Minutes of the Meeting of Eccleshall Parish Council held on MARCH 17th, 2021 (DRAFT) 

A meeting of Eccleshall Parish Council was held online via Zoom videoconferencing on March 17th 2021, at 7.30pm. This meeting was followed by a meeting of the Planning Committee at 9.00pm.

The meeting opened with prayers

33/21).  Present were:-    

Councillor P. Jones  (Chairman)           Councillor L. Dale           

Councillor R. Taylor                              Councillor S. Mifflin

Councillor G. Dale                               Councillor B. Delanchy

 Councillor S. Perren                            Councillor C. Wilkins       

Councillor P. Stenning                         Councillor S. Kean

Councillor J. Leather                            Councillor J. Jones  

Councillor A. Reid                                Councillor R. Langford

Councillor E. Amos                                      

Mrs S.J. Worden (Clerk)

Borough and County Councillor J. Pert (from 8.15pm)                             

3 members of the public                                                                                     

 No apologies were received

34/21).   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.

35/21).    Public Participation:

     There were no members of the public who wished to speak

36/21).    To approve the minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on February 17th, 2021:

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

37/21).    To receive any reports from Borough and County Councillors:

Borough Councillor P. Jones advised he is planning to start zoom surgeries soon and members of the Parish Council would be welcome to attend to provide additional parish council representation. He also noted that he will be continuing as Deputy Mayor for the Borough over the coming year.

Borough and County Councillor Pert will report later in the meeting, due to attendance at another meeting prior to this one.

38/21).    Committee Updates:

Traffic Management:          

Pavement clearance works are ongoing, and there has been a positive public response to the works. The Contractors are about halfway through.

Footpaths:

  • Reports from marshalls are steadily coming in, and issues are being rectified by our footpaths operative.

Litter Picking:-

  • Perren volunteered to take over the Gaol Butts/Small Lane area following retirement of the current volunteers.
  • There is an ongoing issue with discarded cigarette butts outside the Co-Op, which may be a result of ashtrays being emptied from the flats above.. The Co-op, as landlord, is looking into this. The Council considered whether cigarette stubbers would help reduce the problem of discarded butts in other areas.

Enhancements:

  • The unknown Tommy silhouettes, as approved in the previous meeting, have increased in price. It was resolved to continue with the purchase of 7 silhouettes at a cost of £175 each plus postage.
  • The quotations received were considered and it was resolved to approve the quotation for Keyzor Tree Surgeons to undertake the tree works at the Eyeswell open space. 

Policy and Resources:

  • It was resolved to approve the virements for the 2020/21 budget as follows:
    • £2090 from Projects (4600) to Croxton Play area (4360), for new swings.
    • £2,700 from Police Post loan (4613) to Grants (4240) for Eccleshall Cares grant and part of Community band grant
    • £100 from contingencies (4998) to Grants (4240) for Community Band grant balance.
    • £1,150 from watering (4380) to Grass Cutting (4370) to cover additional works undertaken
  • It was resolved to approve the additional earmarking of funds for 2021/22 as follows:
    • £1,000 – to Community Centre (unspent budget)
    • £2,650 – to Croxton Play Area (general reserves)
    • £1,000 – to Highways maintenance work (general reserves)
    • £500 – to Allotments from rents
    • £660 – Elections (accumulated reserves)
    • £1,400– to IT reserves (unspent budget)
    • £2,000 – Beech Road (subject to SBC approval, reconsideration Dec 2021)/Youth Projects
  • It was resolved to approve the updated budget for 2021/22, which contained minor amendments to reflect accurate costs for the recently approved grounds maintenance works and an updated expenditure to date. A summary will be appended to the minutes (website – Other Publications – financial)
  • It was resolved to approve the IT equipment and installation costs for the Assistant Clerk, which includes the provision of laptop, antivirus and set up costs. There may be a slight fluctuation on the laptop price dependent on current market value which was noted and accepted by the Council. Total costs are estimated at £775. Both the Clerk and Assistant will need the Microsoft 365 package at £9.40 per month per user, to provide the necessary software, email and file sharing functionality.
  • It was resolved to approve the recommendation to convene a simple annual public meeting via Zoom on the 28th April 2021 in accordance with legislative requirements which would consist of a chairs report, committee reports and the opportunity for attendees to ask questions. As soon as is practicable, the Council will hold a full ‘physical’ parish forum that is hoped to be more engaging, and will invite local community groups.

39/21).      To provide an update from the Flood Action Group and current resident issues.

A representative from Severn Trent attended a recent meeting and attendees requested that ST improve their web based flood reporting systems. It was noted that current difficulties may be preventing the accurate reporting of floods. ST are currently undertaking investigation works to determine water flow from high to low parts of the town and to note where older, narrow drainage systems are in place. Flooding issues in Slindon, and by Crown Surgery/The Eagle were discussed. Upcoming works to improve Stone Road were noted.

There are concerns raised by the group and a resident regarding health and safety issues with a long ditch on Sancerre Grange. The ditch is deep, sides are unstable, and there is no fencing around the area. It was resolved that the Council will write to Vistry (Bovis) to express concerns and ask for action to rectify the issue. 

A public meeting will be held on Thursday 25th March, and the Clerk will circulate the details.

(County Cllr. Pert joined the meeting at this point).

Adbaston Parish Council correspondence:-

Adbaston are planning remedial works on land it owns (The Marsh, off Cash Lane) in order to alleviate flooding problems in the immediate area. However, the problem is exacerbated by water flowing down Eabon Lane and Cash Lane from poorly maintained ditches alongside properties within Eccleshall Parish. Adbaston Parish Council has asked for support from the Parish Council in writing to relevant property owners in order to request appropriate ditch maintenance works and in one instance, to investigate sources of flood water. It was resolved to approve this course of action.

40/21).       To receive requests from members to appoint to committees.

         It was resolved to appoint Cllr. Reid to the Policy and Resources and Enhancements Committees.

41/21).      To consider the current position on the remote meetings legislation, current meetings schedule and required steps to be implemented for any return to physical meetings.

Current remote meeting legislation is due to end on the 6th May 2021 and at present there has been no extension granted. It was resolved that if there is no extension, the Annual Council Meeting will be brought forward to Wednesday 5th May 2021 before, planning, to ensure the meeting can be legally held via Zoom. If necessary, the later May planning meeting could be delayed until June. Should there be an extension to the legislation in the meantime, the Annual Council meeting will revert to the original date of May 19th.

42/21).    To provide an update on the Eagle Street Art project:

Vistry Homes (Bovis) has confirmed it will not be able to provide an alternative location for the Street Art, but that the Parish Council will not be required to pay back the grant. It was resolved to identify potential alternative locations and to undertake site visits with County highways officers to determine the viability of the suggestions. County Cllr. Pert agreed to facilitate the links so that this could be arranged. It was resolved to appoint Cllr. Gordon Dale to collate the suggested locations and liaise with highways at the site meetings.

43/21).   To consider switching to an online banking system for online payment approvals:

The Council considered a report detailing options for moving to online authorisation of payments, to streamline the current process and make it more secure. The options considered were NatWest Bankline for Communities and Unity Trust (Lloyds are not taking new community customers at present). It was resolved to switch to NatWest Bankline for Communities in the first instance, with a 6 month trial period. The process would require the Clerk to input the payments list to the online system,  and following approval at a meeting, 2 councillors will log on and authorise the payments. The Clerk and the Chair of Policy and Resources will be nominated administrators for the purpose of controlling access – any changes will need to be approved by both administrators. As advised by NatWest, the Clerk will retain separate online access for the purpose of viewing accounts online, transferring money between the two accounts and telephone banking access. If there are any issues with setup, this will ensure it will not impact on the ability of the Council to manage its finances. There can only be a maximum of four signatories, so one councillor will need to be removed from the current mandate.

44/21).    To consider amendments and provide a response to CDT6627-2054 Swynnerton Road,  proposed 40-mph limit on C002 between Eccleshall and Cold Meece (Approx. 4.41 km) and the proposed 50-mph limit on C002 north of Cold Meece (Approx. 1.95km). There had been some minor changes to proposed speed limits, with a section of Meece Road changed to a 50mph limit. It was resolved to support this proposal. It is expected to be implemented in July.

45/21).    To receive the Clerks Report, containing liaison representative updates.

The Clerks report was received by the Council.

Correspondence:-

There was no further correspondence to discuss.

At this point, County Cllr. Pert was invited to provide a report:-

  • The Stone Road buildouts are expected to start w/c 22/3/21 and will take approximately a week to complete. A 40mph buffer zone is incorporated into the plan.
  • The County Council has approved a flood alleviation scheme for the Stone Road, at a cost of approximately £250,000. Work will commence within the next 2 months, last around 6 weeks and will require single lane traffic management rather than full road closure.
  • The success of the County Covid-19 testing and vaccination programmes were noted. There have been no further South African variants found and test uptake is excellent. The area is in the top 3 performing authorities for vaccine rollout.

46/21).     Chairman’s Report:-

Cllr. P. Jones provided the following updates:

  • Cllr P. Jones noted Perry’s have been awarded Midlands and East of England Butcher’s Shop of the Year and it was resolved to write and congratulate them on their achievements.
  • Beverley Partridge has been appointed as the new Assistant Clerk and attended this evenings meeting. Beverley was welcomed by councillors. The aim is for her to join the Council in April.
  • It was noted that a number of the Eccleshall road signs and parish sign have been cleaned by a local resident and it was resolved to contact him and express thanks for the work undertaken.

47/21).     Accounts:-

To accept the Financial report for March 2021:

It was resolved to accept the financial summary, which includes the bank reconciliation up to the 26th February 2021.

To approve accounts for payment March 2021:-

       Retrospective authorisation was sought for payment of the following accounts:-

Eccleshall Community Band (grant)

300.00

A.G. Jones – Movement of Speed indication devices

100.00

 

Authorisation was sought for payment of the following accounts:-

Japhlin – Computer maintenance (monthly direct debit)

46.14

Staffing Costs

2108.42

Office Expenses

361.50

HMRC – PAYE/NI

303.06

Staffs Pension Fund – Pension

497.68

SPCA – Councillor Training

30.00

Creative Copy n Colour – combined support and helping hand leaflet

462.00

Japhlin – panda antivirus x 2

72.00

G Dale – Helping Hand Voucher reimbursement

100.00

 

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

It was also resolved to approve a delegated budget of £250 to the Clerk, with the approval of the Chairman, for the purchase of any additional equipment for the Assistant Clerk to include printer, mobile phone.

48/21).      Items / Date and Venue for next meeting:-

The next full meeting of the Parish Council is scheduled for April 21st 2021, via Zoom, commencing at 7.30pm.

There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 9.00pm