Minutes of Parish Council Meeting – 28th June 2023


Minutes of meeting 28th June 2023

A brief summary of key elements of the PC Meeting on 28th June 2023.  At this meeting they:

  • Heard from City and County Councillors who reported on a range of issues such as Uncle Kam’s Fish & Chip Shop, road accident, potholes & zebra crossing for Colchester Road,
  • Discussed a number of financial matters,
  • Approved a recommendation from the Planning Committee to Object to a planning application in Colchester Road,
  • Appointed a Data Protection Officer and reviewed and ratified a number of council policies & documents,

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

Held on Wed 28th June 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, Katie Pulford, Sara Cullis, & Harry Stone
Also in attendance:Laura Walkingshaw (Parish Clerk)
Borough & County Cllrs:Cllrs Dennis Willetts & Lewis Barber
Members of the public:3

23/111         Receive /accept apologies and welcome to the public.

Apologies were received from Cllrs John Gili-Ross, Bob Tyrrell & Manya Barrow.

Cllr Butcher reminded Councillors that clear reasons are required if they intend to miss the monthly full council meeting. He asked that Cllrs please provide dates of any holidays up to April 2024 to the Proper Officer and inform her if they are unable to make the meeting to ensure meetings will be quorate.

23/112         Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

23/113         Previous Minutes & Actions

RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 24th May 2023 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (See link to PC Minutes P2 May 23 Ex Mtg)

23/114         Questions from registered electors

There were no questions from registered electors.

23/115         Report from Colchester City & Essex County Councillors

Cllr Dennis Willetts reported:

Uncle Kam’s Fish & Chip Shop – Planning Enforcement have been out to visit the shop, there was a condition on the planning application relating to the odour control system, so the shop is in breach of that condition. Unfortunately, there are not many ways to secure a stop notice on a moderate breach like this, Cllr Willetts will contact the Officer again and report back. However, Cllr Butcher informed the Councillor that there had been a new email from the Enforcement Officer received on the 22nd July which stated he was about to serve an enforcement notice on the shop, so the situation is ongoing.

Serious accident on B1508 – recent accident on B1508 near the new Hopkins development. There was a temporary road order of traffic lights at the time, but the Cllr has checked, and all planning & safety conditions were met at the time.

Armoury Road potholes by Bradbrook Cottages – Armoury Road was never adopted by Essex County Council, but as there were originally 43 municipal houses along the road the money for repairs came out of Colchester’s housing revenue account. However, as the years have passed, only 9 houses remain under Colchester Borough Homes control, raising questions over the repair budget for the road. Colchester City Council (CCC) have proposed the establishment of a management company to pay for such repairs. CCC wonders if the City or the Parish Council could in any way support this? In the meantime, there is less and less to spend on maintaining Armoury Road.

ACTION – WBPC Environment & Highways Committee to consider at their next meeting and report back to full Council.

Refuse Collection Charges – CCC have agreed to the £10 collection charges for green waste from the new year.

ACTION – Clerk to move Planning & Environment items earlier up the agenda in future so that the City Councillors can be present for those discussions.

Cllr Lewis Barber reported:

Chapel Road zebra crossing – The Local Highways Panel has agreed to fund improvements to the zebra crossing outside the Co Op on Chapel Road. Cllr Barber is checking to see if the crossing is raised in the proposed design, then he will share the information.

Pothole repairs – work to the entrance of Firmins Court is completed. There is work progressing behind the scenes on Colchester Road and to the blue bridge, whilst the drain on Argents Lane should come out of the general maintenance budget.

ACTION – Clerk to provide Cllr Barber with a short list following the next Environment meeting. (Footways come out of a separate fund).

Grants – Are there any other projects for the Levelling Up Grant? Cllr Savage informed the Cllr that WBPC had applied for the Hyperlocal Grant (£10,000) and would like to apply for the Locality Budget (£1,000) for inclusive play equipment.

ACTION – Send the application through to Cllr Barber.

Colchester Road proposed zebra crossing – At CALC meeting Cllr Lee Scott of ECC agreed to pursue the Highways Devolution and the proposed zebra crossing.

ACTION – Cllr Butcher to inform Cllr Barber when he is free to meet.

Highways work outside Hopkins development – Cllr Barber informed the Council that the developer employs an ECC contractor to complete the work on the highway.

ACTION – Clerk to inform Cllr Barber of the details of the complaint after the meeting.

23/116         Finance

a)    Statement of accounts for May 23

The final accounts for May 23 (17% through the financial year) were presented as follows: (See link to PC Accounts P2 May 23)

Receipts at 49%, General Expenditure 14%, Environment Expenditure 11%, Overall Expenditure 14%. Bank Rec at £ 126,704.30. No changes to the Projects & Reserves sheet this month.

b)    Payments

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

Jun 2023

DDBarclaysBank charges – loyalty reward (10-0.38)9.62
DDWave (Anglian Water)Allotments – 08 Mar-02 Jun 23137.98
SOJ & M Payroll ServicesJun – wages, tax & NI4,500.00
PC23033J & M Payroll ServicesJun – wages tax & NI2,088.19
PC23034J & M Payroll ServicesPayroll services – Jun48.00
PC23035WBFCGrass cutting Jun – LD Field50.00
PC23036CountrywideGrass cutting Jun – Poor’s Land198.50
PC23037Petty CashDiesel & unleaded petrol, latex gloves & postcrete56.04
PC23038Laura WalkingshawWebsite 05/06, annual adobe, Microsoft, travel expenses (AGM), bungee cords, silicon sprays198.99
PC23039TBS HygieneDog/Litter bin collection – May192.00
PC23040Simon ForresterTravel expenses (playground course)26.00
PC23041Wave (Anglian Water)Poor’s land – 05 Mar-04 Jun 2354.15
PC23042Colchester City CouncilUncontested election costs64.00
PC23043Zurich MunicipalInsurance 2023-242,963.12
PC23044Atlas SignsPrinting: no VAT credit of 176.02 (£565 – £176.02)388.98
PC23045Kent BlaxillHeath bench – nuts & bolts11.76
PC23046EventbriteTraining – Digital Engagement – SC52.04
PC23047EventbriteTraining – Empowering Young Voices – HS52.04
PC23048Ingleton WoodProfessional fees – solar & WC project675.00
PC23049Kent Blaxill4-way brass key7.72
PC23050SD ArboricultureTree survey report & 200 tree tags600.00
PC23051Victoria Beckwith-ColeAnnual Parish Meeting food & drink77.55
PC23052Grasshopper3mm nylium st part31.01
PC23053Ivor BeckwithWork to LD Field – April 23150.00
TfrHall to PCAnnual insurance contribution 23-24-1,381.56
TfrNew Allotments to PCAnnual insurance contribution 23-24-200.00

c)     To note the new long-term agreement with Zurich Municipal insurance until 1st June 2026

Previously circulated to members after the decision was delegated to BTB, AS & HS, but the Parish Council has now received confirmation of the 3-year long term insurance agreement with Zurich Municipal at a cost of £2963.12 per year.

d)    To note increase of standing order with Barclays to cover staff wages to £5,500 as of July 2023.

Monies need to go to the payroll company the week before the PC meeting for staff wages to be ready for payment that week. The council is increasing the standing order to the payroll company J & M from £4500 to £5500 to cover the wages bill due to the increase in the number of employees.

e)    To note addition of new staff to the pension fund as per PC resolution of Sept 2016.

Another member of staff has joined the pension fund. They do not automatically qualify for enrollment as they earn less than £833 per month, but the PC previously agreed in September 2016 that ALL staff could join the Local Government Pension Fund if they wished. The proposed member of staff is aware of the required contribution and the PC’s contribution has already been calculated into this year’s budget.

f)     To note the new expenses claim form for all staff & councillors

New expenses claim form for staff and Councillors. On one page rather than three, saving paper. Can be used electronically with automatic sums or printed out and filled in by hand. The Responsible Finance Officer has checked that the 45p milage rate is the rate set by the Inland Revenue.

g)    To apply for the Rural Prosperity Fund

The Parish Council were unsuccessful in their application for the ACRE Village Halls Jubilee Fund for part funding the Community Hub & Parish Office, so agreed instead they will be applying for £24,999 from the new Rural Prosperity Fund in early August.

23/117         Planning

a)    To note the following agreed comment to CCC made by the WBPC Planning Committee at their meeting on 19th June 2023 (See link to Planning P3 Jun 2023):

231172 – 19 Bradbrook Cottages, Armoury Road, CO6 3JW – Support – Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided that, subject to CCC Planning agreeing a maximum ground to ridge height with the applicant, and having such shown on the approved drawings, they will support the application.

b)    To approve the following recommendation from the WBPC Planning Committee, made at their meeting of 19th June 2023, as a comment to CCC (See link to Planning P3 Jun 2023)

231375 – 109 Colchester Road, CO6 3JX

First Floor Timber Frame Rear Bedroom Extension & Internal Alterations

Comment: Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided that although in principle it has no objection to a First Floor Extension, Planning Application 231375 does not comply with NP10 of the Neighbourhood Planning Policies and would also refer to DG25 of the Village Design Statement in that the design is not sympathetic with the original house in having a flat roof and being uPVC clad.

Recommendation to the Parish Council: Object

RESOLVED – Cllr Cullis proposed to Object to planning application 231375, with the above comment. Cllr Butcher seconded. All in favour.

c)     To note the Planning Committee’s submission to the NALC Planning Case Study Survey.

Cllr Savage responded to the NALC Planning Case Study Survey on the 19th June 2023 on behalf of the WB Planning Committee. The survey consisted of a choice of approximately 6 different subject matters, one of which he had to reply to within 75-105 words. He chose the “ensuring an efficient Planning Committee” option, describing how WBPC has electronic links built into the agenda and on the website making the information readily available for members and the public.

ACTION – Clerk to ask for an extension on the latest two Planning Applications received from CCC.

ACTION – Clerk to organise the Neigh Plan Review Group meeting.

23/118         Environment & Highways

a)    To note the minutes of the WBPC Environment Committee from their meeting of 8th June 2023 (See link to Environment Mins P3 Jun 23)

The minutes were noted. In summary, the truck has a few problems, and the grass mower may not be powerful enough for the work involved, but the Committee is looking into both issues.

Latest tree survey has arrived, Nigel the Handyman will look at it in detail on his return.

ACTION – Clerk to ask Nigel to urgently check the tree marked in red opposite the school car park.

b)    To note the approval of the Local Highways Panel to fund both improvements to the Chapel Road zebra crossing and funding towards the Digigo Scoping Study (an electric on-demand minibus service) 

This has been previously trialled in Braintree with success. The funding will look into a scoping study for running it in the Colchester area.

c)     To note the possible relocation of the bus stop from outside 36 Colchester Road to near 1 Garthwood Close.

Speculation at present, this could be an additional bus shelter rather than instead of the one outside 36 Colchester Road. Cllr Barber has asked for an update from Highways but nothing has come back from them in time for this meeting.

23/119 Council Documents

a)    To agree the appointment of the Parish Clerk as Data Protection Officer and ratify all documents linked to WBPC’s Information & Data Protection Policy (minor amendments recommended)

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to appoint the Parish Clerk, Laura Walkingshaw, as Data Protection Officer, Cllr Owers seconded. All in favour.

List of Data Protection DocumentsDue for ReviewRecommendations from Clerk
Information & Data Protection PolicyJuly 2023Minor amendments
Document Retention & Disposal PolicyJuly 2023No change
Appendix A List of Documents: Retention or DisposalJuly 2023No change
Privacy NoticeJuly 2023No change
CCTV PolicyJuly 2023Minor amendments
WiFi PolicyJuly 2023No change
Not for publication – for council use only  
Inventory of Personal Data Captured, Stored & Processed by WBPCJuly 2023Minor amendments
Data Breach Reporting FormJuly 2023No change
Subject Access Request FormJuly 2023No change
Data Consent FormJuly 2023No change

Minor amendments include updating contact details, adding City to Colchester City Council and amending Chairman to Chair.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to ratify all the documents linked to WBPC’s Information & Data Protection Policy, Cllr Savage seconded. All in favour

ACTION – WiFi Policy should also be copied to the website for the Orpen Hall Trust for when hirers book the hall. Clerk to action.

b)    To review and ratify the following West Bergholt Parish Council’s policies:

Co-option Policy

Minor changes recommended. Cllr Cullis also noted the wording was confusing in section 4.5 “it is not possible to vote without the press & public in attendance”, an alternative of “it is not possible to exclude the press & public from attending during the vote” was agreed.

Risk Management Scheme

No change recommended. This has not been amended, but needs reviewing. Council will renew as it is for the time being, but acknowledge that it will come back to the full council shortly.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to ratify the Co Option & Risk Management Scheme documents, Cllr Short seconded. All in favour

Publicity Officer Role – amended by reordering with minor tweaks.

Publicity Plan – minor amendments & additions to the Comms process

Community Engagement Policy & Strategy

Amended, deliberately keeping references to Publicity Officer and Communications Officer for historical record.

Cllr Sara Cullis, as Publicity Officer, explained the amendments she had made to the existing WBPC documents above.

ACTION – Clerk to check the above Comms policies for the usual minor amendments such as CCC & Chair.

RESOLVED – Cllr Cullis proposed to ratify the amended Publicity Officer Role, Publicity Plan and Community Engagement Policy & Strategy documents subject to the Clerk’s minor amendments, Cllr Butcher seconded. All in favour

Finance Committee Terms of Ref

Amended. Minor changes to ToR so that the Chair of OHMC can attend as there are so many financial items from the Hall for the Finance Committee to consider. Again, this is an interim measure, once the Financial Guidance for the Trusts/PC interaction has been written then it can be reviewed.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to ratify the amended Finance, Policy & Personnel Advisory Committee, Cllr Cullis seconded. All in favour.

c)     To agree the proposed Bulletin Editorial Board Terms of Reference

Bulletin Editorial Board has been in existence for some time, but has never before had any formal Terms of Reference. The increasing cost of producing the Village Bulletin is becoming a concern to the PC and where the Editorial Board previously just participated in proof reading, their role has now been expanded to include finding the best value for creating the quarterly magazine.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to approve the new Bulletin Editorial Board Terms of Reference, Cllr Cullis seconded. All in favour.

d)    To agree the Local Government Association’s new Model Councillor Code of Conduct 2020 

New model Code of Conduct which came out in 2020, has been adopted by Colchester City Council members from 1st Dec 2022. There are no sanctions linked to this Code, but it goes into greater detail of how a Councillor should act and has been updated in several ways to reflect modern life. There is also a new category of interests listed, Non-Registerable Interests.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed that West Bergholt Parish Council should agree to adhere by them and formally adopt the LGA’s new Model Councillor Code of Conduct 2020, Cllr Savage seconded. All in favour.

23/120         Communications

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

Cllr Cullis informed members that Dave Kingaby (webmaster), the Clerk, Clerk’s Assistant (JG) and herself met face to face to have a very useful Communications planning meeting. DK is updating the website and JG is working her way through checking it with her local knowledge for any errors or out of date information. The Climate Change page will be added shortly. JG is doing a fantastic job on social media, with many timed posts spread out through the week.

ACTION – Cllr Butcher asked for a report on the social media posts, especially when some Cllrs are not on Facebook and so unable to see them. Clerk to send Cllr Cullis a copy of an old report which former councillor Norma Smith used to produce monthly.

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

The website report notes that although the Council currently has ample disk capacity, time needs to be spent on deciding about email storage (Action 2 below). Website growth is relatively small, but email is growing fast:

Action 2) To consider what email quotas might need to be raised and, if so, how high. Also, to consider individuals’ retention strategy. Action: Parish Council

ACTION – N.B. The Clerk is copied in on every email sent and retains a copy, so all Councillors are asked to please look at their email messages and then delete as soon as they are no longer needed.

Cllr Cullis stated that having noted the website traffic is not increasing as much as the social media, JG will make a deliberate effort to link almost every post possible to the website to increase footfall. Also, the PC needs to monitor the hours DK is spending on WBPC work, as it has increased greatly in recent months.

23/121         Training/Networking Events

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

SLCC AGM – Clerk & Assistant – 7th June – Environment, Meeting recording, Legal questions.

CALC Meeting – Cllrs Butcher & Gili-Ross – 22nd June – Cllr Butcher elected Chair of CALC, taking over from Cllr Gili-Ross, after many years of service. Essex County Councillor Lee Scott (portfolio holder for Essex Highways) was present.

ACTION – 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.

Safeguarding at EALC – Cllr Owers – 28th June – Need a specific risk assessment for Safeguarding and signatures required for Safeguarding document.

ACTION – The Orpen Hall Memorial Trust already has a Safeguarding Policy as per the Charity Commission requirements, so the Clerk will send it to Cllr Owers for him to review.

EALC Exec. Committee – Cllr Butcher – Concerns discussed in respect of funding going forward having regard to the unknown impact of Devolution.

University of Essex – Cllr Butcher – 29th June – AGM & reception, significant work being undertaken in Greenstead.

23/122         Items to Note

a)    Crime Statistics

22nd May – 25th Jun 2023: 2 crimes: both burglaries from outbuildings

b)    Electric Vehicle Charge Point Strategy

The six-week public consultation is open until Sunday, 30 July 2023. More can read more about the strategy and take part in the consultation via the scheme webpage at: https://www.essexhighways.org/ev-strategy

ACTION – Cllr Savage has already responded to this consultation on behalf of the PC.

c)     Complaints:

Heathlands School Sports Day Parking – Cllrs Stone & Butcher met with the Head recently.

ACTION – Cllr Butcher will write a reply for the Clerk to send to the resident.

Fish & Chip Shop – smell & behaviour & litter

ACTION – Clerk to check planning decision to see if a litter bin was on the conditions.

Garthwood Close – hedge & bus stop were within the plans.

d)    Reminder of Colchester City Masterplan

Consultation to run from 19th June for 6 weeks. CCC are asking residents to give their views on plans for next 100 years, can see draft plan on CCC website here https://www.colchester.gov.uk/colchester-city-centre/masterplan/

e)    Parish Councillor Vacancy

Four prospective candidates. Would like to ask them to attend the July cycle of meetings, including the full council next month (26th July). There is no council meeting in August so would look to co-opt in September.

ACTION – Clerk to send all a copy of the Co-Option Policy and Diary Dates for 2023.

f)     CCC Feedback on Mumford Close

Have written to CCC, who it was thought own the greensward at Mumford Close, behind 30 New Church Road. Mark Healey, Community Engagement Officer, confirmed that Colchester Borough Homes owns the area, and a member of their team will contact WBPC.

ACTION – Clerk to chase in two weeks if there has been no contact.

g)    National Grid “Norwich to Tilbury”

The Pylons June 2023 Public Consultation will be held at varies venues from 6th July to 21st July. See link for latest details: www.nationalgrid.com/norwich-to-tilbury

ACTION – Cllr Short will look at the details of the latest information and attend one of the exhibitions.

h)    Honour Board

Plans are almost complete for the honour board of previous WBPC Chairs and within budget.

i)     Meeting with Heathlands School

Met with Head, Joesph Fielder. Cllr Stone will produce some notes. Discussions included the complaint about the school Sports Day, parking with the new 3PR system and meeting with the School Council for youth engagement.

j)     MUGA / Tennis Courts Working Party

Working Party met for initial discussions. Cllr Pulford will look into netball club usage for the next meeting and a tennis coach wants to meet with the Hall Administrator to discuss regular hire next week.

k)    Scouts & WBFC section 106 monies

Cllr Butcher held a positive meeting with a representative from the Scouts and the Football Club in regard to the section 106 monies which will soon be available from the Neighbourhood Plan development sites.

l)     LCAS (Local Council Award Scheme) Gold Award

Work is being undertaken for WBPC to achieve the LCAS Gold Award, however due to the timing of the deadline for applications (8th September) the Parish Council will have to hold an extraordinary meeting at the end of August with a one item agenda to ratify the application.

ACTION – Clerk to notify members of the date at the end of August asap.

23/123         Items for Next Agenda (26th July)

  1. Planning & Environment items to be moved up the agenda
  2. Social Media & Electronic Communication Policy
  3. Local Council Award Scheme – please note meeting at end of August for 1 item approval of Gold submission for 8th September.

23/124         In Committee

    No matters were discussed in committee.

    23/125         Date of Next Meeting

    Meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wed 26th July 2023 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall, Lexden Rd, CO6 3BW.

    The meeting closed at 9.38 pm.

    Signed:                                                                          Date:

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