Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting
Held in the John Lampon Hall on 24th February at 7.30 pm
|Parish Councillors Present:
|Andrew Savage, John Gili-Ross, Brian Butcher, Bob Tyrrell, Jenny Church, Rosemary James, Murray Harlow, Harry Stone
|Councillor Harrington, Councillor Willetts and Councillor Jarvis
|3 Members of the Public
Part I – Public
1. Receive Apologies, Welcome to the Public and Thanks to the Borough Councillors
Apologies were received from Philip Spencer & Phil Cook. Thanks were given to the Borough Councillors for their kind donation from the Borough Councillors Fund for the Orpen Hall toilet refurbishment and the wheelie bin in the football practice area.
2. Questions from registered electors
a) East Lexden Residents Association
2 representatives came from the East Lexden Residents Association, Derek Coe (Chairman) and the Treasurer, Roger Miles. The ward changes taking place in Colchester in May will result in Lexden being in the same ward as West Bergholt. The East Lexden R.A. came and explained to the Parish Council how they came about, the boundaries of their area and their main concerns. Councillor Sonia Lewis was instrumental in the re-establishment of the Resident’s Association; it produces a newsletter twice of year of interest to many in the area. The Association has few powers, but exercise the right to try to influence those they can. Mr. Coe hoped that they could keep in informal touch with the Parish Council. Councillor Jarvis welcomed the idea of co-operation.
In discussion it was noted that a residents’ association also exists in Braiswick and BB undertook to approach Braiswick Residents Association to increase communication even more between the groups.
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 27th January 2016 were approved and signed with no amendments.
5. Report for Colchester Borough Councillors
Councillor Harrington reported:
- Ward changes – the Councillor reminded those present that Aldham would also be part of the future ward.
- Homecroft – following CBC Planning Committees refusal of the previous application, Councillor Harrington is now happy to support the comments made on the new application and was impressed by the wonderful gathering together of residents regarding this issue.
- Henderson Place – this has now been confirmed by the street naming team and the Councillor thought this was a wonderful way to remember the old doctor.
- Chitts Hill – Councillor Harrington has asked the County Councillor, Anne Brown, to look into the water leak in Chitts Hill. Neither ECC or Anglian Water will take responsibility and so this issue needs to be chased.
Councillor Willetts reported:
- End of Year Money – the Borough Council had set aside approximately £200,000 for digitising documents, however this project is no longer going ahead and so any organisation can now bid for funds from it.
- What is the centre of Colchester? There is a lack of clarity and agreement at the moment concerning the balance of where where cinema & retail outlets should be encouraged, the High Street, Tollgate or at the new Northern Gateway. The lack of a clear retail strategy is not helping this argument, which unfortunately is taking up a lot of time.
- Highways Panel. The last LHP took place in Chelmsford following local issues about representation and no CBC Cllrs attended. This doesn’t affect the programme of work however and the 20mph zone around Heathlands School should be finished by May and so hopefully implemented by the autumn.
JGR asked if Colchester would be contributing to Superfast Broadband, or if not, it might be something that the Borough Council should look into, as where districts/boroughs put money in they tend to get priority. Councillor Willetts responded that no-one is tracking how wretched broadband is, in the rural areas outside the boundaries of the Colchester area, as the centre itself already has Superfast Broadband.
a) Statement of Accounts for January 2016
The final accounts for Jan 2016 were presented as follows:
The General Account showed 95% income, 51% general expenditure, 79% environment expenditure and 59% expenditure overall.
The Hall Account showed 81% income and 62% expenditure.
The Parish Council is 83% of the way through the financial year.
b) Draw cheques
It was proposed by HS and seconded by BB to make the following payments, All in favour:
|Salary Payments to Mrs Walkingshaw and Dave Hewitt
|Paper & Stationery
|Petrol for PC Vehicle
|Poor Lands Water
|West Bergholt Football Club
|National Insurance & Tax
|Stationery, Allotment Stationery, Vidahost
|Orpen Hall Account
|Salary Payment to Mrs Beckwith-Cole
|Command Pest Control
|GW Comm. Heating Ltd
|Repair Leak in JL Toilets & Boiler
|New Vacuum Cleaner
|Cleaning Supplies & First Aid Replacements
Salary payments were made to Laura Walkingshaw and Dave Hewitt from the General Account and Vicky Beckwith-Cole from the Hall Account.
c) End of Year Expenses Reminder
A reminder to the Parish Council to submit all end of year expenses claims.
d) Queen’s Birthday Celebrations – Agreement of expenditure required
It was proposed by AS that the Parish Council to make a contribution of approximately £750 towards the Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations and underwrite the PTA’s balloon race for a further £600. Seconded by MH. All in favour.
7. Clerk’s Items to Note
a) Clerk’s Report
- Overhanging hedges along Chitts Hill – Clerk has re-written to the relevant household, thanking them for cutting their Russian Vine, but asking them to trim the rest of their hedges, preferable before the birds begin nesting once more – 24/02/16
- Donation request from Heathlands School – Clerk has informed school that the Parish Council is unable to donate – 10/02/16
- Proposed naming of 45-47 Lexden Road – Henderson Place agreed at previous Parish Council meeting. Street Naming team and Glenmoor Developments have since confirmed postal address as Henderson Place – 22/02/16
- War Memorial renovations queried by Gill Poole – Mr Connell (Speedwatch) has since spoken to the person responsible for the war memorial wall and she gave willing permission for renovations to take place. She then later contacted him to say that her company (First Port, the managing agent for that estate) would like to offer money & help towards any work. The details were forwarded to Gill Poole – 05/02/16
- CBC Training on Planning Event – Clerk has issued notes accompanying this event to Parish Council as a whole – 29/01/16
- Clerk received notification from CBC that the White Hart Pub has been registered an Asset of Community Value by CAMRA and informed the Parish Council – 24/02/16
- Clerk received a quote from Countrywide for cutting of Poors Land grass – £1450.00 – same as last year (£120.83 + VAT a month) Finance Committee agreed to continue with the arrangement at current rate. Clerk has informed Countrywide – 17/02/16
- Mr Derby of Armoury Road contacted Clerk to report a large pot hole at junction of Armoury Rd & Colchester Rd and the dangerous parking which is resulting from this – Clerk has logged pothole (2449469) with ECC and they aim to inspect by 23/03/16. Item to now pass to Environment Committee – 24/02/16
Outstanding actions for Parish Clerk:
- Welcome Pack for newcomers to the village
- Appraisal Forms for all staff – Danbury Parish Council have provided the Clerk with a template for staff Appraisal Forms. Clerk will create West Bergholt Parish Council forms based on them.
- War Bonds Accounts – Val confirmed can close account as no longer active. Clerk to contact Barclays.
- Mr Howlett of Lexden Road contacted Clerk regarding the parking issues along Lexden Rd near the school, especially on Fridays (rubbish collection day) – Clerk to contact CBC refuse collection regarding the route, in the first instance.
b) Audio Recording – Proposed Implementation
The Parish Clerk reported on the implementation arrangements for recording Council meetings:
Essex local councils are being offered a free first year and then the Lite option (£150 per year).
The hardware details are as follows:
Audiominutes works best if a phone or tablet is earmarked specifically for the purpose of recording meetings, so is not shared with other tasks. This avoids unwanted calls or notifications interrupting the recording process. Will need a decent broadband speed in the Hall.
Audiominutes recommend the Nexus 7 tablet – it’s the perfect size; (if have reliable WiFi then don’t need to opt for the 3G version) – these can be purchased on EBAY for around £70.00 second hand or £129.00 brand new.
Audiominutes used to suggest the Go Mic microphone at £35, but recently they have been looking for a better quality one. The Go Mic is suitable but lacks the capacity to record in a large space.
They are still finalising their recommendations in this respect, however for budgetary purposes the Parish Council should allow £200.00 for the complete installation to cover meetings of 10-15 people seated around a table.
They provide several hundred hours of storage a year, plenty for the 6 hours a month needed for Planning & Parish Council meetings. Export to I Tunes, not You Tube and post to Twitter, not Facebook.
Sent Clerk a Legal Topic Note, outlining the need for addressing people at the start of each meeting informing them clearly that it will be recorded. Also, taking care not to record children or vulnerable adults without prior permission.
In discussion CS confirmed that the Parish Council has previously agreed to start recording its public meetings. The Audio Minutes system has the advantages over other systems (which had been researched by the Clerk and the Village Webmaster), in that the recordings can be searched and indexed as part of the system. This makes the whole exercise both a move forward in democratic accessibility and in a practical way in terms of the retrieval of committee agenda items. It was agreed that the Clerk can progress this item through a report to the next finance committee and that a trial run would follow later in the year.
c) Annual Parish Meeting – Wed 23rd March 2016 – Update
- Dr Milne’s retirement – rather fortunately APM co-insides with the day Dr Milne will stop working – HS to organise collection points & notices (with Clerk) in Pharmacy & Co Op nearer the time.
- School Council – have confirmed, will stay for 1-1.5 hours, they will be bringing along their 20mph signs and something for the Neighbourhood Plan.
- Fire Safety Volunteers – have confirmed they will attend.
- Refreshments will be provided – Clerk to discuss with CS later
- Reports – Chairs of each committee will produce standard reports that will be combined to form an A5 booklet.
a) To note the decisions made on Planning Applications at the Planning Committee held on 17th February 2016:
- 150702 – Homecroft, Chapel Lane CO6 3EF – Observation – While the current revisions are an improvement, there is still concern at the lack of any on-site visitors’ parking. As Chapel Lane is narrow and the site is adjacent to a sloping bend, any on-street parking could be dangerous. The Parish Council would like a Landscaping Scheme as a condition of approval, and would suggest that it be submitted to the Planning Committee and neighbours for their comments prior to implementation. The PC would also like to see, as a condition, the reinstatement of the mature hedgerows and their maintenance for the next 5 years as these are a village feature. During the development the contractor should supply for CBC approval a Lorry Management Plan, again due to the local topography and the narrow lanes, so as to prevent possible accidents, especially at school times.
b) To approve recommendations made on Planning Applications at the Planning Committee held on 17th February 2016:
- 160327 – Highfields, Cooks Hall Road CO6 3EX – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.
The recommendation was approved by the Parish Council. All in favour
c) Permitted development – 150744 – 91 Chapel Road
The Planning Committee discovered during a training day at the Town Hall that “permitted development” means that a house needs to be habitable whilst work is undertaken. This was clearly not the case here and the Parish Council’s concerns were logged with CBC on 19th Jan 2016, resulting in the enforcement officers being called in.
d) Neighbourhood Plan – Report
BB reported that before the last Planning Meeting some members of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group met with Rachel Forkin of CBC. Another meeting has been arranged prior to the Neighbourhood Plan meeting on 2nd March. The Plan is trying to move quickly and in conjunction with CBC.
CS stated that they will be talking to Colchester about the various sites and the results of the Housing Needs Survey. The Steering Group is not yet at the stage of allocating any sites.
The drafts of the non-housing sections of the Neighbourhood Plan are being written and Phil Cook is putting together a second draft.
JGR and AS reported back from their meeting with the Stanway Neighbourhood Plan Group. They took on board elements of what West Bergholt found to be pitfalls and were interested in the financial side. It was felt West Bergholt was lucky to have such a variety of people involved with the Neighbourhood Plan from outside the Parish Council.
9. Environment and Highways
a) West Bergholt Parish Council Vehicle Policy – Agreement required
It was proposed by MH to implement a vehicle policy for the Parish Council,
seconded by BB. All agreed.
JGR informed the Parish Council that any signs left and abandoned by ECC would be collected by the Handyman and put at the back of the shed.
10. Premises and Recreation
a) Orpen Hall Toilet Refurbishment – Appointment of Designer
It was proposed by BB to appoint Steve McLean (Esposito McLean) for the Orpen Hall toilet refurbishment, seconded by AS. 8 in favour, 1 against, motion carried.
BB informed the Parish Council that there would be random testing of the fire alarms over the coming weeks.
Bergholt Heath Youth Football Club have applied for use of the disabled toilet in the Orpen Hall during home games. This will be put forward as a suggestion to the next Premises committee.
a) Update from Working Party
CS reported that following the scope of work circulated at the November meeting the job of the Working Party can be split into two parts:
- Checking the policies of the Parish Council. JG-R has already written a Community Engagement Strategy and Philip Spencer is reviewing this, looking to add an action plan to emphasise new initiatives in support of the strategy.
- Wider engagement with the various village groups, including the people who spread the word e.g. the Village Bulletin and Dave Kingaby. A lot of the ideas for this engagement is coming through the Neighbourhood Plan.
b) Queen’s Birthday Celebrations
Shirley Noakes of the Open Gardens committee raised concerns that the Birthday Celebrations may clash with the Open Gardens weekend in June. However, the Parish Council have agreed that the Celebrations shall be limited to the evening of the lighting of the Beacon on Thursday 21st April.
The Clerk will invite all the parties involved with the evening to a meeting on 3rd March. The Annual Parish Meeting will be a good time to notify residents what is happening.
Items to Note
- NALC E Briefing
- Glasdon – Catalogues
- EALC – Legal Update –
- Crime Statistics – Dec 2015
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 23rd March at a provisional time of 6.30 pm in the Orpen Hall. Details to be published nearer the time.
followed by the Annual Parish Meeting at 7.30 pm in the Orpen Hall
The meeting closed at 8.55 pm.
Signed: Date: Position on Parish Council