Minutes of Parish Council Meeting – 26th July 2023

A brief summary of key elements of the PC Meeting on 26th July 2023.  At this meeting they:

AI generated image t represent two key themes of 26th July 2023 PC meeting - pylons & zebra crossings
  • Heard about and discussed ongoing issues at Uncle Kams Fish & Chip shop,
  • Discussed potential improvements to the Zebra Crossing by the Co-op,
  • Heard about a recent meeting to discuss the National Grid’s plans for pylons,
  • Noted the opening of the externally accessible toilet,
  • Heard about recent meetings with Heathlands School and the Bergholt Youth Group,
  • Heard of issues progressing the proposed zebra crossing on Colchester Road.

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

Held on Wed 26th July 2023 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall, CO6 3BW

Chair:Cllr Brian Butcher
Parish Councillors:Cllrs Andrew Savage, James Owers, David Short, Sara Cullis, Harry Stone John Gili-Ross, Bob Tyrrell & Manya Barrow
Also in attendance:Laura Walkingshaw (Parish Clerk)   
City & County Cllrs:None
Members of the public:Two

23/126         Receive /accept apologies and welcome to the public.

Apologies were received from Cllr Pulford.

23/127         Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

23/128         Previous Minutes & Actions

RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 28th June 2023 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (See link to PC Minutes P3 Jun 23 )

23/129         Questions from registered electors

A resident spoke on the ongoing concerns neighbours have in regard to the odours, litter and parking around the new Fish & Chip shop (Uncle Kams) on Colchester Road. He had seen the latest communication from City Cllr Dennis Willetts, but could not understand why planning enforcement cannot do more when applicants do not adhere to the conditions attached to their planning applications.

Cllr Willetts letter states that the shop has until the 6th August to comply with the conditions, then has a further 3 months to appeal.

Cllr Butcher reiterated the Parish Council’s position, i.e., that it had objected to the planning application, along with 90 others, and raised concerns about parking, litter, odour and noise at the time. The Council has been in regular contact with the City Councillors and advising residents to raise concerns with Enforcement and Environmental Health. Unfortunately, until the enforcement notice is worked out Colchester City Council (CCC) will not do anything else as they must follow process. The Parish Council has every sympathy with residents and will do all they can do to assist its residents, including contacting CCC once the 6th of August has passed.

The resident asked if the Parish Council could make information more readily available to neighbouring residents and the Council agreed to share details between those who have contacted them so that a WhatsApp group could be created to keep everyone in the loop.

Cllr Gili-Ross asked if the Parish Council should not put forward its position to the parish a little more clearly as it is a community nuisance, even though stating this will not make any difference to CCC’s procedures. Cllr Cullis agreed to come back to the resident on a regular basis if the Council has more information so that he can share it with his neighbours.

23/130         Report from Colchester City & Essex County Councillors

There were no City or County Councillors present and so no report was received. Cllrs Willetts, Barber and Naylor offered their apologies.

However, Cllr Butcher did update council members on the possible improvements to the zebra crossing in front of the Co-Op. County Councillor Barber had gone back to the Highways Officer to enquire if the improvements included a raised platform or just more lighting and the answer was no raised platform, just lighting. Cllr Gili-Ross will be following this up at the Local Highways Panel meeting.

23/131         Planning

To note minutes and the following agreed comments to CCC made by the WBPC Planning Committee at their meeting on 17th July 2023 (See link to Planning P4 Jul 2023):

231401  Daniells House, Colchester Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3SF – Support. Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided not to comment.

231404   West Bergholt Reservoir, Hall Road, West Bergholt – Support. Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided not to comment.

231629  4 Hall Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3DS – Support. Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided not to comment.

231562   67 Chapel Road, West Bergholt   CO6 3JA – Support. Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided not to comment.

The minutes also noted a meeting planned with Simon Cairns of CCC to discuss several recent planning applications. And finally, discussed the concerns raised by a resident of the “long term” banners on display around the village, such as the coffee sign outside the Co-Op and the No Parking signs put up by the Parish Council. Having contacted CCC, the Clerk’s Assistant found that an application should be made for any signage like this. The Handymen have been asked to take the Parish Council’s banners down and the PC will contact CCC in future if they wish to display signs like this as it should be leading by example, a fee would be payable. The Council will look in more detail at the regulations and design any new signs to fit with the regulations.

ACTION – Environment & Highways Committee to discuss potentially renewing the PC’s No Parking banners at their next meeting.

23/132         Environment & Highways

a)    To note the minutes of the WBPC Environment Committee from their meeting of 13th July 2023 (See link to Environment Mins P4 Jul 23)

The minutes were noted. In summary, the Parish Council truck has passed its MOT for another year and will be taxed for the next 12 months, there are a couple of minor advisory notes, but they will be actioned as soon as possible.

The play equipment on the Lorkin Daniell Field requires a wash down in certain areas ready for the start of the busy summer vacation period.

It was noted that the CCC Climate Change Newsletter which is circulated to the Council may hold some grant opportunities for the Environment Committee to investigate.

b)    To discuss the Environment Committee recommendation that the PC installs a suitable barrier around the grass area on the corner of Armoury Rd/Colchester Rd to deter parking. 

If there is no objection from members, no issues with the funding and the required ECC permissions are sought, the Parish Council agreed in principle that something needs to be done on that particular corner.

ACTION – the Environment Committee will now investigate the required costs and bring this back to a future Council meeting.

23/133         Finance

a)    Statement of accounts for Jun 23

The final accounts for Jun 23 (25% through the financial year) were presented as follows: (See link to PC Accounts P3 Jun 23)

Receipts at 50%, General Expenditure 20%, Environment Expenditure 16%, Overall Expenditure 19%. Bank Rec at £ 123,299.97. Two payments on the Projects & Reserves sheet this month, for the tree survey and external WC.

ACTION – Parish Clerk to investigate opening a new bank account.

b)    Payments

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

uly 2023
DDBarclaysBank charges – loyalty reward (10-0.38)9.62
SOJ & M Payroll ServicesJul – wages, tax & NI5,500.00
PC23054J & M Payroll ServicesJul – wages tax & NI1,652.75
PC23055J & M Payroll ServicesPayroll services – Jul48.00
PC23056WBFCGrass cutting Jul – LD Field50.00
PC23057CountrywideGrass cutting Jul – Poor’s Land198.50
PC23058Petty CashDiesel & unleaded petrol76.60
PC23059Laura WalkingshawWHUK 05/07, mouse, mat & secateurs74.24
PC23060TBS HygieneLitter/Dog waste collection – 27/05-30/06240.00
PC23061RCCEAnnual membership – parish council105.60
Chq 104296DVLACar tax – KJ55 DME 12 months320.00
PC23062EALCCllr training (KP), Safeguarding (JO)450.00
PC23063Cox Landscapes3m 5×5, postmix52.58
PC23064KingServWebsite support & travel expenses483.75
PC23065Orpen Memorial HallEnv meetings in SC Mtg Room – Apr-Jul 2326.80
PC23066TBS HygieneLitter/Dog waste collection – 01/07-28/07192.00
TfrPC to HallMUGA Electricity – May45.43
TfrPC to HallMUGA Electricity – June45.69

c)     To agree the Finance Committee recommendation to use the £4,990.92 in the Ringfenced PC Reserves money from the Orpen Hall Projects line for the repainting of the main Orpen Hall.

The Orpen Hall Management Committee tried to obtain three quotes, but only received two in the end. The preferred contractor was one that they had previously used and were happy with their work. The work will need to be undertaken during the summer vacation, whilst Bluebells are not occupying the building.

RESOLVED – to approve the use the £4,990.92 in the Ringfenced PC Reserves money from the Orpen Hall Projects line for the repainting of the main Orpen Hall. Proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Butcher. All in favour

d)    To agree a £10,000 application to the CIF (Community Initiatives Fund) for the construction of the West Bergholt Community Hub.

This application will need to be submitted by the 18th of August. It was felt that the Community Hub was the most appropriate project for which to apply for. Essex County Council (ECC) does have criteria which state that if an organisation applies for a grant from ECC within three years of their last application, then this may be taken into account when they make their decision.  Whilst the Parish Council last received £1250 from the Emergency CIF for the Parish Truck in 2021, it was still considered worth applying.

ACTION – Clerk to seek written support from Cllr Barber prior to submission.

RESOLVED – Cllr Savage proposed to agree an application of £10,000 to the CIF for the West Bergholt Community Hub project. Seconded by Cllr Cullis. All in favour.

23/134         National Grid

a)    To agree the Parish Council’s reply to the latest Pylon “Norwich to Tilbury” consultation.

NATIONAL GRID East Anglia Green, now re-named as Norwich to Tilbury, a non- statutory consultation running from 27 June to 21 August 2023. Cllr Short attended the recent Norwich to Tilbury public consultation event held in Langham on the 13th July and prepared the following summary:

Everyone is aware of the rush to net Zero by 2050. As far as this affects West Bergholt and its more immediate environs, this will entail building a new pylon and partial underground cabling system from Ardleigh to Marks Tey.

The new infrastructure will include building approximately 115 new pylons stretching for some 33.5 kms. in the area stated above. This should be seen in context of the 90,000 new pylons planned nationally to accommodate the net zero policy. What has not been included in the consultation to date is the additional network which transmits current from the National Grid directly to the consumer. In this area, this is carried out by a company called UK Power Networks. Amazingly, this network presently consists of some 4,500 miles of overhead cabling etc, though not all of this is in our area of course. It is estimated that this network will exceed transmission capacity by 2027 and therefore capacity will have to be increased in some form, on a pro-rata basis, one would assume.

As far as West Bergholt is concerned, we have as a Parish Council, already lodged a formal protest against the scheme with the Planning Authorities dated 21st November followed by considerable subsequent correspondence with various interested parties and the Planning authorities.

 Additionally, we have offered our full written support to Rosie Pearson and her larger and more exhaustive “Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk Pylons Action Group”. This group has proposed an alternative and much cheaper offshore route for the cabling and full details of this proposal have been submitted to both the Planning Authorities and to National Grid and if necessary, will also be submitted to the Secretary of State. The cost differential between the two schemes has been shown to be for the Pylon routeing a cost of £7 billion whereas the undersea routeing would be £5 billion. As a Parish Council, we have stated our full support for the undersea proposal.

The Parish Council has prepared a preliminary summary for general circulation of what is proposed by National Grid for the area in question. This summary should now be updated in view of the more detailed information about proposals for the location which has recently become available, and which have been detailed above. In addition, Cllr Short would propose that the Parish Council completes and submits the Consultation Feedback booklet which has been offered by National Grid at the recent public consultation meetings which have been held locally and which were attended by some parish councillors. Completion of this booklet could include some of the very helpful comments which have recently been provided by various local residents and former parish councillors.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to give Cllr Short the delegated power to respond on behalf of West Bergholt Parish Council. Cllr Cullis seconded. All in favour.

ACTION – Cllr Short will create a response for the Clerk to transfer to the consultation document and ensure that Rosie Pearson and Sir Bernard Jenkin are copied in, as well as other local Parish Councils.

ACTION – Cllr Cullis to ensure that a link to the Pylons letter is available for residents on the local Facebook Hub.

23/135         Externally Accessible Toilet

To note the opening of the new accessible & baby change toilet to the side of the Orpen Hall which will be open during daylight hours for the public to use.

The toilet will have an opening ceremony, when it is not raining, so that it can be publicised on the website and social media. Cllr Butcher thanked Cllr Savage for getting it to completion and for the Clerk for her continued chasing in regard to any snagging issues.

23/136         Communications

a)    To receive the monthly report from the Publicity Officer, Councillor Cullis

The list of Social Media posts created this month was received from the Clerk’s Assistant. Cllr Cullis updated members with the latest Communication developments. She is working on a Communications Plan, has recently created a light-hearted “Get to know your Councillors” questionnaire, and would like to produce a contact sheet of key people and businesses to quickly contact for spreading news to the parish.

ACTION – Cllr Cullis to check if the recent changes to the Pharmacy have been related to the community.

In regard to the Village Bulletin magazine, Cllr Cullis is working on a survey (both hard copy and electronic) to provide a temperature check on how residents view the future of the quarterly magazine.

ACTION – Cllr Gili-Ross asked if the PC was on the Next-Door app and will provide Cllr Cullis with the details.

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

The July monthly website reported was noted.

23/137         Training/Networking Events

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

EALC Councillor Training – Cllr Pulford – Evenings of 6th, 13th, 20 & 27th July

Cllr Butcher informed members that an upcoming refresher course which will be run for Councillors, would be beneficial to attend. He also reminded everyone that the EALC (Essex Association of Local Councils) AGM will be held on September 21st at Colchester Football Stadium and to inform the Clerk’s Assistant if they wish to attend.

23/138         Items to Note

a)    Crime Statistics

26th Jun – 23rd July 2023: 0 crimes.

b)    September CALC Meeting

Pam Donnelly, Chief Executive of CCC will be at the next meeting on Sept 28th, 2023, Cllrs are requested to think what questions they would like to put before her and bring forward at the next PC meeting.

c)     To discuss the PC’s response to the Supported Local Bus Services consultation

Bus Network Consultation 2023. Although there are no changes proposed to the S3 bus service for the next two years, it is on the list of “At Risk” services, supported by ECC for evening & Sunday services. Cllr Butcher stated that it would be good for the PC to respond so as to seek to ensure that there are no further cuts.

ACTION – Clerk will send the link to Cllr Barrow for responding and to Cllr Cullis for sharing with the wider community.

d)    Heathlands School Meeting

Cllrs Butcher & Stone met with the Head of Heathlands School on 27th June 2023. The school’s parking 3PR scheme is being positively received and they intend to apply to have some more “aliens” installed. The Parish Council representatives have been invited to attend the first School Council meeting of the year on 26th Sept as part of the PC’s youth engagement programme.

The complaint about the school’s Sports Day parking issues was also discussed, as were the proposed facilities for Poor’s Land.

e)    Youth Engagement – Cllr Stone’s report on his visit to Bergholt Youth Group (BYG)

Cllr Stone visited BYG on Friday 14th July and circulated a report to Council on his findings. He asked what the young people most liked about living in West Bergholt, what they didn’t like and what they would change to make it a better place. The young people impressed him by providing some very sensible and mature answers.

Cllr Stone had been involved with the original formation of the youth group and he was very happy to see it doing so well, with 120 attendees for that first introductory evening on the 14th. The PC reiterated its support.

f)     Parish Councillor Vacancy

There are several prospective candidates for the current casual vacancy. There is no full council meeting in August and so the Council is looking to co-opt on the 27th of September meeting. Candidates will be invited to write a short summary about themselves prior to the meeting and to speak on the evening.

ACTION – Clerk to add as an item to September PC agenda.

g)    Proposed Zebra Crossing on Colchester Road

Cllr Butcher had a frustrating meeting with Essex Highways onsite at Colchester Road, where the proposed zebra crossing may go. Cllr Barber has gone away to ask what monies are left in the budget for survey work to enable a scooping study to be done as prelude to the design. There are three locations being discussed. Essex Highways still have an issue with not owning the section of land on the Poor’s Land where the crossing will finish. However, the Parish Council own it as sole trustee and so Cllr Butcher will be writing to the Charity Commission and asking what alternatives are available, such as providing Essex with a 999-year lease for that small patch, in due course.

23/139         Items for Next Agenda

Tues 29th August Ext Meeting:

  1. a one item agenda to ratify the LCAS Gold Award application and associated policies.

Wed 27th September:

  1. Co-option of new council member

  2. Response from Environment Committee on CCC’s proposal for Armoury Rd maintenance

  3. Civility & Respect Pledge

  4. Feedback on ownership of Mumford Close greensward (ACTION – Clerk to check with CCC)

  5. Report from the Neighbourhood Plan Review Group

  6. Report from the MUGA Working Party

  7. William Sims Sports Field – draft land transfer document and quote from Essex Legal Services

23/140         In Committee

No matters were discussed in committee.

23/141         Date of Next Meeting

Extraordinary Meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Tues 29th Aug 2023 at 7.30pm with just a single item agenda, for the approval of the LCAS Gold award application. (Apologies in advance from Cllr Barrow)

The next full council meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wed 27th Sept 2023 at 7.30pm, both meetings to be held in the John Lampon Hall, Lexden Rd, CO6 3BW.

The meeting closed at 9.07pm.

Signed:                                                                          Date:

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