4 April 2023 Annual Parish Meeting DRAFT Minutes STILL TO BE APPROVED

Langworth Group Parish Council   
Serving the grouped parishes of Barlings, Newball, Stainton by Langworth and Reasby
E:mail: langworthgroupparishcouncil@gmail.com
Minutes of the Langworth Group Annual Parish Meeting held at 7.00pm on Tuesday 4th April 2023 in Langworth Memorial Hall
Present: Cllr M Herbert (Chairman); Mrs M Vail (Parish Clerk) and 10 members of the public
Meeting started at 7.06pm.
1. Notes from the Annual Parish Meeting held on 3 May 2022:
RESOLVED to sign these as a correct record.  All in favour.      
2. Chairman’s Report:
I would like to say thank you to the parish councillors.  Every month they give up their own time to prepare information and come along to Langworth Group Parish Council (LGPC) Meetings; without exception everybody contributes. Not many people appreciate that parish councillors also get involved outside of the meetings. They are working on projects, they are working on tasks, research, etc or trying to guide and advise other residents.  It needs to be emphasised that they do not receive financial benefit for doing any of this and they get little thanks or appreciation for what they do.  They kindly offer up their own time and energy because I believe that they have a social conscience and they wish to make our community a better place to live in. So once again…thank you.
I would also like to say thank you to our county and district councillors.  Not every parish has the benefit of having these people attend their meetings.  Their contributions, their guidance and insights are invaluable to us.  I hope that any time restraints imposed upon them do not alter this.
Last year the parish council made the decision not to increase the LGPC element of the Council Tax.  This was because we were just coming out of a pandemic lockdown, individual households were struggling with money and rising inflation was beginning to bite.  The intention was well meant, but it did have the result of us having to dip further into unallocated council funds than we had intended because we needed to spend more than we received in income. This year the tough decision made by councillors was to increase the precept. It was higher than we had hoped for, but like all other councils we have been impacted by increasing costs for this year and we are trying to resolve the problems caused by the increase costs last year.  Residents are no doubt concerned with any additional monies leaving their households, but I would ask them to look at our budget and try to understand why those rises were needed. In mitigation, I would say that for every pound gathered that comes into the parish council, all of it is spent in our parishes. If you ignore the alarming percentages, in reality any increases that we have asked for are only a few extra pence a week.
Last year I commented about improving relationships with Lincolnshire County Council (LCC), West Lindsey District Council (WLDC) and the utilities.  In my opinion I think that we now have a slightly better dialogue with highways at LCC although any commitments to carry actual work have not been realised and we are consistently told that there is no money available. Routine maintenance funds are spent on high priority work. I think there is much more that we can do here and we need to get our footpaths and verges sorted out. They are in a poor state and continue to deteriorate. This will require more persistence from us to achieve results.  I am aware that our clerk has developed a great working relationship with WLDC but I am sure that there is more resource that we can tap into.  The utilities remain an enigma, controlling their own programmes of work, maintaining a good profit for their investors but for us not really bringing much improvements in the networks.
Last year I also spoke about putting some more effort into improving our relationships and image within our own community.  Apart from changes to the Langworth Local, and I mainly thank Councillor Stilgoe-McCombe for this, I do not feel this has substantially improved.  It is easy to let someone else to do the work and get the benefit but unless there is a collective effort it is always going to be a struggle to achieve a better community. It is not one person, or even the usual few that will make this happen, more people need to get involved. The local Womens Institute has now gone and The Memorial Hall Committee has had its problems.  Both groups help galvanise our community and substantially improved things for us. We have now lost a fair few number of community leaders and we are worse off for it.  Somehow, somewhere we are going to have to engage with people who are prepared to get involved.  How we go about this I am unsure and I welcome any suggestions.
Recently, reflecting back over the last year, apart from a few notable exceptions such as the speed detectors for example, I have felt that we have been ‘treading water’.  Almost just dealing with the routine maintenance of things. I am aware that this is required of us as a parish council and is in itself no simple or straightforward matter.  However I would like us to achieve more.  It is a challenge when we have very little income because we have relatively so few residents compared to say Nettleham… however I am sure that there are things that can be done which costs very little.  I am only one person on this parish council, we have each earnt our place here and we are all equals.  With that in mind, collectively I think that we need to put some targets and aims in place, to give us some direction if you will.  To that end, at our next meeting I would like every parish councillor (and even suggestions from district and county councillors) to bring to the meeting something that will help us form a plan, a direction, a suggestion if you like of how the parish council can improve matters even if that that change needs to happen with us.  
A simple truth that I learnt from one of my management courses:
“ If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got ”
3. Clerk/RFO’s report:
• It has been another busy year for the Parish Council; which has operated throughout at its full complement of 9 councillors.
• The Parish Council has commented on several planning applications this year. 
• The annual external play inspection by ROSPA identified several matters requiring attention, and repairs have since been carried out.  In the longer term, a Council aspiration is to purchase one or two new play items, potentially to replace those older existing items which are showing deterioration, and potentially to be ‘inclusive and accessible to all’.  To this end, the Council has put in place a plan to build up a Reserves pot of money.  Additionally, I have recently been informed that we have had a £1000.00 grant awarded to us by IGAS towards a new piece of play equipment.
• During the year we have changed our internal play inspector.  We now use EKM Ltd for quarterly inspections, receiving a much more comprehensive report that we did previously.
• In April last year, we paid a £1000.00 grant to the Memorial Hall towards costs of the successful Platinum Jubilee event which the Hall’s Committee organised.
• We continue to financially support the production of Langworth Local magazine which has seen a change in editorship during the last year.  We thank the outgoing editor for her sterling work on the magazine, and the new editor for her enthusiasm and hard work.  Recent issues have been very positively commented upon.   
• The village sign blew down and was damaged in high winds last Spring, so a replacement sign was purchased and installed.
• Two solar powered reactive speed signs have been purchased and installed at either main road entrance/exit to the village.  Whilst they have had a positive impact on some drivers, others do continue to speed.  Our thanks go to C/Cllr Ian Fleetwood for his assistance with installing these signs and in pulling data from them.
• The Parish Council has received £594.61 from Lincolnshire County Council towards grass cutting of the verges in the Group’s parishes.  This contributes towards the total costs of grass cutting, which came in at £3942.40 last year, and allows the Parish Council to undertake more cuts than the three that the County Council would offer us, helping to keep the village in a tidy condition. 
• We have also received grants totalling £700.00 from the District Cllr Community Initiative Fund.  The monies received have contributed to the costs of the replacement noticeboard for Newball; as well as a replacement laptop for the Clerk (shortly to be purchased).  We thank our District Cllrs for their generosity and support.
• A Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payment of £2655.40 has been received from WLDC.  CIL is a levy which WLDC can charge on developments to ensure that facilities and services in the area can keep up with new homes.  WLDC pays the Parish Council a portion (15%) to be spent by the Parish Council on local infrastructure. We have not yet decided how this income will be spent.
At year end, the current account balance stood at £1172.49, and the deposit account stood at £36,522.13. 
Spend Against Budget 2022 – 23
Whilst there were some overspends within individual budget heads, due to unplanned for, but necessary expenditure, overall, the 2022 – 23 budget was underspent by £4805.76.
The 2022 – 23 accounts are still to pass through the internal audit process and be signed off.  Once this is complete, they will then be examined by an external auditor. As the audit reports become signed off, they will be posted on our website.
4. Reports by local County and District Councillors:
C/Cllr I Fleetwood: No report had been submitted due to being in the period of pre-election purdah.  However, he did comment briefly on the A158 traffic and the speed indicator devices noting that a ‘thank you’ message does make a positive difference to drivers.
D/Cllr C Darcel: nothing to report.
D/Cllr A Welburn: the following written report was provided, covering the period May 2022 – March 2023: 
West Lindsey District Council has been shortlisted for the LGC Awards as Council of the Year. It has also picked up a double award at a national industry awards ceremony for its work collecting waste and keeping our streets clean.
The Council was named ‘best performer’ for its refuse collection service in the highly regarded Association for Public Service Excellence(APSE) Performance Networks Annual Awards. Over 250 authorities benchmark their performance data each year. The Council was also named ‘most improved performer’ for its street cleansing service.
Destination Lincolnshire has announced the finalists in their 2022 Tourism Awards and WL are thrilled that the Trinity Arts Centre is among those named. The Unique picture-house which is set in a stunning grade II listed church is a cultural hub in West Lindsey, creating a space for people to enjoy theatre, live music and watch popular movies. It is hired by a number of community groups and creative companies to hone their talents.
West Lindsey District Council has received a high rated assurance in its annual audit report for 2021-22. Inspectors from Assurance Lincolnshire carried out reviews into the governance, risk, internal controls, and financial controls of the council. The Council was found to be performing well in three areas with no significant concerns that would impact the council delivering its priorities. 
Audit reviews across the financial control areas continues to provide positive assurance for the Council. The most recent audits for all of these have provided High and Substantial assurances particularly in Housing Benefit Subsidy, Grants Awarded and Value for Money. For the twelve months ended 31 March 2022 the Council's arrangements for governance, risk management and control framework have continued to be strong. 
Climate Change, Environment and Sustainability
The Council is making progress towards reaching ambitious net-zero target by 2050.
Energy improvement grants totalling more than £1.3 million have been awarded to West Lindsey District Council in the last 18 months. Successful applicants have used funds to deliver a range of energy improvements where they are most needed – such as off gas grid properties, and low energy efficiency homes owned by low-income families. 
Some of the work that has taken place:  
• Solar PV and battery storage and electric vehicle charging points installed and operating at a new energy efficient waste depot -utilising Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund monies. 
• Separate Paper & Card Collections for residents and businesses introduced to improve environmental impact of West Lindsey District Council’s waste management operations.
• Working with the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan to develop Energy, Climate and Flood Policies. New Internal Flood Management Strategy Board Established to help protect residents from the worst impacts of future events.
• A new waste depot with solar panels generating 20,000 KWH of green electricity. An annual saving of 14.2 tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to burning 1400 gallons of diesel.
West Lindsey District Council will be switching its electricity tariff with its current provider as soon as contracts allow in October, to one that is 100 per cent traceable and zero carbon.
This will ensure any payments to its energy supplier is funding renewable energy sources only. The move supports the Council’s target of becoming net zero carbon before 2050.
The green energy market can be complex, with many companies now offering competitive green electricity tariffs for both residential properties and businesses. The Council is pleased to have secured a deal that will mean that nearly 500,000 kwh used annually in its own buildings and assets now comes from 100% renewable sources such as solar or wind – saving the equivalent of more than 100 tonnes of C02 emissions annually. 
The new electricity product ensures that 100 per cent of the REGO certificates are purchased from primary sources of renewable electricity generated solely via wind, solar and hydro. 
Information on how to save money on your utility bills and switch to a green tariff can be found here: Gas, Electric & Water Guides – MoneySavingExpert
Residents in West Lindsey have embraced the new twin recycling scheme, which separates paper and card from other recyclable material. Since the inception of twin stream to the end of July 2022, WLDC have collected 913.82 tonnes of paper and card and the end destination are still reporting less than 2% contamination in material received from Lincolnshire residents. In respect of the Mixed Dry Recycling (blue bin) quality and the volume of contamination, this has reduced from 32% pre-implementation to 22% post-implementation. The highest volumes of contaminants remain soft plastics, rigid plastics and unsuitable paper and card, which we believe residents do not think is good enough for the purple bin, so they put into the blue bin instead of the black bin. Waste that is placed in black bins is sent to the Energy from Waste plant at North Hykeham where it is turned into clean electricity and fed back to the grid. Future plans being considered are free green bins and food waste recycling.
Flagship Community Grants
The Flagship Community Grants programme includes varied requests to help communities in their project choices. The projects we funded across the district included new and enhanced play facilities, new community-led cultural activities, new heating systems in village halls to support climate change initiatives, support to bring people together (Jubilee Celebrations) distributing the shared prosperity funds or planting trees and bulbs to enhance green spaces. A £50,000 scheme supported installation of community accessible defibrillators The two most popular funding stream have been the  Councillor Initiative Fund & Match Funding (between £500 & £8000)
Community Grants Impact: From 2019-2022, our Match Funding Grant and Councillor Initiative Fund awarded over £290,000 and leveraged over £1.9 million. This means for every £1 that we awarded, over £6 was leveraged from external funds or matched by the partner. The grant schemes contributed to our Corporate Plan priorities by improving or developing community facilities and community-led service and activates which enabled increase physical activity, improved health and wellbeing across the district’s residents and greater quality of life and levels of independence among vulnerable residents   As well as bringing benefits to our residents and leveraging greater funds into our communities, our grant schemes also strengthened our relationships and partnership working with the voluntary and community sector such as Dial a Ride, Call Connect and CAB. This has enabled us to develop a better understanding of the needs and possibilities within our communities.
Crematorium recycling scheme
As part of a National Scheme the new crematorium supports local charities - last year LIVES, Lincolnshire, and St Andrew’s Hospice received £27,000 in charitable donation between them from Lea Fields Crematorium, which is run by West Lindsey District Council. The crematorium opened in January 2020 and signed up to a national metal recycling scheme to help give something back to the community. The ICCM (Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management) Metal Recycling Scheme, was set up so that with the consent of families, orthopaedic implants recovered after cremation are recycled and any money raised is used to give back to bereavement related charities such as St Barnabas Hospice.
Nationally the ICCM recycling Metal Scheme has raised over £7 million for charities since it was created.
You can visit the Lea Fields Crematorium website to find out more about the facilities, services, and memorials available to remember loved ones: www.leafieldscrematorium.co.uk/ 
New Police Inspector
Inspector 1144 Mike Head has just taken over as the West Lindsey Neighbourhood Policing Inspector and is based at Gainsborough Police Station. He his keen to work with the various Parish Councils and District Councillors so he can best tackle any issues in the local area, and he is committed to utilise any available resource and partners so he can best serve our community. I made a tour of the Cherry Willingham Ward and the Sudbrooke Ward as part of an introduction to the area and after meeting some of the Parish Councillors he has set up a contact stream and is arranging a quarterly meeting for the area. The first meeting was held in Feb at Scothern Methodist Church and was well attended with representatives from all the parishes with the addition of Bardney. The priorities for the coming three months were discussed, and agreement reached on communication streams to ensure he has sight of all crimes in the area, many of which go unreported at the moment.
Levelling Up (UK Shared Prosperity Fund)
Investment in communities and businesses has been confirmed for West Lindsey. The Government have supported plans by West Lindsey District Council to invest £2.7m of UKSPF into businesses and communities across the area. Much of this funding will be available to communities and businesses through two flagship grant schemes and the Council are working with the Government to launch the schemes by April 2023. 
This announcement comes hot on the heels of the submission of plans to support rural community infrastructure and connectivity and rural businesses through the investment of just under £800,000 as part of the Rural England Prosperity Fund. 
West Lindsey District Council was delighted to welcome officials from the UK’s - The National Lottery Heritage Fund to see first-hand the work taking place following the successful bid of £1.25m to repair, restore and regenerate the buildings in Gainsborough as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI)
These funds are on top of the £10 million from Central Government, as part of the “Levelling up” programme, to support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets. Work has a begun-on delivery of schemes supported by this grant.
 Voter ID at 2023 Local Elections
From 4 May 2023 onwards, voters will be required to show an approved form of photographic identification at polling stations before they are given a ballot paper. The Government introduced this law in the Elections Act 2022, and it takes effect for the first time in England on 4 May 2023. This will affect all voters who vote in person or by proxy at the next local elections on Thursday 4 May 2023. 
 Accepted forms of photo ID include. 
• Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, A British Overseas Territory, an EEA state, or a Commonwealth country 
• Photocard driving licence (includes a provisional licence) issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or EEA state
• Blue Badge scheme photocard parking permit
• Older Person's Bus Pass / Concessionary Travel pass/card (in Lincolnshire, this is the older person or Disability bus pass issued by Lincolnshire County Council) 
The full list is available at: https://www.west-lindsey.gov.uk/elections-voting/voter-id-elections
For those without an accepted photographic ID, they can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate either via gov.uk or WLDC. 
Applications can be submitted through the UK government’s online portal or by submitting a paper form to our esteemed colleagues in the Electoral Services team (ereg@west-lindsey.gov.uk). West Lindsey is also offering a walk-in service during normal office hours.
The closing date to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate is 6 days prior to a polling date.
Solar Projects Update
There are now four solar NSIPs (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects) in the area associated with the closure of the power stations on the river Trent. These will NOT be determined by WL but by the Government.
 Cottam Solar Project (Island Green Power) - 600MW solar park across three sites in WL, totalling 1,270Ha. 
 Gate Burton Energy Park (Low Carbon) - 500MW solar and energy park on approximately 684Ha of land, 4km to the south of Gainsborough.
 West Burton Solar Project (Island Green Power) - 480MW Solar project across three sites within WL, totalling 788Ha in area.
 Tillbridge Solar (Tillbridge Solar Ltd) - Approximately 1,400Ha of land to the west of Hemswell and Glentworth. 
Vision for West Lindsey 2023/27
I have been working on new strategies to support walking and cycling, Culture & Heritage, we will continue to support the Churches Festival as well as bringing new outreach opportunities to our villages working with Trinity Arts Centre and Sports Partners working to bring events to our communities, there will also be continued accesses to grants for the project ambitions of residents.  
Continue to work on securing our financial independence as an authority being mindful of the need to support a climate strategy with an emphasis on controlling waste and recycling.
 The Council has  formally submitted an expression of interest in acquiring RAF Scampton when it is decommissioned and is awaiting the outcome.
Should the Council be successful a partner will be required to work with the council and take a lead in managing, master planning and regenerating the site, not intended for housing but historic, leisure and business.
We have already purchased new cameras and installed IT systems which are helping reduce fly-tipping, but more are needed. We also have an aspiration to create a post of community warden which will help with issues that affect our communities (litter, parking, and fouling)
Fulfilment of the above will depend on the incoming administration.
5. Local Organisations reports:
Memorial Hall:
This year we have had some committee member changes and are still looking to recruit new members to keep the hall up and running.
We hold a curling club followed by coffee mornings, Embrace craft meetings, jumble sales, Bingo nights , quiz nights, private hirings and the Christmas tree light up event.
We celebrated the Jubilee in June which was a success and  nice for the local community to come together.
We are looking forward to this year 2023 and all future events and hope to see some new faces within the village hall.
The Parish Council then thanked the Memorial Hall Committee for its work; noting that the amount of work which goes into running the Hall by a very small number of residents is not often recognised.
6. Parishioners Items:
The poor state of Barlings Lane and other footpaths was mentioned, which is of concern given the elderly population.  Along with parking on verges, residents want to see these matters addressed.  The Parish Council has, and continues to be, in dialogue with LCC on such matters, but LCC must balance its priorities and financial constraints.  C/Cllr I Fleetwood has assisted with the dialogue between the Parish Council and LCC Highways by facilitating the presence of a Highways Officer in the parish to view problem areas.
D/Cllr A Welburn noted the need for residents to report ‘dangerous’ paths to LCC; and provided an explanation of how funding levels are agreed.  She also noted that funding is being consistently reduced over time, thereby falling ever behind the level of funding actually required.
A suggestion was made to invite the Meadows Management Committee to the 2024 Annual Parish Meeting.
  Meeting ended at 7.37pm.
9th May 2023
Mrs Michelle Vail
Parish Clerk
Langworth Group Parish Council