Minutes of Parish Council Meeting – 27th March 2024

A cartoon image of a bumblebee

A brief summary of key elements of the PC meeting on 27th March 2024.  At this meeting, as well as routine committee reports, they:

  • Hosted a Q&A session with a CCC Planning Officer about the National Grid Pylons issue,
  • Heard from Borough Cllr. Willetts,
  • Discussed eleven planning applications,
  • Received an update on MUGA Working Party recommendations,
  • Agreed to renew 6 parish council policy documents,
  • Approved the terms of reference for the Climate Working Party and also received an update on the party’s recent meeting, and
  • Agreed to engage in the Bee-Squared Project.

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

Held on Wed 27th March 2024 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall, CO6 3BW

Chair:Cllr Brian Butcher
Parish Councillors:Cllrs Andrew Savage, Bob Tyrrell, James Owers, John Gili-Ross, Katie Pulford, Paul Chamberlain, Manya Barrow, Sara Cullis, David Short and Harry Stone
Also in attendance:Laura Walkingshaw (Parish Clerk), James Ryan (Colchester City Council)
City & County Cllrs:Cllrs Dennis Willetts & Sara Naylor
Members of the public:2 members of the public

24/36      Receive /accept apologies and welcome to the public.

No apologies were required, all members present.

24/37      Declarations of Interest

Cllr Pulford declared an interest in item 24/43b.

24/38      Previous Minutes & Actions

RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Parish Council (PC) meeting held on Wed 28th February 2024 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (See link to PC Minutes P11 February 2024)

24/39      National Grid Pylons in West Bergholt

Colchester City Council (CCC) Planning Officer, James Ryan, discussed his role in the statutory consultation process and showed part of his N2T Parish Presentation. James has been employed as the NSIP (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project) Manager for the National Grid Norwich to Tilbury “Great Grid Upgrade” with funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. The City Council will meet regularly with National Grid and as the Department has decided that there has not been enough engagement regionally with Parish Councils, he will act as the Parish Liaison for the NSIP for Colchester.

The landing of the Statutory Consultation is due possibly in mid-April, which will provide a much more detailed picture of the route. There is not only the path of the pylons to consider but also the infrastructure coming off each one, such as the haul roads and new junctions on B-roads to reach them for maintenance.

There will be a Preliminary Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) which will be available for comment for 10 weeks once it lands. There is a meeting planned for tomorrow with National Grid looking at the Environment & Biological impact of the project. James will be drafting Colchester City’s response to the PEIR, but will not have long to create a response. He intends to meet with West Bergholt Parish Council (WBPC) again once it arrives to gain local knowledge and pick out the items that need to be raised, although of course the PC can comment independently as well. It is unlikely that National Grid will put in a Development Consent Order application to the Planning Inspectorate until next year.

A Development Consent Order is not a planning application but a statutory instrument or piece of law which gives National Grid the right to develop and is almost always approved. Once the Order limits are released, James will arrange a Teams meeting with local councils. However now is the time when changes can be made, not engaging means there is no chance of change, whilst by talking to them at least mitigating changes can be proposed.


Impact on local farmers and roads?
JR: National Grid are in the process of talking to the farmers affected at the moment and offering compensation to make it more agreeable. In regard to roads, National Grid will make repairs to the roads as they use them.
Acting like it is a fait accompli, but there are alternatives, such as undersea. ESO (Electricity System Operator) have published a report on the other schemes, they all have impacts but do not have the weight to them though.
JR: Definitely, that is the point of the Statutory Consultation, local MPs are very against it.
Impact on transport in the area?
JR: Yes, it will have an impact, there will be increased traffic to the sites, however there will be traffic management and environmental management plans so will try to get as much detail as possible.
Do the Haul Roads remain afterwards?
JR: No, generally they will remove afterwards, but will retain the access tracks.
How much can go back to agricultural land? Will the banks at the sides remain?
JR: No, the topsoil banks will not remain after the construction of the pylons. Can grow underneath and go back relatively quickly, although not at the cable ends obviously. The farmers are currently in discussions with National Grid over which fields are preferable.
No-one wants them so why?
JR: No, no-one does want the pylons, but it is part of the process to reply to the consultation and put the best case forward, better to impact changes rather than just reply with a no thank you.
When is construction likely to happen?
JR: Around 2030

Cllr Butcher wrapped up the discussion by summarising what WBPC needs to do next; make a list of concerns, the visual impact the pylons will have, nearby listed buildings etc and then discuss with James to feed back into the City Council’s response. James acknowledged that he would be in touch as soon as possible.

24/40      Questions from registered electors

The member of the public wished to comment on the item above, in regard to the National Grid pylons, stating that for the record his experience of utilities burying infrastructure underground was not good. He had water pipes buried across his farmland some years ago and it has taken a very long time for the ground to recover.

24/41      Report from Colchester City & Essex County Councillors

Cllr Willetts reported:

Although not related to West Bergholt directly, a question of ethics has been raised in regard to CCC’s strategic partners at the Community 360 organisation which the Cllr wished to address in case the PC had any questions. The Community 360 and Hub services are well run, but it now appears have not held the same level of governance that one would expect and although they have obtained all permissions under business law some parts of the running of the enterprise have failed to maintain the same level of standards when dealing with public money as the City Council itself would have upheld if running the service directly. Now the City Council are aware of the situation it will seek to ensure this doesn’t happen again with any future partners.

Cllr Naylor had no other items to raise.

Cllr Butcher, Chair of the PC, noted that there are two current items to follow up with Cllr Barber, an ETA on the speed cabling in Colchester Road and an update on the bus idling issue on Chapel Road.

24/42      Planning

240331 Barns at, Hall Road, West Bergholt

Recommendation to PC: N/A

There was some confusion regarding this application at the Planning meeting. This particular application relates to the 2021 Conditions and now has a consultation end date of 11th April 2024 prior to the next Planning Meeting.

RESOLVED – As the conditions are quite complicated and lengthy, Cllr Butcher proposed that the Planning Committee hold an extraordinary meeting next week to discuss this planning application in full, Cllr Cullis seconded, All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to arrange meeting and publicise agenda in advance.

240359 Oaklands, Nayland Rd, CO6 3DG

Recommendation to PC: Support

Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to Support with no comment

240228 109 Colchester Road, CO6 3JX

Recommendation to PC: Object

Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to Object.

The application does not comply with PP10, as the design is of poor quality, of the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan and the retrospective planning application is wholly unacceptable.  Consideration needs to be given with the arrangement of the Soil pipe as this is particularly visually detrimental to the elevations.

240414 10 Garthwood Close, CO6 3EA

Recommendation to PC: Support

Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to Support with no comment

240394 Land adj to, Hill House, 155 Colchester Road, CO6 3JX

Recommendation to PC: Support

Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to Support with no comment.

240452 Kings Vineyard, Fossetts Lane, Fordham, CO6 3NY

Recommendation to PC: Support

Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to Support with no comment

240210 Ivy Cottage, 38 Colchester Road, CO6 3JG

Recommendation to PC: Object

Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to Object, as not in accordance with PP10 of the CCC approved WB Neighbourhood Plan, on the basis of poor-quality design. West Bergholt PC also considers the side elevations are substantial and could do with articulation.

240514 17 Pirie Road, CO6 3TA

Recommendation to PC: Support

Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to Support the application, subject to the reserves matters of this application being fully in accordance with PP10 of the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan.

240410 Land south of West Bergholt Cricket Club, Colchester Road, West Bergholt

Recommendation to PC: N/A

Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided that we defer to the knowledge of the Colchester City Council Planners as to whether this discharge condition has been complied with.

240499 87 Colchester Road, CO6 3JU

Recommendation to PC: Object

Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to Object.

West Bergholt Planning Committee has received representations from the public stating that the information provided may not be adequate and we recommend that this is fully looked into by Colchester City Council experts to see if the details provided meet conditions 7,8,9 and 10.

The PC would also note that the odour impact assessment was written by the suppliers and installers of the venting system in Oct 2023, some years after the premises opened and takes no account of the concerns of local residents in respect of the continuing odour issues.

There is no advice given as to how the litter generated by customers of the shop is to be adequately dealt with – the current use of an open plastic box in front of the adjacent property is totally unacceptable.

RESOLVED – Cllr Tyrrell proposed to approve these amended comments to CCC. Cllr Butcher seconded. All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to add the comments onto the Colchester City Council planning portal.

b)    To discuss and agree minor revisions to the WB Neighbourhood Plan

There were currently no discussions or agreements on the revisions, as the committee awaits to hear from CCC.

24/43      Environment & Highways

The minutes of the 14th March 24 were noted. Updates since the meeting included:

There has been more flooding at the junction of Argents Lane and Newbridge Hill that the Handymen have worked hard to clear. The Council offer its thanks to the Handymen for all their hard work on this issue.

ACTION – Cllr Butcher raised a query in regard to the insurance cover of the Handymen in this situation – Clerk to check with Zurich Insurance and report back.

Thanks were also offered to Cllr Short for all his work on Hall Road pond and ditches, helping to alleviate the flooding there.

c)     To receive feedback from the Committee on the footpath issue brought to the Council’s attention at the 28th Feb 2024 meeting.

The Committee recommended that the resident first address his concerns to Fairfield Farm directly, as per Cllr Barber’s advice, then come back to the PC depending on whether he encounters success with them or not.

24/44      Finance

a)    Statement of accounts for Feb 24

The final accounts for Feb 24 (92% through the financial year) were presented as follows: (See link to PC Accounts P11 Feb 2024)

Receipts at 100%, General Expenditure 75%, Environment Expenditure 75%, Overall Expenditure 75%

Bank Rec at £128,468.06.

Two items were added to the reserves in the Projects & Reserves sheet this month. Payment of the new inclusive play equipment and the grant to Bergholt Youth Group.

b)    To agree the payment of £960 to Arches Plant Hire for the emergency work to the Hall Road Pond

Emergency work to Hall Road Pond to try to alleviate the flooding of the road.

RESOLVED – to approve the £960 payment to Arches Plant Hire. Proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Butcher. All in favour.

c)     Payments

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

March 2024
DDBarclaysBank charges (12.42 – 0.98 loyalty reward)11.44
DDWaveAllotments – 3 Dec – 2 Mar (standing charge)16.39
SOJ & M Payroll ServicesMar – wages, tax & NI5,500.00
PC23180J & M Payroll ServicesMar – wages tax & NI1,429.74
PC23181J & M Payroll ServicesPayroll services – Mar48.00
PC23182WBFCGrass cutting Mar – LD Field50.00
PC23183CountrywideGrass cutting Mar – Poor’s Land198.50
PC23184ARCOHi-Vis Coat (medium) – late delivery58.00
PC23185Laura WalkingshawWHUK 05/03, 12pcs drill bits, key box (garage)70.50
PC23186WavePoor’s Land – 5 Dec – 4 Mar (Dec/Jan)40.47
PC23187QMSSteel railings at LD Field2791.66
PC23188David HewittAllotments – repairs to 3 x noticeboards105.00
PC23189WBPCP111/23-24 Hall invoice for Environment Garage440.00
PC23190DVLAVehicle tax for LK16EHY ride-on mower0.00
PC23191PrinterlandBlack toner – high capacity (10.5K pages)168.00
PC23192Andrew SavageExpenses 23-24 ink cartridges10.18
PC23193TBS Hygiene LtdDog/Litter bin collection 24/02 – 29/03240.00
PC23194Nigel WeallShed felt x 4, materials for shed, key box235.60
PC23195Arches Plant Hire13-ton excavator & operator – Hall Road Pond960.00
PC23196Atlas SignsPrinting of Spring 24 Village Bulletin magazine795.00
PC23197RCCEDual annual membership PC as Sole Trustee128.10
PC23198Bluebells (J Leach)Quiz contribution to SEND Sensory Den271.00
TfrPC to Hall accountMUGA floodlight payments Oct 23 – Mar 24243.22
TfrPC to Hall accountA4 paper 3 boxes53.97

d)    To agree to the recommendation from the Finance Advisory Committee to approve the updated 2023-24 Asset Register.

Nothing has been removed this year, but £11,193.33 added including the new play equipment and railings on the LD Field.

RESOLVED – Cllr Savage proposed approval of the updated 2023-24 Asset Register, Cllr Butcher seconded. All in favour.

e)    To agree to the recommendation from the Finance Advisory Committee to approve Jan Stobart as internal auditor for the WBPC 2023-24 accounts.

RESOLVED – Cllr Savage proposed to approve the Finance Committee’s recommendation for Jan Stobart as internal auditor for the WBPC 2023-24 accounts. Cllr Gili-Ross seconded. All in favour.

f)     To agree to the updated Expenditure Guidance document.

This document has not been completed yet and so will be included in a future meeting agenda.

24/45      MUGA / Tennis Courts

To receive an update on the PC agreed recommendations of the MUGA Working Party.

Application to amend the Planning conditions has been made, the application to the Lawn Tennis Association is in hand, the Risk Assessment has been updated, and the Clerk & Cllr Short are currently investigating suitable signage for around the courts.

24/46      Council Documents

a)    To agree the renewal of the following WBPC policies:

  • Memorial Trees and Benches Policy
  • Grant Awarding Policy
  • Complaints Procedure
  • Training & Development Policy
  • Grievance & Disciplinary Policies
  • Equality & Diversity Policy (as an employer)

No changes recommended on any of these policies.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to approve all of the above policies, seconded by Cllr Gili-Ross. All in favour.

b)    To agree the Climate Emergency Working Party’s Terms of Reference

Draft copy of Climate Emergency Working Party’s Terms of Reference previously circulated to Councillors.

RESOLVED – to approve the Climate Emergency Working Party’s Terms of Reference. Proposed by Cllr Butcher, seconded by Cllr Savage. All in favour.

24/47 Climate Emergency Working Party

a)    To note the minutes of the 14th March 2024 meeting of the Climate Emergency Working Party

The minutes of the 14th March meeting were noted.

b)    To discuss and agree the Climate Emergency WP’s recommendation for WBPC to provide West Bergholt residents with information on the “Essex Parishes Solar Energy Scheme” through an exhibition in the Orpen Hall and associated publicity.

The Council had been provided with a presentation in advance of the meeting and a FAQ document about the scheme. This project would allow residents who wish to take part, to have solar panels installed without having to pay the large sum upfront like other schemes, instead paying £2-3 per week for having them on their roof but receiving the benefit of all the energy produced.

This group is a social enterprise, who would like to visit West Bergholt to provide an opportunity for residents to find out more and make up their own minds.

The Parish Council is not committing to any expenditure, expect for the hire of the Orpen Hall for the exhibition. This is an Essex County Council sponsored scheme, but Cllr Savage will keep in contact with Mistley Parish Council to find out how they get on, as already ahead in the process, and will report back to council.

RESOLVED – to approve the Climate Emergency WP’s recommendation in regard to the Essex Parishes Solar Energy Scheme. Proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Cullis. Majority in favour, 1 Cllr against.

c)     To discuss and agree the Climate Emergency WP’s recommendation to engage in the Bee Squared Project with Heathlands School and St Mary’s Church.

The Council had previously been circulated with a project proposal.

RESOLVED – to approve the Climate Emergency WP’s recommendation to engage in the Bee Squared Project. Proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Cullis. Majority in favour, 1 Cllr against.

24/48      Communications

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

Six website articles this month. February figures slightly down, but above last year. Social media reach continues to grow.

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

The latest Monthly Website Report from the webmaster was noted.

Email issue is levelling off slightly. Cllrs Butcher & Savage have had their mailbox storage extended.

ACTION – Cllr Cullis to speak to the webmaster on this issue.

24/49      Annual Parish Meeting (24th April 2024)

a)    To receive an update on the plans for the Annual Parish Meeting (APM).

Mrs Pamela Donnelly (CEO of Colchester City Council) and Lieutenant Colonel Ed Rankin (Commander of the Colchester Garrison) are still booked as speakers for the APM.

Cllr Cullis will invite local groups, asking if they wished to create an exhibit for residents. From the PC, there will be displays on the Trust Charity Annual Returns, Annual Achievements, the Bee Squared project and the results of the Youth Photography competition.

ACTION – Clerk to also invite a representative of the organisations in receipt of a PC grant this year.

b)    To discuss & agree the Volunteer of the Year initiative for presenting at the Annual Parish Meeting

The intention is to advertise this initiative on social media so residents can nominate someone they feel has made a major contribution to the village. This award will be presented by the Lieutenant Colonel.

RESOLVED – to approve the Volunteer of the Year initiative. Proposed by Cllr Butcher, seconded by Cllr Cullis. All in favour

24/50      Training/Networking Events

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

  • CCC Town & Parish Clerk’s Forum – 6th Mar 2024 JG – Notes to follow, Letter from ECC Cllr Cunningham on ditches/flooding previously circulated.
  • CALC (Colchester Association of Local Councils) – 7th Mar 2024 BTB, JGR – interesting meeting with guest speaker Cllr Sue Lissimore, Chair of the Local Highways Panel (LHP). It was noted that the LHP organisation is about to change.

24/51      Items to Note

a)    Crime Statistics

26th Feb – 24th Mar 2024: 1 car theft and 1 theft from a vehicle.

b)    BounceAbility invite to Councillors – Sat 22nd June 2024

Annual trampoline competition. Also looking for raffle prizes.

c)     Roadmap to Local Council Award Scheme – Gold Award

BTB, HS, AS & Clerk meeting 3rd April to discuss. Looking like September for re-submission.

d)    Warm Space – Digital Access Support Team

CCC’s Digital Enabling team very successful visit to Warm Hub on 1st March. Hoping to come back for a longer free course in September.

e)    Thank you to WB Allotments Charity Stall

Thank you letter has been sent to the WB Allotment Committee for their support of the Young Photographers Winter Photo Competition. Provided the £250 in Amazon prizes to the winning entries.

24/52      Items for Next Agenda

Wed 24th April 2024

  • Annual Parish Meeting to follow PC meeting so pared back to essential items only.

24/53      In Committee

There were no items discussed in committee.

24/54      Date of Next Meeting

The next full council meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wed 24th April at 6.30pm, in the Orpen Memorial Hall, Lexden Rd, CO6 3BW. Followed by the Annual Parish Meeting at 7.15pm.

The meeting closed at 21:46pm.

Signed:                                                                                Date:

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