The meeting was held virtually using ZOOM software. All members could be seen and heard used the audio and video functions.
Present: Cllrs: E Fairclough (Chair), S Birkby, J Carlon, C Wagstaff, P Lee, S Leith, and C Pearson.
In attendance: Ward Councillor M Cummings (WMDC) the Clerk to the Council and 5 members of the public.
01. To elect the Chair.
Resolved to elect Councillor Elizabeth Fairclough as Chair who then signed a Declaration of Acceptance of Office.
02. To elect the Vice-Chair.
Resolved to elect Councillor Keith Shaw as Vice Chair.
03. To receive apologies and approve reasons for absence.
Apologies were received from Parish Councillor T Saunders, PC Craig Steel and Ward Councillors A Manifield and F Heptinstall.
Resolved to note reasons for absence.
Cllr K Shaw was having connectivity problems and the Clerk tried to assist. He was unable to join the meeting.
04. To receive declarations of interest.
05. To approve the minutes of the council meeting held on 13th April 2021.
Resolved to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 13th April 2021 with an amendment to the body of the minute 173 to stipulate Cllr Lee re-examine the ‘eastern boundary’ and to change the resolution to ‘examine’ the feasibility.
06. 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.
A resident queried how the advertisement of the Clerk’s vacancy would be displayed. Members felt this should be wide enough due to the professional nature of the role. The item to be discussed under item 22.
A resident asked how agenda items could be included. The Chair clarified to raise with the Clerk or with a ward councillor if it is WMDC’s remit. The Clerk confirmed there were no outstanding requests for agenda items.
07. To receive a report on the SAFE scheme and Police matters.
The Clerk had circulated the SAFE report in advance as the Police were unable to attend. The report will be published on the Parish Council website.
Resolved to note the report.
08. To receive a report from WMDC Ward 5 Councillors.
Cllr Cummings reported:
· She was surprised the police proceeded with a PACT meeting despite this conflicting with a Parish Council meeting.
· Cllr F Heptinstall requested confirmation if there were any issues outstanding following WMDC’s expressed support for officer and financial support for the refurbishment of the Tennis Club – Clerk confirmed no issue to date.
· If there are any matters arising from the community grant for the planters – the Clerk confirmed the grant application is due to be considered on 11 May and the application requires Ward Councillor support prior to submission.
· The collapsed wall on Walton Lane approaching the village will be renewed and has been assessed by WMDC as not dangerous.
· Her surprise to hear of the Clerk’s resignation and noted her professionalism within her role.
· No update on the Barnsley Midland Railway initiative. If and when there is an update, Cllr Cummings will bring it to the Parish Council.
Chair asked if there was an update on Brook Farm to which Cllr Cummings, she confirmed she did not.
09. To approve accounts to be paid, already paid under delegated powers and income received April 2021.
The Clerk submitted details (copy attached to minutes) of accounts paid totalling £2,852.09 for April 2021 and income received of £41,384.43.
The account balances at the end of April 2021 are:
Current a/c: £2,869.10
Barclays Business Res a/c: £62,632.25
HSBC deposit a/c: £50,916.69
* The budget expectation is that the total balance will be £60,885.70 at the end of the financial year.
Resolved: to approve the financial statements and payments.
10. To receive the report of the Internal Auditor and to consider re-appointing the Internal Auditor for 2021/22.
(i) to receive the report and note its contents detailing there were no matters of concern.
(ii) to re-appoint Yorkshire Internal Audit Services as internal auditor.
11. To consider approval of the Parish Council Final Accounts for the year 2020/21.
The Clerk confirmed the bank reconciliation was confirmed by the internal auditor and the asset listing as reported earlier in the year. The Clerk confirmed the variances are required against previous years figures and an explanation has been offered. The primary reason for the variances being the increased expenditure on the refurbishment of the hall and the playground.
Resolved to approve the year end accounts/statements and for the Chair to sign and date the accounts on behalf of the Council.
12. To consider agreement to the nine statements for the Annual Governance Statement (Secn 1 of the Annual Return).
Resolved to adopt the external auditors suggested period for the exercise of public rights and agree the nine statements for the Annual Governance Statement of the Annual Return and for the Chair to sign Section 1.
13. To consider approval of the Accounting Statements (Secn 2 of the Annual Return)
Resolved to approve the Accounting Statements of the Annual Return and for the Chair to sign Section 2.
14. To consider bank signatories
Resolved to reconfirm the current bank signatories: Cllrs S Birkby, E Fairclough, K Shaw, and the Clerk.
The Clerk reported the correspondence received in April 2021 and that a number of items are deferred to next month’s meeting due to the number if items for consideration at this meeting.
Resolved to note the listed correspondence.
To consider the appointment of Parish
Resolved that representation is as follows:
1. Sandal Charities (Sandal Magna Relief in Need Charity & Harrison’s Almshouse Charity) – Cllr E Fairclough (appointed for 4 years in 2019).
3. Walton Community Centre – Cllr J Carlon.
4. Walton Safe Scheme point of contact - Cllr E Fairclough.
5. Walton Library - Cllr P Lee.
6. YLCA - Cllr T Saunders.
17. To consider membership of Working Parties.
Resolved to defer to next Parish Council meeting when new Councillors will be in office.
18. To appoint a Staffing Committee (3 members) and an Appeal Panel (3 members).
(i) to appoint Cllrs C Pearson, S Leith and K Shaw to the Staffing Committee.
(ii) to appoint Cllrs S Birkby, P Lee and T Saunders to an Appeal Panel.
19. To review planning applications validated and decided April 2021.
There were 4 planning applications validated and 1 decided since the last meeting. The was 1 Licensing application.
Members noted a licensing application had been submitted for a craft market at the New Inn but that the planning application for an outdoor market remains outstanding. Members discussed whether the purpose of the permanent structures were to facilitate an outdoor market or if they were built for the pub and used as a market on a temporary basis.
(i) to note the validated and decided applications.
(ii) Take no action regarding the licensing application and await the outcome of the planning application to be determined.
20. To consider a proposal to authorise the Clerk to liaise with the planning authority on on-going planning applications.
Cllr Lee felt it would be beneficial for the Clerk to chase outstanding planning applications. The Clerk advised against the need for such authorisation and the risk of acting beyond full council’s wishes. The Clerk advised had she complied with this request, she would have gone against the view of the Parish Council to leave for the planning application to be determined.
Resolved not to procced with the motion.
21. To consider and adopt the New Councillor Code of Conduct.
A vote was held in favour of adopting the Code with WMDC’s advised amendments and carried.
Resolved to adopt the Code of Conduct with WMDC’s amendments incorporated in place of the current Code of Conduct.
22. To consider two proposals regarding next steps required to create new village green/community space being: 1) to contact WMDC via the Ward Councillors and 2) create a new working group and to delegate project management to the Clerk.
Cllr Lee felt the categorisation of the motion was not as he intended, and the resolution passed at last month’s meeting was to examine the feasibility of creating a village green. The motion was aimed at implementing the first stage of this resolution. Members noted the idea was first raised only some weeks ago and some felt it was setting a programme for later discussion whilst others felt ‘examine’ was far reaching and encompassed authorisation to write to WMDC. The Chair noted the request submitted for approval was beyond what was agreed at last month’s meeting and needed to come back to full Council for approval.
(i) to write to WMDC via the Ward Councillors to clarify status of the landownership and if WMDC would consider transferring (area as defined in the approved plan) the freehold reversion to the Parish Council for use as a village green.
(ii) Written request to be limited to the above for the time being.
23. To consider amendment to all working party terms of reference to give powers to Councillors regarding project management.
A discission was held on reasons for delays to certain projects. Following discussion, the motion presented by Cllr P Lee was withdrawn.
24. To consider the format of the next meeting and future meetings.
Members felt given the legal position that virtual meetings would no longer be permitted, physical meetings must resume and for the 8th of June to proceed within the hall to aid social distancing and with the measures set out in the Parish Council’s hall COVID-19 risk assessment. The Clerk advised on YLCA’s recommendation to keep the meeting as short as possible to grant the Clerk delegated authority to reduce the number of business items to be transacted. The delegated authority would expire on 30th June ahead of the July Parish Council meeting.
(i) to return to physical meetings from 8th June 2021
(ii) to empower the clerk/RFO, in consultation with the Chair/Vice Chair, to do anything expedient and necessary to ensure the continuous business of the council, and to deal with mandatory undertakings to prevent the authority from incurring liability during the period that the delegation is applicable.
25. To consider recruitment of a replacement Clerk and the cost of purchasing a new laptop.
(i) to exclude the Press and Public
(ii) To authorise the Clerk to purchase a new laptop up to a cost of £500 plus VAT.
(iii) To approve amendments to the Clerk’s job description.
(iv) To advertise the job vacancy of the Clerk/RFO on the Parish Council’s website, social media accounts and Noticeboards, with YLCA at a cost of £15 and online with WMDC from 5th May 2021.
(v) To set Clerk’s hours as an average of 18 hours per week on the same NJC scale with interviews set to be held on 2nd June 2021.
(vi) To appoint the Staffing Committee members to shortlist and interview candidates and to recommend an appointment to full Council at next month’s meeting.
26. To receive matters reported directly to the Clerk.
Meeting closed at 9.55 pm.