Minutes of Parish Council Meeting 28th September 2022

A brief summary of the key elements of the PC meeting on 28th September 2022. As well as receiving regular reports they discussed:

Minutes of meeting 28th September 2022
  • Co-opted two new councillors;
  • Success of annual audit;
  • Recruitment of Clerk’s Assistant;
  • Closure of Highways Devolution Project;
  • Care Network’s ‘warm space’ project;
  • Parish Office project.

More details on all of these in the official minutes below:

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

Held on Wed 28th September 2022 at 7.30 pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall, CO6 3BW

Chairman:Cllr Brian Butcher
Parish Councillors Present:Cllrs John Gili-Ross, Andrew Savage, Harry Stone, Joel Fayers, Manya Barrow, David Short, James Owers and Bob Tyrrell
Parish ClerkLaura Walkingshaw
Borough & County Councillors:Borough Cllr Sara Naylor
Present:2 members of the public

22/118         HM Queen Elizabeth II

1 minute silence and a short statement was read by the chairman, Cllr Brian Butcher, on the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

22/119         Receive/accept apologies and welcome to the public

RESOLVED – No apologies were necessary. Borough Cllr Dennis Willetts and County Cllr Lewis Barber sent their apologies for not being able to attend the meeting.

22/120         Questions from registered electors

There were no questions received from registered electors.

22/121         Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

22/122         Co-Option

Two vacancies had become available at West Bergholt Parish Council, which following publication of the Notice of Vacancy resulted in no requests for an election, therefore an election was not triggered, and the Council was able to proceed with co-option. Two candidates had put themselves forward to fill the two vacancies. They read their personal statements to the Council and left the room whilst the Council voted on their joining the Council.

  1. To approve the co-option of a new Parish Councillor, filling vacancy 1

RESOLVED – Sara Cullis was approved as a new Parish Councillor for West Bergholt following a vote.

  • To approve the co-option of a new Parish Councillor, filling vacancy 2

RESOLVED – Katie Pulford was approved as a new Parish Councillor for West Bergholt following a vote.

The Declaration of Acceptance of Office was then signed by both parties and the Proper Officer. They were provided with the New Councillors handbook of information and their Register of Member’s Interests forms, which must be returned to CBC within 28 days. All members of the Council then introduced themselves.

ACTION – Cllr Butcher will be meeting with both new Councillors to discuss which Committees and Working Parties they will join.

ACTION – Clerk to inform Andrew Weavers at CBC of their appointment and to circulate a link to the OneDrive folder of the New Councillor Handbook for all Councillors.

22/123         Previous Minutes

RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 27th July 2022 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (See link to PC Minutes P4 Jul 22)

22/124         Report from Colchester Borough and Essex County Councillors

Borough Cllr Sara Naylor introduced herself to members following her election in June. She informed the Council that she had not been able to join any CBC Committees as yet, except for the Sustainability Panel, due to the summer recess and many meetings being interrupted by the period of national mourning but will inform the PC once she has been allocated any.

22/125         Finance

a)   Statement of accounts for Jul-Aug 2022

The final accounts for Jul-Aug 22 (42% through financial year) were presented as follows: (See link to PC Accounts P4-P5 Jul-Aug 22)

Receipts at 51%, General Expenditure 30%, Environment Expenditure 55%, Overall Expenditure 34%. Bank Rec at £ 102,116.25 on 31st August 2022. Two months’ worth of figures as no meeting in August.

ACTION – Clerk to fix formula error in Projects & Reserves sheet.

b)   Payments

RESOLVED – To approve the August & September payments lists in accordance with 2022-23 budget. Proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Butcher. All in favour.

Payments Aug 2022

PC22086John Gili-RossDiesel and tyre – truck80.02
DDBarclaysBank charges (14.58 – 1.22)13.36
SOJ & M Payroll ServicesAug – wages, tax & NI4,500.00
PC22087J & M Payroll ServicesAug – wages tax & NI410.99
PC22088J & M Payroll ServicesPayroll services27.00
PC22089WBFCGrass cutting Aug – LD Field50.00
PC22090CountrywideGrass cutting Aug – Poor’s Land186.00
PC22091Colchester Borough CouncilLitter/Dog bin annual contract2,180.59
PC22092Ingleton WoodProfessional services to date – wc refurb & solar2,160.00
PC22093ArcoBaseball caps & high-viz vests – WBPC named91.73
PC22094ETC Sports SurfacesResurfacing of tennis courts – retention monies563.70
PC22095Laura WalkingshawCBC building control fee, rope, basic DBS check228.22
PC22096BCMT Autocentre LtdDrive belt for truck64.32
PC22097Bluebells PreschoolAllotment Charity Stall donation300.00
PC22098Bergholt Heath FCAllotment Charity Stall donation300.00
PC22099WB Cricket ClubAllotment Charity Stall donation300.00
PC22100Tree & Lawn CompanyTree work on Heath & Mumford Oak764.40
Chq 104286Bill MathewsPlant hire for allotment clearance349.20
TfrPC to Hall ReservesHall Prjts PC Reserves & Climate Change Projects5,500.00

Payments Sept 2022

DDBarclaysBank charges (16.32-1.57)14.75
DDWaveAllotments – water bill Jun-Sep 2287.85
SOJ & M Payroll ServicesSept – wages, tax & NI4,500.00
PC22101J & M Payroll ServicesSept – wages tax & NI209.01
PC22102J & M Payroll ServicesPayroll services27.00
PC22103WBFCGrass cutting Sept – LD Field50.00
PC22104CountrywideGrass cutting Sept – Poor’s Land186.00
PC22105WavePoor’s Land – water bill Jun-Sep 2215.42
PC22106EALCTraining – Cllr Day 2 – JO120.00
PC22107PKF Littlejohn LLPExternal audit 2021-22480.00
PC22108Jacqui KibbyBulletin – Editor remuneration Autumn 22180.00
PC22109James OwersTravel expenses, banner & seeds – fete stall261.51
PC22110Laura WalkingshawStationery41.84
PC22111Victoria Beckwith-ColeFlowers & card – remembrance of QE II32.50
PC22112CALCAnnual subscription 2022/2335.00
PC22113Brian ButcherTravel expenses43.90
PC22114Andrew SavageClerk’s Office – monitor brackets x 222.70
PC22115WB Parochial ChurchAllotment stall donation – FISH300.00
PC22116Care NetworkGrant for warm space initiative* (Only if approved under item 22/128b later in the agenda)500.00

c)    To note the conclusion of the 2021-22 external audit of the PC accounts.

The external auditor has now returned their report, finding no issues with the 2021-22 PC accounts. Thanks were given by the Council to Cllr Savage and the Clerk for all their hard work.

d)   To note the decision of WBPC’s grant request of £1,000 for the spring rocker from Essex County Council’s Emergency CIF

Over the summer a grant request was made by WBPC to the ECC Emergency CIF (Community Initiative Fund) for £1,000 to replace the broken spring rocker in the Lorkin Daniell Field playground. Unfortunately, this request was refused by the CIF panel as ECC had changed the criteria, stating that an organisation cannot apply more than once within three years, and the PC had previously received a grant for the Handymen’s vehicle.

e)    To agree the tennis coaches’ block booking rate for hire of the MUGA

Historically, the coaches are given a discount for block booking during the quiet winter months. This rate has been looked at more methodically in the past couple of years and it will again be reviewed in line with the financial year during the upcoming budget discussions.

RESOLVED – until the next financial year, an increase in 10p an hour was proposed by Cllr Savage, seconded by Cllr Butcher. All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to inform the Hall Administrator, who is in charge of the administration of the MUGA/tennis courts.

ACTION – Clerk to check that the current electricity price rises still cover the cost of the lighting tokens.

f)    To agree the Staffing Sub-Committee may select and then recommend an applicant for the role of Clerk’s Assistant to the Parish Council.

For information only, it was agreed that the Staffing Sub-Committee would be selecting an applicant for the role of assistant to the Clerk and bringing their recommendation to a future full council meeting.

22/126         Planning

a)   To note the following decisions made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee at their meeting of 27th Sept 2022 (see link to Planning P6 Sept 22):

221780 – Alcrofts Farm, Bures Road, CO6 3DW – SUPPORT – 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. 

221781 – Alcrofts Farm, Bures Road, CO6 3DW Listed Building – OBSERVATION – The Parish Council would defer to the Borough Council’s greater knowledge on the development of listed buildings.

221823 – Oak View Landscapes Ltd, Pattens Yard, Nayland Road, CO6 3DQ – SUPPORT – The Parish Council has no comment

222036 – Adj. 19 Bradbrook Cottages, Armoury Road, CO6 3JW – OBJECT – Whilst minor amendments have been made to the previous application, the comments from the Parish Council’s previous objection to application 220650 are still relevant:
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”.

The plans continue to lack a street scene, DG8 of the CBC adopted Village Design Statement: “Planning applications must show contextually the impact of their proposals on adjacent building by means of adequately detailed plans with accurate street elevations”. In addition, policy DG35 from the Village Design Statement states: “New parking directly in front of property should be avoided.”

221831 – Mcnally Mews, The Crescent, West Bergholt, CO6 3DA – OBJECTION – The land is not only currently common land but is also subject to a covenant by the Parish Council, which the PC has no intention of relinquishing. No works should be permitted/undertaken that prevents or impedes access to common land by their owner.

221995 – Poplar Cottage, Kings Vineyard, Fossetts Lane, Fordham, CO6 3NY – SUPPORT – The Parish Council has no comment and would defer to CBC Planning Department.

222100 – land adj to, 155 Colchester Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3JX – OBSERVATION – The Parish Council previously objected to an application on this site as it is outside the settlement boundary of West Bergholt, thus contrary to policies PP9, PP10 and PP12 of the Neighbourhood Plan 1 and to part 2 of recently adopted Local Plan, in particular para 6.227 and policy SS15. However, having won on appeal, WBPC understands that the site will now be developed noting that the proposal is well designed and in keeping with the adjacent Hill House, and in accord with the N P’s Village Design Statement

222226 – 9 Garthwood Close, West Bergholt, CO6 3EA – SUPPORT – The Parish Council supports this application, subject to approval being conditional on the garage/annex only being occupied by dependent relatives and that it is not sold or let separately to the applicant’s main property. 

222267 – Tresillian, Bourne Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3EL – OBJECT – The Parish Council has no objection to an extension of this size onto this property; however, it feels this style of architecture is inappropriate to a rural area. The application is contrary to policy PP10 of the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan and part 2 of recently adopted CBC Local 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”

b)   To make the following recommendation from the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee at their meeting on 27th Sept 2022 into a decision:

222361 – 5 Bradbrook Cottages, Armoury Road, West Bergholt, CO6 3JW – OBJECT – The application is contrary to policy PP10 of the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan and part 2 of recently adopted CBC Local 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”. The Parish Council is particularly concerned about the size of the dormer on the roof extension and that the application would impinge on the front elevation resulting in an over-congested street scene.

RESOLVED – Cllr Tyrrell proposed to approve this recommendation, Cllr Savage seconded. All in favour.

22/127         Environment & Highways

a)   To note the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting of the 8th September 2022

b)   To note the decision by Essex County Council to close the Highways Devolution Project and the implications for West Bergholt

Four years ago, Essex County Council & Highways began the Highways Devolution Project in order to let parishes prioritise the jobs within the village and reduce the mailbox for the Borough & County Councillors. A small grant of around £2,000 per year was provided to WBPC to do this work, which wasn’t a lot but did cover some of the costs. Now this project has come to an end, however parishes were only informed late last month, having been working in this area since April. Cllr Gili-Ross is currently compiling a report to ECC on all the work WBPC has completed since April and discussions will continue with Essex on what the future holds for this type of work in West Bergholt.

22/128         Care Network

a)   To agree the recommendation from the Finance Committee to support the Care Network’s proposal to provide a warm space at the Social Club meeting room for a trial period during the coming winter months.

Cllr Stone submitted a paper to the Council on a proposal from the Care Network to provide a social warm space at the Social Club meeting room during the winter months. Cllr Stone informed the Council that at a recent Care Network meeting concern was expressed for the plight of vulnerable residents this coming winter in the light of the rise in fuel costs and the pending cost of living crisis. A proposal was explored, making use of the Social Club, initially for two mornings a week, to provide a warm centre for those in need to meet and socialise.  The Care Network would provide light refreshments and transport if required with the PC helping to fund the hire of the Social Club. Liaison with the Church 5Ts is already taking place and the Chair of the Social Club has been consulted.  It is anticipated that there would be no difficulty in arranging a rota of volunteers to oversee such sessions.

Eight volunteers a week will be needed for the currently proposed two mornings and a poster has been produced to encourage residents to spare some time to help. The plan is to open before the end of October. The hours are flexible and could change as the facility is used and it will be aimed not just at older people, as younger people and families are also struggling at present.

RESOLVED – Cllr Stone proposed the recommendation from the Finance Committee to support the Care Network proposal to provide a warm space at the Social Club meeting room for a trial period during the coming winter months, Cllr Butcher seconded. All in favour. West Bergholt Parish Council fully supports this initiative.

b)   To agree a £500 grant to the Care Network towards the start-up costs of the warm space project at the Social Club meeting room.

RESOLVED – Cllr Savage proposed the agree the £500 grant to the Care Network, subject to the Care Network Treasurer/Secretary signing the application form as soon as possible. Cllr Fayers seconded. All in favour.

22/129         Communications

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

Cllr Owers informed the Council that phase 1 was now complete/in hand:

  • Dave Kingaby, webmaster, had reorganised the Google contacts,
  • The .gov suffix had been applied for (can take 2 months),
  • Migration of the website to a new server is imminent, which will provide more storage,
  • Need to propose a method of guidelines for usage. Cllr Owers will prepare.

ACTION – Clerk to request two more email address for the new Councillors.

b)   To receive a verbal update from the Publicity Officer, Councillor Fayers     

Cllr Fayers informed the Council that he now had a Council Publicity Facebook account, Joel Parish, posting a few points in recent weeks. The intention is that the Clerk submits “official” information to the West Bergholt Hub, whilst Joel Parish submits more “feel good” items. Cllr Fayers is looking at programming timed submissions to the Hub for regular items and will be looking to propose whether the Council wants to consider an Instagram account.

ACTION – item for the next month’s agenda – analysis on the Facebook posts issued during the month and what people on the group “like”. 

c)    To note receipt of the Monthly Website Report from the webmaster, Dave Kingaby, and discuss any outstanding items.

Cllr Butcher requested the Council review the most recent Monthly Website Report submitted from Dave Kingaby, the webmaster, specifically the outstanding actions list.

ACTION – Clerk to inform Dave Kingaby that items 1, 2 and 3 should be deleted from the list, with a reminder to Cllrs that if they spot any issues on the website, they report them to Dave or the Clerk as soon as possible.

22/130         Parish Office

To receive a verbal update from Councillor Tyrrell

The PC having previously appointed McLean Architectural Ltd at the July meeting, Cllr Tyrrell informed the Council that the company is currently drawing up plans and they will be available shortly.

22/131         Training/Networking Events

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

  • EALC AGM – 22nd Sept 22 – Cllr Butcher (Cllr Gili-Ross in his EALC role)

West Bergholt Parish Council is one of 29 Town/Parish Councils in the borough of Colchester, 275 in Essex and approximately 8,000 nationally. The Council is part of CALC, the Colchester Association of Local Councils, with 2 members from the district sitting on the Executive Committee at NALC (the National Association). The AGM was followed by items from the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner and Essex County Council. Cllr Butcher informed members that he had invited the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Jennifer Tolhurst, and the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner, Roger Hurst, to West Bergholt’s Annual Parish Meeting next April.

  • CBC LGA Peer Team – Cllrs Butcher & Gili-Ross – 27th Sept 22

An invite was extended to the Council to attend the 6-year peer review of the running of CBC. The leaders from both Torbay and Malvern Hills were in attendance. It was felt that more could have been made of the session if the parish councils had been provided with more details in advance and in fact one of the criticisms of CBC was their lack of communication, a report will be produced and WBPC have asked for a copy.

  • EALC Climate Course – Module 7 Green Growth & Finance – Cllr Tyrrell – 27th Sept 22

This course provided some grant information, one of which the Council has already applied for.

22/132         Items to Note

  • Autumn vaccination programme – Nik has advertised that West Bergholt Pharmacy will be commencing the Covid & Flu vaccination programme. It is also due to start at the Doctor’s Surgery on the 29th October. If eligible, residents can book online at www.nhs.uk.
  • Crime Statistics – 1 crime reported in the August & September, damage to sheds & burglary from allotments.

ACTION – Clerk to supply Cllr Gili-Ross with the crime reference numbers for the vandalism to the youth shelter.

22/133         Items for next agenda (Sept 2022)

  • Speed Watch & Local Highway Panel
  • Finance terms of reference
  • Preparation of budgets for 2023-24 (inc. dog bin emptying)
  • Parish Christmas Tree
  • Webmaster feedback
  • Zebra crossing on Colchester Road
  • Neighbourhood Plan amendments
  • Appointment of Clerk’s Assistant
  • Broadband in the village

22/134         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).

The members of the public then left, and Councillors discussed the following:

To discuss the conveyance of the 3-acre field at the Hopkins development site and the terms of reference for the Working Party.

A 3-acre field, behind the new Hopkins’ Bergholt Place development on Colchester Road, is due to be transferred to the Parish Council as part of the section 106 agreement (the agreement between a developer and a local planning authority about measures that the developer must take to reduce their impact on the community) instead of a contribution to the parks & recreation monies.

There are two elements which the Council needs to bear in mind during the conveyance:

  1. To see it transferred to the ownership of the PC with free & unhindered access and without any covenants.
  2. To investigate a ransom strip identified along the edges of the field and the Cricket Club boundaries but still owned by the previous owners of the land.

Several matters have already been agreed with Hopkins and it is understood that they have hired Birketts to complete the conveyance. Once a draft arrives, Cllrs Butcher and Short have agreed to work together on the conveyance document, although the Council does have an initial quote from Essex Legal Services.

A draft Terms of Reference for a Working Party to discuss the field’s future use and management had been created by several Councillors and was amended in the meeting to the agreement of all members.

22/135         Date of Next Meeting

The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 2nd November 2022 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall, Lexden Road, CO6 3BW.

Meeting closed at 10.07 pm

Signed:                            Date:                     Position on Council:

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