The meeting was held virtually using ZOOM software. All members could be seen and heard using the audio and video functions.
Present: Cllrs: E Fairclough (Chair), K Shaw, S Birkby, H Massey, T Saunders, J Carlon, P Lee, S Leith and C Wagstaff.
In attendance: Ward councillors M Cummings, the Clerk to the Council and two members of the public.
33. To receive apologies and approve reasons for absence.
Apologies were received from Parish Councillors E Prince and C Pearson, Albert Manifield and Cllr F Heptinstall (WMDC Ward Councillors). Cllr Wagstaff will be joining the meeting late.
Resolved to note the reasons for absence.
34. To receive declarations of interest.
35. To approve the minutes of the council meeting held on 7th and 16th July 2020.
Resolved to approve the minutes of the meetings held on 7th and 16th July without amendment as a true and correct record of the meeting.
36. Public forum session – To permit members of the public to make representations, answer questions, and give evidence in respect of any item of business included in the agenda.
37. To receive a report on the SAFE scheme and police matters.
The Clerk confirmed the July report was circulated prior to the meeting but a report had not been received for August 2020.
Resolved to note the July report.
38. To receive a report from WMDC Ward 5 Councillors.
Cllr M Cummings reported the following:
· A PACT meeting will be held virtually on 15th September using Microsoft Teams.
· Left with the Clerk to obtain costings for the replacement of the three roadside planters on Shay Lane that are in disrepair.
· Still chasing the fly-tipping referred at July’s meeting into the Beck.
· The metal fence at Brook farm that had fallen over was reinstated.
· Manhole cover on Oakenshaw Lane had been replaced.
· Tyres at the Golf Club are not the responsibility of WMDC given this is private land but there is a dialogue now the Golf Club to resolve.
· The free packed lunch scheme reported by Cllr Heptinstall over the school holidays, which was very well received.
· Police attended Brook Farm following the illegal encampment by travellers before the Bank holiday weekend. They have been served with a notice to vacate the premises.
Cllr C Wagstaff joins the meeting.
Cllr Carlon thanked Cllr Cummings for clearing the drains but disappointed WMDC had not fully secured site at Brook Farm as the travellers appeared to have gained entry by cutting lock.
A member reported the drains on School Lane, Oakenshaw Lane and Greenside were blocked and another member reported the gullies on The Balk required flushing out.
Resolved to note the reports.
39. To ratify decisions, as scheduled made to date by the Clerk under her delegated authority.
The Clerk submitted a schedule of decisions made under her delegated authority from 1st July to 25th August 2020 to be ratified by the Parish Council. For transparency reasons, it was agreed this schedule be published on the website.
The Clerk submitted details (copy attached to minutes) of accounts paid totalling £2,963.05 for July 2020 and £3,573.18 for August 2020, and income received of £750.42 and £10,400.43 for July and August 2020, respectively. The receipts in August include the £10,000 COVID-19 grant secured from WMDC.
The account balances at the end of August 2020 are:
Current a/c: £9,033.78
Barclays Business Res a/c: £12,626.39
HSBC deposit a/c: £50,913.31
(i) Approve the financial statements and payments.
(ii) To ratify the decisions taken by the Clerk/RFO under her delegated authority to 25th August 2020 and to publish the list of decisions on the Parish Council website.
40. To consider correspondence received.
The Clerk summarised the correspondence received over July and August 2020 including the consultation on the new planning reform. Cllr Lee gave a summary and it was felt the proposals would reduce the possibility for stakeholders to submit views.
The Clerk also raised a concern highlighted by a resident near High Meadows. The area concerned on Footpath 6 narrows and with cyclists using this footpath, it is difficult to observe social distancing. The resident requested signage be erected by WMDC to prevent cyclists using this stetch. WMDC’s Footpath officer has suggested the Parish Council might wish to erect such signage, but this is questioned on the basis the Parish Council is not the legal owner of the land.
(i) To respond to the resident to restate the erection of the requested signage is outside the Parish Council’s remit;
(ii) Clerk to work with the Planning Working party to formulate and submit an objection on the proposed planning reform on the basis public participation would be reduced and the reduction of the democratic process would unduly benefit housebuilders in an attempt to cut red tape.
41. To consider planning applications validated and decided July and August 2020.
There have been 2 applications validated and 1 application decided since the last meeting.
Resolved to note all the validated and decided applications.
A member raised the temporary planning permission for ‘The Van’ on Oakenshaw Lane and to be mindful this was limited to 4 years. It is understood the reason it was granted was that WMDC had not provided enough pitches within the district. The Clerk confirmed this can be added to next month’s agenda for discussion on any action to take.
An update was provided on the allotments lease. It was noted there was 2 large soakaways located near/underneath the allotment site. The surface will be adopted as a public highway and limits what the Parish Council can do with the land and is not unencumbered as referenced in the s106 agreement. Members of the Working Party felt the land was not unsuitable and should be rejected with a request for an alternative area. The Clerk to respond to WMDC under her delegated authority as this was not an itemised agenda item.
Cllr Wagstaff left the meeting.
42. To receive a report on the reopening of the Village Hall.
The Clerk reported after liaising with all hirers over the summer, 4 existing hirers were returning and one new U3A hirer was starting once the hall reopens on 1st September. The Clerk confirmed the Hall’s COVID risk assessment has been updated in line with new guidelines to include face coverings now being mandatory and all aspects have been implemented in line with ACRE guidance and what is considered ‘permitted activities’. It was also confirmed Cllrs Shaw and Birkby attended to carry out pre-opening checks and sign-off that all measures are in place for re-opening. The insurance company has also been informed of our re-opening. There is still a pause on children’s parties due to concerns with social distancing.
The Clerk reported the CCTV had been serviced with no issues.
Resolved to note the report.
43. To consider feedback from the village consultation on the uses for the Tennis Club and determine next steps.
The Chair wished to thank all members that assisted with clearing the Tennis Club Pavilion during the summer months.
Discussions were had on commissioning a feasibility study and how to assess the number of proposals submitted, some more detailed than others. A working party was proposed to review the proposals in detail and to make recommendations to full council on areas/categories to form the bases of a feasibility study. The working groups terms of reference would be to research, shortlist, explore funding and consider viable alternatives. The group will consist of Clls Saunders, Birkby, Leith, Shaw, Massey and Fairclough.
Resolved to set-up a new Working Party to review and consider the full proposals submitted and to make recommendations to the Council a next month’s meeting.
A member noted a comment received was to reduce the Leylandii trees and this was mentioned by the Recreation Working party in the past. The Clerk agreed to add to next month’s agenda for discussion.
44. To consider resolving not to sell the land formerly known as the Tennis Club for the time being and retain for future generations.
Proposed by Cllr Lee at last month’s meeting.
Resolved to approve the proposal on the basis this was a community asset and should be safeguarded for future generations.
45. To consider request for 1) use of toilets at the Pavilion and 2) a formal lease regarding the Football pitch and 3)use of a storage cupboard, by Walton Juniors.
Discussions were held as to whether it was safe to use of the toilets in the current circumstances. The Clerk advised a risk assessment would need to be completed and COVID-safe protocols will need to be implemented in line with government guidance before allow use by any members to ensure it is safe. It was also debated that allowing use of toilets could hinder any plans the Parish Council would wish to take for refurbishment or alternative use. Any permission to use would simply be limited to the toilets and would be ad-hoc, on a week by week basis.
A request to use the storage cupboard should be refused on the basis another group made such a similar request and this was declined.
A final request for a formal lease of the pitch would not be permissible as usage is shared with another club.
(i) For the clerk to carry out a risk assessment and implement measures in line with Government guidelines for use of public toilets;
(ii) To allow access to use toilets on match days, to be un/locked by the ground’s attendant, on a week by week basis;
(iii) To refuse the request for use of the storage cupboard;
(iv) To refuse a request for a formal lease but to endeavour to support the group in any application for grant funding to progress/further the football club.
Meeting closed at 9.10pm.