Minutes of Parish Council 24th May 2023

A brief summary of key elements of the PC Meeting on 24th May 2023.  In addition to other subjects, they:

Minutes of meeting
  • discussed the potential for a plaque to commemorate the Coronation of King Charles,
  • received questions from electors concerning the Fish & Chip Shop and speeding on Colchester Road.  These resulted in some debate including the shop’s lack of a smell reduction unit and the Parish Council’s campaign for a zebra crossing on Colchester Road,
  • heard about a significant shortfall in the City Council’s budget and actions the City Council might be forced to take to address this,
  • signed off the Parish Council accounts for 2022-23,
  • approved planning applications in Lexden Rd, School Lane, Church Close & Bradbook Cottages,
  • discussed potholes for the Priority Repair List and providing residents with the information to report them.

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

Held on Wed 24th May 2023 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall, CO6 3BW

Chair:Cllr Brian Butcher
Parish Councillors:Cllrs Bob Tyrrell, Katie Pulford, Sara Cullis & David Short
Also in attendance:Laura Walkingshaw (Parish Clerk)
City & County Cllrs:Dennis Willetts
Members of the public:One member of the public

23/94          Receive /accept apologies and welcome to the public.

Apologies were received from Cllrs James Owers, Harry Stone, Manya Barrow, John Gili-Ross and Andrew Savage.

23/95          Congratulations to HM King Charles III on his Coronation

Cllr Butcher, the Chair of the Parish Council (PC), wished His Majesty all the very best wishes for him and Queen Camilla from West Bergholt Parish Council and local residents.

The Parish Council received a letter from Mrs. Jennifer Tolhurst, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Essex regarding the purchase of a commemorative Coronation plaque similar to the ones other Councils in the Country have erected. It will cost approx. £200, be roughly half a metre in diameter and a place for it would need to be found in the Orpen Hall. However, Cllr Owers has sent a response suggesting an alternative, that a smaller plaque could be fitted to the soon to be donated flagpole to the front of the Hall.

DEFERRED – Cllr Butcher proposed therefore to defer the decision until Cllr Owers returns and can provide full details of the flagpole & plaque. All in favour.

23/96          Questions from registered electors

The resident attending the meeting had raised an issue with the newly opened Fish & Chip shop in regard to the smells and parking, firstly with the PC and then with the City Council. He was complimentary in regard to the speed of the response from both councils and looks forward to hearing more from the City Council shortly.

He also asked about the issues of speeding on Colchester Road, especially incidences that had been noticed recently by the mini roundabout at the corner of Chapel Road and Colchester Road. Cllr Butcher explained that the PC was pushing for a zebra crossing further along Colchester Road and for a 40mph speed restriction to be put in between the 30mph and the 60mph in order to slow drivers down. In fact, having recently met with Rose Builders in regard to their proposed development on Colchester Road they too will be looking into these issues with their Highways Consultant. Cllr Butcher emphasised that the issues were unfortunately well known along that road and in fact the Local Highways Panel had been looking for a solution for some time.

In relation to the Fish & Chip shop, Cllr Willetts commented that it is almost standard procedure for prospective shop owners to bring in experts stating that the shop will open with smell reduction units but by the time they open the filters are old and not working so the battle begins between them and the Environmental Health department. However, the resident pointed out that CCC’s Planning Enforcement have said that they suspect the odour control system was never installed or signed off and will be following up on this question.

Unfortunately, a lot of local residents who live nearby the new shop have been impacted by the smell, by not being able to open their windows or use their gardens at present, and the parking issues.

Cllr Butcher reiterated that the PC objected at the time on a number of grounds, which have now come to the fore and he commended the resident for doing the right thing in writing and working with the PC and City Council on a way to resolve things.

23/97          Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

23/98          Previous Minutes

RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council held on Wednesday 10th May 2023 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (See link to PC Minutes P2 May 23 A Mtg of PC)

23/99          Report from Colchester City & Essex County Councillors

Colchester City Councillor Dennis Willetts reported:

That as there were elections this year, the City Council has been unable to meet due to the rules around purdah, from mid-March until the Annual Meeting, which will be held the first week of June so therefore nothing has happened on a strategic level.

Since the elections, it has taken some time to agree how to form an administration as there was no clear leading party. In the end the Leader of the Council and their political party formed a minority administration to catch up.

However, the outlook for the Council is particularly grim, with a shortfall of some £5 million in the budget. A certain amount of pruning of the services provided will be taking place, examples of which are already being put into place such as the charging for the green waste service come next year. Some parts of the Council, such as the Leisure Centres, have simply not been earning their keep, when they should have been making a profit and propping up parts of the Council, instead they have been making a loss and some decisions will need to be made.

Government grants to the Council have also been less than expected as Colchester City Council has £30-35 million in reserves, whilst councils with no reserves have been provided with more in grants. It will be a challenging year and a very difficult time.

Cllr Butcher reported:

That although County Councillor, Lewis Barber, wasn’t present no doubt he would wish to mention that Cllrs Butcher & Gili-Ross of the PC had a meeting with Cllr Lee Scott (portfolio holder for Essex Highways) and his deputy, and two others on finding a replacement for the Devolution work (so that the Village Handymen could continue their devolution-type work in the Parish) and the potential Colchester Road zebra crossing. It was thought to be a positive meeting, with alternatives being sought for the Devolution work and another meeting will be scheduled on the zebra crossing.

23/100        Finance

a)   Statement of accounts for Apr 23

The final accounts for Apr 23 (8.3% through the financial year) were presented as follows: (See link to PC Accounts P1 Apr 23)

Receipts at 49%, General Expenditure 8%, Environment Expenditure 4%, Overall Expenditure 7%. Bank Rec at £ 134,138.87.

As it is a new financial year there is a new version of Summary and Projects & Reserves sheet, including this year’s budget, previously agreed reserves and listed projects for 2023-24. The accounts show most line items around the expected 8%, except the Fees/Subs line, but that is because the annual payment for membership to the EALC (Essex Association of Local Councils) & NALC (National Association of Local Councils) has just gone through, which accounts for the majority of that line at 64%.

ACTION – On the Reserves sheet, it was agreed that the clerk could move the 10p from the line for Ringfenced Climate Change Initiative and put it into the Unearmarked Reserves as much of that line had been spent between the agreement of the reserves in Jan and the new financial year.

b)   Payments

RESOLVED – to approve the May payments list in accordance with the 2023-24 budget as listed below. Proposed by Cllr Butcher, seconded by Cllr Short, all in favour.

PC23018Fattorini4 x bars for Chain of Office248.56
DDBarclaysBank charges (11.50-0.75)10.75
SOJ & M Payroll ServicesMay – wages, tax & NI4,500.00
PC23019J & M Payroll ServicesMay – wages tax & NI1560.33
PC23020J & M Payroll ServicesPayroll services – May48.00
PC23021WBFCGrass cutting May – LD Field50.00
PC23022CountrywideGrass cutting May – Poor’s Land198.50
PC23023Petty CashScrews, stamps, pins, petrol35.70
PC23024Laura WalkingshawWebsite 5th May, SLCC AGM x 2114.37
PC23025TBS HygieneDog/Litter bin collection – Apr192.00
PC23026Julie GillottTravel expenses, printing posters65.63
PC23027GrasshopperRepairs to Stihl FS100 Strimmer276.17
PC23028EALCTraining – Routine Playground Insp – SF456.00
PC23029EALCTraining – Intro to Planning – SC90.00
PC23029EALCCredit Note – Double payment 26/01/23-54.00
PC23030Kent BlaxillScrews, washers, paint brush15.65
PC23031ROSPAPlaypark inspection & extras201.60
PC23032Jacqui KibbyEditor remuneration – Summer Bulletin180.00

ACTION – Clerk to send a copy of the ROSPA playground inspection report to all members.

c)    Insurance

To agree the renewal of the annual insurance quote for 2023-24 due 1st June 2023. There is currently £3,200 in the budget, to be split between the Orpen Memorial Hall and WBPC. Clerk has requested annual insurance quotes from four companies, one did not respond at all after receiving all of the information they requested so Cllrs were shown a comparison table between two of them, because as yet the council has not received a quote from its current insurance company due to confusion their end on the renewal date. The current insurance company has agreed to extend the insurance provision for a further 14 days to allow the council time to receive its quote.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher therefore proposed the Council agree to renew the insurance for 2023-24, to keep it within the budget of £3,200, but that the council allow the final decision to be made by Cllrs Butcher, Stone and Savage with input from the Clerk. All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to circulate agreed insurance details once it has been agreed.

c)    Annual Accounts

To agree and sign West Bergholt Parish Council’s Annual Accounts 2022-23.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to approve the Parish Council’s Annual Accounts for 2022-23. Cllr Tyrrell seconded. All in favour. Cllr Butcher, as Chair of the PC, then signed the approved document.

ACTION – Cllr Savage to sign the Annual Accounts 2022-23 on his return.

23/101        Planning

a)   Minutes of Planning Committee meeting 18th May 2023

To note the minutes of the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee from their meeting on 18th May 2023.

ACTION – Cllr Butcher noted that the Planning Committee needs to add the election of their Vice Chair to their next agenda.

b)   Approval of Planning Committee recommendations:

To approve the following recommendations from the WBPC Planning Committee, made at their meeting of 18th May 2023 as comments to CCC:

  • 230990 – 11 Lexden Road – Support – Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to support it.
  • 231061 – Colne House, School Lane – Support – Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to support it.
  • 230973 – 8 Church Close – Support – Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to support it.
  • 231102 – 8a Bradbrook Cottages – Support – Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to support it.

RESOLVED – Cllr Tyrrell proposed to approve these recommended comments to CCC. Cllr Cullis seconded. All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to add these agreed comments to the Colchester City Council planning portal tomorrow.

23/102        Environment & Highways

a)   Minutes of Environment Committee meeting 11th May 2023

To note the minutes of the WBPC Environment Committee from their meeting of 11th May 2023 (See link to Environment Mins P2 May 23).

Cllr Butcher offered his congratulations to Cllr Pulford, having been elected Vice Chair of the Environment & Highways Committee.

ACTION – Cllr Butcher asked that the Committee votes to confirm its Transport Representative and Public Rights of Way Representative at its next meeting.

b)   Pothole Priority Repair List

To create a list of potholes in the Parish to be added to Cllr Barber’s Highways Priority Repair list.

To be discussed by the Environment Committee at their next meeting on the 8th June 2023. Although, two potholes were already mentioned, one on Argents Lane on the left-hand side about half way down and the other on the road in front of the Pharmacy.

ACTION – Assistant to post a reminder on the local Facebook Hub to residents of the previous post from Cllr Barber, along with link to pothole reporting page.

23/103        General Power of Competence

To agree that West Bergholt Parish Council meets the required eligibility to attain the General Power of Competence (GPC). Following the recent election, West Bergholt Parish Council (WBPC) now has 10 elected members and has a qualified Clerk, making it eligible to attain the GPC.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to agree that WBPC meets the criteria to attain the General Power of Competence. Cllr Short seconded. All in favour.

23/104        Communications

a)   Publicity Officer report

To receive the monthly report from the Publicity Officer, Councillor Cullis:

Having only just taken over this role on the 10th May, Cllr Cullis has reviewed the existing Communications documents (some of which she would like to tweak), created a What’s App group for members of the Working Party and attended the latest Village Bulletin meeting.

She would like to add a publicity item to each Committee to feed back to her and will publicise information with the Assistant and Webmaster on Facebook, Instagram & the website. Julie has been posting really efficiently on Facebook, with a lot of timed posts. Cllr Cullis will be looking in detail at the Community Engagement Plan, will be meeting with Clerk, Assistant & Webmaster and is keen to push forwards.

b)   Monthly website report

To note receipt of and discuss the actions therein of the Monthly Website Report from the webmaster, Dave Kingaby.

Actions on the list include email allowance for Cllrs and Cookie query to EALC. In regard to the emails, Cllrs were reminded that the Clerk is automatically copied into every email sent and is the archive of those messages. Councillors should therefore regularly empty their mailboxes to maintain the space. The Council will continue to scrutinise this.

ACTION – Clerk to visit Cllr Short to try to fix his email problems.

23/105        Discussion Topic – Greensward, Mumford Close

To discuss again seeking ownership of the Colchester City Council greensward on the corner of Mumford Close.

This is a small piece of greensward with easy access for grass cutting, which Councillors agreed would be beneficial to have transferred to the PC. The Council has previously approached CCC for ownership of the greensward and it was agreed that negotiations should be reopened.

ACTION – Cllr Butcher & Clerk to send a letter to the Chief Executive of CCC, Pamela Donnelly, to seek her advice on the process and who to ask.

23/106        Training & Networking Events

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

  • EALC Introduction to Planning – Cllr Cullis – 11th May – very interesting course. Have acquired some more preferred language to use when commenting of planning applications which have passed onto the Clerk.

ACTION – Clerk to put meeting with CCC Planning & Simon Cairns back on the Planning agenda.

  • EALC Community Special Constable’s Marketing/Advertising Workshop – Clerk’s Assistant – 16th May – lots of useful ideas which she hopes to put into place asap.
  • CCC LGA Code of Conduct session – Clerk – 18th May – online session providing insight into new LGA Code of Conduct. The clerk will circulate notes to Council shortly, however it was made clear from the start that there is still no introduction of sanctions.   
  • Carbon Cutting Essex app launch – Clerk – 22nd May – online launch of app, attended by 160 people including many young people. App is available for those over 13 in the app store as Carbon Cutting Essex. Shares tips, ideas and quizzes for Essex Climate Action, chance to win prizes.
  • Colchester Local Clerks Forum – Clerk – 24th May – Hour & a half session covering a local Police update, Joint Waste Strategy between ECC & CCC, dog fouling reporting, street lighting billing issues, City Centre Masterplan Consultation and the launch of the Rural Prosperity Fund.
  • Routine Playground Inspection Course & Exam – Handyman – 24th May
  • Mayor Making Ceremony – Cllr Butcher – 24th May – Cllr John Jowers took over from Tim Young, very jovial and upbeat ceremony.

23/107        Items to Note

a)    Crime Statistics

8th May – 21st May 2 crimes: theft from person and theft of car.

b)   Colchester Police Station – Open Day

Colchester Police Station, Southway, CO3 3BJ will be open to the public from 11am-4pm on Saturday 3rd June.

c)    Village Quiz 10th June 2023

The Village Quiz will be held in the Orpen Memorial Hall on 10th June at 7pm. £5 per person, teams of 4-6, with proceeds going to support vulnerable families in the village. Contact [email protected] for a booking form.

d)   Colchester City Centre Masterplan

Consultation to run from 19th June for 6 weeks. CCC are asking residents to give their views, can see draft plan on CCC website here https://www.colchester.gov.uk/colchester-city-centre/masterplan/

e)   Exterior toilet for public use – Orpen Memorial Hall

The maglock should be fitted to the new exterior toilet opposite the tennis courts on Friday 26th May meaning it should be open to the public come June. The new toilet will be open from dawn to dusk to all those using the Lorkin Daniell Field, playpark & MUGA/tennis courts. The toilet will have baby change and inclusive facilities. There is currently an issue with the length of the handrail which is waiting to be resolved.

23/108        Items for Next Agenda (28th June)

  • Confirmation of insurance renewal,
  • Possibly Co Option of new member,
  • Council documents for review:
    • Finance Committee Terms of Reference,
    • Risk Management Scheme,
    • GDPR Policies & appointment of Data Protection Officer,
    • Co Option Policy,
    • New Code of Conduct,
    • Publicity Officer Role,
    • Village Bulletin Board Terms of Reference.

23/109        In Committee

No matters were discussed in committee.

23/110        Date of Next Meeting

The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wed 28th June 2023 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall Complex, Lexden Rd, CO6 3BW.

The meeting closed at 20.45 pm.

Signed:                                                                   Date:

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