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PC Communication

As readers may have noticed I am somewhat concerned about the quality of communication from the Parish Council.

In view of the up-coming PC Meeting, 20th March, I have written to the PC requesting clarification.

Letter

Parish Council Communication

I have recently noticed that the quality of The Parish Council’s attempts at communicating with the residents has deteriorated.

This is illustrated by the obscurity of Minute 1286 and what seems to be the PC’s flawed decision making process in relation to the use of Speed indicating devices in the Parish.

I have put together the attached notes for consideration at the next Parish Council Meeting.

Because of the lack of clarity in Minute 1286 it seems possible that the PC is not aware of the comments made on the Village Blog and in the absence of the proposed electronic communication for the Parish I will post these comments together with your response on the Village Blog.

regards

Graham Williams

end of covering letter

Attachment

November 2016 Meeting Extract from Minute1286.

Response to parishioner’s comments

discussion took place regarding electronic communication, the village blog/website originally registered to Whittington Parish Council though current Cllrs, nor the Clerk, have any details of the registration and publicly disclaim any details that are published on the site, be it that it is not updated or added to, directly, by any current councillor or the clerk.

At the January 2017 Parish Council Meeting the minutes of the November were agreed.

x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x

Although The Parish Council has agreed the Minutes, sadly I find it lacking in clarity at best and unintelligible at worst.

Specifically:

1. I understand that the PC are not allowed to identify individual parishioners but what were his/her comments?

2. The minute can be interpreted as meaning that the website run by John Keegan was a Council approved website run by him on behalf of the Parish Council.

2.1 If this was the case, it would have been a very far reaching decision taken by the Parish Council and as such would have been properly minuted.

2.2 It would appear that the Parish Council does not now accept any responsibility for the site. If the original decision had been properly minuted, this would have been even more far reaching than their original decision to register and therefore there should be a minute recording this decision and the reasons for it, with possibly a letter to Mr Keegan explaining why this decision had been reached.

3. What exactly does the decision taken by the Parish Council mean in relation to the website.

3.1 Do Parish Councillors treat the website as a means of communication from Parishioners? If they don’t, this should have been made clear with details given on the website of how Parishioners should contact the Parish Council and how and when they might expect a properly considered response.

Presumably the contact details for all councillors are readily available, but where?

3.2 Does the Parish Council even monitor what is being said on the website and Blog. If it does not then it should reflect on the fact that its decision to acquire Speed indication devices has attracted a lot of comment. To date, none of it in favour of this proposal. Despite the fact that it will result in a 10% increase in the Parish Council levy the minutes of the PC do not show that it has given the concept the proper and informed consideration it merits.

I hope that the Parish Council will find time to consider and respond properly to these points.

Graham Williams, 4 March, 2017

end of Attachment

Whittington SpID

Colin Hall, Vice Chairman of Whittington Parish Council, has very kindly responded to the observations about SpID’s in Whittington that have been raised in this Blog.  Colins response is as follows:

“Last year Whittington , Arkholme and Gressingham Parish councils met with Alan Cox LCC Road and Transport Safety Dept Technical Support Officer to discuss the possibility of a joint venture to purchase a SPID device.

All agreed that these were effective in reducing traffic speed through rural villages and evidence produced by the Police and Lancaster Highways confirmed this.

Unfortunately Arkholme already has a 20mph limit enforceable during term time and because of this it is not legally possible to install a SPID on the same stretch of road. Understandably Arkholme withdrew from the joint venture discussions as they would not benefit.

Gressingham decide to explore the possibility of  ‘borrowing’ a SPID from Lancs County Council although as far as I know no headway has been made with this idea.

I’m sure as you drive through Gressingham you will have noticed little evidence of a SPID so far. However I think they are now considering buying one.

I am pleased to say following a site meeting in Main Street Whittington Alan Cox identified two suitable locations to mount a SPID if we were to go ahead with the project.

Cost to purchase a device is about £2500 inc. VAT and Parish Council are in the process of applying for a grant towards that cost. Locating the SPID, maintenance and deployment to two Whittington locations would be carried out by volunteers (after suitable Health and Safety training).

That is the situation as it stands today however as you say much criticism seems to have been aired regarding this project, probably fuelled by the thought of a cost of £7,800 +Vat and a 10% rise in the precept to solely fund this project.

I don’t know where the £7,800+ VAT figure comes from ( certainly not Parish Council) and it is incorrect to assume a precept increase is for the sole use of a SPID.

Parish Council is always short on funds and realises that reserves have to be built if any meaningful project is to be carried out in the village, that is why the precept was increased.

It is quite clear that this SPID issue has become very contentious so with that in mind I have asked the Parish Clerk to include it on March Parish Council Agenda for further discussion.

I hope this clarifies some of the points raised.

Colin Hall – Vice Chairman”

The Village Blog