Category Archives: PC Messages

Speed Indicating Devices

When I moved into the Parish I anticipated that the Parish Council would strive to understand the needs of the Parish and its residents and then attempt to meet those expectations.  After all the Parish Council imposes a levy on residents when it sets the level of Council Tax it feels that it can justify.

Sadly, with the passing of time, my hopes have faded and I thought that nothing would surprise me until I read the Draft Minutes of the January Parish Council Meeting which are available at:

Whittington PC January 2017 Minutes

If you read these minutes, particularly minute 1296, you will see that the Parish Council has decided to purchase one or more “Speed Indicator Devices” and in order to do this has raised our level of Council Precept to £3,995 for the coming year.

From the minutes, the Precept for the 2016 financial year has not been referred to but I understand that it was £3,630

Not a major increase, only 10.00% nonetheless I feel that it ought to have been justified rather than nodded through with two of our councillors missing and without this business item having been included on the agenda.

Because of the lack of information, I decided to investigate the nature of the discussions which have taken place in the Parish Council and the extent to which these discussions had been communicated to the Parish.

A trawl through the PC minutes showed a worrying lack of discussion which is hardly surprising as there is little evidence to show that the Parish Council had even produced any information to support the case for the installation of “Speed Indicator Devices”.

So how might our PC have approached the concept of installing Spids?

Starting Point
A logical starting point would be to determine the extent to which the existing speed limit is being broken.  The PC minutes show that in the past a few unidentified residents have expressed their concern about the speed of traffic through the village.

Consideration of the Facts
The PC minutes show that speed measurements have been taken periodically in the village, these have neither been presented nor discussed but the minutes do record that a police survey had only found two vehicles which had exceeded the speed limit and in neither case was the excess sufficient to warrant pursuing prosecution.

The only accidents reported, other than at Newton, were not speed related.

How Effective are the Proposed Spids?
There has been no recorded discussion of the effects of installing Spids, anecdotally a police traffic officer has said that there is a suspicion that motorists see them as an endorsement that 30mph is safe and acceptable.

Presumably, there is factual information about their effectiveness.

Is 30mph a Safe Speed Through The Centre of the Village?
Given the lack of serviceable footpaths and the risks associated with several access points the majority of road users seem to travel at less that the existing speed limit.  But there is no record of this having been discussed.

What Alternatives Might be Available?
Speed bumps must be ruled out because of the interference to adjacent properties, even if current regulations would allow them to be installed.

A 20mph speed limit would potentially be a benefit as it would more accurately reflect existing traffic speeds, however, the published guidance indicates that a 20mph limit might not be granted for Whittington.

There is no indication from the minutes that the advice of either the police or highway authority has been sought to see if an exceptions could be made for the village.

Finally, How Much Will It All Cost?
In July 2006 the cost of two speed indicators was quoted to the Parish Council as £7,100.  There is no mention of what this figure might include or what the costs of maintenance could be.

Does This Make Sense to You?
It would seem therefore that our Parish Council are agreeing to an increase in the precept this year alone of some £365 in connection with a device for which there is evidence of the likely costs, all done without any consultation with villagers.

Do you believe this decision has been subject to fair democratic scrutiny? Please post any comments you have on the Village blog.

Graham Williams

Whittington Point to Point

point-to-pointIt seems that Whittington will no longer host the Vale of Lune Harriers Point to Point each Easter.  The following snippet is hidden in the September Minutes of the Parish Council:

Correspondence Received: Vale of Lune Harriers Point to Point Committee cancellation of future events at Whittington.”

I make no excuse for the lack of clarity in the PC Minutes, I’ve be complaining about it for ages, but although the text is imprecise I am sure that my conclusion is not.

John Keegan

PS.  Just to be sure that the PC Minutes provide an accurate picture I have sent the following message to the Whittington Races – Vale of Lune Point to Point, via Facebook.

Whittington Parish Council report that there will be no more meetings held in Whittington. Can you confirm that?”

I have since received a reply.  See the accompanying Comment.

Parish Council

Those of you who are avid followers of this Blog, and the doings of our Parish Council, will no doubt recall my message to the PC, on the 18 September, followed up on this Blog on the 20th October.

The fact is I have received no response to my queries, despite the Chairman of the Parish Council coming round and sitting on my settee.

Having been contacted by a number of people (enquiring as to the response I have received) I have sent the following email to the Clerk to the PC.  Feel free to email her yourselves if you feel so inclined.

From: Whittington Village [mailto:whittingtonvillage@btinternet.com]
Sent: 22 October 2016 17:19
To: ‘Gill Hodgson’
Cc: ‘Simon And Caroline’; Barbara Atkinson; Colin Hall Whittington PC; Eric Pelter (e.pelter2012@btinternet.com); pwilliamson@lancaster.gov.uk; stuart close
Subject: My email of

“Dear Gillian,

I would refer to my email of the 18th September.

In respect of item 5).  It has been explained to me, by Eric, Barbara and Simon Raistrick, (Village Hall Trustee) that the Trustees of the Village Hall Trust have made erroneous Annual Returns to the Charity Commission throughout the whole of this century. I accept the explanation that this was done in error and was not in any way fraudulently. As a result I accept that they do not have a Bank Balance exceeding £20,000.  However my remarks regarding declarations of interest still pertain.

However, this single matter apart. I am still awaiting a response from the Parish Council.   I am pursuing this because of the number of people who have enquired as to whether or not I have received a response from the PC, and if so why I have not made it available on the Village Blog etc.

As far as item 8). is concerned.  Eric has explained to me why procedures were changed, primarily as a result of lack of attendance at the Annual Assembly.  My view is that the PC have an obligation to encourage attendance, not to subvert the procedures, which are a legal requirement.

You confirmation of receipt of communications would be appreciated.

John Keegan – Whittington Website.