Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting
Held in the John Lampon Hall on 27th January at 7.30 pm
|Parish Councillors Present:
|Andrew Savage, John Gili-Ross, Brian Butcher, Bob Tyrrell, Philip Spencer, Jenny Church, Rosemary James, Murray Harlow, Harry Stone, Phil Cook
|Councillor Harrington & Councillor Willetts
|5 Members of the Public
Part I – Public
1 Receive Apologies
No apologies were received.
2 Questions from registered electors
a) War Memorial
Gill Poole has been researching the War Memorials in the old Church and at the Brewery site for the past couple of years. A working party from the Parish Council had previously looked into whether the village could have a memorial to commemorate all those from the village lost in the wars. However, the cost was thought to be approximately £20,000 and unfortunately there were no funds available. JG-R reported that the Brewery memorial was situated on a party wall, which neither of the management companies would take responsibility for. The plaque that is there had not been installed in a manner to protect it from the weather, however would be impossible to move due to its delicate state. Approximately a third of those listed were from West Bergholt, could possibly put a call out to the village to see who would like to be involved restoring & protecting it akin to the protection of Hillhouse Woods years ago. Mark Connell from the Speedwatch team informed the Council that he was now on the board of directors for the management company and would be happy to look into the situation. Clerk to email Mr Connell to begin communications. Money is available to renovate & restore existing monuments, so could apply for a grant. Gill Poole has more information regarding the war dead that she would be happy to share with the Parish Council. Gill Poole to email Clerk.
The West Bergholt and Eight Ash Green Speedwatch team wanted to thank the Parish Council for the new cold weather high-visibility jackets, which it has recently supplied. The Parish Council, in turn, would like to thank the Speedwatch team for the fantastic job that they do.
c) Heathlands PTA
Jo Beck and Nicole Presland, co-chairs of Heathlands PTA came to introduce themselves to the Parish Council. They would like to be more integrated with the village and would encourage organisations to the School Summer Fayre. CS proposed that once the Communications Group is more into its stride the PTA would be invited to attend.
3 Declarations of Interest
Chris Stevenson declared an interest in items relating to Essex County Council, particularly Highway issues.
Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 25th November 2015 were approved and signed with no amendments.
5 Report for Colchester Borough Councillors
Councillor Harrington reported:
- Wanted to inform the Parish Council that he would not be seeking re-election as a Borough Councillor this May. The Parish Council would like to record their appreciation for all his hard work over the years.
- All applications for the District Councillor’s Community Budget have been made. Grants will be made to the Mother & Toddlers group, the Bergholt Youth Group, JC’s wheelie bin by the practice goal and for the Orpen Hall toilet refurbishment.
- The hedge has been cut by Mr. Pulford along Chitts Hill and Mr & Mrs Twinn have cut back their Russian vine, however the hedges by their property still need attending to. Clerk to write to Mr & Mrs Twinn, thanking them for the work so far and remind them to do the next part before the birds start nesting.
- Flooding at Chitts Hill – reminded by RJ, the Councillor will mention it again to the County Councillor.
- Naming of the new development at 45-47 Lexden Road. The street naming team had been in contact asking for Hillhouse Place to be considered for the new development, however the Councillor felt that would lead to confusion with the Hillhouse that already exists. The Councillor proposed naming it after Dr. Henderson who lived at the site for many years and had his surgery there. Parish Council will discuss this item later in the meeting.
- The Councillor called in “Wickhams” planning application to the Borough’s Planning Committee. There was permission for a new house on the old house’s footprint, however the owner sought consent to build 45m back from the road along a proposed tree lined drive. This was refused by the Planning Committee and so Councillor Harrington called it in on his behalf. However, permission was narrowly refused on the basis that the application “jutted out into the countryside”. The owner could now appeal, re-apply or simply build the house with the initial consent.
Councillor Willetts reported:
- That he too objected to the name of Hillhouse Place on the grounds of confusion.
- The Borough Council’s Council Tax will not increase this year, although the County Council’s and the Police proportions will probably rise. The budget for services is £104M/yr and need to fill a gap of £23M, however government grants have gone up and CBC are in the happy position that no increase is needed to still meet services with no net effect on stability.
- The Community Zone system is to be re-organised. There is a large cost to running the Community Zones and there is no real control over the zones and the interaction between the Borough & Parish Councils. The proposal is to take West Bergholt out of Zone 3 and into Zone 4, with other northern villages.
a) Statement of Accounts for Nov/Dec 2015
The final accounts for Nov/Dec 2015 were presented as follows:
The General Account showed 95% income, 46% general expenditure, 61% environment expenditure and 50% expenditure overall.
The Hall Account showed 69% income and 55% expenditure.
The Parish Council is 75% of the way through the financial year.
b) Draw cheques
It was proposed by CS and seconded by HS to make the following payments, All in favour:
|Dec 2015 General Account
|Salary Payments to Mrs Walkingshaw and Dave Hewitt
|Pond Clearance – Queens Rd
|West Bergholt Football Club
|Expenses – Toner
|Tax & National Insurance
|Pond Clearance – Queens Rd
|Orpen Hall Account
|Salary Payment to Mrs Beckwith-Cole
|Hall: Travel & Other Expenses
|Jan 2016 General Account
|Salary Payments to Mrs Walkingshaw and Dave Hewitt
|ajs first aid training ltd
|H & S Training
|Colchester Borough Council
|Emptying Litter/Dog Bins
|High Viz Jacket (M)
|High Viz Jacket (L)(XL)
|Hedge & Grass Cutting Equipment
|West Bergholt Football Club
|Local Councils Explained Bk
|Tree & Lawn Company Ltd
|Lorkin Daniell Field Work
|4 Jackets for Speedwatch
|Tax & National Insurance
|Post Office Ltd
|Car Tax for Vehicle
|Orpen Hall Account
|Salary Payment to Mrs Beckwith-Cole
|GW Commercial Heating Ltd
|Repair disabled W.C.
|Rose Builders Ltd
|Replace roof tiles
|PRS for Music
|PRS & PPL Licence
|Keys & Toiletries
Salary payments were made to Laura Walkingshaw and Dave Hewitt from the General Account and Vicky Beckwith-Cole from the Hall Account.
c) Bank Reconciliations
A 3-month update, 1st Oct 2015 – 31st Dec 2015, bank reconciliation was presented.
Having received the latest statements AS has updated all the Accounts/Investments and produced a summary sheet. Notes on the right hand side of the sheet indicate where the money comes from and what it can be used for. Trustee money is not Parish Council money. The money no longer goes into the War Bond accounts. Clerk to check with Val to see if the Council can take that money out and close the account.
e) End of Year Expenses Reminder
A reminder to the Parish Council to submit all end of year expenses claims.
f) Approval of 2016/2017 Precept and Budgets
When AS worked out the budgets for the last meeting in November, he produced a balanced budget based on known commitments which included £14,500 to go towards projects, but stressed that we needed to take a view on which specific projects the PC felt it was essential to fund in 2016/17. The Finance, Policy & Personnel subcommittee has since reviewed which projects and other expenditure items are required to be funded over the next three years in accordance with best practice recommendations for local councils. AS produced the list for the Council’s consideration which indicates that such work would require a total of around £25,000 in the first year.
AS then produced 3 scenarios with differing amounts for projects £14,500, £20,000 and £25,000. It was pointed out that a budget that provided less than £25,000 for such purposes would jeopardise some of the key improvements to be made such as the toilet refurbishment project or to ensure that adequate funds are held for the replacement of the original Orpen Hall roof tiles in due course.
After discussion it was proposed by MH to increase the precept to £68,585.00 and seconded by JG-R. All in favour. This would represent an increase of 23.5% on a band D property. It was agreed that the PC would be proactive in communicating the reasons for the increase before the Council Tax demands were sent out to the community.
The Parish Council would like to thank the RFO, Andrew Savage, for the very thorough job he has done in complying this.
g) Orpen Hall Toilet Refurbishment – CIF Update
It has been agreed by Essex County Council that West Bergholt will be awarded £4,500 from the CIF. The Borough Councillors have agreed £1,000 from their fund and there is £2,000 available in the Section 106 monies. The Parish Council have received a letter of thanks from Council Leader David Finch following our letter of thanks.
h) Sector-led body to replace Audit Commission – Agreement required
The SLB will appoint external auditors for “opted-in” Councils and set their fees, just as the now-abolished Audit Commission used to do.
It was proposed by AS to follow the EALC advice to stay in, rather than opt out and set up an independent Audit Panel. Seconded by JG-R. All in favour.
7 Clerk’s Items to Note
a) Clerk’s Report
- Overhanging hedges along Chitts Hill – Clerk wrote to relevant householders & hedges have since been trimmed. – 29/12/15
- New Councillors to complete Register of Members’ Interests & agreement to electronic summons – Signed and Members’ Interests sent off to Andrew Weavers at CBC – 15/01/16
- Charity Returns completed, along with Trustees Annual Report for the Hall – Online reports submitted – 06/01/16
- VAT Return Claim submitted for Oct-Dec 2015 – Claim for £791.35; Hall (342.91), General (448.44) – 11/01/16
- High-Viz Jackets to be ordered in M, L, XL & XXL for Speed Watch volunteers – Jackets received and stored in Boiler Room at Hall – 25/01/16
- Donation request from Heathlands School for replacement LED touch wipe boards – Clerk to contact EALC. EALC responded that PC can only use the power of Section 137 to donate and then only if beneficial to community – Clerk to inform school.
- Proposed naming of 45-47 Lexden Road. Hillhouse Place? – Parish Council voted on Councillor Harrington’s suggestion of Henderson Place. 4 members voted for Henderson, 2 for Milne, 1 for Baldwin, therefore Clerk will inform street naming team that the Parish Council choose Henderson Place for the development at 45-47 Lexden Road.
Outstanding actions for Parish Clerk:
- Welcome Pack for newcomers to the village
- Appraisal Forms for all staff
b) Annual Parish Meeting – Wed 23rd March 2016 – Ideas Required
- Dr Milne’s retirement – HS has liaised with the Practice Manager regarding the presentation and will report back at the next meeting.
- School Council – HS will talk to Rachel Hopkins and again will report back.
- Fire Safety Volunteers – Clerk will contact them to ask them to attend.
- Neighbourhood Plan – Good time for a display of the Neighbourhood Plan – next meeting Weds 3rd Feb.
8 Training Courses
a) Advanced Councillor Day 2 – Brian Butcher
BB fed back to the Parish Council regarding Day 2 of the Advanced Councillor’s Course. It covered working in partnerships and engaging with communities. It was found that people with learning difficulties are often ignored in communications with the parishes. Also, that there should be a consultation procedure in the communications plan/strategy. Finally, they advised that as much as is practicable should be tagged with the Parish Council’s name on to identify ownership.
b) Countrywide Superfast Essex Parish Engagement Event – John Gili-Ross & Murray Harlow
JG-R & MH attended a useful session in Chelmsford. Parishes no further forward in supply of superfast broadband by BT. Epping Forest are doing a pilot as a private venture supplying fibre to the house to attain the maximum bandwidth. Whether West Bergholt would want to consider this in the future is subject to discussion.
c) Transparency Code Briefing – John Gili-Ross
JG-R attended this briefing at EALC. Funding is coming down to smaller councils. Those with a precept under £25,000 can apply for money available. 153 Councils have attended so far, but only 16 have applied for funding.
d) CBC Training on Planning Event – Bob Tyrrell
Five members of West Bergholt’s Planning Committee attended this training event at Colchester Town Hall. The most interesting area covered was Permitted Development. Neighbours can build up to 6m from the rear of a terraced house and 8m out from a detached one. Only people who are attached to the property have the right to object – what is known colloquially as “Pickles Law”. Planning applications still need to be submitted if you alter the front of a property. The event was interesting, well attended and lots of questions asked. Clerk to issue notes accompanying this event to Parish Council as a whole.
a) To note the decisions made on Planning Applications at the Planning Committee held on 16th December 2015:
- 152541 – Bacote, The Crescent, CO6 3DA – Support – The Parish Council would support the application assuming the Planning Officer ensures any appropriate roof lights are constructed of obscured glass.
- 152639 – 31 Albany Road, CO6 3LB – Observation – The Parish Council notes that part of our previous concerns with the proposed application have been addressed and sees that the mass has been reduced in size. However, the proposal is still very large compared to the adjacent bungalow and therefore the lack of a street scene again makes it difficult to determine the true impact so that the Planning Officer can ensure that the proposed extension will provide a positive contribution to the streetscape (please refer to DG7 & DG8 of the Village Design Statement). Also, with regards to parking provision (please refer to DG35 & DG36 of the VDS), the Parish Council looks to the Planner Officer to check that the application complies with the Borough’s parking standards and Essex Design Guide.
- 152673 – Land north of Poplar Cottage, Spring Lane CO6 3HJ – Object – The Parish Council has no concerns with the design of the house itself, however finds it impossible to relate the elevations to the adjoining properties as there is no street scene provided, please refer to DG7 & DG8 of the Village Design Statement. In particular, the Parish Council cannot determine the relative levels to the neighbouring Salix and other surrounding buildings, in order to establish the dwelling’s mass in relation to them. Based on a previous planning decision in Donard Drive, we would like to see levels of the proposed and the adjacent building, so as to avoid the building being over-dominant when constructed.
b) To note the decisions made on Planning Applications at the Planning Committee held on 20th January 2016:
- 152779 – 78 Mumford Road CO6 3BL – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.
- 152831 – Heathfield, Queens Road, CO6 3HE – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.
- 160011 – 8 Hall Road, CO6 3DS – Observation – The Parish Council queried the rear of the extension affecting the 45°light angle of the neighbour’s property. The choice of materials is also out of keeping with neighbouring properties.
c) Permitted development – 150744 – 91 Chapel Road
Both the Parish Clerk and BT have made a complaint regarding this property and the enforcement officers have been called in. To be permitted development the owner is supposed to live in the property during the alterations, this is clearly not happening here. If the enforcement officers agree that it is not permitted development, then they will issue a stop notice and the applicant will have to wait for planning permission before continuing. Clerk to check the result of this.
d) Neighbourhood Plan – Report
The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group had a workshop on 13th January to review the excellent work that Phil Cook has done. It is necessary to fill the gaps now to create the substantial document that will go to Colchester Borough Council. CS will put an update on progress in the Village Bulletin. AS & JG-R have been invited to discuss Neighbourhood Planning with Stanway Parish Council in February as CS is away.
10 Environment and Highways
a) Transport Proposal – Agreement required
It was proposed by CS to buy a vehicle for the Parish Council use, seconded by AS. All agreed. Clerk will post cheque to vehicle owner on Thurs 28th Jan and then the vehicle should be ready to collect early the following week.
b) NEEP – Considerate Parking Scheme Event
Last Wednesday 20th Jan, HS, JG-R and PS patrolled the area around the school, checking that drivers were not parking illegally on the yellow lines. They hope to do this regularly, 3 notices have been left on windscreens so far and they are keeping a record of those caught flouting the law and will report them to the authorities if they do it a second time. Need to make they presence felt regularly, Councillors are to let HS know if they are available. HS will put something out on the web via the Clerk West Facebook page.
NEEP are keen on West Bergholt’s involvement as it means that they only have to send one operative to the Parish to be accompanied by a Councillor, rather than sending out two.
11 Premises and Recreation
a) Hire Charges 2016/17 – Agreement required
It was proposed by BB to raise hire charges for the hall by £1 per hour, seconded by MH. All agreed.
12 Communications – Update
It was proposed by JC to maintain production of the Village Bulletin for 2016, seconded by MH. All in favour.
The Parish Clerk now has a Facebook page called Clerk West for aiding communication with the parish. The next Communications meeting will be on Thursday 11th February.
Items to Note
- LCR – Winter 2015
- EALC – County Update – Nov/Dec 2015
- The Essex Playing Field – Autumn 2015
- Crime Statistics – Nov 2015
- Clerks & Councils Direct – Jan 2016
- The Clerk – Jan 2016
- NALC E Bulletin
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).
Date of Next Meeting
Wednesday 24th February at 7.30 pm
The meeting closed at 9.45 pm.
Signed: Date: Position on Parish Council