Minutes of Parish Council 22nd June 2022

Minutes of meeting

A brief summary of the key elements of the PC meeting on 22nd June 2022. As well as receiving regular reports they discussed:

  • The sad loss of Borough Councillor Marcus Harrington,
  • The consultation on National Grid Pylons,
  • Numerous issues in local roads & highways,
  • Vandalism at the Youth Shelter,
  • Wildlife areas,
  • Proposed Parish Office adjacent to John Lampon Hall.

Official minutes are below:

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

Held on Wed 22nd June 2022 at 7.30 pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Hall

Chairman:Cllr Brian Butcher
Parish Councillors Present:Cllrs John Gili-Ross, Andrew Savage, Harry Stone, Manya Barrow and David Short
Parish ClerkLaura Walkingshaw
Borough & County Councillors:Cllrs Lewis Barber & Dennis Willetts
Present:1 member of the public

22/86           Receive/accept apologies and welcome to the public

RESOLVED – Apologies were received and accepted from Cllrs Stevenson, Tyrrell, Owers and Fayers.

22/87           Questions from registered electors

There were no questions received from registered electors.

22/88           Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

22/89           Previous Minutes

RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council held on Wednesday 25th May 2022 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (See link to PC Minutes P2 May 22)

22/90           Report from Colchester Borough and Essex County Councillors

Marcus Harrington:

Cllr Lewis Barber spoke regarding the sad loss of former Borough Councillor Marcus Harrington. He had known Marcus almost all of his life, his death was very sad and a real shock after such a short illness. The large number and variety of people at his funeral was a testament to his numerous interests and the many people’s lives that he had touched.

Matters in the area:

  • National Grid Pylons – the deadline of the consultation has now closed. Cllr Barber was pleased with the County Council response, but less so with the Borough Council’s one. It is, however, early days and in reality, we need to put pressure on MPs locally as National Grid is entitled to statutory purchase those areas for the pylons.
  • Borough Cllr Martin Leatherdale – has stepped down as borough councillor for the Lexden & Braiswick ward. There will be a by-election within the next 6 weeks to replace him.
  • Local Highways Panel (LHP) – funding has been agreed for improvements to the Chapel Road zebra crossing as several matters of safety concerns have been noted there. There is a concern not to make it too urbanised in this village setting but may just install a table.
  • Speed Indicator Devices (SIDs) – the application for the SIDs on Colchester Road has now been submitted in order to slow traffic down near the school.
  • 180733 – NEEB Armoury Road site – the Planning Enforcement Officer has been monitoring the site, but if anyone sees any other changes, please inform Cllr Barber.
  • Chapel Rd/Lexden Rd – repairs have been made to the road at this junction.  
  • Chitts Hill – have received complaints on the pavement work, i.e., that it is just not up to standard. There are ongoing issues, but Cllr Barber has spoken to the LHP about redoing the work.
  • Levelling Up Fund – unanimous decision by the Borough Council to give extra funding to organisations already in operation and in need of funds rather than to new groups.

The Chairman asked in regard to Chapel Road, where parking is a problem, would there be any chance Cllr Barber could use his influence to get NEPP (North Essex Parking Partnership) to visit.

Cllr Barber noted that with the Colchester Road Crossing, it is necessary to get the speeding reduced on that road so that then the crossing can be installed. He didn’t expect to get the money for the SIDs but was pleased when he did and once they are installed, he and the PC can then resume discussions with Essex Highways about the crossing. Cllr Stone asked what type of SIDs they were, to which he responded, the type that says the speed. Cllr Gili-Ross reiterated that the eastbound SID is too close to the new development’s proposed new road.

ACTION – Clerk to find the development plans and send to Cllr Barber again.

The Parish Council’s frustration is that Essex County Council agreed in the Neighbourhood Plan for the crossing, there is section 106 monies being held by Colchester Borough Council waiting for them, but Essex Highways has stalled the project.

22/91           Finance

a)   Statement of accounts for May 2022

The final accounts for May 22 (17% through financial year) were presented as follows: (See link to PC Accounts P2 May 22)

Receipts at 49%, General Expenditure 17%, Environment Expenditure 12%, Overall Expenditure 16%. Bank Rec at £ 135,649.48 on 31st May 2022. Cllr Savage reported that the Council is in a good financial position, the annual insurance payment has just gone through, but this will be split between the PC, Hall and New Allotments spreading the cost next month.

It was noted that the Council has not received its Highways Devolution monies yet this financial year. Cllr Gili-Ross recommended writing to Cllr Scott as portfolio holder for Highways. Informing him that if the project is going to finish and the payment is not going to be made this year, then it would have been nice to know this before the PC agreed its budgets in January. He suggested comparing the grant amount to the cost of the man hours it pays for as then it is clear how much it saves Essex Highways in work time.

b)   Payments

ACTION – Clerk to hold back payment to George Browns until the chain of events is clearer.

RESOLVED – To approve the June payments list in accordance with 2022-23 budget. Proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Stone. All in favour.

Payments List Jun 22
DDBarclaysBank charges (16.38 – 1.58)14.80
PC22043Gallagher InsuranceAnnual Insurance (to be split with hall – £200)3,319.85
SOJ & M Payroll ServicesJune – wages, tax & NI4,500.00
PC22044J & M Payroll ServicesJune – wages tax & NI694.56
PC22045J & M Payroll ServicesPayroll services27.00
PC22046WBFCGrass cutting Jun – LD Field50.00
PC22047CountrywideGrass cutting Jun – Poor’s Land186.00
PC22048Petty Cash – LWClimate Change stall, glue gun & stamps33.20
PC22049John Gili-RossPetrol, diesel and blower parts114.68
PC22050Victoria Beckwith-ColeAnnual Parish Meeting – refreshments70.70
PC22051EventbriteEmpowering Communities – CS90.05
PC22052EALCCllr Training Day – MB108.00
PC22053EALCCllr Training Day 2 – MB108.00
PC22054PlayquipAerial Runway13,742.40
PC22055Laura WalkingshawSLCC AGM, overalls (PA1), stationery37.49
PC22056WavePoor’s Land – Mar-Jun 2215.30
PC22057George BrownsRepairs to Kubota699.23
PC22058Andrew SavageMileage to RCCE for training11.70
PC22059A-Z Supplies3 boxes of A4 paper129.56
PC22060Nigel WeallRepairs to gazebo89.18
PC22061Essex Roller ShuttersFire escape doors in OH – Earmarked Hall2,559.60
PC22062Manya BarrowTravel expenses to training course73.30

c)    To agree to the Forest Floors quote for £1850 to refinish the John Lampon Hall floor from Hall Projects, Earmarked Reserves.

Orpen Hall Management Committee happy with this quote, work recommended by the manufacturers.

ACTION – Cllr Gili-Ross warned from previous work to the hall to ensure that the floor finish is non-slip. Clerk to check with Hall Administrator.

RESOLVED – Cllr Savage proposed that the Council agreed the quote, Cllr Butcher seconded. All in favour.

22/92           Planning

a)   To approve the following recommendation made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee via email:

221405 – Church Cottage, Hall Road, CO6 3DU Alcrofts Farm, Bures Road – SUPPORT – The description of the work appears misleading as the external walls are being raised for the first floor and a new roof, containing rooms, constructed above. Nevertheless, the Parish Council supports this application, as even though it is a substantial development the plot is large enough to accommodate it. However, the Council would like to see the ribbon windows of the pool house on the neighbour’s side be unopenable and a condition to be included in the decision which would not allow the garage to be converted into residential accommodation at any future date.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed the Council approve this recommendation as a decision, Cllr Barrow seconded. All in favour.

b)   To agree any supplementary comments on the Parish Council’s response to National Grid’s consultation on the East Anglia Green Energy Enablement (GREEN) dated June 16th

The response had previously been received by all members from Cllr Stevenson. The Chairman thanked Cllr Stevenson in his absence for his hard work in compiling the response.

RESOLVED – All in favour of agreeing the response.

ACTION – Clerk to submit response to GREEN email address tomorrow.

22/93           Environment & Highways

All members had previously been circulated the minutes of the meeting. Just to add a couple of items:

  • Vandalism – have had an incident of vandalism to the youth shelter on the Lorkin Daniell Field. Two youths were caught on CCTV kicking in the sides of the shelter and then running off in the Mumford Close direction. Good images of the perpetrators are with the Police, if there is no response from the incident unit then the PC will need to send to the District Commander. Well done to Nigel the Handyman on his repairs. Would be good to put something in the Bulletin and on the local Facebook Hub.

ACTION – Cllr Barrow undertook to get an article ready for the Bulletin.

  • Highways Devolution – the money may be in danger, will need to factor this in when looking at the budget.
  • Wivenhoe wildlife areas – Cllr Gili-Ross attended an open event at Wivenhoe Town Council tonight. The Wildlife areas were more to do with plants than animals where they had allowed certain areas to grow and become wilder without sowing wildflower seeds. They have volunteers who look after the plant life. West Bergholt Parish Council already has a strategic plan which is located on the website and remains valid, but it is also good to learn from other Councils. Wivenhoe TC let residents know what they are doing by having signs to inform them of the wildlife areas, which West Bergholt could adapt and use where appropriate.
  • Hall Road Pond – the Conservation Trust Volunteers will be coming on Tuesday to work on the Hall Road Pond.
  • Thanks to Cllrs Short and Stone for looking after things and for Cllr Barrow for the loan of a blower whilst the Council purchased a replacement in the Chairman’s absence.

22/94           Council Documents

a)   To review and ratify West Bergholt Parish Council’s Environment Committee’s Terms of Reference – amendments proposed

The Clerk had previously circulated the proposed amendments (in red). Cllr Butcher suggested also adding one more amendment, that “mowing and hedge cutting of Parish & Trust managed land”.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to agree all the amendments, Cllr Savage seconded. All in favour.

b)   To review and ratify West Bergholt Parish Council’s Co-Option Policy – no change proposed from previous

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to agree the current policy, Cllr Short seconded. All in favour.

22/95           Parish Office

Cllr Butcher presented his Parish Office Report. There were discussions around the position of the fire door, noise from Bluebells, light in the JL Hall and how much room would be needed for the Parish records, all of which were resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Cllr Butcher reminded members that there is £20,000 in this year’s budget for this project and there will be section 106 monies available which the Council should seek to use without delay.

Cllr Short asked if the Council knew how the sale of the Methodist Chapel was progressing, which at the time nobody did, however Cllr Stevenson has since informed the Council that the sale is continuing but with the third interested purchaser.

The Recommendations were then looked at in detail, with Cllr Butcher reiterating that it will be 6-12 months before the project is completed but until the Council starts the planning process it cannot make a claim on the section 106 monies. Cllr Barrow expressed the view that the Orpen Hall Complex was the more valuable thing in the village, and it would be doing something of the residents to get it agreed. The Recommendations were as follows:

  1. The first consideration at this month’s meeting for discussion/agreement is the extension to the RHS of the John Lampon, as being said to be a less expensive option than a standalone office and uses a ‘dead piece’ of land next to the John Lampon. This means no parking spaces will be lost. This recommendation is the location of the new Parish Office that the Parish Council should proceed with.
    RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to approve recommendation 1. All in favour.
  2. The second recommendation at this month’s meeting for discussion/agreement is, having regard to the RFO’s comments on available funds, that the Parish Council should seek fee quotes for the design and contract administration of the new office from local architects (as was done for the external w c, toilet refurbishment, etc using the P C’s drawings as a blueprint but not stifling their input on matters associated with layout, thermal efficiency, cost, accessibility etc.)
    RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to approve recommendation 2 and will bring back the quotes (being over £500) for approval by the full council. All in favour.

22/96           Training/Networking Events

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

  • Councillor Training Days 1 & 2 – Cllr Owers is attending this course next month, Cllr Barrow attended her Day 2 on 16th June 22 – she reported that this was an essential course, where it was good to swap details with other councils.
  • RCCE Treasurer’s Training – Cllr Savage – 9th June 22 – course was particularly useful as the PC acts as Sole Trustee to the Orpen Hall Trust which allows the Hall to reclaim the VAT.

22/97           Items to Note

  • Crime Statistics – 0 crimes reported in the last month.
  • Letter of Complaint – in regard to the parking by allotment holders on Chapel Road. Cllr Butcher has responded and copied to the chairperson of the WB Allotment Association.
  • Broadband Provision – With the recent problems around the broadband connections and the closure of the Post Office due to them, the question was raised once more about the broadband provision in the village. There are 3 suppliers in West Bergholt, BT, Virgin and County Broadband, but not all have those options. Virgin cherry picked the roads it wanted to supply where they didn’t have to ask for resident’s permission to lay their cables. Cllr Barrow would like to see a better service available for all villagers.

ACTION– Cllr Butcher and the Clerk will check back with Cllr Stevenson and bring back more information to the September meeting on the response to his letter to the Superfast Essex Programme.

22/98           Items for next agenda (July 2022)

  • PC Emails
  • Data Protection Documents

22/99           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).

There were no matters held in committee.

22/100         Date of Next Meeting

The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 27th July 2022 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall, Lexden Road, CO6 3BW.

Meeting closed at 9.10pm

Signed:                            Date:                     Position on Council:

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