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, T Saunders, J Carlon, C Wagstaff, S Leith and C Pearson.
In attendance: Ward Councillor M Cummings, the Clerk to the Council and three members of the public.
88. To receive apologies and approve reasons for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllrs A Manifield and F Heptinstall (WMDC Ward Councillor) and Parish Councillor P Lee.
Resolved to note the reasons for absence.
89. To receive declarations of interest.
90. To approve the minutes of the council meeting held on 3rd November 2020.
Resolved to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 3rd November 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.
A report was not received for November 2020. The Chair noted there had been reports of car thefts, with suspects appearing equipped to steal.
Resolved for the Clerk to chase the report and circulate once received.
93. To receive a report from WMDC Ward 5 Councillors.
Cllr M Cummings reported the following:
· An email was received regarding the Chevet Crossroads which will be forwarded to the Clerk.
· A capital grant application for the planters has been submitted and await outcome.
· Meeting held with WMDC confirmed a ‘Golden River’ survey will take place on Shay Lane, Oakenshaw Lane and Greenside with results analysed.
· The ‘Keep Clear’ road marking had been reinstated on School Lane bridge.
· Diversions are now in place on Doncaster Road with waiting times not too excessive, although this was used at quieter time.
A member noted the drain on Greenside appears still to be blocked.
Another member noted members of the public were parking on grass verges outside the car park entrance to the Colliery on Shay Lane. The member asked if this could be overlaid with hardcore as the grass is being churned up. Enquiries could be made to extend the car park instead.
The Clerk noted a resident had raised a one-way system through the village and was referred to WMDC. Cllr Cummings noted this had been reviewed previously and turned down twice based on resident objections.
The Clerk confirmed that there would be a public consultation on the reopening of the Midland Railway line as some residents had expressed concerns this would not be forthcoming. Cllr Cummings confirmed the proposal is very much in its infancy, with no secured funding and if it were to progress, there would be public consultation.
Resolved to note the reports.
94. To approve accounts to be paid, already paid under delegated powers and income received during November 2020.
The Clerk submitted details (copy attached to minutes) of accounts paid totalling £2,179.74 for November 2020, and income received of £1,497.31.
The account balances at the end of November 2020 are:
Current a/c: £2,846.16
Barclays Business Res a/c: £35,630.57
HSBC deposit a/c: £50,914.59
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 28th October 2020 to 24th November to be ratified by the Parish Council.
Given full meetings had resumed, albeit virtually, the Clerk advised her full delegated authority to given at 16th March 2020 “do that anything expedient and necessary” is rescinded and to resume delegated authority to oversee day-to-day operations and as defined within the Standing Orders and Financial Regulations.
(i) 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.
(ii) to rescind full delegated authority given on 16th March and limit to original delegated authority as defined in Standing Orders, Financial regulations and contract of employment.
96. To receive a receive a budget monitor for the period April to November and forecast for the current financial year 2020/21. To consider priorities for Budget for 21/22.
The Clerk circulated a budget report for the period April to November against the set budget and forecast for the current financial year. The Clerk noted of the £20,200 anticipated to be drawn from reserves, only £3,000 is now forecast due to identified savings, increased income via grants and CIL monies and projects being delayed to next financial year. The Clerk discussed the overspend in some categories due to the pandemic. As £3,000 was reserved under the Contingency heading, this category could be reduced to balance the overspend. This was a permitted course of action termed ‘virement’. A member felt this was unnecessary and the budget should not be altered. A proposal was submitted to follow the Clerk’s advice and a vote took place, which was carried.
Members agreed to amend the reserves to reflect the commitment to create a roof reserve with £5,000 to be paid annually and £3,000 for additional playground equipment in a Playground reserve.
The Clerk raised priorities for budget 2021 and it was agreed any projects that could not be completed in the financial year, will be carried over in the next financial year. This would include the Tennis Club refurbishment ensuring it had £5,000 to fund its refurbishment, £1,500 towards any action that might be identified from the traffic survey conducted by WMDC as well as a £1000 budget for legal fees.
A member asked if a footnote could be included to reflect amounts received as CIL monies in the budget documents to keep track on this income given our reporting requirements. The Clerk confirmed this was not onerous and could be added to future budget documents.
(i) To note the report.
(ii) To decrease the Contingency budget category with the corresponding amount required to clear overspend on other categories.
(iii) To transfer £5,000 from general reserves into an earmarked roof reserve and £3,000 into a playground reserve and to continue doing so on an annual basis.
97. To consider correspondence received.
The Clerk summarised the correspondence received over November 2020 and noted some residents expressed concern over the Midland Railway.
Resolved to note correspondence received.
98. To consider planning applications validated and decided in November 2020.
There have been 3 application validated and 1 application decided since the last meeting. Cllr Lee had submitted his view to submit an objection to the planning application for 154 Shay Lane, in advance of the meeting. This was shared with members who agreed with the proposed wording.
Resolved to submit an objection to planning application 20/02441/FUL on the following basis:
· The PC has considered previous applications, the last one being or for 3 dwellings
· The site is in the Historic Core.
· There is a basic Design and Access Statement (DAS) which does not mention the Neighbourhood Plan or the need for a Heritage Impact Assessment.
· The proposal is to combine the exiting semis into a large, detached house.
· At the rear there is to be a sunroom/extension and detached pool house. On the site of the derelict barn there will be built a large garage.
· The DAS states that the extension and pool house will be a “modern minimalist” design and they will be in “stark contrast” to the existing materials.
Given the potential for resolving to exclude the public and press, the Chair deferred the planning items (10.2 and 10.3) to the end of the meeting.
99. To consider request for a legal covenant to protect Tennis Club for future use.
Following a request from a resident to protect the land used for the Tennis Club from being sold. Members felt to place such a covenant on the title could unduly restrict and hinder the Council’s ability to deal with the land in the future which could result in a detriment to the community. Members felt resolving not to sell the land was demonstrating its commitment to retain the land for future generations without incurring unnecessary costs.
Resolved to decline the proposal to include a legal covenant to protect the land formerly used as a Tennis Club.
100. To receive report on Fire Risk Assessment by Chubb and consider recommendations.
The professional Fire Risk assessment was received from Chubb Fire & Security Limited. Some points are being clarified where it stipulates there is a high risk but offers no recommendations or areas of concern. There are a few recommendations to consider. Those relating to signage have been already completed. The fire alarm has been serviced and no faults were found. This was delayed until advice was obtained on the required frequency. A quote to install a call point was requested from the electrician.
The Clerk indicated a larger scale recommendation was boarding the cellar ceiling with fire resistant material and ceiling the hatch under the stage. The Clerk was instructed to explore this, but it was felt the hatch under the floor should not be permanently sealed in case access was required for maintenance. In terms of the recommendation to obtain a CO2 fire extinguisher, this could be raised with Chubb as it was believed they were commissioned to advise on the correct types of extinguishers required and positioning as part of their annual service. The last recommendation related to training for the use of fire extinguishers. It was recognised that employees are not present on site when the hall is in use and therefore it would be futile to train staff on the use of extinguishers and too onerous to train ad-hoc hirers. A discussion was held on training regular hirers, but it was recognised that the advice is to evacuate the building immediately if an alarm sounded and not to impose an obligation to use the fire equipment. A debate was held on whether fire extinguishers were legally required and if not, whether these should be removed. The Clerk confirmed there was no legal requirement. It was considered overall, whilst they were not a legal requirement, these should be in place in the event they were needed but to provide training to hirers was superfluous.
Resolved for the Clerk to obtain quotes for boarding the ceiling of cellar and hatch and to install a call point.
101. To consider renewal of the gas boiler HomeCare agreement at Coronation Cottage.
Resolved to renew cover at a cost of £204 plus VAT with an excess of £60.
102. To consider and approve a Social Media Policy for adoption by the Parish Council.
A draft policy was presented as recommended by the working party. The Clerk highlighted a request was made for the Parish Council to accept proposals via the Facebook page. The Clerk advised against this course of action as individuals are more likely to send unfettered and ambiguous requests via social media rather than a formal and reasoned request that would be sent in via email/correspondence. In addition, the Facebook community page and comments are not monitored on a continuous basis like written correspondence received by post/email. It could also be ambiguous if individuals are making a comment, observation, or request. Members agreed.
Resolved to adopt the policy as drafted.
103. To consider and adopt a Dignity at Work policy.
Resolved to adopt the policy with clarification that if a complaint is made against the Chair, the correct person to approach would be the Vice Chair.
104. To consider amendments to the Council’s Disciplinary and Grievance policies in line with NALC’s recommendations.
In line with NALC’s recommendations following recent case law to make the necessary changes to our existing policy to ensure compliance.
Resolved to adopt the policy as drafted.
105. To consider adoption of a Member-Officer protocol.
Resolved to adopt protocol as drafted.
106. To receive an update on the Harrison Almshouse Charities.
The Chair explained she had been the nominated representative on the Almshouse charities for the last 12 years. The Chair is one of 9 trustees who investment monies based on advice for the maintenance of 3 houses built in 1883 opposite the Pledwick public house. Occupants are required to be single and in financial hardship to be eligible for a house. Occupants pay a weekly sum, and the charity is required to abide by Landlord regulations. Properties have recently failed their Energy Performance Certificates and required refurbishment. Grant applications and loans are obtained to cover financial expenditure.
Resolved to note the report.
Before excluding the public Cllr Saunders wished to record a message of thanks to Helen Massey for agreeing to film and broadcast the Remembrance Service which was well received on the Parish Council’s Facebook page.
Items 10.2 and 10.4 deferred from earlier.
In view of the confidential nature of the business concerned, to resolve to exclude the Press and Public:
107. To consider advice allotment area at the Waterton Green development.
Resolved to post a message on Facebook page to reflect the Parish Council was still committed to ongoing discussions with WMDC and ENGIE to provide allotments for the long-term benefit of the community subject to approval of the lease.
108. To consider land registry search on land at School Lane
Resolved to write to Network Rail regarding piece of land concerned.
109. To consider employee terms and conditions
Resolved to implement changes from 1st April 2021 to salaries and to make the relevant payments for December 2020.
Meeting closed at 8.55pm