Annual Parish Meeting

This year’s Annual Parish Meeting was held on Thursday 26 September 2019 at Singleton Village Hall, commencing at 7.00pm. The draft minutes can be viewed below.

DRAFT

Singleton Parish Council
Minutes of the ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
Held at Singleton Village Hall, Singleton
on 26 September 2019 at 7.00 pm

Present: – Cllrs Lee, (Chair), Bailey (Vice Chair), and Gallagher and the Parish Clerk, Verena Henderson, who took the Minutes. A representative of Singleton Trust and two candidates for the vacant post of Parish Councillor also attended.
NB The Parish Council had to delay its Annual Parish Meeting due to it not being quorate from May to August 2019. Two councillors were appointed by Fylde Borough Council exercising its powers under Section 91 of the Local Government Act 1972 and Cllr Christopher Bailey and Cllr Michael Andrew Smith duly re-joined the Parish Council on 1st August 2019. At the time of this Annual Parish Meeting, one vacancy remained.
1. Apologies – Cllr Smith

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting

The Minutes of the previous Annual Parish Meeting held on 31 May 2018, having been previously circulated and agreed, were signed as a true and correct record by Cllr Bailey (Vice-Chair).

3. Chairman’s Report

The Chairman reported on the plenty of happenings throughout this last year, many positive and some not so much. The biggest issue currently facing the Parish is the proposed Windy Harbour bypass. Highways England has told us that this new road will save one and a half minutes travelling time between Fleetwood and the M55. Because this new road will simply connect two single lane roads, the Parish Council does not believe that there will be any time saving at all and with an estimated cost of £150m, we believe this to be a complete waste of time and money.

The Parish Council is also aware of the disruption this road will cause to residents of the Parish, especially Barnfield Manor and Singleton Hall. The Parish Council continues to believe that the previously proposed `Blue Route’ would actually create a worthwhile alternative and would benefit the residents of Singleton and Greenhalgh as well as those in North Fylde.

The Chairman, together with Cllrs Bailey and Gallagher, along with the Chairman of Greenhalgh Parish Council, recently met with the MP Mark Menzies to discuss this subject. Mr Menzies was very supportive of the Blue Route as he always has been and has promised to write to both the Secretary of State and the Head of Highways England to try and push for the Blue Route.

Fly-tipping and litter has continued to be a problem across the Parish. To help with litter, the Parish Council has contracted a litter-picker and is grateful to the Richard Dumbreck Singleton Trust for contributing towards the costs of this in the village. The Parish Council is also grateful to our local volunteers who help with these picks and are always looking for more.

The Parish Council was pleased to add quite a few new items of play equipment in its playground. The local children and children from our school all seem to enjoy these new additions.

Speeding through the village continues to be a big problem. After researching the Community Speedwatch Programme, the Chairman asked for volunteers from the village and was extremely pleased that after the first night of asking, 16 villagers volunteered to help. Unfortunately, despite the help of our PCSOs, the officer who trains Speedwatch volunteers is apparently too busy to train any new ones! The Parish Council is painfully aware of the cuts to Police services and so was surprised that this offer of help was not jumped upon. The Parish Council is, however, grateful to our PCSOs for their recent Community Speedwatch in the village. Twenty speeders were caught on that occasion and we are looking forward to regular visits.

At the local elections in May, Maxine Chew stepped down. After 20 years on this Parish Council and 16 years as our Borough Councillor, Maxine’s experience and dedication will be missed. The whole Council would like to thank Maxine for all her help and support and wish her all the best for the future. At that same election, the Chairman was very proud to be elected to Fylde Borough Council to represent the Ward of Singleton and Greenhalgh and looks forward to this new role and the challenges it will present.

Finally, the Chairman thanked his fellow Councillors for their support over this last year and gave many thanks to the Clerk, Verena, for the excellent work she continues to do for the Parish.

4. Financial Report from the Clerk

The Clerk distributed a copy of the End-of-Year Accounts for 2018/2019 which showed a comparison with the financial year 2017/18. The total carried forward to 2019/2020 was £27,148.

The main expenditure during 2018/2019 was for the playground improvements, which cost a total of £7,196. The playground maintenance agreement with Fylde Borough Council had risen because of the new equipment from £2,380 the previous year to £3,081. The other major payments were as follows:-

Grasscutting contract
Clerk’s salary
Clerk’s expenses
Insurance
Litter-picking contract
Rent for meetings
Newsletters and Christmas cards
Plants for tubs – planted out twice a year
Mounting of Speed Indicator Device 5,779
2,367
724
697
1,757
222
247
714
480

Overall expenditure, including grants and general maintenance, amounted to £23,562

The Clerk had submitted the annual accounts for the official Government audit, which this year had been carried out by PKF Littlejohn LLP. The accounts had been advertised and made available for public inspection from 17 June to 26 July 2019 in accordance with the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. Prior to this, an internal audit was carried out by Mr R Cottam of Great Eccleston, who agreed the accounts and found them to be correct. The Parish Council is extremely grateful to Mr Cottam for his help in this regard.

Upon completion of the official audit, however, the Clerk was asked to amend the Annual Governance and Accountability Return showing a decrease in total expenditure due to the refund of monies from a faulty Speed Indicator Device which had been returned and refunded during that financial year. The refund of £3,019 for the Speed Device, and the refund of postage and insurance of £158 should have been interpreted as a “negative expense” and not included in the Income. As a result of this the Auditor’s report shows that the AGAR (Annual Governance and Accountability Return) was not accurately completed before submission for review and had to be amended.

The Clerk was very happy to report,, however that the accounts had been accurately balanced and agreed completely with the bank statements.

The Clerk was thanked for her report and work in this regard.

5. Election of Chair and Vice Chair for the period 2019/2020

Cllr Bailey proposed that Cllr Gallagher be Chair. This was seconded by Cllr Lee.
Cllr Gallagher proposed that Cllr Bailey be Vice-Chair. This was seconded by Cllr Lee.

6. Any questions from the public

The question was raised regarding the reclaiming of VAT and why there had been nothing in 2017/18 and £2,563 in 2018/19. This had been because the claim for 2017/18 had only been received in the first week of April 2018 after the closure of those accounts, and therefore 2 amounts of reclaimed VAT had been recorded in 2018/19.

7. Co-option of a New Parish Councillor

Two candidates had come forward to fill this role and both had previously submitted an outline of themselves and what they felt they could bring to the Parish Council and both spoke at the meeting. The Parish Council then retired for consideration and left the meeting for approximately 20 minutes.

Both candidates proved to be excellent but unfortunately there was only one vacancy. After discussion the Parish Council came to a decision and felt it was important for the Parish Council to have representation from all areas in the parish.

On returning to the meeting the Chairman offered the role of Parish Councillor to Christine Ibbotson, and she accepted the position. It is hoped that the other candidate would keep in touch with the Parish Council because it was felt he would be invaluable for future projects and possible future vacancies.

As there was no further business, the meeting closed at 7.30pm.
Signed …………………………………………… Dated …………………………………….

Verena Henderson, Clerk to the Parish Council: Email: Clerk@SingletonParishCouncil.org: Tel: 01995 670455