Category Archives: News & Opinions

Whittington SpID – Closure?

Readers of the Blog will be aware I have expressed doubts about the need for a SpID and the process followed by the Parish Council both in their deliberations with their failure to consult and inform the community about the issues of need, cost and possible benefits.

In the discussion which preceded the Parish Council Meeting which took place on 20th November a number of points emerged which confirmed the widely held belief that traffic speeds through the centre of the village are too high given the poor provision of footpaths.

It was decided that the Highways Department should be consulted about other options which might reduce the speed of traffic, such as chicanes and a lower speed limit.  It was recognised that cost restraints may be an important factor.

The Chairman was of the opinion that the speed limit through Arkholme has been reduced to 20mph because of the presence of the school.  It was pointed out that the speed limit remains at 30mph and is only reduced over a short distance and for a short period of time when school is opening or closing.

No further action will be taken until discussions have taken place with the Highway Authority.  It was accepted that it would be unlikely that a SpID would be of any positive benefit.

Graham Williams

Village Defibrillator

The last time I died was at 10:00pm on the evening of Tuesday 11 July 2000.

At that time my first responders were my next door neighbour Samer Nashef, a cardiothoracic surgeon,

and his wife, Sandie Nashef, a partner in our local GP practice, and Occupational Health Doctor for M&S in East Anglia.

They carried out CPR until the ambulance arrived.  They broke nine of my ribs in order to keep blood flowing around my brain, in an endeavour to preserve as many brain cells as possible.

The following Monday I had £25,000 worth of Implantable Cardiovertor Defibrillator (ICD) sewn into my chest, courtesy of BUPA.

A year later Maureen and I moved to Whittington.  No longer were we blessed by having a skilled First Responder living next door, or even anywhere local at that time, but we did have Rt. Rev. Gordon Bates, the retired Suffragan Bishop  of Whitby living three doors away, and he promised me a smooth transition to the after life should I have a repeat event.

Yesterday evening our local first responder R Read, resident of Nanny Hall, gave an excellent presentation to the Parish Council, on the importance of having an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) available to our community in Whittington.

During the PC meeting which followed the presentation the council decided to support the purchase of an AED and to investigate cooperation with the Village Hall Trustees, together with the possible application of funds received recently from the County Parish Champion, towards this cause.  The cost of such a device is in the order of £1,500, a much better deal than the £25,000 it cost BUPA to provide mine.

When an AED is made available via a special box mounted in a suitable location it is referred to as a cPAD (Community Public Access Defibrillator).  Such a device has a power supply that keeps the AED at the temperature required.  The box can also be fitted with a code access lock, to which access is provided via a 999 call.  This is desirable as a first responder is dispatched to support the member of the public making use of the automated device.

As I mentioned earlier we only have one local first responder living in the Whittington Parish.  More volunteers are desperately required.  Full training and support would be given to anyone who would like to consider participating in this valuable service.

In the first instance Vice Chairman of the Parish Council, Colin Hall, is coordinating activities in this venture.  Colin can be contacted on his email address: sellethall@hotmail.com, or by phone to 015242 71865.

Even if you don’t feel able to be a first responder please voice your views in favour of having an AED available in the village, the next time you are speaking with your local Councillor.

John Keegam

Babies and Bathwater

Anyone reading the comments on the blog relating to the affairs of the Parish Council could be forgiven for thinking that relationships between some residents and the Parish Council have broken down.

What is so sad is that to date the Parish Council seems, at best, to have totally ignored the situation.

Recent exchanges have demonstrated that there is no point in trying to resolve issues by conducting a debate through the Blog.  The only sensible way forward must be for our PC to accept that the situation is rapidly deteriorating and that they have the responsibility for trying to defuse it.

A possible starting point would be for the PC to examine how far it meets the legal obligations placed on it.  In no way can these be seen as petty bureaucracy.  The rules have been established in order to protect both residents and Councillors.

They are set out in the “Good Councillors Guide” which is a government publication and can be found at: This Link

Obviously not everyone in the Parish has access to the internet and as the guide has 68 pages I will not be rushing to print copies.  However, it is an official document so it is quite possible that one of the Parish Councillors or the Parish Clerk has a copy which they would be prepared to lend.

The Parish Council is also required to have in place a “Code of Conduct” which individual councillors are expected to follow.  Whittington PC has adopted the Code followed by the City Council which can be found from: This Link.

I have forwarded this post to the Parish Clerk with a request that it be discussed at the next meeting of the Parish Council.

Graham Williams

Parish Council Budgets

At this time of year a number of Local Government organisations make a point of reminding Councils, including Parish Councils, that they are obliged to begin their budgeting process in order to present their precept requirements.

NALC, the National Association of Local Councils, provide the following pertinent advice:

Budgeting.

  1. The authority needs to prepare and approve a budget in a timely manner before setting a precept prior to the commencement of the financial year. It needs to monitor actual performance against its budget during the year, taking corrective action where necessary. A financial appraisal needs to be undertaken before the authority commences any significant project or enters into any long term commitments.
  2. The budget has three main purposes:
    1. it results in the authority setting the precept for the year.
    2. subject to the authorities Financial Regulations, it gives the Clerk overall authority to make spending commitments in accordance with the plans approved by members; and
    3. it provides a basis for monitoring progress during the year by comparing actual spending against planned spending.
  3. The key stages in the budgeting process are:
    1. decide the form and level of detail of the budget;
    2. review the current year budget and spending;
    3. determine the cost of spending plans;
    4. assess levels of income;
    5. bring together spending and income plans;
    6. provide for contingencies and consider the need for reserves;
    7. approve the budget;
    8. confirm the precept or rates and special levies; and
    9. review progress against the budget regularly throughout the year.

What Whittington needs

In order for our PC to decide how much money they need next year they have to determine how they are going to spend their income.

Income: In addition to the precept the PC normally receive a further £250.00 in shooting and grazing rights. This provides in the order of £4,245, at the 2016-17 level of precept.  In fact our PC has recently received an additional £450.00 from the Parish Champion, which I assume is committed to the acquisition of a SpID, although the Council has not yet authorised expenditure in this connection.

Expenditure: Each year the PC have traditionally made certain donations. Typical these donations have amounted to something in the order of £390.00, to the WI, British Legion, Wagtail Playgroup & Toddlers, NW Air Ambulance and Wagtail.

In addition there are cost which occur simply to run the PC such as Clerks Salary, NI and expenses, Insurance and the cost of Internal Audit.  These costs amount to about £1,880.

A further series of costs relate to maintaining the Village Hall Strimmer, and any maintenance expenditure such as painting sight railings, village benches and so on.  This of course is a variable sum, depending on what the PC has budgeted for.

Expenditure Parishioners ask for:  I may well be wrong in saying that the only suggestions that the PC has actually funded has been the request for a donation to B4RN a couple of years or so ago, and pressure from Gerald Hodgson through his Wagtail articles about the state of the village benches.  But maybe the PC are currently considering spending some money on an SpID, although they have made a commitment not to do so until they receive the support of Whittington Villagers (bearing in mind that an SpID would be of no benefit to the remainder of the Parish).

The way forward:  At this time I believe that the PC should be canvassing the views of Parishioners in order that they are cognisant of the views of their electorate, as to where expenditure is desirable.

Please, oh please, use this Blog to let your views be known, otherwise the Village will continue to stagnate.

John Keegan