Minutes of the Town Council Meeting 15 December 2021

21st December 2021

HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL

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MINUTES OF TOWN COUNCIL MEETING

PUBLIC SESSION MINUTES

15 December : at  19:15
Held at
Queens Hall, Chipping Hill, HALSTEAD, Essex. CO9 2BY 

 Membership:

Councillor M Radley Chairman   Present
Councillor D Gronland Vice Chairman Present 
Councillor Miss J Atkinson   Present
Councillor P Caulfield   Present
Councillor P Claydon   Apologies
Councillor Mrs S Dingle   Apologies
Councillor M Fincken   Present
Councillor D Hume   Apologies
Councillor A Munday   Present
Councillor Mrs J A Pell   Present
Councillor Miss L Smith   Present
Councillor G Warren   Apologies

Also in attendance:     Graham McCoyd Cllr Chris Siddall (from 20.10)

                                        Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk)

159.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE  Cllr Claydon sent his apologies, due to work commitments. Cllr Dingle. Cllr Hume and Cllr Warren sent their apologies due to ill health.

Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of these apologies, seconded by Cllr Munday and unanimously agreed.

160.  DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS:

 Cllr  Pell  declared NPI item 5 21/03348/HH as she has a friend who lives in the lane, and item 7 as a member of CSGMC.  Cllr Munday declared NPI item 5 as a member of BDC Planning, and 7b, as his daughter is a member of staff at Holmes & Hills.

161.  PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

161. a) Public questions

Graham McCoyd expressed his thanks to Cllrs Munday and Warren and the Bridge working group for the reopening of the footbridge.

162.  MINUTES To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on 15 November 2021.  Minutes had been circulated and proposal to adopt public session minutes of 15 November 2021 was put forward by Cllr Caulfield,  and seconded by Cllr Gronland   with 6 in favour and 2 abstentions.

163.  PLANNING  APPLICATIONS

Cllr Pell led discussions for this part of the meeting.

The following Planning Applications, which were received and circulated electronically, were to be considered at the Council meeting.

Cllr Munday left the meeting.

21/03348/HH – Fenton House, Box Mill Lane, Halstead – Erection of single-storey rear extension

21/03491/HH  – 5 Highbury Terrace, Halstead, Essex – Erection of single-storey rear extension

21/03549/LBC – Townsford Mill, The Causeway, Halstead     – Removal of internal gate automation control equipment and associated support frame. Removal of wooden water control gates from channel under mill to allow free passage of water.  Removal of side channel gate automation control equipment and permanent fixing of gates in fully raised position. Removal of all cabling, distribution boards and kiosks associated with the gate automation. Removal of non-structural brickwork from main channel openings.

Cllr Pell proposed no objection to the 3 applications en bloc. This was seconded by Cllr Atkinson, with 6 in favour.

Cllr Pell reported that she had contacted Planning Enforcement concerning the unsafe fence at the back of Townsford Mill, and they have agreed to contact the owner.

Cllr Munday returned to the meeting.

164.  MAYOR’S APPOINTMENTS

Cllr Radley commented that it had been very good to see events returning to Halstead, and that they had been much appreciated by the public. The torchlight had raised £1068 for charity. He expressed his thanks to everyone involved in supporting and running of all the events including the Christmas parties for the over 60’s. He also thanked Cllr Smith and her team for her work for the Christmas Fayre. She had also raised £250 for the Mayor’s charity and had been able to repay the loan made to her in full.

165.  FINANCE Cllr Gronland led the discussions for this part of the meeting

a) To approve the income and expenditure report for November 2021.

Cllr Radley commented that the long term sickness of a member of staff had not been recorded, and asked the Clerk to rectify the record. He also reminded the meeting that the Council was using the services of a freelance bookkeeper (not accountant as reported)

Cllr Gronland reported that all was going well with the finances at HTC

Cllr Fincken proposed approval of the income and expenditure report, seconded by Cllr Caulfield and unanimously agreed.

b) To approve the List of payments and supplementary payments to be made in December

Cllr  Fincken proposed approval of the list of payments, seconded by Cllr Munday and unanimously agreed.

c) To approve the Bank reconciliation

Cllr Gronland  asked the Clerk to check the Barclaycard  receipts in transit of the bank reconciliation for November and to give feedback to councillors.

Cllr Radley asked the lead finance members to investigate actions to address the account balances currently held above the financial compensation limit of £85,000.

Cllr Radley proposed approval of the reconciliation, seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed.

d) To receive a report on repairs to St Andrews churchyard wall

 The report was noted. The Town Clerk will get a quote for the structural engineer’s work for approval at a later meeting.

e) To consider replacing door and window at Queens Hall

Cllr Munday proposed that the window should be replaced using Quote A, and that the door should be repaired using the Quote B for locks and hinges.  Secure by design locks should be requested. Another £200 could be spent on the locks if needed. This was seconded by Cllr  Caulfield , and unanimously agreed.

f) To consider making Barclaycard payments by Direct Debit

Cllr Pell proposed that payment of Barclaycard by Direct Debit be approved. This was seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed.

g) To consider a last-minute request for a grant

Cllr  Gronland proposed, seconded by Cllr Munday, that the grant should be awarded. This was unanimously agreed

166.  To receive reports from District Councillors

Cllr Munday reported that he had attended the Full Council meeting at BDC on Monday 13 December via zoom, but had been unable to vote. He had also attended 2 planning committee meetings, and at the one on 30 November it had been agreed that 70 affordable homes should be built on Mount Hill. Mr Pleasence should be thanked as he had been right about the drains.

Cllr Munday also said that he was yet to decide on how to spend his District Councillor’s grant.

Cllr Pell reported that she had attended 2 leaders’ meetings to discuss the holding of hybrid meetings. It had been decided that those who had attended on zoom would not have to attend an in-person meeting for 6 months. She would be meeting with the Empire on 16 December in relation to grant she had given to them. She had also given a grant to the Salvation Army to provide Christmas meals.

Cllr Radley reported that he had also attended the BDC full council meeting on 13 December by zoom. He had allocated his BDC councillor grant funds to Salvation Army, Halstead Day Centre Christmas lunches, Dementia Friendly cinema and Cycle Route. There would be a catch-up meeting with Neil Jones and Nicola Murphy on S106 monies on 21 December.

Reports were noted

167.  To receive reports from Champions

Tourism

Cllr Smith thanked the Council for the loan to enable her to pay for the entertainment at the Christmas Fayre. She had been able to repay this in full and also raise £250 for the Mayor’s charity. She looks forward to carrying on with this event under the auspices of HTC. She thanked Cllrs Munday and Gronland for their help on the day.

Cllr Caulfield  made a comment on the impossibility of getting through to the doctor’s surgery to make an appointment. Cllrs Radley and Gronland said that they would get in touch with the surgery in January.

Cllr Siddall joined the meeting at 20.10.

Education

Cllr Caulfield  said that he and Cllr Hume would be getting in touch with St Andrews school over the parking issues. He felt it was very important to give their support as it was a safety matter.

Cllr Fincken commented that there had been a spate of burglaries in Halstead.

Champions’ reports were noted

Cllr Pell proposed that Standing Orders should be suspended to allow Cllr Siddall to make his report. This was seconded by Cllr Radley and unanimously agreed.

Cllr Siddall reported that the first stage of the cycle path had been approved with £25k given from the Local Highways Panel. There had been talks with the landowners, and it had been agreed to go for a leisure route, which was cheaper.

Cllr Pell proposed that the meeting move back into Standing Orders, seconded by Cllr Radley and unanimously agreed.

168.  To consider a new lease for the Library

It was proposed by Cllr Munday    

  1. That HTC maintain the rent at £13,000 p.a.
  2. That HTC should offer a lease for 9 years
  3. That HTC should offer a rent review every 3 years
  4. That HTC should continue to pay for external repairs

He suggested that increasing the rent should be explored in 3 years’ time.

This was seconded by Cllr Fincken with 7 in favour and 1 abstention.

169.  To review the Open Spaces action plan

Cllr Munday thanked Cllrs Fincken and Atkinson for the work they had done on the Open Spaces Action Plan, with the Clerk,

Cllr Fincken proposed, seconded by Cllr Atkinson, that the revised Open Spaces Action Plan be accepted, with the addition of a play area in Mount Hill as in the Planning Application. This was unanimously agreed:

170.  To review Standing Orders and Scheme of Delegation

Councillors had discussions on the recommendations in the report and following practices of the councils decided to defer any consideration of changes to the arrangements for committees and working groups to the AGM in May 2022.

Cllr Radley proposed, seconded by Cllr Pell, that:

  1. HTC approves the current Standing Orders without any modifications, and defers arrangement of committees and the scheme of delegation until May 2022
  2. it sets up an Appeals committee in May 2022
  3. terms of reference for committee/working groups be decided at the AGM
  4. political balance be maintained in committee/working groups

171.  To review the Financial Regulations

This item was deferred to the January meeting to allow Cllr Claydon to review and agree the regulations first.

172.  To review the Grant awarding policy

Cllr Munday proposed that the word “Exceptionally” be removed but that the rest of the document should be accepted.

Cllr Caulfield seconded this proposal, which was unanimously agreed.

173.  To consider creating a Task and Finish group to review the terms and conditions of Hire at Queens Hall

Cllr Radley proposed that

  1. Matters for discussion should include:
  • Charges – a full list will be made available to members of the group
  • Extra charges for the use of extra equipment
  • Discounts for regular bookings
  • Cleaning
  • Laying out of tables, chairs and equipment
  • Detailed comparison with other local hirers
  1. Terms of reference for the group should be decided by the group and brought to Full Council for approval
  2. The working group should comprise of up to four councillors. The HRA and Labour Group Leaders will put forward councillor names for the group which should be politically balanced and should not include members of SAC.
  3. Other non-councillor stakeholders should be consulted as and when required by the group.

This was seconded by Cllr Munday and unanimously agreed.

Cllr Radley proposed, seconded by Cllr Pell, that Standing Orders be extended until close of business. This was agreed unanimously.

174.  To note proposed dates for events winter 2022

Cllr Smith stated that the dates of all council events in Halstead should always be discussed first at an Events Working Group meeting, and then brought to Full Council.  In this instance that process had been bypassed.  Non council events should not be on the agenda.

Cllr Smith proposed that all council  events should be discussed first at the Events Working Group, and that on this occasion the 2022 proposed dates should be agreed for the winter events. This was seconded by Cllr Fincken, and unanimously agreed.

175.  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”.

Cllr Radley proposed, seconded by Cllr Pell that the public and press be temporarily excluded from the meeting, and this was unanimously agreed.

PRIVATE SESSION

176.  To note Minutes and Recommendation of Staff Advisory Committee of 8 November 2021

177.  A staff matter was discussed

There being no further business, the meeting closed at  21:42

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