Minutes of Parish Council 27th April 2016

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

Held in the Orpen Hall on 27th April at 7.30 pm

Chair: Chris Stevenson
Parish Councillors Present: Brian Butcher, Jenny Church, Phil Cook, John Gili-Ross, Murray Harlow, Philip Spencer, Harry Stone, Bob Tyrrell
Parish Clerk: Laura Walkingshaw
Borough Councillors: Councillor Harrington, Councillor Willetts, Councillor Jarvis
Present: Essex County Councillor Anne Brown and approximately 45 members of the public

Part I – Public

1.    Receive Apologies and Welcome to the Public

Apologies were received from Andrew Savage and for the first part of the meeting, Harry Stone.

2.    Questions from registered electors

  • Gareth Minter – requested an answer to the possibility of the under 5’s and under 6’s of the Bergholt Heath Youth Football Club playing on the Lorkin Daniell field on a Saturday morning.
    The agreement with West Bergholt Football Club is due for renewal in July, there is nothing that can be done this season as the Parish Council cannot alter an existing agreement, however the Council will raise it with the football club for next season. There is a prospective meeting with WBFC on Monday 2nd.
  • Chris Davies (Colchester Road resident) – raised his concern about the cars speeding along Colchester Road between the White Hart, the Treble Tile and beyond
    CS agreed that he has also had concerns about the road, being straight, drivers tend to speed up ignorant to the village environment.
    JGR informed the council and the members of the public that the area does have a Community Speed Watch team, which covers that road and are always looking for volunteers. It is quite difficult to resolve, could look at a Vehicle Activated Sign (VAS) on that road, but for now the only deterrent available is the presence of the Speed Watch team and the situation being monitored.
    Councillor Harrington had previously raised the matter with the police and they did visit after the Annual Parish Meeting in March. He has also, in the past, asked for the 30mph limit to be brought back to Hall Road without success, but it could be tried again.
  • Andrew Cresswell – highlighted the need to restrict any vehicle heavier than 7.5 tonnes using Argents Lane.
    CS reported that the Parish Council have queried the weight limit of the bridge with Essex County Council. The 7.5 limit sign was put up to give advance warning for the bridge, but by the time they reach it most vehicles cannot turn around. Turning it into a complete ban will be more expensive. Some of the issues need to be brought to the attention of the Local Highways Panel (which JGR attends). The Parish Council will also be talking to Eight Ash Green Parish Council.
    JGR also requested that people take care and look out for the Handymen collecting litter along that stretch of road.

3.    Declarations of Interest

Chris Stevenson declared an interest in items relating to Essex County Council, particularly Highway issues.

4.    Minutes

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 23rd March 2016 were approved and signed with no amendments.

5.    Communications

a)   BYG (Bergholt Youth Group) – Diana Woodgate

Diana Woodgate provided an update following the presentation to the Annual Parish Meeting in March. Since the appeal for more volunteers was given, several people have offered to help on a regular basis, including Aaron Williams, Lewis Barber and his brother. BYG has also been given some funding which it intends to spend on new equipment, which will require more storage at the Orpen Hall.

b)   Communications Working Party – Update from CS

CS reported that the Communications Working Party has now met a couple of times this year in order to update the Council’s Communications Policies. PS informed the Council that these should be ready within the next two or three weeks.

6.    Reports from Colchester Borough Councillors

Councillor Harrington reported:

  • The Councillor reported that he had “Called In” 91 Chapel Road to Colchester Borough Council’s Planning Committee on the grounds that the building is over-prominent and on the apex of the road. The Borough Committee are likely to discuss this on Thursday May 26th 2016.

Councillor Willetts reported:

  • B1508 – with regards to the worrying speeding on this road mentioned earlier in the meeting, the Councillor sympathises, however the only sure way to do anything about it is to encourage the Speed Watch team and the presence of the Police handing out speeding tickets. Councillor Willetts would put some pressure on the police team at Stanway.
  • Argents Lane – regarding this road, 10 years ago British Rail were interested in closing Chitts Hill and upgrading Argents Lane. In the Councillor’s opinion the best deterrent is to leave it as it is, possibly digging out the sides as making it a real road would be counter-productive.
  • New black and clear sacks for rubbish & recycling – these will be delivered to houses in the parish over the coming weeks, any missed deliveries must be reported by the 20th May 2016.
  • Community Day of Action – bidding for this summer’s Community Day of Action should be entered by 31st May 2016.
  • Zone Boundaries – the need was identified for bring in more democratic control of the 40 Zone Wardens/Officers who work within the borough. There needed to be an alignment between the LCAPs (Local Community Action Panels) and the Zone teams rather than loose reporting.

County Councillor Brown reported:

  • County Council – no elections taking place at a County level this year, but please be aware that there is the Police and Crime Commissioner election.
  • Libraries – following a reduction in the number of books being lent, in order to encourage the use of libraries some are being made into Hubs e.g. Colchester Borough Homes have been brought into Colchester’s main library. Rather than closing children’s centres some are moving into libraries, with health visitors able to attend.
  • Local Highways Panel – this is now meeting at County Hall and not in Colchester. JGR is an excellent representative of the Parishes interests. Currently it is taking 18 months for a project to get onto the list and out again.
  • County Rangers – these teams cut the hedges and grass verges. It is thought that putting them in with the wardens might produce a better service.
  • Bus Accident by Heathlands School – the Councillor and CS have looked at why the traffic was allowed along the road and think it needs to be re-assessed.

CS stated he hoped that no-one would ever think of using New Church Road as a diversion again, as it was lucky the incident wasn’t any worse.

JGR identified that the new boundary changes, as of the next election, would affect the street wardens working in the rural areas around the borough, resulting in 7 wards becoming 6. West Bergholt already sits in one of the larger wards, which ranges from Braintree to Dedham and Horkesley to Lexden, and the parish will now have to work harder to get the Zone Wardens to come and do their excellent work.

JGR also informed the Council that the Police were now attending the Local Community Action Panel, hopefully enabling the parish to get the Police where they are needed.

7.    Broadband Presentation – Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams gave a highly informative presentation on the Broadband solutions on offer to the village which he has been researching for the past few months, a copy of which will be made available on westbergholt.net. Contact details of those present, interested in forming a Community Broadband Group, were also taken.

CS noted that it is interesting now as the village is starting to attract attention from various Broadband suppliers. However, the first step is to sit down with the Essex Superfast Broadband team for their advice and expertise. Councillor Brown agreed and felt that it was important that they are spoken to before anything is decided to provide clarity to the situation.

There followed a Question & Answer session:

Female Resident: What is meant by “interest from the village”?

AW: 30% sign up indicating their interest in being willing to pay. More information will be available from the County Broadband meeting on 25th May at 7.30pm.

Male Resident: Surely they will have to charge more to make up for the cost of installation?

AW: Yes, that is the issue with handing over control.

CS: It needs to be a community effort; it is not something the Parish Council can fund, but the Council will try to get the information out there.

Male Resident: Why can’t BT bring it in from Great Horkesley?

AS: BT are a big monopoly and there is little incentive for them to invest. They could be waiting for the Superfast allocations. If BT were going to bring it to West Bergholt, ideally they would bring the cables up the A12 from London, not from the Fordham Exchange.

CS:  Openreach’s initial commercial offer was for £114,000, would expect to be able to negotiate that figure.

Male Resident: I already have County Broadband and am lucky if I get 12mbps. I also already have VoIP (instead of a landline phone) and it has poor reliability.

AS: It’s true you have to take into account reliability, not just download speeds. If you can get all fibre optic though, reliability is more likely.

Male Resident: Support from the supplier is also an important factor.

AS: Yes, but where there is fibre optic there is very little maintenance required and shouldn’t need to dig it up once it is in the ground.

Other Resident: However, BT is a large company with a bigger volume of support staff than County Broadband.

AS: Yes, but as previously said, not a lot of maintenance would be required.

Male Resident: Virgin are laying new cable in the same places as County Broadband and they are offering speed of 200mbps

AS: However, do not understand why they are laying co-axial cables, which are not as efficient as 100% fibre optic cables.

Male Resident: I live at the edge of the village, what is there to guarantee any provider will supply the outskirts?

AS: Would have to have a conversation with the providers to confirm boundaries.

CS thanked Aaron for the presentation and for answering questions. One of the objectives for the Parish Council is to provide the village with the correct level of information, following which there will then be things that require community action. Something can be put out on the notice boards and the westberghol.net website. This is not something the Parish Council could or should do on its own. The next steps are clarification from Councillor Brown & the Superfast Broadband team. People will come out for the meetings by County Broadband and other suppliers and we want to make sure it’s an informed choice.

8.    Finance

a)   Statement of Accounts for March 2016

The final accounts for Mar 2016 were presented as follows:

The General Account showed 100% income, 65% general expenditure, 88% environment expenditure and 72% expenditure overall.

The Hall Account showed 101% income and 79% expenditure.

The Parish Council is now 100% of the way through the financial year.

b)   Draw cheques

It was proposed by BB and seconded by PC to make the following payments, All in favour:


April 2016

General Account
Salary Payments to Mrs Walkingshaw, Mr Hewitt & Mr Harkness
DD – CBC Garage Rent 50.12
David Hewitt Expenses 73.98
Neil Quinn Photo Booth 200.00
1st Class Brass Band for QEII Celebrations 60.00
George Browns Ride-on Mower 5220.00
WBFC Grass Cutting 40.00
Jenny Church Wheelie Bin 39.99
CBC Dog & Litter Bin Emptying 348.66
Ernest Doe Lawnmower Repairs 212.44
Essex Central Services Bus Stop Cleaning 50.00
EALC 2016/17 Affiliation Fees 590.27
Printerland Printer Toner (Cy, Mg, Yw) 118.69
Printerland Printer Toner (Bk) 31.01
Kingserve Web Support Services 264.00
Tree & Lawn Company Tree Surgery 588.00
Laura Walkingshaw Expenses 128.51
Michelle Fitzgerald QEII Expenses 50.23
Petty Cash Establishment of Petty Cash 100.00
Countrywide Grass Cutting 151.00
Tower Mint QEII Medals 128.40
Zurich Municipal Event Insurance 54.75
CBC Building Regulations – Plan Charge 155.69
David Hewitt Expenses 23.48
CALC Membership Subscription 35.00
Bob Tyrrell Expenses 64.48
Zurich Municipal Ride-on Mower Insurance 272.01
HMRC National Insurance & Tax 288.57
Orpen Hall Account
Salary Payment to Mrs Beckwith-Cole
DD – Utility Warehouse Mobile, Broadband, MUGA Electricity 63.27
Essex Central Services Window & Glass Roof Cleaning 75.00
SJ Andrews Electrical Repairs – Lights 279.89
CBC Annual Rates 193.83
Victoria Beckwith-Cole Expenses 13.00
Zoe’s Cleaning Cleaning 720.00

Salary payments were made to Laura Walkingshaw, Dave Hewitt & Matt Harkness from the General Account and Vicky Beckwith-Cole from the Hall Account.

c)   War Memorial: PC involvement in survey and investigations into refurbishment – Agreement required

Gill Poole has been looking into the War Memorial at the Brewery development. The property management company who own the development are happy to contribute to the renovations, but are not willing to assist with the invesigations.

CS proposed that the Council help will the survey costs. All in favour.

BB has a contact who will have a quick look to estimate what is required to protect it from the elements. BB, CS and JC agreed to help Gill with this item.

7.    Clerk’s Items to Note

a)   Clerk’s Report

Clerk reported on receipts and payments from the Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations:

Clerks Report

Queen’s Birthday Celebrations

Ice Cream Van £    28.00
Photo Booth £   149.00
Doughnut Van £    35.00
Inflatables £   160.00
Tea Party Donations £   109.42
£   481.42
Plates, flags, balloons & napkins £    25.31
Banquet rolls x 3 £    24.92
Printing & trimmer £    59.98
Milk, cups & prizes £    36.45
1st Class Brass £    60.00
Photo Booth £   200.00
QEII 90th Birthday medals £    99.50
£   506.16


£    24.74
Previously Agreed Payments
Fireworks £   402.22
Beacon re-coating £   300.00
DVD Queen’s 60 years £    10.25
£   712.69

Total cost to Parish Council

£   737.43

8.    Planning

a)   To note the decisions made on Planning Applications at the Planning Committee held on 20th April 2016:

  • 160782 – Crockeys, Chapel Lane CO6 3EF – Object – The design of the carport does not comply with DG7 (building not in harmony with the surroundings) and DG9 (materials not selected from those traditionally used within the village) of the Village Design Statement.
  • 160815 – 11 Colchester Road CO6 3JG – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.

b)   To approve recommendations made on Planning Applications at the Planning Committee held on 20th April 2016:

  • 160834 – Highfields, Cooks Hall Road CO6 3EX – Support – The Parish Council would like to see a condition of approval that this building is never sold as a separate unit and is restricted to its use as an annex.

Proposed to make this recommendation into a decision by MH, seconded by JC. All in favour.

c)   Update – 160531 91 Chapel Road – Member Call In

As discussed by Councillor Harrington earlier.

d)   Neighbourhood Plan – Report on progress with drafting of document and letter to CBC on Local Plan preparations and timetable – Agreement required

Proposed to approve document by JGR, seconded by BB. All in favour.

9.    Environment and Highways

a)   Ball stop fence and netting – To agree the advice given by the Environment Committee

The Environment Committee recommended not to approve this fence and netting as it will be an ongoing cost to the parish. This problem was caused by the new development and it was felt that the developer should pay for it and accommodate it on his land as the solution suggested at present is not fit for purpose. PC proposed not to support the ball stop fence, JC seconded. All in favour.

b)   Community Day of Action – Information item

JC has kindly agreed to take on the completion of this application.

c)   RCCE Essex Village of the Year 2016 – Information item

Although the Parish has entered several times before, it hasn’t entered for a while. CS has volunteered to write the supporting evidence of 500 words before the 10th May. JGR will supply the bullet points. HS has offered to help and dig out the previous entries.

d)   Ride on Mower

JGR confirmed that the ride on mower had arrived and is street legal. PS & JGR will meet to assess the areas of the village that need cutting and whose responsibilities they are. Summer high-visibility wear (tabards) will be required for the Handymen.

10.   Premises and Recreation

a)   Orpen Hall Toilet Refurbishment – Update from Premises Chair

Approved Contractor and Health & Safety Forms have gone out to three contractors. BB showed the plans & the mood boards, will expect the drawings back shortly. Hopefully, he will then be in a position to report the costs by the next Parish Council meeting.

b)   Orpen Hall Storage

Following on from BYG’s request for storage earlier in the meeting, it is already in the plans. HS, BB and the Orpen Players have meet, the Flower Club’s cabinet will be moved out of the garage. BB has begun discussions with CBC’s Andrew Tyrrell on the new storage unit and await their views.

Items to Note

  1. EALC – Services 2016
  2. LCR Magazine – Spring 2016
  3. EALC – Legal Update No.3
  4. Crime Statistics – Feb 2016

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:

Annual Parish Council Meeting on Wednesday 25th May at 7.30 pm in the John Lampon Hall.

The meeting closed at 9.45 pm.

Signed:                            Date:                              Position on Parish Council

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