &11 Sept (£144) and Virtual National Conference 12-16 Oct (£30) 174.00
Mr. Graham Cole – Footpaths survey and repairs 172.00
No Butts Bin Co. Ltd – 2 x Elford picnic benches 1104.00

 

Accounts for payment September 2020:-

Authorisation was sought for payment of the following accounts:-

Japhlin – Computer maintenance (monthly direct debit) 46.14
Staffing Costs 2203.56
Office Expenses (cheque £64.28, balance s/o) 125.48
Trent Grounds Maintenance – grass and verge works 741.90
Parish Online – Annual mapping subscription 240.00
SPCA – Councillor courses 100.00
Mr. A.G. Jones. Re-issued cheque for July 2020 (cheque lost in post) 100.00
Support Staffordshire membership 25.00
Mr. A.G. Jones. Movement of SIDs,  September 100.00
Mr. Rod Sheard – fingerpost and bus shelter repairs 135.00
SPCA – Councillor courses 100.00

 

All were in favour and the cheques will be signed accordingly.

116/20).      Items / Date and Venue for next meeting:-

The next full meeting of the Parish Council is scheduled for October 21st via Zoom, commencing at 7.30pm.

There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 8.40pm.