Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting – 21st May

Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting – Wednesday 21st May 2014 at 7p.m.

Held in the John Lampon Hall

In the Chair:            John Gili-Ross

Members Present:     Murray Harlow, Rosemary James, Andrew Savage, Chris Stevenson, Harry Stone, Bob Tyrrell, Phil Walby, Rachel Young

Clerk:                    Val Walsom

Present:                 Councillor Harrington, Councillor Willetts, Brian Butcher  &  20 members of the public


Reports from the committees and the minutes of last year’s Annual Parish Meeting were distributed in a booklet.

Before the meeting started refreshments were served.

1      Receive Apologies             

Apologies were received from Jenny Church and David Short

2.     Welcome and introduction from the Chairman — Mr John Gili-Ross

John Gili-Ross welcomed all and highlighted the delights of the village.

Our community relies on volunteers and joining in puts one in the heart of the village.  Various organisations are represented at the meeting.

Areas highlighted this year include:

  • The Traffic Safety Plan which involved the whole community.  This is hopefully the cornerstone of where we want to go with regard to safety.  A lot of work has gone into the Traffic Safety Plan with some phases completed.
  • Speedwatch.
  • Snow clearing which thankfully was not used this year largely due to the insurance policy of purchasing a new gritter!!
  • The Village Emergency Plan.

A lot of hard work is carried out by members of the Parish Council.  Our Councillors work hard to plan for improvements throughout the village.  Bernard Colbron resigned from the Parish Council last year.  We were fortunate to have two people keen to fill his place, Brian Butcher and Rosemary James.  Rosemary James was duly co-opted.  However, Brian Butcher has stepped up to help the Parish Council in many ways and assists the Planning Committee particularly.

Gary Walls, the Village Handyman resigned earlier in the year to start up a new business and we wish him well in his new business venture.  We continue to work with Steve Cook. Val Walsom, the Clerk and Vicky Beckwith-Cole, Hall Administrator work hard in supporting village activities.

John Gili-Ross would like to do something to make the village even more attractive.  He is particularly looking at the entrances to the village and has contacted Essex County Council to explore how we can formally manage these areas.  Essex County Council gave a positive response and this will hopefully be moved forward with the help of volunteers.

3.     Celebrating our Village Volunteers

Terry Claydon, Chair of the Allotments committee – Small committee of approximately 8 people.  A grant to build a new shed to house the rotovator has been received.  The committee proactively helps other plot holders.

Jamie Bowden – BYG has about 20 volunteers with up to 60 to 70 children visiting the youth club each session.  There are plenty of indoor and outdoor facilities for the children to use.  Competitions and visiting organisations also keep the children occupied.

Martin Long – Chairman of the Friends of St Mary’s Church group – supports the church to keep it open for the public.  In the winter quarter from September to March over 2000 people from all over the world went into the church and left very gratifying comments in the book.  The village Carol service each year is very well attended.  Four couples got married in the Church last year and there are 2 taking place this year.  Things are going very well and the ‘Jewel’ needs to be conserved and looked after.

The Friends of Hill House Wood work with the Friends on various events.

Friends of Hill House Wood – Following the news that the wood was going to be sold £36,000 was found within 6 weeks to purchase the woods for the Woodland Trust.  The Friends of Hill House Wood was formed to help the Woodland Trust to manage the woods.  New information boards have been erected.  There is information on the Village Website and volunteers are always welcome.

Valerie Shaikly – Care Network – It is a registered charity to provide transport for people to get to hospital and doctor’s appointments.  The Care Network has been in operation for 27 years.  Information is available on the Village Website.

Diana Southgate – Guiding Group – Unfortunately the Rainbow Pack may need to close due to lack of volunteers in managing the pack.  This could affect the Brownies and Guides going forward.  Help is desperately needed from qualified volunteers to prevent closure.

John Gili-Ross and Murray Harlow highlighted the benefits of residents using the Village Website.

4.         Neighbourhood Plan – Shaping the Future of the Village – Chris Stephenson

Chris Stephenson, Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group gave a presentation.

  • The Government is trying to get communities actively involved in, and taking control of their destiny.  The Neighbourhood Plan must look at housing and employment within the community.
  • Community-led planning started with the Parish Plan and followed with the Village Design Statement and we are now looking at the Neighbourhood Plan.  Many projects have been successfully formulated through these processes.
  • The area of the Neighbourhood Plan is based on the Parish Area.
  • Themes include:  Community and Social; Environment; Transport and Highways; Planning and Housing; Amenities and Commerce; Sports and Recreation; Community Safety; Communications.
  • Surveys were conducted last year.  470 replies were received from 1500 households. There was a huge response in the subject of Transport and Highways. There was overwhelming support for residents having a say in future development.
  • The Steering Group has been split into 3 areas of responsibility: Evidence gathering; Environmental assessment; Options for the Future.
  • There will be further village consultation in the autumn
  • It is expected that the Plan will be adopted during Autumn/winter 2015 to spring 2016.
  • There are opportunities to get involved in several areas.

The report is available on the Website.

5.    Village Emergency Plan

Harry Stone gave a report on the Village Emergency Plan.

This originated from a seminar attended earlier in the year and was prompted by flooding which took place in other parts of the country.

There may be unexpected incidents which could occur when an emergency might be declared.  An emergency would be called by Colchester Borough Council and the Parish Council would assist to provide emergency help.  The role of the Parish Council relies on a team providing essential support.  Volunteers are being assembled.  Shelter could be provided in the Orpen Hall, churches or the school.

The Parish Council is also drawing up a register of vulnerable residents who may need support.  Issues of privacy and security will be carefully monitored and the list will only be held by the Parish Clerk.

6.    Issues From the Floor

Q.   Was the Village Survey open to the Parish or those only within the Village Envelope?

A.  The survey was sent to all those within the Parish boundary.

The resident, who moved in 6 months ago said that she found everybody very friendly.

Q.  What are the issues regarding the Scout Hut?

A.  JG-R advised that the agreement came to an end about 2 years ago.  Prior to the end of this period the Scouts had been advised that a new agreement was issued which would tidy up loose ends and simplify issues regarding sub-letting.  The Scout Association did not progress with the new agreement and the PC had to exercise their rights to give notice.  Since then the situation appears to be moving towards a resolution and the legal issues are moving forward.

Q.  Two years ago there was a request for 2 more litter bins in Colchester Road and near the Scout Hut, but these were not forthcoming.

A.  JG-R advised that this would be taken up by the Environment Committee.  There will be a cost involved, however, the PC would fund these.  However, we will be reliant on CBC emptying the bins.  Our Borough Councillors will look into this.

The meeting closed at 9pm.

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