Minutes of Parish Council 22nd September 2021

A brief summary of key elements of the PC Meeting on 22nd September 2021. They:

Award winning dame Scott Sophos
  • reviewed COVID-19 developments including possible impact on Orpen Players,
  • approved payments & recommendations for maintenance of the newly resurfaced tennis courts,
  • noted the Planning Committee decisions to:
    • support applications in Fordham Road, Pirie Road, Lexden Road, Chapel Lane & Firmin Close,
    • object to applications in Chapel Road, South of Cooks Hall Road, Lexden Road, New Church Road & White Hart Lane,
  • approved recommendation to oppose an application in White Hart Lane and support an application in Firmins Court,
  • noted & commented on the Planning Inspectorate’s decision to allow the NEEB Appeal.

Full details in the official minutes below:

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting

Held on Wednesday 22nd September 2021 at 7:30 pm

Chairman:Cllr Chris Stevenson
Parish Councillors Present:Cllrs Harry Stone, Jenny Church, David Short, John Gili-Ross, Joel Fayers, Brian Butcher, Bob Tyrrell, Norma Smith and Andrew Savage
Parish Clerk:Laura Walkingshaw
Borough & County Councillors:None
Present:0 members of the public


Receive/accept apologies and welcome to the public


RESOLVED – apologies accepted from Councillor Phil Spencer.


West Bergholt Covid-19 Response


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

  • West Bergholt Surgery is currently closed for refurbishment, instead patients are being directed to the Nayland site. Can now book your Covid-19 booster vaccine online if you are eligible. The Pharmacy can provide the annual flu jabs, although again a booking is required.
  • Regarding use of the Hall, the Clerk is currently making enquiries to the RCCE in relation to Covid-19 restrictions on hall capacities (currently at 50%) as the Orpen Players have raised concerns that it is not viable for them to run the annual Panto unless they can play to a full house.


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. Cllr Smith declared an interest in item 21/138b planning application 212442.


Previous Minutes


RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Parish Council meetings held on Wednesday 23rd June & Wednesday 28th July 2021 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (Link to PC Minutes P3 Jun 2021, PC Minutes P4 Jul 2021)


Report from Colchester Borough Councillors


As the Borough Councillors were not present there was no report.




Statement of accounts for July-Aug 2021 (see link to PC Accounts P4-5 Jul-Aug 21)

The final accounts for July-Aug 2021 (42% through financial year) were presented as follows:

Receipts at 51%, General Expenditure 27%, Environment Expenditure 19%, Overall Expenditure 25%

Bank Rec at £ 85,675.17



RESOLVED – To approve the August-September payments list in accordance with 2021-22 budget.

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

PC Payments List – Aug 2021



Bank charges (19.16-2.54)



J & M Payroll Services

Aug – wages, tax & NI



J & M Payroll Services

Aug – wages, tax & NI (Handymen’s Fete hrs to be paid by Chairman’s Fund £195.84)



WB Parochial Church

5Ts grant from Charity Allotment Stall



Lynda Robinson

Allotments – new lawnmower, petrol, wheels



J & M Payroll Services

Payroll services




Grass cutting Aug – LD Field




Grass cutting Aug – Poor’s Land



Petty Cash

Stamps, Cement etc (benches)




Training – Cllr Training Day 1 – JF




Training – Cllr Training Day 2 – JF



Nigel Weall

Petrol & Diesel for vehicles



NALC (Eventbrite)

Biodiversity workshop – CS, BT, NS



Victoria Beckwith-Cole

Balloons for reopening of tennis courts



DKF Painting

Projects – Repainting of JL Hall & Corridor




Water bill – Allotments



E.T.C. Sports Surfaces

Resurfacing of tennis courts


PC Payments List – Sept 2021



Bank charges (20.71-2.85)



J & M Payroll Services

Sept – wages, tax & NI



J & M Payroll Services

Sept – wages, tax & NI – Refund due



J & M Payroll Services

Payroll services




Grass cutting Sept – LD Field




Grass cutting Sept – Poor’s Land



Petty Cash

Stamps (4 pks 2nd class), window envelopes



Atlas Signs

Friendly Bench plaques




Toner x 4 & drum unit – Brother printer



George Browns

Nuts, washers & bolts x 2



Jacqui Kibby

Sept Bulletin – Editor remuneration




WBPC magnetic signs for vehicle



John Gili-Ross

Environment expenses inc. paint, diesel, tools



PKF Littlejohn LLP

External audit




Trust accounts – internal audits




Water bill – Allotments (Aug-Sep 21)



M & J Group

Hall Roof – final release of retention money




Water bill – Poor’s Land (Jun-Sep 21)



Atlas Signs

Sept Bulletin – printing



A-Z Supplies

2 bxs A4 paper for Cllrs – annual supply




ECC Highways Multi Topic Briefing – JGR



PC to Hall Account

2 bxs A4 paper for PC Office



Aldham PC

Receipt into Admin – PC printer cartridges



To note completion of the 2020-21 external audit of the PC accounts.

The Council has received confirmation that PKF Littlejohn LLP has completed the external audit of the Parish Council’s accounts and found no problems. Section 3 of the AGAR is now available on westbergholt-pc.gov.uk. (see link to AGAR Section 3 External Auditor’s Report)


To note receipt of Emergency CIF grant of £1,250 from Essex County Council.

The Parish Council received the Emergency CIF grant of £1,250 on the 8th July 2021 and has since used it towards the cost of a new parish vehicle.


To approve the Finance Committee recommendation of using ETC Sports Surfaces for the tennis courts maintenance, with a 5-year contract at £800 + VAT a year.

The newly surfaced tennis courts need to be maintained properly so as not to forfeit their warranty. Three maintenance quotes were obtained for comparison, but it was felt that ETC were more likely to uphold their warranty if they oversaw the maintenance, they were also the cheapest per year over a 5-year contract. It was proposed that the £4,000 for the 5 years of maintenance should come from the existing MUGA reserves (profits 2013-21) and the cost of the re-surfacing be met by the CBC Section 106 Leisure Services money which will be claimed in the near future. This is now a first-class facility, and it is hoped that it will annually raise enough funds to not only continue being self-supporting but also be able to invest in its own asset replacement scheme in 5 years’ time.

RESOLVED – Cllr Savage proposed to approve the recommendation to use ETC Sports Surfaces with a 5-year contract at £800 + VAT a year. Cllr Butcher seconded. 9 in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to notify ETC Sports Surfaces and claim the Section 106 monies for the re-surfacing.




To note the following decisions made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee at their meeting of 18th August 2021: (see link to Planning P5 Aug 21):

  • 211967 – 89 Chapel Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3HB – Object – West Bergholt Parish Council support the proposal for a single storey dwelling as opposed to the two storey previously approved application, however, it would like to comment on three matters: It would like to see the front of the building moved to the back of the site in accordance with PP10 of the CBC-adopted WB Neighbourhood Plan, specifically DG12, “New development should respect existing building lines of adjacent properties”. The building lines should respect those of the existing property, as per the blue line of the previously approved application 191984. It would also like CBC to ensure that the distance of the proposed dwelling from the next-door bungalow is appropriate in regard to the previous approval. The Parish Council would like to see a drawing of the street elevations with levels on, rather than a scale bar to be reassured on the size. It would also like to raise the question of the light levels to the Planning Officer in regard to the neighbouring property and would recommend crippled hips to the roof of the front of the bungalow if needed for light purposes.
  • 212042 – land south of Cooks Hall Road, CO6 – Object – West Bergholt Parish Council cannot support new buildings outside the village settlement boundary as it is at odds with the CBC-approved West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan, as supported by 94% of parish residents. WBPC’s Planning Committee would query the use of CBC’s Planning Policy DP13: Dwelling Alterations, Extensions and Replacement Dwellings in this application, as although it states: (b) For replacement dwellings, when development: (i) Is on a one-for-one basis and the property to be demolished is of permanent construction, recently occupied, and is not derelict or abandoned; the current site has clearly been derelict for many decades. The Committee would therefore defer to Colchester Borough Council’s greater knowledge of its policy DP13 in this instance.
  • 211999 – Pond Cottage, Fordham Road, CO6 3DP – Support – West Bergholt Parish Council’s Planning Committee acknowledge the reference to CBC’s Planning Policy DP13: Dwelling Alterations, Extensions and Replacement Dwellings in regard to this application, which states: (b) For replacement dwellings, when development: (i) Is on a one-for-one basis and the property to be demolished is of permanent construction, recently occupied, and is not derelict or abandoned; and would on that basis defer to Colchester Borough Council’s greater knowledge of its policy DP13 to establish whether this application is in accordance with it.
  • 212126 – 42 Pirie Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3TA – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 212209 – Clare House, 47 Lexden Road, CO6 3BW – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 212232 – 31 Lexden Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3BX – Object – The Parish Council is happy with an extension to this property in principle but would refer to PP10 of the CBC-adopted WB Neighbourhood Plan, specifically DG3, DG7 and DG8. PP10 clearly states, 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. The Council believe that the proposed extension is too large, especially in relation to the bungalow next door, but the applicant’s failure to provide a street scene has made this very difficult to assess.


To note the following decisions made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee at their meeting of 15th September 2021: (see link to Planning P6 Sept 21):

  • 212257 – 30 New Church Road, CO6 3JE – Object – The Parish Council remains of the view that the new application is contrary to our adopted Neighbourhood Plan, Village Design Statement and CBC Policies. We have noted the changes from the previous application, unfortunately, they still fall short of addressing our concerns. The proposal by virtue of its size, scale, and height together with its position on the site in relation to its boundaries and adjacent development would result in a cramped urban form of development, this being detriment of the street scene and out of keeping with the prevailing character of New Church Road, which is a semi-rural lane in the heart of our village, principally because of the Heath, the Church and the Allotments. Again, the Parish Council laments the pre-emptive clearance of 90% of the mature trees and other shrubs prior to any planning application. The community 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 and becoming overgrown. The proposed development for 2 no. detached dwellings would be contrary to adopted Local Plan Policies UR2 and DP1 and the Council’s Backland and Infill Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The proposed development is therefore contrary to Core Strategy Policy ENV1 and Development Plan Policy DP1 which seek to conserve and enhance Colchester’s natural and historic environment, countryside and coastline, as well as respect and enhance the character of the site. The site deserves better, 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. The application is overdevelopment. 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 a cramped overdevelopment, the Parish Council wishes to question the height of the bungalow at 28 New Church Road, it appears to be 700mm lower than as shown on the drawings? The site is suitable for a single dwelling as previous (now derelict having had the roof removed and is left open to the elements) or maybe at best a pair of smaller semidetached houses (as adjacent) with a 2.5m spacing from the boundary generally in keeping with other adjacent properties in New Church Road, and the existing urban grain. Possibly with a garage each side with one external parking space in tandem. This would help retain the very rural nature of New Church Road. The new application has paid little regard to previous Parish Council and neighbours’ comments. The new parking arrangements will result in line of 4 cars all needing to manoeuvre in front of the adjacent properties. This is contrary to Village Design Statement DG35: New parking directly in front of a property should be avoided. The applicant has never made any effort for discussion with West Bergholt Parish Council. We consider that there is scope for a single dwelling, shallow in depth so not to infringe the light to the properties at 28 and 32 New Church Road.
  • 212293 – land adj. Rosaville, White Hart Lane, CO6 3DB – Object – West Bergholt Parish Council cannot support and recommends refusal of the new building as it is outside the village settlement limits and is contrary to CBC-approved West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan, as supported by 94% of parish voters, and therefore within the countryside.
  • 212442 – St Andrews, Chapel Lane, CO6 3EG – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 212416 – 11 Firmins Close, West Bergholt, CO6 3BQ – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.

ACTION – Clerk to ask Cllr Barber if WBPC could possibly acquire the greensward at the corner of Mumford Close from CBC.


To approve the following late planning application as a decision and additional comments:

  • 212444 – 3 Firmins Court, West Bergholt, CO6 3BQ – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 212293 – land adj. Rosaville, White Hart Lane, CO6 3DB (additional comments) – Object – The National Planning Policy Framework (the Framework) sets out a presumption in favour of sustainable development which is embedded in Policy SP1 of the North Essex Authorities Shared Strategic Section 1 Plan (adopted 2021) Para 78, states that: ‘In rural areas, planning policies and decisions should be responsive to local circumstances and support housing developments that reflect local needs’. WBNP established a need for smaller 1,2 and 3 bed smaller family homes as there is already an adequate supply of 4/5 bed properties in West Bergholt NPPF Para 79 also goes on to say: ‘To promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities’. This is not appropriate to this application as its located on an unadopted lane on the very edge of the village, this is not a sustainable location. The site represents an unallocated greenfield site. In addition to the above strategic policies, Policy PP9 of the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan (adopted 2019) states that new housing development within the village will be provided on two allocated housing sites. The site does not form part of these allocated sites.

RESOLVED – Cllr Tyrrell proposed to agree these recommendations, Cllr Butcher seconded. All in favour.


To note the Planning Inspectorate decision on the NEEB appeal for the land adj. to Armoury Road, West Bergholt, PA 180773.

The Parish Council was disappointed with the Planning Inspectorate’s decision to allow the NEEB appeal for 26 dwellings on the land adjacent to Armoury Road, West Bergholt. The Council contacted Colchester Borough Council (CBC) for advice on the possibility of a Judicial Review (JR), unfortunately, having heard from both Colchester’s Sandra Scott (Place Strategy Manager) and Simon Cairns (Development Manager), it is clear that there are no grounds for a JR in this case. The bar is set very high for a JR and any grounds must be in regard to failings in procedure. Whilst the comments in the decision reach a conclusion CBC & WBPC do not agree with, it is clear that the Inspector reached her conclusions following consideration of all the relevant information before her so there can be no argument of a failure in procedure.

The original appeal, which was dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate in July 2019, also contained PA180732 (land adj Colchester Road) which incorporated a care home proposal and clearly infringed the gap between West Bergholt and Colchester in opposition to the WB Neighbourhood Plan’s Coalescence Policy PP12. NEEB removed PA180732 from this appeal, so when looking at just PA180733, and its unique position with housing already on 3 of its boundaries, the Planning Inspectorate could not see “that it causes a lot of harm”, galling though it is to members of the Council and residents of the surrounding area.

When contacted by WBPC, Ann Skippers, Planning Consultant and sometimes Neighbourhood Plan Inspector herself, reluctantly admitted that the appeal didn’t warrant a JR and reaffirmed that the PC cannot take it on without CBC support. The Council will be reviewing its Neighbourhood Plan policies with Ann and/or CBC.

ACTION – Clerk to find the details of all the residents who have contacted the PC in regard to this decision so that Cllr Stevenson can reply to them.

ACTION – Cllr Butcher noted that there has been little contact from Hopkins Homes lately, Clerk to chase.


Environment & Highways


To note the minutes of the Environment Committee from their meeting of the 9th September 2021 (see link to Env Minutes P6 Sept 21)

  • The Committee will begin to make enquiries to see if there is someone who would be interested in filling a temporary handyman role whilst there is a short-term demand.


Council Publicity


There have been many posts over August and September, so the WBPC Publicity Officer updated the council with just the following highlights:

  • Future removal of the cherry trees at the front of the Orpen Hall – Cllr Spencer wrote a very good explanation for the required removal, which informed residents in advance of any work and gained some sponsorship of the planned replacement trees.
  • Festival Field celebration of 2022 – early call to arms for next year’s celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee combined with the Village Fete prompted several people to get in touch with offers of help. The initial meeting will be held on Wed 29th Sept at 7.30pm.
  • NEEB Appeal decision – Cllr Stevenson wrote an explanation of the PC’s position which helped many residents understand the situation.
  • New Friendly Benches – photos of the sponsored benches were received very positively.
  • Nigel the handyman’s work cutting the hedges around the Heath in advance of the school returning in early September was the most popular post in the past two months.

Also, as recommended by the EALC, Breakthrough Communications are currently performing a social media health check on WBPC. They have booked to go through their findings with the Clerk on Friday during a scheduled Zoom call.


Training/Networking Events


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

  • Councillor Training Day 1 – Cllr Fayers
    Good course, well attended with over 20 people taking part. Second day will take place on Saturday 25th September.


EALC AGM 23rd Sept 2021


To agree the motions proposed in a Review & Proposed Changes to the EALC Constitution.

It had been hoped that the Essex Association of Local Council’s (EALC) AGM would take place at Hyland House this year, however due to the pandemic this has been pushed to next year. Cllrs Gili-Ross and Butcher will instead be attending virtually tomorrow, at which there will be a vote held on proposed amendments to the EALC’s Constitution. The proposed changes are available on the EALC website (see link to https://www.ealc.gov.uk/agm-2021/).

RESOLVED – Cllr Gili-Ross proposed to approve Cllrs Gili-Ross and Butcher as the nominated voters for WBPC and that they will agree the motions as proposed in the Review & Proposed Changes to the EALC Constitution document. All in favour.


Items to Note


  1. Crime statistics – 19th Jul – 19th Sept 2021, 4 crimes reported.
  2. Councillor profiles on westbergholt-pc.gov.uk – just a reminder from Dave Kingaby for Cllrs to review their profiles under “Contacts” on the website. Please send any updates to the Clerk.
  3. New Reverend (Heather Wilcox) will be taking up her position at St Mary’s from November.
  4. Litter bins – CBC will be removing the bin at the corner of Chapel/Mumford Road due to persistent fly tipping issues.
  5. Christmas meal – may be a good idea to combine with a farewell meal for some. Prospective dates (prior to the 14th Dec) and locations will be circulated by the Clerk to Councillors.  
  6. Letter from Birketts received, dated 20th September 2021, which will be looked at by the Environment Committee.


Items for the next agenda – 27th October 2021

  • Noting the Section 106 Leisure Services claim figures for tennis court resurfacing.
  •  Start thinking about budgets for 2022-23.


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).


Nothing for discussion in committee this month.


Date of Next Meeting


The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 27th October 2021 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall.


Meeting closed at 8.35pm


Date:                     Position on Council:

Skip to content