Draft Council Minutes – Annual Meeting 4 May 2021 and Council Meeting 4 May 2021

July 2021 Uploaded on July 15, 2021

4th May 2021
Present: Councillors Read (Chair), Bold, Carson, Dobson, Flannery, Shore, Tarrant and 10
members of the public
Apologies: Cllr K. Parkinson (CEC) (Conflict with CEC Mayor-making and Full Council meeting)
The Chairperson gave his annual report, a summary of which will be posted on the Parish Council
website. The report was accepted unanimously.
2.2 Election of Officers – It was agreed that this item be taken first as Cllr Carson was encountering
technical issues in joining the meeting. Cllr Read was unanimously elected as Chairperson for
the ensuing year (SF nominating and CT seconding the motion).
2.3 Appointment of Responsible Financial Officer – The Clerk was unanimously elected as RFO for
the ensuing year (SF nominating and PD seconding the motion).
2.1 Declaration of Acceptance of Office – Councillor Sarah Carson – having been newly elected to
the Council during April 2021, Cllr Carson signed her Declaration of Acceptance of office in the
view of the Clerk. Cllr Carson will pass the original of this document to the Clerk. The Chair
welcomed Cllr Carson to the Council.
4th May 2021
Present Councillors Read (Chair), Bold, Carson, Dobson, Flannery, Shore, Tarrant
Apologies Cllr K Parkinson (CEC) (Conflict with CEC Mayor-making and Full Council meeting)
Police Nil
Public 10 members of the public for much of the meeting
2.1 Approval of Minutes The minutes of the meeting of 6th April 2021 were agreed.
2.2 Matters arising from minutes of meeting of 6th April 2021 –
5. Report from CEC Cllr K Parkinson – Cllr Tarrant gave a brief update on the highway repair
issues. He noted that he has received no reaction from CEC officers about the complaints he has
submitted about the many highway problems that exist. Cllr Carson, in attending her first council
meeting, noted how poor was the condition of the parish’s roads. The Chair suggested that those
two councillors liaise in pursuing further complaints to CEC.
The Clerk noted that in respect of Planning issues at Sunnyside/Meadowcroft (Pickmere Lane)
(planning application 20/5757M) Cllr Parkinson reported that she had spoken with the Planning
Enforcement team leader about this matter, whose response was to repeat the information of which
the Council was already aware, but without making any reference to the Parish Council’s current
and repeated request for a meeting with CEC, and including representatives of the neighbours to
the proposal, about the matter.
8.8 Memorial items – the Clerk responded to a question in saying that no further response
has yet come back to the Council from the respective families who wish to erect memorial
interpretation boards near the lake.
3. DECLARATION OF INTERESTS Cllr Bold declared the possibility of a personal interest in part of
agenda item 10.1 (depending on which matters were discussed under that head). Cllr Read declared
a personal interest in agenda item 10.9, in that he is a close neighbour of the resident concerned.
4. PUBLIC FORUM No Public Forum items had been submitted.
5. REPORT FROM PCSO No report had been received. The Clerk reported that the Police had not
been willing to divulge the questions that they were using in their partial survey of Pickmere’s
residents but had undertaken to share the results of the survey with the Council. Cllr Bold had
accompanied the PCSO on one of the PCSO’s survey visits, but with little information being divulged.
The PCSO had told the Clerk that the Police would arrange the proposed meeting with interested
bodies to discuss the summer visitor problems once their survey had been completed. Cllr Flannery
noted her regret that the Police had not accepted the Council’s offer to help with their survey and
hoped that the Police would engage with the Council with the results.
6. REPORT FROM CLLR K Parkinson (CEC) The Clerk noted Cllr Parkinson’s communication which
contained comments in relation to the highway condition issues and to the situation at
Sunnyside/Meadowcroft. The Council agreed with Cllr Flannery’s suggestion that the situation re
highway condition issues be copied to Esther McVey MP together with Cllr Tarrant’s substantial
email to CEC about the matter with his photos of the many issues.
7.1 Holding of Online Council meetings – following the Government’s decision not to extend the
temporary period within which Council meetings could be held online (which was to expire on 7th
May), the Council considered the various options (noted in the report) in relation to how future
Council meetings should be held. Reference was made to the differing requirements that related to
the Government’s proposed Step 3 and Step 4 changes. The Clerk was asked to make enquiries as
to the potential availability and capacities of Pickmere Methodist Church, of Wincham Village Hall
and of Tabley Village Hall, in case one of these might offer an alternative larger venue than Pickmere
Village Hall, in relation to the next Council meeting, due on 1st June. However, in the knowledge
that it might not be possible or advisable to hold the next meeting of the Council in a hall because
of the constraints surrounding social distancing requirements in relation to councillors and members
of the public attending, the Council resolved:
That power be delegated to the Clerk, in consultation with the Chair, to decide on the
venue, form and date of the next Council meeting, taking into account Government’s
further announcements on Covid matters, and also in the meantime to make any decisions
on behalf of the Council, subject to those decisions being reported to the Council at the
first appropriate opportunity.
7.2 Form and Programme of Council meetings 2021-22 The schedule of meetings
proposed, based generally on the first Tuesday of the month, was agreed, subject to:
 The dates of the June, July and any August meetings being provisional and subject to
decisions yet to be made as resolved in the previous agenda item.
 There being no meeting in January 2022.
7.3 Membership of outside bodies and associations The report was noted and authorisation
was given for continuing subscription payments to the bodies referred to for the ensuing year.
7.4 Arrangements re GDPR Council agreed to adopt the policies and other documents last
reviewed in June 2020 until changed circumstances suggest or require their review, and that
the Clerk should continue to act as the Council’s Data Protection Compliance Officer.
8.1 Financial Risk Assessment Council confirmed the assessment of financial risks, with
the alteration of the comment in relation to ‘Loss of paper/electronic records being amended
to “Existing procedure adequate….” This change was as a result of the Clerk now saving
Council documents to Microsoft OneDrive.
8.2 Annual Governance Provisions and procedures for Audit
 The Council noted that its accounting procedures have been successfully appraised
by the Internal Auditor and notes the comments made by the Auditor in respect of its
financial reserves.
 Following explanation of each of the items in the Annual Governance Statement, the
Council approved the Statement and authorised the Chair and Clerk to sign the return.
 The Council approved the Accounting Statement for 2020-21 and authorised the Chair
to sign the return.
 The Council agreed that the relevant documents be submitted to the External Auditor
for a Limited Assurance Review in the appropriate timescale.
 The Council approved the Asset Register as at 1st April 2021.
 The Council approved the proposals for providing appropriate publicity to its accounts
for 2020-21.
8.3 Standing Orders and Direct Debits The Council noted and re-confirmed the bank
standing orders and direct debits scheduled in the report.
8.4 Expenditure from the Community Infrastructure Levy The Council noted the report and
agreed that a copy be sent to Cheshire East Council.
8.5 Covid Business Restart Grant A discussion of the issues involved, which were introduced in
the report, included the following remarks:
 That since the Council is currently considering the possibilities for applying for grant aid
to help fund the Play Area refurbishment, which currently seem scarce (as a result of
the impact of the Covid pandemic), it would seem perverse not to take advantage of
funds that are offered and for which the Council is eligible to apply. Receipt of such
funds would be likely to help accelerate the implementation of such refurbishment.
 That there is a concern that moneys relating to the Covid pandemic are being made
available by Government without desirable checks and balances, and therefore some
caution should be applied in considering this question.
 That the Council is not applying for such moneys with a view to keeping them in the
bank but is intent on making use of the funds for worthwhile works and projects that
will benefit the local community.
 That, as noted in the report, the funds expended so far have been recycled into the local
economy by virtue of the works carried out.
Following the discussion, it was resolved that applications should be submitted for this grant in
respect of the Council’s two buildings. The voting was 6 in favour of the resolution and 1 against.
8.6 Current Financial position Council noted the monthly financial summary.
8.7 New payments Council authorised payment of the items on the amended schedule issued on
1st May, including authorising the Clerk to arrange for, and to issue payment for, the clean of
the Village Hall in advance of Polling Day on 6th May, and an additional clean of the Hall after
Polling Day.
9. PLANNING MATTERS Members noted the Planning update that was tabled.
10.1 Asset Maintenance Programme Members agreed to the inclusion of the list of works in the
report, with the addition of the clearing of moss from the Pavilion roof. The works to the
Pavilion eaves and fascia boards were considered a relatively high priority. It was agreed that a
quotation should be requested for the fascias of the Pavilion to be replaced in UPVC, as a
possible alternative to repairing and painting the existing boards. Cllr Carson will supply the
Clerk with the details of a supplier of such boards.
Following a discussion and questioning from a councillor as to the need to be sure of the
purpose and function of the lakeside platform, the Council agreed that the contractor who
submitted the accepted quotation for the repair of the platform should be requested to remove
the existing structure so that the ground surface under the platform could be assessed, and that
a report be submitted to Council in due course as to the options for the location.
10.2 Update – Neighbourhood Plan The working group of councillors has met a number of times,
CEC has been informed of the Council’s intention to prepare such a plan, an application for
Government grant is under preparation, and a flyer has been drafted and will be appropriately
typeset to ensure it is in an attractive form. This will be distributed shortly to all properties in
the parish and will outline the plan process and request volunteers to join the proposed Steering
Group (to be made up of councillors and a number of residents) which will lead the preparation
of the Plan for presentation in the first instance to the Parish Council for approval.
Council noted the report.
10.3 Reopening of Village Hall and Pavilion After a discussion of the factors surrounding this
decision (Cllr Bold and others having carried out a great deal of work in respect of precautions
prepared at the Hall), Council agreed that the Hall and Pavilion would be made available for use
from the date Government’s Step 3, subject to requisite Covid safeguards and procedures, and
that it would be for individual hiring groups to decide whether they wish to return at that point.
10.4 Update – Parish boundary signage Cllr Bold has contacted several local parish councils
and CEC and is awaiting CEC’s response as to the issues, rules and guidelines involved. A further
report will be submitted on receipt of CEC’s advice.
10.5 Update – Community Speedwatch and traffic calming measures Cllr Dobson reported that
several residents have volunteered for training, and the PCSO’s response as to potential training
dates is awaited. Cllr Bold commented that information from CEC indicates that the likelihood
of being able to secure further traffic calming measures is very small.
10.6 Update – Play Area refurbishment Cllr Flannery reported that questionnaires have very
recently been distributed to all households in the parish, and a number of responses already
received. The deadline for responses is 14 May. A ‘working meeting’ on site is proposed in the
coming weeks, to involve parents and also children to explore views and possibilities. ACRE had
advised that there is only a very small likelihood of being able to access grant aid at present
because many grant aiding bodies are concentrating resources on needs arising from the
10.7 High Legh Neighbourhood Plan The issue of the Pre-submission version of the plan was
noted. Comment was made about the professional nature of the plan, but also as to its
substantial length (which is not a requisite).
10.8 HS2 – response to Parish Council request for information The Council noted the
response to the Council’s request had now been received, after a delay of 6 months. Incredulity
was expressed at the implication in the response that local councils are not capable of
interpreting technical reports commissioned by HS2.
10.9 Request to prune tree at Buttercup Way footpath As Cllr Read declared a personal
interest in this item, Cllr Shore was elected as temporary Chair for this item. Two councillors
had visited the site and in doing so noted that 2 smaller trees on the Council’s land had
apparently been pollarded in the past, with no councillor having any memory of the Council
having carried out or having permitted such work. The Council resolved that the request should
be refused, primarily because of the impact such a level of pruning would have on the
appearance of this young, well-formed tree, and the consequent impact on the appearance and
character of this part of Mere Lane.
10.10 Resolution to exclude the public Councillor Read resumed the Chair. Council resolved that
members of the public should be asked to leave the meeting at this point to enable discussion
of confidential matters.
11. Revised quotation for provision of Neighbourhood Plan consultancy services The
revised quotation, based on the Council’s request for additional consultancy input to the plan
process, was accepted. The Clerk commented that it may be that over the course of the Plan,
revisions to the level of the consultant’s input are likely to occur depending on the progress of the
plan and as a result of the likely length of the process, with resultant changes to the cost of such
Extra item – Spinks Lane Members agreed to the addition of this item. The Clerk reported the
receipt of a short CEC response to the Council’s last letter, but it did not change CEC’s current
position that it was not minded to go back to court in relation to the matter. The Chair noted
that Cllr K Parkinson had suggested a discussion with representatives of the Parish Council about
the current position. Following discussion it was agreed that the Chair should write again to
CEC to request an update as to the number of current residents on the site, and that the
correspondence should be copied to Cllr Parkinson and Esther McVey MP, but that this should
await the suggested discussion with Cllr Parkinson.
The meeting closed at 9.40 p.m.