Minutes of Parish Council 25th September 2013

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

Held in the John Lampon Hall on 25th September 2013 at 7.30p.m.

Chair John Gili-Ross
Parish Councillors Present Jenny Church, Murray Harlow, Rosemary James, Andrew Savage, David Short, Chris Stevenson, Bob Tyrrell, Phil Walby, Rachel Young
Parish Clerk Val Walsom
Borough Councillors Councillor Harrington, Councillor Willetts
Present: Councillor Anne Brown (ECC)
22 members of the public

Part I – Public

1.  Receive Apologies

Apologies were received from Harry Stone.

2.  Questions from registered electors

Kerry Henwood – Heathlands PTA asked for clarification of the siting of the bonfire for this year’s fireworks event.  PW advised that he would meet with Kerry on site to discuss this.

Peter Wright representing 21 residents of New Church Road present advised that he would like the PC to consider the following with regard to the revised Travel Safety Scheme:

  • Take the decision not to agree to the current proposals
  • Not to submit the proposals to the Local Highways Panel
  • Take the decision to put the process on hold as of this date.

The residents expressed concerns about the engineered approach of the scheme and feel it is not cost effective, value for money or safe for the residents.  The residents have voted unanimously against the proposals they had seen.  They would like all parties to return to the action plan agreed in August to allow time for this to progress.  This action plan was abandoned at a meeting between members of the PC, the school and residents on 11th September.

The residents would like to address some of the behavioural problems around the school using a scheme similar to a ‘Park Safe, Walk Safe’ scheme undertaken in another part of the country.  This would mean working with the school for some ‘soft’ options involving the children.  They also suggested piloting a Drive in Drive out drop off facility on Poors Land.

The residents believe a scheme working together would be more effective.  However, if necessary, they will submit a scheme independently to the Local Highways Panel.

Marcus Harrington, speaking as a resident, asked the Trustees of Poors Land to consider making available part of the land for a drop off zone, possibly an area running adjacent to the newly created footpath.

3.  Receive items for information not on the agenda, which in the opinion of the Chairman should be brought to the attention of the Council

There were no items received.

4.  Declarations of Interest

Chris Stevenson declared an interest in discussions relating to highways (Item 6).

Andrew Savage declared an interest in discussion relating to reinstatement of Poors Land (item 12d)

5.  Minutes

Minutes of the Council meeting held on Wednesday 24th July 2013 were approved and signed.

6.  Traffic Safety Plan

The third revision of the Traffic Safety Plan was presented which the residents in New Church Road may not have seen.  Changes to the previous scheme include replacing the tables at each end of New Church Road with red marking; a large part of the parking restrictions to be timed; the proposed build out with associated street lighting has been removed from the earlier schemes.   The revision was discussed at a meeting between two representatives each from the PC, Heathlands School and New Church Road.  The meeting did not go well.  The residents were not in agreement with the scheme discussed at the meeting but were in favour of working with the school and PC to find a ‘soft’ option.  Subsequent to this meeting discussions were held between the headteacher and the PC Chair and the school had tried many of the proposals covered within the ‘Park Safe, Walk Safe’ scheme but without positive results in terms of improved safety.  It was felt that the current scheme together with soft approaches may be beneficial to improved safety.

The scheme will be discussed and proposed for approval at the next PC meeting in October.

7.  Finance

a).  Statement of Accounts for July/August 2013

The accounts for July and August 2013 were presented as follows:

The General Account showed 48% income, 24% general expenditure, 33% environment expenditure and 27% expenditure overall.

The Hall Account showed 36% income and 47% expenditure.

b).  Draw cheques

It was proposed by AS and seconded by CS to make the following payments:

Payment Details Expense Purpose Amount
Mail Boxes Etc Village Bulletin 549.00
EALC Hall Workshop/Charles Arnold Baker 122.00
D Short Copies of Risk Assessment 23.70
Daniel Connal Partnership Health and Safety Advice 630.00
Ernest Doe Miscellaneous Environment items 82.00
Countrywide Grass cutting 220.00
Inland Revenue Tax 221.00
PKF Littlejohn Annual Audit fee 360.00
AtoZ Supplies Kitchen items/toilet rolls/towels 205.50
Robert’s Cleaning Window cleaning 30.00
Mike’s Cleaning Cleaning 525.00
Collier and Catchpole Materials for stage repairs 123.94
Vicky Beckwith-Cole Green bags/waste bin/cleaning items 70.74
STC Contracts Ltd Orpen Hall kitchen refurbishment 11040.00
S J Andrews Replace high level lamps 42.00
P Walby Keys and duplicate book 15.69

Salary payments were made to Val Walsom, Gary Walls and Stephen Cook from the General Account and Vicky Beckwith-Cole and Joanna Tawell from the Hall Account.  [Click to view Summary Accounts – Summary Accounts July-August 2013]

c).  Essex Air Ambulance request for donations

A request for donations from the Essex Air Ambulance will be considered in February.

d).  Annual Audit

The Annual Audit for 2012/2013 has been approved by the Auditors PKF Littlejohn.

e).  Scout Hut Licence and rent update

Progress is still slow.  Martin Hopkins has advised that the Scout Association has requested a copy of the original Charity Commission statement of 2001.  The Parish Council’s solicitor advised that this is the responsibility of the Scouts to obtain directly from the CC.  The Scouts have confirmed that they do hold third party insurance.  However, this may be invalidated for any hirers as there is no sub-letting agreement within the original agreement.  The Trustees could therefore potentially be liable for any claim.

It was proposed by DS, seconded by PW and agreed by 7 votes to 2 that the PC’s solicitor to write to the Scouting Association expressing concerns at the delay in entering into a new Licence agreement that will allow sub-letting.  The PC solicitor will also draft a notice to be placed at the scout hut to advise hirers that, in the event of an accident, their liability insurance may well be invalidated.   This situation will be discussed with Martin Hopkins directly.

f).  Social Club Update

The Social Club has tonight, presented a cheque to the PC.  However, this does not pay up to date the gas supply and annual insurance.  A further invoice will be sent to the Social Club and the situation will be closely monitored.

g).  Health and Safety Risk Assessments

Health and Safety Risk Assessments have been completed for all areas under the Parish Council’s control.  The outcomes are currently being looked at.

8.  Clerk’s Items to Note

a)    Poppies in commemoration of World War 1  – to be discussed with item 13e

b)   EALC Courses –       Project Management – 10/10/13

       Law and Procedures Course – 15/10/13

       Budget and Precept Course – 17/09/13

ECC –                     Review of the County Councils Local Bus Strategy – Survey

RCCE –                  Village Hall and Community Building Conference – 12/10/13

Heating Oil Club –   JC will look into this

Modernisation of West Bergholt Post Office – Services will be available for longer hours, manned by Co-op staff.

 9.  Report from Colchester Borough Council

Councillor Harrington has been very involved with the Traffic Safety Plan and has had meetings with Councillor Brown, Sonia Church and Harry Stone.  He aims to maintain a mutual position – to mediate.  He believes that any scheme needs local support.

Councillor Brown (ECC) advised that there is a problem with parking around the school but doesn’t want to do anything without the residents’ consent.  She stated that the school is large for the village and that most schools in the north of the borough are growing.  Budget cuts for Essex County Council will be at 25% by the end of 2015.

10.  Village Bulletin and Communications

c)    Website report

The monthly website report had been circulated.  Whether or not to continue using Twitter on the website will be considered next month.

d)   Receive update from Village Communication Officer

There was no report this month.

11.  Planning

a)    To approve comments and decisions for Planning Applications (Report from the Planning Committee’s meeting on 18th September 2013 was received):

131694 – 2 Hall Farm Cottages, Hall Road – Supported

[Click to review full report – Planning Committee September 2013 report]

b)   Project plan for resurfacing car park

The specification went to tender to 5 companies of which 3 responded.  The tenders were very high.  A fully itemised list of the proposed works was sought with the tenders.  A clear winner was evident and it was resolved to work with this company with a revised specification to bring the cost down.  If we cannot work with this company to keep the cost to the estimated £40,000 available, including the £12,000 grant for the project we will have to reduce the specification.  We would then be looking to ‘make good’ the car park to make the area water tight and improve the drainage.  Once revised costs are received a final decision will be made.

c)    Neighbourhood Plan 

Just under 500 surveys were returned which is a very good response.  The Steering Group is now working on processing the results and will report on the outcome.  It was observed that more than 70% of those completing the surveys highlighted the need for safety improvements across the village.

Further surveys will be undertaken with the young people, businesses and organisations within the village.

CBC has approved the status area for the Neighbourhood Plan.  Their report has been received.  The Steering Group will be contacting other Parish Councils going through a similar procedure to join forces for planning advice.

12.  Environment and Highways

a)    Discuss a suitable means for the Village Handymen to transport heavy equipment

It was agreed that a trailer for the Handyman’s own vehicle is the best way forward.  The Handyman will be asked if he is in agreement with this.

b)   To agree the to the erection of a lockable shed on the Allotments to store the rotovator

This was agreed and a suitable lock was discussed.

c)    Outcome of play equipment inspection

The inspection has been completed with some minor, low risk repairs to be made by the Handyman.

d)   Reinstatement of Poors Land

Amanda Laycock of Essex County Council has advised that Ashe, the contractor for the building works will start this work shortly.  The state of this area needs to be considered by Heathlands Firework committee when deciding the layout of the event.

e)   To discuss erecting a 5 bar lockable gate at the entrance to Poors Land

Ashe Construction has installed sub standard posts at the entrance to Poors Land.  They will be asked to install better quality posts as part of the reinstatement of the land.

The Environment working party will look into ways of continuing the new path onto the Village Green to avoid having to walk out onto the road.

f)    Siting of the Beacon

It was agreed that the beacon will be located in its original location on the Lorkin Daniell Playing Field.

13.  Premises and Recreation

a)    To discuss the need for a fridge freezer in the kitchen

This was moved for discussion by the working party.

b)   Outcome of Health and Safety Risk Assessments

From the risk assessments carried out no high risk issues were raised.  Quotes for a new fire alarm system for the hall are being sought.  Anti climb paint to be used to stop vandals climbing onto the glass roof of the John Lampon Hall.

c)    To discuss football pitch marking on Poors Land in light of the awaited reinstatement of the land

The cost of changing the football pitches layout and re doing the lines, due to the non reinstatement of Poors Land, is to be forwarded to Ashe Construction.

d)   To discuss request for weekly visit of a fish and chip van to park on the Orpen Hall car park

It was agreed to allow the fish and chip van to park on the car park for a three month trial.  This will be on a Thursday evening.

e)   To discuss a commemorative World War 1 event

This was moved for discussion by the working party.

Items to Note

(a) EALC – Country Update, Annual Report and Constitution – August 2013

(b) Clerks and Councils Direct – September 2013

(c)  RCCE Village Halls Update – August 2013

(d) Local Council Review – Autumn 2013

Part II – In Committee

Matters taken in the absence of Press and Public (Public (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960) as the item contains exempt information as defined by the Local Government Act 1972 Sch. 12a Pt (1).

There were no matters to discuss.

Date of Next Meeting

Wednesday 23rd October 2013 at 7.30p.m.

The meeting closed at 9.45p.m.

Signed:Position on Parish Council: Date:


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