Minutes of Parish Council 27th January 2021

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting

Held via Zoom on Wed 27th January 2021 at 7.30 pm

Chairman: Cllr Chris Stevenson
Parish Councillors Present: Cllrs John Gili-Ross, Bob Tyrrell, Brian Butcher, Murray Harlow, Jenny Church, Norma Smith, Harry Stone, David Short, Phil Spencer, Andrew Savage
Parish Clerk: Laura Walkingshaw
Borough & County Councillors: Borough Councillors Lewis Barber and Dennis Willetts
Present: 2 members of the public



Receive/accept apologies and welcome to the public

  Borough Cllr Brian Jarvis sent his apologies.


West Bergholt Covid 19 Response

  Since last meeting, now on National Lockdown once more, meaning:

  • MUGA (tennis courts) are closed to all.
  • Hall only available for use by Bluebells Preschool.
  • Heathlands only open to vulnerable and key worker children.
  • Care Network Volunteers back in action, if needed (0300 777 3100).

Borough Cllr Lewis Barber informed the Council that the local care homes vaccination was completed on Sunday 24th Jan and now, following initiatives from Suffolk Cllr James Finch, vaccination to local residents will begin in earnest this week.


Questions from registered electors

  Two residents raised concerns with the hedge planting undertaken at Christmas on one side of the Queen’s Head pond. Three residents had emailed the Parish Council prior to the meeting and received a response letter and illustrative diagram, however two still had concerns which they expressed in follow-up emails.

Resident A was worried that the hedge would hide the bench by the pond and with no streetlights in that area, had concerns about what might happen behind the hedge.

Resident B had no problem with the Parish Council working to enhance the village and was very grateful to those who volunteer their time, however many appreciate the views of the pond, for example just this week a photo of a kingfisher visiting the pond was posted on the local Facebook Hub, and felt that view should not be blocked. The resident asked if the hedge could be broken up into outcrops rather as a solid line, possibly providing the best of both worlds.

Cllr Gili-Ross, chairman of the Environment Committee, clarified that all comments would be taken into consideration. The protocol of this meeting means that no decision can be made under this item, therefore the Environment Committee will discuss at their next meeting on the 11th February and then make a recommendation to the next full Council meeting to be held on the 24th February for a final decision. Cllr Stevenson added that the residents were welcome to attend the Environment Committee meeting and that the Clerk would send them details.

ACTION – Clerk to send details of Environment Meeting to the residents


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 25th Nov 2020 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (Link to Minutes P8 Nov 2020)


Report from Colchester Borough Councillors


Borough Councillor Barber reported:

  • Queen Street – redevelopment of this area in Colchester is proving controversial. Colchester Borough Council (CBC) are debating this topic tonight as some interesting questions have been asked about why this key piece of real estate was leased at such a low price.
  • Crossing on Colchester Road – have established that the feasibility study cannot be funded from section 106. All the Borough Councillors have tried to find the money for this study but to no avail. It is now with the Local Highways Panel.
  • Greensward between Erle Havard & Pirie Road – have been informed about sink holes appearing in the grass there. Cllr Gili-Ross reported that they had actually been there for some time and that the handymen had previously filled some in, he suggested that the best thing would be if the Borough Council actually passed the land and park over to the Parish Council.




Statement of accounts for Nov-Dec 2020 (Link to P8-9 Nov-Dec 20 Summary)

The final accounts for Nov-Dec 2020 were presented as follows:

75% of the way through the financial year. The Parish Council Account showed 97% income, 52% general expenditure, 44% environment expenditure and 50% expenditure overall, when the categories of general expenditure & environment are totalled together.

Bank Rec at £100,217.17 on 31st December 2020.



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

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

PC Payments List – Dec 2020


DD Barclays Bank charges (11.03 – 0.91) 10.12
DD Wave Water bill – Allotments 488.88
SO J & M Payroll Services Dec – wages, tax & NI 4392.70
PC20100 J & M Payroll Services Payroll services 27.00
PC20101 Countrywide Grass cutting Dec – Poor’s Land 171.50
PC20102 WBFC Grass cutting Dec – LD Field 40.00
PC20103 Petty Cash Replenishment Petrol 20.00
Tfr Colchester Skip Hire DD from Hall A/C Skip hire 14/11/20 – Allotments 269.94
PC20105 Grasshopper Tool part 5.40
PC20106 Grasshopper Parts and labour 102.08
PC20107 Scorpius Books – J Kibby Editor remuneration – Village Bulletin 180.00
PC20108 RCCE PC membership 105.60
PC20109 Printerland Xerox Toner Ex Hi Cap Bundle 661.25
PC20110 Wave Water bill – Poor’s Land 14.64
PC20111 Zantra Ltd Broad spectrum analysis – Heath 50.40
PC20112 Laura Walkingshaw Expenses incurred by home working 200.00
PC20113 Hedge’s Direct Purple beech and mixed native species 581.28
PC20114 Harry Stone Thankyou gift – Allotment chairman 15.00
PC20115 Laura Walkingshaw iZettle contactless card machine 34.80
Chq 104283 Post Office Ltd Car Tax – Council vehicle 330.00
Tfr Hall to PC Account Wages – Dec -553.86

PC Payments List – Jan 2021

DD Barclays Bank charges (8.00 – 0.30) 7.70
SO J & M Payroll Services Jan – wages, tax & NI 4500.00
PC20116 J & M Payroll Services Jan – wages, tax & NI 21.22
PC20117 J & M Payroll Services Payroll services 27.00
PC20118 Countrywide Grass cutting Jan – Poor’s Land 171.50
PC20119 WBFC Grass cutting Jan – LD Field 40.00
PC20120 Petty Cash Replenishment Petrol, stamps, gloves & sprayer 50.87
PC20121 Laura Walkingshaw East of E. Village Halls Conference – BTB 10.00
PC20122 Cowan Drilling Services MUGA – Core sampling 150.00
PC20123 Came & Company Motor Insurance – Focus & ride-on mower 451.95
PC20124 Kent Blaxill Water tanker parts for trailer 44.26
PC20125 EALC Climate Crisis Conference – BT & CS 24.00
PC20126 KingServ Website support services (Feb-Apr 21) 450.00
PC20127 Arco PPE for Handymen – masks & sanitiser 51.20
PC20128 Arco PPE for Handymen – nitrile gloves 16.14
PC20129 KingServ Migration of website 510.00


To agree the new Three-Year Plan (Option 2 being the maximum) as recommended by Finance Advisory Committee. (Link to Draft Three Year Plan and Draft Budget)

Cllr Savage showed the Draft Budget to the Council and drew their attention to the Admin Assistant line. This is for a part time position and will probably not be filled until later in the next financial year, however it was felt that it was sensible to have it in the budget ready. If no one is recruited in 2021-22 then the money can always be moved forwards into the next financial year or a virement could be made to use it for something else.

Cllr Savage then talked the Council members through the Draft Three Year Plan. Roughly £24,000 of work has not been undertaken due to the challenges of the last year. The first section deals with the 2020-21 outstanding projects, which it is proposed that the money be ringfenced in Reserves next year for when these projects can finally be completed having been delayed due to Covid-19.

Year 1 then lists the proposed projects for 2021-22 as seen below:

Projects & Grants item line of budget:

  Option 1


Option 2


Option 3


Orpen Memorial Hall projects*: £ 10,000 £ 10,000 £10,000
Upgrading of disabled toilet in the Orpen Hall may require match funding
Tile canopies at the front of the Orpen Hall
Various small improvement projects
Eco-toilet on Lorkin Daniell Field £ 6,000 £ 6,000 £ 6,000
Neighbourhood Plan implementation projects* £ 3,000 £ 2,000 £ 1,000
Lexden Road Pond boardwalk / Dipping platform £ 3,000 £ 3,000 £ 3,000
Environmental projects £ 1,000 £ 1,000 £ 1,000
Grants £ 1,000 £ 1,000 £ 1,000
TOTAL £ 24,000 £ 23,000 £ 22,000

Cllr Savage has provided three options for the Council to decide between, ranging from a 2.6% increase to a property’s annual PC council tax amount, to 3.6% and 4.6%. The only line item to change with the three options is the money available for Projects/Grants, ranging from £22K to £23K and £24K, and within the Projects/Grants listed for Year 1 it is only the Neighbourhood Plan implementation projects which vary, from £1,000-3,000. Justification for the small amount comes from the fact that approx. £8,500 will be ringfenced from the 2020-21 Neigh Plan projects, bringing to total for 2021-22 to approx. £9,500- £11,500 in reality.


Looking at the three options in the draft Three Year Plan and budget the Finance Committee had previously discussed the need to be prudent in these challenging times, especially when many residents may be struggling financially and therefore it was recommended that the maximum option the Council should choose is Option 2 at 3.6%.

Cllr Spencer suggested that Option 3, 2.6% would be the most appropriate to choose this year.

RESOLVED – Option 3 (2.6%) of the Three-Year Plan proposed by Cllr Savage, Cllr Spencer seconded. All in favour.


To approve the 2021-22 Precept and Budgets based on three-year plan.

Therefore, following on from the previous item, with the agreement of Option 3 of the Three-Year Plan and £ 22,000 required in the “Projects & Grants” item line then a precept of £103,270 would be required for the 2021-22 budget. Last year’s council tax for band D properties was £76.38, these proposals would make it:

Precept requirement £105,270 £104,270 £103,270
Annual sum (band D) £79.90 £79.14 £78.38
Increase of + £3.52 + £2.76 + £2.00
Percentage increase 4.6% 3.6% 2.6%

RESOLVED – Precept required from CBC proposed by Cllr Savage of £103,270 for the 2021-22 budget, Cllr Spencer seconded. All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to notify Colchester Borough Council tomorrow


To remind Councillors to submit their end of year expenses forms (signed)

Councillors were reminded to submit their expenses forms for 2020-21.


To note Emergency CIF grant decision letter and award of £1843 for the pathway beside the MUGA project.

It was noted that the Council has now received the Emergency CIF decision letter, they will be awarding the Parish Council £1843 out of the £2843 requested. Cllr Savage assured the Council that he will be able to find the shortfall. Cllr Short has the quotes and is checking with the various contractors.

ACTION – Clerk to thank the Emergency CIF Panel, but to also inform them that due to their delay in awarding this grant it may be difficult to get this completed by March, as due to procedure the Council still needs to get the choice of contractor back to a full council meeting for approval.




To note the following decisions made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee via their Zoom meeting of 16th December 2020: (see link to Planning Minutes P9 Dec 2020):

  • 202544 – 30 New Church Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3 JE – Object – New Church Road is very much a semi-rural lane in the heart of our village, primarily because of the proximity to The Heath, The Church and Allotments. Thus, it deserves a less urban style of architecture than is proposed and consistent with the mix of local housing and styles. The Parish Council understands the need to redevelop the site and does not object to this but considers it only suitable for a single dwelling, respecting the existing heights and depths of adjacent buildings. Regrettably we believe this application is overdevelopment and the proposal will result in a large cramped urban mass which will be in conflict to the existing urban grain of New Church Road and will be harmful to the local character. The Parish Council laments the pre-emptive clearance of 90% of the mature trees and other shrubs prior to the submission of the planning application. The community has looked on aghast at the complete destruction of local biodiversity habitats which are completely unprotected, and which suggest that no public authority could quite frankly care less! The removal of 16 no. mature trees as stated by the arboriculturist just to “allow redevelopment” is unacceptable to the Parish Council, also the land shown outlined in blue on the site plan is clearly potentially reserved for further development in Mumford Close, having also been cleared of trees and wildlife, but is currently landlocked. The application is contrary to the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan (in particular policy PP10) and the West Bergholt Village Design Statement, both these documents having been adopted as supplementary planning guidance by Colchester Borough Council and are all available on the Parish Council’s website. The submitted street scene also clearly shows the over development, the Council also question the height of the bungalow at 28 New Church Road, it appears to be lower than as shown. The application is also contrary to the Borough Council’s Supplementary Planning Document Back Land and Infill (Adopted Sept 2009 and revised Dec 2010) which aims to ensure that any back-land development respects and reflects the character of the area and confirms that such tandem development can frequently cause problems with planning applications for such. The applicant did not seek any pre application advice from CBC or discuss the application with WB Parish Council. The Parish Council consider that there is scope for a single dwelling, shallow in depth so not to infringe the light to the property at 32 New Church Road.
  • 202600 – Twain, Chapel Lane, West Bergholt, CO6 3EF – Object – The Parish Council has no objection in principle to an extension on this property, however the current application is simply not appropriate in such a prominent position within the “Character Area” of the village which the dwelling is situated in. The Council would therefore refer to PP5 of the CBC-adopted West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan, Character Area: The “Character Area” designated on Map PP5, which reflects the built local distinctiveness of Essex’s heritage, will be protected from degradation. Development proposals will be expected to respect its features and character in relation to the scale, design and setting of any development.
  • 202650 – 55 Pirie Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3TA – Object – The Parish Council objects to this application due to the close proximity of the extension to 53 Pirie Road, almost creating a terraced look to the properties. The two-storey extension should be 1 metre from the neighbour’s property rather than 800cm. The Council would also question the 45-degree angle impact on number 53; however, this is hard to judge due to the lack of a street scene. The Council would therefore refer to PP10 of the CBC-adopted West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan, specifically the statement that: “Planning applications must show contextually the impact of their proposals on adjacent buildings by means of adequately detailed plans with accurate street elevations to avoid unacceptable adverse impact upon the amenities of the occupiers of nearby residential properties.”
  • 202677 – 77 Lexden Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3BW – Object – The Parish Council has no objection in principle to an extension to this property, however there is insufficient information to determine the application in relation to its boundary and adjacent properties. The Council would refer to PP10 of the CBC-adopted West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan, specifically the statement that: “Planning applications must show contextually the impact of their proposals on adjacent buildings by means of adequately detailed plans with accurate street elevations to avoid unacceptable adverse impact upon the amenities of the occupiers of nearby residential properties.”
  • 202756 – Blackheath Bulb Co., Nayland Road, CO6 3DE – Object – New builds are not allowed outside the settlement boundary. It is against Colchester Borough Council policy and the CBC-adopted West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan. With regards paragraph 3.13 in the application’s Planning & Heritage Statement the applicant appears to forget that the Neighbourhood Plan area is the Parish boundary and not the settlement boundary. Conversion of barns is currently allowed, but demolishing them in order to erect 3 new dwellings is not, as CBC is no doubt aware.


To agree the following recommendations made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee via their Zoom meeting of 16th December 2020 as PC decisions (see link to Planning Minutes P9 Dec 2020):

  • 202741 – 83 Chapel Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3HL – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 202739 – 2 Hall Farm Cottages, Hall Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3DU – Observation – The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 202746 – Ash’s Convenience Store, 87 Colchester Rd, CO6 3JU – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 202748 – 5 Heathside, West Bergholt, CO6 3JT – Observation – The Parish Council has no objection to this application, subject to approval being conditional on the annex only being occupied by dependent relatives and that it is not sold or let separately to the applicant’s main property.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to agree the above comments, Cllr Stevenson seconded. All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to put comments on CBC Planning portal


To note the following decisions made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee via their Zoom meeting of 20th Jan 2021 (see link to Planning Minutes P10 Jan 2021):

  • 202800 – Inverewe, Armoury Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3JN – Object – The Planning Committee have no objection in principle to an extension to this property, however the current application is simply too large. The gable end will be too prominent at the front and could set a precedent among similar houses along that side of the road. The Council would like to see a street view of the application in relation to neighbouring properties in order to see how it affects the street scene. The Council would therefore refer to PP10 of the CBC-adopted West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan, specifically policies DG7: “Buildings must be in harmony with the surroundings in respect of materials, colour, texture, proportion and scale” and DG8: “Planning applications must show contextually the impact of their proposals on the adjacent buildings by means of adequately detailed plans with accurate street elevations”. It was also noted that the existing and proposed first-floor plans are inaccurate as they show the existing ground floor garage doors on both plans.
  • 201686 – Land south of WB Cricket Club, Colchester Rd (amended plans) – Support – The Council support the amended plans and the inclusion of the wildlife protection area so long as the boundary is now defined as indicated on Drawing No. 1853_015A in the document list.


To agree the following recommendations made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee via their Zoom meeting of 20th Jan 2021 and via email as PC decisions:

  • 210093 – Orchard End House, Whitehouse Lane, CO6 3ET – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 202544 – 30 New Church Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3JE (amended plans) – Object – The Parish Council would reiterate its comments from before, the changes are nominal and have little regard for such. The revised parking arrangements are substandard and will result in cars manoeuvring in front of the adjacent owners living room window.  This is very unsatisfactory and contrary to Village Design Statement DG35: New parking directly in front of a property should be avoided. In addition, the new Character Analysis Plan is very selective in its chosen references which are mainly historic and not typical of New Church Road. Comments submitted on 17/12/20…(see 21/8a 202544 comment above)
  • 210134 – Newbridge Mill, Newbridge Hill, CO6 9TB (agricultural determination) – Observation – The Parish Council has no objection to this application, subject to approval conditional on limiting future use (removal of Permitted Development rights) in the light of a previous conversion in the village of an “almost new barn” into a timber store and then a trampoline centre.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to agree the above comments, Cllr Stevenson seconded.

All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to put comments on CBC Planning portal


To note WBPC PINS submission on appeal:

  • 201224 – Garden House, Queen’s Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3HG – West Bergholt Parish Council wishes to reiterate its previous comments to the appeal as our previous comments have not been addressed by the current application. We wish to object to the lack of usable amenity space that would remain for both dwellings. This is not only below CBC policy requirements, it is also contrary to the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan & West Bergholt Village Design Statement (all adopted by CBC as SPG) which requires that infill proposals are strongly resisted; stating that garden sizes may need to be substantially larger than the minimum standards in order that garden sizes reflect the size and shape of gardens in the area. This is also contrary to the CBC Policy Backland and Infill SPD, also PP10 of the WB Neighbourhood Plan, referring to DG4 and DG5 of the WB Village Design Statement. Should the application be approved, the Parish Council would like to be assured that the ridge height of the new dwelling is similar to or less than the adjacent cottage in Bourne Road before approval is given.  Such assurance could be achieved by requesting that the survey dimensions be provided by the architect from the lowest ground level (back of footpath). This is to address the height problems we have had with previous village planning applications.


Environment & Highways

  To note the minutes of the Environment Committee from their meeting of the 14th Jan 2021 (see link to Environment Minutes P10 Jan 2021)

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

  • One Handyman injured himself at home and therefore is unable to work at present. The other two are working hard to make up the shortfall.
  • Several rotten trees along Colchester Road have been removed.
  • The Lexden Road pond is now looking nearly full following the recent works.
  • The Handymen are currently taking down any redundant road/street signs and repairing those that are damaged.
  • The Council would like to thank Phil, Norma and her husband for all their hard work planting the new hedging over Christmas.


Council Documents


To review and ratify West Bergholt Parish Council’s:

Four of these policies remain unchanged, whilst the Community Engagement Policy requires a couple of amendments to reflect the new Publicity Officer’s role at the Council.

RESOLVED – It was proposed to approve all five policies by Cllr Stevenson, with the proviso of the addition of the new Publicity Officer into the Community Engagement Policy. Cllr Butcher seconded. All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to add Publicity Officer to Community Engagement Policy and notify webmaster of policies renewal.


Council Publicity


The WBPC Publicity Officer updated the council with the following posts:

Date Publicity Reaction
30/11 Christmas Activity sessions poster Hub –
1/12 Christmas card project poster Hub – 2 likes 6 comments
8/12 Notice of Hillhouse Wood tree work Hub – 2 likes
9/12 Essex Police Rural Engagement team meet & greet poster Hub – 3 likes
9/12 Photo of the Winter Bulletin & link to the web page Hub – 13 likes
10/12 NHS poster requesting vaccine steward volunteers to Hub – 9 likes
11/12 Photo of poor parking on the Zebra Crossing outside the Co-op Hub – 37 likes 20 comments.

Ended up with negative comments about the Parish Council not doing enough

15/12 Essex Energy Switch poster Hub –
30/12 Photos of new hedging by the Blue Bridge, Queens Head pond & Heathlands Hub – 82 likes 55 comments.

Negative comments about the hedging by the pond

5/1 Care Network poster for new lockdown Hub – 17 likes 1 comment
5/1 Tennis court closure poster Hub –
16/1 COVID-19 self care poster Hub – 10 likes 2 comments
Photos of Nigel’s work to help with the drainage on Chitts Hill Hub – 201 likes 33 comments.

All thank you & well done, 2 saying Highways should have done it

22/1 Essex Police Zoom Q&A poster Hub –

Cllr Smith has begun work on a Publicity Plan for the Council. It is currently with Cllrs Stevenson and Butcher and will progress to full council in the near future.

ACTION – With regards to the 11/12 post of poor parking on the zebra crossing, Cllr Stone is to chase the removal firm, whose van was in the photo, to ask what they had done about it?


Council Action Plan


To receive an update on 2020-21 Projects:

The Council Projects for 2020-21 are progressing as follows (only change noted in yellow):

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 £80.86 spent on website migration (£510 completion invoice about to go through with Jan Payments)
Grants: (awarded by the Parish Council) £1,000 £500 awarded
TOTAL £31,000


MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area)


To note MUGA resurfacing tender has now been submitted to the Government’s Contracts Finder website.

Closing date 22nd Feb 2021. 7 contractors have contacted the Parish Clerk so far and 4 have visited the site. This item will come back to the 24th March full council meeting for a decision.




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

  • Health & Wellbeing Conference – CS, BTB & NS – 26th Nov 2020
    Conference was done very well, as with all events at the EALC.
  • Village Halls – East of England Conference – BTB – 25th Jan 2021
    Attended by just over 100 people, with every session needing a different Zoom entry link. It reminded Cllr Butcher just how lucky the Orpen Hall is to have Bluebells still using the hall on a regular basis when many halls across the region are in a lot more difficulty than us.

ACTION – Clerk to check on availability of latest COVID-19 grant from CBC.


Items to Note

  1. Crime Statistics – 23rd Nov 2020 – 24th Jan 2021, no crimes reported.
  2. Heathlands School – new headteacher, Joseph Fielder, has been appointed by the governors.
  3. School Parking Guidance – this has been put on hold until the school reopens completely.
  4. Transport Survey – was submitted by Cllr Smith


Items for the next agenda – 24th February 2021

  • Trust meeting required after PC meeting to approve hall budget for 2021-22.


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

  The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 24th February 2021 at 7.30pm

(via Zoom)

  Meeting closed at 9.06 pm
Signed:                                  Date:                     Position on Council:


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