Draft Minutes March 2021

Minutes of the Meeting of Carlton Scroop and Normanton on Cliffe Parish Council held virtually via Zoom Video Conference on Monday, 15 March 2021
There was one member of the public in attendance to observe the meeting.  They did not speak during the public session.
The Chairman opened the meeting at 7.33pm. 
The Chairman welcomed Members to the meeting and thanked them for their attendance.  Those in attendance the Vice-Chairman Councillor Calder, Councillors Baker-Browne, Hankinson, Rainthorpe and Thomas, County Councillor Alexander Maughan and the Clerk Mrs. Gascoigne.
2.      APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE (19/152)
Apologies for absence were received from District Councillor Ian Stokes.
The Chairman declared an interest in agenda item 16.1 as the family business of one of the candidates had sub-contracted for the Chairman’s business.  He declared his intention to remove himself from any discussion or voting on the matter.  Councillor Calder asked whether the Chairman could still be allowed to vote, and the Clerk advised that a pecuniary relationship required a Councillor to excuse themselves from voting under the Code of Conduct and Standing Orders.
4.      APPROVAL OF MINUTES (19/154)
4.1 Councillor Thomas proposed that the notes of the meeting held on 18 January 2021 be approved as a true record, which was seconded by Councillor Hankinson.
Resolved: To approve the minutes of the meeting.
Action: The Chairman to sign the minutes and to pass to the Clerk.
16. CO-OPTION (19/155)
16.1 The Chairman moved the meeting to item 16 in order that a candidate for co-option could be selected without delay.  Members had received a report of the interviews conducted by Councillors Calder and Hankinson, which outlined the particular skills of each candidate and indicated that both were appointable.  Councillor Hankinson proposed that Mr Richard Harris be co-opted to the casual vacancy for Carlton Scroop, which proposal was not seconded.  Councillor Calder proposed that Mr Jack Baines be co-opted, which was seconded by Councillor Baker-Browne.  Councillor Calder asked whether both candidates could be co-opted, which the Clerk advised they could not as the Normanton vacancy had been advertised separately.  Councillor Calder asked whether Mr Harris could be considered for the Normanton vacancy, which the Clerk explained was not possible as the closing date had passed.  A vote was therefore held on the co-option of Jack Baines, in which the Chairman did not vote by virtue of his declared interest.  
Resolved: To co-opt Mr Baines to the casual vacancy for Carlton Scroop by a majority of four votes to one. 
Action: The Clerk to inform both candidates of the outcome of the co-option, to forward a Declaration of Acceptance of Office form to Mr Baines, and to add consideration of the co-option to the Normanton casual vacancy to the next agenda.
The Chairman returned the meeting to agenda item 5.
County Councillor Maughan reported that Lincolnshire County Council was on track to balance its budget for 2020/21 with the assistance of extra government grants to support COVID expenditure.  A one-year budget had also been set for the next financial year as it was not possible to set a longer-term budget until the Fairer Funding formula and Local Government settlement was known.  £500m would be spent on services in Lincolnshire, with cost pressures of £27m, including an increase in adults and children with complex needs and an increase in the living wage. An increase of 1.99% in the County Council element of the Council Tax had been agreed, which would raise £8m, although LCC’s Council Tax was still one of the lowest in the country.  The budget also included a £500m investment in infrastructure including the Grantham Southern Bypass and building new schools. 
The COVID vaccine roll out was going well, with booking now open to residents aged 56-59.  There was a transport helpline for people who needed assistance to reach the vaccination centre, which could be reached on 0345 456 4474.  LCC had announced business support measures including four grant schemes aimed particularly at those who had not qualified for previous government support, and 850 applications had been received on the first day of the digital and rural business grants.  The government had confirmed that local elections could go ahead on 6 May, which would include County Council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections.  Councillor Maughan reported that he would be standing for re-election and thanked the Council for their support during his current term.
Councillor Calder asked whether Councillor Maughan had an update on when the meeting to consider Carlton Scroop’s request for a reduced speed limit would take place.  Councillor Maughan responded that he had passed the Council’s request to the relevant team with his full support, and it was awaiting a desk top assessment of development units and accident history which would decide whether it proceeded to a full survey.  This would usually take around six months.  Councillor Calder asked whether there was anything that the Parish Council could do in the interim, to which Councillor Maughan responded that it would be best to await the outcome of the initial review and to respond with further evidence if required thereafter.
Councillor Thomas noted that residents had received their Council Tax bills, and that although the County Council increase of 2% was significant, it was much lower than the South Kesteven District Council element.  He also thanked Councillor Maughan for his support on the resurfacing of the road through Carlton Scroop, but noted that there was no white lining at the edge of the carriageway in Carlton Scroop, despite a request having been made by the Clerk, although there was in Normanton.  The Chairman noted that a lorry had recently left the carriageway between Carlton Scroop and Normanton.  Councillor Maughan agreed to follow up on the line painting.
Councillor Maughan agreed that it was unfortunate that Council Tax had to be increased, but that as cost pressures had increased and the tax base and central government funding had not, it was necessary to balance the budget.  He hoped that the announcement of the Fairer Funding formula would provide more central government funding for Lincolnshire going forward.  He added that the SKDC increase of £5 on a Band D property equated to 3.06%.
Councillor Thomas noted that the roads to Honington and Barkston were in poor condition and asked whether there were plans to carry out extensive resurfacing.  Councillor Maughan offered to liaise with Councillor Wootton as these roads fell within his area.  He added that LCC carried out annual inspections of A roads which were scored for full carriageway replacement, with a rolling programme carried out each year.
Councillor Thomas asked what the LCC policy for maintenance of drains was, as there had been problems with flooding caused by silt running into the highways drains.  Councillor Maughan replied that drains would be jetted annually, usually in April or May.  There was also a scheme for addressing flooding in Normanton in next financial year.  He asked Councillors to report issues via FixMyStreet, and advised that it would be beneficial to make the report outside rainy periods if the issue was not capacity.  The Chairman thanked Councillor Maughan for his report and wished him luck with the election.
Action: Councillor Maughan to seek an update on Carlton Scroop’s speed limit reduction application, to request that white lining was carried out on the edge of the resurfaced A607 at Carlton Scroop and to liaise with Councillor Wootton regarding resurfacing of the Honington and Barkston roads.
6. CLERK’S REPORT (19/157)
6.1 Members noted the Clerk’s report regarding actions taken since the last meeting.  The Clerk reported that she had contacted SKDC regarding the planting of wildflowers but had not yet received a response.  Members also discussed the planting of wildflowers on the verge adjoining the village gates.
7. FINANCE (19/158)
7.1 Income
Members noted the following income received.
Received From Purpose Amount £
PAI Reimbursement 2,490.00
Nat West Reversal of Reimbursement -2,490.00
Nat West Business Reserve Interest January 0.06
Nat West Business Reserve Interest February 0.06
7.2 Payments
Chq Payee Purpose Amount £
IB Employment Costs January 328.78
IB Ropsley Parish Council Zoom Costs Dec - Jan 12.00
IB Campaign for the Protection of Rural England Annual Membership 36.00
IB Employment Costs February 224.94
IB Employment Costs March 224.94
IB Ropsley Parish Council Zoom Costs Feb - Mar 12.00
The Clerk noted that a further invoice for £57.84 from Autela Payroll Services had been received after the issue of the agenda and asked that this was approved along with the payments listed.  Councillor Thomas queried whether the Autela invoice had already been paid, and the Clerk advised that the previous invoice was for the period to December, with the current invoice for the period to March and year-end.  Councillor Calder asked whether a column could be added to the payments on the next agenda to indicate whether items were included in the budget, which the Clerk agreed.  Councillor Hankinson proposed that the payments made be ratified and the payments to be made be approved, which was seconded by Councillor Thomas.
Resolved: To approve the payments as listed above.
Action: The Clerk to make internet banking payments as approved, with the exception of the salary payment, to be made by Councillor Thomas.  The Clerk to add a column to indicate whether there was budget cover for payments on the next agenda.
7.3 Bank Reconciliation
Councillor Thomas proposed that the bank reconciliation to the end of February be approved, which was seconded by Councillor Calder.  
Resolved: To approve the February bank reconciliation.
7.4 Budget Monitoring Statement
Members noted the budget monitoring statement showing expenditure and income against the 2020/21 budget to date.  Councillor Thomas asked what period the next VAT reclaim would cover, as the previous one had covered the period up to the end of January 2020.  The Clerk responded that she would prepare it up to the end of March 2021, and the income would therefore be received in the next financial year.  Councillor Thomas also noted that the invoice for £112.78 from EnvironmentSK for the March grass cut was likely to fall into the next financial year.  
7.5 Grant Applications
Members considered applications for small grants from the following:
Carlton Scroop Parochial Church Council – £284 for the maintenance of the clock and lawn mower.  Councillor Thomas proposed that this be approved, which was seconded by Councillor Rainthorpe.
Normanton Graveyard - £400 for grounds maintenance and wall repairs, proposed by Councillor Calder and seconded by Councillor Thomas.
Carlton Scroop Village Hall - £159.92 for LED lighting which was proposed by Councillor Calder and seconded by Councillor Rainthorpe.
Councillor Rainthorpe asked about the amount for Normanton Graveyard for 2019/20 shown on the budget monitoring spreadsheet, which Councillor Thomas explained related to a cheque raised in 2019/20 and cashed in 2020/21.
Resolved: To approve the small grant applications from Carlton Scroop PCC, Normanton Graveyard and Carlton Scroop Village Hall.
Action: The Clerk to make the recipients aware and to make payment.
7.6 LALC Membership and LALC Training Scheme
Councillor Thomas clarified that the training scheme would cover core training and that non-core training would still be chargeable.  Councillor Thomas proposed that LALC membership be renewed at a cost of £137.92 and LALC training scheme be joined at a cost of £85 ex VAT, which was seconded by Councillor Hankinson.
Resolved: To approve renewal of LALC Membership and joining the LALC training scheme for 2021/22.
Action: The Clerk to inform LALC and to make payments in the new financial year.
8. PLANNING (19/159) 
8.1 Members noted the following planning decision: 
S20/2059 Removal of hedgerows, Lincoln to Ancaster Pipeline, Temple Bruer. Granted 5 March 2021.
8.2 Members noted the following permitted development:
S21/0156 Roof replacement, Stone Lodge, Normanton Permitted Development 17 February 2021
9. HIGHWAYS (19/160)
9.1 Mud on Normanton Heath Road
The Chairman asked Councillor Rainthorpe to conduct a site visit following reports of mud on the road at Normanton Heath Road caused by farm traffic, and narrowing of the footpath caused by ploughing, and to report back to the Chairman.
Action: Councillor Rainthorpe to conduct a site visit and to report back to the Chairman.
9.2 Flooding at A607 Junction
Councillor Thomas reported that water was coming off the fields into a ditch, where there were drainage problems adjacent to the Manor, and then escaped on to Heath Lane, where silted up drains led to water flowing into Beech Cottage and Councillor Thomas’ property and as far as Charity Street.  The Chairman noted that if the water was coming from agricultural land, this may be a landowner issue, and that dirty water entering the highway would lead to silting up of the drains.  He proposed that he and Councillor Thomas conduct a site visit to establish whether responsibility lay with Highways or a landowner.  Councillor Maughan asked whether the blocked drains had been reported to LCC, which Councillor Thomas responded his neighbour had done.  Councillor Thomas further noted that a survey may be needed to clarify the exact location of drains.
Action: Councillors Hutton and Thomas to conduct a site visit to clarify responsibility for the issue.
10. CEMETERY (19/161)
10.1 Cemetery Policy and Memorial Dimensions
Councillor Hankinson proposed that the Council adopt the amended memorial sizes circulated by the Clerk, with the larger size being to accommodate a second inscription.  Councillor Thomas expressed reservations about being overly prescriptive regarding memorial sizes and materials and the prohibition of silk and plastic flowers.  Councillor Calder proposed that the policy to be amended to indicate that memorials “should be” rather than “must be” of the prescribed size, and that exceptions would be considered at the discretion of the Parish Council.
Action: Councillor Hankinson to amend the wording in line with Councillor Calder’s comments, to circulate to Councillors for comment and the Clerk to add to the May agenda for approval.
10.2 Date for Cemetery Works
Councillor Hankinson requested that a date be set for further works to the cemetery so that she could seek volunteers.  The Chairman noted that works to hedges and trees would need to wait until October, and he was not keen to plant the wildflower strip during a spell of dry weather.  He therefore proposed that the works be delayed until 1 November with the aim of completion by Christmas.  Councillor Hankinson asked what had been agreed regarding the ivy behind the proposed wildflower strip, and the Chairman confirmed that it would be left to provide a wildlife habitat and winter colour.
10.3 Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management Membership
Councillor Thomas proposed that the Council join the ICCM at a cost of £95 for 2021/22, which was seconded by Councillor Calder.
Resolved: To join the ICCM.
Action: The Clerk to inform the ICCM and to arrange payment of the fee in 2021/22.
11.1 Dog Bin Emptying
The Chairman reported that Councillor Rainthorpe was currently emptying the bins in Normanton, with Councillor Baker-Browne providing cover, and Councillor Thomas was emptying the bins in Carlton Scroop with the Chairman providing cover.  The Chairman thanked those involved.  Councillor Thomas asked that a rota be drawn up to provide cover in his absence.  Councillor Hankinson indicated that she was also happy to provide cover for Councillor Thomas.
12.1 Environment SK Grass Cutting Contract
The Chairman informed Councillors that the original quote for mowing from EnvironmentSK had not included the whole of Carlton Scroop, and that a quote of £11.75 per cut had been obtained to cut the Lodge Farm end of the village.  Councillor Rainthorpe noted that a significant proportion of the Council’s budget was spent on grass cutting in Carlton Scroop, whilst residents in Normanton cut the verges outside their own properties, and that the scope of mowing had increased considerably over the years.  The Chairman clarified that the scope had increased in response to a decrease in the cuts provided by LCC, but both he and Councillor Thomas took Councillor Rainthorpe’s point that there was an imbalance between the two villages which should be addressed.
Councillor Calder also agreed with Councillor Rainthorpe and expressed concern that there was not a formal contract for the current provision.  He also noted that some villagers in Carlton Scroop cut their own verges which EnvironmentSK were being paid to cut.  Councillor Thomas responded that the quote provided by EnvironmentSK was a contract in law.  He added that the installation of the village gates had emphasised that some land within the curtilage of the village was not being mown.  The Chairman noted that if the volunteer cutting the recreation ground and burial ground was ever unable to continue, that area would also need to be provided for.  Councillor Calder offered to liaise with EnvironmentSK to obtain a specification for the current works.  Councillor Thomas proposed that the quote be accepted on the basis that the Council review the specification when received, which was seconded by Councillor Calder.  The Chairman agreed to obtain a quote for mowing the verges in Normanton from the speed signs to the gates north of the village for consideration at the next meeting.
Resolved: To approve the quote to extend mowing in Carlton Scroop and to review the existing specification.
Action: Councillor Calder to liaise with EnvironmentSK, the Chairman to seek a quote for mowing in Normanton, and the Clerk to add to the next agenda.
13.1 Co-option Policy
The Chairman proposed that Councillors have opportunity to comment on the policy between this meeting and the next, and Councillor Thomas agreed that the issue of balloting required further consideration.  Councillor Calder proposed that the policy be approved, which was seconded by Councillor Hankinson.  Councillor Thomas proposed an amendment that the item be deferred to the next meeting.
Action: Councillors to comment on the Co-option policy before the May meeting and the Clerk to add to the next agenda. 
13.2 Parish Plan
The Chairman proposed that this item be deferred to the next meeting.  Councillor Calder asked if work could be started on a questionnaire prior to the May meeting.
Action: Councillor Calder to draft proposed survey questions and to circulate to Councillors for comment.  The Clerk to add to the next agenda.
13.3 Training Strategy
The Chairman asked that this be deferred to the next meeting.
Action: The Clerk to add to the next agenda.
13.4 Approval of Code of Conduct, Safeguarding Policy, Communications Protocol, Social Media Policy and Freedom of Information Act Policy and Publication Scheme
The Clerk asked that the General Data Protection Regulation policies and Complaints Policies were deferred to the next meeting as they required further amendments.  Councillor Thomas proposed that the remaining policies circulated by approved, which was seconded by Councillor Calder.
Resolved: To approve the Code of Conduct, Safeguarding Policy, Communications Protocol, Social Media Policy and Freedom of Information Act Policy and Publication Scheme.
Action: The Clerk to update policies on the website and to add consideration of the Complaints Policy and GDPR policy to the next agenda.
14.1 Members noted the general correspondence circulated since the previous meeting.
14.2 Members noted correspondence from Anglian Water regarding the Lincoln to Grantham pipeline.
14.3 Members noted correspondence from Maisie McMahon, Safer Together Co-ordinator, Lincolnshire Police.
Councillor Thomas asked whether Maisie should be invited to speak at the Annual Parish Meeting.  Councillor Rainthorpe asked whether the APM should be publicised, which the Clerk indicated may need to wait until the next steps in the government road map were clarified, so that Councillors had a clearer idea about capacity restrictions, social distancing and face covering requirements.
Action: The Clerk to contact Councillors in mid-April regarding arrangements for the APM and whether this should be held in person on 17 May as planned.
15. STAFFING (19/166)
15.1 SLCC Membership
Councillor Thomas proposed that the Council approve a 50% contribution of £70 towards the Clerk’s membership of the Society of Local Council Clerks, which was seconded by Councillor Hankinson.
Resolved: To approve a contribution of £70 towards the Clerk’s SLCC Membership.
16. CO-OPTION (19/167)
16.1 Carlton Scroop Co-option
This had been discussed after item 4 above.
17.1 Monday 17 May 2021 (Annual Parish Council Meeting and Annual Parish Meeting).  To be confirmed in April whether this would be via Zoom or in person, dependant on the COVID restrictions at the time.
The meeting closed at 9.27pm