Minutes of Parish Council Meeting 25th January 2023

Minutes of meeting

A brief summary of the key elements of the January PC meeting held on 25th January 2023. As well as receiving regular reports they discussed:

  • Doctors’ surgery including Q&A session with Dr. Chowhan,
  • Solar panels at Orpen Hall,
  • Budgets, reserves & virements for upcoming financial year,
  • Dog walking code of conduct,
  • Zebra Crossing for Colchester Road,
  • King’s Coronation & more.

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

Held on Wed 25th January 2023 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, Katie Pulford & David Short
Officers Present:Laura Walkingshaw (Parish Clerk), Julie Gillott (Assistant)
Borough & County Councillors:None
Present:Dr Chowhan of Creffield Medical Group &24 members of the public.

23/1   Receive/accept apologies and welcome to the public

RESOLVED – Apologies were received and accepted from Cllrs John Gili-Ross, Sara Cullis & Joel Fayers.

23/2   Questions from registered electors

There were no questions from registered electors not relating to the next item.

23/3   Guest Speaker – Dr Chowhan of Creffield Medical Group

Cllr Brian Butcher welcomed Dr Chowhan to the Parish Council Meeting for a Q & A session, and thanked him for agreeing to attend to answer the concerns of residents regarding the West Bergholt Surgery.

Dr Chowhan made an introduction highlighting changes made to the surgery since 2019 when the West Bergholt practice joined the Creffield Medical Centre. Following the recent building work, the West Bergholt Surgery building has been modernised and improved to accommodate 14 rooms, providing more capacity and different ways of working. The upstairs is now all allocated for the administration team, and they have recruited more staff to increase from 23 to 30 people. The expanded team now includes a physiotherapist, pharmacist and paramedic. Unfortunately, although provided with funding it was on the condition that they were not to recruit extra GPs, only other experts. As a consequence, the practice is trying to fill 10-15 years of GP position gaps with other clinicians and has resulted in phone calls from the public being redirected to other specialists more appropriate to a patient’s needs, rather than traditionally GP’s.

A number of questions were then raised by the members of public, which are set out on the attached appendix (See link to PC Minutes P10 Jan 2023 appendix Dr Q & A), together with Dr Chowhan’s response.

Cllr Brian Butcher brought the session to a close at 8.20pm and thanked Dr Chowhan very much for his time and for listening to the comments made. If there are revised statistics in 6-9 months, the Parish Council (PC) would welcome being used for communicating any messages onto residents. He thanked everyone for attending and invited them to stay for the rest of the Parish Council meeting.

23/4   Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

23/5   Previous Minutes

RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 23rd November 2022 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (See link to  PC Minutes P8 Nov 22)

23/6   Report from Colchester City and Essex County Councillors

There were no reports received from either Colchester City or Essex County Councillors.

23/7   Finance

a)   Statement of accounts for Nov-Dec 2022

The final accounts for Nov-Dec 22 (75% through financial year) were presented as follows: (See link to PC Accounts P8-9 Nov-Dec 22)

Receipts at 100%, General Expenditure 50%, Environment Expenditure 76%, Overall Expenditure 50%. Bank Rec at £ 144,579.79.

Only changes to the Projects & Reserves sheet was the payment of the tennis courts annual maintenance (£800) and the PC’s 3rd party contribution to the Enovert grant for the WC refurbishment/solar panels project (£5,000). Looking at the 2022-23 Projects list members can see that the PC has not spent as much as expected yet.

b)   Payments

RESOLVED – To approve the December & January payments lists in accordance with 2022-23 budget. Proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Stone, all in favour.

Payments Dec 2022
DDBarclaysBank charges (12.72-0.85)11.87
DDWaveAllotments water Sep-Dec (actual)865.53
DDRoyal British LegionDonation – Paypal1.00
SOJ & M Payroll ServicesDec – wages, tax & NI4500.00
PC22143J & M Payroll ServicesDec – wages tax & NI878.74
PC22144J & M Payroll ServicesPayroll services48.00
PC22145WBFCGrass cutting Dec – LD Field50.00
PC22146CountrywideGrass cutting Dec – Poor’s Land186.00
PC22147Petty Cash – LWBolts, Postage, Ladder61.01
PC22148EnvirosignsBiodiversity A4 signs57.60
PC22149Laura Walkingshaw2023 calendar, Basic DBS, petty cash book33.96
PC22150EventbriteElection Briefing 26/1/23 BTB54.00
PC22151EventbriteElection Briefing 21/2/23 LW54.00
PC22152EventbriteElection briefing 24/1/23 BT54.00
PC22153Enovert Trust (PC22143)3rd party payment– Orpen Hall SC WC refurbishment5,000.00
PC22154EALCTraining – Village Halls 3/11 JO180.00
PC22155WaveWater bill75.62
Payments Jan 2023
DDBarclaysBank charges (15.25-1.35)13.90
SOJ & M Payroll ServicesJan – wages, tax & NI4500.00
PC22156J & M Payroll ServicesJan – wages tax & NI1002.68
PC22157J & M Payroll ServicesPayroll services48.00
PC22158WBFCGrass cutting Jan – LD Field50.00
PC22159CountrywideGrass cutting Jan – Poor’s Land186.00
PC22160Petty Cash – LWDiesel, Builder’s Grippa Gloves x 649.01
PC22161Cox LandscapesWood – Heath information sign23.88
PC22162Laura WalkingshawWHUK server & licence, hole punch, balloon pump55.80
PC22163GallagherAnnual motor insurance – ride-on & Truck579.09
PC22164EALCElection briefing – BT (24th Jan 23)54.00
PC22165Kent BlaxillBlack paint – Heath information sign31.98
PC22166GallagherAdditional works insurance378.56
PC22167Kent BlaxillPrimer – Heath information sign18.36
PC22168KingServWebsite support services – Nov 22-Apr 23900.00
PC22169CEF4 x Heatstore Dryers 1.8KW669.60

c)    To approve the Finance Advisory Committee recommendation that £2527.71 of the Climate Change Initiative 2022-23 Projects budget money be used to fund the Orpen Hall solar panel/batteries project and provide an educational Generation Display in the entrance lobby for community engagement.

The solar panels due to be fitted the week of half term (Feb 13th) on the inner valleys of the Orpen Memorial Hall roof. Scaffolding will be on youth shelter side by the John Lampon Hall (JL Hall) double doors surrounded by Heras fencing. The grant we received from the ECC Climate Challenge Fund for £17,000 was related to the quote we had previously, however the grant people have indicated the community engagement on energy generation is expected from us as recipients of their money, with a publicity campaign required over the generation (shown on a display unit in the hall). Therefore, due to inflation, sourcing better batteries/solar panels and the display unit Cllr Savage would propose that additional money is used from the Climate Change Initiative 2022-23 Projects money, which still has £3,342.81 in it at present.

RESOLVED – To approve use of £2,527.71 of the Climate Change Initiative 2022-23 Projects budget money to improve the solar panel/batteries project & provide a display unit. Proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Owers, all in favour. 

d)   To agree the proposed virements and reserves for 2023-24, as shown in the draft Reserves Policy 2023-24 and virements document.

In order to look at the budget requirements for next year it was necessary to first see what was already available in the Council’s reserves and unfinished projects money from this year. Several minor virements, which just required renaming, will be needed to tidy up the current Reserves and Projects list for the new financial year:

Ringfenced Admin AssistantTo be renamedRingfenced Office Equipment£ 4,000
Earmarked New PlaygroundTo be renamedEarmarked Inclusive Play Equipment£ 255
Ringfenced Environmental ProjectsTo be renamedRingfenced Environment Committee Projects£ 2,665

Resulting in the draft Reserves Policy for 2023-24, specifically the table below, which clarifies the money available for outstanding projects:

Reserves 2023-24Proposed *
Earmarked MUGA 2013-23 + Profits 2022-23 780.97
Earmarked inclusive play equipment255.00
Earmarked Parish Council office project20,000.00
Ringfenced historical honour board1,500.00
Ringfenced CBC Locality Budget grant (feasibility study)400.00
Ringfenced Special Constable 2,000.00
Ringfenced office equipment 4,000.00
Ringfenced Orpen Memorial Hall projects  6,542.42
Ringfenced External WC/Solar Panels/SC Refurb project     2,691.40
Ringfenced Neigh Plan implementation projects     3,506.99
Ringfenced Environment Committee projects      2,665.00
Ringfenced Climate Change initiative        3,342.81
General Reserves (3 months running, no projects) **   28,966.75
Total Earmarked£76,651.34
* may reduce as payments come out prior to end of 2022-23 financial year.**Max shown as once the precept is agreed under item 23/7e actual figure can be inserted.

RESOLVED – To agree the proposed virements and reserves for 2023-24. Proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Stone, all in favour. 

e)    To agree the new WBPC Three-Year Plan (2023-26) and approve the 2023-24 Precept and Budgets as based on said plan. Proposal C has been recommended by the Finance Advisory Committee.

Due to the current climate of increased prices, Cllr Savage demonstrated, using the table below, that if there was no change in the precept amount this year, then our current budget amount in Project/Grants would be reduced from £28,000 to £12,790 compared to last year:

ReceiptsCurrent BudgetIf no change
BUDGET TOTAL113,740.00113,740.00
BUDGET TOTAL113,740.00113,740.00

Therefore, looking ahead to 2023-24, the new draft WBPC Three Year Plan was put before members, with Year 1 proposed as so with three options, although noting that no change is also an option:

Year 1: 2022-23
 Proposal AProposal BProposal C
Community Hub/Parish Office project£ 11,000£ 13,000£ 15,000
Neighbourhood Plan implementation projects inc. acquisition & establishment of William Sims Sports Field£ 4,000£ 4,000£ 4,000
Grants£ 1,000£ 1,000£ 1,000
 TOTAL£ 16,000£ 18,000£ 20,000

The only difference between the three options being the total in the Community Hub/Parish Office project line. When the three totals are inserted into the Projects line of the WBPC Proposed 2023-24 PC Budget the resulting three options in a Precept increase are as below:

 2022/232023/24 Proposals  
Receipts Proposal AProposal BProposal C
BUDGET TOTAL113,740.00116,950.00118,950.00120,950.00
Payments 2023/24 Proposals  
BUDGET TOTAL113,740.00116,950.00118,950.00120,950.00
Band D figure (2022/23 £80.59) £81.49£82.95£84.41
Percentage increase over previous year 1.1%2.9%4.7%
Increase per annum (monthly) £ 0.90 (8p)£ 2.36 (20p)£ 3.82 (32p)

Option C was recommended by the Parish Council’s Finance Committee.

RESOLVED – To agree the Finance Advisory Committee’s proposal of Option C, £115,867.00, in the new WBPC Three-Year Plan (2023-26) and approve the 2023-24 Precept and Budgets as based on said plan. Proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Owers, all in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to send the precept request of £115,867.00 to Colchester City Council tomorrow.

f)    To approve the 2023-24 Reserves Policy, following agreement of the precept for that financial year.

Having agreed the precept amount of 2023-24, the Council could now approve the 2023-24 Reserves Policy (See link to Reserves Policy 2023-24 draft). Please note the text of the policy remains the same it is just the table that changes.

RESOLVED – To agree the Reserves Policy for 2023-24. Proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Owers, all in favour.

23/8   Planning

a)   To note the following decisions made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee at their meeting of 21st Dec 2022 (See link to Planning P9 Dec 22):

222853 – Barns at, Hall Road, West Bergholt – SUPPORT – The Parish Council has no comment.

222861 – Hop House, 2nd Floor Office, Colchester Rd (listed building) – OBSERVATION – The Parish Council would defer to the City Council’s greater knowledge on the development of listed buildings.

222860 – Hop House, 2nd Floor Office, Colchester Rd, CO6 3TJ – OBJECTION – The Parish Council would defer to the City Council’s greater knowledge on the development of listed buildings. However, West Bergholt Parish Council does object to the loss of employment space due to the change of use in this application. The Council would want to encourage the expansion of current business sites and local employment opportunities rather than their demise.

221780 – Alcrofts Farm, Bures Road, CO6 3DW – SUPPORT – West Bergholt Parish Council would reiterate their previous comment of the 18/08/22:

“The Parish Council has no objection to this application, subject to approval being conditional on the annex only being occupied by dependent relatives and that it is not sold or let separately to the applicant’s main property.”

222908 – West Bergholt Reservoir, Hall Road (prior approval) – OBSERVATION – The Parish Council has no comment.

222950 – 8 Lampon Close, West Bergholt, CO6 3FE – OBJECTION – West Bergholt Parish Council objects to this application due to the loss of amenity space, inadequate parking facilities and the poor utilitarian design which is totally out of keeping with the neighbouring properties. The application does not comply to PP10 of the CBC-adopted West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan, specifically:

“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”.

If the City Council is minded to approve, then it should be subject to being conditional on the annex only being occupied by dependent relatives and that it is not sold or let separately to the applicant’s main property.

223071 – Adj to, 19 Bradbrook Cottages, Armoury Road, CO6 3JW- OBJECTION – West Bergholt Parish Council objects to this application on the grounds that the current proportions are not in scale to the neighbouring bungalow and although a street scene has now been provided, it would reiterate the remains of its previous comment to applications 222036 and 220650:

The Parish Council objects to this application as the proposed elevations of a three-storey building is totally out of keeping with the neighbouring properties. The application does not comply to PP10 of the CBC-adopted West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan, specifically:

“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” In addition, policy DG35 from the Village Design Statement states – “New parking directly in front of property should be avoided.”

222961 – Blackheath Bulb Company, Nayland Road, CO6 3DE – OBJECTION – West Bergholt Parish Council would draw the Planning Officer’s attention to the Appeal Correspondence of this site’s previous application 202756, specifically the Parish Council’s letter dated the 29th December 2021 to the Planning Inspectorate. The Parish Council would reiterate the concerns of that letter and see no improvement in the current application.

b)   To note the following decisions made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee at their meeting on 16th January 2023 (See link to Planning P10 Jan 23)::

223165 – Kings Vineyard, Fossetts Lane, Fordham, CO6 3NY – SUPPORT – The Parish Council has no comment.

223139 – Pond Cottage, Fordham, CO6 3DP – SUPPORT – West Bergholt Parish Council would reiterate their previous comment of 18.8.2021: 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.

c)    To approve the following recommendation made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee at their meeting on 16th January 2023 as a decision (See link to Planning P10 Jan 23)::

223184 – Barn at Hall Road, West Bergholt – RECOMMENDATION TO PC – SUPPORT – The Parish Council has no comment.

RESOLVED – To approve the recommendation made by WBPC’s Planning Committee on PA223184 into a decision. Proposed by Cllr Tyrrell, seconded by Cllr Savage, all in favour.

d)   To agree the updated West Bergholt Section 106 list of projects for submission to Colchester City Council (CCC).

Cllr Butcher has been asked to put forward a list of potential projects to CCC to be funded from the section 106 monies from future developments for either park/recreation or community facilities.

RESOLVED – Cllr Brian Butcher proposed to amend the existing s106 list to reflect an anticipated £100,000 coming for the Orpen Hall, and the £200,000 which will be available for the William Sims Sports Field. Seconded by Cllr Andrew Savage, all in favour.

23/9   Environment & Highways

To note the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting of the 12th January 2023 (See link to Envmt Mins P10 Jan 23)::

The minutes were noted; however, Cllr Manya Barrow and Cllr Katie Pulford requested more face to face meetings, rather than using Zoom, due to poor Wi-Fi where they live. Hybrid meetings are therefore a possibility.

Cllr David Short queried that the Queens Head Pond project had not been listed and it needs £800 for completion.  This will be discussed further in the next Environment meeting, and it was confirmed that there is currently £750 in the budget. to go towards it.

23/10 Council Documents

To approve the Dog Walking Code of Conduct for residents of West Bergholt (See link to Dog Walking CoC):

The Parish Clerk’s Assistant has been in contact with CCC researching the bylaws, however apparently there are no bylaws just a code of conduct shaped by health and safety policy. There is therefore nothing to substantiate the signage the PC has and so the proposed C of P will provide a starting place to point people to. The draft Code of Conduct has been circulated to members, with any suggested amendments included, once approved Cllr Butcher would like to publicise it and include an article in the Village Bulletin.

RESOLVED – To approve the Dog Walking Code of Conduct for West Bergholt Parish. Proposed by Cllr Butcher, seconded by Cllr Stone, all in favour.

23/11 Zebra Crossing on Colchester Road

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

Cllr Butcher provided the Parish Council with an update on the proposed Colchester Road zebra crossing, the SIDs (Speed Indicator Devices) have now been up for 4 months, and the PC would question how long they need to be there. Cllr Butcher reminded members that he is still chasing the Portfolio Holder for Essex Highways, Cllr Lee Scott, most rigorously for solutions to the delay in the zebra crossing decision.

23/12 Care Network

To receive an update on the Care Network’s Warm Welcoming Space at the Social Club meeting room on Mon & Fri mornings.

Cllr Stone updated the council on the Care Network’s Warm Welcoming Space. With 14 at the last session, he thanked Cllr Barrow for working out the rota of volunteers and the Social Club for being so cooperative. They have found that the Warm Space is not so much about the warm but more about enjoying the companionship.  “Coffee with the Cops” is planned for Monday 30th January.

23/13 Communications

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

Cllr Owers reported that WHUK domain name and email system has now been paid for. The westbergholt-pc.gov.uk does now work, but he is now waiting to hear from Dave the webmaster regarding the new email addresses.

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

Cllr Fayers was unable to attend the meeting, so no report was received.

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, only 2 actions are outstanding both of which the Council are already aware of. Cllr Butcher hopes that Cllr Fayers will take over receipt of Dave’s report and comment under his role at future meetings.

23/14 Community Hub/Parish Office

To receive a verbal update from Councillor Tyrrell

Cllr Tyrrell has received an updated plan of the building, which now has a reduction in the size of the indents in order to prevent any anti-social behaviour. Cllr Bob Tyrell explained that it is now ready for the plans to be submitted to CCC for planning. However, Cllr Butcher could not see why the PC was not going further, submitting the tender to the government’s Contracts Finder site, and applying for building regs now.

RESOLVED – Cllr Brian Butcher proposed to press Steve McLean to get the documentation ready building regulations submission and for tender so that the Clerk can then submit to the Contracts Finder website. All in favour.

23/15 Kings Coronation

To discuss ideas for the Parish to celebrate King Charles III’s Coronation on Sat 6th May 2023.

The PC has now received more details of the plans: Sat 6th May is the Coronation ceremony itself; Sun 7th is the Big Lunch and Mon 8th is the Big Help Out.

Cllr Manya Barrow put forward the idea of a Big Picnic in the Lorkin Daniell Playing Field, and a litter pick on the Big Help Out Day.  It was discussed that West Bergholt Parish Council would enable celebrations and not necessarily organise it, and contacts could be made to local groups for their availability that weekend.  Cllr Brian Butcher said he would enquire and reserve the Orpen Hall and field first to see if it is free on the Sunday, then the Council can talk again.

23/16 Local Council Award Scheme (LCAS)

To discuss the timetable for WBPC to achieve the LCAS Gold Award

Local Council Award Scheme “exists to celebrate the successes of the very best local councils, and to provide a framework to support all local councils to meet their full potential”. West Bergholt Parish Council currently holds the Quality Award in the Local Council Award Scheme but would like to achieve the Gold award in 2023. Three dates are available for the national panel to meet and review our application, January, May and September.

  • Do not need to redo Foundation and Quality levels, just need to make sure all the criteria is still met for those levels when the PC fulfils the Gold ones.
  • Past January date obviously. Unfortunately West Bergholt Parish Council does not have enough elected Councillors to go for Gold (or in fact Quality again as 2/3rds of Cllrs must be elected, not co-opted members). However, it is an election year this year on May 4th and so the PC will be notified if there is an uncontested election by 6th April, but if contested then members even if re-elected will not take their seats until 9th May, after the May submission date. So, that would mean a September LCAS submission.

It will involve a lot of work and various Cllrs may be asked if they can contribute. Cllr Owers wanted to know what the benefits are from the LCAS and Cllr Brian Butcher stated that the Gold Award shows the level of service to the community, being at the forefront of best practice, and can help to facilitate more grant applications.

23/17 Training/Networking Events

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

  • Election Briefings EALC – 24th Jan 2023 – Cllr Tyrrell
  • CCC Election Guide to Clerks – 24th Jan 2023 – Clerk

Excellent guide. Presentation received which the Clerk will circulate to all members. Key date is the 4th April – close of nominations is at 4pm, forms must be submitted to the Town Hall by then. Please note, Town Hall and not Rowan House, also, nomination forms will not be submitted by the Clerk.

23/18 Items to Note

  • Crime Statistics – 21st Nov – 22nd Jan – 2 crimes reported, 1 damage to car and 1 car theft.

23/19 Items for next agenda

  • Sergeant Rob Temme due to be guest speaker.
  • 20s plenty campaign letter.
  • Views of Colchester’s City status to present to CALC (Colchester Association of Local Councils)
  • Neighbourhood Plan amendments for PC agreement.
  • Expenses reminder to Cllrs.
  • Broadband report.
  • Ideas for the Annual Parish Meeting.

23/20 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).

No matters were discussed in committee.

23/21 Date of Next Meeting

The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 22nd February 2023 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall, Lexden Road, CO6 3BW.

Meeting closed at 10.12pm

Signed:                            Date:                     Position on Council:

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