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, T Saunders, J Carlon, P Lee, S Leith, C Pearson and C Wagstaff.
In attendance: Ward Councillor M Cummings, the Clerk to the Council and one member of the public.
46. To receive apologies and approve reasons for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllr A Manifield and Cllr F Heptinstall (WMDC Ward Councillors). Cllr Wagstaff will be joining the meeting late.
Resolved to note the reasons for absence.
The Chair wished to acknowledge the resignation of two Parish Councillors, former Councillors Eric Prince and Helen Massey. Eric Prince joined the Parish Council approximately 15 years ago. He was a great support to the Parish Council involved with the refurbishment of the village hall projects and the installation of the new playground equipment on School Lane. Helen Massey joined the Parish Council in 2008 and bought her professional qualifications and expertise to assist with the Waterton Green development, steered the Walton Neighbourhood Plan to its conclusion and undertook risk assessments on behalf of the Tennis Club and oversaw the maintenance of the Parish Council Facebook page. The Parish Council owe both Councillors a great debt of gratitude and wished them well. The Chair’s sentiments were echoed by all Parish Councillors.
47. To receive declarations of interest.
48. To approve the minutes of the council meeting held on 1st September 2020.
Resolved to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 1st September without amendment as a true and correct record of the meeting.
49. 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.
Cllr C Wagstaff joins the meeting.
50. To receive a report on the SAFE scheme and police matters.
The Clerk confirmed a report had not been received for August and September 2020. The Clerk updated members on the PACT meeting held on 15th September whereby Cllr Cummings and one member of the public attended alongside the Clerk. Fly-tipping and speeding on various lanes/road were highlighted as an issue for the Police to focus on.
Resolved to note the absence of the SAFE scheme reports for August and September and to chase this up with NPT.
51. To receive a report from WMDC Ward 5 Councillors.
Cllr M Cummings reported the following:
· Once costings for the replacement of the three roadside planters on Shay Lane that are in disrepair, the Ward Councillors will look at how they can support the funding of replacement planters.
· New correspondence from a concerned resident regarding the tyres dumped at The Golf Club were noted and it is understood this has been reported to the Environment Agency. As the fly-tipping is on private land, it was noted that nothing further could be done by WMDC.
· The drains on Greenside have been flushed out. A further request will be submitted in November for the drains on The Balk to be flushed out once all the leaves have fallen.
Cllr Carlon thanked Cllr Cummings for clearing the drains on Oakenshaw Lane. It appears a few were missed near the bridge and near the colliery car park. It was also requested if Highways would review the speed limit on Oakenshaw Lane. The current speed is set at Nation Speed Limit up to the Doncaster Road junction which is believed to be excessive for this road.
The Clerk also raised a request for double yellow lines to be conveyed by a resident on Shay Lane concerned parking by school parents/guardians near the zebra crossing was restricting visibility and causing dangerous manoeuvres from oncoming traffic coming from the bus shelter side. Cllr Cummings confirmed Enforcement Officers will also pay attention to this area.
Resolved to note the reports.
52. 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 26th August to 29th September 2020 to be ratified by the Parish Council.
The Clerk submitted details (copy attached to minutes) of accounts paid totalling £2,354.80 for September 2020, and income received of £19,390.86, which includes second instalment of the precept.
The account balances at the end of September 2020 are:
Current a/c: £1,067.23
Barclays Business Res a/c: £37,630.57
HSBC deposit a/c: £50,913.74
(i) Approve the financial statements and payments.
(ii) To ratify the decisions taken by the Clerk/RFO under her delegated authority to 29th September 2020 and to publish the list of decisions on the Parish Council website.
53. To receive a budget monitor up to 31st August 2020.
The Clerk circulated figures showing figures as of 31st August 2020. It was noted the COVID grant of £10,000 would go towards recovering loss of hiring revenue with a shortfall of £3,000 for the financial year projected. Members requested for a breakdown of the budgeted spend within each category and forecasted spending to year end in advance of next budget review to consider which projects, if any, can be delayed to next financial year or if in fact they can be delivered.
Resolved to note the report and to review remaining budgeted spend at November meeting.
54. To consider correspondence received.
The Clerk summarised the correspondence received over September 2020 including an email regarding fly-tipping at the Golf Club already discussed and consultation from MP Jon Trickett on a proposal by Barnsley Council to reopen the Midland railway line between Barnsley and Wakefield. The proposal would include a new station at Walton. Members debated the positives and negatives noting a new station would allow better access to transport within the village whilst car parking issues, noise and increased footfall would cause congestion. A concern was noted that this could be linked with HS2. A motion was presented to support the proposal but that the Parish Council reserves its position pending discussions on where a station was cited and consideration of parking issues.
(i) To respond to the consultation via MP Jon Trickett that the Parish Council would support the proposal in principle submit to further consideration of the issues highlighted.
(ii) To note all other correspondence.
55. To consider planning applications validated and decided in September 2020.
There have been 5 applications validated and 2 application decided since the last meeting.
(i) To submit a comment on planning application 20/01759/FUL FOR 79 The Balk that the Parish Council observed paragraph 1.09.3 of the Wakefield Residential Design Guide stipulates "there is therefore a general presumption against extensions at the front of a property", whilst paragraph 1.09.04 states "Single storey front extensions are more likely to be acceptable where:
· the street does not follow a strong regular pattern;
· the house is well set back from the street;
· the proposal is sympathetic to the original house.
The Parish Council believes the proposals would be out of kilter from surrounding properties given the proposed garage would extend beyond the building line. It would be unfortunate if a precedent was set in this regard.
(ii) To comment on application 20/01865/CPL that the Parish Council considered this application and given the nature and the potential disturbance to neighbours, the application should be dealt with via a full planning application consulting the surrounding properties.
(iii) to note all the other validated and decided applications.
56. To receive an update on the Waterton Green allotments on the Grove.
A meeting was due to held with the developers and WMDC to discuss the presence of the soakaways and attenuation tank on the relevant area ringfenced for the allotments for management by the Parish Council. Cllrs Lee and Carlon will attend a virtual meeting alongside the Clerk to present the Parish Council’s concerns.
Resolved to note the report and consider matter when there is an update.
57. To receive a report on the reopening of the Village Hall and updated risk assessment.
The Clerk reported PAT was completed at the hall with no issues identified.
The Clerk circulated a summary on the new ‘rule of six’ legislation and how this had impacted the Parish Council’s 3 returning hirers who are exempt. A fourth group with U3A will reduce to two bubbles of 6. Their fees will be in line with those currently paid by U3A. Government and ACRE guidance is continuously monitored to ensure COVID safe protocols are maintained. It was also noted guidelines now require Track and Trace to be mandatory, with a QR code displayed at the entrance to facilitate this. The Clerk noted and members who entered the hall will need to log their visit using the NHS app or via the Clerk, who is also using the app along with the caretaker.
Resolved to note the report and approve the updated risk assessment.
58. To consider recommendations from the Tennis Club working party on uses for the former Tennis Club.
The Clerk reported the Pavilion toilets was prepared and ready for use by the Football Club in line with COVID guidelines. A risk assessment has been prepared and pre-opening inspection carried out by the Tennis Club working party members. The Clerk awaits their risk assessment on social distancing and track and trace before they are allowed access.
The Clerk also reported working party members met on 16th September 2020 and logged all 26 responses received regarding the suggestions for different uses. These were reduced to 23 with three excluded on the basis they were not substantive proposals. The group categorised the responses into 1) child orientated, 2) sporting, 3)garden/community space and 4) commercial/market space. Within the sporting category, the 7 following sub-categories were identified:
· Outdoor gym
· Tennis courts
· Bowling green
· Skate park
The working party recommended reducing the proposals to 10 for the purposes of obtaining a feasibility report, being the above identified 7 different sporting activities, a child-based facility, garden/community facility and commercial market space.
A suggestion was presented to further split the garden category from the community space and to avoid duplication of any activities to be included at the anticipated Brook Farm sporting facility. It was noted brook Farm would be a private members club and any sporting facility on School lane could be ‘pay per play’ basis. Another member noted there was a gap in facilities for teenagers.
A motion was submitted to strike off a child orientated facility as this was rely on exclusive use by a specified group and to strike off a market/commercial space for same reason, which was accepted without opposition. A motion was submitted for the Working Party to draft a specification to commission a feasibility report on two/three specific uses for the purposes of obtaining a quote.
(i) To remove childcare/orientated facility and market/commercial space from the list of viable suggestions;
(ii) To refer to the Working party members to prepare a draft specification with reduced number of proposals for the purposes of obtaining a quote to commission a feasibility study;
(iii) To seek, via YLCA, feedback from any other local councils if they have relevant experience.
59. To consider additional costs to display plaques on lampposts Christmas trees.
The Clerk reported a lack of clarity as to whether the Christmas trees will be displayed this year due to a problem with licensing permissions from AMEY/WMDC and the supplier. It is understood if the Christmas trees display are to proceed, new differing plaques, would be required to comply with regulations and weight restrictions as this is a new initiative. New plaques would cost approximately £250. It is disappointing as the Parish Council was led to believe that plaques would be displayed at not cost to the Parish council when the Christmas trees were accepted as an option in May 2020, however members felt they needed to maintain expectations with sponsors. It was hoped the plaques would be reusable in subsequent years if the initiative were on-going.
Resolved to pay for new plaques up to a sum of £250 to be used with Christmas trees.
60. To consider appointing a new member to the Website Working Party and to review the terms of reference to include a review of its contents including the Accessibility Statement.
The Clerk reported the deadline for being compliant with the Website Accessibility regulation was 23rd September 2020. Cllr Saunders has greatly helped in making the necessary changes. A dialogue in ongoing with the website host to undertake the changes outside of the Parish Council’s control. Given the resignation of a previous councillor, Cllr Leith has expressed an interest to join the Website working group. The Clerk recommends the groups terms of reference be reviewed and the Accessibility statement to ensure it is up to date.
Resolved to appoint Cllr Leith to Website Working Party and for members and the Clerk to review the terms of reference and Website Accessibility Statement.
61. To receive an update on Facebook page and considering expanding to nominated members to support the Clerk in the management of the Parish Council Facebook page.
The Clerk reported she had taken on the administration role for the Parish Council’s Facebook page and approved two members to undertake training with YLCA to assist with on-going maintenance.
Resolved to give administration rights to Cllrs Saunders and Leith to support the Clerk in the management of the Parish Council Facebook page.
62. To consider the working group be tasked to support the Clerk in drafting a Social Media Policy for adoption by the Parish Council.
The Clerk requested clarity as to what messages it wishes to convey via its Facebook page via a Social Media Policy. It was recommended a policy be drafted in consultation with working party.
Resolved for Website Working party members to support the Clerk in drafting a Social media policy for adoption.
63. To plan for filling casual vacancies and consider any necessary changes to the Co-option Standing Orders.
The Clerk reported sufficient requests were submitted by electors for a by-election and accordingly the Parish Council was not able to fulfil the vacancies via co-option. Given elections have been postponed by legislation to no earlier than 6 May 2021, the Council cannot proceed to fill the vacancies and the itemised agenda item must be withdrawn. A sum of £3,000 to £5,000 will need to be included in the budget for 2021/22 towards the cost of the election.
A member suggested a letter of thanks be issued to the former Councillors for their service.
Resolved to send a formal letter of thanks to former Councillors, Eric Prince and Helen Massey.
64. To plan and take any necessary steps for Remembrance Sunday including donation to Royal British Legion towards a wreath.
The Clerk noted due to rule of 6 legislation, The National Association of Civic Officers (via YLCA) has advised local councils to consider alternative ways to commemorate the event including a live stream. The Clerk had ordered a wreath to lay and noted last year’s donation cheque was lost in the post. It was recommended this year’s donation was doubled to account for this. The Chair would speak to the Reverend at St Helens to their plans.
(i) To communicate with St Pauls Church and Walton Methodist on whether a reduced service, with less than 6 participants including a trumpeter to play the Last Post if available, could be held at the War memorial to lay a wreath that can be live -streamed.
(ii) To display large poppies at the Village Hall entrance railings
(iii) To display ‘Walton Remembers’ banners.
Meeting closed at 9.40pm.