Minutes of Parish Council 25th November 2020

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting

Held via Zoom on Wed 25th November 2020 at 7.30 pm

Chairman: Cllr Chris Stevenson
Parish Councillors Present: Cllrs Phil Spencer, John Gili-Ross, David Short, Brian Butcher, Harry Stone, Norma Smith, Murray Harlow, Andrew Savage, Bob Tyrrell and Jenny Church
Parish Clerk: Laura Walkingshaw
Borough & County Councillors: Borough Councillors Dennis Willetts, Brian Jarvis & Lewis Barber
Present: No members of the public



Receive/accept apologies and welcome to the public

  None received


West Bergholt Covid 19 Response


To receive an update on the latest WBPC COVID-19 developments

  • Half-term Emergency Food Bank Fund – St Mary’s Church have been nominated by Colchester Borough Council for a Community Recognition Award for the support they provided to local families in need, during the October Half Term holidays.  The Council applauded this well-deserved award.


Questions from registered electors

  There were no questions from registered electors.


Declarations of Interest

  DECLARED – Cllr Stevenson declared an interest in all matters linked to Essex Highways.


Previous Minutes

  RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Parish Council held on Wednesday 28th October 2020 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (Link to Minutes P7 Oct 2020)


Update from the Colchester Community Policing Team

The Community Policing Team were unable to join the meeting remotely and so will be invited to attend a physical meeting sometime next year as soon as restrictions allow.


Report from Colchester Borough Councillors

Borough Councillor Willetts reported:

  • Budget – overall the position of the Colchester Borough Council’s (CBC) finances is causing difficulties. The usual £18 million generated by casual fees and charges is down by £7 million this year so far, due to Covid-19. The precept (council tax) is likely to go up by the maximum amount and all parishes will feel the impact.
  • Bourne Road – received a report of the heavy machinery which damaged the greensward and street sign that was supposed to be delivered to Bourne Road, Buckinghamshire. Parish Council has reported this, and repairs have begun.
  • Cooks Hall Road – received a query regarding the neglected vegetation to the north side of the first section of the road. The south side is owned and maintained by Essex County Council (ECC), however the north is owned by properties on Newbridge Hill. A letter needs to go out to the owners requesting for the trees and vegetation to be cut back.
  • Colchester Road feasibility study for crossing – gave the wrong information regarding the locality budget, there is some money left and so the Borough Cllrs might be able to contribute if it is match-funded.

There was some confusion over the feasibility study and whether the PC needed to put forward a case for it to the Borough Cllrs. Cllr Stevenson clarified the situation by reporting that CBC is already collecting the £100,000 from the developers of the Neighbourhood Plan sites to draw down for the crossing through section 106 agreements, the feasibility study is only to establish where it will go and what associated highway work will be needed. CBC, ECC and WBPC just need to find £4,000-5,000 between us to pay for the study.

 Borough Councillor Barber reported:

  • Blue bridge over A12 – The large cracks will hopefully be repaired soon. Signs have gone up; the lines have been painted and Highways England have agreed that there is a problem and will work on it. The PC and CBC just need to keep on top of it to ensure it is resolved.




Statement of accounts for Oct 2020 (Link to P7 Oct 20 Summary)

The final accounts for Oct 2020 were presented as follows:

58% of the way through the financial year. The Parish Council Account showed 97% income, 42% general expenditure, 34% environment expenditure and 41% expenditure overall, when the categories of general expenditure & environment are totaled together.

Bank Rec at £110,614.53 on 31st October 2020.






















RESOLVED – To approve the November payments list in accordance with 2020-21 budget.

Proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Stone. All in favour.

PC Payments List – Nov 2020
DD Barclays Bank charges (40.57 – 6.82) 33.75
DD PWLB Public Works Loan 2,684.13
SO J & M Payroll Services Nov – wages, tax & NI 4,141.78
PC20090 J & M Payroll Services Payroll services 27.00
PC20091 Countrywide Grass cutting Nov – Poor’s Land 171.50
PC20092 WBFC  Grass cutting Nov – LD Field 40.00
PC20093 Petty Cash Replenishment Ext. lead, compressor & battery charger 69.13
PC20094 PKF Littlejohn External audit 480.00
PC20095 Printerland Xerox drum kit 207.36
PC20096 Brick Kiln Farm Hedge cutting and flailing 534.00
PC20097 Kent Blaxill White gloss paint – LD Field 60.22
PC20098 KingServ Migration of hosting services 80.86
PC20099 David Hewitt Raindrain & postfix – Devo 49.31
Tfr Hall to PC Account Wages – Nov -553.86


To note receipt of the external auditor’s report & certificate 2019-20 and completion of the Annual Governance & Accountability Return (AGAR). (Link to Section 3 of AGAR)

The Parish Council has now received notification of the conclusion of the annual external audit, section 3, which was duly signed and returned with no issues.


To receive an update on the 2021-22 budget process.

The budget process is moving along nicely. Cllr Savage, as Responsible Finance Officer (RFO), attended both this month’s Hall and Environment Committee meetings.

Cllr Spencer brought his request to plant more hedging around the village entrances, like that planted at the village sign this year, to the RFO’s attention, reporting that it would be better to  plant now rather than waiting until the new financial year. Cllr Savage stated that the Environment Committee are welcome to begin purchasing the new hedge if they have unused funds in the current Environment budget lines and wish to use them to begin in advance of April.




To note the following decisions made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee via their Zoom meeting of 21st October 2020: (see link to Planning Minutes P8 Nov 2020):

  • 202412 – 6 Newbridge Hill, West Bergholt, CO6 3ER – Object – The Parish Council are objecting to this planning application due to the bulk of the proposed extension and its proximity to the neighbours. The Council would refer to DG28 and DG29 of the Village Design Statement: DG28 – There should be no unacceptable adverse impact upon the amenities of adjoining residential properties. Wherever possible mature trees and shrubs should be conserved. DG29 – New buildings, in any area, should respect the scale and design of adjacent buildings. Extensions should be subservient to the original building.
    ACTION – Cllr Tyrrell to email Borough Cllr Lewis to ask him to call this application in.
  • 202447 – 10 Garthwood Close, West Bergholt, CO6 3EA – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.


To note the following recommendations made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee via their Zoom meeting of 21st October 2020 and to agree as a PC decision (see link to Planning Minutes P8 Nov 2020):

  • 202423 – 9 Garthwood Close, West Bergholt, CO6 3EA – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 202546 – 179 Colchester Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3EA – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.

RESOLVED – Cllr Tyrrell proposed to agree the above comment, Cllr Butcher seconded. All in favour.


To agree the following decision, based on the recommendation made by the Planning Committee via email of late planning application:

  • 202572 – 2 Valley Crescent, West Bergholt CO6 3ED – Object – The Parish Council is favourable of the proposed planning application but would suggest a pitched roof on the new garage as the property is on a very visible corner location. The council would refer to the CBC-adopted Neigh Plan policy PP10 regarding the Village Design Statement, specifically DG27: “Careful consideration should be given to the visual impact of extensions and particularly conservatories, when they are visible either from the street or from public thoroughfares such as footpaths, bridleways etc”. Also, the Parish Council would note the property is on the edge of the village’s designated Character Area, see Neighbourhood Plan map PP5, reinforcing the suggestion that the roof is inappropriate as flat and should be a pitched roof.

RESOLVED – Cllr Tyrrell proposed to agree the above comment, Cllr Butcher seconded. All in favour.


To note the approval decision of CBC on the WB Neighbourhood Plan development area at land adjacent to 32 Colchester Road

This CBC decision is the first of the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan development sites along Colchester Road to be given approval, albeit outline planning for 13 dwellings with access at present. The full detailed planning application will follow.


Environment & Highways


To note the minutes of the Environment Committee from their meeting of the 8th Oct 2020 (see link to Environment Minutes P8 Nov 2020)

Cllr Gili-Ross reported on the latest Environment Committee updates:

  • Kerbstone – the Handymen have recently completed several broken kerbstone replacements in Valley Crescent and Mumford Road. They also replaced a dangerous broken gulley on the junction of Pirie Road and Chapel Road.
  • Bourne Road – an extremely large piece of plant equipment was sent to Bourne Road, WB by mistake when it should have been sent to Bourne Road, Buckinghamshire. The junction was damaged and the Whitehouse Lane street sign damaged. ECC have now levelled and reseeded the damaged greensward, although not particularly well and the damaged sign has been removed for repair.

ACTION – Clerk to chase where the sign is if it doesn’t reappear in the next couple of weeks.

  • Vandalism to the Lorkin Daniell Field – A car illegally entered the field via the children’s playground and drove over the football pitch twice which caused considerable damage to the playing surface. The incident was reported to the police, with images from the CCTV, as was damage to the bollards later that week and the appearance of many NO2 gas cannisters at the end of Cooks Hall Road. The Community Policing team have added both the Hall car park and Cooks Hall to their patrol route.


Council Documents


To approve the West Bergholt Parish Council Environmental Strategic Plan

Cllr Spencer introduced his plan stating that it is far better for the Council to be proactive than reactive. It is also good to identify what West Bergholt already has so that it can measure the progress made when following the plan.

Since circulation, a few amendments have been suggested by Cllr Stevenson, these were shown in red text at the meeting and agreed by the Council.

RESOLVED – Cllr Spencer proposed to approve the WBPC Environmental Strategic Plan with said amendments, Cllr Stevenson seconded. All in favour.

ACTION – Cllr Spencer to look up and cross reference what was previously said in the WB Neighbourhood Plan in this regard.

ACTION – Clerk to correct “Hill House Wood” to “Hillhouse Wood” in the document.


To agree the 2021 meeting dates for West Bergholt Parish Council

RESOLVED – Cllr Stevenson proposed to approve the 2021 meeting dates for WBPC, Cllr Harlow seconded. All in favour.


To review and ratify the WBPC Equality Policy

RESOLVED – Cllr Stevenson proposed to ratify the existing WBPC Equality Policy with no changes, Cllr Stone seconded. All in favour.


Council Publicity

The WBPC Publicity Officer reported that it had been a quiet month, but updated the council with the following posts:

  1. Essex – Better Health poster – only got 2 likes
  2. Cllr Savage’s photo of the bracken cutting at Hillhouse Woods – got 23 likes
  3. Become a magistrate notice – received 3 comments

This was only one part of the month’s publicity though, Dave Kingaby has been putting a lot on the website lately.


Council Action Plan

To receive an update on 2020-21 Projects:

The Council Projects for 2020-21 are progressing as follows:

Orpen Memorial Hall projects £6,000 £2,000 CCTV Done
Lexden Road Pond renovation £4,000 Done
Historical Honour Board £1,500  
Play Equipment – Lorkin Daniell Field £10,000 £2,000 aside for pathway
Neighbourhood Plan Action Plan / Infrastructure projects £8,500 c.£500 website migration
Grants: (awarded by the Parish Council) £1,000 £500 awarded
TOTAL £31,000  


MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area)

The minutes of the MUGA Working Party’s meeting of 1st October 2020 were noted. The next meeting is booked for 3rd December 2020.

The re-surfacing specifications and contract conditions documents, created by Cllr Butcher, will be going to the MUGA Working Party for agreement before coming back to the council for ratification. The tender specifications have two options, one of which may be over £25,000 and so will require submitting to the government’s Contract Finder website for transparency reasons. There is plenty of time as the re-surfacing can only take place during the warmer months and so are looking at some time after April for the contractors to start.

Once ready, the Council will forward the details to the Borough Cllrs for them to agree releasing some of the Leisure Services section 106 monies for the project.



  To note & receive feedback from the training/networking undertaken during the last month by Councillors or the Clerk.

  • CBC Planning Training – WB Planning Committee – 16th Nov 2020

The WB Planning Committee, all of whom attended, reported that this was a good session, which CBC do well. They went through the new government white paper and looked at how this would affect Neighbourhood Plans.

ACTION – Clerk to send the slides of the presentation around to the Councillors who didn’t attend.


Items to Note

  1. CBC’s launch of its Future Transport Strategy
    Several Councillors have already responded to this online consultation, however the Clerk needs to check how the Council can respond as a whole. Cllr Gili-Ross suggested that the Environment Committee share and discuss the survey online at their next meeting.
  2. Crime Statistics – 26th Oct – 22nd Nov 2020, one crime reported, the damage to the Lorkin Daniell Field as reported by the Parish Council.


Items for the next agenda – 27th January 2021

  • Budget, 3 Year Plan & Precept
  Meeting then closed to the public at 8.30pm


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).


To discuss the latest position of the Methodist Chapel & Hall and to consider whether to renew our interest in possible purchase with the agents.

A discussion took place to consider and discuss the latest developments regarding the Methodist Chapel & Hall sale, following which:

RESOLVED – Cllr Stevenson proposed a vote on the principle of the Parish Council expressing renewed interest in the purchase of the properties with the agents. Cllr Gili-Ross seconded. 9 out of 11 Councillors were in favour.

RESOLVED – Cllr Stevenson proposed a vote on the agreed figure of £X to be offered with the necessary caveats, which would include the usual building and estate surveys, demonstrable support of the village, and funding assembly all of which would be the subject to a detailed letter being written and agreed prior to sending. Cllr Gili-Ross seconded. 8 out of 11 Councillors were in favour.


Date of Next Meeting

  The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 27th January 2021 at 7.30pm

(via Zoom)

  Meeting closed at 9.32 pm

Date:                     Position on Council:


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