Minutes of the Parish Council’s Meeting held on 29 January 2018 in the Village Hall, Shrubland Road at 19.00
Present Cllrs. Birch, Burton, Carter, Chaplin, Fairhall, French, Howell, Peacock and Rayner. C. Cllr. Guglielmi, Representative of the Press, five members of the public, Mr. R. Ling (Responsible Finance Officer) and Mr. A. Lee (Clerk)
01.18 Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Cllr. Kent and D. Cllr. Coley
02.18 Minutes of the previous meetings
Minutes of the meeting held on 11 December 2017 (with one minor amendment, to strike out the second sentence of item 110.17), having been circulated previously, were agreed as a true record. Proposed Chairman, seconded Cllr. Birch, were approved unanimously, and signed by the Chairman.
03.18 Declarations of Interest
Cllrs. Chaplin and French declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 08.18 (members of Swan Watch)
04.18 Public Voice
(a) The Chairman read the main points from D. Cllr. Coley’s report from Tendring District Council. A call to have speed limits reduced to 20mph in towns and villages – as well as outside schools in Tendring has been strongly backed. Tendring District Council is working with North Essex Parking Partnership on the issue and has staged extra patrols outside some sites. Tendring District Council has been awarded more than £700,000 from the Community Housing Fund for the first year of a five-year programme. Community groups will have the chance to bid directly for a mixture of additional capital and revenue funding for individual schemes, such as affordable housing. Types of community led housing include Community Land Trusts, co-housing, co-operative housing and self-build. Tendring District Council will be writing to around 5,000 postal or proxy voters whose recorded signature will be over five years old on January 30, 2018. There is a legal requirement to request a new specimen signature for voting purposes every five years. If anyone witnesses any fly tipping occurring please contact the Council’s Waste Management Team on 01255 686768.
(b) C. Cllr. Guglielmi provided a report from Essex County Council. Figures released by the Department for Education, alongside the secondary school performance tables, show the Attainment 8 score for Essex (average grade across a set of eight subjects) in GCSEs was 46.7 – above the national average of 46.4. Essex is ranked 58 of all 151 local authorities. Projections currently show an extra 12,201 new primary school places and 9,915 new secondary school places (22,116 in total) will be needed across Essex between now and 2027. They include: 2,921 places in Tendring (1,526 primary and 1,395 secondary). It is currently estimated that up to 22 new mainstream schools will be needed over the next ten years in Essex, while a number of existing schools will also need to be expanded. Every household in the county throws away the equivalent of 36 woolly jumpers each year, according to Recycle for Essex, which is launching a campaign to remind residents that all textiles can be reused or recycled. The Superfast Essex broadband programme has enabled 100,000 homes and businesses to access superfast broadband.
In response to Cllr. Rayner’s question about the need for provision of sixth form places locally, C. Cllr. Guglielmi explained that this issue would be included in the continuing discussion with the Manningtree School about the projection of figures for school places needed in the future.
05.18 Matters arising from previous minutes
(a) Item 72.17 – General Data Protection Regulation – the Clerk provided an update received from the National Association of Local Councils, which confirmed that Parish and Town Council Clerks could not undertake the role of Data Protection Officer as there was a conflict of interest. The Essex Association of Local Councils is currently looking into whether it is possible to set up a bank of qualified Data Protection Officers that Parish and Town Councils can make use of for a small fee.
(b) Items 96.17 (a) and 102.17 (c) – reduction of speed limit along Heath Road – The Chairman reported that last year a speed survey had been carried out on behalf of Hopkins Homes, the developer of the land south of Harwich Road. Essex County Council had set the current speed limit of 40mph in 2014. C. Cllr. Guglielmi explained that with more houses along Heath Road then better signage was required, but a speed survey would need to made by Essex Highways. The Clerk reminded the Council that on 6 November 2017, it had agreed to lend support to the petition of local residents for a reduction of the speed limit to 30mph and for signage. C. Cllr. Guglielmi agreed to raise the concern of residents about construction traffic using Heath Road. The Chairman had also raised this concern with a local construction company which had agreed to use the recognized route of Harwich Road. Action: Clerk
06.18 Councillors to report on meetings attended
(a) Tendring District Association of Local Councils – Cllr. Rayner provided a summary report of the matters discussed which included: General Data Protection Regulations; use of social media by Local Councils; Revenue Grant Fund; Chelmsford Auto Club event; planning and the Draft Local Plan; Essex Highways. Agreement that the Essex Association of Local Councils be requested to initiate a campaign to get a policy set to ensure that Highways Departments’ ability to raise objections on highways grounds were not reduced owing to the change of the word ‘significant’ with the word ‘severe’ contained in paragraph 22 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
(b) Suffolk Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership – Cllr. French reported that Natural England had approved the possible boundary and consultation had commenced. An event at the Venture Centre on 12 February for Local Councillors and an event for members of the public would take place at the same venue on 21 February. Consultees were invited to consider whether they agreed with: (i) the boundary; and (ii) if each area proposed has natural beauty.
07.18 Appointment of a new Clerk / Responsible Finance Officer to the Council
The Chairman confirmed that the Clerk had tendered his resignation which would take effect from 31 March. The Responsible Finance Officer had offered to continue for a further three months until 30 June to ease the changeover. The combined Clerk / Responsible Finance Officer job had been advertised in the Harwich and Manningtree Standard and also in the Weekly Jobs Bulletin of the Essex Association of Local Councils. The Chairman proposed that an interview and appointment panel be set and it was agreed that the members of it would include the Chairman, Cllrs. Birch, Burton, Fairhall and Peacock. Dates to arranged once the deadline for applications to be submitted expired. Action: Clerk
08.18 Swans Update
Cllrs. Chaplin and French had attended a meeting of the local charity, Swan Watch and the reason for the update was to bring the Council’s attention to: the challenges facing the diminishing herd of swans in Mistley; increase the number of volunteers to help with feeding rosters; and the charity’s lack of funds. Cllr. French explained that the charity was struggling to buy sufficient quantities of foodstuff for the rest of the winter months, until the end of April. The swans were not fed during the summer months. Feeding was done from the Quay once a day and not from The Walls. Cllr. Fairhall asked about why the numbers of swans was diminishing. Cllr. French explained that the swans had been in decline according to experts consulted by the charity. Apparently female swans needed to have attained an optimal weight in order to breed successfully. It was acknowledged that many people fed wild birds and the swans were a popular attraction for visitors. Cllr. French added that there was a lack of awareness of what is required to care for swans and the charity was also seeking more volunteers to help with the feeding rosters. The Chairman and Cllr. Fairhall both made reference to the previous relations between the Parish Council and Swan Watch, since when the charity had proved to be responsible in caring and feeding the swans. Cllr. Fairhall enquired about whether the swans needed to be fed all through the winter months or only when the weather was extreme. Cllr. French explained that it depended on gauging several factors and that it depended on the quality of the grain and not the quantity. The Chairman suggested that a proposal be considered to make a grant to the charity. Cllr. Birch proposed the Parish Council make a grant of £200 to the charity, which was seconded by Cllr. Peacock. Agreed with five votes for, one vote against and one abstention. Cllrs. Chaplin and French did not vote on this item. Action: Responsible Finance Officer
09.18 Three Parishes Trust’s suggestion to relocate the Youth Shelter to Furze Hill
Following a discussion about the suggestion made by the Three Parishes Trust, it was agreed that as the Half-Pipe Skateboard Ramp had been dismantled and removed, the suggestion to relocate the Youth Shelter currently at Riverside Avenue East, Manningtree, to Furze Hill be declined. Action: Clerk
10.18 Clerk’s Report
The Clerk reported that two street lights had been reported to the contractor for repair. Remedial work had been completed along a section of Church Lane, between the Church up to the railway bridge. The damaged section of the railway allotment fence had been repaired. The Cemetery Soil Bin had been emptied. The Half-Pipe Skateboard Ramp had been dismantled and removed. It was agreed that the contractor also undertake the removal of the concrete and to replace it with topsoil and then sow grass seed. A local resident had suggested that remedial repairs needed to be made to the wall along the western boundary of The Green. It was agreed to inspect and monitor the wall. New signs explaining that cycling was prohibited at Furze Hill had been erected. Action: Clerk
(a) Considered the following planning applications received:
(i) 18/00135/TCA – Cherry tree in communal garden – reduce width of crown up to 1 metre to contain within border at 3 Kiln Lane – No Comment – defer to Tree Officer – Chairman proposed, and agreed unanimously. Action: Clerk
(ii) 18/00137/TPO – 1 No. Holm Oak – reduce by up to 50% at 17 Rosewood Park – No Comment – defer to Tree Officer – Chairman proposed, and agreed unanimously. Action: Clerk
(b) Noted that the Planning Committee had agreed to defer consideration of planning application 17/01181/OUT concerning land to the south of Long Road and to the west of Clacton Road, to the next Planning Committee meeting on 15 February. It was agreed that this meeting be changed to 22 February. Clerk to request an extension of time from Tendring District Council. Action: Clerk
(c) Chairman provided a summary about the four-day Pubic Inquiry which took place earlier in the month, in respect of planning application 17/00004/OUT, the developer’s appeal concerning land to the rear of New Road. The Chairman had put forward the Parish Council’s objections.
(a) The Responsible Finance Officer confirmed that the internal audit of the accounts for the third quarter of the financial year had been completed and that no comment had been reported.
(b) Note the following Direct Debits and Standing Orders have been paid since the last meeting:
J Hinson £563.33 (salary – December) and £563.33 (salary – January)
Canon UK £97.20 (photocopier) A and J Lighting £92.40 and £103.74 (maintenance)
(c) Noted the following cheques have been signed since the last meeting:
A Lee £694.72 (salary – December) R Ling £103.70 (salary – December)
B Forrester £117.60 (wages – December) R Ling £21.47 (PAYE and NI paid by debit card)
Mistley Rugby Club £100.00 (grant) TDC £95.00 (rent for land off Harwich Road)
Village Hall Committee £98.24 (purchase of materials for public toilet)
Affinity Water £32.97 and £133.43 (water supply to allotments and Swan Basin)
(d) Approved the following payments:
TDALC £15.00 (subscription) Colne Contracts Ltd £2337.60 (Church Lane repairs)
R Ling £106.01 (postage and mileage) A Lee £344.07 (stationery, postage and advert)
A Lee £694.72 (salary – January) R Ling £103.70 (salary – January)
B Forrester £117.60 (wages – January) HMRC £305.567 (PAYE and NI)
Valerie Pretty £150.00 (Internal Audit) Essex Wildlife Trust £40.00 (subscription)
Chairman proposed and agreed unanimously
(e) Considered requests for a section 137 grant from: (i) Manningtree Rail Users Association; and (ii) Citizens Advice Tendring. The Council was unable to determine exactly what were the travel costs and other expenses incurred by the Manningtree Rail Users Association. It was agreed that the Treasurer attend the next meeting on 12 March to explain the request. It was agreed unanimously to make a grant of £750 to Citizens Advice Tendring. Action: Clerk
(a) Noted the following:
(i) Letters of thanks from: Essex Wildlife Trust; and Mistley Rugby Club.
(ii) Essex County Council’s Temporary Traffic Regulation Order of Clacton Road, Mistley, due to commence on 21 February 2018 for 3 days. The closure is required for the safety of the public and workforce whilst Essex County Council undertakes Phase 1 of Surface Dressing works.
(iii) Essex County Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council have both adopted a joint prepared Waste Local Plan, which sets out the Councils’ strategy and policies for waste development until 2032 and now officially replaces the Waste Local Plan adopted in 2001.
(iv) Letter explaining that the Tendring District Council Cabinet on 22 January 2018 had formally approved that the former Brunswick House allotments on land south of Pound Corner, Harwich Road, Mistley, be removed from the List of Assets of Community Value in order to facilitate the provision of the new facilities under the section 106 agreement.
(v) Following objections received to the Made Order consultation for the public path order diversion scheme in respect of footpaths 10, 11 and 12, will now be referred as made by Essex County Council within the next few weeks as an opposed order to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs via the Planning Inspectorate for determination.
14.18 Other Business
(a) Cllr. Howell’s proposal that the Parish Council’s next litter pick up event be held on Saturday 17 March was agreed unanimously. Cllr. Howell suggested that a third event in the year could be planned too. Clerk to ask Tendring District Council for the loan of equipment and bags and arrange with Veolia to collect the bags of litter. Action: Cllr. Howell and Clerk
(b) The Chairman’s suggestion that the Clerk write to EDME to request a meeting with the directors was agreed unanimously. Action: Clerk
15.18 Dates of next meetings all in the Village Hall
Planning Committee Thursdays 22 February, 8 and 29 March 2018 at 19.00
(note that the meeting for 15 February has been cancelled)
Full Council Monday Monday 12 March 2018 at 19.00
Finance Committee Saturday 24 March 2018 at 10.30
There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 21.05.