Minutes January 2023
POTTERHANWORTH PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the meeting held on
Monday 30 January 2023, 7:00pm at The Pavilion, Queensway, Potterhanworth
Cllr. Nigel Sardeson -Chairman
Cllr. Ami Clarke -Vice Chair
Cllr. Nick Foster
Cllr. Sarah Copsey
Cllr. Karla Vaile
Mrs. Jackie Bourne – Acting Clerk
Mrs. Mel Gray - RFO
Cllr. Ian Carrington - Lincolnshire County Council
Cllr. Peter Lundgren - North Kesteven District Council (1st half of meeting)
Cllr. Ray Cucksey – North Kesteven District Council (1st half of meeting)
Apologies: Cllr. Martin Ott Absence: Cllr. Paul Burns
1. Chairman's remarks
1.1 The Chairman welcomed all in attendance, including Jackie Bourne, Acting Clerk and Mel Gray, RFO
1.2 A late Agenda item to be added at 10. Planning matters. Nocton Beeswax Farming
2. Apologies for Absence
2.1 Apologies received and accepted from Cllr. Ott
3. Declarations of Pecuniary Interest
3.1 Cllr. Foster, as a member of the PAF Committee, concerning Grant allocation. The Clerk and RFO, although not voting members, also declared an interest and refrained from participating in this item.
4 Notes of the last meeting held on 28 November 2023 to be approved as the minutes
4.1 Cllr Vaile to be added as an attendee
The word media on 10.1 to be replaced with meeting.
Cllr Cucksey’s district report had not been circulated and he had not been included in the distribution list or apologies acknowledged from the last meeting. This was likely due to the Clerk handover process. This will be rectified. Action JB
5. To receive reports from representatives of outside bodies
5.1 Police Crime Report: 8 offences up to November: 7 x violence/sexual, 1 x antisocial.
5.2 Cllr. Carrington’s monthly report:
There is almost a moral dimension on setting the budget. LCC have consulted publicly on 3 different possible ways forward. It will be for the Executive Board to recommend and then Full Council to adopt. That consultation is now closed. Disappointingly, the response was underwhelming. The crucial thing this time around is, we are allowed to go to 3% but as a County Council an extra 2% is allowed due to the responsibility for adult social care.
The options have not yet been decided. When we do select, I suggest we should go for the one which includes the full 2% on adult social care. There are 2 reasons for this, firstly, it is a budget which is under tremendous pressure, secondly, because it is connected with the reasons for delaying people being discharged from hospital. So, the more we can do to revitalise the care sector the more we can do to get people discharged from hospital. This will help to reduce the pressures on A&E, ambulance service etc.
Cllr. Copsey asked how Adult Social care can be provided when there are not enough care workers employed and little interest in being recruited into this sector. Cllr. Carrington agreed, and this is a problem which is being worked on; injection of money and help to provide a structured career path. The 2% extra allowed for adult social care is ring-marked specifically for delivery, not advertising.
We are also looking at full funding for next year of £12M for the rural road repaid fund.
Parish councils, District and County councils all face choices when precepts are set, knowing these are tough times, ultimately, we are here to provide services particularly to the people who need them most.
Debates will be going on over the next month.
5.3 Cllr. Lundgren’s monthly report:
The NK budget is currently being set.
HAY (How are you) a Lincolnshire project is available to support people who are struggling, especially with mental health issues. There is also an initiative on domestic abuse offering help and support both for those suffering from abuse and abusers. Both can be accessed via NKDC.
Voter ID is needed for voting in the local elections in May. Anyone concerned about being unable to access the required ID can vote on- line or by phone or post. This way you don't have to show ID and you can vote in the comfort of your own home.
5.4 Cllr. Cucksey’s monthly report: as appendix a.
6. Public Open Forum
7.1 Clerk and Councillor’s report on matters outstanding
7.1 Code of Conduct. All agreed to adopt and sign the new NKDC Code of Conduct
7.2 Amendments to Minutes of 31 October completed
7.3 Defibrillators. Pavilion – new unit fitted and registered with The Circuit.. Windmill Gdns – unit fitted and registered with The Circuit. The Park – new pads fitted and The Circuit updated
7.4 Hot Pot Hub. Cllr Foster had not met with Chef. Cllr. Vaile will enquire with NKDC Environmental Health dept., as to the legalities/requirements involved in supplying food for the hot pot club. Action KV
7.5 Playpark. Cllrs. Clarke and Copsey met with staff and some children at the school to discuss ideas for the use of the playing field. They have gone back to discuss their ideas with the rest of the school. It was made clear to the school that the funding is not guaranteed.
7.6 New Councillor training. Cllrs Copsey and Vaile are attending the New Councillors course, on-line, on 7th February. Action SC, KV
8. Financial matters
8.1 The current RFO was in attendance as a guest at the recent Budget meeting, which was led by Mr Bob Spence the previous RFO.
One main change was the increase of Grants from £850 to £1000, this was due to an increase in 2022/23 of Grant requests.
The Budget for 2023/24 was agreed. There is a 5.1% rise to the precept at £26,539.32.
8.2 The monthly financial report was made available to all. Expenditure £3,365.66. Income £113.50. Balance £29,045.44. NS&I balance £13,174.70. Wages increase is due to a backdated wage rise for the clerks/RFO
8.3 Additional income of £100 for history books.
8.4 Grant applications were agreed: Over 60s - £215. Scout Group £215. St Andrew’s church £215, PAF £215.00
The following payments were agreed:
8.5 LALC £252.63, Mindray Defibrillator £1501.20.
8.6 Wicksteed - £240.00. It was recommended the Clerk try to source a lower/local price.
9.1 NKDC Election. Briefing dates are available. The Clerk and Cllr Clarke (if available) will attend. Action AC/JB
9.2 Nomination packs. These were emailed by the clerk to all on 24 January. The clerk explained that all councillors wishing to continue in post are required to self- nominate. All papers and guidelines on how to complete the forms are attached to the NKDC Parish Newsletter emailed to all councillors on 24 January. Return of forms is 16 March – 4 April. The forms are to be hand delivered to NKDC., or to Metheringham on allocated days. If there are 7 or less nomination forms received then we will not be involved in an election. If there are 8 or more nominations, then we go for election. One person can be nominated to deliver all papers. Action All
9.3 TTRO/TTROO2509. Road closure B1178. 10/1/23 – 3/2/23. 22:00-06:00
10. Planning matters
10.1 Application 22/1796/PNTEL. Nocton. Sewage Treatment Works. No comments
10.2 Application 23/0036/HOUS Proposal. Embassy House, Nocton. No comments
10.3 Application Beeswax Dyson Farming Ltd., Estates Office, Nocton. No comments
10.4 Decision. Application 22/1387/OUT. Land south of Wellhead Lane. Refused
11. Pavilion Committee
11.1 The post box has been erected.
12. Planning for Winter
12.1 Hot Pot hub update
Cllr Copsey has been attending each session. There are 30-40 people attending from all age groups. The pub is closing for refurbishment on 6 February for 2 weeks so the Hub will be held at the Pavilion.
Additional funding of £500 has been received by The Culfrey Trust from The Bishops Fund.
The “Honesty pot” raised £120 last week.
Advertising for this event has extended to Branston, Nocton and Bardney. Further investigation will be made by Cllr. Copsey into registering with #tag warm spaces. Action SC
13.1 Cllr. Ott had informed the clerk by email that additional documentation had been requested by FCC Communities Foundation and a decision will be made by the directors by the end of February 2023
14. Parish records
Mr Ralph Wilford has scanned years of historical Potterhanworth documentation. These documents are now indexed and stored in the pavilion.
15. Monthly Risk Assessment
Parish Council Meeting dates 2023
Monday 30 January, Monday 27 February, Monday 27 March, Monday 24 April, Monday 15 May Annual meeting of the Parish Council, Monday 22 May Annual meeting of the Parish, Monday 26 June, Monday 31 July, Monday 25 September, Monday 30 October, Monday 27 November.
Monday 8 May 2023 – Coronation B/H. No events have been planned but a community led group would be encouraged.
17. Date and time of next meeting
17.1 Monday 27 February 2023
The Council agreed to move into a closed session to discuss 2 personnel matters
• recruitment of cleaner and Maintenance person
Cllr Cucksey's Report
District Report November 2022
The Executive Board at their meeting on 1st November approved the Lincolnshire Homeless Strategy 2022/27. The Homelessness Act 2002 requires that all Local Authorities carry out a review of homelessness in their areas, to formulate and publish a strategy based on the findings. The strategy is the 5th document that has been developed by all Lincolnshire Housing Authorities, in partnership with our stakeholders and has been formulated following the strategy review. The aim is protecting the most vulnerable and ensuring individuals are safe from harm and have safe access to the support and services to maintain their health and wellbeing. The strategy strengthens and maintains the relationships by bringing partnership resources together in preventing and relieving homelessness. The plan is to take a proactive and joined-up approach to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness and explore funding opportunities to ensure we meet the needs of all client groups.
The Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) sets out the Council’s clear commitment to providing quality services which represent value for money for a district of flourishing communities. It builds on the achievements of the past and sets out a clear direction for the future in conjunction with the Council’s NK Plan. The Council’s long-term financial approach has put it in a strong position to ride out the current economic challenges arising from inflation, supply issues and a slowdown in economic activity. The Council has incredibly ambitious plans supported by a significant investment programme. This has been underpinned by sound finances which, in part, have been achieved through taking a proactive approach to financial management and by seeking to address future issues head on rather than shy away from them.
The NK Plan 2023-26 was approved by the Board for the purpose of consultation and the Plan’s recent annual refreshes have been supported by significant resident survey responses alongside consultations with a range of other stakeholder groups. Despite the challenges of Covid a significant resident response was still achieved as part of the 2021-24 development cycle; supporting the changes made within the NK Plan’s priorities and ambitions in terms of tackling climate change and recovering from the impacts of Covid-19. The changes proposed within the NK Plan 2023-26 are to capture the economic challenges for both residents and businesses. National polls continue to highlight the cost of livingchallenges as a key concern across every region of the nation with no reason to expect that residents within the District are an outlier, and given the interactions that elected members have within their wards, plus that of a range of partners who interact with a wide range of communities within the district a council survey seeking re-affirmation would not seem necessary. As such consultation with Elected Members; colleagues; and partners (via the Community Development Partnership) would find to be a more considered approach with this carried out in late autumn of this year supported by the Corporate Information team.
Cost of Living Strategy and Tackling Inequalities
The Cost-of-Living Strategy and Tackling Inequalities and Financial Inclusion reports were approved by the Executive Board on 1st November, they specifically focused on addressing poverty and understanding and mitigating the effects of the rising cost of living for people of all ages and personal circumstances. The impacts of poverty and the increasing cost of living could result in people experiencing multiple disadvantages through unemployment, living in poor quality housing, inadequate healthcare, exclusion, discrimination and barriers to lifelong learning, culture, sport and recreation, whilst limiting the ability to participate and feel valued and included in society. Within the Cost-of-Living Strategy, a strategic action plan is included demonstrating the Council’s commitment to residents and businesses. The Cost of Living Working Group will explore and deliver operational actions aligned to each of the areas detailed in the Strategy. The rising costs of fuel, food and other essentials are combined with existing disadvantages and vulnerability within our communities to put many households at greater risk of both immediate hardship and reduced opportunity and well-being.
District Report – January 2023
The Revenues and Benefits Shared Service
The service has now been in operation for more than eleven years since 1 June 2011, and the performance had largely been maintained and improved whilst continuing to provide value for money. Continual improvement and success were being achieved in both statistical and financial performance, as well as positive outcomes for customers of the partner local authorities. However, the Covid-19 pandemic had understandably impacted some areas of performance and these impacts were likely to continue for many more months. In respect of council tax, up to the end of Quarter 2 2022/23, in-year collection for Lincoln and North Kesteven was up by 2.58% and 0.90% respectively. However, it should be noted that in appropriate circumstances Council Tax Energy Rebate payments had been credited to Council Tax accounts, as well as Council Tax Hardship Fund monies being allocated, which would be ‘inflating’ collection performance. Officers continued to monitor and manage collection closely. In terms of the trend in Council Tax (CTS) caseloads, it could be seen that caseloads rose sharply in 2021 as an outcome of the impact of Covid-19 on the economy and residents’ incomes. The caseload then plateaued somewhat and had been falling, however with the ongoing cost of living pressures on residents, there was the potential that these reductions in caseloads may not continue. In terms of Business Rates, up to the end of Quarter 2 2022/23, compared to the same point in 2021/22 in-year collection was up by 7.29% for North Kesteven
Six-Month LGA Corporate Peer Challenge Review Report - Key Findings
Whilst the LGA report dives into quite low-level detail the most pertinent observations are the statements made within the overall summary. The peer team was impressed with NKDC’s rapid progress and resource allocations in the last six months to take forward the November 2021 CPC report’s recommendations, particularly under theme 3 – inclusion and succession planning. This progress is especially notable considering NKDC’s additional work responding to Ukraine, the cost of living, inflation, and other national and international developments in recent months. The council has also been awarded various accolades recently – as a shortlisted contender and winner - reflecting a range of good practices and improvements made. The peer team hopes this report enables further opportunities as part of NKDC’s improvement journey. The team also recommends the council continues to reflect on and further progress its work from this review regularly in line with its corporate and programme planning cycles for best effect. As with the original full LGA Corporate Peer Challenge, the six-month review process has been of great value to both the Council and the peer team. The peer team have noted the progress that the Council has made with its Action Plan, and in line with the LGA expectations their report is recommended for full publication.
The Council operates a balanced budget, which broadly means cash raised during the year will meet its cash expenditure. Part of the treasury management operations ensures this cash flow is adequately planned, with surplus monies being invested in low-risk counterparties, providing adequate liquidity initially before considering optimising investment return. The second main function of the treasury management service is the funding of the Council’s capital plans. These capital plans provide a guide to the borrowing need of the Council, essentially the longer-term cash flow planning to ensure the Council can meet its capital spending operations. This management of longer-term cash may involve arranging long or short-term loans or using longer-term cash flow surpluses, and on occasion, any debt previously drawn may be restructured to meet Council risk or cost objectives.
The Fees and Charges were approved at the full council held on 26th January for 2023/24. The main Garden Waste collections was frozen at £40 for the 2023/24 financial year and a review will be undertaken in August 2023 to determine the 2024/25 charges. The additional charges for additional bin collection (in addition to the first bin collection) are frozen at £8.00 for the 2023/24 financial year. The Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023/2024 to 2025/2026 has set out the framework for a general increase in the Council’s discretionary fees and charges of 5%. A detailed review has been undertaken resulting in a more appropriate fee recommendation for each income stream, rather than a blanket increase approach.
The recommended Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Dwelling Rents for 2023/2024 be increased by 7.0% (7.0% is the maximum allowable increase) was approved.
The recommendation of the authority’s Executive Board to increase rents by 7% is the outcome of significant deliberation, balancing the current financial circumstances and the need to keep delivering on the priorities agreed by tenants. This is the maximum allowed by Government, but lower than the 11.1% they could have risen by under the established inflation-based formula normally applied. Increased Council home rents below inflation enable continued improvements. A proposal to increase the level of rents paid for North Kesteven’s council homes at a rate significantly below inflation will enable the District Council to maintain its improvements programme.
That the Exceptional Hardship Fund of £25,000 for 2023/24, to top up Council Tax Support awards in appropriate cases, to be funded through the Collection Fund, be maintained.
Council Tax Support is a discount scheme that is operated by all English Councils to support low-income households with the cost of their council tax. It was introduced following the abolition of Council Tax Benefit in 2013. The discount is calculated according to income and household circumstances and is applied as a reduction to council tax bills.
In recognition of the difficulties facing many with current cost of living challenges, the Tenants Hardship Fund is being more-than doubled to £60,000 and its eligibility criteria reviewed, which is part of a broad package of practical and financial assistance in place.