Minutes - 2 December 2021

Minutes of Sedgebrook Parish Council’s Meeting
held in Sedgebrook Social Club at 7.00 pm on Thursday 2 December 2021

Present:The Chair C Wood, The Vice Chair G Mahoney, Cllr J Denton, Cllr C Warby, Mrs J Bratton (Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer) and one member of the public.

1       Chairman’s Remarks – the Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted it was like going back in time as we were all wearing masks again.

2       Apologies for absence and reasons given – Cllr N McGreevy was unable to attend, and, following the meeting, County Councillor Whittington and District Councillor Bosworth sent their apologies.
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.  
No Declarations of Interests were received.

4    Notes of the last meeting held on 14 October 2021
The notes of the last meeting, held on 14 October 2021, were approved as being a true record, and signed by the Chairman.

5       Correspondence
5.1     Notification had been received from the Information Commissioner’s Office – the data protection  renewal fee of £35 is due to be paid.  This was followed by confirmation of payment and a certificate.
5.2     Allington News – a copy of the October/November edition had been received.
5.3     A letter of thanks had been sent to the Co-ordinator and volunteers of the Community Speed Watch group.
5.4     Notification of planning applications for the householder (S21/2133) and Listed Building Consent and additional section of dry stone wall.  The Parish Council had no reason to object to the Planning Applications and SKDC Planning were notified.
5.5     To Manor Farm Tree Services Ltd accepting the quotation for the work on the Recreation Field.  Letters were also sent to Simpson Arboriculture Ltd and Arboretum informing them of the Parish Council’s decision.
5.6    The parishioners were notified of the tree maintenance work which will start on the 9th February 2022.
5.7     South Kesteven District Council sent documentation for the 2022/23 Precept application.
5.8     SKDC informed the Parish Council that the Community Cleaner Grant will be £463.32 – it was noted that this grant is no longer linked to the National Living Wage and will remain at the current rate.  This was followed by a Remittance Advice.
5.9     Highways England had sent details of essential maintenance being started on the 24 January 2022 – on the A52 from the M1 junction 25 to the A1 junction at Barrowby.  The works are due to be completed by the end of March 2022.
5.10   The Parish Council were offered free trees for planting projects.

The Parish Councillors noted all the correspondence which had been circulated by email since the 14 October 2021.

6       Public Forum
The Chair thanked the parishioner for all her help in running the Sedgebrook Village Email which has   been very useful for the Parish Council to circulate information to the villagers.
6.1    The Green - consultation of the parishioners regarding the sweet chestnut tree
The Chair reported that, of those parishioners who had responded so far, the majority view appears to be to replace the tree with another one. Should a new tree be the final decision of the Parish then professional advice would be sought by the Parish Council on species’ suitability for the ground conditions in the Green and the surrounding environment to ensure the long-term survival of any new planting.Councillor Action: Cllr Denton to research what is available.
The Parish Council would not have finance available for the heritage project.  The parishioner suggested looking to the villagers as replacing the tree itself would need something appropriate and funds could be raised towards the purchase.Suggestions in the past have been to put in a Christmas Tree as a replacement -  it would only be the right size to decorate for a couple of years and after that it would be too big – besides, people look forward to the Christmas Tree going up every year.  Funds are being raised for this year’s tree and it was thought there would not be a deficit this year.  If there was, the Parish Council would make up the shortfall. Chair Action: to draft a further letter as a reminder for suggestions regarding the tree on The Green to be circulated in the New Year.
6.2    Telephone Box – photographs of a telephone box which had received Lottery Funding to turn it into an information box had been sent to the Parish Council – see item 10.1.
6.3    Hedges – the parishioner enquired if there was any further progress with the cutting of hedges as there is not enough room to use the pavement in School Lane due to an overhanging hedge.  Cllr Warby said there are also two very overgrown hedges on Abbey Lane, one which is worse than School Lane.  This issue has been listed to raise with Rowan Smith, the Highways Manager.Clerk Action: to write to the County Councillor reminding him of our request for Rowan Smith to attend one of our meetings.

7       Highways  
7.1     General discussion –
7.1.1   The dip in the road outside Chestnut Lodge had been reported on Fix My Street but Highways did not see this as an issue.
7.1.2   Possible Footpath extension at Chestnut Farm – following our request nothing further had been heard back from Highways.
7.1.3   Private Footpath – reports of a metal hook sticking out of a stone on the footpath which is not a public right of way.  The stone had then been moved to further down the pathway which has raised concern if a car skidded around the bend and collide with the stone, it could cause some damage.
Following the resurfacing of Allington Road, it was thought there weren’t so many accidents on the road due to icy conditions.
7.2    Security Light outside Kitchen Creations – the parishioner would arrange for the angle of the light to be changed as it was very bright.
7.3     Lights on the junction with Village Street from the A52 – it was very dark in the area as the lights weren’t working
Vice Chair Action: to let the Clerk know of the numbers on the poles so that they can be reported.
7.4     Concern was raised about footpath access in some parts of the village due to overgrown hedges – the Chairman had received responses from his letter sent via the Sedgebrook Village Email. This issue was on the list to be brought up with the Area Highways Manager as soon as a meeting can be arranged.
7.5     Area Highways Manager – Parish Council’s request for Rowan Smith to attend a Parish Council  Meeting – see item 6.3 above. It was noted that Rowan Smith had already organised the bridge repair and the junction at Village St/Allington Road was being organised and that we are one of many other Parish Councils in the area which require similar work completing.

8       Recreation Field
8.1     Update on fencing surrounding the play equipment – The Clerk reported that K&S Fencing had been paid.  Before we receive the final grant payment, SKDC require proof of payment and some advertising.  An article and photograph will be in the next issue of The Grantham Journal together with the Allington News.  The “No Dogs Allowed” sign had now been put up. Clerk Action: to send the Vice Chair a copy of the bank statement listing the payment made to K&S Fencing.    
8.2     Waste Bin at the entrance to the Recreation Field – update on emptying – Cllr Warby had been emptying the bin twice a week in Cllr McGreevy’s absence – there wasn’t any general litter in the bin, just dog waste.  Cllr Warby had been thanked by The Chair for continuing to empty the bin on a temporary basis.  Cllr Warby agreed to continue for a few more weeks until such time we know whether or not Cllr McGreevy will be able to start emptying the bin again.  There are no funds available to pay someone to empty the bin, but, if Cllr McGreevy is unable to continue, it could be stopped before next summer.
Clerk Action: to put the item on the next meeting’s agenda.

9       Planning
9.1     Planning Application No: S21/2133 (Householder Application) & No S21/2134 (Listed Building Consent) Chestnut Farm, Village Street – replacement of existing vehicular gate with timber gates, erection of gate piers and additional section of dry-stone wall – the Parish Council had notified SKDC there were no objections to the planning applications.

10      Tree Management – The Green and The Recreation Field
10.1    The Green – consultation of the parishioners regarding the chestnut tree – see item 6.1 (Public Forum)
 Following further discussion, it was unanimously agreed that, in view of the condition of the tree, the Parish Council need to look at The Green with the phone box and flagpole as a cohesive project.  There could be Lottery Funding available for both the phone box and the tree.  This to be looked at in the New Year.
 Chair Action: to send out a further reminder just after Christmas as there could be further suggestions.  The Parish Councillors could then look at some form of project  and decide upon a “plan of action.”  The parishioner agreed to assist us.  
10.2    The Recreation Field – work required on the trees
 The work on the trees in the field would be starting on the 9 February 2022 - the parishioners had already been notified by the Village Email.  The parishioner to send analytics regarding the percentage of the 125 subscribers of the Village Email who actually read The Chair’s letter.

11    Village Green
11.1    Planters – Cllr Denton had reported that, due to a large blackboard which had been placed adjacent to the planters, there was some damage to one of the newly painted planters.  The Village Green is owned by The Parish Council and, as such, we have a responsibility for safety and we have to accept liability for anyone who uses it.  
Clerk Action: to liaise with The Chair, to draft out a letter regarding the matter to the Social Club.

12     Defibrillator – Renewal of battery and electrodes of the Lifepak CR Plus defibrillator – due to be replaced in December 2021 The defibrillator parts had been ordered but there was a delay in receiving the order due to supply issues.
 Clerk Action: to contact the parishioner who had agreed to check the defibrillator on a regular basis to see if he would be available to replace the parts.

13      Finance (The Clerk)
13.1    Verification of Bank Statements/Reconciliations
The Clerk read out the details of income and outgoings since reported at the last meeting held as per the bank statement dated the 5 November 2021 –   

(£12000 Reserves are included in the £21996.12 balance to carry forward).
The verification of Bank Statement and Bank Reconciliation to be completed by Cllr Jane Denton via post up to the 5 November 2021 – to be confirmed at the next Parish Council Meeting due to the paperwork not being available.
Clerk Action: to forward the documentation by post for verification.
13.2    HSBC Business Money Manager Account – to move reserves/ring-fenced funds?
It was noted the Parish Council still had a deposit account open with a balance of 1p which could be used to move the reserved funds to keep them separate from the day to day running of the main bank account.   It was unanimously agreed to see what the interest rate is, how the account is accessed and if the current signatories of the current bank account are applied to the Business Money Manager Account.
Clerk Action: to email HSBC to find out the information.
13.3    Discussion on the Budget and Precept application for the Year Ending 31 March 2023
Further revisions of the Budget to include bank fees, possible increase in insurance and grass-cutting costs had been circulated - it was noted the Parish Council could not request any more than 2% for the Precept to keep in line with the Council Tax rise of 2%.  The Parish Council have done a great deal with a small precept for the village.  The future plan is to replace the play equipment (or as required) in 10 years with the reserved funds.  It was noted the Community Cleaner Grant  from SKDC will no longer increase.  The Parish Council unanimously agreed to apply for a 2% increase (based on SDKC’s calculation for Band D properties) of £12460 for the Precept application for the year ending 31 March 2023.
Clerk Action: to complete and send off the application form.
Clerk Action: to email the County Councillor to enquire why the Community Cleaner’s Grant will no longer increase as the government is currently encouraging wage rises.
13.4.1  Payments – Community Cleaner – it was resolved to pay the Community Cleaner up to the 31 December 2021.
13.4.2  Increase in hourly rate of the Real Living Wage – the Parish Councillors unanimously agreed to increase the Community Cleaner’s hourly rate by the Real Living Wage rate with effect from the 1 November 2021.
 Clerk Action: to write to the Community Cleaner.
13.5    Payment – Parish Clerk – it was resolved to pay the Clerk her basic payment to 30 November 2021.
13.6    Payment – P E Hempstead and Sons – it was unanimously resolved to make payment for the grass-cutting completed during October 2021.
13.7    Payment – Safelincs Ltd – replacement kit for the defibrillator - £103.49 – it had been agreed prior to the meeting to order the kit – a cheque had been issued and the equipment will be sent as soon as stock is available.
13.8    Payment – K & S Fencing – payment of £3696.00 for the wooden picket fencing surrounding the play equipment had been unanimously agreed.
14    Items for the next meeting?
14.1    Some of the Community Speed Watch 30 mph signs have faded in the sun.
 Vice Chair Action: to find out about possible replacements together with the cost.
 Clerk Action: to add the item to the next meeting’s agenda.

15    Xmas Party for the Parish Councillors
It was agreed to add the item to the next meeting’s agenda to look at arranging something in the spring/summer due to the current Covid situation.

Date of the next meeting:  
    Thursday 13 January 2022

    The Chairman closed the meeting at 9 pm.