Minutes of Parish Council 23rd March 2022

Minutes of meeting

A brief summary of key elements of the PC Meeting on 23rd March 2022.  As well as receiving the regular reports, they discussed:

  • feasibility of a zebra crossing on Colchester Road,
  • Jubilee street parties,
  • relocation of football pitch to accommodate the new zip wire,
  • the Methodist Chapel & Hall,
  • support for Ukraine & charity quiz, and
  • the Annual Parish Meeting in April.

Official minutes are below:

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting

Held on Wed 23rd March 2022 at 7.30 pm in the Orpen Memorial Hall

Chairman:Cllr Chris Stevenson
Parish Councillors Present:Cllrs Bob Tyrrell, Joel Fayers, Jenny Church, David Short, Andrew Savage, John Gili-Ross, Manya Barrow and James Owers
Parish ClerkLaura Walkingshaw
Borough & County Councillors:County Cllr Lewis Barber
Present:1 member of the public

22/37           Receive/accept apologies and welcome to the public

RESOLVED – apologies accepted from Councillors Harry Stone & Brian Butcher.

Apologies were also received from Borough Councillors Willetts & Leatherdale.

22/38           Questions from registered electors

There were no questions received from registered electors.

22/39           Declarations of Interest

Cllr Fayers declared an interest in item 22/43, planning application 220103.

22/40           Previous Minutes

RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 23rd February 2022 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (See link to PC Minutes P11 Feb 22)

22/41           Report from Colchester Borough and Essex County Councillors

County Councillor Barber reported:

  • Colchester Road development crossing – The feasibility study into the proposed zebra crossing on Colchester Road came in following a meeting with Jon Simmons and a number from the safety team. It did not show enough emphasis on getting it put in. The issues they listed were:
    • speeding – was too fast along that road but provided no action to fix that issue, when actually adding a SID (speed indicator device) would reduce the speeding but the Cllr was not sure of the funding for that. He will contact Simon Cairns of CBC Planning to find out.
    • the location – which was not insurmountable as the PC are the landowners and happy to enter discussions.
    • lack of pedestrians – chicken and egg situation where there are not enough pedestrians as there is no safe crossing! The report didn’t even seem to realise of the existence of the Neighbourhood Plan development area of 120 houses coming soon to that area.
    • lack of lighting – which the report stated would lead to an increase in dark spots, however again this is looking at the problem from the wrong point of view, if they just went back to the community, they would have said the road is too dangerous.

Cllr Barber asked how the Parish Council would now like to proceed? Cllr Stevenson stated that he is reluctant to waste the £1,000s it would cost to turn the short technical note into a longer version but would instead like to lean directly on the Essex member responsible, using political intervention as surely there can be a holistic solution. The Parish Council has an email from Andrew Cook of ECC previously stating that he was not worried about PV2 traffic/pedestrian calculation which indicated that in theory a crossing was not required, and the council raised the issue of the speeding 3 years ago after the cable survey, asking for solutions from Jon Simmons but he never came back with any.

Simon Cairns will be pooling the section 106 (money from developments) from all three developments; there will no doubt be street lighting on the Neighbourhood Plan development areas anyway. Have a situation where the Borough Council are collecting the money for highways solutions and Essex Highways have said no, wasting people’s time for the second occasion.

ACTION – Cllr Stevenson will re-draft something to send to Cllr Lee Scott of Essex County Council.

ACTION – Cllr Barber will raise with the LHP (Local Highways Panel) Chair, as no-one would want this to go to the LHP prematurely.

  • B1508 – Highways are looking again at the drainage problem in the B1508 between the White Hart and Hall Road; however, they still haven’t repaired the major rodent holes in the footway along this stretch of road which currently have yellow covers on. The Parish Council Handymen spent some time siding out there to enable clear access but will have to end up re-doing the work if the repairs are not completed soon. Cllr Barber will follow up and try to separate the two issues.
  • Closure of London Road – closed between here and Great Horkesley due to flooding which has made the road impassable. This is on a private piece of land and could be closed for up to a week.
  • Jubilee Street Parties – advice for residents who would like to have street parties for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in early June are advised to follow the instructions of the CBC website here https://www.colchester.gov.uk/road closures & street parties

22/42           Finance

a)   Statement of accounts for February 2022

The final accounts for Feb 22 (92% through financial year) were presented as follows: (See link to PC Accounts P11 Feb 22)

Receipts at 99%, General Expenditure 60%, Environment Expenditure 53%, Overall Expenditure 58%. The main reason that the expenditure is not currently up at 92% is due to the slow progress of some PC projects due to the pandemic.

Cllr Gili-Ross queried if there was enough in the annual training budget line as it is currently running overbudget at 131% at present. Cllr Savage stated that there is an annual budget of £1000 provided in that line but the 7 module EALC Climate Crisis course for three people (BT, CS & LW) had pushed the budget over the expected limit. This was a one off and not expected to impact on next year, however Cllr Savage will keep an eye on it in 2022-23 in case it needs increasing in the future.  

Bank Rec at £ 108,753.62 on 28th February 2022.

b)   Payments

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

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

Payments List March 2022
DDBarclaysBank charges (8.50-0.00)8.50
DDWaveAllotments – water charges Dec-Mar112.58
PC21175David HewittRoof repairs20.00
SOJ & M Payroll ServicesMar – wages, tax & NI4500.00
PC21176J & M Payroll ServicesMar – wages tax & NI (inc. 21-22 back pay)1255.02
PC21177J & M Payroll ServicesPayroll services27.00
PC21178WBFCGrass cutting Feb – LD Field50.00
PC21179CountrywideGrass cutting Feb – Poor’s Land178.50
PC21180Petty Cash – LWDrill bit set & rivets31.98
PC21181George BrownsBattery for ride-on mower76.80
PC21182NALCNeigh Planning Policies event103.42
PC21183Essex Roller ShuttersProjects 21-22 – Shutters for Servery in Hall1003.20
PC21184WavePoor’s Land – water charges Dec-Mar13.27
PC21185Kent BlaxillTub & Cement (53.50-24.31 credit)29.19
PC21186SLCCMembership 2022-23234.00
PC21187KingservDomain renewal11.99
PC21188PrinterlandExtra high-capacity black toner117.60
TfrPC to Hall Account3 boxes of A4 paper53.97
TfrPC to Hall AccountMUGA Electricity 2021-22238.96

c)    To approve the tennis court hire charges at £5.50 per hour and £1 per 30-minute floodlight token for 2022-23.

RESOLVED – Cllr Savage proposed to agree the Finance Committee’s recommendation of 2022-23 tennis court hire charges at £5.50 per hour and £1 per 30-minute floodlight token, seconded by Cllr Fayers. All in favour.

d)   To agree to the 2021-22 additions to the Parish Council’s asset register.

This item was deferred until the next meeting.

e)    To agree for Atlas Signs to continue to print the Village Bulletin on a quarterly basis and an approximate 5% increase in the advertising charges for 2022-23.

Quotes from three different printers sought, our current printer Atlas Signs came back the best value, however with prices rising so fast at present the company cannot guarantee each issue will remain at the same cost therefore the Finance Committee recommended using the company on a quarterly basis and reviewing the costs throughout the year.

Also, even with the best value quote the advertising revenues (which pay for the Bulletin’s printing costs) were still £165.60 short of breaking even. The Finance Committee thus recommended a 5% increase to the advertising charges (rounded to the nearest pound) to cover the printing costs.

Cllr Owers questioned why having declared a climate emergency the Parish Council is still putting paper magazines through every door in the parish, when it could be easily substituted by an electronic version. Cllr Stevenson agreed that it wasn’t good for the environment, however the paper copy is loved by many residents some of whom may find access to an online version difficult. The chairman stated that Cllr Owers was right to challenge this and that it could be an area for Communications to look at in the future, especially as it would be possible for residents to “opt in to an electronic copy” whilst paper copies could be left at key points around the village such as Co-op and Drs surgery. To be kept under review.

RESOLVED – Cllr Savage proposed to approve the new advertising charges for 2022-23 and for Atlas Signs to continue to print the Village Bulletin on a quarterly basis. Cllr Stevenson seconded. All in favour.

f)    To approve the appointment of Jan Stobart as the Parish Council’s internal auditor for the 2021-22 end of year accounts

In readiness for submission of the Annual Return, Jan Stobart has quoted £195 for an internal audit and provisionally arranged 4th May date to review the accounts and files.

RESOLVED – Cllr Savage proposed to approve Jan Stobart as the Parish Council’s internal auditor for the 2021-22 end of year accounts. Cllr Short seconded.

g)    To agree the Countrywide £1,225.00 quote for moving the football pitch, and associated works, on the Lorkin Daniell Field to allow space for the zip wire

The Parish Council has previously agreed to the installation of the aerial runway by Playquip for £9,200, however the installation is dependent on a small rotation of the football pitch on the Lorkin Daniell Field by 2-3 degrees. The Council has received 3 estimates, which involve moving the sockets for the goal posts, corner posts, sockets for the spectators’ rope surrounding the pitch as well as doming/reseeding the new goal area and marking out the rectangle of the pitch. Countrywide have provided the best value quote of £1,225. This would result in a total project cost of £10,425, of which there is already £8,272.68 in the “new playground” reserves.

RESOLVED – Cllr Savage proposed to approve the Countrywide £1,225.00 quote for moving the football pitch. Cllr Stevenson seconded.

h)    To note the new NALC National Salary Award scales for 2021-22

Staff pay scales have now been agreed by the National Joint Council and are due to be back paid to 1st April 2021.

22/43           Planning

To note the following decisions made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee at their meeting of 16th March 2022 (see link to Planning P12 Mar 22):

  • 220525 – The Cottage, Newbridge Hill, CO6 3ES – Object -The Council objects on the basis of the orangery’s form of construction, in particular regard to the 200-year-old property’s location in the “Character Area” as designated in PP5 of the CBC-adopted West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan. An orangery constructed at that particular location made of different materials may be acceptable.
  • 220526 – Land adj. To 67 Braiswick, CO4 5BQ (reserved matters) – Observation – The WB Planning Committee would like to reiterate the Council’s disappointment at the approval of this application on appeal.
  • 220540 – 7 Lexden Road, CO6 3BT – Object – Due to the size and bulk of these proposed alterations the Council objects to this application as it does not comply to PP10 of the CBC-adopted West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan, specifically DG3, DG7 and DG8 of the Village Design Statement:

DG3 – General Design – all proposed new build and extensions must enhance the area and make a positive architectural contribution.

DG7 – Buildings must be in harmony with the surroundings in respect of materials, colour, texture, proportion and scale.

DG8 – Planning applications must show contextually the impact of their proposals on adjacent building by means of adequately detailed plans with accurate street elevations.

  • 220103 – 3 Garret Place, CO6 3SH (amended plans) – Cllr Fayers re-declared an interest at this point, left the room and took no part in discussions.

Object – The Council sees a big improvement in the amended plans and are pleased to note that the dormer has been reduced in size and its impact lessened. However, it is with regret that the Council cannot see how it complies with PP10 of the CBC-adopted West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan, specifically DG14 of the Village Design Statement:

DG14 – Dormers should be used sparingly and be subservient in nature.

RESOLVED – Cllr Tyrrell proposed to approve the above comment on Planning Application 220103, Cllr Savage seconded. All in favour

22/44           Environment & Highways

To note the minutes of the Environment Committee from their meeting of the 17th March 2022 (see link to Environment P12 Mar 22)

Cllr Gili-Ross just added the following information to the minutes:

  • Beacon lighting – for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on Thurs 2nd June. There is now a date for it to go up near the hall and there is a work programme set in place.
  • Village Sign repairs -following the damage caused by Storm Eunice. Intend to have this up ready of the Jubilee. Decided to cost for 2 scenarios (oak), looking at taking the existing sign and seeing how far the rot can be cut off and then attaching a metal shoe (galvanised) with drainage into the stonework. It will remain the same height.

22/45           Council Documents

To review and ratify West Bergholt Parish Council’s:

  • Complaints Procedure
  • Grant Awarding Policy

No amendments recommended to Councillors by the Clerk.

RESOLVED – Cllr Stevenson proposed to ratify the policies, seconded by Cllr Savage. All in favour.

22/46           Methodist Chapel

To agree to the Methodist Chapel & Hall Consultation document, but to defer publication of it until the next PC meeting on 27th April (see link to Methodist Cover Report & Consultation Document).

Cllr Stevenson stated that of the options, the Council could pair option A with option C:

  1. Agree with minor revisions and ask the Webmaster to format for electronic survey with a paper copy PDF file for distribution by other means,
  2. Disagree with the draft and propose a differently worded survey,
  3. Defer the survey to another date as the buildings are under offer and await whether the sale goes through. It is suggested that if this option is selected that the situation is revisited in April

He also informed that Council that since meeting last month the buildings were now under offer, however the Methodists were currently undertaking the usual checks and due diligence on that offer. Cllr Barrow stated that certain words used in the consultation, e.g., PWLB and precept, would not be understood by many residents. It was agreed that work was needed for two Councillors such as Cllr Barrow and Cllr Fayers (with his background in consultancy) to proofread and amend the consultation to create a plain English version.

ACTION – Two Councillors to review the consultation in terms of the vocabulary and understanding from a residents’ point of view.

The Finance Committee agreed to recommend the consultation, with minor amendments. It will take 2 to 3 weeks for the offer on the Chapel to go through the proper checks on due diligence anyway. This survey does not have to go through every door in the Parish as would be required at a later stage anyway for the Public Works Loan, this is a temperate check. Cllr Stevenson reiterated that it is good practice to check in regularly with the electorate and residents on the current state of opinion on opportunities like this.

RESOLVED – Cllr Stevenson proposed option A approval of the Consultation document, with minor amendments and ask the Webmaster to format for electronic survey with a paper copy PDF file for distribution by other means. Cllr Gili-Ross seconded. 7 Councillors were for, 2 against, resolution agreed.

22/47           WBPC Support for Ukraine

a)     To approve measures to show support for Ukraine (see link to Ukraine Support Paper & NALC Briefing Paper)

A supporting paper and the NALC (National Association of Local Councils) Briefing Paper had already been circulated to Councillors on this topic. The following measures were proposed to show support for Ukraine during the current crisis:

  • fly the Ukrainian flag at the front of the Orpen Memorial Hall.
  • co-sign the NALC statement of support with other Councils across the Country.
  • hold a Village Quiz on Sat 16th April with all funds going to DEC Red Cross Emergency in Ukraine.
  • match fund any monies raised at the Quiz and donate to the DEC Red Cross Emergency in Ukraine.
  • add a banner to the westbergholt.org website to show support and including a link to DEC Red Cross site.

Cllr Stevenson opened discussions stating that it was always good to see and discuss items at a meeting even if they had been discussion earlier via email. Although happy to agree the other statements Councillors were uncomfortable with match funding the monies raised at the Quiz as it felt rather open ended and inappropriate to use parish money when so many were struggling with rising costs at present. It was agreed instead to donate the hire fee for the Orpen Hall that evening to enable the Quiz to raise more profits.

RESOLVED – Cllr Stevenson proposed to approve the measures to show support for Ukraine, except to “match fund any profits raised at the Quiz”. Cllr Owers seconded. All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to inform Hall Administrator that the hire fee for the Quiz night is to be donated by the Parish Council

b)   To purchase a Village Quiz Charity Cup, which will be used annually to raise money for a variety of charities

It is proposed to hold a Spring Charity Quiz every year for different charities and the Parish Council purchase the trophy. All members were happy with the principle.

RESOLVED – Cllr Stevenson proposed to purchase a Village Quiz Charity Cup, seconded by Cllr Savage. All in favour.

ACTION – As the cost will be well under the £500 Committee expenditure guidelines, the Clerk will find a suitable trophy and pass to the RFO for final approval prior to purchasing in advance of the Quiz night.

22/48           Training/Networking Events

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

  • Advanced Cllr Training – CS – 9th Mar

Taster session to try out a new training course which will be renamed at a later date. Splendid course, a lot on consulting the public regularly, adopting a Business Case approach for managing complex projects and having a strategic plan.

  • CALC Meeting – BTB – 17th Mar

Interesting item on Section 106 (money from developments), dispelling many of the myths and what can be applied for project-wise. Informative and slick this is the first recording straight onto YouTube.

  • Civic Reception at Town Hall – CS – 18th Mar

The Chairman, Chris Stevenson and his wife met the new Mayor of Colchester, Robert Davidson, and received a tour of the Town Hall by the Alderman.

22/49           Items to Note

  1. Crime statistics – 14th Feb – 27th Feb 2022, 0 crimes reported.
  2. Highways – Col. Rd Zebra Crossing Feasibility Technical Note – see earlier item 22/41

22/50           Items for next agenda (April 2022)

  • Annual Parish Meeting
    • Age Concern
    • Community Policing Team or rather ask Deputy PFCC Jane Gardner back again to talk about Essex Police’s net zero initiative.
    • Active Essex
    • Could shape it around “Come out again”
    • Possibly thank you & recognition of volunteers
    • Advertising of the Jubilee, inc. how residents can obtain road closures

22/51           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 agree to the Finance Committee’s recommendation to amend the termination notice period on the Handymen’s contract.

RESOLVED – Cllr Stevenson proposed to amend the termination notice period on the Handymen’s contracts to just four weeks. Cllr Savage seconded. All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to make relevant amendments to all three contracts.

22/52           Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 27th April 2022 at 6.30pm in the Orpen Memorial Hall, followed by the Annual Parish Meeting at 7.30pm.

Meeting closed at 9.08 pm

Signed:                            Date:                     Position on Council:

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