Minutes of the Meeting of Eccleshall Parish Council held on APRIL 22nd, 2021

A meeting of Eccleshall Parish Council was held online via Zoom videoconferencing on April 22nd 2021, at 7.30pm. This meeting was followed by a meeting of the Planning Committee at 9.15pm.

The meeting opened with prayers

A one minutes silence was held, as a mark of respect for the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

49/21).  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 E. Amos

 

Mrs S.J. Worden (Clerk) , Mrs. Beverley Partridge (Assistant Clerk)

Borough and County Councillor J. Pert (until 8.20pm)                             

3 members of the public                                  

 Apologies were received from Cllr. Langford.(who subsequently joined from 8.20pm)

50/21).   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.

51/21).    Public Participation:

     There were no members of the public who wished to speak

52/21).    To approve the minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on March 17th, 2021:

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

53/21).    To receive any reports from Borough and County Councillors:

Borough Councillor P. Jones advised his appointment as Deputy Mayor for 2021-22, for the fourth year. Last week he also attended a Borough Council remembrance service for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

     County Councillor Pert provided a verbal report. Updates included:

  • The County Showground Vaccination Centre this week reached the milestone of administering 60,000 covid jabs. Second vaccinations are progressing well and the Moderna jab is now available. The home testing scheme has been rolled out and kits are available via post, test centres and pharmacies. R rates are significantly decreased.
  • Bus service reviews are completed and the revised bus services to Stafford and Stone are now in place, including an 8am service to Stafford.
  • Work on the Stone Road flood alleviation scheme starts Monday 26th

54/21).   Committee Updates:

Traffic Management:        

There were no updates to report.

Footpaths:

  • The purchase of 12 additional litter pickers and 10 pairs of gloves for £130.40, in line with the pre-approved delegated expenditure, was noted.
  • The Council resolved in favour of approving the recommendation to produce business cards for KETT and the footpath marshals scheme. These will be handed out to interested residents by existing footpath marshalls and councillors. Discussions on the content included preferred contact details and a method of reporting issues, including web links or a QR code to open a webform or an email. Website and general contact information can be added. A revised design will be produced and approved prior to print. Indicative quotes were obtained from 3 printers for a standard business card design. For 250 cards, the best price was £20 from Creative. There may be a slight increase if content is expanded.
  • The Council was informed about the kissing gate at the junction of footpath 13 and 15 off Church St. Part of the gate is corroded and requires repair. County Council Rights of Way has advised that its first course of action is to remove the gate completely. However, the footpaths committee has concerns that removal of the gate may result in health and safety issues if bikes are ridden down the path and enter the blind junction resulting in collision with walkers on the other path or head into the road. If the gate is retained, Rights of Way require the Parish Council to take on the ownership for the repairs and ongoing maintenance.  The council resolved in principle to take on the maintenance of the gate. The Clerk will explore the reasons for the preferred removal by ROW, whether a more accessible gate would be preferable, what options are available and report back so a final decision can be made. Members also considered the idea of fundraising for a sponsored kissing gate with a commemorative plaque.

 

Litter Picking:-

  • A young volunteer will be undertaking a litter pick, supervised by her parent, as part of the community service element of the Duke of Edinburgh award.

 

Enhancements:

  • The Parish Council considered the recommendation from the Working Group regarding the Eccleshall Festival. It was proposed that the festival is delivered by the current committee for 2022, with a view to handing over to the Parish Council for future delivery from 2024. It resolved in favour of this course of action.
  • The quotation for the 2021 Watering Contract as supplied by Stafford Borough Council was It was noted that alternative quotes are not available due to the scope of the work required.
  • Health and Wellbeing working group – provision of outdoor gym equipment. The working group wish to undertake a scoping exercise to collate a list of potential sites for placement of gym equipment, to be brought back to Council for discussion. It was resolved for the Clerk to contact landowners of any identified pieces of land, in order to determine feasibility. This includes writing to the Borough Council regarding a piece of land adjacent to Bishops Court (Hartlands Road). It was noted that a spread out trail through town could be an alternative option.

 

Policy and Resources:

There were no updates to report    

55/21).    To approve infographic for budget spending for publishing on website and Facebook

The draft infographic aimed to provide a more engaging method of advising local residents what their money was being spent on in relation to activities that improve the parish, in addition to standard budget reports.

(Cllr. Langford joined the meeting at this point).

It was resolved to proceed with producing the infographic, with revisions to clarify areas of expenditure and to add further information. Cllr. Reid and the Clerk will produce a revised draft for consideration.

(County Councillor Pert left the meeting at this point)

56/21).    To provide any updates on the Eagle Street Art project.

      Cllr. G. Dale advised alternative locations for the Eagle are under consideration and requested permission from the Council to approach any relevant landowners in order to determine whether approval in principle for use of the land would be granted.  Stafford Borough Council will be approached with regards to the piece of land near the public toilets (at a suitable distance from the Christmas tree site) The Council resolved to approve this course of action.

57/21).    To provide an update on the preparation of the Business Plan.

Cllr. Reid reported discussions were ongoing with revisions to the draft Business Plan. Councillors will be invited to provide feedback via an informal discussion with the aim of presenting a revised plan to the Council in June.

58/21).   To consider and provide a response to the ‘Local authority remote meetings: call for evidence’ consultation issued by MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government:

Members discussed the issues surrounding the ending of the current Coronavirus legislation that allows legal meetings to be held virtually, which is due to end on the 6th May. There is a court case pending outcome within the next week that is considering whether the terminology within existing permanent legislation could be considered to encompass virtual attendance. There will be further discussions at the next meeting on 5th May on meeting options between 7th May and the anticipated relaxation of restrictions from the 21st June, based on this outcome.

With regards to the consultation, it was resolved for the Clerk to respond in support of retaining the option to hold remote meetings and to advise of benefits to members and residents concerning ease of attendance. It was noted that members felt in normal circumstances, a physical full Council meeting will always be preferable.

59/21).    To consider the request by the Allotments Association to fund improvements to the water   supply for plot holders and related quotations.

The Council considered the quotations received and resolved to fund the improvements which is hoped to improve water pressure and supply to all plot holders. The quotation from Mr. A.G. Jones was approved, at a total cost of £1485.00.

Cllr. Mifflin abstained from the discussion and voting due to a personal interest.

60/21).   To receive the Clerks Report, containing liaison representative updates.

  The Clerks report was received by the Council.

   It was noted the response to the Helping Hand Voucher scheme was lower than hoped and councillors requested to promote this as much as possible to encourage applications. Cllr. L. Dale has been delivering additional flyers and will also contact Citizens Advice Bureau to make them aware of the scheme. However, it was noted that if the scheme has helped at least one person in need, that is a positive outcome.

   Correspondence:-

      There was no further correspondence to discuss.

61/21).    Chairman’s Report:-

              Cllr. P. Jones provided the following updates:

  • He attended the Stone Area Parish Liaison Group meeting last week, which was informative.
  • The Borough Council are setting up a sub-group to consider ways for the Borough to commemorate those who lost their lives to Covid-19 as well as recognising the contribution of those who worked to support others during the pandemic. SBC considered whether trees and a plaque may be a suggestion. Members noted trees can sometimes be an issue if they do not flourish or are planted in an area where they may be subject to removal as part of future tree management requirements. Alternative suggestions for Eccleshall included:
    • A memorial garden with a bench
    • Bench with a plaque at Elford Heath
    • A plaque on/near the Pillar Clock
    • A plaque on the Eagle street art
    • Bench in churchyard.

It was noted a good example of a memorial bench was sited in Barlaston. It was resolved the Council are in support of some kind of commemoration, and ideas will be revisited when the outcome of SBC discussions are shared.

62/21).    Accounts:-

To accept the Financial report for April 2021:

It was resolved to accept the financial summary, which includes the year end bank reconciliation up to the 31st March 2021

To approve accounts for payment April 2021:-

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

Stafford Borough Council – supply and install toddler seat

144.00

Royal British Legion industries – 7 x Tommy Silhouettes

1250.00

Mr. Graham Cole – footpaths maintenance

156.25

Mr. A. G. Jones – SIDs movement

100.00

SPCA – annual subscription

560.00

SLCC – CertHE course fees, 1st instalment

1470.00

Mr. Gordon Dale – Helping Hand voucher reimbursement

150.00

Helping Hand Company Ltd (retrospective approval)

162.48

 

       Authorisation was sought for payment of the following accounts:-

 

Japhlin – Computer maintenance (monthly direct debit)

46.14

Staffing Costs

1933.76

Office Expenses

365.51

Toplis Associates – Internal Audit Fee

138.00

SPCA – Training course

40.00

G Dale – Helping Hand Voucher reimbursement

50.00

Rod Sheard – Hartlands Post repair (to be reimbursed by ST)

45.00

 

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

  • It was resolved to approve the removal of Cllr. Delanchy as bank signatory in line with maximum signatory numbers for online banking payment approvals, prior to applying for Community online banking. A revised bank mandate will be submitted accordingly.
  • It was resolved to approve sponsorship of 4 Eccleshall in Bloom Baskets, £120 total cost.
  • It was resolved to approve the quotation received by High Class Glass (Stafford) for replacement glass on Stafford St. bus shelter at a cost of £130 plus VAT.

 

63/21).    To approve a resolution as stated in the Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960 section 1(2) to exclude the public for discussion of confidential staffing matters in adherence with Data Protection regulations.

  • It was resolved to approve for the Clerk to set up payment of the Assistant Clerk via Standing Order.
  • It was resolved to approve a sum of money as per the recommendations of the confidential report as a home working allowance for the Assistant Clerk.

64/21).    Items / Date and Venue for next meeting:-

The Annual meeting of the Parish Council is scheduled for May 5th 2021, via Zoom, commencing at 7.30pm.

There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 9.10pm.