HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL
MINUTES OF FULL COUNCIL MEETING
|Councillor A Munday||Chairman||Present|
|Councillor M Radley||Vice Chairman||Present|
|Counvillor 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||Present|
|Councillor Mrs J Sutton||Present|
|Councillor G Warren||Present|
Also in attendance: Public Ms Helen Woolf, Ms Jan Mellon. Mr D. Scott
Mr I Tinton (Chamber of Trade), Mr P Frost, Ms H Birch,
Mr F Warren, Ms L Gidden, Ms J Allen, Mr Rust, Mr W Dixey,
Mr and Mrs Deamer, Mr J Mundy, Mr P Caulfield,
Mr and Mrs M Stock, Mr and Mrs M Walker, Mr R Cull,
Mr and Mrs R Rayner Ms L Bazley, Ms J Allen, Mr H Johnson
Mr P Diver, Mrs and Ms Dymoke-Bradshaw
6 representatives from Snapdragon/Bellway Homes
Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk)
Julia Smith (Minute Clerk)
132. a) APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE. There was an apology from Cllr Hume due to ill health. Cllr Mrs Pell proposed approval of apology, proposal seconded by Cllr Gronland and adopted by unanimous vote.
b) DISPENSATION FOR CLLR HUME. To approve a dispensation for Councillor David Hume from attending meetings of the Council by reason of illness for a further 2 month period. Dispensation for Cllr Hume was moved by Cllr Munday, Seconded by Cllr Mrs Pell and carried by unanimous vote.
133. DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: Cllr Mrs Pell declared NPI in Agenda item 5-Planning; 18/01749/FUL as objectors are known; as Vice President of Halstead Cricket Club and as family live in the vicinity. NPI 18/02313/OUT as owner of the site is known and residents who have lodged objections are known. NPI Agenda item 7c as member of Courtaulds Sports Ground Management Committee (CSGMC). NPI Agenda item 9 as member of H4C. NPI Agenda item 12 as member of Braintree D.C. NPI Agenda item 7c(a) as Contractor is known. Cllr Mrs Allen declared NPI Agenda item 3B as speakers are known as friends of the family. NPI Agenda item 3C as currently selling a Bellway Homes property (will leave meeting). NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 18/01749/FUL as currently selling a Bellway Homes property (will leave meeting). DPI Agenda item 12 as has currently reserved a property at Oakwood Hill. (will leave the meeting). NPI Agenda item 7c (a) as contractor is known. DPI Planning items 18/02303/FUL and 19/000-28/FUL as has reserved a property at Oakwood Hill. Cllr Mrs Diver declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 18/01749/FUL as some of objectors are known. NPI Agenda item 7c as member of CSGMC. NPI Agenda item 7c(a) as Contractor is known. Cllr Mrs Sutton declared NPI Agenda item 13 as has been working with resident of Head Street on Highways matters. Cllr Mrs Penn declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 18/01749/FUL as objectors are known. NPI Agenda item 7c(a) as Contractor is known. NPI Agenda item 13 as has had dealings with residents of Head Street. Cllr Radley declared NPI Agenda item 7c as member of CSGMC. Cllr Munday declared NPI in Agenda item 3b as HAPPY group is known to him as former liaison with Youth Council. NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 18/01749 as objectors and customers are known. NPI Agenda item 7c as member of CSGMC and as member of Empire Theatre Committee. NPI Agenda item 7c (a) as Contractor is known.
134. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME:
Vice Chairman proposed that he would take Agenda items 3b and 3c first. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.
b) Presentation by HAPPY - Halstead Youth Group. Members of the team explained that their aim is to give a more positive view of young people in the town and to take part in community projects to co-operate with all generations in the town. Several meetings have taken place since inauguration in June 2018. Meetings are held at the Resource Centre and are informal gatherings at which all are welcomed. Members have taken part in the River Clean events and were shocked at the amount of litter and debris recovered. Members are determined to make Halstead a town of which they can be proud. Team took part in the Armed Forces events and attended the Remembrance Service on 11th November. Team have taken some training on dementia care and hope to have a better understanding of this condition. Team took part in the Christmas Fayre and also had a stall outside Solar store on the Saturday before Christmas. For the future, plans are being made, with the assistance of the Design Dept. at Braintree DC, for a logo, and it is hoped that younger team members can be recruited. It is hoped to organise events for young people, possibly with trips that will be open to all residents. There will be more work with the elderly, team will visit local care homes. Team will take part in the May Day event and the Party in the Park and are determined to promote a positive view of Halstead's young people.
Chairman thanked the team for this presentation, and all Councillors agreed that this is a positive group of which the Council is proud.
Councillor Mrs Allen left the meeting at this point.
c) Presentation by Snapdragon on behalf of Bellway Homes development in Sudbury Road
Representatives explained that the proposed development is for 218 homes rather than the 203 homes plus Care Home as given Outline Permission in 2018. It was explained that discussions had taken place with Braintree DC and it was determined that there was no perceived need for a care home in this location, but discussions are still ongoing regarding S106 and other conditions. it was explained that proposal now is for 13 additional homes to be built in place of the formerly proposed care home. It was said that some conditions - namely access for construction traffic from Sudbury Road - will remain in force and that access to the development will be via Churchill Avenue and 2 existing roads. Developers plan to minimise impact for neighbours to the site during the construction phase. It was explained that dwellings will be of various styles and developers have worked with BDC urban planners to design a visually pleasing development. There have been 3 pre-application meetings with Braintree DC and revisions have been made after consultations and with public views in mind. There is an open area planned with existing hedges and trees being retained. It is planned to enhance the natural environment by making an all-weather jogging track, installing dog bins and planting trees and a wild flower meadow. Plans to make access from the development to this open area are in hand and there will be a play area with landscape enhancing play equipment. It was explained that there was a public consultation in September 2018 attended by 104 people, 35 of whom left feedback with constructive comments about access and wildlife. Halstead TC have been kept informed on all matters, and it was said that the plans shown at this Council meeting will be retained by Town Council for public viewing.
a) Public Questions. Mr Martin Walker spoke about the development at Sudbury Road and noted that a further proposal for land west of Sudbury Road is in hand and access to this site must be from Sudbury Road. He asked why access for the site east of Sudbury Road could not also be accessed from Sudbury Road with a traffic roundabout being made to give access to both sites and to alleviate traffic from Churchill Avenue. He urged Councillors to consider this option before any development takes place.
Representatives from Bellway Homes said they have no knowledge of any further development and have taken advice on access from Planning Dept.
Cllr Radley said that residents of Churchill Avenue estate have had consultation documents regarding land west of Sudbury Road and Cllr Munday reminded the meeting that Bellway Homes have no responsibility for determining access points. It was said that Essex CC have a policy that access to housing developments should not be from A roads, but it was pointed out by public present that the Oakwood Hill site has been given access to the A131 that is a busy, strategic route.
Cllr Mrs Pell asked if the proposed play equipment would include items accessible for all abilities and was assured this was the case. Cllr Mrs Pell asked if access from Sudbury Road for construction traffic would remain in force until all dwellings were completed and site was completed. Cllr Pell noted that a wheel wash was included and said that this would be important as mud on Sudbury Road could pose a danger. Meeting was told that developer was keen to minimise impact of construction for all existing residents and would continue to consult on the best way forward for construction traffic.
Mr P Cull said that he had discussions with Braintree DC regarding the extra 13 houses planned and suggested that instead of these houses, ponds, nest boxes and wild life habitats could be installed. Bellway Homes said that there had been discussions about installation of swift boxes and that the area is managed with regard for all legislation regarding wildlife with a 40m buffer zone from boundary to development and the new public open space to enhance natural space. Meeting was assured that a maintenance plan for the area is in hand and there would be net gains for biodiversity. It was noted that there is a low point that will be used as a wet/marshy habitat.
Ms L Bazley asked where on the site the show houses would be located and this was explained. Ms Bazley then spoke about access and asked if Bellway Homes could request access from Sudbury Road but was told that these matters had been approved on the Outline Planning Application and stressed that Essex CC had determined that there should be no permanent access to the site from Sudbury Road.
Mr Dixey asked about money for education that seemed not to be included in the current application. He was told that developers had obligations regarding S106 monies but that at present no requirements had been discussed but meeting was assured that there would be future discussions on all S106 matters. Mr Dixey asked about SUDS proposals and noted that there were now exceedence provisions that would appear to put the protected area of Coggeshall Pieces and housing at Hawthorn Close under threat. Bellway Homes assured the meeting that this was not the case and all matters dealing with surface water run-off had been meticulously calculated.
Mr Johnson noted that medical facilities in the town needed cash but at present there seemed to be no planned expansion, and no funding, for expansion of medical facilities. Cllr Munday noted that some S106 money had been put aside from other developments for the doctors’ surgery, and Bellway Homes assured the meeting that all planning applications go to consultation with NHS, Educations and Highways to calculate amounts due from developments. Cllr Radley expressed the hope that all the S106 requirements outlined in the granting of Outline permission for the development would be acknowledged in future. Meeting was assured this would be the case.
Mr I Tinton asked if, with the plethora of planning applications in all areas of the Braintree district there were enough planning staff to cope; this was also true of the Essex region as a whole. Cllr Mrs Pell explained that additional staff had been recruited but noted that Halstead TC are consultees only on all planning applications. Cllr Mrs Pell said she would endeavour to get answers to this question.
Mr P Caulfield spoke about the proposed development at Sloe Hill and said that if approved it would be disastrous for wild life as discussed with Essex Wildlife. Hedgerows were important for birds and bats and there are many protected species in this area, the meeting was told. Red kites, barn owls, badgers, sparrow hawks, slow-worms have all been found in this vicinity and light pollution from the development could have devastating effects on all fauna and flora in the area. Mr Caulfield was surprised that in May 2016 Essex Wildlife Trust had noted the Sloe Cottage Meadow as a select area for wildlife only for it to be de-selected 2 months later.
Cllr Mrs Allen returned to the meeting
135. MINUTES To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting on 17th December 2018. Minutes had been circulated and Proposal to adopt was put forward by Cllr Radley and seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn. Minutes adopted with 4 abstentions.
136. PLANNING APPLICATIONS
Cllr Mrs Allen left the meeting at this point.
Cllr Mrs Pell, Vice Chair of Planning took the Chair for this part of the meeting.
18/01749/FUL - Land East of Sudbury Road, Halstead. Erection of 218 homes with associated infrastructure including SUDs features, new accesses from Tylneys Road and Winston Way, hard and soft landscaping and provision of public open space.
Cllr Mrs Pell explained that Outline Permission for this site had been granted but that this application was lodged as changes had been made. It was noted that there are Highway issues in this area and children use the proposed access routes to get to St. Andrew's School. The proposal for further development west of Sudbury Road was also noted and it was said that this would further aggravate traffic difficulties in the Sudbury Road area. Cllr Pell said she felt that Council should make strong representations to Braintree DC to ask that Highway issues be seriously considered and that a new roundabout be created to give access to both developments and to slow traffic in the area. Cllr Mrs Pell also suggested that Planners ensure that roads on the development are large enough to accommodate bus traffic as residents are to be encouraged to use public transport: it was noted that provision has been made for access by dust carts and emergency vehicles. Cllr Mrs Pell noted that the land set aside for public open space attached to the development within Halstead boundaries would fall into the Greenstead Green and Halstead Rural parish and wondered if there would be a dowry if Halstead were to adopt this land. Cllr Pell noted that some residents had asked for speed humps to slow traffic but said that these could prove noisy and not suitable. Provision for wildlife habitats was noted and the matter of a gas pipe to be avoided had also been addressed. Cllr Pell was concerned about mud and debris on local roads but noted provision of mud washes for construction traffic. Cllr Pell was disappointed that Essex CC Highways had not entered into any discussions with Halstead TC about the impact of this and other planned developments. Cllr Mrs Pell said that she could find no planning reason for objections to this application other than access to the site through estate roads on route used by children to access school.
Cllr Radley said that he would object to the application because of change of scope not to include a care home but instead provide more housing. He noted the strong opinions regarding highway access and said that it would make sense to put in a roundabout for access from the estate. He felt that Braintree DC and Essex CC should not ignore the objections put forward and the consultation results, he felt that a roundabout would be a logical resolution to some of the difficulties. He felt that Halstead TC should raise strong objections on these grounds. He also felt that Town Council should insist that S106 stipulations should be no worse that on the original permission given. Cllr Radley noted that a resident had raised objections about plot 192 and asked if this had been resolved. Cllr Mrs Diver said that she had concerns about the environment of the open area and about wildlife on the site. She noted that the development seemed to have no green space within the streets. Cllr Gronland said that there had been many objections about access for the site and said that in his opinion a roundabout on Sudbury Road was the only answer. Cllr Warren liked the idea of the public open space, and the jogging track to encourage healthy lifestyles but agreed that access should be from a roundabout on Sudbury Road. He also stated that this application would put extra pressure on the infrastructure including the doctors’ surgery. Cllr Fox agreed and said that, with so many objections from residents, access to the site must be re-thought. Cllr Fox also said he would like to see a pond and wildlife area where the care home was originally planned. This thought was echoed by Cllr Mrs Penn. Cllr Mrs Dingle suggested an area where buses could enter and turn around in the estate in readiness for a bus route.
Cllr Radley then proposed that Halstead Town Council objects to this application on the following grounds: 1) that the increased burden of traffic in Churchill Avenue would be a safety and congestion issue and that access from Sudbury Road via a roundabout would be the better solution. 2) that S106 money should be the same as previously agreed as a minimum requirement, adjusted for the increased number of dwellings. 3) that the objector to Plot 192 should be consulted to find a workable solution to their objections. 4) that a bus route through the estate should be planned if possible and that a bus stop is placed near the access point. 5) that there should be a wild life pond included on the site 6) that the aesthetics for the site should be revisited. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.
Many members of the public and Snapdragon representatives left the meeting at this point.
Cllr Mrs Allen rejoined the meeting.
18/02313/OUT - Land East of Sloe Hill, Halstead. Erection of nine dwellings and access.
Cllr Mrs Pell noted that this area is not included in Local Development Plan and that there is a public footpath across this site. Cllr Munday asked if the land is within Halstead boundary and was told that it touches Halstead boundary and therefore Halstead has been consulted: Greenstead Green and Halstead Rural will also be consulted. Cllr Mrs Pell said that this area is part of the historic Sloe House and suggested that if permission should be granted Halstead should request an archaeological excavation before development. It was noted that no pre-application advice had been taken. Cllr Pell suggested that there were highway issues with access from Sloe Hill and that the plans seemed to suggest that further development at this site would be proposed in the future. The biodiversity on the site had been noted and there were concerns about any development on this site. It was noted that no comments had been received from Essex CC on highway matters. Cllr Warren agreed and proposed objection to this application on grounds of highway access as ingress and egress to the site is dangerous, and also because of the loss of an area of natural beauty containing many wildlife habitats. Cllr Mrs Penn seconded this proposal and it was carried with 1 abstention.
In conclusion Cllr Mrs Pell offered congratulations to the Hands Off Chapel Hill group for their work to obtain refusal of permission for development at Chapel Hill and noted that this was an instance of Council and residents working together for the good of the Town.
Chair of the meeting was handed back to Cllr Munday.
137. MAYOR'S APPOINTMENT AND ANNOUNCEMENT Cllr Munday noted events attended. Report was noted
138. FINANCE. Cllr Radley Chair of Finance presented Finance Reports.
7A. Monthly Finance Report: Cllr Radley noted the position that was in line with budget forecasts and noted that one S137 payment was still outstanding to the River Care group. Cllr Mrs Penn agreed that she would list the requirements for this group and would pass to the Clerk for payment to be made. Acceptance of the report was proposed by Cllr Radley, seconded by Cllr Munday and carried unanimously. Report was noted
7B. Extra payment for Christmas Lights. It was reported by the Clerk that the lights in the Public Gardens needed extra cleaning and testing as they had been hung in trees and an additional cost of £500 would be required. It was said that this expenditure was not on original order and had been requested for 2017 work and would be required again for 2019. After further discussions it was said that 2019 would be last year of the 3 year contract so that work would then be put out to tender again. Cllr Munday proposed the additional payment of £500 for work on Christmas lights for 2018 and for 2019. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried with 1 abstention.
7C. and 7C(a) Payments to be approved; Cllr Fox queried the payment for a wheel clamp and Town Clerk explained that a resident was regularly parking in front of the gates to Queen's Hall meaning that the Council van could not be accessed when employees started work. Several excess charge tickets had been issued but it was felt that further actions must now be taken. Resident would be warned of this proposal.
Cllr Mrs Pell asked that staff, particularly Jason Bedlow, be thanked for their work in raising money for local schools by taking round the 'Father Christmas' float; it was noted that in excess of £1100 had been collected. Clerk to pass on Council's thanks.
Cllr Warren queried the payment for hire of aerial access for work on roof at The Empire and asked if further remedial work would be necessary. Clerk explained that only minor repairs had proved necessary and were now complete.
Cllr Munday proposed acceptance of Agenda Items 7C and 7C(a) and this proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver. Vote was taken and motion was carried unanimously.
7D. Car Park Charges. Report was before Council regarding proposal for all car park charges 2019/20. It was said that car parking charges should remain unchanged and that free parking after 3pm should continue. It was, however, proposed that parking permit charges in all four car parks should be increased by 10% as a further measure to bring them closer to District charges. It was said that further increases in future could not be ruled out but that 10% would be proposed for the forthcoming year. It was also proposed that a further 6 permits for the Chapel St. car park should be issued. Cllr Mrs Pell asked for assurance that obtaining a permit did not mean guarantee of space and this was given. After discussions Cllr Mrs Diver proposed acceptance of the report increasing cost of parking permits in all four car parks by 10% for the forthcoming year and release of 6 parking permits for Chapel Street car park at £330.00 per year. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and a vote was taken. There were 7 votes for the proposal, 2 votes against and 1 abstention. Motion carried.
7E. Budget and Precept 2019/20. Cllr Radley noted that these proposals would only be for one month of the current Council's term but that the budget would carry forward for the new Council if agreed. It was noted that the Localism Grant from BDC was now reduced to zero because of reduction in their funding from central government and that Council tax would be raised by 2% giving a precept for Halstead TC of £179,014.00 which it was felt was reasonable and would allow for a surplus to be transferred to earmarked reserves to fund future expenditure liabilities. Cllr Mrs Pell noted that all matters on the report had been discussed at the Budget Seminar and suggested that Budget Precept 2019/20 and Long Term Financial Plan be adopted. Cllr Fox asked further questions and suggested that instead of 2% the increase in Council Tax should be 4%. Cllr Radley said that 2% would be prudent and allow for surplus particularly as more houses were being marketed meaning more revenue for the Town Council. Cllr Radley said that all matters had been discussed at the Budget Seminar, and Cllr Radley moved proposal to accept the report as written. Cllr Warren seconded this proposal and vote was taken. Proposal was adopted with 1 abstention.
7F. Reconciliation. Report was before Council and Cllr Munday proposed acceptance of Reconciliation Report. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Diver and carried by unanimous vote.
7G. Colne Road Allotments. It was noted that £2,872.49 S106 monies were available for spend on these allotments and plan should be made to put forward to Braintree DC for sums to be spent over the next 10 years. Consultations with allotment holders and staff had taken place and various expenditure has been discussed. A total of £1080 expenditure was identified for immediate use with the remaining money, and other monies that may become available to be used in future. Cllr Munday moved acceptance of report for part expenditure at Colne Road Allotments. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Pell and carried by unanimous vote.
Cllr Munday moved that Agenda item 13 be taken at this point. Proposal seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver and carried by unanimous vote.
139. REPORT ON MEETING WITH LEADER OF ECC AND ANDREW COOK. Cllrs Munday and Radley had met with Cllr Finch and Andrew Cook, Director of Highways and Transportation to discuss the matter of 'pinch point' at Head Street and effects on residents and road users. Suggestions had been made to change the Strategic Lorry Route to help alleviate some problems. Discussions had taken place and various potential solutions had been put forward. It had been said that views about a potential by-pass had been expressed but it had been said that this was a long-term project and was subject to availability of funding from central government. Various other options had been discussed including review of signage, weight/size restrictions and possible single carriageway through the pinch point. Discussions took place and it was said that further pressure should be consistently applied to get some resolution. Cllr Munday said that some work may be possible to ensure that SatNav routes do not include traverse through the town centre, and it was said that all encouragement to find solutions should be made. Cllr Munday moved that report be noted and this was seconded by Cllr Warren. Acceptance of the report was carried by unanimous vote.
Cllr Mrs Sutton left the meeting at this point.
Cllr Munday proposed that Standing Orders be increased by 15 minutes. Proposal seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver and carried unanimously.
140. COMMUNITY HALL. Cllr Mrs Pell said that there was no report but hoped that an informal meeting could be arranged with all town councillors with a proposed formal meeting to take place at a later date. Discussions took place and it was said that many apologies had been received for an informal gathering in January and that it would now be rescheduled for March. Several Councillors suggested that the meeting should take place, informally, at a venue other than Queens Hall, and after discussions a vote was taken for this proposal. Vote was 6 for the proposal, 3 against and 1 abstention. Town Clerk to request a date for meeting.
141. YOUTH REPORT . Cllr Mrs Penn said she had nothing to add after the presentation by the HAPPY group and Councillors agreed that the presentation had been well done and was informative. Cllr Warren said that it had been excellent to have a visual presentation and said that this should be suggested for all presentations. Report was noted
142. DISTRICT COUNCILLORS. Cllr Mrs Allen had no update. Cllr Mrs Pell reported on matters regarding site at Braintree Bus Park. It was also said that the proposal for Voter ID had been challenged at High Court and was now a matter for Cabinet Office. Cllr Mrs Pell reported that proposal for expenditure of her Councillor Grant at Holy Trinity Church, Halstead had been approved and it would be used to purchase toilet facilities. Cllr Munday said that he very much approved usage of Holy Trinity Church and was told that several plans were in place for the coming year. Cllr Radley asked if Councillor Grants would continue for the coming year and was told that they would remain although there may be changes to format. Report was noted
143. ALLOTMENTS FOR OAK ROAD DEVELOPMENT. Report was before Council regarding the section of land at Oak Road development that would be set aside for 6 allotments. It was noted that BDC intended to offer the allotments to HTC for the sum of £1 once 60% of the properties at the development have been built. Discussions took place and Cllr Mrs Pell asked if the allotments would be freehold and if there would be legal costs. After further discussions Cllr Mrs Pell proposed that Halstead TC should take on the allotments provided that clarification is given regarding the position on freehold of the land and on legal costs to the Council. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.
144. 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'
There was no further business. Meeting closed at 9.43pm