Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting - held virtually on 6 May 2021

Minutes of the Virtual Annual Parish Council Meeting of
at 7.00 pm on Thursday 6 May 2021

Present: Chairman C Wood, Cllr G Mahoney (Vice Chairman), Cllr Jane Denton, Cllr C Warby, County Councillor Mark Whittington and Mrs J Bratton (Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer)

1 To Elect the Chairman of the Council and receive the Chairman’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office – Cllr C Wood was nominated by Cllr G Mahoney for the position of Chairman of the Parish Council. This was seconded by Cllr J Denton and was unanimously agreed. The Declaration of Acceptance of Office will be signed as soon as possible following the meeting. The Chairman passed on his thanks to his fellow Councillors for electing him as Chairman again.

2 To receive apologies for absence and reasons given – no apologies received.

3 To receive declarations of interest on any item on the Agenda under The Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012 of the Localism Act 2011.
There were no interests received.

4 Appointment of Vice-Chairman
Chairman C Wood nominated Cllr G Mahoney as the Vice Chairman which was seconded by Cllr J Denton and was unanimously agreed.

5 Notes of the last meeting held on 8 April 2021
The notes of the last meeting, held on the 8 April 2021, were accepted and signed as being a true record of the proceedings.

6 Correspondence

6.1 An Internal Audit Report had been received from the Internal Auditor with recommendations for action to be taken on providing a more complete financial statement in the minutes. The Parish Councillors to look at the Parish Council’s policies and procedures to see if they are sufficient and to ensure that the website is regularly updated.

6.2 SKDC Planning had notified the Parish Council that planning permission had been granted for application no: S21/0428 for two wildlife ponds on arable farmland at 5 Manor Farm, Allington Road.

6.3 The Upper Witham Internal Drainage Board had sent an invoice for the drainage rates of £7.22 for the Recreation Field from the 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022

6.4 Notice of Poll for the Election of a County Councillor for Grantham Barrowby Electoral Division.

6.5 A Notice of Poll was also received for the Election of Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire Police Area.

6.6 SKDC had sent a copy of their Monthly Update report of the Register of Electors.

6.7 SKDC Planning had sent details of Listed Building Consent which had been granted for the replacement of roof tiles and underlay – repair of structural timbers, Repair of Dormers, Addition of Roof Lights at Chestnut Farm, Village Street.

6.8 Lincolnshire County Council sent details of a road closure order in place on Allington Junction Level Crossing (Allington Lane) from the 31 May to the 4 June 2021 from 22:00 to 6:00 hrs.

7 Public Forum – County Councillor Mark Whittington was unable to comment due to purdah.

8 Highways – general discussion – County Councillor M Whittington reported that during the recent work completed at the railway bridge it was discovered there were cracks on the railway bridge which will need looking at - Network Rail will be returning to the site.

A Neighbourhood Community Gang (from Balfour Beatty) will be completing minor repairs to footpaths on behalf of Highways. Cllr Mahoney reported that there are drilled holes in the path from Village Street round to School Lane. Cllr Warby thought they had occurred following a recent cut in electricity supplies. A Highways Inspector will need to come out and arrange for a utility firm to repair the damage. The County Councillor, or his successor, will speak with Rowan Smith of Highways on the matter.

The Vice Chairman also reported on a very large chunk of wood with large nails on which is laid on the ground outside Chestnut Farm and is causing a Highways hazard.
Vice Chairman Action: the Vice Chairman to take photographs of both the holes in the pathway and the wood and to forward them on to the County Councillor.County Councillor Action: to send the details to Rowan Smith, the Area Highways Manager.
Cllr Warby was pleased to report that the large pothole, which was opposite Meadowbrook Lodge, has now been properly filled in.

The Chairman thanked the County Councillor for getting things done, together with his work on the flooding issues at the Allington Railway Bridge.

Cllr Warby stated there was quite a drop at the edge of the road at the Sedgebrook side of the railway bridge. The County Councillor said that Highways have identified a number of repairs required on Allington Road - there has been a lot of water damage over the years. The County Councillor would make a note of it and chase it up with Highways.
The Chairman noted that the Sedgebrook to Allington Road had been notorious for ice related incidents but, since the road had been top-surfaced, he was not aware of many accidents or vehicles coming off the road.

9 Recreation Field

9.1 Funding for fencing around play equipment – to discuss – following discussion it was agreed that the Vice Chairman would arrange for 3 quotations for a basic wooden fence to surround the play equipment before looking at applying for the SK Community Fund for up to 80% of project costs between £500 to £5000 – 20% match funding is required. Only one project can be applied for at a time.
Vice Chairman Action: to arrange quotations.

9.2 Funding for goal posts – to discuss – following discussion it was agreed to look for alternative funding from a football relating funding stream as opposed to SK Community Funding. It was suggested that there are Football Association Community Grants available.
Clerk Action: to contact Barrowby Parish Clerk for details of Barrowby Football Club Chairman as they have been liaising with a contact from the FA Community Scheme.

9.3 Post at the entrance to the Recreation Field – access was required for work to be completed on one of the trees in the field, but the contractor was unable to access to do the work as the post could not be unlocked as the lock was seized. Access had since been possible as the Chairman had been able to let the post down.Chairman Action: to pass on “the method” to both Cllr Warby and the Vice Chairman.

10 Phone Box – flowers in containers surrounding the phone box/post box – to discuss

Following a donation from the Chairman of £200 for flowers, it was decided to plant two or four pots to see what the villagers’ initial reaction will be.
Councillor Action: Cllr Denton to source the plant pots – preferably with a water reservoir at the bottom.

It was reported that the old waste bin’s post which is adjacent to the post box, needs to be taken up and disposed of. As it is the Parish Council’s responsibility, the Chairman volunteered to take the post up at the same time the pots are situated on the Village Green.
Chairman Action: to remove the post.

11 Finance (The Clerk)

11.1.1 Details of income and outgoings since the last meeting held 8 April 2021 as per the bank statement dated the 5 April 2021 –
5 March 21 Balance b/f £13504.26
9 March 21 Less cheque no 200560 Donation to LIVES £100.00
31 March 21 Less cheque no 200561 Clerk (including expenses and refunds) £407.58
5 April 2021 Balance c/f £12996.68
The verification of Bank Statement and Bank Reconciliation had been completed by Cllr Jane Denton up to the 5 April 2021.

11.1.2 Quarter End Accounts as at the 31 March 2021 – the accounts had been circulated by email and it was noted that of the £12996.68 balance to carry forward, £9000 was ring-fenced for the play equipment, £500 for contingencies which left £3496.68 to carry forward for general reserves.
Clerk Action: to check and alter the Quarterly Receipts & Payments for the YE 31 March 2021which had been uploaded to the website to ensure it complies with GDPR Regulations.

11.1.3 Vat Return – the Clerk had submitted the Vat Return for year ending 31 March 2021 and a refund of £401.85 had been requested from HMRC.

11.2 Review of Financial Commitments – the Vice Chairman brought up the issue of the 20% match funding for the fencing and queried if this would be taken out of the ring-fenced sum for the play equipment. It was noted this could be a possibility – if not, the 20% could be financed by a grant or by raising the precept - this would have to be discussed at a later date. £350 had been budgeted for the annual inspection of the trees and report with £500.00 being allowed for any work required on the trees. It was noted the report has not been completed yet by SK Environment due to staff illness.
Clerk Action: to forward County Councillor Mark Whittington the contact details of SK Environment so he may forward this on to the District Council who may be able to get one of their other inspectors to complete the inspection or it could be contracting out to another organisation.
It was noted that £100 was budgeted for Playground Inspection Training which had not been completed last year due to the courses not being held due to the pandemic. The Vice Chairman will be booked onto a course as soon as LALC makes one available.
Clerk Action: to keep looking for a training course.

If costs are required to be cut next year, the Parish Councillors would need to look at their resources, but, currently, they do have confidence in the finances – if there are further changes these will need to be looked at.
11.3 Audit 2020/21 – End of Year reconciliation – to be accepted and signed – the Parish Councillors unanimously noted and accepted the 31 March 2021 end of year reconciliation following circulation of the documentation.Chairman Action: to sign the document as soon as practicable.

11.4 Annual Internal Audit Report 2020/21 – has been returned by the Internal Auditor – to note – the internal auditor had completed and signed the report in accordance with the Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015 - A copy of the report, together with recommendations from the Auditor (see 6.1 under Correspondence), had been circulated and the Parish Councillors unanimously noted the completion of the document.
Clerk Action: to upload a copy of the Audit Report and recommendations to the website.

11.5 The Annual Governance Statement 2020/21 (Section 1) – for approval and agreement following circulation, it was unanimously resolved to approve the Annual Governance Statement. This was signed the Responsible Financial Officer in accordance with the Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015. The Chairman to sign the Statement as soon as practicable.
Chairman Action: to sign the Annual Government Statement.
Clerk Action: following signature by the Chairman, to upload a copy of the Annual Governance Statement to the website.

11.6 The Accounting Statements 2020/21 (Section 2) – for approval and to agree signature by the Chairman as soon as practicable - following circulation, it was unanimously resolved to approve the Annual Governance Statement. This was signed the Responsible Financial Officer in accordance with the Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015. The Chairman to sign the Statement as soon as practicable.
Chairman Action: to sign the Accounting Statements.
Clerk Action: when Accounting Statements signed by the Chairman, the Clerk to upload a copy of the Accounting Statements to the website together with an analysis of any significant year on year variances and a copy of the bank reconciliation as at the 31 March 2021.

11.7 AGAR Part 2 Certificate of Exemption – to note and agree – as the Parish Council’s gross annual income/annual expenditure did not exceed £25000 and met the qualifying criteria, the Parish Council is exempt from sending the completed Annual Governance and Accountability Return to the external auditor for a limited assurance review under Section 9 of the Local Audit (Smaller Authorities) Regulations 2015. It was unanimously resolved to complete the Certificate of Exemption which was duly signed by the Responsible Financial Officer and to be signed by the Chairman as soon as practicable.
Chairman Action: to sign the Certificate of Exemption.
Clerk Action: to send the Certificate of Exemption and contact details to P K Littlejohn, the external auditors.
Clerk Action: to upload a copy of the Certificate of Exemption to the website.

11.8 Arrangements for the Commencement Date for the exercise of Public Rights – a notice of Public Rights will be announced on the 11 June 2021 and they will commence on Monday 14 June until Friday 23 July 2021.
Clerk Action: to upload the Public Rights document to the website.

11.9 Payment Clerk – refund for purchase of 2 Condolence Books and also for the purchase of 2 boxes of masks for use by the Community Cleaner – the Clerk’s basic pay for April, expenses – payment had been agreed by email prior to the meeting.

11.10 Payment – Community Cleaner – wages for May – payment had been agreed.

11.11 Payment – Internal Auditor – it had been resolved by email to make a payment of £100.

11.12 Payment – Parish Council Insurance – Renewal date – 1 June 2021 - Quotations had been received from Came and Company. As there had been around a 40% increase from last year’s premium, a further quotation was awaited from BHIP. As soon as this was received a Zoom meeting between the Parish Councillors could be arranged to discuss the renewal terms.

11.13 Online Fundraising – to discuss – following a frank discussion after the Clerk’s investigations into the viability of online fundraising, the Parish Councillors felt it was not for us as a local government
body to be in competition with the Church/Allington & Sedgebrook Primary School so it was unanimously resolved not to go ahead with the scheme.

11.14 Payment – P E Hempstead & Sons – it was resolved to pay £246.12 via email for April’s grass- cutting.

12 Items to be discussed at the next meeting:

12.1 To update on the over-hanging hedges in the village which are increasingly making footpaths inaccessible.

13 Date of next meeting: Thursday 1 July 2021 at 7 pm – the Social Club Hall had been provisional booked for a “face to face” meeting.

The meeting was closed by the Chairman at 9.02 pm.