Vacancy – Parish Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer

VACANCY – PARISH CLERK/RESPONSIBLE FINANCIAL OFFICER (RFO)

SCP 11, £21,748 (pro rata per annum) Part-time (15 hours per week, flexible) Monday to Friday, plus attendance at Parish Council meetings

Due to the resignation of our current Clerk who has moved on to run her own business, we are now seeking a highly organised and dedicated individual with a proven track record of leadership/managerial skills to undertake this key role.

This is a combined role covering the duties of the Clerk and RFO. You will be responsible for the day-to-day administration (including risk-assessments, policies etc.), line-management of staff, organisation and management of the Councils’ services and facilities, as well as the Councils’ finances.

You will need to be enthusiastic, flexible and community-focused with a hands-on style and sound administrative, inter-personal, finance and IT skills (Microsoft Suite) in order to work successfully with Councillors, external organisations, stakeholders and community groups.

You will have experience of working in a leadership/managerial role and have excellent admin skills. Any relevant qualifications (e.g., GDPR, H&S, safeguarding etc.) would be advantageous. You will either possess or be willing to obtain the Certificate in Local Council Administration qualification (CiLCA) within 12 months, which is a requisite of the role. Evening meeting attendance is required at least once a month. This is a home-based role.

Datchworth Parish Council is a dynamic, forward-thinking, and proactive Council at the centre of a local community. We offer excellent terms and conditions of employment including enrolment in the Local Government Pension Scheme. In the first instance, please submit your CV with a covering letter to Councillor Dodson, Chair of HR Committee: .

Datchworth Parish Council is an Equal Opportunities Employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.

Closing date: Monday 13th September 2021.

Rural Funding Digest

The Rural Funding Digest is a monthly bulletin facilitated by the Rural Services Network highlighting a selection of current funding opportunities. If this is something you might be interested in, please click on this link which will take you to the current monthly edition.

 

Resignation of Cllr David Kelleher

The Parish Council regretfully announce that Councillor David Kelleher has resigned as a Parish Councillor. Cllr Kelleher had served the Parish Council and the community since September 2020 and we would like to thank him for his time and efforts over the last few months.

If you think you might be interested in joining the Council as a Parish Councillor, please contact the Clerk at .

 

Litter Picking across the Parish

Our Litter Picker has sadly been taken unwell and is not currently in a position to collect Litter.

Councillors will do their best to cover collections but please bear with us. DPC welcomes any support from residents that are able to help. If you would like to volunteer, please contact for a Volunteer Application Form.

In the meantime, it would be very much appreciated if residents/visitors could help by taking rubbish home with them.

Thank you.

Community Litter Picking – East Herts District Council

As we enter Step 2 of the government’s roadmap, we want to do more to support groups wanting to pick litter again. Information for anyone wishing to arrange a community litter pick can be found here: https://bit.ly/3wzMHuC

Temporary Road Closure – Burnham Green Road, Datchworth

NOTICE is given that Hertfordshire County Council intends to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, to prohibit all vehicular traffic from using that length of Burnham Green Road, Datchworth from its junction with Bramfield Road south westwards for a distance of approximately 35 metres (“the Road”),except for access.

An alternative route will be via Bramfield Road, Datchworth Green, Mardleybury Road, B197 (Mardley Hill/Great North Road), A1000 (Welwyn Bypass Road/Hertford Road), Hertford Road, Harmer Green Lane, New Road, Harmer Green Lane and Burnham Green Road.

The Order is needed because utility service works are proposed to be executed on or near the Road.

This order shall come in to force on 12 April 2021.

Government Roadmap Announced

This afternoon the Prime Minister made a statement to the House of Commons setting out the below roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England:

Step one – from 8 March
• All schools to open
• Stay at home order remains in place
• People can meet one other person outside for recreation
• Funerals for 30 people and weddings for 6 people

Step one – From 29 March
• People will be able to meet outside including in private gardens, subject to the rule of six, or provided no more than two households are meeting.
• People will no longer be legally required to stay at home but should work from home if they can and try not to travel.
• Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts and open air swimming pools can reopen and formally organised sports can restart.

Step Two – no earlier than 12th April
• Self-catering will open for individuals or household groups only.
• Non-essential retail will open.
• Pubs and restaurants will begin to open for outdoors service, without curfew, and no requirement for people to order a substantial meal.
• Outdoor attractions such as Zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas will open
• Funerals for 30 people and weddings for 15 people.

Step Three – no earlier than 17 May
• People will be able to meet indoors, subject to the rule of six, or provided no more than two households are meeting
• Pubs and restaurants will open for indoor service
• Hotels, guest houses and B&Bs will open for leisure guests
• Pubs and restaurants will open for indoor service
• Indoor entertainment and attractions
• Cinemas and theatres will open
• Some large events – capacity limits apply:
• Indoor events the lower of 1,000 or 50% capacity
• Outdoor events seated the lower of 10,000 or 25%
• Outdoor events not seated the lower of 4,000 or 50%
• Most significant life events for 30 people
• Most restrictions outdoors will be lifted, subject to a limit of 30 people
• International travel will not resume before 17 May.

Step Four – no earlier than 21 June
• All limits on social contacts will be lifted
• Large events, performances and weddings will be able to go ahead
• Nightclubs will open

In Addition, there will be Four Reviews
• Looking at whether having a vaccine or a negative test result can reduce restrictions on social contact.
• Piloting the impact of testing and reduced social distancing on events.
• Looking at how to facilitate more inbound and outbound travel – to report back by 12 April
• Review social distancing measures, such as the one-metre-plus rule, rules on face coverings and working from home – to report back by 21 June.

Datchworth Parish Council objects to latest planning application by Luton Airport

Datchworth Parish Council have written to Luton Borough Council to object to Luton Airports’ latest planning application with the following letter:
Application: 21/00031/VARCON Luton Airport, Luton
Variation of Conditions 8, 10, 22, 24, and 28 to Planning Permission 15/00950 to accommodate 19 million passengers per annum and to amend day and night noise contours.
Datchworth Parish Council wishes to object to the above planning application which seeks to increase the Airport capacity and reduce controls on aircraft noise. If allowed, it will have a detrimental effect on the residents of this parish.
We consider the proposed increase from 18 million passengers to 19 million is unjustified and we strongly oppose it.
We note Luton Airport has increased night flights six-fold since 2013, up from 500 to 3,000. This planning application wants to go even further: the biggest noise increase it’s asking for is at night. The WHO links night noise to poor health. Datchworth is located under the Eastbound departure flight paths. Our residents reported excessive noise disturbance, day and night, last year from low flying aircraft. This proposed expansion would result in significantly worse outcomes for them.
The 2013 permission set limits on passengers and noise. Luton Airport has yet to deliver the mitigation for noise that it committed to and since 2017 has further breached those limits in violation of Condition 10 (noise contours). The Airport has failed in recent years to “manage the effect” of its growth and noise management has failed. No credible plan has been put forward to reduce the sounds. Until Luton Airport can demonstrate that it can operate at 18 mppa within extant noise limits, further capacity growth is unwarranted and unjustifiable.
We consider the plans to be incomplete and poorly-founded. The current states of both the airline and aircraft industries show no signs of supporting an early post-Covid recovery and the general Covid-driven economic malaise is having a major negative impact on air travel. Following the current depression in aircraft manufacture, we do not believe quieter and cleaner craft will be available within the timeframe envisaged; we understand that the current latest A321neo aircraft are actually measured as being noisier. Furthermore, replacement of noisier aircraft to quieter models, is beyond the control of the Airport operators and with the current pressures on airlines‘ budgets is likely to take longer, thereby further increasing the number of properties affected by noise pollution. Mitigations employed to-date have neither improved nor stopped the noise contour breaches. The recent reduction is only due to the decrease in passenger numbers arising from effects of the pandemic. It is clear that a reduction in passenger numbers is what is required until the Airport has delivered provable mitigations.
Environmental Impact Statement indicates higher total CO2 emissions for every year from 2019 and these are based on estimates of older aircraft types which may be challenged, notwithstanding the lack of evidence regarding future economic development. Last year the Committee on Climate Change made clear that aviation growth targets must be at least halved to achieve net zero. Luton Airport has so far only managed to reduce it emissions by 0.9%, and cannot directly control carbon emissions from passenger journeys or aircraft. The Airport has had seven years of accelerated capacity growth and benefited commercially from that; now it needs to rebalance and focus upon environmental responsibility. Since Luton Borough Council has declared a Climate Emergency, to ignore such during decision-making regarding the Airport (a major source of carbon emissions) could be seen to be at odds with itself. This planning application is unsustainable and not in line with achieving net zero by 2050 or Luton’s own declaration of a Climate Emergency.
Offsetting a carbon footprint by LED lighting and similar well-proved methods should certainly be pursued as sensible and proportionate (and arguably actions for any sound commercial enterprise to take to reduce operating costs) but they do not change at all the fact that more flights will cause more pollution until the advent of new generation aircraft (of which there is no detail as to likely impact and improvement); low energy lighting around the Airport is praiseworthy but it doesn’t positively impact the standard of life under the flightpath.
Most concerning of all is that it is stated that the application will be decided by the Council’s Planning Committee, yet the Council has a prima facie conflict of interest by being both the owner and planning authority for the Airport. This reinforces previous criticism of inadequate clarity and transparency in Council decision-making in relation to the Airport.
In summary, the variation of conditions proposed would have adverse effects on the community of Datchworth Parish by virtue of noise generation and increased CO2 emissions, in the absence of evidence of economic benefits and optimistic estimates of aircraft replacement.

Changes to East Herts Council Garden Waste Collections

From 1 April 2021, East Herts District Council will be changing their brown bin service to a chargeable garden waste only collection service. Residents will be receiving an information leaflet though the door over the next few weeks, but attached is a leaflet which should answer some of your questions.

Public Statement – Budget and Precept for 2021/22

Over the past few months Datchworth Parish Council (DPC) have been working hard on its budget and precept* for 2021/22.

DPC are mindful that this year, of all years, the council tax increase to its parishioners should be as low as possible. It has been a difficult decision but the conclusion has been to increase the precept by 14.75%. Although this percentage may look a little daunting, in monetary terms, the effect to the resident’s council tax payment to the Parish Council is as follows:

In the current year, a band D council taxpayer pays £38.72 per year. A 14.75% increase would rise to £43.82, which is an increase of £5.10 per year (less than 43 pence per month).

There are three primary reasons that have necessitated the precept increase:-

  1. Nutcroft play area: You may remember that DPC consulted with residents with regards to leasing the Nutcroft play area land from East Herts District Council (EHDC), and that taking on the responsibility for the ground maintenance in the area would involve an increase to the precept. Prior to 2021/22, the council would receive circa £1,850 reimbursement for the grass cutting that it carries out on behalf of EHDC. Now that DPC has taken on the lease for the play area, it will now be liable for ground maintenance costs in the area, resulting in a reduction of the reimbursement from EHDC. We await confirmation from EHDC as to what the new payment will be but have estimated it will be circa £500. This will be a loss of income of approximately £1,350
    which we would need to claw back in next year’s precept. This equates to an increase to the
    precept of 4.75%.
  2. Hedges: In the past the annual hedge cutting (bordering the Turkey Farm and in front of Nutcroft play area) was carried out free of charge to the council. However, this is no longer the case and we now need to allow for this additional cost. Quotes received to date indicate a cost of around £600. This will necessitate an increase to the precept of 2.10%.
  3. Tree survey: DPC commissioned a survey of all of its trees in August 2020 and has approximately 450 trees to maintain. The survey found that there are over 180 trees that need
    ‘essential works’ by December 2021, with over 20 trees requiring works within the next two years. We have £3k left in the current year’s budget plus £5.5k allocated from 2021/22 precept
    and we have £4.9k emergency funds in the General Reserves. However, we await quotes for the outstanding work and until these have been received, we cannot be sure that enough funds are available. It is possible that it may be necessary for DPC to revisit its precept increase in the coming month but of course we will inform you if this is the case.

DPC’s estimated budget spreadsheet is available to see on our website by following this link:-
https://datchworth-pc.gov.uk/parish-council/budget

Explanations of allocated funds can be found in the “notes” column.

If you have any comments or queries regarding the budget please do not hesitate to contact us via email:- or

* Precept – request of annual funds to the local authority (East Herts District Council) to be raised via the resident’s council tax

 

Published: February 2021