Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 2 March 2021


Present:   Cllrs: E Fairclough (Chair), K Shaw, P Lee, S Birkby, T Saunders, C Pearson, S Leith, C Wagstaff, and J Carlon.


In attendance: Cllr F Heptinstall and Cllr M Cummings WMDC (Ward Councillors), PC Steele, 7 members of the public and the Clerk to the Council.


141.        To receive apologies for absence.

             Apologies were received from Cllrs A Manifield (Ward Councillor)


142.        To receive declarations of interest.



143.        To approve the minutes of the Parish Council meetings held on 2nd February 2021.

             Resolved to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 2nd February 2021 without amendment as a true record of the meeting.


144.        To be notified of matters accomplished or arisen since the last meeting not included elsewhere on the agenda.

The Clerk noted 5 of the 10 additional columns added to the summer/winter displays have been filled. A post will be added shortly to advertise the remaining columns but if members know of any new sponsors, to ask them to contact the Clerk.


The Chair announced item 6 would be moved up the agenda in advance of item 5 to allow PC Steele to present his report and leave the meeting early due to personal commitments.


145.        To receive a report on the SAFE scheme and Police matters.

Pc Steele noted the traffic gun was currently being calibrated but that traffic patrols will resume once this process was completed.

Patrols were being made in the park after reports that some youths were causing trouble. A member noted youths were often congregating at the park on Sunday afternoon.  Patrols have also been completed on The Grove with no issued identified.  Due to community intelligence, patrols are focusing on damage to/theft from motor vehicles and drug use.  Two individuals have been charged with attempted burglary of a motor vehicle in a nearby village.


             Resolved to note the report.


146.        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.

None presented as wishing to make any comment.



147.        To receive reports from WMDC Ward 5 Councillors.

Cllr F Heptinstall confirmed the ward councillors are happy to support the refurbishment of the tennis club in principle but would need costings/drawings prior to proceeding. The same would apply for officer support from WMDC and conversations are being had as to what that support would look like.


A member of the public asked permission to speak on dog waste bags on Greenside due to an increase in dog waste bags litters at the side of the road. The Chair refers the comment to Ward Councillors. Cllr Heptinstall comments that littering is a nationwide issue but WMDC will shortly be launching a campaign to encourage members to take litter home. A review of the bins in the area will also be undertaken.

Previously covert cameras used to catch littering offences have been discovered and, in some cases, vandalised.


Cllr Cummings reported:

·         If the Chair can identify areas where ‘Pick up or Pay up’ markings could be painted, the Ward Councillors would be happy to organise these being installed.

·         She has had no response regarding the work at the Nine-arches;

·         Surplus soil to reinstate the churned-up grass on the roadside of the Nature reserve is too wet to place but will be laid as soon as permissible.

·         An update on Brook Farm was issued via the Clerk with ancillary matters due to be addressed in the next few months and to diarise for May 2021 for a further update.

·         Ward councillors assisted securing Friends of Nature Colliery Park with larger bins.

·         On the replacement planters, the Clerk clarified the Parish Council was looking to secure permission from WMDC for citing the proposed fourth new planter on Oakenshaw Lane. Cllr Cummings as for a plan to be sent with the proposed location so she can speak with the relevant person at WMDC.


A member noted the funds promised from WMDC for ‘Community benefit’ following the sale of Brook Farm was offered without any qualifying conditions, however it appears this is no longer the case. Cllr Cummings noted this could be picked up with WMDC at a follow up meeting after May 2021 once an update is received.


Resolved to note the report.


148.        Finance & Governance

1.      To approve accounts to be paid, already paid under delegated powers and income received February 2021.


The Clerk submitted details (copy attached to minutes) of accounts paid totalling £7,754.70 for February 2021, and income received of £1,867.57.


The account balances at the end of February 2021 are:

Current a/c:                                          £1,757.38

Barclays Business Res a/c:             £29,631.39

HSBC deposit a/c:                            £50,915.87

Total                                                   £82,304.64

Resolved: to approve the financial statements and payments.


The Chair noted members had forgotten to raise the collapsing wall at Bull bridge on Walton Lane with the Ward Councillors. The Clerk will notify the Ward Councillors via email of the issue.


2.      To consider the insurance premium and long-term agreement contract.

Resolved to renew insurance contract at a cost of £1,807.94 premium.


3.      To approve the Asset Register and valuations for 2021/2022.

The Clerk requested from the Chair to defer the item until consideration of the benches under item 13.2 and 13.3 as this will impact on final figures. The Chair agreed.


4.      To consider the contribution to the SAFE scheme for 2021/22.

The Clerk confirmed last year the Parish Council pledged £6,000 and it was anticipated £1,850 surplus to carry over to next year.  The Council budgeted £6,000 for the next financial year.


Resolved to pledge £6,000 to SAFE Scheme for 21/22 incorporating any surplus carried over.


5.      To consider the Risk Management Review Plan.

The Clerk confirmed all items were up-to date except for consideration of short-term investments due to uncertainty of the pandemic and its impact on Council funds.  As the precept will be paid in April in full, it would now be appropriate for Council to consider investing some funds on a short-term basis. It was agreed to add this to next month’s agenda for review.


             Resolved to approve the Risk Management Plan for 2021 and itemise review of short-term investments at the April Parish Council meeting.


6.      To consider and approve cost for the YLCA Remote Conference.

The Clerk note last year’s YLCA Annual Conference was cancelled. This year YLCA are holding a two-day virtual conference on 21st and 22nd April 2021 for delegates at a cost of £40 per delegate. One or two members indicated an interest.


Resolved to approve the cost of one delegate to attend with a view to sharing any slides obtained to all members.  Delegate to attend to be agreed between the interested members and the Clerk.



149.        To consider correspondence received.

The Clerk summarised the correspondence received this month and listed the invitations including the hall being booked as a polling station for the forthcoming elections in May 2021.

             Resolved to note correspondence received.



150.        Planning Working Party.


1.      To consider planning applications validated and decided February 2021.

There have been 5 applications validated and 5 application decided since the last meeting.

Resolved to note the validated and decided applications.



151.        Village Hall and Coronation Cottage Working Party

The Chair wished to record a special thanks to Cllr Wagstaff who attended with a lifter to assist the electrician installing the LED lights outside the hall.

1.         To consider dates for reopening of the village hall.

Subject to Government guidance, it appears the Village Hall can reopen from 12th April, for certain permitted activities, subject to government restrictions of the day and risk assessments being updated. Additional permitted activities could resume from 17th May 2021, again subject to government restrictions.

Resolved to commit to reopening the hall from 12th April onwards subject to restrictions for permitted activities.


2.         To consider receive report on the Village Hall risk assessment and consider any recommendations.

        The Clerk noted the working party members met on 23rd February 2021 to undertake the annual risk assessment, with the reported recommendations.


                     i.            For Clerk to obtain quotes for the Committee Room and Entrance to be repainted and fire-resistant plastic covering be added to nearside entrance wall.

                   ii.            Authorise clerk to dispose of the piano via social media to residents free of charge.

                 iii.            Offer playgroup one free session to hold sale to dispose of unwanted toys/items to tidy reduce stock in play cupboard;

                 iv.            Authorise cost of repairs by an electrician to be made to disabled toilet emergency alarm.

                   v.            Commission an annual inspection of roof and gutter clean.

                 vi.            Roof of kitchen to be cleared of moss.

                vii.            Authorise cost of grinding down elm stump up to £300 plus VAT.


3.         To consider quote for recommended remedial work on Hall’s drains following drainage survey.

Resolved to defer to next month’s meeting.


4.         To consider quote for boarding Hall cellar ceiling with fire-resistant material.

The Clerk noted in line with the Council’s Financial Regulations, efforts were made to obtain three quotes, but due to the bespoke nature of the work, this was not possible.  Accordingly, it was advised the Parish Council to suspend Financial regulations. 

Following the fire risk assessment completed in November 2021, it was recommended the ceiling was boarded using fire resistant material.  The recommendation was to use 60-minute fire resistant material unless there was a fire detection system in place whereby a lesser resistant material could be used.

A discussion ensued as to whether a 30-minute or 60-minute material should be used despite having a smoke detector, a call point and a fire extinguisher.  It was noted the gas pipes were visible and not clear how and whether these should be boarded underneath.

Resolved to board with a 60-minute fire-resistant material by the cheapest contractor following advise from a gas engineer regarding access to the gas pipes.


5.      To consider quote for a new fire-resistant cellar door.

Resolved to purchase a new 30-minute fire resistant door in replacement of the cellar door at a cost of £450 plus VAT.


6.         To receive an update on Tennis Club meetings with WMDC and potential contractors.

Cllr Saunders reported meetings with contractors had suggested there were two avenues the Council could pursue if it were minded installing a sporting facility, being a recreational or a more specialist facility.

A member asked if the estimated cost of £250,000 to resurface, fence and mark the site coincides with quotes given to the tennis association years ago to refurbish as tennis courts. It would appear they were comparable. A member questioned the reasoning of spending as a substantial sum on a sporting facility given the existence of a hardstanding basketball pitch on the recreation ground and the uncertainty of the new sporting facility to be relocated ay Brook Farm.  It was suggested further work could be deferred to the autumn once further developments were known.

Resolved to note the report.


152.        Recreation Ground & Playgrounds Working Party

1.         To receive ROSPA report and Recreation Playground risk assessment together with any recommendations.

Following a risk assessment completed on 19th February 2021, a summary of the recommendations are:

·         maintenance work to be carried out by the Grounds attendant such as cutting back hedges and tiding low lying tree branches.

·         removal of a buddleia bush and levelling off the ground near the hedges backing onto Tennis Club by WMDC,

·         flagging under one of the benches (bench 21) looking out onto the football pitch.

·         Fixing the private access gate from the back of a resident’s gate onto the recreation ground.

·         returfing near and around the picnic benches.

·         acquiring two new picnic benches for the area near School Lane houses.

The Clerk reported signage for safety measures to minimise coronavirus transmission has been repeatedly removed the following day and so these rules have been posted on Facebook page.

The ROSPA playground inspection has been completed with no issues identified the height of the roundabout requires monitoring but following advice from WMDC has been classed as minor/low risk issue which the playgrounds team would continue to monitor.

The Clerk conveyed a quote for £575 to remove and reflag under bench 21.  This was considered excessive and would be revisited.

Resolved to note and approve all the recommendations save for reflagging under bench 21 looking out onto the football pitch.


153.        Environmental Improvements Working Party

1.         To consider purchase of summer seedlings and compost for various locations.

Resolved to purchase seedlings and compost up to a cost of £120 plus VAT.


154.        To consider replacement of bench no 9 on The Grove with newly refurbished bench.

The Chair reported the relevant bench has a memorial plaque with relatives no longer living in the village. The individual named in the plaque was fatally injured in the village.

Resolved to replace bench 9 with a newly refurbished bench at a cost of £360 with the exiting plaque remounted on the newly installed bench.


155.        To consider cost of refurbishing bench removed from war memorial and Millennium entrance benches.

The Clerk reported the 8ft wooden bench removed from the war memorial would cost £530 to be refurbished and installed, because of specialist carpentry and metal work. The Clerk reported a new quality bench of the same size would cost more than £1,000. Some members felt refurbishing the bench would represent an opportunity whilst others felt it would be more cost-effective to scrap the bench.

Resolved to approve the cost of refurbishing the bench at a cost of £430 plus £100 for installation.  New location to be deferred to next month’s meeting.


156.        To consider the Annual Parish Meeting and arrangements/format.

The Clerk reported the Annual Meeting had been set to take place on 20th May 2021, however, pending new legislation virtual meetings may not be permissible following 6th May 2021, however public meetings may also not be permissible or advisable until 21st June 2021.

Resolved to not proceed with an Annual meeting of the parish in 2021.


157.        To consider request by Working for Walton to store waste collected from litter-picks until collection arranged.

Resolved to approve the request to store waste from litter-picks at the hall subject to:

(i)        Waste being deposited using WMDC white bin bags.

(ii)      Waste stored on a set date by W4W with a collection date of the following day.


Deferred item 8.3

158.        To approve the Asset Register and valuations for 2021/2022.

The Clerk circulated an Asset Register and valuations for 21/22.  The Clerk confirmed the figures had been prepared with the assumption the benches would be acquired and disposed at the associated costs, however since circulating, the Clerk would like to include the cost of the fans and water boiler to the contents figure within the Annual Return valuations.  This would result in a slightly higher contents figure of £500 against the valuation given for insurance purposes.  A member noted given an excess would be applicable this would be acceptable.


Resolved to approve the Asset Listing and valuations for 2020/21 with the amendments listed above.


159.        To receive matters reported directly to the Clerk.

Meeting closed at 9.25pm.