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HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL

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MINUTES OF FULL COUNCIL MEETING
11 February 2019
Held at
Queens Hall, Chipping Hill, HALSTEAD, Essex. CO9 2BY 

 Membership:

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   Apologies
Councillor D Gronland   Present
Councillor D Hume   Present
Councillor Mrs J Pell   Apologies
Councillor Mrs E Penn   Present
Councillor Mrs J Sutton   Apologies
Councillor G Warren   Apologies

Also in attendance: Public    Mr I Tinton (Chamber of Trade), Ms Charley Goff (Press)

                                           PC Paul Norman, SC Michael Mihalyfi (Essex Police)

                                           Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk) gave apologies as unwell

                                           Julia Smith (Minute Clerk)         

145.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE.  There were apologies from Cllr Fox and Cllr Mrs Sutton due to work commitments and Cllr Warren and Cllr Mrs Pell due to ill health. Cllr Munday  proposed approval of apologies, proposal seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn and  adopted by unanimous vote.

146.  DECLARATION OF INTERESTS:  Cllr Hume declared NPI. Agenda item 5-Planning. 19/00119/FUL as member of Braintree DC; NPI Agenda item 7b as member of Braintree DC; NPI Agenda item 13 as Chairman of Neighbourhood Watch for Essex is known; NPI Agenda item 14 as Secretary to Courtauld Sports Ground Management Committee (CSGMC).  Cllr Mrs Dingle declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning. 19/00119/FUL as objector is known, NPI Agenda item 7b as recipient of payment is known, NPI Agenda item 17 as volunteer at Empire Theatre.  Cllr Mrs Diver declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00119/FUL as objector is known, NPI Agenda item 7b as recipient of payment is known, NPI Agenda item 14 as member of CSGMC, NPI Agenda item 17 as member of committee for Empire Theatre. Cllr Mrs Allen declared PI Agenda item 5-Planning 18/02303 & 19/00028/FUL as has bought a property at Oak Road and will leave the meeting.  NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00119/FUL as member of Braintree DC. NPI Agenda item 7b(a) as member of Braintree DC. Cllr Radley declared NPI Agenda item 14 as member of CSGMC.  Cllr Munday declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00006/FUL as agent is well known and will leave the meeting.  NPI Agenda item 7b as recipient of payment is known, NPI Agenda item 14 as member of CSGMC, NPI Agenda item 17 as member of committee for Empire Theatre.

147.  (a)  PUBLIC  QUESTION  TIME:  
Mr Ian Tinton said that he was speaking as a resident of Halstead and not as member of Halstead Chamber of Commerce and had observed that with recent planning applications for large developments in Halstead S106 monies apportioned did not seem to be in relation to price of houses and therefore money realised by the development.  He said that he understood that landowner and developer had to be recompensed but that money coming back into the community for infrastructure, etc. did not appear to be in fair proportion.  Mr Tinton wondered if there were other ways in which money could be reclaimed for community use.  Cllr Munday replied that there are national calculations for amounts of S106 money to be claimed and Cllr Radley noted that Braintree DC, and the Planning Authority for Halstead area will contact all relevant bodies before calculating monies due in a structured, standardised process.  It was noted that money for projects, such as the Community Centre, could be seen as special cases and additional money sought for such projects. Cllr Mrs Allen said that at a recent BDC meeting the leader, Cllr Butland had noted that in larger developments such as the proposed 'garden villages' Braintree DC does have some jurisdiction over infrastructure but that in smaller developments such as those in the pipeline for Halstead the Planning Authority must adhere to national policies.  Mr Tinton replied that he felt that developers are buying land, obtaining building permission and then not developing and he felt that Councils at all levels are not getting benefits that are due.  Cllr Munday said that Clerk will be asked to contact Braintree Planning Department to enquire whether there are any other ways to obtain money from developers for local infrastructure and he assured the public that Halstead TC is working hard to get improvements to local infrastructure.  Cllr Hume said that this would be a valid proposition but feared that BDC would say they must adhere to national policies so that all communities are treated fairly.

147.  (b) Introduction to SC Michael Mihalyfi - Halstead 'Special'.  Cllr Munday said that he had championed the introduction of Special Police in Halstead and that there was budget provision for 3 special constables for Halstead.  He was pleased that SC Mihalyfi was the first in line and it was understood that there are more special constables in training at present.

SC Mihalyfi gave a presentation stating that his day job is as a driving instructor but that in his role as Special Constable he wanted to engage with the Halstead public and to deal with issues that may arise.  He noted that he has a Twitter account - @SCMihalyfi - and that he had already been on foot patrols in Halstead with PC Craig Wheeler where the public had been pleased to see a police presence in the town. 
Cllr Mrs Diver thanked SC Mihalyfi and his colleagues for the recent traffic operation in Halstead and Cllr Mrs Dingle echoed these thanks and noted that there had been good reports on social media about the operation.  SC Mihalyfi noted that the offending rate at that operation had been at a fairly standard rate and said that if an NPR van had been available probably the offending rate would have been higher.  Cllr Gronland said he felt that it was alarming to see the rate of offending in this snapshot of one day and was concerned that this represented a high rate of offence by the public.  Cllr Mrs Dingle asked if Officers could investigate the Jaguar car that had been parked in an obstructive position in Colchester Road for the past week or so, and SC Mihalyfi said he would investigate.  Cllr Radley asked if there were other special constables coming through the system and was told that there are 3 more in training, two of which would be allocated to Halstead when training is complete. Cllr Munday said he hoped that budget may be expanded to allow for all three to become Halstead Special Constables. SC Mihalyfi was thanked for his presentation and his work. 

148.  MINUTES  To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting  on 14th January 2019.   Minutes had been circulated and Cllr Radley noted that one report - 7e Budget and Precept 2019/2020 and Long Term Financial Plan had incorrect year headings for the Expenditure section of page 2.  A revised report 7e. v2 was circulated.  Proposal to adopt minutes of 14/01/19 with revised report 7e v2 (attached here) was put forward by Cllr Munday and seconded by Cllr Gronland.  Minutes adopted with 1 abstention.

149.  PLANNING  APPLICATIONS

Cllr Mrs Allen left the meeting at this point.

Cllr Hume Chair of Planning took the Chair for this part of the meeting.

18/02303/FUL - Land South of Oak Road, Halstead, Essex - Installation of a temporary sales area and the change of use of residential garages located between plots 1 and 3 to a marketing suite for the period Jan 2019 - Dec 2020 including the construction of 6 car parking spaces and 12300mm high estate railings and
19/00028/FUL - Land South of Oak Road, Halstead, Essex - a permanent five bar entrance gate.  Cllr Hume said that he could see no objections to these applications which are normal commercial practices.  Cllr Gronland proposed no objections to these applications. Proposal seconded by Cllr Radley and carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr Mrs Allen returned to the meeting.

19/00027/HH - 35 Godwin Close, Halstead, Essex. Conversion of garage to office space, removal of garage door and replace with window and raising of roof.   It was questioned whether this change of use is workable and Cllr Diver noted that the height for increase of roof was not mentioned on plans submitted.  Concerns were raised that this conversion should not be residential, and noted that this would be a matter for Planning Enforcement. but it was suggested that this should be part of Halstead's comments.  Cllr Gronland proposed no objection to this application, but asked that stipulation be made that this conversion should be only for commercial use.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver and carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr Munday left the meeting at this point.

19/00006/FUL - 44 Hedingham Road, Halstead, CO9 2DJ.  Part retrospective application to replace timber sleeper retaining wall including provision of steps and a new vehicular crossing.   Cllr Hume regretted that this was retrospective application but felt there was no reason to object apart from concerns over vehicular access to the property.   Cllr Gronland proposed no objection to this application, but asked that ECC Highways be consulted and vehicular access be assessed and confirmed before permission is given.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn and carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr Munday returned to the meeting

19/00119/FUL - Halstead Sports Centre, Colne Road, Halstead.  Creation of new Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP), installation of new 4.5 high ball stop fencing and entrance gates to AGP perimeter.  Installation of new 2.0 high and 1.2m high pitch perimeter barrier and entrance gates within AGP enclosure, installation of new hard standing areas, installation of new floodlight system, installation of new maintenance equipment store located within AGP enclosure, formation of grass mounds with screen planting around AGP boundary.  It was noted that objections have been raised against this application, mainly regarding the lighting.  It was suggested that Braintree DC take note of these objections.  Cllr Mrs Diver proposed no objection to this application provided that drainage issues, timing issues and light pollution issues were taken into account and resolved satisfactorily.  Motion was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried unanimously.

Chair of the meeting was handed back to Cllr  Munday.

150.  MAYOR'S APPOINTMENTS  AND  ANNOUNCEMENTS.. Cllr Munday noted event attended in Maldon.  The forthcoming meeting with James Cleverley MP was discussed. Cllr Hume asked if meeting had been initiated by HTC and was told that meeting had been requested by MP Cleverley.  Cllr Munday asked for any issues that Councillors would like discussed at that meeting to be fed to him.  Cllr Mrs Allen asked that the low river level and the condition of the river bed be discussed, and Cllr Dingle spoke about the footbridge-Bridge Street to Chapel St. Car Park.  Other engagements were reported.  Cllr Munday proposed that report be noted and proposal was seconded by Cllr Hume.  Report  was noted by unanimous decision.                                     

151.  FINANCE.  Cllr Radley Chair of Finance presented Finance Reports.
7 A. Monthly Finance Report: Cllr Radley noted the position  that was in line with budget forecasts and were expected to stay on course for the final 2 months of year.  Cllr Munday asked that thanks be given to staff who prepare and manage accounts and all involved in bringing them to Council.   Acceptance of the report was proposed by Cllr Radley, seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried unanimously. Report was noted

7 B. and 7B(a) Payments to be approved;  Cllr Mrs Penn asked about payment to J McWilliams for work required by Anglian Water and it was said that when originally installed some pipes had not been correctly capped but this work had now been done.  Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of Agenda Items 7B and 7B(a) and this proposal was seconded by Cllr Munday. Vote was taken and motion was carried unanimously.

7C. Reconciliation.  Report was before Council and it was noted that reconciliation of current account was successful.  Cllr Radley noted that only the Current Account had movements during the last month, all other accounts remained as previously.  Cllr Munday asked that all staff involved should be thanked for their work.  Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of Reconciliation Report.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn  and carried by unanimous vote.

7D. Insurance Renewal. It was noted that insurance is due for renewal on 1st April and that it is currently a 3 year policy. It is recommended that a further 3 year term be negotiated as this reduces premium and work involved in renewal. It was said that the current premium is £5170.56 inclusive of Insurance Premium Tax.  Three quotes have been sought and figures were given on a like for like basis.  It was noted that Quote 2 is the current insurer and that buildings, etc. are covered and also cover for any charitable events being managed in Halstead under the Council's aegis such as May Day and the Christmas Fayre is included.  It was noted that all quotes are of a similar value and discussions took place as to the merits of each.  Cllr Munday proposed that Quote no. 2 (current insurer) to the value of £4052 per year for a 3-year term be accepted.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Dingle and carried by unanimous vote.

152.  Community Hall.  No representative was present, no report was given

153.  Youth.  Cllr Mrs Penn gave a verbal report stating that there had not been great activity during the past month as this was exams/study season.  Cllr Penn noted that the group is looking to stage an event for children and young people at Easter, although format had not yet been decided.  The logo for the HAPPY group had now been decided and would be promoted.  Cllr Penn reported that the group are still very positive and that two members attended the recent River Clean event and planned to take part in the HiB Community Litter Pick events.  Cllr Penn said she was still very proud of the team and their work to raise the profile of youth in the Town.  Report was noted

154.  DISTRICT  COUNCILLORS.  Cllr Hume said that he had not attended many meetings recently due to ill health but had a planned meeting in the near future to catch up with events and he was looking forward to this meeting.  He had attended a recent Overview and Scrutiny meeting which was valuable.  Cllr Mrs Allen had also attended the Overview and Scrutiny meeting and was pleased to announce that the Councillor Grant scheme will run for a further two years; there will be a further meeting to review this scheme.  Cllr Allen had attended a Member Development meeting with Roger Hirst, Crime Commissioner and the District Commander Chief Inspector Janette Rawlingson.  It was queried whether crime in the area had increased after the closing of Halstead's Police Station and this was denied; it was said that very often reports on social media give the public impression of higher crime rates but this was not reflected in reality.  It was noted that with PCSO's and Special Constables there was a higher visibility of Police and by the end of the year 150 more full time officers would be recruited.   Cllr Munday agreed that social media coverage was disproportionate to actual crime figures and felt that there are no issues in Halstead as a whole.  He said that the recruiting of Special Officers had been led by reports of higher crime rates but felt that having them in the Town would bring benefits.  Cllr Allen suggested that Specials be followed on Twitter and other platforms and events reported back to Clerk.   Report was noted

155. Town Plan Report Distribution.  It was noted that Report has now been completed and results assimilated.  2000 copies of the report have now been printed and need to be distributed.  It was said that a press release will be given to Halstead Gazette, and it was asked that the Clerk write press release and send to each Councillor for approval before being lodged with press.  Cllr Munday moved that a press report be written, circulated to Councillors and when approved be given to Halstead Gazette.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote. 

Additional areas for distribution were then discussed.  It was said that all relevant departments at Braintree DC, including the Leader and also Essex CC and the Leader of the Council be given copies.  It was suggested that a copy be given to James Cleverley MP.  Cllr Radley suggested that a covering letter from the mayor on behalf of the Council to named individuals should be written and included with all distributed copies of the report.  Cllr Allen felt that specific individuals should be sent copies including Halstead's Essex County Councillor Cllr Mrs Jo Beavis.  Cllr Allen felt that ECC Highways should be given a copy and Heads of all Halstead Schools be sent letters and copies of the report.  Cllr Penn felt that the NHS and Essex CC Education Dept. should receive copies and also the Environment Agency included in mail out.  Halstead Chamber of Trade and Commerce was another suggestion for receipt and it was said that other outlets would be considered, including HTC Officers and Staff.  Cllr Radley was concerned about timing of release and suggested that the Press Release should be first, then copies with individual letters to named individuals and then to sites in the Town.  Some distribution sites within the town were suggested - Library, Town Council, etc. and some retainable copies be placed in doctors' surgery, estate agents, solicitors, cafés, etc.  Copies to be placed on HTC web site together with an action plan.  Cllr Mrs Diver asked who would distribute around town and it was said that Town Clerk would arrange for distribution.  Cllr Munday proposed distribution as above, including individual letters to named individuals and this was seconded by Cllr Hume.  Proposal was carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr Munday proposed that timings of release should be as detailed above and this proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn and carried by unanimous vote.

156.  Doctors' Surgery.  Cllrs Radley and Gronland are working with the surgery to bring about increased capacity to support the growing population..  It was said that a meeting had been held with NHS England in Chelmsford on 24th January to discuss the shortfall of capacity at Halstead Surgery and the difficulties posed to residents by lack of resources that will increase with the additional house building taking place in Halstead.  It was said that the Clinical Commissioning Group for this area has 45 practices to oversee and Halstead needs to be proactive in lobbying for funding for our Town practice.  It was noted that NHS has a protocol to be followed in order to get funds for additional space and Dr.Kreis has confirmed that this will be followed.  Cllr Penn congratulated Cllrs Radley and Gronland on their work and said that the Town should be thankful for their efforts. Cllr Mrs Dingle suggested that there should be publicity for this work and Cllr Munday agreed that this is positive for the town although the process seemed to be lengthy and drawn out.  Cllr Mrs Penn queried the fact that Sible Hedingham is to have another surgery and asked why Halstead's bid seems to be delayed.  Cllr Radley said that the new system for seeing patients at Halstead Surgery is working well in the short term but is not a long term solution to the long term capacity shortfall.  Report was noted

157.  Neighbourhood Watch.  Cllr Munday said that the ethos of Neighbourhood Watch is to strengthen links within the community and protect the vulnerable.  The Chairman of Neighbourhood Watch for Essex, Clive Stewart, has contacted HTC and suggested a meeting with a view to developing the scheme within Halstead.  The cost of this was queried and questions raised about how HTC should get involved.  Cllr Mrs Dingle said she had spoken with Mr Stewart and felt that a meeting with Councillors could be of value.   Cllr Munday proposed that an open meeting with Mr Stewart and all Councillors be arranged.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.

158.  Sport England Grant.  The complicated situation regarding the application for a Sport England Grant  by the Rugby Club to enable works at the pavilion at Courtauld Sports Ground was explained by Cllrs Munday and Radley.  It was noted that the initial application has not been successful as there is no security of tenure for the rugby club and work has already begun.  It was noted that the boiler was now failing and is in urgent need of replacement.   Cllr Radley said that as owners of the facility HTC has to be the applicant. It was hoped that a successful application would result in 75% of cost being awarded to HTC.  It was said that costs for the 25% of outstanding money would need to be re-charged to CSGMC.  Cllr Hume proposed that HTC agrees to be applicant for the grant on behalf of CSGMC.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn and carried by unanimous vote.  Further discussions then took place and Cllr Radley asked if CSGMC would accept proposals put forward.  It was said that Town Clerk should get agreement before any application is made that CSGMC will accept the charge of monies not covered by grant.

Cllr Munday then proposed that if CSGMC are in agreement HTC tenders for 3 quotes and contracts the work upon agreement by HTC members as to the contractor.  HTC would then reclaim the balance of cost from CSGMC.  This proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver and carried by unanimous vote.

159.  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' 

160. Toilet refurbishment.  The contract for refurbishment of the King’s Road toilets was awarded to a group of local contractors, with assistance from employees of Halstead Town Council.

161. Empire Lease.  A new lease for the Empire Theatre trust was discussed.

Public and press left the meeting at 8.38pm

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