Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting
WEST DEREHAM PARISH COUNCIL
DATE: Thursday 5th November 2020
PLACE: Virtual Meeting using Zoom
PRESENT: Lorraine Hunt (Chair), Stuart Glover, Keith Gore (Councillors)
Peter King, Linda Arthur (Clerk)
Andy Challen (Chair Village Hall Management Committee)
1. To Receive Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Nick Drew (on a NALC training course) and Susan Pepper.
2. To receive declarations of interest on agenda items
There were none
3. Notice regarding use of social media, audio recording of Parish Council meeting and invitation for public contribution
LH asked if anyone present would be filming, recording, blogging or tweeting during the meeting. There was no response from the members of the public on-line. LH noted that the meeting is audio recorded to assist the Parish Clerk in the writing of the minutes.
4. To approve the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 1st October 2020
The minutes had previously been circulated and were unanimously agreed by the Council. LH as Chair will sign the minutes at the earliest opportunity.
5. Matters arising from the minutes of the meeting held on 1st October 2020
5.1 Additional Signage- A134 at Lime Kiln Road and Bath Road Junctions.
PK reported that he is waiting on the Norfolk County Council Highways (NCC-HD) for their advice on sign design and costings. The Parish Clerk noted that it had been reported that two existing A134 direction signs near to the junction with Lime Kiln Road had been turned 1800 and this had been reported to NCC-HD.
5.2 Letter to Parish Council from Parishioners regarding the Village Hall (item 12.2).
PK made the following statement “There are a number of questions raised about the Village Hall and the Village Trust and the Parish Council, so I am going to address those now. The question was raised about whether the Village Hall Management Committee is legally constituted, since the previous pro-tem committee was declared unconstitutionally formed. I have consulted various people, and the Secretary of the pro-tem committee of the Village Hall. The pro-tem committee comprised of an elected member, two Village Trust representatives, a co-opted member, a heritage group rep, and two Parish Council reps. This was reported at Parish Council meetings and it stepped in to form a Committee when members of the previous Committee resigned. The current position is that the Committee comprises members who are advised by charity advisors that they must remain in post to keep the Committee functioning and to manage the hall. New members who have volunteered have been co-opted onto the Committee. The original members who have remained have done so during the challenging times and have enabled the opportunity for the hall to be managed and opened when Covid-safe provisions are made. Co-opted members have been nominated and seconded to hold office as has the post of Secretary and Chair, therefore the current Management Committee is legally formed and working hard to bring the village hall back as the centre of the community. So, to the question of “is it operating under the control of the Parish Council?” the answer is “No it is not”. The question was then raised about the pro-tem Committee making decisions regarding the disposal of assets and whether this was legal or not. The response I received was that no assets were disposed of by the pro-tem Committee other than a defunct freezer being replaced by a donation. The pro-tem Committee tried to identify what happened to several items that were disposed of by the previous Committee. And moving on to financial matters, about accountability and accounts, the Village Hall Management Committee minutes have never been made available to the general public. The annual accounts will, no doubt, be presented when they have been completed and audited and presented when an Annual General Meeting can be called. “Will the pro-tem Committee be made accountable for all or any of the assets that they disposed of?” well, I have already covered that point. They didn’t dispose of any assets. And then the question about decisions made being null and void, as they were not legally constituted, I have covered that point. And then there was a question about repayment of the loan from the Village Trust, and the question was it £30,000 given by the Millennium Trust to purchase land to the rear of the Village Hall and questioning the signatories to the loan agreement? The Village Trust, previously the Millennium Project, bought the car park and this has been recorded in Annual Parish Meetings for many years. The details can be found in the land registry title number NK385292 and this was recorded in the minutes. The amount of £30,000 raised by the question was actually £40,000 and this was to help to pay for the renovation of the hall, following the Village Trust’s previous donation of £100,000. I have not been able to trace the correspondence relating to the original loan, however it is stated that the Village Trust has mentioned it at Annual Parish Meetings and I have had sight of a copy of a letter from the Secretary of the West Dereham Village Trust to the Secretary (who is now deceased) of the West Dereham Village Hall Committee dated the 12th November 2012 requesting a regular repayment scheme to be set up whereby the Village Hall Committee made a regular repayment to the Village Trust, £500 per quarter, commencing April 2013, noting that this has been discussed in the past, and both committees, having formally agreed to this plan in principle. And to the final question, regarding the ownership of the car park, again I refer to the land registry title number NK385292. That is the response I have had to the questions that have been raised.”
6.1 Chair’s Report.
LH reported that, once again, a lockdown was in force, which was hard for everyone in the community. LH stressed the importance of looking out for each other and our neighbours so if anyone knows of anyone else who needs help then please call the North County Council customer services line. WDPC will put the telephone number on the parish council website. There is a great deal of information available on the Parish Council website, as well as other community hubs.
There have been thefts of farm equipment reported in the area, so vigilance is important.
With regard to Remembrance Sunday, LH will be delighted to lay a wreath at the War Memorial on behalf of the Parish Council at the planned outdoor service.
6.2 Parish Clerk’s Report.
The Clerk reported that he had been contacted by one of the Councillors, Nick Drew, who was unable to attend the meeting as he was on a NALC training course. Nick wished to make a request to other parish councillors to ask permission for the headstones in the Cemetery relating to his family to be straightened and to provide some top soil and turf in the area in front of where the headstone is. The Parish Council agreed. Proposed by LH, seconded by SG.
The Clerk also reported that he had received a traffic notice regarding the section of Lime Kiln Road that runs from the A134 all the way to where it meets at the junction with St Andrews walk that will be closed for resurfacing between the 24th and 25th November, although due to the position with Covid, that could be subject to change.
6.3 Handyman’s Report.
The Clerk reported on behalf of the handyman. The Sam2 speed monitor has been moved twice this month and is now in Hilgay Road. He has been strimming the grass verges, post boxes and telephone boxes. He has also removed a number of dead saplings in the Cemetery and some wire in the farm tenancy, as well as some small saplings in the way of the path.
The Clerk also mentioned that, at this time of year, the handyman’s hours would reduce to 10 hours per month.
6.4 Police Report.
There was no report available.
6.5 Glazewing Report.
The Clerk reported that there had been a report of vehicles heading towards Glazewing, but it had not been possible to identify them as Glazewing vehicles due to lack of detailed information. The Clerk urged anyone reporting Glazewing vehicles to ensure that they had information to identify them, such as company names etc. This would make it much more effective to pass on to Glazewing.
6.6 Village Hall Report.
The Chair of the Village Hall Management Committee reported that the VHMC had been meeting regularly each month. Cleaning has been carried out on the outside walls as well as the panels following the previous deep clean. In the hope that the hall will be reopening from a long period of being shut, a stock check has been made of the bar, although no further stock will be purchased to ensure that it does not go out of date. There are track and trace sheets up in the front of the lobby for when the Hall reopens giving a link to the NHS app and a manual book for those without smart phones, which will comply with GDPR regulations. Face screens are being purchased for people who will be serving at tables in the bar when the hall opens, as well as a bar screen. Policies have been updated and the VHMC is in the process of transferring signatures on the one bank account that they currently have and looking to set up a second bank account to keep the bar and the village Hall separate. If there are any missing policies then they will be generated. An inventory has been taken of the Village Hall in anticipation of reopening and it’s been noted that there are a couple of bingo machines missing. It is not clear where they are, or if someone’s borrowed them for a function but if anyone is aware where they might be and they’ve finished being used he would be grateful if they could be returned. There are volunteers who are offering to help out behind the bar and in the kitchen, who will receive full training. The VHMC Chair also reported that the VHMC wish to Co opt new Committee members and in particular are looking for someone with bookkeeping or accounting experience to volunteer to be Treasurer, to take over from the current Treasurer who has had the position for some time. It is hoped that the Hall will be able to open safely before Christmas to start to regenerate the village Hall as the heart of the local community.
The VHMC is also hoping to have an AGM as there hasn’t been one for some time because of the Covid restrictions.
The Village Hall Facebook site has been updated, as will the website in due course.
The VHMC Chair reported that there is a Treasurer’s report showing current funds of £7574 and a reserve of £1787 to cover expenditure, such as commissioning of glass washer, furlough salary and some legal advice. The Hall is unable to generate revenue at the present time, but the aim is to keep a reasonable reserve to allow essential bills to be paid and keep the facility in a fit and safe state while it’s not being used.
The VHMC Chair thanked all the volunteers and asked for further volunteers to come forward. LH thanked him for his hard work regarding the Village Hall.
7. Finance Report
7.1.1 Accounts for October 2020.
The Clerk had previously circulated the cash flow and reported a cash balance of £27,581.85 as at 31st October.
The Clerk reported that expenditure had totalled £1,808.56
The ClHolly Landscapeserk itemised the payments that were now due. All were unanimously agreed.
Payee Cheque No Net VAT Gross Remarks
Norfolk ALC 101188 £60.00 £12.00 £72.00 Nick Drew training Nov 2020
R Poole 101189 £148.73 £0.00 £148.73 Handyman Oct pay & expenses
RBL Poppy Appeal 101190 £17.00 £0.00 £17.00 Remembrance Sunday Wreath
Norfolk Parish Training & Support 101191 £44.00 £0.00 £44.00 Lorraine Hunt training Oct 2020
P. King (Parish Clerk) 101192 £742.42 £0.00 £742.42 Staff salary & expenses Oct 20
L Arthur (Parish Clerk) 101193 £159.61 £0.00 £159.61 Staff salary & expenses Oct 20
HMRC 101194 £39.80 £0.00 £39.80 PAYE/NIC Clerk’s salary Oct 20
Holly Landscapes 101195 £487.50 £97.50 £585.00 Maintenance Oct 20
Total £1,699.06 £109.50 £1,808.56
7.2 Setting the Precept for the Financial Year 2021/2022.
LH stated that any requests for new projects etc. should be made as soon as possible and before next month’s meeting in order that they may be considered as part of the budget to determine the precept.
8. Proposal for the Recreation Ground St Andrews Close
PK confirmed that a poster, outlining the proposals that had previously been discussed, had been added to the notice boards and website.
The Parishioners who were proposing the recreation ground gave a report, explaining that they have produced a survey (online and in printed format), that had been sent out to the Parish Council for comment. LA had commented that, to comply with current legislation it would be necessary to have a “prefer not to say” option in the age question, which was accepted. LH pointed out that although the survey was excellent, it comprised 7 pages, so would be hard to print economically. It was agreed that the survey would be added to the WDPC website and copies could be left at the Village Hall when it opens again. It can also be added to the Village Hall Facebook page and website. Distribution of the printed copies to those parishioners unable to access the online version was discussed and it was agreed that distribution could be arranged whilst adhering to GDPR.
KG confirmed that he and other councillors had inspected the allotments in early October. There were some vacant lots that needed attention, although weather had prevented this. It was agreed that an advert to rent the allotments would be placed in the Village Pump magazine. KG reported that it was a consideration for councillors that the end plots may be included in the farm tenancy at renewal next year.
10. To comment on Planning Applications received
There were none.
11. To consider Parish Council Internal Affairs & Policies
There were none to be reviewed.
PK had received an email from a parishioner with regard to the state of the footpaths in the area and confirmed that he had contacted the Highways Rangers on the matter.
Cllr Long spoke about the Council budget, how it is spent and the burden of social care.
PK reported that the McMillan Cancer Charity coffee morning had to be cancelled due to the lockdown, but was pleased to report that a local door to door collection had raised £755.13.
13. To receive further reports/items of business for the next Parish Council agenda
There were none.
14. Date & Time of next Meeting
The next meeting was arranged for Thursday 3rd December at 7pm, to be held on Zoom.
15. Open Forum
PK asked Cllr Long for assistance in acquiring a long-awaited quotation from Highways for road signs, that was needed to apply for Parish Partnership funding for the same. Cllr Long agreed to assist by contacting Highways and also offered to use his Councillor fund of £6,000.00.
LH thanked PK for his excellent work as Parish Clerk.
Meeting closed at 8.20 pm ___________________________ (Chairperson)