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 and C Pearson.
In attendance: Ward Councillors F Heptinstall and M Cummings, the Clerk to the Council and two members of the public.
88. To receive apologies and approve reasons for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllr A Manifield (WMDC Ward Councillor).
Resolved to note the reasons for absence.
89. To receive declarations of interest.
90. To approve the minutes of the council meeting held on 6th October 2020.
Resolved to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 6th October 2020 without amendment as a true and correct record of the meeting.
91. 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.
92. To receive a report on the SAFE scheme and police matters.
The Clerk circulated the August and September reports prior to the meeting and shared the October report at the meeting.
The Chair noted reports of an indecent exposure had been logged and gave details of the incident.
A member highlighted what appears to be an abandoned vehicle on Oakenshaw Lane, which the Chair would report to SAFE scheme officers as the nominated liaison representative.
Resolved to note the reports.
93. To receive a report from WMDC Ward 5 Councillors.
Cllr S Leith joins the meeting.
A member reported concerns with lights on the approach from Crofton into Walton being removed, which were located on the brow of a hill. It was debated the positioning of the lights being on the brow of a hill was not ideal but their removal and replacement with arrows was even more concerning.
Cllr F Heptinstall gave a brief report on COVID-19 cases currently standing at higher levels than back in April 2020.
Cllr M Cummings reported the following:
· Meetings at WMDC had resumed and updates will be circulated via the Newsletter. Specifically, due to staff self-isolating, waste operative levels were reduced, which may impact household recycling with a plan to reduce collections to once a month if necessary.
· Bereavement restrictions remain unchanged.
· Quotes for the replacement planters were received and Councillors will progress through the ‘directed works’ initiative meaning the work will need to be awarded to ENGIE under WMDC protocols.
· Drains on The Balk were due to be flushed and this was confirmed by a member.
· No further updates or correspondence received on the Golf Club fly-tipping.
· Highways has considered the request for the potential reduction of speed limits on Oakenshaw Lane but maintained accidents on this stretch are within the acceptable level and as such no further action was required.
· Parking Enforcement Officers have visited Shay Lane and will continue to do so following reports of traffic failing to stop at the Zebra crossing and inappropriate parking.
· Some free packed lunches for children were delivered in the Walton over the half term.
· Request for updates on the broken playground equipment have been received. The Clerk confirmed this was due to be inspected and if possible repaired in the next 24 hours by Kompan.
· Proposed diversions for works on the bridge on Doncaster Road may in result in increased traffic through the village.
Cllr Carlon noted there are concerns the diversions as result of the bridge closure on Doncaster Road could lead to wagons going through the village and becoming stuck under the low bridge on Oakenshaw Lane. It was also suggested Highways review the network and respond why this is one of very few stretches of road with a national speed limit.
It was suggested Cllr Cummings request a virtual meeting with Highways to consider the speeding throughout the village, diversions, and increased traffic as result of works on Doncaster Road and addressing the problem with wagons.
A Councillor renewed a request for resurfacing on School Lane and repainting of ‘Keep Clear’ markings near the School Lane bridge.
Resolved to note the reports.
94. To approve accounts to be paid, already paid under delegated powers and income received during October 2020.
The Clerk submitted details (copy attached to minutes) of accounts paid totalling £2,312.15 for October 2020, and income received of £2,774.36, which includes CIL Monies of £1,939.56.
The account balances at the end of October 2020 are:
Current a/c: £3,529.02
Barclays Business Res a/c: £35,630.57
HSBC deposit a/c: £50,914.16
Resolved to approve the financial statements and payments.
95. 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 29th September to 27th October 2020 to be ratified by the Parish Council.
Resolved to ratify the decisions taken by the Clerk/RFO under her delegated authority and to publish the list of decisions on the Parish Council website.
96. To receive a breakdown of the budget categories relating to budget 2020.
Cllr Lee shared his own report and calculations of the anticipated forecast/deficit.
It was generally agreed efforts would be made to install a water boiler to the mains, have the floor polished within the hall and to investigate the drainage before financial year end. The Clerk was asked to investigate if the paving outside the hall could be repaired using the existing slabs instead of purchasing new.
It was agreed full refurbishment of the Tennis Club would be unlikely pending the feasibility report and therefore it was forecasted the spend would reduce to £1,000. It was also identified that £1,500 has been saved on SAFE scheme.
Members were reminded to withhold discussing confidential information regarding employees in a public forum.
Resolved to incorporate the alternations into the budget review scheduled for November to consider the forecasted position at year end.
97. To consider correspondence received.
The Clerk summarised the correspondence received over October 2020 and noted a consultation has been launched by WMDC on the Local Plan for 2036. As the deadline is 9 December 2020, proposals can be discussed with the Planning working party and recommendations submitted at next month’s meeting.
The Clerk raised a request from the Chair of the HOW project to access Parish Council records to assist with the Heritage trail. The noted there may be GDPR implications but it was also acknowledged the information is of public record. The information held has not been indexed and is due to be filed at National Archives.
(i) To respond to the Chair of the HOW project asking for details of the information required so that this information could be retrieved.
(ii) The Clerk to liaise with the Planning working party on any recommended responses to the Wakefield District Local Plan 2036 Publication Draft Plan Consultation.
(iii) To note all other correspondence.
A representative of Walton Florist was in attendance regarding item 12 of the agenda. The Chair agreed to bring this forward.
98. To consider request by Walton Florist to install a poppy installation at the War Memorial in advance of Remembrance Sunday.
A representative from Walton Florist to request of a poppy installation could be displayed over the stone War Memorial monument in advance of Remembrance Sunday to raise funds for the Royal British Legion. A member note advice from the War Memorial Trust which recommends items should not be hung or affixed to stonework as this could cause damage and detracts from the monument.
An alternative suggestion was debated to install the poppy installation from the Bus Shelter or behind the War Memorial subject to the School’s permission as this was their land.
Resolved to allow access to the War Memorial to place the installation behind the War Memorial subject to permission being granted by the School.
99. To consider planning applications validated and decided in October 2020.
There have been 1 application validated and 4 applications decided since the last meeting.
Resolved to note all the other validated and decided applications.
Given the potential for resolving to exclude the public and press, the Chair deferred the planning items (9.2 and 9.3) to the end of the meeting.
100. To consider writing to the planning authority regarding the temporary planning permission for ‘The Van’ on Oakenshaw Lane.
It was noted temporary planning permission was issued in March 2018 and expires in March 2022. Members felt it was important to prompt the planning authority not to allow the temporary permission to overrun and to address the necessary recommendations by the Planning Inspector. Given the location is on a shared boundary, it was considered appropriate to co-ordinate a response with Crofton Parish Council. Given the current public health pandemic, any communication would be best delayed.
Resolved to defer reconsideration of the matter in March 2021 and September 2021 with a view to writing to the planning authority at this time.
101. To receive an update on Village Hall hiring and Christmas preparations.
A professional fire risk assessment took place and resulting report with recommendations will be circulated once received.
The Clerk has reviewed use of the hall under the new tier system guidance and all 4 regular hirers are permitted continued use of the hall. Three hirers are exempt for activities with children and indoor exercise classes and the fourth is permitted to continue as the hall follows COVID-safe protocols based on advice provided by ACRE.
The Hall will however be closed between 5th November to 2nd December to all booking due to the national lockdown period.
The Clerk confirmed Working for Walton (W4W) wish to source and erect a Christmas tree outside the Village Hall as in previous years. The scheduled date would be during lockdown period. A risk assessment has been provided prior to lockdown being announced. A member felt the tree should not be installed during the lockdown period due to the negative perception this could cause and the potential lack of social distancing. Members believed social distancing could be achieved. The motion to delay until after lockdown period was abandoned if W4W was able to confirm they could comply with national restrictions during the lockdown period.
(i) to note the report on hiring;
(ii) to confirm with W4W if they can comply with national restrictions and if not, delay installation to after 2nd December 2020.
102. To receive and update and further recommendations from the Tennis Club working party on uses for land formerly known as the Tennis Club.
The Clerk also reported working party members met virtually on 14th October 2020 and recommend the study focus of a report be on sporting activities as this is the area in which the Council require technical advice. It was considered a garden/seating area(s) could be incorporated around/within perimeter of the land.
Having reviewed the sporting activities not included at Brook Farm, as discussed at last Council meeting, it was recommended Netball and volleyball on a tarmac surface, adult outdoor gym equipment, 5-aside and walking football pitches (best surface subject to advice), and a separate petanque area be considered. It was felt this accommodates for both genders, from teen to seniors. It was recommended cricket, hockey, tennis, bowling green and artificial bowls be excluded. A member noted 5-aside would be offered at Brook Farm.
The areas of advice within the report would be focused on other potential pitches on the identified surfaces, costings and funding, changes to the pavilion to complement the facility, removal of hedges/trees to accommodate requested activities and what the ongoing/maintenance obligations are.
The Clerk was tasked to approach fellow clerks through various outlets/forums, YLCA, WMDC and SLCC for draft feasibility study requests and resulting reports or to share experiences/advice.
The Clerk noted the WMDC officers advised any feasibility report would need to include certain items to assist with securing grant funding.
(i) To prepare a specification for the feasibility report with a view to requesting quotes in line with Financial regulations;
(ii) Arrange a meeting with WMDC officers for advice on specification following the lockdown period.
103. To consider reducing the Leylandii trees bordering the recreation ground and tennis club.
The Clerk noted the next tree survey was due in July 2021.
Discussions were held on reducing the leylandii trees by two thirds or removing completely. It was felt delaying any action pending receipt of the feasibility report or the tree survey, whichever is earlier.
Resolved to defer pending receipt of the feasibility study or the next scheduled tree survey.
104. To receive an update on Remembrance Sunday.
The Clerk reported the Remembrance Service was still allowed to go ahead following national restrictions being announced due to a legal exemption for the event to take place. Spectators were legally permitted to attend subject to following all relevant guidance on mixing with other households and social distancing.
The Clerk also advised a member of the Crofton Silver Band has agreed to play the Last Post and recommended a donation would be appropriate as a thank you. A proposal of £25 and £50 was made, with a seconder for £50.
Resolved to donate £50 as a thank you to Crofton Silver Band.
Amended terms of reference were shared to incorporate maintenance of the Facebook page and website following its development.
Resolved to adopt the proposed terms of reference without amendment.
106. To consider the Facebook content page proposal to prepare a Social Media Policy for adoption by the Parish Council.
The Clerk reported Cllrs Saunders and Leith had been monitoring the Facebook page and posting some agreed comments during the Clerk’s recent annual leave.
Members of the working party met virtually on 16th October to discuss the accessibility statement and draft social media policies. Minor amends have been made to the accessibility statement (as reported in the delegated decisions table) and Facebook page – information section.
A draft Facebook content proposal was shared. It was recommended a focus would be made to post updates on Parish Council decisions and actions. A member confirmed the social community Centre had a Facebook page and therefore a link would be added to this page. Discussions were held on the community page section and restricting postings to charitable and village events in line with our policy on displaying items within in the Village Hall Noticeboard, including ‘lost and found’ items. The Clerk confirmed a notice was included on the Noticeboard to promote activities held within the hall. It was felt advertisements on these activities were acceptable.
Resolved to incorporate the Facebook content page proposal into a draft Social Media Policy at the next meeting.
107. To consider request for a grant from Walton Community Library (WCL) towards new fixtures and fittings.
Cllr Lee presented a motion in respect of the WCL’s intended relocation to Engie’s community hub. It was agreed with the building developer that WCL will seek to raise funds from the village to facilitate the move by, where relevant, providing new fixtures and fittings to supplement those which can be transferred from the old premises in the school building.
The items which WCL intend to buy are outlined in a recent maildrop leaflet that has been delivered to all homes in the village. The leaflet also invites residents to make individual contributions to help the overall funding. The Council is asked to resolve to makes its own contribution in the sum of £1,000.
It is recognised this figure is in excess of the grant amount usually made available to applicants but, given the importance of the library and the very wide range of activities it organises for the benefit of Walton, including the schoolchildren, it is suggested that a one-off contribution of £1,000 is appropriate in these special circumstances.
The grant should be conditional on WCL demonstrating that there is in place a lease of the new premises which will guarantee security of tenure.
A member asked if it was appropriate for Cllr Lee to declare an interest to which he felt it was not given he did not have a controlling interest in the library. Another member felt all members had an interest as it was a community facility.
The Chair noted the Council budgets £1,000 for grants of which £217 had been spent. It was possible to offer the difference. Cllr Lee noted funds could be used from the Contingency budget.
The Clerk advised the Council could use ‘virement’ from contingency budget to balance an overspend and could make a discretionary grant under its Grants Donation policy in this circumstance. A vote was held and passed.
Resolved to offer a discretionary grant to WCL in the sum of £1,000 towards its fixtures and fittings subject to it demonstrating that there is in place a lease of the new premises which will guarantee security of tenure.
108. To consider dates for Council meetings for 2021.
The Clerk suggested dates for Council meetings in 2021.
(i) to suspend Standing Orders 3a – meetings to be held on the first Tuesday, due to School and bank holidays
(ii) accept suggested dates with the exception to 4th May be delayed to 11th May.
Items 9.2 and 9.4 deferred from earlier.
109. In view of the confidential nature of the business concerned, to resolve to exclude the Press and Public to consider advice allotment area at the Waterton Green development.
(i) To exclude the public and the press under the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 s1(2).
(ii) The Planning working party to meet and make recommendations to discuss potential solutions to move forward with the development, subject to the receipt of advice.
110. In view of the confidential nature of the business concerned, to resolve to exclude the Press and Public to land registry searches on School Lane.
Resolved to defer item for consideration at the next meeting due to timing constraints.
Meeting closed at 22.50pm.