Minutes of Parish Council 24th November 2021

A brief summary of key elements of the PC Meeting on 24th November 2021. They :

Traffic lights discussed on 24th November 2021
  • accepted resignations from Cllr. Spencer, as he follows overseas opportunities, & Cllr. Smith. Cllrs. acknowledged their hard work and contribution to the local community,
  • heard from Borough Cllr. Willetts on a number of matters including how the A12/Eight Ash Green traffic lights should learn to reflect demand over time through the use of AI,
  • approved the employment of a new handyman,
  • decided not to take up Hopkins offer to take ownership of the open space land on Colchester Road,
  • made progress in reaching agreement with OpenReach to provide a fibre service to WBFC,
  • noted the Council’s intent to work towards achieving the Quality Gold Award.

Full details are in the official minutes below:

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting

Held on Wed 24th November 2021 at 7.30 pm

Chairman:Cllr Chris Stevenson
Parish Councillors Present:Cllrs Norma Smith, John Gili-Ross, Jenny Church, Brian Butcher, Bob Tyrrell, Joel Fayers, David Short, Harry Stone, Andrew Savage
Parish Clerk:Laura Walkingshaw
Borough & County Councillors:Cllrs Dennis Willetts
Present:1 member of the public


Receive/accept apologies and welcome to the public


RESOLVED – apologies accepted from Councillor Phil Spencer. Apologies also received from Borough Cllr Martin Leatherdale & County Cllr Lewis Barber.

Cllr Spencer provided the Chairman with his letter of resignation from the Parish Council. He is no longer going to be residing in the parish, following new opportunities abroad. Cllr Stevenson wished to record the Council’s appreciation for all of this work, especially on the Environment Committee.

Chairman of the Environment Committee, John Gili-Ross, stated that it will be a tremendous loss, due his great level of knowledge and his work with the Handymen. Some future plans may have to fall to the wayside as they were reliant of his specialist knowledge.


West Bergholt Covid-19 Response

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

Cllr Stone updated the Council on the local Booster Vaccination Clinic, based out of St Mary’s Church. The service has been running well, fully booked, with a good team of volunteers and no issues with parking as the set times avoid school hours.


Questions from registered electors

There were no questions received from registered electors.


Declarations of Interest

Cllr Fayers declared an interest in item 21/171b as he previously worked on the proposal.


Previous Minutes


RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Parish Council meetings held on Wednesday 27th October 2021 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (Link to PC Minutes P7 Oct 21 )


Report from Colchester Borough Councillors

Borough Councillor Willetts reported:

  • Covid 19 – The government weekly statistics of the area show West Bergholt on a worrying upward trend.
  • Tennis courts resurfacing – Section 106 request due for discussion at the 30th Nov Colchester Borough Council (CBC) meeting.
  • Planning portal – Simon Cairns has confirmed that Parish Councils are entitled to an automatic discount when applying for planning. CBC’s Finance department will give the Clerk a call.
  • Local Highways Panel (LHP) – The LHP will be discussing the Feasibility Study for the proposed Colchester Road crossing on 14th Dec. Hoping that this meeting will get it moved forward. The Parish Council reiterated that they own the land in Trust beside Colchester Road and would be willing to discuss using a small part of that area as one side of the crossing.
  • The Crescent/Colchester Rd drainage issue – Following a site visit, Cllr Barber has organised a gully sucking of the drains to hopefully clear that area and check where the water flows, however Cllr Gili-Ross reminded the Cllr that Essex Highways need to check where the dip is as it is probably a collapsed drain.
  • New A12/Eight Ash Green traffic lights – Cllr Smith noted that there had been a lot of noise in regard to the new traffic light system at the Sainsbury’s roundabout just off the A12, with long tailbacks causing some concern of traffic queuing back onto the A12 itself. Cllr Willetts explained that when set up National Highways (formerly Highways England) who own the lights, set a rough approximation for the light times. The AI (artificial intelligence) in the system then “learns” how to deal with the prevailing traffic over time in the best possible way, however clearly the basic data employed to generate the initial signal timings wasn’t reflective of actual demand, but as the week continues it should learn. No guarantees can be given until we get to next Sunday and see if the system has improved the traffic flow.




Statement of accounts for Oct 21 (see link to PC Accounts P7 Oct 21 )

The final accounts for Oct 2021 (58% through financial year) were presented as follows:

Receipts at 99%, General Expenditure 38%, Environment Expenditure 25%, Overall Expenditure 35%

Bank Rec at £ 127,286.96 on 31st October 2021.



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

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

PC Payments List – Nov 2021



Bank charges (44.26 – 7.16)




Public Works Loan



J & M Payroll Services

Nov – wages, tax & NI



J & M Payroll Services

Nov – wages, tax & NI – Refund



J & M Payroll Services

Payroll services




Grass cutting Nov – LD Field




Grass cutting Nov – Poor’s Land



Petty Cash



Brick Kiln Farm

Annual hedge cutting & flailing



Jacqui Kibby

Village Bulletin – Editor remuneration




Extra high-capacity black toner




Domain name & hosting fee – annual charge



Norhurst Landscapes

New Allotments – Clearance of plots



Nigel Goody

Computer work & anti-virus package



Laura Walkingshaw

Yellow toner for Brother printer



Creasey Drainage *

Social Club – disabled toilet drains




Budget & Precept Course – CS


* Cllr Savage noted that during the Neighbourhood Plan project to install a disabled toilet in the Social Club, it was not appreciated that the current drainage pipe was inadequate for the toilet. A new inspection chamber has now been installed which will hopefully deal with the blockages.


To receive an update on the current 2022-23 budget process

Cllr Savage updated the Council that both the Environment and OHMC (Orpen Hall Management Committee) Committees have had an initial look at their 2022-23 budgets, but more time will be taken over December to have this ready of the January precept/budgets meeting.


To agree the employment of a new Handyman, using the standard contract, subject to completion of a 12-week probationary period as recommended by the Finance Committee.

Have identified someone to take the role of the new Handyman. He has been very willing and keen whilst shadowing the other handymen over the past couple of weeks in order to get a feel for the job and is happy to continue in the role. He is not a replacement for David Hewitt, who was pretty unique in his skillset and may continue to be asked to do the odd specialist job, but will be available for general maintenance etc.

RESOLVED – Proposed by Cllr Gili-Ross, seconded by Cllr Stone. All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to check the new Handyman has all the necessary PPE at his disposal.


To approve the Finance Committee’s recommendation to appoint Ingleton Wood as building consultants for two Orpen Memorial Hall projects.

This item will be deferred until the January meeting as too little information had been made available to the Council in advance of this meeting.

ACTION – Clerk to add to January PC meeting agenda or Trust meeting, if applicable.




To note the decision of the extraordinary Planning Meeting of 9th Nov 2021 of modifications to be submitted to CBC’s consultation on the “Draft Schedule of Main Modifications to Section 2 Colchester Local Plan”, specifically on Policy SS15: West Bergholt(see link to Planning P8 Ext. Mtg. Nov 2021 ):

Modifications to Colchester Borough Council’s Local Plan, Section 2 – Publication Draft June 2017, are currently available online for consultation at https://colchester.oc2.uk/document/25 . These modifications are considered necessary by the Planning Inspector for Section 2 of the Local Plan to be made sound. Following the recent NEEB appeal decision for the land adjacent to Armoury Road, it was decided by the Planning Committee of West Bergholt Parish Council that a modification to MM72, Colchester’s Policy SS15, would strengthen West Bergholt’s Neighbourhood Plan, working as a backstop against prospective development outside of the settlement boundary. This approach would be similar to other policy areas where there is a Neighbourhood Plan in place such as Wivenhoe.

The West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee therefore approved the following amendment to be submitted:

Mod. Number

Policy / Para

Modifications proposed by the Inspector to be considered


Policy SS15: West Bergholt

Replace entire policy with the following:

The West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan has been made and:

(i) Identifies the settlement boundary for West Bergholt;

(ii) Identifies specific sites for housing allocations needed to deliver 120 dwellings

(iii) Sets out policies needed to support this housing delivery i.e. housing mix, type of housing and density for each site allocated for housing;

(iv) Identifies other allocations in the Parish, including employment and open space; and

(iv) identifies the infrastructure requirements to support new development.


Proposals for development outside of the settlement boundary will not be supported unless the Neighbourhood Plan or other Local Plan policy specifically allows for it.


All development proposals in West Bergholt parish will be determined against and be required to comply with policies in the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan and any relevant Local Plan policies.

Reason: Following the recent NEEB appeal decision for the land adjacent to Armoury Road, it was decided by the Planning Committee of West Bergholt Parish Council that a modification to MM72, Colchester’s Policy SS15, would strengthen West Bergholt’s Neighbourhood Plan. It will also provide an approach consistent with other made Neighbourhood Plans in the existing Local Plan and provide greater clarity of the policy context for West Bergholt.


To approve the Planning Committee’s recommendation that the Parish Council should not take ownership of the “open space land to the front” of the Hopkins site on Colchester Road(see link to Planning P8 Ext. Mtg. Nov 2021):

Cllr Fayers declared an interest once more in this item and took no further part in the discussion.

Having considered the site in some detail it is the recommendation of the Planning Committee that the Parish Council should not take ownership of the “open space land to the front of the site”. The Parish Council should thank Hopkins Homes for their offer but decline it. It would now assume that this area will be included in the remit of the proposed management company, whose service charge will cover the annual maintenance costs.

RESOLVED – Cllr Tyrrell proposed to approve this recommendation not to take ownership of the “open space land to the front” of the Hopkins development site on Colchester Road, Cllr Savage seconded. All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to email Simon Bryan at Hopkins Homes to inform him of the final decision.


To note the following decisions made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee at their meeting of 17th November 2021 (see link to Planning P8 Nov 2021 ):

  • 212871 – 48 Valley Crescent, West Bergholt, CO6 3ED – Object – The Parish Council has no problem with the rear extension to the property, however it does have concerns with the rearrangement of the internal alternations which will lead to a lack of parking. Unless there are proposals to add additional parking to the front the Council objects to the application, referencing the Village Design Statement guidance on parking within PP10 of the CBC-adopted West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan:

    PP10 Design: All new development should be of a high-quality design and sustainable construction is encouraged. Account should be taken of the guidance and principles in the Village Design Statement, namely “for residential uses specifically…2.25 car parking spaces for each dwelling of 2 or more bedrooms…”

  • 212945 – The Settlers, Newbridge Hill, West Bergholt, CO6 3ER – Object – Several residents were present at the meeting, and all objected to the Parish Council about this application. They consider the proposals are overdevelopment as the existing bungalow is already at a high point on Newbridge Hill.

    The Parish Council is of the view that no consideration has been given to the loss of privacy to neighbouring properties, a majority of the new first floor windows will directly overlook the adjacent properties and gardens. There is no section showing the topography of the site and local buildings, there is also no street scene, again this needs to show the true topography of the area. The Council is of the view that the proposals will dominate the skyline. As there is inadequate information provided by the applicant the Council would refer to the PP10 of the CBC-adopted West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan:

    PP10 Design: All new development should be of a high-quality design and sustainable construction is encouraged. Account should be taken of the guidance and principles in the Village Design Statement, which seeks to promote or reinforce local distinctiveness. In particular new development and any additions or extensions to existing dwellings will be expected to:

    • Have an acceptable visual impact on the valley sides; and
    • Give careful consideration to mitigating the impact on views across the village; and
    • Buildings must respect the character of and be in harmony with their surroundings in respect of plot width, layout, building lines, materials, height, proportion, scale and massing; and
    • 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; and
    • Details of boundary walls, fences and gates shall reflect the character, design and materials of means of enclosure within the village to mitigate the impact of urbanisation.
  • 213085 – 7 Colchester Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3JG – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 213008 – Moonridge, Bourne Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3EP – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.
  • 212004 – Land South of Packards Lane, Fordham (Prelim. Pub. Enq) – Observation – With nothing on the CBC portal at present, the Parish Council will wait for further information.
  • 213106 – 2 Garthwood Close, West Bergholt, CO6 3EA – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.


To approve the following late planning application as a decision (see link to Planning P8 Nov 2021 )::

  • 213133 – The Firs, 38 Lexden Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3BX – Support – The Parish Council has no comment.

RESOLVED – Cllr Tyrrell proposed to approve this recommended comment, Cllr Savage seconded. All in favour.


Environment & Highways

To note the minutes of the Environment Committee from their meeting of the 11th November 2021 (see link to Environment P8 Nov 2021)

OpenReach – Cllrs Gili-Ross and Stevenson met with BT OpenReach to discuss the new telephone poles required to connect WBFC with a fibre service. A spot has been agreed hard up against the hedge on the car park of the Hall near the Environment garage and a second pole will be required, to the back of the clubhouse. The team then realized that the existing pole by the bin store is actually an electrical pole, not telephone, and so they will need to request use from the electric company. The Council is waiting for an updated plan from OpenReach in order to sign the wayleave agreement.

Salt – The winter salt bags will shortly be placed around the village in the usual location points. Cllr Stone will be organizing.


Council Publicity

To receive a verbal report from the Publicity Officer:

There was no report received form the Publicity Officer this month.


Local Council Award Scheme (LCAS)

To note the Council’s intention to work towards the Quality Gold Award of the LCAS and bring the required resolution back to the full Council meeting either in Jan or Feb 2022 for approval and submission (see link to NALC guide to LCAS)

A meeting was held by the Chairman, Vice chairs and the Clerk to discuss the work completed so far on this, with actions also included for the Responsible Finance Officer. Progress is being made with the application, with advice from Amanda Brown of the EALC.

ACTION – Clerk to ensure that when the text is written in regard to working with Community groups that the work with the Police is mentioned.


Council Documents

To note Parish Council and Committee meeting dates for 2022 (see link to Meeting Dates 2022):

ACTIONNoted by the Council, although Clerk to add the Staffing Sub-committee which meets as and when required.


Training/Networking Events

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

  • Net Zero Workshop – Cllr Gili-Ross attended a workshop with the Police which aims to get the number of people killed or seriously injured on Essex roads down to zero. It was noted that there was no-one representing town/parish councils, which was brought to the attention of Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner, Jane Gardner. One point noted was the poor condition of roads following roadworks which resulted in accidents; cyclists and motor cyclists are particularly vulnerable
  • Essex Police Awards – Cllr Gili-Ross also had the honour of being invited to present the Police Officer of the Year award.


Items to Note


Cllr Smith then submitted her letter of resignation letter from the Parish Council. Cllr Stevenson accepted it with regret but understood her reasons and thanked her for all of her hard work. She has made the role of Publicity Officer most successful and completely her own making, the Council has benefited from the better communication with residents which it has generated.

  1. Crime statistics – 25th Oct – 21st Nov 2021, 3 crimes reported. (Thefts of bicycle & BT cables, damage to vehicle)
  2. WBPC sent letter to Cllr Lee Scott sent in regard to Colchester Rd crossing feasibility study
  3. National Highways consultation on A12 widening and proposal to make the old A12 a linear country park.
  4. Advice from CBC Monitoring Officer to remove all Councillor’s address details from the public Register of Member’s Interests documents following the tragic circumstances in Southend.
  5. Christmas Tree – to be erected by the Village Sign, funded & supported by PC, organised by Debra Hornigold.


Items for the next agenda – 26th January 2022

  • Councillor vacancies
  • Representatives from St Mary the Virgin Church will be attending
  • Budget and Precept
  • Quality Gold Local Council Award
  • Climate Crisis Working Party


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 26th January 2022 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall.


Meeting closed at 8.44 pm


Date:                     Position on Council:

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