Minutes of Parish Council Meeting 23rd November 2022

A brief summary of the key elements of theNovember PC meeting held on 23rd November 2022. As well as receiving regular reports they discussed:

Minutes of meeting
  • Proposed Zebra Crossing at Colchester Road,
  • Budget preparations and successful grant applications,
  • Approval of two new Terms of Reference,
  • The Care Network and the Warm Welcoming Space,
  • Response to the National Grid Pylons project.

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

Held on Wed 23rd November 2022 at 7.30 pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall, CO6 3BW

Chair:Cllr Brian Butcher
Parish Councillors Present:Cllrs Bob Tyrrell, James Owers, Manya Barrow, Harry Stone, Andrew Savage, Sara Cullis, Katie Pulford & Joel Fayers
Parish ClerkLaura Walkingshaw
Borough & County Councillors:Cllr Lewis Barber
Present:1 member of the public

22/155         Receive/accept apologies and welcome to the public

RESOLVED – Apologies were received and accepted from Cllrs John Gili-Ross & David Short.

22/156         Questions from registered electors

There were no questions from registered electors.

22/157         Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

22/158         Previous Minutes

RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 2nd November 2022 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (See link to PC Minutes P7 Oct 22)

22/159         Report from Colchester Borough and Essex County Councillors

Essex County Councillor Lewis Barber reported:

Proposed zebra crossing on Col. Rd – Highways want to measure the speeds along Colchester Road again, adjacent to the SIDs (Speed Indicator Devices), then they will produce the final report.  ECC have to have the input of the Safety Audit Team then can ask the Cabinet Member to put forward for approval. The PC should know the result anytime soon, then the report from the Safety team and finally the recommendation from the Member. Cllr Barber will keep WBPC informed.

Levelling Up Fund – the request for the money towards the play equipment for children with physical impairments has gone into the Essex County Council (ECC) with no objections. Unanimity is required for each proposal, then once a Cabinet Member has signed off the grant will be released. Cllr Butcher informed the rest of the council that an application of £1,650 has been requested to kick start the inclusive play equipment project.

ACTION – Clerk to complete the Levelling Up Fund form sent by ECC.

Pothole list – Cllr Barber had previously requested a list of potholes from the Council to be added to the latest ECC list. The Clerk had sent a list to the Cllr following last month’s meeting, along with concerns about the footpath outside West Bergholt Pharmacy and the subsided approaches to the Blue Bridge. Cllr Butcher reported that the concerns from West Bergholt are not so much for the majority of car drivers but for those speeding or on bicycles and motorbikes. The repairs of the road on either side of the blue bridge is with National Highways.

ACTION – Cllr Barber will chase National Highways.

Entrance to the new Hopkins development –. Following a visit from the CBC Enforcement team it has been reiterated that no deliveries being unloaded will be tolerated on Colchester Road. There is currently a temporary entrance to the development and a resident has asked Cllr Barber when the permanent access will be established.

ACTION – Cllr Barber will check the permanent access date.

22/160         Finance

a)   Statement of accounts for Oct 2022

The final accounts for Oct 22 (58% through financial year) were presented as follows: (See link to PC Accounts P7 Oct 22)

Receipts at 100%, General Expenditure 40%, Environment Expenditure 64%, Overall Expenditure 44%. Bank Rec at £ 144,749.58 on 31st Oct 22.

No change to the Projects & Reserves sheet, however Cllr Savage just wanted to draw members attention to the outstanding monies in Reserves for both Ringfenced Environmental projects (£2,665) and Orpen Memorial Hall projects (£6,542.42). The Council’s timings have slipped on some of the 2022-23 projects, but if it isn’t used by the end of the financial year, it will be moved into the Earmarked Reserves next year.

b)   Payments

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

Payments Nov 2022

DDBarclaysBank charges (33.42-4.99)28.43
SOJ & M Payroll ServicesNov – wages, tax & NI4500.00
PC22132J & M Payroll ServicesNov – wages tax & NI inc. back pay to Apr for all staff3354.30
PC22133J & M Payroll ServicesPayroll services27.00
PC22134WBFCGrass cutting Nov – LD Field50.00
PC22135CountrywideGrass cutting Nov – Poor’s Land186.00
PC22136Petty CashPetrol, electric for xmas tree70.00
PC22137EnvirosignsHeath Sign – Village Green110.40
PC22138ETCMaintenance to tennis courts960.00
PC22139Laura WalkingshawNALC course, WBAA donation, cable, ext lead125.31
PC22140R J Playle ServicesHedgecutting and mowing924.00
PC22141PrinterlandBlack toner – Xerox VersaLink C405127.42
PC22142Jacqui KibbyEditor remuneration – Winter 2022180.00

c)    To receive a verbal update on the preparation work for the 2023-24 budgets.

Cllr Savage as RFO (Responsible Finance Officer) has attended the various Committee meetings this month. The meeting with the Environment went well, with just minor differences between both sets of figures, which have now been evened out. Will be working on these over December and the Christmas period ready for the budget & precept meeting in January. Cllr Stone reminded the Council that there are Environmental Projects outstanding from previous Councillor, Phil Spencer’s time at the Parish Council.

ACTION – Cllr Stone will send a list of these projects through to Cllr Savage.

d)   To note successful grant applications from Enovert and Essex Climate Challenge Fund.

Following application to Enovert (the landfill charity) the PC has received notification that they have been awarded £50,000. The Council has the £5,000 to give back as a third-party sponsor as a grant between the Orpen Hall Trust & Enovert.

The Council has also received £17,056.00 from Essex Climate Challenge Fund for the solar panel/battery project for the Orpen Hall.

22/161         Planning

a)   The following decisions made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee at their meeting on 16th November 2022 were noted (See link to Planning P8 Nov 22):

222635The Firs, 38 Lexden Road – SUPPORT – The Parish Council has no comment.
222660East of England Co-op, 41-43, Chapel Road – SUPPORT – The Parish Council has no comment. 
22276253 Chapel Road, West Bergholt – SUPPORT – The Parish Council has no comment.
220526land adjacent to 67 Braiswick, Colchester (reserved matters) – OBSERVATION – This proposed development lies outside of the parish of West Bergholt, but the Parish Council would recommend that Colchester Borough Council listens to any concerns raised by Myland Community Council.

b)   To receive an update from the Planning Committee on the amendments required to the Neighbourhood plan:

A meeting has been arranged with CBC Place Strategy Manager & a new Planning Policy Officer on the 6th Dec to discuss the revised Village Design Statement (VDS) and how to incorporate it within the WB Neighbourhood Plan.

c)    To agree the recommended response from the Planning Committee on the CBC consultation on Affordable Housing SPD.

This policy is a fundamentally a reiteration of the previous Affordable Housing SPD (Supplementary Planning Document) see link here: https://www.colchester.gov.uk/affordable-housing-supplementary-planning-document/ stating that 30% of new dwellings on developments of 10 or more should be affordable. The Planning Committee therefore recommends fully supporting Policy DM8: Affordable Housing of the CBC Local Plan Section 2,

RESOLVED – To approve the recommendation of the WB Planning Committee to fully support Policy DM8 : Affordable Housing. Proposed by Cllr Butcher, seconded by Cllr Savage. All in favour.

22/162         Environment & Highways

a)   To note the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting of the 10th November 2022 (See link to Environment P8 Nov 22):

Cllr Stone reported that the minutes available cover all that was discussed at this month’s Environment meeting. Cllr Savage queried the £800 quote for clearance of the Queen’s Head Pond which did not come through to this month’s Finance meeting for recommendation.

ACTION – Cllr Stone will ensure that the pond quote goes to the next Finance meeting in January.

Thanks were extended to Nigel Weall, PC Handyman, for his excellent latest tree survey.

b)   To note the final payment from ECC for Devolution Project work Apr-Sept 2022

The Parish Council received an unexpected payment of £1,044.45 on 10th Nov from Essex County Council, and then received the following email from Cllr Lee Scott, Portfolio Holder for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport:

“The County Council wishes to thank West Bergholt Parish Council for its support and engagement with the highways devolution initiative, and on the basis of the details provided has agreed to cover these costs as a full and final payment of works you have undertaken as part of the devolution initiative.”

The payment therefore was for the 6 months work completed prior to the end of the project and thanks to Cllr Gili-Ross’ letter to ECC. Cllr Butcher informed the Council that there will be a meeting soon between Cllr Scott, Cllr Gili-Ross and himself where a discussion on what may replace the Devolution Project will take place.

c)    To discuss/agree the Parish Christmas Tree for 2022

It was agreed last month to progress the Christmas Tree project and bring it back to this month’s meeting. The Environment Committee’s budget for this was a max. of £250, however it is looking more likely to be at a cost of £125, including the purchase of a tree from Brick Kiln Farm for £60, payment for electricity at £25, the putlog for erecting the tree and any additional decorations. The WB Allotment Association Charity Stall is donating £50 towards the tree. Although initially the Queen’s Head were thinking of sponsoring, by the Queen’s Head Pond, a second village tree, they are now doing their own tree.

RESOLVED – The purchase of the Parish Christmas Tree was proposed by Cllr Butcher, seconded by Cllr Fayers. All in favour

Cllr Savage wanted the council to consider how this idea will run year after year, will it be in the budget each year, even though some are uncomfortable with the non-sustainability of a real tree, or would a project to create a reusable arrangement be preferable.

d)   To receive a verbal report from the Transport Rep (Cllr Barrow) on several recent transport items of interest to the parish including the new S3 shuttle bus timetable 

Cllr Barrow has been away and having just returned the transport items are on her to do list for tomorrow:

  • Survey to Colchester transport representatives
  • Rural Mobility in Parishes Survey
  • Park and Ride Ticket Proposals
  • S3 Shuttle Service

22/163         Council Documents

a)   To approve the Finance Advisory Committee’s Terms of Reference

This document had previously been circulated to members with the latest amendments in red. Cllr Savage, RFO, wrote them, so as there were no further comments, he recommended approval.

RESOLVED – To approve the Finance Advisory Committee’s Terms of Reference. Proposed by

Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Butcher. All in favour

b)   To approve the name of the new field at the back of the Hopkins development and the XX Field Working Party’s Terms of Reference

This document had also been previously circulated to members, with just one review date, fairly standard amendment, suggested in red.

RESOLVED – To approve the Field Working Party Terms of Reference. Proposed by Cllr Butcher, seconded by Cllr Stone. All in favour

The members then discussed a suitable name for this new field. It was felt that calling it after the late Queen Elizabeth left it open to confusion as many such fields & playparks are likely to be named after her in the coming year or so. King Charles was also suggested as a name, but the majority preferred the “William Sims Sports Field” as it is situated at the end of the William Sims Road making it logical to find.

RESOLVED – To approve the name of the new field at the back of the Hopkins development as the William Sims Sports Field Proposed by Cllr Butcher, seconded by Cllr Savage. 8 Cllrs voting in favour, the approval was therefore resolved.

c)    To note Parish Council and Committee meeting dates for 2023

ACTION – Clerk to circulate final list & book all relevant dates on Hallmaster app.

d)   To review and ratify West Bergholt Parish Council’s Equality Policy – no change proposed from previous

RESOLVED – With no changes the Council proposed to agree the renewal of West Bergholt Parish Council’s Equality Policy. Proposed by Cllr Butcher, seconded by Cllr Fayers. All in favour

22/164         Zebra Crossing on Colchester Road

To receive a verbal update on the provision of a zebra crossing on Colchester Road

Cllr Barber had already discussed this under item 22/159 Borough Councillor’s Report, explaining that the Council is now waiting for the results of another speed cable survey for this to move on. However, just to add to that Cllr Butcher, had written a long email to Cllr Lee Scott (the Portfolio Holder for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport) requesting an update, and finally received an email reply on the 8th Nov.  This email stated that a PV2 survey had been requested (that is a pedestrian usage survey), but as the Parish Council had pointed out several times before, there will be not be many pedestrians crossing until the adjacent development areas have been finished and people move into the houses, then they will need a zebra crossing in place to use to get to the school etc, which makes it a bit of a chicken & egg scenario.

Cllr Butcher responded to the email from Highways drawing their attention to the Neighbourhood Plan (NP) development areas, the Section 106 agreements & NP Appendix which clearly contains a letter from Essex Highways showing support for a zebra crossing on Colchester Road. An email from the previous Head of Highways was re-sent to Essex showing that they had agreed that a certain amount of latitude in regard to the PV count as the houses were not yet occupied. The Council will wait to see the results of the speed cable surveys etc. with interest.

22/165         Care Network

To receive an update on the Care Network proposal, with WBPC’s support, to provide a warm welcoming space at the Social Club meeting on Mon & Fri mornings.

Cllr Stone updated the council that they have now opened the warm space 5 times now and have had 8 people on average each time. They believe that it may not have been published enough and so Cllr Stone, having spoken to the Head of Heathlands School, will be submitting the poster to the school’s Parent Mail for extra exposure. There is a core of volunteers, with Cllr Barrow kindly doing a rota. Cllr Stone would like to pay tribute to Mike Poole & the Social Club as he has bent over backwards to help. The Care Network has applied to ECC for a grant, but they have not heard back as yet.

The council discussed the low attendance, with suggestions including that it hadn’t been that cold yet and the possibly the scheme may need renaming to something like “Community Hub Warm Welcoming Space”.

22/166         Communications

a)   To receive a verbal update on the Councillor email addresses from Councillor Owers.      

Cllr Owers reported that the Council is nearly there in that the PC now have the westbergholt-pc.gov.uk domain name, Dave Kingaby (the webmaster) is just starting to set up the emails and transfer the data to the new server. There is a slight issue on the pricing, but Dave is looking at options.

The new system will be easy to use, with Councillors simply logging on to look at their emails.

b)   To receive the monthly report from the Publicity Officer, Councillor Fayers 

Cllr Fayers explained that he has been looking at the Meta Business Suite. Presently the council has separate logins for Joel Parish, Laura Clerk, etc. but with the Meta alternative everything would be in one place. The data could be released weekly or at certain scheduled times. He is scheduled to take a free online course in January and intends to set up a meeting with Dave Kingaby and the new Assistant in the New Year.

Cllr Butcher asked about the article for the Village Bulletin he had requested on the new Councillors, Cllr Fayers was sure he had sent it off to the editor, however there was no sign of it when Cllrs Butcher & Barrow recently inspected the proof of the magazine.

ACTION – Cllr Fayers to send a copy of his article to Cllr Butcher.

ACTION – Cllr Pulford to send her photo and profile to the Clerk for the website.

c)    To note receipt of the Monthly Website Report from the webmaster, Dave Kingaby

Cllr Butcher brought the latest Website Report to the council’s attention. There are just two outstanding items now on the list, both of which are in hand. There is an interesting report comparing month on month usage of the website.

22/167         Parish Office

To receive a verbal update from Councillor Tyrrell

Cllr Tyrrell has had further discussions with Steve McLean to request windows and drop the roof a little having received the three initial drawings. The latest drawings have not yet been received.

22/168         Defibrillator

To agree receipt of a defibrillator from WBFC (for siting on the exterior of the Orpen Hall) and approval of the ongoing maintenance costs from future PC budgets.

(NOTE – Cllr Butcher wishes to remove this item from the agenda as the WBFC has changed it’s request to just permission to site on the WBFC Clubhouse instead, which is a Lorkin Daniell Field Trust item that will be discussed at a meeting later this evening)

No RESOLUTION required

22/169         National Grid Pylons

To approve a recommended response from the Planning Committee on the Planning Inspectorate’s scoping consultation for National Grid’s East Anglian GREEN Project

The previously agreed letter to East Anglia GREEEN, as discussed at the last Parish Council meeting, was sent on the 7th November and copied to Rosie Pearson (chair – Pylons East Anglia), Frances Torrington (coordinating responses) & Sir Bernard Jenkin (MP).

Since then, WBPC has been notified by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) that there is a scoping consultation for the East Anglia GREEN project. The Planning Committee agreed that a response needs to be based on the guidance of the Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk Pylons group http://www.pylonseastanglia.co.uk/ as well as stating that National Grid’s scoping document is insufficient in relation to the West Bergholt area, and that they need to have regard to the CBC-adopted West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan. However, the KC report from the Pylons group was so complicated Cllrs Short & Butcher met and agreed a draft response, which includes photos from Chris Stevenson, which show the area where the detriment will be caused.

RESOLVED – To approve the draft response on the Planning Inspectorate’s scoping consultation for National Grid’s East Anglian GREEN Project. Proposed by Cllr Butcher, seconded by Cllr Savage. All in favour

ACTION – Clerk to send the response to PINS, with a copy to Rosie Pearson (chair – Pylons East Anglia), Frances Torrington (coordinating responses) & Sir Bernard Jenkin (MP)

22/170         Training/Networking Events

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

  • Village Halls Course – 3rd Nov – Cllr Owers
    Fascinating course, not only the explanation of the halls/charities but also meeting different Cllrs who manage all kinds of halls.
  • CBC Clerk’s Forum – 17th Nov – Clerk
    Good forum. Will circulate the notes when they arrive.

22/171         Items to Note

  • Crime Statistics – 0 crimes reported
  • Village of the Year 2023 – Not heard anything from the RCCE on this yet.
  • New Model Code of Conduct for Cllrs – Chair & Clerk have asked to attend any training for this. CBC have now adopted this, and it comes into effect from 1st Dec. However, WBPC will work with what is already approved by WBPC until we bottom out discussions with the Monitoring Officer.
  • Meeting between Heathlands School & PC – meeting held on 9th Nov 22. Positive meeting, main discussions around parking. The school is keen to get involved with the 3PR scheme/with the Parking Partnership, in fact there is due to be a meeting on Monday to identify potential zones for the Partnership to give more of its attention to.

Also, keen to talk to the children if there is any further local vandalism, to give them a pride in West Bergholt now so that it prevents damage later.

22/172         Items for next agenda

  • Budget, reserves & precept approval
  • Renewal of several employment-related policies
  • Representative from the West Bergholt Doctor’s Surgery – have confirmed tonight that Dr Chowhan will be attending the January meeting.
  • Invite Sergeant Rob Temme to Feb PC meeting.

22/173         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).

a)   To note an increase to the Hall Administrator’s SCP.    

The Hall Administrator had not received an increase for some years and so the council noted the increase (the Finance Advisory Committee’s recommendation). The next increase is due in the new financial year on achievement of establishing online invoicing associated with the hall booking system, Hallmaster.

b)   To approve the Finance Advisory Committee’s recommendation of a chosen candidate for the role of Clerk’s Assistant, starting on SCP 13 & taking up the post as soon as possible

The search for the Clerk’s Assistant has been really positive. Had seven good applicants, from which Cllrs Savage & Short shortlisted five, another dropped out, leaving four, who they then met in person for an informal chat. This resulted in the final three (all excellent candidates), who met with Cllr Butcher and the Clerk for more formal questioning.

RESOLVED – To approve the Finance Advisory Committee’s recommendation of a chosen candidate for the role of Clerk’s Assistant. Proposed by Cllr Butcher, seconded by Cllr Savage. All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to inform all three final candidates of the result

ACTION – Clerk to draft up Contract and arrange meeting with herself, Cllr Butcher and the successful candidate, once she has accepted the position.  

22/174         Date of Next Meeting

The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 25th January 2022 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall, Lexden Road, CO6 3BW.

Meeting closed at 21.04 pm

Signed:                            Date:                     Position on Council:

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