Minutes of Parish Council 29th April 2020

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting

Held via Zoom on Wed 29th April 2020 at 7.30 pm

Chairman: Cllr Chris Stevenson
Parish Councillors Present: Cllrs Brian Butcher, Phil Spencer, John Gili-Ross, Bob Tyrrell, Harry Stone, Norma Smith, Andrew Savage, David Short, Jenny Church (left the meeting during item 20/40 for technical reasons), (Murray Harlow joined the meeting during item 20/39b)
Parish Clerk: Laura Walkingshaw
Borough & County Councillors: Borough Councillor Brian Jarvis & Lewis Barber
Present: 1 member of the public



Receive/accept apologies and welcome to the public

  The Chairman of the Parish Council, Cllr Chris Stevenson, welcomed Councillors and the public to the first virtual parish council meeting. He stated that it would be remiss not to mention the fantastic community effort from West Bergholt at this time of crisis, noting how many are prepared to give up their time, set up WhatsApp groups in their neighbourhoods and volunteer for the scheme the Care Network had put together. He mentioned Cllr Harry Stone, Mervyn Donnelly the main coordinator in particular and all of the 80 volunteers who have come forward. The Parish Council’s heartfelt thanks goes out to the community.

An update from the Care Network Covid 19 Volunteers received from Mervyn yesterday which noted that the hotline had received approximately 25 calls, mainly requests for shopping, prescription collections, phone buddies and calls from overseas where relatives have needed help arranging shopping deliveries to West Bergholt family members.

Residents have been observing social distancing exceptionally well and we have been receiving a huge amount of useful information from all levels of government.


Questions from registered electors

  There were no questions received 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 26th Feb 2020 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (Link to Minutes P11 Feb 2020).


Report from Colchester Borough Councillors

Borough Councillor Jarvis reported:

  • Locality Budget – this grant scheme available from the Borough Councillors has been brought forward to help communities in need of coronavirus-related funding. There will be 2-3 months breathing space then from around August it will be open to all projects.
  • Abandoned vehicle in Bakers Lane – there has been an abandoned vehicle left on a dangerous turn in Bakers Lane for some time now. Unfortunately it still has its road tax until the end of the year so could not be removed initially, however it has now been proved as “unroadworthy” and therefore has a 2-week notice on it, which will then be followed by a final 7 days’ notice prior to removal.

Borough Councillor Barber reported:

  • Covid 19 Information – getting a lot of information through from the County and District levels of government and above, the Borough Councillor checked that the Parish Council has been receiving all of this, which it has.
  • Recycling collections – to note that Colchester Borough Council have now re-started their recycling collections once more, even though a limited service. The government is starting to put pressure on councils to re-open the recycling sites again, although locally there are concerns that the Shrub End site is extremely compact and therefore difficult to manage social distancing. There are currently no plans to collect garden waste at present, it is of low priority to the council.
  • Care Network Volunteer Scheme – the Borough Councillor has had some residents contact him who have been very grateful for this service, it is something that the Councillors will be sharing in their next email update to residents.




Statement of accounts for Mar 2020 (Link to P12 Mar 20 Summary)

The final accounts for Mar 2020 were presented as follows:

100% of the way through the financial year. The Parish Council Account showed 99% income, 98% general expenditure, 75% environment expenditure and 92% expenditure overall, when the categories of general expenditure & environment are totaled together. Some projects have not been finished in 2019-20 due to the lockdown.

Bank Rec at £81,891.16



  RESOLVED – To approve the March payments list in accordance with 2019-20 budget.

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

PC Payments List – March 2020
D Barclays Charges/loyalty points (15.80-1.86) 13.94
GA19198 J & M Payroll Services Mar – wages, tax & NI 4,494.20
GA19199 J & M Payroll Services Payroll services 27.00
GA19200 Countrywide Poor’s Land grass cutting – Mar 165.00
GA19201 WBFC  Grass cutting 40.00
GA19202 Petty Cash Replenishment Petrol, domain renewal & paper 45.99
GA19203 George Browns Service of ride-on mower 640.15
GA19204 Anglian Inspection Services Playground Inspection – LD Field 162.00
GA19205 Printerland Yellow & cyan toner 371.52
GA19206 Grasshopper Ltd Tool parts 6.96
GA19207 EALC H & S online training – CS 16.80
GA19208 EALC Data protection online training – CS 16.80
GA19209 Rix Motor Engineering Work on Ford Focus 107.36
GA19210 Brian Butcher Travel expenses 36.20
GA19211 Wave Poor’s Land water bill – Dec-Mar 21.84
GA19212 Atlas Signs Bulletin printing – Spring 2020 782.50
GA19213 Andrew Savage Expenses – ink cartridges 7.64
GA19214 Norma Smith Travel expenses 38.40
GA19215 SLCC Membership – 2020-21 202.00
GA19216 M & J Roofing Roofing Work – 26th Feb –  20 0.00
Tfr PC to Hall Account VAT return – Feb 20 317.00
Tfr PC to Hall Account Stationery HA191067 36.26
Tfr PC to New Allotments A/C Agreed baseline 1,000.00
Tfr PC to Hall Account MUGA Electricity (Nov 19- Mar 20) 364.19
Tfr PC to Poor’s Land Account Donation to Trust Charity 1,174.50
Tfr Hall to PC Account Wages – Mar -539.24
Tfr Village Green to PC A/C Charity’s Payments 2019-20 -272.67
Tfr LD Field to PC Account Charity’s Payments 2019-20 -1335.20
Tfr Poor’s Land to PC Account Charity’s Payments 2019-20 -1845.15
    TOTAL 6,095.99

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

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

PC Payments List – April 2020
DD Barclays Charges/loyalty points (10.37 – 78p) 9.59
GA20001 The Conservation Volunteers Lexden Road pond work
GA20002 M & J Group Roofing Work – 26th Mar to completion 25,476.17
GA20003 J & M Payroll Services Apr – wages, tax & NI 4,284.45
GA20004 J & M Payroll Services Payroll services & year end processing 99.00
GA20005 Countrywide Poor’s Land grass cutting – Apr 171.50
GA20006 WBFC  Grass cutting – LD Field 40.00
GA20007 Petty Cash Replenishment VG – Materials for trees and stamps 21.04
GA20008 EALC/NALC Membership Fees 2020-21 645.63
GA20009 Laura Walkingshaw Blaster Pro from Pitch Care 132.90
GA20010 KingServ Website services 264.00
GA20011 Ernest Doe Allotments – lawnmower service POWXG 121.87
GA20012 Ernest Doe Allotments – lawnmower service R484 121.87
GA20013 Grasshopper Ltd PC – lawnmower service Rover Pro Cut 116.25
GA20014 Norma Smith Councillor expenses – toner 41.00
    Sub total 31,545.27
Tfr Hall to PC Account Wages – Apr -539.24
    TOTAL 31,006.03


To approve a donation of £1174.50 to the Poor’s Land Charitable Trust (charity no. 208914) of which the council is sole trustee.

The Poor’s Land is the only Trust which does not make a profit or break even, however as the council in its sole trustee role was unable to hold a meeting to decide what to do about its deficit due to the current crisis it was decided to provide it with a grant this year to break even. Next year the council (Trust) can meet to discuss whether the shortfall should be met from the charity’s own reserves or from other sources.

RESOLVED – Retrospective approval proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Smith. All in favour.


To approve Section 1 – Annual Governance Statement 2019/20 of the Annual Return

RESOLVED – The Annual Governance Statement was shared on the screen with all and Cllr Savage went through each of the nine lines individually asking members to raise any concerns they had. None were raised. Section 1 of the Annual Governance Statement was therefore approved and the Chairman, Cllr Stevenson, then signed it and will return it to the Clerk for submission to the external auditor.


To agree Section 2 – Accounting Statements 2019/20 of the Annual Return

This item was not ready to be approved as the council is waiting for confirmation from the internal auditor. It will now be deferred until the May meeting.




To agree the following decisions, based on recommendations made by the Planning Committee via email on planning applications (March 20) (Link to Planning P12 Mar 2020):

  • 200332 – The Treble Tile, CO6 3JQ – Object: The Parish Council is pleased to note that the current application has taken on board concerns raised in respect of parking and highway matters and is therefore significantly better than previously.  The layout which allows space for two dwellings whilst retaining 18 parking spaces for customers and staff for the Treble tile looks an acceptable compromise. However, whilst the two dwellings take up less space, the design and style of the buildings is not in accordance with NP PP10.  The current elevations proposed do not reflect the architectural style of West Bergholt. A style should be provided that is more in keeping with the contemporary houses to the left and the Treble Tile – a classic inter-war public house of architectural merit and importance and should be afforded protection.
    It should be noted that there is room within the site boundary for a public footpath to the front and side of the potential seating area to be provided by the applicants.  This would assist locally with road safety concerns.  Further, although not a planning matter the Parish Council would wish to discuss with the developer the tenancy arrangements for the Treble Tile.
  • 200381 – 52 Mumford Road, CO6 3BL – Observation: The Parish Council does not find the proposed front elevation inspiring and note also that the new window to bedroom 2 should be obscured to prevent overlooking No 54.
  • 200336 – 4 Garthwood Close, CO6 3EA – Support: The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 200468 – Salix, Spring Lane, CO6 3HJ – Support: The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 200475 – 114 Chapel Road, CO6 3EZ – Support: The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 200538 – 27 Pirie Road, CO6 3TA – Support: The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 200356 – 18 New Church Road, CO6 3JF – Object: The Parish Council has no concerns in respect of the proposed single storey rear extension but is concerned as to the nature of the proposed cladding to the garage/gym being totally out of keeping with other properties in the vicinity, thus in contradiction of NP PP10. Further, the Council is concerned at the loss of parking which will occur due to the conversion of the garage into a gym and the apparent provision of full height full width windows to the front of the gym, again being totally out of keeping with other properties in the vicinity. In addition, the noise that a gym could generate and its impact on neighbour’s privacy also doesn’t appear to have been considered.
  • 200556 – 85 Mumford Road, CO6 3BN – Support: The Parish Council has no comment.

RESOLVED – No members had any queries with these comments. All in favour.


To agree the following decisions, based on recommendations made by the Planning Committee via email on planning applications (April 20) (Link to Planning P1 Apr 2020):

  • 200769 – Primrose Cottage, Newbridge Hill, CO6 3ES – Support: The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 200706 – 179 Colchester Road, CO6 3JY – Object: Whilst the schedule of changes are minor and not themselves objectionable, the Council objected to the original application which was granted only on appeal and thus cannot support.
  • 200672 – 100 Mumford Road, CO6 3BN – Support: The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 200704 – 93 Colchester Road, CO6 3JX – Observation: The Council wishes to see a front garden plan showing how the proposed 2 parking spaces will work and any dropped kerbs before considering the application further.
  • 200716 – 97 Colchester Road, CO6 3JX – Support: The Parish Council has no comment.

RESOLVED – No members had any queries with these comments. All in favour.


Environment & Highways

  Cllr Gili-Ross gave his thanks to Cllrs Smith & Spencer for their planting of the beech hedge at the village sign once more and thanked Cllr Spencer for all his hard work as Vice Chairman of the Environment Committee whilst he was away.

Grass cutting is the main job being undertaken by handyman Matt and Cllr Gili-Ross at the moment, as soon as the opportunity arises handyman Nigel will carry on his spraying and tree work. Thanks go to the handymen for working in these difficult times.

To approve continued participation in the Highways Devolution initiative in 2020-21.

RESOLVED – Cllr Gili-Ross proposed to approve continuing the Highways devolution pilot for 2020-21. Cllr Stone seconded. All in favour.


Council Documents

To approve WBPC’s High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID) Policy (Link to HCID Policy).

RESOLVED – Cllr Stevenson proposed to approve this policy, Cllr Spencer seconded. All in favour.


West Bergholt Methodist Church & Hall

To determine the Parish Council’s stance on the Methodist Church and Hall, to determine whether it wishes to pursue a route to purchase via negotiation.

Cllr Stevenson shared his presentation on the Methodist Church and Hall with those attending. The presentation provided a background to the Methodist Church sale, the specifics of the site and the steps taken by the Parish Council so far. It also included a copy of the latest letter from Boydens, the agents selling the Church, and the options now facing the council, i.e.:

  • Do nothing
  • Express no further interest
  • Increase our offer
  • Express interest in being kept informed

The presentation also set out the safeguards in operation if the council were intending to increase their offer, such as the requirement for a public consultation with residents and the ability to precept for the loan.

All members were given time to express their individual opinions on the matter and such opinions varied from this being a one in a lifetime opportunity to secure a community asset in a prime location to it being the wrong site and a possible drain on existing resources. Generally, the opinion tended to lean towards the council continuing to show an interest but due to current uncertainties not to make any financial commitments at present. Therefore, Cllr Savage proposed an amendment to the agenda item.

RESOLVED – Cllr Savage proposed to amend the item to “to agree to continue to express the council’s interest in the Methodist Church & Hall and to be kept informed of developments going forward in light of current events.” Cllr Stone seconded, nine out of ten Councillors present were in favour. This was therefore agreed, Cllr Stevenson will write a response to Boydens which shall be circulated to the whole council first for approval.



  The training/networking undertaken was noted during the last month by Councillors or the Clerk and feedback provided:

  • Colchester & Tendring Clerk’s Forum via Teams – JGR & LW – 29th Apr 20
  • Virtual training in Data Protection and H & S – CS
  • Health & Wellbeing course – NS – 17th Mar 20

Cllr Smith has been completing the forms for the H & WB, which currently takes into account the coronavirus crisis, but are also being prepared for afterwards. Draft plan is currently with Cllr Stevenson for review.


Items to Note

  a)    Crime Statistics – 24th Feb – 26th Apr 2020 (9 weeks), just 5 crimes reported.

ACTION – On this subject, Cllr Gili-Ross and the Chairman of the EALC will be meeting with the Chief Constable soon, if Councillors have any questions that they wish to put to him please inform Cllr Gili-Ross.

20/46 Items for the next agenda – 27th May 2020
  • WBFC Grant Application – noting of decision
  • Discussion item on Health & Wellbeing.
  • Section 2 – Accounting Statements 2019/20
20/47 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).
  No matters discussed



Date of Next Meeting

  The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 27th May 2020 at 7.30 pm

(venue to be advised)

  Meeting closed at 9.00 pm
Signed: Date:                     Position on Council:


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