HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL
MINUTES OF FULL COUNCIL MEETING
|Councillor A Munday||Chairman||Present|
|Councillor M Radley||Vice Chairman||Present|
|Councillor Mrs J Allen||Present|
|Councillor Mrs S Dingle||Present|
|Councillor Mrs S Diver||Present|
|Councillor C Fox||Present|
|Councillor D Gronland||Present|
|Councillor D Hume||Apologies|
|Councillor Mrs J Pell||Present|
|Councillor Mrs E Penn||Apologies|
|Councillor Mrs J Sutton||Apologies|
|Councillor G Warren||Present|
Also in attendance: Public - Cllr S Kirby (B.D.C.), Alex Gidden (Press)
Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk)
Julia Smith (Minute Clerk)
051. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE. There were apologies from Cllr Hume, Cllr Mrs Penn and Cllr Mrs Sutton.
Cllr Munday proposed approval of apologies and this was adopted by unanimous vote.
052. DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: Cllr Radley declared NPI Agenda item 5 - Planning 18/01367/FUL as Director is known. NPI Agenda item 7b (various) as member of Courtaulds Sports Ground Management Committee. Cllr Mrs Diver declared NPI Agenda item 7b (a) various items regarding Empire Theatre as is committee member of Empire Theatre Committee. NPI Agenda item 7b (grants) various items as member of Courtaulds Sports Ground Management Committee. Cllr Mrs Allen declared NPI Agenda item 5 - Planning 18/01300/LBC and 18/01300/FUL as close friends live in close proximity to property. NPI Agenda item 12 as Contractor is known. Cllr Mrs Pell declared NPI Agenda item 5- Planning 18/01187/UFL as member of staff and owner are known. NPI 18/01367/FUL as owner has been in contact; content of meeting has been shared with Halstead TC. NPI 18/01233/FUL as near neighbour is a friend. OPI 18/01111/FUL as applicant is son of a friend. NPI Agenda item 7b (various) as member of Courtaulds Sports Ground Management Committee. NPI Agenda item 8 as Chairman of H4C. NPI Agenda item 12 as contractor is a friend. Cllr Munday declared NPI Agenda item 5 - Planning 18/01367/FUL as Director is known, after coffee shop opening. NPI Agenda item 7b (a) -various items as Member of Empire Theatre Committee. NPI Agenda item 7b (various grant items) as member of Courtaulds Sports Ground Management Committee.
053. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME: (a) Cllr S Kirby (BDC) asked if a Halstead Town Councillor had declared interest in Agenda item 5-Planning 18/01187/FUL as being a member of the 21st Century Group - he was informed that Councillor was not present at the meeting. Cllr Kirby also reminded all Councillors that the land in question was privately owned and it would be trespass for anyone to walk on the area. Cllr Kirby informed the meeting that he would leave while Planning issues are discussed as he sits on the Planning Committee of B.D.C.
(b) Cllr Mrs Diver, former Mayor of Halstead, presented a cheque to Travel Aid for Parents of Sick Children ( T A P S) to the sum of £1757.00 from her Mayor's Charity receipts. Cllr Mrs Diver thanked the public who had donated this money, and Halstead Rotary who had contributed. Chairman of TAPS, Cllr Mrs Pell, thanked the former Mayor and said that money would be put to good use and parents in need would be grateful for the help afforded.
054. MINUTES To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting on 16th July 2018. Minutes had been circulated and Proposal to adopt was put forward by Cllr Munday and seconded by Cllr Radley. Minutes adopted with two abstentions
Cllr S. Kirby left the meeting at this point.
055. PLANNING APPLICATIONS Cllr Mrs Pell, vice Chair of Planning took the Chair for this part of the meeting
Cllr Mrs Pell first made a statement saying that information on planning applications would not be up to usual standard as the Braintree DC Web Site had suffered a glitch so that information was not readily/fully available. Cllr Mrs Pell had spoken to the Cabinet Member concerned and also to the Director of IT at BDC both of whom had apologised and asked that apologies be given to Halstead TC. They assured that extensive work is being undertaken to rectify the major failure and said that measures would be taken to ensure that Planning Officers took great care in their deliberations and would give proper representation of all views.
Cllr Mrs Pell asked that a letter be sent with Council's comments stating that decisions had been made to the best of Council's ability under the circumstances.
18/01187/FUL - Natwest Customer Service Centre, 31 High Street, Halstead. Conversion of a former bank building into funeral directors, with provision of two staff apartments on the first floor, one of which includes a small, one-room extension. New access and three parking spaces at the rear of the property. It was said that there had been some complaints about this application. There was no comment from Historic Buildings, no comments from ECC Highways. Environmental Health had made some conditions and there were issues about trees on the land. It was said that with few details available these issues should be flagged up to Planning Officers and judgments entrusted to that Department. Cllr Mrs Diver noted lack of ECC Highways report and raised concerns about vehicular access/egress in a very tight area with parking opposite proposed entrance. Cllr Mrs Diver felt that extension of the double yellow lines prohibiting parking in that area might resolve this problem. Cllr Radley noted that ECC Highways are only Consultees and that their time limit for comment may not have lapsed. He agreed about the access which, he felt, would be difficult.
Cllr Mrs Diver proposed that Council has no objections subject to ECC Highways looking at ingress/egress situation and considering extension of the double yellow lines prohibiting parking opposite proposed access; conditions laid down by Environmental Health being observed; Historic Buildings comments being taken into account and the issue of trees with preservation orders being considered. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and vote was unanimous. Motion carried.
18/01296/VAR - Land adjacent, 1 Brook Farm Close, Halstead. Application for variation of conditions 2 and 3 of planning permission 16/02145/FUL - to allow design change.
Cllr Mrs Pell noted objections that trees had been felled, but said that this was a matter for Planning Enforcement. Variation was to extend driveway and there was an objection to this. Cllr Mrs Diver felt that there was not enough information on the web site to make informed decisions and proposed that Council felt that not enough information was available to make comment and asked that Planning Officers investigate objections to extension of driveway. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Radley, and carried by unanimous vote.
18/01297/FUL & 18/01298/LBC - Brook Farm House, Colchester Road, Halstead. Proposed conversion of garage to dwelling and new driveway access. Cllr Mrs Pell noted no comments received from ECC Highways. Application is to convert existing building and Historic Buildings Control have advised that no external alterations can be made. Cllr Radley noted that previous application for access for parking had been rejected and felt that he could not support conversion of a garage. Cllr Mrs Pell said she had concerns about highway issues. Cllr Warren proposed objection to conversion of garage due to lack of parking facility and also to conversion of a building of historic interest. Cllr Radley seconded this proposal. Vote was taken with 4 votes for proposal; 3 votes against proposal and 1 abstention. Motion carried.
18/01221/FUL & 18/01222/LBC - `103-105 Head Street, Halstead, Essex. Internal alterations and demolition of existing rear conservatory. Erection of single storey replacement rear porch. Repair and repaint existing woodwork and windows, replace existing front door, bi-fold doors and existing side gate. Re-render of external walls. It was noted that this is a straightforward restoration. Cllr Radley proposed no objection to this application and proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland. Vote was unanimous - motion carried.
18/01276/FUL - 85 Colchester Road, Halstead, Essex. Erection of 4no. new dwellings and associated works. It was noted that comments from Historic Buildings was not available. Environmental Health had made some conditions. Tree Officer will need to be consulted. Similar applications for this site have previously been made, and proposed buildings are still of 3 storey construction. Previously Council has objected due to close proximity to Cemetery Lodge and buildings within curtilage. Previous comments to stand. Cllr Munday proposed Council recommend refusal of this application on grounds of it being not in keeping with the heritage environment. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried unanimously.
18/01300/FUL & 18/01301/LBC. 2-4 Head Street, Halstead, Essex. Proposed site access and parking space. No comments were available on this application. It was noted that application is for a turntable to allow parking but it was felt that the proximity to a roundabout would make egress onto highway with limited visibility dangerous. Cllr Radley proposed objection to this application on Highway issues, namely egress onto highway in close proximity to roundabout. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and vote was taken. 6 votes were for the proposal with 1 abstention. Motion carried.
18/01248/FUL - Lynn House, Upper Chapel Street, Halstead. Conversion of double garage creating new annex accommodation to form living area to ground floor with bedroom and en-suite above. It was noted that plans for this application were very poor with no details given about parking - current or new. Cllr Radley proposed objection to this application on grounds of lack of information on parking details. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Dingle and carried by unanimous vote.
18/01367/FUL - Halstead Hall (Formerly Attwoods), Braintree Road, Halstead. Single storey rear extension to provide ancillary spaces to service nursing home. Construct brick entrance piers to both main and staff entrances to the site. Cllr Mrs Pell noted that this site is not within Halstead area but voiced concerns about visibility after construction of brick piers/wall in this accident black spot area. Cllr Mrs Pell proposed Council has no objection to single storey extension but has concerns about brick piers on grounds of visibility to vehicles in this accident black spot area. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver and carried by unanimous vote.
18/01233/FUL - 12 Sloe Hill, Halstead, Essex. Two and single storey rear extension. It was noted that this application was brought to Council in May and no objections were raised. Application was then refused by Braintree DC. Cllr Gronland proposed that Council has no objection to this application. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.
Cllr Mrs Pell left the meeting at this point.
18/01111/FUL & 18/01112/LBC - 59-61 High Street, Halstead, Essex. Proposed change of use and conversion of upper two storey to form a one bedroom apartment and two bedroom apartment. Alterations to fenestration. It was noted that a previous application for conversion to office space of this area was refused but District Council was now in favour of conversion to residential. Cllr Gronland noted that no provision for parking spaces was shown. Cllr Munday proposed that Council has no objections to this application but asked that provision must be made for parking spaces. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.
Cllr Mrs Pell and Cllr S Kirby re-joined the meeting.
Chair of the meeting was handed back to Cllr Munday.
056. MAYOR'S APPOINTMENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS.
Chairman noted a busy time with many events being attended by both Chairman and Vice Chairman. Report was noted
057. FINANCE. Cllr Radley Chair of Finance took the Chair for this part of the meeting.
7 A. Reports were before Council and showed income of £8018 above budget, this includes the rebate from BDC of £2843. It was noted that car parking income was above budget. Expenditure to date was noted at £1140 below budget; wages and salaries expenditure is above budget due to national wage agreements coming into force and car parking hours being higher than expected. The amount of £1332 over budget for Environment was due to cleaning of the War Memorial in St. Andrew's Churchyard - some of which was paid for by a Grant from the War Memorial Trust and the balance was allocated from the BDC rebate. Cllr Radley felt that the position at this time in the financial year was good. Cllr Mrs Pell noted disappointment in the cleaning of the War Memorial and said she had received comments that the top was clean but the bottom still looked dirty. Town Clerk said that memorial had been cleaned using steam and not chemicals, a stipulation by the War Memorial Trust as a condition of the grant. Cllr Mrs Pell said that previous cleaning, arranged by Funeral Directors Daniel Robinson & Sons, had been much better and asked that the method used then and the costs be ascertained, it was felt that Council should be sure that value for money had been achieved in this present case. Clerk was asked to check and report back to Council. Cllr Radley noted no expenditure from Earmarked reserves nor Capital Reserves in current month. It was noted that Queen's Hall bookings were higher than in previous months and that instances of sickness absence were higher than previously. Cllr Radley proposed adoption of this report. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.
7 B. & 7B(a) Payments to be approved were noted; Proposal to accept reports 7B and 7B (a) was made by Cllr Radley and seconded by Cllr Gronland. Proposal carried by unanimous Vote.
7C. Community Initiatives Fund (CIF). Cllr Radley explained that this fund is available for capital purchases only and that last year a successful application provided funds for purchase of demountable stage and projector. Full applications for this round of the grant must be lodged by October and Council should decide for what capital expenditure purpose application should be made this year. Cllr Munday had suggested that £20,000 be requested to put towards repair of the footbridge adjacent to Chapel St car park. Cllr Mrs Pell asked if funds could be requested for just one project and asked if Essex CC would fund footbridge repair as it is not designated as an open space. Cllr Mrs Pell suggested that another project be held in reserve in case application for footbridge was refused. Cllr Radley noted that in the last round of applications the sum requested by HTC had been halved. Cllr Radley suggested that Town Clerk be asked to express interest for funding footbridge repair, get feedback and report back to Council, this would allow time to consider an alternative project. Cllr Warren said that Essex CC had suggested that an application to CIF be made for this purpose, and Cllr Munday added that the footbridge is a part of the Colne Valley Walk and that the walk could not be completed with the footbridge in its current state. Cllr Radley proposed that Town Clerk be asked to approach Essex CC to ask if application for funds for repair of footbridge would be acceptable and then report back to Council. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.
7D. Cash Account Reconciliation Statement. Cllr Radley noted that reconciliation at end of previous financial year had been correct and accepted by Auditor and that further reconciliations would be made during current year. Report was before Council and a note by Cllr Radley was explained as some un-reconciled items remain still in abeyance and will be investigated. It was noted that the figure for Barclays Current Account was wrongly presented - a typographical error. Cllr Munday proposed acceptance of the Cash Account Reconciliation Statement. Proposal seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried unanimously.
Cllr Munday resumed Chair of the meeting
058. COMMUNITY HALL REPORT No report was given
059. YOUTH REPORT . No report was given
060. DISTRICT COUNCILLORS. Cllr Mrs Allen gave a report. A Full Council meeting had taken place when the Local Plan was discussed and Cllr Mrs Allen recommended that all Councillors watch the Webcast of this meeting. It was said that plans for the proposed Garden Villages had been made to protect existing towns and villages in the District. Councillors had made grants to Halstead in Bloom for purchase of new containers in the Town Centre. Cllr Mrs Allen had attended a second Task and Finish group regarding the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle initiative which was of great interest. Clothing was one area discussed and Cllr Mrs Allen suggested that perhaps the revitalised Youth Council could look at setting up a Clothes Swap Initiative in the Town. Cllr Warren asked if District was lobbying Government to promote reduction in packaging and Cllr Mrs Allen said that individual responsibility was the first promotion of the group. Discussion took place about various recyclable materials and it was noted that Halstead TC are trying to reduce paper use.
Cllr Mrs Allen noted attendance at Licensing meeting that included license for a sex shop beside the A12 highway.
Cllr Mrs Pell reported attendance at Full Council and noted that Cllr Butland gave an excellent speech regarding Local Plan and had made a delegated decision to go ahead with plans for the garden villages. Cllr Mrs Pell was concerned that no decisions had been made regarding revisions to the Marks Farm roundabout that was paid for by Tesco but was still not on the Agenda for revision after six or seven years. Cllr Mrs Pell had attended the Licensing meeting and also a Governance meeting where many facts and figures had been presented. Cllr Mrs Pell noted that Planning Enforcement had seen some changes to plans in recent times. The Housing Development Group had met with a consultant working on various options for development, one of which was the BDC site in Halstead New Street. More meetings will take place. Cllr Mrs Pell had attended a Task and Finish group on social isolation where a presentation was given by Essex CC Director of Health, Mike Foggarty. It was said that a degree of local responsibility was to be put to local Councils, etc. and that social isolation was difficult to discover among all age groups. Cllr Mrs Pell noted that with the many new houses being built in Halstead, with many new residents local Council, societies and groups should be encouraged to reach out and include all. Cllr Mrs Pell noted that meetings will take place in the near future about forthcoming elections in May 2019. Report was noted
061. STANDING ORDERS UPDATE. Report had been before Council at the previous meeting but revisions had been requested and were now presented to Council. Cllr Mrs Pell proposed that revised Standing Orders Update be adopted. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.
062. EXTRA CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Proposal was before Council to purchase 6 new motif Christmas Lights to install them to the bottom of High Street. It was noted that £3000 has been budgeted to purchase these motifs from Capital Reserves. It was noted that purchase of 6 motifs and brackets would cost £1044. Councillors were advised that there would be additional installation costs and existing Contractor has quoted £1,100 for this extra work. Cllr. Radley advised that this additional cost could be covered in the current revenue budget but it would reduce the money available to cover any costs for replacement of bulbs. Cllr Warren said that there are shops in Bridge Street that might benefit from having Christmas lights and Cllr Mrs Pell agreed saying that lights in St. Andrew's Churchyard similar to those in Holy Trinity Churchyard would also be a benefit. Cllr Radley advised that although the capital cost of purchasing some more lights than those proposed could be met he had concerns about exceeding the revenue budget for installation. Cllr Fox proposed that 12 motifs and 12 brackets be purchased and that installation costs for these be ascertained. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Allen.
Cllr Radley advised that the cost of the purchase of any more lights in addition to those proposed would result in an overspend of the revenue budget and suggested that this be held over as part of the budget review for next year. Cllr Munday supported this comment. Town Clerk explained that current prices quoted for purchase of motifs would only be current for a short period. Cllr Radley then proposed an addendum that 12 motifs and 12 brackets be purchased and Town Clerk be asked to negotiate with contractor for installation. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and vote was taken. 4 votes cast for proposal and 5 against. Motion was lost.
Vote was then taken on original proposal by Cllr Fox. Votes cast 6 for proposal. 2 against proposal. 1 abstention. Motion carried - 12 motifs and 12 brackets be purchased.
Cllr Mrs Dingle then proposed that 6 new motifs be erected with a further 6 being erected if budget allowed with any additional bulbs being purchased even if budget is exceeded. Cllr Fox seconded this proposal and vote was taken. 3 votes for proposal; 5 against proposal. 1 abstention. Motion lost.
Cllr Munday proposed that 6 motifs be erected for Christmas 2018 and 6 put aside until Christmas 2019. Further discussions to take place when installation and replacement bulb costs have been clarified. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Dingle and unanimously adopted.
063. LOCAL COUNCIL AWARD SCHEME. It was noted that training is part of the necessary conditions for achievement of Foundation Level of the Local Council Award Scheme. Clerk is already CILCA trained, but further training will be necessary. Cllr Mrs Pell noted that Braintree DC will be operating some training for new Councillors after forthcoming elections next year. The new Risk Management Policy is also a necessary document which should be noted and there will be one or two further documents that will be put before Council. It was agreed that Halstead TC should continue towards accreditation. Cllr Munday proposed that Council note the report. Proposal seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote. Town Clerk asked Councillors to note the Risk Management Policy, and said that it is necessary to take some risks in order to move forward and Councillors will need to decide how much risk is prudent. Cllr Munday proposed acceptance of the Risk Management Policy as written and proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver. Vote was taken and proposal was carried by unanimous vote.
064. TOWN INFRASTRUCTURE. Cllr Radley noted the report before Council regarding numbers of houses expected to be built in Halstead over the next five years and said that residents are concerned about capacity at the existing Elizabeth Courtauld Doctors' Surgery. He noted that Dr. Kreis had given a presentation to Council regarding expansion but that no further action had been taken by Doctors and Managers to increase floor space for medical staff due to short term workload issues. There is some Section 106 money held at Braintree DC and more will become available. Money will be sent to NHS England, and then to the CCG who will then decide where funds can be spent by the Surgery. Cllr Radley noted that Doctors and Managers at the Surgery do not have the time nor the expertise to progress matters and Cllrs Radley and Gronland have offered their time and business expertise to assist. Cllr Munday explained that this proposal had come after follow-up meetings in March and it was felt that this was the only way to move matters forward. Cllr Mrs Allen said that statistics are stark but felt that there may be a conflict of interest if Councillors are involved in an official capacity. Cllr Mrs Allen felt that Braintree DC would be willing to support Doctors. Cllr Gronland said that confidential matters may be discussed at meetings, that would be held monthly, and felt that the support of Council was vital. Cllr Mrs Pell said that offers of help from Braintree DC have been made and there is a Patient Liaison Group at the Surgery that may be of assistance. It was queried whether a request for help from the Surgery, in writing, had been received and it was said that an e mail had been received welcoming help from Cllrs Radley and Gronland. Cllr Warren voiced concerns that Councillors would take part in confidential meetings that could not be relayed back to Council and he felt that Councillors and Council would then be made vulnerable; all Council dealings should be transparent. Cllr Mrs Diver agreed with this and thought that Cllrs Radley and Gronland had done as much as they could as Councillors and should now step back and let experts step in. Cllr Fox suggested that Cllrs Radley and Gronland work out the risk to Council regarding matters of a private and confidential nature that may in the future be brought to Council for vote. Cllr Mrs Pell suggested that Cllr Radley and Cllr Gronland could volunteer to assist as private individuals or join the Patient Liaison Group. Cllr Mrs Allen noted that elections are due next year and there would therefore be a time limit if Councillors helped in an official capacity. Cllr Munday said that relationships had already been built and that the matter was now to assist with a business plan and that continuing to provide help to the surgery was high on the list of what the Town wants. Cllr Radley said that he had been elected to help people of the town and felt that capacity at the Doctors' Surgery was a key issue. He felt that there would not be an issue with discussions at the surgery as confidential matters could be managed by reporting back in Private Sessions. He said that it was no longer about setting up meetings but he and Cllr Gronland would now like to use their business skills to move the project at the surgery forward; nothing has so far been achieved. Cllr Fox reiterated that there was a potential risk and the public might ask questions if confidential matters cannot be brought back to Council. Cllr Munday proposed that Cllrs Radley and Gronland provide business support to the surgery to help accelerate the growth of the surgery building (note : this was the motion in the report). Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and a vote was taken. 3 votes for the proposal; 5 votes against the proposal. 1 abstention. Motion was lost.
065. TOILET REFURBISHMENT. Cllr Munday noted that this item had two parts, acceptance of work to be done and award of contract.
Cllr Mrs Pell asked if quotes were like for like, and also if toilets would be available for use during refurbishment works. It was said that all contractors had been given the same specifications.
Town Clerk replied that it would be necessary to keep at least one cubicle open at all times. Cllr Mrs Allen queried the 'unisex' toilets and asked that toilets be kept as male/female. Discussion took place on this, and it was decided that this matter be kept in abeyance until after refurbishments.
Cllr Munday proposed that work to refurbish the toilets in Kings Road be put in hand with the specifications as detailed but for the time being deleting the relabelling to 'unisex'. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and agreed unanimously.
Cllr Munday then proposed that award of contract for agreed refurbishment be put into private session. Motion was seconded by Cllr Radley and unanimously agreed.
Cllr Munday proposed that standing orders be extended for 15 minutes. Proposal seconded by Cllr Warren and unanimously agreed.
066. TOWN PLAN REPORT. It was said that the Town Plan report was still under discussion and that report on progress was before Council. Cllr Munday moved that report be noted and Cllr Fox seconded this proposal. Motion was carried by unanimous vote. Report was noted
067. EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS. To give consideration to adopting the following resolution:'that in view of the confidential nature of the business about to be transacted and pursuant to the provisions of section 1(2)- of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, as amended, the public and the press be temporarily excluded from the meeting'
Council moved into Private Session at 9.29pm.
068. Toilet Refurbishment – Appointment of contractor.
No appointment was made.