Statement by the Chairman
This article was written as the country entered the third week of the Covid-19 lock-down. In response to the national guidelines on social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus the Woodhall Spa Parish Council (WSPC) voted in a contingency plan at its March meeting in order to safeguard members of the public, staff members and Councillors. All public meetings of the Council were suspended with immediate effect with a review set after 2 months. The Council office is closed until further notice. Day-to-day business was delegated to the Parish Clerk in consultation with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Full recording of decisions taken is being kept for WSPC scrutiny and ratification when the situation allows. Members of the public can still contact the Clerk by phone or e-mail.
The cancellation of public meetings means that the Annual Parish Meeting normally held in May is postponed to a future date, as is the annual WSPC meeting. Planning applications consultation is still taking place, albeit remotely. The web site, under the Planning menu, contains the details of applications under consideration and the date on which a Council response will be decided. Members of the public can submit comments to the Planning Committee by contacting the Clerk on e-mail or by phone.
The Kirkby Lane cemetery is also closed for general public access, although burials conforming to national guidelines are still allowed.
The WSPC is supporting community initiatives such as the Woodhall Spa and Kirkby on Bain Coronavirus Community Support group (WSKBCCS) and the WSKBCCSG Foodbank by providing insurance cover for the former and a banking facility for the latter. The Council also provides a security function by confirming the bona fides of the schemes and named volunteers in response to queries from members of the public. The Council has also set-up a community resilience fund to support any community initiatives in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Please contact the Clerk if you wish to take advantage of this fund. Normal grant applications are suspended until further notice.
We have also granted a payment holiday to Jubilee Park Woodhall Spa (JPWS) in respect to the repayments to the Council for the fitness suite loan and the caravan site amenity block refurbishment. The Council has made financial preparation in respect of difficulties JPWS might face, as briefed at the May 2019 Annual Parish Meeting.
The government is preparing legislation on how Parish and Town Councils can operate providing the public scrutiny that is essential whilst still ensuring public safety. This may, for example, entail holding meetings using tele-conferencing applications with access to the public provided for. By the time this article is published these measures might be in force and, if so, details will be posted on the WSPC web site.
Finally, in these times of great national, and international, emergency, it is heartening to see the response at all levels of our community. From our brave and dedicated NHS staff down to the local initiatives such as the WSKBCCSG, and even individuals looking after their neighbours, the WSPC would like to take this opportunity to say, “Well Done and Thank You”.
Stay safe and follow all national guidelines and we will see the end of this pandemic.