Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting – 22nd November 2023

Meeting between Parish Councillors and a School Council

A brief summary of key elements of the PC Meeting on 22nd November 2023.  At this meeting they:

  • Noted progress towards receiving up to £35,000 in grants for the Community Hub project,
  • Were updated on progress towards formulating the 2024-25 budge for the Parish Council,
  • Reviewed a number of Council Documents including its’ Equality Policy,
  • Discussed progress on Youth Engagement including meeting the Heathlands School Council and attending the BYG AGM with further meetings planned.

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

Held on Wed 22nd November 2023 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall, CO6 3BW

Chair:Cllr Brian Butcher
Parish Councillors:Cllrs Katie Pulford, John Gili-Ross, Bob Tyrrell, Andrew Savage, Harry Stone, David Short, Manya Barrow and Sara Cullis
Also in attendance:Laura Walkingshaw (Parish Clerk)
City & County Cllrs:City Cllr Dennis Willetts (during item 23/190)
Members of the public:0 members of the public

23/185    Receive /accept apologies and welcome to the public.

Apologies were received from Cllrs Paul Chamberlain and James Owers. Also received from City Cllr Sara Naylor.

23/186    Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

23/187    Previous Minutes & Actions

RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Parish Council meetings held on Wed 25th October 2023 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (See link to PC Minutes P7 Oct 23)

23/188    Questions from registered electors

There were no questions received from registered electors.

23/189    Report from Colchester City & Essex County Councillors

Cllr Willetts entered the meeting during the item below (23/190) and reported only on the matter of Uncle Kam’s fish and chip shop, stating that he had met the new Environmental Protection Officer and reported that she appeared to be handling the case very proficiently already.

23/190    Planning

232406 62 Albany Road, CO6 3LD – Support – Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided not to comment.

232398 108 Mumford Road, CO6 3BN – Support – Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided not to comment.

232435 Church Cottage, Hall Road, CO6 3DU – Support – Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to support the application with the following comments:

  • The variation from the previous application of the pitch to the roof gable at the side is out of keeping with the rest of the property.
  • The ribbon windows should be unopenable.
  • The Annex/car barn should be ancillary to the main building, and used solely by people associated with, and users of, the main dwelling, nor should it be sold or let separately to the main dwelling.
  • There is no roof plan indicating the need for the roof lights in the main house.

232383 Building adj to Church Hall, Chapel Lane, CO6 3EF – Support – Having considered all the details of this application, the Parish Council has decided to support the application in principle. However, they feel the following areas should be given further consideration: 

  • There should be adequate prevention of noise pollution as a possible nuisance to neighbours.
  • The adequacy of parking on site and site access.
  • The lack of footpath in Chapel Lane for direct pedestrian access from Chapel Road.

b)     To approve the following recommendations from the WBPC Planning Committee, made via email, as comments to CCC:

232446 44 Lexden Road, CO6 3BX – Support, no comment

232569 21 Lexden Road, CO6 3BT – Support, no comment

RESOLVED – Cllr Tyrrell proposed to approve the above comments, Cllr Short seconded. All in favour.

23/191    Environment & Highways

The minutes of the 16th Nov 2023 were noted.

Cllr Gili-Ross also reported that the Bures Road (B1508) footway needed repairing again due to more holes appearing along it. This has been reported to Essex Highways (ref. 2880216) and to Cllr Lewis Barber.

Further discussions are taking place on the offer of extra free hedging (whips) and where it can be planted.

In relation to the undergrowth along the Mumford Close side of the Lorkin Daniell Field which was requested to be cut back by the Football Club, this has been looked at and is in hand.

b)    To note the final arrangements for the Parish Christmas Tree for 2023. 

The arrangements are being finalised by Cllrs Owers and Chamberlain, with the tree and its delivery being completely sponsored by Cllr Chamberlain’s company, for which the Parish Council would like to thank him. The only costs this year should be the electricity paid to a neighbouring property for the lights.

c)     To note the responses to the letters sent to Essex County Council by WBPC Chair on Highways Devolution activities, the proposed zebra crossing for Colchester Road and the flooding issues on Argents Lane. 

Received a reply to all three from the CEO of Essex County Council (ECC), Gavin Jones, on the 22nd November:

Highways Devolution – CEO states this is not something ECC are pursuing at the moment.

Zebra Crossing – waiting for clarification from officers.

Argents Lane – appropriate defects to be added to the ongoing pothole scheme for repair. The surface water issues will always be assessed by the maintenance team for our area, with appropriate works programmed per the ECC Maintenance Strategy.

ACTION – Cllr Gili-Ross noted that in the past Essex Fire & Rescue had cleared drains previously, so Essex County Cllr Lewis Barber should be contacted to ask if that is still the case. Clerk to email Cllr Barber.

23/192    Ownership of Mumford Close greensward

To note the letter sent in response to the CCC refusal of the Parish Council’s application to make the greensward an Asset of Community Value

Cllr Short wrote in response to CCC’s refusal to make the Mumford Close greensward an Asset of Community Value, to which the Parish Council has received no response as yet.

23/193    Finance

a)    Statement of accounts for Oct 23

The final accounts for Oct 23 (58% through the financial year) were presented as follows: (See link to PC Accounts P7 Oct 23)

Receipts at 100%, General Expenditure 45%, Environment Expenditure 47%, Overall Expenditure 45%

Bank Rec at £ 160,578.03.

Two items were added to the Projects & Reserves sheet this month. From the Reserves, the last £158 of the Ringfenced Environment Committee projects has been used towards the work on the Oak tree on the Heath. From the Projects & Grants, the £300 PC grant to Friends of St Mary’s Old Church has been paid for their information board.

ACTION – Clerk to ask Hall Administrator to chase the Bulletin advertisers for any outstanding payments.

The next Bulletin will be a 24-page edition, so the cost will be higher, so may need to reduce the size of the March one in order to stay on budget.

b)    Payments

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

November 2023

DDBarclaysBank charges – loyalty reward (25.90-4.35)21.55
SOJ & M Payroll ServicesNov – wages, tax & NI5,500.00
PC23118J & M Payroll ServicesNov – wages tax & NI + backpay4,610.33
PC23119J & M Payroll ServicesPayroll services – Nov48.00
PC23120WBFCGrass cutting Nov – LD Field50.00
PC23121CountrywideGrass cutting Nov – Poor’s Land198.50
PC23122Petty CashRemembrance wreath, diesel50.00
PC23123Laura WalkingshawWHUK 05/11, CCC Certificate of Lawfulness107.87
PC23124TBS HygieneLitter/Dog waste collection – Oct192.00
PC23125EALCTraining – Time Mgt – LW20.40
PC23126Wave – Anglian WaterWater bill 22 Aug-04 Sep – Poor’s Land36.51
PC23127R J Playle ServicesHedge cutting & mowing – annual cut924.00
PC23128Paul ChamberlainTravel expenses to Chelmsford19.80
PC23129EALCTraining – Safeguarding – VBC90.00
PC23130Julie GillottTravel expenses to Colchester7.24
PC23131Jacqui KibbyEditor remuneration – Village Bulletin Winter180.00
TfrPC to HallMaintenance contribution 20231,500.00

c)     To note the provisional approval of the ECC Community Initiative Fund (CIF) grant of £10,000 for the WB Community Hub.

It was noted that ECC has given provisional approval of the CIF grant of £10,000, however the grant offer is subject to West Bergholt Parish Council securing the Rural England Prosperity Funding (REPF) of £24,999. CCC were hoping to confirm the REPF application on the week commencing 20th Nov, however the appraisal process has taken longer than expected and so the decision date has been delayed until the week commencing 4th December at the latest.

ACTION – Clerk to contact EALC (Charlene) and ask if the condition would still apply if the PC is not successful in securing the REPF grant but does manage to obtain the money from elsewhere, e.g. Platinum Jubilee Halls Fund, i.e. as long as the PC gets the funds does it matter where it comes from?

d)    To receive a verbal update on the preparation work for the 2024-25 budgets.

Cllr Savage attended both the Orpen Hall and Environment Committee meetings this month to discuss budgets and potential projects for 2024-25 and the budget calculations are almost finalised. The new houses at the Hopkins development will make a difference to the amounts received, but the PC is waiting to hear from CCC about the exact tax base numbers and Revenue/LCTS grant values.

e)    To note the current Action Plan of 2023-24 and Three-Year Plan and discuss any possible future projects.

Current Action Plan of 2023-24 was noted, as was the Three-Year Plan, specifically that it currently states the following for 2024-25:

Year 2: 2024-25

Neighbourhood Plan implementation projects£8,000
Orpen Memorial Hall upgrade project
Climate Change Initiative



ACTION – there are updates which the Clerk needs to make to the current Action Plan 2023-24 before it is revised.

23/194    Council Documents

To review and renew the follow WBPC documents:

Equality Policy

General Equality Policy in respect to the Council’s interaction with residents, contractors and partners as opposed to the PC as an Employer one,

William Sims Sports Field Working Party Terms of Reference

To be added to the other terms of reference and approved in May from now on.

PC & Committee Diary Dates 2024

Looking ahead to the diary dates for 2024 for all full Council, Committee and Working Party meetings.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed. Cllr Savage seconded. All in favour.

ACTION – Clerk to inform the Webmaster and Hall Administrator for finalizing on the website and Hallmaster.

ACTION – Clerk to check with Hall Admin the possibility of the Planning Committee meeting slightly earlier at 7pm rather than 7.30pm each month.

23/195    Communications

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

The social media figures this month were up. 392 people engaged with the PC Minutes last month which is good news. Traffic on the website has dropped but that is due to the analytics rather than less visitors.

Cllr Cullis asked if Councillors hadn’t submitted their Five Fun Facts yet, then please do so as it has been well received.

The Photographic Competition for the under 18’s goes live on the 6th Dec and will be promoted by Bergholt Youth Group (BYG), Heathlands School and the youth club at St Mary’s Church.

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

Councillor’s storage quotas for emails remains an issue which needs to be resolved. Cllrs Cullis & Owers are looking at solutions, with the possibility of a server to back them up. Access to the OneDrive for all members was also discussed, to make documents freely available, however concerns were raised that amendments could be made unknowingly.

23/196    Youth Engagement

To receive a verbal update from Cllr Stone on the Parish Council moves towards youth engagement.

Cllr Stone reported to the Council the developments in youth engagement achieved so far:

Cllrs Butcher and Stone met with the Heathlands School Council and after answering a range of questions about the work of the Parish Council the pupils were asked questions about what they did and did not like about living in West Bergholt and what changes they would make. The answers were very mature and sensible with Cllr Stone hoping for continued contact with them as the adults of the future.

Cllrs Stone & Cullis went to the BYG AGM and were very impressed at how well managed it is, in regard to finances, safeguarding and volunteers. Cllr Stone then went to the next meeting of BYG with Cllr Pulford, which had over 100 children in attendance.

The next visits include the Church Youth Group and the Scouts, but although he has tried, Cllr Stone hasn’t had any response from staff at Stanway School as yet.

A drop-in café for youths has been discussed, potentially to be held in the Social Club meeting a couple of days a week after school for a couple of hours at a time. Aiming at the 14–16-year-old age group as there is little for them at present and have the support of the Social Club and a line penciled into the 2024-25 PC budget to support this as they will obviously need supervision.

23/197    Local Council Award Scheme (LCAS)

To receive a verbal update on the Parish Council’s Quality Gold application.

The Parish Council submitted their application for the Quality Gold Award to LCAS on 7th Sept and has been informed no triage is required and so wait to hear:

  • Panels will meet in November and assessment feedback will be provided.
  • Results will be announced by Friday 8th December.

23/198    Training/Networking Events

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

  • Colchester City Centre Levelling Up Tour – 31st Oct 2023 SC & MB, 2nd Nov 2023 LW & JG.

Very informative and quite inspiring.

  • Woodland Creation workshop – 15th Nov 2023 – MB, JGR, KP

Again, a very informative workshop run by the Head of Forestry at ECC. The PC doesn’t have swaths of land but can pass on the information gained at the workshop to landowners. Interesting to note that if the PC loses a tree, then they will replace it with a decent sized one free of charge. Have to get in the request early, but they even have people who will put them in.

  • CCC LGA Code of Conduct – 20th Nov 2023 – BTB

An interesting note on this course was that the PC could approve an annual disposition each year for anything relating to the Trusts. Also, if members are members of any charities (National Trust, St Helena Hospice etc.) it should be noted on their Register of Members Interests.

ACTION – Cllr Butcher will pass the notes on to the Clerk for circulation to all.

  • Grass Pitch Improvement Webinar – 20th Nov 2023 – DS, LW & BTB

Webinar arranged by Essex County Football Association at which the Grounds Management Association explained what assistance could be provided. There is a Pitch Power app which the details of the football pitches can be added and creates a report with recommendations for free. Once the report has been generated there are grants available from the Grass Pitch Maintenance Fund of up to £50,000, which require a 25% contribution. Deep spiking of each pitch every 6 months would cost £600, resulting in a cost of £4,000 for all three pitches so the PC might want to consider setting aside £1,000 next year in Projects for pitch maintenance work.

  • Essex LNRS Town and Parish Council Webinar – 21st Nov – BTB

There will be a public consultation on Essex’s Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) in 2024 to check if residents are onboard. Covered no mow areas and Gardening for Nature.

ACTION – Cllr Butcher to forward information to Cllr Cullis for the Gardening Club

ACTION – Environment Committee to consider adding Environment Act 2021 into the Environmental Strategic Plan, prior to its next review.

  • Remembrance Day Service – 12th Nov – BTB

Cllr Butcher attended the Remembrance Day Service at St. Mary’s Church and laid the wreath from the Parish Council.

23/199    Items to Note

a)    Crime Statistics

23rd Oct – 19th Nov 2023: 1 crime, burglary.

b)    Care Network’s Warm Space – Coffee with Cops, Monday 6th Nov 2023.

Good session of Coffee with Cops and PCSO Gary Woolford will be attending again in Jan 2024. Unfortunately, the Monday sessions have not taken off as well as hoped and so the Care Network has decided to only run the Warm Space on Fridays from now until Christmas.

ACTION – Cllr Stone to inform Cllr Cullis of the exact dates for the Communications Calendar.

c)     Response to letter to Chief Constable on travel disruption of 10th Oct

The Parish Council received a reply from the Assistant Chief Constable detailing the events of the 10th Oct and the measures taken by Essex Police. Eight Ash Green PC has shared a similar response and Cllr Butcher stated that receipt of the letter will no doubt be the end of the matter.

d)    Pylon Review – Norfolk CC, Suffolk CC & Essex CC

Cllr Short has reviewed the Pylon Review with the following comments:


The review was carried out on behalf of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk County Councils by Messrs Hiorns Smart Energy Networks

The review is 42 pages long containing what appears to be a comprehensive study of present and future energy production and transmission.

Pages 5 and 6 consist of the Executive summary. Paragraphs 1.5 through to 1.8 state that:

1.5 states: …the proposed development (of the new transmission lines) …provides additional transmission capacity…and would accommodate circa 12 gigawatts of additional offshore Windfarm Generation in the East Anglian region.

1.6 states: The analysis concludes that the need for the Norwich-Bramford-Tilbury overhead line can be deferred by 5 years … given the level of uncertainty associated with the Contracted Generation background it is too early to conclude it represents the best overall solution in meeting future system needs.

1.7 states: Given the uncertainty with respect to both volume and timing of future generation … it provides the opportunity to pause development of the Norwich to Bramford to Tilbury until future Generation requirements are crystalized and for the need case to be reviewed against the proposals outlined Great Britain (GB) connection reform.

1.8 states: This approach would not impact on the development of the offshore wind Generation projects which are required to meet the Net Zero challenge.

In summary, Cllr Short reported that it states that the whole operation is not justified.

Cllr Butcher drew members attention to the public meeting being held on Friday 1st December at 6pm in St Mary’s Church where the Nation Grid Pylons project will be discussed by Rosie Pearson (founder of Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk Pylon campaign). Although he cannot attend and represent the PC, he has asked Mrs. Pearson to mention how supportive the Parish Council has been in the campaign against the pylons.

e)    New Bank account with Unity Trust

Application completed and signed, due to be submitted shortly.

f)     Local Government Services Pay Agreement 2023-24

New pay agreement amounts circulated previously to all members and factored into next year’s budget.

g)    Love Essex grant success

The Parish Council has just received notification that it has been successful in its application for £500 from Love Essex for a tambour roll front cabinet for a book/games share library in the soon to be built WB Community Hub.

h)    William Sims Sports Field

A letter drafted by Cllr Short has been sent in reply to Thompson, Smith & Puxon in regard to the land transfer of the new sports field from Hopkins Homes.

23/200    Items for Next Agenda

Wed 24th January 2024:

  • Presentation of the Photo Competition awards.
  • Results of the Village Bulletin survey.
  • Budget & precept decisions.
  • Renewal of Council Documents:
    • Reserves Policy 2024
  • Youth Engagement update
  • Apologies in advance from Cllr Gili-Ross

23/201    In Committee

No matters were discussed in committee.

23/202    Date of Next Meeting

The next full council meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wed 24th January 2024 at 7.30pm, in the John Lampon Hall, Lexden Rd, CO6 3BW.

ACTION – a possible 7pm start was discussed. Clerk to investigate if possible and practicable.

The meeting closed at 9.22pm.

Signed:                                                                         Date:

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