HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL
MINUTES OF FULL COUNCIL MEETING
|Councillor A Munday||Chairman||Present|
|Councillor M Radley||Vice Chairman||Present|
|Councillor Miss J Atkinson||Present|
|Councillor P Caulfield||Present|
|Councillor P Claydon||Present|
|Councillor Mrs S Dingle||Present|
|Councillor M Fincken||Present|
|Councillor D Gronland||Present|
|Councillor D Hume||Present|
|Councillor Mrs J A Pell||Present|
|Councillor Miss L Smith||Present|
|Councillor G Warren||Present|
Also in attendance: Public Mrs Julia Allen; Mr M Rust, George King (Press),
Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk)
Julia Smith (Minute Clerk)
042. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE. All members were present.
043. DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: Cllr Fincken declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/01060/HH as lives in close proximity to site of application. Cllr Warren declared NPI Agenda item 7b as member of Courtauld Sports Ground Management Committee (CSGMC); NPI Agenda item 13 as trustee of Halstead Community Fridge. Cllr Hume declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/01093/HH as Agent is known and 19/01060/HH as various objectors are known. NPI Agenda item 7a as member of CSGMC; NPI Agenda item 11 as partner is a member of Courtauld Bowls Club and also as associate of Halstead Trinity Guides. Cllr Mrs Pell declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00899/FUL as objectors are known; NPI Agenda item 7a & 7b as member of CSGMC, NPI Agenda item 8 as member of H4C; NPI Agenda item 11 as trustee of Halstead Day Centre. Cllr Claydon declared NPI Agenda item 7a & 7b as member of CSGMC. Cllr Mrs Dingle declared NP Agenda item 13 as trustee of Halstead Community Fridge; NPI Agenda item 7b as member of Halstead WI. Cllr Miss Atkinson declared NPI Agenda item 11 as member of Halstead & District History Society; Cllr Miss Smith declared NPI Agenda item 11 as member of Halstead & District History Society; Cllr Munday declared NPI Agenda item 5 as member of Braintree District Council Planning Committee.
044. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME Mrs Julia Allen firstly gave apologies for her sister, Cllr Mrs Joanne Beavis (ECC) who was attending a meeting of Gosfield Parish Council where the Neighbourhood Plan for Gosfield was under discussion. Mrs Allen asked if Halstead had plans to formulate a Neighbourhood plan for the Town as she felt that this would carry great weight when planning decisions were being made.
Cllr Hume noted that several Local Plans were in the pipeline and Cllr Munday noted that one of these plans was at an advanced stage. He noted the advantages that a plan would bring and suggested that this be an item for future agenda.
Mr M Rust spoke as a resident of Sudbury Road, Halstead about the traffic problems in Sudbury Road and Head Street. He noted that with the large development on the boundary of Halstead at Sudbury Road traffic congestion would only get worse and asked if some signage noting narrowing of road could be erected. He also asked if some traffic calming measures could be put in place.
Cllr Munday said that he and Cllr Radley had met with ECC Highways armed with some statistics and measurements about traffic difficulties in this area and are awaiting feedback from this meeting. Cllr Hume noted that traffic conditions had changed radically in the past 25 years and that the situation would only become more difficult with additional housing. Cllr Mrs Pell said that as a District Councillor she had championed changes to the A131 and for a Halstead by-pass but had received no satisfactory answers. She vowed to continue to press for changes and Cllr Munday also pledged to continue to put pressure on ECC Highways for change.
Cllr Gronland asked Mr Rust to give his details to the Town Clerk and that he, as a member of the Local Highways Panel would ask for some signage in the area.
Cllr Fincken made a public statement about planning application 19/01060/HH saying that he lived close to the property and noted that some neighbours had raised objections to the applications. He noted that there were no other 2 storey extensions to houses in Knowles Close and felt that the visual impact from the playing field at the rear of the property of the proposed extension would not be acceptable.
045. MINUTES To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on 10th June 2019. Minutes had been circulated and proposal to adopt minutes of Town Council Meeting of 10/06/19 was proposed by Cllr Munday and seconded by Cllr Radley . Minutes approved by unanimous vote.
046. PLANNING APPLICATIONS
Cllr Hume took the Chair for this part of the meeting.
Cllr Munday left the meeting at this point
19/01054/HH 44 Hedingham Road, Halstead, CO9 2DJ. - Replacement retaining wall. Cllr Hume noted that the present fencing was in a poor condition and that the current proposal was for a red brick wall. It was noted that a similar proposal had previously been refused. Cllr Hume pointed out that the Historic Building Inspector had not given an opinion as 'not enough information' had been given on the application. Cllr Mrs Pell proposed no objection to this application but asked that Historic Building Inspector give an opinion before decision is made. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.
19/00899/FUL - Land at East Mill, Halstead - Erection of 4no. two bedroom semi-detached properties and 1no. bungalow (to replace existing garage). Cllr Hume noted 14 objections to this application, from almost all properties in the vicinity. He noted that objections were that the site was on a track rather than a road and that there was single traffic width and no surface to the track; parking would be an issue, and is an issue in the immediate area; that the development would not be in keeping with the surrounding area and would mean a loss of seclusion; that this was over development of the area; and that the track was used by school pupils so extra vehicular movements would be a danger; that the development would be out of character with the surrounding area. Cllr Radley proposed objections to this application on the following grounds,
1 overdevelopment of the site
2 vehicular access is via an inadequate un-adopted track with no footpath which is used by residents and children accessing local schools.
3 this development would have a detrimental affect upon the visual aspect of the area
Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.
Cllr Fincken left the meeting at this point.
19/01060/HH - 1 Knowles Close, Halstead, Essex. - Construction of ground/first floor rear extension. Cllr Hume noted 2 objections from residents in Rayner Way that backed on to the proposed application and that some of the objections were of a legal rather than a planning nature. He felt that a 2-storey extension was out of character with the rest of the properties in the area. Cllr Caulfield proposed objection to the application as it was felt that 2-storey extension is inappropriate and would visually impact neighbours and on the surrounding area. Cllr Warren seconded the proposal and it was carried by unanimous vote.
Cllr Fincken returned to the meeting.
19/01093/HH - 11 Ashlong Grove, Halstead, Essex - Single storey side/rear with first floor extension. Members felt that there was plenty of space for this proposed extension and that there were several similar extensions in the area. Cllr Gronland proposed no objection to this application and proposed was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.
Cllr Munday returned to the meeting
Chair of the meeting was handed back to Cllr Munday.
047. MAYOR'S APPOINTMENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS. Chairman noted the events attended, all of which were enjoyable. The visit to Richard de Clare's 175th anniversary of the school was a joyous occasion and the League of Friends of St. Andrew's Church Flower Festival was incredible and a great achievement for the Town. Cllr Munday was pleased to give a cheque to the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Service from the Chairman's Charity Fund totalling £1400.00. Cllr Munday proposed that the report be noted and Cllr Radley seconded this proposal. Report was noted by unanimous vote.
Cllr Hume thanked Chairman for his attendance at the Flower Festival.
048. FINANCE. Cllr Radley Chair of Finance presented Finance Reports.
a) Monthly Finance Report. Cllr Radley noted that income was slightly below budget but expenditure was also below budget so accounts were in a good position and on track. It was said that the Empire Theatre Trustees had agreed the increase in lease cost which will be back dated until April and will be charged within the next month. Cllr Claydon asked about the saving on insurance and it was said that this was included under Admin. Cllr Radley asked Councillors to note that income from sale of trailer had not yet been shown in accounts but will be added in the near future. Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of the report and this was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.
b) and 7b (a) List of payments to be approved. Cllr Radley spoke about the sum of £65000 shown which is to open accounts at Lloyds Bank as discussed at previous meetings. A boiler had been purchased for Courtaulds Sports Ground but cost would be refunded by Sport England). Payments for Summer Fun activities were noted and it was said that the budget of £2600 for this event had not been exceeded. Cllr Pell queried the cost of £114 for 1000 4x4 permit holders and Clerk said this was for the plastic wallets to hold permits. Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of items 7b and 7b(a) payments to be approved. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.
c) Monthly Reconciliation Report. Report was noted. Cllr Radley said that Council Staff were having difficulties in preparing the Reconciliation report to go out with Agenda reports and asked if Councillors would accept a report from mid-month to mid-month that would then become the norm and a rolling reconciliation report. Councillors noted this as part of the report and Cllr Munday proposed acceptance of the report and agreement to revising the reporting date to mid month or soon after. Cllr Fincken seconded this proposal and it was accepted by unanimous vote.
049. COMMUNITY HALL.
a) Verbal update: Cllr Pell noted that Trustees were happy with the intentions of Council to be more involved and that Braintree DC were also in agreement with this way forward.
Cllr Pell hoped that this would form the basis for a good working arrangement.
Cllr Munday thanked Cllr Pell for her report.
b) Working group for the Community Hub:
1.It was noted that Cllrs Janet Atkinson, Peter Claydon, Malcolm Fincken, Dave Gronland and Mick Radley had volunteered for this group.
Cllr Munday proposed that all five of these volunteers be elected to this working group. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Caulfield and carried with 1 abstention.
2. Cllr Munday suggested electing a Chairman of this group and Cllr Gronland proposed that Cllr Radley be chair of the working group for the Community Hub. There were no other nominations for post as Chairman of this group. Cllr Miss Atkinson seconded the proposal and this was carried with 1 abstention.
3. It was said that two representatives from the group should be elected to attend the trust meetings. The Chairman would attend, but it was proposed by Cllr Munday that decision on the second representative at trust meetings be left to the group to decide at first meeting. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Miss Atkinson and carried with 1 abstention.
Cllr Munday noted that Mrs Eileen Penn was not able to be present at the meeting but that he had a report to be read on the following Agenda item, report had been circulated.
050. YOUTH. Mrs Penn had noted that the HAPPY group had two meetings in June and were keen to get involved in community events. East of England Co-operative Society had offered some support for the group. It was hoped to have a 'pop-up shop' of some sort to promote the group. Members hoped to get involved with The Empire Theatre in some way and also hoped to visit the Halstead Day Centre. They hoped to liaise with Ramsey Academy to recruit more young people and were in the process of forming a Facebook page and web site to reinforce their identity. They also hoped to purchase some logo'd sweatshirts for use at all events. There would be another meeting of the group in July. It was hoped to have a 'treat day' for members of the HAPPY group. Cllr Munday proposed noting of this written report. Cllr Radley seconded this proposal and report was noted by unanimous decision. Cllr Fincken asked that Mrs Penn be thanked for her work with this group and wished the group success for the future.
051. DISTRICT COUNCILLORS.
Cllrs Munday and Radley had provided written reports.
Cllr Mrs Pell reported attendance at two meetings regarding the Local Plan and also a Housing Development meeting. Cllr Pell had some training on Licencing and further training will be undertaken. Cllr Pell said she is still working on return of heritage lamp columns for Halstead High Street but the Braintree Officer concerned is having difficulties in obtaining answers on this subject. Cllr Pell is still involved with issues regarding the A131 road and the Marks Farm interchange.
Cllr Hume has attended Local Planning Committee with lengthy reports to read. Some additional training on this subject will be available in the near future. Cllr Hume is keen to continue with Communities Working Together project and an evidence base is being established. Cllr Hume noted the large number of houses that will be built in the Braintree District with a target of 300 houses (possibly to be reduced to 250) to be built each year for the Garden Communities. This development is an ongoing issue.
Cllr Mrs Pell informed Council that the Environmental Health Officer, Garry Philp has now left BDC to take up another appointment and that his assistance to Halstead should be recognised.
Cllr Munday proposed that District Councillors' reports be noted. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.
052. GRANT APPLICATIONS RECEIVED Chairman noted that under S 137 Council was authorised to give grants to local charities, etc. that will bring benefit to the area and local residents. Council had budgeted for £2000 to be set aside for these grants in 2019/20. A list of applicants had been circulated and the working group had put forward recommendations for grant. Report had been circulated to Councillors and is attached to minutes (grant application report attached here). Cllr Fincken asked why some grants had exceeded requests and it was said that in general grants had been made where most benefits to the community would arise. It was noted that request from Kernos Centre, based in Sudbury, had not been fulfilled, but it was suggested that 'in kind' help could be given by way of offering free accommodation at Queen's Hall for counselling sessions for Halstead residents. It was also said that grant money had not been given to Courtauld Bowls Club as they had received some grant money for refurbishment of the Club House, and are a private members’ club. It was noted that the Halstead River Care group does not have a bank account and Cllr Radley suggested that purchase of equipment could be made by Halstead TC and gifted to the Group. Cllr Munday proposed that grants be given as detailed, that items requested by the River Care group be purchased by Halstead TC and gifted to the Group (as they do not have a bank account) and that free accommodation for Counselling sessions for Halstead Residents be offered to the Kernos Centre. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Miss Smith and carried by unanimous vote.
053. FOOTBRIDGE UPDATE. A written report had been circulated. Cllr Munday said that BDC offer of £6000 to fund a structural report on the condition of the footbridge is still standing and that contractors for the report would be engaged.. Cllr Munday thanked Cllr Atkinson for her work on Due Diligence and for her work on finding contractors for the report. Two suppliers have been identified as being suitable, although some clarification on what is required is still needed. The working group will meet in August to make recommendations on contractors to be engaged and clarification is still required on how payment from BDC will be received. Cllr Munday said that it was disappointing that it had taken a Freedom of Information request from HTC before details of the survey carried out could be received from Essex CC.
Cllr Munday proposed that a letter of thanks be sent to Braintree DC for their support on this project and that the report be noted. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Claydon and carried by unanimous vote.
054. HALSTEAD COMMUNITY FRIDGE Chairman noted that the Community Fridge had been up and running for a year but said that one of the founder members had now moved away and Cllr Mrs Dingle would also be moving away in the near future. Proposals were therefore on the table that HTC either takes over responsibility for the fridge and makes a rota for opening and closing the facility or that HTC guarantees a regular supply of volunteers from Councillors. Cllr Mrs Dingle noted that the project had been a success with donations regularly being given and residents taking what was on offer. Cllr Dingle said that the facility closes at about 4pm but that recruit(s) to open and close the facility are now needed as the majority of the work is now being done by Sarah (Town Clerk) in a private capacity. Cllr Dingle explained that she would be moving from the area within the next few weeks that would leave just Sarah and Gary Warren with responsibilities to lock, unlock, clean, take temperature (required by Environmental Health), encourage donations, keep records, etc. The facility is managed by a Trust but there needs to be continuity of actions to keep the facility open for Halstead residents.
Cllr Fincken proposed suspension of Standing Orders to allow Mr Rust to speak. Proposal seconded by Cllr Mrs Pell and carried unanimously.
Mr Rust asked if one local supermarket could take on responsibility for housing and servicing the fridge, but it was said by Cllr Dingle that this would not be possible.
Cllr Fincken proposed meeting return to Standing Orders. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Dingle and carried by unanimous vote.
Cllr Warren noted that the Community Fridge was for the Community and that he would like HTC to support this project. He said that it had taken some hard work to set up the project and commended former Cllr Mrs Shirley Diver, Cllr Dingle and Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk) for their dedication but said that additional help was now required. Cllr Fincken said that Council should monitor what happens with the project and that perhaps Council could revisit their assistance in the future. He felt that HTC could publicise the need for volunteers but felt that Councillors should not take on the responsibility in an official capacity. Cllr Munday suggested that perhaps the HAPPY group might like to get involved and suggested that Mrs Penn might be asked to put this to them. Sarah said that it would be necessary to guarantee continuation of the service and that if insufficient response to request for volunteers was found the matter may be brought back to Council. Cllr Caulfield suggested that matter be brought back within a couple of months if there is no resolution to appeal for volunteers.
Cllr Caulfield then proposed that Halstead TC publicises the need for volunteers to oversee the Community Fridge project but that if insufficient numbers of volunteers are found the matter be brought back to Council. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Dingle and carried with 1 abstention.
055. SCHEME OF DELEGATION Report was before Council, had been circulated prior to meeting and is attached to these minutes. Cllr Munday proposed acceptance of the Halstead Town Council Scheme of Delegation. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Pell and carried by unanimous vote.
056. POLL OF PUBLIC FEELING. Cllr Caulfield had conducted an on-line poll over three days asking for public feeling on 6 headed items. 893 people had responded showing concerns for over-development in the area (349);too much crime and anti-social behaviour (186) lack of a permanent police presence (131) over-subscribed healthcare and education services (70); lack of a by-pass (41); empty shops (41) and a further item had been added by member of the public : lack of amenities and facilities for visitors and residents (21). Cllr Caulfield said that results were probably much as expected and that resolution of item 1 would probably assist with solutions for other matters. Cllr Caulfield had conducted a further poll asking what takes Pride of Place in Halstead and on this only 233 votes had been cast with residents noting Halstead in Bloom, Torchlight Procession, Community Spirit, Events in Halstead Public Gardens and High Street as matters to be proud of Halstead.
Cllr Munday thanked Cllr Caulfield for his good work and noted that this feedback was very much in line with Town Plan and HTC Action Plan. Cllr Warren suggested that it would be good to cross analyse the two reports and Councillors agreed that over-development was of concern to all. It was reiterated that a Local Plan would be useful for Halstead.
Cllr Munday proposed that report be noted, and thanked Cllr Caulfield for his work. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Miss Atkinson and carried unanimously.
057. WELCOME PACK FOR NEW RESIDENTS. Rev Katie de Bourcier and Tricia McNeeny from St. Andrew's Church has spoken with Councillors about a magazine for residents giving information about what is on offer in Halstead. Discussions took place and it was agreed that some form of information for new residents, and existing residents, would be valuable. It was queried what form this information should take - whether it should be a magazine or a 'welcome pack' and how it should be distributed. It was suggested that a pack should be available from Estate Agents or when new residents collected keys to their properties. Cllr Munday said that he was not sure how the Church wanted to proceed and said that further discussions with them should take place. It was suggested that a working group to carry this project forward be set up and Cllr Munday proposed that members express an interest to the Clerk if they would like to be included in a working group to take this project forward; proposed that Clerk speak with Rev. Katie and Mrs McNeeny to discuss their ideas on what might be required; proposed that avenues for distribution of the eventual document be explored. As an addendum, after suggestion by Cllr Radley, proposal was also to set terms of reference for the working group. Cllr Gronland seconded all proposals and vote to carry proposals was unanimous.
058. CHAMPIONS Council had previously agreed to start a new initiative in areas of concern and Councillors had been invited to take responsibility for various areas.
Responses so far were: - Education - Cllr Caulfield and Cllr Hume. Tourism - Cllrs Miss Smith and Mrs Pell; Policing - Cllr Warren; Open Spaces and River - Cllr Miss Atkinson and Elizabeth Courtauld Surgery - Cllr Radley and Cllr Gronland. The latter will be left with Cllrs Radley and Gronland as they have been working with Surgery for some time. Discussions took place about other identified groups, and Cllr Fincken said he would be interested in the Open Spaces and River area. Cllr Radley noted that originally one person had been invited to take responsibility and much discussion took place about how to proceed if more than one volunteer had applied. After many views were put forward it was decided that perhaps one new Councillor with one more experienced Councillor might be the way forward.
Cllr Munday proposed extending Standing Orders for another 10 minutes. Proposal seconded by Cllr Caulfield and carried by unanimous vote.
Cllr Munday said that he had intended that new ideas be put forward by Councillors on the areas noted, and hoped that new volunteers would approach the subject with open minds and be amenable to new ideas. After further discussions it was decided that Champions be as listed above, but that Cllr Claydon join Cllr Warren in responsibilities for Policing matters and that Cllr Fincken join Cllr Miss Atkinson with responsibilities for Open Spaces and River. It was said that members must speak together and have open minds on their subjects, and that terms of reference must be decided for each area.
Proposal for adopting Champions on listed topics and with listed membership was made by Cllr Munday and seconded by Cllr Fincken. Proposal was carried by unanimous vote.
059. 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'
060. CAR PARKS.
An aspect of car parks management was discussed in private session.
Public Meeting closed at 9.31pm.